A Texan’s thoughts on the Beltway

The thing about Texas is that you will never forget for one moment that you are in Texas. While other states seem okay with drifting by unmarked, Texas is bold and in your face. If there is a flag pole–the Texas flag will be flying, if there is a bald head–a Dallas Cowboys hat will be covering it, and if there is a beer–it’s probably a Lone Star. Because in my home state we are genuinely saddened for people born anywhere else.

To celebrate my brief, recent homecoming some friends and I went out to Lee Harvey’s in Dallas Saturday night. Amongst the live patio band and incredibly cheap drinks, I was surprised to be asked by multiple people if I’ve come to like DC better than Dallas. It is, after all, almost unheard of for a Texan to ask if somewhere else is better than Texas. And if they do, they are just baiting you to remember your roots and declare Texas king.

So at first I said what was expected, “nah, c’mon man, Dallas is Dallas,” to which they all nodded their heads in mutual understanding.

But as the night went on, I silently continued to ponder the question. I was surprised to be confronted with just how much I’ve come to embrace Washington, DC. I’ve been writing about “the Beltway” for both work and my own amusement, but maybe I’ve only been writing one half of the story. Because in the unedited story, Washington has become the place where my real life finally began. The place that I now call home.

I can’t fully compare Dallas to DC, since both bring various strengths to the table. Dallas has a fantastically low cost-of-living for a big city, but DC has a greater number of historic sites. Dallas has Tex-Mex (which I will rant about DC’s lack of at some later date and time), but DC has Caribbean and Ethiopian.

So in that spirit, here are a few things that this proud Texan has come to love about DC:

1. Public Transportation

After two plus years living in Eastern Europe the idea of driving, especially short distances, seems extravagant and unnecessary. Thanks to WMATA, the public transportation in DC is great. If you don’t own a car, count yourself amongst the majority. Hop on a bus, or travel deep underground through the Metro–either way, you’ll get there usually on time. Besides, DC is only a couple of miles wide in radius…you can always just walk, fatty.

2. Bicycling

In keeping with the previous item, DC is great about encouraging cycling. Bicycling is definitely the easiest and fastest way to get around town. While biking in the city can be dangerous, bike lanes and sidewalks are usually available to help increase cyclists’ safety.

3. Outdoor Patios at Restaurants and Bars

Since only the rich or very lucky in DC get to regularly enjoy lounging outside in a private backyard, people in Washington seem to genuinely appreciate the simple joy of relaxing with a cold one outside. DC restaurants and bars do a great job of capitalizing on this phenomenon, luring those walking by with sunshine-filled tables, and hard-to-beat happy hour prices.

4. Farmers Markets

Of course I think Bloomingdale Neighborhood’s Farmers Market on Sundays is the best in DC (1. because it is and 2. because I live down the street from it), but DC is also host to several others around town each week. The fresh fruit and veggies can’t be beat. For more information check out this site.

5. Hill Country Barbeque in Chinatown

You can take the girl out of Texas….but you can’t take her need for Blue Bell ice cream and real barbeque away.

DC Texans–DO NOT be fooled by a place called “Capital Q: Texan Barbeque” in Chinatown. It will make you cry real, bitter tears. It is an imposter. It has no right to call itself Texas anything.

But about three blocks away from the Evil Texas Barbeque Imposter is a glorious piece of Texas heaven called Hill Country Barbeque. Upon stepping inside Hill Country, I immediately remember my accent and deep love of smoked meat covered in sauce. The macaroni and cheese alone is enough to restore your faith in a higher power. The barbeque at Hill Country is authentic Texan (aka effing delicious) and there is imported Blue Bell ice cream available for dessert.

So my dear DC readers, whenever you start to miss Texas, head on down to Hill Country. I’ll be the one sipping a Lone Star beer and drunkenly leading the bar in a rousing rendition of “The Yellow Rose of Texas.” The Cowboys will be losing on the television, and you’ll suddenly find yourself right at home.

– A South of the Mason-Dixon Lindsay

About Lindsay Golder

Freelance writer, book-fiend, lover of shamefully bad films regularly featured on TBS or TNT.

6 Responses to “A Texan’s thoughts on the Beltway”

  1. As the daughter of a Texan, I’ve had a few instances in my early childhood that were blessed with Blue Bell ice cream. I’ve been searching for it ever since. I’m going to have to go try this place! 🙂

  2. I’m from Dallas, and I couldn’t agree more!! I love finding touches of Texas in DC, but when I’m in Dallas, I really miss many aspects of DC!

  3. Also, best Tex Mex I have found so far is a place called El Paso Cafe (off Pershing and Glebe Road in Arlington.) Everything else sucks.

  4. The Stars at night are big and bright….

    I’m with you on the absence of Tex-Mex it’s a severe problem, so far the closest I’ve found is Austin Grill or Cactus Cantina, but both leave something to be desired… though Austin Grill Strawberry Margaritas are on point.

    Fun fact, more Texans keep their cars registered in Texas than any other nonnative DC-ites, when they move here.

  5. Can’t wait to visit. Maybe they will let me pack some of Andrew’s Ribs on dry ice? Either way, can’t wait to come and try out all these things. Public transportation without being in fear of your life? Seeing historical sites that are legit. After winter has passed, bc I’m fearful that you guys have scary weather?? Lots of snow?? I don’t know, I’m obviously DC-naiive. Either way, I’m there as soon as the airways throw out a cheap two-way ticket. Can’t wait, did I say that already? 🙂


  1. Compiling a DC dream meal | broadsofthebeltway - 2011/10/12

    […] dish: Macaroni and Cheese, from Hill Country Lindsay and I have been creepily open here and here about our affection for this Chinatown tourist gimmick, but the moment I tried the sloppy yellow […]

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