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Brrr, It’s Cold Outside: Local Comfort Foods

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Local Comfort Foods Will Help to Keep You Warm Inside

It is time to snuggle up with some wintery comfort foods. Here are a few that we love around town.

Love & War Lindale

Love & War is certainly an epic name for what has become an epic restaurant, located in Lindale and developed by native Texan Tye Phelps who believes the philosophy described by Mr. John Steinbeck:

“I have said that Texas is a state of mind, but I think it is more than that. It is a mystique closely approximating a religion. And this is true to the extent that people either passionately love Texas or passionately hate it and, as in other religions, few people dare to inspect it for fear of losing their bearings in mystery or paradox. But I think there will be little quarrel with my feeling that Texas is one thing. For all its enormous range of space, climate, and physical appearance, and for all the internal squabbles, contentions, and strivings, Texas has a tight cohesiveness perhaps stronger than any other section of America. Rich, poor, Panhandle, Gulf, city, country, Texas is the obsession, the proper study and the passionate possession of all Texans.” -John Steinbeck, 1962
L&W’s concept was created to promote Texas – Texans, Texas food, and Texas Heritage. One of our favorite winter foods is L&W’s Terlingua Ten-Pepper Buffalo Chili. This delicious Texas-style chili is served in a huge bowl, piping hot and topped with chopped onions and cheddar cheese. It comes with freshly-baked Texas-shaped honey cornbread. You can get this chili in two sizes, large and small.

L&W has legendary steaks, classic dishes such as the Frio Country Platter (one third rack of baby back ribs and a mesquite smoked half chicken brushed with Shiner Bock BBQ Sauce), fajitas, chicken fried steak, hamburgers, fish tacos, and a fun dish – Tye’s Foot Long Habanero Hot Dog, served with the L&W’s Terlingua Ten-Pepper Buffalo Chili on top.

A specialty of the house is The Governor’s Feast, which is a family-style dinner for four featuring beef and chicken fajitas, baby back ribs, smoked venison sausage, venison bratwurst, and shrimp Texana, served with refried beans, Texican rice, pico de gallo, sour cream, guacamole, and fresh flour tortillas.

Be sure to save room for L&W’s Campfire S’more Sundae with vanilla ice cream topped with chocolate syrup, graham crackers, and toasted marshmallows, all piled up on a double fudge chocolate brownie.

L&W has live music most weekends featuring Texas singers and songwriters from around the state. Past musicians to perform include Cody Canada, Wayland Hicks, Jason Eady, and Ray Wylie Hubbard. Check out Love and War in Texas in EGuide’s Gig Guide for concert schedules.

Love & War is located in downtown Lindale at 114 E. North St., next door to Pink Pistol. For more info call (430)235-2100 or go to loveandwarintexas.com.

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Vietnamese Pho Restaurant

Vietnamese Pho Restaurant, located at 3837 State Hwy 64 W. in Tyler, offers some Phò guaranteed to hit the spot on these cold wintery days.

Phò or pho (pronounced fa) is a Vietnamese noodle soup consisting of broth, linguine-shaped rice noodles called bánh phò, a few herbs, and meat primarily served with either beef or chicken. The term phò actually refers to the noodles, not the soup. There are hundreds of different soups found around Vietnam, but phò is made with pristine white rice flour noodles that are made daily and sold in markets.
Mary Sanders visits often and says, “I had the spring rolls and the ‘special soup’ phò, which comes with flank steak, beef brisket, and meatballs. I also had the jasmine iced tea. Everything was amazing. The spring rolls are pretty minty, and the phò was delicious. I’ll definitely go back again and absolutely recommend to anyone wanting to get their phò on!”

Vietnamese Phò Restaurant offers heavenly phò in either vegetarian, chicken, shrimp, beef flank steak, brisket, meatball, and pork varieties. The huge bowls of soup come steaming hot with a side plate loaded with fresh-from-the-garden basil leaves, cilantro, sliced jalapenos, mint leaves, plus bean sprouts, lime slices, and red onion slices. It comes with a hearty helping of rice noodles in the rich broth.

Vietnamese Phò Restaurant also has a big variety of plates and appetizers such as Stir-fried Noodle dishes, vermicelli, rice dishes with beef, chicken, and shredded pork. Try the Catfish Lemongrass – it is very good. The jasmine tea was also very good.

Vietnamese Phò Restaurant is open Monday-Saturday 11am-8pm.

The Catch

Gumbo. That rich roux. Brown in color. Thick in nature. Heavenly in taste.

Gumbo is a cold weather soup that we crave when it turns cold. And honestly, who doesn’t need a little more gumbo in their life?

Did you know that the word “gumbo” comes from the West African word “kingombo,” which translates to “okra?” Gumbo is a staple meal when it turns cold, and The Catch has a nice bowl of this heavenly Cajun creation that is sure to satisfy your every craving.

Gumbo recipes first showed up in 1802, but became more popular in the 1970’s when the Cafeteria of the United States Senate added it to their menu in honor of a Louisiana Senator, Allen Ellender. Yeah, we are connoisseurs of all things gumbo!

The Catch offers shrimp, crawfish and sausage gumbo, which comes in two sizes, a cup or a bowl. They start with the same thing all Cajuns do, a rich thick roux, then add what chefs call “The Holy Trinity” – onions, celery, and green peppers. These are always a must for both Cajun and creole cooking. Let’s not forget about the succulent Gulf Coast Shrimp, crawfish, sausage, and spices. Mix, mix, stir, stir, stir…and out comes The Catch’s heavenly gumbo creation, full of flavors and chunky with meats and veggies. Another soup on the menu is the New England Clam Chowder. You can also get Gumbo with a side of cheese grits. At The Boiling Catch (S. Broadway location), Jalapeno Crab Chowder is available too.

Don’t forget to save room for The Catch’s heavenly banana pudding for dessert.

The Catch and The Boiling Catch are fun, family restaurants that have everything seafood-related you could possibly want, from shrimp and crawfish to crab and oysters. Watch their Facebook page to see what seasonal specials are available. Currently, it’s spicy boiled Crawfish!

The Catch is located at 1714 S. Beckham Ave. and 7922 S. Broadway in Tyler (The Boiling Catch), and 551 S. Main St. in Lindale.

Margarita’s Mexican Restaurant

Over on the east side of Tyler, Margarita’s quietly sits on the corner of Clayton St. and Front St., projecting bright Mexican festive decorations and colors, as well as a host to heavenly traditional Mexican foods.

During the winter, their posole hits the spot. Posole is a savory and hearty, rather soupy-type stew made from dried large white corn kernels (hominy), which simmers for hours, and is served up steaming hot and spicy. A ruddy red purée of dried New Mexico chiles give the stew its requisite kick. Traditionally posole is made with stewed pork, cooked slowly to savor all the flavors.

At Margarita’s, it is available in two versions – green and red. The posole is served with shredded cabbage, lime wedges, avocado, onion, cilantro, and, of course, warm tortillas, chips, and hot sauce.

Asado de Puerco is also a great winter dish, featuring pork simmered in red spicy rich sauce, served with rice and beans plus warm tortillas. The Guisado de Puerco Verde is the same thing but in a green sauce. The menu has other soups including the Drunken Soup featuring charro beans and taco meat. Tortilla Soup is also available as well as Colombian Soup, Chicken Baja Soup, and Menudo.

Margarita’s also serves enchiladas, fajitas, chile rellenos, tostadas, sopes, shrimp cocktail, hamburgers, ribeye steak, quesadillas, and tortas.

Joe Banick said, “Margarita’s is a happy, wonderful surprise with really good food, and excellent, friendly service. I always judge a Mexican restaurant by their chili relleno and they passed my test. We’re looking forward to eating here again on our next exploring trip into beautiful east Texas.”

Margarita’s is located at 1327 E. Front St., Tyler. For more info go to margaritasmexfood.com or call (903)593-5954. They are open Monday-Saturday 10:30am-9pm and Sunday 10:30am-5pm. Inside and patio dining is available.

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Around East Texas

Rose City Farmers Market Downtown This Weekend

By Barbara Greenbauer

Everything is blooming, growing, and flourishing in East Texas and it’s time to head back to the market!

Your Saturday mornings can be stupendous with by stopping downtown at the new Rose City Farmers Market location. Opening April 7th and running through the first weekend in November, the market is a neat, unique experience for the whole family.

Located just a block from the Square – in the Unclaimed Furniture parking lot in Tyler (236 S. Broadway),  the market is the place to be bright and early Saturday mornings from 8am-12 noon. Your senses will go wild with the atmosphere of the Rose City Farmers Market.

As part of the Food and Farm Coalition, their goal is to work toward a sustainable food system that meets the needs of both producers and consumers.

The market brings all that’s fresh straight to you: fruits, vegetables, and herbs all grown within 75 miles of Tyler. That includes pasture-raised beef, lamb, pork, chicken, and turkey, free-range/non GMO eggs, and goat cheeses.

Jessica Bullock, Director of the Farmers Market, says “We are excited about the opportunity to connect people with locally grown food in a great community gathering place Downtown.”

The move to downtown makes the market “easily accessible to everyone, which is extremely important to our mission,” explained Jessica. All items sold at market are 100% produced or grown by the vendors. “Everything you’ll see at the market has been grown, baked, or made by the vendors themselves, which may be a surprise to some,” said Jessica.

Eating seasonally is what the market is all about, and when you eat food grown locally, it’s is always harvested at the peak of its season. Local food is also not stored in shipping containers, so it doesn’t spoil or lose health benefits on its way.

Buying food at its peak season also benefits our local farmers because it costs less for producers to harvest and transport and those savings get passed down to you…it’s a huge win/win for everybody!

With the Market opening in April 7th and running through November 17th, every week will be a brand new adventure as the seasons change and different produce are featured. In April, a trip to the market will fill your senses with treasures from East Texas fields like arugula, carrots, kohlrabi, radishes, beets, turnips, strawberries, new potatoes, mustard greens, kale, lettuce, cilantro, onions, swiss chard and parsley.

The market is all about community, so you’ll find something for everyone from fresh bread to flowers, coffee, jams and jellies, and baked goods. Vendors also showcase Texas olive oil, handcrafted art, and Texas fruit wines.

And that’s not all you’ll get to see at the Market. Local musicians will be showcased every Saturday, plus a new exciting addition of rotating food trucks. “We are proud to serve as a venue to some of Tyler’s most talented musicians,” said Jessica. Bring a lawn chair and enjoy the perfect blend of food and music and great weather.

Vendors or members must meet certain goals including being located within 75 miles of the market, providing safe and fair working conditions for all farm workers, organic or natural methods, humanely raised animal products, beef and other grass-eating animals are grass fed, and dairy is rGHB-free. Find out more about becoming a member/vendor at foodcoalition.org.

The market depends on volunteers to set up and break down, help with displays, banners, and lots of behind the scenes work. What a great way to give back to the community! People interested in helping can contact rosecityfarmersmarket@gmail.com.

“We are thrilled to be part of the Downtown scene and to be able to partner with the great small businesses that are part of this growing culture,” said Jessica. “The new location is a perfect fit for the Market and the thriving downtown community.” “We would like to thank Bill & Cecilia Bush of Unclaimed Furniture for the space and the support.”

Bring the family and spend Saturday mornings at the Rose City Farmers Market, located at 302 S. Broadway in Downtown Tyler.

Visit them on Facebook at rosecityfamersmarket.com and foodcoalition.org.

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Food

Warm Weather and a Full Stomach…What’s Better? Fav Patios

Spring and Outdoor Patios Go Hand in Hand:

Where to Eat & Drink Al Fresco This Spring

It’s that time of year – time to celebrate patio season by sitting outside and enjoying a patio. From garden atmospheres to cocktail bars and restaurants with expansive outdoor spaces, these establishments offer al fresco drinking and dining along with the opportunity to soak up some vitamin D.

Whether you are about grabbing a drink or just enjoying a meal and the cool spring atmosphere, Tyler has something for your tastes.

If you are seeking breakfast, brunch, afternoon cocktails, or a nice relaxing dinner, a local patio is a great place to spend the cooler springtime. Before it gets too hot, check out some of our reader’s favorite fun patios in Tyler.

Chuy’s Mexican Eatery (5935 S. Broadway, Tyler (903)509-2489) – Serving “big as yo’ face” burritos and other Tex-Mex dishes, Chuy’s is a great place to unwind after work. The Elvis Green Chile Fried Chicken is to die for. Happy hour specials include drinks and food as well as a free chip bar inside in the bar area. The patio is covered by a palapa and has wind windows and fans which makes it nice year round. Also, large groups can easily sit outside on the patio. Inside is a fun, kitschy, Elvis-heavy setting.

The Catch (1714 S. Beckham, Tyler, (903)596-8226) – The cajun-inspired menu at The Catch brings locals and tourist in by droves and the outdoor patio is a great place to stretch out and enjoy a huge pan of boiled crawfish. This no frills, laid-back seafood restaurant’s covered patio has picnic style tables, ceiling fans and will protect you from the wind and sun. The Admiral’s Platter is great to share family-style at the table. All of the dishes come with huge portions with the plates are piled high. The shrimp po’boy rivals New Orleans with large fresh fried shrimp and remoulade sauce all combo’d to make a great sandwich.

Dakota’s Chophouse (4803 Old Bullard Rd., Tyler, (903)581-6700) – Dakota’s offers choice steaks, seafood and global wines served in sophisticated but never stuffy setting inside, but if you are wanting something more casual, we suggest sitting outside on the lovely patio. Live music makes for an overall enjoyable experience. It doesn’t get better than relaxing at Dakota’s on the patio on a Saturday night. Oysters Rockefeller are some of the best we had.

ETX Brewing Co. & The Porch (221 S. Broadway, Downtown Tyler, (903)630-7720) – ETX Brewery has been open for a while offering craft beers, tables inside, picnic tables outside, and a wonderful atmosphere reminiscent of the Austin vibe. When it’s warm outside, they will open the garage doors to combo the two spaces, making it expansive and open. Now, The Porch, located next door to ETX Brewery is open serving food with a unique menu to accompany ETX’s Brewing’s locally-made craft beers. The menu has classics like build-your-own burgers as well as original creations like the Mac ‘n Cheese Fries (add bacon), Fried Cheese Curds, and The Kitchen Sink: a sandwich on a hoagie with a choice of three meats, two cheeses and sides. The on-site brews are often seasonal so try them all with a “Flight.” We love the Brickstreet Blonde (a classic American blonde ale that is light, crisp, and lightly hopped with a mild maltiness), the Downtown Cherry Brown (a brown ale bearing notes of tart cherry), Hitching Post (a mellow amber ale with a faint caramel influence), and the rich Coffee City Stout (a dark beer made with a little locally roasted coffee and Belgian chocolate).

FRESH by Brookshire’s (6991 Old Jacksonville Hwy., Tyler, freshbybrookshires.com) – FRESH is so much more than an excellent grocery store. Offering a huge patio, live music, an amazing view of the east Texas skyline, plus The FRESH Grill + Patio, FRESH has something for everyone. Live music is every Friday and Saturday starting at 6pm. With the food, drinks, live music, and a great atmosphere, it has become a hangout for foodies and music lovers. It’s a great place to meet friends or bring the family for a relaxing evening. Menu items include gourmet salads, fish tacos, burgers, fries and a kids menu for little Freshies. We love the J’Ville Burger and the Asian Shrimp Tacos. Beer and wine are available for the adults.

The Grove Kitchen & Gardens (3500 Old Jacksonville Hwy., Tyler, (903)939-0209) – “Where all ages can come to play outdoors!” You can dine outside, in the main dining area, or try their barbeque in its own building, The Smoke Shack. Upon entering, you’ll see a large fire pit, lots of trees, and tables of all sizes located all around – some in the shade, some under umbrellas and even some in the sun. There’s comfortable cushioned couch-style seating as well. Most nights there are musicians performing. All of this creates a nice isolated outdoors feeling even though you are still in town. There is also a gated roomy, kid-friendly lawn area for your kids to run off some of that energy.

Stanley’s Famous Pit BBQ (525 S. Beckham, Tyler, (903)593-0311) – Where all the cool kids go! This unpretentious barbecue joint and bar offers open outdoor seating, excellent barbecue, live music, and happy hour Monday-Friday and all day on Wednesdays. The menu has beef brisket, ribs, chicken, turkey and sausage, as well as stuffed potatoes and Frito pie. The famous Mother Clucker (smoked chicken thigh meat with spicy mayo, cheddar and fried egg on jalapeno cheese sourdough) as well as the morning specialty, the Breakfast Brother-in-Law (a grilled hot link with cheese and scrambled eggs on a bun) are good choices. There’s live music six days a week, a list of delicious cocktails, and it is best enjoyed at a picnic table outside in the sun. Stanley’s patio is covered with sunshades to help keep things cool.

Strada Caffe – (302 E. Front St., Tyler, (903)944-7744) – This coffee shop has expanded to evening hours and with that, they are now offering small plates, wine, and craft beers. In the mornings, an Espresso plus a breakfast taquito and the outside patio equal a great combo. In the afternoons, the patio is quite roomy and a good place to unwind after a long day of work. Strada offers breakfast, lunch and small plates at dinnertime, live music sometimes, Sunday brunches, and local art in the caffe. Extra parking is available across the street.

Republic Icehouse (3807 University Blvd., Tyler, (903)504-5860) – This bar and restaurant has a large patio which accommodates both small and large groups with picnic tables and quaint small cafe-style tables. Most nights they have live music inside. There are TV’s everywhere if you are wanting to catch a game. Outside is more quiet and intimate. Republic’s pizzas are great, their burgers are on point, and the beer is always cold.

Rick’s on the Square (104 W. Erwin St., Downtown Tyler, (903)531-2415) – Rick’s features southern seafood and steaks in a vintage, brick-walled space with a patio and live music on weekends. Happy hour daily.

Roast Social Kitchen (1125 E. 5th St., Tyler (903)202-0295) – The eclectic atmosphere and the yummy brick-oven pizzas, chef-inspired specials, small plates, and a full bar is always a great time. Inside the atmosphere is industrial-chic with a touch of cool. Happy hour drinks and food are offered. Roast has a brick oven that produces exceptional pizza, the super-thin variety made from handcrafted dough and fresh ingredients roasted on-site. Outside, the sidewalk cafe-style patio atmosphere is a nice place to sit after dark. This is a great way to spend a spring evening with a cocktail in hand. Our favorite pizza, along with thousands of other’s, is the Bee’s Knees, topped with roasted garlic, a variety of cheeses, sopressata, Italian sausage, local spicy honey and fresh thyme. In the bar, find wine, beer and cocktails on tap, including a favorite, Rose’s Night Out, vodka with rose syrup and lemon for a light effect.

Villa Montez (3324 Old Henderson Hwy., Tyler, (903)592-9696) – The Latin-inspired menu offers seafood and meat dishes, plus comfort classics, all presented in the swanky old-world charm atmosphere of a hilltop mansion. The huge deck is a great place to have a casual meal outside among the treetops. You will not have a care in the world when you leave this expansive balcony style outdoor area. The Chimichurri Steak, sea bass, and margarita shrimp are delicious.

Zoe’s Kitchen – (8926 S. Broadway, Tyler, (903)939-0925) – The great Mediterranean salads, shrimp or beef kabobs, chicken salad sandwiches, lentil soup, Mediterranean chicken plate, and the chocolate cake are always perfect at Zoe’s and sitting outside on the patio is quite lovely this time of year. Be sure to try the fried potato salad, too. The food is always freshly prepared. This hip little place has a cool atmosphere and reasonable prices for delicious healthy food. They have a vegan and vegetarian menu.

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