Tuesday

Gatorland to the Biltmore

From New Orleans I had to drive down through Florida to drop dad at the airport and then go back up to North Carolina. We had a pit stop in Pensacola, which had beautiful white sandy beaches, incredible oysters, and an unbelievable sunset.


Queen of the candid...





 In Pensacola we met this group of guys that were off to Tallahassee the same weekend I was after dropping dad off at the airport. They were heading there for the Florida State v Clemson (American) football game, and luckily enough they had a spare ticket for me. Football fans will know that this is a pretty huge game for college football, so I was pretty excited. Having gone to University in the United States I've watched a fair few football games in my time, this however, was the loudest, craziest one I have been to to date.


Just look at the size of this beauty

Then came the drive to Asheville in North Carolina.

I stopped in Atlanta along the way and stayed in a lovely AirBnB.
Then I got to eat breakfast at the incredible Egg Harbor Cafe Buckhead and got this beautiful skillet: chorizo, jalapeño & potato, topped with two eggs sunny side up.


Definitely a must try breakfast spot if you're ever in Atlanta.
I also went for dinner the night before at La Tavola Trattoria which is an amazing Italian restaurant tucked away down a street. I went for the squid ink spaghetti, with calamari, Calabrian chilis, garlic, and Thai basil pesto. Found here on Instagram.

After this hearty breakfast I headed on up to my best friends' parents house in Asheville.
Luckily for me, his mum works at the Biltmore, so I didn't have to spend the ridiculous fee to get into the grounds. Plus, they were setting up for Christmas (MY FAVOURITE TIME OF YEAR), so all of the trees were being put up. It was beautiful.




Oh, to live in such a big house, with ridiculous amounts of land.
....and with a bowling alley, swimming pool, gym...
I literally felt like I was in a real life version of Downton Abbey.
Wouldn't mind a house like that of my own, but hey, wouldn't we all?

Sunday

NOLANOLANOLA

I am a huge lover of live music, so taking the trip to New Orleans was a dream of mine.
Let me tell you now, it definitely did not disappoint. 

First off, Bourbon Street is a bit of an ehhh experience. 
If you're looking for a sleazy street with brothels on your left and right, then this is the place for you. However, if you're looking for the live music, drinking experience of New Orleans, then head down to Frenchmen Street where you will get a taste of the NOLA you have your heart set on. 


We took a trip to the Spotted Cat Music Club which was one of the top rate on both Yelp and TripAdvisor and I'm so glad we listened. The music was incredible and exactly what I imagined when I thought of New Orleans. 


Needless to say, we visited two nights in a row. 

As for food, I was having a bit of an Oyster obsession at the time so we took a trip to Cooter Brown's Tavern and Oyster Bar which was incredible. Not only were the oysters amazing, but you also got to watch the guy shuck them. I think that's the correct term? God knows. But they were fabulous. Oh, and don't forget to tip the oyster man, because he'll give you extra large oysters.


I can't wait to take a trip back to New Orleans for Mardi Gras one day, because I can only imagine how crazy that is.

Monday

The Long, Winding Roads of Texas

Texas.

The most boring place to drive through. Ever.

If you ever have to drive all the way through Texas, like dad and I did, make sure you have an incredible playlist, think of a couple of car games to play, stock up on snacks and water, and expect minimal views. Now, the cities we visited in Texas were actually really fun, and had incredible food, however, the drive is extremely boring. I'd sugarcoat it, but I'd be selling you a lie.




I on the other hand, mainly kept myself sane by taking a load of selfies.
Dad loves a selfie, so he was the perfect candidate for the task.

El Paso

We stopped in El Paso after Phoenix because a friend of mine from college lives there. It was only a quick, one night stint, but we had a very alcohol filled night regardless. Before the ridiculous amount of alcohol was consumed, my friend Eric too us to his favourite Mexican restaurant.

I can't for the life of me remember the name of it.
I can, however, remember that it tasted absolutely incredible. The food, the cocktails, the atmosphere. When you walk in you hear the live band that's playing which helps make the Mexican that already looks extremely authentic, even more authentic. I went for the house margarita, which was full of Tequila goodness, and the enchiladas. Oh, and we got a side of guac & chips, and a quesadilla. Yeah, we like to eat.

If I remember the name, I'll come back here and let you know.. but considering how close El Paso is to the border of Mexico (no word of a lie, you can cross the border about 15 minutes from this restaurant) you already know Mexican food is a must when you come to visit here.


The Drive to Austin

The drive from El Paso to Austin was long. Long and boring. 
We stopped in Marfa because I needed to get a typical white girl photo outside the Prada shop in the middle of nowhere. 
Mission accomplished. White girl status lifted. 



Austin

In Austin, we ate a lot. 

The first day we went for breakfast at Veracruz All Natural Food Truck. I went for the famous Migas breakfast tacos... and they were incredible. Alongside the homemade salsas they make every morning. Ah, it's just heavenly. I'm not even a breakfast fan, but I'll always make time for breakfast tacos. 

Although it's a tiny little place with a couple of benches, they give you a little buzzer for when your food is ready.



Mmmm.. TACOS



As you can tell from above, we had a really bad experience...



We had tried to go to Franklin's earlier in the day, which is probably the most famous BBQ spot in Austin. Sadly, the line was already pretty long when we got there. We waited for a while, only for the waitress to get to the lady in front of us in the line and she decided to get the last 2 pounds of brisket. A lady smaller than me (and I'm almost a midget) bought 2 whole pounds of brisket. Are you for real? I'd like to think I wouldn't do the same thing.... let's be honest though, how good does 2 pounds of brisket sound?!?

So, after our morning of breakfast tacos and a canoe along the river...


...we decided to head to La Barbecue, which is another one of the top barbecue spots in the city.

We got there and the line was pretty large.


Dad and I are obviously extremely chatty humans so we got talking to this great group of guys behind us. Long story short, they started telling us about how they had ordered Franklin's for the next morning to cook at their airbnb. We told them about our previous experience from that morning, low and behold, they invited us to their house the next day to share this massive pound or so of brisket. WHAT LEGENDS! 

Finally (after making new friends) we got to the front of the line and ordered our brisket.

My God.
It was 400% worth the wait.
Just look at that.
Mouthwatering goodness. 
And those pickles.
The bread.
The side of jalapeños.


Safe to say we slept pretty well that evening.

Only to wake up, get some Bloody Mary's at a bar, and then head to our new friends house.



Look how happy he is!


Look how bloody massive that piece of brisket is. It's ridiculous.
Now, I thought the brisket I had at La Barbecue was incredible, but this one just had that edge. It literally fell off at each touch. Probably some of the greatest brisket I have ever had, in my life. If you're ever in Austin, either line up at like 6am in the line at Franklin's, or do the smart thing like these guys did and order it a couple of weeks beforehand: https://franklinbarbecue.com/preorders/

Dallas


As you can tell, I left Austin a pretty happy (and very freckled) camper. 

In Dallas we got a lot more incredible food. From the Pizza at GAPco to the amazing southern comfort food at Babe's Chicken Dinner House.





The trip do Dallas was also a great cultural insight into some American history as we were able to go to the John F. Kennedy Museum and take a tour in the building he was assassinated from. I didn't know what to expect from it, but I can honestly say I was pleasantly surprised. With the ticket you get a free audio guide which gives you detailed information at each point of the tour, with extra listening opportunities throughout.

A must visit if you're ever in Dallas!






Next up, the trip to Florida & farewell to SteveO. Sob.