We love to visit Schlitterbahn Water Park in New Braunfels, TX. We’ve been going for over a decade and in that time we’ve managed to find some restaurants that keep us going back to them time after time after time. They are our local comfort foods and we enjoy eating at these places so much that it’s difficult for us to break away and try anywhere else. Just like when we go to New York and have to eat pizza, bagels and corned beef sandwiches, when we go to Texas we need to eat barbecue, grilled meats and down home Texas comfort food.
The first restaurant we discovered while visiting New Braunfels, Texas was Huisache Grill and Wine Bar.
303 W. San Antonio Street
New Braunfels, Texas
I found out about this place by searching the internet for a restaurant in town that had grilled meats. Going back 15 years, the local foods consisted of fried catfish, fried chicken and chicken fried steak. We were looking for something more along the lines of Seasons 52, our local favorite and one of the places we recommend to visitors to Disney World. The menu looked favorable and it was right in town so we gave it a chance. I’ve been in love with their Mixed Grill ever since. I once considered putting on Facebook that we were in a relationship but “It’s Complicated” and even though the contents have gone through some changes over the years, it’s still my first love.
Two 2-oz. beef medallions, a semi-boneless blackened quail, three skewered spicy shrimp, and poblano bacon wrapped chicken. Served with sliced jalapeños, apricot dipping sauce, herbed baby potatoes and sautéed kale. A sampler of good things from the grill
The restaurant is always busy when we’ve visited and they don’t take reservations. That fits our schedule fine as we usually end up going back to our room after a day at Schlitterbahn and take a nap. After waking up we head over to the restaurant and sit on the back porch/wine bar while we wait for a table.
Now that we’ve gotten the healthier food out of the way, lets get to the real Texas food. Barbecue.
The Salt Lick BBQ
18300 FM 1826
Driftwood, TX 78619
I know our choice of Texas BBQ will cause others to scoff. Picking a favorite place to some can often seem like picking a favorite child. I’ll steal an analogy from the Tarantino movie Kill Bill to try and make my point:
If you’re gonna compare Texas BBQ, you compare it to all the BBQ ever made…….. that wasn’t made in Texas.
While I’ll be the first to admit that Salt Lick may not be the BEST BBQ in Texas, to an outsider it’s better than everything else we’ve ever tried. We’ve even gone to Lockhart and eaten at Black’s BBQ which was really good. Exactly how much better, I don’t know.
Why do we keep going back to Salt Lick in Driftwood? it’s kinda in the middle of nowhere and for us that’s part of the appeal. You have to drive through miles of twisting roads and up and down many hills to get there. If you go at the right time, this is what you’ll see on your way there. It’s magical for those of us who live in a part of the country where hills are few and far between.
Once you find your way, which is much easier now that you have a GPS on your phone, you’re greeted by a grand entrance. The Arc de Triomphe it isn’t.
No matter, you’re not here for the pomp and circumstance. In fact, you’ll be sitting at a picnic table with string Christmas lights as decor.
That doesn’t matter because you’re soon about to have some barbecue like this feast from 2014. Just remember, all of the meals here are cash only. No cards allowed.
Or this meal from 2017, complete with pecan pie for desert.
As a reminder, Salt Lick is BYOB. However they have opened up Salt Lick Cellars, where they sell beer and wine that you can bring over to the restaurant.
There can be a wait for a table so we usually bring some beers and hang out while listening to the live music they have outside. In the evenings the weather is a bit cooler and there are plenty of trees for shade.
I can’t imagine that we’d ever stop coming here, unless the food got really bad and there’s no indication that will happen anytime in the near future.
The last place that we frequent in the Austin area is the one we discovered most recently. It was quite the accident as we were stuck at the airport because our luggage missed our flight. We had several hours to burn so we looked for a restaurant on YELP! that was close the airport but had good ratings and this was the first hit.
Jack Allen’s Kitchen
7720 Highway 71 West
The restaurant is located off a highway outside of Austin, right next to a Sonic Drive In. Not the most glamorous location. Nothing besides the loaded full parking lot would indicate how good the food is inside.
The inside of the restaurant is much better looking with a bar area.
and a casual outdoor dining area and bar that was popular with families with small children and large groups when we visited.
The first time there, we had dinner. Not knowing what was good, I had the pork tenderloin. It was amazing (and to this date still my most liked picture on Yelp)
The next time we visited, Sharon ordered the even more amazing looking soft shell crab.
At this dinner, our waiter asked us if we’ve ever been there for Sunday brunch. When we said we hadn’t, he described it to us in such detail that we knew we had to go. Trust me when I say that it is fantastic and we’ve now twice purposely planned our plane home for mid afternoon so we can go here for brunch.
Have you ever tried Mama’s Saturday chicken, chicken fried pork tenderloin or tomato and basil pie? You need to. Trust me.
On top of having fantastic food. the staff here is also top notch. I didn’t realize that one time we wanted to visit was on Father’s Day and the restaurant wasn’t taking reservations online. I called up and said that we visit yearly from Florida and didn’t notice the date. They said that they were happy that we were such loyal customers and of course they could get a table for us (even though I knew they were fully booked).
So those are our places we eat when we go to Texas. Sure, there are tons of other places (and I didn’t even get to when fly to San Antonio and get to eat at Dough Pizzeria). There’s something to be said about having your favorites, it’s much like going back to visit your friends when visiting a city. You missed them while you were gone and enjoy their company, even if just for a little while.
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