The wine shop at Austin Bergstrom airport just happened to be next to our gate for our flight back to Indiana today￼. We had some more Texas grape to glass wine! (The cheese and bread plate was also very good)￼
Yesterday Sher and I went with our son to the Austin Beerworks to enjoy local beers, some great food, and at the same time we supported Small Business Saturday. Sponsored by the Texas Craft Brewers Guild, this event featured 80 small Texas breweries and retailers all over the state celebrating this year’s theme: “Here’s to Gettin’ Back Out There”.
All over the state Texas Craft Brewers Guild encouraged patronizing these small businesses. Each location had really nice beer glasses for purchase. According to the Guild website “$1+ of every glass supports the association of craft brewers advancing the industry through advocacy and education.” We had a fun afternoon at the ABW taproom. And as the picture shows we supported the event by adding glasses to our collection, Maj got a nice jacket, and of course some beers to go. We always enjoy a win-win.
Today was a great day to visit the Austin Beerworks Taproom. Today was a special event put on by the Texas Craft Brewer’s Guild. The Austin Beerworks was one of many Texas breweries celebrating “Here’s to Gettin’ Back Out There” as the pandemic conditions begin to get better.
The Taproom is a fun place to enjoy all of the many craft beers brewed by the Austin Beerworks. There are many varieties on tap, and you can get flights of four to sample or by the glass. In addition to beers, some cider and wine, food is also available. The food is great, reasonably priced, and yes, from a food truck that is a permanently parked on the property.
We had a most enjoyable time today at the ABW taproom. The beers in our flights were excellent, and Sher and I had a glass of our favorite to finish off the afternoon. Oh, I bought a really cool hooded, zipper front jacket with the ABW logo and name.. We helped support the Brewer’s Guild by buying a couple of glasses, too.
The Hula Hut is a Tex-Mex restaurant with, as their website states, a Hawaiian twist. For 25 years it has served delicious meals offering an “island feel” with thatched roofs, bamboo walls and outdoor decks overlooking Lake Austin.
Sher and I went to this establishment with our son, daughter-in-law and granddaughter for a Friday night outing. The weather proved to be too cool and windy for an outside table, so we opted for a table inside.
Even the menu items have a flavor of Hawaii. Sher had the “Tubular” taco, vegetarian style. This thing was huge, flanked by black beans and rice. Our daughter-in-law and granddaughter had grilled Hawaiian chicken and grilled salmon, respectively. Our son and I both ordered Five-O Fajitas (get it?). He had the BBQ Tai and I had the Hawaiian beef and shrimp.
The service was excellent, our waiter George really took good care of us. This is a very good restaurant, great atmosphere, service, and marvelous food. We all thoroughly enjoyed our choices and this most enjoyable evening out with family.
Things worked out great for us to have a fun luncheon with our just turned ten year old granddaughter. As her school was out this week Sher and I could take her out to lunch. This has become somewhat of a tradition with her when we visit family in Austin.
Our daughter-in-law recommended that we dine at Mandola’s Italian Kitchen. There are several locations of this Texas original chain. We picked one reasonably close. Our granddaughter had been there before, and approved of this choice for lunch.
Not only is the food menu extensive, but in addition you’ll find wonderful desert counters and a well filled wine bar. You order your meal at the counter, pay there and get your order number sign. Drinks and tableware are self serve with plenty of take home containers also available. Once seated you are immediately served a traditional basket of fresh bread with olive oil sprinkled with spices for dipping.
Our meals were brought to our table in a very short time. The presentation was good and portion sizes were quite impressive. Our Granddaughter ordered the chicken fingers and fries. She got three huge “fingers” plus a stack of fries. There was enough there for an adult meal.
Sher thoroughly enjoyed her Italian salad overflowing the bowl with greens, fresh mozzarella, green & black olives, and tons of other delectable veggies. I really liked the Gnocchi with meat sauce. (Little Italian dumplings with a tomato sauce of beef, pork , garlic and veggies).
While the meal was very good and filling, what made this lunch special was the fact that we could share it with our granddaughter. Time with family is so precious. When family is far away it makes time intervals between visits seem way to long! The pandemic sure messed up our travel plans, and hopefully we’ll be able to spend more time with our scattered out kids and grandkids even more in the upcoming months.
The Colorado River runs through Austin’s vibrant downtown. Flanked by parks, bike and hiking trails and entertainment venues, the river also widens and slows, prompting the name Lady Bird Lake after LBJ’s First Lady.
Groupon led us to Lone Star Riverboat cruises, offering a chance to enjoy a sunset cruise and beautiful views of the remarkable and interesting architecture of Austin’s skyline. Lone Star has both a double deck “paddle wheeler” style boat. Sher and I and our son, daughter-in-law and granddaughter chose to ride the open air pontoon boat for our sunset cruise.
We thoroughly enjoyed our slow paced tour up and down the waters. Our Captain of the craft gave a most interesting running commentary of the sights seen from the vantage point of the water. One interesting anecdote concerned the heights of the buildings. Formerly no Austin building could be taller than the State Capitol. However, one rich Texan donated a building that would be taller. Money talked, and the impressive skyline continues to grow in height.
Our cruise was slightly over and hour, and was reasonably priced with special kid’s rates and a nice Senior discount as well.
Enjoying supper at Jack Allen’s restaurant in Austin￼
Sher and I went with our son, daughter-in-law and granddaughter to the Dripping Springs area west of Austin. There we went to the Fall Creek Winery, one of the oldest wineries in the state. Established in 1979, this winery was one of the first in Dripping Springs, and the owners were instrumental in 1990 in securing official recognition of the Texas Hill Country as a recognized and respected viticultural region.
The tasting rooms at the winery are located in the original ranch house. Rustic decor and beautiful views from the decks and rooms add to the relaxing atmosphere of this establishment. We got a table, looked at the menu and discussed our options with our hostess. The tasting menu included five different wines, all from Texas, three of which locally from the Texas Hill Country.
We all wanted to have some cheese and cracker plates, and our hostess suggested some sampling techniques utilizing the cheese samples. We talked about the wine having “legs”. Swirl the glass, take a whiff of the bouquet, and then take a sample taste. The legs are the drops of wine that run down the inside of the glass. Sometimes called “tears” or “fingers” these droplets have been the cause of controversy as to what they tell you, or don’t tell you. Some say the thicker the “tear” the higher the alcohol content. Others say that is phooey.
Anyway, it was most enjoyable trying the five different wines. In addition to those five, we asked about any sweet wines. Fall Creek Winery has one, Gotas de Oro, a mix of 49% Muscat Canelli and 51% Chardonnay. Sher is holding that bottle in her picture. We liked the wines. We bought the bottle Sher is holding, and we also bought a bottle of the Chardonnay and one of the GSM, a mixture of Greenache, Syrah, and Mourvèdre. This is yet another fun and relaxing winery that we have enjoyed. Plus we had the carry-outs again. Good times with each other and our dear family.
We had a great tasting experience the other day at the Bent Oak Winery. Located in what apparently is an older commercial strip building, the winery has a rather small entrance lobby, but it opens up in length in the tasting room.
A variety of seating is offered. There are traditional tables and chairs, high tables with barstool type seating and several couches with coffee tables for your glasses. Our seating consisted of a beautiful heavy wood picnic sized table with individual cushioned bench seats. Our hostess, Joan, was a most helpful and friendly sommelier. For a tasting of five different wines the Bent Oak presents each one at a time, with sufficient time between pours to enable a true appreciation of each wine, leading to a very relaxing experience.
Our tasting of whites started with the ’18 Chardonnay CA Chalk Hill, followed by the ’19 Viognier TX High Plains. The 3 reds led off with the ’18 Pinot Noir Reserve CA Russian River. Next came the ’19 Sangiovese TX High Plains. We finished our tasting with an exquisite ’19 Aglianico TX High Plains.
We enjoyed a bag of handmade sweet/spicy pecans for munching between our samplings. Across from us sat a couple of nice young men. We enjoyed talking with them, discussing what varieties of wines we enjoyed the best. Joan was taking part in our conversations, adding wonderful and informative details. Sher and I decided on a bottle of the ’18 Chardonnay CA Chalk Hill and a bottle of the ’19 Aglianico TX High Plains to take with us. As part of our tasting, we both received a complimentary wine glass with the Bent Oak logo etched on the glass. We will most likely go back here while we are enjoying our time in the Austin area.