Archive for August 10th, 2013|Daily archive page

Making a Case for Improvisation, Dripping Springs edition

In Food, Honky Tonk on 08/10/2013 at 11:34 am

First, an apology.  As the title suggests, this trip was not a normal, scheduled event and my official photographer was not present. Check websites for additional pictures.

What originated as dinner in Dripping Springs with my sister turned into a delightful jaunt to multiple establishments.

We began at the Texas Hill Country Olive Company.


The building and patio are beautifully constructed, although the flow inside is a bit choppy.  The counter area sports olive oils on one side, and balsamic vinegars on another.  This area can get a bit crowded; it was difficult to determine organization.  We noted to the ladies behind the counter, we wanted a tasting and shortly, another lady came out to give us the skinny.  She also makes the bread for dipping and while not overly informative about the process and complexities, she did start us out nicely.  Six olive oils, of which are internationally three award-winning.  I purchased the jalapeno olive oil and fig balsamic vinegar.  Also offered are wine and light food.

One our way from the olive place, we saw the Bell Springs Winery and decided to swing in.  The tasting room is cozy and nicely organized; tasting was free if wine is purchased.  Our sommelier was friendly, knowledgeable and kept us on track.  Extreme spectrums were absent and all were palate pleasing.    I bought a bottle of the Reston Wild West White.  The name did have something to do with the decision.  Admittedly, it was delightful to have the place to ourselves.


The facility has a lovely porch and patio surely ideal in all months not beginning with ‘A’.


Upon recommendation, we dined at Cafe 131, a converted house which is much bigger than it seems on the outside.  Starters included Drippin’ Mud, which is pico, fried avocado, queso and house chips.  Thicker than typical queso and equally as addictive.


We also tried the Charred green beans with seasonal vegetables, maple syrup, sriracha, herbs and beet puree.  While tasty, it would have benefited from a bit more heat.


Overall, the star was the main course of Chicken schnitzel with citrus/jalapeno beurre blanc, panko (highly recommended alternative to bread crumbs) crusted chicken breast, fettuccini and market vegetables.  It was light with a fresh summer taste; the fettuccini tied it together well.


Next, we migrated to the other side of Mercer Street to The Barber Shop, less for haircuts, more for beer.  Located in a great rock building from 1924, the selection of brews is extensive.  Shout out to Tank 7! Covered patio outside with misters and fans, dogs allowed.  No pics, as I started talking and waving my arms, and then lost track of three hours or so.

Finally, we scuttled across the street to Mercer Street Dance Hall just in time to hear a couple of songs and not get charged cover.


This place is BRAND SPANKING NEW, which is rare on the honky tonk circuit.  Cash only, now outfitted with air conditioning, also has a great porch and backyard area.  Staff was friendly and it looked like a good place to dance.  Toying with taking another trip out this way to stay here for a while.

Whew!  Incredibly productive.  Just a glimpse of Dripping Springs but I highly recommend roaming around.  You just never know!  Thanks to my sis, who had no idea what I was getting her into.

The koala did it! Fact: Koala bear fingerprints are almost indistinguishable from human fingerprints.