For the 4th of July Holiday, Llama and friends headed to Galveston, Texas for a relaxing week and a chance to see family and friends for the first time in over a year.
Kent found us a great Airbnb to share and we fixed simple meals for most of our eating. The 4th of July was spent at a family BBQ, so that food was taken care of that day.
That left about 3 meals with which to sample some places in Galveston.
Llama has some parameters which define what makes a restaurant or meal wonderful.
1) Having a high price tag is NOT a defining characteristic of good food. Now, don’t get Llama wrong. He doesn’t mind paying for good food. Preparing really great food is the mark of a great Chef and Llama doesn’t mind paying for this talent. These folks are artists sharing their craft. On the flip side, just a high price tag doesn’t always mean amazing taste.
2) A fancy, physical restaurant doesn’t necessarily mean the food inside is great. The old adage “don’t judge a book by its cover” totally applies here. Some of Llama’s best meals have been in hole-in-the-wall places.
3) Go with the locals is usually the best bet. Llama looks to see where locals eat or goes on local recommendations. He also stays away from nationwide chains. If he can get it at home, then it is off the list.
With that said, Llama and friends had 3 amazing dining experiences: Leo’s Cajun Corner, Fish Taco Company, and BamBu.
Back in May, Llama had planned a couple of days eating good Cajun food in Louisiana. Severe storms took care of that canceling that stop. Well, Llama may have missed his stop in Lafayette in May, but his nose perked up as he drove down Broadway in Galveston. Llama “nose” real Cajun when he smells it. Leo’s Cajun Corner did not disappoint. This restaurant has been in Galveston for 30 years and we couldn’t understand a word the chef said, so you know it is legit.
If you have spent any time at all in Cajun county, you know that the speech patterns are entirely unique. It was so good to hear these rhythms. Only born and raised can do this, can’t be faked easily.
The only beef Llama had was there was no Ragin Cajuns sign, just LSU. Geaux Cajuns!
Yummyness consumed was boudin balls, boudin, fried fish & shrimp, riblets, red beans and rice, and crawfish etoufee.
Llama’s friend, Michael, plays pickleball 3 times a week at home. Talking to his mates leading up to this trip, one said “my son is a cook at Fish Company Taco. You HAVE to eat there.” Well, they weren’t wrong.
Fish Company Taco is committed to locally sourced seafood (and as much else of the ingredients as they can get on the island). They are so committed to this, that if the boats don’t catch it and have it each morning, they don’t serve it. This is why their menu is written in chalk and changes every day. The Chef has to come up with the menu each morning when they see what the catch is.
Being just a couple of blocks from our Airbnb, we attempted to go there on Day 1 to have lunch while we were killing time to check in. It was 1:15 p.m. when we drove up. They open at 11 a.m. THEY WERE SOLD OUT!
The next morning we were there right at 11 am. Just like we were told by folks leaving yesterday, the food was totally with it. We were 2nd in line and within 10 minutes there was a queue out the door.
We ordered a variety of items. Llama and Karol had the Carmelized Brussel Sprouts and Korean Amber Jack Taco. Michael had a Baja and Dirty South. Kent had the special Mac & Cheese. This was a blend of crab, green onion, broccoli, pork rinds, and parmesan. The chef said that goat’s milk is the key to smooth cheese sauce. He also had a Korean Taco. This was all unbelievably good. It was worth every penny. The chef and staff are a talented bunch and obviously love their craft.
As we were finishing, the owner and chef came out to visit with us. She is from Amarillo but spent her adult life in Houston until a few years ago. Through a series of events, she and her wife ended up starting The Fish Company Taco. Even though COVID they were able to stay afloat and employ their people. With food like this, I can see why. 🔶️🔶️🔶️🔶️🔶️
On our last morning in Galveston, we ate breakfast at a recommendation of our Airbnb host. BamBu is about a block and a half away. Each time we had passed it, it was slamming busy.
BamBu had outside seating, so Llama and Ottr (Kent’s dog) could join in. Llama had the Surprise Burrito. The Surprise was how delicious it was. Stuffed with egg, bacon, beans, chopped veggies, and cheese, Llama and Karol couldn’t finish it. Ottr got the bonus leftovers for breakfast. Hey, why else do you have a dog! Michael and Kent each had migas plates with fresh homemade tortillas. Needless to say, we didn’t need anything to eat for HOURS.
All three of these places met, and exceeded, Llama’s criteria for dining. The meals were fresh and unique and made by Chefs who love their craft. None of them were on the main tourist drag.
The 3 meals were all over the place in terms of cost and worth every penny, none were anything to look at from the outside, and all frequented by locals.
The big takeaway, get out, try, and explore. You won’t be sorry.
What are your travel dining criteria? Everyone is different. Tell Llama in the comments.