Slice of Life: Kelly’s Visit to Austin
Jan 02, 2013


Over Columbus Day weekend, my friend, Kelly, came to visit me from Charlotte.

(Yes, Columbus Day weekend….one of my New Year’s resolutions is to be more timely with my blogging!)

Kelly was my first friend to visit, so I was stoked! I gave her the option of day tripping to San Antonio or to Fredericksburg to go to the wineries. I was thrilled when she chose Fredericksburg!

In addition to touring wineries, we also ate at Torchy’s, shopped on South Congress, went on a tour of the city, had drinks at the Driskill, and went to the movies to see Pitch Perfect.


Cheers! Having oyster shooters at Perla’s.



Pork belly “sushi” at Uchiko. Nom nom nom!!


On our way to tour the barrel room at the Grape Creek Vineyards.


Can I climb in and take a swim?




We also visited Four Point Cellars, William Chris Vineyards, and Woodrose Winery.


Brunch at Matt’s El Rancho


Always get the Bob Armstrong dip!


Banana Pudding with Rum Sauce at 1886 Cafe & Bakery

My only regret during Kelly’s visit was wearing new shoes that ended up cutting into my ankle her last afternoon in town. I hated being a grumpy hostess for the last few hours that we hobbled around. Hopefully I will lure her back with more wine!

Slice of Life: Christmas 2012
Dec 31, 2012


For Christmas this year, I stayed in Austin. My parents came down to spend the holiday with me and my aunts & uncles.


Haley loves visitors!


Family brunch at Kerbey Lane Cafe. Everyone loved it!


My aunt & uncle at the Armadillo Christmas Bazaar



Every arts & crafts fair should have a live band!


Shopping at the Domain


Dad & I taking a break from shopping to sit outside & enjoy a beer.



Love this new dish towel that my aunt Ann got me!


My Dad asked if we were going to have our breakfast date at Whole Foods to get coffee and a muffin like when they visited this summer. Yes yes! A new tradition! :)


Brunch at Magnolia Cafe


I made Christmas Eve spaghetti & meatballs!


New owl nightlight lamp from my parents! My owl obsession is going strong!


My cousin Kristy has had a great 2012….getting fit! I’m so jealous proud of her!



My cousin-in-law makes a great turkey!


Mom & Ann


I made fudge for the first time!

Thanks again Mom & Dad for making the long drive down to spend Christmas with me. But next year…leave the flu at home. :)

Slice of Life: Omaha trip
Dec 10, 2012

Shortly after I got back from Cleveland, I was off to Omaha to spend the weekend with my BFF Chris. I wanted to visit Chris in Omaha before he moved (back to Charlotte). And it didn’t hurt that Bryan Adams was in town for an acoustic concert. I love me some BA!! :)

It was a weekend filled with food, drink, shopping, and music. My favorites things! We checked out DJ’s Dugout Sports Bar, The Zin Room (yum!), and Upstream Brewing Company. I know we also went to an Irish bar that was in a basement and it kind of freaked me out…like I could see a random fight breaking out at any moment! So, it must have been an authentic Irish bar. 😉

Chris lived right by the Bob Kerrey Pedestrian Bridge, which is also known as the Iowa/Nebraska bridge. I loved this bridge and part of town. This was the view from Chris’ balcony. Of course, I made him walk the bridge with me. Wait, I’m in Iowa…no I’m in Nebraska!

After our walk, we went to Aksarben Village to walk around the art festival. Aksarben = Nebraska spelled backwards…Google is a wonderful thing. The first thing on my agenda though was coffee!

I was immediately drawn to Jones Bros. Cupcakes. This place was a-jumpin’ too!

My favorite piece from the art festival.

My favorite stop in the Aksarben Village was by far the Luvbird Boutique. It was so cute!! I could have done a lot more damage in that store.

After trying & failing to get donuts on Saturday night, I still had donuts on the brain come Monday morning. So immediately after Chris got up on Monday morning, I said…let’s go get donuts!!

My last day in Omaha was spent shopping and gambling at the casino. We didn’t win any money. :/

Happy Hour at Roja Mexican Grill before the concert

En route to the concert

6th row for the concert! It was a great show…acoustic is the way to see Bryan Adams. It was my 3rd time seeing him and the best yet. And can’t wait to visit Chris again in Charlotte this time in 2013!

Slice of Life: Cleveland trip
Nov 06, 2012

With this being election day and Ohio being a battleground state, it reminded me… I never blogged about my trip to Cleveland! I went to Cleveland in September for a work trip. I came to town 2 days early to meet up with friends.

There was beautiful weather when I visited! I couldn’t get enough of the sky!

The night I arrived, I met up with Anita, Amy, and Angie for dinner and drinks at Paladar. If you’re a mojito fan, you’ll enjoy Paladar.

The next day, I put on my tourist hat and hit the town with Angie and her husband, Dave. Angie had told me that we definitely had to have brunch at her favorite place, Lucky’s. Lucky’s is a great, quaint farm-to-table restaurant.

Lucky’s has a small garden on-site. Items not harvested there are from local Ohio farmers.

I couldn’t decide between a hot or cold drink. So I got both…hey, I was on vacation! :) I had the Hazelnut Mocha Shaker and the Ginger, Peach, and Grape smoothie. They were both fantastic!!!

Omelet with sausage, Ohio sweet corn, and white cheddar…served with strawberry coffee cake on the side. Lucky’s was so delicious! If it were in Austin, I’m sure I’d be there every weekend.

After brunch, we walked around the Tremont area to see the sights and shop.

After walking around for awhile, we headed over to tour the A Christmas Story house!

Angie & I

P.S. I’m short.

Angie & Dave

The infamous leg lamp…..fra-gil-e—-must be French.

Be sure to drink your Ovaltine.

After leaving the A Christmas Story house, we did some more sightseeing downtown. Then we dropped Dave off so he could watch football. Angie and I headed over to Little Italy to explore.

We stopped at Presti’s Bakery for some caffeine and sugar. Yay for chocolate dipped macaroons!

My day of exploring Cleveland ended with dinner at Melt. I was told by several people to go to Melt. A restaurant devoted to grilled cheese!? Yes, please. I love the random Halloween & Easter decor. Even more than the grilled cheese, I was exposed to my first banana bread beer!! I was skeptical of ordering this beer, but SO glad I did! It’s so great. Try it if you haven’t!

I opted for the Big Popper: fresh jalapeño peppers, cheddar & herbed cream cheese, crispy battered & deep fried, mixed berry preserves

Yeah, you’ll want to change into your fat pants after eating this sandwich!! You certainly won’t be able to finish it all in one sitting.

Angie got the Falafel grilled cheese, which was a special item. Dang, I wish that I’d have gotten that one!!

I had a great time in Cleveland and Angie was an awesome tour guide!

And if I’m ever in the market to buy a leg lamp, I know where to go now.

Restaurant Review: South Congress Cafe
Jul 11, 2012

I’d heard great things about South Congress Cafe’s brunch when I first moved to Austin.

Brunch and I are BFF’s since I moved here too.

I was prepared for a wait when I arrived.  Good location around fun shops + good food + Austinites in general are BFF’s with brunch = there’s a wait to be seated.

Luckily, I had a Bloody Mary to indulge in during the wait.  It was tasty, but kind of pricy!  If I recall correctly, it was $8….so I only ordered one.

My first impression of the brunch menu….”Wow, um…can you order any a la carte “normal” items?”  No, you can’t.  Just go with it & be adventurous.  The second time I went to brunch at South Congress Cafe, one of my friends from book club had this deer in headlights look on her face!  Be forewarned if you are taking out of town guests here that aren’t foodies.

Both times that I have been to South Congress Cafe, my waiter was fantastic.  Great service!!  I really wanted to try the Carrot Cake French Toast, but didn’t want it for my whole meal.  The waiter said we could order just one piece to share…like an appetizer.

Brillant & tasty idea!  I’ll be all over this come fall!

For my entree, I decided on the Crab Cakes Eggs Benedict with the Chipotle Hollandaise.

My food was a bit cold and the eggs were overcooked.  I wasn’t the biggest fan of the chipotle Hollandaise. I should have stuck with the regular Eggs Benedict option.

Unpictured:  my 2nd time at South Congress Cafe for brunch, I had the lemon and goat cheese pancakes with blueberry compote.

What?!  Lemon & goat cheese pancakes??!  Yes!  They were really good!!!  Even my deer-in-headlights friend liked them.  :)

South Congress Cafe
1600 South Congress Ave
Austin, TX 78704

Monday – Friday, 10 am to 10 pm
Saturday – Sunday, 9 am to 10 pm

My Third Month Living in Austin
Jul 02, 2012

I do have a complaint from my 3rd month living in Austin.  No, it’s not the heat.  I’m a Kansas girl, so I’m used to the heat.

It’s the dang crickets!!!  No one forewarned me that crickets come out in vengeance in June!  It’s been ri-di-cu-lous!  Crickets everywhere!  Outside….INSIDE my apartment….INSIDE at work.  Supposedly, Austinites are just used to such grossness.  I, however, have spent the last few weeks being creeped out and peering around corners wondering if yet another cricket will be in my bathroom.  Eww!

Luckily (knock on wood), I’ve only seen about 2-3 crickets a day over the past few days.  So, fingers crossed that I won’t have to battle them again for another year!

What Has Julie Been Up to Her 3rd Month in Austin!

1.  My parents came to visit me!!  It was so great to see them and show them around my new city.

2.  Restaurants/Bars I’ve Been To:

Cover 3
Jack Allen’s
Ten Oak
Eddy V’s
The Broken Spoke
Blind Pig Pub
Amy’s Ice Cream
Evangeline Cafe
The Salt Lick
BJ’s Restaurant & Brewery
Little Woodrow’s
Patsy’s Cowgirl Cafe
Magnolia Cafe
La Madeleine

3.  New Experiences

Wonderful multi-course dinner at Uchiko called The Dessert Project…benefiting the Austin Food Bank

Google Austin Mac & Cheese Tour — loved!

Joy the Baker book signing

Took my parents down to San Antonio.  It wasn’t new to me, but new to my Dad to check out the Alamo and the Riverwalk.


If you missed Month One and Month Two of Living in Austin, check them out!

Restaurant Review: Haddington’s (Austin, TX)
May 22, 2012

**edited March 2013–Haddington’s is now closed.

My friend, Alison, and her boyfriend recently did a road trip down to Austin & San Antonio.  I had plans to meet with them for brunch.  They asked me where to go.  {enter Julie’s mini-panic attack}

Alison’s BF is a big foodie!  I’ve never met him before!  What if I pick a bad restaurant?!  I haven’t lived in Austin long enough to know where to go!

Be grateful you don’t live inside my crazy stream of consciousness.

I went the safe route of naming a few choices and making them pick from those.  We settled on brunch at Haddington’s.

I had looked online the night before at the brunch menu.  Everyone does that, right?  No?  I need ample time to review and plan my attack.  I couldn’t decide between the fried chicken eggs Benedict, pretzel bread egg sandwich, or the gouda apple omelette.

But I knew two things for sure:  $3 mimosas (keep ’em coming) and the basket o’ donuts.

These “donuts” were more lovely little beignets.  I loved the espresso dipping glaze.  A great sugary start to brunch.  I feel like they should be served in a basket though.  Why call them “basket o’ donuts” and then serve them sans basket??

After having popped 2 donuts in my mouth, I figured that I should opt for my lightest brunch entree option.

Gouda apple omelette

Sadly, I had food choice remorse after seeing Kevin & Alison’s food.  Kevin got the pretzel bread egg sandwich.  it looked SO good and he confirmed it tasted great.  Alison got the French toast and a side of bacon.  That French toast….wowzers!  It was so thick….like angel food cake thick.  Which I found out that’s a thing!  Yum!!!

My omelette was a bit lackluster.  My apple were too crunchy for the omelette and I would have liked more gouda.  I will definitely go back to Haddington’s for brunch though.  Anyone want to split the pretzel bread egg sandwich and French toast??  :)  Mimosas are on me.

601 W 6th St
Austin, TX 78701

Sat & Sun brunch 11 – 4 pm
Bar/Dinner, Sun – Wed 4 – 1 am, Thurs – Sat 4 – 2 am

Restaurant Review: NoRTH (Austin, TX)
May 21, 2012

When I was visiting Austin last year, I checked out some apartments in the Domain.  Although the apartments were too small for me, I had daydreams of living in the Domain.  Why yes…I would like to walk across the street to the lovely, upscale, outdoor mall.


Trips up to the Domain will have to suffice for now.  One of these trips lead me to have lunch at NoRTH.  NoRTH is an Italian restaurant with inviting and modern decor.  I enjoyed restaurants where you can fit in whether it’s a business lunch, a taking a shopping break lunch, meet up with your family lunch, or a drink with your girlfriend lunch.  I was in the latter camp.

We were seated outside on the patio with ample shade.  Our waitress was on top of things the whole meal and very friendly.  She did tend to overly example the menu though.  She felt the need to example that paninis were pretty much just a sandwich.  Ummm thanks for the lightbulb moment.

For lunch, my friend, Carrie, and I split a salad and a pizza.

Calamari, arugula, and grilled lemon salad

We dug into the salad for awhile before I remembered to snap a picture!  That’s a sign of good food from a food blogger when you took the picture!  The salad was a great way to not feel guilty about really just wanting the fried goodness of calamari.  I would advise this salad again to share.  I don’t think I’d want it to be my sole entree though.

Eggplant, mushrooms, onions, and smoked mozzarella pizza

The thin pizza dough had the ideal light and crunchy crust.  The middle of the thin dough was too weak to stand up to the topping though.  I had to resort to eating my pizza with a knife and fork.  Good flavor though.

My favorite part of the meal…..

We split a pitcher of sangria.  I’m in lust with this sangria.

If anyone wants to sip sangria and daydream that they can freely shop a Neiman Marcus, I’m game.

11506 Century Oaks Terrace, Ste 124
Austin, TX 78758
Daily 11 am – 10 pm (11 pm Fri – Sat)

Restaurant Review: Satellite Bisto (Austin, TX)
Apr 30, 2012


I love trying new restaurants in my new city.  I hate being the one to pick the restaurant!  I’ll probably forever be playing the “I’m new to Austin.  You pick!” card.  Because hello, it’s true!

But a few weeks ago, my friend Carrie & I were planning our Wednesday lunch date and I picked!  Go me!

How did I pick Satellite Bistro & Bar?

I got a coupon in the mail for it!  Score.


Satellite Bistro is located down south in the Circle C area.  It was an easy location to find, which is always a win as I’m learning my way around the city.  They have a large outdoor seating area that is perfect for enjoying the spring weather.  Inside, I really loved the fun, retro decor.  The bright colors make it a great lunch spot with friends or family.

For lunch, I had the Shrimp Asian Noodle Salad.  It’s noted on the menu as a house & guest favorite.  The waitress immediately told us that it’s her favorite thing on the menu.  I love it when the wait staff validates my food choices.

Shrimp Asian Noodle Salad:  

Jumbo grilled shrimp atop chilled noodles tossed with mixed veggies, mango, avocado and ginger soy dressing topped with a crispy wonton (from Satellite’s menu).

This salad was DELICIOUS!  The shrimp was well-seasoned with a kick of spice.  I loved the combination of the creaminess of the avocado against the crunchiness of the veggies.

I would like to try other entrees at Satellite, but this salad was so good that I may just keep going with it!  I even went back the next week with my aunt.

So if anyone is down near Circle C and wants to grab lunch, I’m your gal.  :)

Restaurant Review: Torchy’s Tacos (Austin, TX)
Apr 22, 2012


When I came to Austin in February to find an apartment, my aunt & uncle tried to take me to Torchy’s Tacos for lunch.  There was literally no where to park!  It was jam packed to brim.  So we gave up and went somewhere else.  But I made a mental note about Torchy’s.

Later on, I was on Twitter and kept noticing Aziz Ansari tweeting about Torchy’s during SXSW.  Far be it from me to ignore Aziz.  He’s damn funny and I love damn good tacos.

So my aunts & uncles and I tried again recently and made sure to go right at 11 am.

Success!!  Yummy yummy delicious success!!

As I often do when at a new restaurant, I ask someone who works there for suggestions.

She suggested the Green Chile Pork soft taco as it is their most popular.  And I knew right away about my other selection….the Trailer Park soft taco!!!

Both tacos were very flavorful and I recommend them.

The Trailer Park taco though…..yes, you want to get it trashy!!  Fried chicken, green chiles, pico, cheese, and QUESO!  Hold the lettuce, get the queso.

That’s a no brainer!