Texas road trip: Dallas & Austin

DALLAS highlights

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  1. Walk around Deep Ellum: a neighborhood that is quirky and has lots of wall murals everywhere.

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2) Get a donut from Glazed Donut Works 

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3) Get BBQ from Pecan LodgeGet here when it opens! Beef rib is where it’s at. One of the best BBQs I’ve ever had. Also got brisket but man, that giant beef rib is SO worth it! We got there at opening time and there was already a congregation of hungry people waiting around.

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BEEF RIB.

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*A little out of the way, but if you’re in the neighborhood, stop by 9 Rabbits Bakery.

On the way to Austin, there is a stop in between that’s called Czech Stop. Open 24/7, they sell kolaches which are these:

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AUSTIN highlights

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1)  Hamilton Pool Preserve such a cool place with a waterfall and places to sit and chill. $15 per car (cash). Plenty of parking. The day we went there, the water had high levels of bacteria so we were not allowed to go in. Would’ve loved to dive right in!

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2) Salt Lick BBQ was one of the highly recommended bbq places but kinda out of the way. We still made it though! They also helped us take pictures in front of the meats that were being smoked.

3) Next, we have LA BARBECUE (Fave of the trip!!!) — I preordered via email and they didn’t have a weight minimum like Franklin’s, so it was pretty easy. We got there at opening time and there was already a huge line wrapped around a few times, but I walked right up to the window to pick up my meats. #winning

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Again, BEEF RIB IS WHERE IT’S AT.

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4) Barton Creek Greenbelt – turns out there’s some hiking in Austin.

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5) Go for sunrise at the Austin 360 Bridge aka Pennybacker Bridge A short 5-10 minute hike up to the overlook.

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6) Check out the graffiti walls at Hope Outdoor Gallery

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Travelogue: Atlanta (Dec 2016)

Long weekend means road trip time! We flew into Atlanta and began there.

Atlanta & Nashville 2016

Atlanta & Nashville 2016

I’ve always wanted to go to the largest aquarium in the U.S. — the Georgia Aquarium.

Atlanta & Nashville 2016

It reminded me of the Audubon Aquarium of the Americas in New Orleans, which to this day remains my favorite (for blog post on that, click here).

Atlanta & Nashville 2016

Next to the aquarium is the World of Coca-Cola.

Atlanta & Nashville 2016

With the admission fee, you get a “free” coke at the start of the tour:

Atlanta & Nashville 2016

Atlanta & Nashville 2016

Atlanta & Nashville 2016

Atlanta & Nashville 2016

Atlanta & Nashville 2016

Here you can test out all the flavors of Coca-cola products from all the continents in the world.

Atlanta & Nashville 2016

Atlanta & Nashville 2016

After loading up on excessive sugar, we went to eat some BBQ because Atlanta.

Atlanta & Nashville 2016

Twin Smokers BBQ

Atlanta & Nashville 2016

Atlanta & Nashville 2016

The brisket was good but the BEST part was their DINOSAUR RIB!

Atlanta & Nashville 2016

The picture does not do it justice. And also the corn souffle (SO GOOD):

Atlanta & Nashville 2016

 

Atlanta & Nashville 2016

Ponce City Market reminded me of Chelsea Market in NYC, with lots of food options and retailers selling hipster things:

Atlanta & Nashville 2016

Atlanta & Nashville 2016

Atlanta & Nashville 2016

Atlanta & Nashville 2016

Atlanta & Nashville 2016

The “Beltline” also reminded me of the Highline in NYC, attached to Ponce City Market like the Highline is attached to Chelsea Market.

Atlanta & Nashville 2016

I saw a lot of people riding bikes here.

Atlanta & Nashville 2016

And of course, the main reason for coming here was for the wall murals nearby:

Atlanta & Nashville 2016

Atlanta & Nashville 2016

Atlanta & Nashville 2016

Atlanta & Nashville 2016

Atlanta & Nashville 2016

Dinner at King + Duke:

Atlanta & Nashville 2016

Atlanta & Nashville 2016

My chartreuse!

Atlanta & Nashville 2016

Bone marrow and amazing steak.

After dinner, we went to the Ivy for drinks and met up with a friend from college.

Of course I had to do a long exposure night shot of the city skyline:

Atlanta & Nashville 2016

Next morning, we went to grab some amazing banh mi for $3 (SO FAST AND SO CHEAP):

Atlanta & Nashville 2016

GET THE BANH MI DAC BIET!!!!!!!!!

It’s located inside an Asian shopping center which means lots of parking space and bakeries.

Tea House Formosa for bubble tea:

Atlanta & Nashville 2016

And that was it for Atlanta! It was a fun 1.5 day(s?) there, lots of good food and wall murals, kinda rushed because we were short on time. We could’ve eaten more fried chicken there. Next, we head to Chattanooga on the way to Nashville, Tennessee!

Travelogue: Chicagoland – Day 1

My second trip to Chicago was all about eating.

Last January, I flew to Chicagoland for 1.5 days to see my aunt, uncle and cousin. We did all the touristy things and saw all the sights. This March, I had one thing in mind: to eat my way through the heart of Chicago.

First place we went to after we landed: Nhu Lan Bakery.

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They bake their own bread for their banh mi.

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The menu was amazing. I knew I had to get the sugarcane shrimp & pork banh mi.

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And of course, the classic #1. They were the best Vietnamese sandwiches I’ve ever had. Who knew I’d find this in Chicago?!

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They also sell dessert and flan and “Vietnamese mayo”…

NEXT STOP: Hot Doug’s. Alas, they were closed!

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Moving on, we went to Smalls, Smoke Shack & More.

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It’s American BBQ with an Asian twist. Brisket, tiger cry sauce, garlic fried rice!

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The best thing there: flash fried beets. Better than fries, in my opinion.

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There seems to be a lot of Mexican colas here.

After a brief visit to the arcade – Galloping Ghost Arcade – where the games never end (really, you never die), we decided it was time for dinner at Butcher and the Burger in Lincoln Park.

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So you pick a meat (I picked house prime blend), and then a spice blend, and whatever else you want. You can even pick a lettuce bun if you’re not into carbs.

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It’s a small place, and very popular, so expect a wait. We waited for what seemed like an eternity (while watching all of the above burgers come out and being disappointed that they weren’t ours) for this…

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One of the top 3 burgers I’ve ever had. Of course, I added a sunny side up egg. It looks simple, but the burger was just so tasty and perfectly medium rare. I picked “grandma’s onion soup” as my spice.

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Truffle, anyone?