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

Top of the Morning

Jan 20, 2013 By Patricia Sharpe

Recipes for the state’s best breakfasts, including empanadas from Joe T. Garcia’s Bakery in Fort Worth, smoked-salmon omelets from benjy’s in Houston, and gingerbread pancakes from Austin’s Magnolia Cafe.

Hot Plates!

Jan 20, 2013 By Patricia Sharpe

Recipe for a great new cookbook: Combine a celebrated chef, a veteran food writer, and an innovative approach to contemporary Tex-Mex; serve.

Southern Comfort

Jan 20, 2013 By Patricia Sharpe

Fabulous fried chicken, marvelous meat loaf, great greens, outstanding okra, perfect pie, and more: where to find our favorite staples of home cooking.

Chef’s On The Rise

Jan 20, 2013 By Patricia Sharpe

—David Garrido Before he became a chef, David Garrido very nearly disappeared into a different profession—a scary thought. He was on a career path in hotel management at the Hilton Hotel University in Houston eleven years ago when friends introduced him to French cooking. From the first minute in the…

Southwestern Ho!

Jan 20, 2013 By Patricia Sharpe

Where to Eat Southwestern in Texas Reata Alpine Cowboy cooking rules, but you’ll find city touches like cream of jalapeño and cilantro soup and smoked-cabrito quesadillas in habanero barbecue sauce. After dinner in the simple wood-floored dining room, check out the sprawling mural of the original Reata, from Giant.

Robert Del Grande, Cafe Annie, Houston.

Jan 20, 2013 By Patricia Sharpe

“In the past few years I have tried to simplify what we do and not trump it up too much. I’ve never strained the sauces—I leave bits of chile in there to give a more rustic look.” Food seems magical to me. The idea that you can take flour, eggs,…

How We Did It

Jan 20, 2013 By Patricia Sharpe

Our 31 researchers were given rigorous training and dispatched to the field with packets of wet ones, bottles of Tums, and a scientific score sheet (the one pictured at right is from the Cove, in San Antonio, whose Texas Burger ranked number five on our list). As soon as the…

Vineyard Hopping

Jan 20, 2013 By Patricia Sharpe

Location: Hill Country What You’ll Need: Road map, spittoon Texas runneth over with wineries; more than 160 are scattered from the Panhandle to the Piney Woods. But for a doable weekend that blends good wine and well-run tasting rooms with wonderful scenery, side trips, varied shopping, and…

Where to Eat Now 2009

Jan 20, 2013 By Patricia Sharpe

How perfect is this: The best new restaurant to open during the Year of Financial Meltdown is located in the lobby of an old Houston bank. What better place to invest your money than in the soul-nourishing flavor combos of chef Michael Kramer’s beautifully composed plates?

State Fare

Jan 20, 2013 By Patricia Sharpe

Even without fancy dressing, this showy Mediterranean-style salad makes a spectacle of itself. Chef Timothy Keating of the Omni Houston Hotel’s La Rèserve restaurant (4 Riverway), created the “intense” salad, as he calls it, for a fundraiser last year on a Hollywood soundstage, where he was “elbow-deep in roasted vegetables,…

State Fare

Jan 20, 2013 By Patricia Sharpe

Salads, they do get weary, wearing that same shabby dressing. And when they get weary, Thai Spice says, try a little tenderloin.

Make Way for Duck

Jan 20, 2013 By Patricia Sharpe

Tired of talking turkey? ‘Tis the season to feast on a bird that’s all it’s quacked up to be—and other dishes created by five of the state’s hottest chefs.

If you’re hungry . . .

Jan 20, 2013 By Patricia Sharpe

Panhandle Cope’s Coney Island, Canyon At Cope’s, the lunch counter with swivel stools will make you nostalgic for the fifties. All-American eats include chicken-fried steak, one-third-pound burgers, barbecue, grilled steaks, and, of course, hot dogs. On Saturdays, chow down on fried catfish and shrimp. 2201 Fourth Avenue, 806-655-1184. Lunch…

The Best of the Rest

Jan 20, 2013 By Patricia Sharpe

• Tell me if this idea is not totally Dallas: a restaurant with a conjoined clothing boutique. At Cretia’s on McKinney, both sexes can peruse trendy garb while the kitchen whips up their food. To be honest, I prefer lunches here because the damage to my pocketbook is less if…

Where to Eat Now 2005

Jan 20, 2013 By Patricia Sharpe

What’s on the menu this year? Not the best new restaurants of all time, perhaps—but you’ll still love the veal shank at 17, the Texas quail at T’afia, the Guinness stout cake at George, and the fusion of French and Mexican cooking at Lanny’s Alta Cocina Mexicana. And don’t forget to order the fish . . . everywhere.

Directory

Jan 20, 2013 By Patricia Sharpe

• Beso, – Closed • Cretia’s on McKinney, 4438 McKinney Avenue, Dallas, 214-252-9300 • El Chile Cafe y Cantina, 1809 Manor Road, Austin, 512-457-9900 • Fireside Pies, 2820 N. Henderson Avenue, Dallas, 214-370-3916 • George, – Closed • Hector’s on Henderson, 2929 N. Henderson Avenue, Dallas, 214-821-0432 • Julia’s Bistro,…

Pit Stops

Jan 20, 2013 By Patricia Sharpe, Eileen Schwartz, Joe Nick Patoski, Katy Vine, John Morthland, Paul Burka, John Spong, Michael Hall, Jane Dure and Christopher Keyes

Where are the best places to eat barbecue in Texas? Six years ago we published a highly subjective—and hotly debated— list of our fifty favorite joints, and now we’ve gone back for seconds. Ten intrepid souls drove more than 21,000 miles in search of 2003’s worthiest ‘cue. Here’s what they came back with: the top 5 and the next 45, plus honorable mentions, great chains, and meat by mail.

PITS: The Encyclopedia Entry

Jan 20, 2013 By Patricia Sharpe

The traditional way to prepare Texas barbecue is in a pit, the more smoke-infused and grease-encrusted the better. The word “pit” harks back to the days when meats were cooked over smoldering coals in an earthen pit or trench, especially for large gatherings. Nowadays, such buried ovens are extremely rare,…

Lockhart: Smitty’s Market

Jan 20, 2013 By Patricia Sharpe

Don’t bother going in the front door. You’ll end up in the parking lot behind the boxy brick building anyway, doing the Smitty’s shuffle: At peak hours, the lines invariably stretch out the back door. Patiently, you inch your way forward, passing the waist-high brick pits and perusing the list…

State Fare

Jan 20, 2013 By Patricia Sharpe

Start your New Year’s Day dinner with ruffles and flourishes—specifically this flaky, frilly tart of filo leaves containing an earthy mix of exotic mushrooms and leeks, from the elegant Conservatory at Dallas’ Hotel Crescent Court. Says executive chef Jim Mills: “Our customers are always surprised by this dish. They tell…

State Fare

Jan 20, 2013 By Patricia Sharpe

Dean Fearing, the guitar- strumming executive chef at Dallas’ swanky Mansion on Turtle Creek, hits all the right notes when he’s in the kitchen. The Eastern Kentucky native and graduate of New York’s Culinary Institute came to Texas in 1979 to explore new frontiers in cooking and ended up…

State Fare

Jan 20, 2013 By Patricia Sharpe

At Austin’s Majestic Diner, co-owner and chef Mick Vann gives the royal treatment to even the simplest entrée. Vann has been cooking for twenty years (the last seven at Clarksville Cafe in Austin), and he still has a knack for the unexpected: whole leaves of spinach in spanakopita and a…

State Fare

Jan 20, 2013 By Patricia Sharpe

This vigorous melding of ricotta, Gorgonzola, Parmesan, and mozzarella cheeses with assertive herbs epitomizes the free-and-easy style of EZ’s, Cappy Lawton’s newest San Antonio restaurant. The Lawtons’ dinnertime joke was, “Let’s go someplace easy,” but few nearby restaurants fit that description. So when the Waitz Model Market relocated, Cappy nabbed…

Watermelon Gazpacho With Passion Fruit Sorbet

Jan 20, 2013 By Patricia Sharpe

Ginger Crisps 1/2 cup butter at room temperature 1 cup sifted powdered sugar 1 teaspoon vanilla extract 1 3/4 cups sifted flour 1/2 cup milk, warmed to room temperature 1/4 cup very finely chopped candied ginger Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Cream butter. Sift sugar…

State Fare

Jan 20, 2013 By Patricia Sharpe

Tempt summer-singed appetites with this breezy Mediterranean combo: a sensational salad and crisp crostini topped with shrimp and goat cheese from Dallas’ Sambuca (2618 Elm). Executive chef Willem De Froy says contrast is the key: “You pile the peppers, which are sweet, on top of the crostini with goat cheese,…

State Fare: Picnic Special

Jan 20, 2013 By Patricia Sharpe

This alfresco feast from Eureka!, a Dallas restaurant and gourmet-to-go emporium (4011 Villanova), can turn a backyard cookout or tailgate picnic into a classy occasion. A grilled chicken breast marinated in lemon and garlic provides this custom menu’s mainstay, with assistance from an emphatic tomato-basil sauce touched with Parmesan.

State Fare

Jan 20, 2013 By Patricia Sharpe

“A chile relleno doesn’t have to be heavy,” says Arnaldo Richards, the owner of Pico’s. That’s why he eschews the usual egg batter and deep frying in favor of fire roasting and marinating. In place of the normal meat filling, he uses nutty-flavored wild rice sparked with raisins, slivered almonds,…

Cava Bistro

Jan 20, 2013 By Patricia Sharpe

BEST CELLAR A lair for urban animals, Houston’s Cava Bistro feels like a wine cellar in a city where basements are as rare as igloos. The place has been open less than three months, but its rustic rock arches look hundreds of years old. By the light of chandeliers with…

Forever Fruitcake

Jan 20, 2013 By Patricia Sharpe

When I was a child, it puzzled me that other families left cookies and milk for Santa Claus. He could have that any day. In our family, my two brothers and I set out a slice of my mother’s homemade fruitcake and a glass of port for the jolly old…

Twelfth Day Cake

Jan 20, 2013 By Patricia Sharpe

This recipe for old-fashioned fruitcake is chock-full of raisins and other natural dried fruits and contains no evil green and red citron. The pecans are a Texas substitution for the original’s almonds.