Ivan Musoke

Brave New World Part 6 | Austin, Texas: Making Meats End

“Don’t mess with Texas”. I’m not sure where I heard that, or who said it, but there’s something about the line that just sticks with you. No other state/country/locale invites you in a threatening manner. Heck, even France that would be perfect with the “F” word doesn’t let you in with a “don’t fiddle with France” declaration.
Nothing quite prepared me for Austin.
The weather was great. We’re talking, ‘no jacket required, no thermal underwear needed’ kinda great. I could chill on the balcony wearing just a t-shirt and be comfortable. Wearing pants with that helped plenty.
I found out pretty fast that Austin embraced ‘meats’ with a visit to Cooper’s. We are talking meat for days. I’m not even going to lie, it was amateur hour when it came to ordering and I was going through the motions… shoot, I’m getting ahead of myself here… did I mention the Tacos? Yeah, so that was a big deal too.
So, back to the meat.
I’m not sure regular people have a metric system, installed in somewhere within their cerebral cortex, that allows them to automatically discern whether or not something’s too much or too little when they are presented with digits and the words “grams” and/or “pounds”. I don’t. Which means when I was asked how much shredded pork or what quantity of briskets would sit well with me, I went to town with my order.
And I did not want to be that guy that says, “WHOA! Easy there, fella. That’s too much”. It’s way easier to lag a portion slightly larger than a small elephant back home than admit that you were being foolish when you said you wanted 500gms of this AND 300gms of that.
My brother was pretty good natured about this and said nothing of it, for a couple of days, and I respect him more for that. It’s highly unlikely anyone would smile through covering a bill knowing there would be food left over. Sure, it tided me over the next couple of breakfasts, but …
The first time I caught Dr. Strange, I’d thought, “oh gee, a movie with spectacular special effects. oh yeah. oh goody. what joy divine, what happiness unknown…” (the use of lowercase ought to convey the level of enthusiasm I felt at the moment). Then I watched it in IMAX and was grinning like an idiot. No lie, IMAX IS something else. If you’re reading this and you’re thinking, “DUH” … SHUT UP!
Done with the ‘fish out of the water’ session, we explored more of Austin, with a view to checkout the state’s famous “speakeasies”. The first one we went to was hidden, smartly, behind a bookshelf. I’m not sure that’s really snitching seeing as you’d have to raid a shit load of libraries and such to find the damn thing.
You should be able pick a clue when an Austin local asks you to stand in front of a book case so he can take a picture of you. The first thing that springs to mind is “aww shucks, I’m photogenic” followed by, “oh yeah, I’m a tourist and that’s what we do. We pose in front of shelves” …. At no point do you question the photographer’s motives and you feel like a proper idiot when he slides the shelf away to reveal the bar.
Another cleverly hidden speakeasy was hidden in a parking lot. This wasn’t as impressive. If you’ve gone shopping at Nakumatt on a Friday night, you’ve probably come across kids who’ve just come into puberty drinking in the parking lot, asking you to join them in the back seat of the car they’ve probably stolen from their parents. So, as far as that goes, whatevs.
I say that with absolutely no disrespect for the cocktails they served here…especially the one that happens to contain a Tequila hybrid so suspect, your liver would scream, “Build a wall” the moment it suspected it was trying to get in.
Oh, this bar had a Caucasian lady walk over to my brother and I just to ask, “why do you hate us?”
The night ended on a high, but nothing could compare to the experience of  “Dirty 6”.
Before we get into that, I should probably tell you about Franklin’s.
You can NOT visit Austin and skip a visit to this place. The signpost outside says “Franklin Barbecue”, by the way. And the cues outside may scare you away, but whatever you do, check it out. Sure, it has lines for days… AND the meat is sold out by 2…. Nonetheless, figure it out.
The plan was to get a quick bite at the restaurant up the road from my brother’s place and then go golfing (I know, right. Tiger who?) but, miracle of miracles, Franklin’s had no queue. So we walked right in and were given loooads of shredded pork and sausages and stuff. So much, my freshly installed mental metric system broke.
As did our resolve to go golfing. Funny story, as we were getting set to dig in to our banquet, a mother and her child were shown the door… Franklin’s wares were sold out. Well, sure, it doesn’t ‘read’ funny, you just had to be there.
Sort of like how you have to be there to experience Dirty 6. From about 9/10pm till late, Thursday through to Saturday, a street is closed off so people… nay, revelers, can have a great time walking from one bar and staggering into the next without worrying about being run over by a wayward driver. Think of it as the “street jam” that keeps on giving. Sadly, I experienced just one night of this.
I would have probably made a return if I didn’t have to sleep early so I could make it for my flight. Where to?
Washington DC.

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