Your Austin Food Guide

Lifestyle

Recently, I spent a long weekend in Austin, TX with friends and had a spectacular time trying the best food places and most famous tourist attractions. Our main purpose of going to Austin was to attend a conference, but we tried cramming in whatever we could when we had spare time. And trust me, we sure got hungry.

Halal Bros.

halalbros

You must have heard of the famous Halal Bros. that got its start in Brooklyn. They opened up another location on Guadalupe St. in Austin, and I have to say, it’s pretty darn good. They have amazing hummus, falafel, shawarma, gyro, and chicken over rice with a side of fresh salad. The picture above is of the combination plate. And don’t forget to ask for extra white sauce!

Gordough’s

banana

nutty

Gourmet + Doughnuts = Gourdough’s, get it? This little dessert truck is an Austin classic because of how crispy and delicious their donuts are. They have a variety of options on their menu, from The Nutty Valentine with strawberries and nutella, to Black Out with brownies, fudge and chocolate chips.

Lick Honest Ice Creams

lick

Lick-ice-cream-scoop-1024x676 2

Lick Honest Ice creams has fun flavors on their menu like Horchata, and Roasted Beets and Fresh Mint. Ask for their waffle cone!

Popbar

popbar+case+1a+lo

Screen Shot 2018-04-21 at 4.57.49 PM

What’s cooler than handcrafted gelato on a stick? Create your own popsicle or get a pre-existing combination from the menu and design it with sprinkles, coconut shavings, cotton candy, milk, dark, or white chocolate. Do it for the gram!

Austin Chai Wala

Screen Shot 2018-04-21 at 5.03.46 PM

paratha.jpg

If you’re on-the-go and looking for an Indian breakfast, this is your best option. Austin Chai Wala is a food truck that serves anything from samosas and kashmiri chai to nutella parathas.

Arpeggio Grill

pizza

This may be a Mediterranean restaurant, but they are well known for their 30-inch halal pizzas. Yes, it’s bigger than your face.

Longhorn Chicken

longhorn

If you’re looking for food past midnight, this is the best place to get halal fried chicken and waffles.

Around the World and Under the Stars

Photography, Self

Joy. Ecstasy. Happiness. Glee. What is this delicate emotion that several words have been coined to describe? Happiness is a not just a state of mind, but a way of life.

“I don’t fix problems. I fix my thinking. Then problems fix themselves.”

Louise L. Hay

Happiness comes hand in hand with not only appreciating the little things, but also trying different things. Take out 15 minutes from your day and just take a stroll outside your home or go for a relaxing drive. Go somewhere you haven’t been before, like a community event or a festival. Involving yourself can really make you perceive beauty in a different light. I did it and I will be forever grateful.

Recently, I came across an advertisement for the Magical Winter Lights festival in Houston, Texas. I googled it and with one look at their promotional video, I was astonished. Apparently it is the largest lantern festival in the nation. I HAD TO GO.

MagicalWinterLightsHouston-4445-M

The festival consisted of grandeur lantern displays of famous landmarks, with a section for each continent (except Antarctica, obviously). It has been a dream of mine to travel the world someday. Someday. Seeing the lantern monuments illuminated in the night sky under the constellations was absolutely enthralling.Photographs and words don’t do justice to the beauty of it all. For those of you who want to go, it is open till January 10, 2016 so hurry! Check out some shots I took and see for yourselves: 

thumb_IMG_1594_1024

thumb_IMG_1606_1024thumb_IMG_1571_1024thumb_IMG_1577_1024

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Confessions of a Photographer: I Cheated on My Phone With My Camera

Photography, Self

Dear Diary,

Two. Two days of pure ecstasy. I packed my bag, threw on my shades, plopped into the front seat of my car and drove off into the distance, enveloped by a palette of orange hues in the sky. The clouds formed transient animal silhouettes that seemed to ridicule my intentions of the journey. Where was I going?  The beautiful Pensacola Beach : Home to romantic getaways and clear waters.

*cue record scratch sound effect*

Okay, I may have stretched the truth a little. First off, I am not about that life of impromptu escapes from reality. Secondly, I went on a well-planned trip to Florida with my family, consisting of my parents and younger sister. Last weekend we drove 8 hours from Houston to Pensacola Beach just to cleanse our souls from worldly stress and the distractions of technology. During this trip, we lived by the motto “Just close your eyes and relax. Focus on the beauty that the world offers.” For two days I put aside my cell phone, forgot about social media, and picked up a tool that allows me to freeze specific moments in life, my camera.

thumb_IMG_2090_1024

On the first day, I went to check out the beach with my familyOh how wonderful the scenery was. Never before have I seen such clear ocean water. The tides rose and fell so elegantly that I wished to immerse myself in them and discover the places it would take me. I almost forgot that I deeply fear large bodies of water. The mere thought of a world existing beneath the surface of water whose mysteries I am unaware of, mortifies me.

thumb_IMG_1857_1024The skies so ethereal as if the heavens are opening up to claim our souls

The sand was a soft, pristine white, untouched from the wrath of pollution that seems to have diminished the beauty of nature back home. Myriad seashells lay by the shore— all unique in shape, form, and size. Just like humans. My sister and I hunted down pretty sea shells and ended up collecting a few dead sand dollars along the way. We freshened up and tried the Hemingway’s Island Grill. The lobster bisque was to die for; I slept like a swaddled baby that night.

thumb_IMG_1998_1024thumb_IMG_2000_1024thumb_IMG_1907_1024Shells glimmering beneath the water

Day two started with us waking up for a healthy breakfast buffet in the hotel lobby, after which we were all energized to check out the pier and explore the town. Most of the visitors on the pier came equipped with fishing gear to catch the fish we had been raving about last night. Fishing has been on my parents’ bucket list for a while so we were disappointed that we lacked the training and time to complete the task. Consequently, we resorted to experiencing fishing vicariously by talking to some of the visitors and observing them practice their skill. We ended the night with a mouth watering meal at Flounders Chowder House, and a good night’s sleep for the journey in the morning. All in all, it was a cathartic and much needed weekend getaway. A great way to kick off the new year!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

thumb_IMG_1813_1024

The sea swallows anything it deems trivial

thumb_IMG_1874_1024

I don’t know why but I just find this so artistic.

 

If the World Gives You Beauty, Immortalize It With Words

Self

IMG_1536

Hello World! My name is Rafa Farihah, your neighborhood noob blogger. Just kidding, I have no idea where any of you live. I reside in the one and only Houston. I am a freshman at Texas A&M University in College Station, Texas. And no, we do NOT ride horses to college.

As I created this blog, I signed up for a workshop called Blogging 101 which hopefully molds my amateur blogging skills into something much more appealing to myself and others. Moreover, I began blogging as an attempt to share my passion of fashion , photography, and writing. Blogging is a wonderful mode of communicating with people across the globe, all unique in their backgrounds, experiences, and viewpoints.

I would like to share with you how I observe the world through my pupils and hopefully inspire someone, somewhere, somehow. Since my childhood, I have moved from New Jersey, to India, to Texas, providing me ample entertaining stories to tell you, my lovely readers. Traveling is another hobby of mine, which has sort of stemmed off of my frequent moves every few years, which I shall explain in a future entry. Anyways, traveling… what about traveling do I enjoy? Food, nature, relaxation, and even just the thrill of what each subsequent moment will bring. Where will I go, what will I see next, and what kinds of people will I meet? Stay tuned to keep up with my adventures both near and far.

Another goal of mine is to not only update you on my personal life/thoughts, but also create an environment where you can be informed about life beyond the internet. I intend to post pop culture opinionated pieces, fun listicles, health and beauty entries, stress-buster videos, and motivational videos to keep you going through the week.

More than any of these goals, I want to hear back from my readers, have you share your thoughts and experiences with me so we can live through them vicariously. We live only once, so might as well immortalize our stories by putting them into words so someone else can learn from them.

I hope Blogging 101 helps me take off as a writer in the blogosphere, make connections and gain more readers. I plan to post several times a week to keep my readers well-rounded, entertained and inspired. If any of these interest you, keep checking for the latest scoop and make sure to follow morescoopplease!