The Austin Chronicle

Day Trips

By Gerald E. McLeod, November 9, 2012, Columns

The "Best of Austin" issue is a good opportunity for me to list (in no particular order) some my favorite discoveries during the past year.

On a long drive through West Texas I stopped at a roadside vegetable stand in Pecos to buy some locally-grown cantaloupes. Pecos cantaloupes fresh off the farm really are sweeter than all the others. It's not a brag if it's a fact.

Texans showed that their state parks are worth paying for. After coming off a record drought, summer heat, and budget cuts in 2011, the cash-strapped Texas State Parks raised almost $2 million in donations.

I don't know why it took so long for me to discover shrimp-stuffed fried avocados, a popular dish in Corpus Christi Mexican food restaurants. I can vouch for the fried avocados at La Playa's at 7118 South Padre Island Dr.

The Patio Cafe at Love Creek Orchards in Medina makes a great hamburger. Besides fresh buns and big meat patties, one of their secret ingredients is Texas Hill Country Jalapeno Mustard. You can take a jar home, and it goes great on almost anything.

And finally, Texas roped another bragging right by opening the fastest highway in the U.S. The 40-mile stretch of I-30, north of Lockhart, garnered the award with a posted speed of 85mph. Now you can get your barbecue fix that much faster.

1,120th in a series. Collect them all. Day Trips, Vol. 2, a book of "Day Trips," is available for $8.95, plus $3.05 for shipping, handling, and tax. Mail to: Day Trips, PO Box 33284, South Austin, TX 78704.

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