I just don't know any place more awesome than Austin, Texas. We were there this weekend, with the kids, for our anniversary. Our wedding, 17 years ago, took place in Round Rock, north of Austin. At the time, we were living in San Marcos, and working in Austin. This weekend, we visited all three of our old haunts.
While in Round Rock, we ate at the Salt Lick, which I've written about before. The words "salt lick" are enough to get all four members of my family drooling. Colin, in particular, loves those ribs.
In Austin, we discovered that TerraBurger still has a location in Austin. They had a failed attempt to expand, and shut down their campus location last year, but they still have a little drive-though shack out by the arboretum at 10611 Research Blvd. They don't have indoor seating, but they have a walk-up window and a playground for kids to run around on. There is even a little splash area for the kids to get wet on really hot days. There are picnic tables and also an old "Dillo" bus with additional seating.
The sweet potato fries are awesome, they have gluten free hamburger buns, and they serve ketchup and sodas with no high fructose corn syrup! Just another little piece of awesomeness in Austin.
We also found a new place on this trip. Java Dive, near Lakeway, is kind of out of the way. (It's at 1607 Ranch Road 620 North.) But it was soooo worth the trip. They also have all organic and no high fructose corn syrup, and offer gluten free breads, bagels, and waffles. They serve regular bread products, but you can ask for gluten free versions of almost everything.
We were there for brunch, so I ordered a gluten free toasted pecan waffle with real maple syrup, which was to die for. Buttery, good texture, great flavor. You'd never know it was gluten free. I'm pretty sure it was the best waffle I've ever eaten. I also ordered the Green Eggs and Ham (how could I not?) which was pesto scrambled eggs with ham. They asked me if I wanted a side of gluten free toast. I wanted to cry. I said no, since I knew I had already ordered too much food, but I was so impressed that toast was an option. Everyone at the table was happy with their food.
In San Marcos, our main goal was to tube down the river with our kids, and we had a blast. For dinner, we took them to The Saltgrass Steakhouse. Years ago, when we lived in San Marcos, the restaurant was called Pepper's at the Falls. It sits at the top of a waterfall, where the water from Aquarena Springs flows down to become the San Marcos river. Pepper's was an Institution in San Marcos, so we were devastated when they sold out to Joe's Crab Shack. We refused to eat there, mourning the loss of a local establishment to the corporate culinary clones. The evil Joe's has gone now, and the Saltgrass has taken their spot. They are still a chain restaurant, but since we are at least two restaurants removed from the original offenders, we are eating there again.
Saltgrass does not have a printed GF menu, but the waitress was knowledgeable and double checked everything she told me with the kitchen, which is great.I wasn't hungry, so I had a baked sweet potato with cinnamon butter. I did have a few bites of my daughter's steak and my son's baked potato soup. I was astounded that the soup was GF, but the waitress double checked and said it was. It was very tasty, but a little too peppery for my kids.
Seventeen years ago, when we said "I do -- in sickness and in health," we didn't know the word "gluten," let alone know how much that one little word could change our life. But being gluten free has brought more joy into my life. I am sick less, and enjoy food more. And I'm pretty sure that, if asked, my husband would say he'd do it all over again the same way, except with a gluten free wedding cake.