The Westin Austin at The Domain

Lobby of The Westin Austin at The Domain

I stay at many hotels, but it isn’t often that one merits a great review and mention. However, The Westin Austin at The Domain is one to recommend and remember.

Although the location of the Westin isn’t in downtown Austin, it’s well worth staying here and driving into Austin, or just enjoying The Domain, the retail and dining complex across the street. I can’t rave enough about the property itself, the restaurant, urban an american grill, and the room.

The service was outstanding. Everyone I encountered at check-in, the restaurant, and around the property were friendly and accommodating.

Brunch at urban an american grill

I loved both the food and the service I received at urban an american grill. I ate three meals there, two dinners at the bar and the Sunday brunch. The food was outstanding, the local beers cold and plentiful, and the wine list comprensive. I was also impressed with one of the bartender’s wine knowledge as she helped me select a wine with one of my meals, a pairing of NY Strip on spinach with Gloria Ferrer Carneros Merlot.

NY Strip on spinach with Gloria Ferrer Merlot

I was fortunate enough to be upgraded to the executive suite, which was luxurious and well-appointed, with a large living area, one and a half baths, and a large bedroom. My favorite part of the room was Westin’s famous Heavenly Bed. I didn’t want to get out of it either morning I was there. The full bathroom had both a bath/shower and a standalone shower, both with Westin’s branded shower heads. How often do you wish to stay in the shower forever?

The Westin Heavenly Bed

When I return to Austin, I definitely plan to return to the Westin. You should plan your next stay there as well, or I can plan it for you!


Captain Coy’s Cajun Deli and Seafood Market

Captain Coy's Cajun Deli and Seafood Market

I am in Wytheville, Virginia at least once per month, usually on Thursdays, because my stylist is there. Luckily she is married to the owner of Captain Coy’s Cajun Deli and Seafood Market, Chris Francis, a New Orleans native, and introduced me to their wonderful Thursday special, Jambalaya with andouille and smoked sausage. Truly amazing. I now order it every Thursday I am in Wytheville.

Captain Coy’s also has other daily specials as follows:

Tuesday – Red Beans and Rice
Wednesday – Chicken Stew
Thursday – Jambalaya
Friday – Shrimp Stew
Saturday – Seafood Gumbo

The deli also serves Po’ Boys and other deli sandwiches, and sells boiled shrimp and fresh seafood to go at market price. Francis also hopes to start offering dinner in the near future. As the menu states,

This is a place to come and take a trip to the Big Easy with the sounds and flavors of New Orleans! Real, authentic, made-from-scratch Cajun cuisine!

The next time you’re traveling north or south on Interstate 81 in Virginia about 70 miles north of the Virginia-Tennessee state line, make sure to save some room for lunch or takeout from Captain Coy’s.

Captain Coy’s Cajun Deli and Seafood Market
Open Tuesday through Saturday 9:30 a.m. until 6:00 p.m.
610 W. Lee Highway
Wytheville VA 24382

The Rhein River Inn and German Restaurant and Tavern

A colleague and I were driving home from a meeting in Richmond, Virginia last Friday and we suddenly realized we were running on empty. We pulled off in Buchanan, Virginia, exit 168 off of I-18 south, about 25 miles north of Roanoke. We filled up and ventured into town, where we stumbled upon The Rhein River Inn and German Restaurant and Tavern, located in a renovated manor called The Anchorage House, circa 1840.

Needless to say, it was our lucky day. The restaurant is only open on weekends and it had just opened. The co-owner/host/waiter, John “JJ” George, warmly welcomed us and explained the dinner menu.  I had the sausage trio (cooked in a beer-based brine), warm potato and bacon salad, sauerkraut, egg noodles and mushroom gravy, side salad, and warm dinner roll, all homemade by chef and co-owner Maggi George. I paired dinner with a Franziskaner Hefe-Weisse (Hefeweizen).  For dessert, my colleague and I split the homemade chocolate bundt cake with cherries, whipped cream, and chocolate sauce. I paired that with a glass of German Gewürztraminer.

Next time you are in the Roanoke, Virginia area, I highly recommend making the 25-minute drive north to The Rhein River Inn and German Restaurant and Tavern for one of the best meals you’ll ever have.

The Rhein River Inn and German Restaurant and Tavern
19391 Main Street (Lee Highway, US Highway 11)
Buchanan VA 24066
(540) 254-2455