Sunday, September 29, 2013

A Culinary Diamond in the Rough..... Austin, TX   

People often ask my opinion on what's the best food cities in the U.S.  First thoughts are of New York, LA, Chicago and New Orleans. I now have a new name to add to that list.

Last weekend, my fiancĂ© and I decided to run away for a day or two.  Now, Landry's corporate head quarters is located in Houston. For years, my coworkers have been telling me to go to Austin, TX.  That's where we went and boy, am I ever glad.

Our morning started at a really neat spot called Easy Tiger.  It's a combination of an artisan bakery and a beer can you go wrong.  The pastries are sinful, the coffee great too.  Try it again in the afternoon for a great selection of micro brews and a freshly baked pretzel with house beer cheese sauce.

By now, it's approaching 11:00 am and on the weekends that only means one thing in Austin.... time to get in line for BBQ.

Franklin's BBQ has set the goal standard for pit masters. Testimony to that is, if your not in line by 8:30 am you are not guaranteed to get fed.  The hours are proudly displayed as 11:00 'til sold out.  We drove by and decided not to join the line (which looked more like a tail gate party).

Instead, we took a very short drive to another icon, John Meuller's Meat Company. 

John Meuller's pickup line
 Located on Sixth Street this corner lot consists  of a large screen porch with two mammoth barrel smokers, a trailer with two windows  (one to order, one to pay), a larger tent with picnic tables and of course, a small stage for  the band. More on the band later.

John Meuller's Meat Company
When we arrive, the line was not bad, about 40 people deep.  As we stood waiting our turn, a man walked up with an arm full of ice cold  Lone Star beers. He handed each of us one. Being a rookie, I turned to my neighbor and asked what's up.  He's response, "that's John and Texas hospitality". Meuller's doesn't have a liquor license but that doesn't say the owner can give you a beer and thank you for standing in the hot sun for his BBQ.  As I approached the window, my mind was made up.  I ordered the brisket (both lean & fatty cuts), baby back ribs, sausage and potato salad. 

Meuller"s  Rib Plate
The brisket was everything I dreamt of.  Smokey, slight spice from the outstanding  dry rub and fork tender.  Depending on  where you slice the brisket, your selection  can be lean or fatty. My preference is the f  fatty cut because of its richness..... but get a little of both so you can compare. 

The ribs were outstanding with a nice crust and perfect seasoning. Once cut into, they were juicy as can be. All meats are sold by the pound so you can mix and match as you please.

Now, back to the band. I was surprised to see that we were going to enjoy a little live music with lunch.  Again being a rookie, I turned to my neighbor and said what's up with that.  His response, "Welcome to the Live Music Capital of the World". It appears that almost every bar and food venue offers live music.  An added bonus to an unforgettable lunch!

After a short rest and a swim back at the hotel, it was off to dinner.  This time, on the recommendation of a dear friend and fellow foodie, were off to Lucy's Fried Chicken.

Lucy's Restaurant

And the star of the show...... you guessed it, 
Lucy's Fried Chicken
Fried Deviled Eggs
fried chicken.  Perfectly seasoned and with just the right amount of breading, the chicken was fried golden, juicy and delicious. There were several interesting side dishes that we chose.  Grilled Smashed Potatoes, Baked Mac 'n Cheese and Grilled Corn on the Cob were great items to round out the meal. The best surprise for me was our appetizer. Fried Deviled Eggs with Chicken Cracklin' Aioli.  Not exactly sanctioned by the American Heart Association but boy was it good!

Give Austin a try. It's not just another college town, it's quickly becoming a culinary Mecca.   

Chef Joe

For quick links to this blog, “LIKE” us on Facebook Landry’s Seafood!/LandrysSeafood and on our Muer Facebook pages at:

Big Fish Dearborn, MI  -
Big Fish Princeton, NJ   -
Charley's Crab Grand Rapids, MI -
Gandy Dancer Ann Arbor, MI -
Grand Concourse, Pittsburgh, PA -
Gandy Saloon, Pittsburgh, PA -
Meriwether's, Southfield, MI -
River Crab, St Clair, MI -