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THE COASTAL PLAINS:  We're talking about low rolling hills with lots of sky.  On this trip we crossed the muddy San Antonio River several times, brunched at La Enchiladita and came upon a double striped road.

First, Nixon for Brunch
Story & Photos by IRA KENNEDY

You might as well know now.  Ms. Intrepid wants to go to The Texas Coast.  Now, I'm a Hill Country Boy at heart and I'd rather put up with tics and prickly pear in my pants than jellyfish and sand in my shorts.

Being a guy and all I noticed that just 26 miles this side of The Coast was the Fannin Battleground State Historical Park and, nearby, Goliad State Historical Park. 
So, somehow, I managed to convince Ms. Intrepid we had see the Coastal Plains
before going to The Coast.  Or maybe she was letting me get used to the notion of
"Going to The Coast" kinda gradual.

A.jpg (3415 bytes)ny real Texan is obliged to "Remember the Alamo" and "Remember Goliad". Like most Texans I saw the Alamo early in my youth but I'd never laid eyes on Goliad -- it being so close to The Coast as it is -- so now I had the chance.
       The first obstacle on our trips is figuring out how to get somewhere without going someplace we've already been.  So naturally we breezed through Luling, and right past our favorite fruit & vegetable stand before we knew we needed to stop. Just down the road was Nixon, Texas -- one of those places you go to just so you can say you've been there.
       On the way we saw a "No Center Stripe" road sign right alongside the striped road.  This happened more than a few times on our little adventure and it got me to pondering all over again.  Is Highway Department shorthanded?   Why do they do all that work and then don't finish the job by laying claim to their accomplishment? 
       Later on we came up on a double striped road -- now this needed a sign [see photo above].  Something like "Extra Yellow Stripe" just so folks won't think they're seeing double like when they've had one longneck too many.  For the life of me I can't imagine the least reason for a three lane highway when the middle lane is about three feet wide. 
       We stopped at a convenience store in Nixon around 11 in the morning to avail ourselves of their facilities.  That's when I saw Ms. Intrepid eyeballing those plastic-wrapped sandwiches in the cooler.  (What was she thinking?)  I surmised straight away that we were headed for another bad food day if I didn't do something quick.
       "You know, there's probably a real restaurant around here..."
       "You're right.  Let's go."   (Whew!)
       With that we piled back in Nigel the Land Rover and continued south on Hwy 87.  A couple of blocks later, at the intersection on Roosevelt Street, we saw a cluster of cars around a Mexican restaurant.  It was La Enchiladita or El Zarape depending on which sign you were reading at the time.  The best sign, however, was the crowded parking lot.
       Although the place wasn't all dolled up outside, the interior was another matter.  I took a liking to this place right off.  Clean and well lighted, all of the tables were covered in Mexican blankets wrapped in a sheet of plastic for easy clean-up.  The ceiling fans had bright red chili peppers for blades and there wasn't a velvet bullfighter painting to be seen.  The wall decor consisted of yet more Mexican blankets fanned out in a half circle beneath sombreros.  Teeny-tiny blankets and sombreors filled in some of the empty spaces in between. 
       ( Ok, I'll fess up. Ms. Intrepid has me hooked on those interior design cable TV programs even though they never hang any critter mounts or weapons on the walls -- not even a nice collection of gimme caps or a few wore-out Steatsons.  And they are death to ceiling fans.)
       The crowd was kinda thin so I reckoned everyone in the place came in their own vehicle.  As you might expect, service was prompt.  We both ordered Huevos Rancheros with refried beans (what else?) and sausage.  Now this was the neat part which nearly defies explaination.  The sausage was served up looking like a pine cone that mated with a waffle iron. (I shoulda photographed this...)
      Seems they sliced a sausage down the middle, cut a few horizontal and verticle lines on the flat side and then deep fried the whole affair. They came out rolled up tight, inside out, in curlycue cones.
       (Ok, I'll fess up.  Ms. Intrepid has me hooked on the cable cooking channel.  But there's one thing about those shows that has me stumped. They'll serve up snakes and eels still wrigling from stage fright, but when's the last time they prepared a really difficult dish, like possom or armadillo?  Never.)
       The food was great and, being past hungry, I wiped my plate clean.  It could'a been cleaner yet if I'd had buscits rather than tortillas to work with.  I pondered on licking the plate but suprisingly enough refrained, even though Ms. Intrepid is absolutely a goner when a dog show is onTurnA.jpg (4971 bytes) TV.
       Anyway, the food was muy bueno and the price, under $10, was a bargain.  Back on the road we were headed for Cuero.

      PAGE 1: NIXON  /   PAGE 2: CUERO

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Texas Hill Country Wine: Torrie de Pietra Vineyards and Winery near Fredericksburg Texas