Friday, July 3, 2015

food for thought: June 2015

Though this was my first month in quite some time without a massive barbecue road trip, there was plenty of dining activity - barbecue included - during the month of June.

Left: Korean fried chicken from Karbach; Right: Karbach's Big 'Ol Pretzel

My favorite bite of the month: Having heard good things about the new restaurant and tasting room at Karbach Brewery, I stopped in for a quick lunch and thoroughly enjoyed the whole experience. A particular highlight was the Korean fried chicken. Juicy, crispy bites of sweet and spicy chicken with house-made kimchi, this was one of the better plates of food I've had in awhile. The "big 'ol pretzel" certainly lived up to its name, and the house mustard, made with Karbach's Hellfighter Ale, was fantastic. Karbach's tasting room is spacious and lively and the beirgarten is a great meet up spot with friends when the weather cooperates.

The worst meal of the month: I know there is a lot of history and great affinity for Goode Co. Seafood, but a recent lunch there was underwhelming in so many ways that I can't let it slide. Our group was treated to overcooked fish devoid of flavor, soggy shrimp empanadas and even soggier fries, and all for a hefty lunch price. I'm all for nostalgia dining, but not at the cost of missing every mark.

Pancakes with peaches, white chocolate crumble, raspberry sauce, creme fraiche and syrup from Foreign and Domestic

Crossing one off the to-do list: I have a running list of restaurants I want to try, but there are always a few outliers that I just never seem to make it to. The restaurant that had been on my Austin to-do list for the longest time was Foreign and Domestic. I had heard such glowing things about it from so many trusted sources, but just never made it in on any of my many Austin trips. I was finally able to remedy that this month. While I still have not enjoyed a dinner service there, the brunch I had was great. A perfectly executed French omelette and one of the most memorable pancake dishes I've had confirmed what I'd been hearing about F&D for so long. There have long been rumors of a Houston outpost of Foreign and Domestic. I would be all for that.

From left to right: trinity plate at Freedmen's | the spread at Franklin Barbecue | A sampling of La Barbecue 

Smoked meat heavy hitters: For various reasons I ended up with a stellar roster of barbecue joints visited this month. On separate Austin trips I was able to go to La Barbecue, Freedmen's, and Franklin Barbecue. In Houston I made it to Roegels, Jackson Street, and Killen's. There were too many highlights in this group to mention, but what a great barbecue renaissance our state is undergoing.

The chicharrone plate at Revival Market

Revival Market's Makeover: Heights gem Revival Market has transitioned from a meat, produce, and specialty goods market to more of a full service restaurant, though they still offer a great selection of goods for take home purchase. While they've always had a sandwich menu for lunch service, Revival now has a more composed sit-down menu. On a recent visit I was rewarded with a fantastic chicharrone. The fabulously fried pork skins came piping hot to the table, dusted with fragrant zataar spice. It was served with sour cream that was garnished with curtido and chives, though eating them sans dip was just as pleasing. I can't think of a better five dollar dish in Houston right now. and can't wait to get back for the newly launched Revival Market dinner service.

Full Disclosure: This month had 32 stops.

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