Don’t mess with Texas, Don’t Tread on Me, Everything is bigger in Texas, Keep Austin Weird, The Lone Star State… Texas is one of the few states that whip up a flurry of sayings often emphatically shouted by some proud Texan. Texas has pride that is only matched perhaps by a born and raised New Yorker from the Bronx or Brooklyn. Texas runs deep in the veins of the locals and they like to remind you. Things ARE big in Texas. The state itself is massive. Trust me, I know! I drove hours and hours…and hours… across the western part of the state through tumble weeds and dust storms. Not my favorite leg of my road tripping!
I have an interesting love/hate relationship with Texas. I love the BBQ but I hate the heat. I love the thunderstorms but I hate the hours of open dusty flat nothingness. I love the friends and family I have there but I hate the “we are better than everyone” attitude from many Texans I’ve met and by those I’ve almost been run off the road. Yes, Texas you get my vote as the worst drivers in the country.
My first trip to Texas was around 2004 when Mario and I went to visit his family. It was his mom’s birthday and we flew down to surprise her at work. She of course burst into tears when she saw her “baby boy” coming towards her with balloons and flowers. What I remember the most about that trip? The amazing food (tortillas, tacos, rice, beans, enchiladas) that came out of his mom’s kitchen. I also remember the oppressive steal your life away heat. I got heat stroke on that first trip thank you!
I’ve been back to Texas so many times I’ve lost count. Most of the time spent was in Austin and the surrounding towns. I’ve visited Dallas, Houston, Waco, El Paso and San Antonio along with a few pit stops in a smattering of small one horse towns along the way. It is a toss up between Tennessee and Texas as to which state’s citizens wear more cowboy boots and dye their hair blond.
In addition to great food, I’ve also visited a handful of distilleries because that’s what I do. Balcones in Waco, Garrison Brother’s in Hye and Still Austin in Austin are just a few of the many distilleries popping up all over Texas. The state has their own whiskey trail similar to Kentucky.
What I have not done is spend that much time outdoors exploring Texas nature. Most of the time I am there it is just way too hot. I am not one for hiking and exploring when it is over 100 degrees. But, I know that Texas has some great natural beauty and perhaps I will need to make a visit in January to explore some of it… while eating BBQ of course.
One of the best things about Texas and usually my first stop within 30 minutes of getting off the plane. I love Whataburger! Also, let me remind people it is called WHAT-aburger not WATER-burger. Get it right!
The Salt Lick BBQ is just a must. If you are in the Austin area and you do not head over to Driftwood to experience this place, you’ve missed out.
The Salt Lick outdoor area to eat and relax and watch the beautiful horses on the ranch.
Heaping piles of BBQ! For a set price you can get unlimited beef brisket, sausage and pork ribs along with the fixings. The first time I went, I followed the unlimited meal with hot blackberry cobbler with vanilla ice cream. Needless to say I was so stuffed I could not put the seatbelt on in the car because the pressure hurt!
Unfortunately, Threadgill’s is no longer but I loved coming here for lunch. It was my very first “chicken friend chicken” I’ve ever had and the first “chicken fried steak” I’ve ever heard of.
Alvin Ord’s is a little lunch dive in San Marcos that is just a must stop. Not only are the sandwiches gigantic and good but it’s fun to sit in the old wooden booths and read years and years, layers upon layers of past visitors contributions on the wall. My name is up there somewhere!
I lived in Prague for a year and I never really heard about kolaches. There seems to be a strong connection between the Czech Republic and Texas. In the middle of nowhere you will find a tiny town that has the local claim of being the best Czech bakery in the state. Having been to many Czech bakeries in Prague I can’t say it is anything like a Czech bakery BUT what I can tell you is kolaches are DELICIOUS. Every time I come to Texas I will get myself some for breakfast. They are basically pigs in the blanket just WAY better.
When I was a little kid my Aunt Rosie always would bring me Big Red chewing gum. I loved when I learned there is Big Red soda that Mario would drink anytime we went to Texas.
I like pickles but this was a surprise to find them at a movie theater concession stand. Apparently, it’s a thing in Texas. Get your bucket of salty popcorn and then plop a gigantic pickle on top.
Downtown Houston. Need I say more?
The Rothko Chapel in Houston with the very unrelatable art I wrote about in a previous post here: Paint me a picture
A little bit of France in Paris, Texas.
Just a normal day in Texas getting behind a cow transport.
After watching every seasons of Fixer Upper on HGVT I was excited to stop by Magnolia silo/market/farm in Waco. Fun property with food trucks, bakeries, large outdoor seating area for games and music and a large home design market.
The Alamo! It was 107 degrees in the shade that day and I wound up with heat stroke.Share this post