Road Trip: Kountry Bakery
The American interstate highway system was designed for many purposes: to link metropolitan areas as directly as possible; to aid in military transport in case of war; and to connect to major border crossings with Canada and Mexico (just to name a few). Nothing could be finer if your sole purpose as a driver is to get from City A to City B as quickly as possible. But when the journey is as important as the destination, or even just a little bit important, the interstate can be a monotonous, soul-sucking river of concrete. And unless you think Cracker Barrel is the height of contemporary cuisine, it's a gastronomic wasteland.
It's always refreshing, then, to find a great eatery not far off the interstate. Last week my wife and I took advantage of the midweek holiday and roadtripped to San Antonio, stopping in Schulenburg at the family-owned Kountry Bakery for a mid-morning kolache break. (Hat tip: Chowhound and Roadfood.com.) At 10 a.m. it was too late for anything warm from the oven, but the kolaches were still magnificent. The Kountry Bakery had four kinds of savory kolaches ($1.40 each), which they called "pigs in a blanket": sausage; jalapeno, sausage and cheese; ham and cheese; and pan sausage (basically, a breakfast patty). All were good, but the two with sausage (from Kasper's Meat Market in nearby Weimar) were fantastic, with the highly seasoned meat playing off against the slightly sweet bun.
They also had more than a dozen varieties of sweet kolaches (a steal at 90 cents each), which they called kolaches but I would have called a danish, in part so halfway through eating it I could say (cribbing Lorrie Moore) "This danish is too sweetish to finish." I took the advice of the woman behind the counter and tried the cream cheese, and it was sublime; flaky, toothsome pastry, a subtle glaze, and a light custard filling with a cheesecake-like tang. I also had the apple, which was filled with a smooth, gently spiced streusel. Pure bliss.
Kountry Bakery also has locations in Hallettsville and Weimar, but the one in Schulenberg is the original, and closest to the freeway: just a half-mile south of I-10 on Texas Highway 77 (exit 674). It's almost exactly halfway between Houston and San Antonio - perfectly situated for a roadtrip.