Tuesday, October 4, 2011

New Orleans

A few weeks after St Louis, we went to New Orleans. Also a very cool, very historic place to visit.
We were there for a 3-day weekend and although it looks overcast, we did not escape the Texas heat for this trip.

Here are some things we saw:

Old Cemetary. People have to be buried above ground because of the high water table.

There was a hugh mix of old and new tombs.
There were also a bunch of Voodoo tombs covered in X's and random "gifts" in exchange for some luck.

This is the steamboat Natchez. You can take a ride on it and listen to Jazz while eating dinner but like everything in New Orleans, it costs about $50. So we stuck with the live jazz in the streets. It is everywhere!

We visited the Bayou

Experienced some culture

And we ATE! We ate a lot.

We got to sample beignets from the famous Cafe Du Monde

We tried the original Mufaletto from the Central Grocer

And of course we tried some real Southern food

This was my favorite, gumbo and a garlic oyster po' boy from Liuzza's by the Track. We had some pretty amazing turtle soup and catfish from Mandina's

This beauty is called a shoe sole. Its heaven. But not even this shoe sole could wake up Matt by the end of our trip. 

The last night we drove to Baton Rouge to check it out. The drive was pretty. The highways are crazy. They go over the water for miles and miles. Right through the swamp.

St. Louis

Okay. Rewind about 4 months or so and here is what we did on our day trip to St. Louis, MO

 Even though it was summer the day started out wet and a little chilly. The Mississippi River had flooded  and we were wishing we had brought coats.

We visited the arch first. These tiny circles are what you ride up in. They each fit five people snugly and it takes about 4 minutes to ride it to the top and 3 going down. Those minutes seem much longer when you are crammed in there with three Germans who seemed convinced we are going to fall to our death but speak very little English so they couldn't be consoled.

The view from the top:

After the arch we went to Union Station.

Then fast forward to the end of the day. It had finally warmed up (a little too warm, if you ask me) and we made it to our last stop: The City Museum

I really can't put this place in words. None of these pictures do it justice. But its basically this maze/playground for kids and adults. They have several different environments made out of recycled materials that you'd find anywhere from the school cafeteria to the side of the road.  You can clime on everything and find secret passageways to other parts of the building.... I really cant make this sound cool, can I?

 For example... this is one of the environments. You reach this point after climbing through a maze of caves. You can hear this creepy organ (its actually an organ from an old theater in New York) directing your path. Its slightly off tune and echoes through the space.

You can see where the old, historic building ends and the newer part continues. It still has the window-washing lift on it.

Then you start to make your way up these old air duct things up ten floors of more mazes and random things until you get to the top and slide down this ten-story spiral slide.

The roof has an amazing view and a bunch of crazy slides and many more things to climb on. Most of which make you feel like you are hanging off the edge of the building.

Looking off the roof you can see the outdoors part where you can climb on/over a couple airplanes and crawl through a wire tunnel a few stories above ground.

Ferris Wheel on the roof. Went a little faster than I remember Ferris Wheels going.

I think the Ferris Wheel had a better view than the arch!

Here's matt climbing on this thing. It's way taller than it looks, I swear.

We flew home that evening, exhausted. St Louis was the city that I was most surprised by. So much history and a ton of fun stuff to do. If you ever go there, check out City Museum!

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Gotta Catch 'Em All

That's right, it's job fair time again.
Never once in my career as a student did it ever occur to me to visit the job fair.
Hence my current employment status.
For Matt, however this day does not approach without much preparation.
After weeks of neglected responsibility and late nights in the library this day is here.
Matt's doing the job fair. Interviewing, breakfasting, info-sessioning, and schmoozing his way to the top.
With an impressive resume and a well-tailored suit he's out to catch 'em all - Pokemon style.
(I know its lame but I seriously get the theme song stuck in my head whenever I think about it)

Cross your fingers we end up in the Northwest
Cause if you don't we're going to end up in Omaha
which, despite my recent hiatus from dairy, shouldn't be too bad
minus the fact that is isn't the Northwest.

But then again, it's much to early to tell. So keep those fingers crossed!

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Austin, TX

Here is the thing about Austin, Texas: It is rad
One thing that is really rad about Austin: The food trailers.

This one was called "3 Little Pigs" 

This is what we ate:
Matt: Cracklin' Meatloaf wrapped in bacon with 
cheese grits and collard greens 

Hillary: Pulled Pork Sandwich with chipotle potato salad

So good. I recommend everyone wraps their meatloaf in bacon.

Something else about Austin: It is the "Live Music Capital of the World"
And although there was at least two bands playing on every block on 6th St all we could hear from the road was the sound of motorcycle engines revving.

It was the Riders of Texas Motorcycle Rally that same weekend.
It was insane. Bikes lined 6th st at least three deep on both sides.
There were so many people crammed on this one street and the noise was so loud it gave the place a ton of energy.

Our second day, we woke up "early" and headed toward Round Rock, Tx to get one of the famous "Round Rock Donuts" They do have normal sized donuts but we prefer the "largest donut in the world"
I thought for sure a donut this big couldn't be very good. I was wrong. It was very good.

So back in Austin we had to check out Stubb's BBQ.
We wanted to see a show there and low and behold Matt and Kim were playing
I can totally listen to their music long enough to say that I got to see a show at Stubb's
Only problem (and I totally should have known): tickets were sold out

so, alas, no show at Stubb's but we did have one other historic thing on our agenda that may require as much standing in line as all those 14-year olds who's parents bought out the Matt and Kim show.

But this will be worth it: Franklin Barbecue

On the top of everyones "To do in Austin" list and on the cover of "Edible Austin" magazine, we knew that if we were going to try some real Southern BBQ it had to be this.

So we waited. 
Woke up early-ish the next day. Didn't eat breakfast. We just found the place, parked the car in the next city over and got in line.
We were in line at 10:50 AM behind a group of frat boys with a cooler full of beer
We knew what we were getting ourselves into.

As the sign says, they sell out every day. Its usually within 2 hours of opening.
Waiting in line isn't an option. So people just do what they can to make it less of a chore.

Their menu is pretty simple. It echos back to the days when they started serving food out of their trailer.

Aaron Franklin is passionate about barbecue. 
He doesn't just cook the meat and walk off.
He is at the counter cutting it and serving it.
We've never really had barbecue like this so when it was our turn to order (which, by the way was about noon) we were still a little unsure of what or how much to get.
So Mr Franklin just put together a nice pile of food to sample.

Brisket (fatty mc fatterson, and lean so we can try both), pork ribs, and sausage
It was beautiful.

It was gone in a fraction of the time it took to get to the front of the line. But it was so worth it!