Going to Texas!

March 14, 2021 • 2:00 pm

Now that I’ve been fully vaccinated with two Pfizer jabs completed well over a month ago, and in light of my having gone a whole year without travel, I’m blowing this pop stand and taking a trip. And it’s to Texas! Why, you ask? Well, see below:

The City Market: best BBQ in America (it’s the sauce!)

A satisfied customer at one of the three fabulous BBQ joints in Lockhart. The sine qua non of Texas BBQ is, of course, beef brisket, but sausages are also big.

Examining the briskets in the smoker:

Chopping the ribs:

Sure good eating! Sausages, sweet tea, brisket, and banana pudding for dessert.

I needed a destination that was:

a. accessible
b. had good food (Paris has “b” but is not “a”)
c. Isn’t too far (I have to get back at duckling time), and
d. Has nice scenery (I love parts of Texas, including Big Bend, the Hill Country, and so on).

So I’ll be in Texas, starting in Austin, for about ten days: from Mar. 29 to April 8. I have no fixed itinerary save that I have to go to Luling, where the City Market resides (first picture; best BBQ in America), and the BBQ-laden town of Lockhart, with three great places in a tiny town. And I plan to visit Hill Country, which also has great food as well as the LBJ Ranch.

Yes, Texas is open and full of Republicans and the Maskless, but I’ll still be wearing my mask when I’m not shoving brisket in my gob, and there are many things to like about the state—cowboy boots, for one thing.

If anybody resides in the circum-Austin area, or not that far away, and wants to say hi, let me know. I am not infectious, having had my shots, and love long walks on the beach and brisket dinners by candlelight. LOL.

59 thoughts on “Going to Texas!

      1. That’s handy. It should allow us and Bill Gates to track him as he goes around to the different restaurants!

        All jokes aside, if the Pfizer jab is 95% effective after both shots, and the CDC seems to feel that fully vaccinated people can safely resume some of normal activities, I say go for it. I’d still try for outside dining and not being too close to people, but other than that…not sure I see a problem.

    1. Yes, I have read about it and I know a. my chances of being infected are reduced by 95% but b. my chances of getting seriously ill and dying are 0%.

      And no, we don’t know at all if you can carry the virus and transmit it if you’re immunized. So, despite your claim that I’m ignorant, I’m not: I know exactly what the risks are. And they’re sufficiently small that I’m willing to run them to take a trip. I have even consulted with my doctor.

      I will of course wear a mask, even when nobody else does, just in case you can be an asymptomatic carrier if you’re infected AND can transnmit the virus. (My intuition is that you can’t be, but I’m playing it safe here.)

      1. “I will of course wear a mask, even when nobody else does….”

        I hope that wearing a mask in Texas does not result in being subject to overt hostility. I think I’d be happier in northern California, Oregon or Washington state. However, no guarantees anywhere.

        But I’m in Canada anyway. And hoping for vaccine by mid-April.

        Then maybe get to Iceland again, even maybe rent an AWD and live like a hermit for awhile, fording the non-bridged interior rivers, where I’ve spent very little time, considering about a dozen trips from 3 days to 6 weeks long in that country.

        Have fun in Texas.

        1. I live in Wichita Falls, part of Texas’s 13th Congressional District, which the Cook Partisan Voting Index characterizes as the most Republican district in the country. While there are a lot more maskless people than I’d prefer, even now that the governor has lifted the mask mandate, well more than half of people in stores here are still wearing masks. Nobody’s going to give Professor Ceiling Cat guff for wearing a mask (especially around Austin).

  1. That sounds delightful. Can’t wait until it’s my turn to get the jab (or jabs!). I had a trip to Tennessee and Kentucky scheduled for April of last year and had to cancel. Here’s to hoping it won’t be too much longer. Will very much look forward to Texan food posts!

    1. Yes, I know of that place but I hear it’s impossible to get in, with long lines. I can’t believe the BBQ is THAT good compared to other places I’ve been in Texas. Given that it’s in Austin, I think it’s a yuppie fad!

      1. I’ve eaten their BBQ brisket and it’s right up there with the best anywhere. But it can definitely be a hassle to get it.

  2. The brisket must be good but with a ton of saltine crackers? That seems a bit weird. Is that a personal thing or some kind of Texas tradition? I know the white bread thing is common in the South. That seems much less weird than crackers. At least you can make a sandwich. Have a good trip and some great eats!

    1. crackers are most def out of place in any texas bbq meal. any place which serves anything but white bread will be scorned. but, if they also serve chile, they are de rigueur for that dish, but don’t get me started on the beans vs sans beans civil war! /guy

    2. Saltines and squishy white supermarket bread are texas traditions. And you get NO UTENSILS in the good places, like City Market.

      No sandwiches! You eat a bite of brisket and then chaw on the bread or gulp a saltine.

      1. Since I have free will, I reserve the right to make a sandwich and not eat my brisket with saltines. Also, this kind of tradition gives tradition a bad name. Would better bread not improve the experience? And is the “no utensils” thing really a tradition or a way for the restaurant to cut costs and make more money. When I open my restaurant, I’m going to have a big plaque at the front claiming that there’s a tradition of giving the owner all the cash in one’s wallet upon leaving the establishment. It might work in Texas since they are so big on tradition. Sorry, just having some fun venting.

  3. Just going as a vacation? (Which you certainly deserve!) Or will you be giving a talk on anything that’s open to the public? Just asking, have friends in the area.

      1. Not much in the way of music events either so far as I can see, but I did notice that there’s every likelihood Austin City Limits will be on in early October. One of the best music events in the World imho.

  4. In Fort Worth,

    Railhead is supposed to be good.

    But be sure if in Ft Worth to go to Kimbell Art Museum and Amon Carter.

  5. Glad to hear that! Seems I will be waiting a lot longer for my jabs, since Biden won’t allow Astra Zeneca or Johnson & Johnson to ship vaccines to the European Union.

  6. Report from Houston: The vast majority of businesses are still requiring that customers wear masks. The vast majority of people are still wearing masks

      1. I live so close to Goode Company on Kirby Drive, that i can occasionally smell the smoke from my condo !!!

        Levi Goode and I both share the same hobby, collecting old beer cans and breweriana. But I don’t have the heart to tell him that his Southern Select neon sign is a reproduction.

  7. Long time Austin resident, now in Brooklyn, but I’ll stake you to a meal at Billy Durney’s Hometown BBQ in Red Hook next time you’re in the city. He looked all over the country for inspiration and then went to Texas to study with Louis Mueller to perfect his craft, and jangle my spurs if he didn’t nail it!! Wash it down with an ice cold Shiner, you’d swear you were in Lockhart.

    1. I was there, and had special privileges since I was referred by a friend of the librarian. I got to look at some of LBJ’s papers, including the minute-by-minute diary of what he did every day—and that included his trips to the bathroom!

        1. According to Caro’s biography, Johnson use to confer with his aides while he was sitting on the can defecating–and leaving the door open. Caro said that this was one tactic he used to demonstrate who was boss.

  8. I have to get back at duckling time

    Sic transit gloria monday’s ducklings.
    We’ll be calling to Professor Ceilingduck soon.

  9. Hey there, I’m in Georgetown, just north of Austin. You’re welcome here for a meal or a meet up. My boy would love to meet you.

    If you’re interested in some caves, there are some great ones nearby. I recommend Longhorn Caverns State Park: https://visitlonghorncavern.com/ There is some great scenery and driving nearby.

    Inner Space Caverns in Georgetown and Natural Bridge just south of Austin are fine, but they are on the main road and have a lot more traffic.

    Austin has a decent nature facility as well; https://www.austintexas.gov/department/austin-nature-science-center
    It’s more geared for kids, but it has some interesting exhibits and you can walk around some “zoo-like” animal enclosures. They have a couple of bobcats and other animals that, for various reasons, cannot be reintroduced to the wild.

    Some more geology stuff is Hamilton Pool: https://www.atlasobscura.com/places/hamilton-pool
    You can swim, but it fills up fast. You have to go early. My wife has painted there a couple of times. Make a reservation.

    You can visit some fossil tracks in the San Gabriel in Georgetown.

    If you want to visit an art museum, the Blanton is great. https://blantonmuseum.org/?gclid=CjwKCAiAhbeCBhBcEiwAkv2cY5WlFaCdMEgCZFL04UfSPapzyD_byxdXQxln1bxOhIY8IafKF5JN4hoCmIwQAvD_BwE

    Food wise:
    Avoid Franklin’s BBQ. It’s supposed to be amazing, but I find it way too salty. You probably ought to make time for a visit to Kirby Lane, Torchy’s Tacos, and Soto (if you like sushi and Japanese fair). We definitely agree with visiting Black’s BBQ. My granmother-in-law lives there. We visit often.

    Another thing you might find interesting is running out to Fredericksburg and visiting the Pacific War Museum. https://www.pacificwarmuseum.org/
    There are number of winerys on the way to Fredericksburg.

    If you want explore a little further afield, San Antonio is just a 90 minute drive south (plus an hour or two to get anywhere in the traffic nightmare that San Antonio is). They have a great zoo… or did the last time I went 10 years ago.

    Feel free to give me a ping.

  10. This is great news jerry. Just passed two weeks on my second pfizer today and yesterday met children and grandchildren in williamsburg for an outdoor sandwich lunch on DOG street. CW has set up lots of tables (well spaced), umbrellas, and outdoor heaters so that people can get take-out and sit and eat outdoors. It was nice to iron a shirt, put on big boy pants and shoes, and have lunch with my family for the first time in close to a year. I am sure this trip will be at least as mentally uplifting for you. Bon voyage!

  11. Congrats! Will you be heading to New Mexico at all? Santa Fe is starting to open up. You could see the now obelisk-free Plaza, first time since 1872 or so. Maybe attend a trial of some of the woke/activist/streetfolk who tore it down a few months ago. Not sure about the eating scene yet, though. Chicago Dog Express is open though! We’ll treat.

  12. I wish I tried Kreuz’. There was a Bon Appetit magazine issue which highlighted their brisket. A great quote from the owner :

    “God made hands for eating.”

    The photo of him suggests I would agree if he was looking at me when he said it.

    The Salt Lick – beautiful setting
    Rudy’s in the south is in a nice setting

    There’s the beautiful gardens – I forgot the name…

    Cheers

      1. Right – the quote is in regard to the cutlery policy

        I looked for a copy online of the Bon Appetit issue – elusive, surprisingly.

    1. I’ll second The Salt Lick BBQ in Deadwood. My brother and I used to drive to Austin at least once a year from Louisiana just to eat there.

  13. Next time I’m in the area, I’m interested in visiting Comfort TX and learning more about the Freethinkers of early Texas. German atheists settled in the Hill Country in the 1840s and were Treue Der Union. Maybe you’re interested too?

    https://ffrf.org/about/getting-acquainted/item/17121-freethinkers-of-the-early-texas-hill-country

    https://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/entries/freethinkers#:~:text=A%20Freethinkers'%20Society%20held%20regular,in%20Comfort%20until%20the%201970s.

  14. I live in south Austin and would love to meet you.

    In addition to the culinary and geological pleasures the region has to offer, there is a perfect example of old Austin that you won’t find anywhere else–the Cathedral of Junk! Vince is an eccentric who has been building an odd structure out of found objects in his back yard for years. You can walk in and around it and it’s always morphing. At one point the city was going to make him tear it down, but the story is that former Governor Ann Richards intervened and he merely had to rebuild part of it. This is what “Keep Austin Weird” meant before it was turned into a Chamber of Commerce tourism slogan.

    https://www.tripsavvy.com/how-to-visit-austin-cathedral-of-junk-guide-4161299

  15. Well you’ve been itching and climbing the walls for too long now – go and enjoy. Plus, the Chicago winter has to be even less fun than the NYC one.

    You deserve it. And like your Paris trip, do send us the food photos!
    When I get my jabs it’ll be the Bahamas again for me. Can’t wait.

    D.A.
    NYC

  16. I loved the elephants coming on command. Like the guy playing Bach to the blind one the other day here (who was playing Goldberg Variations AT THE RIGHT SPEED for a change!)
    More elephants plz. 🙂
    D.A.
    NYC

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