Summing Up Post
Here is my final post for the trip:
Trip: NJ to Texas and back
Cities Visited: St. Louis, Dallas, San Antonio, Memphis, and countless small towns in Texas
Thanks and Acknowledgements
My most sincere thanks must be to Jane and Michael Stern. They were the inspiration for the trip. Their 30 years of hard work provided the names of the mast majority of the restaurants that I visited. Literally, without them I never would have taken this trip.
Next I thank all the Roadfoodies who generously offered their suggestions that helped round out the trip. I also thank the Roadfoodies who read and commented in the thread. I am glad that you enjoyed reading about my explorations and your encouraging words were very kind.
Lastly, but not leastly, I thank my friend Sharon in Dallas. She provided me a base of operations and encouragement that helped me tremendously.
I guess the most important lesson I learned was that wherever you go and whatever you do – Jane and Michael have probably been there before you. I started the trip with a vague idea that I was going to go to Texas and visit a bunch of barbecue restaurants. Previously, I had used the Roadfood books as restaurant guides. I would plan my trip and then I would check the Roadfood books and the site.
A few days before I started my trip I received a copy of Jane and Michael s most recent book Two for the Road . I started reading this while I was on the road and started to understand how to really make my trip a Roadfood trip. I learned that it is important to read as much as you can about what Jane and Michael say about taking a Roadfood trip.
Some of the direct lessons:
Be careful about what you choose to take back with you: I bought some candy on a hot day in Fort Worth. The milk chocolate melted all over the other harder candy. Not having learned my lesson, I bought a small piece of smoked sausage in West, TX. I thought I could easily keep it in my cooler. Wrong.
I finally wound up with a six pack of Dubilin Dr. Pepper and two 12 packs of Shiner Bock long necks as my souvenirs. They arrived safely.
Always call ahead: how many times have you heard or heard this. I tried two different times to find a barbecue located just outside of San Antonio. Do you think I took the phone number with me, much less called ahead? I did that two days in a row.
Read the sidebars: I had heard on the Food Channel several times that the theory about the origin of chicken fried steak was from fried chicken. I was sitting in Schilo s in San Antonio eating schnitzel. I realized that chicken fried steak is much more similar to schnitzel that it was to fried chicken. If I had only read the side bar on page 312 of Eat Your Way Across the USA , I would have known that once again, Jane and Michael were there first.
Don t eat all of your meal: I learned this on the Roadfood Clam Tour. I tried to apply this whenever possible. There were some days when there were only two meals and I ate most everything. There were days when there were six meals and I tasted everything. Then there were the times that it was so good that I ate it all anyway.
Drink the local soda: I had some new taste experiences with soda. Big Red is the one that comes to mind. I think I would actually prefer this to beer when eating great barbecue in Lockhart, Luling, Elgin, or Llano. Also, Dr. Pepper made in Dublin, TX with real cane sugar is a great local drink.
I am sure there are many more lessons, but those are the big ones that I can recall right now. Once again, I thank all of you who have read and encouraged me while I wrote this travelogue. I hopefully the4 next one will not be very long from now.