Sunday, October 29, 2006

Vacation III: Waco, West, Austin - San Marcos - Shopping

with Faune

On our way back to Austin, we made a couple of stops. Thanks to Andi, our GPS and a small billboard I noticed, we found the Dr. Pepper Museum. Due to losing the bet, I thought we wouldn't have to pay admission, I paid for admission and the headphones/tape deck of the tour. Why you ask did we even go here? Well, my favorite soft drink, which I try not to indulge more then once/day (I mean once/month), is Dr Pepper. Faune, on the other hand, loves both museums and diet A&W Rootbeer. So, the museum had it all for us. At the museum, there was a fascinating discussion of how they figured out the closing mechanism of the bottles to keeping the fizz in (the crown cap design which endured for 70 years), the original Artisan well where they got water for the drink, the original bottling equipment, a wide display of the vending machines keeping the bottles cold in the days of old, an endless loop of Dr Pepper commercials over time, tons of Dr Pepper trivia, a little history of all soft drinks and lots more. Who knew Dr Pepper came out in 1885, 1 year before Coco-Cola!! Read the site for more fun facts! Faune's favorite part was at the end when we shared a good ol' fashioned A&W Rootbeer float. Why you ask didn't we have a Dr Pepper float? It just wasn't meant to be!

West, TX

So, after about 2-3 hours filling up on Soft Drinks and trivia, we moved on toward Austin. We couldn't pass up a stop at the Czech Stop in West Texas could we? Who ever heard of Kolaches before making this stop? We couldn't eat our Kolaches fast enough! I had a berry filled one, whereas Faune had an Apricot one. These Kolaches delicacy was very close to our Jewish food called Hamantashen. They are folded pastries filled with fruit filling. In the Czech version, they put almost any type of food in their Kolaches. One of the coolest part of the Czech Stop and Bakery is that they are open 24/7 and baking all the time. Yummy!!!

Austin, part II
with Katie, Ann, Jonathon (and Chauncey and Murphy)

For our final 3 days of our wonderful Texas vacation, we stayed with Faune's (and now my) good friends Katie, Ann, Jonathon and their fun dogs, Chauncey and Murphy. For this part of our trip, we ate at lots more vegetarian and vegetarian-friendly restaurants. Our favorite restaurant of this leg of the journey had to be Kerbey Lane Cafe. We had 3 meals there - Dinner, breakfast the next morning, then our last breakfast in Austin. For those of you living in the San Francisco Bay Area, Kerbey Lane, which has been around for 25 years, is what Hobees aspires to. Although Hobees has more locations (8 to Kerbey's 4), Kerbey has a more funky feel and has lots more vegetarian options then Hobees. Although it's a small chain, each one feels quite different (we made it to two of the four on our trip - leaving two for discovery on our next visit!).

I wish we had dined at the Magnolia Cafe a few more times. The night we all went there, I wasn't overly hungry. I ordered the potato dish which I loved. It was like hash browns on steroids (but these would have passed any drug test). There were about 4-5 veggie topping with lots of potatoes.

San Marcos Outlet Shopping

Not One Huge mall - but two of the - both the Prime and Tanger Outlet Centers were right next to each other providing a glut of shopping - my guesstimate is that there were over 250 shops. The most unique attraction there was the gondola ride! We got some great deals at Jockey and Eddie Bauer!! There wasn't a lot of good eatings, but it looks like they'll have a revamped mega food center by the December holidays! We ate at Cracker Barrel restaurant which was good news/bad news. Almost every dish contained meat, including many of the appetizers. The good news was that I found lots of candy from my childhood which I hadn't seen for years. Visit site for some ol' fashioned treats for sale online!

Barton Spring Pool
Huge Natural Springs

Our day set aside for swimming at the Barton Springs Pool, a Thursday, turned out to be "cleaning day" for the pool. We didn't have time to return for a swim. Nonetheless, we were amazed by this pool! This is a super huge pool - 1,000 feet long - and pumps 27,000,000 gallons of water/day (Is everything BIG in Texas - except the brain of our president?) which is filled with natural spring water. It's obviously made by humans, but looks more like a big watering hole. Over the years, the springs has been the site of a flour mill, a source of drinking water, a popular location for baptisms, family picnics, social gatherings, musical performances and swimming.

Sadly, we have just a couple of more days in Texas, then back home....

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