Saturday, January 23, 2010

Fried Avocados and Nature

We decided to try a couple of new things today. First, we went to Torchy's Taco in south Austin for a fried avocado taco which was truly sublimely delicious.
Fried Avocado Taco
Hand battered fresh avocadoes fried and served with vegetarian refried beans, lettuce, pico de gallo and cheese served on a corn tortilla with our poblano ranch sauce.

I will go back but it will require some strategic planning to avoid the crowds. It's well worth the effort though.

It's a small joint and we weren't sure any tables would open up by the time our food was ready so we ordered to go. We did get a table though. $3.50 seems steep for an order of chips and salsa, but both are made fresh on site, and the salsa was splendid. The taco was only $3.25 and coupled with the abundance of chips & salsa, it was ample for my lunch.

After that we went to the nearby Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center which offers free admittance in January, and for good reason since there are no flowers in bloom this time of year.

The organization, we learned, was started by Lady Bird Johnson and actress Helen Hayes in 1982, to protect and preserve North America's natives plants. The gardens, which are quite extensive, feature native plants of Texas, particularly the Texas Hill Country.

Despite the fact that we've lived here over 12 years, and the center is less than seven miles from our house, this was our first visit! Even though I wasn't expecting to see much in January, it was a nice outing. Many of the plants we also have in our yard, but I was also hoping to walk away with some landscaping ideas and inspiration.

There was a nice water feature on the left as we approached the garden courtyard.

There were some cute and friendly turtles in the pond.

The courtyard itself has various garden areas staged to showcase certain categories and themes.

I was amused by the aptly-named Horse Crippler cactus. Ouch!

I liked the spiny hedgehog cactus.

The sotol was stunning.

This agave was quite nice.

There were a number of beautiful streams throughout the grounds.

I didn't know there was a little tower on the grounds. Sheldon had to look for it and I'm glad he did. The climb to the top was short and the views were spectacular.

Looking north toward downtown Austin. The skyline is barely visible.

I had to use my zoom to really get a shot of downtown, or part of it at least. Most of the buildings are obstructed by hills.

A view in another direction. A cold front is passing through today so it was a tad blustery at the top of the tower!

Two hours after leaving home we were back home, but it felt like a little relaxing vacation getaway.

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