We’re off to see the two houses we’ve narrowed it down to.  Long Canyon & Westlake. We’ll see if we put an offer down.  It’s a very scary step.  With both houses we’d need to put in a pool.  More later, with photos. Then I’m going shopping for cowboy boots!  Cannot wait.  Cowboy boots and a hat!  Hee haw!

Dsc_4405Got the boots, and The Suitor and I found our dream home.  We’ll see what happens.  I can’t stop thinking about it.  Though, it will be hard to make friends, because making friends means leaving our house.  I could honestly just hang out on the floor and be happy there.  We had lunch at Huts, rated best burger in Austin.  Now we’re packing up our things and heading over to The Driskill Hotel for a night. Then we’re here all day tomorrow, then back to NYC.  Friday night I’m photographing an event for the NY Junior League.  Perhaps now I’ll become a member in NY, then transfer over to Austin.  And then Saturday, I’ll finally see my friends, and break the news that we really might just be moving to The Lonestar State.  I hope that doesn’t have anything to do with Lonely.


We slept in until noon, left the house by one, then did the only thing we seem to be doing here: we ate.  Although we go while on Long Island, visiting some of my family, we went here too, because, well, we drove around the arboretum, and our eyes lit up once we saw The Cheesecake Factory sign. We just couldn’t help ourselves.  Then food coma again.  Then The Suitor drove in circles, claiming “I hate this!” in a whine because we were lost again.  He has no sense of direction. I have no sense to care.  Mostly I just laugh about it. At night we hit 6th street. I love piano bars, so I was thrilled to find they had TWO!  Bring on the ever cliched Neil Diamond, baby.

Houses, houses, everywhere.  And when there weren’t, there were model homes and land lots a plenty.  Today we saw more houses, but this time near Lake Travis.  There’s a Panorama area that felt like what I imagine driving in Maui feels like.  Windy narrow roads, majestic water and rolling hill views, and homes made of glass overlooking it all.  Before visiting Austin, when I first thought of Texas, I thought of perky blondes, western films with swinging doors, spurs, and horses drinking from troughs.  A corner pharmacy with a glass jar of old-fashioned candy sticks.  Okay, I didn’t think all of that–some of it was from an episode of Little House on The Prairie–but the blonde big part was true enough.  I didn’t see big jewelry, hair, or hat; I saw blonde wood floors.  “Bamboo,” our Realtor said shaking her head.   After a full day of looking (and LOVING something in Westlake and something in Long Canyon), we escaped to Eddie V’s for more food coma.  I hit a wall, so now I’m lying down, ready for bed way early.

Dsc_4131Up early tomorrow, thinking of a day trip to San Antonio  (and we’re not going to the Alamo, as we hear we’ll get suckered into watching some 45-minute video.  Besides, I won’t be able to think of anything but Pee Wee’s Big Adventure.  I’ll walk around singing “Deep in the heart of Texas…” and clap each time.  Oh, and while on the topic, or not at all, everyone in Texas seems to be dang proud of being Texan.  Big bumper stickers, flags outside homes, decals on cars, etched glass on pantry doors.  The silhouette of the state above a fireplace.  I don’t own anything but one I (heart) NY t-shirt.

Saxon Pub.  8:30pm.  Resentments.  We’re hitting it tonight, as was suggested in the comment section.  If you’re in the Austin area, please come sit with us.  I’ll be wearing something warm.  We want to move to Austin for the warmth.  It’s 31 degrees today.  I didn’t pack anything to suit this weather.  Alas, another reason to shop.  I will hit By George at some point.  In the meanwhile, house hunting is so much fun.  More later.  Much more.  Now I’m off to Maudie’s Cafe (which seemed commercialized for us) for tex-mex.  Fish tacos are my sport.  We had some serious sushi beneath Chinatown at Musashino, rated #1 sushi in Austin.

We house hunted from 10am to 5pm, then booked it over to Rudy’s for “moist brisket” on wax paper, baby backs, creamed corn, slaw, baked beans, and Diet Dr. Pepper fountain drinks (why don’t movie theatres in NY offer this option?).  We went hoping to share a little  bite, save our appetites for later.  We couldn’t help ourselves.  Rudy’s is a pit, boasting “The Worst Barbecue in Texas.”  It’s picnic tables, and meat piled onto wax paper.  No plates, not even the paper variety.  It’s EXACTLY what you want in barbecue.  They give you white bread to make your own meat sandwiches.  The three of us (The Suitor, Mr. Weather, and I) figured, “just give us the whole loaf to go with our cow.”  Moist brisket.  We’re bringing home a few pounds of it with us.    Then we napped because really that’s all you can do after a meat sundae (in honor of my sister).  After the napping, we bundled up and headed downtown to Malaga’s tapas and wine bar.  After a winter white wine flight, a sauvignon  blanc, and marinated olives, we headed across the street to some “trendy” 216 (or some number) bar with lots of seating areas, depending on your mood.  Gold-digger.



  1. Welcome to austin! The weather'll be warmer tomorrow, don't worry. This cold is unusual and will be gone by the time you get a fire made.

    Good fish tacos at Magnolia on S. Congress. Also try the "Mag Mud" there, which is a delicious queso concoction…

  2. well, if you want warmth, I suggest you go back in July or August when it hits 100 degrees for several days in row!
    Sorry you're catching Austin with such crappy weather. Usually this time of year it's great, to make up for the scorching summer.
    Vivo and El Chile are both great Tex-Mex restaurants with EXCELLENT margaritas, if you want to get out to the east side of town. Try a prickly pear margarita at Guero's, too. And drinks at the Hotel San Jose.
    Have fun!

  3. Congratulations on such a fun house hunting weekend! Austin is absolutely an amazing town! Can't wait to hear more details! Best of luck to you and the suitor! I too, suggest Guero's!

  4. I've read for a while…and I can't believe your in Austin! I haven't lived here long, but it has a lot to offer. As a fellow writer (I write for The Daily Texan; yes, I go to UT) I just have to say reading your blog has become part of my routine. Hope you enjoy it here!
    ps. best sushi in town: Uchi on S. Lamar

  5. You need to go to Manita's (good mexican b-fast, near Congress Ave)for breakfast or the Omlettetree (it's on Burnet Ave). Or go to the Taco Shack for breakfast burritos on Guadalupe, near the UT. If it warms up, play some tennis at Caswell Tennis Center, I learned how to play there, it's on Lamar and 26th street. You get to see the kitschy side of Austin. When I go home, my dad takes me to the omlettetree (i don't remember how to spell, just ask the hotel staff). Have a blast. I miss home so much right now. In may I will be going back.

    Stephanie, where are you looking? May I suggest Lake Travis (seems like you would be able to afford it), Westlake, Hyde Park OR 45th street area. Lovely homes and near Central Market. OR you can go buy a huge house out in Round Rock with good schools. East and South are nice but schools aren't as great. I went to LC Anderson High in Northwest Austin. That's another area. I used to live off of Far West. It's great around there.

  6. Hi Stephanie…I've never lived in Texas, but I've gone there for business and I have several colleagues in Texas who used to telecommute to our DC Office. May I highly recommend a pool as an essential? Texas summers are hot!?!?!?! The pool however makes it bearable. I was always taken back by the sincerity and warmth of my Texas colleagues. Southern hospitality definitely exists.


  7. Stephanie . . . I'm so sorry you were here in Austin during our coldest weekend of the year! Also sorry to miss you at Saxon Pub. I didn't leave my house and fireplace yesterday.

    I grew up in Baltimore and lived in DC for five years and yes, it's hot here in the summer but the humidity is nothing like in Baltimore and DC. I have never found the summers here too hot. And it's great having a convertible and being able to use it most of the year! I've heard that it's very easy to get acclimated to weather and that has been true for me.

    I also recommend the fish tacos at Guero's – much better than Maudies'. The breakfasts at Casa Garcia are also fantastic. Berryhill Baja Grill has excellent fish tacos and a fantastic view. It's more California Mex than Tex Mex but so yummy. Uchi is great for sushi but the lounge upstairs at Mushashino/Chinatown is a great place to become a regular at. The waiters are so friendly and you can order both sushi and Chinese at the lounge. As you can tell, I love eating out and would be more than happy to show you around Austin!

    Friends of mine are moving out of state and have their house in Tarrytown up for sale. They are a young professional couple and their house is really cute and I know they didn't pay an arm and a leg for it.

    Good luck and we hope to see you in Austin soon!

    Beth Ann

  8. If you're looking for a hot Austin, try Survivor. Austin, the competitor, is very hot. I know you're not in the market for a man, but you don't need to be "in the market" to stroll the aisles and look. It's kind of like seeing an Entemann's cake you shouldn't buy, but enjoy looking at, nonetheless.

  9. So are you REALLY moving, Stephanie? Or just toying with the idea? It will be sad to not have you in NYC anymore. But being a Texan myself, I give big kudos for the choice of Austin. I grew up in Dallas, but whenever anyone asks about visiting or moving – I recommend Austin. It has the perfect essence of all that is good about Texas! Hope you like the heat though. I agree with Alice about the pools.
    Too bad the weather is cold. If it were warmer, I would send you to Dry Creek bar. It's truly this rickety old shack in the middle of one of the most expensive residential neighborhoods (there's a great back story to the bar: download Owen Temple's Dry Creek) – the view on the roof is stunning of the hills and the lake. It would seal the deal if you had doubts about Austin.
    Good luck with the house hunting. there will be so many choices for you!

  10. Austin is OK (and Sunday night with the Resentments is a treat) but its not quite the place people gush about. Check out a different view at, particularly a little piece called, "Living With Our Legs Crossed." In fact there are a number of pieces related to Austin and to Texas from someone who lives there. And remember, by moving to Austin, you are moving to Texas. There is no way around it.

  11. Don't know if you were around Austin for Thursday, but Thursday was 85. Go figure. I, personally, am sick of this drippy chilly shite and cannot wait to get back to sweating in the middle of winter. Oh, and Curra's Grill in the South is awesome. Don't ever live anywhere but South Austin.

  12. I've lived in NYC for the past 12 years…love it. I'm from Austin…have lived there for the first 29 years of my life. I don't know if you're really moving to Austin, but don't. TX is not for you..maybe Dallas, but Austin is defintely not your speed.

  13. I only spent a couple of years in Austin, but it really is a wonderful place. Stop by Trudy's for the Mexican Martini if you get a chance. For more bbq, head out southwest of town to The Salt Lick in Driftwood. It's not too far from Circle C Ranch, if that's one of your househunting stops. Curra's is also really good–more of an interior Mexican place than Tex-Mex. Enjoy your trip!

  14. oh, I can't believe I forgot to recommend Alamo Drafthouse, any location – a movie theater/restaurant, where you can actually order a beverage to go with your movie! Now show me one of these in NYC, please.

  15. Yeah, don't be put off too much by this winter weather – it's kind of nice to be able to dig out the sweaters. Glad you hit Rudy's – their bbq might be good but their cream corn is dreamy and is what keeps me coming back. You can easily hit the Salt Lick on your way to or from San Antonio and it's BYOB – I've witnessed a whole table of frat boys bringing in their own keg. And since I live in San Antonio, I think you h-a-v-e to go by the Alamo – it's a must. For Mexican, try Rosario's on South Alamo, for fancy food don't miss Biga on the Banks and for a true Texan restaurant, head to the Liberty Bar, just north of downtown. Oh, and by the way, there is plenty of big blonde hair in Texas. We just try to keep them restricted to Dallas – where they'll feel more comfortable with their artificial boobs.

  16. It is so awesome that you are in Texas and loving it. I actually live in San Antonio and work in Austin…don't ask. Both cities are wonderful and home in their own ways. I hope you do decide to take the hour drive to San Antonio, although this weather is crap. You should have come in 2 weeks. It will be sunshine and beautiful again. You've come during our week of winter weather.

    Glad to know you've changed your mind about the stereotypes of Texans. I hate that stereotype…I don't own a cowboy hat, cowboy boots, a horse or have big, blonde hair. Funny how when I travel, people say I don't look like I'm from Texas. Go figure! Thanks for clearing up that view.

    Have fun here! It's great. Oh, and if you want to come back, come during the last week of April. It's Fiesta time in San Antonio-the best city-wide, week long party with all the food and expensive beer you can drink!

  17. Yeah it is beautiful but I agree with a previous post- someone had mentioned moving to Austin from NYC made no sense. The pace is jsut so different- it is radical lifestyle change though mayeb that is what you want. Just prepare for a little shellshock. And in a way, wasn't NYC your inspiration? At least you can see it firsthand despite the absolute worst few days weather wise.
    And yes, moving here from a big city was a shock. In no way is it a 'hick' town, but you are definitely aware it is all Texas, all the time. I will admit I am just a bit tired of the 'hook'em horns' logo on every damned car/pickup trucks/SUV i see. I get the pride thing and all, it just gets annoying.

  18. Austin is an awesome city! If you move to Austin you should try and join the roller derby league. I am totally addicted to watching Roller Girls on A&E(?) Monday nights at 10pm. I am not a reality show watcher, but this is a good one. Check it ot as they show some good restaurants and bars.

  19. You… in Austin? I don't think so. Major contrast from NYC. What will you do after eating all of the bar-b-que, Tex Mex and sushi you can stand? Dallas may be better place for you. Can always vistit Austin or have a second home there.

  20. Just have a sec. You haven't mentioned them, but any foodie thinking of moving to Austin MUST visit the new Whole Foods and one of the Central Markets (I like the central one best).

    My experience is high-end kitchens that really are meant for cooking are hard to find, but maybe you are looking in a different price range than me. I ended up having to go the remodel route.

  21. If you do move, and we kind of hope you don't. At least that will mean two more democrats for TX, which they really need! :)

  22. If you're still there, I'd suggest The Continental for live music and Guero's for Mexican (down the street from The Continental — both on Congress)

  23. Take Scott's tip and hit Central Market and the Whole Foods on East 6th! I thought I'd died and gone to heaven. I'd shopped in the original WF, which was tiny. Hadn't visited the big one til Sunday night. OMG. So I highly recommend moving to Austin–especially for a serious cook. You can find anything there. My friend with whom I stayed lives in the north, just off 183 and we found Indian markets, Korean, Vietnamese and Chinese. Of course, I can get that here in DC and in NY when I visit, but if I ever move back to Austin, I'm glad to know where they are. My friend is involved in the book scene and knows some of the chefs there and said that several of them who like to use Asian ingredients, shop at one big, scruffy one called Hong Kong Market. I still prefer Central Market–I loaded up my suitcase for the return with great Tex Mex and Southwestern ingredients I can't get easily up here.

    More restaurants that are classically Austin: Threadgills and Chuy's. Chuy's is loud and crowded, but still has great food and Ritas.

    Enjoy the househunting and the food!
    Pam (Who'd rather be back in Austin still, than here in DC!)

  24. At the Alamo they make guys take off their hats, but they don't make anybody watch the video. If y'all are going to San Antonio and NOT going to the Alamo, you are definitely ill-suited to live in Texas. You do realize that Texas schoolchildren pledge their allegiance to Texas every morning before they sit down to play No Child Left Behind, don't you? Texas nationalism (or would that be Texas provincialism?) comes with the territory, pardner. Even if the territory happens to be out by Lake Travis. You can even buy Texas-shaped tortilla chips over at the grocery store.

  25. Hi Stephanie… I come here often but maybe not early and so there are already one hundred and ten comments, and I'm no specialist of Texas. Nothing insightful here, I just wanted to say hi and wish you great house hunting vs quail. Dr. Pepper is absolutely the best. Nice to see some names I know here by the way. You're the quintessential blogger. And you made me hungry!

    All the best! Hope that your blog continues…

  26. I always gain a stone when I go home to the south (then spend six months getting it off). It's just something about the way the food looks at you.

  27. As a longtime reader and native Texan, I nearly squealed when I read your Austin commentary. :) I'm so happy to hear that you're visiting, even contemplating residence. It's such an amazing city. I hope to be back there one day, once I tire of LaLa Land.

    By the way, I am officially craving Tex-Mex… what I wouldn't give for Trudy's fajitas and a Mexican martini right now. (Hey, it's 5:00 somewhere…) Have a marvelous time!

  28. You went to RUDY'S – "the worst bar-b-q in Texas"….man I am sooo jealous of you right now.

    And you JUST had to share that little tid bit eh.

    ha ha,


  29. want to place your bets? i'm thinkin' if you do move there, i give you one year tops. for a texan or other south'ner going home after living north is one thing. i know i've done it. we're are very friendly but it's a tough row to hoe when you aren't from there. what happens is you find a group of "expatriates" similar to americans living in europe and stick together. so i ask, what's the point? right now it's an adventure, like summer camp, great house prices!! but then what??

  30. I must admit, as a native Austinite I was nerdily excited reading your ATX commentary. If I could live anywhere in Austin, it would be Hyde Park–beautiful old houses that aren't too big and are right in the heart of the city. Westlake is beautiful, but it's definitely the snooty part of town, and the most conservative.

    One thing to remember, and I'm not sure if this will be a plus or a minus for you: In Austin, the number of people who will be able to tell if your shoes/purse/haircut is from this season or five seasons ago is about 10% of that in NYC. "Coolness" in Austin is much more abstract than in other cities, I think.

    I'll be keeping my eye out for you!

  31. Been to Rudy's – eh.

    Austin – pretty town but freakin' HOT in any month NEAR the summer.

    And yes, Texans are extremely proud of being from Texas and they are never one iota subtle about it. I know, my boyfriend is from Dallas. I'm used to him by now, but after a while, the "Rah Rah for Texas" crap really gets on your nerves. If you do move there, I hope you're ready to hear that AND hear what they think of New Yorkers. :)

    Enjoy the rest of your visit there but try to get to Dallas if you can – check out Deep Ellum, the West End and have dinner at the top of Reunion Tower. It's only 3 hours away! :)

  32. Definitely hit up some barbecue joints while in Texas…some of the best in the world.

  33. If you are still there and want to shop, in addition to By George, go to Kick Pleat, Factory People, Estilo, and Girl Next Door.

  34. I'm not sure if anyone suggested it, but have you thought about renting? There are at least two reasons I can think of.

    The obvious one is the culture shock of north v south, urban v rural, liberal environment v conservatived, etc.

    And then, even if you like it, there's no gaurantee that you'll like your area. Think of it like someone moving to NYC and paying $800k for an apartment on the UWS, only to realize that they love the E. Village.

    The cost for the RE agent, moving, title, etc. can make it real expensive to make a mistake. You can rent out a real cheap place in Austin, and keep your NYC apt. After three months, you'll have a better idea of whether you want to make the move, and into which part of Austin you want to live.

  35. I remember when the Arbor (where the cheesecake factory is now) used to be one of the indie movie theatres. Now you just cross the street to the Great Hills Cinema (behind the Pier 1 Imports). Did you visit Amy's ice cream and the cows? I used to go hang out with my friends there during lunch period in high school. I once saw a couple having sex a little farther back by the offices and the Renaissance Hotel. Great memories.

  36. Please, please heed this advice from someone who has lived both in Austin and NYC. You will not be happy living in Westlake or Long Canyon. What makes Austin special, and what will make it a sustainable place for you to live in, is located close-in to downtown. It's not easy to define, but I promise you that's where it is.

    Austin's exurbs aren't all that distinguishable from any other city's. And they absolutely lack the soul of this town. So why schlep all the way to Austin to get something which isn't really unique?

    Also — you do understand that constructing a pool in Austin is no easy matter, don't you? Not too far beneath the ground is solid limestone. I've heard that, in some cases, you actually have to use explosives to create the hole.

  37. Put an offer down? Did I miss several steps? What happened to visiting Charleston, too? Am I wrong, or is this not your very first visit to Austin?

    Joey B.'s suggestions makes tons o' sense.

  38. If you go to Dallas, please please do NOT go to Deep Ellum, the West End, or Reunion Tower, as one commenter suggested. I live there and by no means are any of those places cool and/or "happening"! Deep Ellum has been taken over by thugs, and the West End is a total tourist trap. Try uptown, West Village, or the Knox/Henderson area instead for great food, nightlife, and shopping. And even though it's not quite as hot as it once was, Lower Greenville still has some good bars and restaurants.

  39. I went to school in the south, with a bunch of Texans, but am from NY (via Boston), and have to tell you — they really do think Texas is its own state. You just have to accept it. Once you do, its all smooth sailing and great food!

  40. Wow, I step away for a few days and suddenly you're not a New Yorker anymore!

    Maudie's at night is the best. I regret not getting a shot of that amazing neon sign when I was there.

    Texans are indeed VERY PROUD. I tried in vain to locate something with my favorite slogan on it : "Fuck Y'all, I'm From Texas". Can't wait to return in a few weeks.

  41. I left this post feeling quite hungry. THANKS! I’m dieting and I can’t be reading this ‘good barbeque’ stuff. That’s definitely a vise of mine! Can’t beat a good ol’ fashioned bbq style junk food to wet your appetite.

    What I really wanted to say was good luck to you and yours—in finding that special house in the corner of the world. You’ll find something that’ll just strike you. I hope it’s more spectacular than you ever imagined. The best part is decorating it! (Now I sound like some flamboyant fashionable gay man.) Just a dyke with no sense of style. Ignore. Me. Now.

    This post was fun. I felt like I was right there with you guys! Enjoy and live life to the fullest Steph!

  42. I think it's hilarious that you're contemplating living in Westlake. It's just about the snootiest, snobbiest part of Austin. But hey, I'm not arguing that you won't fit right in with that crowd….

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