Have I told you how much I love Congress Avenue? There’s just a certain something special about it. Here it lies in the capital of Texas, not at all hustle-bustle or in a hurry. Nope – it’s laid back. In fact, if you just say it kinda s-l-o-w, stretching out the syllables, enunciating with a d-r-a-w-l, letting the two words drip off the tongue like honey, until they sort of become one – then you’ll get the feel — the feel of Con-gressss-A-ven-oooo – Texas’ most influential address.
I had only seen the Capitol Building twice in my life before we moved to Austin, once on family vacation when I was 13, and once when Mike and I chaperoned a group of student leaders from Muleshoe. Since we moved here, I’ve seen it hundreds of times, and it never gets old.
I’m telling you – turn any corner looking north onto Congress Avenue, catch a fresh camera-eye view of that building, and it will make you catch your breath. Other state capitol buildings – sorry ’boutcha. Our daddy is just bigger than yours. Please don’t hate me for saying that! It’s just so darn pretty, and I do appreciate your giving me a tiny moment here to express a little Texas pride.
We take our visiting family, friends and granddogs on a little walk to the Capitol Building every chance we get.
There are plenty of great restaurants on Congress Avenue (La Traviata is a fave), but every Friday between now and mid-November, we can enjoy a little something yummy from a food truck. Order, grab and keep walking – or order, grab and park yourself on a bench under a tree – for a few sunny minutes of watching the world go by.
Last week, Mike and I had a Banh Mi sandwich from Saigon le Vendeur. These guys recently won a food truck competition for their spicy chicken Banh Mi – and it was easy to taste why.
Banh Mi is a Vietnamese term for all kinds of bread, but it seems like when I’ve seen Banh Mi on the side of a food truck, it means “sandwich.” There are different kinds, but most have a few things in common: cilantro, cucumbers, and delicious pickled carrots.
The chicken was definitely spicy, but not overpowering.
Along with the food trucks every Friday, there will be market tents and street music. It’s a great way to spend a lunch hour as the weather gets a little cooler.
When we moved to Austin, my aunt and uncle told us a story of how they had left Amarillo and come here so that my uncle could go to school at UT (for $50 a semester!!!). My aunt worked at the Capitol Building to keep food on the table and pay the $85/mo rent on their tiny apartment near campus. Today there are cranes everywhere, high-rise office buildings, and even a Trader Joe’s. Things are definitely different.
But one thing remains the same. That stately old building at the north end of Con-gressss-A-ven-oooo.
Encouraging intentional adventure, and a fresh look down the street,
PS – Thanks for letting me wax on about my favorite street in Texas – now, what’s your favorite street? I’d love to hear!