Pigskin Pursuit

An eight year odyssey across the backroads of America during the ultimate College Football roadtrip.

Tag: Texas A+M Aggies (page 2 of 3)

Lucky Penny – Penny’s Diner

If its one long standing gripe I’ve had with Texas thus far it’s the seemingly statewide aversion to the classic 24 hour roadside diner.While I can get gut bomb tacos and a shiv to the neck at a shady gas station 24 hours a day, finding an acceptable greasy spoon in this state has proven a rather elusive challenge thus far.

Imagine my delight then, when 30 minutes outside of College Station in a postage stamp of a town called Hearne, I spotted a shimmering oasis of stainless steel and neon edged off the side of Texas State Highway 6.The vaporous glow of Penny’s Diner backlit plastic pierced the black Texas night, and our post game meal was quickly decided.(This was the meal following our Thanksgiving Day game at A&M vs. Texas)

On the inside the Penny’s is every bit as consistent as any diner loving patron would hope for, checkered flooring and stainless steel abound.The no frills menu was a lineup of breakfast, burgers and assorted classic diner fare dished out at affordable prices.I promptly ordered up a three meat egg scramble.The food was simple, quick, tasty and ample.The way honest diner food should be.I don’t think you could order wrong at this place, and Penny’s certainly satisfies.

What I was quite delighted to discover at Penny’s, however, was a true chocolate milkshake.Chocolate shakes are one of the great heavenly libations bestowed upon us, and I consider myself a purveyor of these creamy delights.Unfortunately, the understated art of the chocolate milkshake is, sadly, a dying one, and it’s a rare treat that I find an establishment that knows their way around a steel mixing cup.There are two critical subtleties to a real chocolate shake, both of which were found at Penny’s and make it worthy of my high praise.

1.The shake was made with real ice cream.It’s a shame I even have to mention this, but in our fast paced modern world it seems most shake vendors opt for the shortcut route of making their blasphemous shakes with soft serve ice cream product.

2.The chocolate shake was made with chocolate ice cream.The inferior, bastardized version that many of you may be familiar with involves vanilla ice cream and chocolate sauce.How this offensive practice ever became commonplace is a mystery to me, but I for one consider it a pox on the shake world.I ordered a chocolate shake for a reason, and only chocolate ice cream and syrup will properly satiate my chocoholism.

So if you ever find yourself cruising down Highway 6 in Hearne, Texas with a hankering for some classic roadside diner fare, pull on in to Penny’s Diner and settle into a booth for a quick bite.Just don’t forget the chocolate shake…

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Texas A&M vs. Baylor…..Whoop!

Plagued by yet another bout of rainy weather, on Saturday we braved the steady drizzle to witness our first game at Kyle Field pitting the Aggies of Texas A&M against the formidable Bears of Baylor University.In spite of the dreary weather, we were invigorated by the awe inspiring pep rally the night before, and the 40 yard line student section seats expertly procured by our friend Christina.As you have heard me preach before, student sections are the lifeblood of any college stadium atmosphere, and our fortune put us in the heart of the action between the Aggie Band and the Aggie Corpsman.

The in stadium atmosphere at Kyle Field is simply awesome.Despite the inclement weather and a lackluster opponent, 82,106 bodies packed the house to cheer on their Aggies.Additionally, the student section at A&M is widely considered among the great student sections in College Football.Unlike many other student sections which are tucked into a awkward corner of the stadium, at A&M the students enjoy some of the best seats in the house straddling the 50 Yard line. The students respond by standing the entire game, never leaving early, and continuously cheering through a series of complex “yells” directed by the Yell Leaders.The energy never takes a break, and you are cheering on every play.Of course all of this support contributes to what is famously known as the A&M 12th man…

The “12th Man” is an Aggie legend referring the always standing and vociferous students playing an active role in the game.It’s not only a moniker, but the term is emblazoned in block letters on the façade of the second tier.Furthermore tradition dictates that one lucky student, from among hundreds that tryout, is permitted a spot on the kickoff team during live Aggie games.The student wears the cherished #12 jersey, and is honored as a live representative of the 12th man during game action.You can read or watch about the entire history of this unique tradition below.

http://aggietraditions.tamu.edu/team/12thman.html

The game itself was predictably lopsided, as without their injured star quarterback Robert Griffin, the Baylor offense has sputtered all season.While their enigmatic defense managed to put the brakes on Baylor, the Aggie offense has been dominating the Big 12 all season, and recently laid a 65 point lashing on the Oklahoma Sooners a week before.The passing attack was led by quarterback Jerrod Johnson, who has quietly put up season statistics comparable to his ballyhooed neighbor to the South and heralded Heisman hopeful; Colt McCoy.On the ground, the Aggie rushing attack is equally formidable between the backfield tandem of Christine Michael and Cyrus Gray.In fact, phenom freshman running back Michael peeled of an impressive 97 yard touchdown run early in the second quarter that turned out to be the longest running play in Aggie history.This would prove to be the first of his two touchdowns and 116 yards on the day.Between the freshman Michael and stud sophomore Cyrus Gray (who ran for 106 yards himself), the future of the imposing Aggie ground attack is in talented hands.The Bears went down with nary a fight.

Final Score: Texas A&M 38 – Baylor 3.

But much to our delight, the festivities at Kyle Field hardly end after the final whistle.One final touch capping off this phenomenal experience, is that Kyle Field is open to the public following home games.Fans are free to mingle on the field, boot a few through the uprights, toss the pigskin around with the kids, and dive headfirst over the pylon.This is a rare, yet subtle touch that encapsulates the mutual respect that Texas A&M has for its fans and alumni.Every University should take note.

In the end, I would be hard pressed to think of a more complete and quintessential college football game day environment than Texas A&M.Between the passionate, generational fan base, the raucous student section standing the entire game, a student led pep rally that is second to none, Yell Leaders in place of pom-poms, a band that utterly dominates all other University bands (more on this to come), a field open to the public after games, great “college town” vibe, the 12th Man, and a storied program steeped in tradition, Texas A&M earns it’s reputation among the top of all College Football atmospheres.It is quite simply the most complete game day experience that you will find, and truly a treasure among College Football.

Gig Em’ Aggies!Whoop!

Big thanks to our friend Christina for the special experience of student tickets.More thanks to our Aggie friends Allison and Melissa, for putting together a spectacular itinerary for us and introducing us to the Aggie tradition.Thanks to Fed for the jersey, and Pablo for correcting a few of my oversights…

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Snow’s BBQ – Going back for seconds…

The only thing better than checking the #1 Barbecue place in Texas off your list, is returning a few months later for another lip smacking round of Texas finest smoked meat.With Snow’s BBQ a paltry fifty miles away from College Station, you can bet I set the alarm early on Saturday morning for a hearty breakfast of the smoked variety.

For those of you fresh to the blog, Snow’s BBQ is considered the best barbecue establishment in Texas.The pitmaster is a charming 70 year old woman named Tootsie, the joint’s only open on Saturdays, and you need to get there before 10am or they sell out of food.

You can refer to my previous post for a little more backstory, and the original review.

http://pigskinpursuit.blogspot.com/2009/09/snows-bbq.html

This time, I tried to do a better job of capturing the food in photos. All the food groups are well represented, chicken, sausage, pork ribs and beef brisket. Pay special note to the deep crust and uniform color on the brisket at the bottom.There is a reason this stuff is considered the best, and my review this time around is eerily similar to the last.

Amazing.

http://www.snowsbbq.com/

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College Station Burger Duel: Koppe Bridge vs. Chicken Oil Company

After polling our extensive network of Aggie alums for food recommendations, two places kept emerging to the top of the heap: Koppe Bridge Bar & Grill and Chicken Oil Company.During my exhaustive pre screening process on both places, the consensus opinion was that Chicken Oil was a College Station institution while the upstart KoppeBridge had the better pure burger.

I decided to settle this the way I always do when faced with such a difficult dilemma: eat at both of them.

Saturday night following the Baylor game, we braved the inevitable line at KoppeBridge for a well earned post game feast.The 30 minute wait passed quickly as I chatted up an old timer in line behind me.An Aggie alum of ’56, he proudly boasted a flock of children, grandchildren, nieces, nephews, cousins and neighbors that all followed his trail to A&M. To say that Aggies are generational would be an understatement.

The burger itself was well worth the wait.Thick, well seasoned and rather hefty, the burgers at KoppeBridge will certainly satisfy your appetite.Their fries are legitimate as well.Homemade, thinly cut and crispy, they are a perfect pairing with the Koppe burger.The only drawback I can report is that despite the liberal piling of cheese and bacon on my burger, it was a bit on the dry side.It took a few pulls off my Shiner bottle to wash the whole thing down, but certainly understandable given the post game volume influx.Make no mistake however, KoppeBridge puts out a solid burger.

http://www.koppebridge.com/

The second stop of our burger duel came on Sunday afternoon for a light bite before our three hour jaunt back to Dallas.As I stated in my invite below, Chicken Oil Company is a College Station institution, slinging burgers since 1977.In addition to serving hungry Aggies, Chicken Oil Company used to be a full service gas station (hence the name), but unfortunately they shut down the fuel pumps some years ago.The eclectic décor remains, however, and Chicken Oil is a veritable showcase of old gas stations signs, saddles and assorted other folksy trinkets.They also sport a rather impressive collection of taxidermy adorning the walls, which, as any reasonable individual can surmise, is the hallmark any fine dining establishment.

The burgers here are worthy of the atmosphere.On Allison’s recommendation, I promptly ordered up my Snuffy Burger (1/2 pounder) and opted for the obligatory bacon and cheese….for comparison sake of course.The burgers are thick, juicy and served between a hearty bun that doesn’t lose its integrity under the heft of the filling. The only drawbacks to report here were the fries, which just rolled off the Oreida truck, and the milkshake which was made with soft serve ice cream product (blasphemy).But the burgers are what count, and Chicken Oil serves up a great one.

http://www.dixiechicken.com/chickenoil/

The Verdict: For me the verdict was far simpler than I thought it would be.Chicken Oil is the runaway winner in unique atmosphere, and oh by the way….their burgers are better too.While the fare at Koppe Bridge is still excellent and certainly worth a visit, if you had stomach space for only one burger joint in College Station – Chicken Oil is your horse.

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