I'm continuing my travels around Texas, meeting TRA members and seeing the great things restaurateurs are doing across the state.
Galveston - Of course my first stop in this great city had to be Rudy and Paco's for lunch. I attended the Galveston chapter's Epicurean Event at Moody Gardens, which is their largest annual fundraiser and it was spectacular. It was great to see nearly 1000 people at one of our chapter events. The food was terrific and the comments from the local community were incredible. I concluded my visit the next morning meeting with several board members at the Hotel Galvez. I am definitely returning to Galveston as soon as I can with my family.
Austin - The annual TRAEF fall fundraiser, Game On! Playing for Education was new twist on traditional golf tournaments. It was held at Topgolf which offers a social golf experience that is fun even if you aren't a golfer. About 100 people attended this successful event. Next year we plan to hold this event simultaneously at the eight Topgolf locations across the state. I believe we could see nearly 1000 people participating and would love to see teams challenging teams, and even restaurants challenging other restaurants.
El Paso - Leo Duran, current president of the El Paso chapter and I spent the day visiting current members to learn how we could get them more involved in the chapter. There are some young up-and-coming new restaurateurs in El Paso that will most definitely have a positive impact on the association when they get engaged. The chapter hosted a dinner for me with 60 members and non-members in attendance. I'm hopeful those non-members will be soon be members.
McAllen - I met with the Rio Grande chapter board of directors at Jessica and Larry Delcado's restaurant House. Wine. & Bistro. The next morning I attended the chapter's Aim for Education Skeet Shoot. They were definitely brave to invite me to shoot clay pigeons. In a skeet shoot event you shoot several times at each station and 100 is the highest score. I was lucky to score 10. It was a terrific first event and I hope the chapter raised a lot of money so they can invest in their local Texas ProStart schools.
Dallas - I attended the GDRA Presidents Dinner and it was a great celebration. With 120 attendees I would love to think they were there for me, but something tells me they were there to experience James Beard award- winning Chef John Tesar's incredible food. It is great to have such a talented chef join our association. I was overwhelmed at this event in so many ways and could not have been happier nor more blessed to have so many good friends there. Thank you to GDRA President Sharon Van Meter and the local TRA staff for your hard work putting this event together. It put a big smile on my face that is still there!
Wichita Falls - I traveled northwest to meet with TRA Past-President Scott Plowman and spend some time with Wichita Falls members. We visited one of the oldest Luby's in Texas to see local member Larry Alhorn and then stopped by Scott's three restaurants. I must say, Pelicans is definitely worth the stop when you are in Wichita Falls. Although this was a quick trip it was very productive. I got to meet local Texas ProStart culinary students and some of the community leaders that frequent Scott's restaurants. Now that is community involvement! Now back to Dallas get ready for Thanksgiving with my family. I want to wish all TRA members and their families a Happy Thanksgiving. As restaurateurs we are truly blessed.