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Geeks, Cookie Decorating Workshops, and Food Trucks Galore

Dining News for week of November 12th

The holidays are here! It’s hard to think about but next week is Thanksgiving. This week, I will share some of my holiday favorites as well as a few events coming up.

Every Monday (7:30-10:30pm) – Geeks who Drink Pub Trivia – Geeks Who Drink Pub Quizzes is a homegrown Pub Trivia Quiz modeled after those in Ireland and the UK. These quizzes cover everything from celebrities in trouble to wordplay to bad television. Each quiz has two audio rounds: a “Name that Tune” style round and another round comprised of soundbites from movies and TV. Play in teams of up to six or by yourself. Winning teams get street cred, bar cash, and other prizes depending on the venue. Bonus Questions for free pints are sprinkled throughout the quiz. You don’t have to be a trivia God to enjoy the quiz. Since you’re playing on a team, the collective knowledge base makes for more fun, less pressure. It’s not final friggin’ Jeopardy. This weekly trivia game will be held at Roast Kitchen, 1125 Beckham St., Tyler.

Every Tuesday – “Keep It Local Tuesdays” supports local restaurants by meeting and eating at different locally owned restaurants every Tuesday evening, usually around 7pm. This gathering is open to anyone. Check their Facebook page for where they are meeting each week at

Saturdays through November 18th – Rose City Farmer’s Market (7212 Old Jacksonville Hwy., Tyler, continues every Saturday through November 18th) – Shop for locally grown fruits, vegetables, herbs, and cut flowers, pastured beef, lamb, chicken, and pork, yard eggs, goat cheeses, freshly baked breads and pastries, honey, jams, and jellies. Enjoy a cup of locally roasted coffee while you stroll the market listening to local musicians. This kid-friendly and pet-friendly market.

Good JuJu Cookie Decorating Workshops

Come out and learn how to decorate those holiday cookies!  You will be guided on how to decorate themed cookies using a special blend of Royal-Glaze icing.  These will be White-Almond and Vanilla-Brown Sugar cookies that you can take home to enjoy. Each person will receive several cookies and access to multiple colors of icing bags and tools to work with. Additional gourmet cookies will be available for purchase after the workshop. The cost is $35 for adults (13 and up), $32 for seniors (55+) and $30 for kids (7 to 12) which includes all supplies and instruction. Snacks and wine are available for purchase. Pre-registration is required by going to, (903)574-9096 or email Workshops are:

  • November 14th (6-8pm) – “Sunflowers” at Salt Kitchen at Kiepersol Winery Tasting Room, 3944 FM 344, Bullard
  • November 21st (6:30-8:30pm) – “Gobble Gobble” at Potpourri House, 3320 Troup Hwy., Tyler
  • November 25th (6:30-8:30pm) – “Ornaments” at Centaur Arabian Farms, 10271 FM 2813, Flint
  • November 29th (6:30-8:30pm) – “Lit Snowmen” at Leo’s Asian Bistro, 2808 S. Main St.,, Lindale
  • December 19th (6-8pm) – “Christmas Fun” at Kiepersol Winery Tasting Room, 3944 FM 344, Bullard

November 24th (7-9pm) – Cajun Ribeye Vintner’s Dinner will be held at Kiepersol, 3933 FM 344E, Tyler on Black Friday. Tickets are $100. Seating is limited. For reservations call (903)894-3300.

Food Trucks are getting more popular! A few new food trucks have popped up on the East Texas scene. Head to the City of Tyler any day of the week, and you’re more than twice as likely to see a food truck than you were last year. Since NET Health eased restrictions on food truck construction, the number of food trucks in Tyler has gone from 14 to 30.

  • Say Cheese! – Featuring, well, you guessed it cheese goodness galore, Say Cheese offers yummy gooey sandwiches that are so much more than just bread and cheese. A favorite is the “Roll Tide:” a secret special sauce, Muenster cheese, pulled pork, grilled jalapeños, grilled onions, grilled red and green bell peppers. We simply can not get enough of the “The Glazed Decker:” glazed donut and cheddar cheese sandwich. Yes, really! Find them at They publish their location schedule on their Facebook page weekly. Hands down, this is best-grilled cheese sandwiches we have ever had!

  • Cafe 1948 – Decked out in a refurbished silver bucket trailer, Cafe 1948 hits the spot for all coffee, tea, and shaved ice needs. Their nitro cold brew is so smooth; they are quite knowledgeable and know a lot about choosing the right beans. We tried them out recently at the Off Square Block Party outside El Guapo Records, 903 Handmade, Moss-”Where Flowers are Fair,” and ETX Brewery, and they were a huge hit. We can’t recommend them enough! Try their salted caramel latte; it’s the best. For locations, check them out at

  • Wienerland, and their Wiener Wagon! Small in size, huge on taste – the Wiener Wagon pops up all over town. Wienerland has been a staple of the Tyler landscape for 45 years. Tyler mourned the loss of this iconic hot dog stand, but in May of 2017, they reopened with new owners. Now they have expanded into the food truck world and have been seen all over town, serving everything from Wrangler dogs to their famous chili cheese dogs. To find out where they are, find Wienerland on Facebook. At the restaurant on Fifth St., they also sell shaved ice sno cones!

  • Super SNO – Whatever flavor you crave for the inside, the cool, soft, fluffy, goodness in a cup SNO, make it ‘Sno-delicious’ by adding a topping of the world’s best gummie bears, marshmallow fluff, sweet cream, sour, pickle juice, chopped pickles, or Super Chile Spice. Super SNO is located at 506 E. Rusk (Greenhouse Mall Parking Lot) in Jacksonville. Super SNO’s ice is so soft that it just melts in your mouth!

  • Pokey O’s Cookies & Ice Cream is made-to-order ice cream sandwiches individually customized for you on the Pokey O’s Dessert Truck! We tried them out when they were at True Vine Brewing company for the first time. Just pick a cookie, then pick an ice cream. The possibilities are limitless. Snickerdoodle and sea salt caramel is heaven on earth! White Chocolate Macadamia Nut and Rocky Road is a close second. See where they will be at

Waitr App is now connecting quite a few Tyler restaurants to delivery services. To use Waitr, simply download the app, set up an account, and order. The delivery charge is a $5 flat fee “whether you order one small item or are feeding a party of 20,” the company says. A number of Tyler restaurants have already signed on to Waitr, including Roost, Chick-fil-A, Mercado’s, Happy Fish House, Strada Caffe, Daniel Boone’s, Firehouse Subs, Potpourri House, Shogun Sushi & Hibachi Grill, The Catch, Jersey Mike’s, Jucy’s Hamburgers, Posado’s, Burger Grind, Great American Cookies, Dakota’s, Janie Cakes, Newk’s, Aspen Creek Grill, Where’s Rufus, Jack Ryan’s, Mercado’s, Palio Pizza, Coyote Sam’s Bar & Grille, Chiangmai Thai Kitchen, and Rotolo’s Pizzeria.

Chopstix Asian Fusion Fast opened and with its opening, this restaurant boasts a list of 12 sauces for its build-your-own Asian bowls and burritos. The “east meets west with a kick” features Asiarittos, along with soba noodle bowls, rice bowls, and salad bowls. Customers can build their own or choose from suggested builds such as the Bahn-Mitto, the Shanghai-Ritto, the Seoul Bowl, and even the Southwest Salad. Chopstix is located at 1400 W. Southwest Loop 323 (near Kinsey Dr.).

Fuzzy’s Taco Shop has opened a second location on Old Jacksonville Hwy., Tyler. Fuzzy’s Taco Shop is a fast-casual restaurant serving Baja-style Mexican food in a fun, energetic atmosphere. For more info find Fuzzy’s Tyler South on Facebook.

Smoothie King – Matt McKinney, of Tyler, is opening his third Smoothie King location later this year at 6445 Old Jacksonville Hwy. “I’m very into fitness and leading a healthy lifestyle, but after my workouts, I craved a healthy snack. There was a huge market for Smoothie King in Tyler, and we have tapped into that and seen huge success,” McKinney said. McKinney has been operating Smoothie Kings across Texas and has plans to continue to expand throughout East Texas.

It’s All About Coffee, Tea, & Me is now open, located at 2251 Three Lakes Pkwy. in Tyler. It has a drive-through window, a lounge, and a second, more private area. The space is available for after-hours parties and meetings. Their walls are lined with dozens of jars containing colorful blends of tea leaves, fruits, and aromatics. For more info go to the Facebook page, or call (903)363-9187.

Jucy’s Hamburgers was listed as the best place to get a burger in Texas by Texas Highways magazine. Also on the list was Tyler favorite Burger Grind.

Pie Five Pizza Co. is officially open for business. Pie Five makes their dough fresh every morning, chops garden-fresh veggies by hand, and mixes up their own marinara sauce with fresh packed tomatoes. Not only that, but they give you unlimited toppings! They also offer hand-tossed, custom wings, and of course a stellar craft beer selection. We’re talking about good ingredients and handmade quality food. And, just because it’s handcrafted doesn’t mean it should take a long time…5 minutes to be exact. Pie Five is located at 6995 S. Broadway Ave., Ste. 10. For more info go to

Stanley’s Famous Bar-B-Q is smokin’! Stanley’s – well-known for their pecan smoked meats such as their perfect brisket, baby back ribs, turkey, chicken, freshly made sausage, and even pulled pork, throughout Texas – also smokes turkeys during the holidays. “We will take orders up until the Monday of the week of Thanksgiving and the turkeys will need to be picked up by end of business on Wednesday, November 21st, as we are closed on Thanksgiving day. The turkeys are priced by the pound at market price and come in a variety of sizes,” said Nick Pencis, owner. They start taking orders 2 weeks before Thanksgiving. You can tell them at the walk-up counter, call (903)593-0311 or go to

Janie’s Cakes has long been a favorite in the Tyler area. Their website claims they make “the best darn pound cakes in the world,” and customers far and wide agree. Now, even Oprah Winfrey is singing praises for Janie’s Cakes. Oprah has added Tyler’s very own Janie’s Cakes to Oprah’s List of Favorite Things 2016. Each cake is made from scratch and uses all natural ingredients with absolutely no preservatives. Farm-fresh eggs, creamery butter, real vanilla extract, and pure cane sugar give Janie’s Cakes a unique taste you won’t find anywhere else. Customers have many options of cakes to choose from depending on what they are craving. Some are filled with chocolate sauce, Italian buttercream icing, and raspberry curd and topped with everything from chocolate chips and chocolate shavings to pecans and sprinkles. Customers can get a full-sized pound cake that serves 12-15, a baby Jane that serves 6, or a petite Jane that serves 1-2. They can be bought locally at the bakery located in Downtown Tyler or at FRESH by Brookshire’s. Janie will also ship cakes to all 50 states. Janie’s Cakes is located at 308 E. Front St., Tyler and is open 10am-5:30pm, Monday-Friday. For more info on the flavors, more products, where to buy them, or shipping call (903)592-6150 or go to



The Skinny on Cooking at Home: The Cookbook Junkie

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By Guest Blogger Tena Jerger filling in for Gini Rainey, the original Cookbook Junkie

I was not raised in a household that did a lot of cooking at home. We ate out, went through drive-thrus, had sandwiches, or made a meal on chips and dips more times than I care to think about. My mom simply had no interest in cooking. Don’t get me wrong, she cooked ‘some’ – for special occasions or if my dad or grandmothers guilted her into it, or when she got a new toy like a Frydaddy. We ate corn dogs and French fries until we all begged to go back to Weinerland’s drive-thru.

And even though my mom never really cooked, I have always enjoyed cooking a lot. I’ve had my share of disasters but I prefer to eat at home, preparing our food ourselves.

My favorite cookbooks are pretty much any in the Skinnytaste line of books. Author Gina Homolka has a cult-like following for her blog and has several NYT best selling books under her (skinny) belt.

I’ve been making Gina Homolka’s recipes for years. I find them both easy to follow and very flavorful. I have always found the ingredients easily – there is never some obscure expensive ingredient that the recipe must have. All of her recipes are made with real food that are “skinny on calories but not on flavor.”

That being said, I should add that she has recipes for all kinds of eating styles including vegetarian, Weight Watchers, gluten-free, Paleo, Keto, Whole 30, and more. Beside each recipe, there is a color and letter coding like V for vegetarian, GF for gluten-free, kid-friendly, freezer-friendly, crockpot etc. And, for those of us who count calories and want to know nutrients or carbs, she also has all of that included.

I was recently given a gift card for Barnes & Noble so I purchased two of her hard copy books, “Skinnytaste Fast and Slow: Knockout Quick-Fix and Slow Cooker Recipes” and “The Skinnytaste Cookbook: Light on Calories, Big on Flavor.”

From the “Light on Calories,” one of my favorite recipes is Buttermilk Oven-Fried Chicken. I’ve made this over and over, and still to this day have not changed the recipe in any way except that I use a cut-up fryer instead of just legs. Soaking your chicken at least overnight keeps it moist and juicy. The recipe is at

I’m sure you are wondering “why do I need to have the book if all the recipes are on the blog?” Well, they aren’t. In fact, there are quite a lot more in print. One of my favorites is the So-addicted Chicken Enchiladas. These enchiladas are easy to prepare and taste excellent too. This recipe is only available in the book so for copyright reasons, we can not post the recipe.

From the “Fast and Slow” book I love the Banh Mi Rice Bowl. I make up the pork tenderloin and freeze in small batches for a quick lunch. The recipe is at

All of the photos in these two cookbooks are professional and abundant throughout. The recipes

are well put together, easy to follow, and not just the same tired ones redone with diet ingredients. They are original and loaded with flavor and are good enough to serve at dinner parties and more importantly – to make you feel like you are not dieting. All of her recipes are quick to make if you follow her tips for prep and shopping.

From her bio, “Each month millions of readers visit [her blog] Skinnytaste and learn how easy it is to cook healthy recipes for the whole family. Her work has been featured in Fitness Magazine, Better Homes and Gardens,,,, among other media outlets.”

Her books are available digitally, in hardcover and on her blog website.

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Foodie Events: March 17th, Grand Opening of The Porch at ETX Brewing

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News & Events

Quick Dawgs of Texas Opens! You know that building with a cowboy-shaped roof? It now serves hot dogs made with love and care by David Lovelady. “This particular building here is set up to handle hot dogs,” he said. “I’d been looking at different buns, wieners, different chilis, for many months before we started this thing.” The new business features an array of hot dogs, mostly priced between $2-$5, with nachos and meals priced a few dollars higher. The menu — which is still developing — includes all beef, bun-length hot dogs; brisket sausage links; Earl Campbell Hot Links; Frito pie and more. Lovelady said the chili cheese dogs and hot links have been some of the most popular selections. Picnic tables will be added outside the drive-thru soon. Quick Dawgs is located at at 220 SSW Loop 323 in Tyler, and serves all beef, bun-length hot dogs, brisket sausage links, Earl Campbell Hot Links, Frito pie and more.

March 15th (6:30-9:30pm) – “Wine and Cheeeeessssy Dinner” will be held at Cork, Food & Drink, 109 E. Grande Blvd., Tyler. Tickets are $70. The menu will include fondue, gruyere and chorizo, mac and cheese with lobster, ribeye toast with blue cheese, and roasted fig with ricotta along with accompanying paired wines. Reservations can be made by calling (903)363-9197 or at

March 17th (5pm-12 midnight) – St. Patrick’s Day Party & Grand Opening of The Porch at ETX Brewing – Love the beer at ETX Brewery? Then you have got to try The Porch, ETX Brewing’s new restaurant. Join the fun in celebrating their expansion with green beer, great food,  and live music with Old Omen, Metrograde and Eli Tidmore. ETX Brewing and The Porch are located at 221 S. Broadway, Downtown Tyler.

March 21st (7-9pm) – Spring Vintner’s Dinner – Kiepersol is kicking off the 2018 Vintner’s Dinner Program with a Spring-inspired menu. Don’t miss this fresh and vibrant dinner paired with our delicious wines. The menu is seared scallop with almond mandarin salad, asparagus chicken and rice soup, lemon and rosemary lamb, and lemon and spring fruit curd. Tickets are $100 per person not including tax and gratuity. For reservations, call (903)894-3300 or go to Future dinners are June 20th, July 25th, September 26th, and November 28th.

Roost Chicken Salad & Deli will open a location in Southside Bank at S. Beckham across from ETMC Hospital.

March 23rd (6:30pm) – Beef & Bourbon with Cut Beef and Rebecca Creek – Join this terrific pairing of Cut Beef and Rebecca Creek Bourbon. Upon arrival at High Hill Farm, you will be greeted with an assortment of custom made cocktails and perfectly paired hors d’oeuvres. Relax, dine and enjoy as our Chef and Rebecca Creek Distillery fulfill you with their perfect creations made from the freshest local beef and perfectly aged bourbon. High Hill Farm, 12626 CR 217, Arp. Go to to make reservations.

March 31st-April 1st (all day) – Bread Class & Easter Brunch – Have you always wanted to bake like a master Chef? The key is simple ingredients, proper instruction and the right location. Join Chef for a fun weekend experience in the kitchen of Côte at High Hill Farm. You’ll learn the techniques, recipes and process to baking homemade breads. Cap off your day with a stroll in the vineyard, wine sampling and overnight stay in one of our relaxing bungalows. After a perfect night’s sleep, join us for a special Easter brunch featuring beautiful farm fresh brunch including items from the garden, local food items and fresh juices.  Mimosa’s and bloody Mary’s also available for your enjoyment. High Hill Farm, 12626 CR 217, Arp. Go to to make reservations.

Crawdaddy’s Boil-N-Go is now open at 14801 State Hwy 110 S. in Whitehouse. Featuring crawfish, shrimp, crab legs, corn, potatoes with all the fixing, Crawdaddy’s is open Thursday-Friday 5-10pm, Saturday 12 noon-10pm, and Sunday 12 noon-6pm.

April 7th (8am-12 noon) – The Rose City Farmers Market will open soon at it’s new location at 236 S. Broadway Ave., just a half block north of Front St. in the parking lot of Bill’s Unclaimed Furniture. The market is open from April to November. This is across from “Moss, Where Flowers are Fair” and ETX Brewing Co. The new location will be near the free parking in the Fair Plaza Parking Garage. The Rose City Farmers Market is a family- and dog-friendly community gathering place, providing locally-grown produce, herbs, wood oven breads, pastries and granola, jams, pickles, locally roasted coffee, cheese, artists and artisans, live music, and sometimes even yoga. They are open every Saturday April-November 8am-12 noon. For more info on the market or to apply to be a vendor, contact (903)539-2875,, or

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Honest Music From A Drifting Outlaw


An Interview with David Allen, The Drifting Outlaw

By Johnny Griffith

Mainstream country music these days is designed to trick your senses as a consumer. The artist who lay out multiple tracks of autotune, stage show songs, have likely never seen a tractor in real-life. It’s easy to get disillusioned with the product, especially if you want a touch of genuine in your life.

Luckily here in East Texas, we’ve got plenty of local musicians who are the real deal; David Allen might be one of the most authentic of the “Outlaw” country artists. Originally from the central valley of California, Allen moved to Texas at an early age and has been working the stages in this area for years. With a sense of authenticity and respect for where country music came from, David carries on that outlaw spirit with the likes of Waylon, Merle, and Cash.

We caught up to him recently in between dates and got to know him a little better:

Johnny: Your bio says you picked up the guitar for the first time at age 17. What caused you to grab one for the first time and how long did it take you to figure out this was something you wanted to do as more than just a hobby?

David: A good friend of mine (Darin Justice) was taking some guitar lessons and asked me if I wanted to start a band with him. I said yes and either I could play the bass or the drums. I couldn’t afford a $1200 drum set, so I bought a used bass for $150.

Johnny: Who were some of your early musical influences?

David: I was a huge Kiss fan, we both were! He had introduced me to Kiss and from there I was a “hair band” fan. It wasn’t until I graduated and started dating a barrel racer that I started listening to country music. She introduced me to Sawyer Brown and from there I fell in love with the “story” and meanings of the country music.

Johnny: At what point did you decide to start writing your own material and where do you draw your inspiration from?

David: When I finally got an acoustic guitar and started learning chords, I started writing songs. I just thought that was what a musician was supposed to do. So I learned to play “C, F, G” chords first. I must have written 20 songs with those three notes. Forward, backwards, sideways. When I got bored, I would learn a new key. I am still learning today to play progressions, and I will write three or more songs to every new chord I learn.

Johnny: Your music definitely has a component of the old “outlaw” country of the late 70’s early 80’s and one can definitely pick up threads of “Willie, Waylon, and the boys.” How would you describe your sound?

David: I’m embarrassed to say that I am new to the Waylon sound. That being said, I think he was the greatest writer, singer, and survivor of Nashville. I discovered Waylon about four years ago and he has become my greatest influence. There is an honesty and energy in every song he sang.

Johnny: Where did the nickname “The Drifting Outlaw” come from?

David: From Waylon’s “Outlaw” movement together with his mentor Hank Williams, who in my opinion was the first to change Nashville and move them into a more honest direction. Hank’s “Drifting” Cowboy Band.

Johnny: What would you say your percentage of originals to covers are in one of your shows? Or does it depend on the crowd?

David: It depends hugely on the crowd. The bigger the crowd, the more covers. Maybe I’m doing it backwards, but my original songs are so personal that I will do a lot more of them in an acoustic setting than with the full band behind me.

Johnny: What is the current lineup of you stage band and do you primarily play with a full band or do you do some solo shows as well?

David: Both, and I love both in their own way. The acoustic is personal and I will talk a lot more and do many of my originals. Mostly, we are a full band, and I love the band I have now and I like them to show off!

My lead guitarist, Jimmy Piatt, is the best I’ve ever played with, professional, modest, and always prepared. On bass I just lost the Rockabilly Hall of Famer Neil Sheckles for a better offer as a house band leader, but I have Super Dave Visniski now and we are as powerful as ever. Last, but certainly not least is my drummer Mark Wynn, who I’ve known for almost 40 years. I learn something from all of them every time we play. They are all great men and fantastic musicians!

Johnny: You’ve been playing music in this area for a while now, do you have a favorite memory so far?

David: A couple. Not sure if I should name the venue, but one night a drunk feller was dancing with my wife and decided to pick her up to spin her. He underestimated his strength and she is small, but all muscle. So about half way up they fell backward, he hit his head on the corner of the stage step and started to bleed pretty good. I start my show now with “We are the band that doesn’t stop playing till there is blood on the floor!” A few songs later another, more sober, young man asked her to dance and as they crossed in front of the stage I yelled down to him, “You’re taking your life into your own hands”. I was speaking about the accident earlier but it scared him pretty badly because he thought I meant he shouldn’t be dancing with my wife. The second memory was more ironic. I had just finished a Waylon tribute show and as I was packing up, five police came busting through the door and arrested me! Made me feel like I was in Nashville recording with Waylon.

Johnny: Any shows coming up that stick out as “must see” events?

David: Anything with the full band! Everybody is surprised at how good the show is the first time they come. We are consistent with every show. The more people, the higher the energy on stage and in the audience.

Johnny: What’s on the horizon for The Drifting Outlaw through the rest of the year?

David: I really want to finish my album. This is my second, but really the first because I didn’t like some of the sound on the first and wouldn’t release it.

Johnny: What can a first timer expect to see at a David Allen show?

David: You will be surprised!! We are the best country band in East Texas! You will get a four hour show of honest country music.

For more information on David Allen, visit him on the web at or


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