BJ's Restaurant and Brewhouse. I saw an ad for BJ's in some pamphlet I picked up while I was staying at a hotel. It is a brewhouse in Temple, so obviously I made a mental note of it for when Kyle got back. Kyle and I went there one evening and enjoyed a very tasty meal. I quickly became a fan of their berry cider, and Kyle was excited with the variety of beers presented. We went again yesterday early evening to watch the Steelers play (and win. and we weren't the only fans there either!). This may very well become our go-to spot in town for watching PA sports we won't be able to watch at home.
The Mark. Kyle and I came here first back in May when his family was staying at the adjoining hotel. There was almost nobody else eating there, and they were somehow out of certain things and getting orders wrong. But they were really nice and friendly, and the food was good. Kyle and I went back when we were staying at the hotel for two nights. It was the same deal pretty much: they didn't have the appetizer we wanted, and Kyle had to go over to the bar to see what beers they did have from the list, and my fish was definitely breaded, not blackened as the menu said. We thought we should be more upset by it, but we really weren't; we just figured it's one of those places nobody has had the heart to tell they need to get their act together, because they're pretty nice and the food tastes good. If you go in accepting that things might be a little off and you can laugh rather than get upset about the perplexities of such a place, you're good to go.
Clem Mikeska's. This place is actually right by our house. Kyle and I ate lunch there one day, our first barbecue venture since his return. It was very festive and decorated inside and out as you can see, and the food was pretty good, but not the best barbecue we've had down here (we prefer Petty's in Killeen). Our landlady told us that back in the day Clem's used to be really good, but now relies a lot on the name. Kyle and I decided anyone named Clem is destined and required to open a BBQ restaurant.
O'Brien's Irish Pub. The only authentic Irish pub in central Texas, apparently, is right in downtown Temple, a short drive from our house. We first went there on December 23rd for dinner and to check it out, and being right before the holiday it was pretty quiet with only a few customers. But the food was good and we spent a lot of time gazing at the glimmering wall of beers on tap (and trying a couple). We decided not to be lame for New Year's eve (I don't actually think staying in is lame, I think it is glorious) and took a cab out to O'Brien's around 9:30 in the evening. Luckily we found two seats at the bar because it was definitely a hopping scene for welcoming in 2012. The 80's (and 70's, and 90's, and today) cover band Detroit Steel started up around ten, prompting the ladies who obviously pregamed the event to dance in front of the stage and hit on the bartender ("hey handsome" I heard more than once from the single mother of two, looking to live it up in 2012 after her divorce last year). Kyle and I more quietly drank at the bar, watched the drunkenness about us, wrote down what beers we'd tried on my iphone, and rocked out a little between the two of us.
Zax. This place is in Austin. Kyle has been there once or twice before and quite like it, so after a trip to take care of some motorcycle business, we had dinner there, sort of in celebration of it being a year since we got engaged (though we'd have probably gone there anyway). As Kyle said, we definitely lowered the average age of customer while we were there, but it was a pretty hip and snazzy place. Our food was so so good, and we were very satisfied. We left saying "maybe this will be our place," but we've also said that about O'Brien's and BJ's, and it is more likely a place closer to home in Temple will take that title.