austin, day 4

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we decided to kick off day 4 with a repeat visit to bouldin creek, this time with friends in tow. the former advisor that erik surprised at the awards ceremony on day 2 actually lives in austin, and so we scheduled a saturday brunch (with him and his wife) so we could all catch up after not seeing each other for awhile.  i wanted us to choose the place because the idea of “wasting” a vacation meal absolutely terrified me, so we decided to suggest bouldin creek. they had never been there before, but were willing to try it, so i was super excited right off the bat. then later, erik asked me if bouldin also had eggs and “regular stuff” or if they only had tofu. i had completely forgotten that it was an all-vegetarian restaurant in all the excitement of Getting My Way, and our friends are not vegetarian, so then i had a mild moment of panic over whether they’d like it. i shouldn’t have worried.

bouldin creek is a vegetarian restaurant that is extremely vegan-friendly, but as long as your dining companions aren’t the most annoying meat-based eaters in the world, everything should be fine. i thought our brunch was a great success. i ordered the el tipico again (so i didn’t take a picture, partially out of “this again?!” syndrome and partially out of self-consciousness in the presence of guests), but here’s an oldie but goodie (my very first el tipico!) with better lighting compared to my picture from dinner the other night:

el tipico

my tortillas were sadly fused together when i opened my foil packet, but our friend decided she wasn’t going to eat hers (!!) and gave them to me. woo, extra tortillas! i made three breakfast tacos with this bounty. erik ordered the holy grail of bouldin brunch, the tofu renedict:

tofu renedict

he loved it, like always. i’ve never ordered this myself (see also: can only order el tipico, every time), but i’ve tasted it and it’s quite lovely. erik’s advisor and his wife both ordered the zucchini migas, but i didn’t take pictures of their food because i felt like a weirdo. we sat on the patio (they have misters and giant fans, which kept us relatively cool in the scorching august heat) and had a really really nice visit.

after lunch, we decided to take a bit of a road trip, to pay a visit to an animal shelter we hadn’t seen in just over 13 years. it’s where we adopted avery in march 2000, when he was one year old and newly-captured by animal control (with his brother, joseph) after being an “oustide cat” (i wouldn’t say feral, given how insanely friendly he was) for the first year of his life. we always assumed he and joseph lived near the parking lot of a restaurant or something, making friends with people and eating their castoffs. this particular day marked four weeks exactly since having to put avery to sleep after a sudden health crisis (i will blog about this later, it is still too difficult right now), and we felt like visiting the shelter might make us feel a little better, and share some good memories in the process.

it’s amazing the things you remember and forget after 13+ years. the drive took about an hour, and we didn’t recognize a lot of it, but once we arrived at the shelter itself it looked familiar. they have a different name now (they used to be called lago vista PAWS; now they’re lifelong friends), but other than that the building looked the same. i think they have more outside structures than they used to (a screened-in cat room, and multiple doggie areas), but it’s quite small and they are obviously struggling for volunteers and support. we talked at length with the adoption counselor and she was extremely gracious: she let us come in and visit the cat room, told us stories about all of the kitties there and let us pet and snuggle a whole bunch of them. she was really generous with her time, and two handsome boys in particular (jellybean and sunset) started following erik around. they were both gorgeous and friendly, and they were affectionate not only with erik and me, but also each other… i am such a sucker for that, and it was pretty easy to fall in love with them. we made a couple of jokes about packing them into our suitcases and bringing them back on the plane, but eventually i started feeling self-conscious about how much time we were taking, and i forced myself to leave. honestly, it made me really sad to remember avery being there, and to see SO many cats still there who don’t have families yet, and to see this tiny organization struggling so much. we gave them a donation on the way out, but it felt paltry compared to what i’m sure they need. 😦 if you’re looking for no-kill shelters to add to your list of charities, please keep them in mind!

aaanyway, after having a little cry and driving back to austin, we eventually got hungry again, and then debated for awhile about where to go for dinner. we settled on mr. natural, which is another place we didn’t really eat at when we lived there, but have discovered since moving away. it’s another all-vegetarian restaurant, and also all-mexican-food, so you know it’s quality right there. erik had the tofu pipian:

tofu pipian

we were completely unfamiliar with this dish, but it was described in the menu as tofu cooked in a sauce made of pumpkin seeds, peanuts, sesame seeds, and tomato. erik really liked it; i tried a couple of bites and it was delicious! it came with tortillas, but inexplicably, erik made zero tacos with this meal. sacrilege. anyscoot, i had the flautas:


this was a fairly simple dish; the flautas are filled with mashed potato and accompanied by “avocado hot sauce,” which was YUM. i spared you the photo of how this looked when i actually ate it, which: i cut up the flautas into bite-sized pieces, stirred in all the rice and all the beans, and then drizzled the avocado hot sauce over the whole shebang. deelish!

after dinner we made a return visit to bananarchy, and i finally made good on my promise to order the banana with chocolate sauce + mixed nuts that i was forever denying myself. we didn’t take pictures (super dark), but they were excellent as always. there was a band playing at the food trailer park and they were okay, except for the one song they were singing toward the end of our visit which was awful and interminably long, and got stuck in our head for two days. it was full of what i believe they thought were clever double entendres (they were not), and mostly relied on a horrible chorus of “let’s do this thing” and various phrases that rhyme, including “like a bird on a wing.” seriously, just horrific. sorry, nameless band at bananarchy.

coming up tomorrow, on day 5: the day i finally screwed up on my self-restraint and ate WAY too much, and nearly paid the price.

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