It Crawled from the South Part IX: 24+ Hours of Nonstop Eating All Over Texas
On our second and final night in Austin we decided to hit the Alamo Drafthouse for a showing of Ratatouille. The brilliance of this theater is that you can order really good beer and pretty decent food while you watch your movie. There are little counters in each row for your food and drink as well as a silent ordering system. This is not the place to come for a fine cinema experience, but for a movie like Ratatouille it was the perfect venue, save for the screaming kid (at a 10PM showing, no less!) with the completely passive parents who chose to pretend it wasn't their kid. Dan got a burger and I got some queso and chips. That's all I wanted and I'll take it over gooey theater nachos any day. I am making up for all the years queso was not a part of my life.
Oh, earlier in the evening we had some snacks and drinks at the courtyard of our hotel, easily the most chichi place we've ever stayed. I had a very refreshing bottled beverage called Topo Chico, a mineral water. I had the version flavored with lime. Where can I get this in Brooklyn?
The following morning we left for Houston, but we still had a few more stops to make along the way. First off was brunch at Juan in a Million. We met up with Bill and his lady friend and upon entering the restaurant were personally greeted by Senor Juan himself! I had a chorizo taco and a migas taco, with cheese on both as well as a huge horchata. I really did not think I had ordered much food, but I got stuffed and would come to regret being so full a few hours later.
Next on our agenda was Lockhart, the barbeque capital of Texas. Ok, so not as many hours have passed and I'm not nearly has hungry as I want to be. Still, I want to hit two of the big three: Black's, Kreuz and Smitty's. Kreuz was my one definite, but as we near the gargantuan barn, I decide we should skip it and do Black's and Smitty's instead.
Photo from Odograph.com (I forgot to take an exterior shot!)
Black's is the oldest barbeque joint in Texas that's been run continuously by the same family. The inside reminded me of a camp dining hall.
We shared a chopped beef sandwich and a hot ring. I wish I had been hungrier so I could have tried more of the menu! The sausage was interesting. It was was composed of finely ground meat which was unexpected and was also on the dry and crumbly side. To drink I made an Arnold Palmer. Then it was off to Smitty's which is like a block away.
Smitty's is housed in the market that used to be known as Kreuz. Apparently there was a split in the family. One side wanted to expand and the other wanted to stay of the people. I guess the side that wanted to expand was allowed to keep the name, while the traditionalists got to keep the space.
We hit the jackpot with Smitty's. I loved the way it looked and smelled. I loved how hot it was by the pits. I loved that your order was served on butcher paper or wrapped up in it depending on whether your were staying or going. I loved that there were no forks to be found at all!
I needed a taste of everything so I ordered a piece of brisket (they gave me two), a sausage and a rib.
The brisket was moist and fatty and had the most delicious bark. I would have had more bark, but the guy in front of me kept asking for all the end pieces. When I cut into the sausage juice just oozed out. By this point Dan is offering me no help - he's content with just some of the brisket and a piece of sausage. I ate as much of the sausage and rib that I could, but at the end, I couldn't fit it all in. I should have packed up the leftovers and brought it to Houston. I'm so glad I finally made it to Lockhart.
Then it was off to Minute Maid Park to see the Astros take on our beloved Mets! It would be the final stop on Dan's quest to see a baseball game at all current ballparks. I got hungry around the 7th or 8th inning but we decided we'd eat after the game. There was a milk and cookies hour at our hotel which I wanted to check out, too. Only the game went 17 innings! Thank goodness the Mets won! After the game we headed to Mai's, a Vietnamese restaurant, on the suggestion of Bill's friend. We picked up some takeaway and feasted on delicious Goi Cuon Thit Nuong (barbequed pork summer rolls) and Bun Thit Nuong (barbequed pork with vermicelli). In just a few hours we'd be on our way back to Brooklyn.