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Monday, August 19, 2013

Bacon donut at Gourdough's, chicken fried steak at Hoover's Cooking, Whole Foods Market and Biscuits + Groovy in Austin, Texas

bacon donut at gourdough's big fat donuts food truck austin texas

Behold the bacon donut. Imagine sinking your teeth into a fluffy donut, soft as a pillow, glazed with maple syrup icing and laden with strips of the crispiest bacon... that there is the Flying Pig donut from Gourdough's food truck in Austin, Texas.

Gourdough's food truck

We'd just finished eating the fattylicious smoked brisket from La Barbecue when we spied the vintage Airstream trailer that is home to Gourdough's. We'd been complaining about being stupidly full from barbecue, but it's amazing what the promise of bacon doughnuts can do to initiate an emergency stomach.

donut menu at gourdough's big fat donuts food truck austin texas
Gourdough's Big Fat Donut menu

Gourdough's had been on our Austin hit-list from the start, combining two parts excess with three parts humour. Who couldn't love a place that offered donut combinations like Son of a Peach (peach filling, cinnamon, sugar and cake mix topping) or Blue Balls (blueberry filling with blue icing).

buying donuts at gourdough's big fat donuts food truck austin texas
Lining up for donuts

I don't even want to know how hot it would have been in that trailer frying donuts on a 35C day, but our server is unbelievably warm and chirpy. The notion of Southern hospitality does exist - it's like everyone really does love their job and want nothing more than to make sure y'all have a nice day!

fried chicken donut mother clucker at gourdough's big fat donuts food truck austin texas
Mother Clucker fried chicken strip with maple syrup butter US$5.50

We order the Mother Clucker, a crumbed and deep-fried chicken fillet served on top of a donut with a side of maple syrup butter. It's protein city here, and although some of the pieces are a little dry, a good dunk on the maple syrup butter fixes that.

bacon donut flying pig donut at gourdough's big fat donuts food truck austin texas
Flying Pig donut with bacon and maple syrup icing US$5.50

The Flying Pig donut has us all grinning from ear to ear. The smoky crisp bacon is an unbeatable counterpart to the soft fluffy donut - and that bacon was the best we'd eat all trip.

rapsberry pop tea with popsicle at gourdough's big fat donuts food truck austin texas
Pop tea US$3.50

And what's a Pop Tea? We're delighted to find it's an ice block served submerged in a cup of iced tea. perfect for catching all those ice block drips. Eat the ice block first, or let it melt into your drink when you get brain freeze. You choose!

chocolatesuze cheflex at gourdough's big fat donuts food truck austin texas
Oh hai!

Spot the sugar-high photo bombers!

Hoover's Cooking

dining room at hoover's cooking austin texas
Hoover's dining room

We swing by Hoover's for some Southern-style cooking, lured by claims they offer some of the best chicken fried steak in the USA. The dining room is smart but casual with booth seating and tables. The menu includes everything from barbecue to po' boys to Southern fried pork chops, and you can upsize every meal (Hoover size) for a couple of bucks.

chicken fried steak at hoover's cooking austin texas
Chicken fried steak with macaroni and cheese, cowboy beans and creamed spinach US$9.79

What's a chicken fried steak? It's a tenderised steak that is crumbed and deep-fried steak, similar in preparation to schnitzel. In Texas it's usually served with peppered white gravy over the top, and you know what? It's actually pretty delicious.

red white and bleu blue cheese burger with candied yams at hoover's cooking austin texas
Red, white and bleu burger with candied yams US$7.99

Suze orders the red, white and bleu burger, made up of a half-pound smoked hamburger with Aus-Tex wing sauce (red), Monterey Jack cheese (white) and bleu cheese (blue), with requisite lettuce and tomato on a sweet kolache bun. Kolache buns came from Czech immigrants when they arrived in Texas in the 19th century and are now hugely popular across the state.

char-broiled catfish with black eyed peas mustard greens fried okra at hoover's cooking austin texas
Char-broiled catfish with black eyed peas, mustard greens and fried okra US$9.79

I order the char-broiled catfish and together we feast on sides of black eyed peas, mustard greens, fried okra (oh so crunchy!), sweet candied yams, macaroni and cheese, creamed spinach and cowboy beans studded with bacon.

pecan pie al mode ice cream at hoover's cooking austin texas
Pecan pie a la mode US$5.44

Desserts are listed on the blackboard but we can't go past the pecan pie a la mode.

peach cobbler a la mode ice cream at hoover's cooking austin texas
Peach cobbler a la mode US$5.44

And we order peach cobbler too, a wedge of pie filled with tinned peaches.

booths and tables at hoover's cooking austin texas
Tables and booth seating

Whole Foods Market

whole foods market flagship store supermarket groceries austin texas

If you're a fan of Top Chef like I am, you know all about Whole Foods. It's where contestants are always filmed shopping for challenges, especially as they hurtle themselves towards the entrance pushing trolleys.

texas peaches fruit at whole foods market flagship store supermarket groceries austin texas
Local Texas peaches

What I hadn't realised until I started researching for our trip, was that Whole Foods started in Austin, Texas, opening its first store in 1978, then known as SaferWay (a play on Safeway). In 1980 the first Whole Foods Market opened.

donut nectarines at whole foods market flagship store supermarket groceries austin texas
Donut nectarines - these were unbelievably sweet

The Lamar outlet in downtown Austin is the flagship store for Whole Foods, boasting a massive 7,400 square metre supermarket.

hen in the woods mushrooms morels at whole foods market flagship store supermarket groceries austin texas
Hen in the Woods mushrooms and fresh morels

Supermarkets are awesome wherever you are, but we were particularly struck by the neatness and organisation of the entire store. Stock merchandising, most notable in the fresh produce area, was mesmerising, with every fruit and vegetable stacked tidily but in such a way as to suggest freshness and abundance. There are also clever cross-category promotions, like putting tubs of fresh whipped cream next to the strawberries.

arctic char fish seafood at whole foods market flagship store supermarket groceries austin texas
Arctic Char - Top Chef challenge anyone?

Prices aren't terribly cheap - for a long time Whole Foods battled a "Whole Foods, Whole Pay Check" moniker - but we marvelled at the range of products, in particular the items we don't see on our shelves like fresh morels, ostrich eggs and Arctic Char.

raw and sprouted bulk cereals at whole foods market flagship store supermarket groceries austin texas
Raw and sprouted cereals

The bulk section, where you can buy as much or as little as you need with minimal packaging, is also staggering.

bulk self-serve sweeteners and oils at whole foods market flagship store supermarket groceries austin texas
Bulk sweeteners and oils

wine bar at whole foods market flagship store supermarket groceries austin texas
Mid-shop snackage? Yes, please

But what gobsmacked us most was the presence of in-store dining. Getting hunger pains while doing the grocery shopping? Just park your trolley and pull up a chair at one of several food-court style dining stalls.

seafood and wine bar at whole foods market flagship store supermarket groceries austin texas
Seafood and wine

You could have seared salmon at 5th Street Seafood, summer citrus quinoa salad at Good Greens or a stack of ribs at Bowie BBQ.

beer and wine bar at whole foods market flagship store supermarket groceries austin texas
Beer and wine bar

And then there's the beer and wine bar!

I'm so intrigued by the creation of 'hanging out at the supermarket' as a new social norm, by adding on drinks or a casual meal to your grocery shopping.

self-serve salad bar at whole foods market flagship store supermarket groceries austin texas
Self-serve salad bar

The pre-prepared food section is also phenomenal, taking up about a quarter of the store.

self-serve salad at whole foods market flagship store supermarket groceries austin texas
Salad rainbow!

There are half-a-dozen self-serve food bars, including raw salads, vegetarian sections and cooked meats. There's even a self-serve cookie bar in the bakery section!

wood-fired pizza oven at whole foods market flagship store supermarket groceries austin texas
Wood-fired pizza oven

You can get a freshly made wood-fired pizza, order a fresh burger and shake (Suze got an Elvis milkshake with peanut butter, banana and fried bacon and it was amazing!), pick up sushi, tacos and everything else in-between.

hummus chocolate aisle at whole foods market flagship store supermarket groceries austin texas
Everyone's favourite aisle!

But our favourite aisle had to be this one: hummus, cookies and chocolate. What more could you want?

takeaway dining area at whole foods market flagship store supermarket groceries austin texas
Post-checkout dining area

A huge post-checkout dining area allows shopper to eat any purchases straight away. They have condiment stands with all kinds of sauce (soy, chilli, tomato, mustards etc) plus cutlery, serviettes and water.

kids club free fruit at whole foods market flagship store supermarket groceries austin texas
Free fruit for Kids Club members

And I was also impressed by the generosity of this healthy eating incentive - free fruit for kids!

freeways at whole foods market flagship store supermarket groceries austin texas
Gargantuan freeways

Driving around Austin involved some pretty spectacular freeway flyovers. There is so much car traffic in the USA it's incredible.

bike-friendly buses at whole foods market flagship store supermarket groceries austin texas
Bike-friendly buses!

But I was enamoured with the buses here, fitted with biker carriers at the front. We also spotted these in LA.

Biscuits + Groovy

biscuits with gravy and sausage at biscuits and groovy austin texas

Our last meal in Austin was all about biscuits. We call them scones, but in the South, they're known as biscuits, eaten as part of a savoury meal and usually smothered in gravy.

biscuits and groovy trailer austin texas
Biscuits + Groovy trailer

Biscuits + Groovy initially opened in 2010 as a vegan/vegetarian truck (Jon Lach, the owner is vegan) but has since expanded the menu to include meat items. The trailer is notoriously busy on weekends, with queues stretching around the block.

biscuits in gravy with sausage and chives at biscuits and groovy austin texas
Biscuits + Groovy US$6
Biscuits in white pepper gravy with sausage and chives

Southern biscuits are richer than English scones, made with shortening or lard and often incorporating buttermilk.

biscuits with gravy cheese sausage bacon potato chives at biscuits and groovy austin texas
The Johnny Hash US$8
Biscuits with white pepper gravy, cheese, sausage, bacon, potato and chives

They're fluffy but also quite rich, especially when laden with all manner of sausage, bacon, gravy and cheese.

biscuits with gravy eggs cheese bacon sausage jalapeno and chives at biscuits and groovy austin texas
The Gloria Gaynor US$9
Biscuits with gravy, three scrambled eggs, two cheeses, bacon, sausage, jalapeno and chives

As they say at Biscuits + Groovy, "for the young of artery only". You've been warned.

And where are we off to next? New Orleans, Louisiana!

View Larger Map
Biscuits and Groovy on Urbanspoon

Biscuits + Groovy
5015 Duval Street, Austin, Texas, USA
Tel: +1 (512) 373 6031

Opening hours:
Monday to Friday 9am - 2pm
Saturday and Sunday 8.30am - 2pm

gourdough's big fat donuts food truck austin texas

View Larger Map
Gourdough's on Urbanspoon

Gourdough's Big Fat Donuts
1503 S 1st Street, Austin, Texas, USA
Tel: +1 (512) 707 1050

Opening hours:
Monday to Thursday 10am - 12 midnight
Friday 10am - 3am
Saturday 8am - 3am
Sunday 8am - 12 midnight

dining room at hoover's cooking austin texas

View Larger Map
Hoover's Cooking on Urbanspoon

Hoover's Cooking
2002 Manor Road, Austin, Texas, USA
Tel: +1 (512) 479 5006

Opening hours:
Monday to Friday 11am - 10pm
Saturday and Sunday 8am - 10pm

whole foods market flagship store supermarket groceries austin texas

View Larger Map
Whole Foods Market on Urbanspoon

Whole Foods Market flagship store
525 N Lamar Boulevard, Austin, Texas, USA
Tel: +1 (512) 542 2200

Opening hours:
Monday to Sunday 7am - 10pm

>> Read the next USA 2013 post: Fried chicken & beignet - New Orleans, Louisiana
<< Read the first USA 2013 post: Cronuts at Dominique Ansel Bakery, NYC

Related Grab Your Fork posts: 

USA 2013
Austin - BBQ tour - Franklin, Ruby's, Green Mesquite, Salt Lick & La Barbecue
Austin - Gourdough's bacon donut, Hoover's, Whole Foods and Biscuits + Groovy
Chicago - Deep pan pizza, Al's #1 Italian beef & Cheesecake Factory
Kansas City - BBQ: Gates, Oklahoma Joes & Arthur Bryant's

LA - Animal Restaurant
LA - Boiling Crab
LA - Bouchon Bistro and Bouchon Bakery
LA - Donut tour of LA's best: Randy's Donuts, Bob's Doughnuts & The Donut Man
LA - In-N-Out, Roscoe's Fried Chicken & Waffles, Kogi food truck & Pink's Hot Dogs
LA - Mexican: Loteria Grill, Tamales Liliana's & El Flamin Taco
New Orleans - Willy Mae's fried chicken, Felix's Oyster Bar & beignet

NYC - Cronuts at Dominique Ansel Bakery
NYC - Doughnut Plant, Carlo's Bakery, Baohaus, Lobster Joint & Clinton St Bakery
NYC - Jewish food tour: Katz's Deli, Russ & Daughters, knish and bagels
NYC - Momofuku Noodle Bar fried chicken, Ssam Bar & Milk Bar
NYC - Motorino brussels sprout pizza, Best Pizza and Big Gay Ice Cream
NYC - Shake Shack, Tom Colicchio's Craftbar and Union Square Greenmarket
24 comments - Add some comment love

posted by Helen (Grab Your Fork) on 8/19/2013 12:51:00 am


  • At 8/19/2013 7:51 am, Blogger Ramen Raff said…

    Errmahgerd! I want a bacon donut right now!!

  • At 8/19/2013 8:20 am, Blogger gaby @ lateraleating said…

    You know what? I haven't missed wheat until I saw this post. You're evil! I must come up with a gluten-free version of that bacon donut. And those Southern biscuits piled up with messy goodness. Thanks for the Whole Food photos, I've been curious for a long while.

  • At 8/19/2013 8:22 am, Blogger Tina @ bitemeshowme said…

    Oh my lordy, look at the toppings on those biscuits. You sure they're underneath? haha! Keep it up with the USA posts Helen. I pretty much drool every. single. time!

  • At 8/19/2013 9:43 am, Blogger Phuoc'n Delicious said…

    Oh my God! Is it bad that I want that bacon donut right now?! HAHA yes, the bike racks on the buses. I rode around in SF and got the bus driver to help me load the bike on because I didn't know how! OMG Sooooo embarassing!

    Whole Foods looks very epic, they need to bring it to Oz, like they did with Costco :)

  • At 8/19/2013 10:02 am, Anonymous Tina@foodboozeshoes said…

    Those donuts are so wrong - but I've now got a hankering for fried chicken... Whole Foods looks great!

  • At 8/19/2013 10:57 am, Anonymous thesuzchef said…

    Oh, I remember my first introduction to biscuits and gravy... I was a young uni student, in Alaska, and at the breakfast buffet in the hotel, wondered what the hell the white gravy was... I shied away from it, thinking it was disgusting. Those were the days where I had no sense of adventure about my food - what a wasted opportunity!!

    And I LOVE whole foods!

  • At 8/19/2013 11:12 am, Blogger Sherrie @ Crystal Noir said…

    I'm incredibly jealous of your bacon donut right now!! And if only we had food courts indie our supermarkets here in Australia as well :P

  • At 8/19/2013 11:43 am, Blogger Jacq said…

    I think I wanted to eat everything in this post - bacon doughnuts, chicken fried steak and biscuits... I want it all!!

  • At 8/19/2013 11:48 am, Anonymous Amanda @ Gourmanda said…



    What is this madness?! How is this not the most amazing thing ever?

  • At 8/19/2013 12:33 pm, Anonymous Hannah said…

    Helennnnnnn helen helennnnnn I dieeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee.

    Did you know I've upgraded to a one kilo jar of peanut butter in my room? I would trade it in a heartbeat for fried okra and endless pecan pie a la mode helennnnnnnn.

  • At 8/19/2013 2:06 pm, Blogger Unknown said…


    Where would I start eating and where would I stop... the bacon donut kind of intrigues me...
    I love the kids fruit stand and the hens in the wood mushroom is just bizarre!

  • At 8/19/2013 3:20 pm, Anonymous chocolatesuze said…

    HAHAHA lex and i were so sure that photo wasnt going to make it onto your blawg!!

  • At 8/19/2013 3:44 pm, Blogger Mel said…

    I was in Dallas a few years ago - on a stopover on the way to NYC - and it was SO boring. People kept saying I should've gone to Austin and now I know why. Holy yum Batman!

  • At 8/19/2013 10:01 pm, Anonymous john | heneedsfood said…

    Wowsers. I saw a bacon donut a few weeks ago somewhere in Brooklyn and never bothered to get it because I was already full. Not that it looked anything like the gorgeous one you ate. Pity we won't be making it to Austin on this trip!

    I always like dropping by Whole Foods for a sticky beak. How organised is the checkout system!

    It's brekkie time here in NY and for some reason I'm craving donuts. Hmmm

  • At 8/19/2013 11:40 pm, Blogger YaYa said…

    So loving your American food series!

  • At 8/20/2013 11:41 am, Blogger Unknown said…

    Hut diggidy. When I'm going down to America, totally using you as a tour guide beforehand!

  • At 8/20/2013 3:31 pm, Anonymous Sara - Belly Rumbles said…

    Oh wow oh wow oh wow, where to begin? I think I put on 10kgs just reading this post!!

  • At 8/20/2013 7:55 pm, Blogger Felicia @ Next Stop: Food said…

    OMG ... reading the donuts i think my arteries felt like they were clogging up when my brain and heart were wanting some!! HAHAHA!!

    - Cassie

  • At 8/20/2013 8:43 pm, Blogger Sarah said…

    I want All Of The Pies in the bowls. :)

  • At 8/20/2013 10:09 pm, Blogger MAB vs Food said…

    I think my heart just skipped a beat. Bacon, donuts with maple syrup? Only in America lol. Love whole food markets. The hen in the woods mushrooms look funky.

  • At 8/21/2013 9:07 pm, Anonymous Iron Chef Shellie said…

    There are no amount of words I can use right now to tell you how much I want a bacon donut. ZOMG!

  • At 8/21/2013 9:30 pm, Anonymous Emily said…

    My beloved was visiting family in Houston and he has been playing a food blogger snapping pictures of what he ate there to show me and I am so jealous! Let's just say there has been discussion on a potential trip to Texas next year just for the food. I am really interested trying the crispy okra and I have been dreaming of shopping in Whole Foods.

  • At 8/26/2013 4:59 pm, Anonymous Christine @ Cooking Crusade said…

    That pop iced tea is such a good idea!! This post makes me wish we had more authentic American food here /cry

  • At 10/20/2013 2:27 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Mmm, you're reminding me of all the foodie goodness in Austin. We were just there last month and the amount of good food there...*drools*.

    Next time, check out Rainey St bars/food trucks, Lamberts BBQ, Bacon (a restaurant dedicated to bacon - HELLO!!!) and Joe's coffee in 4th to try their frito pie!


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