I have been digging through the photos that I took on our West Texas vacation and can’t believe it’s been almost two weeks since we got back. Because I just can’t narrow it down, this recap is likely going to be a multi-part blog post — I need to share the detail of every.single.bite. I ate and lots of fun pictures too. First up: Austin! Austin, despite being about 100 degrees, was totally and completely awesome. We fell in love with the cute little house bars on Rainey Street, browsed through the vintage shops in the South Congress area, and tried many, many tacos to try and nail down a favorite (barbacoa tacos at Torchy’s were the winner!). A few more favorites from our Austin stay were…. IMG_3655.JPGElizabeth Street Cafe. When I was doing research for our trip, I happened upon Elizabeth Street Cafe through Mackenzie’s Austin recommendations and decided to check it out for ourselves! I love the super bright space with quirky little teapots and floral wallpaper, and the outside had a bright pink and turquoise paint scheme that was so cheery and cute. We had the pork belly buns and spicy pork meatball bahn mi — and I couldn’t pass up the macarons in the pastry case when we were leaving — they were delicious!DSC_0001IMG_3732.JPGDSC_0008 copy

Hillside Farmacy. I’d seen pictures of the Hillside Farmacy on Instagram and knew we had to go here. The striped awnings and bright green facade reminded me of our wedding color scheme, so I was sold even before we walked in. We ate here for brunch and I was prepared to go for eggs or pancakes, but then I saw a piping hot skillet of the mac and cheese walk by our table and I had to order some of my own. I am quite glad it did — it was super rich and delightfully tasty (and I washed it down with a wasabi bloody mary, yum!).

IMG_3695.JPGDSC_0016Barton Springs. This place was amazing, I’ve never seen anything like it! Given that the temperatures were creeping  up into the hundreds during out trip, a little respite from the heat was very welcome. It was part pool, part lake, one-hundred-percent refreshing once we jumped in.

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Josephine House. Our meal at Josephine House was phenomenal and the restaurant design was nothing but impeccable. We got there just as the light was fading and I didn’t get any pictures of the interior, but trust me when I say it was gorgeous — take a look at some of the gorgeous pictures on their website. The best part of the meal was dessert: a honey panna cotta with Texas figs and ginger-oat streusel — heavenly. It was just the treat we needed before heading off on the next leg of our trip! DSC_0021

 

It was a very festive weekend — we celebrated my little brother’s high school graduation with a big backyard fiesta! I think my sister and I started planning this party almost a year ago when we realized our baby brother’s graduation was impending — we love to throw a good party and this was a big reason to celebrate. The theme was inspired by some mexican blankets that we found at a thrift store for a few bucks a piece, and thought they would make awesome table linens for a summer fiesta. We had a taco bar for dinner and a make your own margarita station with festive drink stirrers. For decorations I ordered tons of papel picado and we strung the banners all along the backyard fence and above the bar. Of course it wouldn’t be a fiesta without a few piñatas too (and I brought some confetti cannons which were a hit!). It was a perfect day of food, family, and fun.
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I have one last recipe to share from our Taco Date Night party, and of course I saved the cocktail recipe for Friday! These orange mango margaritas are going to be a summer staple, I just know it.  I loosely chopped up 2 small ripe mangoes, and squeezed the juice of two giant oranges into a food processors, and blended the mixture until it was a smooth puree. Then I strained the remaining mango pieces out of the mixture, leaving just the juice behind in a measuring cup. Over ice in a cocktail shaker I mixed 2 ounces of tequila, 2 ounces of the mango-orange juice, a squeeze of a fresh lime, and a half an ounce of Grand Marnier. Shake it up, and strain it into a glass, and serve with a lime wedge. With all of that fruit in there, it’s basically like a healthy smoothie (with tequila), right?a aDSC_0051 aDSC_0054aDSC_0062

To help you recreate this party look at home, Hattie Sparks has a special offer for my readers: 20% OFF your online purchase with the code DOMESTIKATE today through Monday 3/17 – happy shopping!

Please note: I was gifted some of the materials used in this post. All opinions and recipes are my own. 

The main course for my Taco Date Night party was a pulled pork taco with a chipotle lime slaw. We were gifted a slow cooker for our wedding and it’s been such a nice addition to the kitchen this winter — I love how our house smells like savory comfort food all weekend when we get to use it. The pulled pork recipe was simple. I combined a teaspoon each of chili powder, cumin, onion powder, and garlic powder, plus a bit of salt and pepper to make a dry rub for a pork tenderloin. After coating the pork with dry rub, I seared all sides in a skillet before placing it in the slow cooker with a 1/4 cup of honey, 2 seeded chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, 1 cup of chicken broth, the juice of one lime, and a tablespoon of brown sugar.  After that, I set the slow cooker on low for about 6 hours before coming back at the end to remove the peppers and shred the pork.

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I served them on warm corn tortillas with a chipotle lime slaw (which was just a slaw mix and some of the leftover chipotle lime aioli from my Mexican Street Corn, combined with about a teaspoon of red wine vinegar). These came out delicious, a really nice combination of sweet from the honey and spicy from the chipotle peppers. aDSC_0075

To help you recreate this party look at home, Hattie Sparks has a special offer for my readers: 20% OFF your online purchase with the code DOMESTIKATE today through Monday 3/17 – happy shopping!

Please note: I was gifted some of the materials used in this post. All opinions and recipes are my own. 

When people ask me, ‘why do you like blogging?’ — it’s posts like these that make me unequivocally be able to say it’s getting to ‘meet’ and collaborate with so many awesome people. The darling Hattie, owner of Hattie Sparks, reached out to me with the idea of collaborating on a table-styling project using some of the beautifully curated products from her shop. I of course jumped at the chance and when I saw the bright Jonathan Adler pieces she pulled together,  I knew they were begging for a little taco party (I guess that makes this Taco Tuesday!). My husband absolutely loves tacos, they’re his favorite food, so I made a plan over the weekend to cook up some gourmet tacos for a Mexican-inspired date night at home.

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For the menu I made a spin on pulled pork tacos that were slow-cooked with chipotle peppers and honey and topped with a lime-chipotle slaw. I plated up some Mexican street corn on a bright green and white geometric patterned tray (those colors together were perfectly appetizing!), and of scooped lots of fresh guacamole and all the toppings into playful bird dishes and bowls! Of course we needed a sweet libation to wash down our tacos, so I mixed up a batch of orange mango margaritas in mod white rocks glasses.

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I hope I have made you thoroughly crave a taco night — I’ll be posting my recipes later this week so you can recreate the whole meal.

And to help you recreate the look at home, Hattie Sparks has a special offer for my readers: 20% OFF your online purchase with the code DOMESTIKATE today through Monday 3/17 – shop away my dears,  you know need a guacamole bird bowl!

Please note: I was gifted some of the materials used in this post. All opinions, recipes, and taco jokes are my own.