Tuesday, January 3, 2012

On the Road: Kolaches at Prasek's Hillje Smokehouse

When I was growing up my family had a ranch in Karnes County between Kenedy and Goliad.  We would go out there once or twice a month to hunt, fish, or maybe because there was grass to mow or hay to bale.

But whatever the reason for our visit, one thing was certain: a kolache stop at Prasek's Hillje Smokehouse on Highway 59 outside of El Campo.

You already know my great affinity for kolaches.  Outside of my Grandma's kitchen, these stops at Prasek's are what spawned my love for these pastries.  If we left on Saturday morning, we would leave my grandparents' house in Pearland at exactly 5:45 AM, because Prasek's opened at 7:00 and we needed to get them at their freshest.  If we were leaving Friday night, we'd get enough for breakfast on Saturday and Sunday, and a snack.

For nostalgia's sake, I had to get a poppyseed kolache.  This sweet pastry is basically the original kolache and is based on what they eat in the Czech Republic.  The bread is fluffy, the filling sweet yet not heavy.  I typically lean toward the klobasnicky when I'm at a kolache stop, but this reminder of the past may swing my kolache cravings to the sweeter kind.

Since I go to Hruska's in Ellinger so often, I grabbed a couple of others to try to compare the two.   My favorite at Hruska's is the pan sausage and sauerkraut so I grabbed the sausage and sauerkraut (not pan).  I enjoyed the sausage at Prasek's over Hruska's: it was a bit smoother and I thought packed better flavor.  The sauerkraut was not as good, however, and not quite as plentiful.

I also got a pan sausage and cheese.  Again, comparing the meats, I liked Prasek's in the pan sausage department.  The sausage is again smooth and has a smoky flavor that puts it a notch above Ellinger.  Plus, all meats are made in house, which gets points in my book.  The only downside of this one was the wheat roll that it comes on which was rather plain.

In addition to the kolaches, Prasek's makes some fine jerky and pretty decent bbq as well.  Plus, since they have a butcher, you can grab almost any kind of meat and one of several types of sausages, and a fresh plate of bbq.  Throw in a convenient location right on Hwy 59 for a bathroom stop if you're on your way to Corpus Christi, South Padre Island, Port Aransas or the Valley, and you have a fantastic "On the Road" stop.

And since I was comparing, I'll take the kolaches at Prasek's as the best in Texas.

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