Tuesday, May 11, 2010

A Food Vacation Part 1

This past weekend my family (which consisted of my mom, dad, and Aunt Leigh) and I traveled to Brownwood, TX to see my sister Victoria graduate Summa Cum Laude from Howard Payne University. It was an enjoyable trip and I am very proud of my sister and her accomplishments. Now onto how this relates to dining out...

Brownwood is a town with a population of apprx. 18,800 souls and is located almost smack-dab in the middle of the state of Texas. Suffice it to say dining out options are limited. Be that as it may, we did eat alot. In fact our visit so centered around what meals we were eating and when and where that my mom began to refer to the trip as a "food vacation".

Our first meal was at a Mexican food restaurant called Emilio's. (The name of the place just made me think of Emilio Estevez, which made me think about The Mighty Ducks, which of course made me think about hockey and Will Ledesma all in one fail swoop!)

Anyway back to Emilio's. I ordered the cheese enchiladas. The plate was described on the menu as being served with your choice of refried or borracho beans, Spanish rice and a salad. I chose the borracho beans, which payed off in the end, because they were excellent! Turns out that they are pretty much the sole reason my brother-in-law Sam goes to eat at Emilio's.

The enchiladas were disappointing. The main reason for this was the fact that the cheese was not nearly melt-y enough. And if it's not for the melt-y cheese then what's the point of a cheese enchilada?

But, the biggest let-down was the salad. The salad was not described on the menu, but I hoped, seeing as how we were at a Mexican food restaurant, that it would be a guacamole salad. I love guacamole. It was not. It was a regular garden salad. Strange and disappointing for a Mexican food restaurant.

Moving on to meal #2. This was the post-graduation lunch. We dined at The Runaway Train. It is a diner inside of an old railroad car. I do not mean a replica of an old railroad car. I mean an actual railroad car. The car is still on suspension. When the number of people inside exceeds the maximum capacity the door to the car will no longer open. Pretty cool.

As an appetizer my sister, Sam and I split a half order (6) of mozzarella. They were obviously pulled from the piping hot grease moments before they reached our table and were everything one could want out of a fried cheese stick. These lovely treats were only enhanced by the addition of Marinara sauce and Ranch dressing as dipping options.

As if that were not enough in the appetizer department, my mom, dad, Aunt Leigh and I split an order of fried pickles too. These were not the dill spears they so famously serve at Katz's Deli here in Houston, but thick dill chips coated in a crispy, salty batter. They definitely know how to use a deep fryer at The Train! These pickles were divine. The order of apprx. 20-25 pickles was served with Ranch dressing on the side. Nice touch!

For the main course: the soup and half sandwich. A lunch combo that allowed you to pick a half of any of their sandwiches accompanied by a cup of soup of your choice. I chose the RR Club (RR = Railroad.) This delightful sandwich was served on jalapeno cheese bread (Delicious!), with turkey, American and Swiss cheese, a jalapeno smoked bacon (Bacon is always a plus!), lettuce and tomato. The original sandwich is dressed with mayonnaise, but I loath the stuff so a substitution of mustard was called for. For my soup I chose the baked potato soup dressed with shredded cheddar cheese, chives, and bacon crumbles. This was the absolutely perfect lunch! I found no fault at all with any of the food I was served.

And speaking of being served, both waiters I interacted with were young, male and tattooed. (One of them had a shaved head reminiscent of Derek Webb.) And yet they both had the calm manner of gentlemen who were at ease with themselves. An odd combination, but it worked.

Overall, The Train was delightful. The one and only drawback was that in the corner where we were seated there seemed to be a small heard of house flies. Our waiter came over with a fly swatter and took care of several of them, and then left the fly swatter with us, so that we would have some means by which to dispose of the distasteful creatures. I was sitting next to Sam and he gallantly took care of several more that were pestering me. No tattoos and he has hair, but my brother-in-law is also a gentleman!

I will conclude this post by asking you to please stay tuned for "A Food Vacation Part 2" in which I will describe Meal #3 in Brownwood and will unfortunately have to return to the topic of poor service.


  1. i enjoy reading your blog. It seems like you take your time and really think about what you are saying and how you are saying it. I know people/you will think I am bias, but I think you are a good writer!

  2. The Train lunch sounds yummy. As I read it, I kept thinking, "This is exactly what I would order. We're soul mates."

  3. You should go online to the Chronicle Food section. They have a section where readers can write their own food reviews. The Train does sound neat.