Thursday, May 8, 2014

Port Aransas: Where We Ate

While in Port Aransas, we needed to eat out only once each day since we had a good complimentary breakfast at the hotel each morning (see previous post, "Port Aransas: Where We Stayed"). Since we were on the coast, we certainly wanted to eat seafood, and that was our first meal after arriving on the island.

After checking into the hotel the first day, we went to Castaways for our first seafood meal. For a long time, we had been dreaming about eating some sort of seafood boil, so after reviewing their menu, we opted for the Treasure Boil, which includes snow crab legs, shrimp, potatoes, sausage, and corn. The boil was enough to feed us both, and the cost was $21.99. Donna had a good time. She loves boiled crab and shrimp. When I was young, I enjoyed shrimp of all types, but I can take it or leave it these days. So I concentrated on the sausage and potatoes while Donna polished off the crab and shrimp. I'm not a seafood connoisseur, so I can't comment on the quality, though personally I found the entire meal a bit bland.

On our second day, we ate at San Juan Restaurant, a local Mexican restaurant recommended by the clerk at the hotel. This was my favorite meal of the trip. I had cheese enchiladas while Donna tried the carne al pastor, I believe. I liked my enchiladas. I'm not a fan of New Mexican red chile sauce, and it seems that many restaurants are going that way these days. I prefer a chile carne sauce on my enchiladas, and that is the way San Juan prepares them. They also had a thick layer of cheese atop them. The beans and rice were also good. The salsa was darker than what I'm accustomed to, and it had a stronger flavor, but we both enjoyed it. Service was attentive and pleasant. I'd go back to this place.

On our last day in Port Aransas, we ate at a small place called Oceans of Seafood (no website available). We had noticed this place as we drove around town. It is a combination market and restaurant, sort of a "hole in the wall" place. Some of our best meals over the years have been at such places, so we decided to try Oceans of Seafood. We weren't very hungry, so we opted for their poor boy sandwiches. Donna got oyster while I got shrimp. They were really very good. The bun was great: it was lightly toasted, very light, and had something of a sweet taste. The shrimp were fried nicely and were somewhat flattened so that they would sit on the sandwich easily. In all honesty, I much preferred that shrimp poor boy to the seafood boil we had two days earlier.

On our return home, we decided to try the Cooper's BBQ in Junction. I've been eating at Cooper's for about 20 years now, and one thing I've learned is that each Cooper's location is different. My favorite is the location in Llano. We were hoping for something of that quality at the Junction location. We were disappointed. As always at a BBQ joint, we ordered only meat: a ½ pound of brisket, a ½ pound of sausage, and a ½ pound of ribs. We really didn't care for any of it. It was all dry and really lacked any kind of smoked taste. Even the service was lackluster with the employees more or less arrogantly acting as if they were doing us a favor by being open. And on top of everything else, the prices are too high. Next time we're in Junction and want BBQ, we'll go to Lum's. (Side note: I was unable to find a website for the Cooper's BBQ in Junction. The main Cooper's site at http://www.coopersbbq.com/ does not even mention the Junction location or link to it, though it does mention the locations in Llano, Ft. Worth, Austin, and New Braunfels. This makes me wonder if the Junction location is even affiliated at all.)

This is the last entry on our trip to Port Aransas.

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