Day 3 was Labor Day and the day i was fortunate enough to meet roadfood legend Bushie. He did not shoot me on site as the northwest liberal that i am. We drove around Austin for the morning where he showed me the sights of the city and gave me lots of info about where to stop, visit and eat.
First stop was Cisco's in downtown Austin. This is a Tex-Mex place that was the real caucus room for the Texas legislature for many years and a major stopping place for other local celebrities(former UT football coach Daryl Royal is a regular as is Willie Nelson). The celebrity photo wall featred every Texas governor in my memory as well as Walter Cronkite and Dan Rather among others. My migas(recommended by the Sterns in their latest book) were perfect and as a political junkie, I loved looking around the place and thinking of its history.
Bushie showed me Barton Springs with its joggers and sunbathing UT coeds. He also recommended the country music nightspot where I had seen Samantha Brown on her then new Travel Channel Series on weekend getaways. We stopped at a juice bar near Barton Springs Park for a grapefruit smoothie infused with enough stuff to be really healthy as well as tasty. Saw the original Threadgills where Ms. Joplin waitressed and sang, the first Whole Foods store, the local farmer's markets where Bushie saw Jim Hightower, a Texas populist-liberal who is a favorite of man, drove past the UT campus and the club scene on the 6th. Bushie is one of the most engaging conversationalists I have spent time with; funny, mildly profane and deeply proud of Austin and surrounding environs.
We spent much time looking for an Amy's that was actually open. Amy's is a local ice cream chain that is a favorite of The Travelin Man's. Apparently they make some flavors with microbrews and Mexican liqueurs but I settled for an exquisite mexican vanilla There was a takeout Amy's across from my motel where i indulged a couple times.
Bushie and I parted around noon and i finally glanced at my paper. The Round Rock Express game I planned to attend started at noon so I drove the 25 miles to Round Rock as quickly as i could and I arrived at Dell Diamond around 1 p.m. The game was in the 7th inning(sic). i-It was the last game of the year and both teams played as if they were double parked. There were 9 double plays, very few walks and the entire 9 innings took only one hour and 35 minutes to play.
I wandered around the park for the last 3 innings. There was a swimming pool beyond the right-field fence, a rock-climbing in center, a section filled with rocking chairs in the left-field bleachers and lots of refreshment stands. The game continued its quick pace and ended with a 1-0 Round Rock loss. After the game there was an opportunity for anyone who wised to to run around the bases. i joined the throng and practiced my home run trot around the bases.
I next drove the 10 miles to Georgetown, Texas for a stop at the Roadfood reviewed Monument cafe. The Monument Cafe was built in 1995 in the style of 1930's Art Deco and has a Texas menu. albeit one that is cooked and presented with a commitment to local, fresh ingredients of the highest quality. My asparagus spears were grilled and went down smoothly, the creamed spinach fresh and hearty, the mashed potatoes melted in my mouth, and there was fresh squeezed lemonade that had just the right mix of tart and sweet. The star of the meal was the chicken fried steak, made from kobe beef and simply the best I've ever eaten. Great spice, fresh cream gravy and tasty beef blended together in a sensual delight.
Dessert was a German chocolate pie with a pecan crust that i saved for later. The owner came by, saw my Roadfood book, and lit up, telling me that Michael Stern had been very good to him over the years and beamed when i complimented his food. I can't speak highly enough of the Monument Cafe and hope that anyone who reads this will stop there when in the Austin area. Bushie bought some Round Rock donuts to our morning meeting. I liked them but thought that both Voodoo Donuts and Annie's Donuts in Portland are better( though that is probably my local prejudice showing).
The evening was spent at the Congress Street Bridge where I saw the famous bats fly out though it was dark and I was unable to get a photo. After the bats, I walked over to the southern branch of Threadgill's. A decent band was playing and since i had already eaten a chicken-fried steak that day, I went for the four veggie plate. I had San Antonio squash, black eyed pea caviar, mashed potatoes, and spinach. The squash was served with a lot of cheese(which I later discovered was velveeta!)and I liked it a lot. The black-eyed pea caviar was cold black-eyed peas with coleslaw. Great meal and a perfect end to an exciting day.
<message edited by mr chips on Sun, 07/11/10 5:58 PM>