Not too long ago I was in Austin, TX, for the Electronic Resources and Libraries conference. This promised a few fun-filled days of talks and tweets, including my very own lightening talk. On the day a colleague and I would travel back to London we had a few hours to kill in the afternoon so just enough time to pick one thing to do in the city. Having previously faced a closed museum and no sign of the tour bus that was meant to be operating according to their own website, we played it safe and traveled out to South Congress. Supposedly a place we had to see according to other conference participants.
While even on tripadvisor it is #28 of things to do in Austin, I was incredibly underwhelmed. Perhaps I have traveled too much, but South Congress Avenue was just a strip of some eclectic shops and a variety of restaurants. One good thing worth emphasising is when I say ‘eclectic shops’, I mean there are no chain stores. I admit that is nice, and increasingly harder to find.
With nothing much to shop for but quite an appetite we decided to top off the trip with an all American experience: eating a burger. Our helpful taxi driver had already recommended Hopdoddy, although he put it as: “they try to make burgers gourmet, I am not sure what makes a burger gourmet but they do it.”
That was reason enough for us to go check it out. The place works like half restaurant, half fast-food joint in the sense that you get a table first, then line up to choose your food and pay. The food is then brought to you, as are your drinks. Drinkers beware they believe in All-American-Portion-Sizes for your beers. Start thinking soup bowls or fish tanks and you start getting the idea.
When I think “America”, and I think about food, a good burger always comes to mind. Being the health & nature conscious person I also am, I liked the more holistic approach Hopdoddy takes by locally sourcing their food from local farmers. I have to say, the food was delicious and as you can see in the picture above the variety of dipping sauces for your fries plentiful. I felt like a secret sauce agent by the end of it all.
It is also worth noting I am really not a beer person. At all. But I am a sucker for great names and having a beer called “thirsty goat” or “bucket head” sits well with me. Combine it with a hot day after an intense conference and a beer was the perfect way to cool down. All in all going to South Congress avenue was a success because we basically spent all our time in a restaurant enjoying what felt like an authentic American experience.