I went to Texas! I went to South by Southwest Interactive for work. By the time I got my hotel (back in like November) all the downtown places were sold out, but I found the Hotel Allandale, which, though it was like ten miles out of downtown, has a kitchen in each room and is on a bus line direct to downtown. I did my due diligence and searched around to find a good independent organicky store, Central Market.
I landed in Austin at about 5:15 and it was pouring rain and 45° — colder and soggier than when I left Seattle. I waited in line for a cab with all the other SxSW attendees and eventually got one. I had originally intended to go the hotel first, drop my stuff off, then go downtown and check in and get my conference badge, then stop at the store on the way back to the hotel. But then I got there and it was raining SO HARD and my hotel was a ways the other direction, so I just went straight to the conference to get my badge, with all my luggage and everything. I had to drag my stupid rolling suitcase all through the stupid zigzag cordoned-off lines to get up to the desks to get my badge, but I made it and I survived having my picture taken and all went OK.
Then I had to take my luggage back out into the downpour and try to get to my hotel. I went to what I assumed was my bus stop, and started talking to another soggy person who was there. He suggested sharing a cab and since we were waiting for the same bus and therefore heading the same direction (you’d think) I said sure. We headed to his destination first and along the way there I finally got my phone to cooperate and tell me my location, and the cab driver said “yes, that is about 30 minutes the other direction.” I’m still not sure whether cab-friend or I was wrong about which direction we were going, but in any case I eventually got checked in to my hotel.
After dropping my stuff, calling G. to verify my aliveness, and finding my umbrella, I hurried out to catch the bus down to the grocery store. It was a pretty great store! I picked up the basics — a bundle of kale, a head of garlic, some salt and pepper — plus some fresh cheese ravioli, some locally-made mushroom pesto, a pint of gelato, a baguette, and some tasty beer and wine for future evenings.
However, on returning to my room, I found that although I had dishes for six, as well as a colander, tea kettle, ladle, spatula, pasta server, etc., I did not have a pot or even a skillet. Fortunately, the very nice front desk guy was able to produce a largish nonstick (sad face) pot for me to use. So I boiled up my pasta, topped it with pesto, and then — realizing I had not bought any oil — took some of the separated oil from the pesto and used it to toss the kale and garlic a bit. It was very successful, all things considered!