Friday, December 10, 2010

Bar Food and Real Food

Hey all,

Can you believe the year is almost over?  I sure can't.  It feels like we just got over here to Macau and now we're looking at Christmas.  Where did the time go?  Each week feels like it flies by, but in my case I sure look forward to Fridays.  
Because that's guest blogger day and today I have a fun blog by fellow Samhain author, Meg Benjamin.  She's got something to say about food and you all know just how much I LOVE that delicious topic.  But before we sink our teeth into that, let's get to know Meg a little bit more.

Meg Benjamin spent twenty-plus years teaching writing and Web design in South Texas before pulling up roots and starting all over again on the Colorado Front Range. Her comic romances are set in the Texas Hill Country in the mythical town of Konigsburg, which gave her a chance to sample some great Texas wine and some wonderful Texas food (research—it’s all research!).

Sounds awesome to me.  I'm always up for a little food and wine sampling.  LOL  So, let's see what else she has to say about sampling.  Whether it be food or a taste of love...  Please join me in welcoming, Meg to my blog!


One of the supporting characters in Brand New Me (released December 7 by Samhain Publishing) is a chef named Clem Rodriguez. Clem is trying her best to convince her boss, Tom Ames (our hero) to start serving dinner at his honky tonk bar, the Faro. Now to some, this may seem wildly unrealistic—a honky tonk that’s also a gourmet restaurant. But this is the Texas Hill Country, and anything is possible.

Now the granddaddy of all Texas honky tonks, Gruene Hall, doesn’t serve food normally (although they have a few special nights where they do), but that’s because they’re surrounded by restaurants in Gruene, most notably the Grist Mill, which is right up the hill and will allow patrons to order to go. John T. Floore’s Country Store in Helotes, another legendary honky tonk, has a kitchen and prides itself on its steaks and enchiladas, both of which Clem serves too. The Luckenbach Bar and Dancehall in (where else) Luckenbach, Texas, doesn’t serve food, but you can bring some with you. Hondo’s in Fredericksburg (the physical model for the Faro) was a restaurant in its previous life and still serves good stuff (or at least it did the last time I was there). Try the Southwestern “Slobb” salad, which is my particular favorite. 

Clem does bar food too, but it tends to be different from the bar food you might look for normally—quesadillas with brie or nachos with gulf shrimp, for example. That’s not actually outside the realm of possibility in the Hill Country. One of the most legendary honky tonk roadhouses in the area, the Hilltop Café, is also a gourmet restaurant of some renown. You can dine on Cajun delicacies and listen to the band if the weather’s right (it’s a tiny place and the bands are sometimes outside). 

And there’s always the amazing PoPo’s in Welfare, Texas, although they now bill themselves as a “family restaurant” rather than a honky tonk. Still, PoPo’s started as a dancehall where bootleggers peddled their wares at a quarter a shot during prohibition. Even family restaurants come with a past in the Hill Country.

But, of course, you don’t go to a honky tonk to eat. You go to listen to the music and drink beer and dance. Mainly you go to a honky tonk to have a good time, something my hero and heroine definitely manage. Honky tonks may not be everybody’s first thought when it comes to food, but they’re great places to fall in love, and the setting definitely works this time around.

I don't know about you all, but now I'm hungry!  LOL  Now, like Meg said, her lastest book is set in a bar.  She's given me the blurb for it, so check it out...


If any man wants more than a dance with her, they’ll have to get past him…

Deirdre Brandenburg has an MBA and a dream to become the coffee supplier for Konigsburg’s growing restaurant industry. What she doesn’t have is money, courtesy of her billionaire father’s scheme to make her come home. All she needs is three months until her trust fund kicks in. Until then, she needs a job.

Hiring the new girl next door is a no-brainer for ex-gambler Tom Ames. He’s already succeeded in making his bar, The Faro, a growing tourist draw. Deirdre’s beauty will pull in the locals—particularly every red-blooded male in the Hill Country. As he watches her transform from tentative business wonk to confident, sassy barmaid, he realizes he wants first crack at her heart.

When Big John Brandenburg sends Deirdre’s ex-boyfriend to drag her home, the plan backfires, leaving Tom’s bar in shambles and Deirdre kidnapped by a band of loony Texas secessionists.

Things are looking pretty bleak—except the good people of Konigsburg have no intention of giving Deirdre up, either. Even if it takes every Faro employee, every last Toleffson, and one cranky iguana to give the honky-tonk lovebirds a chance at forever.

Warning: Contains dirty dancing, hot summer sex, a honky-tonk makeover, and one nippy iguana.

And you can click here for an EXCERPT.


I so wanna read about the iguana!  LOL  I'm picking up this book as soon as it comes out! 

To learn more about Meg and all her work check out these links. She can be found at her WEBSITE as well as on FacebookMySpace and Twitter.  Meg loves to hear from readers—contact her at Brand New Me is her fifth title for Samhain.

You all have a great weekend.  I'll be back on Monday with more fun and games for everyone!


CJ England

Follow Your Dreams


Fedora said...

I need to read about that iguana, too!! Great post, and thank you, Meg and CJ!

f dot chen at comcast dot net

Phylis said...

Sounds like a good story! Thank you CJ and Meg!

Meg Benjamin said...

Thanks ladies. Hope you enjoy your weekend.

CJ England said...

You're welcome, filchen1. Please come back and visit again.

CJ England said...


Thanks for stopping by. You know me. Any book with a critter is right up my alley. LOL

CJ England said...

Thanks for visiting with me Meg. You had a great turnout and the blog was so much fun to read.

Did I mention I loved to eat? LOL

Meg Benjamin said...

Thanks CJ. I loved being here--and right now I'm in Santa Fe, which means eating is a way of life.

CJ England said...


Lucky you. One of the best things about living in different places is discovering the food.

It's Jonathon and my #1...well...#2 thing to do. *grin*