Yee-Haw(ttest yankees in town)

23 Jun

For my birthday, Molly and I had a girls trip —  just the two of us — to South Central Texas. We landed in Austin (which I saw first hand has an international feel) and learned about all of the Californians who have moved to Austin, Texas (I can see why; it’s a really cool city).


“I’M SO HAPPY FOR OUR FUN,” read Molly’s text message.




As I got off the plane and read her message, I couldn’t help but look down at my really dramatic fake cowboy boots. Me too, girl. I thought. Me too! I couldn’t wait to meet her at the terminal and get the party started, but unfortunately budget travel wasn’t as “happy for our fun” as we were, and it took me over 30 minutes to get to her. HOWEVER, I was keeping in touch through text and also by checking her Instagram account for hilarious updates.

When we finally met up, my cowboy boots and her beer signaled that the party had, indeed, started, so we picked up our rental car and went straight on the Broken Spoke, a country western bar in Austin that has a live band, Lone Star beer, cowboy hats, belt buckles, and a ton of dancing.

Austin is so cool. I mean hot.  We were sweating and my hair wouldn’t stay straight.


We left after an hour because later in our trip we were planning to head into what I call the heart of Texas. And so we wanted to enjoy other unique things that Austin had to offer including food trucks and a bar called Academia (recommended by Spencer). In classic Team Show on the Road style (we’re back!), we changed in the car.  

In Austin, they have this amazing rule where you can park overnight, and if you get a ticket in the morning when the meters start again, the fine gets waived as long as you show proof that you got home in some other way besides driving (i.e., uber receipt, bus ticket). It’s an incredible initiative that encourages Austinites (and tourists) to both go downtown and to get home safely. We were very impressed with Austin.

Fraternizing with the owner, Russell Davis.

While we were at Academia, we were served delicious crab cakes (hot ‘n fresh out the kitchen) and rung in my actual birthday with some peanut butter onions (which were Hemingway’s favorite snack apparently). Right after midnight, we headed out and walked briskly along 6th street towards Rainey Street, which was food truck heaven. That night, we got food everywhere, as if the birthday party was catered. We fantasized about being back into Austin early enough on Sunday to enjoy brunch on this chic street. We heard Sundays are the best.

Walking back, to check into the hotel, we saw our very first Texas horse in the form of a (very hot) policeman riding cavalry. Molly asked if we could pet it (the horse…not the policeman), AND WE COULD. With huge smiles, we got back to the hotel at 4am.

Being invited over to pet the horse.  



Saturday, June 23rd, my actual birthday.

Could we have slept in? No, it was not possible. We had somewhere to be. There was a literal ICE CREAM FESTIVAL on my birthday. It was kind of fate, the way that it happened. Thank you, universe! I had known about the ice cream festival in advance and bought us VIP passes, which allowed us to enter at 9AM–a full hour before everyone else–giving us a leg up on all the ice cream tasting. Not that it’s a competition. OH WAIT. YES IT IS.

But first, as we were RUSHING out the door, we grabbed breakfast to go from the buffet at the hotel — 2 hard boiled eggs each — “and thank god for them.” – Molly said later, after all of the cream had settled in our bellies.



We were in the front of the line. Waiting. WHEN WOULD THEY OPEN THE GATES!!!!!
Molly and I were one of the first 20 people to get in and as soon as we did, we headed straight for the ice cream eating competition sign-ups because we were completely certain that the contests were going to fill up as soon as the festival doors opened. Right then, we committed to two contests: the hands-free ice cream sandwich eating competition and the half-gallon ice cream eating contest.


The stuff birthday dreams are made of…


While we were waiting for the competition to start, we took our ice cream sample passbook around, which allowed us to try 26 sample cups of ice cream. We were at a Texas-sized ICE CREAM FESTIVAL!!!

A visual of our passbook as we were trying samples, getting stamps, and filling it up.


Keep in mind, this is Texas, and everything is bigger here so the sample cups were like a Baskin Robbins medium.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO ME!!!! (I loved that charcoal lavender.)  


You’ll notice two different types of samples in that picture. The foreground AND the background.  We couldn’t get enough (or could we…?). Also, that spoon changes colors, adorable and delicious!


At the “make your own snow cone” station.


The green one of these had kale in it… which was the only vegetable we saw at the festival.


#notsickyet TRENDING

Motivational mantras as the day went on.


We contemplated but couldn’t figure out: How does this festival make any money, they are giving so much ice cream away for free??

The Coconut Ash was my favorite of all of the flavors. Better than the Vanilla Pine at Scoopy’s in Jamaica.



Initially, when I had seen that we only got 26 samples, I was pretty confident that I wasn’t going to get enough ice cream to eat. But with only 20 minutes before the ice cream eating competition was to begin Molly and I looked at each other. We needed an ice cream break. We had already gotten enough ice cream, and the first (of 2) competitions hadn’t even started yet.  We sat for 20 minutes and reviewed, revisited, and categorized all the samples we had had up to this point. To clear our heads and mentally prepare for the competition, we ranked all of the samples a scale of 1-5 based on both taste and presentation.



Because it was my actual birthday, I felt like I was (literally) born to do this ice cream eating competition.


Moments before the competition.



 The competitors.   Are we getting warmer or colder to winning? (Those ice cream tubs are empty and just for show.)


At the beginning of the hands free ice cream sandwich eating competition, Molly and I were pretty sure we had this. I mean, as I mentioned earlier, I was literally born to do this.


(not competitive at all.)


I could do — and probably have done– this in MY SLEEP.


On your marks, get set, EAT!


Haha, we lost so hard. But really, did we lose? Can anyone who enters an ice cream eating competition lose?


The winner looked like she deserved to win– if you know what I mean. 😉

And there are no losers if you get lucky enough to enter an ice cream sandwich eating competition. Because whenever you’re in an ice cream eating competition, you can only win. [Unless maybe it’s who could eat the most (because oh man you’d want to win but you’d also get sick)].   

By the end of that first competition, when we were so full of ice cream we could burst but still had more samples to try, Molly and I crawled over to that second ice cream competition sign up sheet and….just… drew a line through our names. Because even we, ice cream fiends, realized that without that half-gallon eating competition, we were STILL going to have gotten much too much ice cream for one day.  


11:15 am

It was scorching, the festival was packed, and we still had 9 more samples to try. Molly and I — rather than hanging out with each other during the rest of the festival — had our priorities straight. We would divide and conquer the lines. One of us would wait with both passbooks, get our two samples, and meet the other girl in her longer line while we ate them.  Then we would split up again. WE WERE COMMITTED. We tried ALL the possible things including buying a bonus $1 cookie that looked too good to skip. I had brought the right girl with me to this festival. Molly did NOT let me give up. She insisted that we try everything available to us, and that smart girl wasn’t wrong. We were in heaven (and also a little bit of hell. BUT MOSTLY HEAVEN).



The final sample.  And our completely full stamped passport. Those sprinkles in the background were also given away as a bonus.  #birthdaylyfe


After three hours of nonstop ice cream devouring, Molly and I had tried every. single. sample that we could, entered and lost one ice cream eating competition, and were so hot and full of cream and sugar that we had to sit in the shade and regroup.   

No clouds in clouds in sight.


We contemplated our next meal. Should we eat something healthy or just not eat at all?  What would help us feel better? We rolled out of the gate back to our car.




Obviously, we weren’t going to choose not to eat. We went to Curma — a vegan, ayurveda food truck with mostly non-cooked food that Tara had recommended.  

BTW. We’re vegan now.


Plant-Based Food, will you please combat all the milk and sugar in our tummies?


We got back into the car so sticky and sweaty (Texas is hot in June), blasted the AC (it would not get cold enough), and headed out of Austin. The first place I had marked on my map–about an hour away–was a barbeque place called SaltLick, which also had come to me on a recommendation this time via a former NFL player who had said this about it…. “ it is my favorite BBQ of all time, not just in Texas.”

You may be thinking Ha! I know you just kept on driving. You *had* to have been too full. And if you think that, you’re most definitely wrong…

BTW. We’re not vegan anymore.


We stopped at Salt Lick and had some of THE MOST INCREDIBLE BBQ. It was so good that, as full as we were, we considered ordering more of it. But that’s it. We only considered it, I promise.

It was a novice mistake to get any sides with that BBQ.



We could not eat anymore.  Mercy! And we went to do look in some cute stores as we headed through beautiful scenery and into Wimberley, Texas. We shopped around a little, and Molly bought me these gold Texas earrings, which I love.   But other than that, exhaustion set in and it was way too hot to do anything. We lounged around a bit and cursed the sun. It was so hot. Too hot. Oppressively hot. What could we do besides talk about how hot it was?! Seriously.  It was So. Hot. But then, at 3pm, we had a brilliant idea. We beat the sun with coffee beans, the sun’s arch nemesis (which the sun ironically helps grow). WE GOT SOME COFFEE. COFFEE COFFEE COFFEE COFFEE!!!!! Take that, son! ← hehe, get it?

This cat lookin’ how we felt.  


It was so hot, even these trees are sitting in a puddle of their own sweat.




Back on the road again, Molly and I had our sights set on Bandera, Texas. We ate some homegrown corn she had brought down with her from LA for a light dinner (thank you to Sophie for our delicious, locally imported birthday meal).


June 23rd —  Here’s a menu for the Team Show on the Road diet:

Breakfast:      Ice cream, and lots of it
Lunch:           Vegetables or anything vegan
2nd Lunch:   Ribs
Dinner:          Corn on the cob (from LA) and Beer


I think the moral of the story, for me, is this:  If you ever find yourself in Austin, try 26 ice cream samples — even if there’s no ice cream festival, eat from food trucks, try to make it back into town for a Sunday, pet a policeman’s horse (proceed with caution), drink COFFEE, and head towards Bandera.   


Happy birthday to ‘mi, y’all!!!





One Response to “Yee-Haw(ttest yankees in town)”

  1. Paul Garcia August 7, 2018 at 8:19 pm #

    Hey Sammy,

    Wishing you a belated happy birthday from the other side of the world!


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