Martin’s All-American Road Trip; Stop #8 – Austin/San Antonio, TX
Welcome to the Lone Star State! The “Lone Star” on Texas’ flag signifies Texas being an independent republic before being annexed to the United States. Originally under Mexican control, Texas claimed its independence in 1836. Texas is considered somewhat of a melting pot with its strong ties to Mexico, as well as its cultural influence from Anglo- and African-Americans and German and Czech immigrants. This can be seen in its cuisine, in a style often called “Tex-Mex” or in the famous German-influenced sausages.
Back on May 25th, we talked about the different varieties of Carolina barbecue, all of which are made with pork and mostly differ by the types of sauce. Well, Texas has its own style of barbecue and it’s quite different from its cousin to the east. Texas barbecue puts a great emphasis on the quality of the meat (particularly beef) and therefore focuses very little on adding sauce.
Like the Carolinas’, Texas barbecue has slight variations within its region. Central Texas, influenced by German and Czech immigrants, uses beef brisket, sausage, and ribs, smoked over oak wood for its barbecue – served with little to no sauce. Eastern Texas uses about 50-50 beef and pork, smoked over hickory or pecan wood, sometimes served with sauce. West and Southwest Texas favor “Cowboy-style” barbecue, where the meat is cooked over a pit filled with mesquite wood, over direct heat. In the very south, you will find a style of barbecue influenced by Mexico – barbacoa.
Austin, the capital of Texas, offers a wide variety of exciting activities! Austin has been called the “Live Music Capital of the World” since 1991 due to its great number of live music venues. Music, in any genre, is an important part of Austin’s culture. It is also host to many popular music festivals such as South By Southwest (SXSW), Austin City Limits, Urban Music Festival, and many others. Check out this venue guide to find a music show suited to your style. The city is very creative in other aspects as well – from its many galleries and museums, to its ballet.
For refreshing outdoor activities, you can explore the Lady Bird Lake Hike and Bike Trail or the Barton Springs Pool, a 3-acre natural swimming pool that is fed from an underground spring. The pool is part of the 351-acre Zilker Metropolitan Park, where you can also visit botanical gardens or the Austin Nature and Science Center, or go canoeing, biking, or golfing! Or if you’re near the Congress Avenue Bridge at night, you can watch its 1.5 million bats fly out from under it – a fascinating site to see! There’s even an observation center near the bridge for visitors to appreciate the largest urban bat colony in North America.
About an hour and a half south of Austin lies San Antonio, another exciting, vibrant city well worth a visit. Along with fun theme parks such as SeaWorld, Six Flags, and the San Antonio Zoo, a must-visit attraction is the San Antonio River Walk. The River Walk, or Paseo del Rio, is a beautiful public park; a collection of walkways along the banks of the San Antonio river that connects major attractions, restaurants, and shops. With a beautiful riverside view, and a marvelous mixture of architecture and culture, both new and old, this is a favorite spot for anyone visiting the area. See http://www.thesanantonioriverwalk.com for more details.
Also in San Antonio, remains an integral part of Texas’ history – the Alamo. In 1836, Texas, having many disagreements with Mexican law, began a revolution and declared its independence from Mexican rule. On March 6, Mexican president, Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna, attacked the Alamo, an old fortified mission in San Antonio. The 200 Texan rebels, including William B. Travis, James Bowie, and legendary David Crockett, fought a brave battle, but were ultimately conquered by the Mexican army.
A similar defeat happened again at Goliad, but a month later at The Battle of San Jacinto, General Houston and his militia defeated the Mexican army while shouting “Remember the Alamo!”; this victory began the Republic of Texas. To learn more about its history or to plan a visit, head to http://thealamo.org.
Where in the World Are Martin’s Potato Rolls?
While Martin’s products are not readily available in Texas quite yet, you can find us at a few great burger joints! Shake Shack, in Austin, TX uses Martin’s Sandwich Potato Rolls for their delicious burgers. With 6 Texas locations, including one in Austin and two in San Antonio, you can also find Martin’s Sandwich Potato Rolls at BurgerFi!
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