Thursday, March 20, 2014

A Real Irishman Visits

Have you ever met someone on-line and felt comfortable with them?  Roger Beck, aka IrishRog on our GreenEggers forum, is an Egghead like us, but he happens to live 'across the pond' in Limerick, Ireland.  There was very little chance that we would meet in person unless one of us crossed that pond.

After years of inviting him, he decided that 2014 was the time to make the trip and timed it so that he could attend the Salado Eggfest on March 15th in Salado Texas.  But he arrived early enough for us to show him around Texas and let him taste some real Texas BBQ.  We think we selected the right agenda, at least from a 'food' standpoint.

Tuesday, on the way home from the airport, we stopped at Texas Roadhouse.  We all ordered the Chicken Fried Steak, and as it turns out, he loved it.

He slept well but was up early in order to soak in as much 'Texas' as he could.

Wednesday, I cooked my famous EggMcMillins for breakfast.  He loved them too.  Judy and I pretty much decided that the man loves his food.

So we joined our neighbors, Tom and Pam, and had lunch at Papadeaux's, a favorite Cajun restaurant, and, not surprising, he loved the food there too.

Early the following morning, Thursday, we headed toward San Antonio with a stop at Buc ee's in Seguin and a detour to Lockhart where we ate at Black's BBQ, one of the famous BBQ joints on the famed Texas BBQ Trail.

Naturally, there was a line and we made good use of the time to talk to others in the line.  It only took about two seconds for folks to figure out that Roger was not from around there.  We had a great time and ate a lot.


Bearing in mind that we are Eggheads, our critique of the meal was more negative than positive.  As others later told us, it must have been an off day for Black's BBQ because it is usually quite good.

An hour later we were driving in front of The Alamo on our way to our hotel along the famous San Antonio Riverwalk.  After checking in and getting settled, we walked along the Riverwalk for a short distance as we headed for Mi Tierra Restaurant to meet our friends Mike "Lawn Ranger" Schweitzer, his wife, Sharon, and daughter, Marina, for a true Mexican dinner that was outstanding, complete with the wonderful music of a strolling Mariachi band. Then the Market to shop for authentic Mexican items.  Roger was visibly fascinated by all that he saw.

But he also got to experience the noise and excitement of a real Tejano Festival with a full-blown 'Battle of the Bands' going on, all at the same time.  It was extremely crowded, extremely noisy and a whole lot of fun.

The hotel bed was a welcome sight by the time we returned to our hotel.

Friday morning came early because we had to be on the road early in order to reach our next stop, Franklin BBQ in Austin, the Capital of Texas.  His BBQ is so famous that if you expect to be served at all, you need to be in line by 8:00 am to 9:00 am at the latest.  We arrived at 8:15 and were 125th in line.  Fortunately, the weather was cool and dry, and the crowd pleasant.

I had emailed Aaron Franklin a few days earlier to see if he would be there and asked if we could introduce Roger to him.  He emailed back that unless something came up he would be happy to meet us.  But so I could come bearing gifts, I made some wooden tokens to give to Aaron.

We got in line like everyone else, arriving about 8:15.  The crowd was very laid back and there were no 'cut-in-line' jerks at all.  It took us until about 11:15 just to get inside, and another 25 to 30 minutes before we could sit down to eat.  Long time waiting, I know, but it was worth it.  The food, especially the brisket, was delicious.

Aaron Franklin himself came over to talk to us and invited us out back to see the smokers in action.

There's more photos to see of the visit at Franklin BBQ but it's easier to watch the video.

After leaving Franklin's, we headed straight up to Salado, Texas where the Salado Eggfest would be held.  We arrived early enough to visit the Big Green Egg dealer and visit with some other early arrivals before heading to the Meet & Greet Party.

This is where it's easier to watch the video of the Salado Eggfest but I haven't compiled it yet.  

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