There’s something about the gorgeous scenery, eccentric culture, and lack of pretentiousness from the residents of Austin, Texas that I simply adore. It’s one of my favorite cities, and I’d consider relocating there if it wasn’t for one issue: the lack of black people. The percentage of black residents within the city is around 5%. I don’t think I’d survive long-term, but visiting is always a good time. I went this past weekend ahead of the SXSW crowds that are about to flock the city. The reason: Gary Clark, Jr. The Austin-based guitarist is on tour and was scheduled to make a stop in his hometown, and I was able to score tickets. This would be my fourth time seeing him perform, and I thank the presale ticket gods because the show sold out with quickness!
Mayonaka and I woke up early Friday morning and made the 5-hour drive (which actually took eight hours because I made several stops along the way) to the city with an itinerary filled with food, music, and a little shopping! The first stop I made in the city was to Torchy’s Tacos. I was so hungry that I forgot to take a pic, but yeah. A green chile pork and a trashy trailer park taco is all I need in this life of sin.
Since I was in the area and the weather was so unbelievably beautiful (just the right amount of warmth without being too hot), I decided to stroll around SoCo. It was then that I noticed something was different about the city. Not a bad different, but different nonetheless. It seemed to have changed drastically since the last time I visited a year ago, and I found myself wondering if a retail space or restaurant had been in a certain location when I was last there, or if it was new.
People watching is the greatest thing ever, and I enjoyed every moment of it that day. I saw a boy during recess at the playground looking as if he was trying to plan his escape, and I saw lots of horrible fashion. WHAT ARE THOOOSSSEEEEE?!?!
I strolled by walking path near the Colorado River, and caught glimpses of people kayaking, canoeing, waterboarding, and etc. There’s just so many great ways to burn calories in this city.
I don’t know what happened between the last time I visited La Barbecue and now. Maybe it was because I went right at lunch time on a Saturday, or maybe the word has gotten out that the barbecue is cooked to a perfect science. Either way, the line and the wait time was longer than I’d ever experienced. Every time I told myself to leave, the line began to move and I figured I wouldn’t have to wait much longer. Then I started to think that I’d been there long enough, so I might as well keep waiting. After two hours of that back-and-forth thought process, I finally placed my order. I met some cool people in the line, though. A guy from Montana, a couple from LA, and a father-daughter duo from South Carolina.
I got a frito pie and a sausage link. This wasn’t your high school band booster club’s frito pie with that imitation nacho cheese sauce. It had corn, black beans, shredded cheese, tomatoes, jalapeños, pickles, and pulled pork. Again, after two hours in the hot sun, I was too hungry and too tired to snap a pic, but take my word for it. So worth the wait.
By the time I devoured lunch, I only had a few moments to relax before it was time to prepare for the evening. It wasn’t until then that I realized the effect of standing in direct sunlight waiting on barbecue for two hours. My face and the top of my feet got a sunburn! This also happened a month ago while in Guatemala, and I’m positive that this was caused by my recent usage of Accutane. FML, my black is cracking right before my eyes.
So let’s talk about the actual reason I visited Austin: Gary Clark, Jr. It was my first time at ACL-Live, and the sound quality in the venue is superb. I could hear every instrument equally and clearly. As I mentioned above, this was my fourth time seeing Gary live, but he was just as entertaining as ever. He graced the ACL-Live stage right at 9:30pm and put on a 2-hour show that left me in awe. He performed songs from both albums as well as some covers, hopping from guitar to guitar and once on drums and harmonica. One can easily sense his passion for musicianship. There is currently nothing in my life for which I have a comparable passion.
Loser of the night award goes to me. After the show, I could not remember the location of the parking garage where I parked my car. I spent 30 minutes circling the same building over and over again until I walked inside on a whim and pressed my car alarm to detect if Mayonaka was parked inside. LOL
Sunday, I opted for brunch downtown at Moonshine. Green chile cheese grits, bread pudding, broccoli casserole, fresh fruit, deviled eggs, and mimosas were among the delectable items to try, The most notably missing item was bacon. I don’t know if I’ve ever experienced baconless brunch. I arrived before 10AM not realizing that Texas has this awful rule that does not allow alcohol sales prior to that time. So I hung out until 10AM along with a traveller from D.C. who was also oblivious to the rule.