SW Hill Country: Kerrville 'Cue and Medina Apples
- Carter B.
I made an excursion to the southwest Hill Country this weekend and stopped at a couple of places that I've never been before that I thought I'd share.
Our first stop was at Buzzie's Bar-BQ in Kerrville (213 Schreiner). It's a little off the main drag of Kerrville but still had a decent crowd at 2:15 on a Saturday-- always a good sign. It was easy to understand why as the brisket was very tender and had a great smoky taste. The only other meat we tried was the sausage which was a bit dry for my taste. Their pinto beans were quite hearty and when I poured some sauce on them they reminded more of my mom's baked beans than pinto beans. Nonetheless they were good. The sauce was a rather thick sauce that reminded more of a deep South sauce than the typical sauces I see in Texas. It's always nice to have a change. Of course the brisket had no need for sauce. Desert was peach cobbler (sadly, they were out of blackberry) and was excellent.
I have a very picky barbecue scale that I rate barbecue places and I'd give this place a rating in the low 80s which is a very solid rating. When I'm in Kerrville again you can be sure that I'll be back to Buzzie's.
We spent the night camped out at Lost Maples State Park. The maple trees are just starting to turn yellow, by the way. By the time we hiked out of the park we were quite hungry for a good meal. We decide to suck it up and make the absolutely gorgeous drive from Vanderpool to Medina on 473 where we stopped at the Love Creek Orchards Cider Mill & Country Store.
Now if you didn't know (and I didn't until this weekend), Medina is the Apple Capital of Texas and Love Creek Orchards is on the more prominent places promoting that fact. We went in not knowing much more than there would apple related food items for sale. What we found was a little slice of apple heaven.
In the back of Love Creek is a little food stand under the covered patio where they sell items like hamburgers and chicken salad sandwiches. I didn't have particularly high hopes when I ordered the day's special Deluxe Cheeseburger with jalapeno jelly. I'm not a hamburger maven by any means, but the burger that came out was big and juicy and the jelly added a nice taste. A very good burger with only drawback was the cheese seemed to be a slice of Kraft American cheese. The special came with lemonade but some in my group opted for the fresh cider and seemed to enjoy it.
The real treat was desert. There is so much to choose from. Their apple pie is gigantic-- the whole pie was 4 pounds! They also sell apple ice cream with apple cider sauce, caramel apples, apple turnovers, apple strudel, and more. Plus they sell sauces and mixes that they have samples of. I wasn't lying when I called this place apple heaven. I had the apple ice cream with the apple cider sauce and was so happy with it that I picked up a bottle of the sauce and one of the huge apple pies. I would have grabbed some ice cream, but I didn't have anything in which to cart it back to Austin. I only wonder what the place is like in non-apple season. I imagine it's just as good, but visiting in the fall just seems so right...
Both of the places we went to this weekend were quite wonderful. Probably not wonderful just for a solo trip from Austin, but they are quite close together and are in the prettiest part of the Hill Country. It turned into a wonderful weekend from the food to the hiking to the weather. I hope all readers will get a chance to visit during fall.
As always, I'm curious if I missed any other places in this area. Do you know of any other special food places around Kerrville?
First of all, Love Creek does have all their great apple products even in winter (and I agree---the apple ice cream with the warm apple cider sauce is absolute heaven!). Don't know where they get all their apples in that they don't have nearly as many espaliered (sp?) vines just outside of Medina as they used to. But the great home-cooked food is there year round. In the fall they also have a special Pumpkin Festival for kids just on the "outskirts" of Medina--you obviously don't have to travel far from Love Creek's store for that. They also have a branch in Kerrville, but I don't know if they have all the food there.
As far as 'Cue........you should have gone just across the street and south about a block!!! Look no farther than Keese's BBQ in what used to be an old gas station. His brisket is WONDERFUL! As is his cabrito! He doesn't always have it, and if you have your heart set on it, give him a call and order it as it's well worth it if you're a cabrito fan. Sausage and ribs are also good, but not as good as the other two items--in my opinion, anyway. The beans are very good, "regular" pinto (as opposed to a baked bean kind of thing), the potato salad only so-so. I don't usually bother with the sauce although it's good--of the variety that is thinner than what you've described and a tad more vinegary than sweet. Keith grew up right outside of Medina and his kids help out in the business, so it's about as "down home" as you can get. He used to just have a little stand up by the "Old Timers", but moved into the former gas station within the last year. Do give it a try! You won't be sorry! Last time we were there, he was only closed on Weds. although he closes about 3 on Sundays. But give a call as his hours may vary and you DON'T want to miss it!
As far as other good food in the area, Bandera (you know, the Cowboy Capital of the World!!!) is south of Medina about 10 miles. Billy Gene's has great chicken fried chicken and a nice view of the Medina River.
Happy chowing in the Hills of Texas! Also--I think that road you must have taken from Vanderpool on into Medina is Hwy 337 (leaving Lost Maples you go a couple of miles into Vanderpool and then left on 337 to Medina)
Buzzie's has the best Q in K-Ville. Try Lost Maples Cafe in Utopia for great hill country cooking and ambience. In Hondo, McBee's has good Q and Hermann Sons is fun old school Texas road house.