Patricia Sharpe grew up in Austin and holds a master’s degree in English from the University of Texas at Austin. After working as a teacher (in English and Spanish) and at the Texas Historical Commission (writing historical markers), she joined the staff of Texas Monthly, in 1974. Initially, she edited the magazine’s cultural and restaurant listings and wrote a consumer feature called Touts. Eventually she focused exclusively on food. Her humorous story “War Fare,” an account of living for 48 hours on military MRE’s (Meals Ready to Eat), was included in the anthology Best Food Writing 2002. Many of her stories appear in the 2008 UT Press collection, Texas Monthly on Food. In 2006 her story about being a restaurant critic, titled “Confessions of a Skinny Bitch,” won a James Beard Foundation award for magazine food writing.

Sharpe has contributed to Gourmet, Bon Appétit, Saveur, and the New York Times. She writes a regular restaurant column, Pat’s Pick, for Texas Monthly.

Articles by Patricia Sharpe

You, Me, and Dupuy

Oct 17, 2011 By Patricia Sharpe

I promised I would stop referring to her as “our little Jessica” when I learned that my youthful but quite esteemed colleague, Jessica Dupuy, was going to be the head honcho at a Texas wine dinner coming up at Café Modern, at the Modern Art Museum of…

BC Tavern

Sep 30, 2011 By Patricia Sharpe

HOW PAINFUL MUST IT BE for a restaurant’s owners to admit that the place is kaput? That a once celebrated destination has come to the end of the road and needs to be—gasp—put down? But after cozy Austin restaurant Zoot departed the neighborhood where it had been for…

Ques-o! Ques-o! Ques-o! Three great new Texas cookbooks cut the cheese three different ways.

Sep 13, 2011 By Patricia Sharpe

Tailgate season is upon us. Since a Texan can never have too many recipes for queso and cheese dip, herewith are three magnificently gooey ones from three great new Texas cookbooks published this fall. Fort Worth chef Lou Lambert’s Big Ranch, Big City, cowritten with collaborator June Naylor ($40, Ten Speed Press), is an outgrowth of Lambert’s cooking classes, catering, and two eponymous restaurants, in Austin and Fort Worth. Lambert calls his style “elevated ranch cuisine”; another way to describe it is refined but full of gusto and big flavors. (Lambert and Naylor will be doing book signings and some Central Market cooking classes this fall: Sept 15, A Real Book Store, Dallas; Sept 19, Central Market Fort Worth; Sept 20, Central Market Dallas; Sept 21, Central Market, Austin; Sept 22, Central Market Houston; Sept 23, Central Market San Antonio; Oct 1, Texas Fall Fest, Horseshoe Bay; Oct 13, Market Street, Colleyville; Oct 22, Texas Book Festival, cooking tent, Austin; Oct 29, Fresh, Tyler.) Photograph, left, by Ralph Laurer; used by permission. Seventh-generation-Texan Lisa Fain blogs from her home in New York City under the moniker “the Homesick Texan,” and her sassy, popular website, which centers on how much she misses Texas, especially Texas foods, has now given rise to The Homesick Texan Cookbook ($29.99, Hyperion). (Fain will do book signings on Sept 22, Cookbook Gala, San Angelo; Oct 20, Le Crueset on Lovers Ln, Dallas; Oct 22, Texas Book Festival, at the Capitol, Austin; Oct 24, BookPeople, Austin; Oct 25, Twig Book Shop, San Antonio; Oct 26, Blue Willow Bookshop, Houston.) Journalist Ellen Sweets had the fortune to be a great friend and cooking chum of the late liberal columnist Molly Ivins. Stirring It Up with Molly Ivins: A Memoir With Recipes ($29.95, University of Texas Press) focuses on personal stories and anecdotes but still has plenty of recipes, fancy and plain. (Sweets will do book signings on Oct 23, Texas Book Festival, at the Capitol, Austin; Nov 4, BookPeople, Austin; Nov 13, Savory Spice Shop, Austin.)

Brasserie 19

Jul 31, 2011 By Patricia Sharpe

When early reports on a restaurant sound like a train wreck, I tend to wait for the debris to be cleared. And Houston’s Brasserie 19—a project of two veteran restaurateurs, Charles Clark and Grant Cooper, of Ibiza and Catalan—had clearly jumped the tracks. In the first few weeks, the Brasserie’s…

Marquee Grill and Bar

Jun 30, 2011 By Patricia Sharpe

Many things can be learned by butting heads with other chefs in a reality-TV cooking show. But the biggest lesson is this: If the judges ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy. And what does that translate to in real life? Substitute “clients” for “judges” and you’ve got it. Which is why…

Barley Swine

May 31, 2011 By Patricia Sharpe

It helps if you understand just how small Barley Swine is: thirty-odd chairs along a short bar and around tall tables in a limestone building on a South Austin thoroughfare. It’s so compact that the minute you sit down you become best friends with the strangers on either side of…

Want Something Foodish to Do This Week?

May 31, 2011 By Patricia Sharpe

Big names in Texas chef circles will be starring at three events this week as part of the annual convention of the International Association of Culinary Professionals, in Austin.  The general public can attend this trio of events (which are some of the best of the convention); the rest…

Go for the Paella, Stay for the Flamenco Music

May 18, 2011 By Patricia Sharpe

I didn’t get around to Central Market until four days after their big “Pasaporte España”—“Passport Spain”—extravaganza had started. I’m kicking myself, because I’ve already missed a Spanish wine tasting and a couple of classes that sounded really good. But last Saturday I did stumble on the paella man,…

Tyson Ties for Best Chef Southwest in James Beard Foundation Awards in New York Last Night

May 10, 2011 By Patricia Sharpe

Tyson Cole, who is the force behind the two most innovative Japanese-fusion restaurants in Texas right now, tied for the title of Best Chef Southwest at the James Beard Foundation awards gala in New York City last night. (His co-winner was Saipin Chutima of Lotus of Siam in Las Vegas. ) In his acceptance speech, Cole noted that he was wearing his lucky socks.  Funny, we thought that a chef would have lucky clogs.  If you haven't been to either of his two utterly amazing restaurants, both in Austin and soon to be augmented with another in Houston, read about them here, where we named Uchiko the best new restaurant in Texas, in February 2011. He was the only Texas chef to win a  Beard award this year, although Bruce Auden, of Biga on the Banks in San Antonio, was also nominated in the Southwest category. The Beard awards are generally considered the Oscars of the restaurant world. Here's a complete rundown (winners are noted by an asterisk; semifinalists included too). Be warned, the list goes on f-o-r-e-v-e-r. But if you want to know where to eat the next time you're visiting any of these cities, it's invaluable. (Good luck getting a reservation now.)


Apr 30, 2011 By Patricia Sharpe

PICTURE YOURSELF ON A Mexican-tiled patio as sunlight filters through a rustic roof made of slender wooden latillas. A margarita stands at the ready, droplets of moisture condensing enticingly on the chilled glass. Within arm’s reach on your left is a cast-iron dish piled with chunky guacamole. On your right…

We’re All Iron Chefs in Texas

Apr 19, 2011 By Patricia Sharpe

It was when I was talking to our cover boy, Buffalo Gap Ranch owner Tom Perini, about frying chicken, that I realized something: The common denominator in a good half of the dishes we feature in our April cover story, “Cook Like a Texan,” is a cast-iron vessel. Think…

Scenes From Buffalo Gap Wine & Food Summit

Apr 18, 2011 By Patricia Sharpe

How had six years gone by since I attended the Buffalo Gap Wine and Food Summit? It’s the best of the small-scale wine and food fests in Texas–maybe in the country–and the most scenic, with walk-around tastings under the live oaks behind the Perini Ranch Steakhouse and a…

Smoke It Yourself: Franklin More Crowded Than Ever

Apr 15, 2011 By Patricia Sharpe

Photograph by Jody Horton Talk about the saying, “nothing succeeds like success”: The instant that Austin’s Franklin Barbecue moved into its new, bigger, brick-and-mortar location at 900 West 11th (512-653-1187), it had already outgrown the space. I asked owner Aaron Franklin about this…

How Do YOU Cook Like a Texan?

Apr 13, 2011 By Patricia Sharpe

If I’ve learned one thing in 36 years of writing about food, it’s that everybody’s a critic—and Texans, being naturally ornery, are more opinionated than most. So when we here at the magazine decided to do our April cover story on the topic “Cook Like a Texan,”…

High on Fried Pies at 4000-plus Feet in Marfa

Apr 6, 2011 By Patricia Sharpe

I suppose you could call it a working vacation, but since I’m in Marfa (staying at the Paisano Hotel, loafing around, going to see Donald Judd’s magical aluminum boxes, hanging out at the bookstore), the vacation part seems to have priority. But, still, after dessert today at…

Josh Ozersky Attempts to Make a Hamburger

Apr 3, 2011 By Patricia Sharpe

On Friday, April 1, food writer Josh Ozersky (he composes the Taste of America column for Time magazine and was formerly the editor of New York magazine’s don’t-miss food blog, Grub Street) spoke on the ideal hamburger, the burger of his dreams. He’s entitled. The man wrote the…

Here Are the Texas Finalists in the James Beard Awards

Mar 21, 2011 By Patricia Sharpe

As they say, there’s good news and there’s bad news. The good news is that three Texas chefs are final nominees for the James Beard Foundation awards for Best Chef: Southwest–they are Bruce Auden (Biga on the Banks, San Antonio); Bryan Caswell (Reef, Houston); and Tyson Cole (Uchi, Austin). That’s…

Blood, Bones & Butter: Read It

Mar 4, 2011 By Patricia Sharpe

Gabrielle Hamilton owns Prune Restaurant, in New York. You might have even eaten there. A tiny, awkward place in the East Village. Very much a stop on the food-lover’s circuit. Well, now she’s written a passionate, pull-out-the-stops, utterly intense memoir of her life as a chef, and I cannot…

Uchi the Cookbook Is Absolutely Gorgeous

Mar 1, 2011 By Patricia Sharpe

I don’t usually review cookbooks in this space. I mean, hello, I eat out for a living. But every now and then a cookbook comes along that is such a great read and has such dazzling photography that I can’t put it down. Uchi, the Cookbook is one of…

Just Rename It “Diners, Drive-ins and Pies”

Feb 4, 2011 By Patricia Sharpe

Just got a note from co-owner Lori Horn at Dough Pizzeria: The Food Network show “Diners, Drive-ins and Dives” recently filmed at Dough. Say what??! Dough is the classiest pizzeria I’ve ever been to. Has Diners host Guy Fieri run out of low-life eateries? Or maybe he’s turning over…