I’ve been spending a lot of time in Dallas and Houston for my job lately. It means I have less time than before for cooking and blogging at home, but getting to know these cities and their food cultures has been really rewarding.
If you’ve been following along on Twitter or Instagram, you probably know that I’ve been lucky enough to eat out at a lot of great restaurants lately. In Dallas, I’ve become a Whole Foods connoisseur– did you know that all four locations in the city have different gluten-free hot bar items? I do!– and some of my favorite meals have been at Smoke and Whiskey Cake.
My favorites spots in Houston so far are Down House, Juicy in the Sky, Revival Market, and Benjy’s, although I’m just scratching the surface there. At Down House in particular, the cocktail menu is just lovely, and the restaurant is full of charming little references to Charles Darwin. (Instead of generic plastic folders, they send out your check in a Darwin book. Very cute.) They also have the my favorite Negroni in town so far– I’ve tried 12.
This weekend in Houston, I visited the Eastside Farmer’s Market (lots of food trucks!) and the Sugar Land Farmers Market (lots of goat cheese!) along with one of the city’s loveliest urban farms, The Last Organic Outpost. The Last Organic Outpost is deep in the Fifth Ward northeast of downtown. They host lots of classes on urban gardening and also grow organic produce. Wandering around the farm on Saturday morning was the perfect antidote to a hectic week– there are eggplants, peppers and herbs galore growing on the farm right now.
Forager Mark Vorderbruggen was also on hand that day for FarmFest, the Last Organic Outpost’s annual fundraiser. I have been a fan of Mark’s blog, “Merriwether the Adventurer” for a long time, and he is the most knowledgeable forager that I have ever met. He had a table set up with dozens of Texas’ wild edible plants, and it was awesome to hear him speak about where to find each plant in the city and how to prepare it so that it is suitable to eat. I wish that he could come with me on a trip to my family’s farm in Iowa to help identify the treasures lurking in the timber there. I know that I have seen dandelion greens and roots there, and I wonder if the wild rhubarb is any good.
That’s all for now. I have a whole separate post in the hopper about Wine and Swine and some of the other Austin food adventures I’ve been having. Until then, it’s back to Houston for work this week, and then off to Dallas for the next week. Wish me good food and safe travels!