It may already be Wednesday, but I'm still reminiscing about the weekend. I had a GREAT time in Texas... I may be an LA girl, but there's something about the south that just makes me so happy!
I landed in Dallas late Thursday night and got to reunite with my best friend... and finally show her my ENGAGEMENT RING!!! Can hardly believe that we met when we were little babies in college and now she's a married human being and I'm about to be one, too. Freaking crazy.
Friday was Gerrick's birthday!!! She was kind enough to drive my ass to Drybar (I basically refuse to take pictures without a visit there these days) and then we met our friends Lindsey and Eric for lunch. It was great seeing them and catching up over some delicious pizza... but it was even MORE delicious getting to hug and kiss their adorable baby Sydney! Her middle name is Jordan... I like to think she is my namesake :)
We spent the rest of the afternoon cooking and baking for the dessert party Gerrick and Daniel were hosting that night. She made lots of delicious treats - oreo/peanut butter brownies, bundt cake, rainbow sprinkle rice krispie treats, and I contributed my famous chocolate chip bread pudding. It was great seeing all her Dallas friends, including our friend from our sorority ABG, who I love to pieces!
The next morning, the real fun began... we packed into the car with Robley, Gerr's best friend from childhood, and the three of us headed to Austin for a little girls getaway (Robley's birthday was three days before Gerrick's, so we were celebrating 2 out of 3 birthdays)! We drove all morning and after a small unfortunate incident where Robley accidentally directed us to the wrong restaurant INSIDE OF THE AUSTIN AIRPORT, we made it to our intended lunchtime destination... The Salt Lick!
Ya'll have not lived til you've tried The Salt Lick. Real Texas barbecue - there isn't anything like it in California. If I ever move to Texas this is probably one of the main reasons why :)
After lunch, we checked into the Omni Hotel, put our bags down, and headed out to explore more. We walked on the University of Texas campus and shopped on the drag... I purchased t-shirts that I will likely only wear to bed, we laughed, we shmoozed, and then we headed back to the hotel to rest up and get changed for dinner.
Now, months and months ago, when I had first booked my ticket, Gerrick had suggested the three of us go to Austin for a birthday celebration for one particular reason - to have their birthday dinner at Uchiko! Since their former Executive Chef Paul Qui won Top Chef a few years ago, we have been wanting to try it... and this was the perfect excuse. Want to hear something even better? Gerrick was at her 10 year high school reunion a few months ago and mentioned our upcoming plans to someone... that girl reached into her wallet and pulled out an Uchiko gift card. "I don't eat fish, I'm not going to use it, you have it!" Gerrick gladly accepted, and for weeks, we had been wondering how much was on the gift card. The moment we sat down, we asked the waiter to check... thinking at most it'd have $20 or $30 bucks on it. He came back a minute later and MADE OUR NIGHTS... that gift card had $100!!!!
And we made gooooood use of it. Friends, if you ever have the chance to go to Uchi or Uchiko, go! We loved everything - it was some of the most interesting, inventive Asian food I'd had in a long time. I couldn't help but take pictures of some of my favorites - in order, pictured below: uni sushi with basil and sea salt, raw diver scallop sushi with spicy mayo and avocado, and an amazing steamed whitefish with Thai spices, tomato, and honshemeji mushrooms. Out of this world!
Service was fantastic all night thanks to Bobby, our waiter, who quickly became our best friend (literally - he's now my Facebook friend)! Here we are posing outside after dinner... did someone say food coma?
We had one more stop to make before we could crash for the night... and speaking of crashing, that's exactly what we did. Our dear friend Joy lives in Austin (my last trip there was for her wedding!), and her sister had gotten married a few weeks ago and was throwing a wedding reception that very same evening! She INSISTED we stop by and although I was horrified by the thought of crashing, it all worked out just fine and we got to hug Joy and her husband Justin and dance with them for a little bit. See? This is why I love Texas. I have friends all over the state!
The next morning we refueled with breakfast tacos before hitting the road. It was a quick three-hour drive back to Dallas and then it was time for me to come back home to LA...
All in all, it was a great weekend - it went by way too quickly!!! I cannot wait to come back again and visit all my Texas faves VERY soon!