If you are driving down 61st street along Offats Bayou, you will see Darlene’s Shrimp Shack (a food truck) sitting pretty next to Aunt Margie’s Bait Shop and a shrimp boat named Darlene. If you are thinking that a shrimp shack next to a bait shop with shrimping boats means that the shrimp in that shrimp shack is fresh- you would be correct!
The shrimp is fresh and locally caught (when possible) and battered as it is ordered. You can get your shrimp battered or “naked” and choose from twelve different seasoning options. The baskets come with 10 shrimp and 2 hushpuppies for about $12.00. The shrimp are huge so reasonably you could share but I am not reasonable when it comes to sharing my food.
These shrimp are contenders for best shrimp on the island. I have eaten there multiple times and have loved each and every bite. Everyone in my office loves this place. The batter is on the light side, so you really taste the shrimp. My favorite flavors are Cajun or Garlic Parmesan. Other flavor options are lemon pepper, buffalo, plain, and more.
If the weather is pretty you can sit out at the picnic tables and watch the sail boats on the Bayou or watch the sea birds come and go.
From the family history I have picked up from talking with the folks who run the bait shop, Margie and Darlene were sisters. Margie was the aunt who kept most of the kids when they were little. When she passed, the family decided to name the bait camp after her. Aunt Margie’s bait camp is a popular spot for bait AND they sell “eating” shrimp in there as well. We have been buying shrimp, squid, flounder and more in there for years. If the seafood is fresh, you don’t have to be a great cook to make great seafood.
Aunt Margie’s bait camp and Darlene’s Shrimp Shack are BOI (born on the island) and as local as you can get. Give them a try, you will be glad you did!
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.
If you like off-beat and funky, Galveston is the place for you. If you love good food served with a funky vibe, the Gypsy Joynt is the place for you. It’s not surprising to learn that the Gypsy Joynt got its start in Austin. It’s still one of the best-kept secrets in Galveston.
Located off the Strand in downtown Galveston, this jewel is tucked away a little further down Market Street than most people go. And this is okay with us locals because we like not having to wait for hours to get our food!
The great folks are run a wonderful restaurant and really give back to the people of Galveston. They also source their seafood locally which is very cool.
Speaking of seafood, my favorite dish is the Oscar Ocean. This sandwich has a homemade bun, pesto, balsamic vinegar dressing, veggies, and grilled fish. the menu consists of a mix of traditional foods like chicken strips and mac and cheese along with crazy combinations of seafood and veggies. The pizzas are the things dreams are made of- if you dream about food, which I do. The deserts are AMAZING!
Twenty nine years ago, I started something and didn’t finish it. I hate have something unfinished hanging out there. Because of Tony’s encouragement and a word from God, I went back to school. At this time, I am attending college full-time. College Algebra (read with crossed-eyes) and Art (read with a GREAT BIG SMILE!) are in their last weeks. One of the projects in art was to make a collage. I had so much fun doing this project.
We were instructed to include things that inspire us and explain the meaning behind what we choose. This was so easy for me, all the things that inspire and motivate me are around me everyday. This island holds all my treasures.
The timing of when and how we got to the island is remarkable but no accident. God’s timing is perfect. I had no idea what season we were walking into, but God had a plan. He works all things for our good and answers prayers in ways we never dreamed.
It isn’t a crazy thought that we moved to an island. I am quite sure that my birthstone is actually a seashell, not a sapphire. The water makes me come alive in a way that nothing else in nature does. But yet, it is crazy that we actually packed up and moved. We had lived 23 of our 26 years of marriage in a small town where I grew up. Most of my family still lives in that town. It was a good place to raise children and live. But that season was over.
We were coming out of the most challenging time we had ever faced. Our farm had been destroyed by a massive tornado. We had spent a year cleaning and rebuilding. Every time we were ready to start on the house, God would say just wait. So, we waited. Then, one job opened up for Tony- in Texas City, fifteen minutes from Galveston. Against all odds, this door opened and every other door we needed open, opened. We just kept walking through them.
And here we are, beginning our third year at 1220 Winnie St, Galveston TX. I can walk a half of a mile and have my feet in the saltwater and feel the sand between my feet and the sun on my face. This has been a season of restoration and healing. The trauma of the tornado had left us raw and worn. God has been restoring and healing us day by beautiful day.
Not only was I healing from the recent events in our history, but God had appointed this the season to heal some deep wounds from my childhood. This has not been an easy journey, but is has been good. I am so grateful that God gave me such a beautiful and unexpected place to heal. This island has been a place of restoration.
I began seeing a therapist, who is so fabulous, and she has been a God-send. One day, last summer I was getting ready for my appointment and I prayed, “God, if there is anything you want to talk about, bring it up with Dr. Casper.” In the middle of our session she asked me, “Have you ever thought about being a therapist?” Well, as a matter of fact I had. About three decades ago I was in college pursuing a degree in Psychology. I told her about this and she said, “You should go back to school.” Later that day, I realized what I had prayed and what had been said. I told Tony that apparently it was time for me to go back to school. He said, “I know, I already got your paperwork done.” And so phase two of my college career began. That unfinished thing in my past won’t be unfinished for long.
The past is being dealt with at the same time that new things have begun. I have launched a writing career. I am now owning this as mine. I am a writer. One day in my kitchen talking with all my kids, I said how being a writer would be my dream life. I had already written a novel at this point, but I had not owned that life. I stared at them all and said, “Then why aren’t I chasing that thing down?” Well, here we are. I am running down a dream (I love Tom Petty).
So, when I am asked what inspires me- all I have to do is look around. My husband (My Leading Man), my children, my grandchildren, the sea, the historic homes and my faith. All are held on this one island. Now, the children and grandchildren will come and go. But, I will always have the memories and new memories to be made.
The Black Pearl Oyster Bar sits at the corner of 23rd Street and Market. It also sits at the corner of delicious and amazing. With seafood favorites and a Cajun Flair, there is no reason not to hit this place when you are in Galveston.
The Black Pearl is located in the historic Strand District and is a Galveston staple. I, personally, would eat there just because of the name. It makes me think of pirates and given that a bona fide pirate, Jean Lafitte, once called Galveston home- well, what’s not to love. Thankfully, you won’t be disappointed when you taste the food.
As the full name implies, they serve LOTS of oysters in many different ways. They are definitely a fan favorite. I, however, am not an oyster fan so that is not why I go there. They serve the best Boudin balls on the island. The homemade remoulade sauce that comes with those delightful things is also fantastic. The shrimp po’boys are amazing and enough for two, also served with that tasty remoulade sauce.
I always have a hard time choosing between the seafood platter and the shrimp po’boy. So, I recommend going with a friend that way you can share plates and you don’t actually have to choose. If seafood isn’t your thing, they offer a great hamburger, chicken alfredo, and several great salads.
Another great thing about this restaurant is that they buy the seafood local whenever possible so you are supporting the local fisherman whenever you eat this great food.
So, next time you are on this great island, check out the Black Pearl. You’ll be glad you did!
Traveling with children is one of the best experiences. It can also be one of the most challenging. Galveston is an incredible destination for families. One of the attractions that make Galveston awesome is the Galveston Railroad Museum.
With 5 acres and over 40 pieces of rolling stock, there is plenty of room for little legs to run. Many of the cars are open and you can walk though different kinds of cars ranging from dining cars to postal cars. The different types of engines are on display and open to be toured.
Not only are the cars open, but they are staged with era-specific models wearing clothes or eating a snack from the era in which the train car was in operation. Its really interesting to see what was considered “luxury” travel at that time. You can also sit on the benches or take a picture in a berth and imagine what it felt like to travel through the night with the clickity-clack of the train tracks and the sway of the railcars as they rocked you to sleep.
A caboose makes a run down a mile of track most weekends. There is also a Polar Express during the holidays. You can access the website here.
There is also a museum exhibit open that details the history of the railroad in Texas and Galveston as well as how the museum came to be. The museum is open daily with admission for adults being $10.00 and children ages 3 and older being $5.00. There are various discounts listed on the website.
So, whether you are looking for an interesting stop on vacation or an interesting field trip while you homeschool, the Galveston Railroad Museum is a great stop. For more on what to see and do in Galveston, click here.
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.
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.
The rest of their 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 $10.00 and that, my friend, is a steal on the island.
Not only is the food scrumptious, but the atmosphere is incredible. Sherry, the manager, 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.