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EAST BOUND AND DOWN…LOADED UP AND TRUCKIN’

September 16, 2012 1 comment

To say we saw a few 18 wheelers on the road between Memphis and Nashville would be one of the grosses (or is it “most gross”) understatementS ever uttered by mankind…..Cledus Snowman (Jerry Reed), of Smokey and the Bandit fame, would have thought he died and gone to Trucker Heaven…..

SNOWMAN & FRED

Trucks and more trucks, as far as the eye could see….I’ve never seen anything like it….there would be stretches where there weren’t any other cars…..just The Wife, me, our kinda crummy Dodge rental car and a highway full of massive transports…..

Being the smallest thing on the road made for a semi-nervous drive…..so by the time we got to Nashville we were kinda pooped…..and the fact that our GPS took us through an extended scenic route to our hotel, didn’t really help any…

But we arrived, no worse for wear, and after a moment or two of chilling out we began thinking about where we wanted to eat….there are a few Triple D spots in Music City, but there weren’t any very close to our hotel and we were too tired to drive into town…..so we grabbed the hotel restaurant list and between it and my IPAD we figured on a couple of possibliities……they were all close together so we just decided to crawl back into the car and to make a final decision  on the way…..as we were leaving the hotel we ran into the desk clerk taking a smoke break outside….we asked, “What’s good to eat……and close?”

He rattled off a few spots but then suggested a place called Vittles…..he said the food was down home-styled cookin’ and the prices were very reasonable….both of those sounded good to us, so off we went…

It was only about five minutes from where we were staying…we found it in a strip center….we parked and as we got inside we noticed a couple of things….one…..it was big…..loads of dining space……two it was kinda like a cracker barrell-light…..there were some trinkets and jars of preserves on some shelves in the entry way….

 

The hostess showed us to a table and when the waiter brought us some menus we gave him our drink order…..the menu was varied with all the down home-styled usuals…..chicken fried steak, chicken, meatloaf, etc…..but there were also some things like pot roast, shrimp and southern styled catfish….

I’m usually pretty good about deciding what I want pretty quick….and we all know The Wife, for all her wonderful qualities, can be ……let us say…….in-dee-cisive about ordering a meal….however, on this particular evening she was first deciding on the catfish…..I, on the other hand was torn between the pot roast and the chicken fried steak…..and it wasn’t until the waiter came back that I picked pot roast……yep…..that’s what I wanted…..pot roast….

BUT THEN…..something happened that almost never-ever-ever-never-ever happens…..

The Wife was asking what southern styled catfish was and as the waiter began telling us that it was more or less a cajun styled catfish with a little kick to it…..suddenly pot rosted began to become a distant memory….”I’ll have the same….”, I heard myself saying…..

For sides I went with black eye peas, corn nuggets, hush puppies and ambrosia salad….

For those of  you unfamiliar with what ambrosia salad is……let me fill you in….growing up on Moma’s side of the family we had Mamaw…and Mamaw was always a whiz in the kitchen….she could cook you up a mess of something that would be some of the best mess of something you ever ate….but as she got older and she became kinda limited in the kitchen, she was the designated “Ambrosia Salad (or as we called it Pink Salad), bringer….and so, I never see this concoction that I don’t think of Mamaw…..it’s really just pink or green jello with marshmallows, assorted fruits and sometimes nuts….but it holds a very special place in my Fat ‘Ol Heart…

The waiter left to put our order in and we reflected on our trip so far…..it had been a good few days…..lots of good food and the Elvis Experience to boot….

When we got our food….I must say….it looked pretty good….maybe we were in the “Very Tired” zone or maybe we had just lucked into a place that was serving good down home cookin’…..

 

The catfish did indeed have a bit of a cajun (or as Moma would say, a coonass) bite to it….the spice was not overwhelming but it did let you know it was there….and the portion was ginormous in nature….it was so big that The Wife halved her’s and had enough to feed The Father-In-Law, who was joining us, later that night…

The sides were all good…..the pink salad couldn’t hold a candle to Mamaw’s but was really good……the corn nuggets were hot and crispy…..the hush puppies held up the good ol’ Southern tradition…..and the corn bread was moist and buttery…..

We finished off our meal with good ol’ scratch made nanner’ puddin’…..

I DIDN’T TAKE A PIC…THIS IS JUST SOME INTERNET NANNER’ PUDDIN’

If you ever come across a Vittles and you’re hungry, I highly recommend stopping….the food is really good, you get lots of it and the prices won’t wipe you out….

And now for the Brisket Pics…..she’s gotten bigger and even though she knows what a pet door is for….she’s still taking advantage of the “Pee-Pads”….between all the tinkle and her sharp lil’ teeth….we have to constantly remind ourselves how cute she is and how much we love her…..

ALWAYS THE SWEET LIL GIRL

We really do love her…..we…..really…..really…..do…..

VERY PROUD OF THE HOLE SHE JUST DUG

http://vittlesrestaurant.com/food-menu.html

 

 

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A DAY AT GRACELAND: PART 1

Here are some images from our day at Graceland….

 

 

Categories: Uncategorized

A GOOD BURGER AND LIP-SMACKIN FRIED CHICKEN

January 4, 2012 Leave a comment

Well, the holidays do nothing if they don’t give us time to spend with our relatives….and the two weeks that make up Christmas and New Years gave The Wife and I a chance to see many of those who we claim as family….

The week before Christmas we got to spend some time with The Wife’s dad…..he’s from Kerrville…..so….I guess we can call him….Dad From Kerrville….I don’t think he’ll mind that….

During his visit we packed up one afternoon and went to see a movie….The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo….an ok flick….I’d recommend reading the book(s) first…..I hadn’t, so I left with as many questions as answers….

After the movie we made our way to Market Square in The Woodlands…. there was a new burger joint waiting for me…..and it was high time to give it a try….

The Counter….a burger place that claims 312,120 + burger combinations….when you walk in you are handed a clip board and a pencil…..you browse through the possibilities, then order by checking what you want and handing the clipboard back to the waitress…

AN ALMOST ENDLESS MENU

First your meat….you may choose from beef,chicken, turkey, or veggie…..you decide on what you want and how big you want it….then your cheese they have 12 to pick from….after the cheese you pile up the toppings (up to 4)….there is a 3.5 step which allows you premium toppings like bacon, ham, fried egg, etc…..then you go with a sauce of which there are about 20…..and finally your bread….there are 5 of these to choose from….

I went with a 2/3 pound beef burger, with Tillamook cheese, lettuce, tomato, pickles, grilled pineapple, applewood bacon, mayo, on a hamburger bun….a long list….

INTERESTING BURGER COMBO

We order an Onion Ring/Fry combo platter to go with our burgers….

RINGS-N-FRIES

The burger was very good…..nothing great but a nice piece of beef with some tasty fixens piled on….I really loved the bacon/pineapple/cheese combo…..the tastes are all over the inside of your mouth…..nothing like a party between your lips…..

The fries and onion rings were both good….

I liked The Counter and will go back….if nothing else to continue to try the many different combinations…..

Between the After-Christmas lull and the build up to New Year’s Eve, we met The Sister-n-Law (there’s only one), A Brother-n-Law ( I have two), Nephew #1, Niece/Wife and their baby at one of my ALL-TME-FAVORITE-SPOTS (ATFS)….The Barbecue Inn….at 116 E. Crosstimbers, Houston….this place has been around for so long that I think most people have been there at one time or another…..its as old school as you can get….from the decor to the waitress staff…..some of whom may have been there from day one, some 60 years ago…..it’s charming and the food is beyond incredible…..

A HOUSTON LANDMARK

For years I have always ordered the chicken fried steak….it’s perfect……The Wife always goes with the fried shrimp….which is as good as the cfs…..and we both always save room for….or if there’s no room we still stuff in a piece of pie…..The Wife loves the chocolate and I am lemon pie guy….

Tonight would be a little off the wall…..I have always heard about the fried chicken….I’ve seen people order it and it looks wonderful…..and even though the menu tells you will have to wait an extra 20-30 minutes for your chicken I ordered a mixed plate and fries….

Almost everyone else ordered fried shrimp and fried oysters…..

We waited….and waited…..it took the full 30 minutes and about the time our food arrived The Baby had had enough and #1 Nephew and Niece/Wife took their dinners to go…

I apologized for ordering the chicken…..but I’m here to tell you…..it was worth each and every second I waited to sink my teeth into the best fried chicken I’ve ever had….if I was a preacher I would have pounded the pulpit and screamed praises to Jesus for the bounty that had been laid before me….

GOLDEN BROWN PERFECTION

Not sure where to start….the crust is amazing…..golden brown and crispy….I could have eaten a plate of just crust….and the chicken is moist and delicious….the dark was unbelievably moist…. the drumstick I had should be featured in some sort of fried chicken hall of fame….

When there was nothing but the bones left on my plated, I was using the end of my finger to scavenge any remaining crust particles that I might find….

We got our pie to go and it made a very nice midnight snack…

Now the The Barbecue Inn isn’t in the best part of town….but we’ve never had any type of problem and they do have a security guard patrolling the parking lot….he even will walk you to the door….

NOTHING TO WORRY ABOUT

I love the Holidays…..getting to see family and friends is always special…..but I think a new tradition has been born…..from now on the week between Christmas and New Years will now forever be a time for a trip to the Barbecue Inn and some of that Fried Chicken….

Have a Happy & Blessed 2012…..from your favorite Fat Guy….

http://www.thecounterburger.com/

NO WEBSITE FOR THE BARBECUE INN

2011 in review

January 1, 2012 Leave a comment

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2011 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A New York City subway train holds 1,200 people. This blog was viewed about 5,000 times in 2011. If it were a NYC subway train, it would take about 4 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

Categories: Uncategorized

BBQ BASH DAYS 2 & 3…

December 18, 2011 Leave a comment

Saturday was spent driving to Luling to eat at Luling City Market….then to San Marcos for The Women to shop till I dropped….driving to Lockhart to eat at Kreuz…and was finished up by watching THE BAYLOR BEARS WHIP OKLAHOMA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Except for being a little disappointed in Kreuz it was a great day…

Saturday we got going with breakfast in the hotel…..I guess it was what it was….a freebie…..then it was off for round two of the Death Star Outlet Mall Shopping Spree….YIPEE!!!

Noon rolled around and we headed back to Lockhart to try out Smitty’s BBQ…the background here is that Smitty’s is where Kreuz used to be…when Daddy passed away Brother and Sister could no longer BBQ well with each other….so Smitty’s took the spot and Kreuz took the name and moved down the street…as I said in an earlier blog, I found Kreuz a little too salty for my tastes….the hot link was good but the clod and ribs weren’t all that…

BBQ CHURCH

Smitty’s BBQ is what I’d call as old school as it gets….you smell the smoke a looooooooooooooooong time before you walk in the door….and as you walk in you can’t help but notice what years of smoke and heat have done to the walls and celing…..but omg…if those walls could talk…..decades of BBQ wonderment from people who know what BBQ should taste like….

SMOKE COVERED WALLS

One of the most amazing things I’ve ever seen was the actual fire pits that create the smoke that create the BBQ magic…even The Wife commented on how “Wild” it was to see the fires and those huge pits….I wish they gave guided tours…..Disneyland with meats!!!!

MAGIC FIRES

The heat was intense as the yellow/red flames roared…and the smell was just as intense….smokey flavored air surrounded me as I made my way to the counter to order…having over stuffed myself ( I guess that really is possible) the day before, I was a little more….shall we say….cautious with my ordering…a couple of slices of brisket, two ribs and a sausage link…they offer bread and/or crackers with your meat…if you want any sides you must leave the HOLY MEAT AREA and order those from the counter in the dining room…I stuck with just the meat and WonderBread….

SMITTY'S DINNING AREA

The dining area is nice….long tables with chairs…..and a TV or maybe two….it was Sunday so while I enjoyed the Q I watched Dallas vs. Washington….I opened my brown butcher paper and the meat was “purdy”….looked moist and barked in just the right places….I couldn’t wait to sink my choppers into it….

I started with the brisket….from bite one it was moist and the smokey flavor was incredible…of the four places I tried I would say this was the best brisket I had….this stuff didn’t need sauce….it was tender and every bite was incredible….I think Waller County Line has some of the best brisket I’ve ever had….but this would be the best brisket I ever had-A….

LEGENDARY Q

The ribs were tender and came off the bone with ease….wonderful smoke….I liked the crust/bark on the ribs at City Market better….but these ribs would take a back seat to no one…..

The sausage was incredible….great snap and spice kick….I know sausage is a personal thing….different people have their favorites throughout our great state….I still think I would rate the sausage at Meyers in Elgin as the best I’ve ever had….and this was not as good as that….but it was really really good…

This was my Fave spot of the four…..as old school as you can get as far as how they prepare the Q and just knowing that that old smokey building has seen as much Texas BBQ History as most places in the state…. was like being in BBQ Church….

We left through the pit area and I got one more shot of the heat and smoke that makes Smitty’s BBQ special….

A FINAL LOOK INSIDE

Thank goodness the Mall was still working when we made our way back to San Marcos….I would have hated to have missed out on another round of shopping….but The Girls shopped till it started getting dark and we headed back to the Embassy Suites…..after a little rest we piled back into the overstuffed SUV and headed for some dinner…..there was a Chili’s nearby so we opted for that…..

I ordered a Jalapeno Smokehouse Bacon Cheeseburger….and I must say it was a nice pit stop from the BBQ….Chili’s does a nice cheeseburger and when you add jalapeno and bacon…..it is all that much better……

A BUGER BREAK FROM THE BBQ

After dinner we headed back home…..watched some Sunday night football and then called it a day….we still had a last trek down to the Mall, then the trip home through Luling and  our final BBQ stop…..Luling BBQ….

We went store to store till it got to be about 11am….and then a miracle happened…..The Wife looked at Moma and said…..”Unless you need to look at something else…..I think I”m through”…..

I held my breath and my heart sank as Moma said, “If we could try that one store one more time…..”

I steeled myself for another walk through the Death Star…when miracle #2 happened….”You know…..I can do without that”……Moma had seen the light……and we had shot our two little torpedos into the small intake valve and destroyed the Death Star……for a brief moment I was Luke Skywalker and was flying away as the Death Star exploded behind me…..

Before anyone could decide otherwise….I hearded them back into the SUV and pulled onto the highway and began making our way to Luling…

Now this place is right across the street from the first place we stopped….Luling City Market….so with these two legendary BBQ spots so close together you can imagine how wonderful the smells are…..smokey wonder fills the air…..

LULING BBQ

We walked in……a nice little joint…..picnic tables…..and an order counter…..there was a line……the locals in Luling have it good to have these two so close together….I’m sure there are loyal patrons for each one……but what a dilima to be stuck with……

Of the four places we tried, this one offered the most in the way of variety….besides BBQ they offered plate lunches and burgers….The Wife and Moma had been real troopers up till now but the “Q-Overload” set in and they went with cheeseburgers….

THEY SERVE MORE THAN Q

I went with a little brisket, a sausage link and a couple of ribs….no sides but the Nanner Puddin looked too good to pass up…..I got my order and we made our way to the table…..they brought The Girls their burgers and fries…..

The brisket was solid…..very moist and tender…..the sausage and ribs were very good too…..to be honest I would have a hard time choosing between the two Luling BBQ joints…..on the Q alone…..but…..Luling BBQ offers a very unique sauce…..it’s Mustard based…..and ohhhhh my……it kicks some serious hiney…..I put it on everything I had….welll not the Nanner Puddin…..but on the brisket…..sausage……and ribs…..it added layers of flavor to each and every bite……it was even good on the WonderBread…..

ALL GOOD..

The Girls liked their burgers….they were huge and full of flavor…..this was their favorite spot…..

THE WIFE AND MOMA LOVED THIS

In the final thought on my little BBQ Bash…..I’d have to say that Smitty’s was my favorite…..Luling BBQ would be next because of the sauce…..but the ribs at Luling City Market were incredible…..it is almost a toss-up for me between those two…..but Kreuz was my least favorite….and now that I can say that I’ve been there….not sure I would go back….

Well, I would be very remiss if I didn’t thank The Wife and Moma for my gift of Q…..it was a great weekend…..and even though I was a pack mule for most of the time…..they were great sports for sucking it up and eating BBQ for three days…..

BBQ'ING NEIGHBORS

If you have any Q in you…..you gotta hit some of these spots in the Texas Legends BBQ Trail…..Luling, Lockhart, Elgin and Taylor truly do make up the BBQ BIBLE BELT….so when you hit your knees remember to thank the Good Lord that you live in Texas…..

http://www.tourism-tools.com/texasbbq/Welcome.html

http://www.lulingbar-b-q.com/

http://www.smittysmarket.com/

THE GENIUS THAT IS…..BIG WILLIE STYLE

October 22, 2011 Leave a comment

Friday night rolled around and it was time to start thinking about….where to go eat…

I had dragged myself off the football field and was in the car headed home when The Wife called…how about Wunsche Bros. in Old Town Spring?

A wonderful idea….

I love Wunsche Bros….great food with a little German flair….so I was all in…..

We were going to meet Big Willie and family for our usual Friday night dinner….we arrived, parked and got inside….if you’ve never been to Wunsche Bros it is like stepping back in time….not too far back but to a time when things were a little more simple and basic….its an older wooden structure that opened in 1902 as a hotel/saloon and it says….”Welcome…..sit back….relax…..enjoy”….

We found the Big Willie’s and sat….Big E…had brought some Lego things to play with and I soon found myself battling ninjas, knights and a weaponed out speed boat….it wasn’t long before my legion of heroes was laying at the feet of Big E’s army…..at that very moment the waitress showed up and saved me from more death and destruction…

We ordered our drinks and I spoke up and requested an order of Sausage Sauerkraut Balls….and then round two of the battle for Lego World began…and as if on cue….the waitress saved my bacon once again and set down a healthy helping of fried sausage and sauerkraut….they were golden brown and not overly hot…..with a side of ranch we all helped ourselves and enjoyed….the crusted balls are flavorful and addicticting….even Big E, who is pretty particular about what he likes enjoyed…..

DEEP FRIED SAUSAGE AND SAUERKRAUT....SGT. SHULTZ WOULD APPROVE

We then began to order and I’ll have to admit I was torn….for a moment I almost became The Wife and deciced and then re-decided…..Chicken Fried Steak…which I know is delicious or….step out on a limb…..the Chicken Fried Chicken Sandwich….the discription of the CFC sandwich includes the words…”Our Famous….” and for me that was the kicker….I sawed off the limb behind me and ordered the sandwich….

I ordered my sandwich with mayo, lettuce, tomato and added cheese….I was going onion-less and mustard-less tonight….but then the Genius of Big Willie sparkeled through like a comet streaking through a lonely, dark Texas sky…..Willie uttered one word…..”BACON”….

I blinked…..shook my head…..and said….”WHAT?”

“Put Bacon on it”……

His smile spoke volumes…..he knows me well……

I looked from him to the waitress and said…”Is….tha….that possible?”

She smiled and said, “We can put bacon on anything.”…..

I nodded to let her know that was what I wanted and then selected the onion rings over the fries….(my one mistake)

I began to tingle…..I had a new hero…..and he had stepped into that roll with a simple word…..

I tried to return to the battle before me but my mind was focused on what I was about to eat…..sorry Big E…..Lego War was no longer utmost in my brain….

We finally got our food and to say I had to wipe my mouth is a little understatement…..I think I used four napkins before I took my first bite….the CFC sandwich at Wunsche Bros is…..thick….its a two-hander….and if you had a third hand it would help….it was hard to get my mouth wide enough to fit it all in…..but ….the physical sacrifice was worth it…..the bun is fresh…..the lettuce and tomato crisp…..the cheese melted perfectly….and the bacon mixed with the CFC was un-godly….each taken on its own would have been wonderful…..each combined with the others……incredible….

WHO'D HAVE THOUGHT.....BACON MADE IT DELICIOUS-ER

Big Willie glanced over at me and between the fallen Lego men I simply smiled and nodded…..letting him know…..his suggestion had been a stroke of Genius…..I’m sure I had sandwich hanging out of my mouth and I’m sure The Wife told me to clean it up….but I didn’t care….this was sooo good….everything else ceased to exist….

I was soon brought back to Earth, however…..the onion rings….less than I’ve come to expect from WB….in a way it was probably good that I didn’t like ’em…..cuz I’m not sure I could have finished both sandwich and rings……and….had room for desert….you gotta leave room for desert at Wunsche’s…..

I swallowed the last of my wonderful sandwich and then began the discussion of what to order to finish off our meal….there are some great choices at WB for desert…..the pecan pie is very good….the coconut cream pie is dang good….and there are two versions of chocolate cake that are delicous…..a whiskey chocolate cake (my choice) and a fudge chocolate cake (The Wife’s choice)…..wanna guess which one we got??

Fudge chocolate cake it was…..it is actually called the Texas Fudge Chocolate Cake….and it is very good…..a little too fudgy for me but I did manage to get my share of it down….I know it sounds horrible….but I did it…..

I must say that Big Willie is a pretty smart guy….he hangs out with me……how is that not smart….(haha)……but every once in a while someone you know will step out of our Earthly constraints and step into the realm of Genius…..and on this particular Friday night in an old wooden building in Old Town Spring….my friend pulled one down from the Heavens…..

Big Willie…..I love ya man…….

http://www.wunschebroscafe.com/index.htm

HERE’S ANOTHER NON-FOOD POLL….

September 21, 2011 Leave a comment

When is the last time we had an original show on TV…..we seem to be recycling all the old 70’s shows……

Even the stuff with new names seem to be just crummy variations on what we already have…..

Cop shows seem to be the worst….lets make the lead character….weird, obnoxious, or just put t hem in a funny hat….and …..

B A M !!!!….can we say “Fall’s Next Big Hit”…..

I can’t stand new TV…..give me…..Andy & Barney…..Beaver & Wally….Norm & Cliff…..Klink & Schultz……those were the days…..

Now we come to the poll question…..

The next copy-cat show is a new version of Charlie’s Angels……I mean two really bad movies weren’t enough???

Now granted I was @15 when the original show came out….so my opinion is clouded by a teenage boys first view into “JIGGLE”  TV….

But com’on….do we really need to better…..Kelly, Jill & Sabrina???

So…..which was your angel of choice???

Categories: Uncategorized
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