Where To Eat In Galveston, Texas

Miller’s Seawall Grill- Where To Eat In Galveston!

So, I want to tell you about my favorite restaurant in Galveston. But then again, I don’t. I like knowing the local spots and if any more people find out about this gem, then I will have to wait longer. But then again, I live here full time and I can eat when all the tourist have gone home and the island settles into the off-season.

Here it is- Miller’s Seawall Grill

Their gumbo is the best on the island. A cool thing they do is to offer samples before you order. This way, you know you like it before you order. And that is great because gumbo is a controversial kind of food. How ever your grandma made it- that is the way it should be. But everybody’s grandmother makes gumbo differently. Its one of those types of foods that there isn’t a recipe written in stone, you just add a bit of this and a pinch of that. That is what makes comfort food comfort food and Miller’s has plenty of choices if the gumbo is not your first choice.

The waffles they serve are the best I have ever had in my life! Seriously, they are fluffy and crisp on the edges. They serve it with melted butter and syrup. Yeah, not gonna lose weight on this meal, but you will enjoy it all the way down to your toes. They serve breakfast all day. My husband and I love to share the Moby Dick breakfast platter (it comes with the above mentioned waffle).

The rest of the menu is so good. Lots of comfort food and basic seafood- all of it cooked well. The fish is great grilled or fried, same for the shrimp. If you are not a seafood lover, that is okay. Their chicken fried stead is huge and delicious. The au gratin potatoes are yummy and my preferred side of choice. Dinner plates are about $13.00 and that, my friend, is a steal on the island.

Not only is the food scrumptious, but the atmosphere is incredible. Sherry, the owner, and her staff are awesome. The design of the restaurant allows every table to have a view of the water. The location on Seawall means that you can enjoy the views of the water while you wait for your table. During the summer and most weekends year-round, there will be a wait of at least 30 minutes and as much as an hour and a half. But the wait is worth it.

One day, I might share a local hack so that you know where to eat that doesn’t have the long waits that the Seawall locations have, but not today.

Any of these restaurants above are kid-friendly if you are traveling with children. While there might not be a kid’s menu, there are definitely foods on the menu that kids love. Galveston Island is a very family friendly and kid friendly place, the food scene is no different. Miller’s does offer a children’s menu and my grands love the shrimp, mac & cheese, and calamari.

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Where to Eat in Galveston- The Mosquito Café

To name a restaurant the Mosquito Café may seem a bit odd, but when you’re in Galveston, odd is pretty common.  And usually, odd is tied to a bit of history.  This holds true with the tasty local favorite, The Mosquito Café.  You will still find the Mosquito Fleet docked in Galveston.  These are the local shrimp boats.  They were named this because the rigging makes them look like mosquitos.


Your taste buds will thank you for seeing past an odd name because the food that is served at the corner of Winnie and 14th street is out of this world.  As you might have guessed, the seafood is local.  The breads, including the hamburger buns, are baked locally across the street.  Patty Cakes bakery is another perfect spot but that is a subject for another day.  You really can’t go wrong when choosing off the menu.


There are many healthy choices that are not lacking in flavor and textures.  If you are traveling, finding healthy options is sometimes a challenge, so put the Mosquito Cafe on your itinerary.


Now, if you aren’t so committed to a low carb diet, you really need to get the bacon cheeseburger.  It is the best on the island- trust me, I have done my research.  You will also like the Island Jammer, made with the above-mentioned shrimp and a freshly baked hoagie roll.  On the lighter side, the salmon cooked whichever way you choose is perfect. The turkey chili is fantastic and even better served over the top of a baked potato.  There are several pasta dishes as well as comfort food like meatloaf.  Really, you can’t go wrong.


Breakfast is something that the Mosquito has down to an art.  The cheesy shrimp and grits are 100% southern.  Again, best grits on the island.  The breakfast bowl is one of the many excellent dishes that will start your day the right way.  We usually eat breakfast when we go.

Shrimp and Grits
Breakfast Bowl

Cornbread- It’s So Good

Just Good Cornbread
Golden and Good!

I shared a bit of the love story between Brett Bentley, the heroine, and Alex, the hero in The Way to A Man’s Heart. Both love their southern heritage and their food but don’t agree on taking freedoms with the recipe.

I thought I would share the cornbread recipe that Brett was using. As you can imagine, the possibilities of variations are endless but nothing beats a good pan of cornbread.

My bunch likes their bread on the sweet side.  This corn bread has a fluffy texture, a nice crumb and it holds together even with a nice slice of butter on it.  No more boxed mixes, this is too easy!

One note on the honey- buy your honey locally from an individual if possible.  The honey found on the shelves at most grocery stores has been cut and diluted with corn syrup.  YUCK!  Most farmer’s markets and health food stores have REAL honey.  Plus, when you eat honey made by local bees you will get the health benefits and help with allergies.  Not to mention, you are helping a local farmer and businessperson.

I hope you try this, you will be glad you did.

Holly’s Corn Bread

1 1/2 cups flour

1/2 cup of corn meal

3 tablespoons of honey

1/2 tsp salt

1 tablespoon baking powder

2 eggs

1 cup milk

1/4 cup olive oil or melted butter (real butter- not margarine)

Heat oven to 425′

In a mixing bowl stir together the dry ingredients.  In small bowl or 2 cup measuring cup- combine all the liquid including the eggs and beat together.  Stir liquid into the dry ingredients just until mixed- do not over beat.  Pour batter into a 9X9X2 greased baking pan or a 9 inch cast iron skillet- my personal favorite.  Bake for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown.

Mmmm, now that food.
Mmmm, now that is food.

Enjoy!  The wonderful aroma of fresh cornbread cooking will warm your soul and satisfy your hunger.  What do you like to eat on a cold day?

The Best Things In Life Are Free

jonathan picking berries

Oh, summertime.  One of the first signs that summer has arrived, other than every item of clothing on your person being soaked with sweat- and I mean all your clothing- is the arrival of dewberries.  These are a variety of blackberries- not as big and not quite as sweet as the cultivated varieties but they are available for the picking.  Seriously, free and organic fruit- what could be better.

Around the corner from us on an abandoned fence, there is a whole mess of berries.  Lots and Lots.  Jonathan and Sierra and whoever else will walk down the road with them have picked berries everyday for a week now.  The vines are so loaded that I think we will have another week of harvest.  There are so many things to do with berries- cobbler, ice cream, flavored cream for the top of a pound cake, pound cake, crumb cake, and the list goes on.

As Jonathan and I picked berries together in the warm sunshine, he prattled on about the possibility of what we might do with the berries. Once back at the house, of course, the first thing to do is to get a bowl full and sprinkle them with sugar and eat them with your fingers- that way you can lick your fingers clean. But in the meantime, you eat the most plump and ripe berries right on the spot.  No, you don’t need to wash them they are fine.  You might eat a bug, but it won’t kill you.  Eating them off the vine is a big part of the fun.  The best part of the berry pickin’ is the memories you make.  The conversation is seemingly meaningless as we chatter, but in that chatter you build connections with your kids.  These are the tidbits that come together as the whole picture that tells the kids who they are and where they come from.  Not to mention the warmth in your heart you feel when your twelve year old son reaches over and takes your hand as you walk down the road.  I love that kid and I love to pick berries with him.  The best things in life are free.

My favorite use of berries is a cobbler and here is the most simplest of deserts best eaten warm with vanilla ice cream!

 

Dewberry Cobbler (or whatever berry you have on hand)

One recipe of pie crust

2-3 cups of berries

1 cups sugar

Take one half of the pie dough recipe and roll it out.

Put half of the rolled out dough in the bottom of a 9X9 pan-  I like cast iron pans.  Place berries in the pan and pour sugar on the berries.  Cover with the other half of the rolled dough.  The dough does not have to cover the berries or the bottom completely.  Place in an oven heated to 350′ oven and bake for 30-45 minutes- just until the dough is brown.

Remove from the oven and let cool a bit.  Put a generous helping in a bowl and top with ice cream.  Let the good times roll!

Beef Carbonnade- Flat Out Good Food

This beef in beer stew is just flat out good.
This beef in beer stew is just flat out good.

I have a thing for cookbooks.  Some people have a hard time passing up a great pair of shoes, I have a hard time passing up an appealing cookbook.  More often than not, I only try a handful of recipes but if I find one outstanding recipe that makes the book purchase more than worth it.  Two years ago I picked up a cookbook, The Food Of France.  The book was worth the price just for the pictures. However, I found many good recipes in this book and one of them I choose for our Christmas Dinner- Beef Carbonnade.

Beef Carbonnade is a simple dish with only a few ingredients.  What makes this just so good is that the beef is cooked slow so that it is so tender it melts in your mouth with such deep flavor coming from the onion, garlic, herbs and beer.  You need to have the beer to make this recipe taste so good you remember it for a long time.  If you must, you can switch the beer for beef broth, but this will give you a dish that, while still good, is not really all that memorable.

Following is the recipe, however, not exactly like it was in the book.  I know, I am not even French and I am tweaking their recipes- I just can’t help myself.  However, what I changed was the amount of food.  This recipe will feed 6 were as the one in the book will only feed four.  I did also change the amount of garlic.  One clove is never enough. The recipe below calls for 6 onions- these are medium size onions.  If you have been to the Farmer’s Market and have come home with onions the size of large grapefruits you can use 4 of those if you want.  The onions cook down in to this thick sauce that is just mouthwatering good especially when soaked up with some wonderful french bread.  So, the more the better.  I use a cast iron dutch oven, but you can use whatever you have in your kitchen.

Beef Carbonnade

1 oz butter (real butter, not margarine)

Cubed Beef- so glad I have kitchen help- Jonathan- for this step
Cubed Beef- so glad I have kitchen help- Jonathan- for this step

2-3 tablespoons of olive oil

5-6 lb beef rump roast or chuck roast- cubed 1 inch in size

6 onions

5 garlic cloves – crushed

2 tsp of brown sugar

1 tablespoon of plain flour

4 cups of beer (one of the large single cans of a malt beer works great)

4 bay leaves

a small bunch of thyme sprigs

1 loaf of really good french bread

Preheat the oven to 300′    Melt butter in a large skillet with a tablespoon of oil.  Brown the meat in batches over high heat and lift out onto a plate

Add another tablespoon of oil to the pan, reduce heat to medium.  Add onion and cook for 10 minutes. Add garlic and sugar and cook for another 5 minutes, adding oil by the tablespoon if necessary.  Lift onion out onto a second plate.

Stirring in the flour after the beef and onion have been cooked.
Stirring in the flour after the beef and onion have been cooked.

Reduce heat to low and pour any juices that have drained off of the meat, then stir in the flour.

Remove from the heat and stir in the beer a little at a time stirring well, the beer will foam.  Return to heat and let the mixture gently simmer and thicken.  Season with salt and pepper.

layer meat and onion in a dutch oven, tucking the bay leaves and thyme in between the layers. Season with salt and pepper as you go.

Pour liquid over the meat, cover with a lid and cook in the oven for 2.5-3 hours or until the meat is tender.

Serve with the sliced french bread toasted lightly on both sides.

This main dish goes great with potatoes of any kind, green beans  or sweet peas.

Sweet Corn Bread- So Good.

Golden and Good!
Golden and Good!

With the  weather turning cold here in Texas, now is the time for chili, soups, and stews and of course- corn bread.  My bunch likes their bread on the sweet side.  This corn bread has a fluffy texture, a nice crumb and it holds together even with a nice slice of butter on it.  No more boxed mixes, this is too easy!

One note on the honey- buy your honey locally from an individual if possible.  The honey found on the shelves at most grocery stores has been cut and diluted with corn syrup.  YUCK!  Most farmer’s markets and health food stores have REAL honey.  Plus, when you eat honey made by local bees you will get the health benefits and help with allergies.  Not to mention, you are helping a local farmer and businessperson.

I hope you try this, you will be glad you did.

Holly’s Corn Bread

1 1/2 cups flour

1/2 cup of corn meal

3 tablespoons of honey

1/2 tsp salt

1 tablespoon baking powder

2 eggs

1 cup milk

1/4 cup olive oil or melted butter (real butter- not margarine)

Heat oven to 425′

In a mixing bowl stir together the dry ingredients.  In small bowl or 2 cup measuring cup- combine all the liquid including the eggs and beat together.  Stir liquid into the dry ingredients just until mixed- do not over beat.  Pour batter into a 9X9X2 greased baking pan or a 9 inch cast iron skillet- my personal favorite.  Bake for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown.

Mmmm, now that food.
Mmmm, now that is food.

Enjoy!  The wonderful aroma of fresh cornbread cooking will warm your soul and satisfy your hunger.  What do you like to eat on a cold day?

Simple and Easy Pie Crust

Pie crusts have become an item in the kitchen that so many people are afraid to make for themselves.  There has been a lot of talk of how hard a pie crust is to make.  All this talk of difficulty has most people eating those nasty things that come pre-made and labeled as pie crust.  That is such a shame because pie crust are not that hard if you have a few tips with which to start.

A pie crust has just a few ingredients and the instructions are simple.  I do believe that most people have trouble because they are trying to measure exactly.  The thing is when you are doing pastry, it has as much to do with the “feel” of the dough as the measurements.  The flour, salt, and Crisco (or butter) are exact measurements, but the water added is where the “feel” comes in to play.  It may seem funny, but the weather plays a huge role in pastry making.  Things like humidity in the air will affect how much water you add to the flour mixture.  So, if the recipe says “add 2 tablespoons” know that on any given day that might mean a little more or a little less.  You add water until the dough comes together and forms a ball- that simple.  Add a little at first and then add more as you need to, you can always add more water, but you can’t take it back.

Recipe:

2 cups flour

1/2  tsp salt

3/4 cup  unsalted butter

7  tablespoons water- added 2 tblsp at a time- more or less

Mix flour and salt together in mixing bowl

Now add the butter and “cut it in”. This means you use a pastry blender, fork, or two knives and keep mashing and cutting the butter until it is little pieces, about the size of a pea, and the mixture is crumbly.

see the larger chunks, this is the butter in little pieces. Once you get to this, stop cutting in

Now, you add the water.  Start with 2 tablespoons and stir with a fork.  Then add 2 more tablespoons of water.  You will see the dough start to form large chunks.  Add more water until the dough sticks together and makes a “ball”.  This ball will not be perfectly round.

See how all the dough is stuck together? this is the ball

 

Once you are at this stage, reach into the bowl, take the ball and shape it just a bit and then divide it in half.  Then take each half and round out the balls. Since the dough will be a little tacky to the touch, get a little flour on your hands.

this is half the dough shaped in a ball

 

Now, flatten out the ball and start to make the crust.

pat and flatten the ball into a flat circle

 

On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough until it is about 1/4 inch thick.  Once the dough is larger by about and inch than the pie plate you are cooking in, the crust is big enough.

Get a little flour on the rolling pin so the dough won’t stick

This pie is for a dinner potpie and I like to use a cast iron skillet for those.

Getting the dough off the rolling surface can be a little tricky- if you slide one hand under and then flip it over your top hand, then slide the bottom hand under farther and keeping working it that way, the dough comes up easy without ripping.

slide the hand under and flip it over the top hand

repeat the step

We have lift off! Once you do that step about 4 times the crust is off the work surface.

Now place the crust into you pie plate or deep dish.  The bottom is done.  What kind of pie you are doing determines if you will need a top crust.  If you do, once the pie shell is filled, repeat the rolling out steps with the second ball of dough and lay it on top.  Trim what hangs over and press the sides together.

There you have it!  Pie crust made at home are SO much better.  Don’t be discouraged if you have to make a few to really get it down, nothing worth doing is easy the first time.

 

Chicken Noodle Soup

The last thing I think that anyone wants to be is sick.  The only worst thing about being sick is being away from home- sick.  I guess that is part of what makes a house a home- what you can expect when you are sick.  In our house, certain foods are expected and thought to make everything better.  These are true comfort foods.  Of course, in our home you can also expect to  be given some nasty tasting herbal concoctions along with some not so nasty herbal teas with honey.  I do not believe that medicine should  be sugared up to taste good.  Basically there is one good reason for not having the medicine taste good- the kids only tell me they are sick when they really are!  Added to that is the fact that if they go in the kitchen and get it out without being told- then I know we are really dealing with an illness.  But more on the medicine latter.

When Cheyenne was sick, her favorite thing was Potato Soup.  These other three cuties like Chicken Noodle Soup.    This past week, all of the children still living in our home and myself had a bout with some germ that made us run a low fever, cough, sneeze, and have a runny nose while at the same time being unable to breath due to congestion- I still don’t know how this is possible.  Anyway, it is a rare occasion for us all to go down but from what I have heard, our family has not been alone with the battle of the sickness.  So given that fact that this is the time of the year for folks to battle illness, I thought it would be a good time to post this recipe for chicken noodle soup.  It is super easy and very healthy.  Now, this soup is good anytime not just when you are sick.

Chicken Noodle Soup- guaranteed to make you feel better!

Chicken Noodle Soup

3- 14 oz cans of chicken broth *

2- carrots coarsely chopped

1- celery stalk coarsely chopped

1-small onion finely chopped

1/2 cup of sliced mushrooms (optional)

5- cloves of garlic minced

salt and pepper to taste

1- tablespoon of chopped sage**

1-tablespoon of thyme**

1- tablespoon of parsley**

1-tablespoon of real butter

1- cup of chopped chicken or turkey***

80z of egg noodles (you can use other pasta if you want to.)

 

*-broth made at home from boiling a chicken and reserving the broth will be healthier and better for you.  But, canned is fine.

**- fresh herbs from your garden are the best, dried is good, especially if you dried them yourself.

***- you can boil a chicken or turkey pull the meat from the bone and freeze the chopped meat in smaller portions for a quick meal.  Then, freeze the broth for your own chicken broth.

In a large dutch oven or medium stock pot, melt butter over medium heat and add onion, carrots, & celery.  Cook until onion is clear and just starting to caramelize.  About 10 minutes.

Add broth and 2 cans worth of water, garlic, herbs, mushrooms, salt and pepper, and chicken or turkey

Bring to a boil, cover and boil for about 20 minutes until the carrots are tender.

Add egg noodles and boil until noodles are tender.  Done.

Enjoy!

 

What are the foods that your family like when they are sick?

 

The Scents of Home

My grandmother & my sister Windy. Grandmother has made a lot of memories for a lot of us.

“Nothing recalls the past so potently as a smell, ” Winston Churchill.

How true this statement is, nothing can take you back like a smell.  Everyone in my family- I’m talking all those descended from my great-grandmother, about 20- think of her, Katie Mae Hoops or MawMaw to us all, whenever we smell a certain rose scent.  She loved roses, they were planted in her garden, she kept rose scented air freshener by Wizard at all times, and her lotion was Rose Milk.  Needless to say, every grand kid and great-grandkid had to spray the air freshener thus imprinting that scent with that equally memorable woman.

I realized how strong a scent memory can be long before MawMaw was a memory brought back by roses.  One day I opened a medicine cabinet and immediately thought of my great-grandfather- Papa, who happened to be married to the rose loving MawMaw.  I was fortunate enough to have some memories of him, but given that he passed away when I was only 6, those memories were limited.  There are two distinct memories, though. One was from the evenings when we spent the night.  Family was always plentiful and there would be cots and pallets laid out all over the house.  As I would be getting into mine he would say, “Goodnight, Irene”  I thought this was so funny given that my name was Holly and not Irene.  What can I say, I was and still am easily amused.  The second memory is from the morning.  I am an early bird, but on those mornings at their farm I would stay in my cot until he came in.  I just had to have him say, “Wake up, sleepy head.”  And then of course he would have to “count my ribs” to make certain I had not lost any while sleeping. A good batch of giggles for going to sleep and a good laugh for waking up, what more can a kid ask for?

So, I stood there looking into this medicine cabinet wondering why he popped into my head.  Then I noticed it.  The owner of the medicine cabinet wore the same aftershave or cologne that he had worn.  I thought is so unusual that for me to have so few memories of him, I could remember the scent of him.  I realized then how scents and aromas affect us.  Who has not felt comforted walking in from the cold to smell a favorite winter dish waiting in the kitchen.  To this day, a pot roast with potatoes and carrots makes me think of Sunday dinners, my mother frequently made that so it was ready when we got home from church. Our nose is a powerful thing.

It may seem odd, but given the above mentioned memories, I have been very purposeful concerning scents in our home.  I wear a rose scented perfume, rose scented bath products and try to keep rose scented sachets in my clothes closet.  Years from now I want the scent of a rose to bring memories back of me- a woman that loved my children and grandchildren and great grandchildren more than anything in the world.

Scents in the kitchen are important also.  I cook a lot and there are certainly family favorite recipes.  I love a house full of good scents that will remind my children that some always has and always will care for them.  My grandmother is a wonderful cook.  I come from stock that likes to feed people.  If you are sad- we feed you.  If you are happy- we feed you.  If you are lonely- we feed you.  Just about anything makes for a good reason to feed you.  So, needless to say there are many aromas associated with her kitchen.  All of them tied to memories of being loved and loving those around me.

Creating a home filled with happy memories is a priority for me and should be for all mothers.  The home hinges on us, the mothers, wives, keepers of the home.  Think about what you love to smell.  Think about what you love to remember.  Now, think about what you want your children to remember.  These are the things worth making time for in our daily lives.  Soccer games will be forgotten, all various awards assemblies will be forgotten along with all those many events that had no eternal value, but what went on in your home will be remembered for all the next generation.  Lets get busy making good memories for our kids.

What is you favorite scent?  Why?

Zuccinni-Corn Fritters- Mmmmm Good

Today was a full day- as they all are.  Mondays are spent at home most usually.  After the weekend I always need to regroup and put the house back together.  It is after 8pm as I write this and I could probably still fill another 8 hours with things that need doing.  But, that is just the norm.  I have also found that the first day of the week sets the tone for the rest of the week.  So, we focus on our school work, get the menus made for the week, and layout the chore schedules.

So, with 10 loads of laundry washed, sorted, and delivered to the kid’s rooms, we can start the week with clean clothes and empty hampers.  The menu for the week was done and groceries bought.  I had a recipe that I had been wanting to try, so it went on the menu.  Lately, I haven’t been able to try a lot of new recipes because of the time it takes to make the new ones has just not been available. However, thanks to Tony and a strained back (a whole other blog), I have been delegating dinner preparation to each of the kids and even Tony has been taking a turn he has always offered but I preferred to do it my way despite the fact that he cooks good food.  I am impressed with just how good of cooks my children are!  This has also allowed me more free-time in the kitchen to be creative again.  Anyway, Tony did steaks tonight and I thought it would be a good time to try out the recipe for zucchini-corn fritters.  I must say, they were good.  I didn’t get a picture of them before the plate was clean.  Clean clothes and full tummies- a good way to start the week.

These fritters remind us of the fried cornbread that my grandmother makes.  I never got the hang of the fried cornbread, but these turned out great.

The recipe is below, I hope you give these a try.  I also hope that you get to make them with zucchini from your own garden next spring.

Zucchini -Corn Fritters

serves 6-8

2 medium zucchini, coarsely shredded

Kosher salt

1 tablespoon butter

1/2 small onion, finely chopped

3 garlic cloves- minced

2 ears of corn, kernels cut off

1/2 cup cornmeal

1/2 cup flour

1/4 tsp baking soda (or baking powder- I do not like the taste of baking soda)

freshly ground pepper

3/4 cup buttermilk

1 large egg

olive oil for frying

 

1. Toss shredded zucchini with 1/2 tsp salt.  Let stand for 10 min. Wrap zucchini in a towel and squeeze dry.

2. Heat the butter in large non-stick skillet.  Add onion cook until clear and softened about 4 minutes, add corn and garlic cook about 3 minutes. Set aside

3. Whisk cornmeal, flour, baking soda, 3/4 tsp salt and 1/4 tsp pepper in a medium bowl.
Whisk the buttermilk and egg together in a large bowl, then stir in corn mixture and zucchini.  Add cornmeal mixture, stir just until combined.

4. heat oil in large skillet, working in batches, pour a scant 1/4 cup of batter into the frying pan.  Use the back of the ladle to smooth out the fritter.  Cook until fritters are golden brown on each side- about 3-4 minutes per side.  drain and serve hot.

 

Ohh so good!  What is your favorite way to cook zucchini?