After a long day at University of Texas and Austin downtown, I know the Sunday is going to be a nice day out as most Americans stay home, or go to Church on Sunday morning. It was a great sunny day, and I decided to visit the State Capital to take advantage of the morning sun, which is not too bright. Besides, there isn’t a whole lot of interesting business would open on Sunday.
I parked my rental car at the front of the State Capital building because there is no traffic, and parking is free because it was Sunday. The front of the State Capital compound is more interesting, and the courtyard has various statues for remembrance of important event or people.
The font courtyard to the capital building is really nice, especially with the weather on the day I visit!
I’m not much of a history person, so I didn’t read any of the sign or plaque on the statue, but just take snapshot of a few that’s unique to me.
With blue sky behind the building, somehow I can fit the whole building into the picture frame!
With the super zoom on my new camera, I’m able to zoom all the way to the top of the building to see the white statue.
A slow morning also inspired me to be more artistic and play around with the special effect in my new camera.
The status capital building is huge! I walked around it to find interesting angle to take picture.
I didn’t know the building is open since it was Sunday. When I saw other people entered the building, I follow them in and it turned out it was open to public, and free of charge!
At the center of the building, there is a cool view of the dome from the lobby.
The detail of the dome ceiling was impressive, but even with my super zoom camera, I can’t get very far into the ceiling.
Most of the offices area were closed to public, but there are a few rooms that are still accessible. One of them is some sort of Senate hall.
The senate room looks like a very serious court room kind of place.
The floor is not accessible, so I can only look from outside.
Every floor has access to the view of the dome.
From the corridor, you get better view of the dome ceiling.
The higher you go, you can see the floor of the lobby better, which has some sort of Texas lone star symbol of some sort.
The other big room that’s opened to public is some sort of meeting room, probably for the congress or something.
This room is much more different than the other room, mainly from the arrangement of the chairs.
Each chair has Texas stamp on it, I can’t help but notice the chairs are neatly arranged.
There is nothing else interesting inside the State Capital building, so it was time to leave. As I walk around more, I saw a monument that’s hiding at the corner of the compound.
When I was leaving and getting back to my rental car, I notice the fence of the capital building has gold stars on top of them.
Time to play around with artistic photo technique again!
By the time I leave the capital building, it was close to lunch time. I did some research the night before about potential lunch places, and Taco Xpress is known to have cheap and good taco in town. So, I keyed in the restaurant address in the GPS, and found my way to the restaurant.
The restaurant has unique characteristic.
When I travel alone, I enjoy going to “self-service” kind of restaurant because those places are more casual, and every body mind their own business.
The price for the lunch was great, and the portion is not that big either. I ordered a pork burrito, which look very homemade and fresh.
The waiter also recommended fish taco, which looks good but taste a bit fishy.
It was a Sunday, so I they have outdoor concert to entertain crowd that come in after church service, the place was pack!
After lunch, I only have one more tourist place to go, that is South Congress (Soco) Avenue shopping street. It took me quite a while to find parking around the area because there are only street side parking. While walking from my car to the shopping area, a food truck caught my attention.
I’m a big sucker for fried chicken, and it’s unusual to find none chain restaurants when come to fried chicken. Besides, who can pass up a catchy name call “Electric Cock”?
The menu is quite limited, and the price is not cheap, but hey, it’s small business, it’s understandable.
My Taco Xpress lunch didn’t fill me up, so I had room for two pieces of fried chicken, so I ordered them and waited them to be cook. I have to say, the coating is nice and crispy, but the inside is just plain chicken flavor without much seasoning.
Austin has some weird culture like Portland Oregon, and you can find those in SoCo Avenue. I went into some of these stores, they’re basically upscale antique stores with interesting find here and there.
Some stores have their charm and characters, and they’re boldly displayed at the store front.
If you think men wearing dress in drag, wait until you see Zebra in drag! The store that sell wig and dress basically made its statement.
The afternoon was getting hot, after all it was September and we are talking about being in Texas. So I went back to the hotel, enjoy the air condition and took a nap. When it was time to have dinner, I knew exactly where to go, time to try out Texas BBQ!
The place look quiet at the store front, it’s because most of the patrons were at the back enjoying the summer night and the backyard concert.
The restaurant ran out of their Sunday special, the baby back ribs. I read review that their country fried steak is excellent, so I ordered a country fried steak and a few BBQ spareribs as I want to try Texas BBQ and compare it to Kansas City style, which is the BBQ capital of the world.
I have to say, the country fried steak is out of the world! The breading is super crispy and light, and seasoned just right! The steak was tender and moist. I had to eat it quick before the coating get soft and soggy from the juice of the steak.
The BBQ ribs was disappointing, it was fatty and not tender enough. They didn’t smoke them long enough to let the fat render out, and moisten the meat. The smoke flavor is not that strong either. I had to pour some BBQ sauce on them to cut down the fattiness and moisten the meat. Good thing I didn’t order a rib dinner!
The sun went down very quickly, and I was busy eating dinner and missed the Bat watching schedule as I didn’t get great video the night before. Since I was already in downtown Austin, I figure I could go back to the Texas State Capital and see if I can get good night moonlight architecture shots.
The state capital building looks very different during the night, for starter, it’s white during the night, and tan during the day.
The top of the building, where the statue and the dome is, has red light lid up so you can see it from far away.
It’s hard to photograph the building from the front of the building because of all the trees at the courtyard, so I went to the back of the building, where it is facing University of Texas and got a pretty nice shot.
The building is very well lid, I didn’t have problem to pull out nice photo effect using the built in feature in the camera.
I called it a night after visit the state capital, and went back to the hotel to rest because I need to drive back to Houston the next day to catch my flight. My flight was late evening, and after timed it, I realize I can have early lunch in Austin and safe the trouble of finding restaurant in Houston, or eat boring food at the airport. So a quick google and I found another restaurant featured in the show Diner Drive in and Dive:
When I arrive at the restaurant, the just open for business and I was the first patron. From what I read, the place to get very pack during lunch time, and they often run out of their signature meal.
Their most popular menu item is the Duck pastrami, and the portion is just right otherwise I would have a long sleepy 4 hours drive back to Houston.
The duck flavor in the duck is quite mild, but the sauce, and the crispy toasted bread really made the dish!
Overall, the Austin trip was a nice get away where I can take my time to do sight seeing, eat when I want, where I want and what I want. I finally get the chance to see the Austin city, and I have to say, it’s a pretty nice city. The pace is not too busy, yet the people are generally friendly and me being a minority, I didn’t even feel that I’m being stare at whether I’m at a restaurant, or on the street. I wish I have more time and more well prepare so I could check out the real estate of the area, so that if I want to call it my new home, at least I know what to expect, and how to make plan for it. Oh well, there is always a next time to visit Austin again!