Downtown Coffee Lounge

DSC05246Anyone who feels the need to gain some cool points definitely needs to check out the new Downtown Coffee Lounge.  I really don’t think I am actually cool enough to hang out there, but I can pretend, can’t I?

Located on the Square at the corner of Erwin and College, the Downtown Coffee Lounge sells coffee, cappuccinos, lattes, pastries, and smoothies.  They even have a frozen espresso that tastes just like a Snickers bar.  I must admit that I have not tried their coffee yet, but I’m not much of a coffee drinker.

Downtown Coffee LoungeWithout a doubt, the coolest thing that the Downtown Coffee Lounge has going for it is it’s awesome decor.  It’s laid out in a way that encourages guests to relax and stay awhile.  It would be a great place to read a book or get caught up on homework.  In the back, there’s even a nice boardroom, which should come in handy for all the legal offices downtown.  I also love the art work displayed on the walls, which are oil paintings of Tyler by Jacqueline Chubirka and are all for sale.

Downtown Coffee LoungeEvery Tylerite seriously needs to check this place out.  Hopefully more businesses will follow suit and help revitalize downtown Tyler.  For more info follow them on Facebook or visit www.downtowncoffeelounge.com.

Downtown Coffee Lounge
200 W. Erwin St.
Tyler, TX, 75702
(903) 266-9192

Tyler Rose Marathon

Tyler Rose marathonThis year, for the first time ever, Tyler will have its very own full length marathon, courtesy of Mellew Productions!  Though it is still a few months away, I am just too excited about this to keep quiet about it any longer.  Plus, training for a marathon is no easy feat, so the earlier you can start training, the better.

In addition to the full marathon, scheduled for Sunday, October 10th (10-10-10, how cool is that?), there will also be a Tyler Rose half marathon and 5k.  Formerly known as the Tyler Half, this is the new and improved 2010 version complete with a new name, new course, and new full length marathon, the first full length marathon in the history of Tyler.  But wait there’s more…  The courses will all be USATF certified, and the marathon will be a Boston qualifier!

The courses have been mapped and will be finalized once they have been measured and certified by the USATF.  The marathon course will start in downtown Tyler, head west on Hwy 31, loop behind Tyler Pounds airport and head back east on Hwy 64.  The course then runs back in to Tyler through some of the Azalea District and finishes at Ferguson and College.  There will be 18 aid stations along the course.

Anyone who can participate definitely should.  Even if you are unable to run in the race, offering support and encouragement from the sidelines is a great way to get involved in this really cool event.  For those of you who are interested in running, more information can be found at www.tylermarathon.com.  Also, don’t forget that the Azalea 10k is coming up at the end of March, and it is a great race on a beautiful course through the Azalea District during the peak of azalea season.  You don’t want to miss it!

Heart of Tyler
117 E Erwin
Tyler, TX 75701

Jakes Tyler

jakesThere are two types of articles that are especially fun for me to write.  The reviews of really bad experiences, and reviews of really great experiences.  Luckily, Friday night at Jakes I had a really, really great experience.  My sister and I decided to make an impromptu trip downtown just to get out of the house for a little while.  We thought we’d have a drink and maybe share an appetizer if we got hungry.  We took a seat at the bar and were immediately greeted by one of the polite and friendly (and handsome – hi Thomas!) bartenders.  We were off to a good start.

Jakes is the type of place that you would expect to be exceptionally good, and it lives up to all of my expectations each time I visit.  It’s one of the pricier places to eat in Tyler, but the atmosphere, service, and fantastic food really make it worth the price.  Jakes makes the perfect spot to celebrate a special occasion, or to satiate a need for indulgence which is exactly what we did on Friday.  We decided to share the Oysters Rockafeller, and I kid you not when I say they were the absolute best oysters I have ever tasted.  I think even people who don’t like oysters would love these.  Broiled with butter, Applewood smoked bacon, onion, spinach and freshly shaved parmesan cheese, Jakes’ Oysters Rockafeller are simply to die for.  We devoured all dozen of the oysters, and on an oyster high made the impulse decision to finish the night off with Jakes coconut cream bread pudding.  Yes, this was as fantastically good as it sounds.  Not one word was spoken as we dove into the dessert, and we didn’t come up for air until the plate was scraped clean.

DSC05178We could not have picked a better place to enjoy our girls’ night out.  Everything was perfect from the moment we walked in until we bundled back up and headed home for the night.  It was far too cold to enjoy this weekend, but Jakes roof top cheveta is one of the coolest places in Tyler to visit on a warm spring evening.  You can dine while overlooking the square in downtown Tyler, and they even have live music on the weekends.  I’m already looking forward to coming back for more oysters and bread pudding on the roof when the temperatures warm up.

jakeshours: Tues – Fri 4pm-12am, Sat 5pm-1am

Jakes
111 East Erwin Street
Tyler, TX 75702
(903) 526-0225

Don Juan Mexican Restaurant

DSC04890Tyler definitely has its fair share of Mexican restaurants, some good and others not so good.  Don Juan’s, however, is one of the great ones.  In fact, I am willing to make the proclamation right now that it is my favorite Mexican food restaurant in Tyler.  Of course, I love Villa Montez, too, but that is technically Latin food, not Mexican so I don’t consider them to be in the same genre.

With two locations, both on Erwin Street, Don Juan’s proximity to the hospitals and downtown offices make it a very popular lunch spot.  The biggest downfall to their location on the square is the limited parking, but it is so worth making a couple of loops around the Square or taking a short walk to get there.

Don Juan'sThe location on the Square, my favorite of their two locations, is brightly decorated with painted chairs and lots of colorful pinatas.  Though everything I have eaten there has been fab, my favorite thing to get there is two pork, cilantro and onion tacos with a small shrimp cocktail…  Soooo good.  I also love the sopes, the tortas, the quesadillas, the queso with sausage, and pretty much everything else on the menu.  I know Mercado’s has lots of fans out there, but I honestly don’t see how it even compares to Don Juan’s in service, ambiance, and food taste and quality.  To me, Mercado’s screams generic Tex-Mex while Don Juan’s offers deliciously authentic Mexican food.

I hope I didn’t offend any Mercado’s lovers out there, but I just had to do my part in spreading the word on the awesomeness of Don Juan’s, and unfortunately, Mercado’s was my collateral damage.  I know a lot of people are scared or intimidated by authentic Mexican food, but they shouldn’t be!  It really is fantastic food, and their Margaritas aren’t shabby either.

Don Juan on the Square
113 East Erwin Street
Tyler, TX (903) 526-0702‎

Don Juan
1313 East Erwin Street
Tyler, TX (903) 526-2999‎

The Rage Salon

the-rage-salon1After trying out several salons around town with mixed results, I was desperate to find a stylist I could rely on. When I discovered The Rage Salon I knew I had found the right place. The Rage Salon is an Aveda Concept Salon (the only one in Tyler) offering Aveda’s natural, plant based products, and all of the stylists have received Aveda training. The salon has an aesthetically pleasing contemporary decor, located on the trendy Square in downtown Tyler. The experience begins before you even walk in the door – the distinct and pleasing scent of the Aveda products is noticeable from the sidewalk. The staff is polite and friendly – not to mention highly trained and skilled.

In addition to hair services, the salon also offers a variety of spa treatments including facials, massages, and waxing. Together, Aveda and The Rage Salon promote beauty and a healthy lifestyle, along with a healthy environment.

Check out their website for a list of services, then call for your appointment!

The Rage Salon
121 E Erwin St.
Tyler, TX 75702
(903) 531-2203

Rick’s on the Square

ricksMy hands down FAVORITE place to go in Tyler is Rick’s On the Square in downtown Tyler. This place has everything. Delicious food, awesome live music on Thursday, Friday and Saturday, great drinks and extensive wine list, and friendly and experienced service all in a really cool atmosphere – you HAVE to check out the patio!

Let me start with the menu. Known for offering the finest cuts of steak and freshest seafood in East Texas, it is hard to go wrong when ordering one of Chef Jack Lewis’ specialties, but I do have a couple of favorites. When I heard Rick was selling Jakes I was worried that the Mezze Platter would be lost forever. Thank goodness they brought it over to Rick’s! It comes with a sampling of Lebanese and Mediterranean salads and nibbles served with a basket of pita bread. It makes for the perfect light snack. Another of my favorite things to order is The Whole Shebang. It comes with seared peppercorn tuna, grilled filet mignon, crawfish beignets (a must try!), fried and grilled oysters, chipotle shrimp and escargot. It’s the perfect thing to order if you can’t decide what you want. After dinner, your life will not be complete until you have tried the White Chocolate Bread Pudding. It is quite possibly the best dessert in the world.

After dinner, I strongly suggest sticking around for the entertainment. Grab a cocktail from the bar and head out to the patio to relax and listen to some great live music, or get up and dance! Rick’s even offers a selection of fine cigars to enjoy while you are taking in the whole experience.

Rick’s On the Sqaure offers it all from the moment you pull up to the valet service and walk in the door until the night is over and it’s time to head home. Come in for dinner, stick around for some fun after, and don’t forget to try the White Chocolate Bread Pudding!

hours: Mon – Fri 11am-12am, Sat 5pm – 1am

Rick’s On the Square
104 W. Erwin
Tyler, TX 75702
(903) 531-2415