A Picnic at Hamilton Pool

A picnic at Hamilton Pool

Since Jack and I first moved to Austin, we’ve loved exploring all of the local natural springs and watering holes. The heat here in the summertime is no joke and the best way to beat it is by getting around some water.

A few weeks ago, we took the day off and spent a lovely afternoon hiking and picnicking at Hamilton Pool. For this post, we’re partnering with Bota Box to share our little local adventure. Hamilton Pool is SO beautiful.It’s a natural pool with a gorgeous 50-foot waterfall. It’s about a 40 minute drive outside of Austin – an easy half-day trip.

A picnic at Hamilton Pool

There’s a quarter mile hike down to the pool. It’s scenic, but be sure wear decent walking shoes that will probably get a little muddy. Another quick tip: pack a lighter picnic than I did above unless you have as nice a husband as I do who will carry it all. (note: glass containers actually aren’t allowed, as we discovered later. Bota Mini’s are perfect to bring along since their alternative packaging contains no glass). 

Here we go!

A picnic at Hamilton Pool, Dripping Springs TX A picnic at Hamilton Pool, Dripping Springs TX

The pool was naturally created thousands of years ago when the dome of an underground river collapsed due to massive erosion. It’s fun (and totally safe!) to hike around the massive limestone formations. Be sure to grab a walking stick at the beginning of the trail, it was surprisingly helpful.

A picnic at Hamilton Pool, Dripping Springs TX A picnic at Hamilton Pool, Dripping Springs TX

The day we were here, swimming wasn’t allowed, but that didn’t hold us back from enjoying our picnic on the small beach. I packed my favorite picnic sandwiches, hummus & veggies, a lemony chickpea & radish salad, and these vegan chocolate chip cookies. We brought Bota Minis because what’s a picnic without wine? The Bota Minis are so convenient and easy to pack. Because the weather was warm, I packed their Mini Pinot Grigio and Chardonnay white wines.

A picnic at Hamilton Pool, Dripping Springs TX A picnic at Hamilton Pool, Dripping Springs TX

I just loved spending this day with Jack. It really reminded me that we should get away from our computers and go explore something new, yet nearby, more often.

A couple of tips before you go: be sure to make a reservation, they only let a certain number of people in at a time and, especially in the summer, it gets full. If you can take off a weekday afternoon, I highly recommend it!

This post was created in partnership with Bota Box. All opinions are my own!

Favorite Places in Austin to Eat & Drink

Favorite places in Austin to eat and drink

I get so many emails asking about my favorite places to eat and drink in Austin. It used to be pretty easy to make a list for people from out-of-town, but in the past couple of years Austin has really become a top notch food city. The list of restaurants to hit is becoming endless, so today I’m narrowing it down to just a few of my favorites and when (and with whom) I would go.

This post is in partnership with Square Cash – because their app is a super easy way to split the check between friends. Unlike other money exchanging apps, it’s foolproof to set up, money gets transferred instantly between your accounts – and between friends, it’s entirely free.

And now, let’s eat!

Meet over Margaritas (w/ Guac tasting platter): La Condesa or El Naranjo

Brunch with Girlfriends: Josephine House or Café No Sé

Patio Perfect: Perla’s or Contigo

Breakfast in Bed: South Congress Hotel or Hotel St. Cecilia

All the tacos: Taco Deli or Veracruz All Natural

Favorite places in Austin to eat and drink

Very Veggie: Bouldin Creek Cafe or The Steeping Room

Most Instagrammable: Elizabeth St. Cafe

Something Sweet: Sugar Mamas (vegan & gf cupcakes!) or Lick Ice Cream

Dinner with the Folks: Odd Duck or Central Standard

Remote Office: Mañana or Seventh Flag Coffee

Yes way, Rosé: House Wine or Lenoir Wine Garden

When in Rome Austin: Dolce Neve Gelato

Favorite places in Austin to eat and drink

Table for Two: Lenoir

Quick Bite: Snap Kitchen or the Downtown Whole Foods

Hike the Town Lake Trail and Head To: Juice Society

Noodles! Ramen Tatsu Ya

This post is sponsored by Square Cash, all opinions are my own!

2015 ACL Austin Restaurant Guide

Austin Restaurant Guide / loveandlemons.com

Whether you’re heading to Austin for South by Southwest or ACL (or just for fun!), here’s a list of some of my personal favorite food recommendations. These are sorted by neighborhood:

Near Downtown:
La Condessa – my favorite mexican food & best guacamole
Josephine House – pretty spot, good wine, dinner, brunch
flagship Whole Foods – the Disneyland of Whole Foods-es
SFC Downtown Farmers Market – Saturdays 9am to 1pm
Snap Kitchen – for a quick & healthy meal to go. (vegan, gf, paleo options)

South Lamar Area:

Juiceland – veggie juices & smoothies
Henri’s – tiny neighborhood spot – great food, cheese & wine
East Side King – Paul Qui’s food trucks (although this one’s not a truck)
Ramen Tatsu-ya – come hungry, vegan options
P Terry’s – it’s like Austin’s In-N-Out Burger
Odd Duck – Texas farm-to-table, lunch, brunch or dinner
Uchi – yep, there’s good sushi in Texas
Casa De Luz – vegan, macrobiotic, hippie & healing
Lick Ice Cream – local ingredients, vegan options (try the vegan vanilla pear)
House Wine – hidden wine gem, half-price wines on Sundays

Austin Restaurant Guide / loveandlemons.com

South 1st Area:

Bouldin Creek Cafe – vegetarian, vegan, fun, cheap
Thai Fresh – casual Thai, coffee, vegan & gf desserts
Elizabeth St. Cafe – vietnamese cute cafe that I frequent often
Sway – upscale Thai but so good, love their patio
Dolce Neve Gelato – best gelato in Austin, owned by two cute Italians
Seventh Flag Coffee – good coffee, cute space
Lenoir – 3 course local & seasonal menu (with veggie options!)
(also check out Metier Cook’s Supply, next to Lenoir)

South Congress:

Hopdoddy – skip Shake Shack and go here (unless the line is long)
South Congress Cafe – get the migas or carrot cake french toast for brunch
Perla’s – mostly seafood, great vegetable sides, my favorite patio
San Jose Hotel – favorite patio for drinks
Joe’s Coffee – favorite spot to people watch

Austin Restaurant Guide / loveandlemons.com

North:
Taco Deli – everyone has their pick for best tacos – this is mine
Peached Tortilla – one of my favorite trucks, turned restaurant
Olamaie – southern food but delicious vegetable dishes too

East:
Veracruz All Natural – the 2nd place you should go for tacos.
Launderette – farm to table, chic vibe, love having dinner here
Justine’s – french food, near the airport – our fave late night post-flight bite
East Side Show Room – a favorite for cocktails (& cool decor)
Whistlers – for cocktails, late night bite from Thai Khun

If you have favorites that I have missed, feel free to leave them in the comments!

All photos taken from my Instagram account. Follow along to see where we’re currently eating!

Austin Food & Wine Festival 2015

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One of our favorite foodie events is without a doubt the Austin Food & Wine Fest. It’s a smoky grill-tastic weekend complete with big flavors on small plates… celebrity chefs cooking alongside local chefs… and, of course, bottomless glasses of wine. One highlight for us was watching Hugh Acheson’s demo (we just love watching him on Top Chef!)… Surrounded by a pretty meaty food & wine fest, he made fava bean & leek soup and an arugula salad with mint. He charmed the audience talking about the importance of cooking at home, eating seasonally and using good ingredients. He says “life’s too short for crappy olive oil,” and that “no one on their death bed has ever look back and regretted buying good cheese.”

This year we tagged along with Williams Sonoma, taking over their Instagram feed to share a peek into our weekend full of food. Check out more of our takeover images, on their blog!