by Rhonda Dutton
On Sunday, Texas Monthly and Infinity hosted the first ever “Cook Like a Texan” pop-up picnic in Klyde Warren Park. The picnic involved tastings of main dishes, sides, and sips from Texas chefs, restaurants, and local brands. I was one of many lucky Texans that got to picnic in the park, here are a few of my family’s faves.
Kolache with Caramelized Onions from Sarah Junek / Archer City
You can’t get much more Texan than a kolache, and this version with caramelized onions was a great way to start our tasting tour.
Mini Biscuits from David Norman of Easy Tiger Bake Shop / Austin
Spiced Apple Butter and Pear Jam w/Sage and Honey from Stephanie McClenny of Confituras / Austin
We moved to biscuits next – These little angelic mini-biscuits should be poppers enjoyed with a mulled cider in front of a cracklin’ fire. One was served with Spiced Apple Butter and the other with Pear Jam with Sage and Honey. So good! These got logged into my “little baby angels” catalog.
Yucca Chips w/Edamame Hummus and Black Lime from Top Knot | Dallas
This starter of Yucca Chips and Edamame Hummus was cool and super crispy with a tease of spice. This is on Top Knot’s dinner menu under Snacks, just FYI.
Brisket Sliders from Jeffrey Hobb of The Slow Bone Barbeque / Dallas
These sliders were a family fave, we budgeted our tickets and went back for seconds. Tender delicious brisket with pimiento cheese and chimichurri won our Texan hearts. This combination = 3 thumbs up (we’re not mutants, we’re a family of three). They got extra heart points for warming up the buns in a cast iron skillet.
Gulf Swordfish Tacos from John Tesar of Knife / Dallas
Light and cooked perfectly, the swordfish tacos were a tasty and refreshing nod to our gulf coast. Sauces didn’t overpower the flavor of the fish, rather complimented nicely, and the tortilla was lightly toasted. I love seafood and I loved this taco.
Brisket Que-T-Pie from Todd and Misty David of Cattleack BBQ / Dallas
Any meat worth eating is always good snuggled in a light and flaky crust. Tender brisket, onions, other stuff (apologies for the lack of detail here, I was too busy eating) and a good full-bodied sauce – This was the husband’s fave next to The Slow Bone’s sliders. He took my pie and the teenager’s and finished them all off. He’s lucky we love him.
Green Chile Mac ‘n Cheese from Christopher Patrick of Abacus / Dallas
Ok, hold up a cotton pickin’ minute. I didn’t realize all my life that people were serving mac ‘n’ cheese and holding back on the “Beef Bacon!” It should always be served this way. Always. And with tendrils of microgreens? I.AM.SO.HAPPY.
However, this is not on Abacus’ menu, I checked. Now, I am sad.
Fried Chicken and Waffles from Keith Hicks of Buttons / Fort Worth
No one in their right mind dislikes chicken and waffles. Buttons’ has the perfect combination of savory and sweet, crispy and fluffy. With syrup and a dusting of powdered sugar, we were all smiles.
Grilled Oysters from Hugo Ortega of Hugo’s / Houston
I thought I’d end on this gorgeous platter of grilled oysters. Again, we budgeted our tickets and had seconds of these beauts. The teenager and I loved these – thank goodness Hugo’s served these 3 at a time, you know how I, I mean, teenagers can eat.
Finishing up with a warm cuppa from Houndstooth Coffee, I’ll make a long photo story short by saying, “Cook Like a Texan” was a GREAT family tasting event. Being its first year, it was a nice manageable size, and lines were not long at all. The tasting lineup had a perfect range and variety of options. Tickets were very affordable compared to the quality and quantity of noshes served – there was even a Picnic Basket option that came overflowing with swag in addition to tasting tickets. Highly recommend you put this in your Google calendar for next year.
San Antonio: Get ready. Texas Monthly’s next pop-up picnic will be in your neck of the woods on February 26th.