No complaints about Texas Monthly this week.
The magazine put its barbecue reporter on the big story for travelers: a new kolache shop.
Slovacek’s is new in West, about an hour south of Dallas-Fort Worth and for 60 years Texans’ must-stop town for Czech pastry.
Slovacek’s is on the west side of Interstate 35, so it’s an easier stop for southbound travelers than the Village Bakery, critics’ favorite Gerik’s or the roadside Czech Stop.
It’s a huge, bright meat market and spacious convenience store, selling kolaches, Nemecek Bros. sausages, coffees, sandwiches and frozen yogurt.
The Slovacek’s specialty is sausage, marrying the local Nemecek legacy with the Slovaceks’ tradition from near College Station.
“Sausage kolaches” — technically, klobasnik — originated in West at Village Bakery, not in Moravia.
Slovacek’s offers mild and spicy sausages, with or without cheese, or an excellent kolache filled with loose breakfast sausage.
Fruit kolaches include all the familiar flavors plus less common choices such as strawberry or pecan pie.
“ You’ve heard of the barbecue wars? Welcome to the kolache wars,” Texas Monthly barbecue editor Daniel Vaughn wrote.
But he couldn’t find much of a rivalry.
“Anything that makes [customers] pull off the highway,” said Czech Stop executive Barbara Schissler, “has got to be good for all of us.”
If you want to compare for yourself, Slovacek’s is open 24 hours at 214 Melodie Drive (Interstate 35), 254-826-4525, slovacekwesttexas.com.
The Czech Stop ( czechstop.net) is on the east side at the same exit and also ships in winter months. Gerik’s is behind the Czech Stop, and Village Bakery ( discoverwest.org/village-bakery.php) is at 113 E. Oak St.Café Modern
But chef Dena Peterson’s new seasonal menu is a worldwide ride.
Brunch items include chickpea crinkle fries or lamb salad, but also turkey chili, cheddar tamales or bourbon-sweet potato soup.
The daily lunch menu includes coq au vin or rosemary-crusted redfish. On Fridays, dinner ranges from a New York strip or rack of lamb to Sichuan-spiced chicken breast, all for less than $30.
Café Modern is open for lunch or brunch daily except Mondays and reopens for dinner every Friday and for Tuesday lectures; 3200 Darnell St., 817-738-9215, themodern.org/cafe.