Everyone has a favorite Olympic sport. Gymnastics. Swimming? Beach volleyball! But today NPR highlighted an Olympic sport that doesn’t usually get much airtime on the major networks in the United States: dressage. Titled “A Horse Is A Horse, Unless Of Course It’s Ann Romney’s Dressage Champ”, the piece uses the fact that Mrs. Romney’s horse Rafalca qualified for the U.S. Olympic team as an introduction to the little-known sport. You can listen to NPR’s dressage story (the accompanying text varies somewhat from the recorded version).
On a recent trip from Austin back to the Dallas area, I had a chance to make another drive-by visit to what’s called the “Czech Stop” in West, Texas. In spite of its name, West isn’t located in west Texas but rather a bit north of Waco on the I-35 artery that shuttles travelers between Austin and the DFW Metroplex.
The Czech influence has apparently been a characteristic of West since the 1890′s when Czech settlers moved into the area (thanks, Wikipedia!) and now it’s most visible in the Czech Stop: a large gas station/bakery where locals and visitors alike flock to sample Czech goodies.
There are some oddities to be found at the Czech Stop store. Pickled pig’s feet, anyone?Slightly more appetizing are the jars of pickled eggs. Pickled pig’s feet and egg customers must love these products, because they’re both sold in massive jars!The meat cases are impressive, full of sausages and deli meats…
But the real star of the show is the bakery section: trays and trays of golden buns, gleaming kolaches and klobasnikis and jars of cookies.One might be tempted to dismiss the Czech Stop as a tourist-trap novelty, but the place is so constantly bustling, so packed with unusual goodies lining shelves and overflowing out of jars, that the experience begins to feel really authentically like a taste of a different time and culture. A true glimpse of proud Czech heritage. Next time you’re headed down I-35, heed the signs directing you off of the highway into West and sample the Czech goodies yourself!
The Krimson and Klover boutique is located a short block from bustling, pedestrian-friendly McKinney Ave and sells fluttering nylon blouses, sorbet-hued jeans and spangly jewelry to the Uptown crowd. Their wares are tempting (I narrowly talked myself out of a beaded, thigh-skimming shift in Roaring 20′s black and gold) and for last Thursday’s Spring into Summer launch, they pulled together an event complete with local businesses partnering to provide bites, drinks, spray tans and lash extensions!