Forgotten Coast, FL to Austin, TX (by a lightweight)

Post
love2bake
Double Chili Cheeseburger
2014/05/05 10:58:47
Just returned from a short road trip from Mexico Beach, FL to Austin, TX and thought I'd share a few highlights here, especially since I've learned so much from reading reviews and posts on this site.  Thanks to all of those contributors!! 
 
First stop, Killer Seafood in Mexico Beach, where I got shrimp and scallops in their signature seafood sauce, served in a grilled bread bowl. I loved this dish.  Also had a slice of their key lime pie (sorry, no pic, but it's well documented on RF).

 
Here's their fried grouper:

 
We also went to Toucan's on this visit.  While it's had problems off and on over the years, our experience was excellent.
 
Oysters Rockefeller:

 
Steam bucket with two kinds of crab, shrimp, sausage, corn, potatoes, and hush puppies:

 
View from Toucan's is lovely:  

 
Leaving Mexico Beach, and being the heathen I am,  I had to stop at Hardee's for a breakfast biscuit.  I got the steak and gravy and loved it.

Several hours ahead of the closure of I-10 due to flooding, I arrived in New Orleans unscathed and found myself on a praline crawl, searching for the best in town.  It was hard work, of course.

 
Of all the pralines I tried, my favorites came from Southern Candymakers on Decatur.  Apparently they've won awards and been featured in a number of articles--definitely deserved!
 
On my bucket list was Camellia Grill, and the location on Chartres appears to have dropped the Camellia name, so I don't know what happened there.  Anyway, I ordered their muffaletta (that's their preferred spelling), which was unusual, in that the meats and everything on the sandwich were grilled, then put onto the bun which they also grilled.  While not a traditional version, it was nevertheless a tasty sandwich.

 
In the morning I made a beeline for Mother's Restaurant, as I couldn't get there on my last visit, and I so wanted to try this:
 
Biscuit with debris.  So good!

 
I also got their grits, and a ham biscuit to go:

 
Amusing sidewalk sign near Jackson Square:

 
And made my way to Cafe du Monde, which as always, was heaven.

 
Wandering around town I saw this sign and wondered whether it was a warning or something a potential tenant would want! 

 
Also on my list was Central Grocery for a real deal muffuletta (their spelling, and I suspect the right one, as no autocorrect kicks in!).  It was wonderful.

 
Headed out of town for Austin the next morning.  Stopped at Steamboat Bill's in Lake Charles because I hadn't had any traditional Louisiana gumbo or jambalaya, etc.  It turned out to be a tasty stop.
 
Chicken and sausage gumbo was smoky and spicy:

 
Crawfish pistolette was great!  I'd never heard of these or frying rolls, so this was a fun food experience for me:

 
 
post edited by love2bake - 2014/05/05 11:23:27
MetroplexJim
Filet Mignon
Re:Forgotten Coast, FL to Austin, TX (by a lightweight) 2014/05/05 11:21:55
What a wonderful idea for a route!
 
Living in McLean, VA and Dallas we've 'done' all of FL except the panhandle. 
 
From your mouth-watering pics it is evident that we're really missing something!
 
Keep the posts a-coming!
 
Thank you!
love2bake
Double Chili Cheeseburger
Re:Forgotten Coast, FL to Austin, TX (by a lightweight) 2014/05/05 12:03:57
Thank you!
 
I arrived in Austin, ready to get my CFS on.  There were so many choices with such mixed reviews, I went with a local friend's recommendation and went to Threadgill's on N. Lamar.  

 
It looked much better than it tasted, but was still better than CFS I can get in the SF Bay Area, so okay by me.  Would I recommend it? Probably not.
 
For the Austin BBQ experience I went to la Barbecue on 6th St.  The pitmaster apparently worked at Franklin previously, so had good cred.  

 
Mixed moist and burnt:

 
Small pork rib:

 
Housemade Texas Hot Guts (I didn't ask!)

 
It's not just humans who enjoy the ribs here:

 
Time to get into nature and walk off some calories.  I visited the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.  Very nice break from city and hotels.
 

 

 
Ouch!  I don't like to think about how this cactus got its name. 

 
Wildlife in a couple of the ponds there:

 

 
Fortunately I saw no snakes, even though they warn you to watch for them.
 
There was a spectacular art exhibit in their gallery.  These are 3-D compositions made from cut-out paper.  I'm highlighting just two.  
 
In the first one, the artist watercolor painted each of the cut-outs.  

 
The second one was just as stunning in black and white.

 
Royers has been on my list for years.  I chose the new Royers Pie Haven in downtown and tried their "junkberry" pie.  It has berries mixed with peaches and a sour cream topping.  Good flavor, but it looked to me like all of their crusts were underbaked. I'd also consider changing the name of this pie.  Just saying... 

 
In the morning I went to Georgetown, TX to Monument Cafe for CFS and pie.  (Does it get much better?  Yes, but that's a little later.)
 
No longer on their breakfast menu (although it still shows it online), they'll prepare CFS upon request.  I really appreciated the 4-oz portion so I could almost finish everything!

 
I got their famous Monument Chocolate Pie to go, but had to taste it, of course, while it was still cold.  I must say, this pie was a standout and so worth driving out of the way for!  Texture, flavor, appearance--it's all wonderful.

 
By the way, Georgetown itself is a darling town with lovely little shops and town square.  Really a nice place to visit and hang for a while.
 
Sweet Serendipity is a shop on the square with a dizzying array of chocolates.  I was surprised to find that they had no pralines (Texas being a major pecan producer), but the person behind the counter had never even heard of them.  She'd been there for six years, too.  
 
Pecan cream "truffle"

 
Salted caramel (chewy type, like Kraft)

 
So, here's where the day can get even better: a stop at Round Rock Donuts.  
 
Nice to know it's cop approved:

 
Maple frosted.  Heavenly, even if not very mapley.

 
Their applesauce cake:

 
Headed to the airport and could not resist trying the Salt Lick store there, in spite of mixed reviews.
 
Here's their chopped brisket sliders plate:

 
I do understand the mixed reviews; however, I loved their BBQ sauce and brought home a bottle.  It's more a vinegary style sauce, a little reminiscent of North Carolina to me.  It's good on chicken, so far. 
 
That's it!  It was a fun visit to several spots on my bucket list, and I found some wonderful things to inspire my own cooking and a few great items available by mail order for the future.  
 
Thanks again to those who've share so many tips on their travels!
post edited by love2bake - 2014/05/07 12:34:55
harriet1954
Double Chili Cheeseburger
Re:Forgotten Coast, FL to Austin, TX (by a lightweight) 2014/05/05 12:25:40
What a lovely trip report! I just love the pictures, and love living vicariously through reports like this.
Re:Forgotten Coast, FL to Austin, TX (by a lightweight) 2014/05/05 12:37:46
Very nice variety, L2B...you picked some good places to visit!
leethebard
Sirloin
Re:Forgotten Coast, FL to Austin, TX (by a lightweight) 2014/05/05 14:25:02
Great trip...great food....what else do you want!!!
buffetbuster
Porterhouse
Re:Forgotten Coast, FL to Austin, TX (by a lightweight) 2014/05/05 14:28:58
A really nice report L2B!  Thanks so much sharing.  It looks like you made some good food choices.  Despite the pie photos, I still think my favorite pic is the bone working on the bone!
Foodbme
Porterhouse
Re:Forgotten Coast, FL to Austin, TX (by a lightweight) 2014/05/05 17:33:34
[quote=MetroplexJim]
What a wonderful idea for a route!
Living in McLean, VA and Dallas we've 'done' all of FL except the panhandle. 
Thank you!

Since it's a wasteland from Jacksonville to Tallahassee, I suggest starting your trip in Tallahassee then dropping down to the Gulf and Apalachicola and work your way West from there staying on roads close to the Water. 
You'll find some Gems along the way all the way to Gulf Shores AL.  
Or you could go from West to East too!
post edited by Foodbme - 2014/05/05 17:35:47
EdSails
Filet Mignon
Re:Forgotten Coast, FL to Austin, TX (by a lightweight) 2014/05/05 23:39:23
L2B,
That is an awesome trip report and the food looks delicious! 
strongy78
Hamburger
Re:Forgotten Coast, FL to Austin, TX (by a lightweight) 2014/05/06 02:51:46
Fantastic pictures and report!  You definitely know how to do it!  Great stops along the way!  Food porn success!
chickenplucker
Cheeseburger
Re:Forgotten Coast, FL to Austin, TX (by a lightweight) 2014/05/06 08:43:17
Great report. What a wide variety of foods and great pics....
mayor al
Fire Safety Admin
Re:Forgotten Coast, FL to Austin, TX (by a lightweight) 2014/05/06 18:18:25
Nice job, young Lady. I never tire of reading of Gulf Coast Seafood and Texas BBQ.  Thank You.
Al
FriedClamFanatic
Double Chili Cheeseburger
Re:Forgotten Coast, FL to Austin, TX (by a lightweight) 2014/05/06 20:27:10
Fantastic job and great photos.  The Art at LBJ wildflower is outstanding.  I visited once many years ago, but alas, my timing via seasons was poor.  The art helped save the day
 
Thanks!.great report
wanderingjew
Sirloin
Re:Forgotten Coast, FL to Austin, TX (by a lightweight) 2014/05/06 20:53:08
Killer Seafood, Mother's and Central Grocery- can't do any better than that. 
I would have gone with the CFS at Hoovers
all in all, sounds like a great trip
love2bake
Double Chili Cheeseburger
Re:Forgotten Coast, FL to Austin, TX (by a lightweight) 2014/05/07 12:33:21
Boy WJ--I wish I had gone to Hoovers, too--another thing I regret from my local friend's recommendation, who said it wasn't real Texas style CFS. Grrrr.    I'd like to get back to Austin again, and if so, I'll definitely stop at Hoovers! 
 
Thanks to everyone!  This was a great route, and yes--would probably be even more fun taking the local roads along the coast (rather than I-10) if you have the time.  As I drove it, it was about 6 hours from Mexico Beach to New Orleans, and another 8 hours to Austin--not bad for someone on a schedule.
 
A word to the wise:  If you're interested in visiting the Hamilton Pool Nature Preserve just west of Austin in hill country, call first.  I drove the +/-20 miles out there on Friday after visiting the wildflower center, only to find out that the preserve was closed to the public that day, and the Hamilton Pool was at capacity and would not allow me to wait for someone to leave.  Lesson learned the hard way.
post edited by love2bake - 2014/05/07 12:44:40
wanderingjew
Sirloin
Re:Forgotten Coast, FL to Austin, TX (by a lightweight) 2014/05/07 13:29:32
LTB
 
I'm hoping this is enough incentive for a return trip
 

 
 
love2bake
Double Chili Cheeseburger
Re:Forgotten Coast, FL to Austin, TX (by a lightweight) 2014/05/07 14:09:19
Uhhh yep! 
CajunKing
Sirloin
Re:Forgotten Coast, FL to Austin, TX (by a lightweight) 2014/05/07 18:46:54
Ahhhhh Killer Seafood, I truly miss that place and the wonderful friends there.  Toucans can behit or miss but there is nothing better than to get there during "magic hour" (1 hour before sunset) and sit there and watch the big ole sun sink into the water as you eat fresh shrimp and seafood.
 
 
love2bake
Double Chili Cheeseburger
Re:Forgotten Coast, FL to Austin, TX (by a lightweight) 2014/05/08 17:38:25
CK - That's pretty much the time we were there.  So nice out on the deck, and our food was great.  There's been some upheaval at Toucan's over the years with owner issues, etc.--hopefully things have settled down now.  
pnwchef
Double Chili Cheeseburger
Re:Forgotten Coast, FL to Austin, TX (by a lightweight) 2014/05/08 18:17:30
L2B, your paving the way for my trip in late Nov. I can almost taste the BBQ in Texas. I'm also looking forward to Nola, I can do a few days there anytime..........Thxs for the great report, looks like you had fun.........pnwc