Yes. Husband Steve & I are out in the gloriousness that is Far West Texas. Again. Honestly, it’s one of those places where I look for any excuse to go. Like New York.
I was invited back to teach and help out at the 2nd Annual Viva Big Bend Food Festival (http://www.vivabigbend.com/food_events.html) by its founder, Stewart Ramser. I gladly said yes. Stewart’s a great guy and I certainly hope I can play at least some small part in helping this festival succeed.
But first, Steve & I, along with my parents who met us out here, had a day and a half to entertain ourselves.
On our way out from Austin, Steve & I, as is our wont, stopped in Fredericksburg for some leg stretching, lunch, and gas for the car. (As an aside, since we are now down to one household car, we decided to rent one for this trip. It’s a behemoth that I’m terrified to drive.)
We stopped for lunch at a little bakery/deli on Main Street called Java Ranch. Steve had a club sandwich while I had a BLT. Simple sandwiches that you have to work really hard at to screw up. The sandwiches were good, if serviceable. Nothing of note, really.
After eating, grabbing a cookie for me, an iced latte for Steve, and filling up the car, we were on our way once again.
Steve & I finally made it to Alpine about 6:30. We checked into our room at the beautiful Holland Hotel (http://thehollandhoteltexas.com), cleaned up, changed, and headed to pick up my parents at their hotel. We were off to Marfa to dine at one of our favorite restaurants, Cochineal (http://cochinealmarfa.com).
Steve & I chose to take my parents to Cochineal because we both knew they, and especially my mom, would enjoy it. Their food is exquisite (not a word I use lightly in reference to food), their wine list is excellent, and their cocktails are outstanding. And the space? A quiet minimalism.
We started off with cocktails. Well, all of us except Dad. He opted for Diet Coke.
Next came the bread. It tasted like a sourdough with a very dark hearty crust and a soft crumb. It was served with a soft butter sprinkled with black sea salt. Lovely.
Next came the appetizers; or, as listed on the menu, small plates. When they came to the table, my family being my family, we finished them all in less than 10 minutes. By no means a record.
After this repast, it was on to the main entrees. Everyone was very happy with their choices.
Dessert was a bit limited. The one item Mom wanted, the Ginger Pot du Creme, was apparently an aspirational dessert and, according to our server, wasn’t good enough to actually serve to customers. The other dessert, Creme Brûlée, was sold out. So, that left Carrot Cake and Chocolate Souffle with a Molten Center. You can guess which one we went with.
Overall, our meal was wonderful. This was the second time Steve & I had been to Cochineal and both times have been a delight. It’s definitely a destination restaurant; no doubt about that. Even if you lived in the area, this would be a special occasion place.
Mom pointed out that not only was it an excellent meal, but the portions were reasonable. She said (and I agree with this) that she would rather pay more for a good meal she can actually finish than pay less for a meal where she either stuffed herself or couldn’t finish.
After a walk around a closed and rolled-up-for-the-night-Marfa, we drove back to Alpine, dropped my parents off at their hotel, went back to ours and promptly fell asleep.
Because we knew Thursday was park day.
Next up… Day 2