There's nothing quite like Texas football - from high school level to the NFL, fans around Texas flock to cheer on their favorite teams. Many will agree, one of the best parts of football is how it brings family and friends together in the All-American pastime known as the tailgate. Open up that tailgate, put [...]
There's nothing quite like Texas football - from high school level to the NFL, fans around Texas flock to cheer on their favorite teams. Many will agree, one of the best parts of football is how it brings family and friends together in the All-American pastime known as the tailgate. Open up that tailgate, put up your antennas, and get the BBQ smoking - here we unveil the 5 must-haves for the ultimate Texas tailgate.
The Seider brothers, both avid hunters and fishers, started Yeti in 2006 with a vision to create coolers that would exceed the expectations and needs of the outdoorsman's lifestyle. What they created with their home-grown Austin company completely revolutionized the cooler industry. Designed with 2-inch thick polyurethane walls, these coolers are not only durable enough to keep out grizzly bears, but keep ice frozen for days on end. A Yeti will be sure to keep your beverages cold for an entire day of tailgating so you don’t have to worry about the ice running out. Now these incredible coolers come with collegiate designs, including a handful of Texas schools: UT, A&M, TCU, and Tech. If you don't need a whole cooler, Yeti also offers a Rambler Colster to keep your 12 oz. beverage of choice crisp and refreshing for hours.
2. Local Brews
The cheap country songs Nashville churns out today may reminisce of glory days spent drinking PBRs and other cheap brews, but any good Texan likes to keep it local and crafty when it comes to stocking their tailgate bar. The state is brimming with stellar craft breweries and distilleries to keep the crowds around your watering hole happy. Some of our favorite places to stock up in and around Austin include:Live Oak Brewing Company
: With a name that pays homage to our state tree, this local brewery has been whetting the palettes of Austinites since 1997. While favorites like the Big Bark Amber, Hefeweizen, and Pilz have long been available on tap in local bars and by the keg, the Company promises that these brews will also be available by can this winter. For big tailgates this fall, you’ll have to stick with Live Oak by the keg, but who's complaining about 62 pints of refreshing deliciousness?!Thirsty Planet
: If you’d rather have bottles to fill up your Yeti, Austin brewed Thirsty Planet can accommodate, with their popular Thirsty Goat Amber, which is available at HEB, Whole Foods, Spec’s, and an assortment of other retailers. This particular brew is a crowd-pleaser, and bonus, Thirsty Planet is also planet conscious - re-purposing and recycling the materials used during production...so you are basically helping the environment with every gulp.Real Ale Brewing Company
: Another favorite in Austin bars, Real Ale Brewing Company brews less than an hour away in the small town of Blanco, nestled in the folds of the Texas Hill Country. Their most popular year-round beer is Fireman's #4, a smooth and balanced blonde ale so good that it medaled at the Great American Beer Festival. Canned, kegged, or bottled, you can pick up a supply of Fireman's 4 at a number of local retailers.
Most Texans would tell you they are proud of Texas' heritage - there's a distinctly Texan nostalgia and mystique shrouding this vast, variable, and sometimes unforgiving land where cowboys of old toiled to raise cattle and earn a living. During the 1800s, in the boom of Texas ranching, Texan cowboys drove millions of cattle north for rail distribution to other parts of the US. Ranching is still a big deal here, and if you know anything about Texas BBQ, you know that the quintessential meat of Texan tailgates, born out of Texas' ranching heritage, is the beef brisket. Fine Texan brisket requires 4 essentials:
- Quality beef: Look for a cut with marbling and a fat cap that render a melt-in-your-mouth experience.
- Wood chips: Soak them in water before throwing them in the pit to lend extra smokiness to your end product.
- Dry Rub: Typically a mixture of good ole salt and pepper, with additional spices as you see fit.
- Patience: Plan on smoking that brisket slow and steady (up to 2 hours per pound of meat), but this is no problem since there's plenty of football to be watched.
If you'd rather just pick up your gameday meat from a tried and true local smoker, check out one of the following:Franklin Barbeque
: This is THE place to get BBQ in Austin right now. If you plan to dine-in, bring some beer and a chair for the wait, and be forewarned - when they run out they run out
. For a gameday order, make sure you plan well in advance and preorder here
.The Salt Lick
: This place has the ultimate Texas BBQ experience. You could spend hours out at their sprawling estate in Driftwood - tasting wine at the Salt Lick Cellars
and chowing down on their family style bottomless BBQ plates, but you can also order online or have them cater your tailgate.Whether you're a Longhorn, Aggie, Red Raider, or a Baylor Bear, we hope that you have a season of memorable tailgates and enjoy some great Texas football!
Photo Credit: Flickr
You may have noticed a slight crispness in the early morning air this week - a hint that fall, and with it, promises of cooler weather, is right around the corner. Here in Texas, we may not get the dramatic autumn foliage that sweeps through the East or get to experience the joy of picking the fresh apples of the trees as Northerners do, but there are plenty of ways to enjoy fall and the reprieve from scorching temperatures in and around the Austin area. Here are some of our favorite fall getaways and events in Central Texas:
Just 157 miles from Austin, this state natural area is the perfect proximity from the city for a quick weekend getaway. Known for its Bigtooth Maple Trees, this is one of the few areas in Texas you can experience the thrill of fall foliage as the trees turn shades of gold, auburn, and crimson during the months of October and November. The park offers a mix of easy trails along the Sabinal River and more challenging trails that reward hikers with sweeping views of the canyon once they reach the top. If you want to fully embrace the outdoors and spend the night camping under the stars, be sure to make your reservation online; spots fill up quickly when the leaves are at their peak.
Nestled in the Hill Country just outside of Austin, Jester King brews up some amazing artisan beer in the vats hidden behind its farmhouse doors. With some Austin quirkiness in its roots, Jester King offers unique and creative brews such as last fall's 2014 Autumnal Dichotomous. Brewed with squash, longpepper, and sage, this beer "explores the nostalgic aromas and flavors of fall". If that doesn't quite sound like your mug of beer, don't fret, there are plenty of options to delight your palette. We find the imaginative and fantastical labeling almost as delightful as the beer itself. Outside of the main farmhouse, you'll find a huge pavilion with Stanley's Farmhouse Pizza
tucked underneath. The handcrafted pies use fresh, locally sourced ingredients and go well with its neighbor's brews. With plenty of picnic tables, string lights, and space to bring friends, you could easily spend a lazy fall afternoon here.
Once a year, the picturesque town of Fredericksburg celebrates its German heritage with a weekend-long party complete with oompahs and polkas bellowing from the stages, bratwurst links by the foot, attendees clad in traditional lederhosen, and of course, a steady flow of beers and ciders on tap. The event offers fun for all ages, so pack up the whole family to celebrate fall German style. If you tire of the festivities, you can always spend time shopping at the boutiques and specialty shops along Main Street or retire to one of the cozy B&Bs nearby.
Fall evokes images of joyful hayrides and mounds of colorful pumpkins, both of which you can find at Sweet Berry Farm located just down the road in Marble Falls. Meander through the sprawling patch and pick your pumpkin, bump along on a hayride, or try to find your way to the end of the corn maze. There are enough activities here to keep the family entertained all day, and the prices are budget friendly as well.
5. Johnson City
Whether you pronounce it "pe-can" or "pa-con" (the Texan way), there's no denying the deliciousness of this buttery nut. Though locals have been munching on them for hundreds of years, it wasn't until 1919, that the Texas Legislature made pecans the official state nut of Texas. There are plenty of places you can buy locally sourced pecans (try Navidad Farms
), but it's also fun scouting out the fallen nuts yourself. Johnson City, and several other small towns have pecan trees surrounding the courthouse in the main town square; these are great places to scout out pecans. Grab some bags and get to gathering the fruits of fall. If the pecans aren't enough to satiate, you can head across the street to the Pecan Street Brewery
for some delicious burgers and beer.
Great place for an afternoon trip. Pick pecans under the large trees at the Johnson City Courthouse. Photo Courtesy of Travis K. Witt
With warm summers and mild winters, Texas has an ideal climate for growing wine grapes. Wineries have sprouted up all over the Lone Star state with a high concentration surrounding Austin, making the area like a Texan Napa. Nothing beats escaping down a wine trail and into the country to enjoy sweeping views of the hill country with a glass of wine in your hand. While there are several great wineries to choose from, Driftwood Estate Winery offers some excellent vintages that pair well with views of the vineyard and surrounding farmland just down the hill from the tasting room's perch.
For 48 years, the tiny town of Round Top (population 90) has hosted an antique fair that brings thousands of shoppers to the area. Much to the delight of antique enthusiasts, the show has outgrown the Rifle Hall, where it was first held, and now sprawls into the surrounding fields and towns. With literally miles upon miles of antiquing to be done, you're sure to find that perfect piece you've been looking for. Be prepared for lots of walking, and make sure to dress in layers to keep up with the ever-changing fall Texas weather. If you get hungry, be sure make a reservation to dine at the famous Royer's Café
and save room for the legendary homemade pies that are alone worth the trip.
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Lifting furniture and moving boxes torches over 400 calories per hour, so it's no wonder our movers have big appetites. Between moves, the guys like to fill up at some of the best local burger joints in Austin. Here are some of our favorite restaurants where you can get a delicious burger for under $10:
Phil's carefully crafted burger menu takes eaters on a tour of Austin neighborhoods. For a little south Austin spice, try the "78704", oozing with Monterrey Jack, jalapenos, grilled onions, sliced avocado, and chipotle mayo, or for a little breakfast adventure, try the "Jollyville" burger, a patty piled high with bacon, egg, and cheese wedged between two pieces of French toast. All burgers come with a delicious mix of traditional and sweet potato fries. If you're still hungry, head next door for Amy's ice cream to top off your meal. Regular size burgers starting at $7.99.
If you're looking for a simple, classic American burger, this is the place to go. With hand-formed all-natural beef patties and fresh fries cut right in front of you, Mighty Fine lives up to its name. Beyond striving to deliver high quality food, Mighty Fine prides itself on service with a smile and maintains immaculate facilities. Carb conscious burger lovers can ask about the burger bowl.With burgers starting at just $4.19, your wallet will be as happy as your stomach.
While this Northwest Hills establishment offers a variety of entrees, patrons especially love pairing one of their burgers with a pint while watching a game on the big screens. A great neighborhood sports bar, make sure to stop by on Mondays before 3 p.m. to snag their 2 for 1 burger deal
. The basic Boulevard burger starts at $7.59, which makes the Monday burger special under $4 each.
Located off West 6th street in a vintage building that appears to be the lone survivor of downtown renovations, Hut's has been serving Austin burgers since it opened its doors in 1939. The red and black checkered floors and college pendants adorning the ceiling contribute to a retro vibe that takes you back to an era when burgers were real, fresh beef, not the frozen hockey pucks now served up by big chains. Hut's still makes burgers the old-fashioned way, with locally sourced fresh beef and buffalo. With burgers starting at $5.95, you won't want to miss the 2 for 1 burger night on Wednesdays.
The original P. Terry's is nestled on a small, narrow plot of land just off of S. Lamar and while it has no indoor dining, the outdoor patio invites patrons to sit in the shade with a fence of honeysuckle to shield them from the noisy traffic just on the other side. This location opened in 2005, leading the way for 11 other P. Terry's in the Austin area, all bearing the distinctive teal and red "Googie" architectural design that blends retro with contemporary. P. Terry's' success has been enormous, and for good reason. These people know quality - cooks start their day at 1 a.m. preparing fresh ground patties from local beef, squeezing fresh lemonade, and baking fresh cookies. Consideration is given to every detail, which is evident in the simple but utterly delicious burgers and fries that result. Burgers start at just $2.35, and in fact, the most expensive item on the menu is the combo meal that comes with fries and a drink for just $6.90. This is an Apple Moving favorite for convenience, price, and quality.
Just off UT's campus, Crown & Anchor has been serving up great drafts and equally great burgers since 1987. With pool tables, dart boards, big screens, and ample neon signs, this bar has everything you need to relive your college glory days including college student pricing - the "Class Burger" and fries combo is just $5.50. This place offers fantastic beer specials every day of the week, and you can be sure to find something that suits your taste, with over 30 beers on tap and 100 different bottles on hand.
More than just a hamburger joint, the Shady Grove is an Austin icon. Just off of Barton Springs, close to Zilker Park, the Shady Grove embodies the Austin spirit with it's laid back, inviting patio space tucked under a grove of pecan trees. While there are plenty of options to choose from, our favorite section of the menu is of course the burgers. In addition to the usual burger varieties, a must-try is the Green Chile Cheeseburger, spiced up with Hatch Green Chile sauce and topped with jack cheese on a mouth-watering brioche bun. The basic burger starts at $7.79, and it's worth every penny for the food and dining experience.
While not exactly a local chain, (you can find a franchise as far away as Dubai), the Elevation Burger in Great Hills is a favorite lunch stop for the Apple Moving crew. EB takes burgers to a higher level with grass-fed beef and environmentally conscious restaurants. While burgers aren't the healthiest food, EB strives to make them a healthier choice with higher quality ingredients. Grass-fed, organic beef has fewer calories and healthier fats than the beef found in most conventional patties. The 510 calorie, double-patty Elevation Burger rings up at just $5.39.
There's a reason Hopdoddy usually has lines out the door - it is worth the wait. With fresh ingredients, ample portions, and mind-blowing burger recipes such as the Terlingua burger, topped with chili con carne, Fritos, Tillamook cheddar, and Hopdoddy's own sassy sauce, you are sure to go home full and happy. Pair your burger with a thick and creamy milkshake such as the Nutella and pretzel shake (yum!) and prepare to loosen your belt a notch before slipping into a blissful food coma. Burgers range from $6.25 for the Classsic to $12.25 for the Ahi Tuna Burger.
While Roaring Fork is usually known for its finer dining, it does have a mean burger. The burger offered at lunch makes our list right at the $10 cap. Brimming with flavor, this burger is loaded down with mouth-watering poblano peppers, cheddar, and smoked pepper bacon. With 2 Austin locations, Roaring Fork offers an incredible dining experience with picturesque water views at the Stone Lake location and upscale yet cozy vibe at the downtown location. This is definitely the place to go if you have a little extra time and money to enjoy a fine burger experience.
We hope you'll treat yourself to one of these amazing (and affordable) Austin burgers this week! Did we miss any of your favorites? Tell us in the comments below and give our moving crew somewhere new to try this week!
With school starting again next week for most Austin students and teachers, it may feel like summer is almost over, but we know the summer heat will last for several weeks to come. Here are 11 things you have to do before bidding farewell to summer!
Go For a Swim
The City of Austin operates over 50 swimming pools and splash pads that are open to the public. Our all-time favorite is Barton Springs, where you can chill out in constant 68 degree temps and enjoy some of Austin's finest people watching. Don't miss the nearby children's train that offers tours of Zilker Park to the smallest patrons and the sno-cone stand that offers additional reprieve from the baking sun. Most City of Austin pools do close on August 24th, but a handful stay open later or operate year-round. Your best bets are Barton Springs, Big Stacy, Deep Eddy, Bartholomew Pool and Springwoods Pool.
Travis County has a surprising number of parks, and among them an absolute gem - the Hamilton Pool Preserve. This breathtaking pool lies at the base of a 50-foot waterfall where Hamilton Creek drops over the edge of a limestone cliff on its way to the Pedernales River. This swimming hole is wildly popular and often reaches capacity quickly on weekends during the summer. Make sure to get there early and to call ahead for potential closures before making the drive as the pool is often closed for high bacterial levels after excessive rains. This park is open year-round, from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily.
In 2005, the City of Wimberley purchased 125 acres of park land encompassing a stretch of the Cypress Creek with a natural swimming hole. The City's efforts to develop the land resulted in a beautiful and impeccably designed park space, with plenty of room for families to gather at the water's edge to sun bathe and picnic, clean and modern facilities, winding trails, and spacious recreational areas. Spread your blanket out and soak up the sun as you doze off to the sound of children shrieking as they let go of the rope swing and splashes as people plunge into the refreshing waters. The Blue Hole is open daily from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. from Memorial Day (May 25th) to Labor Day (September 7th).
About 30 minutes northwest of Austin, in the small town of Spicewood, you'll find the impressive property that is still owned by the namesake family. With over 32 springs on the property, you are sure to find a place to cool off. Unlike most swimming holes, you don't even have to go home at the end of the night - pitch a tent and take in the Hill Country stars for a night or two. Krause Springs is open daily from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.
Float the River
The Colorado: Drive over the Mopac bridge on any given weekend, and you'll see hoards of people out kayaking, paddle boarding, and canoeing on Lady Bird Lake. Join the crowds and rent a watercraft from one of several docks around the lake.
The dock is usually lined with a stunning rainbow of kayaks, enticing kayakers to come for a paddle. Go solo or participate in one of the Dock's special guided tours such as the Bat Paddle that takes kayakers on a 4-mile round-trip to watch the 1.5 million bats vacating their home under the Congress bridge in search of dinner. In addition to kayaking, the Rowing Dock also offers canoes and stand-up boards. Open daily 7:30 a.m. to 8:30 p.m.
Get Kayaks, Canoes, SUPs and more at Rowing Dock in Austin
TRC boasts the world's largest SUP (stand-up paddle) board rental operation with over 300 boards, in addition to renting out kayaks and canoes. Additionally, TRC offers sculling and sweep rowing lessons for most ages and skill sets. Open daily 6 a.m. to dusk
Tube: If you prefer a lazier day of chilling on the water, grab a cooler and hop on a tube for a river float with some of your best pals. Several companies offer float packages on the nearby Comal, Guadalupe, and San Marcos Rivers.
To maximize your experience, consider hiring a service that will pick you up and drop you off in downtown Austin, such as ATXcursions. They provide everything (including the cooler and ice) except for the actual drinks and food, and offer float trips on rivers within about a 45-minute radius of Austin. ATXcursions offers float trips on most Thursdays-Sundays into mid-October. Check their booking feature for up-to-date availability.
8. Kayak Camping
If you're craving more adventure, consider taking an overnight kayak trip on the Colorado River. The small islands in the middle of the Colorado are public land, which means they may be used for camping. Pack your kayak (and waterproof bag) and find an island of your own to call home for the night.Just 30 minutes east of Austin, the Bastrop River Company
has everything you need for your kayak camping adventure. Go the self-guided route, and BRC will send you off on your voyage with instructions and your kayaks for a 2-3 day excursion. BRC also offers a glamping trip for those that aren't quite as into being one with nature. Like an abbreviated summer camp for grown-ups, this cushy trip comes with guides, catered meals around the campfire, tents & bedding, and even a toilet! Open Sunday-Friday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Saturday from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Whether you have kids or are just a big kid yourself, you're sure to have fun screaming your way down spiraling waterslides and splashing through the chlorinated and shark-less wave pools at these nearby waterparks:
This chain operates 7 waterparks in the U.S. and in addition to the water fun, its Pflugerville location also boasts an adventure center replete with over 1500 feet of zip lines and 1000 feet of ropes courses. While the waterpark closes for 2015 season on September 7th, the adventure park is open year-round. Waterpark open daily from 10:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. through August 24th; open weekends through September 7th.
If you grew up in Austin, chances are you ventured out here at least a time or two as a kid, but the place now won't be quite like you remembered it. A spruced up version of its old self, the Shore Club overlooks Lake Travis and offers its patrons a handful of rides, multiple pools, a sandy beachfront, volleyball courts, and an upscale bar & grill. A more affordable option than most waterparks, this place is great for the whole family. Open select dates through September 7.
I can still remember the Schlitterbahn jingle boasting "the hottest coolest time in Texas" that played relentlessly on the radio every summer during the 90s. In case you're wondering, Schlitterbahn translates to "slide" in English, which is fitting given that the New Braunfels resort has miles and miles of slides, rides and coasters to cool you down on even the hottest Texas day. Around since 1979, this park is a can't miss on any Texan's bucket list and now includes 4 other locations including Galveston Island, South Padre Island, Corpus Christi, and Kansas City. Hurry in! The summer season ends September 20th.
Hurry out and enjoy the last five weeks of Austin's summer!