ATX — What’s Yo’ Dream?

This past weekend was the 7th Annual Phi Mu Girls Weekend. My college pals and I have been out of college almost 7 years (gasp!) and we get together every MLK weekend to celebrate. Why? Because we like to celebrate the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. of course.

Actually, it’s a convenient weekend because most people have Monday off and well…we’re not doing much else.

We rotate locations of this weekend extravaganza since we’re all spread out, and this year was in Austin, TX. Crystal moved there in the past year or so, and we’re STOKED she did! It was epic.

Prepare yourself for a photo-heavy recap of Phi Mu loveliness.

Ready, go!

Crystal told us to take all non-essentials out of our purses for shopping on Saturday. Please notice that Melissa started sorting through her purse and pulled out Big Boy. (under her arm in this photo). He stayed in the purse – totally essential.

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Lunch on Congress St. at Home Slice. To die for NY style pizza. And this was my menu, so you know it was a winner in my book.

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Adrienne, Crystal, Melissa, Edgin, Yours Truly, Doss and Monica.

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Food trucks on Congress St. Can you tell we like to eat? Maybe that’s why we’re all such good friends. This is Crystal – our hostess with the mostess.

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Sweet Melissa and Monica with her cupcake. I don’t hang out with ugly people, clearly.

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Alright – for dinner, we headed to Uchi. Crystal made us reservations two weeks in advance and the only time we could get in was 5:30. I made AARP jokes. But, little did we know, we hit “Sake Social” hour. SCORE.

Now, this restaurant is one of the current Top Chef contestant’s restaurants. Crystal built it up so big in our minds that I was sure it would never stand up. It’s mostly (or maybe all) sushi. We sat down, perused the menu, and had no idea what to order. Most of it isn’t even in English.

Thanks to our helpful waitress and our local gal though, we picked out a few happy hour tastings and began the teasing of the tastebuds. Oh.Em.Gee. If you are in Austin, take out a small loan and go on a romantic date or girls night here. Then do yourself  favor and order one of everything. It is worth every.single.penny. The sushi was the freshest thing I’ve ever tasted. It melted in your mouth.

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SAKE!

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Here are a few of my tastings. First, hama chili — yel­low­tail sashimi, sliced thai chili, orange supremes. This was my favorite. I should have ordered a second one of these. As you can see, it’s a small tasting size dish. Totally Top Chef style. I felt like Padma.

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Next, this sushi roll was the Shag — tempura fried salmon roll, sun dried tomato, sumiso, spicy sauce. Hands down, the best sushi roll I’ve ever tasted. I would have eaten these till I threw up if I wasn’t afraid of embarrassing my pretty friends. That’s some squid ink or something spread on the serving board. Pretty tasty.

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And finally – the Bacon Steakie — pork belly, water­melon radish, citrus, thai basil. I had never had pork belly. I die. It was so good. Like bacon but ten times richer and better.

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Also, I had an order of the machi cure — smoked baby yellow­tail, yucca chips, asian pear, marcona almonds, garlic brittle. I must have inhaled it so quickly though, that I forgot to take a photo.

The tastings were small, but it allowed you to have a taste of everything and it was so fun. Honestly, it wasn’t that expensive either. For all of the delicious food we got to try and the drinks we consumed, I honestly would have paid double and still thought it totally worth it.

Me and Melissa drinking our un-distilled sake. It’s traditional to pour the sake overflowing in a small glass, that sits inside these boxes. The overflowing glass symbolizes generosity. Then you pour the rest of the sake into the box and drink it like so. 🙂 We’re so cultured.

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Next, it was onto the famous Broken Spoke for dance lessons and honky-tonking.

Me and Edgin on the left – my roomie from Freshman year at UT! And Dossy on the right – my beautiful Phi Mu who lives in Nashville, but I see more OUT of town. 🙂

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Don’t hate.

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Melissa getting her dance lesson with Jack. He had some moves!

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After the Broken Spoke it was back to Crystal’s briefly (the Broken Spoke was sort of early in the evening). And we had a special surprise for Crystal, who just got engaged. A Phi Mu candlelight! Oh yes – a sacred Phi Mu tradition…well, not that sacred. This is a public blog, after all. Want to know the handshake? 😉

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Congrats, my love!

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Now, in the cab and on to Downtown Austin!

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Meet the Space Rockers, who dressed like Power Rangers and played Top 40 hits…but from 7-8 years ago. I swear, it was like we wrote their playlist during our senior year at UT. Get Low, anyone? What about “Shake it like a Salt Shaker?”

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Crystal, convincing them to give us a shout out. Yep – we were just dancing away and all of the sudden heard, “this one is for my Phi Mu ladies….” We squealed like groupies.

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I call this “the morning after.” P.S. – yes, we’re in matching shirts that say “7th Annual Phi Mu Girls Weekend – Austin, TX” on them. Crystal really went the extra mile with this hosting business!

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Next was on to Juan in a Million. Oh.Em.Gee. Although the smell of food almost made several of us have to run for the bushes, we eventually quelled the evening’s shenanigans with some breakfast burritos and tacos. I was the only one we strayed and got beef, rather than breakfast tacos. Mistake. I survived on chips and queso at 9 in the morning. Delish.

Juan in a Million is famous for the Don Juan, which is a HUMONGOUS breakfast burrito. And it’s $4. Two people split it and still can’t finish it. Breakfast for $2? Yes sir. It was featured on Man vs. Food, where Adam tried to eat 8 of the breakfast tacos – and failed miserably.

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Monica is proud of her stereotype as an Asian driver. She is so hilarious. She also was fond of asking people (after a little liquid courage) – “Do you know why we’re here?” And after a couple of seconds of confused, blank staring, she’d respond “We’re celebrating the life and death of Dr. Martin Luther King.” We thought at one point it may be more appropriate to say “life and legacy,” but it was too engrained in our minds by then to change it.

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Sunday evening it was off to the Salt Lick in Driftwood, TX. This was recently featured on Top Chef where they competed in a BBQ challenge and I was so excited after watching the episode. Can’t believe we actually went there – and can’t believe I didn’t take photos of the massive amount of food we ordered. We started with brisket, ribs, smoked turkey and sausage, (1 pd. of each) and then ordered more of the brisket and sausage. We had two pints of cole slaw, one pint of potatoes, baked beans and pickles and onions. Then we got one of each dessert – blackberry cobbler, peach cobbler and pecan pie. We tipped generously, and each owed $12.50. Seriously? SERIOUSLY? Oh, and it was BYOB, so we had our cooler tableside. Heaven.

The grounds were amazingly beautiful. You can check out more on their website, because I can’t do it justice without photos. It would be amazing for a wedding, but I can’t imagine the cheese you’d have to fork over for a rental fee.

Hey – Yates – maybe you should look into that for your upcoming nuptials. I will pitch in $12.50 for my meal.

Here we are below, in the Salt Lick winery doing a tasting while waiting on our table.

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Nik, Crystal’s man, joined us on this excursion and even treated us to the wine tasting. We love Nik.

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The pit! If you watched Top Chef, you saw this.

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I imagine this was against Health Dept. regulations, but whatev.

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Me and Edgin with our beer staches – best invention ever.

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My other sustenance for the weekend. I had 2.5 Whataburgers and as many fries. Nom nom nom nom.

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Pirate! Snuggling and chewing her bone on my sleep spot.

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The last night we cuddled on the futon (with Pirate) and watched Bridesmaids. The perfect ending to a perfect weekend with perfect girlfriends.

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We really are so blessed to still have each other and be so close. Even if we don’t all see each other regularly, or even keep in touch as well as we should with our busy lives, we all come right back together like we didn’t miss a beat. That’s what real friendship should feel like, if you ask me. Ups and downs, backwards and forwards, we always have our girls.

Thanks again for being such an amazing hostess, Crystal. The entire weekend was planned to a T, but flowed so seamlessly. Can’t wait to come back for the Yates/Bristow wedding extravaganza!! I’m making my reservation at Uchi as so0n as you tell me your wedding date. 😉

XOXO,
Jenn

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