Y’all may have noticed that I’ve been a horrid blogger as of late. Yeah. I’ll own that one. Why the ridiculously late responses to comments and full weeks between posts? I’ve been a-travelin,’ of course! (A-travelin,’ as in I just completed my 9th cross-country flight in 6 weeks. NINTH. My meds are working overtime.) The upside to my absenteeism blogging is that I wind up with new adventures to share.
Day #11,350-51, or Cross-Country Flight 3 of 9: my grandma Tutu (you know her!) & I touched down to a hot and humid Austin afternoon. With Brother B & Sister-in-law-now-straight-up-Sister LP fixin’ to get hitched in Texas, we were in the Lone Star state for a little pre-wedding touristing. (Minus poor Mr. M, who couldn’t get off work that early. Happily, I’ve known Brother B since he was 13, so my family is his family, hence Tutu getting to make a cameo as my Travel Buddy.)
Vegetarian or no, there’s no better way to celebrate being in Texas than puttin’ on your boots (patriotic trim optional) and heading out for some real live Texas barbecue. Tutu & I decided to hit up Rudy’s BBQ just outside Austin. When we pulled in and realized Rudy’s was essentially in the backyard of a gas station, I knew we’d made the right decision.
Thankfully Part One, Tutu’s not a crazy veggievore and was able to taste-test the barbecue turkey. Thankfully Part Two, the boys at Rudy’s didn’t take the Free Pass to Ridicule that I gave them in admitting I was vegetarian. There wasn’t a single jeer when I decided dinner would consist of coleslaw, potato salad, and creamed corn.
Along with Tutu’s turkey, we were given a plastic crate with a few sheets of wax paper, aka our plates, and a fistful (seriously… he reached in and pulled out a fistful) of white Wonder bread on which to make BBQ- or potato salad, as the case may be- sandwiches. We filled up on pickles, Rudy’s BBQ sauce, and mustard, and found a seat at one of the indoor picnic tables.
Mouth full of Wonder bread, Tutu determined that Rudy’s had produced the best turkey she’d ever tried in her life. My bite of BBQ (totally allowed under the omnivore-while-traveling clause) yielded similar conclusions. Ermahgawd… Gas Station BBQ!
Despite having a whole lotta Austin to see, Tutu & I wanted to do a little exploring of nearby Texas Hill Country and its myriad of wineries. After some breakfast at the hotel coffee shop (where Tutu requested her oatmeal be topped with non-existent-in-Texas flaxseed… “Tutu! Ixnay on the ‘flaxseed!’ They skeet-shoot hippies out here!”), we were off on our grandma-granddaughter roadtrip.
Hill Country is absolutely, positively gorgeous. Green-carpeted hills strewn with wildflowers; longhorns grazing; and adorable little wineries tucked down meandering dirt roads.
Our first stop was Driftwood Winery. Actually, that’s a lie. Our first stop was at the closed and locked front gate of another winery, which we had not realized was closed for business until we pulled up. Tutu suggested we stay parked outside the gate in the hopes someone would take pity on us and bring us out a drink.
Unfortunately, winos don’t engender pity.
Driftwood was much more accommodating, welcoming us with a whole field of goats & newborn kids.
At $5 for 5 tastes of wine, our afternoon was off to a yeehaw of a good start. Our unanimous favorite was Driftwood’s Raspberry Rose, a sparkling pink wine with just enough raspberry to feel unique. And because I’m a sucker for packaging (and we’d just seen one as roadkill), I also ran off with the so-called Armadillo Red.
For Mr. M, I reasoned. For Mr. M.
A few minutes and several hills down the road was Wimberley Valley Estate (2825 County Rd 182, Driftwood, TX).
As the only folks there, Tutu & I struck up conversation with the bartendress over tastes of Wimberley’s Wild Blueberry & Sweet Plum wines. Apparently, they’ll even serve up wine slushies when the Texas humidity starts to wear on you!
By the time we made it to Duchman (13308 Farm to Market, Driftwood TX), Tuts & I were in danger of being a bit sloshed. And you really don’t want to be the grandkid that brings grandma back drunk. I find that’s universally frowned upon. After much debate, we determined to split- yes, split- one taste of wine. It was scrumptious. And we were officially wined out.
As we dragged our hot & humid, wine-soaked selves back to the hotel, who should we run into but the bride & groom, B & LP! The reason for the season! And they suggested that the whole family convene for… wait for it… BBQ dinner at The County Line.
That night, surrounded by our soon-to-be newlyweds, friends, family, and a whoooole lotta brisket (oh. and my veggie kabobs. BBQ FAIL), I was reminded of one of the main reasons why I love dining (& wine-ing, let’s not leave anyone out): Food brings loved ones together. And that’s what it’s all about.
Any time that you’re able to conjure up an impromptu road trip with your gramma, it’s a really good day.
Bonus points if that road trip involves Texas wine slushies.
Details of the Day:
It’s so easy- and well-worth the half-day- to take a road trip into wine country from Austin. The Texas Hill Country Wineries website (www.texaswinetrail.com) has put together a few local wine trails that make gettin’ your sip on even easier. Just make sure to call ahead before pulling up to a closed winery… say it with Tutu & me: in Hill Country, there’s no such thing as pity wine.
Texas BBQ: Apparently, we did a fairly awesome job picking an Austin BBQ joint! General consensus among the Texans that we met was that Rudy’s (2451 S. Capitol of Texas Hwy, Austin) is the place to go. If you want a more substantial drive and even heartier portions, Brother B took his boys out for pre-wedding BBQ at Cooper’s (604 W. Young) in Llano, TX. Mr. M said he ate half a cow. This is a good thing, yes?