Smokey Mo’s – Austin, TX

On a recent trip to Austin, Texas, we rediscovered a BBQ joint that we first tried in Conroe: Smokey Mo’s. While I may have been enjoying them for a while and somehow never managed to blog about them, they are still producing very appetising and satisfying meals in multiple locations around Texas.

The run of side dishes is pretty standard, and everything is complimentary to BBQ meats, of course. Fries, potato salad, beans, fried okra, corn on the cob, right down to the self-serve bread, onions, pickles and jalapenos.

Trust me, I helped myself to the pickles.

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Two trays of pickles, just like this!

 

My partner helped himself to not one, but two chop sandwiches. The chop is loaded with sauce and chopped bits and pieces of meat. It’s mostly beef with the occasional turkey or sausage bits mixed in.

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Chop Sandwich before any fixin’s were added.

 

The three meat plate is an indulgent sampler of meats and sides. There’s plenty to choose from, too. I picked the turkey-sausage-sliced brisket combination with a double side of slaw. The second slaw was really for Christopher, but it sure makes the plate look as full as my belly got after eating all this.

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Three meat combo plate with two sides.

 

It’s always pleasant to find a bit of the familiar when travelling that’s not your run of the mill fast food. Visiting Smokey Mo’s was definitely a fit of comfort food in a weekend full of exploration.

Enjoy!

— Ann Cathey

 

Food Porn 2

Welcome to the second installment of Food Porn on our blog.

Writing about food can work up a great appetite, but looking at food can make your stomach complain that you are not paying it any attention.

Being a photographer as well as I writer, I am often confronted with photos that I have taken that don’t quite make the grade as stock photography, but are too good to be wasted. They get lonely when they are simply¬† archived.

Just like the first time, rather than let these photos sit, allow me to share these tasty items with everyone. Enjoy!

Homemade Pickles

Homemade Pickles

 Muffin Assortment

Muffin Assortment

Commercial Snack Tray

Commercial Snack Tray

Condiments

Condiments

Roasted Garlic Loaf

Roasted Garlic Loaf

Ham and Turkey

Ham and Turkey

–Ann Cathey

Suggested Wine and Cheese Pairings

Not everyone is an expert at wine and cheese pairings, but everyone should know what they like.

If you are setting up tasty treats for a gathering and would like a simple guide to wines and cheeses (and other tasty ideas), this list is taken from my own experiences. I’m not an expert in the field, but I know what I like and what combinations are pleasing to my palate. I’ve added links to the different types of cheeses and wine varieties for the curious.

If you enjoy Brie, cold or warm, Riesling chilled or at room temperature is lovely. With the Brie, if it is being warmed or baked, add a sprinkle of pine nuts and some jam. Apricot, raspberry or loganberry have all proven to be excellent. Serve with thinly sliced baguettes.

Soft goat cheeses are good with Shiraz (or Syrah). They come in several flavors these days, most notably honey, garlic and herb, and sun dried tomato. Pair these with sliced sweet apples, crisp crackers, or a “party bread” (small loaves baked and cut specifically for canapes).

Parmesan and Asiago are very dry, crumbly cheeses most commonly found grated or flaked for toppings. They are also delightful tasting cheeses and pair nicely with Chardonnay.

Sangria and pink Moscato are favorites to pair with fruits and mild cheeses such as Mozarella and cheddar. These are most often used as dessert wines and tend to favor sweet accompaniments.

Red Moscato and chocolate and dipped fruits are a winning combination. Along with Belinnis, this combination is fun for brunches.

Some traditional standards that are generally true for meats are red wine for red meats, (beef, pork, venison, buffalo, duck), and white wines with white meats (chicken, turkey, fish). I have found this to be true for the most part.

Merlot and Shiraz pair well with grilled red meats. Chardonnay is a crisp counterpoint to may seafood dishes. Sauvignon Blanc goes well with most chicken dishes.

As for cheeses, when in doubt, you can’t go wrong with a good cheddar.

I hope this clears up a little of the mystery of pairing wines, and that you will experiment for yourself to find the combinations that most please your palate.

 

— Ann Cathey

The Cotton Patch Cafe – Round Rock, Texas

The Cotton Patch Cafe in Austin is just what it looks like when you first step in the door. It’s a family restaurant in the vein of Black-Eyed Pea or any of dozens of mom-and-pop places that serve “home cookin'” style foods.

The entire place was clean as a whistle, bathrooms and all.

The menu was well organized and easy to read. Between my self and my party, we were able to order a wide variety of foods to taste and share. No one went away disappointed.

Our appetiser, the Bacon Cheese Fries, are for the win! The potatoes had a good flavor, even after being fried. They were emplated with a smother of grated cheddar and real bacon crumbles. A small dish of Ranch dressing was served on the side. They also do a sweet potato fry that may be treated this way.

I was in the mood for chicken, so I ordered the Chicken Fried Chicken. The breading was nicely crunchy, and not overly salted for my palate. The meat inside was a pleasant surprise, being tender and juicy. The standard cream gravy with black pepper is normally served on top, though I asked for it on the side. The pepper was noticable in the flavor, but not overpowering.

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My first choice of side was Macaroni & Cheese. This is a menu staple across the South. In this case, it was rich and creamy with plenty of cheese coating aldente¬† elbow pasta. To say that the dish was also sticky, gooey, and yummy should go without saying. This is how I remember my grandmother’s mac and cheese from when I was a kid.

My other side was Broccoli Cheese Rice, which was also very heavy on the cheese. This is never a bad thing for me. It included long grain white rice and chunky, tender broccoli florets without a lot of stem. Another throwback to my grandmother’s cooking.

The sweet tea was light and refreshing, rather than being of the heavy Southern variety.

One of my fellow foodies ordered the Turkey Melt with Fries. This is a warm sandwich with smoked turkey on toasted rye, with Swiss cheese and slicedd tomatoes. While I did not get a great photo, I did get a bite. Tender, tasty, with good textures; it was an extremely friendly sandwich.

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The staff was so friendly that our waitress went out of her way to give me her heart!

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On the 1-5 scale, Cotton Patch gets:
Cleanliness – 4
Service – 5
Quality of food – 5
Flavor – 5
Pricing – Moderate
Overall experience – 4.5

-Ann Cathey