Last month, we flew to Austin, TX for the first time to experience why people who have visited speak so highly of the city.
The trip was nothing like any other trips where we only go for the fun stuff without taking into account anything else.. We went there with two sets of eyes to see if we could picture us living in Austin for the next three to five years. You know when you move around or travel too much, at some point, you are so done with it and just wish to have a place called home and root yourself in? We are at that point now.
Visiting and living in a place are completely two different stories. Since we’ve lived in China and multiple cities in the US, we are well aware that the main factor that makes a difference is the people. I am pleased to say that people in Austin are extremely friendly, to the level where after interacting with them, you constantly think “Wow! What just happened? That was amazing!”
Other than that, what we learned about Austin from the first brief trip is:
– It’s surprisingly green considering it’s December in Texas.
– The west of Austin is the wealthy part of the town where you probably don’t even want to look at the housing market. Too many zeros. It hurts.
– The east is, generally speaking, the ghetto. But it’s got some characters and it’s hippie. Pretty interesting.
– The north and the south are generally nice and quiet. Both parts have some great neighborhoods.
– Not walkable unless you stay in downtown.
– I-35, one of the only two highways in the city, literally splits apart in the middle and then combines again so that people can get off from different exits. (Whaaaaat??)
– Driving is pretty painful.
– Besides Google, Intel, IBM, etc, many more tech companies are setting up their territories in Austin. For instance, Oracle is building a campus on a 27-acre land in east Austin and they’ll also purchase the adjacent 295-unit apartment building, the Azul Lakeshore, to house employees.
– More and more people from big cities like San Francisco and New York City are moving to Austin.
– The infrastructure can no longer support the massive growth in the city. Austin is changing.
– The city is beautiful and surrounded by terrific hiking trails and natural pools that are 20-40 minutes drive away from downtown.
– Last but not least, THE FOOD IS FREAKING AMAZING, which drives me a little crazy.
Learning and cooking Texas food is undoubtedly on my to-do list when we make the move. However, I decided not to wait until then.
Queso, in addition to guacamole, as an appetizer or snack is something you have to order in a Tex-mex restaurant. We’ve had it so much on the trip and I still can’t get enough of it. There is something about that melted cheese that drives you to dip, dip again, and dip some more.
10 ingredients and 20 minutes are all you need for this legitimate Tex-Mex queso recipe. It is for you to dip at home at anytime you want. Hope you enjoy. There will be more recipes like this in 2016. Cheeeeeeeeese!Print
Spicy, rich, incredibly velvety, and dangerously addictive, this Tex-Mex Chili Con Queso is the real deal! It’s also gluten free.
- 1 tablespoon canola oil
- 1/2 cup finely chopped sweet onion
- 1 jalapeño, finely chopped (you can use canned diced jalapeño peppers if you prefer; just add them with the tomatoes)
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2 tablespoons cornstarch
- 1 cup chicken broth
- 8 American cheese singles, cut up
- 1 cup chopped tomatoes
- In a cast-iron skillet or a heavy pot, heat the oil over medium-high and sauté the onion and jalapeño (if using fresh) with cumin, garlic powder, salt and cornstarch for 2 to 3 minutes, until the onion is translucent.
- Add the broth and cook for 3 to 4 minutes. Stir constantly, allowing the sauce to thicken.
- Add the cheese and tomatoes. Carefully simmer the queso over low heat for 3 to 5 minutes. Stir and adjust its thickness to suit your taste by adding more broth or cheese.
- Serve hot with tortilla chips.
If using canned jalapeño peppers, add them with the cheese and tomatoes at step 3. Start with 1 tablespoon and adjust the taste by adding more if desired.
- Serving Size: 6