Georgetown Texas Christmas lights event

It is that time of the year: Turning on the Christmas lights! Sher and I were treated to a ride with family to Georgetown, Texas, a cute and historic town north of Austin. The festivities were centered around the massive courthouse in the center of town. The crowds were absolutely huge, and you can see in the photo below it was shoulder to shoulder!

Tons of people getting that perfect cell phone shot!

We had a great time eating ice cream and listening to holiday music before the arrival of Santa. The red suited man of the hour made a dramatic appearance on the steps of the courthouse as thousands of lights blinked on on every building, tree, bush and light pole!

The band at The Uptown Social

After the lights came on we headed a block or two away to the fourth floor of an office building to The Uptown Social lounge. This upscale lounge featured some great bar food, including gourmet pizzas and pasta and great “fancy” cocktails. Adding to the enjoyment of our meal was the small but easy to listen to band.  A Holiday Lighting event is always a great way to get into the Christmas spirit.

Nancy’s Sky Garden in Austin is a hidden gem

Want to eat healthy? This restaurant in Cedar Park is truly a hidden gem. The menu is unique, to say the least. You pick your protein, pick your carb, pick your veggies, and finally pick your dressing. Get ready for a totally different, delicious and remarkably filling meal that you can consume with no regrets.

Signature plate. So much good stuff here!

Signature Plate protein choices feature varieties of chicken, fish and tofu. Don’t want protein? No problem. Veggies include rainbow salad, with fresh fruit. For your carb you have the choice of sweet potato noodles, baked or a tasty purple rice. Top it off with one or two of seven different dressings.

The smoked salmon Poke bowl featured a very generous portion of salmon

Other menu items include poke bowls with fish on a bed of veggies, purple rice, seaweed salad and other delicious items. In addition, soups, prism rolls, MixMix and Buddha bowls are also part of the unique offerings at Nancy’s Sky Garden. And don’t miss out on the hot and iced teas.

Store front at the Cedar Park location

This dining experience is most enjoyable. Look for all four Austin area locations at Nancy’s Sky Garden website. You won’t be disappointed.

 

Hamburger Inn Diner in Delaware, Ohio

Our family group was headed to Delaware, Ohio to visit some of the Antique shops and malls in the downtown. Our son recommended the Hamburger Inn Diner for lunch after we visited the shops. What a great recommendation it was!

The Hamburger Inn Diner opened in 1932. It has remained virtually unchanged since it opened. It is a classic diner with primary seating at horseshoe shaped counters instead of tables. The vinyl covered stools rotated much to the delight of our grandson. There were ten in our party, and after a short wait while another couple finished their meal, all of us could sit at the same counter.

Grilled cheese and fries

Half pounder with bacon and eggs

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The diner’s name gives a huge hint as to the menu. Yes, there are marvelous burgers on the menu. In addition to burgers and other sandwiches there is a full breakfast menu offered. Breakfast is served anytime. The food was outstanding: best biscuits and sausage gravy I have ever had. The service was terrific. Sher ordered a grilled cheese on rye. It came on white, and shortly thereafter here came another sandwich on rye, no charge.

Mmmm……Chili

Huge order of biscuits & gravy topped with a fried egg

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

After the great meal, I was fortunate to meet one of the owners, Bill Michailidis. He told me about the restaurant’s history, and shared some of the things that it does to support and help the community. One remarkable event put on by the diner is their annual Thanksgiving feast. The diner first has a meal for employees and their families and a neighboring gas station. Then the diner opens for the entire community. That’s right, free meals are offered to anyone and everyone. This year over 900 were served. Some of the other happenings at the diner are described in our post here.

That’s me, seated, and Bill Michailidis, right

Given the quality of the cuisine, the excellence of the service, and the citizenship of the establishment, it is no wonder that The Hamburger Inn Diner is one of the most popular places to visit in central Ohio. If your travels take you to central Ohio, it will be worth your time to eat at the Hamburger Inn Diner.

Downtown Indy’s Hilton hosts a great restaurant

McCormick and Schmick’s Steak and Seafood restaurant is located in downtown Indianapolis on west Market street between Monument Circle and the Capital Building. Housed in the Hilton Hotel, this restaurant  offers fine dining in a comfortable and elegant facility.

Entrance to the restaurant

Sher and I decided to have our dinner there as we waited for a show in the hotel later that Saturday night. The restaurant can be entered either from the lobby or from West Street. We were seated immediately and our waiter, Andrew, came to our table right away. He provided excellent service during our entire dining experience.

Our cocktails and menu

Crab and Shrimp Stuffed Salmon

 

 

 

 

 

 

Our cocktails were delivered quickly, along with warm bread and butter. We ordered the Lump Crab cake for our appetizer. It was delicious. Sher had ordered the Blackened Chicken Fettuccine without the chicken. I had the Crab and Shrimp Stuffed Salmon. We were both delighted with our choices from the menu. Pricing was definitely in the $$$$ range, but we both felt that the price was worth it.

Bob’s Burgers & Brews was a new experience for us

While visiting our family in the Seattle area they took us to a restaurant called Bob’s Burgers and Brews. It is a local chain.  It is known for it’s burgers and its large selection of craft beers on tap. There are several of the restaurants in the area, but they have so far stayed in the state of Washington.

The huge “double” burger and fries

The extra large portion of cheese quesadillas

 

 

 

 

 

 

I had a huge double burger and Sher had some cheese quesadillas. The portion sizes were great and the food was delicious. In addition our waiter was fantastic and took care of us exceptionally well. This is one of those local establishments that offer great dining at a good price.

Historic Oxford Saloon in Snohomish Washington

Snohomish, Washington is noted for its historic downtown Main Street stores, restaurants and other businesses. The Oxford Saloon is one of the most popular of the restaurants. Good food at reasonable pricing makes the Oxford a popular place for meals. Live entertainment most evenings attract lively crowds.

Even the exterior of the Oxford is interesting

Every bar needs a moose and a little red wagon

Sher and I had a very nice time at the Oxford. It was a great break from our checking out the shops and businesses on Main Street in historic downtown Snohomish. Hint: Park your car at the bottom of the hill on Main Street. That way when you walk up one side of the street and come back on the other side you’ll be walking down hill to your car.

 

 

The Oasis Restaurant on Austin’s Lake Travis

The Oasis has a wide spread reputation in the Austin area. We wanted to check this restaurant out as the sunset views were reported to be spectacular over Lake Travis.

We really enjoyed the view of Lake Travis from one of the Oasis Terraces

The pretty drive to the Oasis winds through the hill country west of Austin. When you arrive at the facility there is parking and a short walk to the entrance to the restaurant. The exterior is interesting and covered with neat metal sculptures.  We arrived around 2 1/2 hours before sunset and were immediately taken to a semi-private room that would seat our party of ten. Our room had a good view out over the lake.

The plentiful veggie fajitas

Two Oasis signature drinks in souvenir glasses

 

 

 

 

 

We started our evening with a couple of signature cocktails in take home Hurricane glasses. Our meals were, in my opinion, very good. Sher and I both ordered fajitas, me the beef and Sher the vegetarian. The portions were large and the food very tasty. The kid’s menu was well received by our youngsters who also appreciated the portion sizes.

Outdoor seating on the many terraces

The Oasis restaurant has seating both inside and outside on a series of terraces built into the side of the hill. All of the terrace tables have a great view of the lake and the horizon where the sun sets. A running photo contest is one part of the Oasis tradition. The evening we went was, to say the least, not very good for an artistic sunset photo.

The Oasis Restaurant has a 35 year history in the same location. Over the years there have been several changes in services offered. Some reviewers have panned the food, however our party was pleased with the quality of our meals. A series of steps was required to get to our tables, but ground level tables are available.

Indiana Grand Casino offers half price buffet to seniors

The Indiana Grand Racing Casino is 20 minutes from downtown Indianapolis in the center of the state. When you get your Caesars Entertainment Total Rewards players card and are 50 and over you are tagged a “Golden Gamer”. Mondays are the best days for seniors at this popular casino.

On Mondays “Golden Gamers” get the Grand Buffet for half price. This is a great deal, especially for the lunch buffet (open 11 to 4). It is a full buffet with a great variety of foods. Half price makes the meal about $7.00 and includes your drink. You get half price for dinner starting at 4, but it will be about twice the lunch price, but will have more selections of entrees.

You do not have to gamble to get your free Total Rewards players card card. Take advantage of the great buffet discounts on Mondays. Swipe your player’s card at one of the kiosks and get your 1/2 price coupon. Oh, and there is plenty of RV parking, with 24 hour shuttles to and from your rig. For information visit the Indiana Grand Racing and Casino website.

Enjoy great food along with great music at The Maison on Frenchmen Street New Orleans

Sher and I found a great place in New Orleans to both have a great meal and to listen to some fabulous live jazz music. We had been to the Market and another live music bar ( see that story here) and decided we wanted to get something to eat. I had seen The Maison on the web, so I recognized the sign.

Maison @508 Frenchmen

We were seated right away at a table just a few feet from the stage, which was already occupied with the Baby Giants Jazz Band! Doug, our waiter, appeared right away and showed us the drink menu. Sher ordered a “Dixie Revival” made with tequila and grapefruit juice and some other good stuff. Once I took a sip of hers, I had to have one myself. What a great drink!

Enjoying our “Dixie Revival” cocktails

We then ordered our dinners. Sher ordered the Penne Primavera, pasta with seasonal vegetables sauteed in a Creole garlic and butter sauce. I opted for the Cochon de Lait Poboy, a Cajun style slow roasted pulled pork dressed with cole slaw and drizzled with Barbeque sauce, and with a side of fries. It seemed like in no time our plates were brought to us. I actually declared “Wow” out-loud when I saw my Poboy and the huge pile of fries!

Check out that bowl of pasta and that huge Poboy and pile of fries!

The food was absolutely decadent. Sher said her vegetarian pasta was the best that she has ever had. The Poboy was my first, but I just loved the pork on that bed of coleslaw in the bun. And those fries came out almost to hot to touch, so they stayed hot and crisp throughout the meal. I don’t think either one of us could have been more pleased. Hats off to our waiter Doug who took care of us. Even when all of the tables in the room occupied he still was able to continue to serve us.

The Maison on Frenchmen Street is both a marvelous live jazz club, but also a terrific restaurant as well. The prices are very reasonable, the jazz is free with only one drink purchase per set required. When in New Orleans, make sure that you spend at least one evening at the Maison. Here is their website for your reference.

A shopping, food and music filled fun evening in New Orleans

Sher and I have been looking forward to an evening of New Orleans jazz music as well as some good food. We went to the east end of the French Quarter to do some shopping to begin our evening. The eclectic nature of a lot of the shops makes the exploration of them a real treat. We did catch the tail end of the French Market, a large open air lot, some of which was under roof. Many vendor booths were filled with folks selling their wares. You would see everything from imported T-shirts and other clothing to hand made jewelry, leather, or other quality art work.

Under the roof portion of the French Market’s Flea Market. You’ll find everything from quality hand crafted jewelry to cheap imported trinkets.

Frenchmen Street is just outside of the French Quarter’s Decatur Street. A short two blocks worth, Frenchman Street is known for its live music clubs. The first bar we walked into was Bamboula’s. This venue used to be an old printing shop, and the ceiling and support posts were covered with pressed tin panels. The band was already playing so we sat down and had a drink. During the next two sets we enjoyed the music and the ambiance of the bar.

The band at Bamboula’s

Dueling fiddles at Bamboula’s

After we finished our drinks at Bamboula’s we struck out to explore Frenchmen Street. As we had arrived early several of the jazz bars were either not yet open or the band had not yet arrived or started to play. There were not a lot of people out on the sidewalks yet, and the places that were open were not really into the evening yet. We sat for about 5 minutes at one bar after having to ask for a menu. No one came by so we left. This actually was a blessing as we then went to the Maison at 508 Frenchmen Street.

Signs on Frenchmen Street of both the jazz clubs we enjoyed!

The Baby Giants Jazz Band

The Maison was a great venue for the bands we heard. The Baby Giants Jazz Band was playing when we went into tho the bar. These guys rocked the bar with some amazing jazz. I especially appreciated the trombone, as I used to play. The numbers performed offered several chances for instrumental solos. This always gives you a chance to truly appreciate individual talent. We started with a couple of tequila cocktails called “Dixie Revival”. Oh were they good! We then ordered our meals. The food was excellent and very reasonably priced.