PHOTO GALLERY: Eating Our Way Through Texas

 

My Top 5 Bites in Texas (described in 3 words)!

For our summer vacation this year we decided to take a road trip through Texas. We started in Dallas and ended in Austin, with stops in Fort Worth, San Antonio, and Waco along the way. The heat was otherworldly, hitting a record 109 degrees during the Texas Rangers baseball game we attended. We met the owner of Vitek’s BBQ in Waco, and while we didn’t find a family connection to my husband’s Vitek side, we took some T-shirts back home to his family. We enjoyed wine tasting all over the state and filled up on plenty of the standard barbecue and Tex-Mex fare, but also leapt out of our comfort zone with a few local delicacies like antelope, elk, and a bacon-wrapped hot dog. Here are our favorite eats in the great state of Texas.

 

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#5 — Rabbit-Rattlesnake Sausage: Spicy. Herbaceous. Unique.
at Lonesome Dove Bistro, Fort Worth

 

 

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#4 — Famous Gut Pack: Hearty. Saucy. Flavorful.
at Vitek’s BBQ, Waco

 

 

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#3 — Pork Picoso Tamales: Sizeable. Fiery. Meaty.
at Mi Cocina, Fort Worth

 

 

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#2 — Green Chile Pork Taco: Well-constructed. Jam-packed. Fresh.
at Torchy’s Tacos, Austin

 

 

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#1 — Buffalo Filet Mignon: Crusted. Lean. Tender.
at Y.O. Ranch Steakhouse, Dallas

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PHOTO GALLERY: Eating Our Way Through Charleston

 

My Top 5 Bites in Charleston, South Carolina (described in 3 words)!

My husband and I celebrated our 7th wedding anniversary this year by road tripping around Savannah, Georgia, and Charleston, South Carolina. With only one night in Savannah, we didn’t have too many opportunities to eat, but our favorite was dinner at the historic Olde Pink House. Along backroads we found local breweries, beach shacks serving Lowcountry cuisine, and much more. This list is dedicated to all the rich, sumptuous Southern food we savored in the lovely city of Charleston — and trust me, it was difficult narrowing it down to only five dishes!

 

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#5 — Frogmore Stew: Steamy. Succulent. Hands-on.
at Bowens Island Restaurant

 

 

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#4 — Local Clams Stuffed with Deviled Crab: Creamy. Juicy. Spicy.
at McCrady’s Tavern

 

 

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#3 — Chopped Brisket Sandwich: Tender. Smoky. Vinegary.
at Home Team BBQ

 

 

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#2 — Ricotta Gnocchi alla Bolognese: Pillowy. Meaty. Saucy.
at FIG

 

 

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#1 — Sunrise Shrimp & Grits: Packed. With. Flavor.
at Poogan’s Porch

Proof Is in the Pie: Mini Key Lime Pies

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I grew up in the Florida Keys eating my fair share of key lime pie. And I’m pretty particular when it comes to this tart treat — no green pie filling for me, thank you. It’s sometimes difficult to find a recipe that delivers the perfect sweet-tart mixture. And while this one adds its own twist (read: cream cheese), these mini pie-lets hit that ideal sweet-citrus spot in a creamy, unique way. I suppose breaking tradition every now and again can have its perks.

 

Mini Key Lime Pies
Makes about 24

Ingredients
Crust
1 ½ cups graham cracker crumbs (about 10 full sheets)
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1/3 cup granulated sugar

Filling
4 ounces cream cheese, softened
4 large egg yolks
1 (14-ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
½ cup key lime juice (I use Nellie & Joe’s Famous Key West Lime Juice)
Garnishes: lime slices and whipped cream

 

Directions
Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Line two 12-count muffin pans with liners.

To make the crust, put graham cracker sheets in a food processor/blender to make crumbs, or crush them in a Ziploc bag using a rolling pin. Mix the graham cracker crumbs, melted butter and sugar together in a bowl with a rubber spatula until you get a coarse, sandy mixture. Press a tablespoon of the mixture into each muffin liner, pressing down to compact the crust. Then pre-bake crusts for 5 minutes and remove from oven.

To make the filling, use a large bowl and a handheld/stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment. Beat the cream cheese on high until smooth, about 1 minute. On medium-high speed, beat the egg yolks, scraping down the sides of the bowl occasionally. Then on high speed, beat the condensed milk and lime juice until it’s all combined.

Use a tablespoon to pour the filling evenly over each crust. Bake 15-16 minutes until the centers of the pies slightly jiggle. Cool the pies on wire racks until completely cool and then refrigerate for at least 2 hours and up to 1 day. Serve chilled pies with whipped cream.