After a decent food visit and eating experience in Houston, I'll admit that I had the bar set pretty high for my visit to Austin! I had already done some research and gotten some advice from Yelp locals (Monica M) so I was ready to go! And to be honest with you, the eating started before I even made it to the ATX, read on my friends...
After grabbing my lovely, electric lime green Ford Mustang from Avis, I made a beeline from Houston on I290 West. On the way out there were two eating stops made: Blue Bell Creamery and Southside Market! Due to geography, I did Blue Bell Creamery first. Located an easy mile or so off the highway, Blue Bell offers regular tours but I bypassed due to time. I instead, popped into the ice cream shop where you can get a scoop for a measly $1! And the ice cream here at Blue Bell is good AND fresh. I get a large cup of blueberry cobbler along with salted caramel. Blue Bell makes some excellent commercial ice cream, probably just a bit below super-premium. Their cream is smooth and dense without much frozen crystals, creamy to the tongue and full of goodness. I can taste the cobbler in every bite and the salted caramel is rich. Given that I'm a bit lactose-intolerant, I have to throw some of it away for health and safety reasons.
Heading a bit further west you'll find Elgin which is known for its sausages. I have three spots on my potential ToEat list: Meyer's, Southside Market and Brisket Boys. Sadly, Brisket Boys is not open so I slide further west to Southside which is a LARGE operation. Looks like they make sausage commercially and the restaurant is just an extension of their main business. Southside Market is a ranch-style building with a rough-hewn wooden interior, picnic tables and more.
There's a large line and waiting area to queue in, the place must get busy but at this time, I'm right up front. Grab a plastic tray, I order at the counter the combo plate of sausage and brisket. Choose from four sides (slaw, beans) and grab your plate further down. Pay up (about $10 for me with drink) and then go grab a table. Southside Market offers some warmed barbeque sauce to amp up your meat and I'm curious to see what my first taste of Texas brisket is like.
At the table I check out my plate and it's quite a bit of food. The brisket is well-smoked with a nice pink ring, soft and in the middle for texture. Dipped in the barbeque sauce, this lean meat pairs well with the white bread. The sausage is the real winner on the plate! Peppery, spicy and plump with some snap, yum! The beans were just ok as was the slaw that had celery sliced in (not my favorite). All in all, Southside Market does a nice job with smoked meats and serves it up fast and quick! But I admit that I'm going to try and hit up Brisket Boys, next time through.
So there you go, two great spots to grab some delicious meats and ice cream between Houston and Austin. The ride is 2 1/2 hours long so I'm pretty sure you'll deserve a pit-stop along the way to treat yourself. Because how can you resist amazing fresh ice cream at $1/scoop or smoked meats with tangy barbeque sauce on a long drive? I sure can't so definitely check out Blue Bell Creameries and Southside Market the next time you're on the road...
Blue Bell Creameries 1101 S Blue Bell Road Brenham, TX 77833 800.327.8135