Archive for the ‘Texas Coast’ Category

The Yacht Club at Port Isabel

Tuesday, February 2nd, 2010

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Recent visitor, Jerry, raved about the stuffed peppers that he had eaten, some ten years ago, at the old Yacht Club and Hotel in Port Isabel, TX.  Port Isabel is located on the mainland, just across the bridge from South Padre Island and a couple of blocks north of Hwy 100.


So off we went to experience this epicurean delight.  As luck would have it, the restaurant doesn’t open until 5:00 PM.  Since it was noon, and we were getting hungry, we decided to forego dining at the Yacht Club until a later date.


But, while there, we decided to look around.  Easily recognizable by its red tile roof and dome, the Yacht Club, established in 1926, had fallen into a state of disrepair. In recent years, under new management, the facility has undergone progressive renovation, beginning with the guest rooms.  The new owner, John Hiller, is extremely nice and eager to answer our questions.

The unusual symmetry of the entry door, seen below, looks like one side or the other was an afterthought.  It seems like another door was added to allow something to be brought into the building.


Most of the furnishings are antique and fitting the design of the inn all the way down to the front desk.  Across from the desk is this fantastic ship model.  You can see some of the period lobby furnishings in the background.


The dining room is bright and cheery.  Too bad they didn’t open until 5:00 PM.


The lighting is assisted by the windows surrounding the room at ceiling level.


If you’re in the area, it is certainly worth a visit.  If you try the stuffed jalapeños, let us know how you like them.

The Road to a Heart Attack

Sunday, January 24th, 2010

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My cardiologist said to me, “Do you remember what you did to build up the plaque in your system?”  Following my affirmative response, he added, “Well, stop it.”

So, the week following my procedure and with out of town guests here wanting to dine out, we visited many of the wonderful contributors to my heart issues.

In Mission, Texas, we stopped at Pepe’s on the River to watch our friend Ruthi perform.


Pepe’s has some outstanding nachos.  It takes at least two people to tackle a piling order of this dish. We enjoyed an afternoon of dancing.


My favorite restaurant south of the border is Angel’s in Progreso.  They have the best salsa I’ve ever had.  The place was teaming with senior citizens. Imagine that.


Then it was off to South Padre Island and lunch at our favorite restaurant on the island, Daddy’s.   The dish called the Cowboy Joe’s is absolutely wonderful. It is a ribeye with a shrimp, spinach and 3-cheese sauce.

We also visited two fine Mexican restaurants, Costa Messa Restaurant in McAllen.  I’m not crazy about chipolte anything, but their chipolte salsa is great.  The second restaurant is Casa Del Tacos in Weslaco.  It isn’t just a house of tacos.  You’ll find a wide menu that includes homemade soups and good steaks.

Finally, we went to Donna, TX to visit Gonzales Burgers.  This place doesn’t even have a sign except the one that says “OPEN”.  You need to get there early.  People start lining up at about 10:30 AM.  Even if you are first in line, you may wait about 30 minutes for your order.  The burgers are enormous.


You can see the huge patties.  The burgers fill the over sized buns.


If that won’t clog your arteries, nothing will.

Ok, my Nutrisystems food just arrived.  Now I can work toward better health.

Towers Fall and Creole Rocks

Tuesday, January 5th, 2010

 Click for South Padre Island, Texas Forecast

We made a whirlwind trip over to South Padre Island to check out some properties.

In 2006, construction on a beautiful, 31 story condominium tower began at the northern end of the developed area of South Padre Island.


Unfortunately, the structure took on a nickname of “The Leaning Tower of Padre” as one side began to sink into the sand.  In December, 2009, the building was imploded.  This is all that is left…….


While on the island, we stopped for lunch at  Daddy’s Seafood and Creole Kitchen, 3409 Padre Blvd., and were not disappointed.


I know that you’re supposed to eat seafood at the beach, but Rick had a ribeye with a Cajun seafood cheese sauce on top.  It was outstanding.  Tinka stayed with the seafood fare and enjoyed a sampling of various shrimp dishes.

There are a number of good restaurants on the island.  This is one of the best.

Sand Castles and Red Tide

Friday, October 23rd, 2009

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In early May we visited, and wrote about, the Sandfest activities in Port Aransas, TX., which is the largest sand castle competition along the Gulf Coast.  Last weekend South Padre Island hosted a smaller version of the “castle” building.

The competition took place at Isla Blanca Park at the south end of the island. The structures were no less spectacular.




They even had a “Lesson Beach” section to teach some of the techniques to novices.


Unfortunately, we learned about a new beach hazard.  The Red Tide.   The red tide is an algae bloom that is not harmful to humans, but quite deadly to fish.  Thousands of dead fish were spotted by the Coast Guard just off shore and some were washing up on the beach.

One side effect of the red tide is that the blooms emit  particles that are irritating to everyone’s breathing.   Everyone we spotted had a hacking cough that quit when they traveled a short distance from the beach.

Smart people came prepared with masks.


Most of the artists came prepared.


We headed up the beach about a half mile along the beach at the north end of the road.  The surf was extremely rough, and the tide so high, that we didn’t want to work that hard to travel up the beach.  With the red tide, we didn’t plan to spend much time in the sand anyway.


Texas Parks and Wildlife keep a website to advise on the various beach conditions, including the Red Tide.  (Click Here)

We will certainly check out the conditions before our next visit.

Port Mansfield, Texas

Friday, October 2nd, 2009

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Our replacement camera went belly up so we’re back to using the camera that shows us about 25% of the screen.  So if things are off center or not focused, we’ll blame the camera.  Many of the photos in this article will enlarge if you click on them.

We decided to take a day trip to explore Port Mansfield, Texas.  Port Mansfield is located along the Texas coast across the bay from the jetty that separates Padre Island from South Padre Island.


The town is pretty much out of the way unless it is your final destination.  There are two basic ways to get to the town.  One highway and by boat.

Fishing is the major pass time  for the residents here.  Nearly every house along the bay has a fishing pier that extends to the deeper water.


From ground level, you can see how close together they appear.  A large percentage of the piers looked in very good condition.  I suspect that many were rebuilt after being visited by Hurricane Dolly last summer.


Since the weather can be a little unpredictable, these piers aren’t designed to keep boats.  Residents can put their boats in at ramps or keep them at a local marina.


Most coastal towns that we have visited have several housing communities that are built on canals.  It looks like Port Mansfield has one main canal that leads to the marina.  Some residences and rentals can be seen along the canal.


On the opposite  side of the canal there is a gated community with some larger homes.


South of town, we entered a subdivision that had a sign that said “No Hunting”.  Apparently the deer are quite literate in this area because we saw three groups of deer, that totaled more than 30, roaming the neighborhood.


This group had at least two bucks.


Here’s a cutie that was alongside the road.


We ate lunch at the Windjammer Restaurant and Lounge.      The food was good, but the service was a little on the slow side.  We showed up at about 2:30 PM, which is an odd time for lunch, so that may have contributed to any delay we may have experienced.  The experience would be worth another try.