Weekend with DJ!

Hello hello! I hope you are all having a great week. I had a wonderful weekend with my older sis in town! I can’t wait to share all about it! For now, I’m zooming back a couple weekends to another favorite of the summer when DJ visited me 😊

He flew to town for a couple days the weekend of June 25th. Can you believe it had been over a month since we had seen each other?! At this point we only have a couple weeks to go until no more long stretches apart.

First up on our weekend agenda was breakfast on June 26th at Magnolia Cafe.

As we pulled into our parking spot, we were greeted by this bird mural. When my sister was here, she remarked how fun all the murals were around the city- it really is fun to spot new ones all the time!

I’ve passed Magnolia Cafe more times than I could count! I always get a kick out of their “Sorry We’re Open” sign and knew it’d be a place we’d have to stop in eventually.


I would describe it as a no-frills, solid, reliable breakfast spot (although I believe they have dinner too). The staff was exceptionally friendly and we savored our time out on the back patio.


Even the menu continues on with the apologetic, tongue-in-cheek flare. 🥞

Typically we don’t prefer very fluffy pancakes, but these chocolate chip ones were really good and loaded with chocolate!

We limited our coffee intake at breakfast knowing we were going to try a new coffee shop after breakfast. I’ve heard many people talk about Cosmic, but I didn’t realize how close it was to us, just tucked away on a side road off South Congress.


They have a very expansive menu with some unique options like a lavender matcha latte, or if you’re feeling wild, a nitro espresso cocktail. We grabbed a couple iced coffees and enjoyed the morning sitting in their massive courtyard.

One thing we did not cross off the bucket list in Austin was Franklin BBQ (I know, shameful!). They went to carry out only during the last year, and we kept waiting for it to reopen, but it has not yet. We tried to put in an order for carry out while sitting there at Cosmic- but they were all sold out; procrastination was not our friend here. As the caffeine kicked in, we became more determined to find a way to get our hands on the world’s best BBQ.  Where there is a will and all that, right? We ended up calling Franklin’s to see if there was any chance there was more available than listed online, and they explained we could actually order a whole brisket online and have it delivered chilled to our home through Goldbelly. Also, side note- the staff was so friendly and really did what they could to help us out. We watched a Youtube video of someone who did this to see if it would still be good/worth it even shipped- and he said it was 99% as good as the real thing in person! So we are going to do it- probably have people over, make some veggie dishes and sides- and serve it up as a fun transitional meal from TX to OH as soon as we get off the waitlist!
Anyway, Cosmic is THE perfect place to relax with some coffee on a Saturday morning. And there is plenty of seating… which is a huge plus around here!

They also have several food trucks on site too.

After enjoying our iced coffees, we went back to our apartment. I worked out for about an hour and then got ready for the day.

We had an early dinner reservation at 5:30 on South Congress, so in the afternoon we killed time walking and shopping the tourist trap. We hopped store to store, and it was such a blast. There are gems on that road! Our first stop was Neighborhood Goods– I would love to shop here for gifts for holidays.



Many of the store fronts are beautifully decorated, vying for the next passerby’s attention.

One of my favorite stops was Big Top Candy Shop. I love a vintage candy/soda shop like that.

And of course, we stopped in all the different boot shops! 

Oh, and cannot forget South Congress Books!!
We did have a little (now funny) mishap. It was super hot that day, and I had lathered myself in sunscreen. At some point, my ✨ glisten ✨ turned into straight sweat and the sunscreen ran straight into my right eye. It was annoyingly painful and would not stop watering! I knew my makeup on that eye did not stand a chance, so I ran into a restaurant bathroom to rinse it off. I probably should have taken the other eye makeup off too- because they were hilariously incongruent. But at least my eye wasn’t on fire anymore. We didn’t have time to walk back to the apartment, so I resorted to just keeping my sunglasses on in all the shops. DJ said he didn’t see a big difference between my eyes, and we debated if it was worse wearing my sunglasses indoors or having uneven makeup, ha!

Before we knew it, it was time for dinner. We walked to Central Standard to sit out on their patio.

They are known for their cocktails. I don’t typically order cocktails since the ones I’ve tried have been so sweet, but the waitress recommended the ‘Face Your Fears’ cocktail with mezcal, tequila, aperol, chareu, grapefruit and lemon- so refreshing and not too sweet with a nice smoky flavor! Highly recommend. 

We ordered some delicious oysters. They tasted particularly good given how hot it was outside.

Right before getting the rest of our food, we noticed a wedding was happening right next to us. We watched nearly the whole thing, keeping our conversation at a minimum and a whisper, mesmerized by the ceremony. They had the cutest little pup in the bridal party too. I was getting emotional as the bride walked down the aisle, and I don’t even know the people!!

Back to the food- I ordered a falafel burger which I was obsessssedddd with.

DJ ordered their roasted half chicken- he said it was good but maybe wouldn’t order it again.

After dinner, we walked back to the apartment to give our feet a break and unpack our shopping finds.

Here is a candle we picked up! I also couldn’t resist trying the sour bears from Neighborhood Goods (yum!) & DJ tried the cashews. I really could do some damage in there- I love all the unique finds.

We went on a lovely sunset walk along Ladybird Lake where we had another debate. Right around the time the bats took off, we saw a small swarm of flying creatures above us darting here and there. We had a passionate conversation about whether they were birds or bats. I thought they were bats, and DJ thought the former. Finally some random stranger came near us and said loud enough for us to hear, “those are birds” 🤣. Okay, Deej, you win this one.

Next, we went up to the rooftop for our favorite view of the city! We were saying it was eerily quiet for a Saturday night in Austin. We hypothesized that everyone was just taking the weekend easy with July 4th being the next. But hopefully they didn’t know something we weren’t privy to!

The next morning before dropping DJ off at the airport, we quickly stopped into Gourdough’s Donuts food truck for breakfast. This is another Austin classic.

We sipped on a couple iced coffees while waiting for our order to be called.

These donuts blew away every expectation. We could not believe how good these were. We ordered the Funky Monkey with caramelized bananas, the Mother Clucker with fried chicken over a savory donut (DJ’s favorite & I tried a bite and even liked it- it’s a must order if you like chicken), and the naughty and nice cinnamon donut with honey (the simplest of them all, but very tasty!).

And that wraps up our amazing, amazing weekend together. I was deeply sad the rest of the day after he left and thankful I had clinical the next day to reset and distract my mind.

I’d love to know:

  • If someone visits your city, what is the *must* visit restaurant?

Lucky Robot & Trail of Lights!

Hey, everyone! In this post I am taking y’all on a culinary journey to Lucky Robot. This is a local restaurant on South Congress that I’m honored to be an ambassador for! This has been on our list of restaurants to try for a while, so I was ecstatic when they reached out.

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When we walked through the doors on December 15th we were immediately wowed by the eye-catching, electric and vibrant decor.

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We decided to sit outside since it was an absolutely beautiful day! It was nearly 80 in December. Whatt!

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Just a little background- they are the first sustainable sushi restaurant in all of Texas. They use the phrase Ichiban Dake to inspire all they do (it means “Only the best”). They put so much care and attention to every detail of their restaurant from the decor to the customer experience to the flavor to the presentation of each dish.

First, we started with peach blossom breeze which includes peach-infused sake, orange juice, cranberry juice and brut. It was light, refreshing and delicious!

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Of course, we have to have some edamame to start!

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We ordered their shrimp and pork dumplings with pork, shrimp, passion fruit ponzu and basil seeds. (Even though I don’t usually eat meat, for food shoots I do at least try each dish so I can appreciate the spread and give a fair assessment). These were great… the passion fruit was a wonderfully unique twist.

d6d39db9-02de-4619-b385-d1e3cb23fd3a82a8eba9-ff20-42f4-a03c-8eccd087d60aNext up were the steamed pork buns with spicy soy glaze, farm-to-table sunomono and cilantro.  They were extremely savory and packed with flavor. The bao itself was soft and pillowy as could be. DJ was particularly blown away by these, they were his favorite of everything we tried. We are starting a “must try” in Austin list with specific items from different restaurants, and this is going on it!640dbb78-f34f-4b76-ba02-a4d7f69798580066ed63-eadb-424e-adcd-8d1e8ebcda37Next up is my personal favorite- the veggiepillar with miso grilled eggplant, sesame, pickled cucumber and carrot, topped with avocado and serrano, yuzu miso sauce and sesame. Okay, this is seriously one of my favorite sushi rolls I have ever tried, and it doesn’t even have any fish. Phenomenal.eabdfd18-d347-48df-9ffb-a628eaaaa72c9b425252-2334-4a01-b8f3-06ca210786d7We also tried their famous Voltron with crab, avocado, pickled cucumber & carrot topped with tuna, salmon and amberjack that is served with sesame, spicy mayo and soy lemonglass glaze. It was delicious and had every fish you could ever dream in a roll- it was DJ’s favorite between the two, where I preferred the veggiepillar.cc4323bb-7098-4b9a-a208-ff4d6e7a7402Next up is the stunning king cebiche with big glory bay king salmon, tiger’s milk, serrano, purple sweet potato, shallot, persimmon and cilantro oil. The flavor was extremely delicate and you could tell how much attention went into this dish.5032eb2a-779e-461a-9f8f-1e13144d2c1e988ce4d4-ce98-431e-b582-510b3616b3efWhen we got home I went for an lovely run in the warm weather. After, we did some house chores, and then I worked on going through the pics a bit. We were pretty exhausted after such a busy weekend- but then had a second wind around 8:30. I saw that it was free admission to the Trail of Lights and since neither of us had classes the next day (what!) we decided to check them out.2f4c3a59-8baa-4c0c-b828-76bc132492b2839bf375-1544-4270-86e5-2acc31d6137fb99316f3-9e8e-44d7-8410-4c98ebb873e4We have heard a lot of hype around this event, but didn’t know what to expect. It was absolutely magical and magnificent. It helped get us in the Christmas spirit!58691701-281f-43b4-b58c-e277ebe9aaacCan you spot Texas on the globe?1928be52-72e5-4052-9b0b-d767f3e1d2e0e18171e4-43b7-46e7-b6da-036581501059832186cb-29c7-47b3-9155-a36ffcbf939cI was crackin’ up by the “Upside down” land. All the trees were literally upside down haha. How does that even work… ya there, gravity?9dbe9c20-3f26-45e0-9765-6234b5887ef3They had a variety of food trucks, a carousel and even a Ferris wheel!14880808-44c7-4250-80ad-bc1f253405ecb0a3afa4-5b4c-492f-b97e-a4420fc43340They even had a bat cave (Representing the bats on South Congress). I don’t know that I’ve discussed the whole bats on South Congress thing before… but I’ll make sure to discuss the whole situation behind them in a future post.2d9b0993-5d82-4924-8103-a3761ba027f1And to further the Christmas inspired lights, here is the North Pole!a3268256-bb80-4cf4-b557-bacdb447d038We even had the opportunity to go through Candyland!686d7de8-9c4e-46dc-ac93-01bfeed765fd4a86d51a-f5d9-4cdd-b0d4-abe1a932a7e3d68f1b3d-8417-4995-aef9-b8a304b5e8f2At the end of the trail there is even a live band playing an area to cook S’mores if you wish.30370549-5703-477b-877d-cc44d055c6fe5292d490-35c3-4262-b49c-78ff84d06465As we headed out we were in awe of the lights against the city skyline. Plus there was a massive moon that night, although I failed to capture it on camera.0bab99dd-10dc-468a-ba31-27a9ff864697Since we had sort of a “linner” at Lucky Robot, we grew hungry again by the time we finished the lights around 9. Since neither of us had to get up early the next day we decided to walk into town to grab some pizza.a9683439-4bbb-405e-9e18-5c96696beb87We went to Via 313 – another local favorite.800045f0-e3c7-4495-98ce-6615085aa8da36f16654-08f1-4ddd-864b-90e4b3a02f3cIt took a while to get our pizza (probably about 30 mins), so we enjoyed the quiet and warm setting and watched some ESPN in the meantime.88f8611a-dc9f-412e-8bc0-5f1bb14b0c04Finally around 11 pm we got our pizzas – the veggie for me and four cheese for DJ. The veggie was fine- but the four cheese was absolutely amazing!b1145553-a1d7-4c87-a80e-0f599f658ec0455838d7-a314-464d-9f37-945c32ae55acAnd I had to take a picture of the bathroom area- so cute.4f7041ba-3786-46af-8cbd-960449f562eeQuestions for you: 

  • Are you watching Bachelor? We must discuss.
  • Thoughts on the Grammys if you watched? I thought Alicia Keys did an incredible job…So full of grace. I loved Lizzo’s performance (of course) and Camila Cabello’s had me in tears. I still have about an hour left, but I will probably finish it tomorrow.

Before I end this post I just want to say we are absolutely devastated hearing about Kobe, his daughter and everyone else involved in the accident. Gosh, there really are no words… reminds us all to hug our loved ones a bit tighter and to never take a single moment for granted. <3 So many thoughts and prayers are with the Bryant family and all other families impacted.

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