Barbecue, Beef, Uncategorized

Snow’s BBQ- Lexington, TX

This is what dreams are made of…or at least bbq dreams. I can officially say that I’ve had the best bbq in Texas. Texas Monthly made the tough decision back in 2008 to name Snow’s BBQ the best bbq in the state. It’s created quite the following, hundreds of people waiting for hours to try the brisket and pork, flocking from around the country and even the world. Along with the food people only hope to catch a look at the famous pit master, Tootsie Tomanetz.

Although the original Texas Monthly article stated they make the best in ’08, the popular joint was renamed the best this year. The article (which you should give both a read) perfectly describes the scene at Snow’s. You enter tiny Lexington, TX, the sign stating a population of 1,200. You find parking in their “downtown” and head towards the small red building that has several parked cars along the main street. You loop around and take your place in line. It’s early in the morning (I suggest getting there between 7:45-8:45 to secure getting food) and you just wait. People have brought chairs, beer, water, cornhole, the whole nine yards…and they aren’t even open yet. As they open their doors and the line starts to slowly move, you finally catch a glimpse at the “open air shed” that houses the three to four working smokers. 

One great way to pass time while waiting is sipping either on the complimentary water or go for the keg of free Lone Star beer. Yes, they have a free keg of beer for all to enjoy. A small thank you from the Snow’s family for your service and patience. You may be able to catch Ms. Tootsie herself pulling up in her white pickup truck and get right to work, and she’s a mere 82 years old. 

Three hours seem to go by fast because soon enough you’re near the front and finally come face to face with the bright Snow’s sign and peak at the quaint back patio area, equipped with several tables and funny signs to boot. Yes, it took about three hoursto get  food and yes it was well worth it. 

Soon, you’re nearly at the door, and the guest book is to your left. You sign your name and where you’re from and simply can’t help yourself from browsing through the names and places. Naturally there are plenty from all over the Lone Star state, but other places that caught our eye were Madrid, New Zealand, Singapore, even the group behind us drove from Louisiana that morning just for Snow’s. 

Finally you enter the sacred building, the smell of oak and sweet aromas filling the air. For such great quality and for the best, the prices at Snow’s are very reasonable. I highly recommend the brisket (obviously), but also the pork. Naturally you have extremely high expectations of what you’re about to eat, knowing its been named the best bbq in Texas. 

Oh my word, mind blown. It truly is the best bbq I have ever had. The meat had a smoke ring all the way around, not just one side like most places. It pulls apart so smoothly and you can tell its going to melt in your mouth. The flavors of the wood come through and the sauce only enhances the smokiness of the meat, it doesn’t steal the show.


The pork was just as smoky and the rub was more prominent. It seemed to be more peppery than the rub on the brisket and a thicker layer. The meat was moist and, like the brisket, the meat to fat ratio was perfectly balanced. 

Everything about Snow’s lived up to the expectations set by Texas Monthly. You knew there was going to be a long line, a long wait, but knowing a keg of beer was waiting reassured you the wait was worth it. And aside from that you knew that the meat and atmosphere of Snow’s was also going to be worth it. 

Exiting the famous building you feel a sense of satisfaction, accomplishment, and Texas honor. Most of all you feel complete because it’s worth being able to say you’ve been to Snow’s, the best bbq in Texas.

Standard
boston, Italian, Sweets, Uncategorized

Mammamaria- Boston, MA

Pasta is most likely one of the most popular dishes to make, for all ages. From macaroni and cheese to lasagna, kindergarten well into ones adulthood pasta is just universal across the board. I think we can all agree, however, that everyone cooks pasta differently. Some people prefer it to be al dente meaning a firmer bite, others like it to be soft to the point that it practically disinigrates in your mouth. No matter how you cook it though, there is a correct way to cook pasta where its firm yet is still melt in your mouth. It can be hard to tell what that should taste or feel like, but if you go to Mammamaria they’ll demonstrate how to do it perfectly. 

The North End is obviously flooded with delicious Italian restaurants, but you can feel the difference when you go into higher end restaurant like Mammamaria. The ambiance inside makes you feel like you’ve just walked into a movie scene, beautifully placed utensils and exquisite, Italian inspired design plates. Tables placed fairly close together makes it feel like a cozy trattoria. The staff are both inviting and professional, the waiters filling water glasses and clearing plates as often as they can. The beautiful decor makes for a lovely ambiance inside and hearing the room filled with laughter makes for a wonderful evening. 

The select evening menu was filled with all the delicious classic Italian dishes made with local New England products. For our antipasti, or appetizer, we selected the cheese sampler, three different cheeses with fresh colorful tomatoes and drizzle of olive oil. Local ricotta and mozzarella from Massachusetts and bufala mozzarella from Naples are all melt in your mouth on top of the fresh bread. The bufala was the best by far, so creamy and milky, bursting with flavor.

For the main course the menu was full of innovative and different combinations, but I wanted to judge Mamma’s by the classic Italian, bolognese. And Mamma Maria was this bolognese good. The meat was seasoned and cooked perfectly, the sauce delicious with a tangy taste almost and flavorful with every bite. The pasta, as discussed in the opening, was cooked as it is meant to be cooked. Not too soft, not too stiff. A good bite too it and cooked throughout, not a single strand of pasta out of line. Garnished with fresh Parmesan grated right from the block and you are beginning to feel Italian. 

Another notable menu item was the summertime squash ravioli. Filled with green and yellow squash and corn, the filling was very refreshing as well as flavorful. The ravioli pasta was done just right and you can tell delicate hands in the kitchen sculpted the tiny pillows of cheese heaven. 

Finally, a meal like this isn’t complete without a homemade, warm Italian dessert. From a list that made the decision extremely hard, this menu item was a standout. A warm puff pastry that held a mixture of delicious crisp apples and cinnamon spices topped with freshly whipped cream and chocolate and caramel drizzles. Each bite was like a new sensation of the flavors coming together in harmony, the sweet cream, tartness of the apples, and crunch of flaky pastry. 

It is the place to enjoy a spectacular Italian meal, a meal that may be as close as it gets to being in Italy. Meals like this perpetuate meaningful conversation, as you’re huddled together discussing the food as well as family conversation. One thing to point out is that a meal like this doesn’t come cheap, but its a meal few and far between. Savor, enjoy, and love meals like this. Go for it, you can figure out finances down the road, but a meal like this is worth every penny. Not just for the food, but for the memories. 

Standard
American, Barbecue, Beef, Fort Worth, Uncategorized

Heim Barbecue- Fort Worth, TX

Well it’s that time of the year, Texas Monthly released their Top 50 Barbecue Joints in Texas list and this carnivore certainly didn’t miss the chance to read through it. They had a good list comprised, but in my opinion forgot some places too (particularly Black’s in Lockhart and even The Longoria’s in Everman…Angelo’s is one of my favorites, but it’s been some time since it’s made the list). However, barbecue is growing and expanding and the millennials are taking a crack at it…and succeeding. One young couple is doing just that and was named the top BBQ joint in Fort Worth, Heim BBQ.

The story basically starts with Travis Heim who started smoking meat young, learning from his grandparents, and the BBQ fire was lit. He and his now wife, Emma, started off local and small, grew to a food truck, and then met the right people to start their own place on W Magnolia in the Fort. It’s a great story of growing your business and going after your dream, never giving up. And it has obviously paid off.

The Magnolia area is a perfect fit for Heim, like I said the Heim’s being a younger couple have sort of aimed for the millennial generation as their customers and making BBQ ‘hipster cool’, which is precisely what Magnolia is sort of known for. Don’t get me wrong you see the older couples in there too, just my opinion and overall feeling I got.

They do have daily hours, but when they sell out they sell out. We went on a Friday and it was still hopping around 7:30, but if you check their Facebook they update it and it’s usually around then that they sell out, just a heads up. The space is nice, some outdoor picnic tables, full bar area, and decent amount of seating inside. Long tables take up the center part of the joint which adds a community feel to it, and isn’t that what barbecue is all about? 

Overall the food was good, I can see why it made the top 50 list. However, I wouldn’t say my mind was blown by the food. Let’s get into detail here:

The sauce- tangy, some smoky flavor, but definitely a sweet taste to it. There was a good mix of spices that I could taste, I’d certainly take a bottle of it home.

Coleslaw- I’m not personally a fan of heavy mayo or super creamy coleslaw and Heim’s was far from that. They actually use red cabbage only with shredded carrots, which made it bright and pop off the plate. However there wasn’t much seasoning to it, just a lot of pepper. Could’ve used a little more of a creaminess to balance it more.

The mac and cheese- good flavor, but don’t expect any chile flavor from this ‘green chile’ mac. It was very cheesy though!

Beans- huge tomato flavor that pops, good heat and cooked perfectly. Probably one of my favorite sides. 

Potato Salad- Wow, amazing. The cheese mixed in added a creaminess to the mashed potatoes. There isn’t a lot of seasoning, but I didn’t feel the need to add any. It was very refreshing to have compared to the other sides. My other favorite!

Now for the brisket- I have to start with that it was good, but it wasn’t mind blowing like some people have talked about it being. The meat pulled apart nicely and had a good, promising, smoke ring. There wasn’t really any smoky flavor to it unless you took a bite of meat with the bark. The piece of meat was very fatty, I like some fat, but almost the whole piece was fat. It was tender outside of that though, but again not much flavor which was disappointing.

To make up for the meat was the highly suggested bacon bits. The meat was delicious, I mean bacon, and the rub gave the bits almost a pork flavor. It was very sweet for a rub, but it was amazing.

Overall Heim had a cool feel to it, trying to get the younger generation into barbecue from the location to the hipster kind of vibe it has. The Heim’s have certainly paved their way and worked hard, but their meat was fatty and everything was very sweet rather than smoky. I would go back for that potato salad and other sides though! I recommend it so all y’all can experience and say you’ve been to Heim, but there are plenty of other great barbecue joints that deserve a spot on that list. 

Standard
American, Beef, Burgers, Uncategorized

Mighty Fine Burgers- Austin, TX 

I’ve done quite a lot of posts on burgers on here, and rightfully so, because a really good burger is food for the soul. Most of my burger posts are more “complex” or “fancier” with add ons and specials. Well this post is about a good, solid, greasy, basic burger. And what a Mighty Fine Burger it is.

It’s your classic burger place, picnic like tables inside with white and red checkered tablecloths. The location we actually went to was in Round Rock, just outside of Austin. However, this burger joint got its start in Austin and they are proud of it. The Round Rock location has a really lovely outdoor space with a little play area for the kiddos, which is appealing for all the shoppers in close proximity. 

The staff was just lovely, asking how our day was and exuding a joyfulness that leads you to believe they enjoy their job. 

Another notable and unique part of Mighty Fine is the hand washing system. Technically you’re supposed to wash your arms up to your elbows and so at Mighty Fine they have a “spa for your hands”, a machine that when you put your arms into it are sprayed with soap and water and bristles brush around your arms and hands. They even include stickers so you can let everyone know of your clean arms.

Now the food! This burger really is classic, no fancy stuff just good fresh ingredients and delicious beef. A warm soft bun to encompass the deliciousness and you’re golden. Speaking of golden, the fries! Nice and crispy with a soft center and fun crinkle to it. I suggest adding their seasoned salt for some extra flavoring.

It’s voted the best burger in Austin and I have to say this was one good burger. A classic, an American staple, and they’re Mighty Fine.

Standard
Baking Recipes, Beef, Mexican, Savory, Tacos, Uncategorized

Mexican Casserole

It’s taco night in your house, but you’re looking for something a little different to make than just plain old tacos. This taco Mexican Casserole from Recipe Diaries is not only easy and delicious, it’s a Weight Watchers entree, so if you’re following that program or take comfort in that it’s a healthy option then I highly suggest it! 

I tweaked the original recipe, just used it as a base and used up some peppers in my fridge! I browned the ground beef (you could definitely use turkey!) and drained that, meanwhile I only had frozen corn so I sautéed that in a separate pan. I chopped up red, yellow, and green peppers and onion and threw that in the beef pan with some oil just to get that cooking. 

After a few minutes I added the beef back and corn followed by the taco seasoning as instructed. Now the recipe doesn’t specify if you need to add water, like the taco seasoning says. The seasoning wasn’t really getting distributed though so I added a mere 1/4 cup of water and that helped to season everything in the pan. I added in the tomatoes, but sadly I didn’t have any jalapeños! So to improvise that heat I added cumin and sriracha along with salt and pepper.
 As I let that sizzle up a bit I prepared the casserole dish. I sprayed the dish and heated the oven to the instructed 350°. Now my casserole certainly wouldn’t accommodate the amount of tortillas the recipe says, so in total I only used four. They do overlap so still cut them in half. The rest of the recipe is perfect, cooking time was spot on and five minutes covered for the cheese was plenty time. 

I have had this as leftovers and a solid minute and a half in the microwave and it’s just as good. Some of the comments say that after freezing it they experience soggy tortillas (we don’t want soggy bottoms, right Mary Berry?), but I’m still curious to try freezing it. I’ll try to update the post after doing that, if I don’t eat it all first! Add your favorite toppings to the side and you’re golden! One thing I didn’t do was do a layer of sour cream, just because I don’t like sour cream, but I’m sure that layer in the casserole would make it delicious. Who knows, maybe that’s what causes the soggy bottoms after freezing! 

I hope you get a chance to make this recipe, it would be perfect for a potluck or picnic! Tacos condensed! Let me know how it goes for you and leave a comment, I would love to hear from my readers! Thanks for reading, happy cooking! 

Standard
American, Italian, Uncategorized

Paramour- San Antonio, TX

When you think San Antonio you most likely think of Hispanic and Mexican inspired foods. Tacos, Tex mex, etc. It is true, San Antonio knows how to do Mexican, but there is growth in the city with bars and sophisticated foods popping up. One good example of this is Paramour.

Located right on the River Walk just north of the Alamo sits this rooftop bar. After climbing about four flights of stairs you enter into a different world with pops of color, couches with pillows of pin up stars, and a scenic view. The outdoor space is beautiful, with couches and chairs sectioned off with lovely green plants. Perfect for a bachelorette party or celebrating a fun group event!

When we went it was in between the morning crowd and evening crowd. They were able to serve us their charcuterie board, so we ordered that for a nice light lunch. If you’re a frequent follower, you know I spend a good amount of my time home in Boston where you can get fresh meats and cheeses from salumerias, so I have high standards when it comes to these smorgasbords. Paramour succeeded and impressed me and my taste buds. I don’t know where or how the chef gets these meats and cheeses, but one things for sure they know the difference between salami and soppressatta. The meats were delicious, the goat cheese with honey was delectable, buffala mozzarella, and, what tasted to be, homemade pesto. We devoured the boards when they came out and rightly so. The display was gorgeous, so inviting. I was quite impressed. 

Hannah Grace Photography

If this is any indication of the service and standards of the drinks and other menu items, then I suggest you make your way to Paramour the next time you see yourself in San Antonio. 

Standard
American, Breakfast, Brunch, Fort Worth, Mexican, Uncategorized

Mash’d- Fort Worth, TX

Hello readers! Sorry I’ve been missing in action, but I hope this post makes up for it because it’s a very delicious one! Yes, this is my second post on Mash’d, however, we’re entering new culinary territory at this popular restaurant. Brunch, or to quote the website, ‘badass brunch’.

Let’s start with the fact that they have two dollar mimosas. Two dollars. Granted, they are a little small, but if you’re not drinking to get drunk like me go for it! It’s probably cheaper than other places and it’s just as delicious. 

I’ve already done a post on Mash’d, but I still love the atmosphere and the West 7th area. The restaurant certainly wasn’t as roudy as it can get in the evenings, it was actually quite pleasant seeing families and groups of friends getting together. It has become a hotspot for brunch in Fort Worth, from the great outdoor patio space to the clever morning newspaper menu.

Now the food! I ordered the Mash’d Tator Eggsplosion. An eggsplosion it was, an iron skillet with “mash’d tators” (mashed potatoes essentially), with cheddar cheese, scrambled eggs, chopped bacon and a sour cream drizzle. All the components of this dish not only worked harmoniously, individually they each tasted delicious. The eggs were so delicately folded and the melted cheese was simply incredible. The potatoes had a great taste to them, I could definitely just eat a hot cast iron skillet of those potatoes. The seasoning of the potatoes was very yummy, but some more salt and pepper would be my only critique, just a little bit more seasoning!

I think brunch at Mash’d could easily become a regular thing for me. The food was amazing, drinks a great price, all you have to do is add the company and your Saturday or Sunday will be off to a great start! I suggest making a reservation, which they accept via phone or Open Table online! Why not ensure getting that delicious brunch and making it a date! Highly recommend you hit up Mash’d! Happy eating! 

Standard