Austin’s Powers

Stubb'sThese last few days I’ve been in Austin, Tex., working on the vodka book and visiting with the preeminent distiller of the Lone Star State, Tito Beveridge. And since I enjoy going native, I made a point of eating as much Texas cuisine as possible: chicken-fried steak (two days in a row) at the amazingly cheap Old School Bar and Grill on 6th Street; steak fajitas with friends at Lupe Tortilla (including a roasted red jalapeño that ignited my mouth); beef ribs (pictured here) at Stubb’s, and a mouthwatering cheese enchilada at Serranos.

AustinsignOn my way from the Austin Java coffeehouse (where I had cheese-chorizo breakfast quesadillas) to the LBJ library at the university, I stumbled across this other sign for a barbecue shack since closed along 12th Street. But I found the sign’s message still resonates in this city. (Incidentally, when I asked a local about the SXSW festival coming up next month, he sort of laughed when describing it as a time when hipsters from New York fly down to see which bands they can listen to for free and decide those are the next big bands.)

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