Sing Songs About Texas

May 7, 2010 at 2:14 PM 8 comments

I love listening to Texas country. Listening to a live band play at a local dance hall while everyone two steps is something I really miss about Texas. Surprisingly, something I don’t miss so much anymore is the food. I had no idea I felt this way until this trip. Previously, John and I were concerned about our budget for eating out once we got back to Texas, because we were afraid we would want to eat out all the time. However, after a few meals out during our trip, we were both dealing with upset tummies and bodies. Don’t get me wrong, Texans can make a great steak, but most of the food you get when you go out to eat is so loaded up with fat, salt and/or sugars that it’s plain disgusting.

We experienced one particularly sad example of this during our second trip to Austin. On Wednesday, a few days before our departure, we headed up to Austin to take care of some school paperwork for John. We were able to stop in San Marcos at the outlet mall and get some good deals at GAP (new swimsuit for me!) before heading into Austin for lunch with John’s sister Sarah. We were in the mood for Trudy’s, which is the restaurant John and I met at (the second time around) when he was my waiter. When we got there, it was closed. Closed? The restaurant that is open from 5 am until 2 am?

John went to investigate and was able to speak with a manager who was inside at the time. The manager said that as of two weeks prior, they had changed their hours and didn’t open until 2 PM, at which time they would served drinks and queso. The kitchen would open at 4 PM. I don’t think I can convey how incredibly mind-boggling this was for us. Trudy’s has 3 locations, so we decided to try their location up north, which purported to be open (according to their website). We got there and were seated, but when our waiter came up to us, he said “have y’all been to Trudy’s for lunch lately?” He then proceeded to tell us that they were doing things a little differently. Their full menu would also not be available until 4 PM, but we could have a shot at their lunch buffet for $8.95/person. Buffet? Sigh.

Since we were there, we decided we would check it out. It was all I had feared it would be and more. Everything was the same color because it was all fried or smothered in cheese. I actually couldn’t tell what any of the dishes were without looking at the labels. Would you believe that they were also serving funnel cake fries? They were. It was that bad.

Needless to say that although we were incredibly hungry by this point, we did not want to spend our money at Trudy’s. We drove back near the UT campus and ate at Vivo’s. Aside from a rusty hanging basket stabbing John in the head and drawing blood (Yes, he’s current on his tetanus shot. Thanks in advance for the concern.), it was a good lunch.

(Also, before we went to lunch, we got to see Sarah’s dorm room. She has a great view of the Texas capitol building. I’m jealous!)

After lunch, we did our errands for John’s paperwork, dropped by to see a friend of his and then picked up my brother for dinner at Hula Hut. After dropping him off around 9 PM, we were on our way back to San Antonio.

I focused on Wednesday in this post because a) the rest of the days were just filled with family visits in SA and b) I wanted to draw attention to the food nastiness. I feel like I’ve shortchanged both our family experience and the attention I was hoping to bring to the food situation. So, with regard to the food, do you, as residents of the US or people who have visited the US, find the food there on average to be gross?

 With regard to the rest of our week and our time spent with family, I hope all our family knows what a great time we had with each of you and how excited we are that we will get to see you much more often in just 12 short months.

Wrapping this up, our last day was (fortunately) low-key. I woke up with an awful stomach ache and ended up sick most of the day. I have never felt like that before in my life. Smells made me so nauseous, and the smell aversion lasted for 2-3 days (no, I’m not pregnant). Sitting right next to the lavatory on our flight from San Antonio to Chicago on the way back was torture. A week later, I’m finally starting to feel good again, but you k now what would really help me? Some vitamin D. It’s been rainy and COLD since we got back. Right now it’s 44 degrees and it’s the afternoon. Ack! What is this weather? It’s May for heaven’s sake!

Thanks for bearing with me through all this. I have some photos to share, and I know that’s everyone’s favorite part. Unfortunately, I can’t upload them from this computer, so look for a big photo post on Monday!


Entry filed under: Our Goings On, Travel. Tags: , .

Fiesta, Family and Fun Texas Photos

8 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Clare  |  May 7, 2010 at 8:37 PM

    I wouldn’t say the food here is gross! but it’s definitely super unhealthy. I’m at the highest weight/body fat percentage I’ve been in my life and while I can only truly blame myself for not watching my portion sizes and not going out of my way to exercise frequently, it’s definitely easier to slip into habits of not doing those things because the portion sizes here are INSANE and the food is so loaded with unhealthiness that energy is drained so you don’t feel like doing anything! It’s more important to get into the habit of making healthy choices and not eating everything in front of you here than in other places because in other places even if you clean your plate the portion is only slightly larger than it should be instead of 3 or 4 times the size!

    As for Trudy’s. I live/work close to the North one and I stopped going there for lunch when they brought in the whole buffet thing. SICK. I am NOT a fan of buffets, ever. It’s still good (but obviously still unhealthy!) for dinner/drinks though.

    • 2. osarah  |  May 11, 2010 at 9:47 AM

      Thanks for the response, Clare. And you’re right…it’s not all gross, though I do think a lot of the unhealthy stuff is gross. I guess that part isn’t a universal opinion, though, so I’ll stick with the label of unhealthy.

      I’m going to have to work on making a list of plcaes to eat in the Austin/San Antonio area that use fresh/organic ingredients. Any suggestions to kick off my list?

      I will still go there for mex marts and queso, but their lunchtime decision is a real disappointment.

      • 3. Clare  |  May 14, 2010 at 10:26 PM

        East Side Cafe (all local organic, the menu changes a lot)
        Galaxy Cafe
        Beets (I haven’t been there but my coworker said it was good – it’s a new raw food restaurant)
        Russel’s Bakery (their veggie sandwich is my favorite sandwich ever.)
        Gloria’s – this just opened in the Domain. I think it’s a Texas chain (or maybe national – not sure I haven’t looked it up). It’s sort of upscale Mexican food. It tastes/seems to be a lot fresher and healthier than the same dishes at say, El Arroyo or Trudy’s.

        There’s more but that’s from the top of my head. I’ve been trying not to eat out as much in general.

        • 4. osarah  |  May 20, 2010 at 2:55 PM

          Awesome, thank you!

          I have only been to Galaxy Cafe, so I’ll be eager to try out those others once we get back.

          Gloria’s sounds familiar though. I may have eaten at one of their Dallas locations with my sister. I’m pretty sure that’s one of her favorite restaurants.

  • 5. purejoy  |  May 10, 2010 at 11:46 PM

    so interesting about your food issues. i think it’s weird when we just crave home food but our systems have adjusted to a totally different diet. american food is heavily processed, so maybe you need to stick with fresh prepared… so disappointing when you have high expectations!
    glad you had fun visiting family and friends, and sorry you had tummy issues. no fun.
    hope the weather breaks for you. it’s chilly here too in knoxville (50s today after weather in the high 80s!). i have my heat on today (yeah, i’m a baby)
    welcome back to germany!

    • 6. osarah  |  May 11, 2010 at 9:51 AM

      Yeah, for us, fresh food is the way to go now. Our systems just can’t handle too much of the processed stuff.

      After being in Texas for just 9 days, I have turned into a wimp too…I have been driving around with the heat on in the car when the outside temp reading is in the 50s. 🙂

  • 7. Jason  |  May 11, 2010 at 1:07 AM

    Yeah, I tried the buffet @ Trudy’s once. It was pretty gross. There is a reason why Houston and San Antonio are the two fattest cities for exactly the reasons you think/mentioned.

    • 8. osarah  |  May 11, 2010 at 9:52 AM

      Indeed. So, as I asked Clare, any suggestions for restaurants who use fresh (bonus for organic) ingredients? We have been gone from Austin for so long now that I can’t recall too many good places.


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