Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Highlight of the day--Firehouse Grill in Ennis, Texas

If you are ever in the town of Ennis, Texas, head downtown. There are some interesting places there. Over the next couple of days, I am going to highlight two or three of the places we have gone to.
If you go downtown and turn right just before crossing the railroad tracks and head over a couple of blocks, you will find an old firehouse that is now a restaurant properly named, Firehouse Grill. To look at it from the outside, you might assume it's a burger place but you would be so wrong. This is a real sit down restaurant with a laid back, easy going feel to it. The waitresses are friendly and willing to let you know what their favorites are if you ask. There are fire house mementos everywhere from old to new. History teems all around you.
My family (all boys) decided that they would try the chicken fried steak. It was huge. It covered the whole plate. Not only that but it comes with two or three sides (all tasted homemade) and rolls. For once, my boys took home about half of their meal because they couldn't eat it all. That is saying a lot! I ordered the bread pudding and one of the boys ordered the chocolate pie. Both were amazing!
This restaurant is locally owned and operated. I have the privilege of going to church with the owner's brother and his family. (I didn't know that til later). If you are looking for good food that fills you up then this is definitely the place to go.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Highlight of the Day--Horny Toad Bar and Grill, Cranfills Gap, Texas

I know I haven't blogged in several days but I was out of town and then life caught up with me and well, I just enjoyed my family for a bit without the computer in my hands constantly.
Today's highlight is a place I have mentioned before but I felt like it was worth mentioning again. If you like to travel the back roads and just want to explore Texas then make sure you head out State Highway 22. Cranfills Gap is located 42 miles northwest of Waco and in this sleepy little town, there is a fantastic place to eat. It is called the Horny Toad Bar and Grill. Our family first heard about it in "Ride Texas" Magazine. So we loaded up the car and headed out.
We were pleasantly surprised. This little place has tons of charm and great food. We have been there several times now and every time we are not disappointed. I highly recommend the burgers and onion rings. They have an extensive menu and I have liked every thing I have eaten. On the weekends they have live music and it is a packed house. Although it is (for all practical purposes) a bar, it is still a great place to eat. We have gone during the day and it is more family-oriented during that time. The road to getting there is just as much a part of the journey as the eating. The beautiful winding roads make this a great outing. It is truly a place to "get away" from the hustle and bustle of life.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Highlight of the Day--HEB, Waxahachie, Texas

I haven't been home lately so I haven't been able to post my highlight of the day. But I am back again and in full swing.
I told you previously that I a self-proclaimed foodie. I really love to bake and when you love to bake, you need to find stores that you really like for the things you use in baking.
Strange as it seems. I love HEB. This is a grocery store chain that I have know about all my life. It originated in Corpus Christi, Texas (where I grew up). I remember driving down Ocean Drive and my parents and grandparents pointing out Mr. Howard E. Butt's house. I am a third generation in my family to shop there.
The Waxahachie HEB is wonderful. They always seem to have really good meal deals and there is always someone around to help you. You don't have to wonder if anyone actually works there. I kind of wonder if they "station" someone on each aisle so that they can help people. Also, if you are in one department and you are looking for something clear across the store, they not only know where to look but will walk you to it. Personalized service and all done with a pleasant attitude. I remember being in this store one day and a lady screaming at the employee. Because they recommended a particular brand. The employee never got rude, they stayed calm, and eventually the lady calmed down and asked for help from this same person. I would have been fired for telling her off. This employee was great.
But that is how it always is there. When I check out the employees smile and visit with me and it is just uplifting. I can have a horrible day but they seem to know the right thing to make me smile or just wish me an encouragement.
I called the other day to let them know that the checker was friendly and they seemed amazed. They shouldn't. Their employees are worth their weight in gold.
So if you want a great place to shop for groceries and get some personalized service, go to the Waxahachie HEB. Best grocery store around.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Highlight of the Day--Mo's Cafe, Maypearl, Texas

Even though Maypearl is a small town, there are several places to eat. Today's highlight is on Mo's Cafe. This is an interesting place. It is tucked away next to the Exxon Station at the corner of FM 157 and FM 66 in Maypearl, Texas. When you walk in, it is a cozy, country atmosphere complete with a fireplace and slate floors. Many of the locals gather there for breakfast, lunch, and supper and any time in between.
I have tried their breakfast menu and the omelets are wonderful. They will fill you up. Not only that but with the omelet you get biscuits and gravy. Now that is a Texas breakfast.
Their main meal menu has a wide assortment of items on it. I have slowly been working my way through their menu. The portions are good sized and very filling. I think my favorite item at this point is the their Monte Cristo Sandwich with the Raspberry Chipotle sauce. Incredible is the only word I can say for that combo. I have heard several people say that the fish and shrimp there are good and the fajitas are well worth it.
The staff there is friendly and treats you like they have known you forever. There is a laid back feel to the place that comes with the small town.
One thing I do know is that Mo's is the only place in town that will deliver meals to the teachers at the local school whenever they need them.
So if you are ever traveling through Maypearl, Texas and looking for a good homecooked meal where you can take a load off for a bit. Stop into Mo's!

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Highlight of the Day--Lone Star Pizza

Today's highlight feature is Lone Star Pizza. This small, family owned pizza place is located in the town of Maypearl, Texas. Maypearl is off the main highways. It is located halfway between Grandview and Waxahachie, Texas on FM 66. If you are a biker then you are quite familiar with this town.
Lone Star Pizza is owned by Kaaren and David Lynch. They put their heart and soul into this place. It is not a large place. It is set in an older building but it has charm and character. The pizza is made fresh and doesn't sit under lamps waiting to be eaten. This is one of the few pizza places that still deliver (even on Christmas Eve!)to anywhere in the area. The owners have even been known to deliver the pizza themselves. It arrives hot every time.
They have a large selection of pizza types and toppings. They have two types of crust. Hand tossed and cracker thin. They do have a stuffed crust for those who like that style. The sandwiches are excellent. If you order a side salad, you get a salad with more than just lettuce and dressing. It is definitely a salad with lots veggies, croutons, and the such.
My personal favorite pizza is what I call the supreme. They do have one called the Mayor's special which has every topping they have on it. It comes in one size--extra large. It is huge. With 3 boys in my house, they can eat pizza. 2 pizzas from this place fills the whole family up.
If you are ever in the Maypearl area and are craving pizza then stop by and soak some local atmosphere and chat with those around you. It is well worth the drive.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Highlight for the Day

I have been thinking about this a lot and have decided that every day I want to highlight some restaurant, book, movie, etc. that I have found interesting enough to share. Today is the first day so........
Today's Highlight is R&K Cafe. This is a small family owned cafe tucked away in the town of Grandview, Texas. Now oddly, enough in Texas, there are 2 Grandviews. This particular one is located about 45 minutes south of Ft. Worth, Texas off of IH-35.
At the R&K you get service with a smile and an atmosphere of family. Everyone knows everyone and if they don't then by the time you leave, you will have developed some new friendships along with a full stomach.
The menu is fairly simple but well worth it. Every day there is a list of specials and sides. Most meals come with 3 sides. The meals are prepared by wonderful cooks who have been doing this job for a while. The portions are Texas-sized all the way around. If you are looking for a smaller portion then you might want to order the Kids portion.
For dessert, they have some amazing pies. Everyday, the pies are made fresh and when they are gone, they are gone. You might want to order dessert before you have your meal.
R&K also does a mean breakfast. It is made to order and very filling. IHOP has nothing on the breakfast here. Crispy bacon, fluffy biscuits and pancakes, sausage and eggs. The Omelets are amazing!
I personally recommend the Western Omelet for breakfast and my all time favorite meal at lunch or supper is the Chicken Fried Chicken. I have tried the catfish (served as all you can eat on Fridays), the Chicken Fried Steak, and the Grilled Chicken. They are all wonderful. So far, there hasn't been a thing I haven't liked.
So if you are ever driving through North Central Texas between the hours of 6:00am-9:00pm and feel the hankerin' for a good, fill ya up meal then stop by the R&K in Grandview. You won't be disappointed.


Well, for once I am up before 7:00am. I love to sleep and normally, I sleep til though I woke up enough to hear the rain falling outside my window. It is a soothing sound most of the time. Unfortunately my first thought was "Great. How the heck are we gonna move the winter guard floor in the rain?" I stopped and realized that instead of enjoying the blessing of rain (which if you live in Texas, then you consider it a blessing), I was already groosing about it.
Once I realized that, I stopped and listened again. I closed my eyes. I focused on the rain. Then I heard the soothing sounds that I love when it rains. It was refreshing. It was like all the worries of the day were being washed away and the day was getting a shower of blessings.
There are times when I am too quick to jump right into the yuck instead of focusing on the beauty. I am working on trying to see the beauty before the yuck. It makes for a much more pleasant day, event, etc.