I was making my way up to Dallas for the U2 concert and decided to take the scenic route up 281 to avoid all the I-35 mess on the weekend. I was meeting up a friend in Arlington, and she didn’t get off of work until 11:00PM, so I just decided to take my time, do some geocaching (I need to write a post on this later) and stop wherever I wanted (I also stumbled upon a ranch rodeo in Evant, TX later that night that was pretty cool).
At any rate, I was driving through Marble Falls and saw the Blue Bonnet Café; I was pretty confident that a café with an old school neon sign and a “Pie Happy Hour” was going to be good, so I decided to stop on in.
Randomly, I ran into a coworker and her family who was coming out of the restaurant. She told me that the food was excellent and told me not to leave without getting a piece of pie. Seeing that I have a sweet tooth, I wasn’t going to pass on dessert with a recommendation like that coupled with the “Pie Happy Hour” sign.
As I walked in, I saw exactly what she was talking about; there was a huge refrigerated case that held all their pies and I noticed that there was a constant stream of waitresses stopping by to get either pieces or the entire pie! Now I was just wondering if I was going to get one or two pieces…
I was greeted by a friendly waitress, and she told me that I could go take at the bar if I didn’t want to wait for a table (the restaurant was really bumping). I went up to the bar and was promptly greeted by another waitress who was very friendly. I told her that I stumbled upon the restaurant en route to Dallas, and that I needed to find out what the house specialties were. She told me that most of the people get either the pot roast or the chicken fried steak. I opted for the roast, and for my three sides I got mashed potatoes, fried okra, and tamale soup (per her recommendation for a final side).
The food came out REALLY quick, so if you are just passing through town, go ahead and stop on by; you will probably get your meal faster than at a fast food joint! Now, I have never heard of tamale soup, but it was really good. It tasted just like a tamale, and had a nice spice to it. The soup was full of flavor, so I knew that I was in for something good with my main course.
I think I might have mentioned this before, but it is worth repeating again in this post. I think that food is one of the best things that can “transport” you back to another time and/or place. Old pictures are good and reminding you of what something looked like, and music can bring a flood of memories of events that you associate with the song. Food, however, is something that can stimulate all five senses: (1) obviously you taste it, (2) you feel the smooth/gritty/lumpy/tender texture of the food as you eat it, (3) you smell the aroma of a chili simmering or cookies baking, (4) you see the bright colors of fresh produce or the dark grill marks, and (5) you hear fajitas sizzle, soups bubble, or the utensils clanking on the plates (not to mention conversation with friends and family over the course of the meal).
Several times I have lived away from my hometown for extended periods of time, and whenever I got homesick I would inevitably seek out a familiar food because of its power to make me feel as if I was at home. Other times, I will be able to find a local joint that has some food that reminds me of a bistro along a side street in some faraway place I traveled. And still to this day, when I whip up a bowl of my mom’s famous green chili queso (made with Hatch green chilis that I get on my pilgrimage every year (yes I check a cooler as baggage on the airplane)) I feel like I am with my immediate family watching a game. Sitting at the Blue Bonnet Café and eating the roast, mashed potatoes, and brown gravy instantly took me back to my Grandmother’s kitchen on a Saturday afternoon.
She passed away 7 years ago, but eating this meal immediately brought back a flood of memories of growing up, of going to a tiny West Texas town for Sunday lunch, and of how important she was in my life. The mashed potatoes were incredibly smooth and not lumpy at all, just how she made them. I know that some people like lumpy potatoes, but I can’t stand having any lumps in my mashed potatoes. The roast was tender and just melted in your mouth, and the brown gravy was just the right consistency, saltiness, and flavor. It was really cool how I was brought back to her kitchen even though I was miles away from that tiny West Texas town and she is no longer around.
Anyway, it was time for dessert, so I again asked my waitress what she suggested. She said that the peanut butter pie was her absolute favorite, and she liked to drizzle chocolate sauce on top of it. That seemed perfect to me, so I ordered that with a cup of coffee. The pie was extremely rich, but was so good. I never have had peanut butter pie, but it has the same consistency as chocolate pie with the exception that there are small pieces of peanuts mixed in that give it a little crunchiness. The crust was also amazing and really made the pie!
I am so glad that I stumbled upon Blue Bonnet Café and look forward to stopping by there any time I am heading through Marble Falls to either get full helping of food and small town hospitality or to just get a whole pie to go.
Value: 9/10 (if you order any of the specials or happen in during Pie Happy Hour you will get a really good deal, otherwise you are looking at $7-$8 a plate and $3 for a piece of pie; note this is a CASH only restaurant)
Atmosphere: 10/10 (old school diner with a bar with open seating in the middle of the restaurant)
Service: 10/10 (super friendly staff)
Taste: 10/10 (do yourself a favor and don’t leave without getting a piece of pie!)
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