The Purple Pig Cafe

Purple Pig CafeWhen I first started going to the Purple Pig about four years ago it was nothing more than a good old BBQ joint. It’s still a good old BBQ joint, but now they’ve extended their menu, expanded their patio, and have managed to please their ever growing crowds with friendly service and live music.

I’ve always been a fan of their barbecue. Before their menu expanded to offer some Mexican dishes including fajitas and tamales I’d always get the turkey plate with cowboy beans and southwestern corn salad. Their barbecue plates come with the best buttered toast I’ve ever had, and I’m also a big fan of their barbecue sauce. The pulled pork is fantastic, the ribs are outstanding, and the chicken is delicious as well.

Another thing I like so much about the Purple Pig is the fact that every single time we visit the owner is there chatting with the customers. I became especially fond of him one evening when he told us about the soft spot he has for the litters of homeless kittens around the area and how he buys bulk cat food to feed them… A man after my own heart right there.

Last weekend my husband and I decided to head out to the Pig for a casual dinner. I couldn’t decide what to get so I made a last minute decision to go with the shrimp fajitas. This turned out to be an excellent choice. Lucky for us Patrick James was also performing that night on the patio. He played a little of everything from Wizard of Oz tunes to the Eagles and we ended up staying longer (and drinking more) than we had intended.

This place is a must for everyone who likes to eat good food and have a good time. They’re open for breakfast, lunch and dinner seven days a week. For more info, visit www.purplepigcafe.com.

The Purple Pig Cafe
19785 State Highway 155 S
Flint, TX 75762-4617
(903) 825-6800

Breakers A Seafood Joint

BreakersDuring what was supposed to be a quick trip to pick up a couple gardening necessities, we realized it was also time to stop somewhere for a quick bite of lunch necessities.  But where?  I hate the days when it seems nothing sounds good, so I was both relieved and excited when my husband suggested we try Breakers.  I’ve been meaning to try this place as I’ve heard many good things, yet it’s one of those restaurants that too frequently slips my mind during the restaurant decision making process.

We were seated at a comfortable booth and I ordered a cool, refreshing Landshark.  It only took a minute for me to realize that there are many, many things on the menu here that sound delicious.  In the interest of trying as many as possible in one shot, we decided we’d try the crab cakes, the shrimp cocktail, and the avocado fries.  Yes, that’s right.  Avocado fries.

Our food arrived promptly, and I immediately dove into the crab cakes.  They contained an impressive amount of crab meat, and they tasted great.  Next, I tried a shrimp.  It was a good shrimp.  Hard to mess that one up, but a good shrimp none-the-less.  Finally, I was ready to sample the avocado fries, which were wedges of breaded avocado, served with creamy dipping sauce.  Very tasty, yet quite heavy as the name would imply.

I can’t wait to go back sometime and try their specialty drink, Orange Kush.  I’m not exactly sure what it is, and I can’t find it on their website, but I remember it sounding very interesting.  Maybe someone from Breakers can chime in and help me out?   In any case, I can say with confidence that Breakers will be high on my radar from now on.

Breakers
5106 Old Bullard Road
Tyler, TX 75701
(903) 534-0161

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South Lake Grill

South Lake GrillThis weekend I had the best idea ever.  It was Sunday afternoon, the weather was nothing short of gorgeous, yet I was faced with the same dilemma I’ve been facing all spring…    Where to spend a day like today?   Tyler certainly has a decent selection of patio drinking and dining establishments, but for whatever reason none of those places sounded good.  That’s when I remembered there was a restaurant on Lake Tyler.  I was off to claim my table in the sun!

When we arrived at South Lake Grill I was pleasantly surprised that there were plenty of empty tables on the patio.  I ordered some chicken quesadillas and a margarita and plopped myself down in the warm sun and thus began my new love affair with the South Lake Grill.  My chicken quesadillas were pretty good, my margarita was awesome, and my sister’s huge South Lake burger looked really good too.  (YES, we just ate at SmashBurger a couple of days before – don’t judge!)  We stayed and relaxed for awhile and I even got a mild sunburn.

DSC05307Too soon it was time to go home and start preparing myself for the reality that is Monday morning.  Despite my sadness at leaving, I am still thrilled about this discovery and seriously can’t believe I haven’t been taking advantage of this place!  It’s got everything I like in a restaurant – casual atmosphere, good variety of menu options, bar, and a totally awesome patio with a fab view of Lake Tyler.  I am already daydreaming of the next weekend when I can go back and do it all over again.

South Lake GrillSouth Lake Grill
18183 Concession Road
Whitehouse, TX 75791-5224
(903) 839-2827

South Lake Grill on Urbanspoon

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

Coyote Sam’s Bar & Grille

coyotesamsI love Coyote Sam’s for two main reasons.  First, their location is beautiful.  Coyote Sam’s boasts tall ceilings, rustic architectural details, a stone entrance, and a a huge patio area which make this restaurant one of the most visually appealing in Tyler.  The second thing that I love about Coyote Sam’s is the brunch.  Coyote Sam’s started serving brunch at a time when there really weren’t too many places in Tyler to eat a good Sunday brunch.  Now that a couple of new breakfast places have popped up, I hope that Coyote Sam’s can continue to bring in a good brunch crowd, but if not, their regular menu and drink specials ought to get people in the door.

Coyote Sam’s offers burgers, barbecue, and several delicious appetizers such as the brisket quesadillas and venison chili cheese fries.  Their pulled pork is some of the best I’ve had.  They also have steaks, seafood, and some yummy salads like the Crispy Chicken and Avocado Salad.  However, like I mentioned before, their brunch is my favorite thing offered.  There are few things better than a leisurely weekend brunch, complete with a Mimosa and Amaretto French Toast.

No matter what you are in the mood for, Coyote Sam’s has you covered.  With choices ranging from Eggs Benedict to chicken fried steak to BBQ pulled pork or a Kobe beef burger, there is something for everyone here.

Coyote Sam’s Bar & Grille
5424 Old Jacksonville Highway
Tyler, TX 75703-3337
(903) 705-4278

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

Half Moon Grill & Saloon

Half MoonThe Half Moon Bar and Grill in Gresham has launched a pretty extensive radio advertising campaign lately – I’m sure some of you have heard one of the radio ads boasting about their menu or the one focusing on their huge deck… I had heard both and was excited to go see what all the fuss was about (the fuss over the FOOD, that is – not the deck).

We decided to try it out one Thursday night at around 8 pm. I don’t even know why we bothered to go inside, because when we pulled up the parking lot was PACKED. This would have been a great thing if I was looking for a big crowd, but I was intent on trying the wonderful food they have gone to such great lengths to advertise – not the crowd. The advertisements left me under the impression that this was just as much a restaurant as a bar. Based on my experience this is not the case.

We walked in and were greeted by the doorman who scanned our IDs. The music was very loud which was ok because the band was pretty good. As far as I could see it was standing room only, so my hopes of enjoying a meal here were diminishing. We walked room to room past pool tables and gatherings of people and finally made our way to the door that leads out to the huge deck. I was CERTAIN there would be room for us to sit and eat on the deck (since it is so enormous of course), and there was! There was plenty of room on the deck, but NO CHAIRS. Still hopefull, we walked back inside and asked the bartender if there were any chairs we could pull up to the tables outside. Sadly, we were told that there were not any chairs. Since the band that was playing that night was pretty good we decided to stay for a beer then head on down the road to an actual restaurant.

I really wanted to like this place and was expecting an awesome time, but unfortunately the Half Moon didn’t deliver that night. The food that I saw looked good, so my advice would be to anyone who wants to eat here to go early. I don’t have plans to go back anytime soon, mainly because we could never get of the house early enough to get a table. So, good luck to any of you who venture that way!

Half Moon Grill & Saloon
16884 FM 2493
Tyler, TX 75703-7378
(903) 534-1884