Monday, April 2, 2012

Dallas to Austin: Of Tulips, Kolache, and Little Quail Legs

[The Dallas skyline]

Easter is supposed to finally bring warm spring weather to Portland. Until then, I have fond memories and a fading tan line from my four days in Texas last week.

[The tulip-filled Dallas Arboretum went on for acres, and was beautiful despite flood-causing rains just the week before. Perhaps more beautiful because of them?]

Texas was a convenient "half-way" point between Oregon and New England to meet up with my mom and an excuse to meet some extended family. A bit of a family vacation like the good old days.

Dallas was a blast, and from what I hear, a totally different city than it was ten, or even five, years ago. New buildings, bridges, sculptures, museums, and restaurants seem to spring up daily, according to the locals. If we asked for directions, we were often met with a "you and me both!" Navigating the changing highways was a bit of a chore after living in a little city like Portland, but we still had a great time soaking in some vitamin D, checking out art, and, of course, eating. I can't remember when I last had so much, and such a variety, of meat... not my everyday menu, but I'll be darned if I wasn't going to try some Texas quail while I was there.

[My quail entrée comes in a little pile of tiny quail legs -- at Wolfgang Puck's Five Sixty.]

After two days in Dallas -- a road trip down to Austin with a stop in West, Texas and Dripping Springs along the way.

[A lotta' kolache in West, Texas]

To most, the town of West, Texas (not to be confused with West Texas) is a quick stop on the side of the highway for folks traveling between Dallas and Austin. It also shows Central Texas's Eastern European roots (specifically, Czech). The truck stop on the side of the road is called the "Czech Point," filled with baked goods familiar to those with Czech, Polish, or, like me, Slovak -- ancestry. KOLACHE! Baked tarts of fruit, cream cheese, poppyseed, and other sweet and savory delights. The line was out the door, making me think I had found the go-to place for the best treats in the tri-city area.

[We got an apricot kolache. Yes, just one. You know, to save room for all the meat we would inevitably have later.]

[Hamilton Pool in Dripping Springs]

Next stop: Dripping Springs (after an out-of-the-way detour through Austin to get more water at a Target. Man, it was hot!)


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