This weekend was Family Weekend at colleges around the nation, and I couldn’t wait to spend the weekend with my daughter. We’d both been looking forward to this weekend ever since we dropped her off in August.
The highlights of the weekend were dining and shopping. Shocking, I know. Saturday morning we headed to the outlet malls in San Marcos. It’s been decades since I’ve been to an outlet mall, and I was skeptical, but we were hopeful that we’d find some great buys.
San Marcos, population approximately 54,000, was founded in 1851 along the San Marcos River, and is among the oldest continuously inhabited areas in the U.S. It’s home to Texas State University, which I was surprised to learn is the fifth-largest university in Texas, and has an enrollment of more than 34,000 students. And here’s an interesting fact if you run out of things to talk about at your next cocktail party — President Lyndon B. Johnson graduated from Texas State University in 1930, making it the only university in Texas to have a President of the United States as an alumnus. San Marcos is presently one of the fastest-growing cities in the U.S.
But hey, don’t they say to avoid shopping on an empty stomach? Oh wait, that’s grocery shopping. Still, I don’t see why that advice shouldn’t apply to clothes shopping as well. And who are “they” anyway? We passed every chain restaurant you can think of along the highway, but we were in the mood for something more interesting. And that is exactly what we found at The Root Cellar Café.
The restaurant is decorated in thrift store chic, with mismatched tables and chairs that added to the college-town charm of the cafe:
Since it was just me and my daughter, we only got to sample two dishes, but they were both delicious and satisfying. My daughter had the ciabatta cheesesteak — grilled roast beef, bell peppers, onions, and provolone cheese on toasted ciabatta bread — accompanied by a pile of garlic scallion mashed potatoes:
This was a hearty, two-fisted sandwich, and the seasoned roast beef and melted provolone made for a delicious meal. The mashed potatoes were loaded with garlic and green onions, and were entirely worth risking garlic breath for.
I had the Hearty Frittata, which on this day was loaded with chunks of turkey, provolone cheese, and zucchini. The generous slice was fluffy and cheesy and really tasty. It was accompanied by sautéed grape tomatoes, a toasted English muffin, and spiced wild blueberry jam. We splurged for a side of bacon, which was thick-cut and salty and perfectly crisp. This was an outstanding brunch dish.
Before we left San Marcos we strolled around the Hays County Courthouse, a beautiful historic Texas courthouse built in 1908. Depending on who you ask, the style is described as “eclectic,” “classic Revival,” and “Beaux-Arts.” I have no idea what style the building is, but the courthouse, restored in 1972, is quite impressive:
There was a small farmers market next to the courthouse that was just about wrapping up, where we ran across this content little fella (you gotta figure this guy is pretty secure in his manhood to be carrying around a Chihuahua in a baby sling):
No longer hungry, we figured it was safe to venture off to the outlet mall. We were happily surprised at the selection of stores, and came home with lots of great stuff. It was a fun day together, and we can’t wait to go back to San Marcos for lunch and shopping!