Goose, Lindo Lake © Robert Sommers 2020

Friday, June 12, 2015


Oscar's Barbecue- Cisco, Texas
A couple of people have asked me about the food we ate on the trip to Texas and back. And yes, as you may have guessed, we did eat. But our fare this time was a seriously mixed bag, good, bad and indifferent.

Guess I should shpiel a little before I forget everything. You can try to digest this like I did, and Steve mostly did.

This was a week of beef. I have a minor operation with the heart doctor scheduled in a few days and I thought I should prime the pump with a little texas prime before I am relegated to some ascetic or vegan lifestyle.

Get it out of my system like the coeds that go to Daytona Beach for the nasty weekend before they settle down into the long life of matrimonial slumber. I never had the right camera with me, frankly didn't care and my cell phone camera has to be the worst one on the market. So the pictures suck. Having said that, here is what I still remember.

First night out from Phoenix we drove to Fabans, Texas for a dinner at Cattlemans. The Cattleman's Steak House at Indian Cliff's Ranch is set way the hell in the middle of nowhere east of El Paso on the top of a lonely desert hill.

Leslie and I had drove up to eat there once and it was closed. Consistently nationally top rated steakhouse. Ken and Lauren ate there last year on my recommendation.

We got there about nineish, real hungry and both ordered steaks. Steve had a New York I think, I toyed with the idea of a large porterhouse but ended up with the smaller heavily marbled ribeye.

I thought my steak was great, the spicy beans were good too but I was not overly impressed with the food after all of the plaudits. Manliest steak, well I don't know? Sounds a little, well never mind...

I did something this trip that I have never done and am slightly ashamed to admit. We were sitting next to a group of bowlers from Omaha, down for a tournament.

One affable bowler ordered a rack of ribs that would have collapsed Fred Flintstones car at the drive in. I channeled my mom, summoned up the nerve and asked him for a bite.

He grudgingly complied. Said nobody had ever asked him to do something like that his entire life. For the record, they were less than impressed with the place, could find better beef in Omaha, which is a reaction that should be expected in such a situation. Might as well ask them what they thought about Oklahoma football.

In the spirit of reciprocity, I gave him a piece of my ribeye. Steaks were good but like any steakhouse most of us can do just as good at home, for a hell of a lot less money. But honestly, his beef ribs were a disappointment. Vodka and grapefruit juice was fresh squeezed and superb, I am most pleased to note.

Cattlemans is a place for tourists and muggles who want an event and experience but not a foodie place, still I enjoyed my experience there as a hungry traveler.

After dinner I got to repeat last year's ass clenching routine with the United States Border Patrol and Customs service at Sierra Blanca. Watched the dogs smell the ground after the car ahead of me pulled through. I think they are picking up scents off people's hair and skin now. Kafkaesque. They grudgingly let us through with a barely audible growl after a moment's hesitation.

Somewhere along the line we kept stride for stride with a big lazy S shaped dust devil off our starboard side.

We stopped at a place near Sweetwater called Bucks the next day for barbecue. Folks in the parking lot said they had been there about six or seven times.

Terrible place, watched the woman cut tough brisket with an electric knife and should have ran right then. Links weren't too bad, ribs pedestrian. Brisket awful, should be a felony in Texas.

Nothing else comes to mind until we got to Fort Worth that evening. We checked into our hotel and saw a tex mex place called Pulidos within walking distance. 

I ordered a combination, possibly the worst mexican plate I have ever had. Make that definitely. Enchilada sauce that appeared to be mostly constructed with cheese whiz. I am not going to go into this meal much further, trying to banish it from memory, wouldn't serve it to my dog. Come to think of it, that might have been the mystery meat.

Next night we went out to the Ol' South Pancake House. Really good, known for their german pancakes. As an aside I saw some asses in the seats that were so big they had their own zip codes. Lots of people praying fore they get their grub. Which is cool. Things are certainly different in the heartland.

Had a nice Bosnian server. They really heap on the food there. I had hamburger steak and eggs with a couple flapjacks on the side.

We had to find a Lowes to get some things for set up the next day and found a good vietnamese place, Pho's Little Saigon where we had  Bún Bò Huế and a Bánh Xèo crepe. The Hue lacked the pig blood that Steve is used to but was quite good. The crepe missed the mint and greens that I like but I would certainly go back if I was in the area looking for pho.

A bunch of us went to Eddie V's for an expensive and rip roaring dinner that will be the stuff of legends. I had grouper, which was perfect. Crab rice, we ate like swine and polished off a rack of deserts. I like Eddie V's, it is a nice chain. Funny waiter, great food, we had a riotous time and I have been informed that I was in top form.

Man selling tomatoes - Cisco, Texas

Not a lot more to speak of, never did get any decent barbecue. We started our way back home and stopped off in Abilene to see an art dealer friend we know, Geoff Cline.

He and Bradford had both mentioned a restaurant we had to try, Perinis. So we did.

Perinis is located in Buffalo Gap Texas, on another ranch out in nowhere. This is the place. The real deal. We chose to sit outside on the veranda amongst the oaks. Children ran around as did adult males in coonskin caps. The reason soon became apparent.

Tom Perini, the proprietor, has a relationship with the Fess Parker Winery. His daughter and family were there. They had a movie screen set up in the trees and were screening Davey Crockett movies.

The whole night took on a festive and joyful air. The food was fantastic. 

I started off with lightly fried quail legs. They were accompanied by a jalapeno so hot it was guaranteed to burn upon exit. Got a touch in my eye after dinner, ouch!

For an appetizer I tried the lovely green chile hominy. Couldn't have been better. This was the meal I had waited for all week. I had the prime rib, Steve had lamb chops. The entrees were accompanied by a locally sources caprese salad, the tomatoes from nearby Clyde, Texas and the very strong mozzarella from the Dallas area.

The affable manager came out and talked to us, made sure everything was perfect. I can see why this place has received all of the plaudits from the New York Times and James Beard Foundation.

Couldn't make room for dessert. Would go back in a heartbeat if I was ever that way. Foodie heaven. Read Perini's story here.

Left in the dark on a back road to Sweetwater. Almost hit an armadillo and worse. We finally made it back to Phoenix the next day after an interminable ride through the gaseous Permian Basin. Went out for Sushi at Leslie's favorite sushi bar, Mr. Sushi, right up there with Koi. Had takoyaki, yanasaki, some obscure stuff, great hamachi. Done my mama, daddy, not to mention my cardiologist proud. Sayonara and adios.


J.W. said...

A most enjoyable sampling...

Bethany said...

Love your food evaluation as well as your take on cardiology!

Sanoguy said...

Gone for a few more days... If I don't see you before your procedure: buena suerte, BH!

Anonymous said...

"Man selling tomatoes". Really nice job of post-processing. Most of the time SilverEfex treated images look like SilverEfex presets--kinda canned, but this ain't that at all. Very individual and well matched to the content of the image. Why that there just proves you kaint make no generalizations about them photos, not at tall.

Blue Heron said...

Jon, if I do use a filter it is merely a jumping off point. I start with a loose conception of how I want things to look and then there is an awful lot of tweaking. In Silver effects you modify brightness, contrast and structure, then a myriad of other variables, then final blow dry and style in photoshop and lightroom. Not canned.