Monday, October 25, 2021
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Baffin Bay Seafood Company

Relaxing dining by the sea

baffin bay 600pxWhile it may be a little farther than most restaurants, the Baffin Bay Seafood Company, located in Riviera, is certainly worth the effort to get there. The restaurant sits right on the coast of Baffin Bay, a well-known fishing spot for black drum, redfish and speckled trout.

One of the most popular items on the restaurant’s menu is black drum ribs, usually served with hand-breaded onion rings. The Baffin Bay Seafood Company may just be the only restaurant to serve these tasty ribs fried with cornmeal. They are delicious! Especially with their homemade tartar sauce made with special secret ingredients.

In addition to the black drum ribs, we tried the grilled and fried drum, which were both delicious. We just had to sample the fried shrimp and grilled shrimp. Both are very good, and my personal favorite was the big, plump grilled shrimp with a delicious fresh-catch taste.

Steaks and chicken are also available for those who aren’t in the mood for a great seafood dinner.

Save room for their delicious desserts! You’ll enjoy rounding out your meal with molten lava cake, brownies with ice cream or New York cheesecake.

A trip to the Baffin Bay Seafood Company, combined with a sightseeing trip to the King Ranch, might just be unbeatable. The restaurant is open from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m., Monday through Saturday, and 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Sunday. They are located at 1294 CR 2360 E on the coastline in Riviera.

Build-A-Burger

Mouth-watering Flavor and Freshness

tov build a burger 7The explosion of flavor, tasting almost every single topping, on my Bobby Burger at Build A Burger in Edinburg pleasantly took me by surprise.

This is a burger, I thought to myself. It should not be so packed with not just mouth-watering flavor, but a freshness that I have rarely come across.

The burger, loaded with ham, bacon, grilled onions, cheddar cheese and two tasty patties, easily shot its way up toward the top of my favorite all-time burgers just after the first bite - the vegetables providing a freshness, the bacon a crispness, and the ham and grilled onions a yumminess (is that even a word? Well it should be in this case).

Tightly wrapped when I was called to pick up my order, I was surprised at how well the burger held up and did not collapse despite its size or by me cutting it into half. Congratulations to the kitchen architect who figured how to build such a successful tower of meat. Even after I was finished eating it, I looked down at my tray and very little of the burger spilled out. That is impressive.

The aioli fries were supercharged with taste, the way aioli fries should be, and seemed to have a bit of lemon juice mixed with its garlic, salt and oil mixture that makes up the aioli sauce. It had a bite, like you would expect from a sauce with those ingredients. This just added more joy to my first Build A Burger experience, where I chose to partake of one of the specialty burgers instead of building my own.

The menu has more than burgers for those who want to adventure away from their signature items. They also offer keto burgers, hot dogs, a variety of fries and chicken tenders and have a children’s menu.tov build a burger 5

My daughter had the super popular Seattle Diggity Dog, a massive hot dog wrapped in bacon and smothered in grilled onions with cream cheese and mayo. Camilla decided she did not want the cream cheese and she absolutely loved the hot dog, as evidenced by a tray that was clean when she was finished devouring her order.

Most burgers, and I have probably eaten more burgers than any other food (my parents swear my first word as a baby was “cheeseburger”), are roughly the same in my opinion. But this Bobby Burger was immense and carried multiple flavors. That, along with its size and presentation/holding together of my first burger here was a great experience. With the variety of menu items, I am sure I will be back to see what other powerful and satisfying flavors I can find.

Upper Valley Golf

NOTE: Golfers, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, specials and guest restrictions vary and may change at any time. We recommend you call the golf course ahead of time – then go enjoy a good round...there aren't any other types of rounds are there?

g alamo ccAlamo Country Club

This course was once considered a hidden gem. It is still a gem, but it is definitely not hidden. It also has some of the toughest holes you will find anywhere. It is a relaxing play, but do not get too relaxed because the layout can jump up and bite you. You need to be accurate on this scenic and fun-to-play course.

Read more: Upper Valley Golf

Los Comales

A must when visiting Mercedes

los comales 3As I perused the jam-packed menu from Los Comales Restaurant at 151 ½ N. Texas Ave. in Mercedes, one item in particular seemed to capture my attention – Poquito de Todo, or A Little of Everything.

I usually avoid these types of plates because, while I like a whole lot of different food, there's usually something that doesn't quite meet my liking, or when it says A Little, it usually means “A Little Less.”

That certainly wasn't the case in this situation.

The plate consisted of two enchiladas, Panchos with fajita (every chip was loaded with fajita, cheese and a jalapeno slice), one chalupa, one beef quesadilla, rice and beans.

And it covered the plate – completely. What may have been most impressive was how the architects in the kitchen were able to pile so much food on a plate and not turn it into a mismatch of everything where you just dug your fork in and played guess what's in my next mouthful?

Each item had its own section on the plate, it didn't mix with any other item (well, a couple pieces of rice and a runaway strand of lettuce may have found their way into something else) but it was structured and organized and full, similar to how my mom would pack a suitcase, as opposed to me or my dad.

The overall amount of food was great, the variety greater and the comfort I felt from digging into each item may have been the best of all. I was ready to nap even before I reached for my heavily filled beef quesadilla inside a homemade flour tortilla. los comales 1

I asked for some salsa other than the mild pico de gallo they brought with my chips and what they delivered was a highly flavorful red sauce, with just a touch of heat.

You could also tell that this town heavily supports the Mercedes Tigers football program and other athletics. I arrived about 10:50 a.m. (the restaurant is open from 6 a.m. to 3 p.m. daily) and there were several customers – ranging from around five years old to somewhere in the 70s age range) wearing their Tigers orange, from lanyards to facemasks to T-shirts and more. It truly gave it a hometown feeling.

I ordered the milanesa de pollo to take home to my daughter, a junior at McHi who was “in class.” When she opened her take home box, her eyes lit up at a large piece of deliciously battered milanesa. “Quick dad, get the ketchup please!”

Usually I can go back to her room, knowing that there was going to be some leftovers for me. When I opened her door to peer in, the box lay on the floor next to her bed. When I opened it, ready to try even the smallest leftover piece I was saddened – all I saw was the bottom of the box. She ate it all.

We both had large plates of delicious food at Los Comales and we both ended up finishing not a little, but all, of everything. Next time I'm in Mercedes for a sporting event, I'll definitely stop here.

Mid Valley Golf

golf harlingen country club 2Harlingen Country Club

A beauty of a layout with a mixture of challenges, Harlingen Country Club is the shot-maker's course. Sure, there are holes where you can grip it and rip it but the subtle elevation changes, the twists and turns along with the well-placed hazards makes this the perfect golf-thinkers course. It's like playing chess, just with golf clubs instead of pawns, rooks, knights...

Read more: Mid Valley Golf

Denny's

I could eat it again

dennys 20201104I have to admit, it's hard for me to stray away from the breakfast choices at Denny's.

I've been a fan of “Moons Over My Hammy” since I walked into my first Denny's in the early 1990s in Florence, S.C. I also love the omelets, skillets and slams (grand slam, lumberjack slam.... you get the picture.)

However, recently I stopped in determined to grab some lunch and pry myself away from my breakfast comfort zone. My daughter was in the mood for a burger and I decided on something different.

Camilla ordered the bourbon bacon burger without mushrooms or cheese, and fries. I went for the fried fish, also with fries and some broccoli.

This was almost a challenge-the-restaurant meal. I'm usually disappointed with battered fish. It usually ends up battered minnow – all batter and little fish. I’m also all or nothing with fish - you get one chance only because I’m either gonna love it or loathe it. However, when I broke my first of three decent-sized pieces in half, I was pleased to see the fish-to-batter ratio was much more pleasing. The batter was tasty and crispy, but not overwhelmingly thick, and the fish was cooked perfectly. I was extremely pleased that it met all my criteria, something that I rarely find. Am I too picky? Nah.

My daughter's reaction to the bourbon bacon burger was simply – it was ‘really good. I could eat it again.’ Trust me, that's a roaring endorsement.

Speaking of her reaction, I could eat that fish again. I was impressed.dennys02 20201104

As I pulled into the Denny's, one of the first things that caught my eye was a drive-thru lane. I rubbed my eyes and looked again – it was still there.

In this COVID-19 age, restaurants are being creative to not only stay afloat, but to also be able to serve their customers in as many ways as possible. The Edinburg Denny's is the second Denny's in the Valley – and the nation – to implement the drive-thru. The first came in Penitas.

“Corporate wondered how we were going to be able to do that,” said David Brambles, franchisee of the Edinburg and Penitas restaurants. “Denny’s are not known for carry out or drive thru so during the lockdown there was an immediate learning curve.

“We realized that drive thrus were very successful and that’s what we had to do. We called corporate for permission and we came up with how to do it. Now they are flying down here to see how we do it and are going to try to get up to 50 of their restaurants across the country to do it.”

Denny’s has always been trendsetters in the food business - especially in the breakfast business. Now they continue to do the same, here in the Valley, with business operations.

For me that just means more ways to get my “Moons Over My Hammy” cravings taken care of.

Newly expanded Winter Texans’ Golf Course Favorites contest is back

golf SPI Golf Hole 5For several years we have asked for Winter Texans’ feedback about our RGV area top golf courses and favorite holes to play at the many golf courses across the Rio Grande Valley. This year we want to know more.

With the need to socially distance, find ways to spend our time productively, and safely enjoy the company of others, many of us have found ourselves looking for more outdoor activity. The Rio Grande Valley, with its mild winter and more than its fair share of sunny days, is the ideal place for old duffers and the newly initiated alike to make a day of it out on the links.

Read more: Newly expanded Winter Texans’ Golf Course Favorites contest is back

Mountain Highway

Genres: Bluegrass, light country, danceable bluegrass, and gospel music
Specialty: Banjo, bass, fiddle, guitar, mandolin, and tight blood harmony!
Website: https://mountainhighway.com
Tour Dates: https://mountainhighway.com/tour
Videos: https://mountainhighway.com/videos
Music: https://www.facebook.com/pg/Mountain.Highway/videos/

Mountain Highway 500With a style all their own, Mountain Highway puts a fresh spin on songs once made famous by icons like Bill Monroe, Flatt & Scruggs, Ralph Stanley, and The Carter Family. Four sibling singers play banjo, fiddle, mandolin, and guitar, while their dad plays upright bass. They’re often heralded for their solid picking and tight family harmony.

After seeing them perform in Nashville, Debra Jean Wagoner said, “I had chill bumps. Their music transported me back to the days when my father Porter Wagoner took me to hear bluegrass at the Ryman Auditorium.”

Bluegrass icon Jamie Dailey said, “When I heard angelic voices singing harmony to one another from a group called Mountain Highway, I was stunned! I’m a harmony buff and love hearing it done purely.”

Mountain Highway hails from Lynchburg, Virginia, but travels each week to perform about a hundred times a year at popular music venues, festivals, fairs, and churches in several states. A few of their notable appearances have been at: Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver Festival (NC), HoustonFest/Galax (VA), Jerusalem Ridge Celebration (KY), North Barton Grange Bluegrass Festival (NY), Rue Farms Concert Series (OH), and Wind Gap Bluegrass Festival (PA).

For booking contact: booking@mountainhighway.com or call (434) 248-0298

Valley Star Awards highlights Valley’s own ‘Little Nashville’

20200226 VSA img 1294Photos and Story by Henry Miller

Winter Texans have a gold mine in front of them, a virtual underground music scene that the remainder of the Valley only gets a glimpse of, at most.

The Ninth Annual Valley Star Awards highlighted much of that elite entertainment at Mission Bell Resort in Mission last week and Helen Russell and Company came out the biggest of the winners. Helen and her husband Elvis were named not only Individual/Small Band/Variety Act of the Year, but also came away with the Entertainer of the Year title as well.

Read more: Valley Star Awards highlights Valley’s own ‘Little Nashville’

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Wintertainters™

Click the Read More link below each Wintertainer™Booking Information, Music Samples, Images, Videos and more!

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