Thursday, February 25, 2016

A Day Trip to Fredericksburg, TX

For many years one of the main attractions bringing visitors to the Hill Country town of Fredericksburg was a stroll along Main Street to pop in and out of the fabulous antique, artisan, and other specialty shops, and that is still the case to this day, 170 years after it was originally founded. What's more, many of the old, historic buildings have been preserved, so while the interiors may have changed over the years, the facades still maintain the original buildings and store-fronts. It's a timeless small-town Texas.

And speaking of time, celebrating over 40 years of family business is the wonderful cafe and gift shop known as The Peach Tree. It's a great stop for lunch, and to do a little shopping.

The Peach Tree
210 South Adams Street
Fredericksburg, Texas 78624

One of my favorite times to visit Fredericksburg is during Christmastime when the Market Square on Main Street is overtaken by a 30-foot Christmas tree, 26-foot German Christmas pyramid, skating rink, and chop chop train. It's a tribute to the town's founding German heritage and a wondrous joy to marvel for all ages.

Despite becoming increasingly popular for it's new association as Texas wine country, Fredericksburg was initially founded by Germans, which meant for many years the drink of choice was beer. And that still remains true to this day with beer gardens a'plenty! The Auslander and Der Lindenbaum have fun, traditional decor, or there's Fredericksburg Brewing Company for a more modern atmosphere. Get a Corned Beef Reuben and a beer (or two or three...) at any of these fine establishments.

Fredericksburg Brewing Company
245 East Main Street
Fredericksburg, Texas 78624

The Auslander Biergarten
323 East Main Street
Fredericksburg, Texas 78624

Der Lindenbaum
312 East Main Street
Fredericksburg, Texas 78624

Lastly, it may not be Fredericksburg proper, but 10 miles down the road is the music loving spot  of Luckenbach, made famous by Waylon Jennings. There isn't much to this quiet little community, just the remains of a retired post office and a general store turned gift shop, but there is a Feed Lot and saloon, so pop on over and grab a beer, just for fun.

Image courtesy of Luckenbach, Texas Inc
Luckenbach Feed Lot
412 Luckenbach Town Loop
Fredericksburg, Texas 78624

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

A Day Trip to Bastrop, TX

The sun truly shines over the old city of Bastrop, Texas (figuratively, and literally as pictured here at the Courthouse). This small country town makes you feel like you can step back in time with it's old-school southern architecture, each one well preserved and unique in its own. For Austinites, it's the perfectly close and quiet day trip escape.

Take a short walk or drive through the streets - Pecan Street, Walnut Street, and even Austin Street, just to name a few... The quaint Victorian houses are a perfect match for the lovely, historic southern town.

While quite small, with Main Street consisting of only two blocks, this tiny town still has a lot to offer, especially when it comes to cuisine. Here are a few of my favorites:

Starting with breakfast and lunch, I like to stop by Maxine's on Main Street, for both the food and the drink served up in classic Mason jars, some of the biggest you've ever seen. The breakfast menu is filled with many options, all delicious, and well portioned like the pancake that doesn't even fit on the plate. Good luck resisting the urge to finish your meal with a slice of pie, or a whole pie to go!

905 Main Street
Bastrop, TX 78602

Paw Paw's Catfish House
Another fun and popular lunch fare is at Paw Paw's. It's hard to go wrong with the fried catfish platter or the Po Boy. After all, Catfish is very southern comfort food. Don't forget to order up the house specialty of hushpuppies, yum! But heads up - they are closed on Mondays.

1014 Main Street
Bastrop, TX 78602

Gracie Miller's
Soon to celebrate it's 10 year anniversary, Gracie's is a great stop for a southern home cooked dinner. Best known for its chicken fried steak, it's casual and kid-friendly.

706 Pine Street
Bastrop, TX 78602!__page-1

Baxter's on Main
For fine dining and a classic Texas abode, Baxter's on Main is the perfect spot. The starters are all terrific with a Texas Shrimp Diablo, Thai Tuna Stack, or Jumbo Lump Crab Cake. I'm also always a sucker for a good French Onion soup and Caesar Salad. Main Entree selections allow for many options to please all palates.

919 Main Street
Bastrop, TX 78602

Piney Creek Chop House
 Just off Main, Piney Creek is a new restaurant in old digs. With a classic steakhouse menu, it's a bit more upscale if you're looking for a fancier finish to the day. Go for a pre or post dinner drink next door at the Colorado River Winery, housed in another oldy but goody - they kept the original gin and oysters sign.

703 Chestnut Street
Bastrop, TX 78602

Simply Sweet
 Last but not least, save room for desert at Simply Sweet. The interior goods are just as sweet as the adorable exterior. And who can resist a place that serves Amy's ice cream!

 1010 Main Street
Bastrop, TX 78602

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Happy Paczki Day!

It's Fat Tuesday and in Michigan, most likely due to it's large Polish population, it is traditional to bring out the paczkis (pronounced "punch-keys")!

Sunday, February 7, 2016

Pickapeppa Pecans

It's Super Bowl Sunday again and that means it's time to get to snacking. There's always our favorite chip and dips and of course, wings, upon wings, upon more wings, but this year we were looking for something new and different to add to the menu and "spice things up" (slight pun intended). Thankfully, Garden & Gun's newest addition to their book series, The Southerner's Cookbook, had just the right fix: Pickapeppa Pecans.

While Pickapeppa Sauce actually originates from Jamaica, it is quite the staple amongst Southerners, or at least amongst my married Texas family. It's the perfect stand-by in case of any unexpected visitors, just pull out a chunk of cream cheese, slather it with the Pickapeppa sauce, and serve with crackers. Southerners will swoon.

Southerners are also notorious for their love of the pecan. So what could be more fitting for this crowd than matching the beloved Pickapeppa sauce with pecans - matrimony made in heaven. And better yet, the recipe is so simple, but it will result in impressively raised eyebrows.


4 cups of Pecans
1 5-ounce bottle of Pickapeppa Sauce
1/2 cup of brown sugar
1/4 cup of water
1 teaspoon Salt
1 teaspoon Paprika