South Texas Botanic Gardens

Our first day north from Los Fresnos was an intentionally short trip.  I have been wanting to visit the South Texas Botanic Gardens for some time and this was the perfect time to do so.  Additionally we had some business I wanted to do in Corpus Christi — so we settled on a short day (less than 200 miles) ending up in Port Aransas.

Highlights of the gardens are the bromeliad house, the orchid exhibit,  some 70 exotic birds (that were donated to the gardens and they now house and care for).  The butterfly garden is good to give hopeful butterfly attractors planting ideas.  There’s a lovely rose garden too.  I had hopes that the “Arid Garden” might be like the one in San Antonio which gives planting ideas, but in fact it’s merely a cactus garden.  Still and all, it was a pleasant few hour visit.

After settling in to the motel we took the free Texas ferry across to Port Aransas for dinner at Irie’s Island Foods.  This little, almost invisible joint has very few tables inside, not a lot of tables outside, is quite busy, but serves wonderful and sometimes eccentric food.  Everything is made in-house.  There is no microwave.  They even make their own tortillas and hamburger buns. You won’t find any MSG and everything is made to order. The seafood is fresh, the portions are fairly large considering that the prices are quite reasonable and … the quality is top notch.

Much of their menu is about tacos and sammiches — but Peg had a Shrimp Fried Rice that was excellent with abundant shrimp and nicely seasoned —I had Green Thai Curry with Grilled Shrimp and Wahoo (a kind of local fish) — my dish was outstanding!  I even splurged with a serving of Creme Brûlée to top off the evening.  Of course we had to wait 40 minutes for the ferry to the island and about 30 minutes to go back to the mainland — so our wait was about as long as it took us to eat — but hey, for food that good I would have waited twice that long.  And while we waited at the ferry we could watch the workers get into mischief (government workers are the same wherever you go — it seems).


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