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so in less than a week the Army sends me to Hood (still not sure if I'm going to rent an apartment in Killeen, Belton or Georgetown).

 

Fino has a promising cocktail list but I can't find anything else (online anyway). also, liquor store suggestions?

 

I know that the hill country is bbq central and think I know what the standards are....but anything closer to Hood as well?

 

Tex-Mex ideas?

Chinese, especially real Sichuan or Shanghai-style?

French?

Italian (not Italian-American)?

contemporary restaurant food?

molecular/avant-garde?

offal? (I'll check out Feast in Houston)

Japanese (sushi/izakaya, ramen, kaiseki etc.)?

extensive beer lists?

wine-bars?

tapas/Spanish?

Vietnamese?

Thai?

Korean?

 

thanks much!

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Here's my advice...

 

You'll find the area around Ft. Hood pretty bleak. Waco is the biggest city but, like I said, pretty bleak. You are, however, "Texas driving distance" - 200-300 miles - from some really terrific food, entertainment, sightseeing opportunities. I'd suggest that you find a nice apartment close to Ft. Hood so that it's affordable and a short commute. Then on Fridays, you head toward one of the major metropolitan areas - DFW, Houston, Austin, San Antonio, or to Mexico, or to one of the many lakes, or down to the coast, or over to Big Bend, for your fun. I honestly don't think the choice among Killeen, Waco, Belton, etc., is really much of a choice. Georgetown is the best, and close to Austin, but it's something of a haul, which I personally wouldn't want to do every day, and that might dampen your enthusiasm for getting to someplace a lot more fun on the weekends.

 

Don't know how long you'll be at Ft. Hood but if it's more than a year or so, you might even pick a favorite spot from among the many Central Texas fun locales, and rent a small efficiency apartment there for weekend getaways.

 

As for liquor stores, you can buy most things on post, but in Austin you'll find Spec's, which should have anything you want.

 

 

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not sure if I'm going to rent an apartment in Killeen, Belton or Georgetown

 

Nathan, You have received good advice.

 

As to where to live, look at Salado, including in Mill Creek.

 

Salado is a great suggestion. It's a much-beloved art community and favored getaway destination. It's beautiful country around there, too. In fact, I'd like to live there myself.

 

However (although 4-lane freeway all the way), it is some 30 miles from Ft. Hood and that commute every day would be lengthy and costly. And it's a favorite place for retirees as well so housing will be more expensive than closer to the Fort. Also, although charming, it's very, very small and I'd think a big city boy would still want to escape it on the weekends to somewhere more happenin'. Lovely and quaint though Salado is, I don't think it'll do it for you unless you're an artist. Or you want to release your inner elderly woman that has always longed to open a combination Gift/Candle/Brick-a-Brac/Antique Shoppe and Tea Room.

 

Again, I'd strongly recommend living cheap and close during the week. And then splurging on the weekends.

 

Salado, TX

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I think it's extraordinary that the only restaurant you could find online is Fino. That's really weird. Austin has great restaurants. We're not New York, though, and we don't want to be. Fort Hood is an army town. That's all. Texas is big and you'll need a car.

 

Come with an open mind and an appreciation for open spaces and you'll enjoy your stay.

 

I noticed you didn't say anything about BBQ.

 

As for molecular, there IS a chef in Dallas who is doing it. In the restaurant on top of the Hilton. I've eaten his food and it's fun and good. It's Anthony Bombaci at Nana.

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He did mention BBQ: "I know that the hill country is bbq central and think I know what the standards are....but anything closer to Hood as well?"

 

I think Louie Mueller's in Taylor, and Cooper's in Llano are probably the closest top tier places. But you can't throw a cat in Texas without hitting a BBQ joint, so there will be some closer than Taylor and Llano.

 

Although probably not as good.

 

 

 

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Jaymes has convinced me that I have to go by Louis Mueller's on Monday morning as i head home to Tulsa. So I will pick up for tasty treats for the drive home to Tulsa and some Tasty treats to serve to the family I work for for their dinner on Monday evening.

 

I know that Dallas has a very active and interesting Asian community. If you think you know all there is to know about bbq, let some of the pitt masters in this area show you bbq Texas Style. It is much different than Carolina bbq or Memphis bbq. Heck I judge BBQ and it is different from KCBS competition style bbq.

 

Welcome to Texas. There are some great food involved folks in these here parts. Don't expect NYC, it just will not happen. Don't be dissappointed in what you find, be excited to know that you have a whole new world to explore and share with us on MF about your findings. Get down to Austin to shop the downtown farmers market on Saturday, my personal favorite over the sunset market.

 

You will have an HEB or two where you are stationed but make it a trip to check out Central Market in Austin or Dallas or Ft Worth. And make sure you get to the art museums in Ft Worth, some of the best in the United States. It is said that Dallas has the money to spend on art, Ft Worth just knows how to spend that money on art.

 

On my drive down from Dallas yesterday I was in awe of the bluebonnets blooming on the roadsides. That does not happen in Oklahoma. Or Florida or Oregon or North Carolina or Puerto Rico or anywhere else I have lived.

 

If you want to discover the world of Mexican foods (not tex-mex), I had lunch yesterday at La Palapa Veracruzana on W Jefferson, just off I-35 in Dallas, and the food was incredible. If your ever up for a taco crawl, let me know, this neighborhood is the place to do that and on a weekend I will join you.

 

Suggestion, if you want to do a dine around, get in touch, I have been known to drive 4 hours just for dinner at Lanny's Alta Cocina Mexicana in Dallas. Much less 8 hours for bbq at Smitty's in Lockhart.

 

And again Welcome to Texas. There are some very interesting Texas posters in these here parts. Dont be shy to get to know them, they are great folks. And if you get invited to a porch party, don't miss it, these folks know how to party. Just ask Slapsie Maxie.

 

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Is this THE Nathan, so famously quoted and cited elsewhere on MF?

 

My first encounter!

Tana, are you coming to Texas? If so, we need to make arrangements for something. Heck, I will come down from north of the Red for this.

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not sure if I'm going to rent an apartment in Killeen, Belton or Georgetown

 

Nathan, You have received good advice.

 

As to where to live, look at Salado, including in Mill Creek.

 

 

 

 

Salado was first on my list until I discovered that they don't have any one bedroom apartments. I don't want to rent a house. so now I'm leaning toward somewhere close to post and then just spending my weekends in Austin.

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I think it's extraordinary that the only restaurant you could find online is Fino. That's really weird. Austin has great restaurants. We're not New York, though, and we don't want to be. Fort Hood is an army town. That's all. Texas is big and you'll need a car.

 

Come with an open mind and an appreciation for open spaces and you'll enjoy your stay.

 

I noticed you didn't say anything about BBQ.

 

As for molecular, there IS a chef in Dallas who is doing it. In the restaurant on top of the Hilton. I've eaten his food and it's fun and good. It's Anthony Bombaci at Nana.

 

no, no! I said Fino is the only place with an acceptable cocktail program. I've been looking at many restaurants that interest me in terms of food. as for bbq...I'm familiar with the standards...Kreuz Market, Black's, Smitty's.

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Tex-Mex ideas?

Chinese, especially real Sichuan or Shanghai-style?

French?

Italian (not Italian-American)?

contemporary restaurant food?

molecular/avant-garde?

offal? (I'll check out Feast in Houston)

Japanese (sushi/izakaya, ramen, kaiseki etc.)?

extensive beer lists?

wine-bars?

tapas/Spanish?

Vietnamese?

Thai?

Korean?

 

thanks much!

 

All of this stuff is available to you if you're willing to drive to one of the major metropolitan areas.

 

And there's much, much more.

 

For example, if you're outdoorsy, you can rent a weekend cabin on one of the many lakes and get a boat. You can hike and hunt and dirt bike and rock climb. You can get a place on the beach on Padre and stick your toes in the sand and go deep sea fishing. You can get a casita in Mexico and lie around in a hammock and drink tequila. You can get a small house in the country and buy a few horses. You can raft the rivers.

 

The largest university in the US is just down the road, with ample opportunities to study, attend sporting events, "Friends of the Library" lecture series, arts events. Each of our three big cities have major league sports teams.

 

I'll keep thinking.

 

But as far as I'm concerned, this is a great place to live.

 

You might believe there is less to do here than in, say, New York City.

 

I think there's more.

 

 

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Wow. Nathan in Ft Hood. :lol:

 

I grew up in Copperas Cove and still spend occasional time in the area around Ft Hood. As for mid-week, everyday suggestions, I'd start by checking out the Korean restaurants in Killeen. Korean Kitchen is probably my favorite... it's been around for ages, run by a Korean couple who put their kids through college slinging Korean classics. Very home-style... pile of rice, bulgogi or a spicy stir fry, banchan, roasted barley iced tea. But there are three or four others worth checking out as well.

 

On base, my favorites included the shops adjacent to the PX, the counter at the bowling alley, and the food at the pro shop. You can hit the driving range and grab a burger. (Keep in mind, the places I just mentioned all suck. But they're your best bets.)

 

Over the past few yrs, chain restaurants have come to dominate the area. The usual suspects... Outback, Chilis, etc. These are probably as good or better than most of the restaurants in the towns immediately surrounding Ft Hood.

 

No great BBQ in the immediate area that I'm aware of. There used to be a so-so place in Temple, but you might as well head south instead and get something decent. A decent, tex-mex-style taco joint just opened up between Killeen and Harker Heights (good migas tacos), but I can't recall the name.

 

There are a couple of decent German bakeries in the area... the kind that close and open early. Decent pretzels, cakes, breads, sausages, etc. And the commissary on base used to have decent german salamis, etc. Though nothing like what you'll find at either Central Market location in Austin or the downtown Whole Foods.

 

Georgetown would be a real hike. Ditto Belton. Harker Heights is close and probably has options. They also have a relatively new HEB and a bunch of other stuff. I think a new Chik-Fil-A, too. And an outpost of Twin Liquors, which is a local Austin-based chain that is vastly superior to the class six store on base. (The Twin locations in Austin are vastly superior, esp if you're a Burg or malt fan.) And an okay diner... can't remember the name. Basically a standard ham-and-eggs, CFS joint.

 

Personally, I'd get something cheap in Killeen or Harker Hts and plan on spending your weekends in Austin.

 

IMO, Austin's real strength is at the less expensive end... BBQ, Mexican, Chinese, etc. Lots of tasty and fun places to discover in that range. You could argue there are a couple of exceptions at the high end.

 

I haven't found any great cocktail spots comparable to NY's best. That said, the bar at Lambert's isn't bad at all. You will be happy with their drinks. And their brunch is pretty good, too. Click.

 

I'm anxiously awaiting the return of Las Manitas... any word on that?

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