Monday, October 14, 2013

Texas Road Trip - Part Two

On Friday morning, we left Austin (see Part 1 for a recap of that leg of the trip) and headed about an hour Southeast to La Grange, TX.  La Grange was absolutely precious.  Less than 5,000 people live there but they have a beautiful, wide town square and nestled in the Southwest corner of that square is Prause Meat Market
La Grange Town Square - Are there more pick up trucks or Texas flags in this picture?
We walked in, clearly "not from around here," and gingerly walked up to the counter of fresh meat.  One lovely gentleman behind the counter welcomed us and walked us back to where they had their smoked meat (he clearly knew what we were there for). I appreciate that they keep the tradition of being a meat market front and center while the lunch place is a secondary (albeit very popular) destination.  He loaded us up with sausages, pork shoulders, and brisket.  When we saw it was cash only we got worried (we only had about $30 on us) but the final price, including soft drinks, was $13.  We further showed our naivete by laughing hysterically with relief at such a great deal then sheepishly went and sat beneath some mounted deer heads to eat.  
They don't lie in La Grange.
Their pork shoulder had almost a sweet skin on it and their brisket tasted like pot roast (which must mean they keep it in some liquid during the smoking process or prior to serving - to be determined on the next visit I guess).  It was delicious and, like I said, an incredible bargain.  We departed La Grange to head back to Houston for the last two days of our trip.  

We stayed with our dear friends Amanda and Steve and their puppies Daphne and Otis. I have known Amanda since elementary school and they were gracious enough to let us take over their guest bedroom.  Our first night there we saw the Yankees beat the Astros (and a fireworks show!) and Saturday we had a lazy day of football watching.  We grilled out Saturday night and enjoyed some delicious cajun pork ribs and stuffed pork loin from Hebert's before heading out to a real-live country music concert.  
Amanda & Steve! (This better be your Christmas card photo.)
Miranda Lambert and Dierks Bentley entertained us for the next few hours before we made it back home to some Apple Spice Cake (recipe to come!) and Blue Bell ice cream.  Side note - I am now obsessed with the oversize gallons of Blue Bell ice cream.  Someone needs to get these in NYC immediately. 

Daphne - wise beyond her years.

Otis - Less wise, but I still want his hair color.
I left Texas, proudly wearing a few extra pounds and my new cowboy boots and giddy with the success of our Texas road trip.  In case you were interested, we looked at the following lists before planning where to go:  

Daniel Vaughn’s 10 Favorite BBQ Joints in Texas (Daniel Vaughn is the Barbecue Editor for Texas Monthly – yes, they have a Barbecue Editor)

I can't wait to do it again -- there are still so many other places we want to visit in the state -- John Mueller's in Austin, Kreuz in Lockhart, Salt Lick in Driftwood . . . now we have new ones to check off plus those we want to revisit (Louie Mueller's!) so I'm sure we'll be back.   The state of Texas should market itself as a culinary destination and, obviously, I would happily be an ambassador for that.  Texas, call me and we'll talk.

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