Report Back from Hill Country
After a week in bed with the flu from Texas upon my return, I am ready to offer a full report on our trip. First, prior to my arrival (pursuant to posts here), I had my husband pick up a few bottles of Paula's Texas Orange, Cedar Door Mexican Martini mix, and Herradura. I thought while spending time at the house, we should be drinking the local spirits. We killed many a friend this weekend with these concoctions! Boy, were they good, but STRONG!
Thursday night, I was picked up at the airport by my husband and 3 of his friends and the 5 of us went to Uchi. It was as good as I remembered it to be...but favorites changed. I did not enjoy the crudo and toronuta as much as the first time. But, I loved the beacon steakie this time. Other favorites were the maguro sashimi w/ goat cheese and the sugar cured yellowtail. the endo roll is interesting with the side of frozen grapes and cucumbers. I do wish tyson had a more interesting selection of rolls, though. As a drink, we had the nigori sake served in the bamboo stalk, which is sweet with a taste of cream soda--very good. For a cocktail thereafter (tom in Austin, since you also gave such great cocktails recs, I inlcuded the rws of these for you), we went to Lovejoy's, and had a beer. Once the live music quieted down, it was a great low key spot for a beer and gave of pool.
Friday, we drove straight to Lockhart for BBQ. Smitty's, to be exact for the fatty brisket (my favorite), ribs, pork chop and sausage. Everything here is quite greasy, but oh so tasty. Their brisket is the best I've had. after stopping at a few vineyards, we stopped at The Salt Lick for a piece of pecan pie, which was awful. It was too dense and resembled sweet potato pie. But, this was still a fun stop nonetheless. Our friend, quite the chef, made us dinner at home Fri night for 10pp. It was fun to enjoy the PTO mind probes (e.g. mex martinis), a great dinner, and the gorgeous views on our deck. As a side note: one of the guys in our group missed the Lockhart trip due to work and raved about his lunch at Gumbos.
Saturday, we had brunch at home and then we walked SoCo---few of the people bought some Luccheses at Allens. It was a gorgeous day, so we went and had chips and salsa and drinks at Shady Grove, which was fun....I knew better than to order much here in terms of food. After resting up, we had dinner at Lambert's. after reading some of the mixed reviews, I had low expectations, but I was pleasantly surprised. Our server, John, was attentive and gracious. The atmosphere was perfect---candles, music--but not too loud--lofty, clean interior. as for the food...the highlights: the crispy wild boar ribs, the fried green tomatoes stuffed with lump crab, the candied beet salad with truffle oil--all fabulous. for entrees: the hangar steak and the beef ribs with the coffee rub were the stand outs. the pork ribs and briket were just ok. they brought out a piece of the coconut cream pie which had a light pastry crust, which was the perfect ending to a great meal. After dinner, we headed to Club de Ville for green tea vodka lemonades and cocumber/sake shots (with bites of cucumber to end it with)--these were refreshing but not cheap!
Sunday, we had Marias for breakfast...more for the gospel brunch than anything. The breakfast tacos were awful. Dry egg tacos with no flavor. Enough said. after that, we traveled out to Ginny's Little Longhorn for Chicken S*it Sunday, thinking we could see a quick round at 4pm before the Superbowl. Guess Ginny does not start until sissy (the new chicken since Red died) is ready. so, it did not start until 5:30pm, and she did not poop until 6:10! we asked the all time winner of 29 times what his secret was...and he answered that it was not to look at the ticket number until it was called..hmmm. We learned that the secreat is that sissy loves having her picture taken and name called and will spend an in ordinate amount of time in the corner in which people are giving the most attention to her. After 3 $1.75 long necks, we called it a night and went d/t to watch the superbowl on 6th near the Driskill. For the 4th Q, I dragged everyone to Casino el Camino for burgers. They were all ordered rare-med rare. I am sad to report ALL of them were overcooked. On top of it, the meat quality seemed average at best. They were very disappointing. the wings were better than the burgers.
Monday, we had migas at my husband's old haunt, Maudies on 7th. I have to say, they are the best migas I have had in Austin to date. The eggs were soft, the tortillas crispy, the cheese was soft, melted, peppers, onions, tomatoes all sauteed in a light olive oil, with corn tortillas on the side. Better than tamale house, which were watery and not as flavorful, in MHO. We also stopped at Torchy's Tacos for some tacos to go for our ride to the airport (and 6 hour delay!)---they were great! esp, the Brush Fire (special taco) with jerk chicken, mango, cilantro crema was one of our faves, along with the trailer park, and ranch hand.
All in all, another great trip in Austin with lots of wonderful food....and don't forget the PTO!
Thanks for all the great recs, Austin Hounds! If you need any in Chicago, I'm here for you!