Monday, April 28, 2008

Austin Economics: The Nerd Bird, Hacienda Prices, Ribs and Migas

I just got from a weekend visiting friends in Austin. On the way home I picked up a copy of the local newspaper, the Austin American Statesman, which had an article on the Austin Airport, which I was sitting in at the time. In the nine years, since Austin-Bergstom airport has opened it has gone from regional airports with flights only to Houston and Dallas, to an airport with 44 flights to destinations outside of Texas. I was happy to take a direct flight from BWI on Southwest as changing planes always adds a few extra hours and an element of risk of further delays. The change in the airport from spoke to mini-hub all started with a direct flight from Austin to San Jose in the early 90s, which took tech workers between Silicon Valley and Austin’s tech companies including Dell. With the tech clientele, the flight was nick-named the “nerd bird.” I might need to call it something else as my wife is taking it today as she ventures into Silicon valley for the summer (more on that another day).

From the paper and talking to my friends I got the sense that housing prices were not falling as bad in Austin. This is likely because Austin runs on the University, the state government, and the tech industry. All three industries seem not be doing as poorly as others, so housing prices are holding for now.

What trip to Austin (or blog post about a trip) would be complete without some BBQ and Tex-Mex food? I headed over to Country Line and got some ribs, brisket and sausage. If you have a hankering for the same they have “air ribs.” What could contrast with slow roasted brisket and ribs, but fast Tex-Mex food? Specifically, migas a combination of eggs, peppers, tomatoes, tortillas and cheese (lots of cheese). Basically it’s combination of left over stuff, just perfect for breakfast. With BBQ you had what once was considered the least desirable cuts of meat (ribs and brisket) and tex-mex with combos of eggs, flank steak, onion, peppers, and tortillas. With rising food prices, perhaps a new great cuisine is yet to be born. Until then pass the ribs and migas.

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