So, our long (24 hours of driving time!) journey out west to Austin, Texas, has finally come to a close. We left on Sunday, July 10, from Oxford, North Carolina, from the home of my in-laws. Let’s recap that journey:
Sun., July 10: Leave Oxford, NC, for Atlanta, GA, to stay with our good friend T-Sloan. [Stop in Charlotte to eat a fried flounder sandwich and fries at Showmar’s (a great local establishment!) with my younger sister, Brittany, 19, and my cousin, Danielle, and her husband.]
After reaching Atlanta, our dear friend, Tyler, brought us to a local hamburger eatery, the Vortex, in a section of town called Little Five Points.The popular food hub has been featured on Food Network’s Man vs. Food for its Triple Coronary Bypass aka the Super Stack. Here’s the description:Made with two half-pound Vortex sirloin patties stacked inside three grilled cheese sandwiches, topped with two
fried eggs, eight slices of American cheese, ten slices of bacon and plenty of mayo on the side. With this
burger we choose your side for you, and it’s a big bowl of fries and tots covered in our cheesy-cheese goo.
This super-stack is a heart attack waiting to happen. Enjoy! (No lettuce, tomato or onion) 26.95
Basically, the burger is insane. I opted for the Buffalo Chicken Wrap and a side of fried plantains. Quite tasty for a non-burger at a burger place!
Mon., July 11: Leave Hotlanta for Baton Rouge (or Livingston), LA, to stay with Nanny Kay and Diane! I should have taken pictures of Nanny Kay’s camper that she so graciously housed us in. Kay also took us out for dinner, which was my first-time “real” Cajun crawfish experience at Don’s Seafood and Steak House. I ordered the “Half and Half,” half crawfish etoufee and half fried crawfish. I finished my entire plate and licked up the sauce with french bread. Yeah, I guess it was good.
Tues., July 12: Leave Livingston for Denham Springs (Baton Rouge, basically), to visit Tante Tina! Sweetheart Tina drove us around the capital of Louisiana, Baton Rouge, and we saw the Capitol building, the Governor’s Mansion, and various other offices that my in-laws worked at during their younger years. We also saw cousin Emma and her Shirley Temple look-alike daughter, Vivian, or Vivi for short. We ended our evening with a joyous dinner at Golden Corral with Aunt Diane and Uncle Ernie, her daughter and husband, Jamie and Anthony, along with their kids Tristan, Trinity, and Trey. I really enjoyed seeing more of Erik’s family and having the opportunity to spend quality time with such great, loving people!
Wed., July 13: Leave Baton Rouge for Lafayette to visit Granny (my mother-in-law’s mother). It never fails; Granny’s house always has this distinct, nostalgic air about it. Have you ever noticed that? I immediately walked in and felt right at home. Granny was so kind to take us out to a delish lunch meal at ZEA’s of Lafayette. I ordered the Basil Crusted Trout with a side of Red Beans & Rice and Roasted Corn Grits–YUM! Check out their menu: http://www.zearestaurants.com/site127.php. After our tour of the family’s past stomping grounds (i.e. past homes, elementary and high schools, etc.), we met Uncle Jim, Aunt Diane, Cousin Carson, and his girlfriend, at Dean-O’s Pizza. We ordered the fried pickles and fried sweet potato fries as an appetizer, and, for our main course, we ordered the “Tee Rex” and the “Shrimp a la Dean-O” pizzas. Again, the food was scrumptious!
Thurs., July 14: My tummy is getting bigger. We stayed another day and night with Granny. Granny and I both were feeling a bit under the weather, so the majority of the day was spent just takin’ it easy. Erik’s parents made it into Lafayette around evening time with the family van loaded up with even more of our necessities. (God bless ’em!) We all went out to a special Cajun dinner at Prejean’s. Now, Prejean’s has it going on with Cajun spices. I ordered Prejean’s Seafood Platter (fried), which comes with frog legs, shrimp, oyster, catfish, alligator, stuffed shrimp & stuffed crab served with rice dressing, Cajun fries and corn macque choux. Whew! I only got about halfway through everything, but it was like Louisiana heaven in my mouth-belly. Please don’t miss this restaurant if you’re ever in Lafayette! Your mouth will water: http://www.prejeans.com/dinner_menu.html. We ended the night going through old (like 1920’s old) family photos. It’s funny how physical traits transfer down the family tree! Erik looks a lot like his granddad, Paul.
Fri., July 15: Leave Lafayette for Groves, TX, to stay with Aunt Roxie and Uncle Ronnie. We left sometime in the early afternoon from Granny’s, but we didn’t leave until we had filled our bellies with Community Coffee coffee and some perfectly-spiced boudain. Gotta lub dat boudain! So, we said our goodbyes and made another drive to R&R’s. Upon arrival, we met Uncle Dan and Nanny Mert (the parents of Roxie) as well as R&R’s son, Jared, and his wife, Lindsey. What’s missing here? More food! We had homemade, slow-cooked shrimpy-okra gumbo with white rice and strawberry shortcake for dessert. For post-dessert, I also had a tasty Mojito made by Roxie. We had such a good time exploring their house and property and went to bed happy campers.
Sat., July 16, Moving Day: Leave Groves, TX, for AUSTIN! Lesson learned from this initially estimated four-hour trip: Don’t underestimate Houston traffic. We were in Houston for about three-four hours in stopped traffic. Gosh, Houston, you really put a bad taste in my mouth. After getting over our anxiety and irritation, we found a highway that took us straight into Austin. It took an ungodly amount of time to get there, but we did, safely. We moved everything from the two cars and one van in less than an hour. We were sweating puddles, but we were happy to have made it. We (Erik, in-laws, and R&R) rewarded ourselves to a wonderful Tex-Mex style dinner at local joint, Trudy’s. Erik had the stuffed avocado and I had Ciro’s Special. Superb food! We also had our fair share of frozen margaritas–ah! We all quickly retired to our beds and had a very deep, refreshing sleep.
And, that’s how the trip went. More to come.
Are you taking advantage of every opportunity that greets you? Think about it.