As promised, I have much to share from our trip to Austin last weekend. We visited an old friend and made a couple of new ones (restaurant-wise, that is), and were reminded just how awesome it can be to head out for the evening with no specific destination in mind...
Looking for a bar on 6th Street is kind of like shaking presents under the Christmas tree. You can check out the wrappings ("Ooooh - shiny!") and get a vague idea of what's inside ("Sounds kinda boring..."), but you really don't know what you're in for until you tear the paper off and go inside. Or something like that. Anyway, when the hubby and I headed out the front door of the hotel and landed on 6th that first night, we really didn't know where to go. We figured we'd wander the street and open a door when the mood felt right. A few blocks down, however, we realized that we'd need a little nudge in one direction or the other, so we stopped a hip-looking shopkeeper on the sidewalk. We asked for a cool bar with a patio and she pointed us toward Casino El Camino. Awesome suggestion!
This place was all tiki-ed up, with colorful murals painted on the walls and a creepy statue-slash-fountain gurgling his little heart out on the patio:
We really liked Casino El Camino. At around five when we arrived, we had the patio to ourselves, but it quickly filled with local-looking types chugging cold beers and munching burgers (Did you see the sign above? Those burgers looked great!). I'm glad we asked a local - if we'd gone it alone, we could have unwrapped some underwear, if you know what I mean.
We stayed at the Casino until sunset and then headed down the street to Geisha Sushi for a bite. This place is a dive, but the sushi was to-die-for. We had a little of everything, including the "Crazy in 6th" roll, which consisted of deep fried shrimp, cucumber and tuna drizzled with a spicy sauce. It was crazy good. We'd never been to Geisha before, but we'll be back. Here's to a great night of firsts on 6th!
Saturday afternoon, we headed out to the lake to revisit an old haunt that had a close call a couple years back. The Oasis is a giant restaurant/bar/gift shop complex located 450 feet above Lake Travis. As you can imagine, the view is absolutely spectacular, and the restaurant itself is pretty damn fun too, what with all the funky statues dotting the grounds, kitchy decor and friendly staff.
Here's an example of the restaurant's eclectic outdoor art:
We love the Oasis, but we hadn't been since the restaurant was damaged in a fire back in 2007. Hearing the news up here in Dallas, we were afraid our old friend might be gone for good, but The Oasis was back up and running shortly thereafter. They also took advantage of the unfortunate event and began a series of renovations. According to the nifty informational brochure I picked up on Saturday, they added more than 8 new party rooms in the process and can now accommodate gatherings of up to 2,200 people. Wow!
We were a little bummed that the patio was uninhabitable that day due to high winds, but we snagged a seat at the window, which was the next best thing. We munched fried shrimp and fish tacos while enjoying this amazing scenery:
After lunch, we took a drive and watched shadows and sunlight dance on the water as we dipped and curved through the hills surrounding the lake. It was a beautiful afternoon, and a wonderful trip altogether. I can highly recommend any of these spots for your next visit to Austin. Enjoy!