Andrew and I left the house at 6 a.m. on Good Friday. I luckily slept most of the way there and we got in line at Franklin BBQ. For the uninitiated, Franklin BBQ was named the Best BBQ in America by Bon Appetit Magazine a few years ago. The lines are notoriously long and they only serve until they sell out - usually around 1 p.m. The line itself is a true experience - people bring beer, breakfast, lawn chairs, music, frisbees, all kinds of stuff. If you want food from Franklin (especially Friday - Sunday), you just have to commit to a long wait. Through all of the different BBQ places we have tried all over Texas, Andrew still says that Franklin is the best. I will agree - it is damn delicious - the meat actually melts in your mouth. I hate that expression, but it's true. So, anyway, Andrew dropped me off in line at 8:05 with my lawn chair and magazines and went to get us coffee.
The restaurant opens at 11 and we didn't order until close to 1. Due to all the beef and pork I've had lately, I was dying for some of Franklin's delicious turkey. We were two people away from ordering when a staff member said they were out of turkey. I looked at Andrew like he had forgotten my birthday - five hours in line and NO TURKEY? Yes, everything else is good and this was definitely a first world problem but it was so something that would happen to me that I just started laughing. We ordered (with plenty to take back for some of his coworkers) and the guy cutting the meat asked if we wanted any turkey. "What? There's some left?" I did a total 180. He put the last half pound in our order and I thanked him for making my day. Andrew thanked a higher power for our luck because if I had stood in line for that long and not gotten the thing I was craving, he never would have heard the end of it!
Someone who lives in the apartments across the street has a twitter account where they post pics of the line every day, We were where the arrow is on the left, behind the woman in purple.
The food was phenomenal, as always. The fatty brisket was perfect, ribs were perfectly cooked and delicious, and the turkey had great flavor. We tried the bourbon banana pie, too, and it was great. Aaron Franklin, the owner/smoker/pseudo-celeb (people were getting his autograph and taking pics) saw me getting up to get more paper towels and brought them to me and came over to chat about Andrew's Houston BBQ Festival shirt. He was so genuinely friendly and he didn't have to be - he could have hid in a back room - and his kindness, as well as that of his staff (the guy cutting the meat talked to Andrew about the Giants' draft prospects and the cashier chatted about his love of the Menil Collection, a museum in Houston) makes me happy to support this place. The food is that good that they could be the BBQ nazis and still do amazing business, but the fact that they are nice on top of it made the experience that much better!
Andrew's had a Giants sticker in his wallet for a long time so we decided to leave our mark | the famous signs | so much meat! It wasn't all for us, I promise!
After checking into our hotel, taking a walk, and a little rest, we were headed out for the night. We decided to check out Lenoir, a restaurant with a small menu that's supposed to be great. Since we were still full and short on time, we skipped dinner in favor of small plates and drinks on the patio. The patio was beautiful! It was behind the restaurant and shaded by a huge tree. Gladys Knight played from an actual turntable and there were board games out to play. The weather was perfect and I would have loved to sit there all night. The small plates were half off and we shared a bean salad, smoked snapper on a crostini, and a chocolate pot de creme. The food was great and you couldn't beat the price (I think each plate was around $4). The toast was savory and fishy without being overpowering and the pot de creme came with grapefruit, which I normally hate, but this wasn't tart and was so nice with the rich chocolate.
Bean Chaat Salad | Snapper Toast | Chocolate Grapefruit Pot de Creme | Cute decor
The reason we chose this weekend to go to Austin was to see
"Take a blurry ass picture you'll never look at again." So true, but here it is! Our seats were awesome!
Normally, when we're on trips like this, I like to take advantage of the change in scenery and stay out late, but due to the early wake-up call that morning, plans the next day, and the fact that the hotel room was free to us (funded by this weird thing at Andrew's work), we went to bed pretty early.
On Saturday, we got up pretty early and checked out a Farmer's Market pretty close to the hotel. It was great - tons of fresh produce, flowers, coffee, honey, and other things, as well as booths selling tons of food. I had a taco from Tacodeli with Mexican mashed potatoes, refried black beans, and Monterrey Jack cheese - perfect for someone who doesn't like scrambled eggs. We shared kolaches from The Zubikhouse - one with sausage and cheese, one with fig preserves, goat cheese, brown butter, and sage. Both were awesome. Andrew had some tacos that I didn't care for and we got some Mexican coffee. I love situations like this where I can try a little bit of everything.
After a walk back to the hotel and checking out, we headed out for more food. Andrew has wanted to try Mickelthwaite BBQ for a long time and after he described their homemade moon pies to me, I was in. We got there around 11, when they opened, and got food by 12 . We shared a three meat plate - brisket, ribs, and their sausage of the day, a pork belly boudin sausage. The brisket was good but when compared to Franklin, just didn't compare. The ribs were fine and I liked the sausage a lot. My favorite thing, though, was the jalapeño cheese grits. They were cheesy and perfect, with a hint of jalapeño flavor but very little heat. Luckily we got a double order so we could eat half for lunch and saved the rest for that night. The moon pie also got saved and was eaten for breakfast on Sunday. It was awesome and so cute!
Instagram repeat of the trailer | the three meats | Moonpie, whole and cut in half. It was double layered!
Saturday was less food-focused. We went about 30 minutes west of Austin to check out Jester King Brewery. It's in the middle of hills and has a great covered area, huge trees, tons of beer and a few wines available, and a pizza place with a wood burning oven on site (unfortunately, we didn't partake - next time!). It would be a great place to go to with friends to just spend an afternoon chatting, drinking, and people watching. They also had iced coffee on draught which I was obsessed with - I now want to open a coffee shop with coffee made several different ways and have that as an offering, of course.
From the top of the hill, looking into the open-air pavilion | the pavilion was huge and pretty | From the bottom of the hill, looking at the seating area, tasting room, and area where the beer is brewed.
We went to two wineries, Solaro Estate Winery and Bell Springs Winery, and shared a tasting and got a few glasses at each. Solaro was really pretty (and they are opening a tasting room in Houston soon) but the tastings were mostly reds, which aren't my favorite. Bell Springs had live music and a cheaper tasting. Their sweet white tasted like peaches. The weather was perfect so just sitting outside relaxing at both spots was really nice!
Left and bottom from Solaro Estates, right from Bell Springs
On the way home, we went through Austin and stopped at Pieous for pizza. We shared a white pizza with arugula and prosciutto. It was good, but the impulse banana cream pie that we shared was the reason we'll go back. It was the most perfect pie crust I've ever had - buttery, flaky yet firm, and sweet but not overpowering. Delicious.
LOVED the chalkboard decor!
And then, on the way home, my husband who hates taking pictures spotted a bunch of people pulled over (and likely trespassing on private property) and taking photos in the bluebonnets. And, well, since I love our pic from last year, I wanted one from this year. I think it's a winner, even though pooping on the bluebonnets has kind of spoiled it for me. But I didn't have a blanket and didn't want grass stains on my mint jeans so squatting just happened.
Totally counts as nature so I am linking up with Kelli!
We had a lazy Easter morning and then went to my parents' for lunch with my extended family. I guess the bunny skips old people and there were no kids to hide eggs for, so I missed that stuff, but it was nice to see family, as always. What a great weekend!