Friday, December 23, 2016

Life Lately

Time for a random collection of things we've been up to since I last posted!

Austin Trail of Lights

We've had a lot of Christmas fun this year, including driving around looking at lights, Christmas at the Silos, and most recently, the Austin Trail of Lights at Zilker Park. We kept hearing about this Austin holiday staple everywhere, so we decided to check it out one night last week. The first time we tried to go, the line was way too long and we didn't realize that really the only way to park within ten miles of the thing was to pre-purchase a parking pass. I think we underestimated the extent of the commotion surrounding the Trail of Lights! So we went home, purchased a parking pass for the next evening, and went then instead. It was super fun. Basically, you walk a mile or so through a bunch of light displays sponsored by various organizations and businesses around the city. There was an area to take pictures with Santa and Mrs. Claus, food trucks, a mini carnival and tons of other holiday-themed activities.

Got a hand-roasted s'more at one of the food trucks...first one I've had in years!
 A tunnel of lights:
 One of the cute little displays, sponsored by CLIF.
 The most important food truck ever.
The Austin Fire Department strung lights on one of their trucks and posed for pictures, which attracted what seemed like thousands of little kids.

H-E-B is the largest grocery chain here and they had a really cool little display where kids could take pictures with Santa and then were given a free book. We (especially Ali) love to read, so this was one of our favorite displays.
We attempted a selfie under one of the light canopies, but it wasn't too successful. I mostly just like the fact that we got two other people taking selfies in our photo. Also, why does the person taking the picture (me, in this case) always look weirdly disproportionate and awkward???

It was definitely worth the $15 parking fee (entrance to the actual trail was free) and we Minnesotans appreciated the ability to walk through a light display in mid-December without freezing to death in the process!

New Restaurants in Austin 

We've tried a few new restaurants in the past few weeks:

Bribery Bakery

The cutest little place in the world that serves dessert and drinks. So basically, heaven.

Someone asked me on Instagram what camera I used to take this photo and I was pretty flattered. The answer is my phone! If I were President, I would make a law requiring a sprinkles shaker on every table. #2020.

Rudy's Country Store and BBQ

This is a staple...somewhat touristy but definitely worthy of a visit. My favorite part is the generous samples they offer at the counter before you order.
Please note two things here: 1) "the worst Bar-B-Q in Texas" sign on the wall and 2) the glass box hanging above the line that says "in case of slow moving line break glass" and houses a cattle prod. I laughed a bit too hard at that one.
 My portion, before the pulled pork was delivered. Everything we had was really good, which is pretty much always the case when you order barbeque.

Piranha Killer Sushi

To celebrate me finally coming out of retirement (more about that at a later date) we splurged a bit on a fabulous sushi feast at Piranha Killer Sushi downtown.
 So. Good.

Spun Ice Cream

Organic/locally sourced/hipster ice cream shops are really big in Austin at the moment, so we went to check out Spun Ice Cream on the east side the other night. It was one of those places that use liquid nitrogen to make the ice cream, so it was quite the show. They also had a blackboard posted that listed the local farms from which they sourced their ingredients and even pictures of the cows on those farms which was cool to see. I'm all for supporting local farmers!

Courtney/Leighton's Sip and See

Some of you may know (or at least internet-know) Courtney over at Alkeks Abroad. They are in Houston for the holidays, and Courtney's friends hosted a little sip and see party last weekend so those who haven't already could meet baby Leighton. I drove down (and brought Ali for some company and another driver since it's a little over two hours from Austin) on Sunday and had the best time seeing Courtney, meeting some of her friends and family, and of course getting to meet sweet baby Leighton! Let me just say that she is one of the cutest babies the world has ever seen...not exaggerating. She fell asleep on me approximately 2 seconds after this picture was taken. 

That's all for now...expect a few Christmas posts coming your way in the next couple days! 


  1. Great report! Is it just my imagination, or is the food scene in Austin reminiscent of Melbourne?

    1. Yes! Lots of hipster ice cream, coffee, etc. I haven't found any avo toast yet, but I have confidence it exists!

  2. My husband grew up in Austin, and he always used to talk about how awesome The Trail Of Lights was! I think that they shut it down for a few years, but then reopened it! I think that we'll need another trip back sometime soon! And yes to Rudy's! It's such good BBQ, and I know that they think that Texans are crazy for eating BBQ at a gas station, but it's just too good!

    1. We really loved the Trail of Lights, and I'm usually someone who is kind of underwhelmed by that sort of thing. It's definitely worth a visit! And as to BBQ at gas stations...we were a little confused at first, but hey, it was amazing, so I'm on board haha!



Welcome! I started Laura and Peter Down Under in July 2014 when my husband and I moved from the States to Melbourne, Australia for his job. I blog about expat life, our travels, food, and whatever else comes to mind. Follow along on our adventures Down Under!



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