In late winter, we frequently make the trek east on Highway 16 from Lindale to Van for my son’s baseball practice. On the way, we pass a small building offering hydroponically-grown, organic, fresh produce. Prompted by a feature on a local TV station, I finally stopped in one day to peruse the latest offerings.
Wow! What a sight! Huge, beautiful tomatoes! In WINTER, no less! They also offer several different types of lettuce, including Butterhead Lettuce, my new favorite. Along with the leaf lettuce varieties, I’ve made some tasty salads, good enough to eat WITHOUT salad dressing. In fact, I’d say it would be an insult to the veggies to cover them with stuff that would mask their natural flavor.
Grown chemical-free, the vegetables clearly have a “clean” taste and they’re offered at very reasonable prices even if they’re a few pennies more than stuff you can get at the grocery store. I’m no tree hugger, but I’ve definitely become a fan of organic, chemical-free fare.
They operate on an “honesty box” system, so they can’t make change. So save your singles for a trip to the Garden Valley Farm Store!
So, you need your car AND your appetite fixed? Would you believe you can get both issues addressed at the same place? Just wheel your bucket of bolts over to Bud Jones Garage to drop off your car. Then walk next door to Bud Jones Bayou.
What all started as a concession trailer next to the garage is now a full-blown restaurant attached to the fixit-shop. My lunch buddy on this particular visit works in the Tyler Square and, rather than making the short drive, he simply hoofed it down Erwin…so that’s good news for downtown workers seeking a little variety.
In my experience, good Cajun joints are few and far between here in East Texas, which is a surprise considering the proximity to Louisiana. But, I’d say Bud Jones is a good spot to satisfy your hankering for bayou fare.
I went with the Blackened Catfish Po’Boy, served up with Cole Slaw ON THE SANDWICH with a remoulade dressing and it came with a side of onion rings (or french fries, if you’re so-inclined). The sandwich is a good size and, so that I wouldn’t ruin date-night that evening, I brought half of it home.
The Po’Boy was very good, with the perfect balance of blackened spices and sweet slaw. I’d definitely pick that again.
The locals also tell us the hamburgers are very good, as evidenced by the six boxed-up take-out burgers that were awaiting pickup.
If you come early, say 11:45, you’ll be able to secure a table througout lunch. But if you come after noon, say 12:15, you might be standing a bit. But don’t let that scare you off. Bud Jones Bayou is a good place to eat, a fun place to meet, and an interesting place to discuss ….. even if you’re not a quart low!
Monday: 11 am – 6 pm
Tuesday: 11 am – 6 pm
Wednesday: 11 am – 6 pm
Thursday: 11 am – 6 pm
Friday: 11 am – 8 pm
Saturday: 11 am – 8 pm
Pop’s Honey Fried Chicken is known for southern-style home cooking. Fried Chicken, Livers, Meatloaf, Fried Catfish, Hamburgers, Mashed Potatoes, Hush Puppies, Cole Slaw, you get the idea. And while all of that makes for some good eatin’ after church on Sunday, it’s the owner’s personal addition to the menu that sets this place apart from any other joint in town.
I’ve driven by Pop’s Honey Fried Chicken a zillion times while making the trek to Lindale’s Faulkner Park for baseball, soccer, etc., but had never made the time to check it out. But, my wife was privvy to a conversation about the awesome tacos…..wait, tacos? Yes, the friendly folks that run the Lindale location have added taqueria tacos to their menu. AND THEY ARE AWESOME! I went for two-each of the chicken and beef tacos (“#16″ on the menu). The tortillas are perfectly toasted so that they hold their shape and the huge load of fixin’s within. I’ve probably eaten at a dozen taquerias in the Tyler area over the years. Each tends to be slightly different from the other and Pop’s follows that formula, too.
The beef tacos, for example, are ground beef instead of grilled beef as you commonly find in a taqueria. And the chicken is cubed and grilled rather than shredded or pulled. Nonetheless, the meats are well-seasoned and very tasty. Each of the #16 tacos are topped off with the familiar cabbage, onions, cilantro, and avocado additions that you’d find elsewhere.
Between the two of us, 6 tacos, two drinks, a slice of Coconut Pie and a bowl of Banana Pudding was about $20. We liked it so much we took the family a few days later. The boys and I had HUGE baskets of shrimp, catfish, hushpuppies, french fries and cole slaw, our daughter got the chicken finger basket with fries, and my wife got the fried chicken basket with french fries. Toss 5 drinks into the mix and it was about $38. Before you balk at the price, however, consider that the same number of combo meals from a fast food chain will set you back about $35 and the food won’t be as good nor as plentiful. In my book, Pop’s is a winner!
…and don’t forget to try the TACOS! Seriously!
Cajun Chicken Dip
I simply can’t stress it enough to you big-city folks; when you’re in East Texas PLEASE go where the locals go! And out here, it’s hard to beat a place like The Shed.
Now, the city of Edom is a bit off the beaten path of Interstate 20 so folks usually come to Edom with purpose in mind. There’s a nice row of antique shops in town, but it’s main attraction is the food.
“Texas Friendly Spoken Here” is the feeling you get when you walk into The Shed and don’t let the name or its seemingly small building fool you. This is a very large restaurant and can accommodate a party of any size. On a recent visit, they were able to seat 12 hungry guys from the office right in the middle of the lunch rush. Orders ranged from grilled chicken sandwiches, meatloaf plates, fried catfish, and chicken fried steak.
The food was excellent, of course, and we all cleaned our plates because Momma raised us right….and we wanted PIE!
It’s true, folks. The very best reason to come to The Shed is for its world famous pies. At our table, 6 of the 12 went for the Reese’s Dream — a layer of chocolate and a layer of peanut butter topped off with the most “dreamy” whipped topping you’ve ever tasted. The rest of the group was evenly divided between Pecan Pie, Chocolate Pie, and my favorite — the Coconut Dream. It should be noted that a slice of pie at The Shed is, really, almost a full-quarter of the pie…so it’s definitely share-able if your lady friend is around. On this day, however, there wasn’t any sharing.
So, make your way out to The Shed. Don’t be put off if the parking lot is crowded because there’s plenty of room inside. And, as long as Momma’s not around, they’ll probably even let you START with pie.
The Shed Cafe
8337 FM 279
Edom TX 75756
Pizza Inn and the Lindale 12U All-Stars Baseball team would like to invite you to dinner Thursday, July 5, 2012.
Enjoy a wonderful Pizza Buffet at Pizza Inn on this night and help the Lindale 12U District Champion All-Star team raise money for their upcoming trip to the State Tournament in New Caney, Texas, July 7-13, where 16 teams will battle to secure a spot in the Dixie Youth Baseball World Series in Mississippi. The baseball team will be on hand to help keep your drinks full and bus your table between trips to Pizza Inn’s excellent buffet. Pizza Inn will be donating 10% of all proceeds to the team and your tips are appreciated.
After you’ve had your fill, you will have the opportunity to purchase some wonderful baked goods, too.
So join us on July 5th, 2012, from 5p-8p at the Pizza Inn in Lindale, Texas. Thank you for supporting Lindale Baseball and we look forward to seeing you there.
No doubt, East Texas has a restaurant to satisfy nearly every palate (except for Egyptian food…still looking for some good schwarma around here). There’s plenty of BBQ, Southern Cooking, and even Cajun and Seafood offerings. There’s also a good handful of Chinese food restaurants but few, if any, can rival the simplicity, cleanliness, and comfort of China Chef in Chandler, Texas.
A little background — I’m a big fan of Chinese food. Doesn’t matter to me if it comes from a grubby dive joint or a fancy-place like P.F. Chang’s. But my favorite all-time spot is Szechuan Chinese Restaurant off Camp Bowie in Fort Worth. They have the perfect mix of price, location, and service and I’m happy to announce China Chef has achieved that balance as well.
I made the trip to Chandler to meet with some new acquaintances. China Chef is easy to get to, just off Highway 31 East of Tyler. As of this writing, the restaurant is about a year old and appears to be in a brand new building. The dining area is fairly small, but had no trouble accommodating our party of 8. The menu features all of your standard Chinese favorites (mine is Orange Chicken). Servings are generous and inexpensive! With a large drink, my lunch was about $8 … a bargain by today’s standards.
China Chef is a family-run business. Best I can tell, “Helen” runs the show with a flair for the care and comfort of each patron. If you’re lucky, you’ll be greeted by her tiny little girl, who has already learned a great deal of hospitality from her Mom.
Nothing fancy here, just good food at a good price served by nice folks in a nice town.
636 HWY 31 W
Chandler, TX 75758
It’s been noted many times that East Texas loves a new restaurant. While that tends to result in long wait-times, the good news is that restaurants are continuing to flock to our area.
The latest to make it to our corner of the Piney Woods is Mooyah, a burger restaurant based out of Dallas-Fort Worth. What’s Mooyah you ask? The corporate reply: MOOYAH is determined to deliver the best Burger & Fry experience EVER and have fun.
Upon first entering Mooyah, you’ll immediately notice there’s a pack of kids drawing on the wall. Yep, from the “Department of Thinking of Everything,” the folks at Mooyah decided you’ll enjoy your meal much more if your kids are occupied with a giant markerboard complete with a wide assortment of markers and erasers for chucking at one another. Really, it’s much more civilized than it sounds…and you don’t have to worry about your kids getting ink on their clothes.
Once you’ve shooed the kids off to draw on the wall, you can focus on the main reason you’re at Mooyah to begin with; tearing into some American beef. Friendly staffers will guide you through the ordering process which involves filling out a card (similar to Which Wich) with a comprehensive list of menu options and a huge assortment of burger fixin’s including the standard lettuce and tomato along with favorites such as grilled onions and mushrooms. Don’t be afraid to load up on the extras — they come at no additional cost! Be aware, however, that more toppings result in a “taller” burger. My mushrooms made my burger a “seven-napkin sandwich.” Messy and delicious!
Be aware, Mooyah takes great pride in their seasoned french fries. They’re so proud, in fact, they’ll really load you up on them. The cup of fries they serve with a kids meal can easily satisfy a couple of young’uns….and if you order the “fries for two,” there will probably be some left over. Mooyah is quick to point this out on the menu so you won’t leave with ten pounds of french fries in a doggie bag, although I’m sure they’d be willing to fix you up if you’re so inclined.
One feature, perhaps overlooked, is their excellent soft drink fountain. You’ll find many of your favorite sodas on tap, but I was especially drawn to the iced teas they had available, including an Iced Tea/Lemonade mix. Not as fancy as a real Arnold Palmer, mind you, but the mix is right on. Good stuff!
Three of us took in Mooyah on a Friday night for about $25, drinks and all. If you’re looking for something a little different but still family-friendly, check out Mooyah….and then the Marble Slab a couple of doors down!
We made the trip to Whitehouse one Saturday afternoon to pick up our oldest kiddo, who was participating in an art competition at the local high school. Since it was around lunchtime, I whipped out my phone to see if there were any Forkfly (Android, Iphone) deals in the area. Dillon’s “C” Store offered a hamburger, fries, and a drink for $5.99 so we jumped on that opportunity.
Dillon’s “C” Store has all the trappings of your typical convenience store with the addition of a kitchen and a dining area. We placed our order, filled our own drinks, and took a seat next to the refrigerator full of every flavor of Crush (of Orange Crush fame) imaginable. The staff is very friendly! Every customer who enters the store gets a personal greeting and the clientele ranges from young families to dolled-up Real Estate agents taking a break between showings. After a bit of time to get comfortable, the food arrives piping hot. The hamburger is homemade-style, loaded with veggies and a generous portion of mayo, mustard or both. The hamburger patty itself is probably double the size of your generic fast-food variety and the fries are my favorite — crinkle cut! But my favorite part was the toasted bun…slighty brown on top with a ring of crispy goodness around the edges.
So if you’re passing through Whitehouse, ditch the fast-food for a hamburger that would make Mom proud!
Dillon’s “C” Store
303 Hwy 110 N
Whitehouse, Texas 75791