Bode – Our Home in Nashville

We recently went on a trip to Nashville and it included lots of country music, hot chicken, and an amazing hotel. Nashville, like most major cities, has countless downtown hotels that will fit any style, budget, or taste. But we think we found something you can’t call a hotel, we felt like we were home at Bode Nashville.  

Bode Nashville 

The hotel is located right downtown just a couple of blocks away from Broadway. This makes for great access to good food, sports, and of course live music. As sports fanatics, we took a stroll to Nissan Stadium, home of the titans and loaded up on some gifts for the Titans fans in our lives (but always Go Texans!). As foodies, we were excited to only be a quick ten minute walk from Assembly Food Hall – the food hall has 30+ restaurants and bars, Nashville’s largest roof top, and 3 stages for live music.  

Bode Nashville epitomizes the new age hotel experience. Check-in and check-out are text based and seamless. As we entered our 2 bedroom unit, we were greeted with a welcome bottle of champaign, tons of snacks (yes they included moon pies), and a lovely note.  

The Unit 

Words simply cannot do justice to the 2 bedroom unit we stayed in. 2 king beds, a kitchen, living room, and a porch with downtown views – can we live here forever? All of this was complemented by plenty of modern art, comfy furniture, and our favorite – a guitar!  

All the furniture was had a Southern flair to it and made for the perfect backdrop for capturing some content.  

The Food 

Before we talk about the Hub or Sidebar, we can’t ignore the kitchen we had all to ourselves. The kitchen in our unit had all the appliances you could ever ask for, top of the line kitchenware, and lighting that inspires to make your next great dish. Unfortunately, we were only in town for a few days and didn’t have time to cook.  

We did make plenty of trips to the Porch Coffee and Marketplace located right in the lobby. They brew local Stay Golden beans that made for the best lattes. The marketplace had a variety of locally sourced goods and snacks that made for the perfect lazy afternoon hangout stop.  

We spent our evenings at Sidebar. The atmosphere is awesome with eclectic furniture and decorations. It’s great for groups with tons of seating options. The staff was super friendly, and the bartenders made some amazing drinks – our favorite was the English Beat. Sidebar is part of Bode, so there you can grab your drink and head out to the outdoor area with yard games and lighting. 

Be Back Soon 

We really enjoyed our stay at Bode. The location was awesome and the accompanying bar and open space is fantastic. The apartment style approach with limited staff interaction was a little different, but once settled in it made things seamless. We can’t wait to be back soon! 

Lorde: Solar Power Album Review

Lorde’s third studio album, Solar Power, is finally here. Released on August 20th, 2021, this album has been long awaited by fans of New Zealand born artist since the release of her previous album, Melodrama, which came out in 2017. For a look into the 12 track album’s singles, prevalent themes, sound, and a brief comparison to her other projects, keep reading!

The Singles

The title track “Solar Power,” released on June 11th, 2021, was the first of three singles to precede the highly anticipated project. The song is a cheerful anthem that embraces summertime. The track also shows us Lorde welcoming personal changes along with the season. She expresses gratitude that darker times are behind her, leaving her to enjoy the present moment. 

The next single, released on July 22nd, is “Stoned at the Nail Salon”—a more somber song compared to its forerunner. We hear Lorde reminiscing on a fast paced life, and acknowledging the smaller pleasures in her current, simpler lifestyle. The song speaks to the questioning of life choices. It gives advice for how to “make it good,” which could be directed toward herself or the listener. 

Finally, “Mood Ring,” released on August 17th, is a lighthearted, satirical track that embraces indulgence in the modern, sometimes commodified means of spiritual practice during trying times, her examples ranging from simple meditation to using crystals and burning sage.

The Sound

Melodious guitars,  dreamy harmonies, and gentle bass and drums are used consistently throughout this album, delivering mainly mixes of indie-folk and psychedelic pop. Songs like “California” and “Oceanic Feeling” maintain a steady, gentle sound that place the vocals at the forefront. They are complemented by melodic guitar and drums that don’t overpower. Tracks such as “Solar Power” and “Secret’s from a Girl (Who’s Seen it All)” are brighter. They employ upbeat guitars, smooth bass, and percussion. 

Popular artists Clairo and Phoebe Bridgers provide vocals on multiple songs including the title track. Their voices add to the graceful harmonies and background vocals. Slow-paced guitar melodies radiate in the song “The Man with the Axe”. This gives it a melancholy sound, along with other calm tracks. 

Overall, the sound of this album, while having some songs that feature more casual, drawn back instrumentals, is very cohesive in its harmonious, soft indie and pop elements.

The Themes

The introduction to the album, “The Path,” delivers an explanation for where Lorde has been, and where she is now. It sets the tone for the project with lyrics like “you need someone to take your pain for you? Well, that’s not me.” A frequent theme throughout this album is a sense of freedom from Lorde. Whether it’s coming from letting go of the past in tracks like “Solar Power,” or accepting the uncertainty of the future in “Fallen Fruit,” which ruminates on the current state of our earth’s climate. 

In “Fallen Fruit,”, she also depicts unity through lines such as “we will walk together, psychedelic garlands in our hair,”. This theme of unity is also apparent in “Mood Ring”. In the song, she and her friends search for something to improve their mood. “Leader of a New Regime,” is the shortest song on the album. It has a run time of just 1 minute and 33 seconds. It lies in the same vein as “Fallen Fruit,” portraying an existence when our environment is no longer habitable. Songs like these tackle more topical thoughts and experiences, while others dive into intimate, personal stories. 

Lorde often takes inventory of various elements of her life. Distant memories, relationships that have come and gone in songs like “Dominoes,” and the passage of time as she awaits the uncertain future. Because of this, similar themes carry throughout the album even though each track contains a different narrative. For instance, “Big Star” is a sickly sweet love song for her dog that will make you want to hold your pets tight and never let them go. “California” is a farewell to an old California lifestyle. She describes glamorous memories made in the state, as well as things she won’t miss about it.

While this album differs in story from one song to the next, it’s cohesive in its displays of self-improvement and gratitude that arise when you relinquish your hold on the past. Though the overarching themes of the album are slightly broad, yet some are clear. Freedom and becoming united with yourself and others are evident messages. She notes her appreciation of loved ones, her surroundings, and herself. She also shares her decision to free herself from the past in order to cherish the current moment.

Pure Heroin and Melodrama

While singing about her personal experiences with change and the current cultural moment, Lorde also reforms her sound. In Solar Power, Lorde has pulled back from her electropop roots for an acoustic, mellow indie style, which compliments the more mature sentiments expressed throughout the album. 

Lorde was just 16 years old when she released her debut album, Pure Heroine, which was rich with lustrous electropop tracks about teenage angst, party anecdotes, and the dread of getting older with popular songs like “Royals” and “Ribs.” In Melodrama, a 20 year old Lorde chronicles the stresses of love, heartbreak, and the ups and downs of young adulthood. The largest difference between Lorde’s first two albums and this one is the genres it fits into. This change could be due to the lyrics, but it also shows her growth as an artist as she evolves.

Lorde shifts from the topics of adolescent nerves and young adult heartbreak to more recent experiences, which could appeal to an age range older than teens and young adults, but does not exclude them. It’s reflective, timely, well-rounded, and it still holds true to Lorde’s poetic writing, but with a new sound. Solar Power balances both upbeat and softer tracks, and is a perfect album to end the summer season.


No matter how you interpret the elements of this album, we think it is worth the listen for long-time Lorde fans, and first time listeners alike! You can stream “Solar Power” on Spotify and Apple Music, as well as through Lorde’s official web store. If you want to see more music reviews and other trending topics, check out our Culture Column here!

Breweries in Austin to Kick Off Fall

We know the crisp coolness of fall is here (well maybe). A cool drink always sounds good, and if you’re in Austin, you want to keep it local. One of the most frequent questions we get is “what are the best breweries near me?” -here are our favorite Austin breweries to catch a sip at.

The Austin Beer Garden Brewing Co.

Located along with South Lamar and West Oltorf St., you’ll find The Austin Beer Garden Brewing Co. Enjoy signature and seasonal beer, wine, cider, and food. You can also catch a live music show by going online and checking out the events. Plus, through their “Hell Yes Project,” a portion of yearly profits are donated to causes and volunteers organize to help at places like the Central Texas Food Bank and Barton Springs Pool.

St. Elmo Brewing Company

Not too far from the St. Edwards University campus, you’ll find another Austin favorite. St. Elmo Brewing Company “loves all styles of beer and people,” and if drinking at a public place isn’t your thing, then you’re in luck. Drinks can be purchased to-go! But of course, you can always sit, sip and relax at St. Elmo’s garden. An added bonus: you can also find their beer at several local restaurants and businesses as well!

Pinthouse Pizza

Across I-35 and also nearby St. Elmo, you’ll come see Pinthouse Pizza. Pinthouse Pizza offers featured beer and beer to-go, along with delivery, curbside and dine-in. With a Burnet, South Lamar and Round Rock location, finding a Pinthouse Pizza in the area is no problem. Their “food philosophy” stems from making everything from scratch. Therefore, you can also enjoy a meal made from scratch at Pinthouse, including salads, pizzas and desserts.

Hill Country - Pinthouse Pizza, View Online Menu and Dish Photos at Zmenu

Jester King Brewery

No, it isn’t near the University of Texas at Austin campus. Jester King Brewery is actually in the deeper west side of Austin, but don’t let the drive discourage you. Hill Country views and farmhouse tours are always worth the trip. You can make a reservation for your visit on their website, and not only is this a brewery and farmhouse, but Jester King offers several lodging accommodations in case you want to prolong your stay in the Texas hill country.

Zilker Brewing Company and Taproom

Zilker Brewing Company and Taproom is location on Austin’s beloved East Sixth St, so not only is this a prime location for your night out, but you can also order online and to-go. Offering mainstays and seasonals, you’re bound to find a brew you’ll enjoy. Zilker Brewing Company’s products can also be found at plenty of other shops and restaurants all throughout the city.

Zilker Brewing Company (Austin) - 2021 All You Need to Know BEFORE You Go  (with Photos) - Tripadvisor

Il Brutto: A Classic Night Out

Il Brutto sits on the corner of Comal and E Sixth, rounding out the trendy neighborhood and offering some of the best authentic Italian in Austin. Diners are afforded a choice between breezy wood-paneled seating outside or cushy, relaxed tables inside. Upbeat music surreptitiously keeps the mood up throughout the night as each course of finessed Italian fare graces the table. 

The Drinks

Hands down the best part of the night was trying my new favorite drink, the Questo Espresso Martini. With all the punch of espresso and sophisticated sass of quality European liquor, the Questo is the perfect way to prep for an evening of energy and excitement at Il Brutto. Despite the strength of flavor brought by the coffee and two liquors, the martini is smooth and decadent from the first sip to the last.

Questo Espresso Martini

For an equally bracing but less dramatic drink, the Uccello Rosa is a prime choice. Slightly herbal, with sneakily tropical notes of pineapple, the accessible and friendly Uccello Rosa is sure to please even pickier drinkers. 

The Appetizer

Trio Tasting

Keeping the trend of catering to all tastes, the Trio Tasting features three distinct spreads alongside Il Brutto’s pizza bread: a classic basil pesto, a strong blend of four cheeses, and a traditional ‘nduja pork mousse. The pizza bread is perfectly chewy and fluffy, and a delight to eat by itself. The basil pesto and ‘nduja are creamy and bold, with the ‘nduja providing some welcomed spice. Despite its apparent thinness, the four cheese dip clings to the bread well and has a beautifully complex, robust flavor that leaves you dipping over and over until it’s gone.

The Entrees

Cacio e Pepe

The Cacio e Pepe, or cheese and pepper pasta, is strikingly simple yet remarkably delicious due to Il Brutto’s precise execution. The pasta is exactly al dente and slightly thicker than spaghetti noodles. The sauce has the same complexity as the four-cheese dip from the Trio Tasting. The pepper adds that little kick needed to make it unforgettable.

Lamb Scottadito

The previous dishes are simple fare executed perfectly. The Lamb Scottadito, in contrast, is an intricate marriage of texture and flavor. Succulent lamb rib chops draw the eye as they lay in a bed of tangy yogurt, fresh dill, juicy fried artichokes, and excitingly crispy kataifi noodles.

This entree truly shines when all elements are eaten together. The yogurt and artichokes temper the natural gaminess of the lamb, while the dill brightens the bite and the kataifi allows for a satisfying crunch.

The Desserts

Of course, the most important part of a meal is dessert. At Il Brutto, it did not disappoint. They makes their gelato in-house, making the final product quite impressive. The difficult-to-achieve creaminess is a brilliant testament to the skill of the chefs and shouldn’t be missed.

Tiramisu

And the tiramisu? Now that is on another level. Like the Questo, Il Brutto’s tiramisu shot up into my favorites list at first contact. I may have ascended to a higher plane of existence. In short, the tiramisu is divine. It’s not a cake favored like tiramisu, which is something a lot of restaurants do to save themselves trouble. This is pure tiramisu. It’s pillowy soft, airy, and melt-in-the mouth, yet the coffee grounds it just long enough to grant you the best experience of your life. Chocolate cinnamon streusel gently dusts the top of the dessert for an innovative touch that compliments instead of overwhelms the overall taste. 

FM Kitchen and Bar in Houston: Welcome to Montrose!

FM Kitchen and Bar is the perfect place to hang with family and friends for some quality happy hour drinks and food. The neighborhood restaurant and bar recently opened its second location on the corner of Montrose Boulevard and Westheimer Road. Whether you’re going out for a night in the town or to get a quick bite to eat, FM can accommodate any special occasion.

Customers can easily find themselves comfortable here, as the inside of this location is quite cozy yet lively at the same time. Guests are welcome to experience the lovely outdoor patio area, which I recommend for daytime brunch outings. The outdoor space is also doggy-friendly, which is perfect for customers with furry friends! 

The Drinks

FM offers a wide variety of cocktails on their menu; here are some that I recommend.  “The Frose,” a sweet frozen cocktail with Deep Eddy Ruby Red, rosé, raspberry, strawberry, and orange. This combination of flavors blends well together for a cocktail with a refreshing sweet taste.

The “FM Ranch Water” is also my favorite! The Hibiscus adds an exciting pink detail to this cocktail which makes it enjoyable to drink! Mixed with tequila, Topo Chico, and lime, this specialty cocktail is a must-try when visiting FM for the first time. 

The Food

Now let’s talk about the food menu. The menu selection offers choices for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Have a craving for some comfort food? Try the “FM Burger,” with American cheese, lettuce, tomato, onion, and “shhh sauce” on a potato bun. Don’t forget the tater tots, a crowd favorite that I noticed at the grand opening!

In addition to this, the menu has options for customers who want something healthier, like the “Superfood grain bowl,” with kale, quinoa, avocado, cherry tomatoes, cucumber, red onion, pumpkin & chia seeds, and miso-ginger vinaigrette. 

Courtesy of FM Kitchen

There’s something for everyone. Plant-based? Get the impossible burger in a lettuce wrap. FM Bar and Kitchen offers various crowd favorites, with the primary goal of having a great time!

Teal House Coffee and Bakery

When I walked into Teal House Coffee and Bakery, I didn’t know anything about it but what I’d heard: everything was fantastic, but I HAD to try the cinnamon rolls. As a coffee connoisseur and lover of baked goods (super quirky, right?) I could not have been more psyched to see if this home-run bakery turned SoCo sensation lived up to the hype. Spoiler: it did. 

The Story

In 2016, the Phillips family noticed a neighbor’s success in selling paella out of her home. In their very own teal house, the Phillips had ample baking skills and five kids dying to go to Disney World, so they embarked upon an entrepreneurial undertaking of their own. What began as selling cinnamon rolls (we’ll get to those later) and apple pies out of their home expanded to become a full menu and so many devotees that they require two locations. And, if you didn’t connect the dots, the Teal House name pays homage to where it all began. 

The Atmosphere

For my first time trying Teal House, I got to go to their new SoCo storefront. The first thing that struck me when I walked in was that teal-tiled counter. Against the white walls, light wood, and minimalist look of the rest of the coffee shop, those tiles seriously pop, and all together it creates a bright, cheery feel. I also loved that, through a doorless opening on the far wall, you can see some of the work going on in the kitchen. With the variety offered in their menu and customers always ready for more, I doubt they stop baking from open until close. Don’t let the clean, minimalist aesthetic of this place fool you; their treats are elaborate and teeming with flavor–and if you attack them with the vigor I did (nearly unavoidable), you’ll be needing some napkins. 

The Coffee

Okay, so some might say I cheated by ordering an iced chai, which isn’t technically a coffee. But I’m a certified chai addict, so I couldn’t leave without trying theirs–and it’s my professional opinion that this is the best I’ve found in Austin thus far. Perfectly sweet, light, and cinnamon-y, it was refreshing with just the right amount of spice to get me thinking about autumn. Luckily for me, I was able to bring a friend who had the presence of mind to ask to try their signature drink. It’s called the Princess Diana, and it did not disappoint. I’m nineteen years old, okay? I’ve tried plenty of coffees in my time. And NEVER IN MY LIFE have my tastebuds been so pleasantly confused. The Princess Diana involves both lavender and coffee and almost seemed to change from one sip to the next as my brain tried to process the presence of herbal notes in something that wasn’t tea. What it was, definitively, was fantastic. 

The Food

Now, the moment we’ve all been waiting for: Teal House’s famous Cinnamon Roll. Some might say that being consistently rated the best cinnamon roll in Austin is a lot of pressure to put on a pastry; those people clearly haven’t tried it. There’s the exterior layer, just crispy enough to keep it all from falling apart, the dense, chewy, and insanely cinnamon-y middle, and just when you think it can’t get any better, the soft core practically melts in your mouth. But even with all of that going for it, I still think the pièce de résistance is the icing. I was definitely caught off guard by the saltiness (balances the whole thing out perfectly, by the way), and though I have a few guesses at some ingredients, no one would divulge the secret recipe.

Next was the Croissant Breakfast Sammy with egg and avocado. The croissant itself was perfectly flaky (Also, look at it! So gorgeous), and the sandwich came with the surprising kick of pepper embedded in the egg. Finally, I got to try the Andy. Named for owner Lance Phillips’ wife, Andrea, this massive croissant/cinnamon roll fusion is flaky and soft with a similar icing to the cinnamon roll and caramelized cinnamon sprinkled on top. It’s tangy, sweet, and buttery all ROLLED (get it?) up into one, and evoked the feeling of riding a flavor rollercoaster. 

Glass Animals Rock a Sold Out White Oak Music Hall

Live music is something that has been missing from our lives for far too long. As a society we are still negotiating with how to reintroduce live music gatherings and we may have found the answer. This past week we got to hear some synth-drenched pop music from Glass Animals at White Oak Music Hall in Houston, Texas. All attendees of the sold-out concert were required to show proof of vaccination or a negative Covid-19 test. Additionally the concert was held on the outdoor Lawn space, decreasing risk of viral transmission.

The Venue

White Oak Music Hall (“WOMH”) is a five-acre, three-stage indoor/outdoor live music complex, located just north of downtown Houston. The venue originally opened in 2016 and has hosted diverse acts from up and coming local talent to grammy winning international tours. This was our first time catching a show at the venue and we LOVED it. There is an upstairs room that fits 300, downstairs area for 1,000 fans and the outdoor stage welcomes some of the most legendary names in music for a performance to more than 3,000 fans. We got to see Glass Animals on the outdoor stage in what felt like a festival atmosphere.

The Opening Act

It was the perfect late summer evening with a a cooler-than-normal late summer backdrop as the youthful and lively crowd trickled in for opener Binki.

Baraka Ongeri, better known by his stage name Binki, has seen a brisk rise with millions of streams from the momentum of TikTok and Spotify playlists. The Pennsylvanian musician is someone whose music could only exist in a world where a DIY approach is possible – his sound is pop, indie, dance, hip-hop, and R&B. He charmed the crowed with Heybb! and even threw in some magic tricks into his set.

Glass Animals

And then it was time. Glass Animals walked onto the stage to an atmosphere that felt like ACL. Their set was colorful, lit with neon lights, and even had a basketball hoop draped with some Air Force Ones – all in theme with the cover of Dreamland.

Ground shaking 808s topped with wipsy vocals and driving synth lines rocked Houston. They opened the show with the “Dreamland” intro, quickly followed by “Life Itself,” and the dancing ensued. The colorful set added to the psychedelic feel of the show. The screen at the back of the set played everything from music videos to pac-man. All this, while Dave Bayley flew around the stage in his Houston shirt taking the audience to new places. What some may not know is that Dave grew up in College Station, Texas and stated during the show that his is the closest he’ll ever have to a home town show.

Their newest funky single ‘I Don’t Wanna Talk (I Just Wanna Dance)’ is proof that Glass Animals are better than ever. Bayley said of the single “I want people to switch their devices off, put this song on, close their eyes and have that release for a moment.” and thats what we did.

The band left the stage briefly and then came back for their encore. “Tokyo Drifting” dropped and for their finale, “Heat Waves” had us dancing and singling along as the lyrics flashed on the screen capping off a dreamy concert experience on a September night in beautiful Houston, Texas.

Songs You Should Add To Your Fall Playlist

With the autumn months quickly approaching, but Texas heat not getting the memo, it can be hard to get into the fall spirit. One of the best ways to channel that fall feel is through music. Here are some recently released songs you should add to your fall playlist that will hopefully help conjure up a more fall feel. 

“Happier Than Ever” by Billie Eilish

In this soul-crushing ballad, Eilish screams about seemingly a previous relationship. This song evokes a whirlwind of emotions, as it develops from a slow, melodic beat to a total punk saga. The namesake of her most recent album, this song will have you screaming the lyrics in the car on the way to your nearest pumpkin patch. 

“Adeline” by Penny and Sparrow

If you’re looking for a more slow fall beat, “Adeline” should definitely make it onto your playlist. This song gives major Hozier or John Mayer vibes. Beautiful vocals, with a guitar and violin to match, this song feels like driving through a forest as the leaves change color. 

“The 90s” by Finneas

A little more upbeat than the last tune, “The 90s” is FINNEAS’s latest single, and it does not disappoint. It radiates nostalgia, the feeling of regrets and time passing. It has all the angst that comes with the fall vibe, but add in a bit of spice in the form of electronic instrumentals. 

“Stay” by girl in red

I’ve been absolutely obsessed with this cover of The Kid LAROI and Justin Bieber’s pop hit. This slowed-down sound is perfect for fall, and girl in red’s voice sounds like silk over the relaxed track. 

“Justified” by Kacey Musgraves

If you’re experiencing heartbreak this fall, Kacey Musgraves’s new album, Starcrossed, will hit you where it hurts. “Justified” details coming out of a fun summer into heartbreak weather. Perfect if you’re looking for a little country twang with an uppity beat, “Justified” is a glimpse into the rest of the album. 

“Awe of Her” by Joshua Henry

Perfect for fans of John Legend and Labrinth, this emotional song feels like a warm hug. Henry’s voice is phenomenal, rich in tune, and incredibly soulful. Adding this song to your fall playlist will leave you with chills. 

“Silk Chiffon” by MUNA feat. Phoebe Bridgers 

A slightly different sound coming from Phoebe Bridgers, this song has a heavy pop-rock aspect to it that is refreshing and fun. This is a great song to add if you’re looking for something a little more upbeat. I can totally imagine dancing to this one in the near fall future.

She’s Got It All: Fareground Food Hall in Downtown Austin Reopens

If you’re like me, the concept of a food hall – a standalone space with several restaurants to choose from – seems a little too close to a food court to be met without skepticism. However, as soon as I pulled up to Fareground, I realized this wasn’t the case at all. Fareground features a beautifully landscaped outdoor eating area below the trendy Ellis bar on the corner of Congress and E 2nd, alongside sleekly modern, wonderfully clean indoor seating. Apart from Ellis, all the restaurants, as well as some boutique goods, are located in the main One Eleven building. Currently, Fareground is home to DRINK, The Market, Henbit, Austin Rôtisserie, Little Wu, Taco Pegaso, and TLV. Upon Fareground’s reopening, only Ellis and Little Wu were still preparing for business. 

Drink

Front and center when entering Fareground, DRINK takes first impressions seriously. The specialty drinks are precise in representing Fareground’s unifying aesthetic of chic fun. The frozen Mango Punch, draft Hibiscus Margarita, and craft Watermelon Mezcal Margarita are refreshing enough to banish the Texas heat from your mind, yet all in different ways. The Mango Punch is lively with an energizing crunch from the ice. The Hibiscus and Watermelon Mezcal margaritas are more rejuvenating than energetic. The former providing a simple, crisp sip and the latter an intriguing, complex experience.

Farm Fare

Henbit’s farm-to-table approach means you can feel yourself get healthier as you eat. The Salmon Bowl is a delightful marriage of various strong flavors which somehow don’t impede each other. The Crispy Sweet Potatoes are to die for and much more satisfying than sweet potato fries are, which is quite a feat. Afterwards, you can reward yourself for a well-picked meal with a massive Monster Cookie that begs to be eaten all in one sitting.

Sandwiches

The Market and Austin Rôtisserie focus on perfectly executed classics. The Market’s Caprese panini and Austin Rôtisserie’s Poulet Roti Baguette are reminders that sometimes, simple is best. Both impressed through their gorgeously balanced flavors, with all elements carefully calculated to be just present enough to do their job without taking over the sandwich. Austin Rôtisserie also managed to make baguette bread friendly and enjoyable. The outside is toasty enough to crunch endearingly but not to attack the roof of your mouth. The inside remains fluffy and chewy.

Foreign Fare

Taco Pegaso and TLV embrace the street food so popular in Mexico and Israel. At Taco Pegaso, I enjoyed the vegetarian Champis burrito and the hearty Al Pastor taco on corn. The Champis’ summery flavor gets better with each bite, while the Al Pastor hits you straight away with the sharpness of pineapple and substance of achiote pork. Hilariously, both actually filled me up equally despite their difference in size. TLV’s Kofta Be-Pita had a similar vigor to the Al Pastor, as the red cabbage salad paves the way for generously seasoned, melt-in-the-mouth lamb and beef. And, despite being closed, Little Wu’s menu should be mentioned. I’ll be going back to try the cold sesame noodles and tricolor dumplings the first chance I get!

Overall, Fareground is exactly what Austin needs. Everything is delicious, though Austin Rôtisserie’s Poulet Roti Baguette and DRINK’s Mango Punch are the stars of an already star-studded show. The option to stay both indoors and outdoors when visiting makes it a perfect shelter from Texas’ notoriously changeable weather, and the variety of menus means nobody has to settle for less when eating out. The spacious, mixed seating layouts and inviting décor allow it to host quick drop-ins, dates, and hangouts alike, and offer great casual photography opportunities for you and yours. If you haven’t yet, give Fareground a go – you won’t be disappointed. 

The Wonders of Wayside Food Truck

Tucked behind the Back Lot Bar on Maiden Lane sits one of Austin’s best late-night places for quality grub. Wayside Food Truck is a gem of a spot, focusing on blowing minds with the ever so versatile waffle. Open until 2 AM most nights of the week, Wayside is slinging out dishes with flavors and textures that will leave you in awe. Chef and owner Ozzy B. was a local who would stop by the Back Lot and fell in love with the bar and its atmosphere.

Otherside Deli previously owned the truck right outside the Back Lot and they eventually moved to a storefront location, offering Ozzy the truck. Thinking of what could be both unique and delicious, Ozzy and his team came up with the idea of bringing quality waffles to the Austin food truck scene. The mindset behind Wayside is to provide killer late-night meals for a fair price. What Ozzy and the Wayside team have come up with is nothing short of a modern marvel. 

The Many Ways to Waffle

With a diverse menu oriented around waffles, Wayside offers some out-of-this-world bites in many different forms. As a diehard fan of the classic chicken and waffles, Ozzy put his spin on the dish which is as delicious and satisfying as any chicken and waffles that I have had. Everything starts with the waffle, which is perfectly balanced as a salty and sweet vessel for any dish.

The focus with the Wayside waffles is to not overpower the food with a super sweet waffle but to utilize it like a Hawaiian roll. Hawaiian rolls are quite sweet and are a great way to incorporate sweetness into a dish and Wayside does the same thing with their exquisite waffles. At Wayside, one does not need to choose between sweet and savory. The mouthwatering dishes that come out of this humble truck tease the taste buds with such complexity in each item. 

The BLT, a classic American sandwich, gets an innovative twist at Wayside as it is served on a waffle that has been topped with a thin skirt of cheese. Each facet of the sandwich comes together to form a bite like no other. The saltiness of the cheese and bacon are cut by the tomato, lettuce, and chipotle mayo, only to be rounded out by the sweet waffle holding it all together. The BLT is a precursor to the rest of the incredible food.

In addition to the BLT, I had the privilege of trying the Wayside Chicken and Waffle as well as the Loaded Potato Wedges. The Chicken and Waffle was the ideal late-night bite that could satisfy any palette in search of sweet, salty, crunchy, and soft deliciousness. Although the Chicken and Waffle were not as complex and unique as the other dishes I tried, it was simply phenomenal.

Last but not least was the Loaded Potato Wedges which are generously topped with chorizo, peppercorn bacon, jalapeño sauerkraut, grilled jalepeños, provolone cheese, and spicy mayo. These “fries” were a complex dish that came together harmoniously as the hot and crispy potato wedges served as the ideal base for the spicy and salty toppings. 

Each ingredient worked in unison and created a dish that will keep me coming back to Wayside. All in all, I had a wonderful experience at Wayside Food Truck and highly recommend it to anyone looking for a great meal and atmosphere that won’t break your wallet.