A Local’s Guide to Austin, Texas

Ted Meredith—a cast member of the vaudeville show Esther's Follies—shares his picks for obscure places that define Austin's culture.
 

Ted Meredith, photograph by Edward Kemper Photography.

For more than a decade, Ted Meredith has been a cast member of Esther’s Follies, a unique, long-running vaudeville show that highlights the eccentricities of Austin and Texas. Meredith says the dynamic energy of this capital city is what has lured younger people for generations. Here he shares a few of his favourite places.

Must-See Show

“Esther’s Follies is sort of impossible to describe. We don’t encourage a whole lot of direct audience participation, but we get it sometimes. The main thing is we have this window right out on 6th Street, so it’s not just the paying customers that are influencing the show; we’ve also got all this craziness, and sometimes complete obliviousness, outside.”

Post-Bar Eats

“I’m a big Magnolia Cafe on South Congress Avenue guy. That place is very old-Austin, but you can still hang with the young crowd. It’s busiest at 2 a.m., and I’ve been going there since college.”

Breakfast Showdown

“I think a well-balanced breakfast taco is like a good cocktail. If it’s just eggs and cheese, it’s like a highball, but if you have five ingredients, it’s like a Mai Tai—it’s ostentatious. Three or four ingredients is where you want to be. I won’t get into the Torchy’s vs. Tacodeli debate. They’re both great, and very busy.”

The Great Outdoors

“I’m a big fan of getting a kayak and just cruising up and down Lady Bird Lake, or even just the hiking and biking trail around the lake.”

On the Big Screen

“The Alamo Drafthouse Cinema is one of my treasured Austin locations. They do special screenings of weird movies, and they go all-in with props, singalongs and quotalongs. Their Drag Brunch is especially now-Austin.”

Where to Geek Out

Dragon’s Lair Comics & Fantasy is the crown jewel of the Austin board game community. It’s been around since 1986. It’s a great space where you can try out games, and they have all the major comics. So, if you really want to nerd out, that’s the best place to do it.”

[This story appears in the September 2019 issue of WestJet Magazine.]

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