Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Pit BBQ on Burnet Rd. - Austin,TEXAS

With the influx of family/friends and an incredibly busy work schedule these past few weeks, I haven't had much time to eat out and explore the Austin foodie world. But as the family has left for greener pastures and the job is coming back under control, I took the opportunity to visit a BBQ place that I have seen for years but have never tried, Pit BBQ on Burnet Road. Hidden but well established, Pit BBQ has been operating for 40+ years. Small and unpretentious, the restaurant is easy to miss but hard to forget once you have tried it.

I arrived about 12:30pm to a crowed dinning room. With only a few booths and a couple of tables, space is a scarce at the Pit. Luckily I was able to get a place at the counter after I received my food. Everyday Pit BBQ offers a special, Mondays is Chicken. I decide to try a sample plate of brisket and sausage with two sides, beans and slaw.

The beef was tender with a nice smoky ring while unfortunately the sausage was not so hot. It just didn't have much taste. The counter help told me that the sausage comes from Austin's own Smokey Denmark, which is located on the eastside. The real let down was the sauce. I am not a big fan of BBQ sauce. I find I like my bbq plain most of the time. I may be way off base here but I swear I could taste liquid smoke. The sauce just didn't have a good flavor at all. The sides were both pretty good; I really liked the cold slaw. My total for the meal came to $10.

Senor Foodblog gives Pit BBQ one spoon up. Sorry folks, the sauce killed the deal for me. Parking was tight and the dinning room way too crowed for my comfort. Prices for the to-go meat were reasonable, with the lean cut brisket for $10.29 lb. Judge for yourself. I would eat at Pit BBQ again but this time avoiding the sauce, lunch crowd and maybe sitting outside at the lone table behind the business.

4707 Burnet Rd.
512 453 6464

Labels: , , , , , , , , , , ,

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Cheddar's - Austin,TEXAS

Wow, I must be on a roll! During the past few weeks, I have had some of the worst restaurant experiences I can remember in Austin. Dirty tables, poor service, lousy food and just plain foodie chaos. What the hell is going on Austin? I just hate to rag so instead of telling you my feelings, I thought it would be fun to just quote some of my fellow co-workers thoughts about my latest restaurant train wreck…Cheddar’s – 15119 IH-35 North.

Easy to find with lots of parking, Cheddar’s from the outside looks like most other corporate-run restaurants, plain. The inside is nicely put together, casual, warm; the restaurant feels like an ok place to bring the family.

Everything was going fine until we started ordering our meals, receiving our meals and trying to pay for our meals.

Earth Mother – “Experience worse than death”

Cylon – “The twilight zone” and “ That was a strange trip, man”

Romeo – “The worst food and service I have ever experienced”

Vito – “I didn’t think we would ever leave”

MW – “Service deplorable”

So there you have it. Honest true quotes describing our visit to Cheddar’s. What I find interesting is all the positive reviews I found online by locals that really like eating at Cheddar’s. No accounting for taste. I guess what really got us all going was that our waiter didn’t write down any of our orders and then preceded to totally mess everything up. We had to wait nearly an hour for a few hamburgers and a couple bowls of soup. And to make matters worse, the soup was so salty, Earth Mother found it inedible.

All I have to say about Cheddar’s is eat at your own risk. If you do decide to give it a try, make certain the server is writing down your order, otherwise you may just experience the same train wreck my fellow workers and I suffered.

15119 IH-35 North

Labels: , , , , , , ,

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Lewis' BBQ - Austin, TEXAS

Sometimes the new is the old. Like the magpie, we move towards shiny things, the new things; things that help us think we are moving forward in the world and with our lives. But some would also argue with great passion that is it important to remember our roots, to keep the past alive. Gain and learn from our past experiences whenever we can.

And so, The Gambler and I headed deep into East Austin, looking for what may be one of the oldest operating BBQ joints in Travis County. You may have seen the place; small, pink, on east MLK, close to Airport Blvd? Well if you haven’t seen it, start looking. Lewis' BBQ has been open and serving high-grade beef for about 100 years, I was told by the nice lady working the window.

As a rule, usually with my first visit to a new BBQ place I order a sample plate. I find this is an easy way to discover if the food is worth the money. For $7.25 I got ¼lb brisket, ½ sausage link, ¼lb mutton, small side of beans and a bottle of root beer. What!? Most places around town serve two meats for $8-10 a plate - I knew I had hit BBQ pay dirt. The brisket tasted like brisket, as Lewis' BBQ doesn’t soak their beef in smoke like some places around Austin. And the sausage comes from Elgin, need I say more. The mutton was wonderful. I am a giant mutton fan and was very happy to find a second place locally (along with Sam’s BBQ) that has the meat on the smoker. When I had finished my meal and it was time to leave, I felt sad. I felt like I was leaving an old friend. But I know I will be back soon.

Senor Foodblog gives Lewis' BBQ two spoons up. Great prices, great meat and no flash or fluff to distract you from the real work at hand, enjoying your food. Both The Gambler and I were very pleased with our meals. Primitive setup - all eating is outside on the covered patio, but comfortable. Lewis' is now part of my regular BBQ crawl. The old becomes the new and I feel reborn.

Lewis’ BBQ
1814 Harvey (@MLK)
512 473 2225

Labels: , , , , , , , , , , , ,