Tag Archives: Eateries

HEB Foodie Series: Chicken Pesto Wrap

Chicken Pesto Wrap On TableI think it’s apparent that we have a deep love for HEB. I believe that the company makes quality items, especially their chef prepared and Central Market items. Unfortunately, the widest selection of these items is about 45 minutes away from my home. Thankfully when I drive to Austin Community College, I cross paths with the HEB in Bee Caves. I try to plan my shopping trips after school at this HEB and occasionally stop by for some sushi for lunch.

The other day I decided to be adventurous and try this HEB’s Cafe on the Run. I’ve passed by it many times, only giving quick glances as I continued on with my shopping. I figured what they had was good since I am already a pretty big fan of HEB and Central Market brand goods.

The crazy Texas weather was almost freezing when I stopped by, so I wanted something filling, but with good ingredients. As I looked around the varied selection, my eyes kept coming back to the chicken pesto wrap. It was absolutely huge, which is great for those of us wanting to get the best bang for our buck. I had time to kill between my classes, so I decided to dine at Cafe on the Run.

The area was mostly clean, but it could have used a bit more elbow grease. I don’t know when the cleaning hours are for that area, but they could have done a better job cleaning the tables since mine had dried food stuck to it. I ordered a fountain drink and the lemonade was pure water, which was disappointing. This knocked my opinion down a bit and will most likely leave me buying a drink from another source since I rarely drink soda. Otherwise, the Cafe workers were nice and weren’t overbearing while I was deciding what to order.

Chicken Pesto Wrap Close Up

The chicken pesto wrap came with lettuce, tomatoes, shredded mozzarella, pesto, and chicken. I heated the wrap up a little in the microwave and it absolutely rocked. The veggies tasted fresh and the wrap was very filling. You could easily share this wrap with someone else. It may look small in the box, but believe me, it was enough food to fill me up.

Chicken Pesto Wrap In Box

COCOAMODA Chocolate Review

COCOAMODA Truffles Assortment BoxedCocoamoda on Urbanspoon

It is a pleasure to share our COCOAMODA chocolate review with you. Afriel chose COCOAMODA after carefully considering all of the chocolatiers in Texas. We expected a tasty experience, but did not anticipate being sent over the moon, beyond Jupiter, and far into the Milky Way.

Two words: COCOAMODA ROCKS! Thanks, Chef Wilkinson!

A little bit about this Texas-based company: COCOAMODA offers gourmet chocolates through their storefront in Calvert. Besides being a chocolatier, COCOAMODA is open on Fridays for five-course dinners and Saturdays for seven-course dinners. Each week a different menu is presented by Chef Ken Wilkinson.

I love chocolate. I’m not a chocaholic like Afriel, but I do crave a nice, dark chocolate several times throughout the year. And when those cravings hit, I’m all for the good stuff. Unlike everyone else, I was the girl, way back in the 1960s, who dug dark chocolate. That was me, an oddity and a bit of a misfit, for loving my dark chocolate.

Every Christmas, my mom would buy a few bags of the Hershey’s assortment of little chocolate bars. The bags would be unloaded into a candy dish and put out for our Christmas guests.

I would carefully sort through the candy dish, digging out the dark chocolate bars. No one wanted them, so my mother gave me liberty to pick out the dark chocolates. Everyone turned their noses up at the slightly bitter taste.

All the better for me, because I didn’t have to share!

My point being that so very long ago, I was shouting dark chocolate’s praises. I stood up for the bitter, smoky taste. I defended dark chocolate as being far superior to milk chocolate. And I greedily hoarded any dark chocolate pieces I could get my little hands on.

Afriel got a taste of fine chocolate as a little girl, too. She is a true chocaholic, however. That girl can eat chocolate just about anytime, anywhere. While she appreciates the fine chocolates, she won’t turn a Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup down – ever. She acquired a taste for Belgian chocolate when she visited her dad while he was stationed in Belgium. She’d bring a few chocolates home to share. She still loves those little shells.

After Afriel chose COCOAMODA for this review, I emailed the company to let them know we were going to place the order within 24 hours. I alerted them that we were Texas foodie bloggers and that I hoped to hear from them and get a few questions answered. Just like my responses (or should I say non-responses?) from Texas Pepper Jelly and Collin Street Bakery, I heard nothing from COCOAMODA.

What’s a blogger to do when three companies in a row don’t answer one phone call and two emails? Write the truth and say that I hope each company does better, in the future, nurturing their customer base.

COCOAMODA Package WrappedAfriel and I reviewed the COCOAMODA truffles over a period of several days. There’s absolutely no way I could eat all those truffles in one sitting. I don’t think fine chocolate should be consumed in a frenzied fashion. When you’re indulging in a rich food, you definitely should savor the moment. That moment should always be special and exclusive.

The truffles were not specifically identified. We had to sort through the box and use the sheet that came with the truffles in order to determine which ones were which. Some of the truffles were easy to spot; others are still a mystery (we’ve put a ? by the truffles we couldn’t identify).

Espresso

Afriel: Dark chocolate outer with creamy inside. Rich cocoa scent. Deep and slightly bitter espresso flavor inside that lingers afterwards. Ground peppercorns on the outside deliver a slight, warming heat but are still kid-friendly.

Laura: Dark chocolate outer shell that’s brittle. Inside is soft and creamy but not runny. Smells super cocoa-y. The inside is like velvet and tastes like espresso. Outer shell is very bitter but good. The finish is extremely smooth with distinct pepper taste that lingers. Outer shell has ground peppercorns.

COCOAMODA Plated Truffles

Milk and Honey

Afriel: Milk chocolate outer shell with gooey inside. Crushed wafer thins in the chocolate shell. Creamy, milky, honey taste. The honey isn’t overwhelming.

Laura: Light brown outer shell with creamy chocolate inside that’s runny. Smells like milk chocolate. Outer shell is smooth and milky. Inside has distinct honey flavor. Chocolate shell has a crunch – almost like wafers are mixed with it and the chocolate is airy. This chocolate is absolutely divine in taste. The finish is smooth.

Key Lime

Afriel: White chocolate outside. Extremely gooey filling with lime zest. A good lime smell. Outer shell rolled in sugar with lime juice brushed on. Tastes exactly like a good, tart key lime pie.

Laura: Funny looking little chocolate. It’s been rolled in something; has a bumpy shell. Filling is gooey with lime zest. Distinct lime smell. Taste of inside is very lime-y. Just like a good key lime pie: so tart! White chocolate is smooth. Hidden in the layers of dominant lime and tart there is a lingering sour flavor, but it’s not unpleasant. This is one of the most unusual chocolates I’ve ever eaten.

COCOAMODA Truffles Close Up

Milk Chocolate ?

Afriel: Milk chocolate outer shell. Gooey inside. A good, chocolate-y smell with a slight caramel taste.

Laura: This chocolate looks like the Milk and Honey. Creamy milk chocolate inside. Smells like a regular chocolate bar. Inside tastes a bit like caramel. Shell is a smooth milk chocolate. The taste is like a really high-end, milk chocolate bar.

COCOAMODA Plated Truffles2

Marrons Glaces

Afriel: Sweet, dark chocolate outer shell. A yellow nougat-like filling. Filling smells like almond extract. The texture of the filling is grainy and almost gelatinous. The taste is a bit smokey.

Laura: Dark chocolate shell. Yellow nougat filling that smells fruity and sort of like almond; it’s nutty. The filling is an interesting texture; it’s almost gelatinous. This dark chocolate is sweet; it’s not as bitter as the Espresso. It’s a different candy. The tastes of the chocolate and the filling and the texture are highly unusual. Finish is nutty and smokey.

Coconut

Afriel: White chocolate shell rolled in toasted, shredded coconut that has not been sweetened. Gooey inside with just a hint of sweetness. Good coconut flavor. I really enjoyed this truffle in spite of not being a big fan of coconut.

Laura: White chocolate shell rolled in toasted coconut flakes. Filling is runny and slightly sweet. This truffle has to be eaten in one big bite to be appreciated. Crunchy texture that’s not overly sweet. The truffle didn’t smell like coconut which surprised me.

Passion Fruit ?

Afriel: A white chocolate shell rolled in fine sugar with a lemon-y, tropical type filling.

Laura: White chocolate shell. Filling is yellow and creamy. Taste is distinct but I can’t place it. Filling is almost lemon-tasting. Shell didn’t have much taste.

COCOAMODA Truffles Close Up3

Lavender

Afriel: Milk chocolate outer shell rolled in fine sugar. Creamy filling of smokey, herb-y lavender that tastes just like walking through an herb garden.

Laura: Milk chocolate shell that’s been rolled in sugar. Milk chocolate filling is creamy. Has a very sweet smell. Filling is herbal tasting. Shell is air-filled and crunchy. This is an extremely interesting candy. It reminded me of sage.

Hazelnut

Afriel: Milk chocolate shell rolled in crushed, toasted nuts. A rich, hazelnut filling that’s not overly sweet with a nice, nutty aftertaste.

Laura: Semi-dark chocolate shell that looks like it’s been rolled in nuts. Semi-dark chocolate filling is creamy. Not much of a smell to this one. Filling is hazelnut and very rich, delicious. Shell is thin and bends when you bite. Very interesting texture. Deep flavor. Not a very sweet chocolate, but not bitter. Nutty flavors dominate.

COCOAMODA Truffles Close Up2

??

Afriel: Deep, slightly bitter espresso flavor with a creamy filling.

Laura: Dark chocolate shell with a dark chocolate filling that’s creamy. Deep, earthly smell. Very bitter but in a good way. Distinct aftertaste.

Eggnog ? Cornish Ice Cream ?

Afriel: White chocolate shell. Creamy white filling with a lightly sweet taste.

Laura: White chocolate shell. White cream filling. Smells like white chocolate. Filling has a vanilla taste that’s very smooth. The shell is definitely a smooth, traditional white chocolate taste. Filling has something else in the taste, but I can’t put my finger on it.

Raspberry

Afriel: A very strong, deep, dark chocolate scent with a dark chocolate shell. A very light, raspberry flavoring in the filling.

Laura: Dark chocolate shell. Dark chocolate, creamy filling. Smells like dark chocolate. Dark chocolate shell tastes bitter. Cream filling is deep but has a hint of a sweet finish.

COCOAMODA Box of Truffles

Takeaway

COCOAMODA is at 518 S. Main Street in Calvert, Texas 77837. The phone number is 979-364-2190. The hours of operation are Wednesday through Thursday 10:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m., Friday and Saturday 10:00 a.m. until 10:00 p.m. Dinner reservations begin at 7:00 p.m. on Friday and Saturday. COCOAMODA is also open on Sunday 10:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m.

 

 

 

 

Collin Street Bakery Fruitcake Review

Collin Street Bakery Logo Collin Street Bakery on Foodio54

Collin Street Bakery on Urbanspoon
I ordered a tempting, luscious Collin Street Bakery fruitcake for a review. I learned about the company from my writer, Danny Gallagher. He suggested Collin Street Bakery as an ideal Big Grey Horse Media feature story (and yes, Collin Street Bakery, you’re on the editorial calender for 2014).

Needless to say, I wasn’t disappointed. This fruitcake is excellent and I recommend ordering it for Christmas parties and as Christmas presents for the special people in your life.

It’s sad that no one else in my family adores fruitcake the way that I do. I guess the upside of this is I get the fruitcakes family members receive as presents but don’t want. Remember Afriel’s re-gifting humor? In this case, freshly made fruitcake is an excellent thing to pass on to me!

When you order a Collin Street Bakery fruitcake, you can request to have it sent immediately or you can ask that the fruitcake be sent as soon as it’s been baked. I opted for this. Fresh fruitcake is one of my favorite Christmas desserts. And what arrived was worth a few extra days’ wait.

Collin Street Bakery Fruitcake Plated

Given that I requested my fruitcake be baked fresh and it’s the holiday season, I figure the order came within a reasonable time frame. I ordered online December 6 and had the cake by December 17. The fruitcake was nicely packaged and lovely to unbox.

Collin Street Bakery Fruitcake Tin

Inside the Collin Street Bakery Fruitcake Tin

Collin Street Bakery Fruitcake Wrapped

Collin Street Bakery Fruitcake Unwrapped

Impressive, eh? This is one rich fruitcake, folks. Certainly up to the standards I hold for a fruitcake. I’ve eaten fruitcake since I was a tiny child. Every Christmas, someone in my mother’s family made a homemade fruitcake. My mom’s family is full of great cooks and bakers, so I am quite the snob when it comes to how I judge the holiday cake.

Collin Street Bakery fruitcakes are moist and not very cake-like, which I think is the hallmark of a quality fruitcake. The Texas pecans Collin Street Bakery uses brought back plenty of good memories of my hometown and old friends. All of the ingredients in this fruitcake were fresh and tasty. It’s as if the fruitcake is encouraging you to take another bite. Or two. Or three.

Collin Street Bakery Fruitcake Plated Close UpBecause of the fruitcake’s richness, however, I can’t eat more than one small piece in a sitting. But I think that’s the beauty of a good fruitcake. You eat a little at a time, every day, and before you know it, the cake’s gone!

I ate this fruitcake as it came, meaning I didn’t douse it with alcohol. I’ve had fruitcake both ways, and I think that when done properly, an alcohol-laden fruitcake is out of this world. If you want to age your fruitcake with a bit of hooch, Collin Street Bakery’s website offers instructions.

Collin Street Bakery didn’t return my phone call regarding a media kit or sharing additional information for a product review. Sad to say, because I hoped to speak with someone about this order. The website does say, “And our Bakery officers still personally handle every order the Bakery receives.” Remember customer service, folks. When people reach out to you, especially those who are reviewing your company, be available to answer questions and provide information.

Merry Christmas, ya’ll!

Takeaway

Collin Street Bakery is located at 401 West Seventh Avenue in Corsicana, Texas 75110. The phone number is 800-292-7400. You can visit their website to order products and obtain details about the company and their history.

Media Preview Party at the Grand Opening of Smashburger in Waco, Texas

Smashburger on Foodio54

Smashburger on Urbanspoon

Danny Gallagher is Big Grey Horse Media’s newest contributing writer. His first assignment was to attend the media preview party for Smashburger in Waco, Texas. Being the agreeable guy that he is, Danny attended and sampled the food for us. Reading through this piece, I am very curious to try Smashburger during the upcoming horse shows in Waco and in Katy.

Hamburgers are a classic part of the American diet because they seem so simple and almost ordinary in their preparation, and yet we have 147 different ways to present them to the hungry masses. Sure, they are just a flat slab of ground beef with a thick piece of bread on either side, but mankind has somehow found a way to improve upon an already perfect marriage of protein and carbohydrates.

Staff at the new Smashburger in Waco, Texas.
The staff of Waco’s first Smashburger gets ready to open its door to the public.

Global fast food chains, for instance, have their own spin on the burger, whether it’s the triple decker, special sauce tower known as McDonald’s Big Mac, or the pork-infused, sandwich eating challenge we call Wendy’s Baconator. Some offer small, bite-sized burger snacks like the famed White Castle Slider or the massive, behemoths of meat, cheese, and bread such as the Hardee’s Monster Thickburger. Both, however, are usually eaten when the person is either drunk or hungover, and this rarely leads to a positive emotional and physical outcome.

Today’s eater on-the-go has more health conscious thoughts on his carb-riddled mind, even as he craves something naughty-yet-nourishing as the noble burger. Some chains have tried to cater to this new consumer by offering a more carefully prepared form of comfort food with fresher ingredients and lower calorie offerings. It’s still an unapologetic form of the classic American burger, but these menus offer an interesting mix of artery clogging goodness and some healthier alternatives for people with the nerve to actually stick to a diet plan for longer than five minutes without saying, “I’m starting right after this last french fry. OK, this one. No, wait, this one. I really mean it after this one. Well, I can’t let the rest of these go to waste…”

Smashburger is a strange, unique mix of the two. The establishment encourages patrons to stop, sit, and eat their food rather than have it thrown to them through a car window. However, Smashburger’s menu isn’t full of health food, either, just because it doesn’t come in a wrapper that can be cleverly twisted to serve as a portable holder for the person who doesn’t have time to actually stop and look at what he’s putting into his mouth. You’d be surprised how many people end up getting a big bite of their wallet or cell phone, since both usually have the same nutritional value, except wallets don’t have the same amount of trans fats.

KWTX's Taina Maya at Smashburger in Waco, Texas.
KWTX’s Taina Maya samples Smashburger’s Classic Chicken Sandwich during the media preview party.

Smashburger’s Waco branch mostly follows the same model as the rest of the 300-plus locations across the country and parts of Canada. It sits in a quaint little shopping area. Parking was plentiful for the media preview party, but it looked a little small for a place that’s about to get a huge influx of customers. Remember, too, there’s no drive-thru lane. It might be best to visit during its non-peak hours or when you’re not pressed for time.

Nick Canizales eats at Smashburger in Waco, Texas.
Nick Canizales takes a bite of the BBQ, Bacon and Cheddar Burger.

The decor of the restaurant also matches the core of its locations. The Smashburger brand revels in mild art-deco decor with rounded, red lamps dangling from the ceiling and large, monochrome portraits of families enjoying a good ol’ American meal. Since this is a new location, it is practically pristine, and the staff seems eager to keep it that way as long as it can stay open and attract a steady stream of hungry customers. Of course, if you’re in a place like Smashburger, you’re more likely to care about the food anyway.

Thomas McConkey at Smashburger in Waco, Texas.
Shift leader, Thomas McConkey, loads a batch of menus in preparation for Smashburger’s hungry customers on its opening day.

The menu goes slightly beyond the usual selections of burgers, fries, and large, addictive cylinders of caffeinated colas. If that’s what you’re in the mood for, you won’t be disappointed. If you’re trying to watch what you eat or are just sick of the usual finger food, Smashburger does offer some interesting alternatives with mixed results. Of course, if you’re in the mood for a regular pile of fries, you’re in luck. Smashburger offers a thinly stripped french fry that feels very close to the old shoestring potatoes your grandmother would put on the green bean casserole at Thanksgiving. These french fries are easy to get addicted to because they taste so light and crispy. Just make sure you get a batch that’s been freshly fried since the fries turn stale and soggy real quick as they cool off.

Customers can also order a number of different finger foods. My favorite was the fried jalapenos, something most restaurants get wrong because they just fry the whole thing and stuff it with processed cheese. Smashburger slices their jalapenos almost paper-thin and lets them float in the frying oil for just a few seconds, creating a tasty, almost delicate layer of crispy fried goodness. The spice level is good, but minimal.

Smashburger also sells a tasty side of fried pickles and a side of lightly grilled vegetables as healthier finger foods. The onion strings, however, became my least favorite of the bunch. They tasted like a handful of fried something that may or may not have had a speck of stringy onions in it.

Sides at Smashburger in Waco, Texas.
A collection of Smashburger’s sides including fried pickles, onion strings, and fried jalapenos.

The main courses offer a fairly wide variety of burgers and sandwiches that cater to different tastes and offer an interesting range of healthy alternatives. The difference between Smashburger’s burgers and the rest is literally in the title. Each patty is smashed with a special press that sears in the natural flavor of the meat and gives each beef disc an interesting, seared, crispy edge that becomes less well done as you work your way to the middle. Smashburger also serves their burgers on egg buns.

District manager Brad Brown smashing a burger at Smashburger in Waco, Texas.
District manager, Brad Brown, shows where Smashburger gets its name from by preparing a smashed burger on the grill.

 

 

The Regular Burger

The Classic Smash at Smashburger in Waco, Texas.
Classic Smash Burger

Just about every burger joint has to get their most basic hamburger right. It’s the foundation for the rest of the menu because if they can’t accomplish something tasty with the most basic burger ingredients, then there’s no way they can do the same with more complicated ingredients. Thankfully, Smashburger gets its most basic burger right. The meat is lean and comes loaded with vegetables, a must for any good burger, since any schmuck can slap a piece of meat between two pieces of bread. This burger also has a tangy, special sauce if you’re sick of the usual ketchup, mustard, and mayonnaise mix.

 

The BBQ, Bacon, and Cheddar Burger

BBQ, Bacon and Cheddar Burger at Smashburger in Waco, Texas.
BBQ, Bacon, and Cheddar Burger

The BBQ, bacon, and cheddar burger was easily the best of the comfort food bunch. It’s got a nice, rich, tangy barbecue sauce smothered with those fried onions that don’t work so well on their own, but do a nice job of complementing the mix of tastes this sandwich offers. Most of the burgers aren’t very greasy on their own, but a BBQ burger needs a little grill runoff to complete its smoky texture and flavor. I’m not suggesting that Smashburger serve this burger with a grease dip or anything (which I immediately regret writing because somebody is probably trying to patent that idea as we speak).

 

The Truffle Mushroom Swiss Burger

Truffle Mushroom Swiss Burger at Smashburger in Waco, Texas.
Truffle Mushroom Swiss Burger

The truffle mushroom Swiss burger was easily the least appetizing of the bunch. Mushroom burgers aren’t my first choice, but they can be good if you’re looking for something hearty that’s light on veggies and just above eating a plain, ordinary burger. This burger, however, didn’t taste right. The bar was set pretty high, but the truffle mayonnaise was just too rich and overpowering. The mushroom felt soggy as it soaked up what little grease was already in the cheese and beef patty. Adding an egg bun to the mix didn’t calm my stomach.

 

The Texas Burger

Texas Burger at Smashburger in Waco, Texas.
Texas Burger

Each Smashburger location offers a special, local burger to the menu and in this case, the Texas burger was kind of a disappointment. It was tasty, but it didn’t seem to stray very far from the norm. In fact, there is only one difference between this burger and Smashburger’s regular creation: mustard. Granted, Smashburger already has a BBQ burger, but it doesn’t seem necessary to put a burger on the menu with an ingredient that you can put on yourself, depending on how lazy you feel and how much energy you’re willing to expel with the muscles in your hand and arm.

 

The Spicy Veggie Black Bean Burger

Spicy Veggie Black Bean Sandwich at Smashburger in Waco, Texas.
Spicy Veggie Black Bean Burger

If you’re trying to watch your weight, Smashburger offers some creative burger alternatives. This black bean patty is meat free. That might be considered a sacrilege for some parts of a state that prides itself on its ability to consume cows per capita. However, it’s actually a pretty tasty treat that won’t fill you with regret as it fills you up. The spicy veggie black bean burger is loaded with fresh veggies. The patty is made entirely out of black beans, which does have a weird texture for a burger, but is quite hearty and flavorful. The spices give this hippie option a real kick, like putting a flame-shooting engine on a Toyota Prius. It’s not necessary, but it helps it stand out from its meatier brothers.

 

The Chicken Classic and Avocado Club Chicken Sandwiches

Classic Chicken Sandwich at Smashburger in Waco, Texas.
Classic Chicken Sandwich

Smashburger also offers two chicken alternatives including a basic grilled chicken sandwich with vegetables, and an original twist on the chicken club with avocado and a ranch-mayo dressing on the whole grain bun. The chicken could have been a little plumper and almost felt lost in the mix of toppings and sauces, but the avocado club had such a wonderful, flavorful mix that it was easier to overlook.

Avocado Club Chicken Sandwich at Smashburger in Waco, Texas.
Avocado Club Chicken Sandwich

 

Takeaway

Smashburger is located at 1230 N. Valley Mills Drive in Waco, Texas 76710. The phone number is 254-400-2749. Visit Smashburger online for menus, online ordering, and more.

 

Images courtesy of Danny Gallagher.

 

Fresh, Delicious, Juicy: Smashburger Comes to Waco, Texas

Smashburger logo
Image courtesy of Smashburger.

Disclosure: Big Grey Horse Media received an invitation to Smashburger’s Media Preview Party. However, it was my decision to write this piece and the invitation did nothing to sway my views of Smashburger except to raise my awareness of the brand. Big Grey Horse Media endorses and supports companies that use fresh ingredients and you know, we love gourmet fast food! Danny Gallagher, one of Big Grey Horse Media’s contributing writers, will be attending the Media Preview Party. We eagerly await his post and yummy photos!

Fast food becomes gourmet when Smashburger comes to Waco, Texas. The company began as Rich Schaden’s dream in 2007. Consumer Capital Partners funded the venture, which has grown into 39 restaurants in Texas, and over 200 restaurants worldwide.

Smashburger interior
Photo courtesy of Smashburger.

What sets Smashburger apart is the food. We’re not talking about regular fast food, folks. This isn’t McDonald’s. We’re talking about fresh Angus beef that’s never been frozen. The name Smashburger comes from the technique used on a 400 degree, flat grill, where the Angus beef burgers are smashed.

How many fast food burger joints can lay claim to that?

Smashburger is also unique because each restaurant offers a bit of diversion. Regional tastes are kept in mind when the menu is prepared.

Classic Onion Burger with Shake at Smashburger
Photo courtesy of Smashburger.

Milkshakes crafted from Haagen-Dazs ice cream, fresh toppings and condiments, salads, chicken burgers…gotta say that writing this post has me feeling worked up and hungry. I’m not a big beef burger fan, but when I do crave a juicy, delicious burger, it must be fresh and high quality. And yes, Afriel and I plan on eating at Smashburger when we’re out and about. Why not?

BBQ Bacon Cheese with Fries at Smashburger
Photo courtesy of Smashburger.
Avocado Chicken Club at Smashburger
Photo courtesy of Smashburger.

The choices are great folks, from what I can see. A company that’s focused on quality gets my vote every time. Fast food’s become an important commodity in today’s landscape of busy families and big business in America. However, fast food can quickly get away from value when poor menu choices are offered. Value does not equal cheap prices and crappy food. Making people sick because they are poor or crunched for time isn’t helping folks live the American dream (if that even exists!).

I dig what Smashburger (and companies like it) are doing.

Responsible choices, ya’ll.

 

Takeaway

Smashburger is located at 1230 N. Valley Mills Drive in Waco, Texas 76710. The phone number is 254-400-2749. Visit Smashburger online for menus, online ordering, and more.

 

If your company would like Big Grey Horse Media to attend your events, please contact me. We’re hear to spread the word about brands we love.

 

Road Trip! Texas Pie, Oh My!

Big Grey Horse Media welcomes Marye Audet and her piece about Texas pie. Marye is an author, freelance writer, and editor located in the Dallas/Fort Worth area. She brings a wealth of Texas knowledge to our blog, and we are delighted to have her. Marye’s a brave soul – she ate plenty of pie to complete this piece. We see a long and tasty relationship with Marye…let’s give Marye a great, big, Texas HOWDY!

There are a lot of foods Texas is known for – great barbecue, steaks, chicken fried steak, biscuits (is your mouth watering yet?), but probably the most loved dessert to any Texan worth his or her Tony Lamas is pie. P.I.E and pronounced most often “paaah.”

It can be Parker county peach, east Texas blueberry, or Rio Grande lemon, as long as it’s sweet, has a flaky crust, and tastes like it just came off Grammy’s counter top. Most of us would agree that the national pie of Texas, pecan, holds a special place in our hearts with its gooey, rich, cloyingly sweet filling that slides down just right with a scoop of vanilla Blue Bell and a hot cup of coffee or a cold Dr. Pepper.

One afternoon, I started craving some good, old fashioned pie and a cup of coffee. I realized that I had no clue where to go since my area is now populated by chain restaurants and fast food places. Let’s face it, y’all, those people do not know how to make paaah. I decided to take a road trip and find out who had the best pies between Dallas/Fort Worth and Hillsboro.

I asked my friends on Twitter and Facebook where to go for the best pies and I made a list. It took two days of pie eating but my husband and I tried them all. A couple of hundred miles, five cafes, numerous pies, and several Alka Seltzers later, I came up with my review. Each eatery is family-owned and Texas proud.

Get your fat pants on and head out for some pie and coffee. After all, y’all are only going to live once.

 

Looking for Real Texas Pie in All the Right Places

 

Our Place Restaurant

915 W. Debbie Lane
Mansfield, Texas 76063

(817) 473-9996

6 a.m. – 3 p.m., 7 days weekly

Disclosure: Our food was compensated for us by Our Place Restaurant. This in no way affected my review of the establishment or influenced my opinions written for this piece.

We started out in Mansfield, a little town off 287 between Arlington and Fort Worth. Mansfield has grown by leaps and bounds, from a sleepy little town a decade ago, to a growing urban area that’s working hard to retain a friendly atmosphere country villages are known for in Texas.

If the folks at Our Place Restaurant are any indication of the rest of the population, Mansfield is well on its way to achieving the balance between the two.

Walk in the door to smiles on one side, and a huge, old fashioned pie case on the other, filled with almost every pie known to man. Stacked high with fluffy clouds of whipped cream or blanketed with a flaky, just right crust, these extraordinary desserts are the creation of Jessy Henager, a self-taught young lady whose light hand with the pastry has allowed her to move from server to Pie Goddess.

Jessy Henager of Our Place Restaurant in Mansfield, Texas
Jessy Henager

I had coconut cream and my husband had chocolate peanut butter pie. A regular customer told me later that the apple pie was the real star of the show. By then, however, my jeans had shrunk at least one size.

The pie crust is light and flaky with that texture you can only get with lard. (And that happens to be what Jessy uses.) The crusts are generously filled and then piled high with cream. I asked Jessy what made their pies the best in the area. She said it’s because they use fresh ingredients. Jessy also checks each pie. If it doesn’t taste right or look right, the pie doesn’t make it to the case. I assume that one of the benefits of working at Our Place is chowing down on the pies the Jessy deems unfit for customer consumption.

Collage of Our Place Restaurant in Mansfield, Texas

Not only can you get pie and a pretty decent cup of coffee, you can buy whole pies as well. Last year, Our Place Restaurant sold about 600 pies, in three days, going into the holidays. If you’re thinking of having one of Jessy’s masterpieces on your table, you’d better put your order in now.

Pie case at Our Place Restaurant - Mansfield, Texas

The pie is great but the coffee is average. I’d love to see Our Place get whole bean coffees and grind them fresh daily.

 

Main Street Café

2023 S. Cooper Street
Suite A
Arlington, Texas 76010

(817) 801-9099

7 a.m. – 6 p.m., 7 days weekly

Disclosure: Our food was compensated for us by Main Street Cafe. This in no way affected my review of the establishment or influenced my opinions written for this piece.

Main Street Cafe in Arlington, TexasMain Street Café is off the beaten path, situated behind some other buildings that face Cooper Street. The cafe is really easy to miss if you aren’t looking for it.

Inside, the restaurant is as country as they come with red-checked table cloths, a large open dining area, and an old fashioned lunch counter in the center. I have had a thing for twirly chrome stools since I was a little kid, and I was sorely tempted to sit at the counter. Since I needed light for the pictures, I took a booth by the window.

It was a different feel here than over in Mansfield. Just a bit more of the big city hustle and bustle, but still very friendly. I ordered apple pie and my husband had turtle pie.

Apple Pie at Main Street Cafe in Arlington, Texas

While we were waiting, I asked if the pies were made in-house. I was told that the pies weren’t but that they were made especially for the cafe.

The crust on the apple pie was very crumbly. The apples were tart and sweet at the same time. Whipped cream had been piled on top, with a final drizzle of caramel added to the plate. The turtle pie had a cream cheese filling, whipped cream, and a caramel drizzle. The pie was then sprinkled with crumbled chocolate and vanilla sandwich cookies. The turtle pie had a freezer flavor, but would have been great otherwise. The apple pie was good, but not outstanding.

Turtle Pie at Main Street Cafe in Arlington, Texas

When I asked what made Main Street Cafe’s pies special, I was told it was the elaborate plating. This cafe is a sweet, little place if you happen to be in Arlington.

 

Village Bakery

113 E. Oak Street
West, Texas 76691

(254) 826-5151

6 a.m. – 5 p.m., Monday through Friday

Village Bakery in West, TexasWe arrived at the Village Bakery at 9 a.m., ready to eat more pie. If you’ve never been to West, Texas, (not to be confused with West Texas) then you really owe it to yourself to grab your bestie, hop in the car, and do a road trip. West’s a sleepy little town off I35, south of Hillsboro, that has more delicious Czech food per square foot than anywhere outside of Prague… and maybe there, too. I knew I couldn’t do all of the pies, so I settled on a cute little bakery in the center of the historic area in town.

The bakery was established in 1952 and is the oldest Czech bakery in Texas. Love sausage kolaches? This is where it began. Now, back to pies.

Bourbon Chocolate Pie at Village Bakery in West, Texas

The Village Bakery is one of those places you walk into, close your eyes, and breathe in all of the aromas. You are immediately surrounded by two of my very favorite things, antiques and pastry. I looked longingly at the kolaches, but resignedly turned toward the pies. Village Bakery does not sell pies by the slice, so we bought an entire pie. Which did we choose?

Uncle Dub's Pie at Village Bakery in West, Texas

Uncle Dub’s Pie. I don’t know who Uncle Dub is, but I will be forever grateful to him. This confection is a combination of pecans, chocolate chips, and bourbon in a flaky crust. The crust on its own is slightly saltier than I would normally want, but it works brilliantly to balance this ultra-sweet, ultra-rich pie. The aftertaste of bourbon was a delicious surprise. We drove very carefully to the next cafe so that we didn’t have to explain to a police officer why we smelled of bourbon.

Definitely worth the drive.

 

The Dove’s Nest Restaurant

105 W. Jefferson Street
Waxahachie, Texas 75165

(972) 938-3683

11 a.m. – 2 p.m., Monday – Saturday

The Dove's Nest Restaurant in Waxahachie, TexasI don’t live far from Waxahachie, and it’s always been one of my favorite towns. If you’re into architecture, Waxahachie has some of the most beautiful Victorian, transitional, and craftsman homes around. The historic area surrounding the old Ellis County courthouse is filled with antique shops. In the midst of all of that is The Dove’s Nest Restaurant.

I had been to The Dove’s Nest before, but hadn’t eaten there in a long time. I decided to see if the menu had gotten better in the past few years. I’m thrilled to tell you that it has.

The little tea room has taken on a new pastry chef – Julie McClellan. She’s worked at the Rosewood Crescent Hotel in Dallas and the Four Seasons Hotel Houston, so creating magic in the middle of a kitchen in Waxahachie is, literally, easy as pie.

I ordered the buttermilk pie. The Dove’s Nest is known for their pecan chocolate bourbon pie, but since I had just had that I really needed something different. I was told that Julie hadn’t made the buttermilk pie. She had just put an apple pie in the oven, however. My husband and I decided to share the buttermilk pie and come back for the apple.

Buttermilk Pie at The Dove's Nest Restaurant in Waxahachie, Texas

All of the desserts are made in-house except the cheesecake. The buttermilk pie was good, tangy, and sweet with a buttery, crispy crust, but the texture was a little coarser than I like. The apple pie was still in the process of baking, so we decided to roam the antique stores until the pie was closer to being ready.

When my husband and I came back, we arrived just in time for the pie to come out of the oven. Julie was apologetic because she was afraid the pie would run since it was so hot. She brought the pie on one plate and the ice cream in a bowl so I could get pictures without the ice cream melting.

Apple Pie at The Dove's Nest Restaurant in Waxahachie, Texas

This apple pie was as good as they come. A flaky, buttery lattice crust covered a thick layer of lightly sweetened and spiced Granny Smith apples that had a nice balance of apple and apple goo. Apple goo is a professional term you may not have heard before. It’s the syrupy goodness that lavishly swathes the tender fruit. Often I find this is skimpy in pies, but Julie did not disappoint me. The apples were more than generously swaddled with apple goo, transparent amber, and freckled with the cinnamon and spices.

Apple Pie a la Mode at The Dove's Nest Restaurant in Waxahachie, Texas

Try not to lick the plate but, if you must, at least do it discreetly.

 

Uncle Willie’s Pies

600 Methodist Street
Red Oak, Texas 75154

(972) 576-5582

11 a.m. – 6 p.m.,  Tuesday – Friday

Saturdays by appointment

Uncle Willie's Pies in Red Oak, TexasUncle Willie’s Pies was our last stop. I have to admit, by this time, I wasn’t craving pie. I was hoping we could get pie by the slice and not have to buy a whole one.

Uncle Willie Pettigrew got his start when he made a pie for a celebration that a restaurateur happened to be attending. Pettigrew’s pie was discovered, and the rest is history, according to CeCe Pettigrew.

I was glad to see that we could indeed buy slices of pie. I chose a chess and a lemon chess because those were the only types I hadn’t already consumed.

The crust was soft and tender. One thing I discovered on my pie road trip is the variety of crust textures and flavors. That was sort of surprising when you are used to thinking of crust as being a receptacle for the good stuff inside.

I liked the lemon chess pie best. CeCe told me that they used whole, fresh lemons in it. You could tell because the flavor was definitely fresh, lively lemon. You bite into the creaminess of the pie, then get the sweetness, and then your mouth is filled with a tangy lemon flavor. It’s simply delicious.

Lemon Chess Pie at Uncle Willie's Pies in Red Oak, Texas

The plain chess was good but was more custard-like than my own chess pies. It wasn’t bad, just unexpected.

There is no real plating here. Uncle Willie’s sells pies but the establishment isn’t a place where you sit down and eat. The staff graciously allowed me to use a plate so I could get a couple of images before I left. The majority of Uncle Willie’s business is selling whole pies and catering. You can get a quick piece of pie, but don’t expect to savor it while you sip coffee.

Chess Pie at Uncle Willie's Pies in Red Oak, Texas

Post Road Trip Thoughts

If you decide to retrace my steps, start in Mansfield, then head to Arlington, Red Oak, Waxahachie, and end in West if you are coming from the Dallas area. If you are south, like around Waco, then do it the opposite direction.

In all cases, the people I talked to were friendly, helpful, and more than willing to share their time with me, answer my questions, and explain their pie philosophies. If I ever do this again, I will wear a caftan for sure. Fat pants aren’t enough.

Can you get too much pie? Nine pies in 24 hours might be close, but I have been able to prove, once again, that Texans make the best pies ever.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I need to sleep off this sugar-induced state of Nirvana.

Images courtesy of Marye Audet 2013.

Ginger & Spice in Marble Falls, Texas: A Pictorial Review

Ginger and Spice on Foodio54

Ginger & Spice on Urbanspoon

We took so many pictures during our lunch at Ginger & Spice in Marble Falls, Texas, that I decided to include a pictorial review post, too.

Ginger & Spice is oh-so nice, and well-deserving of all the publicity the restaurant can get. Get ready for our Christmas party order, because I’m already drooling over what we will eat!

Enjoy the pictorial. It’s one of my favorite types of posts.

The front entrance of Ginger & Spice Thai Cuisine & Sushi Bar.

Ginger and Spice in Marble Falls, Texas

Ice cold water with a lemon slice, fresh lemonade, and  strong Thai tea.

Ice water, lemonade, Thai tea at Ginger & Spice in Marble Falls, Texas

The salad bar.

Salad bar at Ginger and Spice in Marble Falls, Texas

Salad bar sushi rolls at Ginger & Spice in Marble Falls, Texas.

Salad bar tempura at Ginger & Spice in Marble Falls, Texas

Salad bar condiments at Ginger & Spice in Marble Falls, Texas

Salad bar sushi rolls at Ginger & Spice in Marble Falls, Texas.

Salad bar toppings at Ginger & Spice in Marble Falls, Texas.

Salad bar soups at Ginger & Spice in Marble Falls, Texas

Appetizer plate from the salad bar.

Salad bar sampling at Ginger & Spice in Marble Falls, Texas.

Tom jerd with tofu soup

Tom jerd with tofu soup at Ginger & Spice in Marble Falls, Texas

Saigon noodles

Saigon noodles at Ginger & Spice in Marble Falls, Texas

Spicy tuna roll

Spicy tuna roll at Ginger & Spice in Marble Falls, Texas

Chef’s choice 7-piece sushi platter

Chef's choice sushi at Ginger & Spice in Marble Falls, Texas

Takeaway

Ginger & Spice is located at 909 Second Street in Marble Falls, Texas, 78645. The phone number is 830/693-7171. The hours of operation for lunch are Monday thru Friday, 11:00 a.m. until 2:30 p.m.; Saturday and Sunday, 12:00 p.m. until 3:00 p.m. The hours of operation for dinner are Monday thru Thursday, 5:00 p.m. until 9:30 p.m.; Friday thru Saturday, 5:00 p.m. until 10:00 p.m.; Sunday 5:00 p.m. until 9:00 p.m.

Eating Nice at Ginger & Spice in Marble Falls, Texas

Ginger and Spice in Marble Falls, TexasGinger and Spice on Foodio54

Ginger & Spice on Urbanspoon

It’s a goofy headline, but it’s true. You will eat nice at Ginger & Spice in Marble Falls, Texas. If you dig Thai and sushi, Ginger & Spice fits the bill. As you know, Thai and sushi are two of my favorite cuisines.

The first time we scouted Ginger & Spice for a potential foodie review, we did take out. The food was fantastic. I told Afriel that we had to go back when we could eat in. (Of course, my motivation was to try the sushi.) Afriel agreed, and recently we were able to eat lunch at Ginger & Spice.

Gotta say, like many places in Marble Falls, the parking sucks. It’s a shame, because the little dining establishments are trying to make a living and yet customers face terrible parking situations. We asked what people do during busy times. We were told that folks can park across the street. There is a small lot situated across the street from Ginger & Spice, but it fills quickly. We had to park down the street in front of an insurance office. I must say that Ginger & Spice’s staff were extremely apologetic about the parking situation. I only asked because it’s of interest to me. I like seeing how businesses overcome weaknesses, and how businesses respond to situations that are challenges. Ginger & Spice gets a gold star for rising to the occasion and acknowledging the problem and apologizing. Doesn’t make the problem go away, and who knows how parking will be handled as Marble Falls grows, but at least the folks running the business are aware that parking is an issue.

Once we were seated, we told our waitress that we were bloggers who would write about our experiences. She was extremely gracious, and remained that way throughout our meal. We don’t always mention that we’re writers when we eat out, and in most cases, when we do, it’s as we are paying the bill. In this case, I have to say Ginger & Spice was phenomenal. All the staff were as courteous and congenial as when we ordered take out during our prior visit. I am a big appreciator of consistency in customer service.

The salad bar was open, and that intrigued me. For an additional but nominal cost, I could frequent the salad bar for salad, sushi rolls, soup, fruit, and various appetizers. It was amusing to see that the menu specified “In order to keep our costs down, we ask that customers do not eat only the appetizer bar with the intention of taking you [sic] entree home!!! (only small box can be given)”. Course, I was raised in a very strict world of manners and culture: You don’t take more than you can eat, you don’t feed others your food, etc. I have to wonder what happens, in Marble Falls, when people have access to the salad bar at Ginger & Spice. Do people not mind their manners? It’s pretty darn sad when Ginger & Spice has to spell out how the salad bar works.

I asked Afriel to come to the salad bar so she could snap a few photos and check out what was offered. The salad bar was less than I expected, but probably more than some people would care for. It was nothing fancy, but the salad bar contained the staples you would expect. More so, there were a few items I definitely want to check out during our next visit to Ginger & Spice.

Salad bar sampling at Ginger & Spice in Marble Falls, Texas.
Salad bar sampling. From left to right: spring roll, vegetable tempura, and sushi rolls. At the top, rice pudding with fruit.

The tom jerd with tofu soup was ah-mazing! It’s an Asian version of chicken soup, and one of those ultimate comfort foods the hedonist within me loves to indulge in. I told Afriel that I definitely would want tom jerd with tofu if I were sick with a chest cold. The broth was simple yet savory with a deep, nourishing touch. There’s nothing that stood out about the soup yet it was so damn comforting! Total yummy goodness.

Tom Jerd with Tofu soup at Ginger & Spice in Marble Falls, Texas
Tom Jerd with Tofu soup

Big kudos to Ginger and Spice’s chef for the soup. It was excellent!

Afriel ordered from the lunch menu. She had the Saigon noodles, which she jealousy guarded from my wandering chopsticks. Unfortunately, I didn’t get a bite of this luscious bowl of noodles, but judging from Afriel’s expressions while she ate, the meal was absolutely delicious. In case you’ve never had an Asian dish like this, you pour the little bowl of sauce over the noodles. Utterly good, ya’ll.

Saigon noodles at Ginger & Spice in Marble Falls, Texas
Saigon noodles

I read a review that the sushi at Ginger & Spice wasn’t as fresh as it could be. Well, coming from the experience of eating sushi fresh off the boat, why in the hell would you expect a Marble Falls eatery to have sushi as fresh as what you’d get in Seattle? Comparing the sushi I’ve eaten when I’ve traveled to Seattle to what I can eat in Marble Falls isn’t fair. Comparing the sushi I ate at Ginger & Spice to what I pick up at HEB is a fair comparison. It may even be fair to compare Ginger & Spice to my fav Austin sushi bar, Uchi.

I ordered the spicy tuna roll and the chef’s choice 7-piece sushi platter. My sushi platter actually came with an additional nigiri, which I was delighted to find. A girl can never have too much sushi! If you aren’t sure which sushi is what, this site has a great guide. And no, I didn’t eat the nigiri with my fingers (this visit), although sometimes I do!

Spicy tuna roll at Ginger & Spice in Marble Falls, Texas
Spicy tuna roll

I can honestly say, the spicy tuna roll and chef’s choice sushi was wonderful. The roll was freshly made, everything smelled delish, and the texture and cut of the nigiri was spot on. I could see the food was prepared with care and love. Would I get it again? Heck yeah, and I plan on it for the Big Grey Horse Media Christmas Party. It’s an annual tradition, ya’ll!

Chef's choice sushi at Ginger & Spice in Marble Falls, Texas
Chef’s choice sushi with salad

I admit that I’m tough to please. Thai and sushi are my two favorite cuisines, and I am fortunate to have eaten both cuisines at some of the best eateries in America. I’m picky as hell and at this point, I inwardly cringe, just a little, when it’s time to try a new restaurant. I gotta relay the note I wrote in my iPhone after I’d finished my lunch at Ginger & Spice.

The note simply said, “This was one of the best lunches I’ve had in a long, long time.”

Kudos, Ginger & Spice. You hit the nail on the head with this one!

Click here for our pictorial review of Ginger & Spice.

 

Takeaway

Ginger & Spice is located at 909 Second Street in Marble Falls, Texas, 78645. The phone number is 830/693-7171. The hours of operation for lunch are Monday thru Friday, 11:00 a.m. until 2:30 p.m.; Saturday and Sunday, 12:00 p.m. until 3:00 p.m. The hours of operation for dinner are Monday thru Thursday, 5:00 p.m. until 9:30 p.m.; Friday thru Saturday, 5:00 p.m. until 10:00 p.m.; Sunday 5:00 p.m. until 9:00 p.m.

Lunch at the Noon Spoon Cafe in Marble Falls, Texas

Jen Cayce of the Noon Spoon Cafe in Marble Falls, Texas.
Jen Cayce of the Noon Spoon Cafe in Marble Falls, Texas.

Noon Spoon Cafe on Foodio54

Noon Spoon Cafe on Urbanspoon

There’s a one in a million chance you’ll meet someone who’s bright, successful, adorably pretty, and full of energy. Jen Cayce possesses all of these qualities. We recently met her when we had lunch at the Noon Spoon Cafe in Marble Falls, Texas.

When we arrived at the Noon Spoon Cafe, the parking lot was full. We had an appointment with Jen at 1:15 p.m., a little past lunchtime. I was impressed that the cafe was still rockin’ after lunch.

Inside, the restaurant was about 80% full. Everyone seemed happy and the place was filled with lively conversations. I saw a representation of every age eating there, but the predominance was senior citizens. Noon Spoon Cafe in Marble Falls, Texas

Jen wasn’t there when we arrived, so we had plenty of time to take in the Noon Spoon Cafe. The walls are decorated with beautiful colors – Jen definitely took her time choosing from different color palettes. The artwork is done by Austin artist, Terri McGee.

When Jen arrived, the entire room lit up. She’s a tiny, petite woman who is full of positive energy. She had big smiles and thanks for the interview. We sat at a large, wooden table in a corner and began chatting.

Jen started cooking when she was a little girl. She was inspired by both her mother and grandmother (her “Mimi”). Jen was obsessed with cooking. At least that’s what her family told her! She carefully watched the women in the kitchen and learned as much as she could. This obsession led Jen down a golden path.

Jen opened the Noon Spoon as a food delivery business after she graduated from college. She ran the business with four employees, for several years, before taking a commercial property management job in Austin. Seven years later, Jen was back in Marble Falls with the reincarnated Noon Spoon Cafe.

What began as a vision beautifully merged into a restaurant that grew from 28 to 68 seats and nine employees over a span of five years. The Noon Spoon Cafe has a big following in the Highland Lakes area. Jen’s customers eat at the Noon Spoon Cafe one to four times weekly.

The favorite menu items are the chicken avocado quesadillas, the daily specials (they always sell out by 1:30), the soups, and the strawberry spinach salad. (I hope you’re taking notes so you know what to choose when you visit!)

How has the Noon Spoon Cafe achieved this success in a so-called rotten economy where everyone’s afraid to spend money? Word-of-mouth marketing is the most powerful advertising tool Jen has.

And the food? It’s fresh! Jen believes in organic, fresh food. Her suppliers make multiple deliveries weekly. As you’ve already guessed, Jen’s a hands-on owner. She oversees all aspects of the kitchen and calls herself a “yes” girl. If a customer asks for it, you can bet they are gonna get it.

After all this talk, we were hungry. Jen invited us back to the kitchen after whipping up two treats.

Stuffed Tomato & Avocado at the Noon Spoon Cafe in Marble Falls, Texas

Simply delicious, good food. The stuffed tomato and avocado.

Complete with crispy-fresh greens and organic sunflower sprouts.

And this.

Triple Chocolate Cake at the Noon Spoon Cafe in Marble Falls, Texas.

I think you need to see the Triple Chocolate Cake one. more. time.

Triple Chocolate Cake at the Noon Spoon Cafe in Marble Falls, Texas.

The sauce on the Triple Chocolate Cake is a carefully guarded secret. You’re not gonna pry this recipe away from Jen’s hands. I will let you in on a little secret: The flavor of the sauce changes depending on which food you’re eating – the ice cream, chocolate cake, or strawberries.

I’ll wrap up this most pleasurable blog post by saying: Anyone who can laugh at the small parking lot they’ve got in front of their restaurant is good people.

Noon Spoon Cafe t-shirt

Her parking lot does stink. I admit it. We had to park next door at the nursery. Course, if everyone in town wasn’t eating lunch at the Noon Spoon Cafe, there would be ample parking. Ha!

Keep your eyes on this dynamo cutie from Marble Falls, Texas. We’ve got some great gems in the Highland Lakes area, but few are human. Jen is a rare blend of beauty, brains, guts, and determination.

 

See Jen Cayce at Edible Austin’s Edible Escape 2013 event to be held September 29, 2013, from 4:00 p.m. until 8:00 p.m. at the Lakeside Pavilion in Marble Falls. You’ll get some tasty treats and have the opportunity to visit with Jen – all for $35 if you purchase your tickets early. Tickets are $45 at the door. This event includes wine and food tastings from local restaurants and vineyards, a chef demonstration, an artisan demonstration, and the Texas Winemakers Panel. Live music, too, ya’ll, provided by the Marshall Ford Swing Band.

 

Takeaway:

The Noon Spoon Cafe is located at 610 Broadway Street in Marble Falls, Texas 78654. The phone number is 830-798-2347. Hours of operation are Monday through Friday, 11:00 a.m. until 3:00 p.m. You can dine in or take out. The Noon Spoon Cafe offers vegetarian dishes and you can request gluten-free options. Breakfast is served all day.

And seriously, folks, eat the Triple Chocolate Cake!

A Delightful Lunch at the Kingsland Coffee Co. – Kingsland, Texas

Kingsland Coffe Co. in Kingsland, Texas
Kingsland Coffee Company on Foodio54

Kingsland Coffee Company on Urbanspoon

Getting your hair done is stressful. It works up a big appetite, so after our hair appointment last week, Afriel and I headed to the Kingsland Coffee Co. We had a wonderful lunch topped off by an ice cold smoothie and a steaming hot latte. My daughter and I had gorgeous hair, full bellies, and a big dose of satisfaction. Does it get any better than that?

Kingsland Coffee Co. was opened by Rick Gregory and Drew Gerencer. The duo still own the coffee shop although now they’re fortunate enough to have a manager and staff running the business. I remember the days when Drew and Rick were at the cafe 24/7. What I love about the guys is their ability to serve our community’s need for coffee. And good food. And great company.

Kingsland Coffee Co. in Kingsland, Texas

This coffee shop is like many others. It’s friendly, has wifi, and the invitation’s open to hang out all day. In less-than-desirable weather, you can sit inside and watch the traffic on Ranch Road 1431. When it’s nice outside, there’s a lovely deck sprawling around the front of the shop. And it’s complete with unique, handmade bird houses.

Kingsland Coffee Co. in Kingsland, Texas

We’ve stopped for a cup of coffee, but never have taken the time to eat a meal or lounge around. I wasn’t disappointed – this meal was a wonderful luxury. I can easily recall the days when I first went to Kingsland, Texas. That was oh-so long ago in the 1960s, and Kingsland didn’t have too much going on then. In recent years, I’ve felt that even neighboring Llano, Texas, had surpassed Kingsland in the realm of serving coffee addicts. Let’s face it, Fuel has it all going on. I’ve parked my laptop many times, over the years, at Fuel. It’s an amazing little coffee house, and way ahead of its time for an establishment in Llano.

Kingsland Coffee Co. in Kingsland, Texas

What do I love the most about Kingsland Coffee Co.? First and foremost, Drew and Rick. When I met the guys, I mentioned something about riding horses. The guys proceeded to tell me about a woman who rode her horse to Kingsland Coffee Co., tied him in the back, and came in for coffee. How cool is that? So that’s the first thing I love…nice, nice people in our wonderful lake community.

Kingsland Coffee Co. in Kingsland, Texas

Second thing I love is the food. This is a great sandwich shop! I had no idea how good the food was. Afriel and I will definitely go back for more lunches and desserts.

Kingsland Coffee Co. in Kingsland, Texas

With that said, here’s the scoop about our food and drinks.

I ordered half a turkey sandwich with mayo, provolone cheese, lettuce, and tomato on Jewish rye bread. My side was pasta salad, a pickle, and chips. Let me be the first to say this was a delicious sammie. It was made from fresh ingredients that were put together with love. The pasta salad is also made in-house, and it was good. Huge, square blocks of cheese with black olives and pasta shells. It tasted fresh, which is important to me when I’m eating pasta salad.

Kingsland Coffee Co. in Kingsland, Texas

Kingsland Coffee Co. in Kingsland, Texas

I ordered a honey nut latte, but sadly, did not even start to drink it until we got home. It was very hot that day, and the drink was hot – too hot to even sip while we ate lunch at Kingsland Coffee Co. However, once I was able to dig in, the drink didn’t disappoint. Hazelnut, honey, and espresso. Perfect!

Afriel had half a chicken salad sandwich on white bread with lettuce, tomato, and Swiss cheese. What we loved about her sammie was the chicken salad was thoroughly ground up and mixed into creamy chicken oblivion. While I enjoy a chunky chicken salad with bites of apples, grapes, and nuts, the well-mixed chicken salad versions remind me of my childhood. To accompany her sammie, Afriel also had chips and a pickle. She washed down her meal with an ice cold strawberry smoothie.

Kingsland Coffee Co. in Kingsland, Texas

Kingsland Coffee Co. in Kingsland, Texas

We took a piece of coffee cake home for dessert. Let me tell you, this piece of cake is really big! It is the perfect serving for two people, possibly three. Kingsland Coffee Co. definitely doesn’t scrimp on dessert.

Kingsland Coffee Co. in Kingsland, Texas

 

Takeaway:

Kingsland Coffee Co. is located at 1907 W. Ranch Road 1431, Kingsland, Texas 78639. The phone number is 325/270-0863. The hours of operation are Monday thru Friday 7:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., Saturday and Sunday 8:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. The cafe multitasks with drinks and food: You can get coffee, smoothies, frappes, teas, cocoa, espressos, cappuccinos, and more. Breakfast means pastries, which are served daily (and they look good!). Lunch is served from 11:00 a.m. until 2:00 p.m. You can have a wonderful sandwich, cold or grilled, quiche, or a fresh salad. And if you’re in the market for coffee, Drew and Rick sell it by the pound and half pound.