with Texas Rub
Austin, Texas is not only the capital of Texas it's also a center for amazing music, food, art, sports, racing and business. The people I encountered were a great mixture of country friendly and city savvy.
Downtown is sprawling, but approachable with beautiful parks and bridges. The folks are active and exceptionally dog-friendly.
There's a feeling of movement and health that surrounds the whole area. Maybe it's to balance all the good food that is constantly in front of you.
One of my first stops in Austin (because I'm a food nerd) was to see the ground breaking Whole Foods. If there was ever an organic food theme-park, it might look like this store. They had free samples for the kids, the expected (although vast) selection of fresh produce and goods, and it was all surrounded by food courts and semi-restaurants. My friend and I spent a couple hours food-bar hopping enjoying Italian Bruschetta, Calamari Steak, and Tabouleh stuffed Tomatoes -- then perched for awhile sipping on a nice Pinot Noir and catching up.
One of the places we made sure to visit was Kerby Lane.
This is one of the more famous places to find a great plate of Migas (Tex-Mex spiced scrambled eggs with tortillas and veggies and plenty of cheese),
Cinnamon and Banana drenched French Toast and mouth-watering cheesy Queso.
Of course, no one can go to Texas without having Ribs and in Austin that means a trip to the Salt Lick Bar-B-Que Restaurant.
For under a cool "Fifty" we had a table filled with Brisket, Ribs, Sausage, Beans, Potato Salad, Pickled onions, Texas bread, Slaw, Coffee and Pecan Pie Ala Mode! And it 'wuz guud!
Austin is right in there with the Food-truck world, too. In fact, over on the Avenue that is now called SoCo (for South of Congress) you can find several trucks, mobile booths and pretty sweet looking campers that even include local musicians. In Austin, there is always music served up, no matter what else is happening. It's a great thing.
For a quick morning, that is authentically Austin, we stopped for a Breakfast Taco at Nueva Ondo.
By the time I finished reading about the healthy ingredients, I was convinced that I was doing a good thing by eating another tortilla with eggs, cheese and mushrooms.
One of my favorite T-shirts in Austin said, "Keep Austin Weird". It's an example of how much diversity there is in this city. Beyond the Tex-Mex and the Ribs and cheese, you can also stop in classic Tea Shops, like The Steeping Room.
They have a wide choice of teas, luncheon small plates and desserts, like this Camomile Almond Torte.
What's left to do in Austin, you may ask? I'll get back to ya on that, real soon.
RECIPE for BRAISED SHORT RIBS w/ TEXAS RUB
(you can take a short cut by ordering rub from Salt Lick online or try my mixings)
Preheat oven to 375F.
6-8 Beef Short Ribs
16-24 oz. Light stock (Chicken, Veggie or Veal)
1 onion chopped
RUB: (1/4 cup Paprika, 4 Tbls. Brown Sugar, 1 Tbls. Chipotle Chile Powder, 1/2 tsp. Cinnamon, dash of salt and pepper. Mix all together.)
Apply the RUB on each Short Rib and let rest at room temp. for 30 minutes.
In a large, deep sided skillet, heat about 2 tbls. of oil on Med/High. When it's hot and just before smoking, place each Short Rib into the skillet, but do not crowd. Cook a few at a time, if needed. Brown on all sides, then remove to a plate and hold until all pieces are well browned.
Reduce the heat to low/med, add the onion and cook til tender (about 5 minutes). Pour in a little stock and stir to combine onions, the tasty bits from the skillet and the stock (about 3 minutes).
Return the meat to the skillet, add enough stock to cover meat half way up. Bring to a boil, cover and put skillet in oven for 2 hours. Turn meat over once about halfway through. Cook until meat is tender and almost falling off the bone.
Remove meat from skillet. Carefully strain the sauce and serve.