I’ve been busy. There was Berlin. Before that: Philadelphia and Newburyport. After: Austin, Texas, and then up to Maine. Call it distraction, escape, vacation, whathaveyou. I won’t deny that the last four months have been tough; it’s been nice to get outta town.
Austin, especially, was great. I met my friend Becca there for an extended weekend of nothing-but-fun. (Long-time readers may remember Becca. Seven (!) years ago we were reenacting Iron Chef in the kitchen we shared in Providence.)
In Austin, Becca and I walked a lot, ate and drank a lot, exploring the nooks and crannies of this odd Texas city where neither of us had ever been.
Some highlights include the dinner that we ate at the bar of Uchiko, a “Japanese farmhouse” restaurant, and the “Dark and Amari” cocktail I
inhaled sipped at Bar Congress downtown. We ate
everything from tacos to snow cones out of the omnipresent food trucks lining
the city streets. One afternoon we drove
out to Smitty’s Market in Lockhart, Texas, to consume barbecue. A half-pound of
brisket and ribs later, I smelled like meat and like smoke and, man, that was awesome.
Over the course of the weekend, Becca and I wandered among coffee shops, antique stores, and clothing boutiques, where I bought, among other things, a (couple) cocktail dress(es) that I certainly don’t need. We visited the Whole Foods flagship store, and sampled (tart) blackberries and (sweet) green tomato jam at the farmer’s market. At night, we moved between restaurants and bars, taking in the scene, the smells, the music that never seemed to end.
I’ve been sitting here on my couch back in Cambridge for a while, trying to come up with a kicker to this post, to leave you with something beyond the laundry list of things I did in Austin. I’m trying to figure out how I can relate barbecue to the fact that I’m feeling better than I have in a while. Or to the fact that I’ve been thinking about how much I value the female friendships in my life, how much they buoy me up, keep me floating, moving me swiftly along toward whatever will come next. But as I write it’s the Monday night of Memorial Day weekend, and my brain is as frizzled as my hair from the last few days in the sun, and I think that I’ll just leave you with a piece of advice. First and foremost it’s advice for eating at Smitty’s Market in Lockhart, Texas. But it’s probably advice for a lot more:
When it comes to brisket, and you have the choice between lean and fatty, pick the fatty. It's better.