The Never-Ending Quest for Culinary Perfection
Life for this Texas boy is a never-ending search for the perfect restaurant. My three favorite cuisines include a great diner featuring down-home country food, Mexican food, or a Bar-B-Q joint. I am blessed to travel all over the country and eat out a lot, and I mean a lot.
It is hard to eat healthy when I’m on the road. I have to say, I will drive twenty miles past any fast food joint to eat at a Cracker Barrell, and it’s not just because I am a “hexagenerian” (over 60). Lori and I have been eating at Cracker Barrels in Tennessee since we were in our twenties. At home, I love to eat at Mama’s Daughter’s Diner here in downtown Forney. And to be honest, when I’m hungry, it is hard to drive by Dairy Palace in Canton.
My favorite Mexican food eateries is a different story. Don’t get me wrong, there are some great places here close to home but my list of favorites is a long way from here, and two of my five favorites are a long way away.
I would have to say that on my list, Pappasito’s, any location, is my fifth favorite. Number four would have to be Uncle Julio’s. Again, any location. Number three and number two respectively, are both in California. Lolita’s in Chula Vista, California was my favorite until I discovered Chevy’s in Lake Tahoe, and On the River in Sacramento. But after helping the town of Wharton with floods and a hurricane the last couple of years, my favorite Mexican Food place is Los Cucos, located on the Colorado River in Wharton, TX. I have learned that Los Cucos is a chain and has two dozen locations. I have the list in my van for further research. Science never rests.
Now is the part where I risk revocation of my Native Texan Status. We Texan’s are particular about our Bar-B-Que. Like Mexican food it is hard to find a good BBQ place once you leave the confines of the Lone Star State. Traveling across the country I have eaten some awful BBQ, usually in the North. Even for some of my favorite spots, the quality can be spotty based on the cut. For example, one of my favorite places is Rudy’s Smokehouse and Country Store. Their original location, on I-10 at Bourne Stage Road, north of San Antonio, is hands down the best. However, there are locations all over Texas and even in Oklahoma, New Mexico, Colorado and Arizona that serve superb BBQ. That is when all of the barbecue mojo aligns. Sometimes even at Rudy’s you can get a serving of fatty tough BBQ that is inedible. But I keep going back, looking for that perfect cut of smoky nirvana. I have eaten at a lot of famous BBQ places. Excellence like: Sonny Bryans, Mike Andersons, Kreuz Market in Lockhart, TX, Church BBQ in Huntsville, TX, Iron Works in Austin TX, Stubbs, Salt Lick Two and Smokehouse in Austin.
Here in Forney we can always get great BBQ at Four Ts and Soulman’s. But my three favorite places in Texas are Hard 8 BBQ in Stephenville (with a location in the metroplex I haven’t visited), Woody’s Smokehouse in Centerville, TX on I-45 and any Red Hot and Blues location.
Lori and I often stop in Memphis at the best rib place in the world, Rendezvous Ribs. Until a few weeks ago, it was my favorite place to eat. However, on our last trip to Nashville for a meeting with the staff of the Churches of Christ Disaster Relief Effort in Nashville, our Tennessee coworkers decided to take us out to eat at Martin’s BBQ Joint near David Lipscomb University. I have to say, I discovered the perfect Bar-B-Que. The ribs were exactly like Rendezvous ribs but their brisket was perfection itself. You could literally eat it with your fingers because it was so tender you could tear off every smoky bite.
After our meetings, Lori and I made a side trip to The Ark Adventure. There are a couple of locations for Martin’s BBQ in Louisville, though we didn’t stop. On our way back through Nashville, we decided to go to their downtown location for lunch. The place was packed and we had a wait. However, being the dedicated researcher that I am, we patiently waited our turn. Again, the ribs and brisket were perfect. My conclusion is that if I’m being honest, my favorite BBQ joint is in Tennessee, not Texas.