*Chevy provided the Cruze Eco that I drove for this trip. *Bud Royers kindly tried to buy the meal at Royer's Round Top Cafe, but he did let me pay for a portion of it. I win! I can be very stubborn.
*Royer's Round Top Cafe sends pies to the troops on a regular basis. If you know of someone in the service who might appreciate a little slice of heaven, Royer's will do it right. If you've ever received a care package, you know how much they mean. Click here to send one now. Bud has a list of soldiers who are in need of care and a bit of comfort if you'd like to don't know one personally.
The 2011 Cruze Eco is gorgeous (26 city, 37 highway, 30 combined). There is no doubt that this is a sexy car, and the color combination was smoking hot. The exterior was black granite metallic and the interior was jet black webbing on sport red fabric. That's also a very common choice of colors for lingerie, but I digress.
This was my first long outing with the Cruze Eco, and the driving conditions were well, at a disadvantage for fuel economy. I had found that in super highway mode on my short drive around town on Wednesday, I was netting in the high 50 mpg range. However, the wind was not on my side. With strong and gusty winds from the South, the average on this trip was 42 mpg over 180 miles. That included a mild incline and decline over the trip and several small towns and numerous stop lights, but mostly I fought with the winds. The gusts threw the ignition timing and transmission load numbers around like a kite in the hurricane. I rarely, if ever, saw super highway mode on this trip. I'll take this baby out again over the next few days to see how it performs under more stable conditions.
Red with black webbing is haute.
My first impressions are that it is a little sluggish when changing gears, even with the manual tiptronic. I was very difficult for me to achieve high numbers over EPA. Typically, I can easily hop into a brand new car and get anywhere from 150%-200% over EPA. I struggled here with a heavy car (~3400 lbs), a tiny 1.4L, and high sidewinds pulling 42 mpg out of EPA 30. This is not an easy car for eco-driving beginners, but this is a pretty slick ride. It isn't a fancy pants ruin your credit history while shrinking your smooth muscle tissue that carries gamete cells type of car, but it comes close. It is sexy, hot, and perfect for those who want the bang with out costing big bucks.
These photos don't really do it any justice. Just sitting in the car will get your testosterone flowing. Yes, women have testosterone.
Rachelle (@blindedbite) accompanied me on this trip, and our first stop was Blue Bell Ice Cream Factory in Brenham. We didn't go on the tour because it was sold out, and well, the entire experience was a little underwhelming. If I was a kid, I'd enjoy it. As an adult, I'm there for the Foursquare and Gowalla check in. Next stop was Royer's Round Top Cafe. My choice in going to Royer's took years, quite literally. Back in undergrad, my beloved mentor and professor, Dr. Dev. Singh, constantly told the class about pies at this place in Round Top. The class was substance abuse, and the substances we focused on were calories. Royer's Round Top Cafe was owned by one of his students who would bring pies into class regularly. Drool worthy pies. I started bringing my own baked goods into class shortly after, and that kind of turned into this whole blog and the #cupcakefairy/#cupcakeriot a decade later. Now you know where my true inspiration to become a proficient baker began.
Bud Royer with the Chevy Cruze
It wasn't until a several month ago (over a decade since I first heard about Royer's) that I happened to glance at Facebook to see someone with the last name Royer comment on of mutual friend's status. So we connected, and it turns out that he was the owner of Royer's Round Top Cafe. His wife, Karen, had taken Dr. Singh's class. I decided that I needed to visit soon, and this was the perfect time. Royer's Round Top Cafe is a place of history. The walls are decorated with menus from other restaurants, hilarious signs, photographs, and letters. After spending the afternoon with Bud, my head is brimming with all the tidbits of stories. You'll have to visit Bud yourself to get the scoop.
Bud did the ordering for us, and it started with this Shrimp BLT. This is some of the best bacon ever. Sweet, caramelized, crisp, and smoky. I need a towel please. Below is the REALLY BIG stuffed jalapeno. Yes, it is big. That's what she said.
I had the grilled rack of lamb with a lemon basil sauce. It is the most tender lamb I have ever had. I kid you not. Tender. These babies are tender and flavorful. The side dish is called Bud's Smash - mashed potato casserole, creamed-corn, red onions, and bleu cheese crumbles. He said that he just mixed it up one day, and a customer asked him what it was. People liked it, so it was added to the menu. Yummy! Rachelle had the Micah's snapper - grilled snapper topped with shrimp sautéed in white wine, olive oil, basil, garlic, and tomatoes. Yes. It was awesome. As were the sides of stir-fry veggie.
One cannot leave Royer's without having pie, so Rachelle and I decided to share a piece of peach pie with vanilla Amy's ice cream. It was a piece of Texas Summer on a plate. Eat it and be glad that we still have a little time before bikini season. We didn't eat ALL of the pies in the picture above. I also cannot end this post without including various photos of the menu and decor. Please note that this is just a little taste of the fun that is Royer's Round Top Cafe.
This letter was signed "I am a fat blob! Thanks! - Mary Matalin"
I'm a social psychologist. This appealed to me.
I told you the menu was funny. Now you know the menu is HILARIOUS! Don't eat the rolls. Buy pie$.
Get the ice cream. Or pay an extra 50 cents.
They are serious about service. I'm mean VERY serious.
After our meal, Bud sent us off with directions to check out Festival Hill. I've never heard of Festival Hill, and boy was I glad to see it. It is a non-profit venue that hosts weddings, concerts, and get-away weekends. After skipping around the grounds for a few minutes, both Rachelle and I decided that this place is awesome. I'm coming back.
Yes, this is in the middle of Round Top, TX, population 77.
Stone eagles and stone saints.
Castle and gardens. That is so Texas.
That's very wizard-y looking.
That's pretty cool. But I don't think they had THAT type of medication.
Craft Beer, Fine Wine, Artisan Spirits, and Mouthgasmic Food.