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New Orleans to Austin

Assuming you're going to take I-10 through Houston to Columbus and then 71 north to Austin, you'll go past one of Texas's most iconic food stops and that's Weikels in LaGrange.

http://www.weikels.com/

about 8 hours ago
Jaymes in Houston

New Orleans to Austin

Katy Mills Mall, on the south side of I-10 in Katy about 20 miles or so west of Houston, is a veritable kids' dream playland. There's a good food court, a train that runs throughout the mall, a big bungee jumping gizmo, a video game parlor, a segway course, a little kids' playscape, a carousel merry-go-round, and my grandchildren's favorite restaurant in the whole world - Rainforest Cafe.

1 day ago
Jaymes in Houston
1

Helen - a new Greek restaurant

Which I'm sure is a wonderful thing.

However, there are already lots and lots and lots of places around Houston with well-chosen wine lists.

What I'm hoping for is a well-chosen - and well-executed - list of good Greek food.

1 day ago
Jaymes in Houston

Kaung Kaung San

That tea leaf salad sounds particularly good.

May 16, 2015
Jaymes in Houston

Need a Tex-Mex itinerary

When my kids were very small (several decades back) they had a hard time with the crispy shells from that Old El Paso taco kit, but otherwise loved it. So on busy weeknights I'd make "sloppy joses" - which was all the stuff from that kit, but on hamburger buns.

But then, what to do with the shells?

Discovered that, the next morning, they were perfect for crumbling up a bit, ladling with tomatillo sauce, sprinkling with cheese and sticking into the microwave for quickie chilaquiles.

May 16, 2015
Jaymes in Texas

Need a Tex-Mex itinerary

"Old El Paso"? Yikes. You can do better than that, even in Atlanta. My sister lives there and often makes her own corn tortillas (easy with masa) but, if she doesn't want to take the time, buys good ones from a local taqueria. She's mentioned this one:
http://m.yelp.com/biz/taqueria-iztacc...

May 15, 2015
Jaymes in Texas

Need a Tex-Mex itinerary

Well, guess who's making all those carpets.

May 14, 2015
Jaymes in Texas

Need a Tex-Mex itinerary

Now that I reread my previous post, it sounds like I implied that the "tens of thousands of Mexican nationals living and working in Texas" only patronize inexpensive eateries. That's certainly not true. The Mexican nationals living and working in Texas run the gamut of socio-economic levels from hourly workers to the highest-echelon professionals, just like the rest of humanity, and their dining choices reflect that.

And PS, since we're chatting about Mexican food and you're from Atlanta, do you know you can find pretty good Mexican food up around Dalton where there's a large Mexican expat community?

May 14, 2015
Jaymes in Texas

Need a Tex-Mex itinerary

I, as well. I live in Texas and I also know the difference between TexMex and Mexican. I have traveled extensively throughout Mexico. Spent 6 weeks in Michoacan, including cooking classes. Leaving next month for two weeks in Puebla, including cooking classes.

There definitely is "real" Mexican food in Texas. There is award-winning high-end at Fonda San Miguel in Austin and at Hugo's in Houston. Not to mention that there are tens of thousands of Mexican nationals living and working in Texas, some of whom just got here yesterday, and they have to eat somewhere. They're at tables in inexpensive taquerias and lined up at taco trucks all over the state.

For a quick primer on the foods of Mexico's interior, I'd recommend the Sunday Brunch at either Fonda San Miguel:
http://www.fondasanmiguel.com/menu/su...

Or Hugo's:
http://hugosrestaurant.net/brunch.html

Either one would be a revelation.

May 14, 2015
Jaymes in Texas

What did Lady Bird mean when she said, "1/4 cup vinegar"?

Sorry that it looked like I was responding directly to something you said. Actually I meant to address this comment that Sunshine made: "it was white or apple cider, as nothing else was readily available at 'regular' supermarkets anywhere in the 1960s." Which is incorrect.

May 11, 2015
Jaymes in Texas

What did Lady Bird mean when she said, "1/4 cup vinegar"?

Wine vinegars (red & white) absolutely were readily available in most supermarkets in those days. After all, we have been eating salads for a pretty long time. Making the salad was my dinnertime chore when I was a kid in the 50's and we always had wine vinegars. I particularly remember Regina brand. But nobody would have thought about putting it into barbeque sauce.

It was undoubtedly white or cider vinegar.

And probably white.

May 11, 2015
Jaymes in Texas
2

Barbecue in Lockhart

Smitty's definitely has "better atmosphere." If you go there, and you certainly should whether you decide to "do" all the joints or not, be sure to see the whole building.

May 10, 2015
Jaymes in Texas
1

Barbecue in Lockhart

Absolutely hit all three. Think of these places like butcher shops, or meat markets, more than traditional "restaurants." Only one, Black's, has any real side dishes to speak of and they're not recommended by/to anyone, unless you're traveling with very small children that will only eat mac & cheese.

You don't go in and sit down and look over a menu and have a server come take your order and then bring you a big plate with a complete meal. You go up to the meat counter and tell them what and how much you want - like, "1/4 pound brisket, half lean, half moist, and 1 sausage link" and they give you your meat on a piece of butcher paper. You can actually pick up your meat at each of the first two places and take it to the third place so you can eat them all at the last place and compare.

We routinely do four places - the famous three in Lockhart, and then City Market in Luling. We particularly like the sausage at City Market and always get at least a half-dozen or so links to bring home for the freezer.

If we're going to skip one, for the past few years, it's been Kreuz.

May 09, 2015
Jaymes in Texas
1

sedona v flagstaff

Don't know your budget but one of the best places to stay in the entire world is a cottage right on Oak Creek at L'Auberge in Sedona. At night, you can open a window and fall asleep to the sounds of the creek. L'Auberge is deservedly famous for its world-class cuisine. I unreservedly recommend a meal there even if you stay elsewhere. http://m.lauberge.com/?url=http%3A%2F...

And the Pink Jeeps seem hokey but I cannot recommend them highly enough:https://m.pinkjeeptours.com/h5/mobile...

May 05, 2015
Jaymes in Southwest

My TX reviews...Dallas to San antonio

Thanks.

May 04, 2015
Jaymes in Texas

Greek Fest May 14-17

Well then...

Polish Fest in the fall!! Who's in??

May 04, 2015
Jaymes in Houston

Greek Fest May 14-17

I'm definitely planning on going to this. Either Sat or Sunday. I'm hopeful that we have enough advance notice that we might be able to pull off a meet-up.

http://houstongreekfest.com/

May 03, 2015
Jaymes in Houston

Federicksburg and Texas Hill Country

Until about six or so years ago, there was no barbeque worth mentioning within the city limits of Austin. Now there are at least three that are as good as any anywhere, including the legendary and iconic Central Texas "greats" of which Cooper's in Llano is one.

I recommend a visit to Cooper's in large part because it's something to see - a real chunk of Texas bbq history.

And, speaking of Fredericksburg, for others that might be researching the area, we're nearing peach season - in my opinion, the very best time to visit.

May 01, 2015
Jaymes in Texas
1

My TX reviews...Dallas to San antonio

Nemecek Brothers closed? Wow, that's the end of an era. It opened back in the late 1800's. In the 1930-60's my uncle, who lived in Dallas, was a salesman for the wholesale division of a coffee company (I think Community Coffee) and Nemecek Brothers was on his route. One of my favorite memories of visiting my cousins was eating the wonderful sausages my uncle always brought home. All us cousins particularly loved the ring baloney. And when, decades later, long after my uncle had died, and all the cousins qualified for senior discounts, I'd drive from Austin up to Dallas to visit them, I'd have to stop in West to pick up some ring baloney. If I made the mistake of arriving without Nemecek Brothers ring baloney, there was hell to pay.

May 01, 2015
Jaymes in Texas

I Refuse to Eat Crawfish in a Restaurant

And Good Ole Boys. Folks out here seem convinced they're the best around.
http://www.cajun-eats.com/

May 01, 2015
Jaymes in Houston

Trader Joe's - Montrose

I've been going to the new one in Katy. Like any other store, some hits and some misses. Really love the Kona Shortbread Cookies. But, sadly, it's not difficult for me to find cookies to love.

Apr 28, 2015
Jaymes in Houston

My TX reviews...Dallas to San antonio

Not sure if you'll be having any more central Texas barbecue but, if you do, you'll find that most Texans prefer cowboy/Mex-style pinto beans over the sweet molasses/brown sugar-style baked beans with their brisket and western-style barbecue, as opposed to the sweet, wet, highly-sauced barbecues of Missouri, Kansas, Arkansas, Tennessee, and points east and south.

Since you were expecting those baked beans, I'm sure you found our pinto beans uninspired. Don't know if you ladled them out onto your plate sans "bean juice" but, if you did, next time, get yourself a small bowl or cup, ladle the beans into it along with plenty of bean juice, and eat them with a spoon.

They're still not sweet baked beans, but a great many of us like them better. And, if not better, at least as much.

Pollo Feliz

I wonder how it compares to Pollo Loco. I think they're very similar - at least they are as I recall it from living in Tucson and Southern California lo these many years ago.

But it's been so long. And memory grows hazy.

Apr 26, 2015
Jaymes in Houston

sedona v flagstaff

Seconding this. I'd even go so far as to say that, unless you're specifically going in order to explore the red rocks of Sedona - hiking, jeeping, etc. - you're probably better off to stay at Flag, and take daytrips elsewhere.

Apr 26, 2015
Jaymes in Southwest

sedona v flagstaff

Let me second this. It's a wonderful area for day trips from wherever you decide to stay. Flag is certainly the largest town, and it's definitely got its charms. But wherever you stay, you definitely should see the rest of the region. Assuming you're not going in winter, the roads are good and well-marked and you can travel around easily.

We've been going to that area of the state for decades. Particularly remember the days when House of Joy in Jerome was one of the best restaurants in the country and you had to make reservations months in advance to get in. It's still a charming little building, now a boutique, and I'd suggest visitors poke their heads in to see it:

http://jeromesfinest.com/

As for Sedona - I've stayed there many, many times over the last forty years. Hiked and jeeped the red rocks, slid down the creek, prayed a bit at the Chapel of the Holy Cross, fell in love with the charming cottages and absolutely fabulous food at La Auberge...

But I never felt the "mystical cosmic vortex" until somebody told me I was supposed to.

So my advice to travelers is that Sedona is a great place to visit even if you're not planning to construct your spirit wheel in search of cosmic revelation and enlightenment.

Apr 26, 2015
Jaymes in Southwest

New Mexican Chili Powder

I've bought it from these folks and been very pleased:
http://www.newmexicanconnection.com/g...

Also Fiesta/Bolner's sells it.
https://www.fiestaspices.com

As does RanchoGordo.com.

Apr 24, 2015
Jaymes in Southwest

Federicksburg and Texas Hill Country

Much of what I'd recommend depends upon how long you're going to be "exploring the hill country." Are you going to be there for several days, of which two will be in Fredericksburg, or are the two nights in Fredericksburg the only time you've got?

Currently all the rage in Fredericksburg is the Supper Club at the Vaudeville. It's a special dinner, not served every night, and reservations are definitely required.

http://www.vaudeville-living.com/gour...

Fredericksburg has long been well-known for its bakeries. The one I used to go to the most relocated, and I haven't tried any of the others, so I'd suggest you do some research to find out which one is the current "fave" and pick up some sweet treats to take along your journey.

We also always go to the Hill Top Café. http://hilltopcafe.com/ We really like it but, if you're only "exploring the Hill Country" for two nights, there are more interesting options that better define this area of the state.

Such as the Blue Bonnet Café (named after the hat and not the flower) in Marble Falls. This is arguably the most-famous eatery in the Hill Country, having been dishing out old-school home-style meals since 1929. The farthest thing from trendy and cutting-edge, this is the place to get meatloaf and mashed potatoes, or fried chicken with biscuits and gravy, or homemade cobblers and pies.

http://www.bluebonnetcafe.net/

If you only have time for two or three places during your stay, I'd recommend the Blue Bonnet, the Vaudeville Supper Club, and Cooper's BBQ in Llano:

Cooper's is another famous Hill Country institution. When you arrive, walk up to the large smoker that's closest to the door. The pitmaster will open the lid and you'll point to what you want. What I always want is some fatty brisket "off the high side," and a couple of chickens to take home (assuming they're not sold out of chickens, something that invariably happens pretty early in the day). You might watch what's happening for a short time so you get the hang of how to "order." After you get your meat at the smoker, you go inside to pay for it.

http://www.coopersbbqllano.com/

As far as what to do when the sun goes down, maybe you'll be lucky enough to get to Bandera, "The Cowboy Capital of the World." There are dude ranches there and chuckwagon dinners. http://www.banderacowboycapital.com/

If you don't have time for going all in at Bandera, maybe you might have at least one free evening for Gruene Hall, the oldest dancehall in Texas. http://gruenehall.com/ Before doing a little bootscooting at Gruene Hall, eat at Gruene River Grill. http://gruenerivergrill.com/

I'd also very strongly recommend a visit to the LBJ Ranch. You don't have to be a big fan of LBJ, or politics in general, to find this tour interesting.

Because I'm not. And I do.

KC ~ did all the posters move?

I've been to several of the special farm dinners at Green Dirt Farm.

They're fabulous.

http://www.greendirtfarm.com/

Apr 15, 2015
Jaymes in Great Plains

SW Houston Chow - Lo Nuestro - Guatemalan

May be an old thread but still very interesting discussion of Guatemalan cuisine. I have two friends that are Guatemalan. Think I'll ask them if they patronize any local restaurants.

Apr 13, 2015
Jaymes in Houston
1

Closeby small town places where you like to eat for a mini roadie

This is a setting you can change.

Although, unfortunately, I don't remember how.

Apr 10, 2015
Jaymes in Houston