Made it back safely from Austin and the conference -- three days full of schmoozing and eating, although I didn't get to see much of the city, unfortunately. Strangely enough, I also didn't really take any pictures, even of the food. Not really sure why. I arrived late on Wednesday night and had delicious pork mole enchiladas, spicy tuna ceviche, and a margarita or two at Manuel's with my co-worker, Mark, then rose bright and early to set up at the conference. I truly enjoy going to these things, as it gives me a chance to see the folks I usually only get to interact with via phone and email.
Thursday night I met up with my friend Sarah, and it was so good to catch up with her over nibbles at Z'Tejas (including a very good seared tuna). Considering the last time we saw each other was December, there was certainly plenty to discuss. As she went back to studying, I met up with some folks for First Thursday -- the first Thursday of each month people congregate on South Congress Street, where the stores stay open late and there's music, crafts, and plenty of Shiner Bock, the local beer. We ended up at El Sol y La Luna, where I made room for a barbacoa taco, although when my companions got ice cream at Amy's, I had to bow out (I know, me give up food?! I was full!).
The next morning, I was up early once again, but this time for breakfast with Andy from Bronx Defenders at Las Manitas. Andy, like me, had done his food research, even going so far as to buy a book on Mexican food in Austin. No wonder we get along so well. We had the Mexican coffee, with a dash of cinnamon, a perfect companion to the mild spiciness of the tomatillo sauce in my chilaquiles. My new mission is to find a place in New York like this -- cheap, fresh, amazing Mexican food, particularly breakfast. If you know of any, especially in Manhattan, let me know -- I get the feeling there's probably something like it in Queens, but that's not too practical for weekdays, at least. After a day at the conference, I went with my Pro Bono Net team (Mark and Liz) to watch some dancing at La Zona Rosa (the official conference social event of the night), but then we peeled off to head to Threadgill's for some Texas home cooking. Although I could have gotten a meal composed purely of fried things (chicken fried steak, fried green tomatoes, fried okra), I stuck to the fried catfish and kept the remainder of the meal unfried.
Saturday, I had breakfast at Las Manitas again (it was soooo good, I just had to. Plus it was close to the hotel. I couldn't resist.), then packed and headed off to the airport. I grabbed a Salt Lick BBQ brisket sandwich for the plane (I noticed it at the airport when I landed. Even if it didn't travel all that well, it sure beats airplane food), and made it safely back home. After all the eating, I have to say that the $15 charge to use the gym for the duration of my stay at the hotel was money very well spent. Thanks to the Chowhounds and Allison for the food ideas!