Day 3 of my internship and I get invited to dinner… at one of the coolest places in downtown Austin. It’s casual.
My new friend at work, who is also the other intern on my team (and who is absolutely wonderful for patiently dealing with me and my constant questions for the past few days) and I were invited to join our manager, a few members of our team, and a few guests for dinner at Sway, a Thai Fusion restaurant many of the Austinites I’ve spoken to rave about.
Though it’s not very big in size, this cool little place features several large communal tables, one of which our group took over half of. Everything on the menu is approximately the same size, so our group collectively ordered nine or so different dishes and just passed them around. Dishes come out of the kitchen as they are ready, so it staggers how much you’re eating at once, giving you a chance to try everything.
I ordered the Pad Kwetio, which is made with flat noodles, Chinese broccoli, and huge chunks of pork belly. It’s made with the same smooth brown sauce in my favorite Thai dish, Pad See Ew, with just a little spicy kick at the end of it. I basically could’ve eaten the entire thing by myself. My friend next to me ordered something called the Son in Law, which also involved pork, a fried egg, and sticky rice (Side note: it’s an immensely challenging dish to try to eat with chopsticks…) The meat is cooked so it practically falls apart in your mouth, the rice soaks up all of the thick soy sauce, and at first the gooey fried egg seems like a weird idea, until you eat them all together and wonder why you haven’t been doing this your whole life.
I got brave and grabbed a kai yaang, which is a spicy Thai chicken wing. They are an ideal size to eat, but they aren’t easy to politely pull apart. My spice tolerance is basically zero, so although the pepper flakes are visible on the crispy, dark burgundy skin of the chicken wings, I ate two of them, sweating and openly making a mess of myself in the process. They were that good.
We even got dessert. The whole dessert menu was exotic and we couldn’t make up our minds, so my friend and I let our waitress choose, and she selected the Thai tea affogato. When it arrived in a beautiful glass plate, we still couldn’t quite explain what it was or what it tasted like to the rest of the table. The Thai ice cream was creamier than usual ice cream, and the little tea-like syrup our waitress poured all over it gave it unique spice. Underneath it all was something kind of like a cobbler. Someone else at the table also ordered Five Spice Chocolate ice cream, which wasn’t actually spicy at all, but was rather a stellar mashup of chocolate flavors with varying degrees of intensity. We happily finished that, too.
My first night “out” in Austin ended with an impromptu tour of downtown, which I will be frequenting more because it seems so cute. And to my super-awesome new team: thank you for the invite, I’m sorry I’m probably embarrassing, but I can’t wait to explore more of what this city has to offer!
1417 South 1st Street
Austin, Texas 78704