Keeping it Weird - and Delicious - in Austin
by, 05-12-2013 at 03:07 PM (1101 Views)
We decided to arrive in Austin, the day before the Luxury Link Social Experience, just to get a taste.....how can you not be intrigued by a city whose unofficial motto is: Help Keep Austin Weird?
Due to severe weather in South Florida, we got a late start and late arrival. By the time we picked up a rental car and drove into town, we arrived at the W Austin Hotel around midnight. Considered going directly to our room and crashing, but the vibes emanating from the Living Room (aka bar area) were too tempting to bypass....so we began indulging in farm-to-cocktail sampling. Some two hours later, we extricated our tired bodies from the pulsating throng and headed up to the 11th floor. We had reserved a Spectacular Room and it was exactly that...and maybe a little more - almost 400 square feet, outfitted and 'wired' for the ultimate "geekdom" experience.
Even at 2:00 am, it's hard to pass up dipping tired fingers into the assorted welcome amenities (savory nuts, multi-colored M&Ms and those absurdly decedent TWIX- PBs®).
We crashed and slept - soundly!
A few hours later we arose, placed an 'emergency' caffeine call to Anything/Anytime Service and spoke to Marian! It's on the way - Bodum fresh French pressed coffee right before our eyes - lite breakfast and we're out to explore.
After a quick stop to pick up a couple of clothing items, we inquired where the best Mani-Pedi place was in town. "Go to Great Nails & Spa" was the persistent response and we did....first time in a BYOB for us!
Stopped for some food truck snacks before heading back into town for a late lunch at a real sit-down restaurant.
Brian Bastress (major domo at Travaasa Austin) had provided us a select list from which to pick:
- Barley Swine
- Bess Bistro
- Swifts Attic
- Uchi and Uchiko
- La Condesa
We headed to La Condesa for some contemporary Mexican cuisine. Guacamole with pomegranate, pomegranate molasses, queso fresco and of course a couple of Margarita La Condesa - outstanding!
A little more time for 'walking about' downtown to allow lunch to settle, then the 45 minute drive through suburban sprawl to Travaasa. What a lovely mountain-top hidden retreat.
My first glimpse of the Travaasa website gave me the wrong impression - maybe a nice place for girlfriends to escape for a spa 'catch up' weekend, but probably not a place for me to visit. Wrong again! Travaasa Austin proved to be a perfect place to spend a long weekend and immerse ourselves deeply into the multitude of experiences.
Sommelier Edward Morgan curates an impressive wine list.....and is increasing selections from Chile and Argentina - thanks for stocking Torrontés, the emblematic white wine of Argentina and one of our favorites. The wine list leans toward organic, biodynamic and sustainable wines, many of which are made by local boutique producers. The extensive offering of beers features many local craft brewers and imported organics as well.
Chef Benjamin Baker demonstrated his awareness that vegetarians and vegan are proliferating his guest lists. With a tenderly hand groomed garden on property, the daily produce and herbs are truly farm to table. Chef produced a peach and avocado salad which was nothing short of a gastronomic masterpiece. The grilled cotija cheese on crisp slabs of watermelon hors d' oeuvre, served one evening, enticed us to a second and third helping. His take on vegetarian stuffed zucchini blossoms and chile poblano stuffed with quinoa rivaled any other entree on the menu.
So how to describe Austin in general and Travaasa Austin specifically?
Austin is 'weird" in a wonderful and engaging way.
Travaasa Austin is part:
- New age Zen experiences
- Luxury spa offering luxuriant treatments
- Hiking with nature
- Challenge course
- Equine experience
- Trail rides
and so much more......most of all, it is a wonderful place to come to terms with yourself.