2015 SCT, Day Seven – ATX / DFW

This was my last day in Austin – the day I leave to head back north. I have one more espresso to drink this morning, before getting back on the road.
Today I went to Radio Coffee & Beer, on Manchaca. And there was an extra special bonus at this location – I got to meet my Instagram / FaceBook friend Julie! She suggested we try Radio, and I’m glad she did.
I got there before she did, so I went ahead and ordered. A Synesso espresso machine! Same as what they used at Coffee Slingers in OKC. They seem to work pretty well… (haha)… I decided to try a cappuccino today, instead of a latte. As I was waiting for the barista to hook me up, I looked around the interior. Radio is located in a house, and it does have a nice, homey feeling. There seemed to be 2 basic kinds of coffee places – the more austere, stark, industrial-type shop, and the more eclectic, homey type. This place seemed to combine both of those elements. Homey and comfy, but tidy and a little sparse. They had a lot of outdoor seating too, so I opted for that while I waited for Julie to arrive.
IMG_3510She came along right after I took pictures of my cappuccino, and sat down with her Americano. We know each other from IG, and so we know little pieces of each other’s lives – the short stories that photographs tell. It was so nice meeting her and filling out the rest of the story, and to put a real person in context with all the photos. I think if I lived in Austin, Julie would be someone I’d want to meet regularly for a cuppa joe. So, thanks for coming out, Julie, and I hope to see you again soon!
As for the cappuccino – tasty! It fell into the category of “slap your face” good – the espresso was strong and kind of “in yo face” if you know what I mean. Which isn’t a bad thing! Even though this was served with less milk than I’m used to, it was still great. Nice flavor. Good job, Radio Coffee! I can definitely recommend that place.
But the champ is still Houndstooth. After coffee, I went back to my hosts’ place, packed my car, walked their dogs, and hightailed it outta town, up I35. So long, ATX, you crazysexy parody of yourself, you. Till next time.

Next stop: Ikea.
Someone had requested a lamp from Ikea, and we needed some bowls. It’s a very unsexy shopping list I know, but really, there aren’t many sexy shopping lists. Or maybe there are but I’m just doing my shopping wrong.
Anyway, someone had tagged Ikea! I had to take pictures.
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I put one of the photos on Instagram with a few #hashtags and I think the graffiti artist found my post and liked it. Nice job @400mlbakery!!

Ikea took WAY too long – it always does. Then I got back on the highway and the next stop was Fort Worth. I’m in FW for a few  days, hanging with my bff. Who knows what crazy shenanigans we’ll get into. Like sewing. Or making scrambled eggs. We’re crazy like that. I’ll keep you posted.

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2015 SCT, Day Six – Downtown Austin

It’s coming down to the wire in getting my daily post in, but I think I’m going to make it! I have a good excuse though – Austin seems to have given my laptop some malware. So while I scan it for junk, I’ll type this the best I can on my iPad. Yes, I’m multi-platformational, or something like that… 
Anyway, Day 6 was a good day. Although it started off a little questionable. I knew I was probably going to get some decent coffee in the afternoon, but in order to function properly I needed caffeine like, stat. I took a chance on a place not too far from where I was staying. Big mistake. The latte had too much milk, the espresso wasn’t good and the atmosphere kind of sucked. I won’t even mention name of the place because, well, I feel kinda bad about it. So if you want to read these posts as recommendations for where to go – leaving out the name won’t make any difference. And, well, you can’t win ‘em all. On the way home, I saw a guy on a scooter wearing pink leggings with kittens on them. It was not a good look for him.
A little shaken, I went back home and got ready to go into the city. Meaning, I signed up for Über. I got a ride downtown, and had lunch with Michael and one of his coworkers Corissa, who was my boss for my very first writing project. I met a few other people in their office – it was nice to put faces with the names, and to see how a supercool Austin Company looks on the inside. I also met a few fellow coffee aficionados which is always good! I hope I get to work with them more (if you’re reading this, hi guys!)
I couldn’t leave downtown without trying a coffee place. I chose Houndstooth and I’m so glad I did. As soon as I walked in, I realized there was a tasting going on. Darn It! I got there a little too late. I was disappointed I couldn’t join in, but was impressed they were having one.
The people at the counter were really nice and helpful. I ordered and got my latte and scone. The latte looked great. I could tell even before I found a seat I was going to really like it. I found a seat and sat with the coffee and food for a few minutes. I watched all the tasters slurp their coffee samples and I was envious. Oh well. I still couldn’t bring myself to taste the coffee. It’s like I wanted to savor the anticipation of something really good. So I savored. Finally I tasted it. Oh, YES. Houndstooth knows their coffee s**t.

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This was by far the best espresso I’d had so far in Austin. And the people were friendly (Yay! I knew it could be done!). And the atmosphere was nice. And the music was decent. Win win win win.
As I sat and drank my latte I listened to the guy talking about coffee to the tasters. I couldn’t hear it all but I caught bits – the coffee vocabulary words like “acidity,” “brightness,” “mouthfeel,” and “flavor.” Sigh. I listened to more slurping.

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When the class was over, the guy who taught it sat and talked to the guy who had helped me at the counter. I went over to say hi. And I hit Coffee Rockstar Paydirt.
Turns out the guy from the counter was the owner of Houndstooth, Sean Henry. Although I didn’t realize till later that he was the owner. The other guy was from Counter Culture, a well-known national roaster, and he had come in to do the tasting with Houndstooth. I told them both how impressed I was with the place. I explained how I was from Tulsa, and had been tasting espresso all the way down to Austin and blogging about it. They asked the name of my blog. I’m not sure why I blew that off but I managed to avoid the question. We talked a little about roasting, and how there are so many different elements that go into the experience of espresso. They were both really nice guys. Sean said they were having a free tasting at their Dallas shop on Monday and I should come. (You know I’m thinking about it, and you know I’m thinking there’s really no way I can miss that…) I went back to my table. I thought for a second, and then went back again to give Sean my business card. You know, just in case. In case he needed a freelance writer for something. Or wanted to read my blog. Ha.
Later after recounting the events to The Neighbor, he did some research & that’s when I realized Sean was not just the barista, but the owner of both Houndstooth locations in Austin and one in Dallas. And that their espresso machine is a custom-made Kees van der Westen Spirit. I didn’t get a photo of it and don’t want to use someone else’s, so if you want to see it, Google Houndstooth Frost Bank Building, or something like that. Pretty cool. I’ll get a photo next time.
I hung out for a while longer, waiting for my ride. It was a really nice place.
The rest of the evening was spent hanging out with my host Carissa, we had a little girl time, doing some yoga and having a tasty dinner. It was nice – a nice day.
And Sean, if you read this (cool!) – please bring Houndstooth to South Tulsa…
Thanks in advance,
Andrea

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