Thursday, July 26, 2007

A few thoughts on Texas (food division)

Lambert’s in Austin is a great place for a barbecue lunch. The sides include mac ‘n’ cheese, finished under the broiler so the top gets a melty crust; and collards with salty nuggets of bacon. Amazing pulled pork and fork-tender brisket.

Austin WholeFoods carries family-size portions: gallon tubs of nut butter, sacks of black beans, monster bags of tortillas. Also ground chorizo. Also fresh quince and carambola. Also clothing and housewares. The basement-level parking lot is redolent with the smell of barbecue, which is wonderful unless your recent brisket lunch (see above) has yet to be digested.

Something I'd never seen before, in a small deli near the Capitol: individual halves of deviled egg, each in a tiny single-serving to-go container. Because you never know when you might suddenly get the urge.

At the airport--you know, the place where you usually have to choose between sub-Applebee's burgers and dubious pizza--there's a
Salt Lick taco stand (featuring such lovely fillings as pork with green chilies and carne guisada), as well as a full Salt Lick window, in case you need to fill up on ribs and collards before you fly.

And you can follow this with Amy’s ice-cream (we tried Mexican vanilla and ouzo-chocolate).

For the convenience of the traveling public, the former also offers brisket to go, and the latter can provide containers to keep your dairy treats frozen for up to eight hours.

The two best places we ate on San Antonio's Riverwalk:

The Fig Tree, with its tiers of tiny patios overlooking the water and its back-to-the-'70s menu (snail vol-au-vents! Tournedos Rossini! Bananas Foster! Baked Alaska!)

Boudro's, whose upscale-Texas menu includes grilled quail with roast corn, smoked chicken quesadillas and an amazingly rich, spicy, complex duck and chorizo gumbo. Delicious though the latter was, it was still hard to sit next to the water, watching cute lil' duckies paddle by, and not feel a twinge of guilt. I paid penance with an offering of fresh tortilla chips.

At Boudro’s, they also make guacamole tableside. I recorded the recipe for posterity (click the image to see the more legible version):

How to make guacamole

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