SXSW, aka The Weekend I Woke Up In a New Bugatti

Okay, #notreallytho, but with the amount of times that song was played this past weekend, the entire city of Austin may as well have woken up in a shiny new sportscar because that’s how ballin’ South by Southwest was.

To back it up a bit: I spent four days last week at SXSW Music in the vivacious city of Austin, Texas. I flew in assuming that I was about to encounter rednecks and barbecue, but I flew out wishing I had stayed longer and having eaten some of the best food in my life. The “San Francisco of Texas,” Austin is a liberal oasis of intelligent young techies and an unbelievable amount of bars that are all walking distance from each other (not going to lie, SF has nothing on this). During the festival, music artists and music lovers roamed the streets and filled the various venues downtown, turning the city into a giant party for two weeks. It’s overwhelming, but lucky for me, I had a fantastic crew to mob deep with who made me fall in love with the spontaneous adventures of Deep Eddy sodas, floor-shaking mansion house parties, and breakfast tacos. If that ain’t comparable to a Bugatti, I don’t know what is.

Every meal I ate in Austin was a win. I’ll try not to photo-overload you, but then again, I’m going to do it anyways:

SXSW

The drank (L to R): Red-pepper infused vodka Bloody Mary (Frank); Hound’s Tooth – Bourbon, blackberry, coconut buttermilk, lemon, cinnamon (Bar Congress); Chicha Morada – Purple corn, pineapple, cinnamon, clove (Tamale House); Green Republic – Kale, Spinach, banana, coconut water, almond butter (Daily Juice)

SXSW

The tacos (L to R): Blackened catfish tacos (Turf n’ Surf Po Boy); Breakfast tacos – Egg, cheese, potato, jalapeno (Tamale House)

SXSW

Miscellaneous eats (L to R): Portabello mushroom hot dog with caramelized onions and peppers (Frank); Breakfast brownie courtesy of beaming a free coupon with my Samsung – how jedi is that! (Delish)

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Ran into my old pastry chef who incidentally lives in Austin and treated us to these beauties (L to R): Banana french toast with banana ice cream and passionfruit; Chocolate cake with strawberries and warm fudge

And then there is Uchi. Named one of the best restaurants in America, this place delivers. It was a perfect way to spend my last night in Austin steezin’ with the SXSW crew. Huge shout-out to my friends for making this such a fantastic meal where we got to eat omakase. I geeked out big time taking photos:

SXSW

Entrees (Clockwise from top left): Walu Walu – Escolar, citrus, myoga; I think this was sea bass but I can’t remember – still yummy!; Hama Chili – Baby yellowtail, ponzu, chili, orange (FAVORITE); Hakujin – Salmon, onions, tempura flakes

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Rolls (L to R): Sake Toro – Salmon belly; Saba Shio – Grilled mackeral, cherry tomato (my least favorite of the meal)

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More deliciousness (Clockwise from top left): Brussels Sprouts – With lemon and chili; Sunomono – Seaweed, cucumber, octopus, shiitake mushrooms (this has changed my mind about octopus, not kidding); Oysters (I can’t remember what else was on this but it was out of control good); Hamachi Nabe – Yellowtail, fried rice, egg, soy broth (I’ve decided that yellowtail is the best fish ever)

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The prettiest and and most creative dishes of the meal (L to R): Hotate – Spicy scallop, avocado; Brie Ringo – Tempura brie, apple, sweet potato (This was kind of nuts, but weirdly good); Machi Cure – Smoked baby yellow­tail, yucca chips, asian pear, marcona almonds, garlic brittle (that yellowtail, I swear!)

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Dessert! (L to R): Lemon Gelato – With pistachios; Peanut Butter Semifreddo – With apple miso sorbet. Let me die happy now.

I have only two complaints about this city: (1) Growing up in the Bay, trees are everywhere and I love having that green around me, but people in Austin seem to call a few lumps of dirt a hill; (2) Where are the noodles?! This could be a make-or-break situation.

It’s always exhilarating to visit some place new, and it’s even more memorable when you do it with the right people. I was fortunate enough to make this visit to see the right person people, making it all the more worthwhile. For now, it’s peace out Austin, but with that sort of food, a second visit will be in store sooner than you think.

3rd coast, you so ill.

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