Austin Part II -Whose been minding the store?
Well I've been off the boards for over two weeks and I see that I've got a little cleaning up to do here. I could have sworn I delegated that role to Chezkatie while I was away.
Anyway, I'm back, and want to share some of my roadfood experiences. On a negative note, I didn't take any digital photos, however on a positive note, you won't find any reviews of Roy Rogers on my thread!
CAT duty was everything it lived up to be. 12 HOUR DAYS- EVERY DAY- with 1/2 hour for lunch. There were no fun and games and there was no time to leave the confines of Austin, however I did get out to enjoy a few good places and did get to go downtown a couple of times.
I'll divide my time in Austin into two parts.
Monday: I left for Austin on labor day weekend. My connection was at O Hare in Chicago. I vowed I would never fly into O Hare again, however since my company arranged the travel plans I didn't have a choice. I had a late lunch/early dinner at the airport. I stopped at the Vienna Beef Hot Dog stand and ordered one dragged through the garden. Raw Onions, Relish, Mustard, Tomato, Pickle, Sport Peppers and celery salt on a sesame hot dog bun. One bite and it tasted like a vegetable garden was exploding in my mouth. The hot dog itself had a mellow taste but held up to the cornucopia of toppings.
Tuesday: After my first 12 hour day, I decided to go out on my own after finding out that some of my fellow coworkers were heading over to the Macaroni Grill. I decided to go to the Texas Chili Parlor downtown. I ordered a large bowl of red with raw onion and jalapeno. It came with a couple of packs of saltine crackers. This was a true traditional Texas Style Chili. You can order "X" "double X" or "triple x" I understand you have to sign a waiver for the triple X. Well, I ordered the double X and it was hot! Chunks of meat laced with Cumin and Peppers. There were other items on the menu such as Black Bean and Elgin Sausage chili or Habanero and Pinto Bean Chili. However the traditional all meat and no bean was the definite way to go!
Wednesday: After work, I went with one of my coworkers to Jaime's Spanish Village. We walked in, the place was empty and didn't really have much atmosphere. When we sat down the Chips and Salsa came to the table. The chips were so so, but the Salsa made up for it ten fold. A spicy and zesty salsa that get the endorphins going in overload. I ordered the combination plate which came with Guacamole Salad, Chips and Queso, Taco, 2 enchiladas, Tamale and rice and beans, my coworker orderd a Beef Burrito. Well, the meal was excellent, my coworker cleaned his plate, I finished about 3/4's of mine. My only negative comment is that I thought they were a little stingy with the queso.
Thursday: Well, our unit went as a group to Dave and Busters. I couldn't really get out of this one since the company paid for it. I had the bbq jack daniels chicken and yes, it sucked.
Friday: Another day on my own. Decided to check out Hoovers. I walked in, and it was packed! I was pleased to see a nice ethnic diversity of the patrons. I sat at the bar and ordered the chicken fried steak dinner with Mashed Potatos and Jalapeno Creamed Spinach. The serving was huge. The chicken fried steak with white gravy was delicious, I thought it was just as good as Massey's in Fort Worth. The Mashed Potatos were real with chunks of potato and skin, however the star of the meal was the Jalapeno Creamed Spinach, smooth n creamy yet with a kick.
Saturday: My coworker and I were going to go to John Mueller's for dinner, however when we got there, the place was closed and is apparently out of business. I was really surprised to find this out.
We ended up going back to Hoovers for dinner. This time we both got the Brisket and Elgin Sausage. This time the main course was a little dissappointing, it did not impress either of us.In my opinion it wasn't bad, it just wasn't great. My coworker is from Eastern North Carolina and he is used to Eastern Carolina Q. He ordered the Mashed Potatos and Jalapeno Spinach which he enjoyed. I ordered the Cowboy Beans and Mac N Cheese, they were both delicious, the cowboy beans were basically bbq beans with chunks of meat.
Sunday: Again, I decided to go out on my own (and it was a good idea that I did) I decided to give Sam's BBQ a try. This is a shack in not the greatest part of town. I walked into an empty place with absolutely no atmosphere. And ordered up a combo plate of Brisket, Sausage, Potato Salad and Beans which came with a couple of slices of white bread, raw onion and pickles. Unlike the previous day, the brisket was moist and smokey, the sausage also had a nice smokey taste. The sides were ok, however I wasn't completely impressed with the sauce. I thought it was a little too watery and had a little too much vinegar for my liking. Overall a good meal, however because of the atmosphere and location, I'm glad I didn't bring a road food newbie with me.
Part II (the final chapter)
On Monday, I decided to head back to Hoovers for a third time with a different coworker. I got the same thing that I did on my first visit without a hitch, my coworker got the bbq chicken and the same sides (mashed potatos and jalapeno creamed spinach) he said it was good and I'll take his word for it even though he is from Michigan.
Tuesday- I headed back to downtown Austin with two coworkers of the fairer sex. One actually thought about doing
Please, no, anywhere but Austin. We actually ended up going to a moderately priced "traditional looking" restaurant called the Old Pecan Street Cafe. The two ladies ordered the Old Pecan Street Chicken. They said it was good. I ordered the Blackened RedFish and it was delicious. It came with a house salad with the house vinagrette, rice and vegetables. Definetely the most healthy meal I had in Austin and the most expensive. The meal and a couple of bottles of shiner bock ran just under $30 with tax and tip.
Wednesday, I decided to head out on my own again.This time I went to a Texas Chain called Rudy's country store BBQ. Yes, it's a chain, but its a local chain. The place had a cuties Texas Style Atmospher and it looked like a feed barn. The meal is basically served on wax paper and instead of trays, you get a plastic crate. I ordered two types of brisket, the original and extra moist along with the smoked sausage, beans, potato salad and banana pudding. The best thing about this place was the sauce. The moist brisket was good, a little to peppery though and everything else was forgettable, especially the sausage.
Thursday- Went back to Downtown Austin with a bunch of people. Ok, I had dinner at the hard rock. Had the Chicken Fajita's- Double
Should have had a burger. Aftewards we went to the Blind Pig for a couple of beers- The Shiner Hefeweisen was actually pretty refreshing!
Friday- A couple of the guys and I were going to go to Guero's Taco Bar, however when we got there, we didn't want to wait, so we headed down Congress Street back towards Ben White and stopped at El Gallo and boy and I glad we did. I knew I was in for a treat when I saw Goat on the menu. We actually sat near the bar. The Chips and Salsa came. Not only were the chips fantastic, but the Salsa was also delicious. It wasn't as spicy as Jaime's, but it still had a helluva kick. The three of us shared an order of Chili Con Queso which was also really good. For the main course, I ordered the Beef Fajitis. They came to the table sizzling in peppers and onions and also came with Sour Cream, guacamole, Beans, Rice, Pico de gallo and all the other usual accompanyments. It was delish, I couldn't finish the entire meal. My coworker who previously went to Jaime's Spanish Village ordered the Burrito and said it was "OK". My other coworker ordered the Chicken Enchiladas and said they were really good.
Saturday- I hung out at the hotel bar with some of the bigwigs. We were watching the Florida vs Tennessee college football game. They ordered pizza from some place called Mr. Gatti's they offered me some, I begrudgingly accepted. Oh- good lord it was awful!!! It tasted like Stouffer's French Bread Pizza, but without the sauce- Where was the sauce??? It was bad, really, really bad......
Sunday- my final night before flying out- We decided to go to Stubbs in downtown Austin. A so so meal. The Brisket did not impress me, it was dry and tasteless, the Pinto Beans were too soupy, however The Smoked Sausage was good and so were the onion rings. Overall a 50/50 meal.