This wonderful café has been serving Mexican food on this corner since 1916! It is the longest, continuously operating restaurant (at one location) on Galveston Island!
By the Medical Center
The cute building sits on a corner, tucked into a neighborhood close to the Medical Center. That means you are away from the tourists roaming around the seawall. I love a place with locals...and med students.
I hurried to take a picture of the table before we covered it in food. This is one of the original tables with hand painted flowers. I wonder how many layers of shellac-like coating are on this table!
Our meal arrived right at noon, as you can see by that illuminated clock on the wall! Luckily we didn't wait long or I would have eaten even more chips and salsa! I ordered the lunch special for $7.99 and my giant plate of spinach enchiladas verdes arrived piping hot. Luckily I still had room, because it was delicious!
Food always tastes better to me when I'm surrounded by festive colors (walls and woodwork!) and a little history. I found just the right person to fill me in on the cafe's past.
I met Della near the counter when I asked her if I could take a peek upstairs. After I returned from my exploration Della warmed up a bit and began to tell me about the 50 years she has spent working at the café. She said the place has seen a few changes since she started working. She didn't even know how many owners the café has had since she started in 1963.
She did however, clearly remember the table where she met her husband. "He used to come and sit at that table over there and have me wait on him." After they married, she continued working, even when she was 9 months pregnant with her first child. "One day I just left work and went to the hospital and had my baby!" She laughed.
As we headed out after our filling meal, Della told us to come back. "Just remind me who you are!" She laughed, telling us she had some medications that didn't help with her memory. "I'm not here all the time, though." She told us, "I've cut back to working just Monday through Friday." I told her that didn't sound like cutting back! We said good-bye just as a trio of young women, (med students probably) entered and greeted Della by name. I was glad to see her pull up a chair and join the guests as we left!
German Pockets in Texas
It's been a lot of fun exploring international food in the Houston area. But when I moved to Texas 15+ years ago, I had no idea I would find so many German restaurants in the small towns of Texas.
Since my maiden name is Meyer and my husband and I both like German food, I thought I should share a couple finds.
Lampasas is just one of the many small towns in Texas that has an impressive historic square and courthouse. However, many of the buildings in town were destroyed my birth year of '57, when the nearby Sulphur Creek flooded. A few died and I'm sure those who lived through it needed the healing of the mineral springs, which helped put Lampasas on the map. Today there are about 7,000 living in the town and as far as I know, only one German restaurant. Eve's Café.
A Big Feast for Lunch!
Don and I don't usually eat big meals at lunch, but when you run across a small town that serves up German beer and numerous Schnitzel options...you just had to go for it!
A Closer Look
My Rahn Schnitzel was amazing with a sour cream gravy. Don's Reuben sandwich was served on German rye. My Spatzle noodles gave my plate sort of an "alive" look! I'm all for the fun in food, but in truth I would have preferred potato pancakes over this worm-like noodle.
Speaking of fun, I did love the ceiling! If the place hadn't been so hopping, I would have asked about all the marionettes, stars, flags and curiosities hanging above the tables. But the young girls waiting tables did not have time for my questions. I believe there is an Eve who owns the café and would have had answers for me, but she must have been in the back.
Fredericksburg, Texas was settled by German immigrants in the 19th century. Even the roads are extra wide for the ox carts that were common here.
This is a good place to come for German food, but it is also quite touristy...unlike Lampasas. Not too long ago we visited Fredericksburg and dined with friends at Auslander. I believe the word auslander means outsider...or basically tourist. So out of about 10 German restaurants, maybe this was not the most authentic...but it was fun!
You have to love a high beamed ceiling and stone fireplace and murals of Germany. There was even German music playing. Did I hear yodeling?
And Cuckoo Clocks!
I've always been a fan of cuckoo clocks and here we were, sitting right underneath 11 of them. I got a little excited as we neared 3:00 (late lunch) Sure enough there was a sort of nutty performance of chimes and cuckoos, all slightly unsynchronized.
A few got into the spirit with German beer. I however, was freezing from the air conditioning, and craved some kind of hot German beverage, but I couldn't think of any
The food was delicious and that warmed me up. I had a Reuben sandwich on pumpernickel, with potato pancakes and applesauce! We also shared a very curious treat called Schnitzel Rolls, which were like German spring rolls! Fun!
I hope to come back when the weather is perfect. The beer garden with cute folding chairs on the brick floor looked like it could be quite the place on a warm spring evening.
I want a table by the big window that looks out over the street. Then I can keep an eye out for oxen...or pickup trucks more likely.
Galatoire's! Since 1905
I'm not sure why we needed a food adventure the night before Thanksgiving. But we were in New Orleans, so I guess that's why. I don't think there's a food experience in all of New Orleans that doesn't include a bit of adventure!
Since I spend a lot of time sharing about roadside cafes and unknown joints, I figured I'd share about a well-known, non-hole-in-the-wall place for a change. Plus my son had a jacket and tie, (jackets required after 5) and my daughter had a leopard skin cape...which is not required, but always a plus!
We started the evening off right with the famous New Orleans cocktail, the sazerac!
My brother Chris took this photo of us as we began the evening. He really should be in this photo. He made the reservations, since Galatoire's is one of his Bucket List of Restaurants.
My family was pretty excited to help him scratch this one off the list.
The water was quite yummy, even though it was not chilled with chipped ice. Where did I read that?
That was probably way back in the day when Tennessee Williams used to dine here. The Turtle Soup au Sherry was excellent and the Escargot was even better. It was a pity that we all liked it so much. We probably should have ordered more.
We should have been toasting to this guy who immigrated from Pau, France and opened the restaurant in 1905. The building had been a restaurant previously, so this place is old... with many stories to tell, I'm sure.
Mr. Galatoire did a fine job of bringing dishes from the homeland and creating an atmosphere that has changed little in 100+ years. 4th generation descendants are still part of the ownership today.
Here's a peek at our corner table and the crowds surrounding. We were in the upstairs dining room where you can actually get reservations.
Some might not even bother coming to Galatoie's if they couldn't be in the original room below. But that requires standing in line for a table. Besides the upstairs was quite festive. We even ended up chatting with our neighbors at the table nearby. It was a very jovial, non stuffy crowd.
Chris Gets in Photo
Chris looks like an Italian with the backward wave, "Ciao!" Or maybe he was telling our waiter to get down off the chair before he hurt himself taking our picture.
Anyway, our main dishes had arrived and I'm sorry to say we had a good enough time that I can't remember details. I had something amazing with eggplant and that's all I can tell you. The food is solid and the atmosphere festive and our waiter was quite delightful whether using his serving or photography skills!
I wish I could remember our server's name...but a lot of details have escaped me. He was wonderful, even if he wasn't a third generation waiter. (I sort of expected the waiters would be like Italian gondoliers, handing down their skills and positions to sons)
He wasn't able to tell us personal stories about his history with Galatoire's, but better yet, he shared that he was from Guatemala. Since a couple in our party have Guatemala experiences and a few speak Spanish, we had a good time conversing with this wonderful waiter after the crowds began to thin.
No one had much of an appetite for dessert, but we had to try the pumpkin cheesecake.
It was tasty and a good way to prep the stomach for the next day's feasting.
I had to take a trip to the powder room, since that is always fun in iconic restaurants like this.
On my way back, I took a snap of the bar (upstairs) that was now empty. I chatted with our waiter a bit and learned that the restaurant would be closed the next day! Yea for the staff of Galatorie's! They would be having the day off.
It was after 11 when we left, but I was still surprised to see that the main dining room on the first floor was empty.
This is the room that people line up for outside. Evidently you can't get reservations even if you're the president. Of course the president can get someone else to stand in line. It was funny to see how simple it looked, like an old-timey ice cream parlor, really.
Even Bourbon Street looked pretty quiet as we hailed our cab. It's kind of nice to know that a holiday like Thanksgiving has the power to pull people off the party streets and encourage them to get home.
Next time I'll have to come when there's a long line in the sweltering heat. Nothing like long lines for people watching and encounters with strangers!
The Dining Blog
This is a blog about Dining Adventures. Sometimes, I talk about food. Below, you can read how this started.
On July 4th 2011, I set a goal to try 50 culturally diverse restaurants in one year! (I knew that was possible, living in the Houston area) I spent the year pulling in friends and family to join me, on some unusual dining adventures. I met some curious people, tried some scary foods and explored places and cultures I never would have otherwise. Even though I met my goal, I learned too much to end my adventures in dining. I have continued blogging about memorable dining adventures of all kinds, near and far... and all the discoveries and funny things I've learned along the way!
Locations and types of dining adventures, are listed further down.