Rusty Fenton is a veteran in the restaurant industry. As one of the original principals of Uncle Julio’s, Fenton has gone on to a magnificent career in the industry. He had a hand in Stephan Pyles’ Taqueria Cañonita, and also in the reanimation of the Trader Vic’s in the Palomar Hotel in Dallas.
More recently Fenton entered the taco trade. As owner of Rusty Taco, Fenton successfully runs the new franchise at the original location located on Greenville Avenue, and plans to open several other locations in 2012. Currently he owns or licenses four locations.
Fenton has shared some of his favorite tiki drink recipes from the Trader Vic’s files, and we promise to do something very entertaining with those in the coming weeks on craveDFW.
Today Rusty Fenton shares with us some very sweet memories of Christmas past.
What memories are conjured up during the Christmas season?
Christmas always reminds me of my mother who passed away due to cancer when she was only 44. In 1978 my folks had divorced and I was paying my way through Texas A&M, back when you could afford to go to college. Neither of my parents had any money and my mother worked two jobs to make ends meet.
One Christmas morning my mother presented me with a warm winter coat, bought with money she had earned in her second job. It looked like the coat Dennis Weaver wore in “McCloud”. I still have that coat 33 years latter and yes it still fits. I keep it to remind me of my mother and how much she loved me, and to inspire me to work a little bit harder to take care of my own kids. Thank you Mom.
Will you share with us a special family tradition?
I never really liked our East Texas Christmas dinners, too many dry turkeys, watery hams and sliced cranberry molds. One year I took over all the Christmas cooking and I prepared the most delectable dishes, roasts and desserts that had ever been served my family. Hours of research, ingredient scrounging and cooking went into that meal, and not one can was opened!
Well, they hated it as much as I hated what I was fed every year. You see, tradition outweighs flavor. The next year we had our usual dried turkey, watery ham and sliced cranberry mold. I didn’t say a thing, but later I did sneak out to Dairy Queen!
What is your favorite holiday cocktail?
Every Christmas season I buy a bottle of Bailey’s Irish cream and I have a little nightcap and look at the Christmas tree. A personal tradition.