Saturday, May 5, 2012

La Hacienda in Albuquerque NM…

La Hacienda Burrito Express

ristraWhen you travel to New Mexico and you are a foodie of any type you have to eat some classic New Mexican food smothered in either red or green chili, or both as is my preference. Now the chili in New Mexico isn’t just any chili – it is the Green Chili also called the Hatch Green Chili. In and around Demming and Hatch, New Mexico is where most all of these chilis are grown. Green Chili comes from freshly picked chilies roasted over open fire until the skin peels away. Red Chili come from the ripened red chilies that are dried and then reconstituted into a thick pasty red sauce.

These chilies will spice up and flavor any food item you  order from the unassuming little spot in east Albuquerque called the La Hacienda Burrito Express. You find this unpretentious little spot at 4300 Eubank Blvd NE in Albuquerque, NM. Order in or to go at their drive through.

They specialize in burritos and I would recommend you get one with Carne Adobada and make sure to order it with both red and green chili sauce. Below is the sign at the take out window so you can see the variety of food they have to offer as a quick take out meal that will beat the socks off of any fast you have had before.

La Hacienda Burrito Express Menu

We even stopped by one morning and had their Huevos Rancheros for breakfast and all I can say is order it… This fantastic little Road Treat is not only super tasty but it also won’t put a dent in your eating out budget…

Friday, May 4, 2012

Luckenbach, Texas…

2012-04-26 Luckenback etc 020

2012-04-26 Luckenback etc 009“Everybody is somebody in Luckenbach” 

That is the saying in this small Texas town but it is here that one can sit and become part of the Texas music scene while sipping on a cold Shiner Bock (Texas original) beer. Just a few miles outside of Fredricksburg, Texas (also worth a visit) you will discover this little Texas gem!

2012-04-26 Luckenback etc 028It all started many years ago when Jacob Luckenbach (1817-1911) first colonized this area. Luckenbach was first established as a community trading post in the 1840’s or so they say. In 1970 the whole town was put up for sale and bought by a Texas icon named Hondo Crouch. Shortly thereafter musicians such as Jerry Jeff Walker, singer/songwriter Steve Fromholz, and the massive hit from Waylon Jennings & Willie Nelson (“Luckenbach Texas (Back to the Basics)” had turned this sleepy little town into a worldwide destination.

cold Texas beersSo when you are traveling in the area of Fredricksburg, Texas look for the little town of Luckenbach. Walk into the trading post and saunter over to the bar and order you a cold Lone Star or Shiner Beer. Step outside into the courtyard and take a seat… Then soak in all that there is in this spot as you listen to whomever may be picking on their guitar and singing a few songs…. This is a chance to experience a bit of pure Texas culture…

Home of the armadillo

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Greune Texas and Bubba’s Big Deck…

Texas windmill

 Gruene, Texas (pronounced Green) is a small tGreune Hall wallown near New Braunfels and practically part of it now.  The town of Gruene was established in the mid-1840’s, is now mostly a tourist spot with lots of souvenir shops, restaurants, boutiques, and even a winery. One of its main attractions is Gruene Hall, the oldest dance hall in Texas.

Gruene Hall is the oldest continually running dance hall in the entire state of Texas!!! Built in 1878 it has had the likes of many great singers 2012-04-24 Lake Pointe RV Resort 081and songwriters such as Lyle Lovett, Jerry Jeff Walker and Robert Earl Keen.. Have a cold one a the bar while perusing the nostalgia and the photos of prior musicians on the wall.

Another place to have a frosty beverage is nearby at the Gristmill River Restaurant and Bar. It was converted from a cotton gin and it is located just beneath the water tower bearing the Gruene name. Sit out on the deck on the banks of the river and just enjoy the day.

Greune Hall BarBut the best place to have a cold beverage is just down the road from Gruene Hall. Just across the Guadalupe River bridge and on your right is a small biker bar called Bubba’s Big Deck. This is truly a road treat and it is a great place to stop and have a few cold ones ($2.50 per can). Out back of the open aired bar is a large multileveled deck that takes you right down to the Guadalupe River’s edge. It is great to sit on one of the towering bald cypress roots and take in the sounds of the rapids just upstream of the bar. Watch the “toobers” and kayakers roll by or just have a cold one and dip your toes in the chilly waters of the Guadalupe River…

Bubba’s Big Deck

Hard to beat a nice day on the banks of the Guadalupe while having a cold one in Gruene,Texas…

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Road Treats in Bryan/College Station, TX…

2012-03-29 Bryan Texas 055

Since we once resided in this area and have recently returned I thought I would highlight a few of the spots here in Bryan/College Station that might qualify as road treats.

First I would point out that one of my favorite type of  foods is Tex Mex and although my favorite Tex Mex restaurant in Bryan recently closed there are still quite a few good ones to pick from. My favorite one for cheese enchiladas is Casa Rodriguez. Found in the renovated downtown area, the address is 300 North Bryan Avenue  Bryan, TX. Make sure to go on a Wednesday night for the enchilada specials and you can order my favorite”El Memo” enchilada plate for only $5.99. Along with their complimentary hot sauce and chips you just can’t go wrong.

imageNow if it is Bar B Q you are after look no further than C&J’s BBQ. Now I admit I like just about everything on their menu and they feature a daily special that helps one try all the various fares. Three meats stand out in their lineup however, ribs, smoked turkey, and their pork tenderloin.Sharon and my daughter Katie, however, really love the brisket. Get a side of their homemade potato salad, ask for few slices of bread (complimentary) and you will then be ready to enjoy your feast.

There are many other great spots that I will just mention along with what we like to order:

Thai food – Pad Thai at Rosie's Phos at 2001 Texas Ave S # 300, College Station, TX

Burgers – The Death Burger at the Chicken Oil Company at 3600 South College Avenue,
Bryan, TX

Wings –Best wings at Fitzwillies Bar and Grill at 303 University Dr. 77840, College Station, TX (they also have a burger challenge called Willies “Big Ass” Burger – 4lbs of beef with 16 slices of cheese and a lb. of fries – not for the light eater)

Mexican Seafood – Gallitos Fish at Los Cucos. One location in College Station and one in Bryan.

There are many other good eateries in the area but the ones mentioned are our personal all time favorites.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Rattlesnake Saloon, Tuscumbia, AL…

2012-03-10 Red Bay Alabama and Natchez Trace 075

2012-03-10 Red Bay Alabama and Natchez Trace 073If you are ever stuck in Red Bay, Alabama or you find yourself nearby Tuscumbia Alabama you have got to go find the Rattlesnake Saloon…

There are not a lot of interesting places of interest in this area but the 23 mile trek over to the Rattlesnake Saloon is more than worth the effort as this is a real unique Road Treat!!!  Upon arrival you really aren’t sure you are at the right spot as it appears you are at a working ranch with a dirt parking lot but the signage all suggests you are in the right place.

2012-03-10 Red Bay Alabama and Natchez Trace 0782012-03-10 Red Bay Alabama and Natchez Trace 101The saloon is situated next to a western resort of sorts and there is a gift shop, RV hookups ($20 a night) and horse corrals. When you park your car a truck drives over sporting a Rattlesnake Saloon logo and a kind western looking gentleman informs you that he is your taxi to the saloon. He gave us a card with the resort number and showed us the huge map of horse trails on the resort and then off we went...

The truck drives past the gift shop and the pool for overnight guests and then we disappear over the edge down a steep, winding hill that suddenly gives way to an amazing view below. To your right is a large cave with small waterfalls pouring over the edge, and inside the 2012-03-10 Red Bay Alabama and Natchez Trace 098cave is an outdoor stage, lots of tables and chairs as well as an indoor saloon. To the left is a deck overlooking a tree-lined river. The views are breathtaking, I can’t imagine how wonderful this place would be in late spring and early summer.

The saloon itself has a great vibe, decent beer selection and friendly staff making for a great dinner or happy hour setting. Now let me warn you they only serve beer, no wine or spirits, and no alcohol is served before 5 PM!!! Also you better bring you ID since they believe no ID no beer… Our choice of some nice draft Yuengling seemed to be a perfect choice to enjoy the grandeur before us. What can I say… DON’T MISS THIS PLACE!!!!

2012-03-10 Red Bay Alabama and Natchez Trace 080

Monday, February 13, 2012

Blues Fest at Buckingham Bar, Fort Myers, FL…


2012-02-11 Buckingham Blues Bar Bluesfest 015

The Buckingham Bar is a funky little tavern down the road a piece from North Fort Myers. Occasionally the bar has a Blues Festival and there was one on a Saturday while we were there so off we went…

2012-02-11 Buckingham Blues Bar Bluesfest 014The Buckingham Blues Bar claims that the they are world famous and after reading the stories about how the owner spent $80K to buy a run down bar,some surrounding property and converted it into what it is today.  It is now a funky bar with a beautiful outdoor patio/garden area where a good sized stage can host bands for a wonderful outdoor concert experience…

If you go to the Blues Fest grab a couple of  folding collapsible chairs so you can sit anywhere you want. Make the short drive to the bar, park (free), and make your way to the gate to pay your $7 per person to enter. Now the bar is nothing special as it would always be classified as a dive bar but I say that in a good way since we both love dive bars more than the chains since the people you meet in them are always way more interesting!!!

2012-02-11 Buckingham Blues Bar Bluesfest 003

The day we were there we got to hear there the music had just started and we heard a fun and energetic band named Diddley Squat getting down… The saxophonist was fabulous and made several forays into the audience to serenade several of the ladies in the crowd. Of the three bands that played this day, we felt they put on the best show.

2012-02-11 Buckingham Blues Bar Bluesfest 006










You never know what cast of characters will show up on stage but you bet whoever shows up will be able to play some pretty mean jazz…

If you are ever in this area you really need to check out the World Famous Buckingham Blues Bar. Why, they even have a beer drinking mule named Bucky but if you want to see Bucky partake in an adult beverage you will need to buy an Amber Bock since that is apparently the only beer Bucky drinks…

Monday, January 23, 2012

Shark Valley–Everglades National Park, FL…

Purple Gallinule

Baby GatorAnother really special park can be found in Shark Valley at the Everglades National Park. There are several way to see this park… on foot, on bike, or take the guided tram. We decided to do the wonderful bike ride there since we had brought our bikes along and the weather was perfect…

The sign to Shark Valley is a bit hard to see but the cars parked all along the roadsideGreat Blue Heron are not easy to miss. As is typical on weekends, the park’s parking lot was already full and cars so cars were parked along the state highway. We found a spot and parked, took the bikes off of the bike rack and rode to the pay station where we flashed our National Parks Pass, which will save you the $5.00 per head entry fee.

The bike trail is a 15 mile paved road with no hills to climb or rough terrain to traverse making for a nice 2 or 3 hour ride. We know this now after having done the loop but when we first arrived we planned to ride 1-2 hours around what I recalled was a 6 mile loop… but is is much longer, ooops!!!

Observation Tower

The first half of the loop was teeming with various birds and oodles of alligators. We stopped for many photo opportunities but eventually made it to the observation tower just short of halfway on the loop trail. It was then that I began to suspect the bike trail was closer to 9 miles… Not to be deterred we went up the tower to look over the expanse that is the Everglades…

We continued on the trail which I assumed to be about the same distance as the first part only to discover it wasn’t as it meandered back and forth along the marsh lands. The first half of the trail had been a straight shot to the tower so as time passed we both started to get a bit tired and cranky. Because we didn’t eat lunch before we began the ride, this may have attributed to some of the crankiness along with the extra 3-4 miles of unplanned riding we undertook…


If you do this ride I may recommend that you only ride to the observation town and then back along the same trail since the best wildlife viewing is on this half of the trail. Plan on a long and tiring ride in the Florida heat and as we found out we both needed some time to recover from the long day it took riding the full loop…

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Road Treats of Key West, FL…


Some of our favorite things we did while here in the Keys:image

  • Best Happy Hour outside of Key West – Hogfish Bar and Grill
  • Best Happy Hour in Key West – Boat House Bar
  • Best local food establishment in Key West – Mr. Z’s
  • Best Beach – Higgs Beach
  • Best Happy Hour Menu – Boat House Bar
  • Best Street to Walk – Duval Street, Key West
  • Best Event to Watch/Photograph - Key West Race Week
  • Best Biking – Anywhere in Key West
  • Best People Watching – 100 to 300 block of Duval when cruise ships are in
  • Best Bartender – Patty Wacker at the Hogfish Bar and Grill
  • Most fun event – Key West Seafood Festival

Sailing Regatta