Hey guys! Scott and I are headed back to Los Angeles today to celebrate his 30th birthday. I KNOW! BIG DEAL! I haven’t been back to our old hood of Culver City since October, so I am extra excited. We’re catching up with fraaaanz at our favorite pizza & beer joint on Friday, then heading to the lovely Solvang on Saturday. But wait, there’s more! We’re going to see Louis C.K. live at the LA Forum on Sunday, Scott’s actual birthday. Whew! Should be a good time. Keep up with with our trip on Instagram, and in the meantime, scroll down to view our pics from Scott’s birthday at Disneyland last year! The captions are full of me pretty much yelling with excitement. It was magical.
I wanted to say hi in the meantime. Hi! I also wanted to share a few fancy items I picked up at T.J. Maxx before the trip. I took a look at my wardrobe and realized I needed to stock up on some new duds. Sigh. My weight has been fluctuating all over the place and it seems I’m a little too big for my britches these days. (What’s new, AMIRITE LADIES?)
I headed to T.J. Maxx because it’s my favorite place to find cute, inexpensive and unique items. Check out my real-life finds I bought and packed for the the trip below, then keep scrolling for a few other Hawaii-approved items that caught my eye on the T.J. Maxx website. Oh, and P.S… Follow along on my Instagram today and tomorrow (AND FOREVER OR ELSE) because Scott and I are headed to Disneyland to celebrate his birthday. AHHH! I KNOW! I’VE NEVER BEEN!
Very J Tie Die Dress $16.99, House of Harlow Daisy Round Sunglasses $39.99, Maison Scotch Peakaboo Back Mini Dress $39.99
A.B.S. 5 pocket boyfriend shorts $19.99, Lovers + Friends Friday Night Crop Top $29.99, Maison Scotch Hawaiian Printed Boyfriend Shorts $19.99
For Cynthia Linen Anchor Print Cover-Up $24.99, Shore Shapes Swim Dress with Tummy Control $24.99, Lagaci Printed Cover-Up Maxi Dress $16.99
After tastings at 4 different wineries, Scott and I were in need of a bit of a reset. We took a quick power nap back at the hotel and downed a couple Dirty Chai’s from Java Ranch before setting off to explore the main drag in Fredericksburg. Side note: Some of the nicest people on the planet work at Java Ranch. Seriously! We went back the next morning and had so much fun chatting at the register that we almost forgot to order. Ha! Meanwhile on Main Street, we stopped into Hondo’s (a must), before meeting a lovely Longhorn named Bingo. Hey girl!
Down the road, we were lured into El Milagro by its live music, Shiner Bock and Micheladas. Oh, and fun. Lots of fun.
As I mentioned in part 1 of our Fredericksburg trip, Scott and I met John Washburne and Chef Adam Yoho of Otto’s German Bistro earlier that day. They were so friendly and invited us to stop in for dinner that night. I’m so glad we did. I fell in love with Otto’s at first sight. My eyeballs bulged with delight as we walked up to the front patio filled with happy patrons dining under the glow of dim light bulbs strewn from above. I was giddy. Atmosphere is one of my favorite things when dining out, and Otto’s knows what I like. Wood beam ceilings, an open kitchen and a relaxed vibe with super friendly employees who make you feel at home? Sign me up.
And the food. Oh, the glorious food. We started with the Flammkuchen, a flatbread with creme fraiche, Cambozola, Gruyere, caramelized onions and green garlic pesto. My eyes are rolling back into my head just thinking about it. For his main entree, Scott ordered the Beeman Family Ranch Ribeye with an Akaushi ribeye, confit potatoes, roasted broccolini and red wine butter. Thanks (so much!) to the recommendation from Chef, I had the Pan Roasted Alaskan Halibut with roasted potatoes, fiddleheads and a beet puree. My photos sadly didn’t turn out too well—just know that everything was so wonderful. For dessert, we were treated to the Foie Gras Creme Brûlée served with pomme frites. We paired all of this with an amazing Texas red, the Pedernales Tempranillo, which is served on tap. I still can’t get over how good this meal was.
But we’re not done yet, folks! When we finished dinner, Chef gave us a tour of the back of the restaurant and their new soon-to-be-open restaurant next door, Tubby’s Icehouse. Amazing, right? Can you handle how vibrant that tile is? Love it.
We ended our trip to Otto’s with an education in sour beers and good convo at the bar. I just love these guys. Otto’s (and now Tubby’s!) is one of the many reasons I am so excited to move back to Texas. It’s a short trip from Austin, and I can’t wait to pull up a stool at the bar and hang with the other locals. It’s seems a bit like family inside, and I want to be a part of it. Texas wines on tap, local beer, fancy cocktails and incredibly delicious locally sourced produce and meats? How can I not lurve this place?
Our last stop for the night was not a planned one. On the way back to our hotel, we wandered into Der Daiwel, a heavy metal bar owned by two sisters from Luxembourg City, Luxembourg. All I can say is yes. Yes. Yes. Yes.
The next morning on our way out of town, we had a butter-licious brunch at Silver Creek. We were lucky enough to meet some incredible people on our trip to Fredericksburg, but I was not prepared for how awesome it would be to meet this last one, a Harley-riding dog. Life. Made. Good boy.
I wanted to show Scott a bit more of Texas, so instead of going straight up I-35 and getting to Austin in less than 2 hours, we took a detour and drove to Fredericksburg, the home of Texas German. Crowds of people are lured to Fredericksburg each weekend for its charming strip of restaurants, bars and shops… and wine. The Texas Hill Country is the second largest wine region in the nation, and Fredericksburg is a popular place to make your home base before setting out on a tour of the many surrounding wineries. So popular, that I almost wasn’t able to book a wine tour. Spring Break + Bluebonnets in full bloom + gorgeous weather = no wine tours left! Lesson of the day: Book months ago. I first called Clint from Cellar Rat Wine Tours who apologized for not being able to fit us in, but gave us a ton of recommendations for who to call next. (Thank you so much!!) One of his suggestions was George from George’s 290 Wine Tours. He too was booked, but was more than happy to connect me with Leanne from Texas Two Step Wine Tours. Guess what? She was booked too! But just like the others, she was incredibly nice and helpful. Leanne told me to call Brandon at Moon’s Vineyard Voyages. He was booked (gah!), but was able to squeeze us into another tour led by his pal Eric. Success! Thanks everybody!! Eric from Moon Vineyard was a star tour guide. He was fun, friendly and gave us plenty of time at each stop to ensure we never felt rushed. Our fellow wine tourists were 3 nurses and their 3 fire-fighting husbands. They were such a fun bunch and I’m so happy we got to spend the day with them! Our first stop was Hye Meadow Winery, where a gang of Shelby Cobras attempted to steal our attention from the wine. Nice try, guys.
Our next stop on the tour was my absolute favorite. Question: How can you beat the scenery and outdoor space at William Chris Wines? Answer: Ya can’t! Their dry Rosé is hard to beat too. I could have spent the whole day sipping it out in the sun. On the way out, we met two of the main guys behind Otto’s German Bistro, Chef Adam Yoho and John Washburne. They were serving delicious treats from their soon-to-be-open-can’t-freaking-wait restaurant called Tubby’s Icehouse. The two were super friendly and invited us to stop into Otto’s for dinner that night. (Stay tuned for that insanely awesome part of the trip.) #NOM
The last stop on our wine adventure was Six Shooter Cellars. After tasting a few wines from Fort Worth, Kemah, Baytown and Grapevine, we wandered around the property taking in the scenery of the countryside and listening to live music next door at the Fiesta Winery. I’m still a little emotional over not buying the perfect cowgirl apron I spotted at The Faux Show Collection.
Stay tuned for part 2 of the trip, which includes an unforgettable dinner at Otto’s, a Longhorn named Bingo, a visit to a heavy metal bar and a motorcycle-riding dog!
Let’s continue with our San Antonio shenanigans, shall we?! We spent the day with my step mom Mona. She’s this wonderful person who has no fear and will conquer anything and everything she sets out to do. She sees the world in other creatives, and will encourage the heck out of you in just one short chat. Her enthusiasm and spirit make me feel like I am She-Ra. Mona took us to a new resto/bar in SA called Barbaro. It’s located in a great neighb of San Antonio—Monte Vista. A friend of hers (Hi Whitney!) met up with us and we all gushed about future creative projects we would someday hopefully work on together. It was fun, fun, fun. My favorite thing about this place (if I have to choose just one) is the off-the-menu drink called the Blanche Devereaux. I MEAN!! A drink named after my favorite golden-ager floozy? It’s made with lemon, bourbon, apricot liquor and honey syrup. Sign me up. My step bro John (Hi Juanito!) met up with us and had their glorious pizza. Don’t miss out on this place, y’all. It’s as cute as it is yummy.
Our last full day in San Antonio was a good one. I was excited to show Scott a bit more flavor in downtown SA. On the way, we passed the historic Boehler House (and old Liberty Bar building). The famous leaning structure is currently awaiting its new foundation. So cool.
El Mercado is such a fun and colorful spot. I met a Mexican dress and set of margarita glasses that I couldn’t say no to, and Scott found the perfect cowboy hat. Hubba bubba.
If you ever find yourself in San Antonio (and you should), you must include Mi Tierra in your itinerary. The dining room accommodates large parties, but the bar is a perfect place to hang your hat and have a snack. Don’t forget to look up at the ceiling (HELLO, GLITTERY PIÑATAS!) and bring a few dollars to tip the amazing mariachi bands.
On the way home, we stopped into HEB (another favorite in SA) for a couple Rib-Eyes and some Texas beer. My cousin’s husband (Hi Trey!) makes a mean steak and their twin kiddos are my favorite people. (Hi Amelia and Nolan!)
As far as awesome neighborhood cafes go, Twin Sisters is tops. We woke up a bit early the next morning so we could stop in on our way out of town. Next stop, wine time in Fredericksburg!
I moved to San Antonio from Austin just before high school. I love going back to see my family, stuff my face with tamales and queso (and margaritas) and stop into my favorite shops. The city has changed so much, and I really enjoyed experiencing the new flavor during this trip. The first thing Scott and I did when we got into town was meet my dad AKA Daddy Rip at my favorite quirky health-Mex joint, Adelante. The cash only restaurant is super laid-back, colorful and serves delicious fare. I’m obsessed with the Poblano soup and veggie quesadillas. Rip always orders the Summer Plate. This is a must when you’re in town.
After noshing, we went to my dad’s place to hang. Scott and him hadn’t met in person yet—just over Skype, so it was pretty fun to see them interact. Daddy Rip played the guitar and sang for us, which was a real treat. I grew up watching him play in blues clubs, and I relish these moments. His go-to’s are Jimi Hendrix, Eric Clapton and of course, Stevie Ray Vaughan. Speaking of Stevie, my favorite story my dad tells about him goes like this: He met Stevie in a bar years ago, where he bought him a round of drinks and got his autograph on a bar napkin. While at work the next morning, my dad freaked out when he realized he left the napkin at the bar! He went back to the bar and dug through the dumpsters until he found that golden napkin. He framed it and has always had it on display understandably. Sigh. Rip is so cool.
Later that day, we met up with my cousin, her husband, their adorable twins and my aunt and uncle. They are a hilarious bunch full of love. Time spent with them is like gold to me. They took Scott and I to a new place called the Luxury. What a great spot! It gave me an education in how cool San Antonio has become. (Though it was never short on cool places.) The resto is primarily an outdoor space, with the kitchen and bar housed in large shipping containers. You must try the spicy chicken Sriracha sammie and the fries. Ohhhh the fries! (Thanks for the tip, Mariah!) Their collection of local beers is also quite impressive/bad ass. The vibe is super chill and relaxing, with a good view of the river and boat taxis floating by.
After working up a sweat trying on every cowboy boot in Leighelena, we stopped at El Machito for a much-needed snack. The Queso Fundido made with queso cotija, Mexican Manchego, queso Oaxaca and chorizo verde was ridiculously good. The Beer-ritas, eye candy decor and patio were an added bonus. So festive! Beinvenidos indeed.
We ended our second night in San Antonio at one of my favorite restaurants. (Yes, I have a few favorites.) I make it a point to visit Sol Luna every time I’m in town to get down on their pollo a la parilla and frozen mango margarita. Yum. Stay tuned for days 2 & 3, which you can expect to see later this week! Oh hey, dad!