I'm always looking for roadside surprises on our frequent trips from Austin to visit family and friends in Hico and Llano. When Hico bound, we often stop to fill up at the H-E-B in Lampasas, renowned for its cheap (if that's what you can call it these days) gas. We then guzzle milkshakes and cheeseburgers alfresco a few blocks ahead at Storm's Drive-In (Elvis ate here). Down the road, on US 281 north of Hamilton, we've been known to pick up a weekend's worth of comestibles at Dutchman's Hidden Valley Country Store: smoked meats and cheeses from the deli, cinnamon rolls and other treats from the bakery, and sweets at the old-fashioned candy counter. Don't forget Dutchman's own dressings and other Texas food productsâ€”and the antiques and knickknacks for sale.
I've already blogged (on July 9) about my favorite stop on the way to Llano, the plant/pottery paradise known as Sam's Dam Ranch, at FM 1431 and Texas 29 in Buchanan Dam. A diagonal jaunt across the corner will take you to the aptly named Tamale King restaurant (we usually pick up a dozen or two to go).
Reading Senior Editor Nola McKey's blog on her kolache quest in West, along with Senior Editor Lori Moffatt's Italian food find in Sanger and Editor Charles Lohrmann's ode to Carl's Corner (all just off of I-35), makes me think we ought to start a list of prime pit stops. What are your favorites?