Baseball Trip 2005 Complete

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2005/04/20 22:10:29 (permalink)

Baseball Trip 2005 Complete

Well I'm back from my ballpark trip for the year. Most likely due to financial constraints (I just had to unexpectedly had to buy a new car) this will be my only trip for the year.

I am going to divide this thread into four parts since I was on the road for 10 days.

Part 1

I flew into Nashville on Friday April 8th. I proceeded to rent a car. Alamo was nice enough to give me a PT Cruiser- $200 including tax. I proceeded on my trek for "Q" at Hays Smokehouse. I arrived in Lexington TN and had to stop at a Bakery/Supermarket to get directions since I had no idea where I was going. The elderly cashier and a young guy in their 20's were both trying to give me directions but I couldn't understand a word they were saying and I had to tell them 3 times where I was trying to go before they could understand me. I finally made it to Hayes and went for their pork bbq plate. I noticed that the owner dressed in Overalls was acting as cashier for the day. I chose BBQ beans, Mayo Slaw and Onion Rings for my sides and also had a glass of sweet tea. The sides in all honesty were nothing special. The Pork Q was pretty good, but I was not overly impressed. I tried to add some of the hot BBQ sauce which comes in squirt bottles (just a little) and that seemed to do the trick. Overall an ok experience. I continued on my trek to Little Rock and arrived at around 4PM. After checking into my hotel I drove to the Crooked Hook Catfish Restaurant for dinner. I wanted to get there before 5pm because I head the place can get packed. I got there just before 5pm and the place was already 1/2 full. Now, I'll be honest, I'm not a huge Catfish Eater, however I will always go to at least one Catfish Restaurant, especially when I'm in Arkansas because there seem to be so many in that state. The Catfish comes with fries, slaw, hushpuppies and I decided to pay extra and get the Green Tomato Relish. This time I ordered a glass of Unsweetened Ice tea. To me having Sweet Tea twice a day is a no-no. I've only had Catfish a handful of times in the past. However this was probably the best Catfish I ever ate. The Restaurant advertises that they fry in Peanut Oil and the taste shows- Fresh, Hot and Crisp and the Fish was not at all Fishy or Gamey. The Huspuppies had a slightly sweet taste to them which I like. The sides again were nothing notable, however I did enjoy the Green Tomato Relish. When I left the restaurant it was almost full. I then went to Ray Winder Field in Little Rock, home of the Arkansas Travelers. It's a rickety old field built in the 1930's and although I hate to see old fields go, this one has too. It's seen better days. Apparently there are plans to build a new ballpark in downtown Little Rock. The Travelers beat the Springfield Cardinals That night.

The next day after perusing around the newly revitalized riverwalk area downtown I headed on the long trek to Houston TX. On the way down I stopped at the Bakery Restaurant for Lunch in Jefferson TX. The Bakery is not just a bakery, it is an actual sit down restaurant and serves a wide variety of meals including Chicken Fried Steak. I had Bowl of Texas Red for lunch- Chili that is- It was Beanless and loaded with grated cheese and onions was adequately spiced with cumin and came with two fresh warm cornbread muffins on the side. Again I had to repeat to the Waitress 3 x that I wanted Chili before she understood what I was saying. It was a filling lunch, not too much and not to little. I finally arrived in Houston and realized I had very little time before the Astros game began, only a couple of hours. After finding out that my downtown hotel offers free shuttle service to the Ballpark, I chanced it and drove to the Magnolia Grill. I got there and it was packed and there was a life band on the deck. I decided to go for the Stuffed Red Snapper and started off with the seafood Gumbo. The fresh bread comes with a hint of butter and garlic, I promised myself I would only eat half, but ended up eating the whole thing (about 4 pieces) The Gumbo was ok and was generously loaded with Shrimp. But the Snapper stuffed with Crabmeat was absoluely delicious. It was Cajun spiced and came with Mashed Potatos (homemade) and a vegetable medely. Definetely one of the highlights of the trip. I then returned to the hotel and took the shuttle to the Ballpark. Minute Maid field is a relatively brand new park and also has a retractable roof. I've been to Miller park in Milwaukee which also has a retrartable roof, however I felt they did a much better job with the design in Houston. Houston played the Reds that day and beat them after a two inning tie at the Bottom of the ninth inning.

On Sunday I took the leasurely 45 minute drive to Galveston and took a walk along the Pier and pondering through the souvenir shops. I then proceeded over to the Strand District and did the same. I returned to Houston in the Afternoon and checked out Luling City Market on Richmond Avenue. I ordered the BBQ Beef Brisket and Sausage Combo which came with Potato Salad, Beans and White Bread. I added some Pickles and Hot Peppers and a Glass of Ice Tea (apparently unsweetened is the only choice in Texas) I'll tell you the Brisket was probably some of the Best I ever had, on Par with Leos in OK City. and The Sausage, let's just say it kicked ASS and had packed a punch like you wouldn't believe. The BBQ sauce was quite interesting, unusual for Texas had slightly sweet mustard/vinegar consistency but it was really good and complimented the smoked meet quite well. Again the sides were nothing special. But the Brisket and Sausage were definetly another highlight of the trip. After carousing around the Antique Shops on Westheimer I head back to the Hotel to chill out for a couple of hours. I then was looking forward to my next meal at Spanish Village Recomended by Lone Star. When I got there, they were closed, that's odd the Website said they were open on Sundays until 9PM. Apparently there was a private party going on and the lady who approached me (I'm assuming the owner) told me they are closed on Sundays and Mondays. She did give a a couple of recommendations for other Mexican Restaurants in the area on Richmond Street, I drove around Richmond Street, and a small shack with a neon lit sign caught my attention "El Pueblito Place" I decided to check this place out. I arrived and to my surpise the Restaurant offered Valet Parking. I walked in and the Restaurant appeared bigger from the inside. As it turns out the Restaurant serves not only Mexican Food, but Guatamalan specialties as well. The tortilla chips arrived at the table fresh with red and green salsa. Both were delicious and had that unique quality that simply cannot be found here in the Northeast. I went with the Beef Enchilada plate. This comes with rice and beans. Then Enchiladas were utterly delicious, Real beef used (not ground beef) and the Sauce exploded with taste but was not to spicy. Again another excellent discovery and highlight of my trip. When I returned to the hotel I found out that "El Pueblito Place" is listed in AOL TOp 5 Mexican Restaurants in Houston. This is obviously no surprise!

That's it for now. More tommorow.

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