On the eve of my first international trip in two and a half years and anticipation of enjoying the food and culture of foreign places, we had a dinner with cousins at a Texas-themed saloon and restaurant in Old Town Spring. I like the contrast!
Wunsche Brothers, a Texas landmark, was our destination. Opened in 1902, it’s the oldest building in Old Town Spring, founded in 1840 and now a tiny enclave of shops, restaurants and bars housed in charming and historic wood-frame structures. The building was damaged in a fire in 2015, which closed the restaurant for several years, but the loving restoration by new owners has brought it back to its former glory, and more. That’s the main dining room below.
The food was great! One of my cousins, who hails from Washington, DC these days but is moving to Texas soon, had the classic: a chicken-fried steak. My hastily-snapped photo doesn’t do it justice. I snagged a bite and it was the perfect combination of creamy, peppery gravy and crunchy fried goodness.
There’s an in-house smoker, and the smoked sausage appetizer with pickled carrots and onions went fast. They know their smoke at Wunsche Brothers.
We also had “sausage sauerkraut balls” as an appetizer, and they went so quickly that I couldn’t get a picture. I snagged one from Wunsche Brothers’ Facebook page.
The combination of sausage, sauerkraut, cheese and a creamy sauce may sound a bit weird, but these little fritters were spectacular, with a chipotle ranch dressing. While I had never heard of them before, a Google search taught me that sauerkraut sausage balls are a thing up North in areas like Ohio with large German populations. And that brought me right back home to Southeast Texas. Old Town Spring and many of the small towns in our area were settled by German immigrants, as evidenced by the names of our schools: the district is Klein, the elementary and middle schools have names like Theiss, Schultz, Middlestadt, Bernshausen and Kreinhop. So of course there are sauerkraut balls in this historic Texas saloon and restaurant! I’m looking for a recipe so that I can try these at home and will share it when I find the right one.
Back to our meal….others in our party had chicken-fried chicken, stuffed poblano peppers, smoked chicken salad… every dish was all delicious. The menu isn’t limited to Big Texas Food, though, as we discovered. One of my cousins and I went for the seared tuna, which was cooked perfectly, topped with a bright green chimichurri and served with grilled vegetables and a pungent aioli. It was foodie-worthy.
That Big Texas meal was the perfect send-off for a European trip, especially since my cousin treated us all. Thank you, Cuz! And thank you, Wunsche Brothers. We think your saloon will be our Cousin Meet-Up spot.
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