So. Jason and I are finally back to having our Friday lunch date. Kathy Bass suggested The Old Orange Cafe last spring. We took her up on that suggestion today.
All I can say is White Balsamic & Bacon Dressing.
Well, I can always say more, but White Balsamic & Bacon Dressing will no doubt be the most important thing I say all day.
The Old Orange Café is found at 914 W Division St. in Orange. There are plenty of great places to eat in here in Nederland, but sometimes we just like to take a short road trip. I might mention that we crossed the "bridges" and I didn't pray this time. I took pictures instead. I'm growing up. Have I mentioned I hate bridges? Sometimes I wish we could get from Point A to Point C without Point B, Point B being the bridge. But like I mentioned, it's Point B that has taught me to pray and gets me to Point C. And now that I'm starting to grow up, I'm learning that Point B, the bridge (though sometimes frightening) is beautiful.
The café is off of Tenth Street. We had to circle the block several times before parking, but you don't need to do that.
No complaints here. Our glasses were never empty and we were waited on promptly.
The building was originally opened in the early 1940's as part of a dairy. The walls are covered in ceramic tile as was required of a dairy in those days. The café has a rustic feel with historic pictures of Orange and of the owners' family. Have I mentioned that I love pictures? It's a small building with high ceilings. It's an any occasion type of place.
$$ The entrée's range from about $8 to the Catch of the Day being around $20.
The menu offers a wide range of offerings. Normally, I'm not a big salad eater, but there were six or more types of salads and every one of them sounded good. They offer sandwiches and burgers; a shrimp burger with a jalepeno cheese bun and spicy mayo caught my eye. There are also several chicken and shrimp entrees. Fresh pies, including buttermilk, are served too but we were too stuffed. In fact, Jason is so stuffed he's not helping me write today. He's stretched out somewhere.
Jason had the special, Portabella Chicken. When I just asked how he liked it, a voice from the couch said, it was goodness slathered in cream and sautéed onions, topped with avocado. I had the Swiss Bacon Quiche. It was light, tasty and fluffy; everything a good quiche should be. The crust was homemade; I could tell. But the best part was the Shrimp Salad we decided to share. This is where I bring up that White Balsamic & Bacon Dressing again. This is also where my only regret of the day (so far) comes in; sharing the Shrimp Salad with Jason. Because sharing with your husband is not always fifty-fifty. I almost flipped the bowl stabbing a shrimp close to the rim before Jason could get to it. We also both used our finger to get the last taste of dressing that remained in the Dixie dressing cup….and lid. It was that good.
The Old Orange Café was a great outing. I also probably don't have to remind you local folks that Orange is a great city to visit with the Lutcher Theater and the Stark Museum (Disclaimer: Haven't been to either, but they're on the list). A visit to Shangri La Botanical Gardens and Nature Center would also be a nice place to visit after you eat, to walk off some of those candied walnuts. In fact, every fall I understand that the Gardens have a display of scarecrows. The website shows "The Scarecrow Festival" starting on October 8. We've planned on going every year, but haven't made it yet. I've tried to convince Hayden every year since we've been here that's what he wants to do for his birthday (10/30). Because what teenage boy wouldn't want to look at scarecrows with his parents and sisters? Maybe the promise of an accompanying slice of chocolate pie might entice him.
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.
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.
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.
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
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
AND here's the whole 103 Psalm. I'm feeling rather generous today.
1 Let all that I am praise the Lord;
with my whole heart, I will praise his holy name. 2 Let all that I am praise the Lord;
may I never forget the good things he does for me. 3 He forgives all my sins
and heals all my diseases. 4 He redeems me from death
and crowns me with love and tender mercies. 5 He fills my life with good things.
My youth is renewed like the eagle's!
6 The Lord gives righteousness
and justice to all who are treated unfairly.
7 He revealed his character to Moses
and his deeds to the people of Israel. 8 The Lord is compassionate and merciful,
slow to get angry and filled with unfailing love. 9 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)
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