Thursday, March 13, 2008

The Hullabaloo

If you want to enjoy one of the best Italian sausage sandwiches on either side of the Passaic River* go to the Hullabaloo Diner in Wellborn, Texas (about four miles east of College Station). Of course the Hullabaloo’s menu has lots of choices but speaking from experience if you choose the Italian sausage sandwich you will not be disappointed.

The folks at the Hullabaloo import their Italian sausage from Chicago and well seasoned with spices such as fennel, oregano, garlic, crushed anise seeds, red pepper flakes and sugar it is terrific.

The sausage in my sandwich is grilled to perfection, sliced lengthwise and nestled on a toasted roll, covered with slices of melted provolone cheese, grilled caramelized onion and roasted green bell pepper. I had to force myself to take a moment to enjoy the mouth-watering aroma before taking a bite.

The crunch of the toasted roll, together with the sweetness of the sausage with its collection of Italian spices, followed by the heat of crushed red pepper is delightfully delicious.

So flavorful is the combination of the sausage, cheese, onions and bell pepper that no mustard or other condiments are required; although, a small cup of marinara sauce is thoughtfully provided for dipping.

Go to to check out the complete menu. You can also watch the video of Guy Fieri's visit to the Hullabaloo.

* The Passaic River is located in lovely New Jersey and has the second largest water fall, by volume, in the United States. Didn't know that did you?

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Texas Roadhouse

Last Saturday the wife, I and good friends went to a Texas Roadhouse restaurant on I-35 in Pflugerville, just north of Austin. It was just after 7:00 PM when we arrived, the place was packed, and our wait was about 40 minutes. We amused ourselves by talking and eating the peanuts we took from a huge barrel conveniently located by the front door.

Immediately upon being seated we were served a basket of freshly baked dinner rolls accompanied with whipped sweetened butter seasoned with cinnamon. Yummy.

Since the wife and I had just got back from a trip to Harlingen, Texas where we stayed in the Airstream, and I enjoyed way too many margaritas, tonight I drank lemonade. We ordered two of the country fried sirloin dinners, a pulled pork dinner, and a fried catfish dinner. Each dinner came with two sides, and ours included mashed potatoes, green beans, a side salad, and baked sweet potatoes.

Clearly the country fried sirloin is the Roadhouse’s take on a Texas favorite, chicken fried steak, and although nicely cooked, mine was over seasoned. It was also too thin making it more like a wiener schnitzel than chicken fried steak.

My wife’s pulled pork was cooked just right, tender, but not overly so, and the BBQ sauce was tangy without being too sweet. A baked potato that mistakenly showed up was cheerfully replaced with a sweet potato. The well breaded catfish filets were happily enjoyed. With the exception of a rather meager looking side salad all of the sides were very good. The mashed potatoes were nicely seasoned; the sweet potatoes baked perfectly, and the green beans cooked with bits of bacon.

The orders as served were attractive, and large; we all left with portion of our meal in a Styrofoam takeout box.

This was not our first time eating at a Texas Roadhouse. On a previous visit we enjoyed a “Cactus Blossom”. This attractive appetizer is a whole, lightly battered, deep fried onion sliced to resemble a flower, and very tasty indeed. Unfortunately, the New York strip steak that I ordered medium rare on that visit was on the tough side and over cooked.

On both occasions the service was fast, once seated, and very pleasant.