My guest column re-blogged from: Thanks Lisa for the opportunity.

Guest Post – Pam Lampson – Hester’s Cafe & Coffee Bar – Corpus Christi, TX


Hester’s Cafe and Coffee Bar in Corpus Christi, Texas is one of those well known secrets that natives of any given city treasure.

Opened seven years ago by Jason and Hester Rodriquez, the original restaurant is downtown on Alameda and Palmero at 6 Points.  Two years ago they opened a second Hester’s Cafe at the Art Museum.  Right on the waterfront at the end of Shoreline Drive, the view is spectacular. Both locations have outside seating. Breakfast and lunch are served from 7 am to 3 pm. There is no dinner service.

This week my husband and I are downtown. You order from the menu board high on the wall behind the glass case “bakery.” If I was not here for breakfast, the Texas Turbo Brownie…a 4 inch square praline topped chocolate concoction so rich I cannot eat one in a single sitting, would tempt me. The Spice Island Carrot cake beams you instantly to your favorite tropical isle.

You pay at the counter, take your mug of coffee and your hand-decorated wooden letter which you are given instead of the usual industrial “oh I’m just a number” and choose your table. Before long here comes a waiter with a smile, your food and a “May I get you anything else?”
One day I had a chipped mug and this week I had a dirty mug, but both times a new one made a rapid appearance and the apology was sincere.

Omelettes are all 3 eggs and served with roasted, well seasoned red potatoes, a slice of French baguette and what they call a “garnish” of fresh fruit.  I feel it is really more than a garnish though. The fruit that comes in a little cup is an orange slice, a half strawberry, a spear of pineapple, and a thin wedge of cantaloupe.  I always eat the orange slice at the end because it is such a refreshing palate cleanser.  My husband likes the pineapple spear. 

This week I had the Garden of Eaten. Laden with Portobello mushroom, fresh sautéed spinach, this came piping hot with just the perfect amount of Havarti dill cheese…the kind that strings out so you have to wind it around your fork!

My husband had the Ponderosa. This is a guy’s jazzed up omelette for sure. Black Forest Ham, caramelized onions, Swiss cheese. Swiss to be sure, but nuttier and more tasteful than any packaged cheese from the grocery store. He thought the omelette was a tad dry, but overall delicious.

We could have added an “indulgence”, to our coffee, but we don’t like “stuff” in ours so we passed on the flavors and enjoyed the not-to-strong, but definitely fresh coffee of the day which was Peruvian.

Our bill was slightly over $20.00.

Speaking of jazzed up…The Eggs and All That Jazz section of the menu includes an Ella Fitgerald (big-4 eggs), a two egg Duke Ellington with “Griddle Toast” and apple smoked bacon and down to Bessie Smith, scrambled eggs and a dish of organic oatmeal and vegetarian sausage patties. Breakfast panninis are named after stage plays. Lunch panninis, salads and sandwiches are named after things Texan or beachy. The names have only one thing in common with the ingredients…they are fun!

Patronage runs from families with kids, neighborhood workers in for a quick coffee and muffin, to couples obviously out on a first date.

One day on leaving I was offered a couple of free muffins because it was closing time and they did not want to throw anything away.

My kind of place. Yours, too I imagine if you like fresh, well-prepared food, balanced for whatever taste you bring to the table.


Wild Hairs, Milkshakes and Manners

I am at my usual salon to get a haircut. Behind the front counter is a young lady I have not seen before. Ah, they’ve hired a receptionist, I tell myself. It didn’t take long to disabuse myself of that notion! She is on her cell phone exclaiming loudly, “Oh my goodness.”

She is asked to go to the bank to get some change. From behind the desk, along with herself, comes a cardboard dish of fries laden with catsup and a styrofoam cup. All the while this girl is giggling, mumbling to the air as if it is listening. It is hard to discern any content  because the french fries she is stuffing in her mouth are competing with her words.

Sure now that she must be an employee’s daughter, I watch her slop what turns out to be a milkshake all down the front of her shirt, on the counter and floor. Another, “Oh my goodness,” and she’s off presumably to clean up. Herself, that is. The floor and counter don’t get a second glance. I am sure she is conscious there were customers waiting because she is eyeing us with that you-are-watching-me-aren’t-you-but-I’m-not-looking at-you look peculiar to teenage girls and cats.

She leaves. I go to get my haircut, ask the question and discover, yes, the girl is the owner’s daughter. Well, that explains that, doesn’t it? I say not another word.
Ah, she reappears, this time at my chair as if I am going to be her best friend for the next 30 minutes and wonders aloud and giggly to my haircutter, “You don’t want me here, do you?” He had asked when school started for her. I lowered my eyes. Not because of the question, but because her mouth is again (or still) full of half-chewed fries and that is one of my pet peeves! Of course he had not say that, but I caught the perceptiveness in her question.

I wondered why then, she was not aware that her demeanor was totally less than professional and did not reflect well on her father. By this time she had made known quite plainly, giggly, and with a swaggered shoulder shrug…also peculiar to teenage girls…that this was, after all, HER fathers shop!

I stopped myself right there. Thoughts at random in my head…I know nothing about her home life. Does she have a mother? This looks like a bid for attention. Is her dad aware of her behavior? How can he not be? Can I just chalk this girl’s behavior up to teen-ager-hood?

All of a sudden she was gone. The fries and styrofoam cup was gone. The shirt she had folded and left on the front counter was gone. The counter was clean. The floor still wore the milkshake puddle.

Obviously, dad was aware!


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