I had never been to Austin before this past weekend when I was asked to cover the “Lone Star Le Mans” at the Circuit of the Americas track.
The city AND the track were new to me.
This is not an oval… left turn, left turn, straight… track, as it was designed originally specifically for Formula 1 racing….a road track….s-turns, hairpins, hills….
In the center portion of the track is the 25-story ‘tower’ which commands a pretty impressive view of not only the track but also the countryside and the city of Austin in the distance.
After my last race on Saturday, I wanted to see downtown.
I have heard a lot about Austin, from its eateries to its music scene to the ‘bat bridge’,
so I decided on a ‘photo safari’, with maybe some good food along the way.
You know how every city has a certain personality…sometimes a split personality. For instance, I love Chicago which to me is a cross between Manhattan and Little Rock. Atlanta is a hybrid of Memphis and Detroit. Austin seems to have one foot in Nashville and another in Los Angeles.
A Southern lean to a socially liberal tolerance. Their motto, which is on the primary souvenir t-shirt is “Keep Austin Weird”.
(Though I will have to admit, every tavern that I passed in Austin had live music going…music of all genres…something that Nashville, as Music City, has been lagging behind in.)
My first move besides getting a map of the hopping downtown neighborhoods was to check in with “Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives” to see if Guy Fieri could give me a heads-up on where I should eat dinner. I decided on “Casino el Camino”, supposedly known for their hamburgers, plus it was in a location that would mandate a few blocks of walking through the part of town I wanted to see anyway.
When I stepped through the door, my first reaction was to quote a Texas cowboy whose horse was about to jump a wide dry creek bed full of rattlesnakes….
I had entered what could possibly be the deepest ‘dive’ I have ever even imagined.
“You wanna eat?! Go back to the counter and give ‘em your order!”
Okay, in for a penny, in for a pound. (Or pounds as the case may be!)
I ordered the Buffalo Burger (buffalo sauce, not bison meat) with bleu cheese and an extra… an added slab of pork belly, with fries. In the middle of Nancy Sinatra’s “These Boots Are Made For Walkin’ ” I heard my name, summoning me to ‘the counter’.
Now, I’ve had burgers in many places, modern and/or funky, and of many styles and accouterments, but I will gladly proclaim that the next time I am in Austin, the Casino will be a definite item on the to-
do eat list.