Celebrating my birthday and our anniversary by basically eating and drinking our way through Austin
The Set Up
Last month Dylan planned a surprise trip for my birthday/our anniversary (they happen to be only two days apart. Some people said this was crazy, I like to call it strategic). For our first wedding anniversary/my birthday we took a trip down to wine country in Texas. The trip was supposed to be a surprise, but logistically, it didn’t work and Dylan had to tell me ahead of time. I guess that made him more determined to keep this year’s trip a surprise…and boy did he get me good.
When Dylan told me to keep my plans for my birthday open, I tried to play it cool but quickly began asking question after question, begging for hints or clues. I even baked him cookies as a way to bribe him into telling me. But in the end, he didn’t waiver and every clue he gave me not only didn’t make sense, but wasn’t even relevant to where we ended up going…Surprises are so much more fun when you’re actually surprised.
In the week leading up to our trip I was given one clue and allowed three guesses, which were all wrong. Then, Friday afternoon on the way to the car, bags in tow, Dylan gave me one last hint: “It’s between here (Dallas) and Austin.” Yup, that was it. I didn’t say he was a wordsmith or great with riddles. But that left only one choice: Waco.
Now, don’t get me wrong. Waco is a cute, fun town with many things to do (hello, Magnolia Market). But when Dylan was not (still is not) aware of any of those fun things, and even asked me if I liked Dr. Pepper (hard NO!) because the Dr. Pepper museum is in Waco, I thought this would be an…interesting weekend…and a long car ride. Let me just say that I was beyond grateful that Dylan took the time to plan such a thoughtful weekend trip to celebrate, but it didn’t feel like a trip either of us would enjoy.
So there we were, driving through Waco, no one had said much since the mention of the Dr. Pepper museum, when Dylan pulled off the road into the parking lot of a random side hotel. To make the story even better, it was raining and he drove right past the porte-cochère and instead parked in possibly the second-furthest parking spot. I, not amused, looked at him with “the look,” then saw that he had a giant grin on his face. Confused and unamused, I asked what the (expletive) was going on. He responded by putting the car in reverse, getting back on the highway and laughing so hard I could barely understand him saying “We’re going to Austin!” The next couple of hours in the car pretty much consisted of Dylan laughing, so proud that he pulled it off straight-faced (especially the part about the museum).
After thinking we were staying at a Home2 Suites in Waco, just about anything would have seemed like a 5-star resort (I’m not hating on the Home2 Suites, they have the softest hotel sheets of just about any hotel I’ve stayed at… ). However, Dylan did still have one surprise left. We checked into the Renaissance Austin Hotel and all was normal. Everyone was super kind and welcoming. We went upstairs, found our room and when it was framed with enclosed statues I knew something was up…Open the door and my jaw literally dropped. Surely, I thought, there must have been some mistake. But nope, the presidential suite was ours for the weekend. We walked into the living room (that was as big as our entire apartment) and were greeted not only by an insane view of the Austin skyline, but a tray of chocolate covered strawberries and iced champagne welcoming us in. We were treated like royalty – and living like it – all weekend. Needless to say it was far better than the Home2 Suites.
The Food & Drink & Fun
We started Saturday morning at the cutest coffee shop on Congress called Mañana. Even with breakfast plans, we took the barista’s recommendation and tried some chocolate croissant with a fancy name along with our coffees. After our coffee, we walked around popping into shops like Sunroom, which had beautiful clothing and accessories, and Triple Z Threadz, which had everything from embroidered unicorn shirts to profane coffee mugs. We picked up the later and a cookbook pairing “craft beers and great food” – stay tuned for more from that.
From Congress, we headed to Rainey Street for brunch and drinks
Banger’s Sausage House & Beer Garden – man-mosas and sausages, the greatest combo you never knew you needed. We sat outside, enjoyed the sunshine and the smell of BBQ from the fire pit. I had the jalapeño cheddar bratwurst and Dylan had the rabbit and mushroom sausage. The entire menu looked amazing, it was hard to pick. They even have veggie/vegan options.
Unbarliebable – As soon as I put that we were in Austin on Instagram, I got so many DMs saying this carnival-themed bar was a must! Great drinks, a fun atmosphere and it even had a slide on the back patio.
Javelina – Charming little bar with pretty cocktails.
Bungalow – Life-size janga, spacious patio and the infamous parody “I hate you so much” mural.
There are so many other beautiful restaurants and fun bars lining the street. We could have stayed all day, but I’m not sure our tolerance/livers would have allowed that.
Later that afternoon, we walked around The Domain. Still slightly giddy (be it from the cocktails or still the surprise of the whole weekend) we strolled through Tiffany’s, like we did on the day we got engaged, and picked out future anniversary presents — what, 60 years is diamonds right?! A girl can dream… Perhaps the biggest, sweetest present of all was Dylan not complaining once while shopping!
The Knotty Deck & Bar
After a day primarily dedicated to celebrating my birthday, we decided to spend the evening celebrating our anniversary. This dinner was too good to confine to some bullet points or a single paragraph, so I dedicated an entire post to it that you can find here. Musicians dedicate romantic songs to women they love, I dedicate blog posts to meals I’ll never forget.
all in all
The Best Weekend Ever
Sunday morning we slept in and soaked up the last moments of our beautiful view and stunning room. After brunch, we headed back to Dallas. It was the best weekend ever. I’m so grateful to Dylan for being so thoughtful and clever… and a surprisingly good liar.