It’s been a while since I’ve written outside of my comfort zone of amazingly well-flowing draft reports to adventure into the unknown with one from a tournament. Perhaps it’s because of how awkwardly the flow is compared to the former which can only be properly appreciated when compared with something of the same magnitude: having your burn opponent mulligan to four and beat you or asking that girl that was just out of your league to the 5th-grade dance (and be promptly rejected); the list goes on. The real reason is probably because many of my friends and ‘friends’ also write tournament reports and perform much better than I do (like Owen-I-don’t-lose-a-match-in-the-Swiss-ever-Turtenwald). Writing content for a strategy site can be tricky at times because it’s important to not overload people with redundant amounts of information, and despite my obviously superior verbiage, it’s understandable that more people will read a report if it says ‘Top 8’ rather than ‘Back in the Trenches: a story of 546th place’. Some people will be looking for strategy relating to Magic: the Gathering, but there won’t be much here. No. Folks, right now it’s story time.
It’s with great humility that I offer to you, the glorious judging masses, the following:
‘Always the Bridesmaid: How I Almost Qualified for the PT. A Grand Prix Austin Restaurant Guide and Tournament Report. *Top 8*’
World’s had come and gone and Channel Fireball had left an obvious mark on the scene, dominating the percentages, taking half of the top 8. Sadly I hadn’t been part of the action because starting 2-4 on day one didn’t give me much room to maneuver safely around the icebergs of variance that were encountered afterwards. Still, I had been able to rally and help the U.S. National team get third place in the team competition (which was sadly a cut to top 2) *sigh*. The completion of World’s marked the end of the Magic year, although as we would all find out with the Organized Play announcements later on, we were actually halfway through the next season. Regardless of where we were in whichever year, we had a break coming up. It wasn’t even December yet and the next event was in the distant future in 2012 at Grand Prix Austin.
Austin was announced to be Innistrad sealed which I had played just a few times. It’s important to note the difference between sealed and draft which can often be day and night in terms of metagame, card evaluation, etc. I’d only played in a handful of sealed tournaments, but a ton of drafts (about 175 online alone). I had a reasonable amount of fun drafting Innistrad because of the multiple layers of strategy not often present in previous sets which made the entire process much more interesting. I loved being able to draft a deck based on picks 6-12 of each pack, and Innistrad let me do just that. It was almost impossible to lose in the format as I’d been making a profit in the draft queues on MTGO while maintaining a 1900+ rating for weeks (that’s not intended to be a brag, but rather simply to give you an idea of my level of success in the format or make it known just exactly how lucky I had been). In any case, I was quite comfortable with drafting and was looking forward towards sharking the pods on Sunday.
As with any trip, I’d begun with my initial reconnaissance forays of Austin cuisine a few weeks prior, not only because I’m in love with food, but also because of being blessed with mild obsessive compulsive tendencies. I’d been to Austin once before, back in ’09 at the last Pro Tour; that had been a fun trip. I had gone to Stubb’s BBQ twice and been introduced to Fogo de Chao, the latter of which symbolized one of my first adventures into ‘higher’ culinary experiences. Since then I’d matured a bit and spread my wings. I still love a visit to good ‘ol churrascaria salad bar, although it’s lost some of the mystique and allure that once captivated me. BDM, Luis, and EFro had been helpful with suggestions about where to go forage (because they all share my passion for good cuisine as well) and come up with a few good options. Seeing as how we were flying into the heart of cattle-raising territory, it seemed only natural to seek out good barbeque. Stubb’s had been quite satisfactory the last time, and I was particularly looking forward to their serrano creamed spinach. BDM had told me about a place called Salt Lick and said it was one of the better places to go, but it was located far away from downtown Austin, about twenty-three miles away in the appropriately-named town of Driftwood. We unfortunately weren’t able to go there. The other place that I was informed about was Franklin’s, although that was much later during the actual trip itself, and after discovering a constant two-hour waiting line regardless of weather conditions, we abandoned the prospect. I wasn’t on the mono-barbeque plan as much as Luis was, and so there were some other places that caught my eye like Juan in a Million (Mexican taqueria) and Uchiko (Japanese Fusion).
The flight over went by quickly and was direct enough; it only required a stop in Minneapolis (I wouldn’t call it ‘on the way’ to Texas from California, but hey, I don’t know what wizardry is required to make the airlines’ flight routes work). I had planned to take the Super Shuttle to the site from the airport alone, but found to my surprise and pleasure that PV’s flight had been delayed, and so I’d have someone to talk to during the ride. Alright, I’ll admit that I was happy with just the fact that PV’s flight had been delayed and the companionship was a minor bonus! I had made a quick stop by our adjacent hotel, the illustrious boutique known as the Hampton Inn & Suites, to drop off my luggage and change before heading over to the site with PV to meet up with our awaiting dinner party. After a bit of discussion when we got there we settled on Stubb’s (if it ain’t broke…).
Our party was a rag-tag group of eight and we were all quite ravenous from having to endure passing most of the day with only airplane food to satiate us. Most barbeque places were divided into two categories: they either had an all-you-can-eat-option, catering to the desires of true Americans who wanted to smash unnecessarily large and unhealthy amounts of food in a glorious fashion (just because they could) or they had a normal menu; Stubb’s was the former. Family style for everyone you say? Yea, we weren’t disgusting. Most of what Stubb’s offered was typical fare, including pulled pork, pork ribs, beef brisket (fatty and lean), chicken, turkey breast, and sausage. They also had a wide variety of sides including pinto beans, potato salad, cole slaw, fried okra, mashed potatoes, French fries, onion rings, sweet potato mash, serrano creamed spinach, and macaroni & cheese. After some debate amongst ourselves, we managed to convince our server (who I readily admit was quite accommodating) to let us pick an additional meat and swap out some sides. In the end we chose pulled pork, pork ribs, beef brisket, and a jalapeno brisket that was on a different part of the menu along with the serrano creamed spinach, macaroni & cheese, sweet potato mash, potato salad, and pinto beans.
I had strategically sat in a middle seat so that I had easy access to all meats and sides to snipe helpings as they came, an option that wasn’t available to the people on the ends. We ate, ate, and ate some more until we were all full. Obviously the pork and beef were the best while the chicken was the worst. I had already known that from last time and inwardly sighed as multiple people had voiced their desire for fowl; I had wanted to cry it but decided against. We hadn’t tried the sweet potato mash last time, and I regret having done so because it was quite spectacular along with the spinach (overshadowing the other sides with great ease). The mash was almost pure except being mixed with a slight bit of vanilla and garnished with pecans; no other nonsense. One by one we all tapped out from the battle against the barbeque buffet until only I was left, and even then I had to throw in the towel; the house always wins. Red warrior is low on health… Red warrior is about to die… But hey, at least we ran them out of chicken. Our waitress came over asking if any of us had room for dessert. “Dessert you say? Well then, I suppose I could just take a look at the menu!” After a very average slice of pecan pie a la mode, it was time to pay up, a moment I was inwardly dreading. Of the two times we had gone to Stubb’s, we had gamed and I had paid (I’m very unlucky). Losing for a third time was doubly impossible so I figured that I was a stone lock for being safe, and on top of that there were some horses that were even more unlucky in the game than I: EFro and Kibler. The game was eight-handed, and it was down to the final two, but I managed to escape unscathed and reaffirmed my belief that I only lose to Kibler in feature matches. Everyone thanked Brian for dinner as we got up and left.
We all walked back from dinner, and while everyone else was going to the site and hang out to draft, I had decided to go back to the hotel to get settled in and get some sleep. I had been exhausted from a few late nights during the week, thanks in part to various birthdays, New Year’s, and a busy ‘work’ schedule. Honestly, it was hard to believe how many times there were seven in the queue. My late nights weren’t going to combine well with getting up early at 5:00 AM multiple days in a row, and so I knew that sleep was going to be a scarce resource in the game I played. I really did try, but I didn’t manage to allow sleep’s clutches to take ahold of me before Luis, PV, and Wrapter came back to the room, disrupting my Wa, and foiling any attempts for sweet dreams during the Witching Hour. I have to admit that I probably shouldn’t have eaten so much at such a late hour if I had had any intention of actually sleeping that night because my stomach was working overtime dealing with the copious amount s of barbeque that I had so eagerly consumed earlier. I don’t know how long I slept for or when I managed to fall off that precipice into the welcoming abyss that I so greatly desired. What I do know is that my sleep was almost as broken as Ancestral Recall, and in the morning I was so tired that I’d have certainly forced my opponent to draw three if I had been given the opportunity to do so. I could have opted for the sleep-in schedule like all three of my roommates had done, but I wasn’t exactly keen on paying an additional twenty dollars on top of the forty that I had shelled out for the Grand Prix (I normally get up at 6:30 AM and so I hadn’t foreseen the extra slumber time to be valuable). Besides, I was planning on getting up early the next day because I was obviously going to be drafting, and I would need to get up early to make it in time.
Breakfast was a modest affair and complimentary for the Hampton’s guests. I wasn’t exactly hungry because of dinner from the previous night, but I knew that it was going to be a long day with few breaks in between fast rounds to go scavenging for a bite to eat, so I figured that it would be wise to go and investigate. The spread was slightly above average compared to a normal continental breakfast and included some hot items like premade cheese omelets, sausage patties, and hash browns in addition to the standard cereals, muffins, toast, yogurt, fruit, and juices/coffee that I had expected. Still, most of what was being offered wasn’t very enticing and I settled on some yogurt with granola and papaya to go along with my black coffee. I paced myself quite nicely, partially because I was able to distract myself by watching the morning news that was on, and soon found that it was time to head over to the site.
A ton of people had turned out for the GP; everything is bigger in Texas, etc. The TO had set up for 1050 people and there were 1041. Thankfully that still meant that only had to play nine rounds of Swiss on day one. After going through the player’s meeting I received my pool and was not disappointed.
My pool was decent but I didn’t feel that it was broken; it had consistency. There were a few obvious cards that were missing from it to be amazing, but I wasn’t disappointed. I homed in on Blue/White pretty quickly after dismissing the other color combinations. Reckless Waif and Stromkirk Noble were enticing, but I knew that they wouldn’t always stick, and the rest of the cards were very mediocre with the exception of Heretic’s Punishment. I thought long and hard about whether I wanted to splash the Punishment because it would have been moderately easy to with two Shimmering Grottos and a Clifftop Retreat. However, I wasn’t a fan of running Grotto because it would have made the rest of the deck clunky due to not having the proper color available. Splashing Black was also an option. Sever the Bloodline was amazing in general and would be a way for me to deal with cards like Olivia Voldaren and Bloodline Keeper that I would surely run into over the course of the day. Splashing would still mean that I’d have to run the Grottos which, which as I said before, I wasn’t keen on. Perhaps that was a mistake; Sever was just ridiculous.
The last few cards were up for debate, and it came down to Doomed Traveler, Unruly Mob, Sensory Deprivation, Silverchase Fox, and Abbey Griffin. I figured that the deck had enough four-drops which made excluding the Griffin an easy decision. White was also fairly popular and the Griffin wouldn’t match up favorably against the Voiceless Spirits and Chapel Geists that were sure to be cluttering the skies. Butcher’s Cleaver gave me an incentive to run more humans which is why I chose the Traveler and Mob over the Silverchase Fox. The Fox would have been better against the Bonds of Faith/Claustrophobia that were also surely to be popular, but I decided to stick with the Humans. I expected to be able to go 7-2 at least with the deck and was hoping for 8-1.
Near the end of the byes I began to get hungry and decided to take a trek out to Franklin’s barbeque; this was before I knew that the wait there made Black Friday look like a joke. I had found out where it was located, roughly, and decided to walk there because it wasn’t too far away (about 0.6 miles). Maybe I should have written down the exact address because I got somewhat lost, and after a bit of a scenic traveling rout, decided to abort my journey in the unknown lands on the other side of the freeway for a barbeque place that was adjacent to the convention center: Ironworks Barbeque. My decision was also based on being short on time. I had little more than an hour when I’d initially set out which wouldn’t have worked out in the end.
I remember seeing Ironworks on Yelp but hadn’t read many reviews for it, and so I had to go on the advice of some of my friends that I had seen go in earlier. After hearing nothing but praise from them, I decided to give their combo plate a whirl (one beef rib, beef brisket, and house sausage with a side of beans and potato salad). Unfortunately the meal didn’t hit the spot and was generally disappointing. The beef rib hadn’t been cooked long enough and still had a ton of connective tissue which made it rather tough and chewy instead of fall-off-the-bone. The brisket was ‘fine’ but nothing amazing, and the sausage was rather bland because of being a bit too lean and under-spiced. Additionally, the house barbeque sauce was overly sweet and tasted like plums which I wasn’t a fan of. I still finished everything because I knew I’d need the energy to get through most of the day, and when I had finished it was almost time to shuffle up; I needed my spinach.
And then I went 9-0.
A perfect record in sealed deck is quite a difficult feat to accomplish because there are many coin flips that need to go your way that are simply out of your control; that’s Magic. My trek to perfection wasn’t exactly easy. I kept on playing against Bloodline Keeper and Curse of Death’s Hold which was really annoying! One game spiraled so far out of control to the point of me facing down a flipped Bloodline Keeper with me being pretty far behind on the board after I had mulliganed to six. However, after skillfully playing both Slayer of the Wicked and Sever the Bloodline in back-to-back turns, I was able to contain the threat and maneuver my way to victory. I played against other problematic cards like Olivia Voldaren, Geist-Honored Monk, and Army of the Damned, but each time I saw them I would board in the Black (Sever the Bloodline, Dead Weight, two Shimmering Grottos, and a Swamp). I never really got mana/color-screwed and drew my uncommons a fair bit.
Everyone was obviously hungry when we finished round nine, and there was some obvious debate as to where we were going to eat, which is to say we had to decide which barbeque place we were headed to. There were places like Fogo, Fleming’s, and a host of other fine dining establishments, but passing up the opportunity for good barbeque was an obvious misplay because it was so rare. One might have gone so far as to call it a mythic misteak. In the end we decided to run back the food at Stubb’s; I didn’t complain. Sadly though, I wasn’t exactly very hungry because my stomach had been working slowly on lunch from earlier; breaking down all that tough meat was giving it a bit of difficulty. Regardless of how full I was, I didn’t have to eat much, and the worst case scenario would be me paying for everything if I decided to foolishly game (which I already said earlier was very unlikely since I’d already paid there more times than I’d not).
I’d found my bearings by now and led the way on the eight block journey uptown towards the smokehouse. Along the way we had to note the incredible nightlife that the city was host to; it was very impressive. The downtown section seemed to be quite large, and most of it was busy with restaurants, bars, clubs, food trucks, and all the benefits that came along with them. There was a band setting up at Stubb’s when we got there and as a result there were more people than usual. Our party of ten got seated outside in the back above the stage area which seemed pretty sweet if the music was going to be good. Alas, I wasn’t feeling well and couldn’t stay to find out or have any food because of too much cigarette smoke on my trip to the bathroom, and so I had to depart. I hadn’t exactly been feeling well to begin with, and the smoke only exacerbated my weakened condition. At least I was going to have some extra time to sleep. My early departure from Stubb’s had apparently been a blessing in disguise because the experience had been subpar. The service was slow and some of the side dishes (sweet potato mash) never made it out to the table, although I hadn’t asked how insistent my companions had been. Most of the staff’s focus had been on the concert, and that had detracted from their attentiveness to us.
Saturday night and Sunday morning were roughly the same as the previous with the exception that I got a bit more sleep and found my way to a Starbucks before heading to the site after breakfast. The hotel had coffee that was ‘fine’ with food, but I wasn’t going to depend on that swill to keep me awake. That’s not to say that Starbucks was my choice coffee destination, but it was definitely some number of steps higher on the totem pole. By the time I had navigated my way through the convention center, I was feeling quite caffeinated and ready to start drafting.
The head judge had made an announcement that we weren’t using stamped product today because it was sitting in a room in Washington for whatever reason and that judges would be roaming around taking photos of out card pools before we registered them; shrug. I was in pod one for the first draft which also included Craig Edwards, Stanislav Cifka, Chris Poff, Melissa DeTora, Josh Utter-Leyton, Donnie Peck, and Professional Magic Player Patrick Cox. I opened a Civilized Scholar which was pretty sweet but I had to ship a Moan of the Unhallowed and Dead Weight in the process which would cut me off from Black in pack two, but that wasn’t too much of a concern because Stanislav opened Bloodline Keeper two seats to my right. Unfortunately I had to take some Black cards because the other options were very poor, although Blue was open and I focused on it whenever possible. I knew that I wasn’t going to get a lot of support from Black, but that ended up not being too much of a problem because Blue was very much open.
I wasn’t completely happy with how my deck had ended up, but it felt like the overall card quality in the draft was slightly below average which made my deck much better in actuality. It had a bunch of creatures including some solid uncommons, but it didn’t have many tricks. I got a feature match when I was paired against Craig Edwards in round eleven which can be found here.
I ended up losing in round three of the draft to Pat Cox, although it wasn’t ideal with how I’d imagined the matchup playing out.
I ended up in the first pod again for the second draft that included a few familiar faces from the previous; joining me was Patrick Cox, Craig Edwards, Jackie Lee, Jason Ford, Austin Bursavich, David Saylor, and Donnie Peck. Unfortunately Wrapter hadn’t managed to make it back to pod one again and had fallen back into pod five. For this draft, judges were also coming around to write down the first pick from each pack as an additional measure against potential cheaters (due to the lack of stamped product). My draft was also recorded by the event coverage and can be found here.
I had a few interesting picks, and the first was with pick one. The situation was this: David Saylor, directly to my right, opens Reckless Waif while I open Instigator Gang, Mentor of the Meek, Fiend Hunter, and Falkenrath Noble. I prefer Mentor and White much more than Instigator Gang and Red, although Instigator Gang is the best pick if a deck is bad because it doesn’t care what your other creatures look like. If I take the Gang, then it was going to be more likely that Red would be open in pack two, not only because I’m showing the rest of the table that I’m taking it, but also because I was passing three good non-Red cards as well. Now the question that also came up was that if I took the Instigator Gang, when should I? I could slam it before anyone picks as a deterrent so that people close to me wouldn’t be as likely to go into Red and fight with an adjacent drafter, or I could wait and see what Saylor did and then make my decision. He would be forced to pick before I because of being in a lower seat number, and if he took the Waif, then I could take the Mentor. Granted, there were other potential Red cards that he would and should take over Waif, but if he passed the werewolf, then I’d have taken it as a reasonable signal that Red was fine to go into. Either way, I’d be getting a good first pick. I figured that waiting to see what David was going to do was the best option because both of my first-pick options were very good and having more information about what he was actually doing was more valuable than sending a preemptive signal as a gamble. It would have been entirely possible that he would have taken a Red card even if I had immediately slammed the Instigator Gang because he was still passing to me and wouldn’t be hurt as much as I if we were both fighting for Red. I still don’t know if I made the right decision, and it was certainly one of the most interesting moments of the tournament.
As it turned out, David passed the Waif and I took the Instigator Gang after he picked. When I saw his pack, it also had a Devil’s Play with a foil or uncommon missing. I guessed it was Slayer of the Wicked and shrugged as I took the Fireball. Red was pretty open although Stanislav, two seats to my left, had taken the Waif which meant I wouldn’t be getting very many late cards in pack two. I ended up going into Green later on in the first pack although it seemed like it wasn’t completely open (that was still fine). Here’s how my deck ended up:
I was pretty happy with how the draft had gone, and knew that if I won the first round, being able to double-draw into the top-8 was a likely possibility. I could have built my deck a few ways, and I settled on a less aggressive configuration that was more focused on werewolves than curving out early. I left a Bloodcrazed Neonate and Crossway Vampire in my sideboard mainly because I hated playing with Neonate (it’s difficult to make work most of the time and I had little support for it). Scourge of Geier Reach was also in my sideboard which usually was never the case, but I wanted to run Moonmist which made the second Tormented Pariah (and other seven werewolves/Darkthicket Wolf) a bit better.
I played against Craig Edwards again in the first round but our games were very one-sided that included him mulliganing and getting color-screwed to the point of the match being quite boring. After looking at the standings, I knew that I’d be able to double-draw in and would have a few hours to kill before drafting again.
Sunday night had been planned out as the finale for our culinary adventures, and EFro had found a restaurant operated by one of the most heralded chefs in the country: Tyson Cole’s ‘Uchiko’. Basically, the place could be summed up as Asian fusion/sushi, however, that wouldn’t do it justice, and I implore anyone with any culinary taste to check out their website here. We had reservations for six at 8:30 PM and it looked like the top-8 might interfere with those plans. Still, I knew that the entire dining affair would be a long process and that I’d be able to make it for part of the meal almost regardless of how seriously the tournament delayed me.
The last round of Swiss finished and after the top-8 was announced and photos/bios taken, we got down to the nitty-gritty and started drafting. I opened up another Civilized Scholar which was pretty sweet. The entire draft viewer can be seen here.
I noticed that I was getting cut and had to change directions midway through pack one. I had very few playables after pack one and had settled into Blue/White after passing an Avacynian Priest early in the pack which didn’t sit well with me and my hopes of getting a lot of sweet White in pack two. White had been the most open color in the first pack, and so I was looking to pair it with whatever other color was open in the second, because Blue wasn’t panning out; opening Bloodline Keeper ‘helped’. I got infinite Black in the second pack, and by the time pack three started, I was in much more reasonable shape. Here’s what I ended up with:
I wasn’t happy with the last cards of my deck. I remember saying, “I don’t often play Thraben Purebloods, but when I do, it’s usually because I made a mistake.” There had been some 50/50 calls during the draft, but as it turned out, the people passing to me had changed around regarding their colors somewhat which made it more difficult to masterfully navigate my way through.
I got paired against Eric Downing in the quarterfinals, and he managed to defeat me in three games. The first two games were moderately interesting, and were centered on a race between his cheap-creature draws and Skirsdag Cultist plus Rage Thrower against my land-light hand in game one and controlling hand in game two. In game one I was able to outmaneuver his Cultist and use my Skirsdag High Priest and Moment of Heroism to climb out of reach before being burned out. In game two, I had a slower draw with very few cheap creatures, but I had a Curse of Death’s Hold along with a Thraben Sentry to throw away if things got out of hand. Unfortunately I got burned out by Rage Thrower and a bunch of one-toughness creatures dying to the Curse before I could stabilize with my five-drops. Game three wasn’t really a game as I had to mulligan, got stuck on lands and all Plains after having my one Swamp destroyed by Into the Maw of Hell while his flipped Delver of Secrets smashed my face in. Such is life.
And that was it. I had maintained my consistent streak of quick exits from GP top-8’s and still managed to make it to dinner before anyone had ordered anything. The taxi ride to Uchiko took a while because it was on the other side of town, but when I made it, I found myself in the awesome company of Kibler, EFro, PV, BenS, and Luis; basically the nuts.
Uchiko was a tapas-style restaurant which basically meant that the plates were small and recommended to be shared family-style so that everyone could try lots of different dishes. I already knew most of the menu as a result of alternating between the restaurant’s website and pictures on Yelp for a few hours, and I basically wanted to order one of everything; it all looked quite good. We paired up and ordered a bunch of dishes; Kibler and I decided to get everything that our server had recommended to us. We ordered quite a lot of food including:
‘Yokai Berry’- Atlantic salmon, dinosaur kale, Asian pear, yuzu.
Maguro sashimi and goat cheese Fuji apple, pumpkin seed oil, black pepper.
‘Hama Chili’ – yellowtail sashimi, sliced Thai chili, orange supremes.
‘Jar Jar Duck’ – countryside farms duck, candied kumquat, endive, rosemary smoke.
‘Bacon Tataki’ – kurobuta pork belly, black lime, espresso fish caramel, coriander citrus.
Edamame – grilled whole soybeans, sea salt.
Brussels sprouts – crispy brussel sprouts, lemon chili.
Pork jowl, brussel sprout kimchee, preserved lemon crème fraiche, romaine.
P-38 roll – Japanese yellowtail, avocado, yuzu kosho, grilled negi, cilantro.
Tiger Cry roll – cured wagyu, rice paper, red pepper, charred green onion.
‘Tobacco cream’ chocolate sorbet, maple budino, huckleberry, scotch.
‘Fried milk’ chocolate milk, toasted milk, iced milk sherbet.
I can’t begin to relate how unique the flavor combinations were. Everything was amazing, especially the pork dishes in particular; the bacon tataki and pork jowl were out of this world. We also had ordered a few drinks and what not, but those were very standard; various beers and sake. I had thought about trying all of the sushi, but it would have been too much for my stomach, and I was quite content without it. We didn’t bother gaming the bill because every pair got different amounts, and after the dust had settled, I’d managed to eat my way through $170 in style; it was well worth it. I was looking forward to the next time I would visit Austin because I wanted to come back and explore the menu some more.
The rest of the night was rather uneventful, at least for me. After cabbing back to the hotel I went back to the room to get ready for my early morning departure. My Super Shuttle was picking me up at 6:00 AM and I wanted to get as much sleep as possible so that I wouldn’t be a zombie when I got back home. The rest of the group stayed in the lobby for a while and did whatever. I wish I had gone out to more barbeque places because it was generally difficult to find establishments that got everything right, but the schedule just didn’t work out in the end. Still, that left me wanting which was a bonus because I knew that I’d have something to look forward to on my next trip to the Lone Star state.