When entertaining out-of-town guests, choose an itinerary that fits your audience. My sister Julie is a hip, trendy,
fashionable young professional who has every culinary and cultural option at her fingertips in San Francisco. And, she hadn’t been back to Austin in two years (just long enough to miss the downtown boom). So, our Friday night entertainment itinerary included dinner at La Condesa, what I will call a “Mex-Mod” restaurant in the newly renovated 2nd Street District. I had made a reservation weeks ago, since it’s difficult to secure a table, and to maximize her short time here, we didn’t want to spend our time waiting for tables. We loved it. We sat out on the front patio on a table adorned with a fresh exotic flower where we people-watched in between dishes. Our approach was to order several things to sample and share, including Green Apple and Crab Guacamole (I’m still thinking about it), two types of ceviche, one with mandarin/citrus shrimp, and another with grilled tomatos and seafood. The three-salsa sampler was also a hit, along with the mushroom tamale, that was actually designed to accompany the nightly special, but we liked the sound of it so much, that the chef allowed us to order it separately (and it was delicious!). Our meal was accompanied by refreshing white wine sangria with melon.
Our second stop of the evening was at the self-described “retro-chic” Hotel San Jose, built in 1939, on South Congress (SoCo). I had heard about their bar as a nice spot for a drink, so we went to check it out. We were impressed by the relaxing environment, surrounded by seventies-decor, and the outdoor hotel courtyard patio where every table was occupied. The waitress even made us a fresh pot of coffee, and we sat on petit stools at one of the few wooden tables inside the hotel lobby, right near the bar. The menu includes several munchies to accompany an extensive winelist. The small rectangular pool adjacent to the patio would be a great date spot, where private chairs inhabit the four corners, and would be a quiet place to just sit and enjoy another’s company.
Hip, Fashionable, Trendy Young Professional Itinerary Rebeccammendations:
Retro-Chic Spot (or Date Spot) for a Leisurely Drink: Hotel San Jose bar/patio on South Congress.