I’m starting this thread today as the show starts tomorrow, and some of you may be on the way down. As I did last year, I’ll add photos for each category that interests me. And just like last year, every road trip is worthy of a cyber recon for good eats. Except in this case I don’t need to do one. Like Colorado, and Wyoming, I’ve pretty much got al of the important exits off of the interstate (I-35 in this case) memorized. This first post is going on the assumption that you’re driving to San Marcos, just as I drove to Omaha last year.
Last year’s burgers were Freddie’s and Runza’s, apparently a staple in Nebraska.
This year only one choice makes sense as far as a burger chain - Whataburger. Texas born and bred, and honestly, if you’re gonna have fast food you could do worse.
But who goes on a road trip just looking for fast food? You want what the locals eat. If you’re headed down I-35 approaching Austin you may consider the Czech Stop. Exit 353, east side, the town of West, Texas. I don’t even need to look it up. Kolaches. I’ve heard there are some places on the west side of the highway as well, but this has been one of our stops for many years until another Texas institution became just as popular - Buc-ee’s. You’ll encounter a few on I-35 on the way to San Marcos. They have anywhere from 80 to 120 gas pumps, the cleanest rest rooms you’ll ever see at a “gas station,” and of course all kinds of Texas goodies - rubs, jerky, and yes, even Kolaches, which are surprisingly good.
Save room because farther south you’ll hit the German Hill Country. If you’re in the mood for overpriced German food then Fredricksberg is a must. Honestly, my Chinese wife makes better Schnitzel, and I’d put my homemade Rotkohl against anyone’s in town. But the Nimitz museum is definitely worth a visit.
Speaking of museums, a thirty minute jog west off of I-35 takes you to Fort Cavazos (Formerly Fort Hood and already nicknamed Fort Cerveza) and the First Cavalry Division Museum as well as the Third Cavalry Museum. And if your trip allows, you may as well head south to Camp Mabry outside Austin for their Armor museum. Don’t bother stopping at King’s Hobbies in Austin - it’s a great shop, but they’ll be set up at the show.
Once in San Marcos, tonight even, you may want to indulge in Texas Barbecue. You’re on your own when it comes to that. I prefer a Memphis style barbecue, smoked over fruit wood with a vineger based sauce. Some time back in history someone pulled the greatest con game in the history of barbecue by convincing Texans that Mesquite, a weed prevalent in Texas, made for good smoking. It’s not bad, but not really that good either.
I’ll leave you with one other “must eat” choice while you’re in Texas: Tex-Mex. Find a little burg around San Marcos, one with an FM (Farm to Market Road) running through it. There’s bound to be a very good little family owned Tex-Mex joint there. The smaller the town the better.
If you’re not into games of chance, especially where the colon is concerned, there are two small towns with just such a place on I-35W right before it joins back up with I-35E - Grandview and Itasca. Los Compesinos is the one in Grandview. If you happen to come down I-35E instead, the small town of Italy is also right before the merge. Excellent place called La Hacienda. Either way you’ll get to experience real small town Texas life.
That’s the food report.
And now here’s our own Bradley with the weather:
Next post will be all about the plastic, but Bradley doesn’t do plastic. Thankfully.