Goodbye Fort Worth – Hello Austin

About a week back as I type this we left Fort Worth and picked up a rental to take us down the highway to Austin. No surprises there really as we have ventured to Austin previously and really enjoy it. But before we got to Austin we had to drive on by to visit a bucket list – the Salt Lick BBQ. This place always rates highly as far as Texas BBQ goes and this visit we made it a priority (well, it was quite easy with a car as we could cruise on past Austin, visit the Salt Lick for a BBQ feast, then back to Austin.

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Cowboys part one

Seems like ages ago but really one … um, three days ago (I think – it’s the dateline, and my damn watch which keeps changing dates just to confuse me). Our first couple of days were spent at the Embassy Suites in downtown Fort Worth. Very nice hotel in a good location with a very good complimentary breakfast a highlight including cook to order omelettes. It was busy with many Patriot fans in town for the football, which is in another post, but also very laid back.

It was also where we signed up with Uber – big thumbs up there. For instance no hassles, clean, polite, came exactly when it said it would, charged exactly what was expected and unlike the taxi from the airport it accepted credit cards without a grumble. Some good eating places here, easy to walk around and Sundance Square is a nice place to sit back and watch the world.

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Conspiracy Theory

Room with a View

We finished our trip where we picked the car up from – Dallas. Not really sure what to expect but it was a pleasant enough place but I don’t know if there is a great many things to do without a car – we returned the car when we first arrived then had two days to fill without it.

Our accommodation again was excellent and we scored another upgrade to a room that had a full kitchen bigger than that at our old place in Ascot Vale, a lounge room and bedroom. Were we part of some conspiracy that was getting us such great accommodation or is the only conspiracy in Dallas that involving Lee Harvey Oswald?

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Is this the Winner?

Before (my mouth still waters)

Picking a BBQ winner is not an easy task as each has their own individualities. However, for overall flavour Smitty’s Market in Lockhart TX is a clear winner. It is also very traditional – smoke stained rooms, meat carved in front of you on an old fashioned butcher’s block and straight from the smoker, meat sold by the pound, long trestle tables, lemonade, no-forks no-plates no-sauce, plain white sliced bread, and all served on brown butcher paper. This is BBQ.

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Have I Mentioned Doughnuts Yet?

While there is no certainty as to which place is the home of BBQ (see earlier post) there is no doubt that USA is the home of the doughnut – but I’ve been good, plenty of danishes for breakfast where we had the free hotel breakfast, but no doughnuts.

Round Rock DonutsBut in Round Rock Texas there is a place that has excellent doughnuts (for those who have Foxtel and watch Man vs Food, this is where we came across this place) and as we were out that way we thought we better check in.

The doughnuts at Round Rock Donuts did not disappoint – in fact they were the best doughnut I have ever tasted and I am a doughnut connoisseur. They are light, crispy and flavoursome without being sickly sweet. We didn’t go the giant doughnut but went for a couple of chocolate and I had to go for the filled – excellent. If I was rating doughnuts – 6 out of 5.  Our four doughnuts and a coffee cost less than four bucks for the lot – try and get that back home. I love America 🙂

The Home of BBQ

Well, I don’t know which place is the real home of BBQ but Memphis, Kansas City, The Carolinas, and Texas are the crowd favourites. Each has their own characteristics (a lot to do with the rub, when to apply the rub, and the sauce – if needed at all). Texas was the first place I tasted real BBQ when a local took us to one of the real BBQ places on our first visit to Austin several years back – that’s when I fell in love with BBQ ribs and sauce and pulled pork and have been trying to replicate or come up with my own flavours ever since (some are successes, others maybe not so good but no-one has died yet).

So on this trip to Texas going to BBQ was a priority – but which one was more of a problem. There is an excellent iPhone app put out by Texas Monthly who rate the top 50 BBQ places in Texas. The other problem is man can not live on pork ribs alone so obviously we couldn’t go everywhere everyday so we limited to one on the first day and one on the second (we were at the football on the third but more on that later – hook ’em horns).

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Welcome to Texas

Crossed another border and almost back to where we started our drive – the LoneStar State Texas. I’m about two and a bit days behind on blogging – there is so much and so little time – and will probably finish things when we get back home as there are things I haven’t gotten around to writing up from our previous three weeks.

Anyways, good customer service at the visitor centre on the Interstate 10 and we scored a free map, guide book and even a bag – but because we are in Texas where everything is big this was one of those maps that you can’t open in the car, the guide book is like a telephone book and the bag (well, that was just a bag but a very nice one).

Snapped this photo at the border – we will be prepared.

Deep in the Heart of Texas

Enjoyed the complimentary hot breakfast – lacking a few of my favourites but it was nice to have eggs for breakfast. Then we spied the make-your-own waffles. Caroline gave it a go, even more exciting as the waffles were in the shape of Texas.

Texas waffle

Texas waffle

Unfortunately, when it came time to take a photo I had eaten the heart of Texas (note the quaint cutlery – plastic fork, real knife?)

Rest of the trip went well – Mrs Garmin kept sending me the wrong way but once on the Interstate it was an easy drive. A lot of trucks but the traffic flows and merges well (not like Melbourne where no-one knows how to drive on a freeway).

Hot Springs at the moment – just to break the drive – not quite sure why else we are here – that’s what the hotel guy said too – “You’re from Australia. What are you doing here?”