I think this photo really sums up my whirlwind weekend in Austin: DELICIOUS. This here is a little bite of brisket heaven from the masters of Franklin BBQ. I think this is a good place to just dive right in!
We arrived late after a bit of a delay in LA, and headed straight for the nearest place still serving both food and drink at 1am. This was a trickier task than we expected, but we struck gold at Frank. Their slogan is “hot dogs, cold beer” and I could leave it at that, but I won’t. I must mention the fantastic bloody mary I inhaled within 5 minutes of their 2am drink curfew and the tasty nibbles we enjoyed: mini corn dogs dunked in beer cheese, a signature brat dog, and the addictive corn cup. I think it goes without saying I passed out promptly after this meal. Sadly, no pictures were taken.
We had ambitions of rising early to secure our spot in the legendary line at Franklin BBQ the next morning, but reality was a very different story (it was more like 10:30am). We did, however, proceed directly to Franklin and arrived around 12pm, which proved to be serendipitous.
With cold beers in hand we waited–tailgated–for our turn to nab a big ol’ sack of BBQ. To be honest, I’ve never enjoyed waiting in line so much, and damn, was it ever worth it!
Tantalized by the aroma of smoky, sweet meat for 2.5 hours, making it in the door felt like crossing a finish line! (We still had to wait another 15 minutes or so once we got inside.)
We approached the counter and got a front row seat to the brisket carving action. I’ve never seen meat so juicy… check out the bark encapsulating all that tender meat! I was delighted to find that samples were offered because watching this action was excruciating.
Since we only had a couple of days to eat our way through Austin, we made the most of our time and had our next meal at Uchi, which came highly recommended by our local friends. To be perfectly honest, I was initially a little skeptical of anything peripherally Asian in regards to Austin cuisine. After all, it’s still Texas, a.k.a. the land of BBQ and Tex-Mex, and we live in a city filled with every variety of Asian and Asian fusion foods.
Well, I wound up with my foot in my mouth after our meal at Uchi.
Until Uchi, my experience with Japanese cuisine was limited to sushi and yakitori, so I think it’s safe to say this meal shifted my perspective in a massive way. We opted to share a bunch of dishes rather than doing the chef’s tasting menu, as there were several standout items we knew we wanted to order. We were lucky to be seated at the sushi bar, giving us a close-up view of the chefs in action!
One of our first and most favorite dishes was the Machi Cure, tender pieces of smoked yellowtail nestled between wisp-thin yucca chips and studded with marcona almonds and crisp Asian pear.
Perhaps my favorite dish of the night was the Foie Gras Pikan, whipped and chilled mousse-like foie gras. This was certainly the most unique preparation of foie I’ve ever tasted!
Okay, this may not look like much (our server mixed it all up for us before I could snap a photo), but it was outrageously savory and wonderful–Hamachi Nabe. More yellowtail, this time mixed into salty, sticky rice along with a farm egg. It reminded me both of spaghetti carbonara and Korean bibimbap in the most amazing way!
This was a fun dish: Wagyu Beef Hot Rock. Nothing complex about it; just a perfect example of how sometimes simple preparations of high-quality ingredients are best.
Overall, Uchi was a very memorable experience, and it has inspired me to explore more Japanese restaurants in LA!
SOULCYCLE AT SPOTIFY
After a full day of eating, 9am the next morning felt EARLY.
As I mentioned in my last post, I managed to snag a bike at the Spotify House for a free SoulCycle class, so there was no way I was going to miss it! I grabbed a pair of shoes and a couple towels and made my way to my assigned bike.
The energy in the room was electric even before the ride began. The live DJ started the music as everyone was getting situated, and the instructor introduced herself and the concept of SoulCycle. It didn’t take long to understand how people get so addicted to these classes!
I’m sure the live DJ had a little something to do with it, but this class seriously felt more like a dance club than a room full of people sweating their tushes off on spin bikes! The instructor was absolutely fantastic–motivating, energizing, and so welcoming to the newcomers. I’ll definitely be rocking the playlist during my own workouts and hitting up SoulCycle Santa Monica soon!