Thanks Steve, It is nice to know that bit of history remains posted. I think we put that up in 1996 or 97, so it has seen a decade of smoke!
Al, I can only tell you that it was as of a couple of months ago. Bushie sent me there and told me where to look for it. Unfortunately, the pic came out rather blurry. You will find mine towards the bottom of the board kind of in the middle. Yours looks like it might have been there since they built the place! [;)]
You did a great job reporting the details of your travels. As one who knows that sometimes the travel itself can wear a person out, it takes some extra effort to get those photos posted and the writeups ready for a daily entry. You did just fine. I will be looking forward to your next journey. For us it will be in October when we head to Portland Oregon, then down the Left Coast to L A then home thru Bushie’s kingdom. I need to check to see if my business card is still posted in Louis Muellers!
Keep those notes coming !!
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.
Stephen Rushmore Jr.
Day 16: Nashville to NJ
Roadfood: Dude s Drive In, Wright s Dairy Rite
I began my last day of this trip with mixed feelings. I had been on the road for 16 days. I was anxious to get home, but was reluctant to do so.
Oh! The places I did go!
Oh! The things I did see!
Oh! The people I did meet!
Oh! The meals I did eat!
I had decided to stop in Virginia and try a couple of old fashioned drive ins. As I pulled off I-81 at Christiansburg, VA, and into Dude s Drive In, I was checking my memory for the last time I had eaten at a real drive in. My best guess is that it has been about 35 years since I sat in my car while a car hop brought me my food.
Dude s offer s car service. You park in front of a giant menu board and honk your horn when you are ready to order. The car hop walks over and you place your order. She places your order with the kitchen via a headset radio, and returns with a bag of food when your order is ready.
I did not need to honk as I had attracted everyone s attention by driving backwards through the entire parking lot. I had figured out how to drive in the opposite direction of all arrows that had been painted on the blacktop that were supposed to direct you through the parking lot.
I pretty much had my order in mind anyway, so I did not need much time. I had read Michael Stern s recent review and decided on the Dude Burger and fries.
The Dude burger is a comfortable portion of meat. It is not gigantic, nor is it a junior sized burger. I found it to be just the right size for lunch. The burger is dressed with lettuce, tomato, onion, pickle, and mayo. I chose not to have the mayo. The burger was tender and filling. The fries were hot, fresh, and crispy. Having found a new appreciation for Dr. Pepper while in Texas, this was my beverage of choice.
Back on the road I mentally prepared myself for the last meal of the trip. I was going to have an early dinner at Wright s Dairy Rite in Staunton, VA. I noticed that another highly rated Roadfood restaurant in Staunton is Mrs. Rowe s. I noticed that they were right off the interstate rather than in town, as the Roadfood map depicts. In fact, I remember having had breakfast there about five years ago.
Does anyone know if the location in town still exists or did they move out to the new highway? Are there two locations? If so, is one better than the other?
As I pulled into Wright s I saw that this was an old fashioned drive in. You know, the kind where you press the button and talk into a speaker and in a few minutes your order appears. When your food is ready the car hop puts your food on the pull out tray.
Even though it was still early for dinner, Wright s had a few customers. I ordered the Superburger, onion rings, and a chocolate shake. The Superburger is an old fashioned three decker burger. It is hard to believe that this kind of hamburger was made before the Big Mac became the Mc standard. During the 50s and 60s many hamburger places had this kind of burger. Wright s claims that theirs goes back to 1952.
This was a great sandwich. The burgers were just the right size, the bun was soft but firm enough to hold up to the rest of the sandwich. The secret sauce was tasty and not reminiscent at all of a Big Mac. And I did not spill the whole thing down my front.
On this trip I ordered onion rings whenever I thought they were home made. I prefer them to French fries. The rings at Wright s did not disappoint. They were fresh and homemade. I am glad that I waited until I was almost through my burger before I tried them because they were still piping hot. They had also been salted a,21,203894.098,1,7586,184.108.40.206
203991,203894,203894,2006-06-01 09:30:11,RE: NJ to TX In Search of TX BBQ”
Believe me, I try to not eat it all, but it doesn’t always work out for me. The other night we went to a local Italian place that serves famously huge portions. I know that I shouldn’t eat the garlic knots that accompany the drinks, but I just do. I know that I shouldn’t eat the whole chicken parm — that which covers an entire 11" plate — but, I did. I know that I really don’t need the accompanying pasta, and fortunately, the sauce was a little off for my tastes, and I put it aside. It is a good thing that I am not a heavy drinker or much of a dessert guy (special occasions or something worth having only!), or I would be HUGE!
If you are referring to White House Sandwich Shop in Atlantic City – that is the best cheese steak I ever had. Otherwise I am not sure what the reference is.
Although I’m a big apostle of yours and have used your comments as gospel, I have to disagree wuth you Bushie about Rendezvous. Rendezvous is one of the best in the nation, but because it’s a tourist trap, it gets dissed. I think the only comparable ribs are at Dreamland. As for Interstate, black owned and on the precipice of the 61, sometimes it’s more than just about the food, although I found their pulled pork to be damn fine heading out of town. As for the waitresses, I still have a crush on one of them. BBQ forever. Bushie and Akavar how about the White House?
I can see your point about Interstate. All the newspaper clippings on display were old and the place did have a feeling that they were attempting to live from a previously eatablished reputation. However, I really liked their sauce. And my short foray into Memphis barbecue seemed to point out that in Memphis it is all about the sauce.
I also have heard that Rendezvous is a bit overrated. But there are a lot other places in Memnphis that are not barbecue places, I may not get to it next time.
The trick is that you do not eat all of it. Also, that is all I ate that day.
Keep us posted on your trip.
Corky’s on the east side is the only one of those I’ve tried. I loved the dry ribs. They have become a big chain since then, but the chain stores I’ve tried haven’t been bad.
I’ve heard from a number of folks that Interstate is not good anymore. Just passing along some info…
I know from a couple of personal experiences that Rendezvous sucks. It’s probably the most over-rated place in the country. I only mention this because you said you’d be back to Memphis to try it.
Let me get this straight…you hit FIVE BBQ places in under four hours? That is some eating!
I am off to STL, KC, and Omaha in two weeks, and I cannot imagine hitting that many spots in a week!
Your travel log is great!
Jim in NC
Nicely done, Akavar.
Stephen Rushmore Jr.
Day 15: Dallas to Nashville
Roadfood: Cozy Corner, A&R BBQ, Interstate BBQ, Leonard s BBQ, Corky s BBQ
I left Dallas very early. I was eagerly anticipating my initiation into the barbecue culture found in Memphis. My priority for the trip had been to learn as much as I could about Texas barbecue. Midway through the trip I realized that I could stop in Memphis on the way back to NJ and at least get an overview of Memphis style barbecue.
I arrived in town at 1:15 PM and set to work. I had done some research and wanted to order the specialty of each place whenever possible. My first stop was at Cozy Corner.
I received a warm greeting as I walked in. Southern hospitality is not dead yet. Cozy Corner is known for their barbecued Cornish hen. So I ordered a bird and two sides. From my research I had found that Memphis barbecues just about everything, including spaghetti. I ordered the barbecued spaghetti and coleslaw as my sides. You can see the barbecued spaghetti in the little cup next to the bird.
Most places seemed to offer a choice of either mild or hot sauce. I chose the mild sauce on all of my barbecue.
The Cornish hen was outstanding. It was smothered with the mild barbecue sauce and was a pleasure to eat. I started by trying to cut it apart using the puny plastic knife and fork provided with the meal. I quickly gave up and tore the bird apart with my hands.
The breast meat was tender and juicy. It was not dry and almost too warm to touch. Dipped in a little sauce it was delectable. However, the best part was the thigh. This was almost falling apart tender and the juices just ran out of it as I separated it from the rest of the chicken. The smoke and sauce created a near perfect piece of chicken. This was an auspicious start to an afternoon of eating barbecue.
The slaw was very good as was the barbecued spaghetti. It sounds like a strange dish, but barbecued spaghetti is simply spaghetti noodles cooked until they are very soft and then tossed with barbecue sauce. It makes a very interesting side dish.
As to the sauce on the chicken, I found it to have a very rich flavor. It was slightly sweet but seemed to have a bit of a kick that I continued to taste in between bites. It was a very good introduction to Memphis and its wonderful barbecue sauces.
My next stop was at Payne s
Unfortunately Payne s was closed. Does any one know if this place is still in business? It looked a little down at the heels and I wonder if they are still in operation.
Next stop was A&R barbecue.
I picked A&R to have a barbecued bologna sandwich. This is another traditional Memphis barbecue dish. You make it by cutting a slice of bologna about 3/4 thick and then heating it in the smoke pit. You then smother it in barbecue sauce and put it on a piece of white bread. This is then topped with slaw and another piece of white bread.
If you like messy sandwiches, then this is for you. The barbecue sauce and slaw literally run out of the sandwich as you try to eat it. Eventually the bread starts to disintegrate and the bologna starts to fall out of the sandwich. It becomes an ooey gooey mess. I liked this unusual barbecue dish and am looking forward to trying it at other places on my next trip to Memphis.
I saw this tremendously red, 2 tall piece of cake and had to try it. It is called a red velvet cake and I had never heard of it. I found it had little taste and the icing was nothing in particular. But it was the reddest piece of cake I have ever seen.
I continued on to the Interstate Barbecue.
203981,203894,203894,2006-05-30 21:31:43,RE: NJ to TX In Search of TX BBQ”
What a great thread, and great photos! Thanks so much for sharing.
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