Eat and Meet.
That’s what I did in Texas.
I took a trip out to the Lone Star state over the holidays to visit Fara back home. As I was getting ready to head out, I started asking people what I should do. The most common response: “There’s really nothing in Texas besides the food.” So that’s what we did. EAT.
However, my trip was also to meet Fara’s Texan friends. From the moment I landed at the airport, we were traveling from place to place… to meet people, and to eat with them. I loved it! The only thing warmer to the soul than Texas BBQ is their hospitality. I also got to hang out with Fara’s family, which was really fun. Far and I talked late into the night with her sister Clara and bro in-law, Allen. They’re an amazing couple to be around… i love being around them.
The Texas flag is usually flown at the same height as the American flag. Apparently, this was one of the deals the state made when it was annexed into the country. Texans really do love their state. Fara said she even had a “Go Texan” day in school growing up, where they would wear cowboy stuff and celebrate Texas. WOW. In California, we celebrated our state by having “smog alerts” and staying inside because the air quality was too harmful for children to have recess.
The Texas Flag. This is what the national flag would look like if there were only one state in the union. (apparently, this is how many Texans see themselves)
- SIZE. Texas is the largest state in the 48 contiguous states. It is the 2nd most populous. The biggest state in the US? Alaska. The most populated? Cali. If that is true, should Texas’ slogan be: “Everything is 2nd biggest in Texas”? Ironically, there weren’t as many GMC Suburbans/trucks and Cadillacs with cow horns attached to the front (although, I hear that Dallas may be the place to go for those sightings). The cars were pretty normal… I even saw a few Elements! WOOT.
These people take pride in being big.
Here’s a little photo journal of the trip…
The steak from Taste of Texas restaurant. We went there with Fara's fam. It's true: everything IS bigger in Texas. This was the smallest size available. In California, it would have been the largest. I think the last time I saw this much meat was on the Flinstones.
- Rudy’s bbq in Houston. They serve food in a crate. I’ve always heard that if you want to lose weight, you should use a smaller plate to control your portions. Rudy’s is counter-productive for this method of weight-loss (or any other method). Creamed corn was good. You can also ask for as many slices of bread as you want. Some people left with a whole loaf. wow.
Brisket close-up. In Cali, we're more of a Tri-tip state. According to Food Network,tri-tip is a cheaper cut of meat that Mexicans have brought into the state and learned how to cook into a delicious cut of meat. But every Texan I know has always talked about Rudy's brisket. Apparently, brisket is the big thing out there. AND NOW I KNOW WHY. One bite and I was a goner. Notice the marbled meat. It's the consistency of corned beef... smoked and flavored to perfection. Fara and her friends kept telling me to use Rudy's famous bbq sauce... but I could not. The meat was too amazing to put anything between it and my taste buds.
Shooting clay pigeons. My first time with a shotgun in hand. Notice the plaid western shirt to try and blend in... no joke, we were all overdressed. John Deere hats and tshirts were the avg. uniform here. Fara's bro-in-law, Allen, was awesome at this. I semi-sucked... only blew-up a handful. I might be better at shooting zombies.
Far handling a gun. This was her first time too... despite being a local. Kinda cool to see your G-fri with a gun. Maybe she'll try video games next...
Torchy's Tacos in Austin. I ordered one with fried chile and egg called the Dirty Sanchez. Seriously. (If you don't get why this is gross and/or funny, do NOT look it up on the internet)
River along the 360 in Austin. This photo is actually upside down! Cool, eh? It was a nice place with a nice little pseudo-hiking trail to view the river and bridge. (There is no real hiking in Texas b/c everything is so flat)
The Lins! John and Grace took us to a phenomenal burger joint (see my review on YELP), and then to Amy's ice cream (Fara's fav place in Austin). It was really fun to hang out with them and see their growing boys. J+G have a REALLY nice house in a REALLY nice Austin neighborhood. They definitely stepped UP from Monterey Park... about 5,293 steps up.
Another view from the 360 bridge. Austin was definitely way more beautiful than Houston. (no offense, houston)
Doorway to the Rothko Chapel in Houston. Mark Rothko helped to design this "chapel" for inter-faith meditation (there were Qurans, Bibles, Torahs, etc. in the foyer). Inside no photos were allowed, but it looked like a small chapel space. It was nice... with huge paintings from Fara's favorite abstract painter lining the walls. Unfortunately, they were a dark shade of purple that I could not see, due to my color blindness. BOO, color blindness!!
New friends! The only thing better than being introduced to the food here was being introduced to Fara's friends. Here are Suemy, Julie, and Hannah. They were really fun to hang out with. Hannah lives in Prague, and we spent much of the night trying to figure out if we could get her on House Hunters International (HGTV). The other part of the night was spent talking about pitching another show to HGTV w/ Suemy, her husband, and I. He's a children's pastor and does real estate. We'd purchase and flip busted up houses and give them to disadvantaged people. Like Extreme Home Makeover, but w/o huge property taxes so the families could afford it. Haha. Show title: "Unbelievable Worth" Don't steal our idea, HGTV!