What is the first thing you think of when you contemplate a road trip from Dallas to Austin? Is it a Longhorn football game? A wild night out on 6th street? Carl’s Corner?
If you’re anything like me, you can’t help but get excited about stopping in West, Texas (just North of Waco and South of Hillsboro) to sample some of the famous kolaches from the Czech Stop. For those of you who haven’t yet had the pleasure of sampling one, a kolache is a traditional Central European dish of a pastry roll filled with any number of things, from fruit to meat to cheese. They are popular in West (and a few other towns in Central Texas) due to their large Czech populations. These heavenly pillows of pastry and various fillings make any road trip down 35 worthwhile.
I love the plain sausage (no molten American cheese, thank you very much), which pair perfectly with a cold bottle of Dr. Pepper. The sausage has just enough smokiness and spiciness to make it interesting without overwhelming the pastry, and the sweetness of the Dr. Pepper really rounds out the meal.
My absolute favorite, however, is the cream cheese kolache. These are pretty good when you get them mixed with fruit (strawberry, blueberry and apricot are a few of the choices they offer), but I prefer just the plain cream cheese. It tastes like a cross between cheesecake and a dinner roll, and while that may not sound all that appetizing, it takes both of those standards to new heights. The cream cheese is rich and sweet, so the flaky, buttery pastry cuts that a little bit while adding some texture. I highly recommend you give one a whirl the next time you venture down 35.
I’m sure many of our readers have had the pleasure of visiting West, and I’d like to hear if you all love it as much as I do…