Passover is a holiday that I observe somewhat strictly. I not only avoid bread, pasta, cake, etc. but also rice, corn (and corn syrup), and legumes to name just a few of the no no’s. To keep things on the up and up – or kosher- I avoid eating in restaurants. This is not easy, as you might imagine. There are three days remaining before I can return to eating what’s known in Jewish circles as “chometz.”
Since I have no dining excursions from last weekend to write about, I am going to turn into a total hypocrite and focus on something that qualifies as the antithesis to Passover. Just know that in writing this, I am demonstrating how strong a person I really am. Because I really want a doughnut right now.
We recently spent a weekend in Austin. One of the great things about Austin is the food trailers. (We call them food trucks in these parts, but I guess everything’s bigger in Texas.) Gourdough’s is on my must visit list.
I am a known doughnut lover, so this is a no-brainer. I peruse the menu and there it is… the ‘Flying Pig’ doughnut. A maple glazed doughnut, topped with strips of bacon. At first I hesitate. I’m with five other people and three won’t eat bacon. This leaves me pleading to the two others. Will they please share a Flying Pig? They shake their heads no. I am on my own. I think about the many times I have heard about a similar creation at Voodoo Doughnut in Portland. I’ve recommended Voodoo to others, yet have never been myself. I bite the bullet. It’s my turn for the bacon doughnut experience.
I am in pig heaven. This is a dense, decadent, and delightful doughnut. It’s huge, slathered with maple topping and several pieces of bacon. What can be better than this mix of salty and sweet? It’s big enough for at least three people to share. I can’t do it justice and end up throwing much of it out, which pains me. But it is totally worth it.
Lest you get the impression that I am the only one indulging myself, this is not the case. My friends share the Granny’s Pie doughnut with cream cheese, banana, caramel, and lots of walnuts, which they think is scrumptious, but I’m too busy chowing down on bacon to care.
I vow to come back the next day to try something fruitier. It doesn’t happen, although a trip to Amy’s Ice Cream does. I am definitely a better person having experienced the sweet cream with cinnamon toast crunch crush’ns. My friend orders his with M&M crush’ns. “Boys or girls?” asks the server. “What’s the difference?” we ask. “The boys have nuts,” she replies. Good one!
I would be remiss if I didn’t talk about brisket. Brisket is a must in Austin. I spend hours debating with myself about whether to eat at the ultra-popular Franklin Barbecue or to take a drive to The Salt Lick. Which is better? See what one of my favorite blogger thinks in her post “The Battle of the Barbecue: Salt Lick vs. Franklins.”
Everything I have read leads me to the realization that eating brisket at one of these institutions can require hours of standing in line. I am not one to shy away from standing in long lines for food, but there are other things to do in Austin. Outside things. This leads me to a decision, which I know that my fellow travelers appreciate. We skip the brisket-only places (good news for the non-meat eaters) and instead go to the brunch buffet at Lamberts Downtown Barbecue. Lamberts is a somewhat upscale setting (compared to a traditional brisket join), and the brisket is listed on more than a few top-brisket-in-Austin lists. Indeed, the brown sugar and coffee rubbed brisket is flavorful and tender. I also find the coriander and maple crusted Berkshire Pork ribs a delectable treat. The brunch also features some appealing sides including classic new potato salad, jicama And cilantro slaw, deviled eggs with caviar, and chilled asparagus with sherry shallot vinaigrette. Plus, we can order omelettes, french toast, and pancakes, until we’re completely stuffed. Which of course, we do. My husband says these are the best blueberry pancakes he’s ever had. I am not advocating you skip a traditional brisket place if you have the time and the fortitude, but this is a darn good option if you don’t.
I must now return to my matzo meal cookies and my macaroons, at least for a few more days. I have to confess something. I really don’t mind this once a year break from eating whatever I please. I actually find meaning in it, which is something I can’t easily pass over.
Gourdough’s, 1503 S 1st St, Austin, Texas
Amy’s Ice Cream, 2901 S. Lamar, Austin, Texas (see website for other locations)
Lamberts Downtown Barbecue, 401 W. 2nd Street, Austin, Texas