I {Heart} Faces. My Story In Photos: Dessert Recipe Edition

Looking Forward to Week 14 – My Story in Photos

April 5th – “My Story In Photos: Dessert Recipe Edition”
The first week of each month, Angie & Amy give themselves a “vacation” from going through all of the photo entries. This time we will be featuring a “My Story In Photos: Dessert Recipe Edition.” (Please be sure to still stop by daily because we’ll have other great content all week long.)

Well, I hate to tell you this about myself.  I really don’t cook anymore.  (1) Big J is in our home much more than I, so he has supper on the table each evening when I arrive home from work.  I leave the house early and Big J also makes sure Little J has breakfast before he is off to school  (2) We have not had an oven in a year and a half.  Long story….our house is more than 20 years old and our oven is built into the wall.  For alot of reasons, we have had some setbacks in replacing the oven; finding an oven that fits into the current space has been a major obstacle, and there are others I won’t go into here.  Anyway, I can’t tell you the last time I actually made a full meal on my own.

As you can see from the I ♥ Faces quote above, this week’s assignment was to photograph ourselves or someone creating a dessert.  Since that’s not going to happen at my house, I’m just going to post a picture I took of a favorite dessert of mine.

My friends, The Royer Family, own and operate Royers Round Top Cafe in Round Top, TX.  They run a swingin’ business at their cafe (I just ran my feet off working in the cafe not long ago) and also cater.  This adorable wedding pie is often featured as the groom’s cake at wedding receptions.  (Dear Northern readers: do you have a groom’s cake at your weddings?  I have read it is more of a Southern tradition.)  The pies are a dense chocolate chip pie (like a toll house pie) with chocolate-dipped strawberries placed on the edges of each layer.  This was an outdoor country wedding, it was lots of fun to work with the Royers as they catered the event.

At this wedding, the pie/cake was the actual wedding cake.  Extra pies in many different flavors were also served – pecan, buttermilk, chess, cherry, apple, strawberry-rhubarb.

As I wrote a couple of weeks ago, my version of heaven includes lots of pie, with ice cream on top.  So you can guess that working with the Royers is a real treat for me!  And since I don’t plan on getting married any time soon, maybe I’ll ask for a pie/cake for my next birthday.
Go over to I ♥ Faces to see people who really cook, and take pictures of such.

All writing and photos property of LoneStarLifer. 2010

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Friday Faves – I Heart Royers Round Top Cafe, Part 2.

Royers caters weddings - yum!

Royers caters weddings - yum!

 Last Friday I began my Friday Favs with Part 1 of I Heart Royers Round Top Cafe.  I promised more discussion about how I became entwined with this family that lives an hour and a half away.  Several years ago the cafe published Royers Round Top Cafe: A Relational Odyssey, part cookbook, part history of the family and cafe, part thoughts on communion through food and friendship.  Bud is interested in publishing another book reflecting the relationship of the cafe, the family and the clients who have become friends over the years.  I wrote the following thoughts in response to that subject:

In what do you believe?  Fate? Destiny? Luck?

 Me? I believe that God Provides.  Ending up on Royer’s Round top Café front porch was no accident.  God knew I, and over time, my family needed some folks in our life who could bless and enrich our lives, and the Royer family fills that description so well.

I first came across the Royers in 2002.  A Nashville friend was coming to Austin and I, living in Houston, looked for a central meeting place.  Somehow I knew of the café and it was the perfect half-way meeting place.  The food was great, we marveled at the pie sampler, and the atmosphere and decor was creative, welcoming, homey and comfortable.  That first visit made a real impression on me.

 After that initial introduction, I browsed the café’s website.  Dr. Karen had several of her writings posted and I read all of them.  The words resonated with something deep inside of me.  2002 was a hard year for my family and me.  I was laid off early in 2002 and was working contract at the time I came across the writings.  My husband had also been laid off for the 4th time in 3 years.  We were dealing with parenting issues.  My life felt narrow and heavy.

Because of the heart, style and content of Dr. Karen’s writings, I felt compelled to email her and share how she touched my heart in my current circumstances.  Dr. Karen emailed back, and told me if I would come to Round Top, she would counsel me for an afternoon at no charge.  My family only had one car at the time, so one of my dear friends drove me to Round Top so I could meet with Dr. Karen.  I came bearing gifts- orange and white M&M’s!  She also came bearing gifts: wise counsel and needed encouragement.  We spent a wonderful afternoon together, and I came away with a lighter heart.  She offered some practical solutions to struggles I had, and we talked in a broader sense about taking the life I have and filling it with creativity and purpose.  It’s taken me many years to formulate and implement what we talked about that day, but slowly over time I have taken her words to heart and incorporated them in my everyday life.

 I took a permanent job in late 2002, and during the 2003 holiday season I was able to use Royer’s pies as client gifts for my firm.  I was so pleased that I could give back to them for the gift of time Dr. Karen had given me.  My company gave Royer’s pies for client gifts for 4 years and it was always a pleasure to “do business” with Tara and Bud during the holidays.

I’ve met college buddies at the café, and 4 of my dear friends and I spent a “turning 50” weekend in Round Top and had an outstanding time eating at Royers.  (Our picture is on the wall!)  When possible, I also stop on my way to or from Austin.  I smile when I walk into the café and am greeted like Norm in “Cheers.”  Because of our business transactions, Tara and I have phoned, talked, IM’d, and emailed over the years.  One day, after a serious IM conversation, a pie and gift certificate showed up at my house!  My husband and I used the certificate this year to celebrate our 16th anniversary.  We were treated like honored guests and enjoyed our day so much.  In June 2008 Royers hosted The Big Party, a celebration of 21 years of operation and Dr. Karen’s latest graduation.   I wanted to come and be a part of the celebration by helping where I could.  My whole family ended up being involved and, though it was hard work, we felt honored and privileged to be included.  When party guests would ask how we knew the Royers, I would tell them that we are one of those families that the Royers have collected over the years.  I would get a knowing smile and nod of the head in response to my answer.

People long for and hope to belong, to be included, to be welcomed.  That’s the gift the Royer family gives, accompanied by fabulous food and perfect pies.  The triple threat!  I didn’t know when I walked into Royer’s Round Top Café 7 years ago, that I was walking into a friendship. But God knew, and I thank Him.

Pleasing, picture-perfect, plump pecans, folded into fabulous, finger-lickin’, flawless filling.  Pour mixture atop celebrated, crazy-good, coveted crust.


Add in one small town, funky, family-run establishment and you have Royers Famed Pecan Pie.

T-Shirt you can own from RoyersBig J’s family has been planning for a while to take a trip together to celebrate a big anniversary.  I need to make extra money for travel expenses and guess where I’ve been working?!?  Came in as a customer, now I’m bussing tables during antique week!!!  I’ve also gotten to work some catering jobs with them. But you know what, it’s all good.  People who come to Royers are a special class of folks, working with the Royers is a treat, I get to sneak a bite of pie now and then, and all the raspberry tea I can drink.  Plus I get paid.  Does it get better than that?

Have a good weekend, ya’ll. 

Our 16th at the cafe

Our 16th at the cafe

Me, I’ll be staying inside out of the heat.  Hope you can, too.

Girls Wkend - Antique Wk - Royers for lunch

Girls Wkend - Antique Wk - Royers for lunchFriends at Royers

Friends at Royers

Friends at Royers



All photographs and writing property of LoneStarLifer. 2009.

Friday Faves – I Heart Royers Round Top Cafe


I’m trying to find my blog rhythm, so I’ve designated Fridays as the day to discuss the things in life that bring me pleasure.  Last week I discussed Cherry Mash and had some nice comments.  Today I will be revealing my next fav to you:

Royers Round Top Cafe in Round Top, Texas (pop 87).

Royers at night

Royers at night

Royers is a nice drive from Houston, Austin, or San Antonio,  a great central meeting spot.  20 or so minutes out of Brenham.  Do you know where Carmine is?  It’s near there.

Anyway, the Royer family is an interesting mix of 2 parents, 3 sons, 3 daughters-in-law, 1 daughter, 1 son-in-law, 2 granddaughters, 2 grandsons.  They are creative, inventive, hard-working, entrepreneuial, generous, outgoing, and very good foodies.  Really good. Worth the drive kind of food. They may be out in the middle of nowhere but their food is out of this world!  I have a standard order: tender melt-in-your-mouth pork tenderloin, covered with a peach and pepper glaze.  Placed beside that bit of perfection is mashed potato casserole and creamed corn (the BEST).  Big J is partial to their quail or steak.  If he can’t decide what he wants, he gets the L.I.T.S. (Life is Too Short) plate: Angus Pasta, pork tenderloin and quail.  Can’t miss with that.  Rolls paired with herbed butter or apple butter round out the meal.

pies Except you have to leave room for PIE.    pies2

P.I.E.  pie. Pie.  PIE. cake. PIE PIE PIE!!!!  Royers is famous for their pies with a fabulous crust.  My fav is pecan.  Running a close second is the buttermilk delight, buttermilk filling with pecans, chocolate chips and pecans.  Like fruit pies?  Try their apple, peach, cherry or strawberry-rhubarb.  Their best-seller is probably the chocolate chip pie – like a warm, huge, delicious chocolate chip cookie with ice cream on top.  You can have butterscotch chip if you’d rather.  Not into pie? (Who ARE you?)  They have a great BIG Sin-namon roll or bread pudding.

Food is only part of the Royers experience.  The cafe is cozy and eclectic and there is 60’s music to keep the place hopping all day.  You can sit on the porch and help yourself (on the honor system) to soda, beer, wine.  The cafe faces the square in the center of town and often times there are interesting people or events to watch from the porch.  I’ve seen bikers, Corvette fans, artists, antiquers, family reunions as I while away some time on the porch.



You will be greeted by the family patriarch, Bud.  He’ll get you seated or take your name if there is a wait.  He’s the cafe’s traffic director on the weekends.  But that’s not all.  He bought the cafe back in 1987 and worked hard to grow it into the familiar name it is now.  These days he concentrates on the marketing, branding, catering and promoting the online ordering.   His wife, Dr. Karen, works with Crossroads Counseling in Austin.  She also has studied how creativity adds to your life, helping people to  “Live Life Deep and Wide”.   Daughter Tara runs the day-to-day of the cafe, and her husband Rick directs the kitchen (among many things).  Sons Micah and Todd have full-time jobs but can be found working at the cafe some weekends.  Son JB is in the process of moving to Brenham to be with Tara in the running of the cafe. **My apologies to the Royer family if  I didn’t get this exactly right.

Tara and Karen

Tara and Karen

As I said, food is part of the story.  Getting to know the Royer family and feeling like you are walking into “home” when you come to the cafe is the other part of the story.  Royers has a loyal, loyal client base and they come for more than just the food.  There’s a mood of community when you are sitting close with other folks, enjoying food that satisfies so many senses, hearing laughter and conversations flying everywhere, seeing the Royers sitting at tables catching up with their long-time customers who have become friends.

Todd, Rick, baby Brayden

Todd, Rick, baby Brayden

Stay tuned for Part 2 of  I Heart Royers Round Top Cafe to read how I became attached to this clan.   Next week’s Friday Fav!  Till then, try not to drool on the keyboard when you browse thru these pictures I’ve taken at different Royers events.

P.S. If you are in Timbuktu or New York City, you can order a pie and have it shipped to you.  WHAT A TREAT!!!!


All photographs and writing property of LoneStarLifer. 2009.