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: Portland, Oregon (May 2015)

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Our first stop in Portland: Heart Coffee. The wait for Tasty n Alder was about 45 minutes, so we conveniently crossed the street to this cafe, which served delicious lattes…

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Such clean and minimalist decor, it made for a great lazy Saturday morning.

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Potato Bravas

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“Duck… Duck… Steak!” Best of the dishes.

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Flat Iron (Washimi Wagyu with garlic roquefort compound butter)

Tasty n Alder is one of the top brunch places highly recommended by almost everyone who’s been to Portland. However, on the last day (in a future post) I had an even better experience at Screen Door. Anyhoo, brunch is wonderful in Portland but expect a long wait if you don’t get there by opening time.

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I’m not really a donut person. When my friends told me to go to Blue Star Donuts instead of the overhyped Voodoo, I obliged. Only because this was on the way to the famous bookstore, Powell’s Books (where I purchased many souvenirs…)

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OK well, I gotta admit, this was a pretty good donut.

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After spending a lot of time at Powell’s, we stopped by the Saturday Market. There are two right across from each other.

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Mango!

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The International Rose Test Garden was one of my top things to see in Portland. It’s FREE, it’s huge, and it has a gift shop that sells rose tea (BUY IT!)

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A lot of variety of roses, all different colors and sizes… some were as tall as I was.

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We also stopped by the Portland Japanese Garden next door, which was tiny and cost $9.50 per person… not worth it in my opinion because I’ve been spoiled by the one in SF.

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There was a special exhibition the day we went though, so that made up for it.

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When in Portland, must go to Salt & Straw for ice cream…

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We got the 4 scoop sampler — I enjoyed the variety and creativity, but it wasn’t anything mindblowing.

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Tidbit Food Farm and Garden – a small “food pod”, as they call it. Food pods are Portland’s term for a group of food trucks. There are several, but I chose this one; it had the most vendors open on a Sunday.

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I chose Namu, a Korean and Hawaiian fusion truck.

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This reminded me of Hawaii… the sauce was amazing, the pork was amazing, the EGGS!

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This was from a taco truck whose names I forgot (sorry).

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I love wall murals. They’re all over the Alberta Arts District. We stopped by the area just to admire them. However, my heart still belongs to Miami’s Wynwood Walls (see post here).

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Onward to Seattle.