Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Oktoberfest in Southlake, TX

It's that time of year again! Oktoberfest has come or gone depending on where you live. We're assuming most cities hold their annual Oktoberfest in the first week of October. If you were fortunate enough to partake, as Live Goode did in the well to do city of Southlake Texas in the DFW area, then we raise our ale to you.

For those of you that don't know, Oktoberfest dates back to 1811 when the 1st Oktoberfest was celebrated in Munich, Germany. Live Goode dreams of a day when we can actually go to the real deal Oktoberfest still going on in Munich every October. That would be quite a story to bring back to you. Until then we'll have to settle for America's version of Oktoberfest.

To be honest with you, Southlake's 3 day celebration of Oktoberfest is the one and only Live Goode has been to but that is the fun of this blog. This year we may of gone to the Southlake Oktoberfest but next we'll get the scoop at maybe a even better one and be able to guide you to the best one. For now, Live Goode will show you how Southlake, Texas celebrates this world renowned festival...

Not to judge a festival by it's sign we'll move on....

Ahh... the line up, now we are getting somewhere....

Preforming with no shoes.. this guy has the right idea!

You can't tell by looking at em but these guys were rockin' trust me...

Let's take a break, and check out the scenery before we get to the the good part.

Oops, those are the portapoties but you wouldn't know that because they are disguised with perfectly placed bushes, interesting but unnecessary. Moving on...

A strategically placed Texas Longhorn, is a picture opportunity every time, we'll take that over the portapoties.

We see food somewhere in this picture, of course we couldn't leave without getting our hands on some.

As with any festival especially if you don't drink, food will always be a highlight. This time, that was no exception as we found this delicious well seasoned Philly Cheese Steak sandwich for 12 tickets (equivalent of $6.00). I'm not a Philly Cheese Steak fan as this was probably only the 2nd I've had in 10 years or more but count me as a fan after this snack. We hope my waistline doesn't disagree.

What would Oktoberfest be without a bratwurst? We don't know but Live Goode had to go after one. Unfortunately because they are so popular and it fits the mood, they were out! Instead, we had to settle for this beer wurst. It was a worthy replacement!

You got us, we got a little carried away but it's Oktoberfest after all. Hey, don't be too hard on us...we could of gone for the deep fried Oreos they were offering but we resisted. Instead, we picked up this Apple Strudel at a vendor booth on the way out and as we were walking back to our car, it was happily consumed. We never expected it to be as messy as it was but it definitely set our sweet tooth right and was an excellent way to end Southlake's Oktoberfest.

If you're really looking for something to do, then this Oktoberfest will entertain you with plenty of music, events, exceptional food, a myriad of vendor booths, and as always, something for the kids. If that doesn't satisfy you, then one of the local eateries or shops might foot the bill as Southlake's Oktoberfest takes place in their town square which is one of the best in the DFW area. When we say local eateries, we need to emphasize that Southlake Town Square features many quality restaurants and you'll have a hard time deciding what you want because the choices are that good. My advice, if you got the money, stay for a weekend at the Hilton in Southlake Town Square and really make it quite a celebration. Plenty to eat and see whether it's that or the festival, you can't go wrong as Southlake holds this festival in the middle of the perfect spot for entertainment. For that Southlake's Oktoberfest earns:

Ranking: 4 Goode Points

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

A Trip Through Grapefest (Festival) in Grapevine TX

In Grapevine, TX a thriving city in the Dallas Fort Worth Metroplex right next to DFW airport, one of the busiest airports in the nation there is a nationally recognized 4 day festival that you've probably never heard of. It's called Grapefest and it happens to be one of the biggest wine tasting festivals in the Southwest. All the fun of Grapefest takes place as the summer comes to a close, usually in the third week of September.

To be honest with you I haven't been to Grapefest in over 10 years. I decided to go back this year, only because they offer a day to get in free, which always falls on a Friday. I'm usually working on that day but I had the day off this year. It was a good thing because I really wanted to take the opportunity to go back and get the scoop on this festival for all my readers. Now, stop right there. I see something wrong with that picture. You shouldn't have to worry about having to secure a day off during the week to get in free. It should always be free no matter the day. Every, festival on this scale that I've been to, I've found that it doesn't cost a thing to get in and just be able to walk around. At Grapefest that's what $8 per adult, $5 dollars per senior and kids older than 6 gets you; the ability to walk around. Ok, let's say that price is worth it. I'm not going to completely write off Grapefest because they charge you to get in. However is it worth the price of admission? Whether you got in free or not let's take a trip through Grapefest...

What happens after we've walked under this scenic Grapefest sign and into the waiting excitement of this festival?

Something gives me a feeling that they don't close off the Main St. in Grapevine for 4 days on a Wednesday at 7pm for nothing...

There is plenty of booths to be found at almost a mile long stretch of blocked off real estate. 
Let's get a better perspective...

As you can see, the Main Street in Grapevine is an old time shopping/business district that is a main attraction in Grapevine, TX and this is true even when there is no festival on it's street. 

Let's try out the food, they have multiple ticket booths set up in Grapefest. In exchange for buying the tickets you can exchange them for a variety of fair ground food. Let's see what a whopping $20 gets you.... 

Bingo, we found a highlight! You didn't think I'd go to a festival in Texas and not get a Jumbo Corn Dog did you? I've got you've covered! There was a freshly squeezed lemonade with that but it was an epic fail. I know better next time.

Look at that, you can get an Italian Meatball sub at a festival... looks good and it was.

Was it worth almost $20 in tickets for this food? And the verdict is? Barely, if you have money to burn then it's certainly worth it but if you're on a budget and you care, then a tip for you would be to eat at one of the restaurants along Main St. You'll get better value for your money and cool A/C as a bonus.

They do have an amusement area with plenty of rides and games. Just don't eat all that food I showed you before you get on one of more intense ones please...

You read this right, it wouldn't be a wine festival without a little of that or maybe a whole lot. I didn't partake in the wine tasting but a little birdie told me that $20 gets you taste after taste of some very good wine. Thanks, for the tip birdie, I'll be thinking about trying that out next year.

Looks like Happy Hour came early for these ladies. There is plenty of Happy Hour opportunities at Grapefest including the main wine tasting event and when you've had enough, a grape stomping event.

What would a festival be without music... it wouldn't. The main stage pictured here features more acts than you would believe.

Was it worth it? It seems like they jam pack a lot on that street, so if you have time to spend and that includes a little cash, you certainly can see how you can have more than a good time.

Ranking: 5 Goode Points...only because they offer a lot of entertainment for the cost of getting in. 

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Take A Stroll On Kemah Boardwalk

With Fall within grasp and increasingly cooler days on the horizon, you may want to get outdoors especially after a long hot summer. It might look like the picture above is small town 1950's America straight out of the movie The Truman Show. It's not, but it did have that feel which made it nostalgic. Aside from being nostalgic, what I did stumble upon literally was a place as unique as it is fun and its name is Kemah? To be honest, I asked myself the same question a couple days of ago, as I had never heard of it. I found out quickly though that it's a small town, that happens to be located on Galveston Bay on the Texas Gulf Coast, just outside of Houston, TX. What you see a picture of is their entertainment district called Kemah Boardwalk which is the subject of this post. The reason for this is because I never thought when I went to Houston for a weekend getaway, that the first place I'd end up would be this unique little gem of a tourist attraction on Galveston Bay. I'm thankful that Kemah Broadwalk is once again a polished gem as it was pretty much destroyed by Hurricane Ike that hit the Galveston/Houston area on Sept 13, 2008. Please see this: Kemah Boardwalk In the Aftermath of Hurricane Ike to view of slideshow to get an idea of how badly it was hit.
    How did I come to end up here? Simple, Chef Megs my partner in food crime, because we are foodies after all, wanted to take me to a seafood restaurant that she had heard rave reviews about. We drive the long distance there thinking that we were just going to a restaurant outside of Galveston. Imagine our faces as we drove into Kemah Boardwalk. The best part about our surprise was that this restaurant we wanted to go to just happened to be one of 1 of 9 great restaurants that are part of the boardwalk.
    Now that you have the background, let me try to impress upon you, that if you're in Houston or nearby or are planning on going to Houston, this is the place to go take a nice leisurely stroll...

As you can see, Kemah Boardwalk has it's own train. If you have a family, that would thrill the kids. Maybe, you should watch out though and obey the the railroad crossing if your going to that seafood restaurant (The Flying Dutchman) you see the train whizzing past. Yes, wish I could of gone to every restaurant and given you the scoop on those but time and budget didn't allow that. Go with plently of that, the more the better because you'll need it as there is plenty to spend it on here.

Kemah Boardwalk has it's own hotel, actually it's called Kemah Boardwalk Inn, but it looks as big as hotel. Wish I had some spare time...but you might!

There are literally too many restaurants to chose from on the Kemah Boardwalk as you can start to see. That's a good thing though.

A boardwalk wouldn't be complete, without amusement rides for families and even a roller coaster. Kemah has that too.

If you build a boardwalk, make sure it has water that springs up without warning in true fountain form. That can be interesting to watch. Lots of recreation to be had as you can see, for families or couples without kids. There's something for everybody at Kemah Boardwalk. One thing I know for sure, you won't go hungry in Kemah because there is food for everybody. Everything from sushi, Mexican food, seafood, a steakhouse, and world famous Texas BBQ...starting to see the trend of the words everything and everybody here? I thought so. There's even a restaurant called the Aquarium and you guessed it, you eat with a beautiful aquarium filled with exotic fish surrounding you, it's a seafood restaurant. How ironic is that? If you want truly good seafood though, it's hard to not to leave satisfied from Laundry's Seafood restaurant which overlooks the bay. In fact, we did just that. Want coffee?  You don't have to eat at one of the restaurants for that. Kemah has its own coffee house. Want to shop? Kemah has gift and t-shirt stores. Actually want to stay on Kemah Boardwalk, they have their own hotel on site. I just can't say enough about what Kemah doesn't have because well... they have it.

I had to end with an eye-catching sign we saw on the boardwalk. I bet you didn't know that seagulls had diets, apparently here they do here. Please visit their website for more info: Kemah Boardwalk 

Ranking: 5 Goode Points

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Volkswagen Bus: Let The Good Times Roll

When this was beauty was spotted, I said nothing says The Goode Life more than a Volkswagen Bus also known as a hippie van. After of which, I knew I had to share this with you, especially fans of the laid back carefree lifestyle. Seeing this VW, certainly brings good times to mind doesn't it? Imagine all the memories that could be accomplished taking this van on a road trip headed for the coast. It's ok to dream isn't it?

View from above, the only thing missing on this particular van is a rack for surfboards. Love the sky windows on the van though.

Whoever own this VW beauty deserves some credit because they obviously fixed it up and keep it polished. Check out how the windows pop open, sweet! Windows that pop open like that would be very useful for smelling a fresh sea-breeze flowing in from an ocean. As someone who likes to chill, I have to ask, if you had  a VW like this, where would you take it? Any special destinations come to mind? 

Monday, May 3, 2010

Fish House: In A Fish Of Its Own

   On a recent romantic getaway to Pensacola Florida, I found this gem of a seafood establishment. It's called The Fish House! Not only was it located overlooking beautiful Pensacola Bay but inside this fabulous place was some of the best seafood that I've had in a very long time, and I grew up in Houston eating some of the best. As a seafood lover, I have to tell you, be prepared to blown away by the freshness of the catch served at The Fish House. If I can make one hungry stomach satisfied, I would be doing very good to recommend the Gulf Sampler. You can't possibly go wrong with this because the shirmp are so big and succulent that you'll be wondering where they got them. Not only that but there is a bunch of other fried seafood goodness on that plate including a fish of your choice. For this I went with a grilled Mahi Mahi. Yes, they do know how to grill seafood in Florida, and this establishment is no exception. I'll go one up on that, the way they do a Mahi Mahi at The Fish House leaves me speechless but if I can get these words out and you can quote me on this.. "YOU WON'T FIND BETTER".  I feel bad if only a little, writing that but only because it's like giving away the ending of a good movie in that you have to experience this dish for yourself.
   On some last notes, I'm a guy so I have to help my fellow guys out by letting you in on a little secret. This is an awesome restaurant to take a date. There is reason for this, and it's because the atmosphere is very romantic with stunningly beautiful fish tanks to look at while you enjoy your meal. What gets me though, is that at the same time, the atmosphere is also very casual and laid back at this fine establishment. It's a winning combo that in all my years of eating out I haven't quite experienced. The Fish House just happens to be one of those experiences that you won't ever want to pass up when you're in Pensacola. For location and more delicious seafood details please do visit their website: The Fish House

Ranking: 5 Goode Points

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Scarborough Renaissance Festival: Sometimes Strange But Always Fun

No, this post is not about turkey legs, although that was was one of the highlights of my recent trip into the Renaissance. This Renaissance happens to be called Scarborough and is a festival that takes place in Waxahachie, TX (which is about 30 miles from Dallas) every spring. This is not a story about just any Renaissance Fest though. It's about one that is kind of strange (please see video below) yet for some reason for very entertaining.

If you watched the video, then you get some kind of sense of the strange world that is Scarborough Fest, yep that creepy music pretty much sums it up. Not saying that this is a bad thing, just part of the entertainment of the faire.
Some very cool balancing acts are all part of the act of multiple stages where you can catch shows.
See what I mean, this trick must of taken years of practice to be able to pull off, I for one was very impressed about this feat.

Before I go on, I have to relate a story about the above man. I've never seen live comedy before and I never expected to get any at the Scarborough Fest but this man, had people in stitches including me. It takes a lot to get me to laugh, as I've told people, and if you make me laugh, me of all people, you have to be good. This funny man was just that. Indeed he was, as before his show started, (at this time I did not know he had a show because he was standing outside the stage area) I was walking by him, and he said, "Hey, you there". I looked over at him cautiously, "flaming idiot", he yelled at me. As I kept walking trying not to make eye contact, he then said, "Not you, me, I'm the flaming idiot." I looked at him with a puzzled but very amused look on my face acknowledging him. Come to find out later, as I sat down in the stage area to eat my tasty turkey leg, that he was head of the show called, "One Flaming Idiot". I then proceeded to have a, ah ha moment. He was not joking, as he was the flaming idiot!

As proof of his comedic genius, as he was doing his show, he happened to see someone dressed up as  Gandalf, (the wizard  in Lord of the Rings) walking by, he suddenly stopped, and his said, "Wait,  that's great, I see Gandalf, I must run to him and hug him". I swear this was not part of the show and I was lucky enough to capture the moment as sure enough he ran off the stage and gave Gandalf a huge hug. I warned you about the strange nature of this story. 

To be a cast member of Scarborough Fest, it seems like it is a requirement to wear a kilt that has a beer mug attached to it.

You can't leave the fair without tasting the treats, including delicious, honey roasted pecans.
Never thought anything could match that turkey leg, that is until I tried chicken on a stick. It was seasoned to perfection!
It is only fitting in ending this story of Scarborough Renaissance Festival, that I leave how I began it, with a image of the strange sights to behold here. As I was watching one of the shows, I couldn't help but notice Princess Leia was in attendance. That was my good time, if you're nearby Dallas or plan on traveling there, I highly recommend a visit to Scarborough Fest. For tickets and more info, please visit their website: Scarborough Renaissance Festival

Ranking: 4 Goode Points

Thursday, April 8, 2010

El Meson de Pepe: A Tremendous Amount Of Satisfaction

One of my intentions with this new blog is to recommend great restaurants so you can easily find where to have a good time. With that said, I thought Cuban food would be appropriate to be my first restaurant recommendation. Why? That's because up until recently I hadn't tried it but when I did, "I said what took me so long"? I know you'll say the same.
This establishment was only found after doing extensive research of what Key West has to offer in the way of Cuban food. I know they have plenty of nice Cuban eateries on the island so this wasn't an easy task in the least. Like I said, I did my homework and it paid a delicious ten fold because I ended up at this cool little spot called El Meson De Pepe in Key West, Florida.
Finding Pepe's as we will call it for short and deciding to go there as I mentioned earlier was a choice in of itself. However, that was only half the battle as I walked through the door of this festive food experience. You see, upon walking through the door they give you a choice, do you want to sit inside or enjoy the patio outside? Patio I said, I didn't know this place had a patio but sure enough they do. After a couple of minutes of surveying the atmosphere inside which I have to say was very open and full of life, I had a decision to make. Again, not an easy one but luckily my traveling companion made the decision for me because I can be kind of indecisive especially when it comes to tough choices! We get outside, and I was very glad she made the choice she did, the outside was just as fun as the inside if not even more so. Again lots of space and with this came lots of seating, a bar (you know you need one those if you go to Key West), and big LCD TV's hanging from the covered patio. Nice! It couldn't be any better so far!
We get seated and break open the menu and see more choices than ever staring back at us. What to order in such an extensive menu that includes many many yummy sounding entrees as well as traditional Cuban sandwiches? I told myself, be logical about this, you've never tried Cuban food before, just go for the platter again and sample it all. Geez, I just can't get away from those platters can I? I said, oh well.. I'm probably not going to be able to come back here for a long time. Why not? The waiter came by and not wanting to sound like a moron I point to Completa La Tremenda. I know you're probably laughing right about now because even if you don't know the slightest amount of Spanish you probably can surmise that Completa La Tremenda is a tremendous amount of food. What do you expect from a food junkie though, my appetite is only complete when I eat a tremendous amount of food!
As it turns out though this tremendous amount of food turned out to be the final trifecta of awesome choices that I made for this food experience. To be honest with you I can't even pronounce half of what I ate which includes,Tamal En Hoja and Lechon Asado but I have to say my stomach didn't care because it was more than satisfying. The way they cooked the meat for this meal which inlcuded pork couldn't of been better. It was tasty, juicy, tender, and had all the right spices to make it melt in my mouth.
You know, walking into any restaurant for the first time you never know what to expect. However, I have to say that Pepe's as we will call it for short, went above and beyond my expectations in every sense of the word. It had plenty of festive atmosphere inside and out with an abundance of tasty Cuban treats to choose from on a more than satisfying menu! Again, a winning combo that I can't wait to go back and have to choose from again! At least though, I'll have one less choice to decide upon because I know just where I'll wind up: El Meson de Pepe's! To check out their extensive selection of Cuban goodies and to know exactly where you need to wind up next time your in Key West please visit their website: El Meson De Pepe

A tremendous amount of delicious traditional Cuban food including the Completa La Tremeda pictured above awaits you at El Meson De Pepe's in beautiful Key West, Florida!

Ranking: 5 Goode Points

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Fly Away To Jimmy Buffett's Margaritaville

What's the best theme restaurant on earth to fly away to if you had a private plane? If you answered Jimmy Buffett Margaritaville in Panama City Florida, I’d play a Jimmy Buffett song for you and pass you another Margarita. There is no need for me to do that because there is plenty of Jimmy Buffett songs and drinks to go around at the Jimmy Buffett Margaritaville in Panama City Florida. Like, I mentioned in a previous a post, you cannot pass up the opportunity to be a part of a one of a kind experience as far as theme restaurants go. Forget that, I’d venture to say that when I was a recent Parrothead there (note: the noun that being a Jimmy Buffett fan will turn you into… Parrothead) I was completely blown away because I’ve never quite had a dining experience as fun as that one!

It’s hard to explain the atmosphere of a place that pulls you in from the moment you step in the door and stays with you hours and months after you go there especially if you go for the first time. I simply can’t stop thinking about the experience from 6 months ago when I was vacationing in Panama City Florida. Images of giant LCD screens playing the best of Jimmy Buffett and the beautiful decor of a tropical paradise flash through my head at million miles per second. Maybe not that fast, but it’s definitely an experience you’ll remember. I swear I’m not a sucker when it comes to theme restaurants because I’ve been to a few in my life and they didn't come close to impressing me like Margaritaville.

You might be asking me ok, the atmosphere is all well and good but what about the food? Does it match the atmosphere? I’d have to take another sip of my Margarita, look you straight in the eye, and tell you yes. It’s hard to explain a theme restaurant because to me, I think it reverses the rules of a good restaurant experience. When it comes to theme restaurants....it’s like the age old question, what came first, the chicken or the egg? Here I’d have to tell you that the atmosphere transcends the food and almost comes first. Luckily though, you don’t have to worry about that in Jimmy Buffett's world. The food is very top notch for a theme restaurant! You haven’t had quite a cheeseburger like the Cheese Burger in Paradise that Margaritaville is famous for. It was super tasty and only if I could of stayed in Panama City for more than a night, I would of come back for days just to sample everything good on the menu but hey that in itself gives me a reason to go back so I’m doing pretty good for a Parrothead.

I could go on and write more about this unique restaurant but I feel that if I do that, I would almost spoil the experience for you because of fun that you have to experience to believe so to speak. I'd be like spoiling a movie and I’m never one to spoil a movie for anybody.... I’ll leave that to someone I know but I won't mention names! To become a Parrothead, get to the nearest Jimmy Buffett Margaritaville (there’s several in the USA) immediately. You can find one here at: Margaritaville or you can always hop on that private plane and go to any. :)

Ranking: 5 Goode Points

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Life's A Beach So Go To Panama City

Ok, spring has just arrived and summer is on the horizon again! You can't deny that if you're like me that you might be craving a beach somewhere! I have to tell you that I'm still craving from my first trip to Panama City last winter, where I wasn't expecting very much in the way of beaches. In this case though, reality ate expectations for lunch and never looked back. The beaches in Panama City Florida amazed me way more than I thought a Texas boy with high expectations could be amazed (ie that Texas boy being me). One step onto the beach here, and I wanted to become the resident beach bum in Panama City and keep in mind... I went there at the start of winter so imagine how I would of felt if those warm summer feelings had been a piece of the equation. Yes, you guessed it, I probably wouldn't of left! Why was I so amazed? Let me present the evidence in 3 simple steps to beach heaven....

3. Yes, it's empty in this picture but imagine what it's like during Spring Break! Winter is not beach time obviously but who says a beach can't be enjoyed anytime of year but hey don't worry about that now because Spring 2010 is upon us!

2. Look at that beautiful shoreline and picture yourself on it. Then picture yourself in the water, during summer of course... maybe even this summer!

1. Last but not least, let me show you the number one reason I'd make myself home on Panama City Beach Florida... this picture doesn't do it justice but trust me when I say that this sand is about as white as your going to get in the USA outside of course Hawaii. I consider myself a beach fan and I've been to plenty of beaches in the other Panama this one being in Central America and you have to believe me that the sand there, wasn't as good as this. The quality of beach sand is very important to a beach but you have to go to this beach to really know what I'm talking about...but to give you a brief idea...think...sugar white! Seashells can be found in the sand so I can't go without touching on this subject. For all you seashells fan out there, I admit that I'm also very prone to collect seashells and as one might see in this picture, there is plenty of those to be kept on Panama City's beach! I mean and I do mean..."every where" I looked close to the shore there were seashells galore and beautiful ones too! Do yourself a beach and go to a beach in Panama City this spring and summer of 2010!

Ranking: 5 Goode Points

Sunday, April 4, 2010