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1000 miles through Texas with a vegetarian and a baby


Restaurants & Bars 3

1000 miles through Texas with a vegetarian and a baby

WasabiP | Feb 10, 2006 11:32 AM

A few weeks ago, I roadtripped from the Midwest to California with my wife and four-month-old son; lots of chow to report on, much of it visited on recommendation! In this post I'll record what we ate in Texas, which we traversed in a somewhat complicated way -- from Texarkana to Ft. Worth to Waco to Houston to Austin to El Paso. Special notes: my wife is a vegetarian (who eats fish), so I'll remark on the suitability of various places for vegetarian hounds, for whom Texas can be a barren place.... all comments and second opinions very welcome, especially for the places that haven't been covered extensively on chowhound already...

BRYCE'S CAFETERIA, TEXARKANA: A chowhound favorite and deservedly so;
a classic cafeteria that's been serving home-style food here (though
not in this convenient seconds-from-I-30 location) since 1921. The
line moves very fast and the servers don't seem too interested in
answering questions, so try to decide what you're having before you
belly up to the counter; based on our experience it would be hard to
go wrong. Fried chicken was superb, as was, to our mild surprise, the
salmon croquettes my wife had; these possessed many of the virtues of
a good solid crab cake. Great, very buttery carrots. Lots of
fantastic looking pies; we only tried the Karo coconut, which was
delicious. The only weak spot was the mac and cheese, which here is
more of a drab mac and bechamel -- missable. Lots of older folks here
who will coo over your baby if you've got one.

Bryce's Cafeteria
2021 Mall Dr, Texarkana, TX
(903) 792-1611

TWO SENORITAS, MT. PLEASANT: A huge, festive Tex-Mex, again just seconds off
I-30 at exit 162A. The place was packed with locals -- the food is nothing
special, but it's a perfectly good place to get a meal if this is the
area where you need to stop -- I didn't find any chowhound
recommendations anywhere nearby. Vegetarian stuff: the usual bean
burritos and cheese enchiladas.

Two Senoritas Mexican Restaurant & Cantina
I 30 & 271 Byp, Mount Pleasant, TX
(903) 572-5057

CAFE MODERN, FT. WORTH: Usually eating in the museum restaurant is a
compromise, but the cafe in the Modern Art Museum of Ft. Worth would
be worth a trip even if you didn't see the museum (but you
should see the museum, which is great.) I'd call this place "haute
Texas" -- we had an appetizer of Texas toast with goat cheese and wild
mushrooms, which was just about perfect. A beautiful room that
screams "design," and in New York would scream "$30 entrees" -- here
everything runs about $10. Reasonable vegetarian choices.

Cafe Modern
3200 Darnell St. Fort Worth, TX. (In Modern Art Museum)

OLIVE BRANCH, WACO: It's a small, remote city these days that doesn't
have a cafe where a pierced yet enthusiastic twenty-something sells
you coffee and a tomato-basil-mozarella sandwich or a big omelet. And
Waco is not a small, remote city. And Olive Branch is that cafe.
Pretty nice place, in the old downtown convenient to the (worthwhile!)
Dr. Pepper Museum. Food equivalent to the analogous cafe in the city
where you live. If you go for Sunday brunch you'll have to fight
for space with the Baylor crowds coming from church. This being
Texas, most of the salads have meat, but there are a few vegetarian choices.

Olive Branch Bakery & Cafe
601 Franklin Ave, Waco, TX
(254) 757-0885

HUNGRY'S, HOUSTON: A somewhat standard sandwich-n-soup joint near
Rice University, a bit expensive for what it is. And there's a TV in
the dining room playing CNN, if you find that kind of thing annoying.
Huge menu, including lots of vegetarian items.

Hungry's Cafe & Bistro
2356 Rice Blvd
Houston, TX
(713) 523-8652

THREADGILL'S, AUSTIN: We loved this place when we stopped here on our
last roadtrip, me for the chicken-fried steak, my wife for the
five-vegetable plate. It wasn't as good as we remembered -- not bad
at all, but not worth a special trip. Maybe you have to be here when
it's hopping -- we were there at 4pm, almost the only people there, and
the shadows getting long -- it just didn't seem exciting.

6416 N Lamar Blvd, Austin
(512) 451-5440

DER LINDENBAUM, FREDERICKSBURG: We stopped in Fredericksburg and
picked a restaurant more or less at random -- we chose this over the
more famous Auslander Biergarten, across the street, because AB has a
smoking section and we wanted to spare the baby the smoke. We chose
well: Der Lindenbaum is a small, very friendly and gemutlich joint
with a more interesting selection of German dishes than the other
places on the block. The highlight was the red cabbage side,
perfectly crisp-tender with clovey highlights. Beyond that, not so
much for vegetarians -- my wife had a big salad. I probably ordered
wrong -- I got the Konigsberge klopse (meatballs in caper sauce on
herbed noodles) which was tasty, but based on the perfection of the
sweet-sour cabbage I have high expectations for the sauerbraten here.

312 East Main Street
Fredericksburg, Texas

SARAH'S, FORT STOCKTON: Another chowhound rec -- ancient family-run
Tex-Mex just a bit off the highway -- very local with pix of the
owners' beauty-queen niece and a signed shot of George and Laura on
the wall. They close between lunch and dinner; we got there just
before 2, when Cleo Castela, owner and chef, was about to close up --
she said she'd make us lunch but "only Mexican, no hamburger." Worth
a visit just to hear Cleo talking on the phone in her bubbly creole of
West Texas and Spanish. As for the food -- a perfectly good stop, but
nothing which stands out from all the other Tex-Mex we ate on this

106 S. Nelson, Ft. Stockton, TX
(432) 336-7700

CHUY'S, VAN HORN: Van Horn and Fort Stockton are the only
decent-sized towns on their respective stretches of I-35, so chow in
these places is well-worth investigating. Chuy's, which is apparently
John Madden's favorite restaurant, is a mixed bag. It's not particularly
friendly, and there's big-screen TV in the dining room if that bugs
you. The walls are covered with sports memorabilia sent in by fans,
which provide some enjoyable browsing while waiting for your food. I
liked my machaca a lot (but I'd never had machaca before, so it might
just be that I like machaca) and my wife thought her cheese enchiladas
were pretty poor. On our last trip through we had pretty good flautas
at a place called Oti's which we couldn't find this time -- googling
suggests there is now a place called Little Mexico at the same address
(1406 W. Broadway) which might be worth trying if it's the same place
with a new name.

1200 West Broadway, Van Horn, Texas

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