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Posts Tagged ‘Austin’

What a difference a year makes!  A few days ago, I turned 34.  The past year flew by even though some days I felt like I watched the clock tick away each excruciating second until bedtime.  I suppose that is life with young children, especially two of them.  The year was a whirlwind of firsts: first foods, first steps, first birthdays, first words.  It has been exhausting and exhilarating, sometimes switching between the two in a span of minutes.  And I wouldn’t trade it for anything in the world.

As a birthday gift, my mother offered to babysit and my husband and I went out to dinner to celebrate.  We hadn’t been out in a long time because I have an extreme case of  new-mom babysitter phobia.  (I attribute this in part to a wild imagination and in part to my prior life as a prosecutor in the child abuse/sex crimes division. NOT a good combination, I assure you.)  On a friend’s recommendation, I made reservations at a new restaurant in Austin, Lenoir.  It turned out to be a fantastic evening.

Date Night

Lenior is a small restaurant opened by husband and wife team Todd Duplechan and Jessica Maher.  It touts itself as a neighborhood restaurant, encouraging  a base of loyal local patrons and sourcing fresh ingredients locally.  The menu is a prix fixe three or four course dinner which changes weekly and is extremely reasonably priced ($38 for a three-course meal, $10 more for the four-course meal).  The wine list is on the expensive side (this coming from someone who balks at paying more than $10 for a bottle of wine at the store) but the bottle of Malbec we ordered was well worth it.

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A few of the highlights were my first course—a roasted tomato filled with Indian spiced beans and thinly sliced pieces of okra, sitting in an herb-yogurt broth—and my husband’s second course—soft-shelled crawfish sitting on a bed of thai herb salad with a vinaigrette.  Yum, just yum.

 

My first course

My first course

 

 

Brian's second course

My husband’s second course

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

But the most amazing course was my husband’s dessert.  He ordered the pistachio cake served with poached pears and a scoop of ginger ice cream.  Oh my God. It was delicious.  The cake had an almost crunchy outer crust but was perfectly moist inside and the ginger ice cream actually sent a spicy heat down your throat.  I regret to say I did not get a picture of it, most likely because by that point a) the bottle of wine was finished and b) who can wait to take a picture before digging into dessert?

 

If you live in or ever find yourself in Austin, Lenoir is a must.

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Well, maybe not Neverland.  The boys and I did, however, make a trip to the Zilker Botanical Garden to look at all of the spring flowers and to see an exhibit of “Faerie Houses” designed by local Austinites.  They absolutely love being outside and so I struggle to come up with places that we can go where I can keep a handle on them by myself!  The garden was perfect.  It was a muggy and overcast day, so the scent of all of the blooming trees and flowers was thick in the air and I wondered if Aidan and Cameron noticed it.  They were quiet, eyes wide open and watching EVERYTHING.  I finally maneuvered my giant stroller to the “Faerie Trial” and was not disappointed.

Faeries, come take me out of this dull world, For I would ride with you upon the wind,     
 Run on the top of the disheveled tide,
 And dance upon the mountains like a flame.”
– William Butler Yeats, The Land of Heart’s Desire

These were some of my favorites.

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Later on the trail, a very pleasant woman offered to take my picture with the boys in front of a waterfall which had completely mesmerized them.  I realized lately that I have very few pictures of myself with the boys, being as I am usually the one taking the photos.  So I was happy with the picture, even if I was wearing my husband’s t-shirt and yoga crop pants in public (Hey, at least I managed a shower).

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We also walked through the Japanese Garden, which I loved.  I remember going to the Japanese Tea Garden in Golden Gate Park as a child when my family lived in California. It was always my favorite place.  And not only because my brother and I got to have tea and as many sesame cookies as we could eat when we got to the end!  These gardens are so peaceful and beautiful in their simplicity.  Zilker’s  was no exception.

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Overall, the boys and I had a beautiful morning.  Of course, the park hike ended when I thought it would be a good idea to sit on a bench in a grassy area and let the boys out of their stroller.  Cameron immediately started sampling the foliage, Aidan found the patch of mud, and then they both began playing with a plant that I am 85% sure was poison ivy.  After scrubbing their poor hands raw with wipes, we ended the excursion and went home for veggie burgers, peaches and peas.

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