Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Down the Kolache Trail, South Route

Whenever we drive to visit family in Dallas, we pass through West, Texas. West is home to the Czech Stop, a combo gas-station/bakery that is open 24 hours a day, and is always crowded. We have used the Czech Stop as a pit stop many a time, but had never thought to try out the bakery or its famous kolaches. (A kolache is a Czech breakfast pastry that is filled with fruit or meat.) And one day, while we were on I-35, we saw a billboard advertising the Texas Kolache Trail, starting in West.

And I got ridiculously excited, because a trail of kolaches? SOLD. When we got back from that trip, I did a search for the other bakeries along this trail. Turns out there are about five or six places all in central and south Texas, so I decided we needed to take a trip and try them all.

I did some mapping and planning, and figured we could probably do this whole thing in one day, but it would be like, seven or eight hours of driving not including any of the stops for food or activities, so we decided to break it down into two days. And then we had a hard time finding two consecutive days where neither of us was working or had other plans, so we decided to just go when we could, since some of the bakeries are south of us and some are north.

We decided to do the south route first, and headed out on a little day trip. I was more than a little pumped to be finally making this trip happen.

There were three places on the south route we wanted to visit. For our first stop, we took a short hour and a half drive down to La Grange to Weikel's Bakery. It was really crowded, and also (surprise!) a gas station. (But a really nice one.)

Just one of many cases!

We stood in front of the cases drooling before we decided which ones we wanted to try. A sausage one and an apple one for me!

Peach and apple kolaches. 

Sausage + jalapeno, plain sausage, and ham + pepper jack kolaches.

They were really good — nice fluffy, sweet dough and yummy meats. We munched on our picks and packed up the leftovers (only the remains of the fruit ones, we didn't want to leave meat sitting in the car!) in a paper bag for later.

Our second stop was a 15-minute jaunt down to Schulenburg, to the Original Kountry Bakery. This one was not a gas station, and unfortunately, it was also closed on Sundays. (I tried to check to see if they were open before we went, but couldn't find their website.) We were really bummed we didn't get to try their kolaches, but hopefully next time we're in Schulenburg we'll get the chance to try again.

My BIL recommended a good BBQ place about 30 minutes away from here, so hopefully we'll be back again soon!

So we headed back up to Ellinger, about 20 minutes northeast, to Hruska's Bakery. (Also a gas station! But you know, it must work for these kolache places because it was so crowded we had to wait in lines just to order the kolaches, and then more lines to check out. Worth it.)

I was really excited, because this bakery had some flavors that Weikel's — and the other kolache places I've tried — didn't, like sausage + sauerkraut, chocolate + cream cheese, and a vegetarian kolache that was stuffed with spinach and mushrooms.

Since I love mushrooms, I had to give that one a shot. It was good, but wasn't sweet like typical kolaches. I guess it was kind of more of a lunch kolache than a breakfast one.

Vegetarian, sausage + cheese, and cream cheese + strawberry kolaches. 

This is making my mouth water all over again.

Matt wanted to try one of the unusual flavors, so he picked a pan sausage + cabbage. I normally don't like cabbage that much, but I thought it was interesting and even pretty good. Matt thought it was kind of weird having veggies in a kolache, but he ate it anyway. :)

Sausage + cabbage and sausage + jalapeno kolaches.

We agreed that between the two bakeries, we liked the dough that Weikel's uses better than Hruska's, but Weikel's fruit options couldn't beat Hruska's strawberry cream cheese kolaches! We wouldn't hesitate to go back to either of them. :)

Stuffed full of delicious carbs, we hopped in the car and headed back to College Station. Hopefully we'll get to go on the north route soon!

Have you tried kolaches? Would you go on a road trip just for food?

EDIT: We finally went on the North Route!


  1. My parents used to live in West! I always thought that was such a funny town name.

    And, yes, I would definitely road-trip for food. We haven't (yet) but this sounds so fun!!

  2. I think food is the reason to go on road trips, especially when it's pastry dough filled with fruit, yum.

  3. My grandparents live in Waco, so I have fond memories of stopping for kolaches in West on the way to visit them. I love that they're so uniquely Texan!

    By the way, you're ahead of the curve with this post--supposedly kolaches are the next big thing:

    1. Ha! We're trendsetters? "We ate kolaches before they were cool!"

  4. Paul and I have a track record of going on roadtrips for food. :) And of those three I've only been to Hruska's, but agreed that the strawberry cream cheese kolaches are AMAZING!!

    1. We passed City Market on the way down and decided we'll have to road trip again to try it based on VBQ's review. :)