Last Saturday, Denny and I went to the Blue Bonnet Cafe in the sweet little Hill Country town of Marble Falls. The Blue Bonnet is known for home-cookin', has been since it opened in 1929.
When I hear the words 'Home Cookin' I think of plates overflowing with fried meat and white gravy. Not my favorite. Yes, I know Chicken Fried Steak is high up in Texas food tradition, just after BBQ brisket and a good plate of enchiladas. And I also know that 'Home Cookin' probably means something else in other places. Other places that are a long way from the Texas Hill Country.
But Denny and I were in Marble Falls researching a Texas travel article and I couldn't write about the town without talking about the restaurant known throughout Texas.
And I knew there would be pie. My father, a man who knows his way around a piece of pie, loves the Blue Bonnet's pies. With 87 years of pie-tasting behind him, he should know.
I'll also admit I harbor a fondness for pie. Not so far as to call myself a pie-aholic, but enough to think that a restaurant with a weekday Pie Happy Hour, 3-5 pm, $3.50 Pie & Drink, is worth a visit.
We arrived at noon and found a line trailing out of the door. And then a server came out and announced no-wait seats at the counter. Great service and a better view of the plates being carried from the kitchen, we were happy.
Denny had pot roast and I indulged in smoked pork ribs, both good. The salad greens were fresh and crisp, the soup flavorful and my pinto beans just right, not fatty or salty. Add homemade biscuits and cornbread muffins, and we were full.
But save your fork, there's pie. Southern Living Magazine recently gave the Blue Bonnet's German Chocolate Pie the only Honorable Mention in Texas in an article naming the best pies of the South.
So we ordered a piece of German Chocolate. And a Coconut Cream. I wanted to try the No-sugar Apple and the Lemon Meringue too--did I mention watching servers carrying slices of pie with mile-high meringue? Denny talked me down before I took the plunge and I'm grateful. If he hadn't, I'd probably still be walking to make up for the calories.
The German Chocolate reminded me of my Granny's recipe. The Coconut Cream was good too, although I might give an edge to the Wimberley Pie Company's Coconut Cream, possibly just a bit coconut-ier. But maybe I should taste them both again to be sure...
So if you're ever going west on Hwy 71 from Austin or north from San Antonio on US 281 into Marble Falls, and you get there on a weekday between 3pm and 5pm, stop into the Blue Bonnet Cafe, try a piece of pie and tell me what you think.
Copyright 2009-2010 Kathleen Scott, for Hill Country Mysteries. Unauthorized reproduction is prohibited.