For my eighth 29th birthday in 2014, I decided to spend it in Galveston and run a 10K (Toughest 10K) in Kemah. The race was used to burn the calories I’d gain spending my birthday week indulging. But seriously, for 2014 I decided to challenge myself and run eight races for the year, which included half marathons, 10-milers, and a 10K. I was lucky enough to find one on the actual day of my birth to participate in and I beat my PR. To my surprise, Galveston is full of cute places to eat, shop, and hang out (not just on the beach-side such as The Strand). Here’s my list of recommendations or not.

Stuttgarden Tavern

Shepherd’s Pie at Stuttgarden Tavern

La King’s Confectionery: When you walk in, you feel quite nostalgic with your favorite candy and old-fashioned ice cream lining the walls and isles. They serve everything from handmade chocolates to ice cream floats. The ice cream is Purity, which is apparently the first ice cream manufacturer in Texas founded in 1889. I ended up tasting most of the ice cream flavors and eating dark chocolate candy — all worth the calories!

chickenandwaffle

Chicken and Waffle at Farley Girls Cafe

Stuttgarden Tavern: Being my first time eating German food (imagine that), it was good. But I’m sure there is better. At the table, we ordered the Shepherd’s Pie and Bangers & Mash. Both were tasty. The atmosphere was cool; and the bartender and server were friendly and on-point. Apparently they have live music on certain nights in a really quaint patio area in front.

Farley Girls Cafe: We ventured here for brunch on a Sunday and of course it was packed. It can be a tad confusing when you first walk in, unless you’re a local of course. You order at the counter, you get a number, and wait to be called up to the pick-up counter. This seems to be the “in” thing to do at restaurants that I am just not a fan of. Anyway, back to the important topic at hand — brunch. I had eggs benedict with ham and a side of red breakfast potatoes. Others had the chicken and waffle (thin fried chicken cutlet on top of a waffle), toast, eggs, and french toast. The verdict — it was just OKAY. If you are looking for a decent, edible meal, then Farley will work.

seafood

Seafood Platter at Gaido’s

Gaido’s: The seafood was nothing to write home about. This was another “it was just OKAY”. The seafood tasted fresh, just lacked the flavor I’m used to. It could have been because I ordered the grilled seafood platter (gulf shrimp, deep sea scallops, and mahi mahi), but I’ve had great grilled seafood at other places that was seasoned well. The wait staff were super friendly and attentive. Gaido’s is a popular spot off Seawall Blvd and a long-time establishment. So if you once again are looking for a safe seafood restaurant, check them out and let me know what you think. 

Mosquito Cafe: This hip place was a pleasant surprise! The menu is a nice break from fried food — offering fresh salads, sandwiches, pastas, tacos, and burgers. And let’s not forget the baked goods. It seems like the style of the food is somewhat eclectic Asian-fusion from reading the menu. This spot is a must try if you’re looking for a healthy alternative.

rudyandpaco

Seafood at Rudy and Paco

Rudy & Paco: First of all I highly suggest to make a reservation ahead of time because it gets fairly packed Friday and Saturday due to the events at The Grand 1894 Opera House next door. The setup is very compact with barely enough room in the isles to move around but it’s a friendly, elegant-like atmosphere. There’s a dress code for dinner, unless you are at the bar. The Central and South American flair was apparent in the dishes we devoured — pan-seared/grilled red snappers all around topped with shrimp or crab meat. Heads up — if it’s plantain crusted, it’s not the sweet ones…it’s the green plantains that I tend to forget is what’s the norm in that region. My birthday dessert was out of this world — black and white chocolate mousse cake. This is a must-try place, special occasion or not!