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Alright, part 2 of our Austin trip! This honestly might’ve been my favorite part of our entire trip. Jason and I love good food but we love good LOCAL food. Every time we travel, we always hear of recommendations from friends and/or Yelp and while they’re always exceptional, there is just something about the local digs that are even better. They’re hole in the walls, mom-and-pops. They’re the ones that only locals know of and you wouldn’t even find them on those big review sites. We love those types of places because that’s where the REAL good food is at.
When my friend Claire first heard that we were going to Austin, she immediately told me that I had to contact John Dawson and Nicole Zinn, the owners of Rocket Electrics. Claire told me they give awesome foodie tours and you’re on a motorized bicycle. Ok, so not gonna lie, I went to their site to check this out and I still never really got how a bike was ‘motorized.’ I got the whole electric thing but I still didn’t get how it’d pedal for you. More on that below.
Anyway, so I contacted John and Nicole and mentioned that Jason and I were huge foodies and we’d love to go on their foodie tour. They cleared their calendars and John said he would take us out for the day. Yeah, what tour company do you know would just clear their day for you? None. John and Nicole are seriously the most down to Earth and most accommodating people I’ve ever ever met. They’re SO nice and money doesn’t drive their good intentions. Their LOVE for their city fuels everything. They want you to get what the locals get to see and eat every day, they want you to love the city as much as they love it. They want you to enjoy every second you’re there. They truly just want to share with you their love for their city by showing you everything there is to see and giving you the best experience possible. It’s their enthusiasm and dedication that makes Rocket Electrics thrive. The best way to see Austin is hands down with Rocket Electrics. I’m NOT kidding you. We would NOT have been able to see the city like we did without these bikes. I didn’t even break a sweat. These awesome rockets are FAST! The one I rode went up to 30mph!! It’s such a smooth ride, too, and there is zero effort. If you can ride a bike, you can ride this rocket!!
The shop dog, Fleck! Sweetest dog!!
The first stop was right behind their shop on Lady Bird Lake. You could see the beautiful skyline of Austin from here. It was so serene and peaceful. These guys below were relaxing on porch chairs and having a couple beers. I wish I could do that every day! And with this view? Beautiful!
After we rode around in the back parking lot area to get used to how the bikes rode, John took us to a food trailer park attached to this AWESOME coffee shop called BuzzMill. It’s not just a coffee shop, they have their own infused whiskeys and vodkas that you can get added into your coffee (omg, how cool?!) and they also have a bunch of local beer here.
Then, out back where outdoor seating is, there was The Blue Ox. Umm, you guys. If you think Franklin’s BBQ or Salt Lick is good, The Blue Ox is giving them a run for their money. The pulled pork, brisket, and pork loin that we got to try was INCREDIBLE. I cannot even begin to describe how amazing it tasted. The potato salad was nothing I’ve ever had before. We couldn’t stuff ourselves because, after all, it was a foodie tour and we had many more places to go, but just having John show us this place as one of the first stops, I would’ve been fine if he had said, “that’s it!” haha
Check out the SMOKE RINGS on the brisket!!! Chase is the owner of The Blue Ox and his smoker, he actually bought from Franklin of Franklin BBQ himself!
The pork has an espresso rub on it and everything else is just salt and pepper. The brisket and pulled pork is smoked for 20 hours. They even make their own bacon for brunch on Sunday’s!
This pork loin..oh my days. The moistest and juiciest pork loin I’ve ever had in my entire life.
This is the potato salad I was talking about. So so good. And that BBQ sauce? They use rendered brisket fat in their sauces. Mmmm yes!
John, Chase, and Jason hamming it up for the camera ;)
We got to take a look inside the large smoker!
After The Blue Ox, we rode back onto the other side of Lady Bird Lake. Isn’t it pretty? They have this event in the spring or summer time where people stand on this bridge (also called the bat bridge) to watch literally thousands of bats fly into the night from out under the bridge. Not sure if that’d be for me but I’m sure it’s a spectacular sight!
We then headed down town to Casino El Camino.
This isn’t your typical ‘touristy bar’ place. This is something you’d look into and be like ‘woah’ and walk on over to the next bar. It’s definitely a dark place and not exactly the tourist’s bar of choice but that’s actually what makes it awesome. It’s not a bodies right up against each other kind of bar; it’s more of a locals dive bar scene. Guy Fieri featured them on DDD.
We were told we had to try their famous bloody mary’s. You had to give them a number, scale of 1-10. 1 being tomato juice and 10 being something so spicy that even a Thai person couldn’t even drink it. Jason ordered a 7 and oh my gosh – it BURNED!!! But, how COOL is what this bloody mary is decorated with?! It’s like having breakfast & lunch in a drink as well!!
Frapp, the drink wizard, made my drink below. You tell him your favorite color and he will make you an outstanding drink in that color. I obviously said purple and this drink was dangerous!! Haha, couldn’t taste any alcohol!! I could’ve thrown it back easily but then wouldn’t that be DUI on a bike?! :)
The drink wizard himself!!
Omg, so not only are the drinks here amazing, the FOOD is killer. Perfect evening.
These were pork belly tacos. PORK BELLY!
A full on bacon taco. Just look at those crispy strips of bacon!!!
Ok, so they’re known for these buffalo burgers. It’s bison meat covered in their housemade buffalo sauce and topped with blue cheese crumbles!!
Yup, we’re still eating. This next place is probably one of the BEST pizza places I’ve EVER eaten at. The owners of this moved down from Detroit and wanted to start a pizza shop. They ate at every pizza shop in Texas. That was like some crazy number of pizza shops. They realized that the marinara sauce on pizza doesn’t really need to be on the bottom layer and cook with the pizza. Why? It’s already cooked. So instead, they make this amazing focaccia bread that they press into a rectangular cast iron pan then the cheese, toppings, and when they pull it out of the oven, they top it with marinara. The CRUST on the pizza is FANTASTIC.
The best crust ever.
Finally, it was time for dessert! John took us to Sugar Circus where the Espinoza sisters and their good friend Meghan teamed up and formed Sugar Circus. They make some legit cupcakes and treats. They had this vegan bourbon pecan cupcake and Jason said if you hadn’t told him it was vegan, you wouldn’t even have known! I loved all their creations and how pretty they were. They’re a such a fun bunch – all smiles and so sweet!
They had a birthday cupcake ready for me when we got there :)
Thank you John, Nicole, and Fleck for being the most amazing hosts and showing Jason and I around one of the best cities we’ve ever been to. I cannot wait til we return and I can’t wait to eat more with you guys!! John told me Austin’s motto is, ‘first a friend unless you show yourself to be a stranger.’ It is so so true, especially when you meet folks like John and Nicole. They welcomed us with open arms and took us under their wings and showed us Austin in the raw. I loved every moment of this tour.