It’s a tradition leading up to Mardi Gras (Tuesday, February 17): throw a King Cake party where everyone eats, drinks and makes merry. Whoever gets the piece of cake with the baby hidden inside buys the next cake. The authentic Cajuns at Stuffed Cajun Meat Market are baking fluffy and delicious king cakes complete with baby and Mardi Gras beads, $26.99-29.99. Stuffed’s variation introduces, naturally, stuffed cakes filled with apples, cherries or cream cheese. Who dat say dey gonna eat dat cake?

Stuffed Cajun Meat Market website

Stuffed Cajun Meat Market & Specialty Foods on Urbanspoon

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Sweet! From restaurants and wineries to shindigs in Luckenbach, all kinds of Valentine’s events are taking place out West. Just click on the links below for more info. Note: Most places say reservations are a MUST. See More »

(map) The ultimate way to toast your Valentine’s Day may be this ‘rita from Iron Cactus. Dubbed “Vision for Valentine’s,” the drink is crafted from Patron Platinum, Grand Marnier Centenaire and freshly squeezed lime juice. But what sets it apart is what’s served on the side: A sparkling pair of earrings designed by Zoltan David, made up of 260 flawless diamonds weighing 3.75 carats. Should you already own a pair of dazzlers, feel free to order the drink by itself. Cheers!

Iron Cactus website

Luvcakes

In: Eating

6 Feb

(map) This month, Hey Cupcake! launches their special Valentine’s Day cupcake. The Luvcake is a delectable confection of chocolate cake covered with fresh strawberry and cream-cheese frosting. A delicious way to show that special someone (or yourself!) how you feel. Available now through Valentine’s.

Hey Cupcakes! website

green-chile burger at Jack Allen's Kitchen in Oak Hill, Texas

The Austin Chronicle just published “First Plates,” their annual Best Restaurants list. Five of those mentioned are out West, including Jack Allen’s Kitchen, The League and Pieous. Read more about the list here.

“Texas by the Book” is the theme for this fancy gourmet dinner at the famous Cabernet Grill in Fredericksburg. Friday, February 27, they’ll be serving up six courses of the finest Hill Country cuisine, paired with six of Texas’ best wines. Winemakers will be on hand from Grape Creek Vineyards, Texas Hills Vineyard, Duchman Family Winery, Pedernales Cellars, Bending Branch Winery and Brennan Vineyards (those last four form the Texas Fine Wine group). Recipes are from two new cookbooks by Texas chefs Ross Burtwell and Terry Thompson Anderson. Wines are selected by Russ Kane, author of the new guide, Texas Hill Country Wineries. Diners receive autographed copies of all three books, plus coupons for two free tastings at each participating winery. $250 per couple; $150 for a single. Only one seating that evening, so reservations are a must. Call Cabernet Grill at 830-990-5734. Cheers!

Guacamole salad at El Charro in Johnson City, Texas

(map) Just like every small Texas town must have a Dairy Queen, they should also have a good, mom-and-pop, Tex-Mex place. As so Johnson City has El Charro. Creamy guacamole, hearty enchiladas and nachos, along with a few more unusual dishes, like menudo, barbacoa, even See More »

This special Valentine’s event from the Texas Hill Country wineries starts Friday, February 6th and runs through Sunday the 22nd. (See more info about the trail here.) Ticket-holders get a special box of chocolates created to pair with red and white wines, then hit the trail for free tastes at See More »

(map) Every Friday is Tour Day at this 18-year-old craft brewery in Blanco. While you wait for your tour, there’s plenty of beer sampling to be had from an ever-changing menu. Above, this Devil’s Backbone Tripel really hit the spot. You can sample beers See More »

Noon Spoon Cafe

In: Eating

14 Jan

soup and sandwich combo at the Noon Spoon Cafe in Marble Falls, TX

(map) A classic, small-town cafe where everything is made with the freshest possible ingredients, and most things are made from scratch. Noon Spoon is open only for lunch Monday through Friday, and every day features a different special, like lasagna or King Ranch chicken. The menu offers a variety of fresh salads, homemade soups, sandwiches, wraps and quesadillas. Above, Combo #1, with See More »

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