Mario’s Seawall Italian Restaurant – Galveston, TX

While driving along the Seawall in Galveston, we caught sight of a sandwich board advertising a lunch buffet. It was on the sidewalk outside of a building with an extensive patio and a tower reminiscent of Pisa. Of course, we had to investigate. What we discovered was a delightful experience we can’t wait to do again.

DSC_0816Mario’s Seawall Italian Restaurant is one of three locations on the island that offers Italian cuisine and oven-fresh pizza. On weekdays, they also offer a lunch buffet including ravioli, fried fish, shrimp fried rice (Italian style), spaghetti and meatballs, fresh salad, and lots of pizza. None of these dishes stints on the ingredients just because it’s a buffet!

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Buffet from salad fixings to pastas to meats and veggies.

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Pizza and garlic bread. Everything went so fast I couldn’t get a photo of full pans!

 

 

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Bottom center, counter-clockwise from the buffet: salad with cheese and black olives, cantaloupe, broccoli, fried fish, shrimp fried rice, cheese ravioli, and meatballs (more hiding under the ravioli).

Mario’s dinner menu has a greatly expanded repertory of Italian classics and in house specialties such as the lobster ravioli and the home-made gelato.

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DSC_0808Spacious inside as well as out, and sporting some interesting murals, this place was a haven from the sun, surf, and wind outside. From the aquarium in the entry, to the conservative dark wood furniture, the dining areas are soothing and enhance the dining experience in a subtly understated way.

According to their website: “Tucked away in the thick of seafood restaurants, you will find all the romance, fun and tradition of Italy with a Texas-size seaside view to compliment the richness of Mario’s Seawall’s pastas and pizzas. Experience authentic Italian cuisine at its finest, in Galveston’s oldest Italian restaurant.”

Decorative toy fish in the freshwater tank by the entry.

Decorative toy fish in the freshwater tank by the entry.

Our server, Ana S., and the shift manager, Gina, were friendly, attentive, and happy to help with permission to take a few photos inside to help entice you to visit.

If you’d like a little grown-up time, Mario’s is a lovely place to share some time and a glass of wine. The quiet atmosphere and soothing surroundings make Mario’s an excellent highlight to any Galveston travel.

On the 1-5 scale, Mario’s lunch buffet gets:
Cleanliness – 5
Service – 5
Quality of food – 5
Flavor – 5
Pricing – 5
Overall experience – 5

Mario’s Seawall Italian Restaurant
628 Seawall Blvd.
Galveston, TX 77550
(409) 763-1693

— Ann Cathey

Cost Plus World Market

Cost Plus World Market has become one of my favorite playgrounds. You just never know what you will find inside. On my last excursion, we found all things pumpkin, fall, and Halloween, from “Book of Life” rubber duckies to Chipotle Pumpkin soup mix. I passed on the former (though they tempted me with their cuteness) but purchased the latter. And it made a large pot of extremely tasty soup. So tasty, in fact, that I wish I had bought an extra mix for later on in the winter, but hopefully I will be able to make it back to World Market before it disappears for the season.

Most, but not all, of our purchases from World Market tend to be food or beverage. We buy the occasional soap or lotion there, and we’re often tempted by everything from housewares to furniture to clothing, but mostly we buy food and drink–specifically the imports, World Market brands, and oddities that we can’t find anywhere else.

Some of the many items we’ve purchased from World Market over the past two years of living near one are:

    • Sticky Fingers Bakery’s scone mixes (we’ve tried a few of these, and they are all wonderful – and easy! And I just learned they have some varieties that are gluten-free.)

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    • Walker’s Chocolate Chip Shortbread (which is, sadly, better than my homemade shortbread, which is pretty darn good)
    • Jones Soda Company’s Peanut Butter and Jelly soda (yep, it tastes just like pb& grape jelly. Really good grape jelly. This stuff is delicious.)
    • Various and sundry types of chocolate, including Chocolate-Orange Kit-Kat bars, Chuao’s Maple Bacon chocolate bar (sinfully good!), World Market Chipotle Chili dark chocolate bar, WM Red Velvet milk chocolate bar, WM Sea Salt and Dark Chocolate bar, WM Strawberries & Champagne dark chocolate bar, and WM Chili & Lime dark chocolate bar.

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    • Pop! Rogue Blue popcorn – popcorn dusted with powdered bleu cheese from Rogue Creamery. Tasty, though the bleu cheese was so mild that it could have been mistaken for standard white cheddar.
    • Coffee. World Market has some of the best flavored drip coffees I have ever tasted, with my personal favorite being the Texas Turtle blend (medium roast with chocolate, caramel, and pecan flavors – yum). They have a wide-range of flavored and coffee-flavored coffees, including seasonal offerings, and they have a selection of hot chocolates and teas, as well.

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    • La Lavande’s Water Lily soap bar
    • Flying Cauldron Butterscotch Beer – this is an attempt to recreate the butterbeer from the Harry Potter series. It’s extremely sweet. It’s also all-natural, made with stevia, and caffeine-free. I think it would make a tasty ice cream float.

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  • An assortment of beers and ciders – World Market has the best hard cider selection I’ve ever seen and a good selection of craft beers, as well (they also have wine, but I’m even less of a wine drinker than I am a beer drinker). Unlike many stores, they allow the purchase of singles or mixed six-packs. This has allowed me and my evil twin to sample many ciders (Angry Orchard’s Cinnful Apple is still my favorite) and beers without overcommitting either our budgets or our refrigerator (or, for that matter, our livers). It also allows us to buy single beers to use in cooking and baking.

One of my favorite things about World Market is that, as I mentioned before, you never know what you will find inside. Our local WM has a fairly stable stock of certain items, but new items appear on a regular basis. Seasonal items change often. The Halloween items have by now given way to Thanksgiving and Christmas, including a host of item for holiday parties and gift-giving. Soon those will shift more toward Christmas, and then away again. This makes World Market a constantly changing adventure…and a great deal of fun to shop or window-shop (or both) with friends. I’m looking forward to having another fun shopping adventure with my evil twin very, very soon. I must remember to set aside an hour or more for that adventure because, as I learned not too long ago, one does not simply run into World Market for a few minutes.

–LB

Coffee Nicknames

Coffee. The elixir of life according to some. It’s a dark brew with a singular scent that is instantly recognizable whether you are in a all night cafe, a coffee house, or waking up to the delicious smell brewing in your kitchen.

It doesn’t matter how you take it (sugar, cream, flavors), everyone has a name for it. What’s yours?

Battery Acid
Bean Juice
Black
Black Ichor Of Life
Black Tea
Brain Juice
Brew
Caffeine Fix
Coffee
Daily Grind
Day-Starter
Go Juice
Jamoke
Java
Jitter Juice
Joe
Lifeblood
Liquid Energy
Mojo
Morning Mud
Rocket Fuel
Tar
The Fix

Leave your names for Coffee in the comments and let’s see how many we can compile! 🙂

–Ann Cathey