This week and weekend is the annual Round Top Antiques Fair, a gigantormous event that draws tens of thousands of people from all over the country, all looking to score the very coolest in antique furniture, knick-knacks and jewelry.
Thinking about heading up? With so many out-of-towners coming in, you'll want to explore the nearby towns for grub -- and lucky for you, there's plenty of greatness to be found. Let's start with Brenham, the star of Washington County and heart of the bluebonnet region in Central Texas. Brenham has several outstanding choices for meals and snacks. We've listed a few below.
Must Be Heaven Must Be Heaven is an old-fashioned eatery in downtown Brenham that cranks out dynamite sandwiches and pies. Be aware that the place gets jam-packed around lunchtime, so we suggest you go at an off hour. Sandwiches are made to order and served with a smile -- plus chips or an apple. We like the BLT (+ avocado), though the club sandwich is a worthy choice, too. You might want to grab a slice of Sawdust Pie on your way out; this is the only place we've ever seen it.
Other options, after the jump.
Funky Art Café Looking for a lunch or dinner that's slightly more upscale? The Funky Art Café features sandwiches, salads, wraps and entrees. The menu offers creative dishes that play off the restaurant's name: funky combinations, artfully prepared. Don't be tempted by the less-than-mediocre turkey wrap with local Chappell Hill honey. We recommend Flenniken's Creation, a beautiful salad of fresh greens topped with mandarin oranges and chicken salad.
Brenham Farmers' Market Every Saturday the diehard Brenham locals tote their wares to a historic building just off the square in downtown Brenham for the farmers' market. The amiable vendors greet everyone with a smile and a question about the weather, whether you're aiming to purchase or not. Don't miss the homemade kolaches, cakes and casseroles. We love the breakfast taco lady, too. They've also got coffee, grilled sausages wrapped in tortillas, and plenty of handmade crafts.
BT Longhorn Steakhouse Though we have a fondness for steaks, we grade our steakhouses pretty tough. This one, though, excels. The sides are admittedly lackluster, but that's not why you're there. Friends, these steaks are truly outstanding: gorgeous pieces of meat, grilled exactly as ordered and priced quite reasonably. The Longhorn boasts a casual atmosphere with genuinely courteous service. Do not confuse this restaurant with the national chain that has a similar name; this one's all local.
Blue Bell Creamery The Little Creamery That Could has given Texas 100-plus years of delicious servitude. And while it's a true Texas treasure, folks who don't grow up 'round these parts often consider Blue Bell ice cream an acquired taste. No matter your feeling, stop by the creamery for a scoop of freshly made ice cream. Tours are available weekdays only, but the ice cream parlor is still open on Saturdays. Your "scoop" (which is more like two or three) will set you back a whole dollar.
The Southern Flyer Tucked away in the Brenham Municipal Airport is the Southern Flyer, a 1950s diner-style restaurant. Young waitresses run the show dressed in poodle skirts and saddle oxfords; they sling orders left and right with flair. Sure, it's a little kitschy, but the burger is pretty fine and the patty melt is dreamy. Don't forget the French fries and a chocolate malt.
Volare Italian Volare is a casual Italian restaurant offering large plates of homemade pastas and meat dishes. While most of the menu won't blow you away, the spaghetti and meatballs is surprisingly delicious. The best part of Volare is its atmosphere: The restaurant is in a converted house with open spaces and hardwood floors. A meal here is exceedingly pleasant, though not necessary divine.