We had quite the weekend with our besties in College Station. Ever since we bought this place in the Hill Country, they've always jumped at the chance to come here and explore the area with us, so I don't think we've been back to College Station to visit them since our son graduated from college there, which must be about five years now. Let me tell you, a lot has changed since then!
If you're not familiar with the area, there are two towns here butt up next to one another. Bryan was there first. College Station, home of Texas A&M University, was exactly what the name says -- just the railroad stop where the college kids got off. Eventually, a little town grew up around it, and that town is now booming!
We met up with our buddies at Fargo's Pit BBQ in Bryan, just in time for lunch. Fargo's started out as a little walk-up stand, but after being put on someone's Top 10 Texas BBQ Joints list, and getting mentioned in numerous articles, they've now expanded to include indoor seating. If you happen to be there on a Tuesday or a Saturday, I recommend you try something I've never seen at any other BBQ joint -- and I've been to a few! Grab you a pint of those "rib tips" -- all of the flavor and texture of juicy, crusty, ribs, minus the bones and mess!
From there we split up into two cars, with the guys heading off to drink a cold beer, and the gals heading off for some chocolate tasting. Yes, you heard me. Bryan now has a deluxe chocolatier, The Chocolate Gallery.
It even has a separate room where you can take classes.
The Dr. Pepper truffles were pretty good, but the ones filled with almond marzipan were even better! We took the boys a bag of their Dark Chocolate Chipotle Peanut Caramel Corn.
The area has long been known for its Messina Hof Winery. Now, I'm told, there are enough other wineries in the area for them to have their own wine trail, separate from the Hill Country. We met back up with the boys and went to do a little tasting at Peach Creek Vineyards, which was just minutes from the Sanfords' house, and where that picture at the top of the page was taken. It's young yet -- only two years old, I believe -- but it shows promise (if you can take the word of three people who know absolutely nothing about wine, and one who has impaired taste buds). All I know for sure is that our hosts were really nice, and we did a LOT of laughing while there.
After that, we went back to the Sanfords' house for a bit of a rest up from the crazy heat. They have recently done a good bit of work on their home, both inside and out.
The Sanfords' main complaint about dining choices in College Station has always been that it seemed to have nothing but chain restaurants. Paula read somewhere that college towns all have that problem, since their population is mostly transient. When you are new to a place, you tend to look for something familiar. By the time a person has really settled into a college town, and is ready to seek out that which is unusual or off the beaten track, it's time for them to move on, so little Mom & Pop places have trouble hanging on long enough to be discovered. Therefore, the two guys who used to run the Outback Steakhouse there in C.S. must have been pretty darn brave to leave a sure thing and open, not one, but two new restaurants there. Fortunately, they seem to have the magic touch, for both are whopping successes. For dinner that night we went to their Napa Flats Woodfired Pizza. The boys went for traditional pepperoni and jalapeno, while Paula and I went for exotic. Let me tell you, the one with spinach, mushrooms, fried brussels sprouts, whipped ricotta and truffle oil is To. Die. For!
Their salads and gelato were over the top as well. Since they also serve steaks, seafood and pasta dishes, I'd say it was the perfect date night destination.
The next morning, after a breakfast of kolaches, Sanford son Chase, daugher-in-law Jodi, and "the bebe" came over for a visit. We hadn't seen little Wyatt in person since he was a babe in arms, and I must admit, he's every bit as precious as they've been telling us. Hard to believe he's about to turn two. For lunch we all headed to the second of those magicians' two restaurants, Grub Burger Bar. Oh my. So many burgers, so little time. And the shakes -- both the traditional flavors, and ones like Mexican Vanilla, Chocolate Mint, and Salted Caramel. I didn't have one, being a bit lactose intolerant these days, and having indulged in the yummy gelato the night before. However, based on what I was seeing at every table in the place, including ours? Those shakes are even more popular than the delicious burgers!
Wyatt would agree.