Saturday, June 6, 2009

Dueling Editions

Saveur and Bon Appetite arrived the same day last week. One is all "The Texas Issue!" as if that was a good thing. It's not. Texas has more bad food per capita than any other state that I can think of. If they'd make it "The Louisiana Issue!" they'd a been onto something.

Let us examine the "classic" chicken-fried steak which is a piece of beef that's had the hell beat out of it, then dredged in flour, then a milk and egg mixture and then flour again and fried until cirsp. Think: wallpaper paste-crusted steak. The accompaniment is thick white gravy, ladled generously over the poor old beat-up beef.

In Texas they savor Tex-Mex (too mild to be commented on here -- don't they have any hot chilis in Texas?) and they put tomatoes and beans in their chili. That is, quite frankly, an abomination. Chili is pure meat, spices and a little onion -- maybe some chopped green pepper if the cook is feeling frisky.

They eat waffles. Waffle Houses are strewn across Texas with an abandon not seen since Starbucks. We were having breakfast in one (Richie's idea, not mine) and asked the little 17 year old waitress (a good five months pregnant) what time it was and she said, "Oh, honey, I don't have a watch no more; my no-good sister done stole it to buy dope." Which is one good thing about Texas restaurants -- the female servers (and they are all women) always have a story. Can't remember the town, but one of ours actually sat down with us in the booth and bewailed the actions of her drunken daughter! Really, you get much more than just food down there.

Texans can often, however, grill up a good steak. That's when they keep portions reasonable. We ate once at a restaurant in Huntsville, Tx. that served 32 oz. steaks which were so big they hung off the large plate edges. A group of beefalos roamed in and all six of them ordered it. I edged my chair away, fearing for the floor.

That's what's bad about Texas -- if "some" is good, then by God, a ton of it will be better.

The only exception that I can think of is The Club, a restaurant in Beeville, Tx. I look forward to eating there every time. They serve Cajun food.

No comments: