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Dining

Sweet Dreams at The Shed in Edom

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
903-852-7791

Categories
Dining

Swanner’s Hamburgers

Actually drove out-of-the-way on the way back to East Texas so we could try Swanner’s Hamburgers. Bright, friendly restaurant that is clearly family-operated. I ordered the bacon cheeseburger and it was true to Swanner’s “ground chuck daily” reputation — the hamburger patty was irregular-shaped instead of the perfect circle you’d get from a frozen patty. Excellent flavor, lots of fixin’s, all served up on a a big bun. One order of fries is enough for two…and they were the perfect mix of crispy and salty and not the least bit greasy.

Be warned…this place does close at 3 o’clock and they’re closed on Sunday for family time (as they should be!). Gilmer is another one of those terrific East Texas towns that loves its High School sports and has a town square around its courthouse. Spend some time with the Buckeye faithful and take in a burger or two at Swanner’s.

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Dining

Char-Burger Stock-Ade

Took the family to Char-Burger Stock-Ade on a recent ‘staycation’ that included a trip to Kilgore and the East Texas Oil Museum. Just a good, old fashioned burger….but instead of ketchup, mustard, or mayo, they serve the burgers with a light layer of what I’d describe as tarter sauce.

Anyway, we all went with the burger. Fries and a drink are extra, but they have a complimentary bean-and-hush-puppies bar. (Next time, I’d definitely ditch the fries in favor of the hush puppies.) Staff was friendly and the food was freshly-made and hot. In all, the five of us ate for about $30….so this one’s a keeper.

Incidentally, Char-Burger Stock-Ade has an enormous menu….and while I failed to grab a take-out menu for display, I can tell you there’s something for everyone….even those non-beef-eaters out there. And the restaurant is right in the middle of a neat little East Texas downtown….with plenty of antique shops for your bride to check out along the way.

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Dining Travel

Blind Tiger (Shreveport, LA)

My wife and I managed a weekend getaway to Shreveport and chose to eat at the Blind Tiger our first night in town because it was within walking distance of our hotel.

My mission was clear — Cajun food or bust! We started off with an order of Crab Cakes. They came three to an order, each the size of a hamburger patty, with a creamy rue and some small crawfish. The flavor was absolutely outstanding! Crispy on the outside with warm, sweet crab on the inside and not the least hint of a fishy taste. WAHOO WARNING: This appetizer (or “appe-Tiger” as they call it) could easily serve four adults or maybe a family of five…so don’t overdo it right out of the chute.

For supper, I went with the Red Beans and Rice. It took up the entire plate and was served with an enormous wedge of cornbread. My wife had the Chicken Bacon Swiss sandwich, served with battered french fries. It, too, covered the plate. In both cases, we ended up eating only half at the restaurant and taking the other half back to the hotel. WAHOO WARNING: Seriously, each of these entrees could easily feed two people.

At this point, we were soundly stuffed. Yet, I still hadn’t learned my lesson. So I ordered not one, but TWO slices of cheesecake and had them boxed up for the walk back to the hotel. We didn’t even peek at the cheesecake until we got back to the room. And, as the Wahoo could’ve told you, WE SHOULD HAVE SHARED A SINGLE SLICE! This wasn’t your Sam’s Club cheesecake, either. Each huge slice of traditional cheesecake came with a container of chocolate drizzle, caramel drizzle, and a dollop of whipped cream. It took us two nights to polish those off, too.

So, in short, we had an appetizer, two entrees, and two desserts for $44 (including tip) and could have easily fed 4 or 5 people. If you leave this place hungry, it’s your own fault. But chances are, you’ll leave saying “Wahoo!” Oh, and be sure to tell the Wahoo howdy on your way out.

Categories
Dining

Health Camp (Waco, TX)

Image Credit: Health Camp, Waco, Texas
Image Credit: Health Camp, Waco, Texas

Now that we have a kid a Baylor, Health Camp has become a regular stop on our visits to Waco.

We were first introduced to this Waco institution years ago after the Summer Games of Texas swim meet. The same is true today as it was then: if you have designs on going to this place, go early….because it fills up quickly and the seating area is pretty small. That’s especially true today because Health Camp is adjacent to the former Elite Cafe (now Magnolia Grill, of Chip & Joanna Gaines / Fixer Upper fame).

Health Camp is a no-frills burgers-and-shakes place that also has steak sandwiches and a pretty solid grilled chicken sandwich as well. Traditional sides such as fries and tater tots are available as well as some very impressive onion rings. Tea, fountain drinks, or a terrific shake round out the experience. And, yes, those shakes are made from real ice cream.

Image Credit: Health Camp, Waco, Texas
Image Credit: Health Camp, Waco, Texas

Prices are competitive with the other eateries in Waco. Our recent party of 5 were seated and satisfied for about $50.

When you first drive up to Health Camp, don’t let the parking fool you. The biggest bulk of the cars are headed to the Magnolia Grill but the space immediately around Health Camp is reserved for its patrons. As you make a loop around the building to find a parking spot, take a peek into Health Camp to see if there’s seating inside. If not, outdoor seating is available or, if that’s not an option, get it to go. It’s worth it!

 

 

Health Camp

2601 Circle Road

Waco TX 76706-3805

Ph: (254) 752-2186

Categories
Dining

Bud Jones Bayou

Bud Jones Bayou
Bud Jones Bayou

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!

 

504 East Erwin
Tyler, TX 75702
903-363-6308
Hours:

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

Sunday: Closed