Categories
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

Pop’s Honey Fried Chicken

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!

Categories
Dining

Taste of Italy by the Lake

Taste of Italy by the Lake, Hawkins, Texas
Taste of Italy by the Lake, Hawkins, Texas

So, you’re from the Big City and you miss great Italian food?  Looking for a great ‘date night’ location in the sticks of East Texas?  Give Taste of Italy a try in Hawkins, Texas.

You’ll probably need to pull out your GPS to get there, but Taste of Italy by the Lake is worth the drive.  They have a tremendous menu that rivals big chain restaurants and each entree could easily serve two people.  My wife went with her tradtional favorite, Fettuccine Alfredo, and it was creamy and delicious.  I had the Chicken Cacciatore which was unbelievably rich with the right amount of peppers, garlic, onions, and sauce.  Service is excellent and downright friendly, making Taste of Italy a great place for dining-for-two, a family get-together, or even a company dinner.

Taste of Italy sits directly alongside Lake Hawkins (thus, the “by the Lake” distinction) and features live entertainment on the weekends.  Reservations are not required but recommended if you are planning to eat during dining “prime time.”

Taste of Italy by the Lake:

2448 County Road 3440

Hawkins, TX 75765-5041

(903) 769-0600

Categories
Dining

Jalapeno Tree

Tasty, but I don’t understand why Jalapeno Tree is so expensive. Granted, two can have lunch for less than $25, but if you take the family of five on, say, a Saturday night….you can count on spending upwards of $60.

The food is very good….and the guacamole “green sauce” is a delicious compliment to the salsa.

Don’t get me wrong, I really like Jalapeno Tree. But be prepared to take a hit in the wallet if you go outside of the lunchtime window.

Plenty of locations throughout East Texas. Check ’em out!

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.

Categories
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.

Categories
Dining

Mama’s Restaurant

Took the family of five to Mama’s Restaurant for our last ‘lunchtime with Daddy’ before school starts. Chips and salsa to start, then came the Chicken Strips for my daughter, a pair of Burger Club Sandwiches for the boys, Quesadillas with rice and refried beans for my bride, and Grilled Chicken with fried okra and green beans for me. By the time our food was distributed around the table, you’d think another five family members were on their way! Huge portions and the side dishes were especially big … unusual for most restaurants these days.

My grilled chicken was delicious! It was prepared with fajita-like seasonings and would’ve easily covered not one, but two buns if ordered as a sandwich. The boys had no trouble polishing off their Burger Club sandwiches (basically, hamburgers on wheat bread with lettuce and tomato, cut into club sandwich wedges). My daughter couldn’t even finish her chicken strips and my wife ooo’ed and aaah’ed through her quesadillas.

$51 with tip….but the prices are reasonable, actually. I probably could’ve gone with waters all around and passed on the chips & salsa to save about $8. But I’m a chip-and-salsa-aholic, so that’s hard to pass up.

But we’ll be stopping by to visit Mama more often! I may even take MY Mama there!

Categories
Dining

El Mejicano Mexican Restaurant

Mexican food along the lines of a tacqueria…but with some TexMex and American favorites that gives El Mejicano broad appeal. At $8.99, that’s a little more than I’d generally want to spend for lunch…but that’s a competitive price for a buffet. Overall, you’ll not see this much variety in a buffet outside of a Chinese food restaurant. And be sure to save room for the dessert bar!

Categories
Dining

Doc’s Pizza

Pizza shouldn’t be complicated….and Doc’s keeps it simple. Great assortment of traditional pizzas. I’m a thin-crust guy (unless I can get my hands on a good Chicago-style pizza) and Doc’s pizzas have a nice, almost cracker-like crust. Toppings are generous and evenly distributed over the entire pie.

Our first visit to Doc’s was after church one Sunday and they’d apparently just opened because the (very tiny!) seating area was cold. We ordered salads while we waited and they were nothing more than a few leaves of lettuce and a dollop of salad dressing in a styrofoam bowl. Overall, the “dine-in” experience wasn’t worth the overall investment.

But if you want some pretty good takeout, Doc’s is a great option…..especially if you can get your hands on a coupon from their website.

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