Moonshine Grill, Swift’s Attic, & Merit Coffee!

Present day: Hey all! How is everyone? I accidentally used salt in my coffee this AM before realizing it wasn’t sugar- so that’s how my day’s going! 😆 That’s the real Catch-22 about coffee- how do you even function to make the coffee before you’ve had your coffee?! Yeah soo, anywho, October has not slowed down as I hoped it would. In fact, it’s busier than ever. Probably needless to say I’m counting down to the holidays at this point. I’m not one to wish days away, but this semester I am wishing away for all it’s worth, haha. I just want to get to clinicals!! Alrighty, let’s get to it!!!

Back when I wrote this: Alright, I have 15-minutes until DJ gets home, so let’s see how much of this I can get done before he arrives. I have a full Indian spread ready for us– Sambar, Veggie curry, idli & rice.. I’m quite excited!! I need this post to distract me so I don’t dig in early, lol.

On August 13th I ran in the morning, textbook free!!! I had been running with Smalls, and since I didn’t have any exams to study for I was free to just run on the treadmill or watch a sociologically and psychologically educational TV show (aka….. reality tv)… it was so nice!

For lunch I met up with Amy at Moonshine Bar and Grill. My goal for the day was to brainwash her to move to Austin with us, lol, and this place is supposed to be a local favorite. (I haven’t been able to convince her yet, but I’m happy she can hold down the fort in the Bay Area while we’re away- and it’s giving me extra incentive to go back and visit so I can see her!).

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Moonshine has a main restaurant, an outdoor bar, and an outdoor patio. Our wait was going to be about an hour unless we could scour out a spot that was first come, first serve at the outdoor bar (it still had full food service). We decided to go out and see if we could snag a few spots. We lucked out and snatched um’ up with no wait time at all! The service was excellent off the bat. We were off to a great start!

Here is a pic of their cute little patio too, which is right across from the outside bar.

157c0267-9491-466b-8cb8-d6f53c7a872dWe loaded up on food. We saw garlic bulbs on the menu and had to see what they were all about. Being from SF, where the food is absurdly expensive, we expected a single bulb. When the platter of garlic bulbs with goat cheese, roasted peppers and bruschetta were set down our eyes grew about three times their size. The cheaper food prices compared to the Bay area is easily one of my favorite parts of living in Austin.

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And 10/10 on flavor. I actually loved this so much I tried to make garlic bulbs again myself after this– they weren’t quite as good as these, but they were still so delicious & easy! I don’t have a specific recipe, but I doused mine in olive oil and pink Himalayan salt then roasted them at 375 for maybe 25 minutes? Maybe longer? I’ll need to do it again so I can remember exactly what I did and write it down.

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I also had to try their jalapeno grits… in the words of Billie Eilish- DUH!. These were dangerously good.

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Now, let’s talk their mac and cheese! This is unlike most mac and cheeses- it was placed emphasis on the sharp part of “sharp cheddar”, but I absolutely LOVED the bold flavor. It was unique, but I am all about it. And they topped it with breadcrumbs- they know what’s upppp!

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It was all reasonably priced, spectacularly delicious, great service with great convo… all around.. I totally see why this is a favorite, and no doubt I’ll have to take DJ back!

After our awesome meal, we went to Pennybacker Bridge (Thank you, Taylor for this rec too!!).

In order to get to the top for the views, we followed some people we saw go into the woods next to the parking lot, hiked up a little trail and then made it to the top!

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These views did not disappoint!

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Austin never ceases to amaze me with its unexpected beauty!

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After Pennybacker we decided to find somewhere we could go inside since it was getting a bit too hot to be outside much longer. Where better to go than a movie?

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We zipped over to Alamo Drafthouse Cinema on South Lamar.

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This place is so much fun! It has almost a Marvel meets a 50s/60s inspired vibe.

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We decided on Scary Stories To Tell in the Dark since we both read the stories when we were younger. There is such an 80s/90s resurgence right now with everything media, and I am here for it. Did you guys see even Lizzie McGuire is coming back in November?!

Anyway- When we sat down before the movie started I checked out their food menu just to take note for next time (we were still so stuffed from lunch). I was stoked to see they have an expansive vegan menu.. I can’t wait to go back with DJ too! The movie was a fun watch- it really got me in the mood for Halloween time.

After the movie we were starting to get a bit hungry again. We went to Rainey street and stopped at the food truck Gobble Gobble ATX. I got one of their veggie burgers with chili sauce (yum!) and Amy tried one of their legit chicken sandwiches.

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In the morning of August 14th, my mom arrived in town for business! She had a couple hours before she had to be at work, so we went to Snooze together, a brunch spot I’ve had my eye on since Jess mentioned it.

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It has such a cute retro vibe! I absolutely adored the decor. It felt like a scene from Austin Powers or something.

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Coffee first always! It was great coffee. (and this coffee was salt freee!)

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Whenever my mom and I go out we always order two dishes to split. We decided to first try the lox-n-latke benny with homemade crispy latkes topped with Lox style salmon, poached eggs, cream cheese hollandaise, fried capers, pickled red onions and pistou. Oh me, oh myyyyy this was SO good. The latke itself was such a unique alternative to a bagel, which is traditionally served with a lox. I highly recommend trying this out if you ever find yourself near a Snooze.

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We also split their Goldilock’s Porridge with ancient grain mix of steel cut oats, quinoa, millet, amaranth simmered in almond milk….topped with raspberries, blueberries, blackberries, bananas, toasted almonds and hemp seeds. This is something I could eat every single day for breakfast. Oh so satisfying.

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During the day I had a ton of errands/appointments/etc. I was overdue for getting my oil changed, and the jiffy lube guys were so friendly and helpful. They even left me a smile on my next oil change sticker. There’s that Texas kindness coming through again!

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In the evening, the whole family reconvened to go to dinner together after DJ finished school for the day! We went to Swift’s Attic in downtown.

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While we all had certain menu items we wanted to try, but we basically ate the items family style. There was a lazy susan in the center of the table that made it easy (and fun) to share everything! We agreed all dinner tables should probably just have a lazy susan. The only times I have used them is at dim sum restaurants; I had never thought of them existing outside of that context!

To begin we tried their “squid fries” with  roasted garlic aioli, charred lemon, herbs. These were fantastic! The whole fam was sweet to encourage my photo taking- they weren’t even embarrassed when I pulled out my food light. LOL. They’re so supportive <3

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Next up were the corn fritters with rum raisin butter. I think this may have been my favorite appetizer. They were sooo tasty.

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Now for a side: The “sweet pots” with sweet potato, tomato curry, coconut curry, brussels leaves, spicy peanuts, and fried onion. This was another favorite. I could have ate this as my meal alone- mmmm mmmm! What inspired flavors.

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Pictured below is the pork cheeks with fig jam, spicy mustard, and sourdough toast. We all thought it was pork butt, but turns out pork cheeks are actually the jowl of pig. This was DJ’s favorite!

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Another main was the “fire from the attic” with grilled salmon, broccolini, charred zucchini & shishito puree, Fresno chile, and parsnip chips. My mouth is watering again just typing this up!

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Aaaand maybe the most photogenic of all the items: The seared scallops with sweet corn puree, miso pesto, charred corn, asparagus, and fried mushrooms. I think the photo speaks for itself! Corn and scallops isn’t something you see together often, but it really works.

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And we aren’t done just yet… below is the Mole y Elotes with sweet corn puree, miso pesto, charred corn, asparagus, and fried mushrooms. I did not try this dish, but DJ loved it!

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Dessert time!! Wow oh WOW these desserts were good… so very unique, but absolutely jam-packed with all the flavor you could imagine.

First: The Banana Pudding Empanadas with burnt banana caramel, milk froth chips, banana & bourbon “lasagna”. This was my favorite of the two– I think I would go back one evening after dinner for this dessert alone (but then we may as well just get dinner there too 😉 ).

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And still soooo dang good was the Mexican Ice Cream sammich with cake batter marshmallow and braised almonds. I loved the little marshmallows! And how adorably plated is it?!

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It was such a treat that we were all able to get together this evening, and one of my favorite memories, easily, since living here. With our parents in town for business, me being between semesters, DJ not toooo crazy bogged down by school yet and Amy having time to come for a few days, it all worked out nearly serendipitously! (We did miss Pete though !)

We said our goodbyes and as I was walking my mom back to the car, we caught a lightening store in the distance. I love that Austin has thunderstorms. We never got them in CA, so I’ve missed them! My mom and I took some time to watch the electric streaks light up the sky and city below.

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On August 15th I met with a friend from church for coffee in the morning at Merit Coffee. I walked there from my apartment since it was only about a mile away.

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It’s such a modern little coffee shop. I’m going to definitely come back here to study sometime!

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I was burnin’ up after that walk, so I decided a watermelon sparkling water sounded absolutely refreshing to go along with my hot coffee for when I actually cooled down from the air conditioning.

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It was a yummy coffee & great chat! In the evening we had another event for DJ’s class. This time we all met at The Salt Lick, a pretty far drive, but well worth it! We mingled and chatted with his classmates and then had some awesome BBQ once again. Although we both agreed it’s not even in the same ballpark as Terry Black’s BBQ.

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We spent some time enjoying the gorgeous views outside & chatted with classmates.

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Then we found a spot on these steps and enjoyed some mouth-wateringly, I-could-cry-it’s-so-good peach cobbler. Now that the salt lick takes the cake on.

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It was a great evening. I had a blast chatting with DJ’s colleagues. One of them is from southern India where I did a nursing trip. He said he’d bring me some sambar (a staple of southern India I haven’t had since visiting there!!) I was beyond excited! (And to bring it full circle.. it’s the sambar we’re about to eat RIGHT now since DJ is home). See ya later!! I hope all is well <3

Question for you:

  • Do you like breadcrumbs on your mac and cheese?

xo <3

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43 thoughts on “Moonshine Grill, Swift’s Attic, & Merit Coffee!

  1. Oh my goodness that was such a fun trip seeing you , DJ, Amy and your mom. What wonderful memories, take me back!!! Swift’s Attic was soooo amazing and indeed fun to relive that fabulous meal through your photos. And my oh my, j am salivating for that peach cobbler from The Salt Lick!! I want!!! Now! Love the lightening/storm photo and really enjoyed this blog today as brought back since beautiful family time memories!! Love you!! XOXO your Ohio mom

    1. That was truly one of my favorite days/nights to date here!! I can’t wait to make more memories in the future with you guys.

      We were saying how much you’d love the cobbler! Thanks for reading 🤗 love you!!!!

  2. Always so excited to see a blog post from you!!!! 🙂 It sounds like you’re diving right into the Austin foodie scene, which I love. Everything looks SO delish, and I now officially want some peach cobbler before bed. HA!
    How are you finding the weather when compared to CA? Is it hotter? I know Texas can be pretty brutal. I love that you’re still getting out and walking the area whenever you can.
    Can’t wait to continue reading about your adventures!!! 🙂

    1. Awww thanks Nicole 🤗 we have been doing our best to see what’s around even though it’s been put on a bit of a halt lately (although we did get to go somewhere tonight!).

      Peach cobbler is definitely hard to beat- and that was the real deal 😋

      It is much hotter!!! We don’t mind it much though. I do love the thunderstorms here because we didn’t get those ever in CA!

      Thanks for following along. I hope you are so well. I just can’t wait for things to slow down so I can get back to keeping up in the blogosphere and with what everyone’s up to! XOX

  3. Thank you so much for the shout outs in the past couple of posts! I have so much to catch up on. Sorry for the lack of comments but I always read your posts even when I don’t comment.

    How perfect is that lightening picture?! Your photography skills are always impressive (especially your food photos! good to know you use your own lighting!), but that one is another level. And it’s especially perfect with Halloween coming up.

    I love seeing photos of all things Austin! I’m so glad the school took you out to Salt Lick, both so you could see it and so that the students can experience something quintessential about the city. Especially with grad school, students don’t always have a chance to explore what Austin has to offer, and I’m glad the school is helping combat that! I think experiencing the things a city has to offer is a great way to prepare yourself for networking after school, too, so that you can bond with other people who spent time in the city talking about your favorite things there.

    Speaking of school, I hope it is going well for both you and DJ! As always, I’m impressed with all you’re doing. Please know that you’re doing an amazing job! You’re studying, running, seeing the sites, cooking, hanging out with friends, involved in your church…I’m proud to know you (even if only on the internet :))!

    Last thing, I to am SO excited for the Lizzie McGuire reunion! I hope it brings back all the tickles and feels from the show.

    1. Hi Taylor! Oh my gosh- of course! I am so thankful for your suggestions. And absolutely no need to apologize about not commenting- I never expect it from anyone and it’s just a treat whenever ya have time to 🙂

      I’m so glad you like the photos!! One of our favorite parts of living in Texas are the thunderstorms. We never had them in three years of living in CA, so they are an absolute treat! The ones here are epic!

      Yes!!! DJs school/ networking events in particular has been so great with trying new places—- He’ll come back often with new suggestions for restaurants we have to go back to together. And getting to Salt lick was great- so peaceful out there too.

      Thank you TONS for your kind words! It has been tough trying to figure out how to balance it all lately, so your encouragement means more than I can say. I think this semester is the toughest for the both of us and then hopefully when things calm down we can explore more 😍

      And yessss!!!! So glad you are pumped about the Lizzie McGuire reboot too. I do hope they keep that light hearted, happy-go-lucky innocence about it! Thank you for reading & I hope you have a great rest of the weekend 💞

  4. That’s awesome you had so much family in town at the same time! I had to stop reading all the food descriptions since I’m now starving from all the good food haha. My mom, sister and I want to take a girls trip and Austin is a possible contender. But after seeing all this food I might move it up on the list haha. Also breadcrumbs on mac and cheese is a must to me. The crunch is so necessary!

    1. It really all could not have worked out better with timing if we planned it!! Haha- that was the best couple of foodie days we have had here yet!

      Oh my gosh, you would LOVE it here!!! There is so much to do (and eat), it’s crazy— and it’s a pretty easy city to get around too compared to most, especially if you stay downtown.

      I agree- breadcrumbs on mac & cheese is absolutely necessary! Thanks for reading, Maureen 🙂 Hope you’re enjoying this weekend!

  5. Holy fucking shit wtf!? That garlic bulb looks like freaking heaven!!! I want to try and make it too!! Do you think they drizzled balsamic vinegar over it? and also what’s the green thing on top? Chives? Coriander?
    And omg, I know Lizzie is back!!! I’m so curious to see what they will do with the show!
    Gosh that porridge is so perfect for the morning, a warm bowl of fresh fruits and nuts mmmm.
    YES to your fam not saying things like “CAN WE EAR ALREADY? ARE YOU DONE?” when you take food pics!!! My gosh the food is insanely unique and just inspired, that mash-up of flavours, I can’t even imagine.
    Wow, Merit even makes its own stuff! How lovely that you got to catch up!
    And hell yess, to breadcrumbs, it makes it better!

    1. haha it’s so easy and good!! and yes!! There was a bit of balsamic and it was the perfect edition- so yummy.

      And yes– chives!!! mmmm mmm!

      I’m curious too. Eagerly awaiting it to debut!

      hahaha you totally get it. Gotta do what you gotta do for the food pic right?

      Thanks for reading!!! And always to breadcrumbs! Hope you are having a beautiful weekend, Cordelia! xoxo

  6. Your photography and skill in relaying your adventures are both amazing!! I just love all of these photos. I don’t have a food photography light, and Matt was getting irritated by my flash when we ate at a wonderful restaurant last Saturday as an early anniversary dinner. Hahaha. I wanted to capture our noms!

    I adore these cafes! Most especially Snooze. Give me that mid-mod vibe! All of the food is beyond mouthwatering. The flavor combinations and presentations are epic. I’m so glad you were able to enjoy time with family and take a big breather from school! You and Dj are working *so* hard, and breaks are very much needed. I hope this week has been treating you well! Sending you much luck on your semester and love! xo

    1. Awww thank youuuuu!!!! Haha, I hear ya. No question, you have to get that anniversary dinner documented!! Oh! Another tip, if I forget my food light- is often I will use DJ’s phone light instead of flash, because then you can work the shadows yourself. It’s sorta ironic because my best food pics always end up being the cheapest food because it’ll be photographed outside in daylight vs. romantic dinners in a dim restaurant haha.

      I knewww you would love Snooze! It really is your kinda place. The options are the menu are phenomenal.

      Awww thank you, Kori! <3 <3 Sending love right back! Have a great week ahead.

  7. Oh my word! The weather in Texas is amazing! We are cold and expecting snow! All your food photos are great. Mac and cheese is always a great idea and no I don’t really like bread crumbs on my mac and cheese. 🙂

  8. I like breadcrumbs on my mac-n-cheese too Mackenzie – it makes it crispy. When I was a kid, I always got the crispy part on the top of the mac-n-cheese because I was “the baby” (actually I was an only child) and that was as fun as licking the beaters. 🙂 So many delicious-looking treats and Goldilock’s Porridge, the Mexican ice-cream sammie and that peach cobbler were my favorites. Restaurants and coffee shop and entertainment … you know how to pick ’em. Austin looks so friendly – keep working on Amy!

    1. I am with ya! I love the added texture. Awww perks of being the baby of the family (and only child), right?!

      We are thankful for it all working out well with everyone being able to be here at once. I will keep working on Amy- right now I am just praying for her safety with these fires. SO scary.

      1. Yes, if you don’t have an older sibling to forge paths for you and smooth the way, then you might as well have the treats which come with being an only child … licking the beaters, getting the crispy cheese. Those were big treats growing up!

        I thought of you and Amy because the fires in Healdsburg, the heart of wine country. The first post I read when I followed you were the winery tours and then I remember your wedding pictures in the vineyard. My boss orders all his wine from a guy in Healdsburg. Today was supposed to be very high winds – I know early this morning I heard the report that they had concern for these high winds. It is so beautiful there in that region and it seems that beauty comes with a price. I’ll keep Amy in my thoughts and prayers that she is safe. Perhaps the repeated threats of these wildfires might prompt her to move to be closer to you and DJ.

      2. Absolutely!!

        I have seen such serious damage all over the news 🙁 It’s so awful that this is happening at all.. but especially SO frequently. Thank you for your thoughts and prayers- I don’t think she has been too terribly affected by them just yet. I’m definitely keeping my eyes on the news closely.

  9. I hope you realized that you used salt in your coffee BEFORE you drank it. Eek! It looks like you are finding some amazing places to see and to eat. I haven’t tried roasted garlic bulbs, but they look delish. I love a good show of heat lightning. I miss that from Florida. I’m not opposed to breadcrumbs on my mac n cheese, but it’s not my preference. It sounds like you are getting fully settled into Austin! 🙂

    1. Hehe- I did, thankfully!!!

      roasted garlic is so yummy! Actually, DJ and I had roasted garlic in fries last night with some rosemary- and oh myyyyy talk about a delicious combo of flavors, and really easy to make at home too.

      oh yes I understand that- we didn’t see a thunderstorm for three years living in CA, so this has certainly been a treat.

      Sometimes classic is best!

      Thank you for reading, Amy 🙂 Hope you’ve had a great weekend.

  10. I am so glad you loved Snooze! I will definitely have to give those Latkes a shot at some point. We definitely need to come back and try Swift’s at some point and that peach cobbler. I was salivating looking at that cobbler!

  11. Yes to breadcrumbs! Texture enhancers are always a plus.

    Deliciousness throughout your post, once again. 🙂

    The old guy in me is happy to see you using the term “Catch-22”. It’s only a matter of time before that one has to be explained to the kiddos.

  12. Great article!

    I can’t wait for the Lizzie McGuire Revival! Although, I’m not getting the Disney Streaming Service anytime soon, so I’ll just have to wait for the show to go on Amazon. Still, so cool though.

    I know this was awhile ago, but how crazy was The Bachelorette Finale?! Omg! That might have been the most dramatic finale ever, lol.

    1. Thanks, Jodi! I can’t wait too!!! I am soo curious to see what they do for it.

      Oh my gosh- right?!? SO wild!! I didn’t think it could get crazier than last season…. sure enough… have you been watching DWTS?

      1. Believe it or not DWTS is like the one show that I just could never get into, LoL. I have seen a few moments here and there from this season though.

        Are you reading anything at the moment? I’m about 60 pages into reading A Simple Favor. I can’t wait to watch the movie after.

      2. oh really?! I understand that though!! I haven’t been able to watch at all this season- I usually only do when there are contestants I am particularly interested to see!

        I am only reading my school books, lol- I have zero brain power to absorb anything else unfortunately. I can’t wait to get back to pleasure reading in December over break. I loved A Simple Favor (the movie!!). I wish I had known there was a big before I saw it, so you are doing it right. You’ll have to let me know what you think 🙂

  13. Loved reading your post! Of course, I’m jealous of all the food photos! Those lightning storm photo pictures of magazine worthy! You are such a great photographer 🙂

    I really dislike anything crunchy on/in my mac and cheese. My mom makes her mac and cheese with crushed goldfish on top and everybody RAVES about it but I just can’t get behind that for some reason, haha. I just feel like mac and cheese should be creamy and sometimes filled with some sort of seafood, like lobster 🙂

    1. Hi, Em!! Thanks so much 🙂 You are too sweet!!! And that’s so interesting with the goldfish! I have not heard that- but I can imagine I would just LOVE that – I hear ya though, sometimes simple is just better. Don’t want to take away from that creaminess. And YESSSS lobster mac is maybe one of the best things on earth. Thanks for stopping in 🙂

  14. Hi Mackenzie, that catch 22 is a good one! It is hard to function even making the coffee for sure! I can understand wishing the days away when the semester is so tough. You might have to try harder to get Amy to move to Austin! Moonshine looks like a beautiful restaurant to go eat. The food looks amazing and the mac and cheese can almost be tasted ! It was worth the hike to the top and see the view of the bridge and river. I am glad you got to cool down at the movie theater. That is so cool that moving to Texas you can see your Mom more ! It was nice she had business in town. The decor is really retro in snooze. Love the Golilocks porridge! It is nice to have the warm Texas friendliness ! Love the smiley face. They sure match your friendly nature. Swift has such nice dishes . I am glad you had both sides of the family together for a night out. Good to see your Mom and M&F in law. I think Pete will be really sad he missed that wonderful food!! I love that lightening storm ! Will merit be your new Peets?! I am glad you are getting to meet contacts/ friends . How nice to meet DJ’s classmates. I am sure it was fun. That windmill is definitely a Texas image to me ( tell me its a windmill!) Oh my I want peach cobbler!!! I have not had breadcrumbs on mac and cheese. I will have to try it. Happy Wednesday Dear, Terri xo.

  15. Oh my gosh. Mackenzie, I am cracking up about the salt in your coffee. 😂 I am wishing the days away for you so you can get to clinicals sooner, too!

    I’ve never heard of or seen garlic bulbs but my, do they look GOOD!! How interesting. The views from Pennybacker are gorgeous. & I LOVE the interior of the movie theatre so much! Snooze looks like so much fun, too, & oh my gosh. LOVE that wall at Swift’s Attic. ALL of the food looks amazing & it is so hilarious how serious you are about your food pictures, they do turn out so wonderful though, so thank you for carrying a light & all that with you. 😂

    The lightening strikes in the sky look so cool!! Can’t believe how perfectly you captured them.

    So happy all of your fam was able to visit all at the same time, it sounds like it was so nice to spend time with them. ♡ A mile is long, lol, I am baffled how you simply just walk it to meet up with a friend.

    & to answer your Q, YES! Breadcrumbs on Mac & Cheese is the best!!

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