Move over, England. You’ve owned this muffin long enough! This is
America Texas. And on Texas Independence Day (March 2nd, of course!) I decided your reign over the English Muffin has come to an end. You can come and take it.
UPDATE: Sadly, Curly’s Carolina, TX has permanently closed in September 2014.
Texas has always been the center of barbecue in the country. Anyone who disagrees, well, isn’t from Texas. In the past few years there has been a resurgence of great BBQ, particularly here in Central Texas, with new places pushing the envelope. To succeed in this market that values tradition and consistency, you also need to innovate. And that’s where Curly’s Carolina, TX comes in.
Curly’s Carolina, TX is a coming-together of two former Austin-area BBQ food trailers. Hall of Flame BBQ brings its old school Texas style while Curly’s Perfect Pig shows off its Carolina roots. The menu offers each style on its own as well as mash-ups combining the two for something you can’t find anywhere else. Pitmaster Jay Yates is one of the nicest guys in the business, and he’s brought great barbecue to the I-35 corridor in Round Rock, Texas.
The space is large, with two dining rooms and a large patio out back. There’s even a dedicated parking lot behind the restaurant, making it easier for you to get great food into your mouth even faster.
As for that great food, from experience I can say that literally everything is worth your money. If you’re looking for that traditional, pinch-me-I-think-I’m-dreaming meal, go with the brisket. I prefer mine on a sandwich (called The Texan), but as long as you’re getting some brisket, it doesn’t matter how it’s served. They’re using USDA Prime meat and smoke it all through the night to make sure your meat can barely hold itself together. The rub they use is a secret blend with salt, pepper, brown sugar, and a whole slew of other spices. And it’s amazing.
If you want to try something a little less traditional, but no less delicious, I recommend the Carolina Quesadilla. As a matter of fact, you should order it every time and share one as an appetizer. And then order another just for you. They
fill stuff a huge flour tortilla with their Carolina pulled pork, smoked Gouda cheese, and poblano peppers, top it with a chipotle-avocado sauce, sour cream, a little more cheese, and serve it with a side of pickled onions. No Tex-Mex joint can touch this quesadilla. Trust me.
At most BBQ spots, the sides are forgettable. Not here though. The fried okra, wasabi cole slaw (yep.), hushpuppies, and fried green tomatoes are all worthy companions to your meat(s) of choice. Keep an eye on their Specials board to see what else they have that day.
And no matter what you do –I’m serious here, so pay attention– be sure to order the banana pudding for dessert. Oh man, it’s indescribable. It’s like… …
But really, it’s creamy and satisfying and light and if you catch it on a special day, they smoke the bananas before placing them on top. Do it.
And here are a few additional shots of what Curly’s has to offer:
You can let your friends stand in 3 hour lines, be greeted by “Sold Out” signs, and fret over who has “the best” barbecue, but you’ll know the secret to avoiding all those things sits just up the highway.
|Address||112 Main Street
Round Rock, TX 78664
|Phone number||(512) 537-9227|
|Hours of Operation||Tues. & Wed. 11 am – 2 pm, or until sold out
Hours: Thurs. – Sat. 11 am – 7 pm, or until sold out
Hours: Sundays 11 am – 5 pm, or until sold out
|Curly’s Carolina, Texas|
|Additional Info||Yes BYOB, No WiFi, No Reservations|
It’s been WAY too long since I’ve posted any sort of blog post about food, food trucks, or really anything you put in your mouth. In an effort to get back to it, I’m going to try something a little different. Rather than a full, detailed post about each and every food truck I’ve visited (like I used to do), you can expect more ad hoc “summary” posts about places I’ve really enjoy recently. The focus will probably still be on food trucks, but honestly that’ll be because that’s where I eat most!
To kick things off, this past weekend Evelyn was out of town. And I went a little overboard, so I’ll (try to) keep things brief.
2013 was a pretty huge year for my “Bucket List”, even if I didn’t know I had a Bucket List. Looking back, I knocked out quite a few “once in a lifetime”, or at least “big ticket” things in very short succession. It’s actually hard to believe it all happened last year.
I made a promise to take it easy after Ironman Arizona. For the six weeks that followed, through the end of the year, there’d be no structured training or races. Keeping to my word, the next race I signed up for wasn’t until 2014. The Rogue Distance Festival 30K, Half Marathon, and 10K. On January 5th. I signed up for the half marathon on a whim. I didn’t anticipate getting sick the week of the race, nor did I think there’d be a nasty cold-front dropping in race morning. But so it goes, and so I went!
Food trucks, amirite? Everyone and their non-Facebook-using moms know I’m a huge fan of food trucks. But apparently some food trucks are fans of mine! After Ironman Arizona I received an extra fancy surprise from two of my favorites. Thanks to some coordination from Tony (the man behind FoodTrailersAustin.com) and Ev, Cow Tipping Creamery and Guac n Roll created menu specials named for me!
The Run – 26.2 Miles
Finally! Time to show this race who’s boss. Almost. Within the first 20 steps I realized that every muscle in my core was shot. I guess remaining tense and hunched for six hours takes more energy than I thought. Even still, my first couple of miles were right around my goal 8 minute pace. I saw Ev, Travis, and the rest of my support crew at Mile 4 and gave a big smile, though I wasn’t feeling terrific.
The Bike – 112 Miles
Pulling through the starting chute I saw Ev and Travis there cheering me on for a long day of pedaling.
The course rides out 18.7 miles, turns around to the start, and then repeats that two more times for three total out-and-back loops – aka, a mental nightmare. The way out is slightly uphill most of the way, with a pretty noticeable incline just as you approach the turnaround point. I will say, the road conditions were incredible, and for that I am thankful.
Wait! Don’t miss Part 1: Getting to the Start
Race morning came around after only 2 hours of sleep. I left Ev in the room to get a little extra sleep while I went down to prep my bike. I got body marked, loaded up my bike with most of the food I’d be eating that day, and made one last bathroom stop before meeting up with Ev.
She snapped one last picture before I suited up and got take on the Ironman.
When training takes almost a year, and the race itself takes nearly half a day, the recap is sure to be wordy. To spare you, I’ve broken it up into more reasonable pieces. Without further ado…
Taking on an Ironman requires an inordinate amount of preparation and planning. Simply getting to the starting line is a small miracle, but thanks to my great support crew, I made it with shockingly few hiccups along the way. Sure, those 36 weeks of training were critical, but so, too, were the 1,100 miles between Austin and Tempe. On the Thursday before the race, Evelyn, Travis, and I loaded up the car and set off to Arizona.