A plea to Central Texans from a Czech girl: Please stop referring to sausage-filled pastries as ‘kolaches’

OK, Central Texas, we need to talk about kolaches.

130914 CALDWELL, TEXAS: A selection of just-judged entries in the kolache baking competition are pictured at Caldwell's annual Kolache Festival on Saturday, September 14, 2013. The streets were crowded with entertainment and vendors. Andy Sharp / For the American-Statesman.
CALDWELL, TEXAS: A selection of just-judged entries in the kolache baking competition are pictured at Caldwell’s annual Kolache Festival on Saturday, September 14, 2013. The streets were crowded with entertainment and vendors. Andy Sharp / For the American-Statesman.

Before we get started, take a peek at my last name. It’s as Czech as they come. The name Pšencík is actually a nickname for a peasant (I know, I know). It comes from the Czech word meaning “wheat.” I grew up in the heart of the “Texas Czech Belt.” So, trust me, I know a thing or two about doughy Bohemian pastries.

Texas is a pretty heavily Czech region, with immigrants from Bohemia settling in the Texas Czech Belt in the early 1800s. They brought with them one of the best pastries known to mankind, and even now kolaches are a pretty big deal around these parts. A “kolach” (that’s the singular form of the word, though colloquially people use “kolache” as singular and “kolaches” as plural, so that’s how I’m referring to it here) is a round or square-ish pastry made with sweet yeast dough and filled with fruit or cheese.

Notice I said fruit or cheese — not meat. The traditional kolache fillings include things like plums, prunes, poppy seeds, apricots and just plain farmer’s cheese, due to the availability of those tasty flavors in poor immigrant families in the 19th century. Later, those fillings were expanded to include cream cheese, blueberries, pineapples, nuts, cottage cheese, cherries…you name the fruit or cheese, and you could put it in a kolache. Notice, again, I haven’t mentioned meat.

At some point over the course of history, somebody started taking that sweet yeast dough and stuffing it with sausage, sometimes with cheese and jalapeno. Don’t get me wrong, these little pastries are delicious. But they are not kolaches, although many people refer to them as such. Kolache, for those of Czech descent, contain only fruit or cheese, never meat.

A little Czech lesson: Those sausage-filled pastries you’ve been calling kolaches for years actually were never brought over from the motherland. They’re called klobasniky, and they were invented by Czech families settled in Texas (The Village Bakery in West, Texas takes credit for the delicious treat). You may have heard of one of these delights referred to as a “pig in the blanket,” which is what I grew up calling them, although pigs in a blanket can include hot dogs wrapped in croissant rolls, which, let’s face it, isn’t exactly Czech. Slight difference there.

So now that we’ve had a little history lesson, I call upon you, people of Central Texas, to stop referring to these meat-filled delicacies as kolaches, and call them by their rightful name: Klobasniky, or klobasnek in the singular. The Czech community will thank you.

Stuck in line on Election Day? This site wants to send you a pizza

You can’t vote for pizza today. But you can eat it while voting.

A classic mushroom and pepperoni New York City style pizza from Home Slice Pizza. 02/04/15 Tom McCarthy Jr. for AMERICAN-STATESMAN
A classic mushroom and pepperoni New York City style pizza from Home Slice Pizza. 02/04/15 Tom McCarthy Jr. for AMERICAN-STATESMAN

In case you haven’t heard, this election has brought out voters in droves. Many states, including Texas, have surpassed their previous early voter turnout records, and with Election Day already off to a roaring start, overall numbers are expected to be up as well, the Washington Post reports.

One side effect to all this participation? Long (long) lines. Even with the help of maps that estimate waits at different polling locations, chances are you might have to put in a little time before casting your vote.

PHOTOS: What Election Day in Central Texas is looking like…

However, thanks to Pizza to the Polls you’ll have one more thing to do while waiting that isn’t checking your phone and picking your split ends: Eat pizza! According to the site, Pizza to the Polls wants to “deliver the one thing that pairs so perfectly with freedom” to polling locations that have long lines “full of hungry voters.”

As of noon today, the site, which allows visitors to both report long voting lines and donate to the growing pizza fund, was reporting nearly $20,000 in total donations, and an available $12,500 after the delivery of more than 300 pizzas. The site also lists the cities to which deliveries have been made thus far.

Who says fulfilling your civic duty can’t be as cheesy as it is American? Tweet Pizza to the Polls a picture of your polling location’s line and treat you and your fellow voters to comforting pizza.

The Roots got some Austin barbecue from a familiar face at F1 in Austin

Update your “celebrities and the food they get while in Austin” file. You’ll have to sort past Secretary of State John Kerry’s chow-down at Iron Works BBQ, as well as President Barack Obama’s trips to Torchy’s Tacos and Franklin Barbecue. Stop before you get to “Weird Al” Yankovic’s own Austin taco run and record The Roots’ pre-Formula One concert dinner.

The Roots perform during the Formula 1 United States Grand Prix at Circuit of the Americas in Austin, TX on Sunday, Oct. 23, 2016. Erika Rich for American-Statesman
The Roots perform during the Formula 1 United States Grand Prix at Circuit of the Americas in Austin, TX on Sunday, Oct. 23, 2016. Erika Rich for American-Statesman

MORE PHOTOS: USHER AND THE ROOTS ON THE SUPER STAGE

Roots drummer and Prince roller-skating pal Questlove post a photo of a special delivery to Instagram on Sunday. Whereas you and I usually wait in line for Austin’s most delicious brisket, the “Tonight Show” beat-maker has friends in high places with the hook-up. Namely, Austin’s C.K. Chin, owner of Swift’s Attic and Wu Chow.

 

Questlove’s caption reads, “My man (#CKChin@seekaychin did it to us this time—got us @stilesswitchbbq AND @franklinbbq (no line suckas!) I do NOT recommend eating 30 mins before going…..on….staaage w/….ushe—-zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz.” Stiles Switch BBQ’s official account returned the love in the comments, as did the joint’s pit master.

F1 ON SATURDAY: ‘SPARKS FLY’ AT TAYLOR SWIFT’S ONLY 2016 CONCERT

Questlove had plenty of nice things to say about Chin on the F1 stage, too, according to Chin’s Twitter.

So we know that The Roots were well-fed Sunday, but how was their post-race show with Usher? According to our review, it was guaranteed to make you say “Yeah!”

Here’s how to get (kind of) free queso this weekend

What’s not quite as good as free, but almost as good as queso? Kind of free queso. Con Madre is offering “free” queso through Uber Eats this weekend — with a $1.99 delivery fee, that is.

Promotional hand out photo of "Creamy Mexican Cheese Dip" aka queso. CREDIT: Kristen Michaelis. Received 06/12/09 for 0617bloggerrecipe.
Promotional hand out photo of “Creamy Mexican Cheese Dip” aka queso. CREDIT: Kristen Michaelis. Received 06/12/09 for 0617bloggerrecipe.

The queso comes with chips, and is limited one order per person.

If you don’t mind paying for your chips and cheese check out our reader’s guide to Austin’s favorite queso here.

El Arroyo paid homage to Donald Trump’s Austin visit with a McConaughey joke

What, you thought one of the funniest signs in Austin would just let Donald Trump’s Austin campaign stop go unnoticed? El Arroyo, the downtown Austin Tex-Mex restaurant known for its witty, oft-topical marquee, trotted out just the right combination of black block letters Tuesday.

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump arrives in Austin on Aug. 23, 2016 for a fundraiser and rally. (Elizabeth Kreutz/For the American-Statesman)
Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump arrives in Austin on Aug. 23, 2016 for a fundraiser and rally. (Elizabeth Kreutz/For the American-Statesman)

Remember, when in doubt: Matthew McConaughey.

The sign, posted to the restaurant’s Facebook page, reads “McConaughey 2016/Make America Alright Again.” This is not the first time the El Arroyo sign has weighed in on the 2016 presidential election. (And Longhorns football. And Brexit. And Beyonce.) Follow live coverage of Trump’s visit to Austin.

RELATED COVERAGE

Matthew McConaughey helps out with the auction during the Jack Ingram and Friends ft. Eric Church at ACL Live on April 14, 2016. (Suzanne Cordeiro for American Statesman)
Matthew McConaughey helps out with the auction during the Jack Ingram and Friends ft. Eric Church at ACL Live on April 14, 2016. (Suzanne Cordeiro for American Statesman)

Big Red Slurpee comes to 650 7-Eleven stores in Texas

Slurpees
Photo via Wikicommons

Hey Slurpee lovers, here’s something you might like to know: 7-Eleven’s Big Red Slurpee will now be available in more than 650 stores in Texas.

Read: 7-Eleven worker becomes first woman to climb Mount Everest seven times

While the drink is sold at a select few stores around Texas, the company said in a news release that it intends to expand the flavor’s availability this summer.

Read: Slurpee fan? 7-Eleven selling doughnut inspired by the iconic frozen drink

Big Red was created in 1937 by two men in Waco, though it was originally called Sun Tang Red Cream Soda. This year, the Big Red Slurpee was launched as one of 7-Eleven’s new summer Slurpee flavors.

Watch: Chick-fil-A worker jumps through window to chase car as cow dances

Dance like no one is watching. Even if a security camera is, in fact, watching.

cow

According to the San Antonio Express News, footage from an area Chick-fil-A captured a drive-thru employee leaping out of a window to chase down a customer who drove off without paying. As the employee, Kendall Compere, rockets himself after the car to claim the chicken chain’s due compensation, one of the restaurant’s cow mascots dances merrily.

Watch the footage below.

Compere eventually caught up with the customer, who paid for their food, the Express-News reports.

Texas singer Selena Gomez shares her favorite meal at Whataburger

FILE - In this Aug. 30, 2015 file photo, Selena Gomez arrives at the MTV Video Music Awards in Los Angeles. Gomez has revealed that she’s battling the debilitating immune system disorder lupus. “I was diagnosed with lupus, and I’ve been through chemotherapy,” the 23-year-old singer told Billboard magazine in an interview published Thursday, Oct. 8, 2015. (Photo by Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP, File)
Selena Gomez arrives at the MTV Video Music Awards in Los Angeles Aug. 30, 2015. (Photo by Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP, File)

Though she is the newly-crowned Queen of Instagram, Selena Gomez stays relatively humble, especially with food. In a preview for a radio interview set to air Friday, Gomez captures every Texan’s heart by dishing on her favorite places to grab a bite to eat while in the Lone Star State.

Speaking to 103.7 KVIL in Dallas, Gomez listed her favorite places to eat when she’s back in the DFW metro area. Chain eats Taco Bueno and Pappasitos are a go-to for the Grand Prairie native, as well as Whataburger, of course. The singer said she likes to order the “No. 13 with a side of gravy,” also known as the orange and white box of chicken tenders, Texas toast and fries.

The interview prompted a response from the ever-so-topical Whataburger Twitter account, which dropped a line referencing the singer’s latest album, “Revival.”

Gomez is no stranger to sharing her love for junk food, sharing photos and videos of herself eating McDonald’s, In-N-Out and Flamin’ Hot Cheetos in the past.

View this post on Instagram

-I had one last week tho

A post shared by Selena Gomez (@selenagomez) on

View this post on Instagram

Routine

A post shared by Selena Gomez (@selenagomez) on

View this post on Instagram

behind the scenes @taylorswift

A post shared by Selena Gomez (@selenagomez) on

Perhaps you’ll run into her at a fast-food joint this summer. The “Same Old Love” songstress is bringing her tour to Austin on June 17.

This superhero-themed Alamo Drafthouse menu will be your kryptonite

“Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice” finally arrives in theaters this weekend. DC Comics’ first big response to Marvel’s “Avengers” franchise will no doubt divide fans—some will root for The Dark Knight while others will support the Man of Steel. However, both factions will be eating off of the same superhero-themed menu at Alamo Drafthouse.

Photo Credit: Heather Kennedy
Photo Credit: Heather Kennedy

Austin chef and self-proclaimed “avid Batman fan” Brad Sorenson created the exclusive menu for the movie theater chain, which will be available for a limited time only.

The menu, according to a news release, has something for everyone, in the tradition of Alamo Drafthouse’s previous film-themed foods.

There’s the Versus Wings, which feature aspects of both characters on the same plate.

“Both Gotham and Metropolis are located in the North East and have a heavy Italian influence, as you can see in their respective comics,” Sorenson wrote in the news release. “This led me to using Italian flavors as the inspiration for these fried chicken wings. Batman’s is a deep dark reduction of balsamic to represent the Dark Knight. For Superman, I liked the term “Heat Vision” and so i approached it as an Italian influenced spicy sauce with a base of roasted red peppers and tomato. Black Vs Red. Dark Vs Light.”

For more of a down-home feel, Superman fans can try Ma Kent’s Meatloaf Sandwich, which features corn and potatoes and a family recipe chili glaze.

If you’re seeing the film for its supervillain, don’t worry! Sorenson didn’t forget about you. The menu also features the Doomsday Pizza, with a blue cheese base, mushrooms, torn potatoes and arugula.

And for dessert? Kryptonite Cheesecake is what you want. “The color green made me lean towards a mint dessert before I came up with scooping balls of free form cheesecake and dusting it with dark cookie crumbs to give it a more rugged real feel,” Sorenson said.

Oh, and drinks? Viewers can chose from Batman’s Utility Belt beer or the Superman’s Punch cocktail. (We think Alfred would approve.)

Forget about Batman or Superman. The real winner here is the viewer.

 

Stars, they’re just like us: Elijah Wood loves Via 313 Pizza

Actor Elijah Wood, mythical Austin celebrity and all around cool guy, might split a Detroiter with you someday.

(Suzanne Cordeiro/For American-Statesman)
(Suzanne Cordeiro/For American-Statesman)

The actor, whose Twitter timeline consists mostly of retweets of other accounts, tweeted at Austin pizza joint Via 313 on Sunday to express his devotion to their Motor City-style pies:

The pizza place tweeted back at the “Sin City” star, asking which location was his preferred ‘za zone. Wood replied:

But he’s open to trying new things, too. Wood, who recently popped up on the South by Southwest red carpet, also said he’s “excited” about Via 313’s new UT-area location. (He said West Campus, but it’s really more North Campus.)

(Matthew Odam/American-Statesman)
(Matthew Odam/American-Statesman)

What’s likely driving Wood wild? Well, according to American-Statesman restaurant critic Matthew Odam (and our own late-night dining habits), the pies are just plain delicious:

“The signature Detroiter ($13) buries savory smoked pepperoni under a protective layer of cheese with small cups of natural-cased pepperoni on top. Sauce is added like a rivulet of lava after the pizzas leave the oven, giving a bright, acidic burst to the bite. The pizzas are divided into four squares — meaning each slice is a coveted corner piece — and can feed one very hungry person or two people with tamer appetites.”

In addition to trailers at Violet Crown Social Club and Craft Pride, as well as the Guadalupe store, Via 313 also operated a brick-and-mortar in Oak Hill. The mini-empire began in December 2011, when Zane and Brandon Hunt opened the Violet Crown trailer. If you’d rather live the celebrity life at home, we know how you can make your own deep-dish using a brownie pan.

Find more pizza places in town (celebrities not guaranteed) in our dining guide.