Summer in Austin, TX — Beat the Heat, Baby!


I have visions of traveling food friends snug and bundled in warm scarves, coats, turtlenecks and wool pants. It snowed in Montreal, remember? This blog entry is dedicated to all my friends and colleagues coming to Austin, TX for the annual conference of the International Association of Culinary Professionals…in June.

You’re coming to Texas! And when I heard we were having our annual IACP conference here in Austin, I gave a little whoop and holler. Then I saw the June date and said aloud, “Wowza! It’s a bonus!”. Not only are we hosting you in our dear city, we’re treating you to the beginning of a grand old Texas summer.

You lucky devils you! Yesterday, May 23, 2011, I got into my car at 6:45pm. It was 104°.

So, from me to you here are 5 things to keep you comfortable, content and full of vigor. All the while, keeping you alert in your seminars and in the mood to celebrate our fabulous city.

Stay hydrated.
Keep the water flowing. Have a bottle with you as you walk about, take a tour and in your seminars. I would highly recommend keeping a few water bottles in your hotel room. Our tap water is just fine but it’s always great to have a cool bottle of water waiting for you. 
Few ideas:

* Fill you ice bucket with ice in the morning while getting ready. Push your water bottle into the ice and leave for the morning or day. It will be wet and the label will surely come off. However, it will be well worth having that cool, crisp and refreshing liquid flowing down your throat.
* Another is to take a wash cloth, roll it up and stick it in the ice along with the water bottle. When you return to your room, gently pull it out of the “ice-water”, wring out, wipe your face and wrap around your neck. It’s going to feel so good!

Dress comfortably with staying cool in mind.
Think fabrics & footwear that breathe like cotton, linen and open toe shoes. Certainly you want to bring a light jacket and/or sweater to have for your seminars (it might just be cool at the convention center). However, if you are touring or walking about town you definitely want to consider lightweight & light colored clothing. I know black is a favored color for travel (it’s mine for sure) , however, with that sweet Texas sun shining down plus added moisture it makes us hotter and sweat more! Who am I kidding; I’ll definitely being wearing something black-sleeveless and swirly preferably.

Eat & drink moderately and with passion.
How dare I presume to tell a food friend how to eat and drink? I know. But I’m going to do it anyway. 
I recommend you eat and drink what you want but do it in moderation. Austin’s heat and humidity creeps up on you. And there is nothing more miserable than eating too much then getting heat punched in the stomach once you step outside or into a vehicle. And let’s not forget waking up in a hot sweat. :->

Don’t forget sunscreen, sunglasses, hats and umbrellas.
Sunscreen-Super important no matter if you are in a car, bus or walking about town. Wear it to protect your skin. The humidity of course will be your friend helping keep your face dewy! That’s exciting, right?
Sunglasses – glare, wrinkles, hangovers (need I say more and did I just say hangover?!?!)
Hats & Umbrellas – I wanted to include this especially for those of you going to the Capitol and are touring. If it’s your first exposure to the sun this season a good wide brim hat or baseball cap will definitely protect top of the head and face. An umbrella will give you greater protection.

Bring a bathing suit.
The Hilton pool is going to start looking pretty good after a day or two. Or any hotel pool where you might be staying. You might even have an Austin food friend with a pool. Don’t be shy. Hitting that cool water (even though it might be kinda warmish now) after a long day of travel, walking, tours, eating, drinking, and talking is going feel really great-no matter the water temperature.

With all this said, we may have rain or it could be overcast. We might still have a Spring-like “cold” front come through which will lower the temperature to the 80’s. Yes, that’s cool in Austin.

So, with cool visions and a few ideas to implement in reality, I personally welcome you with open sunscreen drenched arms, a healthy dewy face and all the warm wishes a native Texan and Austinite can give. Keep cool, learn lots and enjoy yourself!