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When last we checked in, dear food blog, it was the beginning of Lent and I was all aglow in paczki memories. I must admit to you, however, that last Friday, I knowing committed the Catholic faux pas of eating meat. (NOTE: Mom thinks this is a bullshit rule, and so do I. Mama Woho’s take: “God doesn’t judge us for eating meat.  That is a man-made rule….it is not a commandment or beatitude….and come to think of it, they may be man-made too.” She is so wise!)

I figured God wouldn’t mind, regardless, because I was going to be having real Texas barbecue.

A few months ago, my dear friend Alesa and I were talking about places we had never been. We both mentioned Austin, and she said, “But what if we just went? NO SERIOUSLY. What if we went?” And that’s how our trip to SXSW happened. Couple this with an interview I did with a really cool guy named Boyd Bush, who mentioned at the end of our conversation, “If you’re ever near Austin, my family and I will take you for a great barbecue.” Do not idly offer me food, sources! I will take you up on it, every time!

So on Thursday, Alesa and I scooted on down to San Antonio, stopping at the Alamo and Riverwalk for the afternoon. Then we drove on up to Austin, where her friend graciously put us up. We went downtown for all the hot sxsw action. I was food-truck focused: I wanted to find the truck Paul from Top Chef owns. Alas, it was not meant to be, but I did enjoy fried chicken, wrapped in a waffle, taco-style, from a Lucky J’s trailer. The chicken had a kick and the waffle was just the right amount of malty. Plus, the girl working the window had an amazing skull-and-crossbones tattoo on her leg. The crossbones were bacon. Bless.

Friday morning, I met with Boyd and his family at the Salt Lick in Round Rock. If you didn’t watch this season of Top Chef, a) I don’t know what’s wrong with you, and b) you missed out on the Salt Lick episode, where the contestants cooked on the restaurant’s all-night outdoor barbecue pit. I was super-stoked for the MEATS, of course, but the real reason for the trip out to Round Rock was to give Boyd his copy of the magazine: He’s on the cover in April! And he’s my first cover story! (I’ll link to the story when it’s published online in a few weeks.) I don’t post too much about my work, but this was an exceptional occasion, and Boyd and his family were just so warm and genuine. He seemed pretty tickled with the story and photos, too.

Boyd and me, with our cover story. His lovely wife took this photo! Please excuse my rumpled appearance; I was about to rock out later that day.

The Bush family advised me on ordering, and let me tell you, they did not lead me astray. I had brisket so tender you could weep, pulled pork that could never be created in a crock pot, and a rib that made me want to gnaw on the bone for days. DAYS, I tell you! Plus, the sides were pretty good, too (coleslaw had no mayo; potato salad was almost cold mashed potatoes). But nothing beats eating food outside in great company, so that may have clouded my judgement somewhat. Bush family, thank you for taking the time to introduce me to Texas BBQ!

Other big food hits for the weekend:

  • The pad thai taco from The Peached Tortilla. Delightful!
  • Butter pecan pancakes from The Old Pecan Street Cafe. The maple syrup was so real it hurt Log Cabin’s feelings.
  • Homemade warm chocolate-cinnamon-ginger cookies with ice cream at The Snack Bar, which is just too cute. South Austin, I could move to you.

Sorry I didn’t take pictures of, you know, FOOD. But I was really in Austin to meet good people, and rock the hell out. And to that, I’d say: Mission accomplished.

Bonus Ben Kweller picture. He is wasted and ready.

-Lindsey

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