Enjoyable Experiences for the Curious
Uchiko, 4200 North Lamar Boulevard, Austin, TX 78756, United States of America (Map)
A dining experience that makes you feel thousands of miles away. This is one of my favorite places in Austin. Austin-friendly (yet impeccable) service, unusual atmosphere, and creative farmhouse-inspired Japanese food set Uchiko apart.
Uchi, 801 South Lamar Boulevard, Austin, TX 78704, United States of America (Map)
Uchi focuses more on the sushi side of the menu than it's little sister Uchiko. The walls of this converted bungalow radiate a special magic that shields you from the worries of reality.
Ramen Tatsu-ya, South Lamar Boulevard, Austin, TX 78704, United States of America (Map)
My favorite Ramen in Austin. Don't worry too much about the wait because the South Lamar location serves beer and sake in line. I like the Tonkotsu Sho-Yu with a fire-in-the-bowl. I usually can't stop myself from also ordering the sweet & sour yodas (Brussels sprouts).
CANTINE, 1100 S Lamar Blvd, Austin, TX (Map)
Mediterranean inspired food with an excellent cocktail menu. I'm addicted to their anchovy stuffed fried olives!
A classic Austin spot for enjoying craft beer. Draught House has a large selection of taps featuring beer from Austin and around the world. They also serve their own unique beer that they brew on site.
The Tigress, North Loop Boulevard, Austin, TX 78756, United States of America (Map)
A tiny craft cocktail bar with friendly service and awesome drinks. Prepare for an experience if Walking Dead is on!
A massive dome of pink granite rises from Texas hill country. The main trails up the dome are't too difficult, and the top has fantastic views. There is a cave hidden in the fissure on the back of the dome -- bring several flashlights if you want to explore it. The park fills quickly in peak season, so arrive early.
A safe, closed course to ride bikes or skate.
Book People, 603 North Lamar Boulevard, Austin, TX 78703, United States of America (Map)
A large book store in Downtown Austin with an unusually large selection. They often host famous authors.
Harry Ransom Center, 300 West 21st Street, Austin, TX 78705, United States of America (Map)
A small but wonderful museum. They always display their beautiful Gutenberg Bible, and the world's first permanent photo. Their other exhibits are temporary and usually impressive.
Craft Pride, River Street, Austin, TX 78746, United States of America (Map)
A craft beer bar with a carefully curated beverage menu. Like many businesses on Rainey street, it is a converted house with a nice back yard.
Lees Sandwiches, Willow Street, San Francisco, CA 94109, United States of America (Map)
It's not fine dining by any stretch. Many of my trips to San Francisco begin with lunch here. This is a cheap sandwich shop in an interesting part of San Francisco. You probably won't want to walk here at night. I love the BBQ Pork banh mi.
Walt Disney Family Museum, Taylor Road, San Francisco, CA 94129, United States of America (Map)
Anyone with an interest in the history of entertainment or engineering should visit this impressive museum.
Easy Tiger, 709 East 6th Street, Austin, TX 78702, United States of America (Map)
Easy Tiger: Austin's favorite combination bakery, bar, and sandwich shop. The first floor feels a bit like a German beer hall: a large selection of taps and bottles, heavy wooden furniture, and a menu loaded with sandwiches and sausages. Upstairs they bake delicious bread and pretzels that supply many local restaurants. In the back, they have a nice covered beer garden with ping-pong tables overlooking Waller Creek.
Trader Sam’s Grog Grotto, Floridian Way, Bay Lake, FL 34786, United States of America (Map)
What lies tucked behind an ordinary-looking door in a forgotten corner of Disney's Polynesian Resort? A tiny tiki bar with imagineer flair and special effects, naturally.
Does it serve amazing drinks? No, they're just good (and pricey). But it's still a fun place with bad puns, Disney inside jokes, and over-the-top dramatic drink delivery.
Mr. Dunderbak's, Bruce B Downs Boulevard, Tampa, FL 33613, United States of America (Map)
I've enjoyed Mr. Dunderbak's since I was a child, when it was a deep and narrow shop hidden in a shopping mall. Today Dunderbak's has a larger location but a similar spirit. Dark wood, a long beer list, German food, and actual German music make for a unique experience in Tampa. They now brew their own small-batch beer too!
I enjoy the Matterhorn sandwich, grilled, with the dressing on the side. I love their hot German potato salad; I don't understand anybody who prefers the flavorless cold potato salad served at picnics.
Worldwinds, Bird Island Basin Rd, Corpus Christi, TX 78418
Worldwinds taught me to windsurf, and they should probably teach you to windsurf too.
Some important details: Worldwinds is popular. If you have never windsurfed before, you will need to make reservations for the beginner class in advanced. Also, Worldwinds is inside the Padre Island National Seashore. You will need to pay an entry fee for the park and for Bird Island Basin at the main gate (both are cheap, and an annual pass for both is quite affordable). Read more about preparing a trip to Worldwinds here.
14701 Padre Island Dr, Corpus Christi, TX 78418
Dragonfly looks like many other restaurants in Corpus. Big pickup trucks in the parking lot. Eclectic decorations. Customers wearing their finest fishing clothes.
Don't be fooled. Dragonfly may have the best food on the island, and possibly in Corpus Christi. Despite the French influence, the prices seem quite reasonable by Austin standards.
Hint: The sign for Curacao Blues (the attached bar) may be easier to spot from the road.
Surfside Sandwich Shoppe, 15113 South Padre Island Drive, Corpus Christi, TX 78418, United States of America (Map)
When you desperately need a sandwich and a craft beer, Surfside provides. It's a fun place to sit on the patio with some friends and play 2x4 Jenga after a long day windsurfing.