Thursday, December 1, 2011

The Lonestar State

The former home of my grandma and papa in Fredricksburg TX now a B&B

Texas has always been a bitter sweet State for me.  I have some fond and not so fond memories. My father and grandparents are from Texas and we lived here for about a year or two when I was about 4. After we moved back to Oregon I remember visiting my grandparents at this house in Fredricksburg when I was about 8. I used to play in the creek, catch snapping turtles and feed grandmas prized pet ducks. The house was very small but grandma had it perfectly decorated with art, antiques and other historical collectibles. I thought they were really cool as a kid and tried as hard as possible to not touch. The house always smelled good and it had homey cozy feel. Everything was perfectly randomly placed with purpose and clean without feeling sterile. It felt like they lived in an antique store.  My grandmother loved antiques and worked at a store for awhile to satisfy her craving.  Probably because the small historic house couldn't hold anymore or papa wouldn't let her buy anymore. They secretly eloped very young she was 18 and he was 19. They were madly in love until they both passed he first in 2001 and her 5 years later at the age of 87. I haven't been back to this house since I was about 8 so it was a bit of an emotional reunion for me. I miss them both dearly and their relationship with one another was an inspiration to me. If you haven't been to Fedricksburg you should check it out it is a super cute German town with amazing architecture and history.

historical marker in front of grandma and papa's old house

This is the barn that has bedrooms above and where I stayed as a kid. You can stay too if you like, it is now the Shady Creek Bed and Breakfast.

Cool old house in Fredricksburg

The other memory I have of Texas is more on the "bitter" side. I attended Air Force basic training in San Antonio TX back in June 1992 when I was young and uncertain of what to do with my life. It was hot, buggy, muggy and just downright miserable and I swore I would never re-visit this state which I considered a Hell hole, again!

I am going a little out of order here. We visited Austin and Fredricksburg last and actually started our Texas journey in Dallas.  Avila's was one of my favorite Dallas finds.  I was looking for authentic home style Tex Mex and I found it here. Its not fancy nor do they do an amazing presentation or anything but the flavor and love in the food is off the charts!

The best Pozole ever, simple, perfect and packed with flavor!

One brisket and one pork enchilada

This bread pudding is on my the "best thing I ever ate" list. The picture doesn't do it justice it was unbelievably good.

We also really enjoyed Bolsa in Dallas! We had lunch here where everything had local ingredients and was fantastic. Bolsa has a great atmosphere and nice cocktail menu. I had a burger and Chris had a soup and sandwich. I would for sure go back for dinner.
Farmers Burger Bolsa

Passion whiskey fizz Bolsa

Next stop was Austin! I had heard so much about this City and how much I would love it and it was true, I really did. It was a lot like Portland but with more culture. Portland, as cool as it is, can be pretty "white".  I really love that TX has so much color and a variety of nationality's. Culture adds layers of concentrated flavors that cannot be duplicated.  It really needs to come from the source and there are many sources in Austin. Oddly, once such source was a Thai restaurant that was fantastic. Now, granted, we have our share of great Thai food in Portland.  I was sorta over BBQ and comfort food so I went on a search and found this great Thai place called the Tam deli and cafe. Again, this is no fancy schmantzy place. In fact, it's in a strip mall, in a part of town that is just sort of the suburbs. It was great and very authentic.  I have never been to Thailand and am not an aficionado of Thai food, but this place seemed pretty authentic.  What I do know, is that when I start getting uncomfortable and weirded out with some of the ingredients I am probably heading in the right direction. It also appears that I was right because when I got there I learned that they had won many awards.

Tam Deli grilled pork Bahn Mi

Next we were off to some fine least as fine as I care to have anymore.  I'm not interested in going out to snooty, pretentious places where everyone has to dress up to eat.  At least for now, while being on the road in the RV we do not have our fancy clothes.  They are in storage and I expect that they will remain there for quite some time and then get donated one day.  That is not to say that I don't occasionally like to dress up, but it's just not feasible right now.  We had dinner at Justines Brassiere and it was a great experience. Justine's is a very quaint French Brassiere with outstanding food.  To start I ordered the escargot and french onion soup; both were amazing.  I moved on to the duck confit with white bean and spinach which was equally as tasty.

French Onion soup Justine's Brassiere

Duck confit with spinach and white beans

 There is so much to show and tell and I will have to come back to Austin soon to do more food scouting! I loved the Continental Room where we saw great music. I loved Curras Grill which had the best Mexican food and best queso I ever ate in my whole life!
Curra's delicious Queso and salsa

The best carnitas of my life at Curras

We had a great time in Texas and it is no longer so bitter sweet! It's great and we had a lovey Thanksgiving with our friends that came to visit us. I had fun cooking the thanksgiving side dishes in the RV. I will be writing again soon with my tales of NOLA! We are here now, it is my first time and I just love it! If you have any favorite NOLA places to eat feel free to fill me in. Ciao!