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Moving to New Braunfels from SEATTLE - Need PHO and a good farmers market

ok, i am going from real raw pho on every corner made by real vietnamese pplz that dont speak english, to places that cant even make pho as good as the pho in (ugh) HOUSTON?!?

Who ever heard of a CHICKEN NOODLE PHO?!?

I need me some raw beef, some fresh basil, and some sliced jalapenos!

And maybe an awesome side of cool fresh spring rolls, you know the ones with the shrimp, bean sprouts and lettuce??

In addition, im from a kinda cool neighborhood, and we have an awesome premium grocery store like 4 blocks up the way. I mean fresh samosas, salumi salami, exotic cheeses and premium produce... all a 10 minute walk away, plus we have a neighborhood farmer's market every week. Any suggestions?

I get the feeling the place im going is more IGA than whole foods or metro markt

whats a kid from the coast supposed to do??

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  1. Starve :) or eat steak and potatoes often

    I live in the Dallas area and have visited New Braunsfel...not much ethnic food going on down there that I know of. Some chains and the higher end restaurants are steak and american places.

    I would not relocate there if I had a choice. Good luck!

    4 Replies
    1. re: BellaDonna

      New Braunfels is a German town, so there are several German restaurants if you want ethnic food. You are also moving close to some of the best BBQ smokehouse in the country when you look at Luling/Lockhart/Llano all being within reasonable driving distance. Your chances of finding some of the things that you described above are probably slim.

      Keep in mind that Austin is only 45 minutes away and there are plenty more options for you there, including the home of Whole Foods and its megastore downtown on 6th & Lamar. You will be able to buy all the stuff you are looking for there, you will just need to make a sunday afternoon trip to stock up for the week.

      1. re: mac8111

        Why the dig at pho in Houston? East/West Coast snobbery doesn't get you too far in Texas. FYI, there are far more Vietnamese in Houston than in Seattle. I don't know what restaurant(s) you went to, but Houstonians definately know their pho. I wouldn't question the variety and quality of Korean food in Seattle, and you, if you knew anything about Houston, shouldn't question the Vietnamese food available in Houston. All that being said, I can't speak for New Braunfels though.

        1. re: Bhutani

          Korean food in Seattle is terrible. You have to drive north to Lynnwood or south to Federal Way to get anything decent. Viet food is outstanding in Seattle but I wouldn't trash-talk Houston's pho. (I'm from Texas originally - lived in El Paso, Dallas, and Houston, family in Austin and Harper - but now live in Seattle.)

          Anyhow, my advice to the OP is to drop the attitude and enjoy the fact that you're in BBQ and Tex-Mex heaven. Drive to Austin if you need to shop at Whole Paycheck, but you seriously need to adjust your expectations and drop the superiority complex - and then learn to make your own Pho!

          All the ingredients are available to you, including better beef (for cheaper) than you've been eating in your Seattle pho. You might want to grow your own red basil and rau ram if you can't find the former locally and insist on the latter (you definitely won't find it in the HEB). You can stock up on the correct noodles in Austin if you don't feel like mail ordering them.

          1. re: Bhutani

            Word. Houston is a great food city - compared with anywhere, especially for Asian foods.

      2. Happily New Braunfels is about equal distance between Austin & San Antonio, although even in those two places it'll be a change of pace from Seattle.

        I have been to NB on several occasions and not found much there going on that merits serious attention although the Catfish place along towards the airport I have heard good things about and it exudes good vibes in a way certain restaurants do and others don't. Avoid Oma's Haus (a good general rule I find is to avoid ANY place tagged with "Haus") at all costs: very poor. I haven't found good German grub in NB either. But I would be happy to be contradicted and proven wrong.

        As a person who moved from New York (Manhattan) to Bartlesville, Oklahoma (!!!!). . . you are going to require attitude adjustment (either the [strong] alcoholic or philosophical kind) in order to survive. Which as others have said is not to say that you will not find good food, but you will have to abandon (for example) any sort of exotic cheese unless the "rat cheese" (a Texas name for normal medium waxed orange cheddar) qualifies as exotic.

        Just as I severly doubt much BBQ of Memphis or KC or Luling or Lockhart quality exists up near Boeing Field don't be looking for those fresh shucked oysters or lamb samosas in New Braunfels I'm afraid.

        You can happily drown your sorrows tubing or wading the Comal River and Guadalupe rivers which are truly beautiful and feel sooooooo good when the heat index is 105 as it is today.

        Let the board know how things go.

        6 Replies
        1. re: bishopsbitter

          Now bb, that's not fair. Check out the cheese selection at any Whole Foods, or even the HEB, for crying out loud. I admit Houston is short on little cheese shops these days (that wasn't always the case), but that's not to say you can't find anything but rat cheese! The OP should be able to find whatever he needs in Austin, and learn to enjoy the considerable charms of the hill country.

          Incidentally, there is a lovely restaurant in NB called Mesquite Grill.

          1. re: zorra


            Well I can't say HEB's cheese exactly hits me. I mean somewhere where you buy a French soft cheese etc. Not going to happen in my experience (I don't mean the generic brie & camembert which seem to have had the taste somehow removed) and again I was talking about NB, not Austin or San Antone in that context. Hey, in Bartlesville Kraft's Cracker Barrel looked pretty darned good after a while! :-)
            But that was before igourmet.com came along and I would tend to recommend that avenue (although its cheese has gone a little back from what it was, in terms of both quality and generosity/quantity for the price) when it first opened it allows cheeseheads in Nebraska or Wyoming as well as Eagle Lake or New Braunfels) to "have at it" with real artisan cheeses. Yes, Central Market in Houston has some pretty good cheese, but the price is astronomic. After all, it is just slightly old milk!

            No dig at NB or Texas in general as I was clear to point out. It's just one has to 'roll with the geography' was my point to the OP---take the best of what's on offer in the local context and mail order (or wait till you're next back in Seattle) the rest.

            1. re: bishopsbitter

              The HEB in NB is a smaller store, so the cheese section is not anything to marvel at. If they ever get around to building the new one they have planned then it most likely will be one of their newer concepts with a wonderful cheese section along with more gourmet food options.

          2. re: bishopsbitter

            omg!! I just moved from NYC to Bartlesville!!!! I am dying so far! any good food recommendations??

            1. re: jenoats

              Have you found anything good yet? I am moving from Dallas in a couple of months and the visit didn't reveal any gems.

              1. re: jenoats

                Sorry for tardy reply. I did the same thing (NYC-BVO) in 1990. Bartlesville and World-Class Cuisine do not go together in the same sentence very often. You will have driven by what used to be Maries Steak House. The only restaurant that continued in business despite floods up to the ceiling peridically from the Caney River. It used to be a bit of a respite before it closed. That said, Oklahoma in 2008-9 is a heck of a lot better for eats than it was in 1990!

                Do try to drive up one weekend (make reservations, it's popular) to Abilene KS http://www.brookvillehotel.com/ for their family style chicken dinners. And the Eisenhower Library also.

                You will likely know Ponca city Airport (across Osage County on hhy 60, lovely drive) has Enrique's Mexican. Enrique's signature salsa is worth the trip. Be sure to ask for more, then more again. And their pink lemonade is good too. I cna take or leave their puffy-fluffy tortilla chips though although like sopapillas with honey they do provide a good vessel for getting that salsa to your lips in mass quantities.

                The Price Tower place opened after my time so I don't know. India Palace in Tulsa (71st just east of the river) is ALWAYS reliable and say hello to owner Mr Singh for me.

            2. Because the pho in Houston is made by fake vietnamese "pplz" that speak English? Puhleeze.

              Also, don't know what you mean by chicken noodle pho, but pho ga can be a quick and simple alternative to the hours of preparation that go into the beef pho. Create your own broth by simmering a whole chicken with ginger and a whole onion. Tear off dark and white meat and put into a bowl of pho noodles with chopped chives, cilantro and onion. Bring the broth to a boil and pour. Flavor as needed with nuoc mam, siriachi and black pepper. Delicious!

              1. od, sounds like you'll be spending lots of time in either austin or san antonio! i live in nb, and can honestly say you're in for extreme culture shock, unless you're an evangelical ultra-conservative. okay, perhaps that's a BIT extreme, but not far from the truth.

                as for your food issues, give up the local pho, and real vietnamese people as well. expect looks of bewilderment if you ask locals about it. austin can fulfill that need easily. for fresh veggies, there's a farmer's market at a local church parking lot every friday, may through september, and another daily one about 20 minutes north in san marcos.

                there are, are you ready for this? THREE upscale eateries in town; one owned by a chef who once cheffed for ruth's chris steakhouse...melt in your mouth steakage! we also have a fantastic meat market, and the oldest bakery in texas. while the latter doesn't create high-end pastries, they will keep you coming back for more, like a crack addict.

                you'll find whole foods and central markets in both austin and sa. both are quite a drive from town. the local h.e.b. can satisfy a few hard to find items. and you hit the target with the iga comment. this town supports two handy andy markets!

                hope this was helpful, in spite of the cheekiness...

                1. lived in NB years ago, visited several times recently. HEB, etc will provide you with staples. in answer to your question about a FARMERS MKT...why hasn't anyone responded to that directly? yes, it's certainly not Seattle, but I guess you knew that! Believe me, the CLIMATE might end up bugging you a lot more than the change in food availability. However, go ahead and figure that you'll make it and really be an even better cook than before, why not?!

                  1. FYI- Texan pride scares me, seriously chill out. That being said I dont think odd rules was being rude. He was coming to CH for help, not to be yelled it. Texas compared to Seattle is seriously lacking in a fresh, well rounded food scene. Especially out in NB. To go from walking to farmers market to driving 45 minutes for Whole Foods, come on people, cut a fellow C.hound some slack!
                    I just want to reminence about Delaurenti cheese counter, I spent many hours there being educated and tasting my way through the world of cheese. That cannot happen in Whole Foods and esp not at HEB! Central Market (hebs superstore) does carry Beechers cheese! And the Asian goods at Uwajimaya, you cannot get that here either. My best advice is mail/internet order for specialty goods. Also play nice with the Texans as they know their state very well and do have some great advice for local specialties- you are gonna have to adapt. Trade Pho for BBQ. Scour the homecooking boards for recipes and try to make your own vietnamese. Good luck!

                    1. You'll be able to find everything you want, except for that cool coastal weather, assuming you want cool coastal weather. Many folks like knowing that reliable sunshine is always available for swimming, sunbathing, biking, hiking, boating, fishing, golf, tennis, tubing down the river with a few friends and a cooler of beer, etc. And you certainly won't have to worry about mildew ruining your roof anymore. Although I love Seattle and those endless cool misty, foggy days, I know folks, and I'm sure you do, too, that are driven nuts with that weather.

                      You'll just have to keep a list and make fun excursions to any one of the three big cities close to New Braunfels - San Antonio, Austin, Houston. You'll find all of your cheeses, and other items. As for fresh vegetables at the farmers market - Texas has a MUCH longer growing season than Washington, so expect to sink your teeth into home-grown tomatoes, corn, and the like almost all year 'round. You'll be blown away with your first taste of central Texas peaches and Poteet strawberries, and another thing you can do in Central Texas that was impossible in Seattle is to drive down to the border for the weekend and load up on citrus and other fruits and vegetables from the many roadside stands. And then you can cross into Mexico for the kind of Mexican food you could only dream about in Seattle. Not to mention that Texas has the world's best barbecue, certainly better than anything you can find in the Pacific Northwest.

                      As for pho made by "real Vietnamese pplz," apparently you don't know that "(ugh) Houston," the nation's fourth-largest city, has the country's third-largest Vietnamese population, after only Orange County CA and the Bay Area. Much larger than Seattle's. There are parts of town where it's certainly easier to find a great bowl of pho than it is to find someone that speaks English. Many Vietnamese settled here because the warm weather reminded them of home, and because the Gulf fishing industry afforded them opportunities to earn a good living doing something they were familiar with.

                      And for all intents and purposes, you'll be in the San Antonio metropolitan area, and San Antonio is the nation's 7th largest city. If by "ethnic food," you're including Mexican and the Latin cultures, you'll be in ethnic paradiso.

                      That entire Central Texas New Braunfels/San Marcos/Wimberley/Canyon Lake area is charming and delightful, with a river, a university, cute little shops and restaurants. The University of Texas at Austin is the nation's largest, and that brings with it all sorts of interesting diversions, lectures, classes, and an international atmosphere. It's also the Live Music Capital of the World, with many famous bars, restaurants, clubs, and other live-music venues. You said that you're worried about finding things to be "more IGA than Whole Foods." Did you realize that Whole Foods STARTED in Austin? And that many people believe HEB and Central Market to be the best food purveyors in the nation? If you'll just get into the swing of things like Texans do, which means being willing to drive a little, you'll be happily settled into your new home in no time. I've moved 40 times in my life and I've lived in such urban settings as San Francisco, right on Union Square, and in the heart of Manhattan so I get your point, but I can assure you that if you're hungry or bored in Central Texas, you're just not trying hard enough. And you don't know 'remote' until you've lived in Central Alaska.

                      One thing I learned very early on was that when you get to a new place, you can either sit in your house and brood about what you've lost, or you can get out there and find out what's there to enjoy and start enjoying it. It's like that song - if you can't be with the one you love, love the one you're with.

                      Right, y'all?

                      4 Replies
                      1. re: Jaymes

                        Great post, Jaymes. It looks like this may be your first post and I'll be looking forward to the next one.

                        1. re: Rene

                          Well thanks!

                          And let me take this opportunity to point out that although there may be IGA's in Austin, I'm not familiar with them. I do know, however, that not only did Whole Foods start in Austin, on South Lamar, but Austin is still their national headquarters, so think that IGA -Whole Foods comment is wildly off base.

                          And I now note that "odd doyle" posted that query back in July. Wonder how he's doing.

                        2. re: Jaymes

                          Hey good post. Having grown up an Airforce Brat, we sure didn't sit home when we moved somewhere new.Not my parents way of doing things.
                          Where did you live in Alaska?My dad was stationed at the Alaskan Air Command at Elmendorf AFB. We really liked Alaska, had a good time there.

                          1. re: HollyDolly

                            We lived in Fairbanks, right smack dab in the middle of the state, while you were down in relative comfort in Anchorage. Believe me, if you can make the best of Fairbanks, even when it's 40-below, which it often was, you can certainly make the best of super and sublime central Texas.

                        3. Look, you can check out the local H.E.B. grocery store chain. I live in Schertz, just down the road from you, and sometimes drive down on Broadway to H.E.B. Central Market if i am looking for exotic fruit or fancy seafoods.There is also over in the Alamo Quarry Marketplace, a Whole Foods. There are also some SunHarvest Farms grocery stores which have a lot of organic stuff.

                          If you go to Live Oak, there is a place named Bangkok Thai Cusine on Pat Booker Road. I haven't tried Siam Cusine on FM3009 here in Schertz.It's in a shopping plaza with the ATT store, Bellacino's by the Chase Bank and Walmart.
                          Forget Oma's House for german food. Despite all the germans around, there really aren't many german places there. There is a german restaurant in the old Krause's Cafe, run by som efamily from Germany, but haven't tried it yet. I think it's called the Friesan Haus. The City of New Braunfels has a website that lists restaurants there.
                          In summer, you can go to Schlitterbahn, which was voted best waterpark in America.A lot of people like to go to Gruene,texas,which is right next door.
                          It was an old ghost town once. There were people living in it, but the population was way down.Now it has a lot of little shops, etc. The GristMill there was very good when I went and ate there with my sister and her fiance at Thanksgiving time.You can also see landa Park which is nice.
                          You can also go up to Canyon Lake, and Blanco State Park. And as someone
                          mentioned, you can go to Austin or San Antonio.

                          To me, it's dumb to locate somewhere just cause of the food. An area should offer more than that. I guess i feel this way cause my dad was in the Airforce, so we moved a lot. We always found something to do or places to go.

                          There is a lot of history down around here. Out on Farm to Market Road 466, you can see a historical marker for the Capote Ranch where Teddy Roosevelt got horses for his Rough Riders,this is near Seguin. It's a pretty drive out there in the springtime, when the wildflowers are in bloom.
                          You can go to Gonzales, where the first shot in the Texas revolution was fired.I read that they have pretty good bbq at the Gonzales City Market.
                          Yea, they have good gumbo and catfish, at the Clear Springs restaurant in Clear Springs, down Texas Highway 46 from New Braunfels.

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: HollyDolly

                            I have tried Siam near 3009 and IH35 and it is very good. I especially like the lunch special. It was last item on menu. I ordered it with pork and it came with peppers and onion. Everything was so fresh and flavorful, sauce was delectable. Best Thai I had had in awhile. Went back with DH on a Saturday and had to order off dinner menu. Not as good and very sm portions. But I will go back for lunch specials.

                          2. Why would you move for a small town in Texas and expect to find food only available in major urban hubs? It's about as logical as moving to Olympia and whining about lack of BBQ and Tex-Mex.

                            You have two options. Learn to love the local area for the local food (you ar within driving distance of the best Texas BBQ in the universe) that makes it special or nurse your west coast elitism and complete lack of clue.

                            Good luck.

                            1. I think the best restaurant in New Braunfels is an ethnic one: Nicoya, a Nicaraguan restaurant. It's personally prepared food, not greasy, always interesting, and delicious. This is not some mexican food grease pit, this is real CHOW! Seriously!
                              There's also Huisache grill, a dependable standby, but if you live here, it gets a little old. Liberty Bistro, the new gourmet kid in town, seems to be floundering, but I'm not sure. I've eaten there a few times; had some pretty great appetizers and drinks, but overall thought it was a little overpriced. Oh, and I think you'd be hard-pressed to find a biergarten as authentic feeling as Freisenhaus in Seattle.