Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Food Traditions

Perhaps it just speaks to my peculiar nature, but I have never been a big fan of traditional foods or meals. Sure, I'll eat turkey on Thanksgiving, but I don't think I'd miss the old bird should it go away. I don't need it to be July 4th to consume copious amounts of barbecue; anyone that has followed along on this blog or my Twitter can see that's a regular occurrence no matter the date on the calendar. What I have noticed, though, is that my wife and I have started forming our own food rituals.

  • Pre-football Sunday brunch at Hugo's: the Sunday before Labor Day also happens to be the last Sunday before the NFL season begins. My wife knows that once football returns to Sunday, the chances of getting me to brunch drop below zero. Thus, we celebrate the end of "brunch season" with the splendid feast at Hugo's. We sip cafes de olla and overindulge on all of the savory and sweet offerings the Ortega family has to offer.
  • First football Sunday crab boil: This one is a solo venture as the wife detests most things shellfish. The first Sunday of the NFL season, I boil some blue crabs, lay out some newspaper across the dining room table, pop open a couple cold beers and crack crab until I can eat no more while watching the games. Pro tip: shrink wrap the remote before you begin this feast or face the wrath of an angry spouse later.

I normally prefer a more full bodied beer such as Saint Arnold Santo, but any Texas beer will do.
  • The Austin Bluebonnet trip: One of our new favorite rituals is to take a weekend trip to Austin in early to mid-April to enjoy the best weather Texas has to offer and the wonderful view of the bluebonnets. This has also become my pilgrimage to Franklin Barbecue time of year as 70 degree weather is the only time I can stomach the increasingly long line.
  • Pre-winter break custard at Ritter's: One of my Katy favorites is Ritter's Frozen Custard on Fry Road. Often my family's go to treat, we make a point to get in one last visit before they close for their annual winter break in early December. Weather be damned, you'll find us there on their final day of business before the holidays, gleefully savoring our last frozen fix.

Ritter's spicy chocolate custard in waffle cones.
  • Christmas marshmallows: Yes, you read that correctly. A tradition we've started with my wife's family is roasting s'mores outside during the Christmas season. My wife and I make an obscene amount of marshmallows, do our best not to hoard them for ourselves, and bring them to her parents' house for the annual roast.
  • Work Buddy Appreciation lunch: My good friend in the office and I go out to lunch constantly, usually to one of the more affordable, quality places close to work. However, every six months we treat ourselves to what he deems an appreciation lunch as a thank you for helping one another out with some of the craziness around the office. These lunches are usually a little pricier and a little more out of the way than our usual spots. One appreciation lunch was Dolce Vita, one at Haven, another at Underbelly. It's a welcome treat to have a couple times a year.

The beautifully charred pies at Dolce Vita.

While not your normal traditions, these are the ones that work for me. When food is such a big part of your life all year, it's the special moments with those you care for that turn the ordinary into an occasion. 

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