Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Our Food Tour...One Bite at a Time

    Ok, so if you follow my Blog, or like my page on Facebook or pin from my Pinterest boards, or even checked out my Instagram pictures you can kinda tell that I am a huge foodie.  I love trying restaurants and tasting their specialties and of course, taking pictures of it all.  Since we were getting ready for our big move, I thought it would be fun to sort of document our culinary journey from New Mexico to Texas to Germany.  And with the kiddos in Texas with the grandparents, it was an perfect opportunity for the hubby and I to enjoy being out together.  

     Along with packing up all our stuff, came getting rid of a lot of stuff too.  If you moved before you know what I mean.  There are piles to pack, piles for Goodwill, there are piles for the dumpster, there are piles to donate to friends/family, there are piles to keep, piles to shred, piles, piles, piles.  But one of those piles, the food pile, what do you do with all of that?  The pantry, the freezer, and  the fridge food?  We did get to pack a few unopened dry pantry items, like spices, rice, and noodles in the unaccompanied baggage.  However, all the condiments, sauces, vinegar, dressings, ice cream, frozen veggies, wine, beer, cheeses, etc. we could not take.  We graciously donated those items to some friends.  Because of the multiple food donations, it left us with very very little to eat.  So that began our Foodie Journey!

     After the kiddos left with GiGi and PapPaw, the first place we went to for lunch was downtown in Mesilla.  A little restaurant called Josefina's Old Gate.   We have never been here either, it was pretty busy for being a Sunday. I had a Chicken Salad Sandwich with Pasta Salad and the hubby had some Enchiladas. Both meals were great, but the service a little slow. Good thing we didn't have to get back to the kiddos. 


     After our lunch, we walked a little around Mesilla and decided to stop by Vintage Wines for a bit of wine tasting. We used to do a lot of wine tasting in California, but with having two kiddos now, and one being a climber and runner (ahem..little Miss K.), it's hard to do anymore.  We seized the opportunity!  The hubby tried this new local Hard Cider and I enjoyed a local Gewürztraminer.  Both were great. 

     After a glass we headed over to the Spotted Dog Brewery, which was pretty much right around the corner.  It was another place we wanted to check out before moving in a couple of days. I am not much of a beer drink, wait correction, I am NOT a beer drinker. However, I did try some. But yep, beer just isn't for me, so I gave it to the hubby.  Instead I snacked on the complementary peanuts. Yum! 

     The next day for lunch we went to Red Lobster.  It had been awhile since we have been there, and crab sounded SO good!  I had a yummy Strawberry Lemonade and a pound and a half of Snow Crab with potatoes and corn on the cob.  (I could've totally eaten all of it, but I did share a few crab legs with the hubby.)  He got a shrimp platter.  Everything was great, and gotta love the Cheddar Bay Biscuits!

     For dinner, later that day we headed over to Chili's to check out their new menu.  We don't usually go here, but after a long day of the packing up the house, we thought a margarita would hit the spot.  I tried out this Pineapple Blueberry Margarita and the Smoky BBQ Cheeseburger with Sweet Potato Fries.  I gotta say, it was pretty tasty.  The hubby tried their new Street Tacos (Chicken, Pork, and Shrimp) with a Top Shelf Margarita.

     After dinner we went over to La Posta de Mesilla, which has our FAVORITE margaritas!  I'm telling you they are the BEST in town!  They know their tequilas! 

     After another long day of sorting and packing then a relaxing pedicure at Duncan Noble Spa,  the hubby suggested a new place to try out for dinner called Aqua Reef. We had never been there before, but always wanted to. This was the perfect time.  No kids and no where to be. We started with the Pork Dumplings, then the hubby had a Spicy Tuna Roll and then a Tempura Shrimp Roll. To be honest, I am not much of a Sushi fan, so I opted for something else. I ordered a Bento Box with Bulgogi Beef, Fried Rice, Spring Rolls, and an Asian Pear Salad. I also, had some Miso Soup and a Fortune Cookie, of course. Everything was delish, wish we would've checked it out sooner.  

     One of those days we got so busy with the packers we sort of missed dinner....Hooters to the rescue. It was the only thing open late enough to grab a bite to eat. We were starving by time we got there, so ordered up the Fried Pickles.  We both had some wings, but I tried out their new Garlic Parmesean Boneless ones. They were ok (like Buffalo Wild Wings' ones better, shhhhhh, don't tell). 

     This day marks a big day for us!  We officially closed on selling our house. So for lunch we headed to De la Vega's Pecan Grill & Brewery for a celebratory lunch, which had to include champagne!  We tried out some of the new menu items, including the Pretzel Bites with Beer Cheese and the Stuffed Green Chili. For the main meal we both had the Street Tacos with the most amazingly good pickled onions.  And for us that is a HUGE deal, because we both don't usually like fresh onions on our food. But these, these were an exception! 

     Well, the day finally came when the packers loaded up our stuff. The house was empty.  Felt so strange to be leaving our home for almost three years, but then to actually be leaving the keys for a new family to make a home in it seemed even weirder. We packed up our car and drove to El Paso, where we were going to stay the night. For dinner, we we went to Block Table and Tap.  We love this place. The food is excellent and love the decor there too. I started off with an ACE Pineapple Cider and the hubby had a beer. He ordered the Pulled Pork Nachos and I got a Flatbread with Goat Cheese, Arugula, Kalamata Olives, and Procuitto. For dessert we shared a Sea Salt Caramel Custard. SO good!

     The next morning I wanted to take the hubby to my favorite bakery in town called Belle Sucre. They are known for there Macarons (y'all know those are my favorite!).  We shared a Maple Bacon Scone and got a box of Macarons to go for the road.  

     After leaving the bakery we got officially on the road to Dallas (where were had to drop the car off to be shipped to Germany).  On our way there, we decided to stop and see the Carlsbad Caverns.  I've never been in caverns before, we were both excited to see them.  Before we headed all the way up the mountain, we stopped by this place called the Cactus Cafe.  Ok, I'm going to be totally honest about this one.......first let me say usually the hubby and I will do a little research on the restaurants we stop at, well, I REALLY wish we had with this one.  And this is totally our opinion on this place.  I am not one to bash a place, in fact I usually like to give it lots of props if we love it.  But I also, feel like I need to mention this experience.  Ok, so the only reason we stopped by here is that it was the only place for food and it was so close to the caverns.  We were both hungry we thought we would give it a try.  Big mistake!  At first it looked normal, but the lack of cars in the parking lot should have tipped us.  We were greeted and got a table.  The menu was pretty plain and simple.  Hamburger, fries, salads, chicken fried steak, chicken strips, etc.  The hubby got a cheeseburger with fries, I ordered the chicken strips with fries.  Pretty safe, quick, easy food, right?  I don't know if there was one person in the kitchen or not, but it sure did take forever.  When we finally got our meal, the hubby said his burger tasted like it was previously frozen and had a strange taste.  Mine looked normal, until I cut into it.  The chicken was totally raw.  Good thing I cut into it instead of just taking a bite.  We sent it back and decided not to wait for them to make another.  Raw chicken sort of makes you loose your appetite, don't ya think?  After paying for the burger and NOT the chicken we walked across the street to the general store and pick out some snacks to hold us over.  Good thing I had a bag of jerky to snack on.  Then we drove up to the caverns.

     After wondering the caverns for awhile, we got back on the road.  Our next stop was Big Spring, Texas.  We definitely used Urban Spoon for our next dinner stop.  We found a great place called Settles Grill, which is located in the Settles Hotel.  We were really impressed with this place.  The hotel was the beautiful and the food was amazing!  I had the Roasted Beet and Goat Cheese Salad and a side of Creamy Polenta.  The hubby got a braised beef dish with mashed potatoes.  Everything was delish!  Would totally suggest this place to eat.

     The next morning we wanted to get on the road early, we still had a long way to go before we hit Dallas.  So we stopped by K Donut for a quick bite.  I got a ham and cheese croissant and the hubby got some jalapeño kolaches.  The lady who helped us was very sweet.  Wish we could've stayed to try some of their donuts.  But on the road we must go...

     With all the eating we have been doing, we wanted a healthy place for lunch, so we stopped at the Natural Food Center in Abilene.  We both got something light, organic and locally grown.  It was a bit on the pricey side, but most organic all natural places are.  I had a Strawberry Spinach Salad, Tomato Basil Soup, and a Tropical Smoothie.  The hubby had a Turkey Wrap with chips and Tortilla Soup.  Everything was tasty.

     Of course road trips wouldn't be road trips without a few snacks.  I found this Krispy Kreme Iced Coffee at HEB.  I got the Original Glazed for me and the Mocha for the hubby to try.  They were pretty good, I can't believe how much they actually tasted like the donuts.  But I still like the Starbucks one better.  And of course have to have sunflower seeds!  Love those things!

     Once we arrived in Dallas we checked into our hotel, the Curio, which so happens to be the home to Knife.  An amazing upscale restaurant operated by Top Chef contestant and Executive Chef John Tesar.  Of course, we had to go there!  Good thing the hubby booked us a reservation, it was pretty full that night.  After getting settled in our hotel room we got all dressed up and went downstairs to our waiting table.  We started our dining experience with some cocktails and some complimentary Crudités.  After we finished those we ordered the Charcuterie plate with all sorts of yummy meats and in house baked bread.  For the main course we shared the Filet Mignon with the most amazing sautéed Okra with Heirloom Tomatoes and Bacon.  For dessert we indulged in a deconstructed Caramel Pretzel.  OMG! Talk about delicious!  After dessert the chef sent out individual treats for us both.  A little amuse-bouche of sweetness.  And then if that wasn't enough, after we paid for our meal, the waiter gave us some Lemon Poppyseed muffins to have in the morning with the complimentary tea the hotel offered in the lobby.  This was an amazing meal.  We were both very satisfied and stuffed, but....

     It didn't stop us from venturing over to a local Trinity Hall Irish Pub for a pint and to watch the Spurs game.  I tried a Magner Pear Cider and the hubby got a stout.  It was a great night cap to another great day.  

     The next morning we couldn't help ourselves from going back to Knife for breakfast while our luggage was being loaded up in the car.  Steel Cut Oatmeal with an Apples & Maple Reduction and a Cappuccino...um, yes please!  The hubby tried out the Granola with a Yogurt & Berry Parfait and a cup of coffee.  Fueled with breakfast we drove to the rental car place.  We needed to rent a car so we could drop ours off at the shipyard.

     We thought the whole process of checking in the car for shipping would be quick.  Boy, were we wrong.  Once we arrived they told us to go get it washed to get the dead bugs off, after that we had to check back in to do the paperwork.  Which took awhile, after that was done, then it had to be inspected for any damage prior to shipping.  Once all that was done, we were finally given the ok to leave.  Which by then was past lunch so we were starving.  Luckily, Damian's Cajun Soul Cafe wasn't too far.  We both got some Fried Chicken, Rice and Gravy, Cornbread Muffin, I got the Mac N Cheese and Sweet Potatoes as side.  Let me just say...OMG!  This was the BEST fried chicken I've EVER had.  Totally beats the the chicken you get at KFC, Churches, and Popeye's.  We totally stuffed ourselves and ate our entire plates!

     Our next stop on our food tour brought us to Austin, where we had dinner downtown among the UT students at Cain & Abel's.  Since our last meal was so heavy, we went a little lighter.  I got a great Chicken Caesar Salad and the hubby got some Tacos and a beer.  I loved the glass they served it in, just had to take a picture.

     We finally made it to San Antonio!  After a couple of recoup days I ventured downtown to the Pearl with my sister, mom, and my little nephew.  We ate dinner at the Boiler House.  There were so many good things on the menu it was hard to choose.  We picked a few different things to try and they were all delish!  We started with the Cheese plate, then the Spinach Salad, Glazed Pork Belly, Seared Bone Marrow with Tomato & Bacon Jam, and Roasted Garlic Brussel Sprouts.  After dinner we walked down to Lick, a new all natural ice cream shop made with local grown ingredients.  It was so good!  I had a scoop of the Texas au Lait and a scoop of Toffee Dunked Donut.  My mom tried the Fresh Mint & Chocolate Chunk, my sister shared her Too Hot Chocolate (but it was too spicy for me).


     When I got home from the Pearl, the hubby wanted to go out.  So we drove to Two Step Restaurant and Cantina for some margaritas.  We heard they were really good, and they were!

     The next day was a little rainy and the kiddos were getting a little stir crazy, so loaded them up and took them bowling.  For dinner we headed to Pappasito's Cantina, definitely one of our favorite places to eat when we are home.  The hubby and I both got the Tacos Trio.  I liked the beef and pork the best, the shrimp were ah, ok.

     On Saturdays there is a big Farmer's Market at Pearl Brewery.  So, momma and I took the kiddos. It was great being out and about in the warm sun among all the vendors.  There was fruits, veggies, flowers, breads, food to try, all kinds of stuff.  We did stop by my favorite bakery down there called Bakery Lorraine.  They have recently opened a new cafe with breakfast and lunch items along with their amazing sweet treats.  I tried out their Crouque Madame, it was so good BOTH kiddos ate half of it.  Then, of course I had to get a box of Macarons for me, and the kiddos, and a box for a friend!

     Later that night we went out with some friends to Piatti for dinner.  We started with the Charcuterie platter then I enjoyed the Sautéed Veal Picatta.  After dinner we headed up to George's Keep for some amazing cocktails.  It was a great night filled with friends, food, and fun times!

     The day had finally come...time to pack the suitcases and fly on over to our new home in Germany.  We flew out of San Antonio around 1:00pm to Atlanta.  After we landed, took a bathroom break, then checked the tickets and we were due to start boarding our next flight, which, of course, was in a whole other concourse.  So we boarded the train to the next terminal.  Luckily they were still boarding and we found our seats.  Put our things away and got the kiddos all settled in.  Because it was an international flight we would be dining up in the air.  I have to admit, I am not a big fan of flying.  I used to be when I was a kid, but not so much as I've gotten older, I would rather drive somewhere then take a plane.  But I try not to let that show when I'm around the kiddos.  Anyways.....for dinner we had the Cheesy Tortellini Pasta, Caesar Salad, Dinner Roll, and Chocolate Cinnamon Brownie for dessert. (I wish I would've gotten a better picture with the plastic film off the pasta, but I was not doing to well at that particular time.  We were having a bit of turbulence right when they were serving dinner.  So all the smells of the food, the turbulence, and my nerves were NOT a good combination!  I could only eat a few bites of the roll.)  Later on, when it smoothed out and little K. woke up from her nap, we both shared some pasta and salad.

     About an hour and half before we landed they came around with breakfast.  By this time I was ready to eat.  It was a simple Egg & Cheese English Muffin Sandwich, a box of Bagel Bites with Cream Cheese, Granola Bar, and Mint, and some OJ.  I would say both meals were pretty good for flying food, but I don't fly much that a meal will be served so I can't really judge.

     Some of the hubby's coworkers came to pick us up and help us with all our luggage (4 huge suitcases, 2 carry on suitcases, 4 backpacks, a diaper bag, 2 strollers, and 2 car seats)!  Lucky for us the base we planned on staying at wasn't far from the airport.  We tried to check in the hotel, but our room wasn't ready.  So we dropped our stuff at the hotel then walked over to the PX where I discovered my favorite German treats: Kinder ChocolateHaribo Gummies, and Leibniz Butter Biscuits.

     After a trip to the PX, the in-processing, welcoming building, and housing office, we headed back to the hotel just to wait a little longer.  Finally, ready for us we hauled all our stuff, took a shower, and settled into bed for a LONG nap!  When we woke up it was after 8:00pm Germany time (1:00pm Texas time), which means the food court in the PX was closed and had to no car to get something for dinner.  The hubby asked around and the bowling alley was still open, so that's where we went for our first meal in Germany!  Salad, cheeseburgers, and hotdogs for dinner!  He had his first beer too!

     Wow!  Seems like a lot of food, now that I see it all together in pictures.  And of course, that's not every meal we had!  Those were just the picture worthy ones.  Now, I can't wait to start posting some of the amazing German food we have been enjoying here and the adventures we've had!

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