Saturday, July 23, 2011


There was a recent birthday in the family and that is a great reason to drop the kids off with the grandparents and head to the nearest big city and eat everything in sight.  I wanted Mrs. 45er to have a good one, so I got recommendations for places which we had never been and planned out the entire day.  As usual, the best laid plans and all... 

Still, we had a fantastic time and I just had to share a few of the high points.  Advice that I will give, since you didn't ask for it, is not to be afraid of trying new places.  Take a laptop with you and park next to places with free Wifi if you get stuck for things to do.  It really paid off for us this trip.

So, the first place we went was a trendy little place, not usually our thing but it came with a recommendation and sounded great.  We opted for a big brunch and skipping lunch so we wouldn't be stuffed for dinner.  All I can say WOW when the food came.

Sweet, sweet nectar
Our first stop was Max's Wine Dive.  We thought it best to start with orange juice mimosas.  That is, until we saw they had Prickly Pear Mimosas.  Well, I'll have one of those TOO, please.

I will just say that I could not resist the temptation of trying their fried wings and pancakes.  What I was expecting was a few wings (like bar wings), you know tiny little things, on top of pancakes.  What I got instead...

Dear Lord, I give up already
So, when they set down the plate, I almost gave it my wallet and backed away.  It was that intimidating.  That is 4 full-sized wings.  Or, better described as the WHOLE darn chicken arm.  They soak them in jalapeno buttermilk, fry them up and serve them over two huge fluffy pancakes.  Mrs. 45er and I each ordered a side of applewood smoked bacon.  Well, because why the heck not?  It was the best bacon EVAR.  And I've eaten a LOT of bacon.

That is my orange mimosa and prickly pear mimosa haunting the background in the above picture.  We went for a nice shopping walk after this brunch battle.

So, what did Mrs. 45er have for her special day?

Get thee behind me, breakfast

White Chocolate Raspberry French Toast.  I was allowed one bite and it was magnificent.  Also ordered with a side of bacon, and orange and prickly pear mimosa.

After the glut-fest we did some walking and shopping in a nearby shopping area and then saw a movie (loved it).  I'm surprised we didn't just sleep through the thing.  After that, on to the Japanese Tea Gardens.

Revisionist and stereotyping, a two-fer!

I know, wait I thought he said...

I did say Japanese Tea Gardens.  We have a bad habit of being revisionist with our history.  During World War II, the Japanese family that was living in the Gardens and were the caretakers were shipped off to an internment camp.  They put up the sign so no one would think it had anything to do with Japan.  I'm glad they left it up so people would be curious and confused and, hopefully, ask questions.  Learn history and do not repeat it.

The rock-work is quite amazing.  And, so is the duckwork...

Someone has their wings full

After spending a little time in the tiring heat, we headed over to Orange Leaf Yogurt.  This was a place we visited while on vacation in another state.  Self-serve frozen yogurt and great toppings.  I'm glad we found it, it's just awesome.

So, here plans took a twist.  The restaurant we chose ended up being closed that night, so we found a free Wifi spot and found a great fish place.  We ended up at Wildfish. 

We shared a warm goat cheese arugula and endive salad with fresh-made honey mustard dressing and wild mushrooms sauteed in butter.  The goat cheese almost turned me off, as I can find it a little too tangy for my taste sometimes.  I'm glad we went with the waiter's recommendation on this one.  It was great.  My entree was seared Ahi Tuna.  I told the waiter to have the chef show it the grill on the way out.  It was cooked to perfection and served with wasabi mashed potatoes on a sweet chili sauce.

Mrs. 45er indulged in broiled Red Snapper with lump Jonas Crab meat and butter sauce.  We ordered a side of scalloped potatoes to go with hers and they were good, too.

Then came the pineapple upside down cake with Amy's Butter Pecan Ice cream (out of Austin), alight with Bacardi 151.

The perfect ending, pyrotechnics and dessert
Just wow.  The flaming rum caramelized the syrup a little (and lit the cake on fire a little, too - seen bottom right).  We put it all out and dived in.  It was just amazing.

All in all, a great birthday trip for Mrs. 45er (and me, too).


  1. What a decadent birthday. What a lucky wife! Glad you had a good time trying something new.

  2. Thanks, Lila. I think I'm the lucky one. I just like to keep her happy, which keeps me happy.

  3. That is a great way to look at it. My guy spoils me and says he does it because someone should and since my family never did he now gets the pleasure of it. He is pretty awesome. Possessive and protective lol but sweet as pie.

  4. Thanks for the recommendation. went to the one in Austin on Saturday and had a GREAT dinner. It was 100% worth the 30 min wait for a table.

  5. That Guy - glad it was good. We're going back

    Weer'd - I thought of you when I saw the next generation of ducks. When I saw them, I had to keep saying to myself: "I am not a duck."