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

Spirits of the Times

Jun 29, 2009 By Patricia Sharpe

My good friends at Fino, Lisa and Emmett Fox, have fully embraced the cocktail craze. They’ve persuaded their chef at Fino, Jason Donoho,and mixologist Bill Norris to whip up a four-course dinner with courses matched to cocktails. Throughout the meal, Jason and Bill will discuss the philosophy behind the pairings.

What Will They Have In There, A Sam’s Warehouse?

Jun 24, 2009 By Patricia Sharpe

Cooper’s Barbecue is  building the behemoth of barbecue joints in Fort Worth. It’s beyond gigantic–this meat market will be 23,000 square feet! And it’s not like Fort Worth lacks for places to eat brisket and ribs, either, what with Angelo’s and the Railhead, to mention just a few.  My friend…

Spam? From Bleh to Wow

Jun 18, 2009 By Patricia Sharpe

I’m a little late in posting this, but you gotta read Alison Cook’s blog post on the SpamWow! at Beaver’s bbq/etc. joint in Houston. Even if the very thought of the stuff makes you bilious–as it does me–Alison’s take on the, dare I say, resurgence of Spam is…

Pop Culture

Jun 15, 2009 By Patricia Sharpe

I’ve been trying to come up with a good description for the “whimsicles” that I tasted last week, and I think I finally have it: frozen cheesecake bites on a stick. OK, OK. That’s pretty clunky. But it tells you what it’s like to nibble on one of…

Chili’s Founder Norman Brinker Dies

Jun 9, 2009 By Patricia Sharpe

Norman Brinker, 78, the Dallasite who founded Chili’s, died Tuesday while on vacation in Colorado Springs. Whether or not his many restaurants–Chili’s, Bennigan’s, Steak & Ale–were my cup of tea, I certainly acknowledge the influence he had on Texas restaurant scene and the enormous respect and affection with which he…

Too Bad About Bobby Flay’s Lapse Into Insanity

Jun 9, 2009 By Patricia Sharpe

Have you seen the latest Food Network Magazine (June/July)? It’s all about burgers, and in it (page 78), they’ve got Bobby Flay’s recipe for something they call the “Dallas Burger.”   What were they smoking when they thought up that recipe? The monstrosity has ancho chile powder, Spanish paprika,…

First Look at Garrido’s, Austin

Jun 8, 2009 By Patricia Sharpe

Yes! Yes indeedy. Had a light dinner at David Garrido’s casual new interior Mexican/taco/small-plate venue Sunday night, and I will be checking it out again soon. Oyster nachos (almost identical version to the one chef-owner  David Garrido made famous at Jeffrey’s)–yum! Crabmeat guacamole, lush, lavish, and delish. Lamb “pops” in…

Words to Savor

Jun 4, 2009 By Patricia Sharpe

Oh, I meant to post this on Sunday, but you can still find this great round-up of cookbook reviews from the New York Times online. It mentions eleven books, all of which sound great, including one co-authored by my friend Paula Disbrowe (Real Cajun: Rustic Home Cooking From…

First Look at Walton’s on W. Sixth

Jun 2, 2009 By Patricia Sharpe

Everybody’s been stopping me in the hall and asking if I’ve been to Walton’s Fancy & Staple at 609 W. 6th. Well, no, not until today. Lunch. Verdict: Cute place, great candles & flowers (it’s a florist, too), nice displays, feels good inside to sit at a little…

Baby Uchi Announces New Location

May 11, 2009 By Patricia Sharpe

It won’t be open for  a year, but the son of Uchi (“Uchiko”) is going to be at 4200 Lamar. Hooray–close to my house, or sorta close.  It will be in an existing building on the west side of the street (the old Seton Hospital office building) that is being…

The IQ & Cooking Connection

Apr 21, 2009 By Patricia Sharpe

I love the New York Times Science section. Love it. Not that I can understand a tenth of the technical articles, but the health stuff is always good, and so are the social science features. Today there’s a Q&A with a scientist who says that the reason prehistoric human beings…

Almost Too PC for Me, But It’s Still Chocolate . . .

Apr 20, 2009 By Patricia Sharpe

Has anybody tried Shaman Chocolates? It’s a company out of California that says it gives all proceeds from sales to support the Huichol Indians  (the Huichols being a tribe living in central western Mexico, in the Sierra Madres, said to maintain their pre-Columbian traditions intact). The chocolate used by…

Great Excuse for a Trip To Lockhart

Apr 9, 2009 By Patricia Sharpe

Photographer extraordinaire Wyatt McSpadden will be signing copies of his new book, Texas BBQ, at Kreuz Market in Lockhart on this Saturday, April 11, from 11 to 2. You can buy one there, and then get grease on it with some of Kreuz’s equally amazing ‘cue. You…

How to Eat Well in Hard Times

Mar 31, 2009 By Patricia Sharpe

It’s easy, really. Just go get yourself some shrimp tacos, a beef-and-cheese cachapa, grilled pork with green papaya, fried chicken, gourmet Frito pie, or any of the 25 finds on this list of my favorite dishes in Texas under ten bucks.

A Chocolate Weekend in Austin–Crazy Stuff

Mar 27, 2009 By Patricia Sharpe

Real live women painted in chocolate! A life-sized chocolate stiletto heel!!! A chocolate necklace!!! A handbag made of chocolate cake . . . and more crazy chocolate stuff, all  for charity. This Friday and Saturday evenings at the Domain shopping mall in Austin, a silent auction of the items mentioned…

Farmhouse Delivery

Mar 13, 2009 By Patricia Sharpe

Two bags of incredibly fresh produce just  arrived on my desk. Not being able to eat several pounds of greens and radishes and fennel myself, i put out an email to the staff (AKA the Devouring Horde). The stuff was gone in 60 seconds–no, 30 seconds. The produce came from…

Attention Coneheads

Mar 13, 2009 By Patricia Sharpe

Just got an announcement: The Mighty Cone food trailer is having its opening day this Saturday all day (from 11 to 11) at 1603 S. Congress, that’s the southeast corner of  Congress & Monroe.  TMC is a food truck from Hudson’s on the Bend, selling Hudson’s signature hot ‘n’ crunchy…

Tributes to Matt

Mar 11, 2009 By Patricia Sharpe

These tributes to well-loved Dallas restaurateur and native Austinite Matt Martinez, Jr., who is ill with brain cancer and has entered hospice care, come from other blogs in the Dallas area.  Fort Worth journalist June Naylor wrote, “[Matt’s dad] Matt Sr. taught my mom to make his famous shrimp enchiladas…

Matt Martinez, Jr., Is in Hospice Care in Dallas

Mar 11, 2009 By Patricia Sharpe

Matt Martinez, Jr., the scion of the family that founded Austin’s El Rancho in the 1950s and who himself went on to establish Matt’s Rancho Martinez in Dallas, in 1987, has entered hospice care, in Irving. He has brain cancer and has taken a turn for the worse. The information…

Wine A to Z

Mar 9, 2009 By Patricia Sharpe

If you’re new to wine, don’t know all the arcane terms, feel intimidated, here’s a good way to learn a little. The Wine and Food Foundation of Texas does great informal classes that take the mystique out of the subject. There’s one in Austin this Thursday, March 12,…

Texans: Read It and Weep

Feb 26, 2009 By Patricia Sharpe

A sauce company in MAINE won a bunch of awards in a TEXAS barbecue contest. Gawd help us! Even worse, the products had names like Pixie Dust, Chick Magnet Rub, and Cow Bell Hell Rub. I am mortified. (The competition was the 18th Annual National Barbecue Association’s Conference & Expo,…

Cafe Annie Is Changing Its Name!

Feb 26, 2009 By Patricia Sharpe

After 28 years as the grande dame of Houston dining, Cafe Annie is moving and changing its name! (It’s like Queen Elizabeth II deciding she’s going to go by Lizzie the Queen 2.) When its new location is opened (around early May), Cafe Annie will divide like an…

Cluck Cluck Cluck

Feb 25, 2009 By Patricia Sharpe

The Counter Cafe, in Austin, has the most incredible chicken burger. They only offer it once a week, usually on a Monday, Tuesday, or Wednesday.  So you need to be sure it’s chicken-burger day before you go. And don’t try to go right at noon, because it’s a teensy weensy…

La Condesa–Could Be the New Hot Thing

Feb 25, 2009 By Patricia Sharpe

If times weren’t so darned tough, I’d predict that La Condesa was going to take off like a rocket. I mean, the space is crazy contemporary, the drinks are awesome, the food is by and large excellent (based on, oh, about eight apps and dishes). The only thing…

James Beard Award Semifinalists Announced

Feb 13, 2009 By Patricia Sharpe

Chefs and restaurateurs wait for the James Beard Awards like movie actors wait for the Oscars. An award from the James Beard Foundation means gold for your resume and probably (if times were a little better right now) a salary bump. Today, the Beard Foundation announced the…

Kent Rathbun’s Latest

Feb 12, 2009 By Patricia Sharpe

News flash: Big-time Dallas chef Kent Rathbun is going casual. On Feb. 23, he will open Rathbun’s Blue Plate Kitchen at 6130 Luther Lane, 214-890-1103. He says it will feature the kinds of dishes he ccoks for the family, and that he grew up eating himself. Hmmmmm. I’m…

Sweets to the Sweet

Feb 9, 2009 By Patricia Sharpe

Maybe you know someone who adores cookbooks. For Valentine’s, get them Dallas Classic Desserts, a new, beautifully photographed little tome from Pelican ($15.95–but it’s actually already on Amazon for less!). Here’s some of what’s in it: a Valrhona chocolate bar from Bijoux restaurant; a blueberry cobbler with lemon-verbena frozen yogurt…

Candy Is Dandy, But Liquor Is Quicker

Feb 7, 2009 By Patricia Sharpe

Get high on Valentine’s–SXUL Chocolates (yes, their real name) has introduced a chocolate-flavored vodka in sexy black bottles. The company already markets irresistible bonbons, which I have tasted and can vouch for. If you want to try either the spirits or the sweets, check out the Spec’s liquor…

It’s a Tropical Eat Wave

Feb 6, 2009 By Patricia Sharpe

I’ve been eating my way through a ton of ethnic restaurants for a story we’re doing. One of the highlights of my Houston trip was the Banana Leaf, a roughly six- or eight-month-old Malaysian cafe way out west on Bellaire Boulevard. It has split-bamboo-lined walls, giving it a bit of…