Helpful ReplyHot!Messin' with Texas

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2012/05/17 19:21:54
Although this is a new trip report, this is actually a physical continuation of this  trip report .
Although the report title is appropriate, I think it would be cool if I was able to replace it with just a tune as the title to this report.
There are many songs that just remind me of Texas and this is one that comes to mind right now.
I landed in San Antonio, considering the two hour flight and that I'm now two hours ahead based on the time difference and then getting my rental it was just after 3pm when I arrived at my lunch stop.

Chris Madrid's
Famous for their bean burgers which have been previously discussed, I wondered if this was going to be another regional  variation of a burger that didn't excite me. 

I thought there would be waitress service when I walked in but there isn't, ordering, is cafeteria style-you order at the counter which is located in separate room from the dining area and you take your own food to the table.
I told the counter lady this was my first time at Chris Madrid's and I never had a bean burger before. She recommended their salsa which is in a separate dispenser at the counter.

When my meal arrived I could only look in amazement. This was truly one helluva superb burger. I ordered the "macho" size of course. For those who don't know what a bean burger is, it's a San Antonio Specialty loaded with cheese that envelops refried beans and tortilla chips hidden underneath. The salsa was the missing link to this gut busting burger. The burger came with fresh cut fries, however I was so enthralled with the burger I forgot to  get a photo.
After lunch, I headed to downtown to check into my hotel which was charging an $18 a day parking fee. Since I wasn't planning on leaving the confines of downtown I decided to park a few blocks away in a parking lot for $8. (I later discovered that evening  just a block away there were 10 hour parking meters in effect til 6pm for 25 cents an hour.
After relaxing for a bit to prepare for my 4 1/2 mile roundtrip walk to my dinner stop, I began my walk through the southtown neighborhood, a revitalized urban area just south of downtown with shops, restaurants and residences. 
Passing through La Villita, a block of historic buildings with touristy shops and restaurants I noticed a big block party was going on. Without realizing it I  arrived in town just in time for fiesta week- basically a huge big block party all over downtown with concession stands, bands and other entertainment. Unfortunately they were charging $10 just to walk through La Villita but was told it would be free to walk about in the morning before the festivities begin.
My first stop was Blue Star Brewing in Southtown. I got the refreshing Belgian Country Ale and the alcohol infused King William Ale.
Finally with another mile or so to walk, I arrived at my dinner stop

Piedras Negras De Noche
Unfortunately the restaurant underwent a damaging fire a few years back and moved into an abandoned pizza hut next door. The original structure with a "closed for renovations" sign is still intact next door.
The restaurant itself was vibrant with both Anglo and Mexican folks.
And you know the place is going to be special when there's goat on the menu

The salsa was really good but I don't remember anything memorable about their tortilla chips.

Now that I'm in Texas I ordered their Fajitas. Although the menu noted that the order is for two, the waitress indicated that they can curtail it for a single diner. I didn't realize I was ordering a beef/chicken combo, but that's what came to my table- I guess I should have specified I was looking for beef only.
 The parade of accoutrements made my way to the table

(home made tortillas)

(pico de gallo)

(lettuce, tomato and guac)

(rice and beans)
can anyone tell the difference between the beans served in Arizona and the Tex Mex style beans?

and this steaming plate of beef and chicken fajita strips.

Voila! The finished product.
The fajitas were fantastic, much better that what I enjoyed in Oklahoma City two years ago.  
Piedras Negras De Noche is certainly a hidden gem far enough away from the tourist trap downtown river walk area.
As I  took the two mile walk back to downtown I took a photo of the Rivewalk beneath me

All of that walking on top of two big meals (and two craft brews) tired me out- I walked back to my hotel for the evening.
much more to come but not til' early next week.
Fire Safety Admin
Re:Messin' with Texas 2012/05/17 19:46:57
Glad you liked Chris Madrid's.  Mariton called it the best burger she has ever had.  She enjoyed it almost as much as the mango margarita.
Did they have any kind of memorial to owner Chris Madrid, who just recently passed away?
Re:Messin' with Texas 2012/05/17 21:11:46
No Spirit of Adventure???
No Cabrito?????
Surely, I thought you would give it a try!
Re:Messin' with Texas 2012/05/17 21:40:23
Dale, I'm still not quite clear on the bean burger.  Is what you described on top of a beef pattie?  Do you pick it up to eat it?  All that cheese would inhibit my total enjoyment unless I used a fork... I thinik.
Your Texas beans are boiled, although I've had refried in Texas as well.  The rice looks good.
I Love the Riverwalk.  First time I tried Guiness was at a sing along Irish Pub there.  Was also the last time.
Looking forward to more!
Double Cheeseburger
Re:Messin' with Texas 2012/05/17 21:58:29
Wow, I think I would eat the burger like the kid in "The Christmas Story". Just tilt the plate to my mouth and dig in. Beautiful.
Re:Messin' with Texas 2012/05/18 08:02:52
I didn't see any memorials. I've never been to Chris Madrid's before so to me it seemed like business as usual. I remember hearing about his passing before I left for my trip but forgot about it when I was there.
When I visited El Gallo in Austin 7 years ago, they too had goat on the menu. I had Tex-Mex Fajitas on the brain for months. So I knew what I wanted, besides I had Goat Curry at Kebab n Kurry here in Providence last year.
Yes there most certainly is a beef patty underneath that molten layer of cheese and the flavor of that beef commanded itself quite well along with the beavy of other ingredients.
I'll admit, I used a fork and knife at first until it was manageable to lift by hand.
You are correct about the beans- however I've never seen beans served that way at the Sonoran Style restaurants in Arizona.
perhaps if I were alone
Re:Messin' with Texas 2012/05/18 08:31:37
That Madrid's bean burger looks awesome!  If I could get ahold of some decent refried beans I'd be interested in trying to create a home version...WJ, do you remember what kind of cheese was used?
Fire Safety Admin
Re:Messin' with Texas 2012/05/18 09:15:43
Re:Messin' with Texas 2012/05/18 13:26:31
Buffetbuster is correct. Once I get back on my diet, I've already planned on a healthy version of this meal , substituting a turkey burger for beef, refried black beans 1/2 of a single serving bag of tortilla chips and lowfat trader joes shredded cheddar- no bun.
Since I have no issues with cholesterol - I'm more concerned with the caloric content and keeping it low carb than the fat content hence the substitutions and no bun
Re:Messin' with Texas 2012/05/22 18:51:27
Wednesday April 25
I began my morning at a respectable coffee house, Olmos Perk in suburban San Antonio. Afterwards, I decided to wander around La Villita- an area adjacent to downtown with some of the oldest buildings in San Antonio.




Mostly consisting of shops and restaurants, it was empty when I  arrived in the late morning with the exception of a few workers preparing for another round of Fiesta later on in the day. There were a couple of galleries and shops open, in fact I walked into one shop, and ended up buying a leather cowboy hat that I grew attached to.
I was talking to the merchant and was telling her about some of the restaurants I had visited in the Alamo City and some places I was planning on visiting. I mentioned Taco Taco, and she was actually the second person who recommended against it stating that only "white people" go there (she was white by the way)
Afterwards, I ventured on to the Alamo

Obviously the most popular Tourist Site in San Antonio.
This is an old mission famous for eventually leading to the independence of Texas from Mexico.
Inside the alamo there were some cool artifacts




It was now lunchtime and I ended up going where the counter lady at the cowboy hat shop recommended (after finding  glowing reviews on the webs)

Taqueria La Huasteca


Squirt bottles of red and green are placed on each table.

I ordered two Beef Barbacoa Puffy Tacos.  This is my first introduction to the regional specialty puffy tacos- and these were warm puffy  delights of  smoked/shredded beef goodness. I squirted both red and green on these bad boys . I quickly fell in love. 
I was curious when I saw "corn in a cup" printed on the window, I also saw this at several of the concession stands, downtown  preparing for Fiesta, curiousity got the best of me

I can truly say that this is the first item on the trip that I just flat out didn't like. Basically it's corn, warm sour cream lemon or lime juice, a parmesan type of  cheese and spices. It was just too sour and goopy for my taste and it's doubtful I would seek it out again.
I returned to downtown and ended up parking at one of those 10 hour meters (good to 6PM and free until 8 AM the next morning) when I arrived I was surprised to find there were 5 hours left on the meter- perfect- Parking was basically free with the exception of a couple of hours in the late morning hours.
Something I haven't had yet and I can't leave without now that I'm in Texas
And I found it at the Buckhorn Saloon- another place very similar to a another establishment in Denver with a alot of dead animals on the wall

You can't leave Texas without a Shiner



I then ended up taking a nice stroll around the windy riverwalk.
I'll continue with Wednesday's events later on- there is much more to come.
ann peeples
Re:Messin' with Texas 2012/05/22 19:47:51
Fantastic, my friend, as usual!!!!!!!!!
Re:Messin' with Texas 2012/05/22 21:00:54
Wednesday April 25 continued
I ended up at the Spanish Governor's palace. Built in the early 1700's, this was actually the home of a local aristocrat and not the governor

Some rooms have been added on over the years.






Some say the house is haunted. I didn't see or feel anything, so I couldn't tell you for sure.

The Courtyard is very pretty.

I then decided to join in on the sights and sounds of fiesta.


There were plenty of concession stands however I was still too full to try anything

As I headed towards the Mercado, Lots of live bands playing the locally popular Tejano Music

Basically downtown was just hopping

I did stop at the touristy (some might say tourist trap) Mi Tierra just to take a look inside


I thought about getting something from the bakery but was more in the mood for ice cream- it was 96 degrees and humid!
As I went back outsdie, I could hear 80's dance music coming from a boom box- I turned around and saw a crowd standing around this cretin of a guy - playing air guitar and bopping around to the music- truly one of the oddest things I saw on the trip


I then continued on the Riverwalk again, walking across downtown back to my hotel when I  saw a sign of relief

Right on the riverwalk- I walked in- they had some real interesting flavors, 
However for some reason, I decided to go with this.

Cream Cheese and Jelly- it was actually very good- and actually tasted like cream cheese with a jelly filling. 
It still wasn't the best ice cream of the trip- that's 3 chapters away.
After spending most of the day walking, I rested up a bit at my hotel to prepare for...more walking...
About a mile and a half north of downtown in a neighborhood referred locally as the "gayborhood" there's 
a burger stand that's been around forever.


or at least since 1949
Luther's Cafe
I already knew what I was getting before I arrived

Frito Pie
The portion was huge, the chili was meaty, flavorful and not too spicy. My only gripe- no jalapenos and inundated with way too many fritos. It could have been more enjoyable  with an equal chili/frito mix. 
Luther's Cafe had great atmosphere and even had live music- just tone down the fritos!
I then walked back to downtown actually following the riverwalk which I had no idea extend north past downtown.
I stopped at one of the "you name it bars" on the Riverwalk for a ...

pitcher of margarita.
A great way to end my last evening in San Antonio...
more to come later in the week.
Re:Messin' with Texas 2012/05/22 21:52:56
Great Report!
"The Corn in the Cup" looks a little bit like Jazzed Up Grits.
The Coffee Cup in Pensacola serves a similar dish of Grits called Nassau Grits made with a Caribbean Red Sauce. I could see skipping the sour cream & Parmesan cheese adding Salsa and Mexican Cheese to that dish and calling it Mexican Grits!
post edited by Foodbme - 2012/05/22 21:57:17
Re:Messin' with Texas 2012/05/23 07:49:42
Thanks Ann
That was grated Mexican Cheese that was covering the corn, but it had a very similar texture and taste to grated parmesan.
I just didn't care for it at all-
There were a couple of other items I really didn't care  for (minor stuff- thankfully no flat out rotten tomatoes)  they will be coming up in the next  two chapter
Double Cheeseburger
Re:Messin' with Texas 2012/05/23 08:53:04
They let you take pictures inside the Alamo!?  When we were there in 2004, we were told no pictures were allowed, and the reason was respect for the ones who had died there.  That was quite an unpopular policy, according to comments we heard from others.
Re:Messin' with Texas 2012/05/23 12:50:12
Unfortunately the same policy is still in force. I typed too quickly,   the photos I was allowed to take were inside the Alamo's courtyard. No interior photos were allowed.
Double Chili Cheeseburger
Re:Messin' with Texas 2012/05/23 14:55:41
As I recall, the mood was more subdued than in St Pat's Cathedral in NYC.  I was afraid to even smile.
Re:Messin' with Texas 2012/05/24 20:15:33
Thursday April 26
After another decent cuppa joe at Olmos Perk in San Antonio, I was on the road again.
About 75 minutes later I found myself here

J Mueller BBQ 
J Mueller sets up shop a couple of miles south of downtown Austin
With nothing more than a truck and trailer

and a few picnic tables

The smell of smoke permeates the lot- surely a good sign
I arrived a little before 11 AM to ensure that I avoided a large crowd.

J Mueller is the grandson of the original Louie Mueller
and his Q is from what I understand very similar to the original standards....
All the meet is ordered by the pound, or half a pound..... 
I already knew what I was getting


luscious fatty brisket

A succulent smokey link 
and my favorite of the bunch

The most tender beef rib I've ever had enveloped in smokey bliss...
Wow do I miss texas Q
The sides were merely an after thought

Pinto Beans

Chipotle Slaw

Unfortunately the slaw was the 2nd item of the trip that I didn't care for at all- It was full of onion- and I do not care for onion in my cole slaw at all. I would not order it again.

Like Louie Mueller's a small container of a peppery marinade is also included- it's really inconsequential considering how extraordinary the smoked meat is.
Other than the slaw,  J Muellers was truly a home run.
I was  a mile away from my motel, which was only a 15 minute walk to downtown.  too early to check in- I was able to let them hold my luggage, I would only be staying there for one evening. There was a food and wine convention in Austin that weekend which drove the prices of all the downtown hotels up and many of which were also sold out.
I parked my car and walked across the river to downtown.
Just past the center downtown was my "tourist" stop of the day.

The Texas State Capitol Building

A guided tour was given 

The statues in the background are of Sam Houston and Stephen Austin

And of course this is Davy Crockett.

And this painting depicts the Battle of San Jacinto and the Surrender of Santa Ana- the guide told us that everyone wants to see the Alamo- where the Texans lost- however the Battle of San Jacinto was the actual victory.




Looking up at the dome.



We also got to see where the senate and the house congregate to pass legislation
After the tour I walked the Capitol grounds.

Afterwards I made my way back to my motel to check in.
Since it was a very warm muggy day, the heat really got to me- that's all I've been dealing with for almost  a week now between Arizona and Texas- first dry heat and now muggy heat.
I spent a couple of hours cooling off before dinner time.
My next stop is nearly 7 years in the waiting. During my visit to Austin back in 2005 for CAT duty for hurricane Katrina, I visited not once, not twice but THREE times!

Hoover's Cooking

my meal began with a complimentary bread basket
which was fine however I already knew what I was going to order before I even planned this trip.

This is the perfect plate
Chicken Fried steak and very real mashed potatos ladled with cream gravy and jalapeno creamed spinach...
Just as good as I remembered. 
I finished off my meal with dessert.

blackberry cobbler- it was anti-climatic compared to the main meal. I've had better.
Hoover's is going to end up on a top 10 list for 2012.
I drove back to my hotel for a few hours after dinner, I then walked back to downtown. 6th Street to be exact to relish the sites and sounds, the live bands and the local beer. I found one bar that had some good live Blues. I don't remember the name of the band.
Afterwards, I turned down one of the side streets, I passed this place earlier in the afternoon.
The Shiner Saloon.
Not just Shiner Bock, but a variety of different beers that Shiner produces- What could get more "regionally appropriate" After enjoying just one more beer I walked back to my motel for the evening...
much more to come....after the holiday weekend.
Fire Safety Admin
Re:Messin' with Texas 2012/05/24 20:47:45
Love the Texas State Capitol!  And the photos of the bbq are outstanding!  Keep up the good work and looking forward to more.
Filet Mignon
Re:Messin' with Texas 2012/05/24 20:51:02
Loving this continuation report, WJ!  Puffy tacos, CFS, Frito Pie, Brisket...!!  Great scenery too!  
I've had that corn before at Latin street fairs here in NYC, but in a different presentation...on the cob.  I think that makes all the difference.  You get the crunch of biting the corn right off the cob and the juices come out from the kernels at that point rather than having a chance to pool in a bowl/cup.  This is what I had from a Latin food truck at a food blogger meet up in Red Hook Brooklyn a couple of years ago:

Looking forward to the rest!
Re:Messin' with Texas 2012/05/24 22:11:19
Fajitas, tacos, BBQ, and chicken fried steak? Oh, my goodness! What to choose, what to choose? I've got to make my own Frito Pie someday and eat it out of the bag - a walkin' Frito Pie as it were.
What..... no ball field or ball game? Great report, WJ!
Re:Messin' with Texas 2012/05/25 09:14:49


I couldn't help but notice that depending on where one starts, the word can be "TEXAS" or "ASTEX"...and the Aztecs were the ancient rulers of Mexico, from whom Texas was won.  Interesting.
Oh, and the J Mueller barbecue doesn't look half-bad, either.
Re:Messin' with Texas 2012/05/25 09:18:46
I never would have guessed that there was an "on the cob version" . I guess it's no longer "corn in the cup" at that point. I would certainly give your version a try if I came across it.
My main goal on this trip was to see the Arizona Diamondbacks in the open air, since they close the roof when it gets too hot- that's why I went in April. Unfortunately they were only in town two weekends in April- the first weekend was Easter weekend- I figured all the Roadfood restaurants would be closed.
Unfortunately neither of the minor league teams in Austin (actually Round Rock) and San Antonio were in town when I was there- In the early stages of the trip- I thought about heading to Dallas for a day trip to see the Rangers play, but I decided I wanted to do less driving on this trip than I've done in the past so I can enjoy taking in the sites- besides I wanted to spend as much time in Austin as I possibly can so I can really take advantage of the BBQ there.
Interesting point- I wonder if  the founding fathers of Texas were playing scrabble when they decided to name the state
post edited by wanderingjew - 2012/05/25 09:20:50
Re:Messin' with Texas 2012/05/25 15:06:40
The corn concoction, whether in the cup or on the cob, is called elotes (Spanish for "corn on the cob").  It is sold on street corners all over Chicago, along with chicharrones, fresh fruit sprinkled with hot salt, and snow cones.  The usual recipe is corn, mayonnaise, squeeze margarine, lime juice, grated cotijo chees, and a sprinkle of chile powder. I always get mine stripped from the cob and served in the cup.  I've watched others try to eat elotes from the cob and, let's just say, it's not "first date food".
My main gripe with street cart elotes is the quality of the corn.  The vendors are either using frozen cobs that have been sitting for ages in water, getting soggy to the point of mush, or they're using what I call "horse corn"; the flavorless stuff usually reserved for animal feed.  I've done home made versions of elotes using peak of the season, sweet, fresh ears that are worlds apart from the cart stuff.  Still. if I see somebody busting their butt trying to make a living, and if I'm looking for a snack, I'll pick up a cup of elotes off the street.
Nice report, looking forward to more.
Re:Messin' with Texas 2012/05/25 20:02:19

I believe the "Corn in the Cup" that WJ pictured is a different dish than the Mexican Corn on the cob you described.
WJ's was hulled corn with the outer shell removed - What's commonly called Grits. It's the inside of a corn kernal. Yours is the whole kernal of corn
Filet Mignon
Re:Messin' with Texas 2012/05/25 20:30:14
Foodbme, I might be wrong but I think WJ's "corn in a cup" is whole kernels.  I think all of the grit-like stuff on top is the cheese.  It would seem that the combination of the corn, cheese, sour cream and lime/lemon juice gave it the creamy/goopy texture.  WJ, what say you?
Re:Messin' with Texas 2012/05/26 00:59:42
Yup, that "grainy" stuff on top is the grated cotijo cheese.  The whole kernel corn is underneath.  I've seen (and eaten) enough of them to know.
Re:Messin' with Texas 2012/05/26 03:32:07
Yup, that "grainy" stuff on top is the grated cotijo cheese.  The whole kernel corn is underneath.  I've seen (and eaten) enough of them to know.

My Bad, you're right. Sure looks like grits. Guess I don't know my grits from Groceries!
Re:Messin' with Texas 2012/05/26 12:03:13
Billyboy and Buddy are correct
It's whole kernel.
Thanks for clarifying the type of cheese that was used and the spanish term for the dish-
It was definitely Sour Cream that was in mine, I didn't taste any mayo.
Ralph Melton
Double Chili Cheeseburger
Re:Messin' with Texas 2012/05/26 12:43:19
wj, thanks for posting that picture of the corn in the cup. I had noticed that for sale at a street festival near La Posta de Mesilla when we were there on the 2010 Roadfood tour, but I hadn't had enough appetite to sample it.
Re:Messin' with Texas 2012/05/26 14:27:39
I'm not arguing with what you saw and tasted in that elotes, but is it possible the combination of lime juice and mayonnaise made you think sour cream?  It's not impossible that they used sour cream or crema (a thinner Mexican version of sour cream for topping tacos and enchiladas, etc.), but the traditional recipe doesn't include any dairy other than the cheese and the margarine (dairy substitute).  I suppose regional differences could allow for the change.
Michael Hoffman
Double-chop Porterhouse
Re:Messin' with Texas 2012/05/26 16:15:05
Oh, that chicken fried steak plate!
Just out of curiosity, is the life-size portrait of a uniformed Audie Murphy gone from the rotunda?
Re:Messin' with Texas 2012/05/27 11:30:54
I asked my young Mexican waitress what comprised corn in a cup- although her English was heavily accented, she told me it was sour cream- 
It probably is a regional difference
Here's a review Michael Stern did of Fuel City Tacos in Dallas,  as you can see he notes there is sour cream as well.
I don't know?
Re:Messin' with Texas 2012/05/27 14:13:52
Hmm, I'll have to try it with sour cream sometime.
Re:Messin' with Texas 2012/05/28 16:30:50
thanks for sharing these pictures and history bits. I am trying to diet and torturing myself with pictures of food.
I agree the corn in a cup does not sound appetizing.
Re:Messin' with Texas 2012/05/29 09:39:20
Thanks SFP&S & welcome to Roadfood

Corn in the Cup is one regional specialty I won't be ordering again.
I'll continue the next chapter this evening.
Michael Hoffman
Double-chop Porterhouse
Re:Messin' with Texas 2012/05/29 10:33:37
WJ, a memory check and a Google show I was off concerning the location of the Audie Murphy portrait. It's in the House chamber, not the rotunda.
Re:Messin' with Texas 2012/05/29 19:41:19
Friday April 27
For the last 6 1/2 years I've been haunted. Back when I was on CAT duty for Hurricane Katrina back in 2005, I passed by this place several times when I ventured towards town. Unfortunately they were already closed for the day and CAT Duty started way too early (@ 7AM) for me to even consider heading here in the morning.
I made a mental note and finally had the opportunity to visit.

Joe's Bakery and Mexican Food.

The parking lot had a decent amount of cars and it was still relatively early.

The place was starting to fill up as well. With a good Mix of Anglo and Mexican customers.

And a bottle of their home made salsa is customarily placed on the table.
I already knew what I was getting.....yes, another rare day when I order a full breakfast.

Migas, a local specialty-
Eggs with tortilla chips, cheese, onions tomatoes and Jalapenos.
Refried beans and a side of tortillas came with the meal.  
Their homemade salsa really added the finishing touch to this hearty breakfast. Joe's Bakery was certainly one of the highlights of this trip. And as it turns out, I got a thumbs up from a local Roadfooder (but that's not till the next chapter) when I told him about my visit.
Since the coffee there was bad (what else was new) after returning to my motel, I walked back to downtown and enjoyed a superb cub at Halycon Coffee-Bar-Lounge- an "only in Austin" experience. Both coffee house, lounge and bar they're open till 3AM on weekends.  
I spent the rest of the morning trying desperately to get a hotel downtown. Everything was solidly booked due to the Food and Wine Festival. I didn't feel like staying at the dingy Day's Inn a couple of miles north of town which I kept as my back up, so I ended up for the duration of my trip at the Marriott Spring Hill Suites 10 miles north of town for $50 a night on priceline.
It was now time for lunch, and a short drive  east out of town brought me here.


BBQ Nirvana

Southside Market- in Elgin
Noticing that they sell their hot sauce by the bottle

I wondered why they would have any sauce?- this is TEXAS for crying out loud!
You have the option to order a plate or by the pound, since I was planning to have dessert afterwards, I decided to order a combo plate.

I went with the Brisket Sausage combo, and I really liked that they had a whole pickled jalapeno- They go oh so well with Texas Q
Here's a better look at the Smoked Q

I regret not ordering the ribs, the brisket was fine, and the smoked sausage was even better - I believe they refer to these as "Elgin Hot Guts"

I was very surprised to see they offered sauce- I did take  a very small sample to try - but it wasn't necessary. Overall a fine meal, but I think I enjoyed J Mueller's a little more. I'm still thinking of that beef rib!
A short distance away in the heart of town was my next designated stop.

City Cafe
A place that looks like it's been around forever

and the decor just screams "Texas"!
Of course I have found my limited opportunity for pie- 

I ordered coconut cream.
I wish I could say it was as good as it looked, the filling was fine, but honestly the crust was as hard as a rock, and overall the pie tasted "stale". Fortunately this is the last item of the trip that left me disappointed.
I walked around Elgin's small main street for a bit after  I finished the pie.
This caught my attention.

Unfortunately they weren't open yet, and I couldn't wait since I had to get to my next destination back in Austin.


The LBJ Presidential Library and Museum

and there is the man himself
Unfortunately most of the building was being renovated and there were only two floors that were open
There were some interesting tidbits



Including photos of the national historick park, It would have been great to visit had I had more time.
Most of the other floor focused quite a bit on Lady Bird,

but there were a few cool LBJ things too.


Including a replica of the oval office
I understand that LBJ had 3 tv's in here and had all three major news networks going at once.
What a far cry from today's Social Media.

his hat

and his boots.
here is a replica of Lady Bird's office.

this was actually my second presidential library that I visited. The first was the JFK Presidential Library and Museum in Boston which I visited with Buffetbuster back in January of last year.
I checked into my new hotel, in a way I was glad it was far from the hustle and bustle of downtown Austin which is practically a 24 hour city, I didn't get much sleep the night before.
My dinner stop wasn't too far from my hotel, in fact I didn't even have to get back on the interstate- it was only a couple of miles away.

Ross' Ol' Texan Cafe

For some reason, I thought Ross' would offer waitress service, they don't. You order at the counter and then they bring the meal to you when it's ready.
Like Hoover's the day before, I decided to do a mini smackdown

Another meal of chicken fried steak. This time with fresh cut fries, fried okra and it also comes with Texas toast. This CFS reminded me of the one I enjoyed at the now defunct Massey's in Fort Worth, several years back.  It was good, but does not compare to Hoover's spectacular version.
I actually ended up chatting with the owner a bit before I left.
Since I didn't sleep very well the night before, I spent a few hours relaxing back at the hotel before returning to the night life of Austin's 6th street once again.
I started out at this place which I thought was a brewpub called Lovejoy's Tap Room, on a side street off of 6th street.
I'm still trying to figure out what exactly I was at. 
I've been to many brewpubs in my life, some look commercial/corporate , some look like your friend's basement or living room, one actually looked like a college sports bar (In Morgantown WV) but this one takes the cake- It's a dark dank place full of tattoos, piercings and loud loud nu-metal blasting through the speakers. I couldn't even listen to what I was drinking. I've been going to brew pubs now for nearly a quarter of a century, this is the first time I ever walked into one and felt completely uncomtortable and out of my element. I only lasted one drink.. (and I couldn't even remember what it was)
 I continued on 6th street...and I could see a band through the glass window, I could see a long tuft of blonde hair just shaking all over the place at the drum kit, I did a double take and had to stop.
Guilty Pleasures is the name of the band.
Doing mostly 80's chick band music, they did other more contemporary stuff as well including this song by White Stripes.
The lead singer, looked like  a chubby version of Brittany Spears.
and like she pointed out at least once during the show
"We're girls"
"We've got V*****S"
"And We Rock"!

I decided to stay - hey they had Shiner (in bottles) how I could I refuse?
Afterwards I walked around 6th street once again, back to my Car which was about 1/2 a mile away, drove back to my hotel and called it a night..
much more to come.....
post edited by wanderingjew - 2012/05/29 19:45:15
Re:Messin' with Texas 2012/05/30 07:42:12
You are probably correct- I didn't notice it- probably because our tour guide didn't point it out- I was more impressed with the chamber floor itself- the house chairs didn't look quite as comfy as the senate chairs.
Double Chili Cheeseburger
Re:Messin' with Texas 2012/05/30 10:34:31
Glad you enjoyed your Texas trip.I never heard of Piedras Negras de Noche in San Antonio,and I've lived here for ages.Luther's kind of rings a bell in the back of my mind. The name,Piedras Negras de Noche translates as Black Rocks of Night. There is a town of Piedras Negras out west of here in Mexico across the border from Del Rio,TX.I rarely go downtown,but have been to the Alamo and Riverwalk in the past. Never eaten at Good Time Charley's on Broadway, but it is supposed to be good. the only way I like sweet corn is with butter and salt or plain.Don't think I'd like corn in a cup.
If you come again to San Antonio, they just opened the Texas Heritage Museum next to the Witte Musem on broadway.They have items from Sam Houston, davy Crockett's fiddle and other things.
Fire Safety Admin
Re:Messin' with Texas 2012/05/30 15:20:42
Spectacular looking bbq from Southside Market!  And I was also underwhelmed by the pie at City Cafe.
mr chips
Filet Mignon
Re:Messin' with Texas 2012/05/30 23:26:08
I didn't have pie at the city cafe. I had a most excellent vegetable plate. And i loved the LBJ library. all of which I wrote about three years ago. Enjoying your report a lot WJ
Re:Messin' with Texas 2012/05/31 08:11:12
Holly Dolly
I deliberately wanted to avoid the touristy Mexican restaurants on the riverwalk. The folks over at Chowhound recommended Piedras Negras de Noche. And they received excellent reviews on yelp and urbanspoon. And it was only two miles from downtown, since I deliberately left my car parked downtown, that was perfect for walking distance. My only gripe was that after their original building caught fire,they moved next door to an old pizza hut restaurant so the atmosphere wasn't the best, but they tried.
Mr Chips
I wish I could have seen more of the LBJ Library, they mentioned that once the renovations are completed, unfortunately they will have to start charging an admission fee to make up for the costs.
I've yet to find a Texas BBQ joint that I didn't like.
I'll complete the next chapter this evening...
Re:Messin' with Texas 2012/05/31 19:43:42
I began my day at Ruta Maya- a coffee house a few miles south of downtown which I visited previously in 2007. I was surprised to find out they did not have muffins or scones- however they did have breakfast tacos and bagels. Although regionally appropriate, I found it disconcerting to order breakfast tacos at a coffee house so I opted for a whole wheat bagel and cream cheese.
After breakfast, I headed back towards downtown, parked my car at a lot next to my motel I stayed at the first night in town. and decided to take a brisk walk downtown. 
I did stop to may homeage to this local blues legend.

You got it! The late great Stevie Ray Vaughan
 I then crossed the bridge towards downtown

as I looked down towards the river, I could see these folks out having a good time.

Now that looks like fun!
After my quick jaunt around downtown, I headed back to my car to drive 40 minutes to another local legend

Smitty's Market
in Lockhart
Have I reached BBQ Nirvana?

well from the looks of this smoker, I probably have!
What's interesting about Smitty's Market is that you order meats on one side- near the smoker and you get your sides in the dining room.

I'll admit the sides- slaw and pinto beans were ho-hum...



The BBQ was something else- Pure smoked nirvana- the three photos focus on each item- the sausage, the brisket and the incredibly sublime pink prime rib.... I did get a side of white bread, sliced onions, sliced raw jalapenos and pickle......there is nothing finer......... 
I was completely full when I left but decided to walk around Lockhart's town square..

I believe this is the county courthouse..
I had plenty of time before I had to head back to my hotel....
I decided to drive another 15 miles south. Although more bbq was simply out of the question....
I just had to go see it...

City Market- in Luling- the other BBQ Shrine..
I walked inside just to see what it looked like- the smell of smoke wafting through the air- there was a huge line of folks waiting to get their meat - unfortunately as good as it smelled, I simply had no appetite left.
I walked around the quaint main street.


This sign looks like it's been around forever.

This sign caught my attention- the Central Texas Oil Patch Museum. It was blisting hot outside and the A/C 
inside the museum gave me some brief relief.

This was a small museum dedicated to Texas' rich oil history......
There were some interesting exhibits..







I'm trying to figure out what these two guys are doing...

After checking out the museum, it was an hour drive back to Austin....
I had one more stop to make before returning to my hotel....

Amy's Ice Cream
and with a huge line like this, they must serve up some pretty good ice cream.
I got in line, and couldn't help observing this sign across the street...

You know what I was looking at!- The sign of course- craft beer caught my attention. The other phrase  beneath "craft beer"  I'm certain will capture eveyone else's attention considering their disturbing obsession with it!
Anyway...back to Amy's

Some really interesting flavors here- I even thought about getting....yes....Shiner flavored icecream...
I decided to get something more conventional..

Sands of Time Ice Cream in a waffle cone...
Creamy cinnamon ice cream with hunks of graham cracker- yes, this was the best ice cream of the trip.
I headed back to my hotel just after 3pm. Right in time to hear from Bushie.  Since he lives north of town and I was staying north of town, we agreed that we would do some "roadfooding" north of town and this made perfect sense.....
Bushie arrived just before 4pm, we decided on an early dinner. at

The Monument Cafe
in Georgetown
There was some type of festival going on in Georgetown this weekend, so parking was a little scarce. We lucked out and found a spot not too far from the Restaurant....
The monument cafe is known for growing it's own Veggies- One of the specials for the evening was King Ranch Casserole-  it sounded just like what the doctor ordered- unfortunately the doctor wasn't delivering until after 5pm- the waitress checked first- and it was a no-go....
Ok, I can live with that....
Dinner began with a fresh airy light biscuit...


Dinner was fried chicken breast with green beans and sweet potato fries- You can tell that these veggies are not frozen or from a can- they are bursting  with flavor- and oh yes- that cream gravy is homemade too..
Although the Monument offers dessert- we decided we would go elsewhere for that...
After dinner, Bushie and I drove to Hutto- we stopped at one of Bushie's favorite watering holes which was conveniently right next door to our next roadfood stop.
I had a beer out of Ft Worth- I believe the brewery was Rahr and Sons..

I ordered the black lager- although it's dark - the beer was light tasting and crisp- in fact it was my second favorite beer of the trip.....
Afterwards we stopped next door 

The Texan Cafe
& Pie Shop

We decided to get our pie to go- 
With a huge selection of pie- it was a difficult decision- unfortunately I didn't have room for two slices....
I did go with the elvis pie- A combination of peanut butter and banana- I don't think it had any bacon - at least from what I could tell...
Afterwards we drove around Round Rock- and I actually saw the real "Round Rock" now I can add that to Little Rock -seeing the actual rock that the cities were named after....
We stopped at one more beer bar before parting ways with Bushie and calling it a night....

I returned to my hotel......Since I was flying back home the next afternoon from San Antonio, I decided to relax for the evening while of course....

Enjoying my fantastic peanut butter and banana elvis pie- I can't imagine this not getting on a top 10 list at the end of the year...
The final chapter sometime after the coming weekend....
Fire Safety Admin
Re:Messin' with Texas 2012/06/01 07:52:47
If you had to choose between pies at Monument Cafe or Texan Cafe, you definitely made the correct choice.  Of course, in a contest like that, there are no losers.  Which of the bbq parlors did you like best?
Re:Messin' with Texas 2012/06/01 08:52:13
I'll take a plate from Smitty's, spicy was the hot sausage?
Double Chili Cheeseburger
Re:Messin' with Texas 2012/06/01 10:52:41
Wandering Jew, I'll have to look and see if Piedras negras de Noche has a website. Yes, that was the Caldwell County  courthouse in your photo. Was at Smitty's with my sister and brother-in-law about 3 years ago,when they came down from New York.
We didn't get any sides, just bought a sampling of their meats and eat that,then walked around. Haven't been to Luling in ages. They have a watermelon Thump I think June 22 or so, may try to go. In all the years i've lived here, never have been to the oil museum there. I'll have to check out the City market BBQ too sometime.For my vacation, I'll have to drive to some of these places around here. At least it will cost me a little for gas and food.
Fire Safety Admin
Re:Messin' with Texas 2012/06/01 11:17:10
What is a watermelon thump?
Re:Messin' with Texas 2012/06/01 12:19:14
How appropriate...I'm reading this trip report and the Muzak just fired up Johnny Cash's "I've Been Everywhere".
Re:Messin' with Texas 2012/06/01 13:49:15
I was going to comment on my favorite bbq in my final comments (Epilogue and Footnotes) but now that you mention it-
The beef rib at J Muellers was just stellar so was the brisket as well..
I'll be honest, Southside Market was just a blur (but still good)- probably because I wasn't very hungry after my big Migas breakfast- however I did like the fact that they had a whole pickled jalapeno- that was a nice touch- If I recell it was either Louie Mueller's or Kreuz's that also offered a whole pickled jalapeno as well when I last visited in 2007.
Everything at Smitty's was just amazing- answer your question...Smitty's
The Sausage at Smitty's wasn't very spicy but was certainly full of smokey flavor.
And....what are you doing listening to MUZAK?
Holly Dolly
Unfortunatley Piedras Negras De Noche doesn't have a website- you can find their reviews on urbanspoon and yelp.

There's lots of great Q in your neck neck of the woods......
Fire Safety Admin
Re:Messin' with Texas 2012/06/01 13:58:15
Atmosphere-wise, Smitty's is definitely #1 for me.  Food-wise, it almost depends on the day.  But Smitty's has never let me down there, either.
mayor al
Fire Safety Admin
Re:Messin' with Texas 2012/06/01 20:45:55
It's a dead heat between BLACK'S and Smitty's for me !  Your photos at Southside would cause me to stop next time on our way to Lockhart.
Bushie introduced us to Joe's MIGAS breakfasts almost a decade ago on our first visit to him. While I really enjoyed it, I simply can't eat that heavy a breakfast and have any desire to eat again before dark or later...and that is not my goal when in the BBQ Belt !
  Another good job, Dale, Sorry I am so late chiming in...
Re:Messin' with Texas 2012/06/01 21:36:51

 And....what are you doing listening to MUZAK?

I was waiting for the next report installment.
It's piped in through the speaker in my office.  Thankfully I have 2 things:
- a volume control
- full access to the Muzak website so basically the whole building listens to Brad's Radio.
ann peeples
Re:Messin' with Texas 2012/06/01 22:40:58
The Mayor, and his lovely wife Janet sent me  mess of Blacks sausage this past xmas. My only claim to Texas sausage. Awesome stuff-plain, garlic and jalapeno. Now i think I need to go down to Texas and compare the rest!
Re:Messin' with Texas 2012/06/02 10:33:47
Come on.....everyone knows that this is actually the song that you were really listening to.....
Thanks, you are correct, as much as I liked Joe's I should have planned by meal itinerary a little better because after that Migas breakfast my appetite just wasn't there to appreciate Southside Market.
As I was leaving Lockhart, I noticed Black's sign pointing out they had Beef Ribs, if only I had  appetite after my gut busting meal at Smitty's, I would have liked to compare it to  the beef rib at J Mueller's.
Its interesting that no one has mentioned Kreuz Market after visting back in 2007- I thought they had the best sides...
I've had every style of BBQ with the exception of Santa Maria Style (is that really BBQ?) I still say the best is in Texas.
Re:Messin' with Texas 2012/06/02 17:35:16
What is a watermelon thump?

That's how you test a Watermelon for ripeness.
You Thump it by using your thumb and a finger and flicking it against a watermelon.
Some people tap it with their knuckles.
Techniques vary.
If it makes a kind of hollow sound, it's a ripe one!!!
Some liken it to kicking the tires on a car. Makes you feel good but doesn't mean anything.
Here's a blog on the subject:
Here's the Luling Thump Fest:
You and Cousin Johnny can enter the Seed Spitting Contest!
Filet Mignon
Re:Messin' with Texas 2012/06/03 18:05:34
Here's a link to a America's Test Kitchen aka Cook's Illustrated take on elote asada:
There is a half minute commercial before the video recipe begins.
This recipe got my mouth watering.
Re:Messin' with Texas 2012/06/03 22:47:37
I've never seen any of the Mexican street vendors use cilantro or garlic, but I can definitely see the benefit of including them in the recipe.
Fire Safety Admin
Re:Messin' with Texas 2012/06/04 13:59:56
I was just looking over the photo of the pies at Texan Cafe in Hutto.  Everything looks so good.  It really is one of the country's great pie stops!
Double Chili Cheeseburger
Re:Messin' with Texas 2012/06/04 14:56:00
FoodBMe is right on the money with the watermelon thump.Stockdale east of San Antonio also does a watermelon festival too,just not sure when.
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