Chowing Down Austin-Style

The cupcake food time...
The cupcake food truck…next time…

One of the benefits of running for a hobby is that it burns calories. Thankfully, I love a lot of things about running, so the calorie burn is just an extra benefit. I don’t think I could stay motivated if it was the ONLY reason I ran. I probably burn somewhere between 2500 and 3000 calories in a 2 1/2 hour marathon. Now, before you get too excited, keep in mind that I probably eat a little more to fuel for this event. So, I’d say that I have an extra 2000 calories to play with over my regular daily allotment of calories to maintain my weight. You have to remember that not many of the runs are that long. That’s the one race of that distance in a 10 week period. For a long time, I thought that, if I ran marathons, I could eat what I wanted. But, I actually gained weight that way. I still had to watch my intake of food to maintain my desired weight.

I say all of that to rationalize my eating this weekend in Austin. Austin is a city of cool eats. I was in Austin several years ago to run the same half marathon, and I remembered the great eclectic, healthy restaurants in the city. So, I went this weekend prepared to splurge a little. As soon as I arrived, I stopped at one of the local food trucks called Mambo Berry. It was convenient to the Palmer Events Center where the Expo was being held, and I wanted something light. They had smoothies and some tamales. I had two Sweet Potato Pecan Tamales and a Matcha Banana Honey Smoothie. It was perfect food for a light midday meal. The tamales were savory and a tiny bit sweet with some type of meat layered in. The smoothie was delicious, and the Matcha had enough kick to get me going again after flying in on an early flight. I ate my meal sitting in the sun on a 65 degree day at a picnic table watching the world go by. It felt great outside.

Click on the photos for captions.

We, of course, had to eat healthfully and in a controlled manner Saturday night and Sunday morning because we had a race to run. Appropriate fuel was a must. Lucky for us, appropriate also included some homemade turbo-charged brownies with caramel, pecans and chocolate chips mixed in. After the race was over on Sunday, I had to wait a bit for the full marathoners in my group to cross the finish line. I needed something hot to drink and a light meal. I wasn’t very hungry, but I had consumed a lot of sweet, sugary fuel during the race, and my stomach and muscles needed a meal. Another local food truck was serving Bison and Quinoa Tacos, so I had one of those. I stopped at a grocery called the Royal Blue Grocery and got a chai tea. I liked the Bison and Quinoa Taco, but I wished I had waited to eat at the Grocery. They had some very unusual offerings that looked interesting. The chai tea was one of the best I’ve ever tasted…not sure if it was the loose tea they used to make it or the fact that I needed it so badly.

For dinner, Jessica, her band of 20-something friends and my sister-in-law once removed, Sarah, met at Chuy’s. They have great Tex-Mex. I always try to eat there when I’m in Austin. They now have a location in Nashville which is pretty good, too. I had the Chicken Tortilla Soup which was excellent with big pieces of white meat, corn tortilla strips and roasted peppers. It totally warmed me up as I was a little chilled from running earlier in the day. Jessica and I split a Chicken Quesadilla which was good but not anything really unusual. The soup was definitely the star of the meal.

Monday was the day Jessica and I planned to try out some Austin haunts. She took me to a 24 Hour Diner which was not like any diner I’ve frequented. The hot young waiter was definitely interested in chatting up Jessica, and I fondly remembered the day when I would have been the hot young thing at the table. She wasn’t all that taken with the Colorado native, as he wouldn’t leave the coffee carafe on the table for us. He redeemed himself somewhat, but not enough to move her to flirt beyond her “day after the marathon” energy levels. I’d say it was lukewarm flirting at best.

Jessica recommended the Sweet Potato Hash which was absolutely fabulous. It was diced sweet potato with a savory seasoning, pork sausage and fried eggs. I’ve been off wheat for awhile, and to celebrate I also had the Half Waffle. OMG…this waffle was delicious. My tastebuds tell me it was sourdough or something similarly exotic. It was thick and chewy and served with brown sugar butter and syrup. It was not sickeningly sweet, and I’m not sure why. I could NOT quit eating it. Jessica had the Frittata which was excellent, but she’ll have to tell you about it. I only took a bite or two. She was right on the Sweet Potato Hash. It was definitely comfort food at its best. But, that waffle…….I just can’t stop drooling over it.

We stopped by a coffee shop called Dolce Vita on the way home for some green tea and blogging. I had an excellent flowery green tea that needed no sweetener at all. It was light in the cup, and was just what I needed to keep me awake after eating that glorious sugary waffle. We went straight home for a nap. It was delicious….the nap, that is.

We had planned on getting a sweet treat as a reward for our efforts in the race Sunday, and we talked about whether we wanted ice cream or a cupcake or something else. I asked if we could eat dinner cheap but good. I wanted something casual and was really enamored with those food trucks. So, we headed to the SoCo area which is short for South Congress Ave. It’s a great little shopping area with some cool places to dine. We ate some grilled fish tacos at a place called Wahoo’s Fish Tacos. We ate outside once again as the weather remained fabulous. The grilled fish was cooked perfectly and was served with a sauce that paired perfectly with the corn tortillas, fish and cabbage.

We decided on Amy’s Ice Cream for our sweet treat. Amy’s is the local rendition of an ice cream parlor similar to Maggie Moo’s in Memphis and Coldwater Creamery in other places. The last time I was in Austin, I had this unbelievable creamy sweet concoction that had vanilla ice cream, honey and graham crackers in it. It was so good, I searched all over Memphis for something similar. It was nowhere to be found. So, I just had to have this again. It’s actually Sweet Cream Ice Cream mixed with crunched up graham crackers, honey and topped with real whipped cream. I didn’t hesitate when he asked me what size….the biggest you’ve got, honey. I’m refueling.

One Comment on “Chowing Down Austin-Style

  1. Reblogged this on RUNMEM and commented:
    My friend and client Sharon who was in town for the race, is also a blogger. She describes her blog

    as silly, sexy, spiritual, serious, sarcastic and sweet. Surely there’s something here for you…grab a cup of coffee and stay awhile.

    Even though we have a big gap in our ages, she is a young spirit and has a lot of wisdom in her words. I often find myself completely relating to her through her poignant honesty, or laughing out loud to her matter-of-fact humor. She wrote about the food we ate during marathon weekend better than I could have, and I wanted to share it with y’all!

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