No, that’s not me while driving! Asleep at the Wheel is a Country-and-Western Band we went so see live at the Paramount Theatre in Austin yesterday. We certaonly enjoyed their programme, Santa Loves to Boogie, a lot. As band leader Ray Benson said in his introduction, not all of it would be christmasy. So quite a bit of their performance was classical country-and-western. And that mixture is what made the evening varied and entertaining. And they put up a really good show. They really lived their music, especially Ray Benson – band leader, lead singer and gitarrist of the troupe: a real personality on the stage. We had two absolutely entertaining hours, which went by far too quickly.
Before the theatre, we had our supper at Scholz Garten, the oldest beer garten in Austin – well, as it’s autumn, of course not outside in their beer garten, but inside in the restaurant. This restaurant was founded in 1866 by German immigrant and Confederate veteran August Scholz and is still a privately owned traditional restaurant in Austin, with much ambience, which, in 1966, was evenb honoured by the Texas House in a resolution as “a gathering place for Texans of discernment, taste, culture, erudition, epitomizing the finest tradition of magnificent German heritage in our State” and sports a historical marker outside on its wall. [More about the restaurant's history here: Scholz Garten History]
Our impressions [of the food that is, as the ambience was ok] were mixed, to say the least. The negative impressions began, as in my experience it is the case so often here in the US, even in quite upscale restaurants, with our appetizer and the main courses arriving at the table at nearly the same time. When I mentioned that to our waitress she only remarked that the food had been there for her to pick up that quickly. Well, this way we just treated our appetizer [fried pickled, btw] as a third side dish. Talking of fried pickles: that’s something really unusual for German taste, but I liked it. Frying nearly everything – there’s even fried beer around – is a kind of a tradition hereabouts.
But back to our food: Mary had barbequed chicken with sauerkraut and potato salad as sides, and she enjoyed her food. Well, she left the sauerkraut to me, as it was cooked with bay leaves, and she didn’t care for that taste. I had decided on bratwurst, as there were only different varieties of Schnitzel as German specialities on te menu and as I’m still on the look-out for a good bratwurst, with French Fries and sauerkraut as side dishes. I wasn’t really satisfied with my food: the sauerkraut was cooked to death, the fries were a tad soggy and the bratwirst was only luke warm. The only item that was really good was the mustard! My food really was no merit for the kitchen/cook. When I mentioned that to our waitress, she offered to take my plate back to the kitchen to have it warmed up, but I refused. I really don’t want warmed-up food in a restaurant. I only asked her to make my criticism known to their cook. Other than that: had the bratwurst been warm – or even hot, as the fried pickles – they would have been quite tasty, I think. What I liked best was the draught Spatenbraeu Optimator: nicely smooth and malty, and – for American beer – (nearly) too warm. Which made it absolutely fine for my German taste.
Even with our – or mine, rather – disappointment re the food I think we’ll be back there some time. One can’t always have that bad luck and the kitchen is bound to improve, especially as the present owner says that he bought the restaurant after he had had to complain about cold food and warm beer.
Before the performance at the Paramount started, we went to a small local restaurant for an ice cream [Mary] and an espresso [me].
Btw, for the night we stayed at the Best Western Atrium North again – a motel to be recommended as before.
- Deep Fried Pickles and Life. (taerilynn.wordpress.com)
- Elizabeth McQueen and the Firebrands Play Fundraiser Wednesday at Scholz Garten (texasmusicmatters.kut.org)
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