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Trip report - Amarillo, Dallas, Austin


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Trip report - Amarillo, Dallas, Austin

Tha Groovin' Gourmet | Nov 27, 2003 12:30 PM

On our annual pilgrimage through Texas and Louisiana (with stops to and from in New Mexico, Arizona and Colorado). Visited some old favorites as well as some new spots.


Big Texan Steak House - the place famous for the 72-ounce steak dinner (eat it in an hour and it's free). This time we did dinner, having been thoroughly knocked out by breakfast when we passed through last year. We really like this place, even though it is obviously a touristy kinda place. Service was excellent, as was the meal. I had the large filet, cooked charred rare just as I ordered it. Went with the slaw and potato salad for sides, both of which were pretty good. The wife went for the large ribeye which was also excellent, with plenty of leftovers for the next day.

Dallas area:

Solley's BBQ - Belt Line near Inwood. This is an old fave, back to the days when it was "Salih's" in Preston Center. My 2nd fave Dallas Q behind the original Sonny Bryan's, and that is only because the sauce is not quite as good. Brisket is nice and smoky and tender. Sausage is good..not too heavy on the black pepper. Sides are exceptional...both the slaw and potato salad are in my top 5 lists, plus you can load your plate with huge globs and take home what you don't pound down.

Culver's - on Ridge Rd in Rockwall. One of 5 Texas locations from a chain based in Wisconsin. Kinda fast food, specializing in burgers and frozen custard, but with a very broad selection. Burgers were quite good...called "Butterburgers" as they grill the buns with butter. Onion rings were decent. Frozen custard was dense and with plenty of topping combinations from which to choose.

Austin area:

Fonda San Miguel - on North Loop. One of our favorite restaurants anywhere. Interior Mexican cuisine in a gorgeous setting. We started with a special appetizer, a queso with duck sausage, poblano rajas and onions, and had an order of guacamole as well. Both were excellent, as was the chipotle salsa
(which you need to ask for). We enjoyed a couple of different rellenos, one with spinach, pine nuts, raisins and goat cheese on a jitomate sauce (spicy tomato). The other relleno had chicken, cheese and capers in an almond cream sauce. Both were excellent, as was the roast chicken. Desserts were spectacular...crepas de cajeta are swimming in an intense caramel sauce with caramel ice cream. Just as outstanding was the mocha/fudge ice box pie (forgot the name en Español). Awesome meal!

Salt Lick 360 - upscale outpost of the original in Driftwood, with an expanded menu featuring some very interesting Southwest style dishes. Things started out very promising with a couple of knock out appetizers - salmon/artichoke dip and queso flameado.
Both were served with croustades made from their bread. The queso was particularly good, with smoked brisket, rajas, onions and pico de gallo. Entrees proved to be somewhat of a letdown. My wife's chicken fried turkey in jalapeño/bacon gravy was excellent. My BBQ plate was just OK. The brisket was smoky enough and tender enough,and the sausage was quite good, but their sauce just doesn't belong in a Texas Q joint. No tang whatsoever, more like a Carolina sauce. Sides were OK...german-like potato salad, slaw with an Oriental bent thanks to black and white sesame seeds. The beans tasted straight from the can. My mom had a chopped brisket sandwich which had to be sent back as her first 2 bites contained huge globs of fat. Not really a chopped sandwich either...more like cubes of the brisket doused with the non-Texas sauce. My bro-in-law's Caesar salad and BBQ shrimp appy looked really good, but were pronounced only "soso" and the rather copious leftovers were not taken home. I'd probably return just to have more of that queso flameado, but I won't be ordering any Q. Best thing about this meal is that it saved us wasting a trip to Driftwood.

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