New Braunfels and San Antonio

Howdy gang!

This weekend the hubs and I went to the hill country for a quick weekend of fun with our friends.  The San Antonio/New Braunfels region is always a great spot to experience a ton of Texas culture condensed in one spot.  You can do a lot in a short period of time!

Remember the Alamo!  The Alamo closes early so if you want to see it I highly suggest going first thing in the morning before the crowds arrive!

The Alamo 2015If you visit these regions make sure to set aside Guadalupe River 2015some time to either play at Schlitterbahn Water Park or tube the Comal or Guadalupe Rivers.  Tubing is the cheaper option and is a great way to relax in nature.  For this trip we chose to tube down part of the Guadalupe starting in Canyon Lake, TX.  We used TubeHaus rentals.  It cost $17 a person for a tube and shuttle service and sometimes they have $2 off coupons on the website.  Be sure to brush up on the River Laws to see what is allowed.

If you choose to do Schlitterbahn Water Park, parking is free and you can bring your own lunches!

After tubing for 4 hours, we showered and headed over to San Antonio for an evening of history and fun!

First stop was La Tienda for Old Timey Photos!  This store is located across the street from the famous Menger Hotel which is at the Alamo Plaza.  I always make a stop here!  It’s way too much fun to pass up and is a great souvenir!

You can also buy any hat imaginable in this store! 😀

Big Tex Hats

San Antonio 2015

Next, we stopped at the Menger Hotel Bar where Teddy Roosevelt recruited some of his Rough Riders.  We grabbed and old fashioned and looked around to kill time before a ghost tour.  This is a great stop if you want a refreshing drink and some history.  The bar is connected to the hotel and houses many artifacts and information plaques.  Who knows maybe you’ll run into the ghost of Teddy?  🙂

Looking for Teddy Roosevelt

An Old Fashioned

Menger Bar

The ghost tour that we took is offered by The Sisters Grimm.  I have done this tour twice and have enjoyed it both times.  On this trip I learned that The Sisters Grimm now offer a dinner/tour package!  You have dinner/tour at the famously haunted Menger Hotel before embarking on a walking tour on the streets of San Antonio.

What makes this tour so special is the staff and history behind the stories.  It’s crazy to think how old some of the places are!  The tour guides dress in period clothing and are filled with energy and lots of knowledge about both the factual history of the area as well as the rumored tales that have been passed down through the years.

The tour lasts 1 and 1/2 hours and costs $15 a person.  I highly suggest wearing comfortable shoes for this outing!  Don’t pass this up!

Sisters Grimm Ghost Tours

Sister Grimm- Lauren

Overall it was a great weekend.  If you are looking to spend time in both San Antonio and the New Braunfels area I suggest staying in a town called Selma.  It is directly in between both cities and makes it easy to visit both without driving too far.  The availability is better as well in Selma.  We didn’t really go to the river walk in San Antonio this trip but if you do, I suggest you eat a Boudro’s!  Get a prickly pear margarita!

Links to fun things in the region:

San Antonio:

The Alamo

The Sisters Grimm Ghost Tour

The Menger Hotel and Bar

Bourdro’s Texas Bistro

La Tienda- Old Timey Photos

Rita’s on the River

Rio San Antonio- River Walk Boat Tour

New Braunfels/Gruene:

The Gristmill- Food on the River

Tubehaus

Rockin R

Gruene Hall- Oldest Dance Hall in Texas

Kenny & Ziggy’s Delicatessen- Houston, Texas

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I’d like to share one of my most recent restaurant experiences in Houston, Texas.  I’ve mentioned my love for sandwiches multiple times on my blog.  Well, Kenny & Ziggy’s Delicatessen is the Mount Olympus of sandwich places.  It is a palace of deli meats and traditional deli fare.  The entire building, along with every detail pays homage to the classic New York delis of old.

Kenny and Ziggy’s

The walls are lined with old Play Bills and celebrity caricatures.  There are plenty of glass counters to peruse while your tummy growls.

One thing that impressed me right off the bat was the extensive and mammoth menus.  Not only are the menus the size of a small road map, it is filled with a vast array of options!  Everything from sandwiches, burgers, breakfasts, cakes, soups, etc!  This list was never ending!  The burger and sandwich names were entertaining to read as they were named after movies and old catchphrases from show biz.

Make sure you walk into this place hungry!  $18 might sound steep for a turkey club sandwich but here’s the deal.  This sandwich will be the size of a small hubcap and it will be served with a pitchfork size pile of sweet potato fries or whatever side item you choose.  When they brought out my club sandwich I couldn’t believe how big it was.  It was big enough to share with 3 moderately hungry people.

The hubby’s burger was just as big as my sandwich!  He had no trouble knocking the entire thing out though! lol

The food was amazing!  The burger was juicy and hand made.  The club was made with premium thick cut bacon and the turkey was freshly carved!  We ordered both onion rings and sweet potato fries.  Hands down, order those dang sweet potato fries, they are delicious!  They are thin cut and crispy as can be!

You could easily share any of the plates in this place.  I think the next time we go we will end up sharing an order to make room for one of the fabulous desserts.

Even though we were stuffed like firm pillows, we still ordered a piece of carrot cake to go.  It was a great decision.  The carrot cake was perfect in every way.  #marypoppins  🙂

In Houston but you only want dessert?  This would also be a great “dessert only” stop!  As I mentioned earlier there are tons of glass counters to peruse.  Most of these house decadent cheesecakes, pastries, and cakes!

Below are some of the photos I took in between bites! 🙂

If y’all ever find yourself in Houston, Texas, you’ve got to make time for this stop.

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The above photo shows the owner, Ziggy.  He is featured in a documentary about classic deli life called, Deli Man.

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St. Arnold Brewery- Houston, Texas

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More Texas Stuff to Celebrate Texas Independence Day!  Houston, Texas is the proud home of the oldest Texas Craft Brewery!  St. Arnold Brewing Company is located on 2000 Lyons, Ave, Houston, Texas 77020.

This past weekend the hubs and I made an overnight trip to Houston to visit St. Arnold’s Brewing Company and to attend a book signing featuring Dr. Zahi Hawass at the Houston Museum of Natural Science.

We had an absolutely wonderful time.  We have only been on about 3-4 brewery tours, but this one was definitely my favorite so far.  It was family friendly, had a large tasting/seating area, and was a great deal at only $10 a person!  The beer was DELICIOUS!

When we walked into the tasting area I couldn’t believe all the people I saw!  The tasting room is a GIANT open room with long wooden tables and German style seating.  Some folks even brought in their own lawn chairs and blankets to make their own areas.  Guest also brought in board games, birthday cakes, and had set up picnics!  What a great idea!

The brewery is named after a real man.  He was as you may have guessed a brewer himself!  Check out the Story of Saint Arnold and his legends!

It felt like a big indoor festival!

The tour itself was also delightful!  You can bring your brew in and enjoy a 30 minute tour of the fully functioning brewing areas.  Our tour guide was a real hoot!  I love when tour guides are passionate about their company!  The guide will answer all and any questions you may have!  My hubby is the beer expert between the two of us, but I did learn a lot while we were there!

To demonstrate the differences in the quality of yeast and it’s effects on beer, the tour guide recommended trying a side by side with Weedwacker and Lawn Mower.  The only difference in these two beers was the type of yeast that was used.  Pretty cool!

Here’s the basic tourist info you need:

Parking was free and ample.

The brewery tasting room and register are on the 2nd floor.  So don’t be alarmed if you walk in and find no one around.  Go up the stairs to the 2nd floor and you will see the hostess stand.  They will check your I.D. and then you pay for the tour.

You may bring your children if you need to.

It is on the 2nd floor of a building, but there is an elevator.

Don’t drink, or can’t drink?  No worries St. Arnold brews delicious Root Beer!  Great option for children and/or pregnant gals!

The tour costs only $10 a person and includes 4 drink tokens and a souvenir glass!  What a deal!!!

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TOURS:

Monday-Friday:

Open: 2:00-4:15 PM

Tour: 3:30 PM

Saturday:

Open: 11:00 AM-2:00 PM

Tours: 12:00 PM, 1:00 PM, and 2:00 PM

*Food is available during public hours. (Hot pretzels with beer cheese dip, burgers, etc.)

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Dr. Zahi Hawass signing his book on King Tutankhamen for me! 🙂 If you can’t tell, I was absolutely beside myself! Nerd!

Willy Burger in Beaumont, Texas

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http://www.willy-burger.com/ 

We traveled down to southeast Texas for a second time this month and stopped by one of the best burger joints in Texas, Willy Burger!

This place is definitely off the beaten path in Beaumont, Texas.  We heard about it through the grape vine and decided to give it a try.

When we walked up to the door I could tell we were going to love this place!  The inside was modeled just like an old fashioned soda shop with a 50s vibe.  The entire place was squeaky clean and vibrant with color!

The menu features many specialty burgers, hot dogs, onion rings, and milk shakes!  They make their beef patties fresh every single day!  You can even watch the patties being made through a display window while you wait in line!

I chose the “Booty Burger” which is a normal cheese burger that is topped with a fried boudain patty!  It was so huge I was only able to eat half of it!  I thought it was delicious!  The hubby got the “Uncle Charlie” which has 3 strips of bacon, 3 crispy onion rings, and is topped off with BBQ sauce, all on a beef patty!  Walk in hungry y’all!  These burgers are huge!

The restaurant is just as awesome as the food!  There is a streamline trailer attached to the side of the restaurant that has been remodeled as a dinning area.  You walk through a small hallway of pennies to get in!  Pretty neat!

We were pleased with the atmosphere, the service, and the quality of the food!  I highly recommend this if you are passing through Beaumont, TX on your way to Louisiana!

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Crawfish, Painting, and Mardi Gras Vodka

10460704_10101656009306215_7273913930887269691_nLast weekend we took a nice little road trip to southeast Texas and Louisiana!  I just wanted to share some fun moments from our visit!

As you can tell Mr. Waddles was thrilled!  He actually loves car rides and insists on riding in the driver’s lap at all times.  🙂

We took this trip to visit family, eat some food, and paint some puppies!

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http://www.steamboatbills.com/

Crawfish is one of our favorite seasonal delights and we are lucky enough to get it a few times a year down in Lake Charles, Louisiana.  The restaurant we always choose to visit if called Steam Boat Bill’s.  People drive in from all over, especially across the Texas border to enjoy this family friendly seafood/creole restaurant!  It’s absolutely delicious and super efficient for the giant crowds of people that come in!  It’s right off the main highway!  This stop has fried rolls, gumbo, po boys, catfish, crab, crab cakes, crawfish, boiled and fried shrimp, and the list goes on!  All of their food is top notch!  We love their crawfish because they are extremely spicy and are ALWAYS cooked perfectly!  The meat should slide out of the shell when you pinch the tip of the tail!  That’s a good way to tell if they are cooked perfectly! 🙂  You also have to suck the juice out of the heads for extra flavor!  Ok, you don’t have too but a real cajun does! 🙂

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http://missesgrocery.com/ 


On our way home from stuffing our faces with almost 10 pounds of crawfish, we absolutely had to stop at Misse’s Grocery/Bakery to pick up a cream cheese King Cake in Sulphur, Louisiana!  This store has dozens of different King Cakes to choose from like peanut butter and chocolate to strawberry cream cheese, and praline pecan.  We chose a classic cream cheese to bring back with us to Texas.

Now let’s talk about that bottle on the right in the photo.  When we were checking out at Misse’s Grocery our eyes fell upon King Cake flavored Vodka.  Well, we of course had to purchase a bottle!  My husband and I ended up opening it on Super Bowl Sunday and it was delicious!  I will be making Mardi Gras King Cake Balls early next week that will feature this vodka!  🙂
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http://starkculturalvenues.org/starkmuseum/

My mom signed both of us up for a paint your pet class at the Stark Museum of Art.  We arrived not realizing that we would be painting abstract paintings of our pets as opposed to realistic paintings.  It was very overwhelming because neither one of us had mentally prepared for this type of painting.  As you can see my mom decided to be a rebel and paint a realistic portrait of her Jack Russel, Elly!  🙂  She went rouge on me while I followed directions to pick out crazy colors!  Anyways we had lots of fun!

10422957_10101656220208565_7486767503135164022_nAs soon as we returned from our trip I had to go straight into the kitchen and begin preparing those delicious BBQ sliders I shared earlier this week!  🙂

Stay tuned for my Mardi Gras Vodka King Cake Balls!

Walking in Memphis

I went walking in Memphis for Christmas 2014 and stumbled upon some great food and sites!

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The Peabody Hotel

We stayed at The Peabody Hotel in downtown Memphis which was quite a grand treat!  The famous Peabody ducks came out to the lobby fountain at 11:00 each morning and returned to their penthouse at 5:00 pm each evening.

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Central BBQ

My favorite BBQ joint had to be Central BBQ!  I tried both their famous pulled pork sandwich and pulled pork BBQ nachos and both were divine!  This location is right behind the Civil Rights Museum and Lorraine Motel where Dr. Martin Luther King was assassinated.

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Gus’s Fried Chicken

This place is world famous for it’s crispy spicy fried chicken!  The chicken is juicy and fried to crispy perfection!  This was the best fried chicken I have had hands down!  This place has their own technique!  You know how when you bite into a piece of fried chicken most of the crust comes off?  Well not at this place.  The crust only comes of the spot your biting into.  So basically you crispy goodness which each bite!

 The place was so packed we had people waiting almost on top of our table while we were eating.  That was the only down side of this location but we heard after the fact there was a bigger location else where in Memphis.

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Yeungling Beer and Aldos Pizza

This is one of my favorite light beers.  It is not sold in Texas. 😦  I was thrilled to find it on draft at a great pizza place called Aldos! I neglected to take photos at Aldos, but I highly highly recommend this be a stop on your trip to Memphis!  The pizza we had was covered in spinach, goat cheese, and roasted red tomatoes.  It was truly to die for.  Did I mention their garlic knots?  Buttery, Garlic, Parmesan carb delights!!!

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Lorraine Motel

This was the location of Dr. Martin Luther King’s assassination and now the site for the Civil Rights Museum.  It was closed the day we tried to go visit but we were able to see the balcony of the crime and watch a video about the events of that day in history.

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Memphis Zoo Lights

The Memphis Zoo Lights was one of my favorite moments on our trip because of the atmosphere and great set up!  There is a tram that will drive you through the lights and the entire zoo with periodic stops in case you want to get out and walk.  As soon as you enter they have hot chocolate and coffee for sale to start your evening off!  Some of the animals were visible though out the park.  Reindeer, elephants, and camels were out and about!

The coolest exhibit was the reptile house because all the snakes were WIDE AWAKE and were in the process of being fed.  This is something you never get to see in the day time.

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Graceland- The Jungle Room

We visited Graceland on a Sunday morning and arrived at 9am.  It took an hour and ten minutes to actually go from the ticket counter to the entrance of the house because of poor management.  It cost over $100 for 4 of us to go.  It took forever to get in the house then once we got in we were shuffled through very quickly.

The tour includes an ipad that narrates as you walk through the house which was cool but distracting at the same time.  We enjoyed what we saw but I was disappointed with the way the tour itself was run.  I’d still recommend it if you’re a fan of Elvis.

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High Cotton Brewing Company

We were only able to fit in one brewery stop on this trip, but it was a great one!  The High Cotton Brewing Company is a slick new brewery that hosts different food trucks on certain nights!  The atmosphere and beer were delightful!

The brew master gave us a free pint glass which was a plus! 🙂

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Christmas 2014

Memphis was enjoyable but at the end of 5 days I was ready to get out of the city and back to my slow paced town in Texas!  🙂

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