Tuesday, November 25, 2014

A Long and Winding Road...

How lucky can one person get? The Dining Companion's hermana needed someone to drive with her from California to Washington state? Pick me, pick me!!! Guess what? She did! 

That's how I found myself heading down the famous California Highway 1 on a cloudy Friday morning. The views were stunning. None of these pictures do it any justice.

Day one found us headed out of the Los Angeles area towards Hearst Castle. We planned to tour the castle and then have lunch at Nepenthe in Big Sur. Which is what we did, but, and it's a big one, it was pouring rain by the time we got to Big Sur. The usually breathtaking views the restaurant is famous for were nowhere to be seen. Lunch was a little disappointing but we made the best of it and got back on the road.  Our destination for the evening was Morgan Hill, CA.

People camp along the side of Highway 1.

By the time we got to Morgan Hill we had been on the road for over twelve hours. That can only mean one thing, beer and bed. Day one down.

We were up bright and early the next morning and ready to hit the road again. Not before breakfast though. We found a great diner nearby and fueled up for the day ahead.

Leaving Morgan Hill we headed inland a bit and took California Highway 5. We were headed for Oregon. (We made some stops along the way that I'll cover in upcoming posts)


We stopped here to take a few pictures

The drive through the mountains was amazing. 

Day two ended in Medford, OR. We weren't on the road nearly as long as the first day so we made it to Medford with time to take a look around town and grab some dinner. 

We set out early on day three for our final destination, Seattle. We did make a side trip to Portland, because donuts. More to come about that.

After 1200 miles, rain, rock slides (teeny, tiny ones), drifting sand warnings, various wild animal crossings (deer, elk and bear. Oh my! And wild boar too!) we made it to Seattle Sunday evening. That gave us one day to hit the highlights. And that's exactly what we did.

Happy traveling!

Coming soon: We visit Hearst Castle, get sidetracked by olives, and eat cursed donuts. All that and much more. Check back!

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Further Adventures in Barbecue

The Dining Companion and I have now visited just about all of, what are considered to be, the top BBQ spots around. At this point we're at the "varying degrees of good" phase. All of the barbecue we've had recently has been good; some has even been great. At the top level of the smoked meat game, clearly, these people know what they're about. First up is la Barbecue in Austin, TX. la Barbecue is located in a food truck park in Austin, TX and is another BBQ place with a Mueller family association.

We got in line about an hour before they started serving which put us about twelve people back. Not too bad and gave me a chance to take a look around GoodLife Food Park.

I'd also like to point out that GoodLife Food Park is pet friendly.  

Once la Barbecue started serving the line moved fairly quickly.

We placed our order and had our food in no time.

Frito Pie, pickles, Turkey, Brisket, onions, Sausage and bread
 Everything was great. The turkey and brisket were cooked perfectly with just the right amount of smoke flavor. The sausage is course ground and home made with a perfect balance of  seasoning. The Frito Pie with its shredded beef and pork topping was a delicious add on.

Overall la Barbecue does smoked meat on par with all of the other big hitters in this category.

I stopped by one of the other food trucks at GoodLife too, Hey Cupcake. I got a sampler of their mini cupcakes. Just the right thing to cap off our visit.

Next up is Black's Barbecue in Lockhart, TX. For those of you who may not know, Lockhart is one of the main BBQ towns in Texas. It is home to many of the most visited and written about barbecue joints in the state. Old school places that have been around for what seems like forever. We chose Black's as our Lockhart stop. Black's has been around for something like 80 years and has been in the same family all that time.


I looked over the menu and placed our order.

On this stop we got our barbecue to go. 

Sadly, that means I don't have any pretty pictures of the food we bought to show you.
These shots will have to do...


The good stuff is in the bag!
Once again, all of the smoked meats we had from Black's were really good. They also had something on their menu we hadn't seen before, a smoked pork chop. We had to try it and I'm glad we did. The thick cut, bone in pork chop was cooked to perfection. The smoking process brought out all of the pork's great flavor without drying it out. I'd definitely have it again.

Until we get to Memphis, I think this closes the current chapter on the Great BBQ Adventure. If something new and exciting happens in the world of barbecue we'll check it out and I'll be sure to mention it here.

Happy dining!

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Silver Saddle Smokehouse - Bellville, Texas

We stopped in for lunch recently at the Silver Saddle Smokehouse in Bellville, Texas. Me and the Dining Companion going to a BBQ restaurant should come as no surprise. How I learned about this one might.

I was looking for a place for lunch that was dog friendly and Silver Saddle popped up. I use BringFido to help locate pet friendly restaurants and lodging when we travel with the 4 Pound Wonder.

A pet friendly restaurant in small town Texas and BBQ to boot? We were there.

I headed in to place our order. Silver Saddle Smokehouse is set up like most market style barbecue places. There is a handwritten menu near the counter that covers what's available that day. Meats can be ordered by the pound, in a sandwich or in a combo plate.

Seeing as how this was the first of two planned barbecue stops of the day we kept our order small. Ok, smallish.

We got the brisket and sausage with mac & cheese and corn casserole. Everything we had was good. The corn casserole was terrific. It was a nice place to stop for lunch. The fact that they could accommodate our dog was a nice bonus.

If you're traveling with a pet take a look online for places that are pet friendly. A surprising number of hotels and restaurants are. You might find yourself at a good barbecue place, enjoying the view of Main Street, and fending off a small dog before she can make off with the brisket!

Happy travels!

NOTE: The Dining Companion's hermana and I hit the road recently for a little road trip. That little trip took us from the sunny beaches of Southern California all the way to the rain swept coast of Washington state. We had a little adventure, a lot of fun and made some memories that will last me a lifetime. Posts about the trip will be along soon. Stay tuned!

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Tito's - San Antonio, Texas

On our most recent trip to San Antonio the Dining Companion and I stopped in at Tito's Mexican Restaurant. We've walked by this place on prior visits and finally made the time to try it.

Tito's is a full service restaurant located in the historic King William neighborhood. We stopped by one morning for breakfast.

 We took a seat at the bar and looked over the menu.

Breakfast menu and a good morning margarita

I ordered the King William Favorite and the Dining Companion got a couple of breakfast tacos.

King William Favorite
Two eggs, ranchero sauce, papas con chorizo,
refried beans & a side of carne guisada

Salsa and fresh made tortillas
Breakfast tacos - (1) Machacado & (1) Barbacoa
For my money you can't beat a plate of carne guisada and fresh tortillas. The Dining Companion graciously shared his tacos with me. I'd never heard of or had machacado before. Machacado is a dried beef dish. The beef can be sauteed with eggs (machacado con huevos) or with peppers, onions and tomatoes. I can't be sure but I think the version we had was the one made with tomatoes, peppers and onions. What I do know, is that it's delicious, and I would gladly have it again.

If we get the chance to get back to Tito's we'll give it a try for happy hour and dinner. I'd love to try the fajitas.

When planning your trip to San Antonio be sure and plan to visit the King William and South Town areas for the great local bars and restaurants. A little off the beaten path but definitely worth exploring.

Note: If you're traveling with your pet Tito's outdoor dining area is pet friendly. One more reason to check them out.

Happy dining!

I'm going to take a minute here to mention that we also stopped in at B&D Ice House this visit. We've been here before for BBQ but wanted to give the menu another look. This time we decided on two of their unique sandwich creations.

The "Bruno"
Southtown Slammer

 I did mention unique right? Tasty and the perfect thing with a cold beer. If you're strolling through the neighborhood and looking for lunch, definitely give these guys a try.