The experience

The County LineToday was a busy day for us.  Ogre and I were going to an engagement party for our dear friends, Carolyn and Brian.  Oma and Grandpoo were coming over to babysit the kids while we had some fun interacting with kids our own age.  We would be getting back early enough to have dinner with the kids and their grandparents.  We wanted to have barbecue tonight and the fact that I had to do some work in Rowlett pushed our decision to The County Line by Lake Ray Hubbard.  This was a great choice as it’s considered a favorite in Austin for BBQ.  I say “a” favorite, not “our” favorite; we actually prefer The Salt Lick when we want BBQ in Austin

Since I needed to do the admission at the hospital, I drove separately and would meet them there.  I actually got there before them because Ogre got a little lost.  Ogre informs me that he forgot the camera and we’d be using our camera phones tonight.  Hence, poor picture quality.  We got a table right away on the patio that overlooks the lake.  Grandpoo asked for a side of Off from the hostess who didn’t quite get it at first and Ogre instructed her to just ignore him.  We were lucky that there were no skeetos out tonight.

We sat down and pretty soon our waiter came over to get our drink order.  I replied, “I’d like a coke, a lemonade for her,” as I pointed at Mina, “a water for him,” pointing at Benji, “and my husband wants a Shiner Bock.”  I am not kidding when I tell you that this was the next part of the conversation.  Well, first he gets Grandpoo and Oma’s order and that goes off without a hitch.  Then he looks at me and says, “What does she want?” pointing to Mina.  “A lemonade.”  Then he says, “How about you, ma’am?”  If you read this blog often, you know what I’m thinking and one of the words has two hockey sticks.  What the hell?  And like, I always do, I calmly reply, “A coke.”   THEN, to make matters more absurd, he says, pointing at Benji, “And so he’s just going to share or something?”  I thought I might need to take a fork and stick it in my eye, but instead, we just tell him that he’ll take a water in a kiddie cup.  My eyeballs must have been falling out of its sockets because Ogre’s dad is laughing at me and telling me to give him a chance.  I’m thinking he just had three strikes!

Now that the drink order fiasco is over, we start to peruse the menu.  Benji and Mina are pretty impressed with the lakeview.  Benjamin is saying “WOW!” and “bah-bo” (for bubbles -that’s what he’s calling the waves).  We point out the boat to Benjamin and he obligingly repeats the word “bo.”  We show the boats to Mina and I tell her that one of the boats is a sailboat.  She rolls her eyes at me and says, “I know that, Mommy.”  Well, shut me up.   Ogre requests some bread when we get our drink order.

The lake view

When he returns with the bread, Grandpoo is disappointed that the bread is not hot.  It’s warm, but not hot.  Benjamin is telling Grandpoo “bee…bee” and I tell him that he probably wants butter for his bread.  Naive Grandpoo obliges and gives buttered bread to Benjamin while Ogre and I snicker in our heads.  Seems like Grandpoo will be Benji’s drudge tonight!

Grandpoo wonders about the Second Cut Marbled Brisketand after we all read the description, we’re all interested.  He asks the waiter about it who doesn’t tell us anything we didn’t already know.  Finally, Grandpoo asks if it’s good and our waiter says, “Yeah, it’s good.”  Mina tells us she wants the ribs;we take a few minutes more to make our final decisions all the while Grandpoo is buttering bread for Benji who licks it off and hands it back for more “bee.”

We order our dinner and Mina plays with the Barbies she brought.  They did provide crayons and a paper placemat to color on, but Mina finds it more exciting to use Oma’s hairclips to style her Barbies’ hair.  Grandpoo must not have been able to tolerate less than warm pieces of bread passing through his hands and asks the waiter to bring out hot bread.  He does and, apparently, it’s flaming hot.  At least he got what he wanted.  Not more than 5-7 minutes pass and out comes our dinners.  There was some rumor that the place closed at eight o-clock and I attributed it to that, but Ogre says on the door it is written that they close at nine.  Theory out the window.

Three of us ordered the Second Cut Marbled Brisket (Lite Plate) and we all compared notes.  I wished that mine were a little fattier, actually, and Ogre tells me that “actually” his does seem to be fattier Pork Rib Platter(he just got the normal stuff on the Pork Rib Combo (with brisket and sausage).  He is kind enough to offer some to me, but I like mine well enough.  Mina asks for some of mine while Ogre cuts up her ribs.  She decides to make a BBQ sandwich out of it.  She makes it all by herself and happily starts to eat it.  Benjamin is still eating the bread and butter (and, thankfully, is actually eating some of the bread!).  We give him some beans and beef, also, but I’m not sure if he ate any of it. 

The last time we came here we overstuffed ourselves with the “All You Can Eat.”  We all realized that this is the way to go as we were all satiated after finishing our plates, but we didn’t ache from overstretched tummies!  Mina did a great job eating her sandwich and her ribs.  I didn’t make her eat any vegetables since it was the last day of summer.  We also made the evening complete with a peach cobbler and blackberry cobbler -both a la mode.  Benjamin had no problems finishing his cup of ice cream and Ogre made it even more gluttonous for him by giving him a straw to slurp up the melted ice cream. 

 Blackberry Cobbler After

The food

First off, I realize that BBQ is very subjective.  The word BBQ is very generic and vague.  There are so many different types of BBQ (Mesquite, Hickory, Mustard-based, Sweet…the list goes on and on).  Here it’s Texas-style Mesquite BBQ.  I think this place has above average BBQ.   Ogre and I both agree that it’s not the best BBQ ever.  The meat was tender.  I hoped that the Secondhand Cut Marbled Brisket would be, well, more marbled.  Grandpoo and Oma echoed these sentiments.  Ogre and Mina both got pork ribs and Ogre thought these could stand to be more “meaty.”  Ogre also got sausage on his platter and said that this, too, was good, but not necessarily excellent.  The sauce is pretty good here, too; in fact, Grandpoo mentioned that he thought the sauce was really good.

There was nothing special about their potato salad or cole slaw.  They’re both good, but not great.

Ogre and his parents loved the cobblers.  I have a personal bias for the cobbler Ogre makes (it’s Paula Dean’s recipe); it wasn’t as good as that, but I agree that it was good.

Pork Ribs Child's Plate They had an appropriate kids menu with any of the adult entrees in child-size portions.  These came with fries.  Some choices include chicken tenders, corn dogs, sausage, brisket, or pork ribs.  All for around 5-6 bucks.

The service

Our waiter was a little strange tonight.  He wasn’t rude, he was seemingly attentive.  I have no idea why he didn’t hear the first 20 seconds of me ordering the drinks.  Other than that, he was okay.  He definitely had a weird vibe.  The food came out lightning fast.  Note that we did come on an evening when the Cowboys were playing so it wasn’t very packed.  I’d be hard pressed to say that the service was excellent and hard pressed to say it was bad.  Mainly, it was strange.


The kids

They provide crayons and paper placemats to color on and the restaurant is nice and loud if you don’t sit outside.  Our kids loved the patio and view of the lake.  This is a fun restaurant for adults and kids to go to and all the menu items are accessible to both, as well.

Total: 70.47 (4 adults and one beer)


Rants, Raves, and Ramblings

So what’s with the weird title?

Every time I heard the words “County Line,” the song “One Headlight” performed by The Wallflowers gets stuck in my head:

She said it’s cold
It feels like Independence Day
And I can’t break away from this parade
But there’s got to be an opening
Somewhere here in front of me
Through this maze of ugliness and greed
And I seen the sun up ahead
At the county line bridge
Sayin’ all there’s good and nothingness is dead
We’ll run until she’s out of breath
She ran until there’s nothin’ left
She hit the end-it’s just her window ledge

But we had 2 cars…four headlights.

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