From Houston to Austin, with Love
In the late summer of 2016, I decided to move from Houston to Austin, Texas. When I lived in Houston, I had the wonderful opportunity to immerse myself in its rich and colorful creative community. I DJed for Rice University Radio. I worked for the non-profit Writers in the Schools. I also began my career with Hai Hospitality at Uchi Houston. I made life long friends through music, art, and education. The question often arises as to why I would choose to make this decision and it’s simple. I’ve heard the grass is always greener on the other side and I wanted to make sure of it. In my mind, if I were to be making an awful decision, well that would be great news. At least then I would know this Austin-town wasn’t for me. Thankfully, that has not been the case. Austin has been a whale of a good time and I’m extremely excited to move forward with my life here.
Although, it is to be assumed that there would be obvious differences at first. I didn’t expect myself to be assimilated into the culture of “vibe” of this city immediately. After being here for just a month, I’m still wrapping my mind around just how small this city is compared to Houston. For example, if you lived in Houston and stated that your commute was 20 minutes, people would stare at you with a begrudging, spine tingling glare while saying, “Oh wow, you’re so lucky.” In Austin, that’s a complete inconvenience and downright unthinkable. Albeit, the wrath of I-35 absolutely holds weight to that I-610, which I have unfortunately learned.
Another rad thing, Austin’s construction is sensible and speedy. Those pot holes I worried about across the street from my home, GONE. Within a month! In Houston, fearing for the life of my tires would just be a thing that I deal with. With my shorter commute to work and my slick speedway, you’d think this would give me enough time to grab a a quick taco and coffee on the cheap. Not exactly. I’ve said it this before and I’ll say it a million more times, where is my dollar taco truck, Austin? Yes, I love the kitschy convenient taco truck up the road that serves cactus on the reg. That’s my new jam and I’m sticking to it. But, I am paying for it. Where, oh where, are my greasy authentic Mexican street tacos that would cost me a buck or two for pure salivating satisfaction? You’re killing me Austin, but I haven’t lost faith yet.
Experiencing the difference at my new restaurant has also been interesting. Uchi Houston and Uchiko are quite different. For me, Uchi is a refined modern take on traditional Japanese cuisine. Their style of dining is distinguished and unique. They approach new ideas with finesse. That’s why they are so inviting. Uchiko has the wonderful opportunity to take all of those concepts and make it a little funkier. It’s as if Uchi had a rebellious twin sister. So far, the best characterization of Uchiko I’ve heard has come from our Chef de Cuisine, Sterling Ridings. Chef stated the idea wasn’t to sell a dish. It is to introduce our community to something they may never have been exposed to before. To me, that’s the goal of all the Hai Hospitality restaurants.
All in all, I’ve been thoroughly happy with my move. I was able to find a new home within Hai Hospitality at Uchiko. I now have the free time to complete my undergraduate degrees in Public Relations and Geography. I’ve also been very fortunate to meet so many kind and welcoming people here, as that is the natural attitude of Texas. At the end of the day, both cities have their perks. Both cities make me very grateful to be able to experience them. I’m just happy to be here. Houston, Austin-Thank you for having me.