Austin Texas - Rest Day #1
Last night I went looking for a good hearty meal. I more-or-less stumbled into Perry’s Steakhouse. I couldn’t believe my eyes when I say a 32oz pork dinner on the menu. The server explained to me that it is famous throughout Austin, and only served on Sundays. I thought the whole notion was preposterous, but when it came to the table, I realized immediately that the server wasn’t kidding, this is a one of a kind meal. Of course there was no way of eating a 32oz pork chop. I’ll likely be working on that for two more days. The best part, is that it tasted divine. It was the best pork chop I have ever eaten, or likely ever will. They smoke if for 14 hours before finishing it for the table. I can’t describe the flavor, I would like to know exactly how they prepare their rub. Obviously there was no room for desert, but it was a “dinner”, so desert was included. Just an incomparable meal. One that will not be forgotten.
The day today was strictly reserved for tourist activity while I rested from the previous 36 days of effort. First up was the Texas State Capital building. It is big as you would expect, but it was also elegant as well as daunting. The first thing you will likely notice is the Texas “Star.” It’s everywhere. Texas is very proud of its heritage as a “Republic”, whatever that means. If you look closely at all the door hinges in the building, you will notice that all of them are custom made and carry the “Texas Star” as part of their design. The rotunda was beautiful, and you can access it from three different levels, each containing offices and conference rooms, as well as the legislative chambers. The best part of the tour was my conversation with one of the Capital Guards, a former Texas Ranger. We had a great conversation. It turns out he has been to Seattle. Surprisingly, many of the people I meet and chat with have been to Seattle. Maybe I should not be surprised by that, but I always am. My Texas Ranger friend gave me a list of all the things in and around Austin that I should see and do. Unfortunately there won’t be time for all of that. The one recommendation I did have time for was his suggestion for barbecue. He told me to go to “Stubbs” for BBQ.
After visiting the Texas Capital building, I went to the LBJ Presidential Library. I’m really glad I went there. LBJ was a great President and a good leader. His involvement in Vietnam was his undoing, unfortunately. What he did for Americans might well be the biggest accomplishment of any President - ever. His “Great Society” has never been matched, and is in stark contrast to today’s “every man for himself” political ethic. LBJ where are you? In fairness, much of the Great Society was came from JFK, but LBJ made it happen, he picked up the gauntlet after Kennedy’s passing and took it across the finish line.
Following the advice of my Ranger friend, I went to Stubbs BBQ for dinner. It was very good, the portions were more than I could handle. Now I have more left overs. (Not a bad thing.) That is the same Stubbs that sells BBQ sauce nation-wide. I would not suggest that Stubbs is the best BBQ in Austin, I suspect not, but my Ranger friend was a big man, I think the large portions served there are right up his alley. I won’t have time to find the best BBQ in Austin, that might take a very long time!
Austin has a “Paramount” theatre much like Seattle’s, only a bit smaller perhaps. It so happens that Bill Bryson was delivering a lecture there this very evening. I decided to attend. He is very entertaining and funny. He’s a good story teller. You would naturally expect that from a writer with his skill. He was stumping for his new book. If I could carry an unlimited amount of weight, I would pick up a copy and read it on my way to Florida, but that will have to wait.
My first day of rest is over.