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If you have a car, or don’t mind hitching a ride, you might want to travel about 30 miles to the delightful city of Austin. We had some extra time, so we made a side trip there. We didn't have nearly enough time to see the city, nor did we spot Willie Nelson and Lee Ann Womack galloping their horses up Congress Avenue for Willie's new video "Mendocino County Line" (while Gwyneth Paltrow watched from the sidelines), but we DID check out Texas' beautifully restored and architecturally unique State Capitol, and absorbed some Texas history at the Bob Bullock Texas State History Museum through the interactive displays, the IMAX Theatre, and the multi-sensory Texas Spirit Theatre (where you learn just what it feels like to get buzzed by a swarm of grasshoppers).

We also dined at the historic Driskill Hotel Grill, located just steps away from the Governor's Mansion, the Texas State Capitol Building, and the Historic District. The opulent landmark, originally built in 1886 as the "Frontier Palace" of cattle baron Jesse Driskill, has welcomed "heads of state, cotton, cattle and oil barrons, entertainers, desperadoes and debutantes" for over a century. Former President Lyndon B. Johnson and Lady Bird Johnson had their first date there in 1934. And during the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, Jenna Bush was rushed to the Driskill for safe keeping.

The dining experience lasted four hours and was, without question, one of the finest experiences imaginable. It earned every one of its four star and four diamond rating points. Service was gracious and attentive. And the food...well, this was one of the times you just wish you would have packed an extra stomach to hold everything. With a rich, dark wood banquette as a backdrop, we sampled fusions like "barbecued duck burrito over fiery corn cakes with mango fiesta salad and charred avocado;" medium-rare "Mustard-Crusted Rack of Lamb" accompanied by "Cordon Bleu" mashed potatoes; a walnut-encrusted pear infused with blue cheese; "Herb and Garlic Broiled Lobster Tail" served with mushroom lobster polenta, asparagus and truffled Cognac butter. When it came to dessert, we taste-tested the Chocolate Pate and all the creme brulee we could politely finish in good company. If our bus driver had not come in to get us, we'd still be there, happily waiting for the next course.

The Driskill Grill is located in the Driskell Hotel at 604 Brazos Street in Austin. Visit their website at www.driskillgrill.com.

www.Dishmag.com / Issue 22 - December 2017
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