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Guatemalan road trip - Need suggestions for the Texas segment

rworange Aug 19, 2009 10:23 AM

I'll be driving from the SF Bay Area to Guatelmala and would like some suggestions for the segment driving route 10 in starting in El Paso to San Antonio, route 37 to Corpus Christi and route 77 to the Mexican border.

Here's the info:

- The closer to the route the better

- We like anything as cliche as that sounds

- We will be in travel clothes, so dress up places probably are places we wouldn't go

- This trip will take place anywhere from October 2009 to April 2010 and we could hit any town on any day.

- I have no say ... none ... in the route

My husband is Gautemalan. I'm adopting his children and it depends on the US and Guatamalan governments at this time as to when those papers go through. No kids on way down. Three teenagers on the way back up.

Of course, the objective is to get there and back ASAP, so unless something is amazing I wouldn't want to get too far off the main roads.

While my husband and his family have taken this drive a number of times over the years, one side of his family are NOT Chowhounds. Cheap Chinese or other buffets are their idea of good eats. I don't want to spend this time eating in 7-11 type of places or fast food.

My husband's and his side of the family have the tastebuds and he has enjoyed being introduced to delicious food outside of his culture ... he particularily enjoys excellent baked goods.

For the Texas segment I would particularly be interested in great barbeque along those roads. However, nothing is ruled out.

Please, please don't abandon me to KFC on this trip.

Because of the fluid time line, anything would be fine ... special festivals, fairs or markets that have great food and are a quick stop. Any time of day.

Deliciousness first. Proximity next. TIA.

  1. rworange Apr 11, 2010 12:28 PM

    Did not get much response on this thread. For others driving down that road, here are some of the great places we tried, especially Papas Pantry in Van Horn
    http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/7002...

    10 Replies
    1. re: rworange
      texasredtop Apr 14, 2010 12:51 PM

      Sorry we disappointed you. Across West Texas the population is sparse which leaves little choices for dining and fewer people traveling those roads. Perhaps there just aren't enough people on CH that make that long stretch of a drive to give you any further recommendations or tips. The one time we were going past Ozona, that is where I grabbed my pillow and slept.

      Seeing that you thought so highly of Cooper's lets me know we wouldn't want to eat at the same places anyway. When Cooper's first opened in Junction it was average. Now it's somewhere we pass altogether. We have property south of Junction and are there a lot and tried it maybe 4-5 times after it had gotten bad before we gave up completely.

      1. re: texasredtop
        j
        Jaymes Apr 14, 2010 01:27 PM

        I've driven those roads many, many times. I don't post about it because there just ain't much to post about.

        You know?

        Yes, I've gotten off of the highway and wandered around some of those towns trying to find the restaurants that locals say are "good." But it turns out that "good" for those remote towns is most likely not "good" for whatever city you're heading from. Or to.

        So you drive and drive and drive and drive. You stop and eat when you get hungry. You hope that it's at least average.

        And then you keep moving.

        You've got a long way to go.

        Always.

        1. re: texasredtop
          rworange Apr 14, 2010 03:03 PM

          You never had bbq in San Francisco. Cooper's positively shines compared to what is served there.

          So where do you eat when you eat out in that area

          1. re: rworange
            texasredtop Apr 14, 2010 05:24 PM

            I usually cook (I'm cajun if that tells you anything). We have a place right south of Junction. If we do eat in town, it's usually the Milky Way, a hamburger joint with a great patty melt (jalapenos come on it) and fresh cut fries. There was this place - Irma's - and it was good, she sold it, the new owners had a decent burger but it was hit and miss then they sold it and it's mostly a miss now so we don't eat there any longer. There's really not much there. Once your pass the Boerne area going west, there's just not much that stands out. Like Jaymes said, you eat when you're hungry.

            Isaac's Restaurant in Junction is even better than Cooper's. They have a plate lunch that passable if you just aren't in the mood for a Milky Way burger.

            I'd have to say Cooper's in Junction is some of the worst bbq I've ever paid money for. Their brisket reminds me of the thin sliced shoe leather. The pork chop was good at one time but the last time I got it, it was so dry I could hardly swallow it. It was almost $12 (for the pork chop alone) and I left over half of it. Their chicken and chopped beef are decent enough. Their sides are from a bucket. Like the potato salad you get a Kroger by the gallon. Yuck.

            1. re: texasredtop
              rworange Apr 15, 2010 01:31 PM

              Glad we did not get sides. Thanks for the info about Milky Way

            2. re: rworange
              d
              dexmat Apr 16, 2010 06:24 AM

              Yeah, we get very picky about bbq and can easily forget that what we think is mediocre may be awesome to people from elsewhere. Not to say we wouldn't prefer you get to hit the very best if possible.

              I think TRT is right - we have few posters from West or South Texas and what few there are are very occasional. The recent split of DFW and Houston also has reduced activity on this board. I don't know if anybody from Dallas bothers to check in here any more and we don't see many from Austin unless they're asking for help themselves.

              But I enjoyed all your reports. I think you were doing what Chowhounds are supposed to do - try new places instead of just go to the places everybody knows about - and I'm glad you were pleased with so many of your stops. I haven't been more than a few miles west of Austin in decades and it's been 15 years since I've been to deep South Texas but I'd refer to these threads for ideas if I'm ever headed in those directions.

              The same topics and places tend to get hashed and rehashed here; thanks for providing some new points of view.

          2. re: rworange
            d
            deegt Apr 15, 2010 01:42 PM

            I have two friends driving from California to Florida now on I-10.
            They plan to stop soon in Junction at Isaac's.

            <http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/techn...>

            1. re: deegt
              texasredtop Apr 15, 2010 02:52 PM

              <<< 5. 4/15 pm -- Isaacks Restaurant in Junction, TX. Chicken fried steak and pie. >>>

              Exactly what I get when I go there. I haven't found much else there I like. It's not great but it's good cfs, cooked to order. I also like their fried catfish and potato salad.

              I'd like to know your friends' opinion, they were scheduled to eat lunch there today. Californians have completely different expectations than Texans so it would be interesting to see what they thought. There's a woman at Isaac's, she's three days older than dirt, red hair, darling little thing. I can't think of her name but she always remembers us and talks like we were neighbors for 15 years. We don't get in there more than twice a year at the most so it surprises me. I think she remembers us because I'm a redhead also. I think of her, not cfs, when I think of Isaac's.

              City Market in the late afternoon? I bet there was nothing but crumbs left. :-) I enjoyed City Market the one time I went. I wouldn't say it was the best brisket I ever had but it was worth driving the ten miles or so out of the way to get it. I'd go again.

              I hope they are having a wonderful trip. I'd be anxious to hear of their experiences down I-10.

              -----
              Isaacks Restaurant
              1606 Main St, Junction, TX 76849

              City Market
              633 E Davis St, Luling, TX 78648

              1. re: deegt
                j
                Jaymes Apr 15, 2010 03:46 PM

                Sometimes I feel like I've spent half of my life on I-10, and actually, I guess I have. I've lived all along it: LA/San Bernardino CA, Tucson AZ, Las Cruces NM, San Antonio & Houston, Panama City FL. And driven it countless times.

                If your friends haven't done it before, tell them to be sure to drive this portion in daylight:

                "In Louisiana, an 18.2-mile (29.3 km) stretch of elevated highway between Lafayette and Baton Rouge is known as the Atchafalaya Swamp Freeway, as it goes over the Atchafalaya River and the adjacent swamps and crosses the Mississippi River at the Horace Wilkinson Bridge."

                Although it's spookier at night, driving across that sea of blackness, thinking about all those swamp creatures below you and praying your car doesn't break down.

                1. re: Jaymes
                  texasredtop Apr 15, 2010 04:43 PM

                  I've driven I-10 over the Atchafalaya River Basin hundreds of times. It is my favorite part of the trip to NO. It's magical to me. My paternal family is from just north of there, on the Atchafalya River north of Krotz Springs, scattered in towns on the east and west side of the river all the way up to Simmesport. I've haven't been on I-10 past New Mexico going west though.

                  Judging from their schedule, they'll be going over it tomorrow during daylight hours. It's a far cry from California :-)

            2. rworange Mar 6, 2010 09:24 PM

              Leaving in 2-3 days, any other suggestions?

              Given it is the Lenten season ... any bakeries with good hot cross buns or anything else seasonal?

              1 Reply
              1. re: rworange
                texasredtop Mar 7, 2010 05:24 AM

                I saw Cooper's in Junction on your list - forget it, it's not good at all. If you are in Junction at meal time, drive in on Main Street (going south) about 1.5 miles and you'll find the Milky Way on the right which is where we usually eat now. It's a burger place with fresh cut fries and good patty melts, burgers, that sort of thing. Isaac's isn't bad either but Milky Way is better.

                I doubt Flagstop Cafe in Boerne is any good either. They have a $2.00 breakfast. I think people eat there because it's so cheap. There's a Rudy's in Boerne, just north of I-10. It's okay, so much better than Cooper's. I haven't been to that one lately but have visited two other Rudy's locations that have improved a lot. The wet brisket is good. Forget the prime rib, it's overcooked.

                In Ozona, the Hitching Post Steakhouse is on the west side of town. It's still good I hear. Great onion rings. Very casual. When you see "steakhouse" in west Texas, it's not normally very fancy unless it's in the bigger cities.

                Understand that there aren't a whole lot of choices on the road until you get close to San Antonio. It's pretty sparse. Take that into consideration for gas and potty breaks.

                Good luck on your trip. Let us know how you made out when you return.

              2. j
                James Cristinian Aug 21, 2009 01:56 PM

                If time is not an issue, I'd take a detour a little east of San Antonio, and hit Luling and then head north to Lockhart for BBQ. Try City Market in Luling, and Smitty's in Lockhart. I'd also spend a night in San Antonio, and since it'll be nice and cool, try the riverwalk, with lunch at Boudro's. There are alot of great Tex Mex places in San Antonio as well, it would be a shame to drive that far and not sample some.

                2 Replies
                1. re: James Cristinian
                  rworange Aug 21, 2009 02:34 PM

                  Unfortunately time is a real issue. The closer to the road and less complicated the access will probably trump deliciousness unfortunately. Thanks though. I'll see if I can somehow plot to make a detour for bbq. How long would you say it is from I-10?

                  1. re: rworange
                    j
                    James Cristinian Aug 21, 2009 04:39 PM

                    A trip to Luling will set you back about two hours, if you eat in the car, and another hour for Lockhart. Remember, this is the finest BBQ in the solar system, and if your within fifty miles, I'd go for it.

                2. rworange Aug 21, 2009 12:47 PM

                  Continuing my research for potential stops ... fee free to jump in any time ...

                  Little Gretel Restaurant
                  518 River Road
                  Boerne, TX 78006
                  (830) 331-1368

                  Breakfast 7:30 a.m.to 11:00 a.m Mon-Sat 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Sunday Brunch Lunch
                  11:00 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Mon-S Dinner 5:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. Wednesat day thru Saturday

                  Ooooohhhh ... kolaches ... I hear they are great in Texas. Any better place? Anyplace nearer to I-10?

                  Cottage cheese, poppyseed, kiolbasa and house-made saurkraut kolaches

                  Bear Moon Bakery
                  401 S Main St
                  Boerne, TX 78006
                  (830) 816-2327

                  Closed Monday. Tues - Sat:6:00 am - 5:00 pm Sun:8:00 am - 4:00 pm

                  This seems the better stop for us than Welfare General Store should we find ourselves hungry near Boerne

                  They also serve breakfast and a buffet. Lots of enthusiastic posts all over the web. Supposedly they make a killer king cake during Mardi Gras time. This is really good to know as the trip will most likely take place sometime early in 2010.

                  Other favorable mentions: Sandwiches on bread of the day with Bear butter (seasoned butter), donuts, bear claws, piggies (pig-in-blanket made with sausage, jalapeno version especially tasty), cinnamon rolls, lemonade, sweet "crumb" pancakes, chipotle grilled cheese sandwich, apricot flips, Texas chocolate sheath cake, apple pie baked in a paper bag

                  Piggie in blanket photo
                  http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?pid=1733893&id=84375236648

                  They have a wine list too ... yahoo.

                  Facebook page. Website WIP
                  http://www.facebook.com/pages/Boerne-TX/Bear-Moon-Bakery/84375236648#/pages/Boerne-TX/Bear-Moon-Bakery/84375236648?v=info&viewas=0

                  Flagstop Cafe & Exxon
                  28425 Ih 10 W
                  Boerne, TX 78006
                  (830) 981-4413
                  http://www.flagstop.com/main.html

                  Mon-Sat. 6:00 AM - 9:00 PM. Sun. 7:00 AM - 8:00 PM

                  Never could resist a combo gas station/car wash and cafe. Depending on time and how tired we are this might do it. The burgers are ground in house, the fried chicken is supposed to be good, the veggies fresh, the prices are inexpensive and it is right ON I-10. They also have a jalepeno cheesesteak. Breakfast is served all day and includes breakfast tacos with house-made tortillas. If there's a need for something remotely healthy there's roasted chicken and broccoli on the menu.

                  1. rworange Aug 20, 2009 03:02 PM

                    Adding places that might have potential along the route. Will add them to my list when Places is back up
                    http://www.chow.com/lists/15048

                    Sutton County Steak House
                    1306 N Service Rd
                    Sonora, TX 76950
                    (325) 387-3833

                    This places is supposed to have excellent chicken fried steak

                    Cooper's Bar-B-Q & Grill
                    2423 N Main St
                    Junction, TX 76849
                    (325) 446-8664

                    Possible good stuff: brisket, jalepeno sausage, blackberry cobbler, sweet tea

                    Cypress Creek Inn Restaurant
                    408 State Highway 27
                    Comfort, TX 78013
                    (830) 995-3977
                    Closed Monday. LUNCH Tues-Sun 11:30 - 2:30 DINNER Wed-Sun 5:30 - 8:30

                    Noted by Texas Monthly as one of the 40 Best Small-Town Cafes
                    http://www.texasmonthly.com/preview/2008-12-01/feature2
                    Texas!
                    "...the chicken-fried steak is among the best we’ve ever encountered... Pies are tops."

                    http://www.cypresscreekinn.com/

                    For lunch there is an all you can eat buffet and salad bar with tea and coffee for $6.95

                    Welfare General Store & Cafe
                    223 Waring Welfare Rd
                    Boerne, TX 78006
                    (830) 537-3700
                    Closed Mon-Wed Thursday - Friday 5:00-9:00 Saturday 5:00-10:00 Sunday 12:00-8:00
                    www.welfaretexas.com

                    Probably waaaay too fancy, but who knows how insane I will be by this part of the journey. Upscale German food in Hill Country. Sort of a German Texas fuision joint with stuff like
                    - Chicken breast sautéed with peaches, jalapenos and onions. Finished in a white wine cream sauce. Garnished with crumbled pecans. Served with spätzel and vegetable.
                    - Spring roll filled with Cajun Boudin, served with a spicy Cajun dipping sauce

                    Yeah, this almost definately won't work, but not willing to let go of it yet.

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