DESTINATIONS, Restaurants & Bars, Road Trips, Shopping, TRAVEL, United States

On the Road Again – San Antonio Stroll

Heath, TX
Ready to hit the road!


Any day I’m traveling is a good day. That doesn’t necessarily mean it’s a good hair day. Looking in the mirror for the first time that morning was a startling experience. Maybe I should have just washed my hair again, but instead I decided a few hot rollers would do the trick.

bad hair day, heath TX
The taming of Big Hair!

On the Road Again

Bad hair aside, I was almost giddy at the prospect of traveling.  Deb texted she was on her way, so I stacked my luggage outside the garage and went about those last minute things you have to do before you leave home for several days.  Hubby was going to be there, so I didn’t have quite as many to do.  He’d keep the home fires burning.

My partner-in-crime arrived.  We loaded up the car, took a few photos and headed south.  The first stop was a brief one in Waco.  No sightseeing, even though Waco is a great little town for that.  Just a little restroom break, a morning snack and a some gas – then we were back on the road.

The morning snack was pretty darned good.  I don’t usually go to Burger King, but it was convenient.  Deb had some kind of coffee concoction that was really more like a chocolate shake with a little coffee flavoring.  Since we decreed nothing we ate during the weekend would have any calories, I had a cinnamon roll.

Dining and Shopping in Round Rock

Mimi's Cafe, Round Rock TX
Cousin Brenda and the sneaky ‘fro. It’s trying to make a comeback!

Next stop was lunch with my Cousin Brenda in Round Rock.  The city’s biggest claim to fame is that it’s just north of Austin, but they also have a pretty good outlet mall.  We met Brenda at Mimi’s Cafe.

Can you say Cinnamon Spice Muffin?  When they said Cinnamon Spice, I thought Spice Cake, but am I ever glad the waitress set me straight, because I almost opted for a Blueberry Muffin.  Instead, out came this amazing pastry filled with walnuts and dusted with cinnamon sugar.  My official entree, which was delicious, was a chicken crepe, but the muffin stole the show.

With Round Rock Premium Outlet Mall just next door, we should at least drop by right?  We’d thought about making a sight-seeing stop or two down in Austin, but Brenda said the traffic wasn’t worth it.  She told us about a new toll road and said we should be headed south by three.  That only left us an hour and a half, so we shopped with some very good luck.

This year has been so crazy that even though my bestie gave me a handful of gift cards to Bath and Body Works for Christmas, I had never gotten around to using them.  Since this was the first store we saw, I whipped out my cards and went to town.  I love my daily bubble bath, but I usually opt for whatever bubbles I can find in the grocery store.  The gift cards allowed me to stock up on all kinds of amazing scents the grocery store will never smell.

A few more steps down the sidewalk a few steps were a pair of my favorite clothing stores, Jones of New York and Kasper.  The good news was the great sale they were having.  The bad news?  It was a store-closing sale – and not just those stores, all the JNY and Kasper outlet stores.  I can’t tell you how much of my wardrobe comes from those two outlet stores.

Apparently, someone bought them and decided to get out of the outlet business, to focus on their department store business.  That makes me sad, because I am not a department store shopper.  I really don’t need any clothes because I still haven’t worn everything I inherited from Mom and Aunt Edie, so I don’t hang out in department stores.  I’ll visit an outlet mall, because it’s less hassle and I find real bargains on clearance.  Every once and a while I’ll stop by and find a few items at give-away prices to keep my look fresh or to replace something I’ve worn to thread-barrenness.  Kasper and JNY have been two of my favorites, I guess because they were favorites of Mom and Aunt Edie.

I did virtually steal a navy blue sundress and a sweater set, because the prices were jaw-dropping.  If you have an outlet mall near by, run over there and check out the savings.  Gorgeous stuff, great prices.

The hour and a half we had for shopping disappeared into the plastic bags hanging on our arms, so it was time to go.  We hugged my cousin’s neck and took her toll road to San Antonio.  Come back next week and I’ll tell you all about our interesting stay at an not so marvelous hotel bargain.

DESTINATIONS, Restaurants & Bars, Road Trips, TRAVEL, United States

Austin’s Amazing Amaya’s

Ranchero Deluxe, Amaya's Taco Village, Austin TX
Ranchero Deluxe


On our way out of Austin a few weeks ago, we breakfasted with my cousin and her husband at one of their favorite spots, Amaya’s Taco Village. It’s right on I-35, making it easy off/easy on.

What Decor?  What Atmosphere?

Amaya’s is all about the food, because there isn’t anything else.  Oh, there’s a spacious parking lot and a very clean building, but you have to bring your atmosphere with you.  The walls are beige with basic orange peel texturing and the floor in linoleum.  The tables are Formica.  Most of the dishes are of either white or beige melamine.  The flatware was really flat (you know what I’m talking about).  In other words, we wouldn’t have been there if my cousin hadn’t taken us.

But my oh my oh my, are we ever glad my cousin took us.  I ordered the Ranchero Deluxe.  I knew I could eat the eggs and some carne guisada.  I even planned to take a few bites of the chorizo con huevo.  Yum, yum, yum.  My cousin and her husband got huevos this and that, but Mr. Bill was not feeling very brave.  He ordered the Pancake Plate.

The Pancake Plate, Amaya's Taco Village, Austin TX
The Pancake Plate

When they delivered the food to us, they seemed to put about a million dishes on the table.  There was queso with carne, salsas of every description, tortillas and on and on and on.

I tucked into the eggs first and they’d gotten them perfect.  I order my eggs hard, because I don’t like the runny stuff, but I really don’t want hard yellow disks in the center of my whites.  The guy in the kitchen knew that somehow.  Nothing ran, but the yolk had just gelled the very second he took them off the gill.  Then there was the carne guisada.  Tender beef in a perfectly spiced sauce.  Nothing to take the top of your head off, just delicious.  I even had a few bites of the chorizo.  If I’d had any room, I might have eaten more, because they were good, but I was full.  The refried beans and potatoes looked tasty, but they didn’t seem to mesh with my South Beach Diet.

Bill seemed to forget that he’s on the South Beach Diet with me.  Yes, that’s a piece of sausage peeking out from under that huge pancake and that’s real syrup he poured on there.  Way to support me, Pancake Man.

With a hearty breakfast under our belts it was time to head further south.  We discovered the wonderful little town of Gruene, so come back next week so I can tell you all about it.

DESTINATIONS, Restaurants & Bars, Road Trips, TRAVEL, United States

Austin’s Cover 3

From the Austin Chronicle
From the Austin Chronicle


Next on my South Texas Ramble was Austin. Now there are lots of reasons to go to Austin, but this time my primary objective was spending time with one of my favorite cousins.  However, while I was there, she was busy.  She’s an Altrusan and they had a fund raiser that evening.  Being a long time fan of Altrusa International, I was thrilled to participate.  The event was sort of a happy hour at Cover 3, an Austin hotspot.

We were able to visit with my cousin for a little while before she scurried away to set things up.  We arrived later with her husband.  Let me tell you, Cover 3 is very popular.  It was early on a Tuesday night, but you’d have thought we arrived at 7:30 on a Saturday evening.

It’s a Busy Place

Cover 3 is a sports bar and restaurant.  The buzz was roaring when we arrived and the big screens were beaming action into the crowd.  We asked after the Altrusans and were directed upstairs.  WOW – how do you spell success?  Every available couch and chair was full and making out way through the crowd was a challenge.  In one corner folks were chatting up The Daytripper  and in the other they were checking out the raffle baskets.  We dutifully bought a handful of raffle tickets and looked for a place to have some dinner.  My cousin had worried the proceeds of the event wouldn’t cover the minimum for booking the space.  I think her worries were groundless.  We gave up and found a table downstairs.

I’ve recently become a South Beach Dieter and this vacation was a trial run of what life is like on the diet.  I quickly noticed the things I can eat are usually on the more expensive parts of the menu, but they’re also among the most delicious.  Hubby had shrimp tacos and my cousin’s husband a burger.  I ordered Sauteed Gulf Snapper with Fresh Blue Crab.  Everyone else was very happy with their choices, but I’ve got to tell you, I was BEYOND happy.  If this is dieting, then I can live with it.  Since the menu didn’t say anything about the huge mound of mashed potatoes which would accompany my entree, I didn’t know I needed to select another side, but Bill was thrilled to clean those non-SBD potatoes off my dish and the huge entree completely satisfied any vestige of hunger I might have developed.  I confess, I was jealous of the beers they were drinking, but I was a good girl and stuck with my water.

After the meal, we made our way back upstairs for the big finale, the raffling of the baskets.  Everyone who won was happy with their haul, but I was not among the winners.  We made our way to my cousin’s home and visited a little more before hitting the sack.  It was a lot colder when we woke up the next morning.  The Polar Express was on its way.

Come by next week and I’ll tell you about an amazing place to have breakfast in Austin.