Part two of Rob’s adventure’s in Texas take up his eating adventures in Austin. Read part one here.
Stacy was an impeccable host who introduced us to Salt Licks smokehouse BBQ an experience, which should not be missed. Ribs, sausage and delicious brisket served with beans and potatoes – just perfect – and take your own favourite beer to wash it down with. We then walked in the park at Laguna Gloria and saw these fascinating sound sculptures by Chris Long.
Time then for a beer a couple of ‘locals’ where one guest beer was Newcastle Brown Ale (for those who don’t know, my home town was Newcastle) then a few more tasty tapas before retiring.
First stop the next day was the 24 hour Kerbey Lane Cafe for a traditional American breakfast; eggs, bacon, sausage, pancakes, fruit and coffee – scrummy. Next, a visit to the Capitol Building and a very interesting guided tour. We enjoyed a lovely walk along the river, followed up by a swim at Barton Springs in the naturally formed pool. Our evening was spent at Shady Grove with chilli cheese fries (chips to us Brits). I also had fried Catfish for the first time and again was not disappointed. I definitely need a return visit to try other dishes on the menu.
We left Austin for San Antonio and more Texas history at the Alamo. A must visit site in Texas as it is so important in the history of the state. The River Walk is very attractive with many café’s and bars and a trip on the river bus would have been good but we did not have the time.
Off next to Kerville and the Hill Country. A huge thank you to Carl for taking us to the family ranch, where en route we saw, Texas longhorn cattle; white tail deer; fawns drinking in the brook and a wild turkey. Carl gave us shooting lessons, and thanks to some expert tuition we actually managed to hit the target. This was my first attempt at shooting and I have to say I did find it fun. I do not intend making any comment about the gun laws in this blog post.
The evening was spent with dinner hosts Greg and Kim, Carl and Regina, Eric, Leah, Seth and four out of five of Greg and Kim’s daughters. We had yummy pulled pork and grilled pork served with salsas and a delicious queso dip. A visit to Greg’s man cave should be on everyone’s itinerary (men only), I guess with a wife and five daughters you need a safe haven (that’s the male chauvinist bit done). Another splendid evening with great people. Now a big thank you to Eric and Dana (who I never met) who let me stay the night with Harry who was very well behaved and didn’t snore once.
Before leaving Kerville we had brunch with Carl, Regina Seth and Leah at Francisco’s. I had the fish taco’s which were delicious and to be recommended. We said goodbye to Carl and Leah who is one of the happiest girls I have met and has a smile will melt many a young buck’s heart. Regina and Seth we would see again as we were all heading for Dallas.
Next came a brief stop in Fredricksburg which was originally settled by German immigrants and still has that German influence. The main street is full of delightful gift shops. The Pacific War museum is in Fredricksburg and has an actual submarine outside almost on the street.
We arrived in Dallas late that evening but not too late to have a couple of beers at the Nodding Donkey and meet up with Shannon again.
The first full day in Dallas was a quiet affair with coffee in the Design District Where the service was diabolical which is almost unique in the U.S. to get such poor service. Lunch was salad at a café on McKinney where you had to stop talking every time the old trolley went past. We helped Regina and Seth do some unpacking in their new apartment which I got paid for in the form of a fridge magnet with ‘Don’t mess with Texas’ which now has pride of place on my fridge. I had the best steak ever at Morton’s Steakhouse – a 16 oz. rib eye cooked to perfection with beautiful vegetables and a couple of bottles of a very decent red. Quick thank you to Seth for the interesting conversation on sport and education (we let the girls talk about girl stuff).
Our last full day in Dallas was spent touring on foot and public transport, “what? No car?” I hear you all exclaim! Making use of the free Trolley and bus is something everyone should do in Dallas.
We alighted at Clyde Warren Park a modern park built on top of the highway with water features, a restaurant, food trucks, it is a veritable oasis in a city of tall buildings. Then our best cup of coffee in Texas was had at Joule. While Cathers went off to do some business I visited the 6th floor museum at Dealey Plaza dedicated to the late JFK. Very informative and quite moving. My view is Oswald did it but there was probably some kind of conspiracy. The picture is taken from the Book Depository window where the shots were fired. The President’s car passed just under the road sign when he was shot.
We took the free D-Link bus to Bishop Arts district which is full of quality art and craft shops, of which we left no stone unturned looking for inspired gifts. We dined at Gloria’s, Latin American restaurant with very good food and excellent cocktails. We headed back to McKinney on the bus and Trolley and spent our last evening having drinks at the Nodding Donkey.
Not to waste any time in Texas we spent the morning in the company of Mark and Dawn Thames, Shannon and Regina devouring breakfast Tacos (another Tex-Mex delicacy).
Finally it was time to say goodbye to Texas. I have seen some wonderful sights, eaten some great food, but above all have met some warm, generous, interesting, unforgettable Americans, to whom I hope I can reciprocate their hospitality sometime.