I don't know about you, but I've already spent my Tax Stimulus check. You see, my lovely wife The Rock Star and I have been through a lot in the last few months, so the above money was like manna from heaven, and just right for a Food Czar Roadtrip. (Well, half of it was anyway; my lovely bride had plans for the other half and demanded that I divest myself of it forthwith. I guess I was lucky she allowed me to keep any of it!) Rather than reinvent the wheel, particularly since our last Central Texas trip to New Braunfels had proven on the whole disappointing, we decided to return to our old familiar digs at Fredericksburg and barbecue, wine, live music, and whatever other trouble we could scare up. Accordingly, on Memorial Day Friday, we set off down ancient and dilapidated I35 for breakfast at a now-familiar town.
GERIKS OLE CZECH SMOKEHOUSE & BAKERY (revisit)
One of these days, we may actually think of eating breakfast somewhere other than West, Texas, the little Czech community a dozen miles north of Waco, but that day has not arrived yet. Walked in and once again stepped back in time. Large cupcakes, kolaches, and bubkas (cakes). This time I opted for the ground sausage kolache with cheese. Excellent, but I still prefer the soft, buttery texture of the breakfast sausage with cheese. My wife opted for the link sausage kolache and we both agreed that Geriks was still better than the Czech Stop. The owner, for her part, was telling some other customers about a man who came down from Dallas and was getting on her case for charging $1.50 per kolache. Are you kidding??? These little bits of heaven are cheap at twice the price, in Dallas you'd be lucky to get them for under $3. I resisted the urge to find this gentleman and ring his neck, and instead we merged once again with the traffic heading toward another familiar stop in Taylor, Texas. Oh by the way, Geriks still has no website (and will probably never need one), so call 254 826-3309.
LOUIE MUELLER BBQ
Again, passing by this haven of Central Texas BBQ, which just happens to be the Rock Star's favorite 'cue, is unthinkable, so we made our way to this former girl's gym/grocery store, which was just recently named one of the Top 5 BBQ joints in the state by Texas Monthly. My wife was indeed fortunate they still had her favorite BBQ turkey (they often run out early), while I noticed a sign for Pork Shoulder Steak. Intrigued, I ordered one. Look out! Tender, succulent, and juicy, it was the best barbecue I'd had since Cooper's double-cut pork chop six months before. A little potato salad and a lot of bread and we were good to go. Luckily, my wife remembered to pack the cooler, so we would not waste any leftovers. Website is, of course, http://www.louiemuellerbarbecue.com/.
Inspired by a recent article in the Dallas Morning News, we then headed south to Elgin, Texas in search of some legendary sausage.
SOUTHSIDE MARKET & BARBECUE
This rather large meat market, restaurant, and sausage production plant is conveniently located along Hwy 290, which meant that we could drive straight thru Austin and on to Fredericksburg. We were plenty full from Louie Mueller, but knew that sausage paired with cheese and crackers would make a great midafternoon snack. Accordingly, we ordered a pound and served it after our arrival with Club crackers and good old rat cheese. Once known as Elgin Hot Guts, I would call Southside's sausage mildly peppery at best. Still, it was delicious, so much so that my wife proclaimed it the best sausage she had ever put in her mouth. They have plenty of food, including desserts, if you wish to make a meal of it, and their website is http://www.southsidemarket.com/.
Soon enough, we reached our traditional lodgings in Fredericksburg, choosing to stay in a new space in a familiar B and B.
CAMP DAVID BED & BREAKFAST
When we began planning this trip back in April, we discovered to our horror that someone had pinched our favorite cabin Sycamore, and that the only space in Camp David still available was the Pecan Suite. Accordingly, we pulled up to the Main Street address, and with help from Molly the delightful innkeeper, soon located the suite on the front of the house. The Pecan Suite is certainly roomy enough, with two bedrooms, bathroom, and large front sitting room, yet there was no jacuzzi tub as in the cottages; worse, it had no kitchen, just a small coffeepot and refrigerator. (A kitchen really comes in handy, especially the sink.) Nevertheless, the suite was quite comfortable, and a quick trip to HEB for ice, paper plates, glasses and plasticware took care of our remaining needs.
After a couple of hours rest, we decided to renew acquaintance with a favorite bar/live music venue within walking distance of Camp David.
HONDO'S ON MAIN
Hondo Crouch was a writer, humorist, and owner and mayor of Luckenback, Texas, and is credited, along with Waylon Jennings and Jerry Jeff Walker, with putting that tiny hamlet on the map. Today, his youngest daughter carries on his legacy with Hondos on Main, a bar which serves tastier food than most restaurants and has great live music to boot. The entire operation is self-serve: You grab a menu as you walk in, then proceed to the bar to order food and drink. The Rock Star is a club sandwich fanatic and usually orders the Cedarstacker Club, but this time, she was in the mood for salad and could not resist the Bacon Cheeseburger Salad. Plenty of mixed lettuce, cheese, tomato, bacon and croutons were served with tomato salsa vinagrette and ranch dressing and, most important, lots of medium-rare beef added up to one substantial salad indeed. For myself, I heard the Tex Mex Red (Stacked) Enchiladas calling my name: Corn tortillas with cheddar and soft cheeses, fresh onions, stacked high and baked with ancho and New Mexican chili sauce, then covered with Terlingua Beef Chili, more cheddar and Monterey jack cheese, and served with salsa and chips. Absolutely irresistable, and I didn't even try, but shoveled it all happily in my mouth. Website for this Texana paradise is http://www.hondosonmain.com/. We also enjoyed beers and the terrific live Texas music, but in an hour or so, our get-up-and-go kind of got-up-and-went, and we walked happily back to our B & B, eager for more adventures on the morrow. And of course, we did not forget:
LIFE IS TOO SHORT FOR MEDIOCRE FOOD!!!