I enjoy visiting Victoria on the weekends. It gives me a chance to relax and unwind from a long busy week working at the Matagorda Advocate in Bay City.
A visit to Starbucks and dinner at a Chinese restaurant is always on the agenda. Usually when I visit, I hang out with my best friend J.R. Ortega, who is the health reporter for the Victoria Advocate. We are friends from my days at the University of Texas-Pan American. He was the editor of the paper and I was the copy editor.
For some days now, I kept asking J.R. to show me around the city of Victoria. There had to be hidden treasures in the area right?
Just like every city out there – there is a gem of a hidden coffee shop that only the local know about or that great hamburger restaurant that has been open for decades, many drive by everyday and didn't even know was there.
So I made it my mission, to break away from my Starbucks visit (although I am here today, at the end of my mission drinking some ice tea and using their free wi-fi to write this blog entry) and the usual stop at the Victoria Advocate newsroom and of course, the usual dinner spots and go out there to discover what the city of 60,000 had to offer.
Driving around the city, we found this sign – which is awesome. I insisted we stop for a photo!
Our first stop for lunch was Rosebud Fountain and Grill on Main to taste the best hamburger in town – voted by the Victoria Advocate staff. The atmosphere was great, a piano in plain view, old 50s style booths and a nice view of Victoria downtown.
We ordered the cheeseburger on cheese bread and I had the fries, J.R. had the sweet potato fries. I for one am glad we had lunch there. As we ate our burgers and commented on how good they were, people sitting down would say, “we want the best burger in town” and the waitress would smile and write it down on her pad.
We later found business has picked up since the article first came out in the Victoria Advocate. She said they were busy – but glad for the business. The power of the media – it works wonders.
Checkout what we ate, in the words of Rachel Ray, “Yum-O!”
Crossing the street, I realized we were on Constitution, that’s the road way to the Victoria Advocate – my employer. People might think it is odd that I must make the drive and stop by when I am in the area. I just feel so blessed to work for a newspaper, my dream as a kid was to be a journalist and because of them, I am one now.
Naturally, a photo had to be taken. I give J.R. lots of credit for this photo, it was hot and he laid down on the street for this one!
Next we drove around the down town area and we found the Memorial Square on De Leon and Commercial Street, which used to be a cemetery. I wouldn’t want to be there on Halloween, would you?
Our next stop was Longleaf, the local coffee shop on Main, but it was 2 p.m. and closed! I was heart broken, really wanted to check that place out.
But across the street we found a painted wall with drawings of an old down town. Yes, I posed for another photo.
For the next few hours we drove around Victoria, from one side of it to the next and intrigued that we found some hidden treasures. Old buildings, open roads, never ending train tracks - uninterrupted areas filled with green grass and trees.
A fruit cup to quench my thirst on a very hot Saturday was welcomed. Gone Banana’s on Red River and Laurent Street was amazing! It felt like I was back home in South Texas.
I am sure we missed millions of other great spots in the area, but this was a special day.
I got to see the other side of town, the less commercialized area where there are no Starbucks and Target’s.
I enjoyed visiting the cross roads, like I told J.R., I don't own any boots, but today was a great day.
So now that I have explored some of Victoria, what is my next mission? To discover the city I currently live in – Bay City. What hidden treasures will I find next I wonder?
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