Central Park Bistro in San Mateo California has all the qualities it takes to make a memorable dining experience. Most restaurants excel in a few areas while being average in others, but the overall experience is good. Central Park Bistro excels in all areas which produces a tasteful and memorable experience….
Hamilton Texas was the site of Tastes Like Travel’s first blog where we reported on the Central Perk. Since I hunt in Hamilton I am there several times a year. On the latest trip I had the opportunity to eat at Ortega’s Mexican Restaurant. Arriving on a Saturday before noon I found several cars already in the parking lot and upon entering the restaurant I noticed it was filled with families getting their Mexican food fix. After being warmly greeted at the door we were immediately seated and our exuberant waitress was there and ready for us to give instructions.
The menu was full of enticing dishes so I knew this would be a hard decision. Ortega’s Mexican Restaurant also has a few chalk board specials to consider and, if you arrive during the week, you could also choose from various lunch specials at a reasonable price. After a coin flip I order chicken flautas. My dining partner, David Couch who is a well known attorney in Rockwall Texas, decided he would eat the beef enchilada dinner. We ordered and before we could check our Facebook pages our meal arrived. My flautas were good, although a little overcooked, and the rice and beans were just the way I like them. I had a fair sized potion if guacamole and sour cream to dip my flautas in. Esquire Couch was pleased with his enchiladas and commented that he had eaten here several times and was generally pleased with his food each time. There were no disappointments on this day either.
The service was excellent. We were greeted by a friendly hostess and our waitress was friendly, jovial and did a fine job waiting on us. If you ever find yourself on highway 281I would recommend that you try Ortega’s Mexican Restaurant in Hamilton Texas. The decor is a little confusing and could use an update but don’t let that discourage you from eating there. It is not the best I have had and is not gourmet Mexican food, but it is decent food and a good dining experience.
Birmingham, Alabama was built around the iron industry in the 19th century. Today, a gigantic Vulcan stands watch over a multi-faceted town, with a variety of ‘burbs’ with distinct personalities, like Mountain Brook and Soho. And in Colonial Brookwood Village is an upscale shopping and dining plaza, where …
Austin Texas is a funky Town, especially in the South Congress area. Long known as a hang out for hippies of all ages, Austin offers a variety of shopping and restaurant experiences. From 5 Star Restaurants to Trailers (yes trailers) you will find every sort of food and beverage here.
On a recent visit to Austin, I was compelled to stop at the South Congress Food Trailer Park. This unique restaurant row has 11 unique eateries all housed in trailers. On any give day you will see the professional, students, and average Joe’s grabbing lunch or dinner at the Food Trailer Park. I was hungry but I had to make a decision on where I wanted to eat. My choices were Hey Cupcake, Austin Frigid, Fry Baby, Pitalicious, Diver City Grill, Coat & Thai, Wurst Tex, The Might Cone, and The Original New Orleans Po Boy Gumbo Shop. The choices were overwhelming, but my fondness for New Orleans Fare landed me at the Latter.
The Original New Orleans Gumbo Shop boast original NOLA food, and one glance confirmed that was no exaggeration. The menu was full of traditional New Orleans dishes and it was a difficult decision. After some time I settled on the Oyster Po Boy combo. As I waited for my fresh made Po Boy it became obvious that this trailer was the real thing. The biggest clue was a picture of the owner, Darold Gordon, dressed in his Saint Josephs Day Chiefs outfit. If you don’t know about the Saint Josephs Day event in New Orleans you should check it out. Needless to say I knew this food was going to be traditional and original.
When my food came I took one bite and was rewarded with the taste and texture of Now Orleans. The Po Boy bread was great and the oysters were perfect. I could not have asked for a better lunch. The Po Boy Combo was prices well and came with Cajun French Fries and an drink. I savored every bite. After I ate I talked to Darold about NO and his trailer restaurant. He was genuine and took the time to chat and even posed for a picture. Tastes Like Travel highly recomend having Lunch or Dinner here. It is true New Orleans cooked and serve by NOLA natives. Ask about Saint Josephs Day while you are there.
If you are in Austin make sure you stop at the Trailer Park for a quick bite to eat. It is a unique dining experience and well worth the time and money.
Tastes Like Travel recently stumbled upon a little hole in the wall restaurant while visiting Nashville Tennessee. Mama Josie’s Home Cooking caught my eye while searching for lunch. There was a woman out in front of the store holding a sign that said Soul Food Meat & 3. The restaurant was located in a small strip mall on North Gallatin Road. Holding true to the mission of trying and reporting on small local restaurants, I had to try Mama Josie’s.
When I walked into the restaurant I was directed to the chalk board menu (it was actually a dry erase board but the intent was the same). It was obvious that this was a true Soul Food Restaurant specializing in Home Cooked meals. The choices of the day were Chicken and Dumplings, Hamburger Steak, Meatloaf and Fried Chicken. I would have had the Fried Chicken but I had a bad experience with fried chicken the night before at Jack Daniels Restaurant in the Gaylord Hotel in Nashville. The vegetable choices were macaroni and cheese, green beans, mashed potatoes, turnip greens, white beans and creamed corn. I realized that the meat & 3 means one meat dish and your choice of 3 vegetables. I opted for the meat & 2 for $7.00 and chose meatloaf with turnip green and white beans. The meal also included either a roll or corn bread. Other choices included a vegetable plate, individual sides, and dessert.
While waiting for my food to be prepared I chatted with the nice woman behind the counter. I learned that Mama Josie’s Home Cooking had just opened 5 months ago. The menu is set Monday through Friday with various meats and vegetables. Some of the offering include Neck Bones. Pork Chops, Fried fish and other soul food choices. On the weekend the meals are put up one the chalk board.
I sat down with my home style cooking and began to eat. It was good from the first bite. It tasted like the Home Style Cooking my Mama used to make and reminding me of Sunday dinners when I was a kid. The Meatloaf was good and the vegetables were outstanding. I could tell that Mama Josie was a real home style, soul food cook who know what she was doing. I will definitely try and come back and sample more from this restaurant. The people who worked there were extremely friendly and courteous and I felt right at home here. I am sure you will as well.
If you are ever in Nashville, Tastes Like Travel recommends you get off the beaten path and go to Mama Josie’s. It is Home Style Soul Food done well. You will like this restaurant if you like best soul food, soul food chicken, soul food mac and cheese, home style cooking, soul food cafe, soul food cooking, and vegan soul food. Now Go, Eat and Explore.
Granted there are plenty of travel and food blogs in the universe. Some of them are really good and some are so so. It is not our intent to compete with these sites. At Taste Like Travel, our goal is to bring you a different perspective on Travel, Food, Festivals and Fun things to do.We don’t go to the popular, every day places that appeal to the masses. We go to the small, unique and out of the way places normally patronized by the local folks. When we go there we talk to the owners, the customers, and anyone who will tell us something unique or show us something extraordinary or feed us some good food and drink. We travel for the experience and to discover something new, not to follow in the footsteps of someone else. When we take a trip we don’t plan where we will eat or drink, instead we drive around until we see something new and different and we try it and report what we find, good or bad. We really like Wineries, Family Owned Restaurants, Museums, Festivals, Live Music, Cemeteries, and other Unique Opportunities.
In 2010 we visited Phoenix Arizona, Las Vegas Nevada, Durant Oklahoma, Hunt Texas, and San Antonio Texas to name a few. We had some fun and adventures discovering America. In 2011 we have trips planned to Seattle Washington, Marathon Key, Orlando Florida, Ocala Florida, and Las Vegas. We also plan to wander along the back roads of Texas and Oklahoma. We guarantee that our adventures will be worth reading about. Why don’t you join us as we discover Unique Food, Fun and Festivities.
Based in Rockwall Texas, we feel it is our responsibility to review everything Rockwall, so on our site you will also see plenty of information on Food, Fun and Festivities here in our home town including local menus and events.
Follow us on Twitter, Facebook, RSS or just bookmark our site and visit often. We want you to have fun too, So join us on our adventures. You will be glad you did.
On a recent visit to Winnsboro Texas TastesLikeTravel.com had dinner at Brewbaker’s Restaurant and Pub. The owners at the Hubble House Bed and Breakfast recommended it. They also gave us a 10% off coupon so we gave it a try. We arrived after 8 p.m. on a Saturday night and there were quite a few patrons in the restaurant, which we thought was encouraging.
Brewbaker’s is located in the Andrews Bank Building built in 1901, and because of the layout in an older building the restaurant is divided into 4 areas: The Front, the Back, an upstairs overflow area and the outside patio. We sat in the Back which turned out to be the bar area with several tables. The decor and ambiance were more pub oriented.
We were greeted and seated in good order but there appeared to be some discussion between wait staff as to who would be waiting on us. As we waited to be waited on we looked at the menu. The menu tells us that Brewbaker’s wants to be an upscale restaurant serving steak and fish recipes that were, on paper, unique. The prices were reasonable as well. It became obvious though that this establishment was having a problem establishing its identity. Brewbaker’s was established in 2009 and it became clear that the owner had yet to determine its style.
The waitress took our order which included a Filet Mignon and Royal Beef Tenderloin, both ordered medium rare. As a starter we ordered Escargot Burgundy Style. Our salads came out before the appetizer so we moved them to the side. The Escargot was very good. The snails were tender and the spicy Lemon Butter sauce added to the dish. The bread that came with the escargot was over toasted though.
We ordered wine to have with our meal but were surprised by the lack of good wine available. Our choices were limited to some lower end wines. I love a good glass of wine with dinner, but quite honestly there were none to be found. For a pub I also found it interesting that there were no draught beers and only a handful of bottled beers available. We had the more expensive $5 dollar wine.
As we ate our warm salad in a small bowl our dinner arrived. The menu said that both our meals would be served with vegetables and mash potatoes but our plates had some sort of a hash browned (reused) potato and some corn. Initially I though I was eating at a bad school cafeteria or some diner that served canned vegetables. The portions were small and the presentation was not impressive. I had literally eight stew like pieces of beef tenderloin very overdone, (not medium rare for sure) and with a strong taste of marinade. The Filet Mignon was no better as it was severely overdone and had a slight off taste. After 2 bites of steak my wife abandoned the whole dinner, and I struggled through my meal ignoring taste for sustenance. This was not going to be one of those outstanding dining experiences.
The waitress asked us if everything was OK and we responded not really. She was kind enough to give us an additional 20% off. But 30% off did not make up for the experience.
Interestingly enough the owner (at least I think it was the owner) was eating with another couple at a table adjacent to ours. At no time did he ask how our meal was, or ask us anything about our experience. The wait staff was nice, but clearly unprofessional and disorganized.
I think Brewbaker’s has the potential to be a really nice place to eat. It could even have several identities like a pub at lunch and a nice restaurant at dinner. The problem is that it tries to be all of these at the same time and fails at all of them because of it. With a little training, consistency, and a clear idea of what it is to be, Brewbaker’s can be a great place to dine. For now it is a place in transition, and at times can be quite good, but for Tastesliketravel.com it was mediocracy at its best. If Brewbaker’s Pub establishes its identity it will be fine; if not, expect the unexpected.
The first trip to Seattle is always a culture shock for a Southern Man (sorry Neil Young). As we left the hotel and walked towards Pike Place Market I swear I could hear Nirvana in my head. We were hungry and by the time we walked the 6 blocks to the market we had 3 different referrals for a place to eat. Once we got in the market it became clear what our dinner would be. In the market vendors offer cups of this and samples of that so we decided that our dinner would be whatever we saw that we liked as we strolled through the Market area. My mind was reeling as as it took on sensory attacks of food, drink and the color Pikes Market had to offer. You can’t help but stop at every stand just to see what was offered and hear the merchants sing their Sirens song.
The first food came from a seafood vendor ( I’m sorry I forgot the name as my mouth was watering from anticipation) who was offering cups of Dungeness Crab cocktail. For $7 you get a cup of fresh crab with lemon and hot sauce. I could have stood there all night, but we moved on. As night approached (at 4:45 I might add) the sounds of music came from virtually every street corner. The original Starbucks had musicians waiting in line to perform with their guitar cases and tip jars begging for dollar bills. You could literally hear music from 3 directions at once. We wandered in an alley across from the market and came across Pike Place Chowder. I love clam chowder and I thought I had tasted some good chowder before. WRONG. Pike Place Chowder boasted it’s award winning recipes. I had the champion chowder and my wife had the seafood bisque. I should use expletives here as with out a doubt both were the best we had ever had. Rich and meaty and with ingredients that made this dish far and above anything I have ever tasted. If you are in Seattle this is a must eat place.
It was time for a drink. We walked back through the market and settled into the Athenian Seafood Restaurant and Bar. It was happy hour (lucky us) and with a purchase of a drink you are eligible for a discounted appetizer. One drink, one appetizer – interesting concept! I had a martini and my better half ordered wine and then we had the waitress bring us some oysters on the half and fried calamari with Jalapeno Aioli sauce. For you southerners the oysters in the Northwest are slightly different that the gulf oysters we are used too. They have a stronger seafood taste, less of a salt taste and are slightly smaller. But still worth having if you are an oyster nut. The Calamari was obviously homemade and had a much better taste than the frozen and fried we are used to. The view of the Seattle Harbor is spectacular and you can tell this place is favored by the locals.
If you want a taste of Seattle then do the Dinner Stroll at Pike Place Market. You will find something you will like and have fun along the way. More coming from Tastesliketravel.com in Seattle.