Awesome Austin

The Tuba to Cuba tour

I really don’t need an excuse to visit Austin Texas. It is one of my favorite cities and I just keep going back. It ticks all the boxes- great hotels, shopping, music, food, art, culture and barbeque. The love affair has been long. And I am never disappointed.



However, I did have an excuse to head over to (love of mine) in March, when my NOLA friends, TG and Nicelle’s, movie, A Tuba to Cuba, was premiering at SXSW. A way cool music festival I’d always wanted to attend. It also happened to be MJ’s spring break. Travel BFF’s.



Getting back to the boxes that Austin ticks. The Hotel San Jose  is top of my list of places to stay. Not just in Austin, but anywhere. It has very sentimental value added in. Josh and I are original (1st, 2nd and 3rd year) ACL music festival goers. This is the place to be.


I can’t say enough and the San Jose. Jo’s coffee in the parking lot, butterfly chairs by the pool and walking distance to shopping and great food. It’s a winner. Under the Bunkhouse umbrella (Liz Lambert has done a great job in Austin with The Saint Cecelia and The Austin Motel) other places I recommend to stay if the San Jose is full.



The shopping on South Congress has come a long way since those days. (So has ACL Music Festival) My fav from back in the day is clothing and lifestyle shop, By George. It has changed a lot since then, way more upscale, but still inspiring buying. Another oldie but goody is the men’s shop, Service. It used to be in an old railway car, but now in brick and mortar, alongside new modern shopping experiences. This is a tried and true shop for Josh’s wardrobe.




Blackmail is a shop that is very quirky, creative goth. But if you like black (or noir), and yes I do. It’s a must see.



It offers clothing, housewares and jewelry. I love the merchandising and is an unique experience. I always find something original here.



Parts and Labor has all the super fun Austin t-shirts, local art prints and great gift items.



And don’t think you can leave Austin without trying on at least one pair of cowboy boots at Allen’s. All shades and sizes.



MJ and I had read about the new Ellsworth Kelly gallery at the Blanton Museum (on UT’s campus) and decided to check it out. The museum is world class and a beautiful one.

But we came to see “Austin”. Ellsworth Kelly‘s final legacy before his passing. Ellsworth gifted this masterpiece to the Blanton, a 2,715-square-foot stone building with luminous colored glass windows, a totem like wood sculpture, and meditation worthy black and white marble panels. Rainbow heaven for my rainbow child.



So peaceful and serene. The colors and reflections change with the placement of the rising and setting sun and we were lucky enough to be there in direct sunshine. Absolutley stunning.



One day we did the “Austin In A Nutshell” bike tour with Barton Springs Bikes. It was a great tour of the Town Lake trail area, Barton Springs, downtown, the Capital and Zilker Park. We counted 56 dogs on this ride.



We saw a ton of cool artwork. This one my favorite, being apropos of our outing. It is by renowned Chinese artist and activist Ai Weiwei. It is called Forever Bicycle.


My sentiments exactly.


The city view.


Our highlight was, of course, the film A Tuba to Cuba. A Tuba to Cuba celebrates the triumph of the human spirit expressed through the universal language of music and challenges us to dig deeper; to find that common ground we all have inside us, and there, resolve to build bridges, not walls. A tear jerker and happy place rolled into one.


Such an amazing film. The venue in downtown Austin.


To appropriately mark the premier of the film, A Tuba to Cuba producers arranged for a second line through downtown Austin. It marched to a party nearby and all were invited. Including the star tuba.


Mj got the honor of leading the parade holding the Cuban flag. Here, with friend and ATTC director, TG Herrington.


Great fun to be lost in Austin with this one.



Okay, now the other boxes, should we talk about the food? And most importantly Lucy’s Chicken!


Lucy’s innovative take on comfort food classics like wedge salad, grits, and fried chicken that’s pretty dang perfect. MJ’s grabbing her grits!



More chicken you ask? Fresca’s has more than just chicken, plus it has a great design vibe.



Follow the Fresca’s rainbow road to Mat!



We loved the tacos, outdoor dining and enjoyed a pretty amazing beet salad, tortilla soup and my weakness, queso!



And when in Austin, don’t forget the cupcake Airstream trailer! Love, love the carrot cake!


We ventured off of Congress on the last day, (as a recommendation from the sweetheart at the San Jose), to Micklethwait’s Craft Meats (us old folks just call it Barbeque), This sweet spot is located in the hip East End of town. A vintage Comet trailer (what could be better?) serving up all the meats including brisket, with sides of chicken and potato salad and cole slaw.


Worth every Uber dollar. And just the cutest with picnic tables and s’mores pie too.



There was great shopping in this area too. Take Heart had mine from the moment we walked in. Objects of desire with a lean toward Japanese design.



It has special and thoughtfully designed objects for the home and person from many local and international artists. Perfection.



Oh and there was music too. All the feels for this one on stage at the San Jose.


So, last box, but definitely not least box, we checked out the a graffiti park called HOPE Outdoor Gallery. It’s a community paint park located at 11th & Baylor St. in downtown Austin, TX. The HOPE Outdoor Gallery is brought to the community by the HOPE Campaign – Helping Artist & Musicians Support Education by Connecting Creatives with Causes.



It was a very inspiring place. As is Austin, in general.




I loved spending time with my MJ. We did a lot for just a few days in the “weirdville” we loving call Austin.


Until next time I check in. Mwah!




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