OFF TO THE RACES

Heading to Austin? Where to eat, where to party, and how to travel in style during Formula 1 weekend 2017

Whether you're going to the race or just looking for the parties, we've got suggestions to make the most of your Formula 1 weekend. Photo by Haley Plotkin

Originally appeared on Culture Map/Austin.

For the fifth year in a row, Formula One rolls into Austin for the United States Grand Prix hosted at Circuit of The Americas. While Austin is no stranger to hosting big-time festivals and world-class events, F1 brings with it a certain kind of international glamour. As a way to welcome out-of-town guests (and give the locals a little love, too), we've prepared a simple guide for getting the most out of your F1 weekend, beginning with Friday's festivities through Sunday's big race

Where to eat
Brunch
Before you head to the racetrack, make a pit stop at Pitchfork Pretty for brunch. Though this relatively new restaurant offers a variety of delicious dishes, we suggest splurging on the fried chicken. On the brunch menu, it appears as part of the Caldo de Pollo Frito, a chicken and cabbage broth with red chile, topped with fried chicken and vegetables. 

Happy hour
Leaving the track in time for happy hour? Grab a seat at the beautiful Grizzelda'sbar and order up a Grizz Mizz, the restaurant's take on a classic margarita. 

Late night 
If you're feeling peckish after a day at the races (or you're entertaining a few European friends in town for the festivities), swing by Justine's Brasserie for a decadent evening. Order a charcuterie board, a bottle or two of Bordeaux, and soak up the sexy atmosphere. Pay close attention and you may see a few F1 drivers sipping bubbles at the table next to you. 

How to get there
Rideshare 
Didn't get a rental car reservation? No big deal. Want to leave the car at home? We're with you. For you out-of-towners, Uber and Lyft have finally returned to Austin after a year-long hiatus. Though, in the spirit of keeping it local, consider downloading the app for Ride Austin, a local nonprofit rideshare. 

Shuttle buses 
If you're staying downtown, the COTA shuttle bus leaves from the Austin Convention Center (Fourth and Trinity streets) and drops passengers off at McAngus Lot, a 15-minute walk from the COTA entrance. Tickets can be purchased from the driver for $20 each way or can be purchased in advance for a discount. Passengers with limited mobility can be dropped off directly at the front entrance for $50 each way. 

Helicopters 
Those wishing to skip the traffic altogether can arrange for a helicopter drop off through HELO Austin. Passengers can take off from HELO's private airport at 10301 FM 969 or arrange for an in-town departure through their hotel concierge. Call 512-350-5102 for more information.

Where to party
The list of Formula 1 parties is considerably smaller than in past years, but luckily Austin has no shortage of places to take a victory lap.

Buxton Bash 
Hosted by veteran NBC Sports reporter Will Buxton, this party promises a slew of special guests and giveaways. One hundred percent of the $10 ticket go directly to Susan G. Komen Foundation. Thursday, October 19 at Clearport (516 E. Sixth St.). Doors open at 7 pm, $10 at the door.

Blu Party ATX 
For the third year in a row, My Yacht Club joins Blu Party ATX for what promises to be a star-studded, Champagne-filled extravaganza. The $150 individual ticket price gets you access to the dance floor and two floors of DJs and the cash bar. Table service, which ranges from $5,000-$8,000 per night, comes complete with bottle service and lounge seating. October 20-22 at Moonfire Lounge/The Vaughn (310 Colorado St.). Doors 9 pm, tickets $150-$8,000.

Go local 
If there is one thing Austinites pride ourselves on, it's knowing where the party is and welcoming pretty much anyone to join in. During past Formula 1 festivities, we've seen celebrities at Jo's Downtown Coffee and chatted with F1 drivers at the White Horse. Oh, and don't forget Pete's Dueling Piano Bar. It's considered a favorite among the Formula 1 set and was where Lewis Hamilton and the Mercedes team celebrated his Formula One world title in 2015.

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A WEEKLY REVIEW OF CRENNEL'S COACHING

Now my job: Texans feast on Lions

Photo by Getty Images.

Thanksgiving is full of tradition. There's the typical family gathering, large meal, and of course, football. Sometimes, new traditions are added and old ones are retired. I think the Texans did both in their impressive 41-25 win over the Lions in Detroit. Old traditions were carried on (Lions losing on Thanksgiving), some were put to rest (Texans not being able to get turnovers), and new ones were started (multiple passing touchdowns by Deshaun Watson in six straight games).

The fact that this defense got three turnovers in the game was unbelievable! They got all three in the first quarter within the span of eight plays. JJ Watt's pick-six was insane. He went for a batted ball, ended up catching it, and ran it in. They forced Jonathan Williams to fumble on the Lions' very next play from scrimmage and recovered it. On the Lions' next possession, the Texans recovered yet another fumble after the challenge was reversed. Great call by the coaching staff to challenge and win. The defense looked good. Tyrell Adams stood out because he was in on those two fumbles, made 17 total tackles with 14 of them being solo tackles. They also brought pressure that seemed to make Matthew Stafford very inaccurate and resulted in four sacks. I give defensive coordinator Anthony Weaver credit for knowing he needs to blitz to get pressure, but the run defense has to improve.

The offense kept the tempo up in this game as well. The spread and hurry-up were used to keep the Lions already staggered defense off balance. Knowing the Lions were without a couple defensive backs, I thought it would be the perfect marriage of their defense and the Texans' offense. A buddy asked before the game about the line (Texans -3.5) and the over/under (52.5). I told him bet the Texans and the over because neither team can play defense and both have good quarterbacks. Offensive coordinator Tim Kelly put together another good game plan and Watson executed it flawlessly. One route combo I saw later on in the game I particularly enjoyed. Two receivers were tight to the left side. Cooks ran a hook/curl and settled in the middle of the zone while Fuller ran a vertical route. Duke Johnson ran a swing route to that same side. It left Cooks wide open as the attention went to Johnson in the flat, Fuller deep, and the action to the other play side. Route combos are important because it gives the quarterback different reads as he goes through his progressions and lets him pick apart the defense based on what he sees. Combine that with Watson's play and the way Kelly has changed his play calling now that he's liberated from he who shall not be named, we're seeing a beautiful thing.

As good as things were, there's still room for improvement. The defense gives up way too many easy yards, both run and pass. They can't get pressure bringing only four and will often give up big plays if the blitz is picked up. Plus the run defense is still an issue as evidenced by the Lions' first possession of the second half. The Lions ran the ball 10 plays straight for a total of 58 yards on that drive. Utterly ridiculous! Watson was good (17/25 318 yards and four touchdowns), but he missed two more touchdowns with passes slightly off, and continues to hold onto the ball too long at times. The difference between these two issues I've presented here is the fact that Watson has so played well, his "issues" are minor and very correctable, while the defense is terrible and there's no easy fix in sight. But let Romeo Crennel and Anthony Weaver tell it, they're getting the most out of these guys and they're playing disciplined.

The thought that this team may actually creep into the playoff picture may take shape better after next week if they can beat the Colts. I doubt it, but it is getting interesting. Let's see what else happens around them because they need help getting there.

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