Saturday, June 17, 2017

Pies of the Hill Country

Pies of the Hill Country (4/28/17)

The Hill Country of Texas west of Austin and San Antonio has a great abundance of pie. I had to take my wife with me this time to some of the pie bakeries on my to-do list for a re-taste.

Yellowware mixing bowls 

Lost Maples Cafe...pie fixes everything

Lost Maples Cafe...pie fixes everything
For me the Lost Maples Cafe was one of my great finds in 2014 due to its great variety of house-made pies (20+) and Tex Mex food so close to the state park of the same name that makes this restaurant a popular stop for Thanksgiving weekend hikes. Make sure that you request their table salsa. On re-tasting I realized that I don't like some of their crusts as much as I remembered but the fillings - like the sky high meringues - are definitely not canned pie filling.

The enchilada plate with rice and beans and side salad with ranch dressing

cherry pie

coconut meringue pie

chocolate meringue pie

a pie safe

Love Creek Orchards - The Apple Store

Head west on Hwy 16 from Bandera to Medina TX (not the one in Saudi Arabia) and you will find the former home of the Texas Apple Festival and the primary place where apples are grown locally in Texas. The town's symbol is a giant concrete apple (below right) in the park. Love Creek Orchard is one of the larger orchards in town and they have a store - The Apple Store - that sells not Macs but instead a number of apple varieties (below left) bred by nurserymen affiliated with Texas A&M to need less chill time to initiate flowering and can set fruit under our hot and dry Texas summers.

In addition to a lot of apple-themed garden flags, yard art, and jellies The Apple Store has a self service area that sells whole apple pies and by the slice as well as apple strudel. I thought the strudel was nice and crisp and had a great apple flavor with just enough fresh ground cinnamon.

Apple Pie
Apple Strudel

 Backyard Bistro

Backyard Bistro
Lots of lovely flowers in their landscaping

Pipe Creek east of Bandera on Hwy 16 has one upscale restaurant, Backyard Bistro. The chef is a transplant from Detroit who has a French-themed menu. They are popular for their pie (including buttermilk pie), but alas there was none to be had the night we had dinner there. We had some cake instead but the ice cream was very unusual. It had a variety of herbs including mint that tasted to me like a French culinary garden in a glass.
cream of mushroom soup

crab cake pasta
Pork breast with mashed potatoes and summer vegetables

French herb ice cream

coconut cake

chocolate pecan cake like a Texas sheet cake

Boerne - Future Pies

Boerne is a cute town with a thriving old town main street with restaurants and bars. Unfortunately everyone else likes the town so Austinites are causing the town to quadruple over the next 5 to 10 years. Next time I return I plan to try the pies at Bumdoodler's, a crazy name but apparently a sandwich shop serving good pie. Bear Moon Bakery and Cafe was also recommended for good pie in Boerne.

We found the Carousel Antiques & Pickles was worth a stop. Their Fickle Pickles are a more addictive version of bread a butter pickles made with alum to give them that glassine look. They have both regular and extra spicy versions.


Buzzie's Barbecue in Kerrville is on the 2013 Texas Monthly Top 50 Texas Barbecue joints. I found that I liked the buffalo head better than the barbecue. The meat wasn't particularly moist and the fat cap wasn't rendered creamy. I think TM staff agreed with me that they are off their game now, because they didn't put them on the 2017 list.

West of downtown Kerrville is a replica of stonehenge called Stonehenge II in Ingram TX.

Stonehenge II

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