Long way home: one man’s Yquem is another’s strawberry milkshake

From the “just for fun” department…

columbus texas

Above: Yesterday, I walked out onto the railroad bridge in Columbus, Texas and took this photo of the Colorado River. Man, what a beautiful day and what beautiful drive home to Austin from Houston. But, then again, any drive home is beautiful when Tracie P and her ragù alla bolognese await you at the end of the trip. :-)

Yesterday in Houston, after spending nearly 6 hours in a Starbucks, sitting in front of my Mac, going back and forth over the details of a big proposal with a client, I decided to take the “long way home.” About halfway through my journey, I stopped in Columbus, Texas, where a bend in the Colorado River and a junction between the old highways 90 and 71 come together.

sauternesWhen I stopped at an old-school carhop drive-in, the “Dairy Cone,” I couldn’t help but think of an evening I’ll never forget, when as the guest of wine maven Charles, I experienced one of the all-time aristocratically classic pairings of Western civilization, Sauternes and foie gras. In this case, 1976 Yquem and fattened goose liver at Gramercy Tavern in New York a few years ago.

I’m sure that Frank, who was also there that evening, would agree that a chili cheeseburger and strawberry milkshake on a warm spring day in a Texas small town on the banks of the muddy Colorado river are about as good as it gets. If Frank knew what a shitty week I’d had (will people just friggin’ chill out and realize it’s not all about them???!!!), I’m sure the doctor would agree that a drive through the country and some comfort food would do this body some good.

strawberry milkshake

Above: Sweetened milk with a few strawberries thrown in, chili con carne, American cheese, and bread made with hydrogenated oil. Probably about as fatty as foie gras and Sauternes. And, man, I don’t know why, but it just tastes so good.

Columbus is one of those wonderful “little pink houses” American towns and it has an impressive “historic sites” program. The railroad bridge in the photo above is one of two 1920s truss bridges, a handsome artifact of America’s industrialization and growth between the two world wars.

columbus texas

Above: I couldn’t find any historical information about the locally owned Dairy Cone but it looks to me like it was once a classic 1950s carhop.

Maybe it was just my mood, maybe it was the beautiful, warm spring day. Maybe it was the sound of the Union Pacific passing through behind the Dairy Cone… The pairing of chili cheeseburger and strawberry shake was divine. One man’s Yquem, as Howard would say, is another’s strawberry milkshake.

My advice? When life gives you lemons, take the long way home. My journey was rewarded by a ragù alla bolognese and a KILLER bottle of 2005 Spanna by Dessilani and a sweet kiss on the lips…

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