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.
Rabideaux’s Sausage Kitchen
105 HWY 165, Iowa, LA
Venue: Easy to find eatery off Interstate 10.
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.
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. 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.
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. 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.
Return Rating: Yes. Pete plans to try something different, and Cindy may have to stick to the boudin ball burger.
. . . 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.
111 North La Salle St., Navasota, TX
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.
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. 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.
Return Rating: Yes, if in the mood for Chinese Buffet.
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.
Fantastically creamy custard in vanilla and chocolate. If your only eating custard, get the double scoop.
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!
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. They also offer a variety of custard concoctions and food selections along with wood-fired pizza.
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.
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!
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.”
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.
Atmosphere: Casual country diner with table or booth seating.
Food Fare: Natty’s offers American comfort food. Choose the buffet or order off the menu. 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. The fried chicken was delicious. Desserts were saran wrapped and the bundt cake slice I had was good.
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.
Service: Service was very good.
Return Rating: Definitely.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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. 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.
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.
Everything looked delicious. The apple fritter was thin but slightly crunchy on the outside. The taste of apple was prominent.
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.
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!
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.” 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.
Return Rating: Definitely! I live their sacks — “You deserve a donut.”
Navarro Donuts, 3553 W. State Highway 31, Corsicana, Texas
We enjoyed the ribs and brisket. Service was exceptional!
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
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. 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. 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.
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.
Return Rating: Definitely!
Quaint bakery shop with the old tin ceiling. We enjoyed the pecan nuggets and the chocolate chip pecan cookies.
Eilenberger’s Bakery Since 1898
512 N. John St., Palestine, Texas
Venue: Small town bakery begun in 1898.
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.
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.
Service: Friendly, helpful service. We enjoyed chatting with the employee about the history of the business and building. There is even a Texas Historical Commission placque for the bakery. Under the placque is an “Oil City Ironworks, Corsicana, Texas” embossing.
Return Rating: Definitely would love to!
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.
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.
Food Fare: Exceptional! We’ve had Giordano’s before in Chicagoland and received a quality pizza at this Central Illinois location. 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!
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!
We’ve had both breakfast and burgers, and loved both. Hash browns and french fries were “burned” as requested.
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.
Food Fare: Exceptional! We’ve had breakfast and burgers, and loved both. 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.
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!
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.
Return Rating: Definitely because the food is amazing! At least until we find a comparable restaurant we prefer.
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.
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.
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. 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!
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.
Service: We’ve always had great service at the Normal location.
Return Rating: Definitely!