Sunday, May 30, 2010

The Chuck Wagon: BBQ in Fort Davis, TX

Before the Star Party at the McDonald Observatory, we chowed down at the Chuck Wagon.  

There's nothing as desirable as a big jug of ice cold sweet tea in the desert, and I'm forever grateful to the Chuck Wagon for serving them.

Texas-Size Sweet Tea

Homemade BBQ Sauces-(left to right) Spicy, Sweet, and Vinegary

You're not going to find the best BBQ in Texas here, but you'll find big portions of passable BBQ meats with pretty darn good BBQ sauce.  It's really silly to be picky about food in west Texas so I was quite satisfied with our meal.

"The Big Haul"-Chicken, Sausage, Brisket, and Ribs with Cole Slaw, Beans, Fries, and Toast

Stuffed Baked Potato

After dinner, we headed to the McDonald Observatory for a pre-Star Party educational tour and Star Party.  I highly recommend doing any of the tours at the observatory.  I learned a lot of fascinating things about stars and even brushed up on my foggy knowledge of the planets.  The best part was seeing Saturn TWICE through two different high-powered telescopes.  We saw the freakin' rings of Saturn!!!!  Unfortunately I couldn't take a photo of it through the telescope.

Sunset at the McDonald Observatory

Venus and The Moon seen outside the McDonald Observatory

The next day, we ordered breakfast burritos and a peach pancake from the Chuck Wagon.  The burritos were cheap, gigantic, and delicious.  Breakfast was better than dinner!

Peach Pancake

Breakfast Burrito-eggs, sausage, bacon, country ham, grilled potatoes, sliced tomatoes, bell peppers, onion, and cheese 

Picnic Fare from Stone Village Market in Fort Davis

After two nights in Marfa, we headed to Fort Davis.  I found Fort Davis quite likable.  The landscape of the Davis Mountains is very varied throughout the scenic loop.  You have to drive through the full Loop 118 if you're in Fort Davis.  It's absolutely gorgeous, and you may just be given a friendly warning by a hot state trooper like we did for going slightly over the speed limit.

When we got into town, it was about lunch time.  We wanted to make sure that we had time to visit the Fort Davis Historic Site as well as drive the entire scenic loop, have dinner, and drive back on the loop for the Star Party at the McDonald Observatory.  We opted to grab some picnic fare at the Stone Village Market in town and to eat at the historic site.

I read a lot about how great The Get Go is in Marfa, but the Stone Village Market in Fort Davis (507 N State St, Fort Davis, TX 79734) is certainly superior in variety and freshness.

Stone Village Market; Deli Counter

Boy did we have a fantastic lunch!  Fickle Foodie had the roast beef on Jewish rye bread, mom and I shared a turkey with Monterrey Jack cheese on wheat bread, and we shared deviled eggs and bacon potato salad from Stone Village Market.  We drank Apple Sidra that we had brought along with us from Austin and ate peach empanadas that we had purchased from one of the vendors at Farm Stand Marfa that morning.

Picnic Spread-roast beef on Jewish rye, turkey and Monterrey Jack on wheat, deviled eggs, bacon potato salad, peach empanada, and Apple Sidra

Deviled Eggs from Stone Village Market

Bacon Potato Salad from Stone Village Market

Peach Empanada from a Vendor at Farm Stand Marfa

Fort Davis Historic Site

Lone Tree Seen from Loop 118

Scenic Loop 118

Action Shot on Scenic Loop 118

Friday, May 28, 2010

Breakfasting in Marfa

While in Marfa, we stayed at El Cosmico, where you can stay in trailers, yurts, safari tents, the one teepee on the grounds, or even pitch your own tent.  This road trip was all about doing things I've never done before (i.e. canoeing 21 miles and camping), and staying in a trailer and a teepee fits the bill.  We spent one night in the Imperial Mansion trailer and one night in the teepee.  Both were surprisingly comfortable!

The Imperial Mansion Trailer and Teepee

Breakfast is not included at El Cosmico, and you pretty much only have one restuarant breakfast option--Cochineal.  I was not about to spend $20 for breakfast in Marfa.  I really wanted to eat at Austin Street Cafe, but alas, they're only open on Sundays.  After a morning of searching for breakfast alternatives, we decided on just making coffee in the trailer and eating whatever we brought with us on the trip.

Breakfast at the Trailer

The following morning, we got coffee at Frama/Tumbleweed Laundry and croissants at Squeeze Marfa and brought the goodies back to the teepee.

Frama/ Tumbleweed Laundry

Scrabble Menu at Frama

The croissants at Squeeze are light, flakey, buttery without being greasy. 

Breakfast at the Teepee

Continental Breakfast: Croissant with Butter and Hero Jam, Orange Slices, and Swiss Cheese

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Marfa: Pizza Foundation

People are right!  Pizza Foundation serves up great pizza!  But not only that, the different flavored frozen limeades are addictive.

Pizza Foundation

Watermelon and Mango Frozen good as it sounds!

1 Half: Spinach and Garlic
1 Half: Pepperoni, Sausage, Fresh Basil, and Mushroom

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Chinati Foundation Tour with a Lunch Break at Food Shark

Our main purpose for going to Marfa was to check out Donald Judd's art compound at the Chinati Foundation.  You have to enter the compound with either a half day or morning and afternoon tour.  We did the whole sha-bang and had a blast!  Here's a good NPR link about Judd and his works in Marfa.

Chinati Foundation

Donald Judd, Untitled (Progression), 1976?

Cool Donald Judd Revolving Doors
One of one hundred Judd stainless steel boxes in the artillery of the Chinati compound

Once we reached the halfway point, the guide gave us a 2 hour break for lunch.  Of course everyone on the tour hustled over the other much talked about food joint, Food Shark, of NYTimes fame.

Food Shark

Unlike my experience at Cochineal, I thoroughly enjoyed eating at this popular establishment.  I liked the easy-going vibe, the thoroughly scrumptious pork tacos, the refreshing salad, and the hummus and flat bread.  I'm not a huge fan of falafels to start with, so I suppose the falafels are decent.

Orange Pellegrino and Peanut Butter Cookie; Marfalafel-flour tortilla filled with falafel balls, romaine lettuce, tomatoes, cucumbers, red onion, tahini, yogurt and harissa sauces
Pork Tacos with Greek Salad

Combo Plate-2 falafel balls with yogurt, tahini and harissa sauces, Greek salad, hummus and flatbread

Right behind the trailer and next to the railroad tracks, there's a fun "What you see is not what it is" sign.

"What you see is not what it is."

Fickle Foodie and I were scared that we weren't going to see the Dan Flavin light installations because the guide hadn't mentioned it throughout the first half of the tour, but things turned out for the better.  Almost all of the second half of the tour was spent going in and out of the 6 buildings with various pairings of colored lights.  Woohoo!
Flavin Fans

After the tour ended, we were free to explore the concrete Judd sculptures out in the fields.  We tried out some fun action poses.