my first time in texas

Hi everyone, so how about this snow?! Certainly getting in my exercise this weekend with all of the shoveling I have been doing. All of this physical activity has been compensated for with lots of yummy foods, including fresh popped popcorn, dirty hot chocolate (coffee added), and bullet proof coffee.

Last weekend I was in Austin, TX for a conference so I wasn't able to blog about how week two of my new year goals played out. For a quick follow-up, week two of my sugar free and alcohol free week went pretty well. I successfully went 15 days without alcohol. I surprised myself! It was a good feeling to prove to myself that I could do it. That was the longest I had gone without alcohol since high school (if you can believe it). I broke my alcohol hiatus with celebratory drinks with my boyfriend (who earned his PhD)  and then a trip to Texas. I definitely think that abstaining from alcohol helped me to feel and eat better, particularly on the weekends. That being said, alcohol is social, and tastes good so I won't be giving it up long term. Being snowed in warranted some wine and I have a fun weekend in Jersey coming up which I plan to fully enjoy. I think I will do another seven day break in February, to keep myself on track.

Sugar free week two was pretty comparable to week one. I think I had one piece of chocolate but that was it. With two weeks over, I have enjoyed having some sweets back in my life. I baked grain-free coffee cake muffins this weekend, only sweetener was coconut sugar, and they were amazing.

I missed my vegetarian day last week because I was in Texas. Today I just don't have enough non-meat foods around since I am stuck inside, so I will miss it again. I do plan to do a meat free day tomorrow. This is a goal I want to stick with. How have your new year goals and resolutions been going? I would love to hear about it!

So last weekend and part of the week I was in Austin, Texas for a conference. It was my first time in Texas and I didn't know anyone when I got there. The conference was great, I met a lot of people in my profession and learned so much. My brain still feels like it is on overdrive. An important part of my trip was the food. I knew beforehand that Austin has a pretty awesome food culture and I had to make the most of it. I did my research and read about the best gluten-free/paleo meals and restaurants. Sadly, I was not able to make it to several places on my list, but it just motivates me to go back for a fun trip sometime in the future!

I am keeping it simple with this week's post. I am going to share some of my good eats, the places I went, and some travel and food tips for you to use at your next work function or conference. Enjoy.


I got into Texas in the late afternoon. As soon as I checked into my hotel I went straight to The Salty Sow. Even though I only needed a seat for one, the wait was almost an hour. I walked two blocks to El Chile to have a drink while I waited for my table. Oh and I had some delicious ceviche as well!

Finally, I got a text from The Salty Sow that was my "table" was ready. It was actually a little bar type shelf against a window. This might have been nice, except it looked out onto the patio so I was watching other people eat. This was not my favorite thing to be doing so I left soon after I ate (plus I forgot to bring a book). I will say, my food was ridiculous. I had duck fat fries with a special sauce and a poached egg. I also took a salad-to-go, which had goat cheese, pork belly, and the most amazing homemade dressing I have ever had, among other things.

it was kind of sad to eat this all alone because i wanted someone else to experience the deliciousness!


Even though conferences start quite early, I was still on Maryland time, which is an hour later. I was able to get up and get a workout in at the hotel gym!

Here is what I did:

4 times through:

  • 10 jump squats
  • 10 dumbbell plie squats with pulse
  • 10 per side dumbbell split squats
  • 10 per side bench up and overs holding a med ball

Then, 3 times through:

  • 12 standing dumbbell rows to tricep extension
  • 12 curls
  • 20 per side walking plank

After a shower I went to the hotel breakfast area to eat my to-go salad from the night before. I also had an orange. And yes, this salad was that good that I was able to eat lettuce for breakfast.

I was given a free lunch in the conference, and it wasn't half bad. With all of the money I was spending I was glad to take advantage of it. During my late afternoon break I had one thing on my mind- ICE CREAM! It was in the high 60s and sunny in Texas, so this was a logical choice. lick is where I headed. (PS shout out to ATX uber drivers for carting me around and making it so easy to explore).

I sampled just about every flavor, including a dark chocolate olive oil and sea salt (whoa). I went there for their coconut milk ice cream so that was what my final decision had to be. I went with a scoop of peanut butter chocolate swirled coconut milk ice cream and topped with a scoop of tart toasted coconut. The tart toasted was my favorite. It was coconut milk ice cream with toasted coconut and lemon curd mixed in. It was sweet and tangy and I could have eaten it forever!

Okay, so at this time I was pretty full. I had some free snacks and went to a sponsored dinner event. It was nothing too amazing and my stomach was bugging me so I didn't eat much and took my dinner home. I headed to bed early. A full day of conferencing is exhausting.


Monday was a REALLY early day. I went to a breakfast where speakers talked about inflammation and fish oils. It was extremely interesting and worthwhile. The breakfast they promised, was not. It was fruit, sugary yogurt, pastries, muffins, and cold cereal. Basically carbs in six forms - no thanks. I improvised..had coffee, fruit, and some grain-free larabar granola (I brought this in my bag) with whole milk. I had to eat a kind bar at 10 am to quiet my rumbling tummy. By the time noon rolled around, my schedule was open for a few hours and I wasted no time getting to my most sought after destination- 24 Diner.
Recognized for their famous meatloaf, they have also been named one of the top 5 diners in the US. It was easily one of the most delicious meals I have ever had.

I started with an almond milk latte (so sugar or sweetener involved) while I stalked the bar seats for an opening. The man next to me called it coffee soup- the mug, or I guess it was a bowl, that the latte was served in was ginormous.

A seat opened up and I grabbed it. I was starving and the entire menu sounded delish. I was stuck between a country breakfast, with red eye gravy, and a breakfast hash. I went with the Veggie Hash. It was a white potato and onion hash with spinach, mushrooms, swiss. Topped with a poached egg and avocado. Oh my. It was heavenly. I rarely stuff myself to the point of being uncomfortable because I really hate that stomach expanded to max capacity feeling, but I definitely forced extra food in me here. It didn't help that I started with their homemade sausage. Which was the most delicious sausage I have ever had.

Sadly, this meal did me in. I was full for hours. I had a free dinner but the only things there that I could eat were veggies and lettuce. I was done by 730 pm but I just needed to relax and lie down so no exploring went on that night.


Tuesday was my last day and there was one more must-see place on my list. I got up early before the sessions started and geared up for a run. I used the trails that line the water and a walking bridge to get myself over 2 miles...


My entire run wasn't this pretty...I spent some time on the sidewalk of a super busy street but I made it... PICNIK

I spent a ridiculous amount of money, but how could I not. I got a grain free cinnamon pecan muffin for my plane ride home. I got my first ever bullet proof coffee, it was a dirty chai, to be exact. I also got a dairy free spaghetti squash bolognese with cashew cream sauce to eat before my flight. Wish I could have gotten everything. They were super friendly and it was beyond worth the trip.

And that was it! I attended another awesome talk all about probiotics and prebiotics, the information I will need to share at a later time, when my brain recovers. I absolutely LOVED Austin and I can't wait to go back.

I know today's post was lengthy and different from what I usually discuss, but I had an amazing food experience and I had to share. My two travel tips: never be afraid to do things alone, you can miss out on too much; and be prepared with snacks. (I brought larabars, kind bars, a nut mix, larabar granola, peanut butter, nut butter packets, and chia seed drinkables. I packed these into a blender bottle so they fit nicely into my carry on backpack without taking up real space.)

What are your travel snack go-to's?

Have you been to Texas? I would love to hear about your good eats!

Stay safe in this weather.

til next time...