Memorial Day marks the unofficial start to summer and if you count the days between May 26 and Labor Day on Sept 1 there are 99 fun-filled days that span those summer months.
Last week we began counting the 99 flavors of East Texas summer from tasty events, to delicious destinations, homegrown food, cooling off with frozen treats and what’s great to throw on the grill.
There are 45 flavors to go and today we highlight perfect patios, cool drinks, must-have food products and favorite summer recipes.
Villa Montez: Enjoy the modern Latin cuisine of Villa Montez with a cool beverage in hand while taking in the picturesque views from the hilltop on which Villa Montez is situated. The patio overlooks the chefs’ gardens where Mundo and Carlos Villapuda have planted herbs and vegetables that are used in the menu items and cocktails. 3324 Old Henderson Hwy, Tyler, 903-592-9696.
FRESH by Brookshire’s: The patio at FRESH has become a culinary destination for lunch and evenings. With live music on the weekends, menu items from the 801 Grill, cheese platters, beverages, gelato and an assortment of offerings from the chef-prepared case – there’s something to love for everyone in the family. 6991 Old Jacksonville Hwy, Tyler, 903-747-3503.
Jul's Restaurant Lounge & Cafe:“Juls is our favorite patio in East Texas. You’ve got the water, comfy seating or shade, if you want it, while still enjoying the view.” –Dana Hughey, 212 Old Jacksonville Hwy, Tyler, 903-581-5857.
Chuy’s: “So fun to sit in the patio bar area, plunder the chip station, have a fancy margarita, get a big meal or watch sports.” – Brian Pearson, 5935 S Broadway Ave, Tyler, (903) 509-2489.
Jakes Tyler: Watch the sunset over the downtown square from the rooftop of Jake’s. It’s a beautiful way to wind down the day or enjoy a dessert after attending a show at Liberty Hall. 111 East Erwin, Tyler, 903-526-0225.
Stanley’s Famous Pit Barbecue: 525 S Beckham Ave, Tyler, 903-593-0311
Coyote Sam’s Bar & Grille: 5424 Old Jacksonville Hwy, Tyler, 903-509-4222
Lago Del Pino: 14706 County Road 1134, Tyler, 903-561-5246
Rick’s On the Square: 104 W. Erwin St., Tyler, 903-531-2415
Your Own Patio:“Favorite patio, is my own! Once summer gets here, my yard is beautiful and I can't get enough of just sitting outside and relaxing in my own space. At 6:00 in the morning for coffee or 6:00 at night with a cocktail, it never gets old. After a long day at the store or coming home from a vacation, I can't wait to get back to my own patio to enjoy my surroundings and unwind. It’s where I'm most relaxed, where I plan my day and where I thank the good Lord for all he has given me.” Pam Gabriel
“Our patio is simply the best. It’s elevated and overlooks the pool, where there is a fountain. There are a gabillion humming bird feeders and chimes, plus ceiling fans. We can sit there, watch a crazy assortment of wild birds and pass the hours away!” – Brian Pearson
Pelle Legna 2013 Vivace Rosé: Pella Legna is Itlaian for Leatherwood and Tylerite, Dawn Leatherwood has poured her heart and soul into her estate wines that are grown west of Tyler on Highway 64.
She recently released her Rosé called Vivace, which means playful in Italian. It is handcrafted in classic French style from 100 percent estate grown Cabernet Sauvignon grapes. Later this month, she will release the 2010 Bilancia, which mean balance, and is a blend of 66 percent Cabernet, 25 percent Syrah, 7 percent Merlot 1 percent Zinfandel and Sangiovese. The wines are available at Villa Montez, Cork, Lago del Pino, Dakota’s, Willowbrook Country Club, The Noonday Blue Store and FRESH. A white called Allegro, which means cheerful, is also available.
Agua Fresca, Sandia and Pina: These popular Latin drinks are made from fresh fruit and are extremely refreshing. Sandia from watermelon and Pina from pineapple. Available at Los Gueros, Don Juan’s and area Mexican markets.
Jalapeño Margaritas:“For a summertime treat my friends and I are into margaritas on the rocks with diced fresh jalepenos in them. I’m just saying…it’s a very good thing.” – Stephanie Schonefeld
Cherry Limeade:“As a child My Mom and I would mow the yard usually on a Monday and we would go to Braum's for cherry limeade. Nothing is more refreshing than that after a hot chore.” Susan Seaberry Wells (Other drive-thru favorites: Chick-Fil-A Lemonade and McCallister’s Peach Tea.)
Strawberry Lemonade and Cucumber Water:“Our kids love fresh Strawberry lemonade in the summer, wherever they can get it. The adults in the family are loving a new cucumber water concoction with lemons, limes, fresh mint and a little ginger. SO REFRESHING and yummy!” Dana Hughey
Mojito:“Or, as we like to call it, the Bethito, named after my wife. It’s like a mojito and never the same twice. It involves some wacky combination of alcohol and other beverages, such as Fresca and fruit drinks. Perfect for a hot summer day.” – Brian Pearson
Margaritas and Sangria: “For margaritas, my recipe is 1 shot Patron, 1/2 shot Paula’s Texas Orange Liqueur, healthy splash of Rose’s Lime Juice and sweet and sour mix. For Sangria, it is never the same twice, but a Spanish Rioja, or a good dry bottle of Rosé for a lighter Sangria, poured over whatever fruit you like. I use oranges, limes, smushed grapes, peaches and kiwi. Then a little simple syrup or orange juice and Sprite.” – Carleen Dark
Summer Beers:“Shiner Ruby Redbird (made with Texas grapefruit), Shocktop Belgian White or a beer cocktail that is made from Deep Eddy Grapefruit Vodka (made in Austin), Shiner Ruby Redbird and a splash of sprite.” – Ryan Luke
MUST-HAVE FOOD PRODUCTS
Alabama Salvation Sauce and Ca Johns Barbecue Sauces from Sweet Gourmet: Considered a white barbecue sauce, Salvation Sauce is good on anything from baked potatoes, slaw, grilled meats or salads. Ca Johns barbecue sauces come in an assortment of flavors and heat levels and is perfect for any type of grilling.
Monogram Shop:“Find a great beach bag and get your monogram done at the Monogram shop inside the French Quarter. Fill it with sunscreen, lip smackers, snacks, drinks, tunes, and a great new magazine and you are ready for the pool.” – Susan Seaberry Wells
El Felix Salsa:“The Perot Center in Dallas is amazing and not that expensive. Amazing exhibits for all ages and El Felix is right outside the door. My mouth is watering thinking of it.” Susan Seaberry Wells (El Felix salsa and queso is available at Brookshire’s in Frankston and FRESH.)
Tex-Joy Steak Seasoning:“My favorite steak seasoning is TEX-JOY. My dad used it when I was little and now we use it. If you haven’t tried it, it’s a must with some Lea & Perrin’s Worcestershire Sauce. My husband always get’s the seasoning just right!” – Dana Hughey (Available at Brookshire’s)
Tricky Dix Mojo:“Tricky Dix Mojo Spices to rim my summer cocktails and use as meat rubs for grilling.” – Jennifer Smith Cook (Available at Sweet Gourmet)
Specialty Herbs from Green Acres Herb Farm: "Grown from seed by the owner, all of these plants are amazing. Last week I purchased pineapple sage, orange mint, chocolate mint, sweet lavender and a sweet potato vine. Each variety is amazingly fragrant and reasonable prices, too. He also had strawberry plants, tomatoes, lots of basil varieties and so much more.” – Christine Gardner (Located on Hwy 69 south of Tyler, about half-way to Jacksonvile, on the left.)
Cooler Bags & Purses from Granny Muffin Wines: These insulated bags are great for a picnic or outing and allow you to arrive in style. They appear as a purse, but are lined on the inside like a cooler bag, Some are large, and could carry two bottles of wine and snacks, while others are hobo-style, carrying one bottle of wine, with an opener in the side pocket. Some of the shoulder bags include a cheese board and all can be equipped with ice, without leakage. 301 W Oak St., Palestine, 903-729-1262.
Jump in the Lake Cups Napkins and Cooler bags from O’ Sweet Pea: This cute kitchen boutique is equipped with fun items for chic moms – cookbooks, kitchen gadgets, table décor, jewelry, children’s clothes and novelties. Browse through this historic space for that unique item that you’ll be sure to love. 105 W Oak St, Palestine, 903-723-7321.
Laser-Engraved Personalized Cheese Boards from Charles Dickens Jewelry & Fine Gifts:“Cheese has always been a major food group for all the women in my family. One grandmother was from Wisconsin (enough said), another taught me the finer qualities of cottage cheese with Italian dressing, stacking Ritz crackers with whatever cheese you love, and my mother sent me to school with cream cheese and jelly sandwiches, cheese and ketchup sandwiches, and an opened face toasted cheese sandwich or grilled cheese on any weekend afternoon. Cheese is the one food that is perfect for any occasion and a proper cheese board is the perfect accompaniment for al fresco summer entertaining. It’s the easiest and most elegant way to entertain guests and adding fruit, honey, nuts or cured meats to the offering will impress anyone.” – Christine Gardner 100 W Oak St, Palestine, 903-729-8796
Yeti Coolers:“These things are awesome. They will keep things cold for days and days, so you can ice stuff down on Friday and still have it cold on Sunday.” Carleen Dark (Available at Gander Mountain.)
IT’S NOT SUMMER UNTIL I EAT ________!
Fresh Cucumbers in Vinegar:“Peel and slice cucumbers. Dilute some apple cider vinegar with water (a 3:1 ratio, is good) and pour enough over the cucumbers to cover. Refrigerate for a couple of hours before serving.” Christine Gardner
Grandma’s Macaroni Salad: "This recipe is summer to me and I crave it! 16 ounce bag of macaroni, 1 minced yellow onion, 1 diced bell pepper, 1 cup sliced pimento-stuffed green olives, and an 8 ounce block of sharp cheddar cheese cut into bite-size cubes. Mix together with Hellman's mayo, salt and pepper. It tastes best once flavors have melded. It's better than any I’ve had anywhere else.” Stephanie Schonefeld
Homemade Vanilla Ice Cream with Fresh Peaches:“The sound of the ice cream machine whirring away makes that awesome taste of childhood summers.” – Jennifer Smith Cook
“My favorite memory of summer was a great day at the beach or pool with my family and friends, topped off with someone making homemade vanilla ice cream. There is nothing like it, and I probably only got it once a year, but it was the best!” Dana Hughey
Sodas from a Bottle:“We did not have drinks like this except in the summer, so nothing tastes better than a cold bottle of Mountain Dew on a hot summer day. Cream soda, root beer, and black cherry – back in the Shasta days. I kick off summer around here for my daughter with a round of Mountain Dew and Jones cream soda followed up with cheese balls – great for eating and great for throwing. Also, Lay's sour cream and onion potato chips – they scream summer.” Susan Seaberry Wells
Caprese Salad:“I will eat this almost every day in the summer! The tomatoes are good and it just tastes like summer to me.” Carleen Dark
Iced Tea:“A big sweaty glass of iced tea with lemon and mint is exactly what I want after working outside in the summer heat. The most refreshing way to cool off during the summer months.” – Grant Gardner