Austin Adventures – fANNEtastic food

I spent the second half of last week in Austin, Texas for the Weight Inclusive Nutrition & Dietetics (WIND) Spring Symposium!

As most of you know, I’m a Registered Dietitian, and to maintain the credential (and to avoid re-taking the national exam, which is not something I ever want to have to do again…) we need to get 75 continuing education units (CEUs) every 5 years.

My credential is up for renewal in May, and WIND’s event got me the last of the CEUs I needed to make it to 75 – yay! And a bonus was that I got to spend a few days in a very fun city (and where there were couple other people outside of the conference I wanted to see – win/win).

I arrived in Austin late on Wednesday evening and basically went straight to bed; on Thursday morning I treated myself to a delicious breakfast at Cafe No So, which was attached to my hotel (South Congress Hotel – expensive but lovely). 

I had their egg scramble with roasted mushrooms and spinach, plus some delicious sourdough toast, avocado, and a side arugula salad. It was all so good! 

breakfast at cafe no so

As a mom of two small children, having a leisurely breakfast at a restaurant is not something I get to do very often, so I really savored this experience! 

After filling up, I headed over to the symposium venue to get ready to learn and connect. The event was held at Vuka Bouldin Creek which was a cool space – apparently it’s a co-working space as well as an event venue. 

vuka bouldin creek

As for the symposium, which ran from about 9am to 6pm on both Thursday and Friday, it was excellent! Great speakers and a diverse and interesting array of topics, too.

WIND, which was founded by my friend Heather back in 2018, brings dietitians together for community, education, and connection, and their events and resources are centered around supporting inclusive care models and treatment practices, and increasing access to respectful care for all. 

A lot of the sessions centered around supporting a paradigm shift in dietetics and healthcare, touching on weight-based discrimination, fat-phobia, and social justice issues. 

Here I am with Heather, WIND’s founder and a long time friend of mine. Heather was understandably super busy with the conference so we didn’t get much of a chance to catch up, but it was still good to see her! 

If you are a dietitian and/or in the healthcare space, check out WIND’s website – there are lots of great resources (and virtual CEU opportunities) if you’re interested in learning more. 

For lunch on both days of the conference we had yummy grain bowls from a local spot called The Well. The first day I had a chicken cobb grain bowl, the second a regular chicken grain bowl.

Both were good and quite filling thanks to all the grains (on the bottom – a mix of quinoa, brown rice, and forbidden rice) and chopped kale. 

chicken cobb grain bowl from The Well in Austin

The space where the event was held had a beautiful backyard area that was available to us during breaks, lunch, etc., and I really appreciated the ability to reset with some fresh air! 

It was gorgeous back there, too – they even had swings which were a fun touch.

On Thursday evening, after the first day of the conference, I had a special treat – dinner with my behind-the-scenes blog contractor, Taylor, who lives in Austin!

Taylor has been working for me since February 2020 (lucky timing as I was about to lose my childcare for the rest of the year and didn’t know it) and is amazing – I’m so lucky to have found her.

We’ve done a lot of FaceTiming-ing to discuss work stuff but had never met in person until last week! It was fun to be together – I had a blast chatting with her and our dinner was delicious, too. 

For dinner, I chose a well-reviewed spot near my hotel called June’s All Day, and it did not disappoint. The atmosphere was very lively and fun and the food was great. 

We ordered a bunch of small plates and shared everything – I always love doing that so I can taste more things, and luckily Taylor was interested in that approach too. 🙂 

First up: poached artichoke with a delicious dijon dipping sauce. 

This was fun because once you were done with the leaves, they took back the heart, cooked it, added a topping (which I can’t remember – I think maybe egg salad?!) and brought it back to you!

We also tried the snapper carpaccio, which was quite yummy but also VERY spicy!

This salad does not look that exciting, but it was actually very delicious because it had a truffle vinaigrette that was super good. I love truffle – anyone else?

To cap off our meal, we shared the mussels + fries.

Apologies for the dim lighting – it was quite dark by the time we left (and apparently there was an insane thunderstorm happening during part of dinner that we didn’t even hear because the restaurant was so loud)!

So fun to finally meet, Taylor! Thanks for all you do for fANNEtastic food – my readers and I are lucky to have you. 🙂 

On Friday morning, I decided to get in a run before heading to the conference and I was really glad I did! I ran from my hotel about 0.8 miles to the Congress Avenue Bridge, at which point I linked up with a lovely trail that follows the Colorado River. 

Apparently a bazillion bats live under Congress Avenue Bridge this time of year and just before sunset you can see them all flying out in a big rush – supposed to be very cool! 

It was kind of a gloomy morning, but I was so glad I made the effort because running in different cities is one of my absolute favorite ways to explore.

The path along the water was fantastic and there were lots of other runners out so I felt safe out there alone, too!

Unfortunately I didn’t have as much time to work with as I would have liked (but sleeping in a bit was worth it), so I probably only ran about half a mile or so along the waterfront trail before having to retrace my steps back to my hotel for a total of around 3 or so miles.

The good news is I knew I’d be back out on the trail the following day with a friend when I had more time – more on that in a minute! 

I had a quick post-run breakfast of some leftovers I had in the hotel room from breakfast the day before, plus a smoothie bar they had going on that morning at the conference. 

This blueberry mango smoothie was good and I also really liked their (unpictured) green smoothie, which reminded me of my old fave super simple green smoothie

We had another great day of learning, and around 6 after the conference wrapped up I grabbed drinks with a group of attendees at a restaurant nearby called Lenoir – I forgot to get a picture but they had a great outdoor space, which was perfect as the weather got super nice by that point in the day. 

We shared some snacks at happy hour (a delicious toast with pimento cheese), but I was still hungry by the time we wrapped up and craving tacos (have to have tacos while in Austin!). 

I ended up getting tacos at a spot called Chapulin Cantina near my hotel with a new friend, Abby, that I met at the conference and who was also at the happy hour.

It was fun chatting with her and the food was really delicious – I had the pork tacos and we shared some refried black beans as well. 

On Saturday, I was thrilled to wake up to clear blue skies after a stormy/gray couple days! It was soooo gorgeous out. 

The fantastic weather was perfectly timed as I had plans to meet up with a good friend of mine, Ravyn, for a walking date and brunch before heading to the airport for my 2pm flight.

Ravyn lives in Austin and we had never met in person before – she’s part of the virtual mom’s group I’ve been doing for the past 1.5 years, and she wasn’t able to join for the Santa Fe gathering that some of us from the group did last month, so I was really happy to have the chance to hang out in person!

We had the most lovely walk along/around the river, and she showed me some cool lesser known to tourists areas like this swimming area! Really wish I’d had my swimsuit… next time. 

Being out in sunshine on a gorgeous day with a good friend = is there anything better? 🙂

After our walk we grabbed a quick brunch from Bouldin Creek Cafe, which is a really cute and funky vegetarian restaurant. 

I had their mushroom fajitas with whole beans – it hit the spot!

Sadly we didn’t have time to linger as we spent a little longer walking than planned, so I ended up eating half at the restaurant and the second half later at the airport, but it was very yummy! The food scene in Austin is on point.

I was super sad to say goodbye to Austin. Such a lovely trip with a great mix of professional growth and networking + personal fun. 

Until next time, Austin! Hopefully it won’t be so long before I make it there again… last time I was in Austin was in 2010!

Here are the 2010 recaps if you want a trip down memory lane and to enjoy my much less professional writing style from the VERY early days of the blog:

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