For the third post in a row, we’re driving up and over the bluff behind LaGrange to the town of Schulenburg. Our two previous visits have taken us to church and on a lovely history hike and I know you’re too polite to say it out loud, but you’re definitely thinking, “This has been such a great field trip but for heaven’s sake I’m absolutely famished. Could we maybe stop and get some lunch somewhere?”
So glad you asked. The Garden Co. Marketplace and Cafe is one of those oozy charmy spots that would be everyone’s favorite in any quaint town. Or big city for that matter. The decor is spot on country chic, mixing industrial with mid-century with vintage ruralist with cottage with repurposed. Servers are welcoming and enthusiastic, the food is just exactly what you hoped it would be and the store & nursery are hard to get out of without a purchase or two. A pepper plant and gauzy tunic top last time if you must know.
Of course you want to hear more about the food, so I’ll be happy to share descriptions from the lunch menu as you take your photo tour of the dining spaces and places. Don’t miss the farm tool chandelier in this very first photo…
Pesto marinated grilled portobello mushrooms topped with goat cheese and pecans served with field greens and balsamic drizzle.
Crisp boston leaf lettuce and and mixed greens topped with chimichurri marinated grilled hanger steak, hardwood smoked bacon, red onions, tomatoes and crumbled blue cheese with a honey balsamic vinaigrette.
Grilled sourdough bread with sharp cheddar, swiss, gruyére and bleu cheese served with side servings of dijon mustard and a fruit chutney.
Buttery toasted brioche bread with thick bacon, lettuce & tomato with roasted garlic aioli.
Here’s why the chill little seating area in the back is so great: Let’s say you and your friends have driven from wherever over to Schulenburg to meet for a nice dinner of seared duck breast and brussel sprouts. You’ve finished your meal and everyone’s thinking it’s probably time to get up from the table but you kind of want to spend a bit more time together since you’ve come all this way. It’s late, and it’s not Houston or anything, so there aren’t too many other spots in town to move to for a nightcap or dessert. Well how great, your group can go back to the comfy lounge area and hang out for a while. And how convenient that you’ll pass the wine bar on the way there!
Want to shop in the Marketplace & Nursery real quick before we head home? I thought you might!
P.S. If your field trip this time is to Round Top not Schulenburg, there’s also a Garden Co. Marketplace shop right across Henkel Square from Pie Haven.
If you’re game to get out the candy thermometer and tackle the ‘tricky’ confectionery challenge known as the pecan praline, please have at it. I hope for your sake that you’ll be using an old family recipe, because it could take at least an hour just to decide which recipe to choose; evap or butter milk, baking soda or no, microwave or stove or no bake at all. And here’s a little heads up. Some recipes suggest a “second pair of hands” for the spooning out part, so know that you’ll need to enlist a praline plopping partner.
I, on the other (lazier) hand, will be enjoying my perfect pralines the old fashioned way, by making my way to the Katy Sweet Candy Factory in LaGrange. The shoppe is right in the front part of their factory/office building, so as you wander about trying to decide among chewy, creamy, peanut patty (or all three), you also have the Charlie Buckety fun of peeking through big windows into the production area.
There are few well-known poems or quotes to be found about the praline. Well, there’s one classic from Wayne’s World the movie, but this is a family website so I’m not going to give you an easy link; you’ll have to Google it on your own. Instead I’ll leave you with an encouraging paragraph from Southern Living Magazine that was written about pralines but I like to think really applies to everything in life.
“If your pralines don’t turn out right the first time,
Simply create a new dessert.
Crumble and fold them into softened vanilla ice cream.
Or, if they’re too soft,
scrap up the mixture, chill it, and roll it into 1-inch balls.
Mead. You probably don’t say that word very often. Unless of course you’re an Assassin’s Creed gamer. Or a Harry Potterhead. Or a Renaissance Faire performer. Or a Ringer. Or one of those folks with a particular interest in the life and times of Pliny the Elder.
Now I’m in trouble. With every intention to write about mead, I’ve once again spun myself all off on a research tangent. Pliny the Elder is fascinating! Did you know that he died trying to save people from the eruption of Mt. Vesuvius? And that he basically invented the encyclopedia? Heck, he kind of invented the whole Internet if you really think about it. But who even knows this? Perhaps if his parents had named him Leonardo Da Vinci instead of Pliny he’d be getting the recognition he very clearly deserves.
For all of us who love our interior design, here’s an interesting nugget: Pliny the Younger (the Elder’s nephew) was a wealthy lawyer who amassed a collection of elaborate villas during his lifetime, including two on George Clooney’s Lake Como. If you need any inspiration for the design of a hippodrome or a cryptoporticus, or if your client just saw Foxcatcher and has asked you to build her a duPontian xystus, you’re going to want to get your hands on the Garden Letters of P the Y.
Now back to mead. Next time you’re out in the Round Top neighborhood, please take the side road over to the Rohan Meadery. Even better, like them on FB and when they post a live music event mark it on your calendar. Bring the kids. And the camera. Wear costumes. Or not. Skol!
Frasier the Labradoodle is definitely my favorite new Prost! friend, but honestly he has had some competition. There’ve been all the great RT Locals; full-timers and weekenders and old-timers and newcomers. And there’ve also been the charming Nearby Towners; LaGrange shopkeepers and Brenham musicians and Austin collectors and Houston REALTORS® (I’m pretty sure I needed to type that all caps and with the little register mark since it seems very important to them and who am I to deny them their ®, especially now that I’ve figured out it’s no harder than holding down the Option Key while typing a normal R). And there’ve been the real (maybe even REAL®) fun Out of Towners, particularly during the Antiques Show weeks. (Yes, Bonnie Neiman I mean you!) And then there were the horsewomen from down the road and the bar manager from down the road and Barbara’s dear friend whom I later ran into down the road and… Bottom line, if you think need some new friends, you probably just need a glass of good wine.
This young man appeared during the Antique Show hoping to book an evening gig on the patio. Penny (as in Penny and Mike Ceis, Prost!’s owners) gave him a quick audition and I was lucky enough to be able to sit on the stone steps and listen in. RT is full of these kinds of special impromptu moments so when you visit be sure to keep your ears and eyes and heart open to anything. You’ll thank yourself.
FYI, the wine here is fine, just like the name says, and they’ll sell it to you by the glass, the bottle or the case. Prost!
Tasty brisket can sometimes lead to the World of Warcraft.
This is not going the way I thought it would. I expected to be writing about the down home family yumminess of this much loved small town Texas BBQ spot. Like The Brisketman has done. And the genius Michael Corcoran. But things have taken a twisty turn, and all because I decided way back in middle school to get contrary and take German instead of French or Spanish.
It’s the Zimmerhanzel name. I’m aware of Hans Zimmer, the man who’s composed the music for almost every film you ever saw. But Zimmerhanzel’s a unique word and I wondered what it means in English. The Zimmer part was easy; it’s a common German word meaning “room”. There are all kinds of German Zimmers. Wohnzimmers for living, Hinterzimmers in the back, Arbeitzimmers for working, etc. Zimmer’s also a nice word to say because you pronounce it Tsimmer which is easy and makes you sound oh so German. (Unlike the “ch” in German which is hard and just makes you sound pretentious if you can do it and lame if you can’t.)
But Hanzel was a mystery. Turns out that the primary definition of Hanzel is a little Hans, as in Christian Andersen, or perhaps one of Hans Zimmer’s four children. However… digging a bit deeper down the Google page, I found that, according to exactly one guy in the Urban Dictionary, Hanzel also means someone who has “amassed a large number of groupies in World of Warcraft.” Wow. That’s interesting.
I’m not sure how World of Warcraft works, but judging by the decor at Zimmerhanzel’s it might involve a goodly amount of hunting. Taxidermy and more taxidermy is the decor theme, which makes the place feel busy and full of faces even on a quiet Thursday afternoon. Weekends, when the line stretches from counter to door, the crowds on the walls serve as much appreciated models of patience.
OK. For those of you not sure this kind of lunch spot is in your comfort zone, here’s the step by step.
Step 1. Enter and feel the pleasure of some nice A/C.
Step 2. Check out the menu. No need for double meat unless you need double meat. You’ll notice the enthusiastic lack of onion rings, fries and tator tots, so cruise the bountiful chip aisle instead.
Step 3. Specify any fixin’ issue you may have. Mine’s always ‘no onion.’
P.S. Those good looking tomatoes remind me of a story. We once bought moments-off-the-farm produce from a guy parked out front. He wasn’t parked to sell produce, he was just inside hanging out, but we saw his stash in the back of his station wagon and he didn’t mind selling us some.
Step 4. Take care of any personal business you might have.
Step 5. Start in on your beverage. These are for the non-drivers, of course.
Step 6. Say a quick hello to the guys hanging out and then linger to watch them play speed dominoes until you feel rude.
Step 7. Pay for your meal and read up on the local goings on.
Step 8. Go back to the grill and watch your delicious handmade patty finish up.
Step 9. Take that sweet baby back to the car and eat it while driving. Easy peasy.
In this random list of my very favorite things about my very favorite place I’ve tried to capture the area’s special pieces and parts. Some are big deal, some are small gestures, some are legendary and some are just tiny pip and squeak.
Love The Crush List? Please Subscribe! You’ll get a weekly email with an extra image and a link to the new posts. Nice!