Tag Archives: Texas

Texas Day Five: No schedule

Sunday we rise with no real plan. After five bbq joints in four days, John recognizes that my tolerance is low. We follow the trail to Driftwood, Tx, and Saltlick BBQ based on the advice of our unknown local from Thursday.

Salt Lick in my opinion was the best barbeque. The meat tasted moist with the right seasoning. The sauce was excellent. I’ll be ordering some when I get home. Just a great meal. The service was slow and no sweet tea always creates trouble. But, Salt Lick was worth the effort and the drive.

As we drive back, the next stop on the itinerary LBJ museum. On the way we passed the University Football stadium. Amazing. The museum is interesting and the best part, free. My limited presidential library experience pales in comparison. (Carter library just not as functional.)  The multimedia presentation provides a perspective on LBJ’s administration and life experience in general that perhaps I hadn’t appreciated before the visit.

Next to the largest state capitol in the country. 

We wander through the capitol. I snap photos of the rotunda.

A statue of General Robert E. Lee draws our attention. Having recently read “Confederates in the Attic” we each pay a little more attention to the statues. The art work on this statue grabs my attention.

In person, those flags are beautiful. The granite work is spectacular.

Later we hit Encore Record Store. Finally, we ate at IHOP. Not haute cuisine, but it wasn’t barbeque. Following dinner, we traveled back to the Congress Street Bridge to watch the bat migration with half of the population of Austin. The sight of all those bats departing is impressive and difficult to capture with a photo.

After actually mailing postcards from Texas, we found Bookpeople, an independent bookstore. The store provided a wonderful stop for both of us. I bought two books. Very organized with helpful employees, the bookstore stocked an amazing variety of books mixed with popular fiction. A must-stop for book addicts in Austin.


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Filed under Bar-B-Q, Food, Photography, The South, Travel

Texas Day Four: Legends and Transit

Saturday morning, we check out of the four-star hotel to head for Austin via Lockhart. After a detour to the Alamo to purchase a t-shirt & hat for John, we depart for Lockhart, Texas-home of Kreuz Barbeque. Kreuz has been in the bbq business since 1900, in this building since 1999. 

Inside signs warn (or brag depending on your perspective) “No sauce, No forks” and other mention no salads and no credit. They don’t mention no sweet tea, but they ain’t got any. The sausage is, for lack of a better phrase, granular and spicy. Not really something that I would recommend. John orders pulled meat with his ribs and brisket. The pull meat was very dry and spicy. John loves his order, I’m not impressed. He would live in Lockhart if given the opportunity. At some point, Scrivener’s Tomb will have a review of the establishments where we ate bbq.

Later, we check into the hotel and go to Stubbs, my choice. The place feels like Athens. John even comments that he keeps expecting that someone he knows will walk in and say hi. The food is good and the sauce is pretty good, too. I ordered the pulled pork sandwich and enjoyed it. The meat was alittle dry but tasty. The piece d’resistance-banana pudding. Amazing! (Not to mention an actual green salad with homemade bleu cheese dressing.)

Following dinner we walked around the area of Stubbs and drove to Waterloo Record store. The store had more vinyl in one room than I have seen since the ’80s. (excluding the personal collections of a couple of friends). I tired of searching for music on a medium which I have to access to play.  We sought provisions at Whole Foods. I was in shock. The store was like a Kroger in the northern suburbs of Atlanta WITHOUT the preservatives. 

After driving by the Congress Street Bridge, home to the largest urban bat colony, we decided that we would try Sunday night, just too many people and too dark.

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Filed under Bar-B-Q, Food, Photography, Taxes, The South

Texas Day 3: Hunting BBQ

So, Friday, we travel to the Market that used to be a farmer’s market but now sells Mexican kitshe. The variety is interesting. I decline to buy a piggy bank for any number of small children because I’m not sure how the parents would react.

Following the old Farmer’s market, we seek out Boerne (Pronounced-Birney) and the Riverside Market-a/k/a the old filling station with great bbq. While we apparently speak too fast and John’s order doesn’t materialize quite the way he ordered it. Perhaps we speak too fast…The sausage and sauce were splendid. The best BBQ I’ve eaten in Texas, so far. While we tell the proprietor how we found the place, another man in line says that when he travels to the area from California he ALWAYS eats at this place. The establishment looks like an old Shell station, white building with a red and yellow awning. A sign on the side of the building declares BBQ and sausage.

We take a short driving tour of Boerne. The citizens take pride in their town. None of the buildings look abandoned. It is a cute little town. We should stop and explore, but I want to float the River in downtown San Antonio.

The river cruise is not all it’s cracked up to be. We paid $7.75 for what was mostly an ad for certain businesses and skipped others. Although there was a nice history and explanation for the origins and rejuvenation of the riverwalk. I’d suggest an morning or evening tour. The afternoon was sweltering.

While we waited for the tour to start we shared dessert at the Iron Cactus. Black Label Kuluha Brownie ala mode. It was divine.

After the cruise, John departed for his show. I sought out food on the Riverwalk, without success. The mall billed on the river tour as “the nicest in San Antonio” did not meet my expectations. Later, a local indicated that in fact it was NOT the nicest mall. Overcrowded and rife with smelly, greasy food, I opted for the path of least resistance (and most expense) a pizza from the hotel’s “private dining.” It was good pizza, but not compared with what I paid for it.

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San Antonio, Here we come!

On Wednesday, we left Atlanta via the WORLD’S busiest airport. Ok, maybe just the US’s busiest, but the population of the airport seemed to exceed the per capita space designated for capacity. AirTran was on time and we arrived at San Antonio Airport, thankfully not the busiest airport on time.

Through Hotwire, we ACTUALLY scored a four star hotel at a really great price. La Mansion del Rio is beautiful and on the Riverwalk. In lieu of valet parking at $28 per day, we opted for the public parking across the street, $7.50 day. Below is the evening view from our hotel room.

We ate dinner on the Riverwalk at Countyline BBQ. John ordered a sampler plate, and I sampled. The meat was pretty good but covered with sauce. I found it difficult to taste the actual meat due to the heavy taste of the sauce. Their sweet tea passed muster (they understand how to make the tea but not enough sugar.) The half loaf of bread was good. If you’re stuck on the Riverwalk and need a place to eat, Countyline would be fine. But if you’re hunting great BBQ, you might investigate other options.

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Filed under Atlanta, Bar-B-Q, Food, Travel

San Antonio: Day Two

On Wednesday night, John reviewed the BBQ research and rediscovered Rudy’s Country Store and BBQ, billed as “The Worst BAR-B-Q in Texas.” We traveled on Thursday to Leon Springs for lunch.  John will have to review the food. The sausage was pretty good, not too spicy. The peach cobbler was cold. I’m not a fan of cinnamon in my cobbler, apparently they are. I sampled the brisket and ribs that John ordered. The brisket, described as “moist”, tasted like “fat” to me. The best part of the visit was an encounter with a local who tipped us off about several other places.

She mentioned a filling station in Boerne (pronounced-Birney) that produces BBQ that she travels from the other side of San Antonio to get. Also, she mentioned Salt Lick in Driftwood for BBQ. Of other interest she mentioned that the Gristmill in Gruene along with the Dance Hall are a must see.

After lunch, we explored the Alamo Plaza and its variety of fare. From Ripley’s to Guinness Book of World Records to Tousand’s Wax Museum, tourist traps a plenty. Junk stores selling everything from mexican blankets to UT merchandise. The high point of the pre-Alamo visit was the Menger Hotel: amazing architecture. Also, the Menger is haunted, but we didn’t experience any ghosts.

The Alamo is an amazing place to visit. The battle fought by true freedom fighters to defend this position must have been brutal. The “shrine” is small. Even though the guidebook warned about the size, perhaps it’s not real until you experience it yourself. The Long Barrack Museum is packed with historical information about the history of Texas and the Alamo. The museum displays weapons owned by James Bowie and David Crockett (as he is known at the Alamo). Of interest, the museum contains a snuff box given to Sam Houston by Santa Anna with an elaborate detailed engraving inside the box.

For dinner, a change of pace, Italian. Delores del Rio on the Riverwalk was wonderful. Greeted like regulars, permits to sample wine (no wine list) with helpful suggestions and a laid back pace, Delores’ food is wonderful. The environment was accentuated by the live jazz playing at an appropriate level. Everything about this meal was comfortable and inviting. Magnificent!

After dinner, we traveled back to the Alamo to obtain photos of the shrine without those pesky tourists. Success. We reviewed the cenotaph, an enormous carved memorial to those who lost their lives at the Alamo.

Slightly commercial?

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How Should the Texas Supreme Court Have Ruled?

The Texas Supreme Court ruled that the State (whatever incarnation-police or children services) had no right to seize all of those children from the polygamist ranch. This evening a lower court judge refused to sign an agreement reached between attorneys for the illegally seized children and parents and the State because she wanted to add conditions. The State essentially kidnapped these children regardless of the religious beliefs of the parents. The Texas Supreme Court ruled that the STATE had no right to take these children.

As mentioned in an earlier blog, if the State had probable cause to believe that a crime had been committed committed or the children were in immediate danger, then the State acted properly. But the Texas Supreme Court RULED that the children who were the subject of the appeal heard by that court were taken or seized illegally. Children are not property (although many modern parents treat them as such) the Texas lower court should return these children.

The Judicial System in every state and in the Federal government set standards and guidelines that MUST be followed. We all live in a society which is governed by agreement-we agree to be governed and most of our population accept and uphold that agreement. In this instance the government OVERSTEPPED that agreement. The government violated that agreement because the individuals-parents of the children-believe in some extremist form of Mormonism.

This entry is not an endorsement of this polygamist sect. The rights that belong to these extremists are also the rights of ALL AMERICAN citizens. If we continue to encourage this errant judge and these State officials based on suspicions (not proof) that bad things happen to children in this sect, then we encourage the State and government officials everywhere to seize first and ask questions later when someone deviates from what GOVERNMENT considers a norm of society. Consider YOUR RIGHTS, YOUR HOME, YOUR PROPERTY. Should the government be permitted to enter your home and remove your children because you worship trees and refuse to eat red meat? NO. The Texas Supreme Court ruled that the State illegally removed these children without EVIDENCE of an immediate threat of harm to the children. Why are the children STILL in state custody?

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Filed under Crime and Punishment, Media, News, Religion

Religion vs. Crime

When Texas officials entered the property of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, America cheered. The search warrant for the properly signed and sealed, no doubt, with memories of the Waco standoff some years ago in mind. They searched for a girl who they believed called law enforcement to report sexual abuse to a female under the age of 16 years. On its face, all of this is acceptable.

Now, in the wake of the raid, no girl matching the description given by the caller can be found. ACLU and other activist groups are questioning the seizure and separation of hundreds of children from the families that they know and love.

The questions that should be asked by everyone (who loves the rights that we as Americans were born with and are acknowledged by the Bill of Rights) are: (1) is the investigation of the crime alleged in the search warrant complete? (2) were any of the children seized the victims of obvious, provable child abuse? (3) do any of the men of the compound actually hold multiple marriage certificates in any of the 50 states? (4) are these children under threat of harm if returned to their “families”? Those are the only questions.

(1) For what crime can these people be prosecuted if no one can establish the abuse of teenage girls? Whether or not you BELIEVE that teenage girls are being abused, the State must provide proof, evidence that would establish guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. DNA tests take time, unlike CSI where tests are completed in 2 hours or less, under normal circumstances these will take months. Presumably, the DNA testing in this case will be expedited. That will still be several weeks of work. The facts and circumstances of an on-going investigation are not subject to open records laws (nor should they be). The answer to this question lies solely with law enforcement and the courts.

(2) Obvious abuse of children? Presumably, we would have heard about any actual abuse other than that involved with the investigation. But, oftentimes juvenile court proceedings are closed to the public to protect the children. We do know that no warrants have been taken for abuse of child at this time. But that too could be under investigation.

(3) From the reports I have heard and reviewed, the polygamist men generally only have one “legal” marriage, meaning one marriage recognized under the laws of a state entity. The other “marriages” are not legal marriages, or recognized by state laws. If this is actually the case, then the men have a wife and mistresses and children whom they presumably support. Having sex outside of a legal marriage may actually be listed as a crime (it is still on the books in Georgia) but if these men and women are prosecuted for that crime then prosecutors will have courthouse full of people to be prosecuted. Everyone, not just these members of Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints , who has sex outside of their marriage would have to be prosecuted. Do anyone really want that? These folks can NOT be treated differently because of their religious beliefs even when I think their religion is baseless and downright denigrating to women and children.

(4) Threat of harm to children if returned? This question is one of those intangibles. Predicting the future. But, the general health of the children at the time of their coming into Texas’s custody would be a good place to start.

At what point can the government stop a specific religious activity? When that activity violates the laws of the state or country. Warren Jeffs continues to endure that lesson. But the government cannot put an entire religious group out of business simply based on a belief that crimes are being committed. I hurt for the teenage girls in that group. But, these girls must reveal the inner workings of this church and the crimes committed, without that we will continue to watch and wonder.

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