McAllen, Texas in the Rio Grande Valley
On May 19, Don and I ventured to McAllen, Texas.
This was our time in the city, at the southern end of the state. Mexican The historic hotel and restaurant, just 5 minutes from the Mexican border, was the reason for our visit.
The 103 year old mission/Spanish revival-style building looked pretty good!
The towering palms were neatly trimmed. That was a nice surprise since most of the palms we'd seen on our 5 hour drive, looked dead. The February 2021 Texas Freeze did a number on palms throughout the state.
The Hotel in 1950
I guess a hotel named Casa de Palmas, should try to keep their palms healthy.
This is how an Harry Borgman depicted the hotel, 71 years ago. This is the image in our 1950 cookbook, put out by Ford Motors. Once again, our old book lured us to a destination!
Much of the hotel had been renovated during 2020, while pandemic healthcare workers took over some of the hotel. The Satillo-tiled floors and swirling staircase, had a retro feel. The furnishings and fixtures were all fresh and modern.
It was hard to imagine Marlon Brando and Anthony Quinn staying here in 1952, during filming of Viva Zapata. It was even harder to picture this lobby filled with families, taking shelter from the 1919 hurricane.
I'm not sure what the bar looked like, 100 years ago in the 1920's. That's when tourists and traveling salesmen came by train.
You can tell this photo is from the 2020's, since the bartender is wearing a face mask.
After checking into our room, Don and I headed in search of a good Happy Hour.
In mid May 2021, we were just getting back to inside dining. We weren't quite ready for gabbing with strangers at a bar. We ordered 2 glasses of wine and headed to a lovely porch. There were a few to choose from. This was our view!
The Spanish Room
Later in the evening, we headed for the Spanish Room Restaurant.
This is not how the restaurant looked. I found this old photo on the internet.
I took this photo in the late afternoon.
I wanted to take a capture some of the new decor, without disturbing diners.
I didn't have to worry about disturbing anyone. There was only one other couple. Like us, they were seated in a cozy booth, out of sight.
Our waiter Oscar, was attentive and gracious. He apologized when our food was a little slow coming out. He brought us two complimentary salads!
Dinner is Served!
We were perfectly content with the pace. The wine and bread stick rolls kept me happy until our meal came.
Chef's Ravioli of the Day
I went for a the ravioli of the day.
It was stuffed with Osso Bucco and topped with mushrooms and a rich, thick sauce. It was worth the wait!
Catch of the Day
Don went for the catch of the day. His grilled salmon came with fingerling potatoes and fresh zucchini & squash. Don hardly wanted to share, but I stole a bite.
Chef Avi stopped by our booth and we raved about our meal. I decided it was time to dig out the cookbook. "Have you seen one of these books before?" I asked.
He looked surprised as he studied the recipe. He pulled out his phone to record the image. Its always extra fun, when we get to share the old cookbook with the chef!
Oscar and Turkey Mornay Recipe
Oscar came over to check on things. We were both wearing masks when I got up to pose with him. Then we had that funny exchange. that's becoming common, these days. "Oh, I'm vaccinated, too. We can pull our masks down."
Oscar had been a gracious and serious server. This silly book paved the way for a fun conversation. It was heart warming to hear his stories of getting through the pandemic. He talked about his joy at seeing the hotel coming back to life. He was excited to know that families were planning weddings and quinceaneras again.
We had such a lovely and quiet meal. It made me a little sad to see that there weren't more people dining.
We wandered a little after dinner and imagined how busy this hotel might become in a few months.
I hope so. This iconic hotel and restaurant has worked hard to reopen!
Port Aransas, TX Hotel
Don and I drove from Houston to Port Aransas to check out this 100+ year old hotel. After more than a year of isolating, we were more than ready to let the adventures begin.
We booked a night at the inn and made dinner reservations.
Tuesday in May
There was lots of parking room when we arrived on a weekday in spring.
There was lots of space for parking horses, back in the day. This hotel history goes back to 1886.
It was our iconic 1950 cookbook, that actually lured us to the hotel. Page 181. Tarpon Inn's Sea-Food Cocktail Sauce recipe!
As always, I packed the book for the trip and looked forward to pulling it out as a converstaion piece, at dinner.
After being the first to park in front, we headed up the steps to the lobby. Samantha greeted us from behind the desk. She wore a face mask, but she couldn't hide her enthusiasm for the hotel's history.
She pointed out the mounted fish, behind her on the wall. The tarpon's name was Fred, I believe.
Then she pointed to the wall that held over 7,000 signed, fish scales. I asked if she knew which was oldest and she pointed to a guy named Roy, in 1892!
On another wall, Samantha showed us photos of FDR, when he came to Port Aransas in 1937.
He didn't stay at the inn, but he did a lot of tarpon fishing and handed over a signed scale, from his catch. 77 pounds!
In the Courtyard
We headed through the lobby and peeked out at the courtyard.
The pale green cottage looked very inviting, with a large outside deck.
I'm not sure where meals were served at Tarpon Inn 50 or more years ago. About 5 years ago, this sweet building was enlarged and opened as Roosevelt's.
The structure was part of the original complex and survived the 1919 hurricane. We could have sat out on the deck for a while, but there were some mighty (hurricane style) winds picking up during our stay. The umbrellas did not go up.
Dinner at 7:30
We were told that reservations might be a good idea. Roosevelt's is popular with the locals.
Don and I arrived for our reservations and were surprised that there was not a face mask in sight, on a guest or an employee. That felt a little odd on May 18, 2021. Don and I were both vaccinated and not really worried. But this was our first indoor dining experience since March 2020.
Cheers to Dining Again!
The host seated us at a table right below a giant tarpon. I was pretty pleased with that!
We toasted to the fun of eating inside at a restaurant after 15 months! Then we started off with Oysters Rockefeller!
Fish and More
Don went for the Citrus Grilled Mahi Mahi. His glazed fish was served over Savoyard potatoes and served with lobster cream sauce. His asparagus was fresh and healthy... his cheesy, seasoned potatoes were not. I loved them.
My Chicken & Shrimp Involtini was mouthwatering! I'll just quote the old menu... "chicken breast filled with baby spinach, jumbo shrimp and dredged in panko served over orzo Florentine, finished with jumbo lump crab and citrus beurre blanc" and the seasonal veggie happened to be brussels sprouts. Wow!
I had a feeling the old cookbook was not going to impress our waiter. He was young and new to the job and busy. I waited until we were almost finished eating and the dining rush was over. I pulled out the book and showed him the recipe page. "Oh no. We don't served cocktail sauce." I was tempted to say, "That's not the point."
Instead, I found some other waiters who might be interested. Before long there were surprised faces and cell phones snapping photos of 70 year old recipe. "What! Where did you get this book?" It was not a cookbook fail at all!
Meeting the Owner
We lucked out, because the owner of Tarpon Inn happened to be dining at a table in the corner. One of the waiters tipped him off and he introduced himself.
I told Lee Roy Haskins how much we were enjoying our stay and our meal. Then I asked if he could guess how we ended up coming to Tarpon Inn. When I showed him then book he gave the proper response and laughed over the yellow book with the mostly bland recipes. We ended up talking for nearly a half hour.
We have 4 of these Ford books and we've used them like treasure maps. The recipe pages have guided us to at least 50 different restaurants.
We laughed with Lee Roy over the vintage book, but then he put the book on the table. Then it was time for swapping a few stories. We talked about our favorite iconic old hotels in Texas. Lee Roy talked about his work with oil and gas and drilling all over the world. He talked about how owning the hotel and restaurant was a labor of love. "You don't make money off of something like this." We asked about famous guests and heard a funny story about Tommy Lee Jones... who was not very nice, when he dined at Roosevelt's.
We left feeling full and happy. Our first inside dining adventure, after the the pandemic started! It was a satisfying one.
New Orleans in 1999
It's throw-back time, again. Today I'm thinking of two visits, to Nola's iconic Brennan's on Royal Street.
The first visit was during Spring Break, 22 years ago. Heidi and Scott were 12 and 9 and they weren't exactly thrilled about French and Creole dining. They also weren't excited to stop and pose for this photo, when we were out for a stroll.
But the next day, they warmed up to the idea of dressing up and going to a festive brunch at Brennan's. I have no photos of our outing, but I ran across a journal write up. It amuses me.
"After watching some turtles in the courtyard pond, we were seated... all around us, people were being served flaming dishes and mimosas... Heidi frowned into her menu, pouting that she didn't see sausage or bacon anywhere... Scott was just as grumpy, since he was hoping for a Denny's-type of breakfast... Before long we eased into the blissful feast, with 35-dollar Eggs Benedicts and 5-dollar glasses of milk... The kids split a 15-dollar omelet (at the kind waiter's suggestion) and then he brought them a surprise. Strawberries & Cream Blintzes... Don and I lingered over a Bloody Bulls and then we all feasted on Bananas Foster and Chocolate Suicide."
The kids still laugh about their first trip to Nola, before they learned to adore the charm and adventure of New Orleans dining.
Brennan's in 2019
Don and I made our second visit to Brennan's, in 2019. It was 2 days before Christmas. I'm not sure what my expression is all about.
Don and I had gone to New Orleans, to escape the quiet holiday. With both kids married and living in California and Oregon, the house felt too empty. We decided to hit the road and spend a few days enjoying festive decorations, music, food & drink in Nola.
A Cookbook Inspired Visit
We didn't have dinner reservations on December 23rd, but we stopped at Brennan's anyway. I was carrying my vintage cookbook in my purse... the cookbook that sometimes leads to amusing conversations with people. The cookbook featured a recipe from Brennan's, so who knows?
We headed inside to the Roost Bar. Maybe someone in the bar would enjoy an encounter with 2 Texans and a cookbook. (This is the kind of thing that our kids would not have put up with, 22 years ago!)
Drinks at the Bar
We snagged 2 seats at the bar and ordered. A Sazerac for Don and a French 75 for me. We were patient since our bartender was bombarded with orders.
Feeling festive, I struck up a conversation with the woman who dined alone at the bar. She hunkered over her meal and complained about the bad service. She griped about the cold weather. She couldn't believe that my husband and I would actually want to come to New Orleans for Christmas. "I'm from Southern California." She moped. "You can't believe how hard it is to be here for work, when I could be in California." I insisted that I actually could imagine, since I once lived in Laguna Beach. I made some suggestions about how she could cheer up and enjoy Nola... Then, finally she paid her bill and walked away, taking her little black raincloud with her!
There was zero chance that Raincloud Woman would care about the cookbook, so I waited until she was gone to pull it out. I thought about showing the featured recipe to our bartender. He might be amused by the recipe for Broiled Squab Turkey.
But he was handling a lot of orders. He did happen to mention that he'd just moved to Nola, 2 months before. He probably had little interest in being bothered with a vintage cookbook, or questions about the history of Brennan's.
Then I spotted this gentleman, greeting customers. He didn't appear to be too busy, so I caught his eye and asked if he knew whether Brennan's served Broiled Squab Turkey these days. I didn't capture him laughing in my photo, but he did laugh. Andrew was properly amused by the recipe and book.
We had a fun chat with Andrew about the history of Brennan's. The business (originally on Bourbon Street) was founded by Owen Brennan in 1946. About 10 years later, the biz relocated to this 2-story French Quarter mansion on Royal Street. The mansion has a much longer history, since it was built in 1795.
Then and Now
I wonder about this historic building, when it was brand new in 1795. Was it painted? It looks orange in this cookbook illustration from 1956.It looks pink, now. Who were the people who lived here, when it was a residence? Who were the people who died here? There are stories...
I did a little hunting on the internet and found this old photo, below. It was taken long before Brennan's opened.
I'm so glad we stopped in for a fun and quick Roost Bar visit. We didn't really have a dining adventure, but we did manage a brief cookbook encounter.
Next time, I want food and I want stories. I want to find out about the ghosts that have haunted the place for centuries. Mostly I want to eat Bananas Foster again! I didn't realize 22 years ago, that this flaming dessert was first created for Owen Brennan's restaurant, using a family recipe!
Cheers for that!
Christmas Eve Brunch in Nola
We wandered from our hotel in the French Quarter and arrived at the iconic restaurant on Royal Street, at 10:30.
I was excited to finally visit the Royal Street restaurant. The building has been here for 132 years, but it wasn't always a restaurant.
The French, townhouse-style building was first home to the Cavalier family. In 1886 the house and street level store was purchased and two sisters from an aristocratic Creole family, opened up a fine notions shop.
When we entered the restaurant on Christmas Eve morning, it was hard to picture the space, back in the day.
Emma and Bertha would have displayed imported gowns and perfumes in their shop.
I wonder where the arched doorway would have led, before it was turned into bar seating?
I'm sure the brick fireplace kept the shop cozy on cold mornings. On pleasant days, the sisters would have escorted their special guests, back to the courtyard for cakes and tea.
It was nice to arrive before the things got too busy. The staff was cheery and relaxed, inviting us to take a look around and decide if we wanted to eat in, or out.
The famous courtyard is the largest in New Orleans. It looked inviting with its wishing well and fountains. But it was a tiny bit chilly on that December morning.
Royal Court and Grand Marquis
I found more dining areas upstairs and in the front of the building.
They weren't serving in the formal spaces, but it was fun to see all the chandeliers and white tablecloths. The Fein Family has owned and run the restaurant since 1963.
I'm how these spaces were used before then. The Sisters closed shop in the early 1900's. I believe the building has been serving food and drink since the 1920's.
Back downstairs, we peeked in the Terrace Dining Room. It looked inviting, with a jazz trio and large windows, overlooking the courtyard.
The dining room was bright and airy, but the green garden colors lured us outside.
Table by the Fountain
The air was cool, but we warmed up with coffee. Chicory! We knew we were in New Orleans.
Our waiter Mario, kept the coffee coming. He said he'd only been at The Court for 2 years, but he had worked at another famous nearby restaurant for 42 years. "You were hired as a baby?" I asked. He laughed and said he started working at Brennan's, at age 12.
It was nice to be some of the first guests to hit the buffet. What a wonderful spread!
First I took a good look at all the options in the inviting, black and white serving area. There was an Eggs Benedict station and a meat carving station.
There were Creole favorites, like turtle soup and crawfish pasta.
Best of all, there were lots of Christmas sweets and pieces of Christmas King Cake!
Feasting in the Courtyard
While Don and I feasted, I waited for the right moment to share a little something with Mario.
When there seemed to be a lull in activity, I pulled the old Ford Motor Cookbook from my bag.
"Does this recipe look familiar?" I asked. Mario took a long look at the old book from 1959. He laughed at the courtyard image, that accompanied the recipe for Shrimp Au Gratin. "Where is this from!"
Yay! I love adding a cookbook adventure to an already fun meal. It almost always gets a good reaction, but I had been a little concerned about sharing on a busy holiday. Mario showed the book to a couple other waiters, then he happily agreed to pose with us. So fun!
We finished up and wished Mario a Merry Christmas.
Instead of heading out through the old house, we exited through the back of the courtyard. We passed through a gate, that seemed to match the wrought iron in the cookbook illustration.
How have these separate buildings been used over the years? Did many buildings share the courtyard equally? I left with so many questions about this old place.
Cheers to three generations of Feins, for keeping this restaurant running on Royal Street for so many years. Cheers to Emma and Bertha! It was a fun dining adventure!
Dining Adventure in Ybor City, FL
This neon sign wasn't around in 1905, but the Columbia Cafe was!
I'm so glad I can make a check on the list! I finally experienced the Original Columbia Restaurant, in the historic district of Ybor City.
Columbia, in St. Augustine, Florida
There are seven Columbia Restaurants, still owned and run by the original family. Three years ago, Don and I didn't know that, when we dined in the Oldest City in the US. St. Augustine is OLD and we thought this building was also.
We had a great time, even when we found out the restaurant was built in the 1980's. We vowed we would someday dine at the original location.
Last January, Don and I planned a visit, while in the Tampa area. We arrived before noon, to avoid a wait. The building took up an entire block.
Cuban immigrant, Casimiro Hernandez, Sr. opened a corner cafe in 1905. Workers from the nearby cigar factories, came for Cuban coffee, bean soup and Cuban sandwiches.
The humble cafe expanded over the years and now looks like a Spanish palace, with balconies, painted tile and carved doors. It is said to be the oldest restaurant in Florida and the largest Spanish style restaurant in the world. I'll take their word for it.
The beautiful tile work was evidently added much later, in the 1970's. Cesar and Adela (third generation) acquired the tiles in Seville, Spain. Some of the tiles had painted images, like the wonderful Don Quixote and windmill scene. One tiled area, was covered with a painted family tree. Six generations of Hernandez-Gonzmarts were named on the tree.
Don Quixote Dining Room
Once inside, Don and I were happy to see that we had beat the crowds. We were able to be seated in the Don Quixote Room.
Casamiro Jr. added this room in 1935, along with an elevated dance floor. This became the first dining room in Tampa to have air conditioning.
Besides a lot of Don Quixote themed decor, there was a crazy huge chandelier and a mighty fine stairway to the second level.
Menus and Cuban Bread
Our menus and bread came right away. We were each given our own big old hunk of hot Cuban bread, wrapped in paper! I buttered a piece and pulled out my handy Ford Treasury Cookbook. A nifty cookbook can enhance the dining adventure... or not.
Tony and the Book
Tony was very good humored. He offered to pose with me and the book... and Don Quixote in the background. That part was his idea!
I was relieved that Tony was properly amused by the vintage cookbook, which featured Columbia Restaurant in 1950. Servers under the age of 40 are often hard to impress, with kooky memorabilia.
I asked if they still served the steak recipe, (with chicken livers) like they did 69 years ago. I wasn't surprised that they didn't. Tony had very expressive eyebrows, though. He lifted them dramatically, when he noticed the book's illustration.
"That's the Patio Room and the fountain! It looks like the picture on our dessert menu!"
Half and Half!
I ordered the perfect combo, with a half Cuban sandwich and a small Columbia's Original 1905 Salad. The salad was tossed at the table with Swiss and Romano cheese, slivers of ham, Spanish olives and chunks of tomato, in a dressing with garlic and Worcestershire!
My "Smashed Cuban" (as some call it) was layered with ham, salami, pork loin, Swiss, pickle and mustard. The buttered sandwich was toasted in a hot press, before serving.
Don ordered a traditional dish from the Ybor District. His quarter baked chicken was served on yellow rice with peppers, onions, peas, tomatoes and spices. It was mouth-watering-smooth! I'm glad Don's always up for sharing.
The food was wonderful, but the activity around us was just as entertaining. There was a steady stream of casually dressed guests coming to dine. The diners in shorts and tee shirts, looked just a bit out of place, with the formal linens and impeccably dressed staff. I wondered about a few nicely dressed older men, who seemed to be keeping an eye on things.
Were any of those men, the 4th generation owners? They talked with each other and nodded and gestured... as proper as secret service men. Mostly, they added an intriguing, formal feel, that helped me pretend we were in the 1950's.. back in the day of the cookbook.
After a bit, I just had to take my cookbook into the Patio Room to compare the illustration. In the center of the space, I spotted the curiously odd, Love and Dolphins sculpture from the illustration... with the bare feet in the air!
Over by the wall, I noticed a couple more, dapper-looking gentlemen "on duty". I decided to head over and let my cookbook start a conversation. Suddenly both were studying the pages of the vintage book and laughing. "Where did you find this?" "How old is this?" The man with the purple tie was so delighted that he offered to give Don and me a tour.
Our gracious host introduced himself as Cesar. He asked if we had about 30 minutes, because there was so much to show us. If we'd been at a resort somewhere, I would have thought he was trying to sell us a timeshare.
But Cesar was just genuinely excited to share some history. He started by looking again at the illustration in our 70- year old cookbook. Then he took us to the upper level of El Patio.
The book's brief description mentioned a sliding glass roof, on the patio. Cesar mentioned something about his dad's involvement with the sliding roof construction.
He told us the courtyard had been added in 1937, but the unpredictable weather led to the addition of a retractable roof. He talked briefly about the sculpture and how it was made in Italy, to replicate a statue found in the ruins of Pompeii. That was interesting, but it didn't tell me anything about why that dolphin was wrapped around that upside down body!
The place was a confusing maze, with numerous stairways and halls. We were told there is a total of 15 dining rooms, which can seat more than 1,700.
The upstairs was quieter, with most of the private rooms, not in use. We moved from room to room and I wished that I had a notebook to take notes of all I learned.
There was so much to remember. I think this room was used as a casino at one time. I believe it was called the Siboney Room. It opened around 1955, with tapestries and glossy painted tiles. The stained glass was over 300 years old. I loved the little faces!
Stairs and Tiles
We came down another set of stairs. The marble railing and colorful tile work was stunning. Every piece of the building had a story. Marble from Italy... tiles from Cuba.
As we headed down, I wondered if the servers used these stairs to carry their trays from the kitchen, to the diners above.
I don't want to think about what it would feel like to go tumbling down those beautiful steps... or the noise of a tray of Mojitos crashing down!
At the base of the stairs, I studied the shiny puzzle-work, beneath the rails. Unlike most of the orderly tile decor, this display was like a crazy quilt, of mosaic pieces!
Business was hopping by the time we got back downstairs, but Cesar ushered us on through. A couple of servers jumped out of our way, to let us pass into the bar area. Did they think we were celebs or high rollers, getting a special tour? Not the way we were dressed.
I wish I'd gotten a better picture of the bar, which was a beauty. Cesar pointed out the original brass foot rail and reminded us that it had been a standing bar, only. No stools and no women... back in the day. He laughed about those days long ago, when Ybor City was in the middle of swamp land.
"Leaving late in the dark of night, workers had to worry about alligators..."
Hard to imagine!
And More Tile!
I could have studied the patterns all day. I have no idea how many different designs can be spotted throughout the restaurant.
Just on the bar floor, there were numerous styles. Cesar pointed out how worn the tiles looked in the heavy traffic areas.
I'm a big fan of interesting doors and there were so many. I didn't get the stories behind these, but I loved comparing them. This whimsical door was my favorite. It reminded me of something in a Dr. Seuss book.
We walked through the door and I peered into another room, just off to the right..
The cozy Red Room, was filled up with casual diners, by 12:30.
Without diners, it was easier to picture a different era, when people once dressed up in suits and pearls to dine. It made me want to return at night, to see if the crowds looked different.
As we wound our way back to the kitchen, we headed down hallways, with photo displays. This image showed the original and much smaller, kitchen. It's now another dining room.
I was thrilled to see the new kitchen, with all its good smells and cheery activity. We didn't just peek in the door. Cesar guided us right on in and gave us a tour, while the kitchen bustled around us. He even introduced us to a few, who had stopped to greet him.
Again, I was confused as to how we earned this tour. I never spoke of a blog... I just showed my cookbook. I kept thinking of the movie, "Waiting For Guffman" and hoping Cesar wouldn't suddenly realize we were NOT the important people he expected that day.
Much to See
We wandered around, dodging a few servers with food. The cooks and staff seemed very efficient as they worked. I noticed a few playful interactions. We surprised one exiting worker when Cesar opened the door of the walk-in freezer. "Well hello!" She laughed, as we almost collided.
No one seemed a bit bothered that we were intruding. I started to feel comfortable enough that I was tempted to grab myself a little flan dessert... or more bread!I
For 90 years, Le Segunda Bakery has provided the bread for Columbia. We learned how the Palmetto leaf was cooked into the bread, to allow the release of steam... or something. Cesar said it also created a seam, that helped the bread open easily, for buttering. I can relate to that!
History in the Hall
We stopped to study some family photos in another hallway. I was excited to get some of the family history straightened out.
It was becoming clear that Cesar was family, but I wasn't sure where he fit in. I'm not sure why I didn't just ask.
Cesar pointed to one of the men in the photo and said it was his father, who had been a concert violinist.
The handsome young man in the ruffles was Cesar Gonzmart. I had seen his name in the family tree, but I was a little confused. So our gracious guide Cesar, was the son of the Cesar (in ruffles) who married Adela (the granddaughter of Casimiro Senior). I so hope I'm getting this right, but I believe the elder Cesar and Adela, first traveled with their music, before taking over the restaurant in the fifties. Family businesses are complicated.
Off We Go
We eventually ended up near the front door and Cesar shook our hands and thanked us so much for coming. Our tour had been much longer than 30 minutes and we had enjoyed every minute.
The Family Tree
I took a photo of the family tree before we headed to the car and I studied it as we headed out of town.
I was still confused. Where was our friend Cesar (Jr), on the tree? After doing some searching, I concluded our kind guide, was the first son of Cesar Gonzmart, before he married Adela. Gonzmart's other sons are listed on the tree. Or maybe I am totally wrong.
Maybe Don and I will need to return for another visit. This time we can dress up and drink Sangria and take in one of the evening Flamenco shows... and ask a few more questions!
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.