A couple of weeks ago, we shared a Day in the Life travel guide featuring our recent trip to Austin, Texas. In the guide, we mentioned our friend, Danny Trejo, who we met on the roadtrip a few years ago. While in Austin, we caught up with Danny & had the pleasure of adventuring around the city with him & his Between Shots podcast cohost, Alexander Hiers. Since they have the pulse of all things Austin, we wanted to ask them for more insights on this vibrant city.
Please introduce yourselves, and your podcast!
D: I am a a complete nut for the ATX scene. This is why I originally wanted to launch this podcast (Between Shots) back in 2009 when I first moved here, however fate had deemed otherwise. The show in its current format is more of a showcase of what exists on the local and indie level, for Austinites and Austinots. Alexander and I believe the heart of a city lies within the culture of local communities and small businesses. Especially if those businesses promote their surrounding community through hosting/allowing events and activities.
A: I am one of two parts of Between Shots. I guess I could be considered the creative side while Danny is more the brains. We first met a few years ago and immediately hit it off as we shared so many passions. Out of that friendship, Between Shots was born. We both saw a need in Austin for a source where people could come and hear about places in Austin to eat, play, and party.
D: With this in mind, we decided to place these communities and local businesses in the limelight in respect to what they are doing — not only to get the credit they deserve, but by promoting them to new local Austinots who only ever hear about the much bigger and trendier parts of the city. It’s a kind of local guide for someone who wants to be immersed in the city on a micro level.
A: There are great sources that highlight bigger events but we wanted to explore EVERYTHING Austin had to offer. When we first moved to Austin we both found ourselves hearing about things after they happened and wished there was a way to be a little more in the know. That’s what Between Shots is. We showcase what Austin has to offer so people who have lived here forever or are just moving here can be in the know.
How long have you lived in Austin? What are your favorite parts of the city?
D: I’ve been here 9 years and have lived in every area of Austin. I’d have to say I am a big fan of central Austin (I am biased, because it is where I currently live). As you are walking down the street, you feel the buzz from an electrifying guitar riff from a band on stage, then immediately afterwards find a free fitness class you can jump into on a rooftop or a park, afterwards grab a taco on-the-go so you can make it to a tech startup meet-up, and listen to people and their world changing ideas. Yet, I still have to give a nod to our swimming holes (Pedernales Falls) and hiking areas (Barton Creek). It’s a great way to unplug.
A: I have lived in Austin for 8 years. I originally came to intern in the film “Boyhood” by Richard Linklater and fell so in love with the city and its people that I could never leave! Though there is so much the city has to offer, my favorite part of the city is its people. They are the heartbeat to this unique and growing city.
What are your favorite parts of leaving the city? What makes it a good home to return to?
D: I can’t say I enjoy leaving the city, or honestly, that I ever do. I went on vacation a couple years ago and had some serious FOMO about what was happening back in Austin. The weather is what makes it a great home to return to even in the insufferable heat of the summer when we all jump into the springs. That’s something that should be noted, heading to the Barton Springs in the summer has the feel of being a kid again and going to the community pool. Everyone there is there to get away from the heat, to unplug, and meet some of their awesome neighbors.
A: I only like leaving the city enough to go camping or hiking, which is the incredible thing about Austin- you have a thriving city but only have to drive an hour before you are at one of half-a-dozen beautiful state parks! I love coming back to the city because you really can feel the energy as soon as you get in eyesight of our beautiful (and often changing) skyline.
If you could tell a friend to do one thing while visiting the city, what tops your list?
D: My best recommendation for people visiting is to hit the north side of 4th Street. It’s only a block long and has most of Austin embedded in its area. You can start at the coffee shop for a Long Island Iced Coffee, or S’mores that you make at a fire pit at your table. Then walk next door to Cedar Street Courtyard, which is technically an alley that has been retrofitted into a music venue, where you can hear some of the best bands Austin has to offer. Then as the day winds down, walk next door again to Péche, to drink craft cocktails and have chef John Lichtenberger, who is active in the farm to table scene, cook you up a bite. So that way you can head to Academia and hangout with farm animals (yes, that’s right) while enjoying more craft cocktails. North side 4th Street is the most fun 50 yards in Austin.
A: I always make the nonnegotiable Austin experience two-fold. First we go and pick up tacos or bbq and then we head over to Barton Springs Pool and eat our lunch and enjoy the offerings of the springs.
If you could tell a friend to do one thing in any location you’ve ever lived or visited, what tops that list?
A: I grew up in Guatemala and went to school in New Zealand so it is hard to pick ONE thing to recommend, but I think top of my list would be to climb the volcano “Volcan de Agua” in Guatemala!
Okay, real talk: what’s your favorite food in Austin?
D: I shouldn’t be saying this because of my representation for fitness, BUT I am obsessed with the pulled pork sandwich at Rollin Smoke food truck on the east side. It’s smokey, moist, and falls apart because it has been slowly cooking for 24 hours. #yum
A: In Austin, my absolute favorite restaurant is Bouldin Creek Cafe. Though I am not vegetarian, it is this incredible vegetarian restaurant that still offers the heart of “old Austin.”
What have you tried during travel that haunts your dreams with yearning like Austin’s taco trucks haunt ours?
D: I can’t say I have done much traveling, however there was this one dish on my last visit to New York at the McKittrick hotel. The restaurant was called Gallow Green, and besides it being absolutely beautiful with its very lush green, almost Amazon rooftop vibe, it also had a simple Tuna Crudo (sushi tuna, espelette peppers, sesame seeds, cilantro, olive oil). I can still taste it when I get a whiff of cilantro.
A: I had a film show at a film festival in Telluride Colorado. The entire experience was dreamlike and I can’t wait to go back and experience Telluride Horror Show and hike just above the town in the late days of fall.