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

Dive In

Jan 22, 2009 By Patricia Sharpe

Friends began to email back in August, saying, you gotta try this place in Austin named the Good Knight, it’s almost ready for prime time, some things are so good, yada yada yada (is that how you spell yada?). Finally, I went. Yes! First, lower your decor expectations (their ain’t…

Dallas Morning News Has New Restaurant Critic

Jan 21, 2009 By Patricia Sharpe

They’ve got a live one at the Dallas News: Leslie Brenner is going to be the new restaurant critic, starting mid-February. She’s got serious credentials, having been most recently the Sunday magazine editor at the LA Times and prior to that, the newspaper’s restaurant critic. Read more on the DMN…

Earthquake: Jeffrey’s Chef Leaving!

Jan 21, 2009 By Patricia Sharpe

Jeffrey’s owner Ron Weiss is letting the news media know that Alma Alcocer-Thomas is leaving the Austin restaurant, where she has cooked, most recently as exeucutive chef, for sixteen years. The new man at the range will be Deegan McClung, who is now executive chef at Cissi’s Market on South…

Nobody Knows the Truffles I’ve Seen

Jan 14, 2009 By Patricia Sharpe

I think Texas Monthly needs to send me to the Truffle Festival in Eugene, Oregon. Never mind it’s totally for my own benefit and enjoyment. Ohmigod, theyre having truffle dinners (but of course), truffle cooking classes with hubba-hubba chefs, and book signings. Plus, you’re in OREGON! Listen to what…

Who’s Read The Flavor Bible?

Jan 7, 2009 By Patricia Sharpe

I’m having whip-lash over my attitude toward The Flavor Bible, the new book that everybody’s talking about from Karen Page and Andrew Dornenburg (Little, Brown, pub.; $35 new).  I love the chefs’ commentary (includes pithy remarks from two Texans–Sharon Hage of York Street in Dallas, and Monica Pope of T’afia…

Letting Your Geek Flag Fly

Jan 6, 2009 By Patricia Sharpe

And while I was getting exercised over my fat sandwich (below), I was reading The Science of Good Food, a (sort of) new book on kitchen chemistry. If you love Alton Brown‘s Good Eats show (and who doesn’t?), you’ll probably like Science, although Brown’s a whole lot more riduculous…

Down With Overstuffed Sandwiches

Jan 6, 2009 By Patricia Sharpe

When, pray tell, did it become acceptable for nice restaurants to wad up the meat in the middle of the sandwich? I mean, I understand it at an Arby’s. Arby’s has no class. But I just had an (otherwise pretty good) thin-sliced beef and slaw and cheddar “Bevo” sandwich at…

Sunday Night Foodball

Jan 2, 2009 By Patricia Sharpe

You might want to stake a claim to your local TV this Sunday, Jan. 4, at 7 p.m. Central time. That’s when the Food Network will show its “Challenge” program featuring the famous Hico Steak Cook-off, Beef Symposium, and Tourist Trap. I was actually on hand this summer when…

Awww, Good for Them

Jan 1, 2009 By Patricia Sharpe

Wiseman House Chocolates just blows me away. It’s in the little burg of Hico (hie-ko) in north central Texas and it makes fantastic chocolates. Yes, right there, in town. Beautiful bonbons and truffles. Amazing hot chocolate mix, so rich. Now, they’ve been invited to the presidential inauguration. The Texas…

Cool (or maybe it’s Hot) Cookbook

Dec 29, 2008 By Patricia Sharpe

Plate  & Vine is a new online cookbook with recipes from Texas chefs. One neat thing about it is that it automatically adjusts the recipes for the size of your group and it will generate a shopping list, too. It’s from the Wine and Food Foundation of Texas and they…

Las Manitas Truly Gone But Not Forgotten

Dec 23, 2008 By Patricia Sharpe

The beloved scruffy building that housed downtown Austin’s Las Manitas Mexican restaurant is gone–razed Monday by the property owner. Ironically, plans are on hold for constructing a giant Marriott Hotel on the site. Of course, the demolition changes nothing. Las Manitas was doomed anyway and the building’s removal was only…

Baby, It’s Cold Outside

Dec 4, 2008 By Patricia Sharpe

In January, the Gage Hotel, which is one of my all-time favorite romantic destinations in West Texas (well, the rooms in the Los Portales section are, not the ones with the bathrooms down the hall in the historic building–not so romantic running into some unknown dude in his…

Recipe
Pumpkin Custard Pie

Dec 1, 2008 By Patricia Sharpe

I’ve always thought my mother’s pumpkin pie beat all others. It’s light and fluffy, not like the usual boring, flat, brown Thanksgiving pie. The only caveat is that because it’s a custard pie, with eggs and milk, it can puff up and spill in your oven. You will have to…

Gael Force Winds

Nov 26, 2008 By Patricia Sharpe

Perhaps you never hung on every naughty, sensuous word of Gael Greene, who was New York magazine’s head restaurant critic for decades. But lots of us did, and when the news boiled over earlier this week that La Gael had gotten the sack, we were stunned. As one of her…

All Hail King Dean the First

Nov 19, 2008 By Patricia Sharpe

The New York-based Zagat guides have just come out with their latest rankings of hotels, resorts, and spas. What’s number one in the country? Texas’ own Ritz-Carlton Hotel and Fearing’s restaurant, in Dallas. Here’s what the breathless news release says: ‘Rated extraordinary to perfection in each…

Wolfgang Puck Restaurant Coming to Big D

Nov 4, 2008 By Patricia Sharpe

Come January, Dallas is scheduled to get a new revolving restaurant atop Reunion Tower, courtesy of chef Wolfgang Puck. (The Tower is the dandelion-topped building from the opening credits of the TV show “Dallas,” in case you’re not from the city.)  The name of the restaurant hasn’t been announced–in…

Support Your Local Restaurants on Wednesday

Sep 30, 2008 By Patricia Sharpe

As far as I’m concerned, any day is the right day to eat out, but tomorrow–Wednesday, October 1–is especially right. Why? Because some of your dining dollars may help a food bank in your city. The gig is the Go Texan Restaurant Round-Up, a charitable event sponsored by the…

Eat Out, Be Happy, Do Good

Sep 22, 2008 By Patricia Sharpe

I love this idea: Go out to eat on Wednesday, Oct. 1, and be a do-gooder without even breaking a sweat. A whole slew of Texas restaurants are part of the first-ever statewide dine-out day next week. If you visit them on Oct. 1, you’ll be promoting Texas foods…

End of an Era: Austin’s Las Manitas: “Closed.”

Sep 2, 2008 By Patricia Sharpe

When I arrived at work today (the Tuesday after Labor Day), the first words out of editor Evan Smith’s mouth were, “Las Manitas is closed. They’ve hauling the furniture and fixtures out the back and there’s a big sign on the front door that says, Closed Forever.” Forget the Republican…

Coco Chocolate Lounge & Bistro

Aug 31, 2008 By Patricia Sharpe

The nerve. Another reviewer grabbed the Sex and the City image I had intended to use in writing about Coco, the tall, dark, and sensuous bistro that recently opened on San Antonio’s far north side. Now I have to trot out my second-best movie comparison: Moulin Rouge. Actually, they both…

Back to the Future with the Frisco Shop

Aug 21, 2008 By Patricia Sharpe

By the most conservative estimate, my dear departed father ate at the Nighthawk, near the UT campus 18,237 times in his eighty years on this earth. That’s lunch every working day for 35 years (he was a journalism prof), followed by a snack in the middle of the afternoon.

Eating Houston

Aug 11, 2008 By Patricia Sharpe

To hell with Zagat. What you want is The Ultimate Food Lover’s Guide to Houston. A little larger than a pocket book but still handy (at 5″ x 8″), it is a smart, witty, 352-page guide to not only Houston restaurants but the area’s entire food scene. I especially…

Got Pie?

Aug 7, 2008 By Patricia Sharpe

No, it’s not as lucrative as the Pillsbury Bake-off, but it’s not as nerve-racking either. Enter the Driskill Hotel’s first annual Pie Bake-off and you could be the winner of a $500 gift certificate from the historic Austin hotel. Plus, your pie will be famous not just for fifteen…

Blue Humor

Aug 6, 2008 By Patricia Sharpe

Beaver’s Ice House, in Houston, has gone blue with a vengeance. You know Beaver’s, right, it’s Monica Pope’s retro-mod barbecue joint. Seems that the girl has thrown political neutrality to the four winds and is having what she calls “Blue State Tuesdays” there every Tuesday evening from…

Screen Door

Jul 31, 2008 By Patricia Sharpe

Poor June Cleaver would be so confused. The pretty, proper dining room at Screen Door—the two-month-old restaurant at Dallas’s One Arts Plaza—looks as if it could be the Cleavers’ living room. But June would never have served iced tea in a milk bottle. And if there had been daughters in…

New and Noteworthy

Jul 31, 2008 By Patricia Sharpe

Café Zol Houston This charming spot offers an intriguing selection of what it calls “Scandinavian tapas.” The lobster chowder with crawfish and the Exotic House Salad of greens, grapes, and kiwi whetted our appetite for an amalgam of flavors and textures. Give serious consideration to the shrimp in phyllo…

The Boy’s (Soon to Be) Back in Town

Jul 31, 2008 By Patricia Sharpe

Paul Petersen, executive chef of Cafe Cenizo at the Gage Hotel in Marathon, is scouting locations in Austin. So says a trustworthy source. Plans are to develop a second restaurant here in town, with Paul directing both it and the one at the Gage. Fantastic! Read up…

What’s Not To Like About Fruit Bat Soup?

Jul 25, 2008 By Patricia Sharpe

I think it’s weekend silliness setting in, but I am rolling on the floor (well, maybe flopping around on the floor is more like it) after reading the list of attractions for a trip to Palau, including fabulous waterfalls, jungle river-boat cruises, and fruit bat soup! Yes,…

Eating Vancouver–Part 2

Jul 8, 2008 By Patricia Sharpe

I won’t mention the shock to a Texan’s system of seeing several signs in Vancouver for ‘Steamed Burritos.” I mean, I love the city, but are they INSANE in British Columbia? Oh, all right, I didn’t try one (would you?), so how can I criticize? Even so, the whole…

Eating Vancouver

Jun 30, 2008 By Patricia Sharpe

Wouldn’t you know it? I flee Texas for Vancouver, Canada and they’re having a heat wave–gawd, it must have been 90 degrees yesterday. There is no justice. But, still, what a beautiful city. Struck out on a couple of recommended places–don’t bother with Congee Noodle–it’s allegedly an authnetic noodle…

Further Update on Snow’s

Jun 10, 2008 By Patricia Sharpe

In the “Know Before You Go” category, I’m just sayin’ that if you don’t get your pre-order into Snow’s by this Wednesday, June 11, you may come up empty (see post just below this one for details). I talked to Kerry Bexley, the owner (pictured), this morning, and he’s feeling…

Fast Food, Slow Food, It’s All Good

Jun 3, 2008 By Patricia Sharpe

Never let it be said that I missed an opportunity to toot my own horn. Well, and the horns of my colleagues. TM has a new book out–a melting pot with our best food stories of the last decade or so. Now you don’t have to feel guilty about…