The PC was as usual nearly deserted. The banana bowl was
completely deserted. Luckily for all, in the hour I was
there both at least partially filled. Being somewhat bloated
this day and not being able to take my medication for
operational reasons, I ate, one by one, giving others a
chance, which they did not take, every available banana but
one, as I am tired of the Continental breakfast. I dawdled
a bit, as I now choose aisle seats, and arrived midboarding.
Had to put my bag a bit aft.
My seatmate, who for various reasons, including a persistent
failure to figure out the tray table, could have been pegged
as an infrequent traveler, asked for his omelet to be made
with EggBeaters, and the incredulous refusal was met with
puzzlement and succeeding louder requests for EggBeaters
(reminding me of the adage if you don't get what you want,
just shout), which abated surprisingly promptly when I
explained to him that the breakfasts were not made to order
but were rather preloaded on the aircraft, having been
concocted in a cross between a laboratory and a factory.
He meekly ate every bite of his cholesterol bomb breakfast,
seemingly enjoying or at least tolerating it.
The guy on the aisle opposite had some similar request that
my insufficiently Mrs. Kravitzlike ears couldn't quite pick
up but whose denial was met with less good grace. I think
it might have had something to do with fresh-brewed decaf.
I passed on food, my tooth beginning to act up; a glass of
Courvoisier came as a brimfull triple.
Toward the end of the two-hour layover, the bananas lost
their effect, so I had a two-piece dark at Popeye's - this
came as two drummers. Bummers. Next time I have a craving
for fried chicken at IAH I will ask for two thighs to
correct. As I couldn't chew on one side, my tooth hurting
something awful, tearing the chicken flesh off the bone was
awkward and probably a sight to behold.
UA1045 IAH AUS 1420 1517 738 2E
The clever Hilton Website had booked me into the Garden Inn
for January something, the day of the booking, rather than
April something, the day I wanted to stay there. This meant
a large no-show fee and no reservation for the proper day.
Luckily, I was not the only one with this problem, and on
communicating with the hotel I was forgiven the no-show fee;
unfortunately at this late date, the only rooms available at
this facility were going for more than I was willing to pay.
So back to the Sheraton, which had hosted the previous
Austin Do and still had rooms at a tolerable rate. Plus it's
easy to get to, the #100 bus leaving the airport every half
hour, taking a half hour, costing a buck, and stopping just
a few blocks away.
A corner room, nothing special, less attractive I think than
the one I'd had at the Do before, when competition for good
rooms was tougher.
The #3 bus goes to the southern end of the Domain, whence it
is a 15-minute walk to party central. This got to be rather
daunting, as the Do schedule was of long hours, so I ended
up punting the Sheraton and rooming with a friendly FTer at
the Aloft at the Domain, which is pretty much like other
Alofts, i.e., friendly, bright, trying a little too hard to
be hip but, yes, still making me feel my geezerhood.
Breakfast tacos were served on the bus by Starwood Lurker
and Round Rock doughnuts by Mackieman, sponsored by the
always generous Randy Peterson. My mouth was truly aching,
so I passed on the chewables and was granted two gummables,
one plain, one chocolate. These are very good examples,
tender, Texas-size, and Texas sweet.
A jolly bus ride, our first stop (hard to find, and we took
a tour of various industrial parks before reaching our
destination) the Austin Beerworks, a sort of microbrewery
aiming to become a macrobrewery, making quite good beers
with peculiar names that I forgot (as I was still attention
deficited from my sugar high). I tasted a light lager, which
I thought pretty ehh; their German-style black lager, rather
hoppier than the ones I remember in Germany, but very nice;
and an APA that was quite good, floral, with a substantial
but not unmanageable 60 IBU. We got a tour of the operation
followed by a lesson on shotgunning beer. I asked our guide,
one of the owners, what the point of this was, and having
been told that the point was to down liquid as quickly as
possible, challenged him this challenge - he'd do it this
pressurized way, and I'd do it out of a glass, and we'd see
who was faster. He begged off and said he would find a
colleague to sub for him; but before he did so it was time
to reboard the bus for our next destination.
Which was Black's in Lockhart, the consensus favorite of
two years' ago's Do. Interesting conversations with
carsonheim and blakefish en route.
Sadly, my tooth was really killing me, so instead of some
great brisket, my fate was to make a field trip, courtesy
of Mackieman, to Twin Liquors up the road for a couple
bottles of Dynamite Cabernet for the boat trip and a quart
of Rebel Yell for the tooth. We returned for the latter part
of the meal, and I was granted the boon of some soft foods
to nourish my body and soul: brisket fat from lili and
creamed corn from SeeYa - both excellent, and seeming doubly
so given my condition. A Shiner Bock rounded out the meal.
On to Shiner and Spoetzl Brewing, where a short tour and
Q&A were followed by a visit to the tasting room, where we
were entitled to four half-beers each. I paired up as usual
with lili so we could taste everything (at wine tastings
we sometimes have had up to four people on a glass, which
allows for a wider range).
The light blonde was inconsequential; the regular blonde
somewhat better. A black lager seemed truer to the German
Schwarzbier style than the Austin had been though erring
hopswise on the low side this time: I liked it very much.
Wondered how they'd hopped the red to make it so citrusy
but unhoppy, and it turns out it's made with real grapefruit
and ginger, so there. A pale ale was lovely.
They were also were pouring a Hefeweizen, of which I was
offered a sip, but I don't care for the style; and there
was no point sampling the Shiner Bock, as it and Rebel Yell
constituted most of my sustenance for the day.
On to Luling to visit the City Market, where the brisket was
pretty tender and tasty, moist enough but not luxurious the
way Black's is; its sausage was very moist but rather mild;
of course with good meat, an overplus of spice isn't needed.
As I pecked away at only small bits of food, I had time to
nip across the street to check out the neglected Luling
BarBQ - a completely different kind of operation, no smoke
in smelling distance. Its sausage a bit dry but quite a bit
pepperier than the one down the way; I can see the merits of
both styles, but City Market's edges ahead in quality; with
a bit more aggressive spicing, there would be no contest.
The brisket, no comparison. Here, quite mediocre - tough,
not succulent even though cut from the moist end, and way
not smoky enough.
Aug 11, 12, 8:05 am
A big day, starting with breakfast at Snow's, a long haul
away. Lexington is only maybe a quarter hour farther than
Lockhart, but somehow it seems more remote - maybe a factor
of the topography. Snow's, open Saturday only, is claimed by
many as the best brisket in Texas and therefore the world,
rivalled only by Franklin, the visit to which I'd missed.
It's yet another unprepossessing shack with pits out back,
emanating a compelling fragrance. You line up for a trip to
the carvery, receive your bounty, pay, and then out the
front and then around back to the picnic tables by the pits.
The brisket - best of my trip - had good smoke; it was very
tender and flavorsome with notable beefiness. Ordered moist
it was just about perfect.
Also excellent was the sausage - today's flavors were
regular, which was regular, on the moist side, and jalapeno,
just slightly spunkier but otherwise about the same.
Beans, cooked with chunks of dried-out remnants of meat,
are free and worth twice the price (actually, I thought
them quite good).
I was unaccountably thirsty and so got back in line; Bob W
asked me to get him a Big Red; trusting his tastebuds, I
got one for myself as well. It's bubble-gummy with a trace
of unidentifiable perhaps tropical fruit: guesses on the
Internet range from strawberry to citrus to who knows. I'll
not be so quick to trust anyone else's taste in the future.
We stopped to provision at Spec's Liquors - I thought we
would have time to change at the hotel, but we bypassed it
though it was within a mile of our route. I got a bunch of
the Austin beers (fair priced) and a couple bottles of
water (free). I saw Starwood Lurker pick up a bottle of
quite expensive whiskey, of which more later. And then
on to Lake Travis, which despite drought conditions is still
an impressive sight. A party boat had been arranged for us;
owing to the lowness of the water line it was quite a hike
across some pretty treacherous footing to get there, but
eventually we did, with some Canadian stragglers (having
gone to the wrong marina) arriving just as we cast off.
It was a double decker, the upstairs capacity controlled and
showing signs of having suffered some weight-caused mishap
in the past. I mostly stayed on the main deck, thank you.
The fun consisted of drinking, looking at the big lake,
drinking, swimming, for the hardy, and a bit more drinking,
to vary things.
Garrison Brothers Texas Bourbon (94 proof), a very boutiquy
prestige product, I found characterful, vanillary, a touch
of maybe citrus and spice, but more than a touch of green,
which I associate with lesser whiskeys. It also showed its
proof fully and was rather hot to drink straight; bringing
it down to 85-90 proof made it taste richer and easier to
drink. The Rebel Yell that I'd been using to anesthetize
my tooth was a better deal, same genre of thing if perhaps
not so fine, at 1/5 the price.
Dynamite Cabernet 08 was a much lesser wine than it was in
vintages past: I think it's being sweetened up and dumbed
down to cater to a different demographic. The price was
right, anyway, and it wasn't bad for having been gotten in
the wilds of central Texas.
After a couple hours of alcohol and frolic, it was time.
The bus then took us to the height of land, where we were
deposited at Uncle Billy's at Oasis, across the lake - a
striking setting. I'd been worrying my rogue tooth, and
finally it came out just before dinner, with the aid of a
few extra surreptitious shots of Rebel Yell. I was quite
happy with this outcome. I only wish that it had done so
a day or two earlier.
When the food started coming out I deliberately got in
line early while most others were still chatting away so as
to be able to comb through the brisket for the fatty bits,
because despite the relief, there was still a substantial
ache in that unhappy jaw. Ironic that the first meal I could
actually enjoy physically was not one that I could enjoy
The fatty end of the brisket was not nearly fatty enough,
not nearly tender enough, not nearly smoky enough, and had
clearly not been cooked with the loving care and painstaking
technique as at other places. It was good mass-market 'cue.
The sausage was of fine grind and quite hotdog-like, not my
favorite style, and a rib (my first this trip) was quite
A tray of steamed carrots was the only such that I had ever
seen on a bbq line, and I took a few just for the sake of
the novelty. The novelty wore off soon.
Though I was now chopperly equipped to eat more, I didn't
see a need to do so, beer being the filler upper of choice.
The much-touted sunset was beautiful, and our private room
had a private balcony for the viewing, though there were a
few poachers come in out of the economy.
Aug 11, 12, 8:06 am
Final Do event: Salt Lick Round Rock, a very short distance
from the Domain. I actually punted the bus in favor of a
ride with sea777Guy, bk3day, and lili; we arrived 1 1/2
beers before the rest.
When the bus showed up, our room became almost unbearably
noisy. Perhaps the younger generations equate the buzz with
festivity; we grayhairs don't so much. Conversation was
well nigh impossible at our table.
On the docket: brisket, fairly moist, fairly tender, pretty
good; sausage, rather garlicky, kielbasalike; ribs, in no
way a contender. Our table also got some turkey, I think by
special request. It had the texture of brined but wasn't
overly salty; but nonetheless I do not go to a famous BBQ
place to eat poultry. Beans were pretty decent.
Afterward we went off with sea777guy and bk3day again in
search of more food, which I will refrain from describing.
We dropped bk3day off at the hotel and at lili's urging went
to find the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, which was
more interesting than I anticipated. It was a good
explication of the first lady's beautification product, in
words and examples, with examples of most of the native
flowers, herbs, grasses, shrubs, and cacti that one finds
along the Texas highways and byways. There was also a
really nice temporary exhibit of paper sculptures on
botanical themes done by Shou Ping, a Taiwanese now
resident in Texas, Houston I think.
sea777guy dropped us off at the car rental so we could start
on our appendix to the barbecue adventure. But we were sort
of bbqed out, plus we had a big styro container of sausage
from the ever-generous Salt Lick, so further explorations
would have to wait until tomorrow!
The Hampton Austin Airport South is hard to find approached
from the east. From the west, you just take the first exit
after 35, and boom, you're there. It took us half an hour to
get there from the airport, curling around labyrinthwise.
We were damned if we were going to try that again, and it's
lucky we had provisions and some Austin Beerworks beer, so
that was that, and we retired to our rooms to ponder the
rest of the trip.
One thing that was supposed to be up was a special visit to
the Bending Branch Winery along with monitor and Franny and
a few others. Unfortunately, lili got the news that our
contact at the winery had gotten sick. Plan B was to head
west anyhow and take a look at the hill country. The Hampton
breakfast duly ingested, we were on our way. The first hour
on 290 is pretty unprepossessing, Dripping Springs (a
country music mecca, I'm told) notwithstanding. You sort of
go from prairie land to hill country somewhere west of here,
but until you get to around Johnson City the hills are kind
of hard to notice. Johnson City, by the way, is really by
the way: though a county seat, its population is well under
2000, and bump in the road is a good description of it. Just
past that is the Garrison distillery (closed for tours this
day, not that I'd have been inclined to pay $10 for one).
Aug 11, 12, 7:11 pm
Nice trip report. Glad you got to do more than simply eat BBQ.
Too bad you missed out on Franklin. Go there next time. It's really first rate. And to JMueller as well. It's great as well.
Aug 13, 12, 7:49 am
Thanks for the feedback & the remind on John Mueller. Next time.
Aug 13, 12, 7:51 am
The LBJ Ranch is right off the highway. There's a state park
- public - and a national park that is accessible only by
prereserved bus tour. We stayed in the state park, watched a
movie that humanized that president, poked around the local
artifacts and presidential memorabilia, and called it a
morning. We continued westward past quite a number of
wineries, only the most desperate of which were open on a
Monday forenoon, and all of which we passed up.
The bluebonnets were mostly just over, and the wildflowers
showed mostly yellow and orange, accentuating an impression
of dryness and warmth.
We took a quick detour to Luckenbach, for reasons unknown,
and met a bicyclist couple of about our age who were here
from El Paso (no, they hadn't cycled the whole way but were
doing day trips from a camper).
The Alamo Springs Cafe green chile cheeseburger with grilled
onion and fresh avocado, all piled high on a jalapeno
Cheddar roll, was featured a couple years ago on the cover
of Texas Monthly and rated #3 best burger in the state, and
we were within 5 miles of it - despite numerous claims on
the Internet that the place is difficult to find, we decided
we had to seek it out.
It was easy to find. You turn left at the bat tunnel, and
there it is in its anticlimactic plainness.
When we arrived, an overwhelming aroma - they were just
making a batch of their famous roast garlic. We sat down and
were encouraged by the cashier to go find us some beers from
the cooler; I picked two unfamiliar ones, both of which
turned to be lightish and unchallenging, okay in the context
of a big meal in a warm climate, but kind of disappointing
adventurewise. St. Arnold Lawnmower is said to be a Kolsch,
but aside from being a bit green and a bit fruity, it was
pretty much like generic beer, though good for that; the
Alamo golden ale had little character - seemed to be more
like a Weisse with its citrus and notes of spice. When the
waitress came to take our order, the titillating thought of
a huge burger with half a dozen toppings had faded; lili got
a plain hamburger, and for me the marinated pork tenderloin
sandwich seemed to appeal. The burger was standard but good;
it was very much like what I'd have made myself back in the
days when I believed the food police and cooked ground beef
to 160F. The tenderloin was not what I expected at all. Of
course it was not a tenderloin but rather a large cut of the
sirloin; but in appearance and taste it had nothing in
common with any pork sandwich I'd ever had. First, it was
jet black almost to the core of its moderately thin self.
No breading - it had been griddled rather than fried. The
marinade was salty and tart, I would guess a mixture of soy
sauce, A-1, ginger, and vinegar. Not a symphony on a bun,
exactly, but more like Stomp on your tongue.
Verdict: pretty good food, friendly service, very peculiar
location. Would I go back? If I were in Fredericksburg or
Kerrvile, sure; not worth the trek from Austin, though.
Plus I should have gotten the fried avocado.
As it's next door, we took a look at Old Tunnel State Park,
which is pretty woodland and notable only when the bats come
out at dusk, or so the signs and guidebooks said.
Aug 14, 12, 1:03 pm
Fredericksburg is supposed to be quaint and Germanic and
cultural, and ten times the size of Johnson City. As far as
I could tell, it was none of the above - a nice town with
a main street with a bunch of restaurants; the one we
checked out was the Altdorf Biergarten, where the menu is
as much Mexican as anything else, and the only German
touches are a sausage plate, a few beers, and some odd
knickknack decorations. As the Alamo burger had been half a
pound and the peculiar pork tenderloin at least that, food
was not calling. lili had a glass of Rex Goliath Pinot Noir;
I wanted to compare the two head to head, so I got a pint
(bottled) each of Paulaner Salvator and Spaten Optimator.
Short version: they're both fine, malty, sweetish, rich;
I find the Optimator too appley, though, in contrast to the
dark rich fruitcake of the Salvator. Could have been bottle
storage or variation, or perhaps the fact that I'd recently
downed two liters of the stuff at Starkbierfest, but this
time Paulaner wins.
The rest of Fredericksburg, from our very brief wander,
appeared as un-Germanic as it could be - a typical southern
town, no more than that.
Half an hour on a fast road brought us to our next sample
of the Hampton line, this in Kerrville. I don't know what
was going on in this metropolis of over 20,000, but we had
to share a room and though greeted in a friendly way were
issued a large room much of which was taken up by a hot tub
and not enough beds; it also reeked. A huffy trip down to
the desk yielded the information that our reservation had
miraculously changed from two beds nonsmoking to one bed
smoking with a hot tub. Luckily (said the desk clerk), they
were sold out of smoking rooms but had a couple nonsmoking
ones. Attempt #2 yielded a slightly smaller I think room
also with a hot tub, the appropriate number of beds, and
no tobacco odor. Yay.
lili said she had a special treat for me, the most visited
tourist site in the hill country, and don't look it up on
the Web first. So we braved rush hour in Kerrville, turned
right at the light, and were soon at the Hill Country Arts
Foundation, where, L I B ... Stonehenge, intact the way its
designers had intended, and I just roared with laughter when
I first spied it. Closer investigation shows that this
version is only 2/3 the size of the original and made of
plaster and other modern materials. We also ducked into the
gallery of the arts foundation, where nothing so laughworthy
was on display, and some of it was kind of good.
Dinnertime, so we went to Billy Gene's for sunset over the
Guadalupe and what is said to be the best homestyle cooking
It's sort of like an expanded diner but a little more
permanent-looking. As the reviews mentioned, its river's
edge location makes for very pretty sunsets, and this was
a perfect evening for it.
Food was pretty decent. I had a somewhat overgrilled
rainbow trout, a large serving, over half a pound, fresh as
could be but needing a squeeze of lemon for moisture; you
get two sides with the meal, so I had the very southern
pairing of corn (from frozen) and okra (fried nicely but
also from frozen). I would have had chili and chili as my
sides, only it's out of season! being served only to warm
you up in the chill wintertime, when the days don't much
exceed 60F and, at night it can get to almost 0 on the
The drink special: very weak margaritas, 3.99. I had two and
got no perceptible buzz. Of course, I'd had beer with lunch,
and there was the further issue of the pints of Doppelbock
at snack time, so perhaps limiting my alcohol might have
been a fortuitous good thing.
As if she hadn't had enough meat this week, lili had the
small sirloin medium-rare; it came medium (duh) and would
have been much better rare. It was actually quite a nice
little chunk of beef. Her two sides were beef-black bean
soup (with a little cumin it would have been like chili)
and mash and gravy, both of which tasted made in house.
Messina Hof Cabernet - quite oxidized, the fruit character
gone and replaced by an "old wine" aspect - not bad.
For afters I ordered pecan cobbler to see what it was: it
was merely your standard extremely sweet pecan pie, only
baked in a rectangular pan, so there was more gooey
translucent stuff and less crust to cut it. I still almost
ate it all.
Aug 14, 12, 1:05 pm
We had decided that Bastrop, though absent any culinary
(or other) attractions of its own, was a nice central
location for our continued investigations; this required
a long drive past San Antonio and then up on farm roads.
Coincidentally, the route as plotted took us right past
McMahan, the home of the fabled R&G Bar-B-Que, known as the
hideout of Roy Jeffrey, formerly pitmaster at City Market in
Luling, who had been hired away to perform the same role at
Luling City Market (no relation) in Houston, and who had
sought redemption for his apostasy by retreating hermitlike
to a shack in the middle of nowhere. It was said that he
cooked only when he felt like it, which might well be true,
as when we arrived, there was a sign tacked up that said
"closed"; lili opined with her superior eyesight and
perceptiveness that it appeared not to have been open for
quite some time. A mild disappointment, blunted by the fact
that my choppers were working again without overmuch pain,
and we were just ten miles from Black's, which made a fine
consolation prize, as as before the moist brisket was smoky,
tender, and delicious.
Next on the agenda was Elgin for its two sausage places. We
started off at Meyer's Elgin Smokehouse, a dim and dingy
venue whose brisket was somewhat undercooked though properly
moist; its sausage was considerably moist, loose, and meaty
flavorsome, but not spicy at all. No beer, so I had an RC,
a sweetish Pepsilike substance with ample caffeine.
Southside Market is just up the way; it's much more tourist-
friendly, well lit, clean, decent bathrooms. I liked the
food less, though - its brisket was a sad thing, hardly fit
to eat; in keeping with the unmoist philosophy, its sausage
was drier but much more highly seasoned and saltier. It
didn't serve anything properly called beer either - I went
back behind the counter to check out the situation, which
alarmed one of the workers there until he saw me squinting
at the cooler, whose wonders I couldn't see. I remarked to
him that the pickings were slim (mostly A-B and Miller
products), and he sort of snickered. I had iced tea instead;
it came from a massive drum trucked in from God knows where.
On the whole not a stellar visit, and truth be told, Elgin
is easily missed.
A quick trip through town (unprepossessing) and a backtrack
to Bastrop, where the Hampton desk person apologized for no
upgrades being available, which was fine with me; more
troublesome was that there was no fridge for my beer and no
nuke to render my leftover sausage palatable. So I filled a
trash can with ice and made my own fridge, and lili
volunteered to go down to the lobby and find a microwave,
which it turns out is not in the breakfast room but rather,
peculiarly, off near the side door.
Oh, we'd checked out the town before settling on leftovers
for supper - it's not much, and downtown was closed for a
party - the Houston Chamber of Commerce had rented it for
the evening. I suppose we could have crashed the party,
but it didn't look all that interesting. There's a Spec's
in town, anyhow, which had all we needed, which was mostly
a bottle of Clancy's (which since Peter Lehmann has left off
day-to-day management of his winery has fallen a bit).
Aug 14, 12, 2:24 pm
Just love your style, even though I know I will never ever go to most of these places (thank God!). Your trip reports are right up my street (from one musician to another).
Aug 14, 12, 2:34 pm
Thanks for the feedback & the remind on John Mueller. Next time.
As an FYI, we'll be going by there on Sunday afternoon during Mega Do 3 in 2014. It will be the closing event.
William R. Sanders
Social Media Specialist
Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide
Aug 17, 12, 9:32 am
Hampton breakfast - why do we keep subjecting ourselves to
greasy pig products, reconstituted eggs, sugary but
tasteless rolls ... even on days when we are scheduled to
go off and find more stuff to eat? At least the breakfast
room was nice, with a really high ceiling.
Stop 1, Giddings Meat Market, is just half an hour east, and
my belly was full of bananas and orange juice; still, we got
our usual order. Interestingly, at breakfasttime there was
a sizable bunch of people come here for their morning dose
of 'cue. You go past the meat market (deserted), past the
picnic tables (well populated), and back to the pit, where
the guy, sweaty from the fires directly behind him, carves
and weighs your order (meats all the same price), and you
go off a few feet to eat. The brisket reminded me of Kreuz
only better - as with Kreuz, even the fatty end was too
lean and harsh textured, but here the smokiness was well
developed without the meat being dry and burnt. The pork
sausage the gamiest of the trip - I wonder if it was quite
fresh -, but it was also pretty smoky, so pretty decent.
We were now heading into the home stretch as we approached
the sleepy (moribund?) town of Taylor, home of two renowned
The Taylor Cafe is down by the tracks; it's dim and dark and
sort of offputting at first, with neon advertising for
brands of beer that you wouldn't be caught dead drinking.
The bar is u-shaped - apparently in segregation days there
were two parallel bars, and at some point a connection was
made. The waitress-bartender is grumpy but sort of warms up
eventually. lili and I having eaten recently and about to
eat again decided to have a couple beers and split a lunch
plate, pleading elderliness. This had pretty good brisket -
good texture and flavor but not very smoky, unfortunately
drenched in a tomato salsa-like sauce; if you go here, ask
for the sauce on the side; also some kielbasaish sausage.
For an extra buck one can get a couple ribs, but as I feel
that Texas pork ribs are somewhere between an abomination
and a blasphemy, we refrained. Beans and yellow potato salad
were nonpoisonous, and we refused the white bread that
comes, preferring our carbs in the form of Shiner Bock.
Our server, finally showing some attention and perhaps a
grudging pride, came by with a copy of a newspaper that
contained an article featuring the pitmaster, Vencil Mares,
who is about a million years old; his picture had been
autographed in a scraggly old hand. It was represented to
us that he comes in every day to supervise and was in fact
over at the other end of the bar, so on our way out we went
by. The guy, actually only 88 1/2, was asleep. Some of the
regulars told me to nudge him, and eventually one of them
yelled at him to wake up, which he did; we chatted a minute,
and I made mild compliments about the food, and he fell back
asleep, and the other patrons said to come back soon.
Louie Mueller is two blocks away, and the waddle didn't make
much more stomach space, so we just got half a pound of moist
from the very young pit man, who offered a taste so we could
be amused while we waited the 30 seconds or so while our
order was being prepared. The brisket had excellent texture
and good flavor but very little smokiness; the bark was
extremely peppery, which I thought weird. Even weirder was
the fact that their beer license is on hiatus, so we had a
quart of mediocre lemonade instead.
It's a half-hour jaunt back to Austin, and a few more
minutes to the airport, where we had rooms at the Hilton. I
got a nice room away from the elevators, just as requested.
Dinner was leftover Louie Mueller's and leftover wine.
Early to bed and early to rise.
CO1032 AUS IAH 0640 0742 738 3B
I had put in months ago with an RPU, maybe they were called
CR1s then, so as to be assured of sitting with lili on this,
what is it, 20 min flight. Saw her off at her gate and went
to the club for orange juice, bananas, and such potassium-
CO1732 IAH BOS 1119 1612 738 21A
This leg never cleared, and I had to content myself with the
exit row, which was substantially uncomfortable, and I ended
up with a crick in my neck that lasted for days.
Aug 17, 12, 9:33 am
Wm - thanks for the heads-up. Turns out a good friend is
conducting a concert that day, and I feel honor bound to
play in it.