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Holiday Traditions Often Feature Locally Produced Goodies

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It’s that time again – time for the holidays, and with this time of year comes all of our favorite foods and traditions. Here are a few of our locals’ favorites.

Greenberg Smoked Turkey

A legend in its history, and a tradition for many is for a Greenberg Turkey to be on their Thanksgiving table. Just driving by the Greenberg Turkey plant this time of year – with the smoke rolling out of the buildings – will have your mouth watering as you smell that heavenly, smoked turkey scent.

One taste and you’ll understand why so many people make a Greenberg Smoked Turkey the center of their holiday celebrations.

greenberg-smoked-turkey-tyler-txFrom their website, Sam Greenberg said, “For 70 years our family has slow smoked turkey over hickory fires for an unmatched flavor. Then we ship them fully cooked and ready to eat. All you have to do is slice it and enjoy. When you serve Greenberg Smoked Turkey, you’re sharing in an East Texas family tradition that spans four generations. It all started when my grandfather began smoking turkeys for family and friends in a corner of his dairy barn. Word spread about his delicious gifts, and by the 1940’s my father fulfilled the family’s first official order – an unsolicited request from 100 miles away in Dallas. Not much has changed since those days. We still smoke turkeys the way my grandfather did – seasoned with our family spice recipe and slow-cooked over a hickory fire. Around 200,000 customers make us a part of their holiday season each year.”

Turkeys are available from 6 pounds (feeds 12 to 18 people) all the way to 15 pounds (feeds 30-45 people), and range from $33.40-79.40 each. A rule of thumb for size is a third to half a pound per person for average eaters. The average size of turkeys is between 8 and 10 pounds. They ask that you order early to ensure that the size of your choice is available. Closer to the holiday’s sizes of turkeys available may become limited.

Whether you are serving a Greenberg Smoked Turkey at your own table or sending them as gifts to family and friends, you can place your order online or drop by their office Monday-Friday, 8:30am-5pm.

Also, on the website, there are a few recipes in case you have leftovers, including a favorite in my family, the Greenberg Smoked Turkey and Andouille Sausage Gumbo.

Greenberg will ship nationwide. The office and plant are located at 221 McMurrey Dr., Tyler. For more info and to order online go to gobblegobble.com or call (903) 595-0725.

National Projects PhotographerHebert’s Specialty Meats

Hebert’s (pronounced A Bears) is the home of the original deboned, stuffed poultry, and is owned and operated by true Cajuns. Their Cajun market has developed unique seasonings, marinades, stuffings, and cooking processes to produce wonderfully delicious products. They have all the Cajun favorites: gourmet Turducken, Andouille sausage, etouffee, crawfish pie, and much more.

Hebert’s starts with a selection of the finest products available. The timely combination of cooking and seasoning creates the authentic Cajun flavor, which until now, was found only in South Louisiana. Their goal is to provide customers with a consistent, high-quality product and a true Cajun flavor. Hebert’s has been in business since 1984, with the original store in Maurice, Louisiana (just south of Lafayette). After just one taste you will understand why.

turducken-heberts-specialty-meats-tyler-lindale-txThis time of year, Herbert’s specializes in something unique- Turducken. A Turducken is a completely deboned turkey that is stuffed with a boneless duck plus a whole deboned chicken. Then a delicious cornbread dressing and pork stuffing are added between each layer to separate each poultry. Special seasonings are sprinkled over and into the entire product; then the Turducken is vacuum sealed, forcing the seasonings into the product, enhancing flavors and freshness.

Herbert’s does all the work for you so all you have to do is put it in the oven. Variations include Turducken with Chicken Sausage, Jalapeno Chicken Sausage Turducken, and a Turken – a traditional Turducken without the duck meat and chicken. They are available in a couple of sizes, but normal ones weight 8 to 10 pounds and feeds 12 (or 6 hungry Cajuns)

Herbert’s also sells smoked hams, Boudin, sausage, crawfish pies, deboned stuffed chickens, deboned stuffed turkeys, gumbo, etouffee, kabobs, and their custom created sauces, spices, and rubs. They also sell fine cut steaks that are ready to throw on the grill after defrosting. Their roasts are stuffed with onion, bell pepper,and garlic, and are oven ready after defrosting, too.

Variety is key here and Herbert’s has something different for your holiday dinners. The deboned chickens or turkeys have all the bones except for the wing tip and the two small bones in the wing. They are then stuffed with three pounds of a delicious combination of ingredients. They come ready for the oven, either fresh or frozen. You can choose ten different stuffings: alligator and rice dressing*, broccoli and cheese dressing*, traditional cornbread dressing*, jalapeno cornbread and crawfish dressing*, crawfish and rice dressing*, eggplant and brown rice dressing*, pork stuffing*, rice dressing*, shrimp and rice dressing*, or boudin. Deboned turkeys are available too, noted with an asterisk, plus they also offer a duck dressing.

Herbert’s has several locations in East Texas. The Lindale market is located at 2304 S. Main St., and in Longview, you can find them at 1301 Judson Rd.

For more info and to see their menu go to hebertstexas.com, e-mail sales@hebertstexas.com, or call (903)247-MEAT (6328).

stanleys-smoked-turkey-tyler-tx-bbqStanley’s Famous Bar-B-Q

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, fresh made sausage, and even pulled pork, throughout Texas – also smokes turkeys during the holidays. “We will take orders up until November 21st (the Monday of the week of Thanksgiving) and the turkeys will need to be picked up by end of business on Wednesday, November 23rd, 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 place your order at the walk-up counter, call (903)593-0311, or go to www.stanleysfamous.com.

Loggins Restaurant

johnny06Pie in the sky is not just a saying – it is a description for the pies at Loggins – which are sheer heaven!

Loggins Restaurant is family-owned and has been a favorite eatery in the heart of Tyler since 1949. Originally it was a drive-in, and old pictures are located on the walls.

Offering southern-style foods on a lunch buffet, Loggins is a great place to get that “warm eating at grandma’s” feeling. Loggins has been a popular lunch spot, typically packed to the gills every day, for eons for East Texans. They are open 10:30am- 2pm Sunday-Friday (closed Saturdays). Be sure to get there early, the line is sometimes out the door. Loggins has different menu items daily on the buffet.

a1ab3793ede2262a3b91377a7729eb8fSouthern style foods are their mainstay on the buffet (and their fried chicken is the best we’ve found), but their pies have become legendary as well. Some have described the pies as “best pies in the world,” and being that their restaurant is only a buffet, you can sample as many different kinds as you like. All are made fresh daily with old time recipes passed down for generations. Typical most days is a delicious looking array of pies to choose from, including cherry, apple, cheesecake, coconut, and lemon meringue. The variety available changes often.

During the holidays, you can get whole pies to go too. Be sure to call a day ahead.

Loggins is owned by Jerry and Lyana Loggins, who offer excellent service to the folks of East Texas. They are also Johnny Football’s grandparents and huge Aggie fans.

Loggins is located at 137 S. Glenwood Blvd., in Tyler. For more info call (903)595-5022 or go to logginsrestaurant.com.

If you go there more than once, it is likely that the staff (and some patrons) will remember your name. It is just that kinda place.

Village Bakery

The Village Bakery, owned by Bettie Smith, has been a Tyler tradition for more than 60 years, baking up goodies since 1948 in the Bergfeld Center in Tyler. “Generations of families have enjoyed our famous gingerbread men, Easter petit fours, and Thanksgiving treats. Custom cakes have been a special part of many birthdays, weddings, and family occasions.”

Their homemade and hand decorated gingerbread men and women are a tradition among a lot of locals. “I have lived in Tyler most of my 46 years, and Village Bakery is a place we have enjoyed since childhood. I had to have a gingerbread cookie whenever my mom would take me there as a child. For special occasions Village Bakery’s cakes are amazing, both in presentation and melt in your mouth,” said Libby McMann.

village-bakery-tyler-tx“My favorite changes with the seasons: summer favorite has to be strawberry cake, for fall I crave Italian cream cake, Springtime calls for her Easter egg petit fours, and for the holidays the rolls and chocolate cake with fudge icing are to die for! Also, my son asks for the Hungarian pull apart bread every time I go. It is like sticky sweet monkey bread that is amazing with coffee or cold milk. Bettie Smith has continued her same traditions of superb quality and service throughout my lifetime. For a bakery, The Village Bakery is superb and a holiday tradition in my family,” said McMann.

“I have been a visitor to the Village Bakery for over 20 years. I was born and raised in Tyler, and every time my grandmother and I went shopping, we would stop by, and she would buy me a gingerbread man and woman,” said Kay Keele. “When my children were young, an annual quick stop for gingerbread men and women, or special cookies, was always a must too. And now, my children visit the bakery during the fall and get these traditional cute gingerbread cookies for their children,” said Keele. “It’s been a tradition for three generations!”

Village Bakery also features baked delicious pies, pastries, breads, cookies, muffins, cakes, brownies, or cupcakes as well as wedding cakes and by special arrangement, you can taste different wedding cakes by appointment.

Village Bakery is located at 111 E. 8th St., Tyler. They are open 7am-6pm Monday-Friday, and 7am-5pm on Saturday, closed Sunday. For more info call (903)592-1011 or go to villagebakerytyler.com.

collin-st-bakery-chocolate-deluxe-fruitcake-petitesMore Traditions

A few other food traditions include:

The Annual Edom Fire Department Turkey Fry – Stop by the Edom’s fire department for its annual fundraiser where they will fry your turkey for you. An added bonus, they try to educate people on the fire hazards of frying your own turkey. They will fry the turkeys on November 23rd for pick up November 25th at the fire department. For more info call (903)852-6642 or (903)571-0334 with questions.

Let’s get a little fruity! Collin St. Bakery, located at 17044 I-20 W., in Lindale at the Hideaway Lake exit, offers their world-famous DeLuxe® Fruitcake every year. It has been a favorite since 1896 and is still baked faithfully to the original recipe. According to their website, each fruitcake is the perfect balance of native pecans (27%), shelled in Corsicana, Texas, hand-picked Golden sweet pineapple and lush papaya, ripe, red cherries from Oregon and Washington State, pure clover honey, plump golden raisins. The fruitcakes are offered in both full-cake size and petites, a perfect bite-sized morsel of their world-famous fruitcake. For the chocolate lover, the petites come dipped in delicious milk chocolate. For more info and to place an order call (903)882-9205 or go to collinstreet.com.

362afd75c62247dbc2f8d1844af89199When you start to get tired of turkey, in come the tamales! “Tyler Tortilla Factory offers homemade tamales and tortillas in Tyler, Texas. We offer tasty, delicious corn and flour tortillas, homemade chips and salsas, and our famous tamales made with the Correa family recipe. We are proud to have served delicious Mexican products to everyone in East Texas for over 35 years.” Every year, some families like to have tamales on the Saturday after Thanksgiving. At the Tyler Tortilla Factory choose from a selection of traditional pork tamales, beef tamales, chicken tamales, and their famous spinach tamales too. Ordering in advance is highly recommended. Tyler Tortilla Factory is located at 513 N. Border, Tyler. For more info and to place an order call (903)595-0873 or go to tylertortillafactory.com. By the way, their green salsa, although very hot, is heavenly! Get a container to go.

Heartland Hams are available again at Traditions Restaurant in Tyler located at 6205 S. Broadway. To place your order call (903)534-1111 or e-mail traditionstyler@gmail.com. Don’t forget to get a Pumpkin Roll too!

texas-moon-gourmet-toffee-tyler-txAnd let’s not forget dessert. There are some local sweet treats that people like to get for gifts during the holidays. Texas Moon Gourmet Toffee are some of those. They are sold at Sweet Gourmet, located at 4554 S. Broadway in the French Quarter in Tyler. “Founded more than 15 years ago, Texas Moon Gourmet Toffee was created by Gail White, who made it for friends and family during the holidays each year. After years of rave reviews from these friends, her daughter decided it would have mass appeal. Its’ crunchy texture and delicious, buttery flavor make it a favorite treat each year during the holidays.”

The toffee is only available for a couple of months before and after the holiday season, so it’s definitely a holiday commodity. You can also order it online at txmoon.com. They offer a pretty cool gift service too where you can just select the “Create Your List” button, download the form, and send them your list of corporate gifts to fulfill for you. They can even handle all the shipping.

Downtown Tyler

Baby, It’s Cold Outside! What to do in Tyler on a Dreary Rainy Day

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By: Holli Fourniquet

There’s a saying, “If you don’t like the weather in Texas just wait a few hours.” That has certainly been true of our winter so far this year. So it’s understandable if you haven’t exactly prepared for cold weather when it hits. Not to worry; here is a quick guide to fun things you can do in Tyler even in cold weather if you happen to find yourself unprepared.

As self-proclaimed foodaholics, our first thought when a cold front hits is where to find some comfort food to warm our bellies. Chili is typically a good go-to meal for when cold weather hits, and here in Tyler, you can get chili in a couple of different forms. There is the traditional bowl of chili. One of our favorites is found at Rick’s on the Square located in Downtown Tyler. This chili will give you the answer to that age-old question: should chili have beans or not? At Rick’s, that answer is definitely yes! The recipe is also a little on the spicier side, which makes this the perfect bowl of chili to warm you up!

Another great comfort food during cold weather is gumbo. Try some of the best gumbo this side of Louisiana at The Catch, located at 1714 S. Beckham Ave.

Some people just like to stay in when it’s cold, and that’s ok. Stop by FRESH by Brookshire’s to pick up your cold-weather comfort food, made fresh by a chef and ready for you to heat and eat at home. Here you will find seasonal soups, chili, casseroles, and family packs of tamales. Everything you need to warm your belly from the comfort of your own home sitting in front of the fire.

Another gold weather food is gumbo. Happy Fish House has great gumbo – it’s rich and the roux is made perfect. Get it with a side of hushpuppies!

Toritlla soup anyone? Don Juan’s on the Square offers a huge bowl for a great price and its authentic and hits the spot when it’s chilly outside.

Pho from What’s Sub Banh Mi on S. Broadway has chicken or pork. Check their Facebook to see which is featured today) and is locally-owned. This warm soup is a fav. It is also low calorie if your New Year’s resolution was to slim down a bit.

Speaking of staying in on a cold day, you’re going to need a good book to keep you company. Head over to the Tyler Public Library where you will find books and more. The Tyler Public Library is not your typical library. Of course, you will always be able to check out that bestseller you have been meaning to read, but you can also check out movies or participate in one of their many events.

The Tyler Public Library offers everything from Family Movie Nights and Lego Block Parties to various classes such as sewing and career training to author meet and greets. It’s definitely a place you might want to get familiar with this winter.

To get your blood circulating on a cold day, you might go shopping. Whether you’re looking for a great bargain or something more high-end, Tyler has all the shopping you could want. Plus, if you stay in Tyler to shop, you won’t have to fight the traffic of a bigger city in this cold winter weather.

The typical retail therapy shopping, however, is not all Tyler has to offer if you are looking for some interesting cold-weather recreation. Head to Moon Rivers Naturals. Here you will find body products like soaps and essential oils using local, organic, and real ingredients.

Or since you have a cold day and nothing to do, search through some of Tyler’s best antique, junk, and consignment shops to find your next treasure at Ye Olde City Antique Warehouse.

Is your perfect idea of ‘what to do on a rainy day’ browsing around a bookstore? Check out Pea Picker Bookstore. From old to new, to collectibles and more – there is something to be uncovered in the treasure trove of all things books.

A cold day might be the perfect day to try out one of Tyler’s microbreweries: True Vine Brewing Company or the newly opened ETX Brewing Co. located at 221 S. Broadway Ave., Downtown Tyler.

Research has shown that beer can combat stress, boost your memory, makes skin more beautiful, and can even be used as a cold remedy. In addition to the health benefits, True Vine Brewing also points out, “Because it’s cold outside, your beer will maintain the same temperature it was poured at until it’s consumed.”

Both microbreweries have enclosed spaces for the cold days. So get out there and drink a local craft beer!

Wanna hear some live music? Check out our extensive Live Music Gig Guide for who is playing where and what time.

The Tyler Museum of Art always has wonderful exhibits of high quality. They are located on the TJC campus and most exhibits are either free or have a small fee to see.

Got the kid’s with you? Head to Discovery Science Place in Downtown Tyler for a fun day of science-based activities for all ages.

Times Square Cinema’s Grand Slam is also a good place for the kids (and adults) to let off some steam with their arcade of games, bowling alley, lounge and tons more games.

Tyler Rock Gym is a great place to get some unique exercise inside and is geared for all ages and skill levels. This is an amazing place to climb the walls (see what we did there :o) ).

There is plenty to do in Tyler on a cold day; these are just a few of our favorites. Warm-up in some of the best ways possible this winter. Soon you will be singing along with Elsa from Frozen, “The cold never bothered me anyway.”

For more ideas on these and other things to do in Tyler go to VisitTyler.com.

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Around East Texas

Date Night: From Fancy to Simple, Tyler Offers a Lot of Romance

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By Holli Conley

In Tyler, the city of roses, it’s not hard to find a romantic spot to take that special someone. Whether you’re celebrating an anniversary or simply spicing up a free weekend, these are the best date ideas for fun, quality time with your significant other.

pinots-pallette1

Paint A Pretty Picture

Locally at Pinot’s Palette, located at 322 ESE Loop 323 next to Plato’s Closet in Tyler, you and your date can paint together! The studio has really neat, two-part mirror pieces that transform upon completion into an intricate design. You can also complete your masterpiece right there in the studio by picking a frame to suit your style for $35, making it possible for you, the proud artist, to walk away with your creation ready to hang.

One small step inside the front door of Pinot’s Palette and you will feel your creative fire burning and want to put palette to canvas. The large, colorful painting area is jammed full of workspaces just waiting for the next budding artists.

Something also really unique at Pinot’s Palette is the opportunity to paint your pet. Send the studio your pet’s likeness and they can laser it onto canvas, then you can finish the creation with paint in the studio.

A Night on the Town

Downtown Tyler is a great spot for a romantic evening. Start the evening with dinner at one of Downtown’s restaurants. For a fine dining experience try one of Tyler’s newest restaurants: Jack Ryan’s Steak & Chophouse. Take advantage of the free valet parking and really wow your date.

There are also a couple of options for more casual dining such as Don Juan’s on the Square.

Next, take in a show with VIP box seat tickets at the historic Liberty Hall. The box seats are the best seats in the house and will be a little more intimate for a date night.

End the night with a cocktail or dessert and live entertainment at Rick’s or Jake’s.

All of these are conveniently located within walking distance of one another and make for a great night out on the town.

studio movie grill tyler tx

Dinner and a Movie

You can never go wrong with dinner and a movie, but sometimes you’re in the mood for something a little more exciting. Spice up this classic date idea with some of Tyler’s unique theater options.

Grab a picnic dinner, lawn chairs, and watch a movie under the stars at SkyVue Drive-In Theater. This theater offers tickets for $6 per person and shows a double feature.

One of Tyler’s newest theaters, Studio Movie Grill, is another interesting option for a movie night. Studio Movie Grill is a one-stop-shop for dinner and a movie. You can eat dinner while watching a movie, or have a dessert or cocktail while you watch. Studio Movie Grill also offers classic date night movies for $3 a ticket on select nights. Check their website for details.

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Enjoy Live Music

Tyler comes alive with the tunes of good music around every corner. Whether you are interested in a specific music event such as the Red Dirt BBQ & Music Festival or listening to a local band, Tyler has a variety of acts to satisfy your musical tastes.

Some of our favorite places to catch local bands are Cork Food & Wine, Stanley’s Famous Pit BBQ, XLN, and Republic Ice House – just to name a few.

Downtown Tyler offers several fun acts as well on the weekend at Jake’s or Rick’s. Or for a more classical night you might choose to see a performance by the East Texas Symphony Orchestra.

No matter if you want to dance the night away or enjoy a cocktail with music in the background, Tyler has what you’re looking for.

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Go on an Adventure

There’s something awfully romantic about going on an adventure together, and there are plenty adventures to be found around town.

Try hiking, biking, camping, or water sports at Tyler State Park or one of Tyler’s many public parks.

Runners might consider doing a color run or mud run together in the area.

Animal lovers can enjoy Caldwell Zoo or Tiger Creek Wildlife Refuge.

For the thrill seekers, try one of Tyler’s newest attractions: One Way Out. If you are a fan of puzzles and problem solving, this game is for you. You will be locked in a room where your team will use clues, hints, and teamwork to escape before time expires. Working together to solve the clues is a great way for a couple to get to know each other better and build a stronger relationship.

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Love Don’t Cost a Thing

Let’s be honest, dating can be expensive. Luckily, in a beautiful city like this, romance is not hard to find on the cheap.

Tyler is home to several free museums that would be great for a date. Visit the Goodman-LeGrand House & Museum or the McClendon House to tour these romantic historic homes.

For the history buffs, you might enjoy the American Freedom Museum just outside of Tyler in Bullard, or the Half Mile of History Walk in Downtown Tyler. While you’re in Downtown, stop by the Gallery Main Street, which features a new exhibit of original art approximately every eight weeks.

Tyler also hosts several cheap or free events throughout the year. Events will include everything from movies in the park to concerts and art walks.

Finally, when talking about budget-friendly date options, we can’t forget a stroll through the Tyler Municipal Rose Garden. With 14 acres, 32,000 rose bushes, and more than 500 varieties, this is the largest rose garden in the United States. The Rose Garden is free and open to the public year-round. This is probably the most romantic location in all of Tyler and a great place to bring your love.

With all of the fun options in Tyler, it’s not hard to find exciting date night ideas. Whether you want an expensive night out or a date on a budget, these ideas will help. Sometimes it’s fun to break away from the norm and try something new. With all these ideas, we encourage you to get creative and get out on the town with your significant other.

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