Now knowing we would be staying in Galveston through the following Tuesday, we spent most of the next day, Friday, running some errands around town to pick up food to cook and some accessories to assist Joanna with that big cast she had on her right arm. While out driving around later in the day we discovered a brewery we would return to multiple times for a couple of reasons. First, the beer there is quite good and second, there was a German cuisine food truck parked next door and we thought we might fulfill our quest for a currywurst.
This would turn out not to be as simple as one might assume. The beer emporium, Devil and the Deep Brewery, had a small tap list of excellent beers, including a Belgian and some high gravity IPA’s and Stouts. I can’t find a tap list for the brewery and our receipts only list the name of the brew (City Abstract, Over Current, The Brown, The Ropes, etc.) and so can’t recall which beer we drank which visit, but regardless we pretty much worked our way through the entire line up.
The food truck, Around the Corner, is owned by what I would guess to be a former American serviceman and his German wife. We perused a copy of the menu and were excited to see a currywurst there, so I walked across the street to place the order only to be told that they were sold out. As we’d just had a schnitzel, I ordered two sides, the Gurken Salad (cucumber, onion, and fresh dill cream sauce) and the Hammered Spaetzle (German egg noodles, cheddar cheese and ham).
The salad was excellent but the spaetzle didn’t travel well, even though it had been recently reheated, as this dish needs to be made fresh for the starchy noodle to present itself tastefully. Nonetheless, we finished both portions and closing out our tab returned to the house.
The next morning, I set out on the bike to do the ride we had intended to do on Thursday. This time I simply made my way down to Seaview and started riding east. Direction here is confusing for those of us who grew up and still live on the west coast.
One there knows that when looking at the ocean, if you turn right, you are heading north. Here though, Galveston Island runs east to west and the beach faces south towards the Gulf; its initially confusing but one soon gets the hang of it.
It was a very windy day which aided me at the beginning and then made the return difficult. I rode east until four lane Seaview narrowed to one lane in each direction with little or no bike lane and so turned around and started back. I rode on the wide sidewalk adjacent to the edge of the seawall, buffeted by strong head and cross winds and did my best not to veer off the path and fall seventeen feet to the beach below.
Wanting to get some pictures of the blooming flowers at the Old Catholic Cemetery on Broadway, I made a left turn onto 45th Street and soon arrived, pausing at various points amongst the graves to get some representative shots, marveling at the age of many of the graves. I then detoured down to the Strand to check it out, like many neighborhoods of its ilk it is a tourist zone, one where you can walk about with an open container or to-go cup.
As I returned to the house, I made a stop at PattyCakes Bakery which we had read good things about and would not be disappointed in as we would soon discover. I got us a red velvet cupcake and a cherry tart and placed in a bag, juggled them both back to Joanna, the cupcake losing a bit of its icing. It was good but the tart was outstanding, the crust everything one could ask for in a pie like dessert.
Now fortified and ready to explore the sights, and test Joanna’s ability to get out and about, we made our way to the Bishop’s Palace, also known as Gresham’s Castle, an ornate 19,082 square feet Victorian-style house now owned by the Galveston Historical Foundation. It is part of the East End Historic District, a National Historic Landmark District comprised of a number of elaborate mansions built by the cities’ elite during the 19th century.
The house was built between 1887 and 1893 by Galveston architect Nicholas J. Clayton for lawyer and politician Walter Gresham, his wife Josephine, and their nine children. It is constructed from native Texas granite, white limestone, and red sandstone, which were all cut and shaped on the premises. The hand-carved interior woodwork is made of several rare woods, such as rosewood, satinwood, white mahogany, American oak, and maple. The wood surface on each side of its massive sliding doors matches the room it faces.
Bishop’s Palace has four floors. The raised basement which once housed the kitchen and servant’s areas now contains the store. This basement is followed by three formal floors and the house was sturdy enough to withstand the great hurricane of 1900, when the Gresham’s welcomed hundreds of survivors of the hurricane into their home. Costing roughly $250,000 to build at the time, today its value is estimated at over $5.5 million.
Gresham graduated from the University of Virginia at Charlottesville in 1863 and then served as a private in the Confederate States Army during the Civil War. He later studied law, was admitted to the bar in 1867 and commenced practice in Galveston. He was a founder of the Gulf, Colorado, and Santa Fe Railroad and served as district attorney for the Galveston judicial district in 1872 and as a member of the Texas House of Representatives from 1886 to 1891.
In 1923 the Roman Catholic Diocese of Galveston purchased the house, and situated across the street from the Sacred Heart Church, it served as the residence for Bishop Christopher E. Byrne. After the diocesan offices were moved to Houston, the diocese opened the mansion to the public in 1963, with proceeds from tours being used to help fund the UT medical school’s Newman Center, which operated in the basement.
We left the house and it being later in the afternoon, figured we’d head over to Devil and the Deep for a beer or two and to get that currywurst. Sitting with our beers, I went over to the corner lot to get the food only to discover that it being Saturday, Around the Corner had moved to another location, as we would discover later, the other brewery in town.
So, we finished our beers and returned to house to cook up a pasta dinner and drink inexpensive red wine, just like at home. Not a bad way to end a good first day of being tourists and which Joanna held up remarkably well given the trauma she’d experience a day or so earlier. That would change daily, but for now we felt good about our situation.
Devil and the Deep Brewery: https://www.devilandthedeep.com/
Around the Corner: https://www.facebook.com/aroundthecornerfood/
PattyCakes Bakery: https://www.pattycakesgalveston.com/
Bishop’s Palace: https://www.galvestonhistory.org/sites/1892-bishops-palace