The Curious Cowgirl

A Texas-Based Travel Expert Blog: Rounding Up Topics, Trends & Ideas in Travel, Lifestyle & Personalities

Paris Passages: Step Back in Time

Paris Passages: Step Back in Time

Have you ever been on a trip, and stumbled upon something that transformed your entire day into a whole new experience?  That happened to me several years ago when my husband and I were in Paris, and somehow found ourselves walking through one of many Paris Passages. 

Here’s The Latest

Best Ever Strawberry Cake at Ritual in Jacksonville, Texas!

Best Ever Strawberry Cake at Ritual in Jacksonville, Texas!

First Published: July2, 2018 Last Updated: July 13, 2019


I’m a dessert gal, and my weakness is cake.  Where can you find the Best Ever Strawberry Cake?  Look no further than Ritual, in Jacksonville.  It’s one of the Best Restaurants in Texas!


A slice of strawberry cake on a white plate next to a glass of iced tea


As I began to write this post, I wondered:  What is a Ritual?  And how is a Ritual different from a Habit.  Somewhere on the Internets, I saw a really good answer!  When you think of a habit, you think about one specific action that you do over and over again. Flossing your teeth is a habit. Drinking water after you wake up is a habit.  Habits are a singular focus.  The beauty of rituals is that they can contain multiple habits in one ritual.

That’s the perfect description for the cutest luncheonette in all of East Texas:  Ritual!


Delicious Food, The Best Ever Strawberry Cake, and Healthy Living:  A Ritual


Proprietor and friend, Whitney Graham Carter, describes her Jacksonville, Texas establishment in this way:  “When I opened Ritual, I wanted to make this a place where customers, friends, and neighbors can change themselves from the inside out.  And adopt many lifestyle changes that become more than a habit, they become a Ritual.  So, the food we serve is as fresh and locally sourced as possible.  The curated apothecary inside Ritual carries the best products we can find for hair, skin, nails, and general holistic wellness.  And the Yoga studio upstairs, helps practitioners cleanse their internal organs, while seeking calm and focus.”


Woman in a black cowboy hat leaning on a glass counter


Seem pretty progressive for deep East Texas?  Yup.  It is!  But Whitney has lived and travelled all over the world. While she got to Jacksonville, Texas “as fast as she possibly could,” her wide experiences include educational training in the Honors Economics program at the University of Texas, with specialization in International Business studies at the Sorbonne in Paris, France.  There she began work for J. F. Lazartique,  then later Joseph A. Lewis III and Joseph Dinardo, the most renowned scientists in the field of anti-aging research science and cosmeceutical formulation.


Two paper menus resting in a vintage wall pocket


Ritual opened in December 2016, and is a popular spot for folks looking for things to do in East Texas.  Ritual has quickly become a tremendously popular dining, shopping, and Yoga establishment for Jacksonville, Texas residents. Many say one of the Best Restaurants in Texas!  Day-trippers, like myself, who enjoy visiting small town Texas, and are looking for great restaurants and experiences along the way.


Metal Tray with a sandwich and potato chips with a glass of iced tea


When Ritual first opened, Whitney explained that she was committed to including the tried-and-true Texas favorites on the menu:  Chicken Salad, Pimento Cheese, the Best Ever Strawberry Cake….yes ma’am…that’s all there, and delish, I might add!

But, Ritual expands on the traditional to include a drizzle of truffle oil on a deviled egg here, a herb-infused Quiche there, fresh gazpacho with legendary Jacksonville tomatoes…and let’s talk about Wagyu Beef Taco Tuesday….line is out the door, y’all!

East Texas friends, Ritual CATERS….pretty sure I need an entire strawberry cake STAT! If you are looking for things to do in East Texas, I suggest throwing a party!  And for dessert?  The Best Ever Strawberry Cake, obviously! Ritual has a Facebook Page, so you can reach out!


The pink front door of Ritual restaurant with an American Flag hanging on the wall


Tips for Visiting

  • OK road trippers….Jacksonville is 30 minutes south of Tyler, Texas, and two hours southeast of Dallas.
  • The Jacksonville Tomatoes are famous, you might want to plan a visit during the Tomato Festival, which my friend Tanya Foster detailed in this post.  But if you can’t make the Festival, Jacksonville is a darling town worth visiting any time.
  • Open Monday-Friday 7:45-2:00.  Closed on Saturdays and Sundays.
  • While you are out in East Texas, you might want to take the opportunity to pick blueberries, and have have several suggestions in the area.


Be sure and give Whitney a big hug from The Curious Cowgirl!  She’s a doll!

And, Whitney is not the only impressive gal to graduate from Jacksonville High School.  Don’t forget about the genius sibling film production company behind my favorite documentary, Tomato Republic.

Travel Scrapbook:  Bringing Home Memories

Travel Scrapbook: Bringing Home Memories

My husband and I always laugh at ourselves….it is completely impossible for us to travel ANYWHERE and not drag back home some kind of treasure.  My Travel Scrapbook is not as traditional as you might imagine.  Rather, it’s a collection of treasures I have found along the way.  Today, I’m sharing with you some of my favorite finds in recent years.

read more
Travel Roundup!

Travel Roundup!

Hey y’all!  It’s been almost three months since I launched The Curious Cowgirl, and WOW!  I have so many more followers today than when I started, so THANK YOU!  If you have not been here since the beginning, or have…you know…a life…and have not read every single post I’ve put out…I’m going to spend this week rounding up my posts in Travel, Lifestyle, and Personalities.  Today….let’s do a Travel Roundup!

read more
Happy Valentine’s Day Y’all!

Happy Valentine’s Day Y’all!

It’s February 14th!  And you know what that means!  Happy Valentine’s Day!  Rather than sharing with y’all my favorite chocolates, or romantic destination suggestions, I thought I’d simply reflect on what Love is to me….

read more
4 Places I Plan to Visit: My 2018 Travel Plans

4 Places I Plan to Visit: My 2018 Travel Plans

Y’all…I truly can’t thank you enough for the overwhelmingly positive and supportive response my Curious Cowgirl Blog has received.  Hardly a day passes that I don’t run into someone, or receive an email or text from readers who are truly enjoying the information I am sharing.  Makes my heart so happy!!!!  A question I often get is….what is on your travel agenda for 2018?  Well, you can bet your boots I have plans…..!

read more
About Mary Meier, The Curious Cowgirl

About Mary

Hey y’all! Hi, I’m Mary Meier-Evans, a Native Texan, Travel Addict, Vintage Collector, and Zealous Needle-pointer, who lets curiosity chart my path. I’m also a Wife and Empty-Nester parent of four amazing people, and I gratefully embrace the twists and turns of life, because really….LIFE is an amazing gift!


Follow Me

My Free NYC Hotel Guide

My Free Rome Restaurant Guide


Hey y’all! Cowgirls LOVE new friends! Know someone who would love my Travel Blog? Refer a friend to The Curious Cowgirl!