Our favorite local eateries offer more than just comfort food during challenges times…they offer community. Join our editors Lance Avery Morgan in Austin, Cynthia Smoot in Dallas, Jennifer Roosth in Houston, and Eleanora Morrison in San Antonio as they share their sensational statewide recommendations that are must-tries right now.
BAKED TO PERFECTION
Gorgeous and fun donuts, macarons, and other sweet treats? Sign us up at OMG Squee. In shapes ranging from pandas to Lizzo, and in flavors ranging from Thai tea to churro and beyond, we can’t get enough of this hipster bakery. At SqueeClub.com.
Can there be too much barbecue in one state? Nope. The Texas favorite always seems to have a new spin placed on it. From the legendary Mueller barbecue family, La Barbecue offers the best and most mouth-watering entrées ever to quench your taste buds. At LaBarbeque.com.
NOW THAT’S ITALIAN
Italian food emporium and Manhattan favorite, Eataly, has opened in NorthPark Center. The 46,000 square foot store and restaurant is comprised of over 10,000 local and Italian products, three restaurants, and one cooking school (which will be virtual to start), all inspired by the diversity of Italy’s regional cuisines. At Eataly.com.
DOWN ARGENTINE WAY
Chimichurri, new in the Bishop Arts District, features traditional Argentinian specialties, including grilled meats served in the Asado style, empanadas, pizzas, choripáns (chorizo sandwiches), and dulce de leche. The design elements include recycled wine bottle chandeliers, colorful murals, and memorabilia from the movie Evita. At ChimichurriBishopArts.com.
Encina offers a deliberate focus on seasonality and fresh ingredients. Highlights include the Devils on Horseback appetizer with dates, blue cheese, bacon, and apple butter; a Reuben Flatbread with pastrami, swiss, sauerkraut, and pickle dressing, and a Lamb and Pork Bratwurst served with green chili hominy grits and apple mustard. The wine program is well priced as well. At EncinaDallas.com.
WELL, HELLO THERE
Xin Chao, which means hello, is the new eatery that is a collaboration of MasterChef winner Christine Hà and Tony J. Nguyen, bringing Vietnamese and Viet-Texan dishes to Houston like no other can. We recommend the braised pork and crispy rice, and the flat rice noodles with a smoked beef rib. At XinChaoHTX.com.
NOW, FOR SOMETHING SWEET
The Sugar Room is the new cocktail bar to be seen in these days. Not only does it double as a doughnut destination during the day, look for the glitzy drinks that are garnished with edible gold and glitter in the evenings. Try the Jetsetter, which pairs gin, basil, cucumber, and ginger with spicy popping boba. At SoClutchGroup.com.
Arnaldo Richards’ Picos has joined the popular food distribution platform, Goldbelly, announcing a wide variety of selections from their menu available now to ship nation-wide. The menu features an assortment of seventeen dishes, sides and sauces representing Mexico’s seven culinary regions. The sweet additions include homemade Dulce de Leche sauce and dessert tamales, including pineapple and raisin. At Picos.net.
MEANWHILE, BACK AT THE BAR
Slated to open in February in a 100-year-old building in the King William Historic District, thanks to restauranteur Roger Herr, who has returned to his San Antonio roots, Bar Loretta is sure to be a winner. Dial-in fellow San Antonian, Paul Petersen, who takes the helm in the kitchen with French-technique-inspired cuisine, and we expect this new endeavor to be a colossal hit. At BarLoretta.com.
Cuishe Cocina Mexicana recently opened two San Antonio locations, Stone Oak and downtown, and is entertaining guests by presenting the rich culture of Central Mexico with a menu that offers authentic flavors using locally sourced ingredients. They are also introducing their concept, Mexologia, a unique way of incorporating traditional Mexican heritage and flavors into their spirits and cocktail menu. At CuisheMex.com.
An exploration of gastronomic art inspired by the creative legacy of Frida Kahlo, Frida is a reservation-only, live entertainment dining concept brought to San Antonio by two Northern Mexican families, the Davils and the Vizcarras. Chef Sofia Sada has created an original menu of Mexican flavors with her own unique flair that has made this spot a must-dine. At FridaRestaurantSA.com.