Foodie Fridays

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Jason and I are both off work on Fridays. We were both bummed this morning when we realized that today will be the last Friday that we're free from appointments AND we're kidless (We still have the kids, just meant the kids are still in school). But I must say, despondent as we were to be ending our Fridates, we scored big time this time.

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Last week a dear friend of mine, Jen, sent me an awesome link to "Five under the radar restaurants in Beaumont". I have a short attention span, I know, but the first eating spot sounded so perfectly delightful that I didn't get any farther on the list. I yelled across the room to Jason, "Hey, I found our next date!"......And boy, had I.

Today we checked out Abbie's Specialty Foods and Deli. It's a Mediterranean joint on Fannett Rd. And get this: It's a RV parts store too. I had to see it to believe it. This was our best lunch yet. I'm already thinking of an excuse to go back, for say a pound of olives or something this country girl finds exotic, I counted over forty different kinds of tea.

I have a long list of things that impressed me about this place. Jason's doing the actual food review, so I won't double dip on how good the food was or how friendly and kind the employees were.  I just have to say...... Hummus pizza.  Man.

And I have to tell you that you walk up to the counter and place your order for a sandwich, pizza, or salad and then they invite you to grab some tea or a cold drink. They don't watch you or write down what drinks you get. They also have baklava you can help yourself to. When you're leaving, you just tell the cashier what drinks and desserts you had, and he rings you up. I know I can't be the only one who immediately thinks, "Wow, I can have four helpings of baklava, and they'd never know". I mean, they actually trust you to be honest without the fear of getting slighted by the customers. I like that.

Hummus pizza.  MMM. Said it again.
Hummus pizza. MMM. Said it again.


As we were leaving, I noticed a copy of the ten commandments and a small poster of the 103 Psalm. We left and drove half a mile to Tyrrell Park to finish off a date for the books. On a bench we read the 103 Psalm that once again reminded of God's goodness.

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Let all that I am praise the Lord; with my whole heart, I will praise his name. Let all that I am praise the Lord; may I never forget the good things he does for me. Psalm 103:1,2

Jason’s Take on Abbie’s

Service

Abbie’s is as simple as it comes. You walk in, grab a drink out of the cooler, take 5 steps over to the counter and place your order, grab a seat and salivate because of the smell of pita bread in the oven.  There was a super nice lady who waited on us and gave us recommendations as to what to get.  She didn’t even laugh at me when I tried to order my Gyro.  I still don’t think I know how to say that right.  (Gy-Ro….Hy-Ro….He-Ro?)  She was kind, and also from Nederland, which is always a plus to do business with a neighbor.  Since it was out first time to dine with them, she walked us through the process.  “Just tell them at the counter what you had to drink and how much Baklava you had.”  They are very trusting.  I appreciated the service with a smile.  Friendly service make good food taste even better!

Atmosphere

There’s not much going on here, but that’s OK.  There are things you can get here that you can’t get anywhere else. 

There were a smattering of tables and chairs inside and a couple of tables outside.  We were early as to avoid the lunch rush.  We arrived right at 11:00 AM.  That was a good thing, too.  By the time we left, folks were starting to come in and get their fix of Greek goodness.  Most of the patrons were grabbing their food to go.

The place was clean and the people were friendly.  That goes a long way toward making the ambience what it ought to be.  I can do without silverware on the table.

Price

Great Prices.  That’s all I can say.  I actually ordered two meals worth of food for just myself!  Kristi and I shared it all of course.  Most everything was under $7. 

Selection

Abbie’s serves a good variety of Mediterranean dishes. There were things on the menu I’d never heard of before today.  I didn’t try any of those things, but I’ll be going back.  The market portion of the store is a cultural cornucopia.  I picked up some legit Arabian coffee.  There were imported items from many part of the world.  AND this is the only place in America, that I know of, that sells a Ginger Beer similar to what I’ve enjoyed in Kenya and South Africa. 

Tastiness

I think you’ve been waiting long enough for this part.  Let me begin with telling you what we had.   I ate a Humus Pizza and a Greek Gyro.  Kristi had an Agur (a big meaty sandwich dressed with blue cheese). 

First, the Humus Pizza blew us away.  Kristi would have eaten the whole thing by herself if I hadn’t threatened here with my fork!  Only kidding about the fork thing.  I’m dead serious about the part where she would have eaten it herself!  Don’t even ask me what Humus is.  Just trust me that it’s super terrific and your tongue will beg for more.

The Gyro (however you say it) was tasty in its own right.  It’s wrapped up in a Pita (a thick, delicious tortilla looking thing) and garnished with tzatziki sauce.  It’s a yogurt thing and it’s great.  For the record.  I let Kristi have a bite and she liked it.

I ate half of Kristi’s Agur.  It’s a big sandwich tasty deli meats and strong blue cheese.  Come hungry if you order one of these.  I’m not usually a fan of the blue cheese, but it worked with the combination of deli meats stacked high in a ciabatta bun. 

If you get a chance, try the Ginger Beer.  It’s STRONG root beer.

Here's a link to the top five under the radar restaurants as posted by the Beaumont Enterprise.

http://blog.beaumontenterprise.com/cat5/2014/05/13/five-under-the-radar-beaumont-restaurants-you-need-to-try/#23323101=0

AND here's the whole 103 Psalm. I'm feeling rather generous today.

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Let all that I am praise the Lord;
with my whole heart, I will praise his holy name.
Let all that I am praise the Lord;
may I never forget the good things he does for me.
He forgives all my sins
and heals all my diseases.
He redeems me from death
and crowns me with love and tender mercies.
He fills my life with good things.
My youth is renewed like the eagle's!

The Lord gives righteousness
and justice to all who are treated unfairly.

He revealed his character to Moses
and his deeds to the people of Israel.
The Lord is compassionate and merciful,
slow to get angry and filled with unfailing love.
He will not constantly accuse us,
nor remain angry forever.
10 He does not punish us for all our sins;
he does not deal harshly with us, as we deserve.
11 For his unfailing love toward those who fear him
is as great as the height of the heavens above the earth.
12 He has removed our sins as far from us
as the east is from the west.
13 The Lord is like a father to his children,
tender and compassionate to those who fear him.
14 For he knows how weak we are;
he remembers we are only dust.
15 Our days on earth are like grass;
like wildflowers, we bloom and die.
16 The wind blows, and we are gone—
as though we had never been here.
17 But the love of the Lord remains forever
with those who fear him.
His salvation extends to the children's children
18     of those who are faithful to his covenant,
of those who obey his commandments!

19 The Lord has made the heavens his throne;
from there he rules over everything.

20 Praise the Lord, you angels,
you mighty ones who carry out his plans,
listening for each of his commands.
21 Yes, praise the Lord, you armies of angels
who serve him and do his will!
22 Praise the Lord, everything he has created,
everything in all his kingdom.

Let all that I am praise the Lord.

Here are our other food reviews (in case you missed them)

Bruce's Seafood Deli  http://godsgirlies.com/?p=7395

Taqueria Gonzalez   http://godsgirlies.com/?p=7363

The Wheelhouse http://godsgirlies.com/?p=7332

Be sure and check out Jason's website if you haven't in a while www.pastorburden.com

Last thing.  Really....

Don't forget to subscribe if you want posts sent to you by email.  On your laptop, type your email address in the bar located at the tip top right hand corner right above the subscribe button. On your smartphone, keep on scrolling to find the subscribe bar. I'm three friends away from fifty.

And thanks for reading.

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I'm a little uncomfortable typing right now. My laptop could near lay on my belly while I type just like my plate could when I was with child. I had a good lunch. (Not to mention a large dip-cone from DQ in honor of my Swedish sister Eva who mentioned last Friday that "You shoulda had ice cream too". If you've forgotten or haven't been told, it's Friday. And Jason and I have decided to celebrate every Friday in May while at the same time making our contribution to SETX by dining at the local eateries and then giving a review. Don't mention it. It's our pleasure. Really.

Today we decided to eat at Bruce's Seafood Deli in Port Arthur. We'd heard about it from a couple of friends. They compared Bruce's to the now closed J Martin's Seafood on Nederland Ave. I agree. It near seems that J Martin must have changed his name and moved on down the road to Port Arthur. Bruce's serves salt and pepper shrimp so tasty that even if you order a large order of them, you'll only be willing to share one shrimp with your wife. If you like oysters, you're in luck too. There's more oyster than "fried outside", which is important. I was sorry to see J Martin's go but Bruce, you're alright too.

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I'm so full that I've asked Jason's help in writing this review. Here's his take.

 

Service

We arrived at Bruce's right around 11:00 AM.  The lunch crowd had not yet formed, but business was definitely picking up.  By the time we placed our orders a line had formed behind us.  A steady stream of hungry people entered Bruce's while we were there.  There aren't a lot of bells and whistles as far as service goes.  The menu is on the wall behind the counter, the lady at the front takes your order, and you go wait for your dish to come out.  I take it that Bruce's is more of a take-out place than a sit-down restaurant.  This matters very little to me.  Just don't arrive expecting to be waited on hand and foot.  There are tradeoffs here.   On one hand, you have to bus your own table.  On the other hand, you get to save money on the tip.  I'm all for saving money to spend on dessert.  For what they are doing, I would say they are doing it well. 

Atmosphere

I didn't go there for the ambience.  That being said, I found it to be clean and uncluttered.  It reminded me of the old J. Martin's Seafood on Nederland Ave.  I suspect there was a connection between Bruce's and J. Martin's.  It was something about the oversized crawfish hanging variously on the walls that left that impression with me.  The best part about the atmosphere was the light hearted conversations  I could overhear between the patrons.  Folks were trading stories, laughing and having a good time.  I enjoy a place where people come to enjoy themselves.

Price - $$

This was good seafood.  Kristi and I paid @ $26 for two plates of food plus drinks.  That's on par with what we would spend just about anywhere else.  What throws us off is that I always make Kristi get the next size up from what she would normally order.   She would have ordered the 6 fried oyster plate if I had not intervened and upped it to the 9.  It was well worth the money.
Selection

Oh my gosh…they had more items on their menu than you can shake a stick at.  There were pictures on the wall to advertise certain plates.  I'm going to have to go back a few times to get my mind around the menu.  It was too large to take in during a single visit.  Most of it was fried items but there were some other offerings as well.

Tastiness

I had a combination I've never put together before: Salt and Pepper Shrimp and Chicken Wings.  I'll admit, when I saw the picture of this dish on the wall, I thought it was the Shrimp and Catfish.  I wasn't disappointed.  The wings were tasty.  The shrimp were large (as far as shrimp go).  The food wasn't greasy and it was seasoned just right.  It was piping hot when we got it to our table.  As I mentioned earlier, Kristi had the Fried Oysters.  Good choice! I judge a fried oyster by whether or not it tastes like an oyster after they've fried it.  These were oysters!  I could have eaten all of my plate and two of Kristi's!

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Overall, this was a really good idea.  We finished off the lunch date by picking up an ice cream at DQ and then eating it down at the river in Port Neches.  No big boats came by but it was a wonderful day to have the windows down, catch some sun, and hang out with my best friend!

In case you wanted to try Bruce's for yourself, here's a map.

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Here are links to our past food reviews

Taqueria Gonzalez   http://godsgirlies.com/?p=7363

The Wheelhouse http://godsgirlies.com/?p=7332

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I was in a foul mood this morning. I'm not sure if it was the clothing battle we had with one of our teenagers, the glimpse into the kids' disheveled bedrooms or the dream I had last night that I was a teenager who got arrested because my friend stole a nail file from a convenience store when I wasn't looking. I tried to blame Jason for my mood but then I realized that I didn't need to blame. I just needed to eat tacos.

In case you missed last weekend's post, Jason and I are searching for new spots to eat. May signifies the end of a school year which in turn signifies the end of another chapter. Like everybody else, we're a little tired and in need of a refreshing oasis. But Google shows no oasis that can be reached in a half-day trip. When you need to get away but you have to pick your kids up at three, sometimes pretending to get away is the best you can do. Today we grabbed some authentic tacos at the Taqueria Gonzalez.  You'll find it at the intersection Hwy 87 and 82.  We then drove to the Sabine Pass Monument Site. Here's our food review.

From the look on his face, Jason must have needed tacos too.
From the look on his face, Jason must have needed tacos too.

Service-

We got our tacos from a van so there's not much to say about service. There was one friendly man working. He was quick.

Atmosphere-

The backdrop to the taco van was a slew of refinery building things/structures; in other words not so pretty. So we got our tacos to go (There wasn't a place to sit there anyway) and we headed to Sabine Pass Battleground. We pretty much had the place to ourselves besides a swarm of bloodthirsty mosquitos (Bring a can of Off if you plan to go). Here are a few pictures.unnamed (49)unnamed (48)

Price- $

We spent around twenty dollars. I really thought we would eat for under twenty dollars this week, but…..we eat a lot.

Selection-

I thought the selection pretty wide considering the food was cooked fresh in a tiny van.

Tastiness-

Jason got a torta. I've heard of it before but had never had the privilege of feasting my eyes or tastebuds on anything quite like it. The torta was the size of a small Frisbee. Some tasty type of bun was filled with a fajita type meat covered with veggies (lettuce, avocado, onions). Boring me? I had the burrito. It tasted like a burrito. Not like a Taco Bell or local Mexican food joint burrito. It tasted just like I would expect a bean burrito to taste coming from a taco van….authentic. (By the way, the tortilla was homemade, which is a must for my full approval.) Jason and I also shared the mini tacos. Just like I like them, they were made with white corn tortillas filled with beef fajita meat and then more importantly filled with fresh cilantro and onion. We also had sodas in glass bottles which I just think is special.
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As Jason put it, Taqueria Gonzalez was economical, quick and tasty.

If you missed last weekends' post click here http://godsgirlies.com/?p=7332

And with Mother's Day coming Sunday, I have something to say about M.O.M. (Mover of Mountains and Maker of Molehills) http://godsgirlies.com/?p=7343

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May's shaping up to be a really busy month. There are few white calendar spaces left already. That's why I've suggested to Jason that we make the most of our sacred Fridays. Friday's our day off. And the kids are at school. I guard our Fridays as anyone would guard such a treasure.

To make our May Fridays even sweeter, we've decided to try out a different eating joint in the area every Friday. Then I'm going blog about it.

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It's been busy with the typical family stuff (crazy schedule, appointments, keeping a house, raising kids and being a wife), not to mention helping out at the school with ESL and providing Homebound services this year.  I haven't had the opportunity to write as often as I'd like. And I've missed it so.

These Friday writings won't be the product of deep soul-searching or an attempt to cope with another crazy Burden escapade. It's going to be mindless, high calorie writing.
Every Friday I'll be pretending to be a foodie. I'll be able to feed my craving for good food. And I'll fill my craving to turn words into life expression.  My stomach and my soul will be happy.

Yesterday commenced our foodie mission.  Jason and I checked out the Neches River Wheelhouse Restaurant. I've heard great reviews but I was still skeptical. I heard they had everything from burgers to Grits and Shrimp. I would think that a place that makes outstanding burgers wouldn't make notable Grits and Shrimp and vice versa. I would think two such opposing entrees would come from different eating establishments. But I have to say I was really impressed. Here's a rundown of our experience.

Service
The service was excellent. When we drove up, they were pretty crowded. However we were seated promptly. My glass was never empty and the waitress checked on us frequently to see how everything was.

Atmosphere
Gosh we picked a gorgeous day. We sat outside and the weather was beautiful. Outside you'll find umbrella-covered patio-type tables with enough space between each party that you're not able to hear your neighbor's conversation nor will you bump into the person seated behind you when you scoot your seat back. That's a big plus in my book. There's also grassy space around the table for your kids to get up and run around if they want to. And it's the kind of place where I don't think anybody would mind.

Price
$$- Each entrees cost $10 to about $30. I think mine and Jason's each cost $13.

Selection
The menu is limited for now as this is a new establishment. But as they get the kinks of being new worked out, there will be a larger menu to choose from. I'll just say I'd have eaten anything on the menu. I think that's important.

Here's a look at the price and selection.

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Tastiness
I know that's not a foodie word but it's the best I could come up with. Jason ordered a Po' Boy, "The Jolly Roger". It had, as Jason would say, "50" different kinds of meats and some incredible gravy on it that made it as rich as Warren Buffet. Fries came on the side, as they should. I had the stuffed chicken. When I saw "Stuffed Chicken" on the menu I wasn't in the least impressed. That is until I saw that it was stuffed with, get this, crawfish and cornbread dressing. It was served on top of asparagus spears and was drizzled with some kind of garlicky butter (that was much better than I just made it sound) sauce. I would have licked the plate of I hadn't had enough dressing to sop up every drop.

To my family reading this. If you'll ever come see us, this is a place is we'll take you to, Dutch of course. Haha.

Next Friday we plan on possibly eating at the little taco van we've spotted several times in Port Arthur near one of the refineries. #1 Because we want the price to be one dollar sign ($). I'm thinking like five bucks a person. And #2, we're adventuresome like that.

Until next Friday, or the next time inspiration or good food hits me,
Au revoir