Sunday, January 31, 2016

Maxine's on Main in Bastrop, TX

Lately we've been finding ourselves taking advantage of the lovely Texas weekend weather and doing some day tripping. After a successful visit to San Antonio a few weekends ago, we headed next for Bastrop and found ourselves having lunch at Maxine's on Main Street.

First off to drink, Maxine's is well-known for their wonderful homemade lemonade, served up perfectly in Mason jars, and a healthy serving size I might add. Blend in with the locals as a true southerner ordering some tea with that lemonade - call it half and half, or an Arnold Palmer, whatever you may, it's delicious either way!

For starters there's a wide range of all things fried. Some of my favorites are the perfectly battered onion rings, fried pickles, fried green tomatoes, and fresh fried okra. Oh, just go all in and get the fried veggie basket.

Lunch has an array of salads and sandwiches to choose from, one of my favorites being the Monte Cristo. It's a bit decadent with turkey, ham, and cheese lightly battered and slightly fried on the griddle, but it is well worth it. And the raspberry sauce on the side really satisfies that sweet tooth. Or save those appetizer fried green tomatoes for their Fried Green BLT!

The burgers are also quite nice, so I'm told... char-grilled on the outside with plenty of flavor on the inside.

But hold on, don't forget to save room for dessert! There are homemade cakes and pies galore... Starting with chocolate cake, to carrot cake, italian cream cake, to every kind of cheesecake. There are traditional pies, chess pies, fruit pies, and all sorts of cream pies. They'll greet you on your way in, and tease you on your way out.

Friday, January 15, 2016

The Guenther House in San Antonio

A recent trip to San Antonio found us having brunch at The Guenther House.

Carl Hilmar "C.H." Guenther migrated to America in 1848 and soon found himself in the great state of Texas. Shortly thereafter he built a flour mill in the town of Fredericksburg, but in 1858 drought depleted the grain crop and water was scarce to drive the wheel, so he moved his business to the city of San Antonio right along the San Antonio River with hopes of an abundance of water.

The mill, renamed Pioneer Flour Mills, stills stands today right along the River Walk and continues to run as a family owned and operated mill.

In 1860 Guenther built his family a home right next to the mill, where he and his wife raised their seven children. Known today as The Guenther House, the family's preserved historic home serves as a restaurant, museum, store, and banquet site.

Open for breakfast and lunch 7 days a week, The Guenther House is a great place to meet, mix, and mingle with family or friends.

All made in-house from scratch, starting off is a welcoming basket of warm bread and freshly baked mini muffins that are fluffy and delicious.

For breakfast, the waffles made with sweet cream are some of the best I have ever tasted, and although served with a side of syrup, I didn't even need a single drop - it was that good. The biscuits and gravy are also a must.

Lunch options are all house specialties like the champagne enchiladas, the Pioneer taco salad, and the chicken salad plate.

* Images courtesy of the Guenther House *

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Welcome to the start of another King Cake Season!

Today is the Epiphany, which marks the start of the wonderful tradition known as king cake season.

The Epiphany, sometimes referred to as Twelfth Night/Day or Three Kings Day, is when the wise men came to visit baby Jesus in Bethlehem. Hence Kings... King Cake!

From the period between the Epiphany to Mardi Gras is considered to be king cake season - a time to indulge in as many cakes as you can. Thank you French settlers in New Orleans for bringing us this delicious tradition.

The cake follows suite in which the receiver of the slice of cake containing the trinket is crowned king. Being crowned king for the day brings about both privilege and obligation, like buying the next cake.

So bake one on your own (I'm still working on perfecting my own recipe), or buy one from the many different places that partake in the king cake season.

In Austin, Central Market carries a delicious French pastry-type cake with a delightful almond filling. It comes and goes quickly, so get it while you can, and enjoy every last bite, for it only comes but once a year!

Most of the cakes these days are not cooked with the crowning surprise trinket inside the cake anymore. If you're not sure if there is a trinket inside the cake or not, better to be safe than sorry and pop in an extra. After all, two kings are better than none.

So here's what you do... Take the trinket in your right hand and the cake in your left (or vice versa, whichever you prefer). Close your eyes, spin the cake around, place the trinket in the cake from the bottom up, then give it another gentle spin, and open your eyes. Now you get to participate in the fun too!

Sunday, January 3, 2016

Downton Abbey Series Finale

Tonight marks the beginning of the end, it's the last season of PBS's Downton Abbey.

It'll be a bittersweet time, from start to finish.