ACL Fest 2021 Prep Tips

 

It’s festival season! So here’s some last minute ACL Fest 2021 prep tips to help out this year’s attendees. Keep reading for all the things I wish I knew before going.

 

What to Wear

Of course everyone wants to dress their best, but do yourself a favor and wear comfy cute clothes, like a tank top and shorts. Whatever you do, DON’T WEAR HEELS! I saw it with my own eyes, people not realizing how much walking was involved or that you’re literally out there for an entire day. Save yourself and your feet by just saying no. You may get away with some brands of cowboy boots, but think more like cute sneakers or even something you don’t mind getting dirty.

Consider bringing a towel or bandana because you’re 100% going to sweat, and you’ll need something to wipe it off. You can even wear the bandana as a headband to catch sweat going into your face while still looking kind of cute.

 

Prepare for the Weather

Though ACL Fest is in October, it’s still going to be hot. Plus, there’s literally thousands of people around you putting off massive body heat. So dress light, drink lots of water, and since you’ll be outside for a full day, apply and reapply sunscreen.

There will be stations for you to refill your water bottle. So bring one or purchase one there. Also, not weather related, but don’t try to sneak in alcohol. They will find it!

 

Download the App

The ACL Fest app is very convenient and helps make sure you don’t miss anyone you wanted to see. It shows you who’s performing when on what stage, and you can mark the shows you’re interested in so you don’t forget. It also shows where everything is located, like the water stations, the VIP or GA+ sections, special pop-ups, etc. It’s nice to have, and you can just delete it right after til next year.

 

Free $5 from American Express

If you have an American Express card, you can link it to your wristband and receive a $5 credit to use for food, drinks, merch, whatever! You’ll also be able to use your wristband to make all your purchases while you’re there. So, there’s no need to bring cash or your card to accidentally lose in the sea of people around you.

 

What to Bring

Bring a small backpack or drawstring bag with you to hold water, a towel or bandana, deodorant, a portable charger, sunscreen, hand sanitizer, etc. Yes, you read that correctly. BRING DEODORANT! Again, it’s going to be hot. You’ll more than likely sweat off your deodorant, even your antiperspirant. So, bring it with you to reapply as needed.

You may be able to get free canned or bottled water at some booths. Get it, and put it in your bag for later. Be sure to drink plenty of water while you’re there.

 

Plan for Next Year

Regardless of what wristband level you had this year, I strongly suggest getting the GA+ wristbands. They don’t cost much more than the GA wristbands, and you get access to a shaded sitting area with a huge screen to watch shows while you cool down. In this area, there’s also private air conditioned restrooms, food vendors, and a bar. Oh, and did I mention all the free water you can drink??

I know VIP has more bells and whistles, but if you want to fully experience the actual festival, GA+ is all you need. Just pop into the private section for a bit to rest and recharge. Then, get back out there to enjoy the shows!

 

 

These are just a few tips I wanted to share to make sure you had the best experience possible. Also, remember. If you’re feeling under the weather, please stay home. Yours and everyone else’s health and safety are more important than a wasted wristband or missing some music acts. Stay safe and smart, and hopefully I’ll meet you by the flags at ACL Fest 2022!

 

Lutie’s Garden Restaurant

 

If you read my last post, you know that we stayed at the Commodore Perry Estate during the July 4th long weekend. We unfortunately didn’t get to eat at Lutie’s while there because they’re open Wednesday through Sunday, and we were there Monday. Luckily, though, I was able to come back Wednesday to try them out. Continue reading for a look inside one of the most beautiful, sought after restaurants in Texas, Lutie’s garden restaurant.

 

 

Lutie’s garden restaurant is named after the lady of the original estate, Lutie Perry. She was known for her beautiful garden as well as hosting Gatsby level gatherings, from dinner parties to soirees. So this restaurant is a breathtaking homage to her.

 

The Interior

As soon as you open the door, you’re engulfed by the lush green décor, including a mixture of live and artificial plants hanging from the latticed ceiling. While there is lighting, the restaurant is mostly lit by the sunlight entering two huge walls of windows. After sunset, the chandeliers and pendant lights take over.

Lutie’s may also have the most beautiful bar I’ve ever seen, with its gold trim around cream and glass shelves, the green velvet rollback barstools, and chandeliers on either end that almost feel like floral arrangements.

Seating is a mixture of booths and tables, as well as outdoor seating on the patio that overlooks the sunken garden. I arrived promptly at 5pm (actually before then), at opening time. So I was the first patron seated.

I was taken to a table for two near the windows and had the perfect view to admire the entire restaurant, both indoors and outdoors. Your food is served on antique ceramic dishes with gold flatware. You’re also offered your choice of still or sparkling water. Since this is still during cautionary times due to COVID, menus are still digital.

 

The Menu

Here’s the thing. Lutie’s menu is a bit different from what you may be used to. There isn’t an appetizer, salad, or entrée section. Instead, the food is listed from the smallest to largest dish, ending with a 2 lb aged ribeye steak. The menu also changes regularly, depending on what fresh ingredients they have available. So there isn’t really a menu available online for you to peruse beforehand.

The entire menu is explained to you upon arrival, and every dish is described. My server, Candace, said they suggest 2-3 dishes per patron, with two smaller items and one larger item. There are also dishes made to share.

 

My Meal

I started with a cocktail, the very flavorful Indigo Kick (all specialty cocktails are $17). It’s made of vanilla infused Kettle One vodka, blackberry, basil shrub, local honey, ginger beer, and lemon. I used it as a palate cleanser between dishes. For my meal, I chose 3 dishes, the corn falafel ($9 for 3 falafels), the barbecued scallops ($30 for 2 scallops), and the green dish ($18).

The corn falafel was tasty. It was crispy on the outside and nice and soft on the inside. The tangy sauce drizzled on top was a nice touch for my taste buds.

The barbecued scallops was insanely  good! It had several contrasting flavors and was cooked perfectly. The purple daikon relish also gave it a nice little crunch.

Finally, the green dish was also exceptional and nothing I would’ve ever thought of creating. The ingredients for this dish change, depending on what’s in season, but as of July 5, it consisted of roasted summer squash topped with mixed greens and feta cheese, all covered in a green sauce with a dash of sea salt. If only I knew what the green sauce was made of, I’d definitely try making this at home.

Everything had a great combination of contrasting flavors that made them stand out and keep me excited for the next bite. The three dishes were also just enough to fill me up.

 

Dessert

Of course, I saved room for dessert! I ordered the chocolate shaved ice ($12), which is layered from bottom to top with dark chocolate ice cream, chocolate shaved ice, vanilla Chantilly, and cocoa nibs. 

Now I’m not a chocolate ice cream fan, but something said try it, and I’m glad I did. The different textures are a lot of fun in your mouth. The chocolate did start to take me over close to the end, but the vanilla Chantilly calmed it back down. It almost reminded me of tiramisu with a crunch. Then Candace, my server, said someone described it as a fancy fudgesicle, and they were absolutely right!

 

Final Thoughts

Lutie’s garden restaurant is hands down the most beautiful restaurant I’ve ever visited, but it’s also very down to Earth. The servers are very attentive and go out of their way to make sure you  fully enjoy your visit. The presentation of each dish was top tier, with nothing out of place. You definitely receive the full 5 star experience from arrival to your last bite (or sip).

I recommend everyone dine here at least once. You’re unlikely to experience anything like this anywhere else.

 

 

 

 

 

Your Biker Gang: Austin, TX

We recently had the pleasure of experiencing e-bikes for the first time through Your Biker Gang, located near downtown Austin. They also have a location in Panama City, FL. I had heard of e-bikes before but had never been on one. The rest of the crew hadn’t even heard of them. So we were all in for a real treat!

 

We started at the Your Biker Gang clubhouse off Cesar Chavez, took a beginner driver’s ed course (which was sooo fun), and we hit the road. Word to the wise naturalistas! You will be wearing  the helmets pictured. So don’t show up with your hair in a high puff and headwrap like I did lol. I will also admit that crossing the first street kind of scared me, even though we had the light and the right of way. I’ve just always been afraid to cross streets lol. Our first stop was near the Lamar and 15th St. intersection.

We got off, checked out the amazing murals on both sides of the street, and had our first photo op. Since the bikes are motorized and you ride them in the street, no mobile device usage is allowed while operating them. We took a group pic in front of a mural on the side of a building. Then we did some individual exploring. The mural below is by Rex Hamilton. Click his name to check out his amazing work on Instagram.

 

After our photo op, we were back on the road. We made our way to Auditorium Shores and Butler Park, where we learned some architectural history about downtown. We also learned that the sidewalk path near the Stevie Ray Vaughan statue creates the shape pf a guitar.. I don’t want to give away too much in case you take the same tour path as us. That way you’ll still be surprised at all the hidden gems and history in good ole Austin.

 

 

After learning more about downtown, we headed to 2nd and Brazos to check out the Tau Ceti mural by Josef Kristofoletti. I actually had a photoshoot last year on the roof of the garage this mural is painted on, but that’s neither here nor there. By the time we made it to the Tau Ceti mural, we were a full blown biker gang. We had the e-biker skills locked down and were thoroughly enjoying the ride!

At the mural, we learned that Tau Ceti is a star in the constellation Cetus, about 12 light years away. The star is very similar to our sun, but is only 78% of the sun’s mass. The mural imitates what it would be like if the sunlight reflected off the windows downtown during sunset was refracted into a spectrum. If you’re there right at sunset in the Spring, you can experience just that!

 

 

So, upon leaving the Tau Ceti mural, we made the trek back towards the clubhouse, but now before making a couple more stops. We stopped in front of the Austin Proper hotel to view this pretty neat art installation down below. It was so cool seeing them in action! Thank you to the homie Derrick for the demonstration. You can see it in action on my Instagram page. (The video wouldn’t upload here for me.)

 

 

Our final stop before making it back to the clubhouse was at the Treaty Oak. This is a HUGE live oak tree said to be 500 years old. It’s the last of the Council Oaks, which was a grove of trees that served as a meeting place for the Comanche and Tonkawa tribes

Tribes would meet at places like these as neutral grounds. It’s said they would each bury a weapon to show they were done fighting, which is where the term “bury the hatchet” comes from. There’s A LOT more history behind this tree, but again, I don’t want to give too much away. So if you’d like to learn more, take the bike tour!

 

Thank you so much to Sweet John of Your Biker Gang for this awesome experience! We can’t wait to come back to ride and learn more about this historic city. 

If you’re in the Austin, TX, or Panama City, FL, area, definitely book a tour, and use code ALYSENICOLE for 20% off your ride! Have any of you been e-biking before? Let me know if you have or if you’d try it.