Sunday, September 30, 2012

Dinner Report: County Line BBQ on the River Walk...

One of the guys at work was telling me about his family really enjoying The County Line, a restaurant often cited as some of the best barbecue in San Antonio, when I told him I had never been.  He was nothing short of shocked given the fact that we try so many places serving up meat.

By pure coincidence, Eva and I were downtown during a break in the rain on Saturday, quickly darting from one touristy place to the next, taking pictures of a Flat Stanley-like foam board character.  Let me briefly explain: One of Eva's Facebook friends was involved in a terrible automobile accident a few months ago, and as a way of making him feel better during his hospital stay, several mutual FB friends have been sending around a flat version of the guy, and taking pictures of him in different locations, then posting for him to enjoy.  The foam-board picture was sent to Eva and we wanted to get some good San Antonio shots before sending it on to another friend in Dallas.  
 Okay, so with that in mind, during our touristy mission we found ourselves both hungry and on the river walk standing in front of The County Line.  Why not give 'em a spin?
 With no wait at all, we were seated inside and right away, I knew I liked the place.  I am just easily entertained by the decor, old signage and of course mounted steer. 
 Our waitress, Edith, was Johnny-on-the-spot with iced tea and a loaf of fresh and warm bread served with butter pats mixed with honey. She made sure our to-go box was properly filled when we left.  Bonus!
 I was extremely surprised at how quickly our order came out.  Granted, I know they aren't waiting to put the ribs on the grill the minute we walk in the door, but even still I didn't expect the place to be as quick as a fast food place.
 Instead of ordering individual plates, we decided to try the 5 meat sampler with two sides.   Unfortunately, I wasn't really thinking about pictures when I snapped this one, then began to dig in.  Under that huge hunks of ribs was a small pile of chopped brisket, a sausage link, and a portion of sliced turkey.

So first off, the potato salad was good.  We both enjoyed that.  I don't think I even tried the fries - probably a bad choice for a side.  The pork ribs were okay.  The beef ribs were a little more than okay.  Eva thought the turkey was a little dry but if you soaked it in sauce I thought it was okay.  The brisket was disappointing.  The only thing I thought was above average was the sausage.  In my mind, the sauce was not particularly that great.  And it was smothered on everything.  I would prefer a presentation where they give you the sauce on the side so you can choose how much or little to use. 

The atmosphere and the solid service were outstanding and I would never tell somebody not to go and enjoy the place and make their own call on just how spectacular (or not) the food is.  But if you just want some good barbecue in San Antonio, I say you need go further than Augie's.   

I honestly think that a lot of these places have circular reputations based on people who have never actually been to a particular restaurant repeating reviews told to them by someone else who hasn't been.  Since San Antonio is a tourist town, people who live there feel bad if they can't offer real advice to out of towners on where they should eat.  So a couple of people repeat positive reports about a place even though they have not been themselves, and before long, the place is a must visit.  Look no further than the legend that is Chris Madrid's.  That place offers a good burger, but there is no way it is even close to "the best" yet for some unknown reason, they always seem to be voted the best burger in SA year after year.  Horse pucky!

Enough of my little rant.  The County Line was okay, so try it if you like.  Are you a fan of County Line or Chris Madrid and need to set me straight?  Feel free to leave a comment and give your side of the story.

My Daily Deer...

I don't know if this little deer looks healthy or pitiful.  They all seem so skinny.
 Maybe it is all the jogging and fence jumping they do.  Perhaps I should run around the neighborhood a bit myself...
 I never can get enough of the deer in the headlights (or in this case, camera light) look.
 And this makes me giggle everytime I see it! 

Friday, September 28, 2012

Post Game Dinner Report: Mooyah!

It took us a good twenty minutes or so to get from our primo parking near Cowboys Stadium to the hotel we left my truck at.  From there, we followed my son through traffic from Arlington until we got to I-35W where he headed north to OK City and we headed south for supper.
We got off of I-35W in Burleson where it was highly suggested we try the good food at Mooyah.  I can describe the place the same way my son described it to us.  Think Which-Wich with burgers.  And there ya have it.
 So we pull into this little strip center off the highway and walk into a kids birthday party.  Aside from that, not very busy.  The place was very clean, very well organized and after filling out the little menu forms we hand to a waiting cashier, we served ourselves some excellent drinks.  I love when I can mix lemonade with unsweetened tea.  Bonus!
 When we got our order, I thought of Five Guys.  Just look at my fries in a bag! No peanut shells on the ground, but it seems close. 
The burgers were superb.  Eva got something on a wheat bun with avocado - you won't get that at Five Guys. And just look at that hunk of cheese. 

I had some bacon and some grilled jalapenos (of course) with mine, and in spite of the crappy pictures, it was a good vittle, right there.
I want them to open a Mooyah in our little town of Lytle near the HEB Plus, but I think that is gonna be a while.  Right now, closest one to us is in Stone Oak, a place I avoid at all costs.  In spite of that, kudos to the folks in Burleson, and the fine Mooyah there.  That is one Tasty Treat, peanut shells or not.

Big Ass TV Report: And a Football Game Too...

And in short, that really sums up the fabulous Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas.  This was our second time attending a Cowboys - Buccaneers football game in Arlington, but our first time in the new stadium.

It was interesting coming from the Alamodome the day before where we thought, you know, the Alamodome is not a bad venue for a college football game.  But as anyone who has been will tell you, this thing, Jerry's World as some have called it, is like stepping into the biggest most awesome living room you could dream of.  Let me shut up for just a moment and share a few pictures.
So this gives you the basic layout of your typical domed stadium.  But then it gets better.
 When you walk in at street level, you suddenly realize that the field is actually several levels down.  The entire street level is like a big mall with lots of kiosks, stores, and even bars.  
Go up a level or two and you have sponsored areas like the Miller Lite, Dr. Pepper and Ford sections complete with dancers and fountains.  It really is a festive place providing people with lots to look at while they wait for the game to start.
Speaking of pre-game, outside there are loads of activities for all ages.  By the way, I'm pretty sure that was a guy inside the cheerleader costume, based solely on the firm grip she had on my buttock.
So we had some seats that were pretty high up and probably close to about the 10 yard line.  This is us with our son.
This is us with a nice lady sitting behind us.
Anyway, this is what the field looks like from our seats. You can assume the camera is zoomed in all the way.
And this is why there is no problem whatsoever sitting up that far from the field.  The TV is so enormous, you genuinely feel like you are watching the game in your living room at home with 82,000 of your closest friends, and oh by the way, some people are playing football on a small field down below.

This video gives you a quick idea of the difference in looking at the field and looking at the monitor.
The atmosphere was incredible.  There were a lot of Bucs fans in the crowd and I never saw any ugliness. 
 The video and the music really kept the pace going, especially in light of the fact that it was a totally crappy games.  Both teams really sucked and the Cowboys did not win as much as the Bucs simply lost.  In between the numerous delays caused by TV commercial breaks and bad call reviews, that huge video screen kept us going.
I especially liked the different people encouraging fans to cheer for the home team.  Michael Irvin was intense.
But Bill Engvall, first appearing in a pre-taped bit, followed by him being shown live in the stadium was great.
Enough pictures?  Okay.

In the end, it was a very enjoyable trip and I have to say that regardless of your status as a Cowboys fan or the fan of a visiting team, if you ever have the chance to attend a game at Cowboys Stadium, do it.  Do it and bring lots of cash.  This venue is not free.

We got a really good deal paying $40 for parking less than a mile away from the stadium.  The lot next to us was charging $65.  Care for a cool adult beverage (Miller Lite is all they sell unless you search for one of the bars)?  That 16 ounces of weasel piss will cost $8.50.  Compare that to a 24 ounce Shiner at the Alamodome for $8.  Pretzel?  $5.00.  In short, you are going to the equivalent of a theme park, so expect to pay theme park prices.  This is why you got that Master Card in the first place, right?  Because this sort of outing is rare, but priceless.