Primary Flavors

Photograph by Beth Puryear

Growing Their Own Wordsworth went gaga over his “host of golden daffodils.” Me, I dig herb gardens, especially the parsley, sage, rosemary, and thyme cultivated by an array of restaurants across Texas. The Eastside Cafe in Austin (2113 Manor Road, 512-476-5858) is famous for its bountiful third-acre backyard garden of green beans, eggplants, beets, and herbs, including fresh basil for pesto ravioli. The raised beds at Hudson’s on the Bend (3509 Ranch Road 620, 512-266-1369), west of Austin, are lush with Cuban oregano, chives, and root beer plants. In Dallas, Arcodoro and Pomodoro (2708 Routh, 214-871-1924) share a kitchen and a garden planted with Tuscan blue rosemary and Italian parsley plus grapevines, roses, and a fig tree brought from the owners’ ancestral estate in Sardinia. Houston’s Boulevard Bistrot (4319 Montrose, 713-524-6922) fills shiny galvanized tubs and pails with lemon verbena, chocolate mint, and lemongrass as well as perky edible flowers. Aries (4315 Montrose, 713-526-4404), also in Houston, has plowed a six-hundred-square-foot bed that produces much of the lettuce, tomatoes, mint, and lavender the restaurant uses. And in Port Aransas, Beulah’s (2001-2 E. Cotter, 361-749-4888) cooks with fresh rosemary, mint, and Mexican tarragon plucked from its tidy garden rows. The last time I ate there, I sat by a window overlooking the well-tended plot. It did my heart good.

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