A CULINARY TOUR
The Dish on Dining in Texas’ Popular Antique Corridor
By Robin Barr Sussman
To explore Antique Weeks this month and next, you’ll need plenty of fuel for the hunt. From quick to leisurely, down home to garden chic, here’s where to eat and drink along the antique corridor, plus a tasty recipe if you decide to pack a picnic.
BLUE WILLOW CAFE
Become one of the first kids on the block to dine at the Blue Willow Cafe, an innovative new eatery in a historic building that once housed the Burton Cafe. Expect mouth-watering farm to table breakfasts with a big city twist, then come back for their inspired lunch and dinner menus. Closed Mondays.
12513 West Washington, Burton, 979-289-0222, www.facebook.com/bluewillowcafetx
THE GARDEN CO. - FEED & FIREWATER
Take a load off at this charming café — a local favorite and go-to for brunch or cocktails. Try the roasted Brussels sprouts, gourmet burger with truffle fries and the watermelon mojito if it’s on the seasonal menu. Gluten-free options available. Lunch, dinner and weekend brunch.
104 West Wantke, Round Top, 979-249-2588, and Schulenburg, 979-743-4677, www.facebook.com/thegardencoroundtop
Quell artisanal Italian cravings at this dreamy space owned by Houston restaurateur Armando Palacios of Armando’s. Expect whitewashed walls, linen-clothed tables, hardwood floors and lots of windows. The menu is a little upscale with light lunches and robust dinner dishes. Think meatballs and polenta with truffle, grilled octopus salad, braised short rib, and rack of lamb. Pizzas and an extensive wine list round out the menu.
204 East Mill, Round Top, 979-249-5171, www.lulustx.com
Another newbie from the Armando’s team, and this one speaks Tex-Mex. On the menu, look for classic tacos, six types of enchiladas, grilled fajitas and the signature queso flameado. Wash it down with the house margarita. Lunch, dinner, and weekend brunch.
102 South Washington, Round Top, 979-249-5181, www.manditos.com
Nearby in Brenham, find the local favorite for old school Texas ‘cue. The sprawling cafeteria-style space offers classic plates and brews in rustic-themed environs. It’s an ideal mid-point stop for road trips between Austin and Houston if the mood for barbecue strikes.
1307 Prairie Lea, Brenham, 979-251-9900, www.nathansbbq.com
PROST ON BLOCK 29
Kick back in this beautifully restored German stone house recently transformed into an intimate wine shop with cheese, charcuterie, breads, veggie snacks and wines by the glass. Great little patio with a fire pit. Open Thursdays through Saturdays.
112 Bauer Rummel, Round Top, 979-249-5981, www.prostonblock29.com
The pioneer in Round Top dining, Bud Royer’s pint-sized cafe lures guests with its comfort food and collection of fresh-baked pies. Burgers and sandwiches (the shrimp BLT is a winner) share menu space with fried chicken, pork chops and substantial salads (try the OMG! Salad). Lunch and dinner.
105 Main, Round Top, 979-249-3611, www.royersroundtopcafe.com and www.royerspiehaven.com (bakery)
Take a break from shopping and visit a winery tasting room. Located in Burton, the casual family- operated winery pours award-winning Texas varietals including Blanc du Bois, Black Spanish, Tempranillo and more. Open daily.
958 FM 1948 North, Burton, 979-289-3858, www.saddlehornwinery.com
SUZIE Q’S SALOON
Escape the festival chaos for an evening in nearby Fayetteville. Expect a classic roadside Old West saloon atmosphere with live music, cocktails, beer and burgers.
1280 East Texas 237, Fayetteville, 979-530-3037,
SOUTHERN FRIED CHICKEN
If you don’t want to wait for a table, pack a picnic. Here’s a recipe inspired by the country fried chicken at Relish Restaurant & Bar. They serve peppery rosemary biscuits that are amazing hot or cold (pick some up!). Visit relishhouston.com.
6 large eggs
3 cups all-purpose flour
½ cup cornstarch
1 tablespoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1 teaspoon black pepper
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 3-1/2 pound chicken, cut into 8 pieces
vegetable oil for frying
In a large bowl, beat the eggs with a pinch of salt. In another bowl, whisk the flour with the cornstarch, garlic powder, paprika, crushed red pepper, 2 1/2 tablespoons of salt and 1 teaspoon of black pepper.
Pat the chicken pieces dry. Line a baking sheet with wax paper. Season the chicken with salt and pepper and dredge in the seasoned flour. Dip the coated chicken in the egg, then dredge again in the seasoned flour and transfer to the baking sheet.
In a large cast-iron skillet, heat 3/4 inch of oil to 360 degrees. Set a rack over another baking sheet. Fry half of the chicken over moderate heat, turning occasionally, until golden brown and an instant-read thermometer inserted nearest the bone registers 165 degrees, about 15 minutes. Transfer to the rack. Repeat with the remaining chicken. Serve immediately.
Yield: 4 to 6 servings