Rabideaux’s Sausage Kitchen

There is a small lunch counter if you want a hot plate lunch, a menu of made to order items, made ahead hot items to grab ‘n go, and snack items. The service was friendly and helpful.

Smashed boudin ball burger on wrapper in cardboard basket.Rabideaux’s Sausage Kitchen

105 HWY 165, Iowa, LA

Venue: Easy to find eatery off Interstate 10.

Main entry aisle with order counter and multiple coolers or freezers of food for sale.Atmosphere: Casual, country eatery. You order and retrieve food choices from the counter. Drinks purchased at the counter as well and are self-serve. There are lots of hard wood tables to enjoy your meal at.

Fried foods on display for order and go selections.Food Fare: There is a small lunch counter if you want a hot plate lunch, a menu of made to order items, made ahead hot items to grab ‘n go, and snack items. Pete enjoyed a meat and veggie breaded and fried kabob along with a side of gizzards. A meat and veggie breaded and fried kabob along with a side of gizzards each in styrofoam containers.At the recommendation of another customer, I had the boudin balls smashed into a burger and served with burger fixins. The boudin burger was crunchy on the outside and soft in the middle. This texture and flavor combo with the bun was tasty! We didn’t try the desserts, but these comfort food baked items looked good.

Rabideaux’s sign with pig leaning on a fence.Recommendations: Try a dessert if your not too full. Take note that the drink fountain is not all you can drink, but there is a reasonable price on refills. We wanted to purchase some sausage or other bulk meat to take home. Refrigerated display of sausages and meats.However, we were disappointed to read that there is MSG in the sausage. Read the label or ask before purchasing from the meat counter if MSG is a concern.

Service: We were greeted upon entering. The service was friendly and helpful.Rabideaux’s Sausage Kitchen storefront.

Return Rating: Yes. Pete plans to try something different, and Cindy may have to stick to the boudin ball burger.

Small Town Texas Chinese Buffet

. . . there is a nice variety. There are two buffet tables plus the ice cream freezer. The menu has a lot of choices, lunch specials, and healthy entrees.

Plate of food selected from Chinese Buffet.China Inn

111 North La Salle St., Navasota, TX

Chinese Buffet table with variety of food choices.Venue: Small town Chinese restaurant with an all day buffet. If you like to try hole-in-the-wall places, this is for you.

Atmosphere: Very casual with a brisk lunch crowd on a Thursday. Plenty of seating.Plate of food off Chinese Buffet with bowl of sweet and sour sauce and a bowl of soup.

Food Fare: You can choose to eat off the buffet or order from the menu. Carry out is available too. The buffet runs all day from 11:00 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. The buffet is not the unending choices that you find in larger Chinese buffet restaurants, but there is a nice variety. There are two buffet tables plus the ice cream freezer. The menu has a lot of choices, lunch specials, and healthy entrees.

Recommendations: Give the buffet a try. It was tasty. The ice cream was nothing special but it was ice cream and nice on a hot day. Freezer with buckets of ice cream for hand dipping at Chinese Buffet.If you don’t mind a bit of mold inside a freezer, dip up a couple of scoops. The bathrooms were functional but reminded us of truck stop in the middle of nowhere restrooms that don’t get enough attention. The faucet in the women’s bathroom offered just enough of a trickle to get the soap off.

Service: We received very good service.“Dine In, Carry Out, All Day Buffet” sign on sidewalk

Return Rating: Yes, if in the mood for Chinese Buffet.China Inn storefront

Pablo’s BBQ & Mexican Food

We tried the ribs and both regular and spicy sausage. . . . the rum raisin ice cream . . . was sweet but not overly so and a nice treat on a hot day.

Pablo’s sign with a large replica of a double barrel shotgun on topPablo’s BBQ and Mexican Food

3900 US-69, Lufkin, TX

Pablo’s menu board Venue: Fast food BBQ and Mexican restaurant combination.

Atmosphere: Casual atmosphere with a prominent hunting theme. The double barrel shotgun on top of the restaurant sign, several Wall mounted deer head with antler rackmounted trophy heads, and the bathroom antler hook attest to the theme. Choose booth or table seating after ordering at the counter.Table and booth seating inside restaurant

Food Fare: Lots of BBQ and Mexican food choices. We tried the ribs and both regular and spicy sausage. Ribs in styrofoam container The ribs were tender and delicious. The spicy sausage was tasty even though it didn’t later agree with my husband’s innards. The regular sausage was good. Cut sausage and spicy sausage in styrofoam container We both enjoyed the rum raisin ice cream. It was sweet but not overly so and a nice treat on a hot day. We ate it first since we ordered carry out.Rum Raisin ice cream in a plastic cup

“Welcome To Pablo’s” entryway sign listing lunch specials.Recommendations: Check out the daily specials on both the entryway board and the menu board. Stop by if you find yourself in the area.

Service: We received friendly service, but we weren’t sure the waitress understood what we ordered. The order turned out fine though. Food counter with various sides displayed.It seemed to take awhile to receive the carry out order, but it was prime lunch time and the restaurant was busy.

“Pablo’s” name in letters on wall above wagon wheel. A lantern type light is on each side of the wagon wheel. Chest freezer with ice cream to the left. Return Rating: Probably not since the spicy sausage didn’t agree with my husband.Deer antler coat hook.

Put Sydney’s Frozen Custard on your Travel Agenda

Fantastically creamy custard in vanilla and chocolate. If your only eating custard, get the double scoop.

Sydney’s Frozen Custard dish of chocolate on left and dish of vanilla on right.Sydney’s Frozen Custard

14 S. Broadway Ave., Grand Marais, MN

Be sure to put Sydney’s Frozen Custard on your travel agenda next time your on the Minnesota North Shore. You’ll be soooo glad you did!

Sydney’s Frozen Custard outdoor seating with back of pizza oven and part of the eatery building in background.Venue:  Quaint eatery offering Great Lake Superior views and tasty vittles. Indoor and outdoor seating available as well as rooftop, outdoor seating.

Atmosphere:  Very casual. You’ll often see owners accompanied by their dogs.

Food Fare:  Fantastically creamy custard in vanilla and chocolate. Pete prefers the vanilla and I prefer the chocolate. A chalkboard menu board.They also offer a variety of custard concoctions and food selections along with wood-fired pizza.A chalkboard menu board.

Recommendations:  Go when you are hungry and enjoy both a pizza and custard. There is an outdoor fireplace to enjoy if there is a bit of a chill. If your only eating custard, get the double scoop.

Sydney’s Frozen Custard storefront.Service:  Walk up to the order window to place your order and pay. Pick your food up at the pick up window unless you get a wood-fired pizza. That you pick up at the pizza prep and bake area.

Return Rating:   Most definitely!

Natty’s Buffet – No Nonsense Comfort Food

Don’t let the outside rule your decision to give it a try. Both the chicken pot pie and peach cobbler were fabulous with a capital “F.”

Hot food on buffet lineNatty’s Buffet

Palestine, Arkansas

We were driving toward Illinois and were hungry. We wanted to eat at a buffet before we reached West Memphis.  After surfing the net for a buffet choice, we decided to try Natty’s.

Venue: Truck stop café with buffet. One review on their Facebook page said, “The building looks like something out of Harlem circa 1969, but the food is decent. The parking lot for trucks is rougher than a corncob but a decent place to park.“ Don’t let the outside rule your decision to give it a try.Natty’s Buffet storefront

Atmosphere: Casual country diner with table or booth seating.

Dining room with table or booth seating. Dinner plates on a table to the right, front.Food Fare: Natty’s offers American comfort food. Choose the buffet or order off the menu. Two Buffet tables and n background, and table and chairs in foreground.The food was delicious even though some cold items could have been colder and some hot items warmer. Both the chicken pot pie and peach cobbler were fabulous with a capital “F.” I almost wish that was all I ate for dinner. Fried chicken and peach cobbler on a plate with a fork. Some food has already been eaten off the plate.The fried chicken was delicious. Desserts were saran wrapped and the bundt cake slice I had was good.Piece of bundt cake saran wrapped on a plate.

Recommendations: If you like fried catfish, give it a try. It wasn’t on the buffet but a friendly trucker ordered it off the menu and gave my husband a sample from her plate. He wants to go back sometime for the fish.

Desserts and cold part of buffet.Service: Service was very good.

Return Rating:  Definitely.Natty’s Buffet side of building.

Grab an Exotic Meat Burger at Dairy Palace

We enjoyed a wild hog double burger, large fry, cole slaw, bacon burger, and 2 Diet Cokes. Order at the counter and food is delivered to your table.

Wild Hog Double Burger in background and Bacon Burger in foreground with cole slaw on the side. Dairy Palace

 

We have driven by the Dairy Palace in Canton, TX many times and wanted to try their hamburgers. We had been unable to stop until recently. It was worth the stop!

"World Famous Hamburgers" sign above menu boards at order counter with a lot of people in line.Venue:  This is a family owned and operated sort of fast food restaurant. There is a bit of a wait as food is made when ordered.

Booth and table seating inside Dairy Palace.Atmosphere: There is a lot of seating so you can pick your table or booth in this casual setting. There are several arcade games if you wish to play while you wait for your food.Arcade area inside Dairy Palace.

Food Fare: Breakfast is served all day long in addition to burgers, sandwiches, entrees, Mexican, hot dogs, and salads. Oh yeah, and ice cream and exotic meat burgers. Exotic meats include: duck, elk, venison, bison, turkey, and wild boar. We enjoyed a wild hog double burger, large fry, cole slaw, bacon burger, and 2 Diet Cokes for just shy of $31.00. A bit pricy but delicious. Both burgers were fabulous and Pete would get the wild hog again. Well done large French fry basket.The fries and cole slaw were just regular sides so we’ll probably skip them next time.

Recommendations: They are open 24 hours but be aware the parking lot is not suited for trailers. Their brochure mentions they have hand-made ice cream sandwiches that might be worth considering. If it is prime meal time, be prepared to wait.Know Your Rancher information about 44 Farms and how they treat the cattle.

Service: Good service. Order at the counter and food is delivered to your table. We didn’t ask about drink refills and I didn’t notice a fountain. You’ll have to ask when you stop in.

Return Rating: Definitely.View of Diary Palace from the street.

Navarro Donuts — You Deserve a Donut!

Everything looked delicious. The apple fritter was thin but slightly crunchy on the outside. The taste of apple was prominent.

Two glazed apple fritters on a plate.

Driving through Texas, you will notice that there are a lot of donut shops. These are open early morning to mid-afternoon at the latest.

If you want a late night donut, you better plan ahead or get it at the grocery store.

Navarro Donuts storefront.

We found a really great donut shop in Corsicana if you happen to be in that area. Walking in you notice the cases with donuts and the smiling person behind the cases.

On Pete’s first visit to this shop, he opened the door for an older couple going in at the same time. Pete asked if he was taking her out for breakfast and the gentleman commented he thought Pete was buying. So, Pete did. The gentleman sputtered that Pete couldn’t buy him breakfast because he didn’t know him. So, after an introduction and handshake Pete bought his coffee and her donut. There are friendly folks in Texas!Product case in donut shop.

Venue: Drive through or walk-in donut shop.

Atmosphere: Typical small donut shop atmosphere with cases to display donuts and other goodies along with table or booth seating.

Food Fare: Donuts, apple fritters, kolaches, and other goodies. The kolaches are not the fruit filled pastries of the northern Midwest, but a sausage in dough—what we call “a pig in a blanket.” Product case in donut shop.Everything looked delicious. We bought an old fashioned donut no icing and 2 apple fritters. We really enjoyed both choices. The apple fritter was thin but slightly crunchy on the outside. The taste of apple was prominent. Very good! The glaze tasted good but as with most donut shops too much is put on.

Recommendations: Definitely eat an apple fritter! Select a few donuts to carry out for later. We bought 2 apple fritters for Pete’s folks in Illinois. Four days later one was enjoyed cold and one microwaved. Both parents were happy with their fritter.

Service: Friendly.

Return Rating: Definitely! I live their sacks — “You deserve a donut.”Picture of sack that says, “You deserve a donut” and has a pink donut on it.

Navarro Donuts, 3553 W. State Highway 31, Corsicana, Texas

Soulman’s Bar-B-Que Since 1974

We enjoyed the ribs and brisket. Service was exceptional!

Rack of ribs on tin foil.

Soulman’s Bar-B-Que Since 1974

We were on an afternoon road trip to pick up a mama cat and her kitten, and saw Soulman’s Bar-B-Que. Father’s Day was coming up and it was a perfect “excuse” to try Soulman’s

Soulman’s sign with open hours: 10:00 am to 9:00 pm.Venue: Texas Bar-B-Que Chain

Atmosphere: Casual drop in to eat or get it to go. Table or booth seating invites  you to linger with your companions and meal. Booth seating inside Soulman’s.We got ours to go. We left the truck running so the cats would have A/C while we quickly got our food.

Food Fare: We got a rack of ribs, brisket, bbq sauce, and an unsweetened tea. Brisket meat on tin foil with side of bbq sauce in styrofoam container.There were lots of food choices including potato salad, cole slaw, beans, fried okra, pulled pork, sausage, chicken, and lots of other stuff. You can choose a plate, family style, by the pound, or a sandwich. We enjoyed the ribs and brisket. Pete didn’t care for the fine cut of the brisket meat but I liked it. The bbq sauce was a touch sweet but with a tanginess to it. It was a nice balance of flavor. The ribs were delicious. You can check out the restaurant online at Soulmans.com. We didn’t buy dessert but I did drool over the choices: pecan pie, buttermilk pie and banana pudding. If you want to make your own instead of buy it, check out these recipes for chess pie and pecan pie. They are actually easy pies to make.

Soulman’s pig face with sunglasses logo on drink cup.Recommendations:  Give this bar-b-que a try when near one of their 20 Texas locations. We stopped at the Van, TX restaurant. You gotta love their logo cups and their mascot with sunglasses!

Service: We were impressed with the friendliness of their staff both behind the counter and on the dining floor. Service was exceptional! We were wished safe travels before we left by an employee in the dining area.

Food line forefront with menu boards in background inside Soulman’s.Return Rating: Definitely!

Eilenberger’s Bakery Since 1898

Quaint bakery shop with the old tin ceiling. We enjoyed the pecan nuggets and the chocolate chip pecan cookies.

Bakery case full of goodies.Eilenberger’s Bakery Since 1898

512 N. John St., Palestine, Texas

Venue:  Small town bakery begun in 1898.

Old tin ceiling in bakery.Atmosphere:  Quaint bakery shop with the old tin ceiling. Welcoming to stop in and browse. There is plenty of seating to enjoy your selections or you can get them to go. A number of antiques related to the business are on display. On the walls are photographs depicting the community at different points in time.Historic picture of the inside of the bakery.Display case with Pecan Nuggets and Chocolate Chip Pecan cookies.

Offerings:  Candies, cookies and other goodies.

Recommendations:  Be sure to get several of a variety of items to sample. We enjoyed the pecan nuggets and the chocolate chip pecan cookies. Both would be do agains on a return trip. Be sure to take a catalog with you or check out their selections online at eilenbergerbakery.com.

Friendly employee behind bakery counter wearing black baker's hat.Service:  Friendly, helpful service. We enjoyed chatting with the employee about the history of the business and building. Texas Historical Commission placque for the bakery on the outside, front of the bakery.There is even a Texas Historical Commission placque for the bakery. Under the placque is an “Oil City Ironworks, Corsicana, Texas” embossing.“Oil City Ironworks, Corsicana, Texas” embossing under Texas Historical Commission placque for the bakery.

Storefront of the bakery.Return Rating: Definitely would love to!nside of bakery showing cases and old tin ceiling.

 

 

 

Table seating inside bakery.

 

Giordano’s Deep Dish Pizza

We’ve had Giordano’s before in Chicagoland and received a quality pizza at this Central Illinois location. If you love leftover pizza, order accordingly and take home what you can’t eat.

Deep dish pizza on cardboard round with 2 pieces missing.Giordano’s

1505 N. Veterans Pkwy., Bloomington, IL

Venue: Chicago pizzaria located in Bloomington, IL. Note: there are lots of Chicagoland Giordano’s.

Atmosphere: Table seating in a shotgun style restaurant. Layout is long and narrow. Plenty of seating but it does feel a bit crowded. If you love deep dish pizza, you can tough out the seating arrangement. Large screen tv was visible.Long narrow seating in restaurant with table, chairs and wall mounted large screen tv.

Food Fare: Exceptional! We’ve had Giordano’s before in Chicagoland and received a quality pizza at this Central Illinois location.Deep dish spinach, cheese, mushroom pizza slice on plate with a few bites gone. Also, sprinkle cheese is on pizza and a fork is on the plate. We enjoyed the Spinach and Cheese deep dish with mushrooms added.

Recommendations: Avoid going at peak times if you don’t want to wait. If you love leftover pizza, order accordingly and take home what you can’t eat. Cold pizza for breakfast is a treat we enjoy!Giordano’s pizza box, “The 1 Giirdano’s, Famous Stuffed Deep Dish Pizza.”

Service: Carly provided good, solid service and was a personable waitress. We did let her know that the restaurant really needed to cover the window above the entry door as the supply area was on display and it wasn’t flattering.

Return Rating: Most definitely when in the mood for deep dish!

Smitty’s Café – Amazing Food

We’ve had both breakfast and burgers, and loved both. Hash browns and french fries were “burned” as requested.

Smitty's Cafe storefront in downtown Brenham, TX with baker man statue out front.Smitty’s Café & Bakery

100 W. Main Street, Brenham, TX

Venue: Small, downtown eatery that was highly recommended to us by 2 different sets of folks.

Atmosphere: Casual and comfortable with table seating. Find your spot and take a seat.Table seating with green and cream tile floor and Texas Country decor.

Food Fare: Exceptional! We’ve had breakfast and burgers, and loved both. Scrambled eggs, bacon, and we’ll done hash browns.Hash browns and french fries were “burned” as requested. Tried the peanutbutter and jelly hamburger that comes with bacon — Yum! I’d been sidestepping trying a hamburger with peanutbutter because I figured it would be really great or really a goner. This combo is a do again! The half sandwich with green beans was a healthier choice for me. My better half enjoyed the potatoes each time.Half peanutbutter jelly hamburger with side of green beans

Recommendations: Lunch starts at 11:00 a.m. If you’re there a bit early (10:45) like we were the first visit, don’t let the waitress impact you asking for lunch. We were “encouraged” to order breakfast, but the folks that came in just before us were allowed to order lunch. Lunch is the reason we chose the restaurant. Let me say though, breakfast was fantastic!Plate size pancake with butter.

Service: If our service we received the first visit dictated our decision to return, we would never go back. My husband ordered over easy eggs and got scrambled. After asking for a biscuit and being informed there were none, I settled for toast. I asked the bread choices and selected wheat. I received white. Our waitress failed to check on us. We left no tip because it wasn’t earned. We also informed the cashier and she apologized and insured us they could do better. Unfortunately, we sat in the same spot our second visit and had the same waitress. She did better than our first visit, but service was not stellar. Another waitress did check on us and had an outstanding attitude. We put a tip in the tip jar. Be sure to sit at a table being served by the blonde waitress.

Front of Smitty's Cafe menu with hours, address, and phone numbers.Return Rating: Definitely because the food is amazing! At least until we find a comparable restaurant we prefer.Omelette with cheese and toast

Firehouse Subs has Fantastic Food

Very tasty sub sandwiches and salads aptly named to reflect the theme. Do be sure and check out the hot sauces on the counter! Also, take a peek at the Firehouse Subs website to look for a location in your area.

Sub Sandwich on paper lined red plastic tray with drink cup in background.Firehouse Subs

1407 N. Veterans Parkway, Bloomington, IL

In all fairness, after the Cops & Doughnuts post how could I not give equal time to the Fire Guys. We recently discovered this fast food chain and enjoy eating at Firehouse Subs.

Venue: Fire Station themed, casual, fast food setting. Eat in or get it to go.

Tables inside Firehouse Subs and firehouse decor on the walls.Atmosphere: Fire Station signs, clothing and décor. Choose which Dalmatian print table top suits your fancy. Fun environment to eat in as everyone loves firemen!

Food Fare: Very tasty sub sandwiches and salads aptly named to reflect the theme. We’ve enjoyed all our selections. Salad in red bowl with dressing in 2 plastic cups sitting in salad bowl. Chocolate Chip cookie is on the side.The Normal, IL shop had the fancy soda pop machine that allows you to scroll through the beverage choices and all choices dispense through one outlet. Love the Diet Fanta soda flavors. There are a variety of hot sauces on the counter and they are rated by number. The higher the number, the hotter the sauce. The chocolate chip cookie was delicious too!

Sign explaining the sale of 5 gallon pickle buckets for $2 to help support first responders and public safety organizations.Recommendations: Buy an empty pickle bucket, red of course. The proceeds supports First Responders and Public Safety Organizations. These 5 gallon buckets come in quite handy for yard work, home storage, or lugging stuff around. Do be sure and check out the hot sauces on the counter! Also, take a peek at the Firehouse Subs website to look for a location in your area.Counter in Firehouse Subs with menu boards posted on the wall behind the counter.

Service: We’ve always had great service at the Normal location.

Return Rating: Definitely!Dalmatian print table tops with red chairs. Firemen clothing is hanging on the brick wall.