The hostess would direct us to the left, where the bar and samples were.
And that's about as far as we usually got into the restaurant...
... until a tempting $20 off coupon email showed up to celebrate a "half birthday" ie 6 months before/after your actual birthday. Friends know that I just love coupons. This eclub deal was good for 3 weeks with the expected "can't be combined with happy hour or other specials" restriction. No minimum required!
I kept hearing about Coop's West Texas BBQ from local food bloggers so I mentioned it to Dennis. I'm down he said. Time passed. I read over and over again that it was one of the best by members of Eating Drinking San Diego! Let's goooooo he said again. More time passed.
Then I finally said "Let's go Sunday." Dennis's eyes lit up. Time to venture out into EAST COUNTY, a galaxy far, far away... or so I thought. Google maps estimated 30 minutes to drive without traffic, which isn't bad at all! We carpooled with my brother because another Texan would provide more perspective of TexasBBQ. Plus, more people equals more food. Win.
Coop's BBQ was quite busy when we came in on a Sunday at 6:15pm. There was a line to order and we noticed people taking food to go in HUGE bags.
The best deal looked to be the Knockout Combo for $30.99. It offered six meats (a total of 3 lbs) plus two large sides and cornbread. The box we received was PACKED!
My first yelp party ever! I was alerted by Soo at HungryOnes.com to sign up. I'm 99% sure I would have missed out otherwise. Lucky for me, this was a public yelp party because my zero two yelp reviews haven't quite gotten me to elite status yet. Haha.
The Fright at the Museum party was held at the Air and Space Museum in Balboa Park. For yelp parties, people line up for the event before it starts. Workers scanned our QR codes then gave us these business cards to use when the doors opened. People then smoothly flow inside.
Upon entry, we noticed this half lit display. . .
. . . Creepy giant spider in the corner included.
A mysterious gloved hand passed me a Yelp branded shotglass of something yummy to drink. I think it was slightly alcoholic. Plus one to my home collection of randomly sponsored glassware.
One restaurant wasn't enough to experience Texas BBQ. Dennis and I needed more after visiting Harmon's Barbecue! The next day we headed to another recommendation, a little further east than the last.
City Market is situated in the little town of Luling. The whole city population is under 6k. When googling, I also found a "Luling City Market" in HOUSTON, approximately 140 miles away, but they are unrelated. Added to my Texas food list!
When we got to the parking lot, there was a really strong smell of oil or similar. We noticed these oil rigs across the street. Not sure if they were real and/or in working condition but we were in Texas after all where gas is cheap! We hustled inside to get away from the smell.
Old Town is known for its Mexican fare and we have ventured here for deliciousmeals as well as Taste of Old Town samplings. After I won a gift card to Jack & Giulio's Italian Restaurant, our curiousity was piqued. Can this Italian restaurant hold its own in Old Town? We had to check it out.
Jack & Giulio's is only a few blocks away from the heart of old town so parking can be difficult during peak dining hours and weekends.
Sitting inside seems romantic with the candles though people can also take a seat at the bar. The large open patio area definitely appeals to visitors, especially in the summer time. A little bit of shadow cast by the building does keep it a little more breezy and 'cold' than usual.
Sundays are our lazy sleep-in days. By 1pm, the hunger inside was roaring for us to DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT! San Diego Restaurant Week had just started and Cafe La Rue won out as our destination based on distance and menu potential. I was also drawn to the thought of visiting La Valencia Hotel since I've seen tons of buzz on my instagram feed.
The main bar and dining area was spacious and not busy in the early afternoon. For this photo view, Dennis tested out a new 14mm Ultra-Wide angle lens which gave approximately a 110 degree view on his camera.
I love cozy booths like this so we plopped down happily into the cushions. There are three booths inside with the rest using regular, single person chairs.
The SDRW menu was $20 and gave several choices for the main course and the dessert course. Each main course had three components per the description "Main Course - Menage a Trois."
As much as I love Cali, it's still nice to visit the home state of Texas once in a while. There was also a small mission set for this trip... check out some of the Texas BBQ scene that I missed while growing up here. The only BBQ joint I remember eating was the local joint. They practically catered for the whole town, including at my mom's wedding! I needed to expand that experience!
We met my high school friend and her family at Harmon's BBQ, which was close by their home. Immediately to the left of the restaurant is a BBQ Crossing! I already thought that was a good sign! Pun intended. You can also glimpse a peek at their smoker in the shed. Not sure why they didn't lock the gate per the sign.
Here's the restaurant entrance. It's the same wooden color as the walls so you could miss it if you weren't paying attention. That may have happened to us...