I'm sure to gain about 473 pounds.

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I may want to rethink living in Austin. The food is so spectacular here - it will forever spoil me and is certain to make future eating adventures pale in comparison. There's no shortage of amazing restaurants, food shacks, bakeries, and other eateries. Heck, even the discount grocery stores are unreal.

Case(s) in point, in chronological order:

April 1 - yes, my birthday. Thanks to everyone for the well wishes, cards, texts, e-mails, calls, and so on - I really, really appreciate it. You're all great people to remember 'lil 'ole me and my birthday. Best birthday message award goes to Dan Topel who sent this sentimental wish: "Happy birthday you old bastard."

So, on my birthday, I enjoyed a few wonderful meals. For lunch, it was over to Madam Mam's, a local Thai food place, for some Chicken Pad Thai. Yum - see below:

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And for dinner, it was a quick trip to Ikea for another chair and a few odds-n-ends, and then on the way back decided to stop at "North by Northwest" for dinner. It was extremely dark inside the restaurant so my photos didn't turn out as planned... but, I sampled their microbrews (all made on site), and enjoyed a pork tenderloin with bacon risotto. It was yummy as well - perhaps too yummy, as I left feeling stuffed and uncomfortable.

Thursday's lunch was lighter fare; stopped at the Kerbey Lane cafe and enjoyed a small garden salad with a cup of chicken tortilla soup. It was fantastic, but I forgot my camera, so sorry folks - no photos. With not much to do on Thursday night, the evening called for some adventure, so it was down to Congress Avenue for "First Thursday."

Apparently, Congress hosts an outdoor shopping/music/food event on the first Thursday of each month. Local vendors come out, set-up shop on the sidewalks, and sell their hand/locally made wares. People bring their dogs, restaurants sponsor music events, and everyone and their brother seems to have a great time.

Put my name in at Home Slice Pizza (YUM!) and found out there was a 2 hour wait for a table, so it was over to Guerro's for some outdoor music, a beverage (or two), and lots of people watching. Guerro's has an indoor restaurant, along with this outdoor beer garden, complete with amazingly huge and sprawling trees:

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There was also this cute little Doberman - he was nice!

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After spending a lot of time listening to the band, watching people, and enjoying the wonderful weather (it was in the low 70's, even at 8pm), it was time to head over to Home Slice for some pizza. Went with the Margherita pizza, which was delicious!!!

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The pizza took forever to arrive; but when it was time to leave, there was still a massive wait to get in to the place - this picture was taken at about 10:30pm or so...

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Woke up today, feeling rather full, but that didn't stop this eating machine... no sir. For lunch, it was over to the South Austin Trailer Park (I mentioned it in an earlier post) for some Torchy's Tacos. They were tasty - so good, in fact, that I started eating them right away, hence this half-eaten breakfast taco shot:

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The trailer park is really a cool place. There are a bunch of covered picnic benches that surround 4-5 food trailers. You can get everything from cupcakes to Philly Cheesesteaks. Here's a shot of the park, from the bench area:

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And, a detail shot of the Torchy's Trailer:

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How can any old restaurant in Austin throw a cook top in a beat-up trailer and produce food that is non-greasy, delicious, inexpensive, and unique, while in Arkansas, investors spend millions on over-priced, gaudy chain restaurants that serve tired, greasy, disgusting slop that they try to pass off as food? It baffles me...

Speaking of baffling, the local Central Market grocery store is another example of things done right. Unlike buying groceries from Wal-Mart, Central Market (and HEB, Randalls, and Whole Foods) actually offer a tremendous variety of good, fresh, and appealing food. The asparagus isn't all skinny, wilted, mushy, and gross - nope. Look at this stuff, and there's both white and green asparagus:

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And finally, I was going through photos on my phone, and I stumbled across this last food photo... it's from the local chinese buffet place. For $6, you can get anything from corn cakes to sushi, and again, it was all - surprise - delicious. Yes, you're getting tired of hearing me talk/brag/post about food here in Austin, but it really is amazing...

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So, that's about it. Food, food, and more food. I love it, indeed. I'm going to run tomorrow morning, ride tomorrow afternoon, and repeat again on Sunday. I'm going to have to really ramp up the mileage if I'm going to keep eating like I have been!

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