When planning what to do on my first day in Austin Jane and James decided that a visit to the wineries nearby would be a good idea, they were right. I was relieved when James suggested that I work out the wineries we should visit, was a bit worried that Jane would pick them, which is a worry as Jane likes Chardonnay that tastes like battery acid from South Eastern Australia called Jackeroo, sorry Jane I had to add this! The first winery I chose was Stone House Vineyard Texas.
Stone House Vineyard Texas
I chose Stone House Vineyard Texas because they also produce wines from South Australia, which caught my eye. The winery was established by Howard and Angela Moench in 1996. Angela, who was born in the Barossa Valley South Australia, runs the winery, with the help of a couple of wine makers in the Barossa Valley South Australia and the Nappa Valley California.
Next stop on my North American adventure was Austin Texas, to visit a couple of more friends, Jane and James. I was not really sure what to expect in Austin, anywhere that has a motto of “Keep Austin Weird” could turn out to be anything. Luckily for me Austin is good “Weird” and is a great place to visit with a lively food and music scene, both of which I planned on checking out, one more than the other. I wonder which one.
Austin is the State Capitol of Texas. Austin is named after Stephen F. Austin, the “Father of Texas”, was incorporated in around 1839 when it was decided to make it the Capitol of the Republic of Texas, replacing Houston, Texas.
One of the downsides of flying everywhere is that you never get the chance to see what is at ground level, so, as I had time, I decided to take the train from Dallas to Austin. The Amtrak Texas Eagle, is a daily train between Chicago, San Antonio and Los Angeles on the Sunset Limited, which includes Dallas and Austin Texas as stops.
The trip from Dallas to Austin Texas on the Amtrak Texas Eagle takes about 6.5 hours and stops at:
Americano is a vibrant, casual Italian restaurant with a prime location on Main Street adjacent to The Joule. The experience, full of whimsy, is an inviting atmosphere punctuated by Americano’s eclectic design inspired by 1960’s Italian cinema. Some of the menu features include hand-made pastas, neapolitan pizzas, and creative takes on classic Italian-American dishes. With a flexible outdoor patio space, Americano is a go-to spot for an assorted audience and perfect for large and small parties. From a celebratory al fresco meal, to a cozy corner for two, or a seat at the bustling bar, Americano offers an array of dining options.
The main reason I visited Dallas Texas was not to sight see but to catch up with a couple of friends, Annie and Dighton. As we all like a good meal and a drink or two, a dinner was in order. The place chosen by my hosts was Cafe Pacific in Highland Park.
Cafe Pacific has been around for around 35 years and is considered a Dallas institution, according to themselves. It definitely had the feel of an upscale neighborhood restaurant. Whilst it is not exactly what I would call a casual restaurant, in Singapore that means drinking shorts and a shirt, covered footwear optional, Cafe Pacific is fairly relaxed.
The restaurant is known for its Seafood and Steak and impeccable service, the wait staff are all dressed in formal white servers jackets, dark pants and a black tie, nice touch. They have an interesting wine list, although I had no idea about most of the wines on the list, luckily for me Dighton knew a good red on the list. Read more
Reunion Tower is the place I decided to visit to get a bird’s eye view of Dallas Texas. The tower is 171m (561ft) high and was originally a free-standing structure, it is now a part of the Hyatt Hotel.
A nice view!
The tower was built in 1978 and has three floors at the top:
The GeO-Deck, the observation deck, is on the lowest level and you have to pay to visit. There is also a café on this level called Cloud 9, but it is only open on weekends. Found this a bit strange as it would be a nice place for a drink or a coffee anytime. This is the level I visited
The middle floor is also Wolfgang Puck’s, it is used as a special events area
Wolfgang Puck’s Five Sixty Restaurant takes up the top floor. It is a revolving fine dining restaurant, I guess that the prices will be sky-high due to the height of the restaurant, maybe something to do with the Chef as well