Because I couldn't bear the thought of staring at the four walls of
my hotel room and eating a dreary dinner in a hotel restaurant, I
pushed myself to stick with my original plan: Dinner at Garrido's. A
casual Mexican restaurant somewhere in Austin.
The result? An action-packed night filled with squeaky bats, soft tacos, and a stroll through the Sixth Street Warehouse district of Texas' capital city.
I'd decided on Garrido's before I arrived in Austin. It had recently been given high marks by a Wall Street Journal writer reviewing the city's restaurant scene.
"At Garrido's, which opened in June, chef David Garrido marries his background as the longtime chef at Jeffrey's, one of the fanciest restaurants in Austin, to his Mexican and Texan heritage. In the Tex-Mex tradition of a groaning platter, tacos are served with rice and beans, but they're filled with mahi mahi, coffee rubbed rib eye or lightly battered oysters."
And no entree costs more then $11. I was sold.
I thought it would be within a few blocks of the Hilton, where I was
attending a conference, but it was more like three-quarters of a mile
I momentarily felt deterred. But I wasn't going to let myself back out of my plan.
Earlier, a work colleague had offered to keep me company if I wanted to go out to eat. She had a dinner with clients at 7:45 but she was willing to sip a drink while I ate.
I was tempted. Company for dinner! But I hadn't seen anything of Austin and this was my only chance. I'd spent two days cooped up in hotel ballrooms. If I went with her it would have to be early and someplace close. Instead, I stuck to my plan.
That doesn't mean I didn't feel uncomfortable heading off to dinner alone. What would I encounter? Would dinner be weird, sitting by myself? Always, always, always, I feel the apprehension. But 10 times out of 10, the apprehension is way worse than the actual experience of dining alone.
I headed out, walking briskly, hanging on to a map a woman at the reception desk had printed out for me. Eight blocks down Fourth Street. Turn Left.
The first couple of blocks felt a little deserted. I made a mental note to ask the restaurant about taxi service back. Right soon (don't you think they'd say something like that in Texas?) I came upon street art.