• Christine Beligan

Don't Mess with Texas

I remember my trip to Texas like it was yesterday. I knew that it would be hot and humid and I prepared myself mentally to embrace the heat. I figured if I could handle the heat in the Philippines then there was nothing to sweat, right? Also, a week before my trip with my son the temperature in Los Angeles was no different than what we would soon experience. First stop Dallas Love Field. What's great about flying into here is that you avoid the different terminals. There's only one terminal and it isn't as packed and crazy than going to the Dallas Fort Worth airport. My goal was to visit as many major cities as I could and hit up most of the food venues. I am only going to touch on four places that I visited. Even though my vacation included Friso, Plano, Austin, San Antonio, Houston, Allen, Arlington, and Dallas.

Our first night there we ate at Love and War in Texas. It's in Plano, and every night there is a country artist or band that performs. The local radio station KHYI 95.3 was present and we got to see James Cook and Chubby Knuckle Choir perform. What an entertaining way to enjoy your dinner. I grew up listening to many music formats, but Country was played a lot at home because my parents are country fans. I always like to try something different and I sure did, the Roasted Wild Boar. I expected it to be more gamy, but it tasted like an unusual version of steak. It's marinated then chili rubbed, slow roasted and topped with sauteed mushrooms, grilled onions and cabernet pepper-corn sauce. The portions are no joke here, and I had an appetite to finish my boar as if it were my last meal. I was craving cornbread and I must say that it is the best cornbread I have had. It was soft in the inside and between sweet and savory. It may seem corny to you, but I was excited that it was in the shape of Texas. My family and friends were worried and curious what would my son eat while we were here, but y'all don't worry cause he had some mushroom fajitas.

Now we all know Texas is known for their barbecue. There were so many places I had heard about that I needed to checkout, but I also did not want to be in line for 6 hours as I was told that happened to someone at Franklin's, which is very popular. So my cousin mentioned Micklewaits, Lamberts or La Barbecue. I heard that La Barbecue was the latest buzz in Austin. So, of course, that's where we headed to. I was hoping it was going to be indoors, but it's actually a food truck. I was in line with someone who had been there before, and I was anxious because I wanted to try what is the BEST! He suggested the Beef Rib and Brisket. The line wasn't too bad, and I would say we were in line for about an hour. When I saw how humongous the beef rib was, I was worried I wouldn't be able to finish it. It's like a scene from the "The Flinstones." The one beef rib was the size of my forearm. I also ordered the Brisket, which I was not going to be able to consume entirely. "Everything is Bigger in Texas" as the saying goes, and it is true. My eyes were bigger than my stomach, and I could not wait to take my first bite. I sat down staring at this gigantic rib and finally bit into it. My palate was in heaven. The rub they used was tasty and the meat so tender. It was salty, but not to the point where you feel like you are going to have a heart attack. I could smell the smokiness on my fingers every time I brought the rib to my mouth. It's such a pleasant aroma. The brisket is very popular, and it is perfectly cooked, but I cannot stress how divine the Beef Rib was. I was elated to hear from one of the guys at La Barbecue that it will be coming to Smorgasborg LA. I am not sure of the date, but I am hoping that it is true.

Off to Houston now where we went to visit NASA Space Center. It's been a long time since I had been back, and it is interesting to see what has changed and how technology has improved over the years. After spending 3 hours and taking a tour, it sure makes you hungry. So, we headed to Lincoln Bar and Kitchen. I got a taste of Americanized Filipino Food. It's an open sports bar lounge restaurant that is literally airy. So don't expect air conditioning, but instead on oversized fan that is near the fuz ball table. I don't think you can ever get used to this heat. I was told that the popular items here are the Chicken Pupu and the Puet Burger. Everything I ate had a sweet flavor. The Flipp N'Fries consisted of (handcut double cooked 1/2” crunchy heaven) shredded mild cheddar, fnp spicy sauce, banana ketchup aioli, cilantro with sweet fried chopped chicken pupu. I suggest ordering a lot of the appetizers to get variety. You can't go wrong here.

Now for my favorite place that I experienced in Dallas, Lark On The ParK located close to the the Dallas Museum of Art. It's on the pricier side, but it was a great way to end our trip. There were so many great options to choose from Baby Bok Choy and Mushrooms, Roasted Fingerling Potatoes, Braised Lamb Shank, Grilled Texas Hanger Steak, Texas Quail and Branzino. The ambiance has an artsy vibe and it was packed for a Thursday evening. So make reservations beforehand.

I really enjoyed my time being able to see the different cities, create new memories and meet new people. I am impressed with how patriotic the state is and the people are very welcoming. So if you're fix'n to come and visit Texas then check out some of these places.

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