I hate people who are not serious about their meals. -- Oscar Wilde

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Donut Quest: Gourdough's and Mrs. Johnson's

Om Nomz Hero Note to Self: Austin- Only place I have ever used a fork and knife to eat a donut

In Austin, there is this magical trailer called Gourdoughs. Besides having a great name, they are making some of the best donuts I have ever had. This is nothing like what exists in New York. This is just a whole other genre of donuts; this is the definition of excess. I mean, you need to use a fork and knife for this donut because there is no possible way that you can eat one of these without it looking like you got in an all out brawl with Duncan Hines and Tim Hortons. The doughnuts here are what I call dessert donuts, in which they are bluntly covered and showered with sugary goodness. They picked up on the bacon trend with their Flying Pig, covered with in a maple syrup glaze and bacon. Do I need to really explain this? You can beat the trend to death but it works, salty sweet. 

Flying Pig
The Porky

They also are overachievers and push the donut making arts with the Porky, a donut covered in cream cheese, jalapeno jelly and Canadian bacon. The Porky sounds like an odd combination but it works, the salty Canadian bacon, gooey cream cheese and the sour sweet Jalapeno jelly just plain works. The Donuts themselves are fried to order and yeasted. Even without the outrageous toppings it was a good donut that was light and airy. That did not stop me from trying the pudding, cream cheese icing, and bananas and crushed vanilla wafers filled with cream. There was also the Mama’s cake filled with yellow cake batter and covered with chocolate icing. These were just coma inducing and hit you like a pastry cream filled bunker buster. I think the idea of yellow cake batter as a filling is genius and will most likely steal this idea for a future dessert. Sure it seems like that anyone can just put a mountain of toppings on a donut, but there is some finesse to the making of their creations and the donut itself is good enough to eat on its own, though with the addition of cream cheese, chocolate and meat does not hurt at all. 

Pudding- bananas, creamed filled, vanilla wafers, cream cheese
Mama's Cake
I am a romantic sucker, so places like Mrs. Johnson’s Bakery is right up my alley. I went there when it just about opened, about 8pm (hours are 7pm to 1pm the next day) and Airport Blvd. road was empty and dark with the sign from Mrs. Johnson’s Bakery they only sign of urban development. 

Their sign glowed like a firefly’s light in the darkness. It was slightly comforting to me given I was basically in the middle of nowhere looking for donuts. Their doughnut machine is impressive and the conveyor belt donut maker and glazer are impressive to watch. But much better is to eat them. I was rewarded for my 5 minute wait and patience with a free donut to eat on the go on top of my order. Love the places in New York but sitting in that dark parking lot, eating that fluffy sweet donut there was nothing better than that donut I was eating.

1503 S 1st St
Austin, TX 78704

Mrs. Johnson’s Bakery
4909 Airport Boulevard
Austin, TX

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

J. Mueller BBQ

Om Nomz Hero Note to Self: I don’t drink that much anymore, but I don’t turn down free beer

“This is it? It’s a trailer dude.”

That was my friend’s first introduction to Texas Barbecue. Maybe we should have gone to the more impressive Lockhart or something else but no, I chose to go to J. Mueller’s. I mean, within the Austin City limits, the automatic answer for going to barbecue was not in Austin, was to go to Taylor, Luling or Lockhart. But now, the two most recommended places and need to go are Franklin’s and J. Mueller’s. Nerds might recognize the last name, same family running the famous Louie Mueller in Taylor, he branched out and went to Austin and from the lines, people here are thankful for it. 

J. Mueller is composed of a lot, one that smokes the meat and the other for carving and paying for the meat. Though the man was busy, he had time to mess around with me, answer some questions and pass out some cans of Lone Star on that hot Texas day.
We went with what I dubbed the trinity of Texas barbecue, brisket, beef ribs and sausage. Thankfully, my friends let me order which may or may not have been a bad thing because I always go for moist and ask for maybe a slice or 2 of lean, to see how it is. They were unfamiliar with the ordering system but it is basically like ordering from a deli. Prices are listed out by poundage and you tell them how much you want. They carve it, pile it on butcher paper, throw in white bread, (or crackers, but I really never seen anyone get crackers) and help yourself to the condiments of raw onions or pickles. Since I wanted to pretend to be healthy, I got an order of the chipotle coleslaw. On to the meat porn!

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Take me Back to Black's: Black's Barbecue

Om Nomz Hero Note to Self: If the butcher paper ain’t transparent by the end of the meal, your ‘cue probably didn’t taste that good

My original plan was to go to Lockhart, Texas and eat at Smitty’s, Kruez and Blacks. However when we got there on Monday, they Smitty’s and Kruez were both closed. Their coals maybe continuously burning, but they were not serving barbecue that day. I was a bit disheartened (actually probably for the best, because I would have ended up leaving Lockhart with gout) but thankfully, the one place that I really wanted to visit, Black’s was open as it should, claiming to be open 8 days a week. The town of Lockhart is fun for a person that grew up in suburban New Jersey. Cliché as it sounds, it looks like a place stuck in time, like when you see old Cold War reels of Reds invading American town, Lockhart is the town they are talking about. Black’s Barbecue has been in operation since 1932 and boasts are being one of one of the oldest, same family ran operation. Kent Black, the current Black runs it and was kind enough to indulge my inner nerd and gave me a tour of their pits and gave me a whole run down of the operation. Oak, aged for a year, pits run about 225 and they do not do no Texas Crutching here. Which, I would expect from a place in business since 1932. 

Rat Cheese-love it

This is the type of atmosphere and aurora that I was chasing for during my trip. You grab a plate and indulge on the cafeteria style spread of sides and desserts and then you order your meat. I loved the fact that they had the little packets of rat cheese and how nice the whole staff was and patient with those that could not decide on what they wanted. Here we got the standard fare, brisket, beef rib and sausage, got the jalapeno cheese and their original. First the sausage, I am a fan of the medium grid sausages, I like the texture. The original sausage unfortunately was that great, neutral tasting and did not pop with any flavor. Thankfully, their sauce is quite good, peppery and acid, it solved the monotonous sausage. The Jalapeno and cheese fared better, slightly spicy and chunks of cheese present it was good. Meat after the jump!

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Franklin Barbecue

Om Nomz Hero Note to Self: If bacon is a gateway meat, then this brisket is like…an 8 ball I guess?

It is 9:05am in the morning in Austin Texas. It is about 80 degrees and climbing and a slight humidity. I wanted to pretend to be cool and not show up at 9am, wanted to be too cool to show up at 9am on the dot and looking like a crazy person. That changed when I got there and the line was already 20 people deep. Right after I showed up, 10 other people showed up and by 10:30, the line was out to the parking lot as far as I could see. Okay, I did not have my glasses, but the line was very long. This is the typical scene at the line at Franklin’s Barbecue. This may have actually been a toned down line because the UT game was the previous night and otherwise hardcore ‘cue fans were nursing and tired out from an easy UT victory. 
10:30am. They open at 11.

Aaron Franklin of Franklin Barbecue does not have a barbecue generational pedigree story, though his parents owned a barbecue place for a few years. At most, he has a trailer to brick and mortar story, of succeeding. His brisket has been voted, tested as one of the best in the nation. And since no one does barbecue like we do, I will affirmatively say, in the world as well. I was a doubter and thought it was a whole lot of hype but I quickly changed that when I ate there. 

I was going to go light because other barbecue was on the itinerary, I was going to go with a half a pound of brisket, but after a quick taste I had to add a couple more slices. A sausage link, and ribs are part of my standard fare. I got a takeout order for my friends that were not as crazy about barbecue as me and lucky for them, I am only an asshole sometimes. MEAT