Joanna was feeling spry the morning after our day out and decided to walk over to another nearby bakery, Sunflower (we’d eat breakfast there later in the trip), returning with a something good to eat, although in retrospect not quite as tasty as what we’d consumed from PattyCakes.
Our goal for the day, after killing time at the house, was to check out another popular Galveston attraction, the Ocean Star Offshore Drilling Rig and Museum, located on the harbor side of the island. We drove over and parked at a nearby lot for twenty painful dollars, paid our admission, and walked out the long ramp to enter the facility.
I’ll admit up front that I had mixed emotions about this place given the role the petro-chemical industry has played in the climate and plastic pollution crisis that faces our natural environment. Much like the cigarette industry, the corporate sponsors of oil-based products knew for years the destructive impact that would result from their production and instead of coming clean, covered up the damning findings and continued to promote their use.
On the other hand, one has to admire the technology and human effort required to get the raw product out of the ground and this museum did an excellent job of telling that story. Multiple displays discussed where and how one finds petroleum, examined the various methods of extracting it, and in exquisite detail discussed the different types of ocean-based platforms used to extract it from the ocean’s floor.
I found the rig itself to be the most fascinating, the physical manifestation of what is used to pump the stuff out of the ground and just as interesting was viewing a mockup of the living quarters, essentially like living aboard a ship. Because the work on an offshore rig is never ending, the majority of workers are required to work 12-hours shifts, seven days a week, for seven to 28 days at a time, and then get a week or two off back on shore. It is a hard life but financially attractive, but one also has to consider the dangers of the work and the potential for serious injury.
We left the museum and as it was getting later in the day, returned to our now regular haunt, the Devil and the Deep Brewery ready for another go at Around the Corner. And again, we loved the beer and were disappointed to discover that the food trucks sojourn to the other brewery the day before had cleaned them out of wurst. Dinner that night would then be leftovers as we needed to clean out the refrigerator for our move to the Best Western Plus Seawall Inn the next day, not far away on Seawall Blvd.
When we woke up the next day Joanna was hurting from her exertions of the past couple of days. As a result of the accident, along with her arm, she sustained a hairline fracture in the tibia just below the knee. The doctors had advised there wasn’t much to do about it but to give it some rest and it would heal without a cast but walking for two days had aggravated it and thus we needed to take a day off from exertion.
Our first order of business was breakfast at Sunflower Bakery, where we thoroughly enjoyed the Challah French Toast for Joanna and a three-egg omelet stuffed with vegetables for me. While the omelet was as good as it gets, the highlight for me was the potato’s that came with the dish, almost caramelized on the outside and yet cooked to perfection on the inside. The only shadow on the meal was the six-dollar serving of berries Joanna ordered to accompany the French toast, helping to push the bill to $44, a healthy tab for breakfast.
With time to kill we jumped in the car and just drove, first all the way out to the western end of the island, marveling at the impressive number of homes that fill the shoreline, Galveston’s proximity to Houston making it a prime vacation spot for many. When we got to the bridge at San Luis Beach that takes you the short distance to the barrier island due west, we turned around and drove to the eastern end.
We’d be coming this way again in a couple of days for a ferry ride to the eastern mainland once we confirmed that Joanna’s arm was set correctly and would not need surgery. We checked into the Best Western, narrowly avoiding a Jenny Manetta moment (see the legend of Jenny here: https://3jmann.com/2018/05/14/europe-2017-the-legend-of-jenny-manetta/) when I discovered that I had made the reservation for the following week. The friendly clerk though fixed us up and after relaxing in the room for a while, we took off in search of some food.
After checking out various happy hour options online, we landed at Willie G’s Seafood and Steaks on Harborside Drive as its prices looked reasonable and the food offerings seemed to be a cut above your typical fare for this time of day. We were not disappointed. Seated at the bar, Joanna chose a Strand Swirl cocktail while I’d down two $5 glasses of BV Coastal Sauvignon Blanc. We started with the Seared Tuna (with sliced avocado and wasabi cream) and were delighted with the choice.
As we were eating the couple next to us, Cari and John, struck up a conversation which would enliven our evening and remind us of just how friendly people are as we travel this great globe of ours. They are locals and so we discussed the town, our living in California (John had an In-N-Out T-shirt on, and other places they recommended in town. They said that Mario’s on Seawall was the best meal in town and if we were to go, to ask for Arnold, their favorite server.
We finished up with the Crab and Spinach Stuffed Shells topped with Bechamel Sauce and Parmesan Cheese in a roasted red pepper sauce. It didn’t take long to demolish this dish and after saying farewell to Cari and John, we left thoroughly satisfied for the royal sum of $38 including tip, a few dollars less than the breakfast we’d eaten earlier in the day.
The next morning, Tuesday, was our rendezvous with destiny at the clinic to see the orthopedist about Joanna’s arm. We drove over to Harborside and checked into the clinic, where they took an x-ray of the arm, Dr. Weisz confirmed that the hospital had done a good job of setting the bone. and that for the time being, he didn’t see the need for surgery. He advised we should return in two weeks for another review and if all was going well, to have the large cast removed and a new smaller one applied.
On the way out of the office we made the appointment to return on Friday, May 5th and with a lot of work ahead of us needed to rearrange our itinerary, stopped in one more time at PattyCakes Bakery, this time for a Butter Bar and a piece of Apple Strudel. Back at the Best Western neither lasted long and although the strudel didn’t look like one normally should, the crispy crust and delicious filling compelled us to make short work of it.
By the end of the day, I’d made all of the necessary changes to our schedule, now an abbreviated version of our original intention, which would take us to Natchez, up the Natchez Trace as far as Muscle Shoals and then a fast return to Galveston. I was fortunate to bag a very nice Airbnb at the last minute for the next two nights in Natchez and will cover that in our next post. But for now, we could breathe a little easier and fully enjoy our last meal, for now, in town with a visit to, you guessed it, Mario’s Seawall.
We parked across the street and entered, the large and open and not too crowded space as it was early. The hostess, perhaps one of the owners, seated us at a window table with a view of the beach and we soon became familiar with Arnold, who was everything and more than Cari and John promised. Joanna started with a Bellini while I opted for a Sauvignon Blanc as we waited for our entrees to arrive, the Texas Redfish (pan seared and topped with shrimp, artichoke hearts, spinach, and lemon butter served over rigatoni so she could more easily eat it with her one good arm) for Joanna and Veal Marsala (served with sauteed green beans and roasted rosemary potatoes) for me.
It was all we could ask for and more, the veal some of the best I’ve had in ages, the marsala sauce not overly sweet and each of the sides a nice accompaniment. We ate almost all of each dish, leaving a little to take with us along with an order of the house made Tiramisu for later. Galveston had thrown us a curveball and yet, it could have been much worse, a few seconds the difference between a broken arm and much more serious injuries. All in all, the extra days had allowed us to get to know the town better and it left a positive impression on us. We’d not likely return after this trip was over but would always carry fond memories of our time there.
Sunflower Bakery & Cafe: https://thesunflowerbakeryandcafe.com/
Ocean Star Offshore Drilling Rig and Museum: https://www.oceanstaroec.com/
Willie G’s Seafood and Steaks: https://www.williegs.com/location/willie-gs-galveston/