Donald & Valerie at the market in Venice

About Me

Jesus.  Family.  Travel.  Food.

Hey y’all! Welcome to my blog! I’m Valerie Duty Citrano, or The Texas Pie Lady to some. These pages will be filled with food and stories of our travels in our home state of Texas and places around the world. I hope that sharing our adventures will inspire you to travel more and enjoy your vacations to the fullest.

I am a professional photographer who’s had the awesome experience of photographing Presidents, Princes and Prime Ministers. Those adventures could fill a book! I won’t bore ya with all that here though. Now, hopefully, my photos on these pages will showcase the diverse beauty of this amazing world we live in.

Now…. Let’s talk about food and traveling.

I was in Paris when I got a message that Southern Living's cookbook featuring my pies was out on the shelves in book stores in the USA. I was in Paris when I got a message that Southern Living’s cookbook featuring my pies was out on the shelves in book stores in the USA. It was an honor to be included in such an unique cookbook and travel guide.

I never planned on working in a restaurant. Never, EVER! Then I met my husband, Donald who’s been in the business since he was a kid, and I guess it was inevitable. Funny how life happens.  So, now I’m a baker who has been published in several magazines and even a cookbook published by Southern Living who featured my pies. I had the opportunity to learn to cook not just from both my grandmothers who were pretty good cooks in their own way, but from a French trained chef that even had his own cooking show. Now I bake for my husband’s restaurant, The Coffee Shop Cafe in McGregor, Texas. This may not have been my plan in life, but I’m sure enjoying it! Never say never.

Donald and I love to travel and explore new places. I want to see and experience as much of this earth that God made for us as I can before he takes me home. What a fascinating, diverse place He has created with creatures big and small, sunrises and sunsets, oceans, deserts and rolling plains, foods that enrich our body while bringing us joy and people that never cease to amaze me!

My husband and I travel together and I also go solo. They both have different advantages since we have different tastes in things we like to do. He really doesn’t like cold places and I’m not particularly fond of beaches. My photography also dictates some of my travel

Our four grown kids (they will always be my babies), our daughter-in-love and three grands come along from time to time and make things even more interesting. You’ll be meeting them along the way.

If you enjoy food and traveling, be sure to keep an eye here and on our social media pages. I’ll be sharing our adventures and recipes along the way! Be sure to comment or ask questions. Our guests mean a lot to us! Thanks for stopping by!

Donald & Valerie in Jerusalem, Israel standing on the mount of olives with the Old City in the back ground. Donald & Valerie in Jerusalem, Israel standing on the mount of olives with the Old City in the back ground.

A few of the places we have traveled to…

The Eiffel Tower as seen from The Louvre in Paris, France The Eiffel Tower as seen from The Louvre in Paris, France. My very favorite city to visit where there is always more to see and do!
  • Europe … This is where we go back to over and over again! You’d never be able to see it all even in a lifetime, but we are sure trying! Italy and France are by far our favorite countries, but England, Greece, Turkey, Germany, Hungary, Austria and the Czech Republic are all wonderful places!
The pyramids in Giza, Egypt Our son and daughter-in-love with us visiting the great pyramids in Giza, Egypt. A dream come true for me!
  • Middle East.. Israel, Jordan and Egypt. Three of the most fascinating countries! A dream came true visiting Giza and the pyramids! I’ve read about Egypt since I was a kid and never thought I’d ever get to experience it myself! I actually went went back a second time and took a cruise down the Nile River like my dad did before he married and had us kids. And what can I say about my time exploring ancient sights with Dr Hawass and Dr Waziri! An incredible experience.
  • Jordan and amazing Petra. And what is there not to love about Israel? Beautiful country that you know without a doubt that you are walking where Jesus did!
The beach at the resort we own a timeshare in Cancun, Mexico. White sand and turtles! The beach at the resort we own a timeshare in Cancun, Mexico. White sand and turtles! Beautiful home away from home!
  • Mexico… Donald bought a time share in Cancun years ago so we have been to this area of Mexico many times. We don’t go during the busy, spring break madness. It’s more laid back in the fall. We skip the bars and such. Instead, we explore ruins, participate in turtle releases, travel to different places in Quintana Roo, take Mexican cooking classes and lay on the beach and soak up the sun.

Where were we recently?

  • Cuba
  • Cancun and Isla Mujeres
  • San Francisco
  • Thailand & Singapore
  • Europe
  • Barcelona, Spain
  • Cuba (2nd trip in less than a year)
  • Disney World
  • Iceland
  • Aruba
  • Morocco
  • London
  • Cabo San Lucas
  • Venice
  • Greece & Croatia Cruise on RC’s Rhapsody of the Seas
  • Russia
  • Southern Italy
  • Cruising South America & Antarctica
  • Israel & Jordan
  • Egypt with Dr Hawass
  • Amsterdam
  • Ireland
  • Belgium
  • France
  • England
  • Scotland
  • Iceland for our anniversary ♥️
  • Norway
  • Finland
  • Denmark
  • Ireland
  • Panama
  • Northern Lights above Fairbanks, Alaska

Where to next?

  • Back to Scotland for more family research
  • Rhine River Cruise
  • Oberammergau for the Passion Play
  • Switzerland
  • Tuscany & Cinque Terre
  • Greenland
  • Looking into the Goreme, Turkey region.

Dreaming about going to:

  • Much more of Scotland, Ireland and England. I want to learn even more about my father’s family, the Duty’s (Dubh, Duthie) and earlier de Brus and Cunningham families. Maybe we can even find the castle rumored to have been our families before siding with the wrong king! Dang it! Oh well. That’s how we ended up living in the USA! Can’t beat the USA for the best place to live, but I’d still love to see where our family came from.
  • Australia & New Zeland
  • I’d like to go back to Iceland and take a photography tour with Iurie Belegurschi. I’m a big fan of his landscape and Aurora photography.
  • Finland and Senja during the months that the Aurora are dancing over the Aurora Observatory  My daughter, Ashley wants to go too.
  • Germany. Want to spend a lot more time there. Part of my mother’s family is German, but that’s all I really know about her side of the family.
  • Washington, DC to finally see the cherry trees blooming. Even after my many trips to DC, this would be my first time to experience their beauty. Something I’ve always wanted to see!
  • A Viking Ocean Cruise. Trying to decide which of their many cruises to take. Any recommendations?

Where should we go next??? I’d love to hear your ideas, recommendations and travel stories!!
We have a long travel wish list! So many places to see, so little time!!!

Wouldn’t it be nice to be able to travel more?

Keep in contact with us!

Facebook: The Coffee Shop Cafe & The Coffee Shop Travel Club

Instagram: TexasPieLady

Pinterest: TexasPieLady

Twitter: The Coffee Shop Cafe & my own account Valerie Citrano I’m terrible with Twitter and really don’t post much there though. Follow along anyway if you’d like.

Thanks for stopping by! Please ask if you have any questions about places we have visited. Or share your adventures with myself and others that love to travel. We can all learn from each other.


Own a company and have an interesting offer to trade photography for travel? I just might be game. Contact me at and title your message Travel for Photos

7 thoughts on “About Me”

      1. I’d like to do that! This is from Josie, your new Parker Cuz (from June 30, this week at the Cafe). I have a writer friend who has done it twice and LOVED IT. Be in touch. Remember I really want to do the Scotland/Ireland trip hunting Ross Castles in both countries. Among other names. Do you know if they were Highland or Lowland Scottish? Sure great meeting you! Let’s have a Mini-Reunion somewhere; before the regular Parker Reunion. Blessings back to you. Josie Josanna


  1. Hi Valerie, I love your travel pictures very much.. such beautiful & interesting people & places. I am wondering how your Travel Club Works… I am very interested in doing more traveling & Would love to meet you and/or attend any Travel Club gatherings.
    Thank you-~ Carlene


    1. Hi Carlene, I don’t have any upcoming trips planned with the travel club. I’d love to get groups together to start again. Not many of our friends seem to be traveling right now. I’ll keep you in mind when we do though!!! Thanks for reaching out!!! Valerie


  2. I would suggest visiting northern Minnesota, especially the town of Duluth and the drive along Lake Superior to Canada. Duluth at one time had the highest per capita of millionaires (1890 -1910) do to shipping and iron ore and hence has some very beautiful mansions along the lake. We live in Woodway and like to go to your buffet and then eat slices of pie!


    1. That trip sounds wonderful! I have friends that live in a lodge at a lake in Minnesota that we could visit while there. What’s your favorite time of year to go?

      Thanks for coming to the restaurant!!


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I may be known for baking some of the best made from scratch pies in the state of Texas, but did you know I've been a professional photographer for about 40 years now? Yikes!! That's a long time!! This blog is about combining my love of food, photos and traveling. I invite you to come along on my journey!

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