Interesting places to ride to just outside Austin?
- James Jun 8, 2006 11:22 AM
My group of vintage Vespa/Lambretta riders likes to take short trips out into the small towns outside Austin, and I'm looking for some good small-town cafes, barbeque joints, diners, etc. Specifically, I'd like to know where we can find good, southern style pies (pecan, chess, chocolate merangue, etc.) We've done Lockhart and Elgin for Barbeque a few times, have taken a longer ride to Blanco and eaten at the Bowling Club (on the way out to a weekend rally in Luckenbach), we've gone to Big Oak Barbeque in Buda, this weekend we're doing Walburg German Restaurant up past Georgetown (none of us have ever been there). I'm thinking of checking out Lock Drug in Bastrop, too.
So, anything I'm missing? ideally, it should be within about 30-40 miles of downtown Austin, with some intresting, non-highway back roads to get there, as we are riding vintage, small-displacement Italian iron 25-40 years old that was never built for speed or long-distance touring comfort in the first place. I already know the big barbeque places (Lockhart, Luling, Southside Market, etc) and we have hit several of them).
There is a real small town northeast of Austin called Hutto. Home of the Hutto Hippo, the town mascots. There must be 250 concrete hippos all over town! Email me for some pics. I know this kinda sounds weird but Vespa folks.......well you know, they gotta be a bit weird too!!!! Ha. Anyway there is a small cafe call the Texas (or Texan) Cafe that has super meals. CFS, hamburgs, and blue plate specials open all day. Great down home food,please don't pass on the super homemade deserts. Moderately priced. Large portions. Check it out.
Hutto does have a lot of hippos everywhere. It's growing and seeing some sprawl, but you are right that the Texan Cafe is fantastic and cheap. If you can get there on a Friday before dinner-time you *might* be able to get the meatloaf blue-plate special. It's always out by dinner and as such, I've never tasted it. It's supposed to be fantastic. Most of the southern dishes there are quite good although some of the sides are a tiny bit weak. The ham steak is good with a root beer sauce, the chicken fried chicken is large, thin and tasty, if a bit over-battered for my tastes. The pork chops are also good.
For dessert you can have the pies made there; it's actually a separate business that kind of exists within the cafe and operates almost as one place. It's a bit too much on the whipped-cream style of pies for me; I prefer custard or fruit pies, but lots of people rant on the chocolate and peanut butter pies. If you want something from the cafe, the apple pie with vanilla ice cream and hot brandy sauce is quite tasty, though it is quite sweet.
If you want non-Southern food, Carmine's pizza is there in Hutto (a little strip mall on the right on 79 going towards Taylor, about 30 seconds before the turn for the Texan Cafe). Carmine is a lifelong pizzaiolo and baker and knows his stuff. Ask for the crust well-done for a good meal. There's also Maggiore's, pretty much across the street, but it's a pizza and wing joint which, while not bad, doesn't do either of them well enough to get my money over other choices in the area.
RO's Outpost in Spicewood (on Highway 71, just west of Bee Cave) has very good pies. I haven't had much luck with their other food, though.
Just down the road is Opie's BBQ, also in Spicewood. I still haven't tried it myself (it's on my list for this weekend), but their 'cue was recommended by other chowhounds. You might want to grab lunch or dinner at Opie's and then stop by RO's for dessert.
I've posted a link to the earlier thread on where to eat in Spicewood.
re: Kent Wang
CFS is steak that's chicken-fried. Good fried chicken isn't fluffy.
Like most native Texans, I've eaten hundreds of chicken-fried steaks from the day I started on solid food through the present. The best ones have been good for different reasons. But not for their fluffiness.
Maybe you'd like to check out this earlier link on the subject.
You need to go back to Elgin one more time and eat at City Cafe, which has superb home cooking (cfs, pork chops, chicken and dumplings, ham, fresh veggies etc., plus the best (and biggest selection of) home-made pies in the Austin area.