Posted on July 22, 2008 Posted by John Scalzi 41 Comments
Just a reminder to all and sundry that if the dates of August 15 through 17 are just a big ol’ gapin’ hole in your social calendar, there’s something you can do about it, namely, come to Austin, Texas and hang out with me, Joe & Gay Haldeman and lots and lots of other truly excellent folks at ArmadilloCon 30. This will be my first time in Texas, save being trapped inside of an airport, so you know you don’t want to miss that. In all seriousness, this looks like it’s going to be a hell of a lot of fun, so if you can make it, it’ll be great to see you there.
Got stuck in Dallas, eh? :)
Nice. If you have a moment, and love the types of dead pig that can’t easily be taped to a cat, try to visit Lockhart, 30 miles south of Austin, for some barbecue. There’s probably a quadrillion other cool things to do in Austin, but none of them involve dead pig as prominently.
If you’re just going to Austin, then you’re not REALLY seeing Texas. Austin is a weird liberal enclave thats completely different from the rest of the state. I guess you could say that’s good or bad depending on your politics, but if you want to experience the real Texas you’re going to have to leave Austin.
Austin is a weird liberal enclave thats completely different from the rest of the state.
Precisely! We keep the rest of the state from sliding into the ocean.
I thought that was Oklahoma’s job.
Curse the local schools for starting a week earlier this year, and moving my annual Texas trip up from the second week in August to the first…
I’ll wave at the hotel as I drive by anyway, a kind of time-warped howdy.
[Yes, I go to south/central Texas every year. IN AUGUST. Yes, that’s masochistic for non-reptilian life forms. No, it’s not really my doing. ]
If you are going to be in Austin, three words: Chicken Shit Bingo.
Austin is an awesome town. If you want some seriously awesome food, check out the Oasis. It’s on the cliffs overlooking Lake Travis and has some truly great Tex-Mex cuisine. And Shiner Bock.
Chuy’s and Trudy’s are also good Tex Mex places. Salt Lick and County Line are good for barbeque. And in my opinion Austin is the best city in Texas! Hope you have fun here!
John, just to remind you – armadillos carry leprosy, so only have them well done. None of that ‘Aggie Sushi’, where you eat it fresh-killed on the road ;0
I plan on being there – it’s my first writing con ever. Hope I’ll see you there!
Um, the Oasis, really? Great view, don’t get me wrong, but the food was never much.
No, Scalzi needs to go to Gueros:
Or go to Maria’s if you are feeling cheap (and hungry)
Texas? In August? Surely you jest.
Yep, Texas in August is fun. Not really. I’m in North Texas and it’s (checks thermometer) 97F outdoors.
I finally get to attend ArmadilloCon this year since I no longer have a kid in public school. (Our school district used to start August 1. Don’t get me started.)
I live in Austin (southwest of Austin actually, near the Salt Lick) and agree that TexMex and BBQ are highlights of this part of the country. But the best part of Austin is downtown. There are tons of great restaurants and bars all close to one another, and they’ll be packed with heavy drinkers and loud live music, so be ready to have a good time! If you are going stag (sans-Athena and Scalziwife) you’ll be in danger of being too hungover to speak at the con, so I hope you brought some family with you to make you stay somewhat responsible. It gets close to French Quarter-style partying down there on the weekends, especially when you get to 6th street.
On a side note – what is the latest on the hate mail judging? As an incentive, if you pick mine, I’ll make the drive in for the convention and buy you some shots.
I don’t drink.
I’ll announce winners soon.
I actually live in Austin, but I will not be able to attend ArmadilloCon. For my social calender is filled with a whole different convention.
Going to GenCon in Indy. Boo-urns to whoever scheduled ArmadilloCon to conflict. Give those organizer types a good talking to for me!
Two words: Alamo. Drafthouse.
I look foward to it, and my sci-fi lovin’ wife looks forward to it. (Just don’t be all surprised, John, if she’s all “ZOMG! It’s Scalzi!!” and gets nervous when she meets you.) We’ll be glad to point you to choice eateries, etc.
Re Gari @ 2: The place you want in Lockhart is called Smitty’s. I can give full directions (or, heck, drive you down there and gorge myself to the point of unconsciousness) if you like.
Alan @ 3: There’s plenty of “real” Texas in Austin, too. Just because Austin is different from the rest of the state doesn’t mean it doesn’t count. (And hey, if John gets to Lockhart . . . well, that’s “real” by anybody’s definition.)
Re Dan @ 8: The Oasis is spectacular in terms of views, but I wouldn’t recommend it first (or second, or tenth) for Tex-Mex. Chuy’s and Trudy’s — or Maudie’s! — are much better for Tex-Mex.
angie k @ 9 speaks truth about The Salt Lick and The County Line. Neither of them reaches “holy-of-holies” status for BBQ, but they’re very good, plus picturesque.
I can hardly wait!
It’s an awesome graphic.
Tim @ 19:
He could also mean Kreuz’s in Lockhart. I really can’t judge between them.
He could also, you know, checkout the bats at Congress St bridge.
Bar-b-que — Stubbs, hands down http://www.stubbsaustin.com/ oh, and the live music? My brother was there once and George Thorogood came in an sat in with the band, not sayin things like that happen all the time …
Food other than Tex-Mex and Bar-b-que? Threadgills – http://www.threadgills.com/ try the meatloaf. Seriously.
Seconding #22 Andrew — Ya gotta see the bats!!
Kudos to the con’s graphic designer. That’s really cool.
Go get yourself some BBQ at Stubb’s while you’re in town.
Also, you can actually get some really good salsa from the gift shop at the Austin airport.
Kirby Lane cafe (the original, on Kirby and 38 1/2) is really good too, but frankly, there’s just a whole lot of awesome in Austin. Just don’t expect to see a lot of maroon, you dig.
I have a deep and abiding love for Smitty’s in Lockhart. (My arteries, on the other hand…) Big smokey room, you order your meat by the slab where it’s delivered to you in butcher paper with pickles and crackers.
Despite the mention of dead pig, I’d always been under the impression that it’s beef Texas BBQ specializes in. And oh lord, the brisket at Smitty’s is OUT OF THIS WORLD.
I didn’t dare try the smoked prime rib for fear my head would explode with joy.
Andrew Hackard speaks truth. If you want to catch a movie or special movie related event while in town you HAVE to go to the Alamo Drafthouse. Go to the one on South Lamar. The one downtown is lovely but swallowed up by 6th street. Village (up north) is okay but South Lamar rocks.
I’m sure these streets mean nothing to you. I’m sure you’ll have plenty of volunteers for guides, though!
In Texas we prefer to use the 2nd person plural “all y’all” rather than “all and sundry”. Although, I admit I am currently a Texpatriate. Just waiting to finish a degree before I give everyone in N.Fla the Davy Crockett. (“You may all go to Hell, and I shall go to Texas.”)
Now I’m sad. Someone eat at County Line for me.
Despite the mention of dead pig, I’d always been under the impression that it’s beef Texas BBQ specializes in.
This is true, but some places still do pretty good dead pig, even if it isn’t up to Kansas City or Memphis standards. They do pretty good with birds, too.
Some Texas smoked beef places have brought me near to tears of joy with sirloin, prime, and brisket. And the best smoked quails I ever had that I didn’t make myself came from a little roadhouse in nowhere Texas.
#1.) Oasis is great for a view, but the TexMex is so-so. Chuy’s is alright as well. To get good Mexican food in Austin, you gotta go by one of the dives. I am particular to Los Portales on Mopac and Wells Branch. The owner, Roger, loves all of the sci-fi fans in Austin.
#2.) John will be going to County Line on Sunday night at our annual post-con dinner. We sell tickets at the convention. They are usually around $30 and it is all you can eat with 7 different kinds of meat. (Pork Ribs, Beef Ribs, Extra Moist Brisket, Sausage, Chicken, Ham and Extra Lean Brisket.) It’s such a joy to a person like me who rarely eats meat to watch 50 overweight fans gorge themselves on about 40 dead animals. Though I did make Sharon Shinn almost snarf her drink there a few years ago.
#3.) John will be seeing the bats on Thursday evening.
#4.) GenCon – Yes, we know it is the same weekend as GenCon, but there isn’t much we can do about that one. Football and Dell pushed us out of the October weekend we used to have and this was the only weekend that didn’t interfere with other literary/Texas conventions. Woe is us. We lose out on one of our local authors every year who goes to GenCon and our gaming program suffers as well.
#5.) Andrew (who I have known for a long, long, long time) is correct about Alamo Drafthouse, but John probably won’t have time to go. I also feel that the one at Lakeline is the best of the ones out there. The food there is the best. I love the roasted pepper and turkey sandwich!
#6.) Thank you for the compliments on the website. I just had to parody the cover of that book. It was too perfect. ;)
#7.) Andrew, remember the late-night Kerbey Lane runs?
#8.) Pre-Registration for the convention is closing soon (July 31) so be sure to register today! (http://www.armadillocon.org/membership.htm)
Now I’m all excited about going! It will be my first con of any type… we should organize a whatever readers shindig so we all can put faces to the names around here!
#31: Agreed, Oasis is shite. You wait forever for a table for food that tastes like it’s been microwaved then left under a heat lamp to fossilize for an hour. Best Mexican I’ve had here: Curra’s Grill on Oltorf.
Bah on Drafthouse Lake Creek. If it’s not League-owned, it’s not a real Drafthouse.
I loved living in Austin, not just great food, but great bookstores as well.
I was working in the public library and was waiting for the day the Bradley Denton or William Browning Spencer would stop in and could act like I didn’t know who they were.
Any possibility that you might do a book signing at BookPeople while you’re in Austin?
No plans at this point for that.
JJS Texas? In August? Surely you jest.
That’s why Ghu invented ubiquitous air conditioning.
RE Gari @ 2: Bzzzt! Sorry, but thanks for playing. Texas barbeque has nothing to do with “dead pig.” Beef is the thang here. Beef brisket, specifically (OK, you certainly can get gooood smoked sausage that contains pork).
If you can’t manage a side trip to Lockhart, Mary @23 makes good suggestions. There’s also the Salt Lick and Ruby’s.
For Tex-Mex, try Matt’s El Rancho or Chuy’s.
And forget Alan @3. Sounds like a sour-faced conservative who resents how much fun folks have in my hometown ;)
Flying in from Kansas City, so I’m interested to see how the BBQ compares–and catching some live music. Never been to Austin myself, so texpats and ex, thanks for the travelogue.
John, if the Con Sergeant At Arms lets me carry around a cooler with bacon in it, will you autograph it for me?
Seriously, looking forward it!
Andrew @ 22: Kreuz’s deserves its high reputation, but I’m a Smitty’s man all the way. I agree with others that Stubb’s is very good for downtown BBQ; so is Iron Works, by the way.
agm @26: N.B. that it’s “Kerbey” Lane. Wouldn’t want John to search in vain. ;)
DM @27: Amen re Smitty’s, and yes, Texas BBQ is much more about beef than pork. That said, Smitty’s started serving pork ribs a couple of years back. Wow.
Kimm @31: Agreed re Tex-Mex dives. Anything on South First or East 6th/7th tends to be good.