Texas, is a city of paradoxes. It's the capital of one of the
most conservative states in the country a state where you'll
probably feel out of place in some localities if you don't conceal
a firearm in your undergarments, yet Austin is a city widely known
for its ultra-liberal social mores that allow some folks to feel
comfortable strolling (or staggering) around downtown wearing nothing
BUT their undergarments if that much.
Speaking of downtown Austin,
I recently accompanied a friend of mine to the state capital, ostensibly
to help him relocate the contents of an office, but it was really
just an excuse for us to find new ways to commit acts of insurrection
against our waistbands.
Our food tour started on Austin's
famous 6th street, known for its bars, clubs, restaurants, and various
bodily fluids. In fact, this fair avenue has echoes (and aromas)
of upper Bourbon Street in New Orleans, but with less professional
Due to the recent mass shooting there, I was somewhat reluctant
to go traipsing around "Dirty 6th" even at 10:00 AM
but since my friend is a former Army medic with biceps as big around
as my torso, I figured we'd be alright. Besides, our first objective
was doughnuts, and no national crime wave was going to stand between
us and the dear leader of fried carbohydrates.
Specifically, we were headed to Voodoo Doughnut, a mashup of a gourmet
doughnut shop, a punk rock concert and a psychedelic cartoon. Sticking
out like a sore thumb wearing bright pink nail polish, the Voodoo
Doughnut storefront was partially obscured by the official 6th Street
welcoming committee of several half-naked panhandlers (or possibly
hungover University of Texas students). Either way, none of them
accepted credit cards.
Since I had previously sampled the unconventional delights of the
Voodoo Doughnut location on Colfax Avenue in Denver, Colorado, I
knew exactly how to punish my pancreas in this place. I ordered
the Grape Ape (a vanilla glazed doughnut with a dusting of what
tastes like a purple Pixie Stick), the O Captain, My Captain (a
vanilla glazed doughnut festooned with Crunch Berries cereal), and
the Voodoo Doll (a humanoid-shaped chocolate glazed doughnut filled
with raspberry "blood" and featuring a pretzel stick for a stake).
In the spirit of Austin's progressive attitude toward indecent exposure,
I may or may not have taken a dare and also purchased an off-menu
body-part-shaped doughnut that only a junior high delinquent (or
two grown man-type persons) would find funny.
My friend is currently on a strict dieting program, so he limited
his order to a Voodoo Doll and a Maple Bacon Bar (a maple-frosted
bar topped with two massive strips of bacon). Our arteries still
aren't speaking to us.
After our office-moving job, we decided to identify as hungry again
for lunch at the legendary Hula Hut on Lake
Austin. This Hawaiian-themed Tex-Mex joint has several open-air
dining areas offering us fantastic views of the water and lakeside
homes that cost even more than a school-clothes shopping trip with
my three teen daughters. I decided to eat light this time, so I
had the Chicken and Guacamole Tubular Taco that was roughly the
size of my right leg, served by a cordial but beleaguered bartender
who appeared to have spent the previous evening on 6th street and
may very well have had Voodoo Doughnut's Maple Blazer Blunt for
We spent the drive back to Northeast Texas vigorously (and loudly)
digesting while rocking out to 1980's hair bands. We made only one
stop at the world-renowned Round Rock Donuts for some of
their unique and delectable orange/yellowy glazed donuts because
. . . donuts.
When I arrived home, I needed a hot shower, a 50-gallon drum of
Pepto Bismol, and a marathon prayer meeting. It was a good day with
a great friend and some delicious, death-hastening cuisine.
If you get the chance, go down to Austin
and sample the weirdness yourself. After an appointment with your
gastroenterologist and your local pastor, you'll be back to feeling
normal in no time.