What better way to spend July 4th than in Texas! Well, the SO and I are visiting his family and yes, it's pushing 100 on a daily basis, but there is plenty of air condition to go around. When one is visiting family a lot of time is spent around food. You get up in the morning and while having breakfast you talk about where to go for lunch. Then at lunch what the plan is for dinner. And on the way home from dinner, stopping by the store to pick up something for breakfast, it's all very cyclical. Food in Texas falls within a range of grilled/barbecued, fried and Mexican. (Sometimes you can find places that offer all of those on one menu.) Usually though your best bets are to go with the "institutions"--restaurants that have been around awhile and attract a large swath of folks based around decent homestyle food in large quantities. One such place is Po Po Family Restaurant. Located outside Boerne Texas, which is located outside San Antonio, it's a drive to get there like most things in Texas. It has a long history, which is printed on its placemats for your reading pleasure.
It also has its own unique decorating scheme which has also taken years to achieve--unless of course they are plate hoarders and just happen to have them laying around.
Charming, but as I've said many times before, for me it's all about the food. First up was deep fried mushrooms.
Whole mushrooms deep fried in a flour batter served with ranch dressing and sausage gravy for dipping. Sounds odd but this actually worked well. The shrooms weren't overly greasy and were hot and crispy out of the fryer. Now ranch is kind of a standard dipping sauce for fried stuff but I have to say the gravy worked and tasted much better. I mean mushrooms and gravy--how could it not be good? Okay so there are many ways, but here it's tasty. For my entree I went with a house specialty--chicken fried chicken.
A giant boneless chicken breast flour battered and fried with my choice of sides--fried okra, green beans with bacon, a biscuit and of course more sausage gravy. The chicken was tender and juicy and the crust was thin, flaky and crunchy--like a chicken fried steak but with chicken. Dipped in the thick peppery gravy, I could feel my arteries hardening as I ate, but my taste buds were ecstatically happy. I'm always a sucker for fried okra and as long as it's crispy and hot from the fryer, like here, I'm good to go. The beans were a standard out of the can variety but bacon added some nice salty smoke flavor so I'll give them a pass. The biscuit was light, fluffy, warm with a nice outside crust. My butter melted nicely into it, a plus, and it also tasted good dipped in the gravy. It's been awhile since I've had a decent biscuit and fortunately I got a pretty decent one here. Since we were just throwing calories counts out the door we decided to get some dessert to top it all off and hit total food coma before the long drive back to the house.
Housemade peach cobbler with Blue Bell vanilla ice cream. Peaches are in season in Texas and they were fresh and tasty, however, the cobbler part of this was under-done, gummy and just not good. It was more like an uncooked dumpling than cobbler crust. We just ate around it and had the peaches and ice cream. Not exactly what I'd wanted but we were already stuffed so it was just finishing off our gluttony at this point.
Texas is full of big eatin' kinds of restaurants, but like any other place in the country the food still has to be good to keep folks coming back, and for the most part, Po Po's does country style cooking pretty well. And considering their off the beaten track location you really do have to make yourself worth the drive. Now if they could only work out the dessert deficiency they'd be a total one stop then home kind of restaurant.