Patricia Sharpe's Profile Photo

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.

Food & Drink |
January 20, 2013

PITS: The Encyclopedia Entry

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,

Food & Drink |
January 20, 2013

Lockhart: Smitty’s Market

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

Food & Drink |
January 20, 2013

State Fare

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 me,

Food & Drink |
January 20, 2013

State Fare

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 pioneering

Food & Drink |
January 20, 2013

State Fare

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

Food & Drink |
January 20, 2013

State Fare

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

State Fare |
January 20, 2013

State Fare

Stephan Pyles’ sweet mascarpone polenta has a corn-ucopia of flavor.

State Fare |
January 20, 2013

State Fare

Be the king of all that you sorbet with a passion-filled dessert from Anthony's in Houston.

Recipe |
January 20, 2013

Watermelon Gazpacho With Passion Fruit Sorbet

Ginger Crisps1/2 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 gingerPreheat oven to 325 degrees. Cream butter. Sift sugar again and beat with butter until smooth.

State Fare |
January 20, 2013

State Fare

At Houston’s La Réserve, you can have yourself a merry little Christmas tree—for dessert.

Food & Drink |
January 20, 2013

State Fare

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,

Food & Drink |
January 20, 2013

State Fare: Picnic Special

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. A

Food & Drink |
January 20, 2013

State Fare

“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,

Pat's Pick |
January 20, 2013

Cava Bistro

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

Pat's Pick |
January 20, 2013

Forever Fruitcake

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

Recipe |
January 20, 2013

Twelfth Day Cake

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.

State Fare |
January 20, 2013

State Fare

Some dishes are so harmonious that they practically sing, and this creation from chef Mynetta Cockerell at Marty’s WineBar in Dallas is one of them. Served in the small, cozy restaurant located at the front of the wineshop, the dish involves variations on the themes of garlic, ginger, and sesame.

State Fare |
January 20, 2013

State Fare

How did the chefs at Dallas’ French Room whip up such a delicious cake? Choc it up to creativity.

State Fare |
January 20, 2013

State Fare

As Valentine’s Day desserts go, this one from Houston’s Houstonian Hotel takes the cake.

Food & Drink |
January 20, 2013

State Fare

After Bruce and Susan Molzan bought the Ruggles Grill four years ago, they revitalized the menu at the sleepy Montrose landmark with his brash cooking style and her luxurious desserts. Both Molzans are graduates of the prestigious Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, New York, and their approaches to

Pat's Pick |
January 20, 2013

Hattie’s

MAD FOR HATTIE’S On my first visit to Hattie’s, a brand-new restaurant in Dallas’ Oak Cliff area, I ordered the prosciutto-wrapped figs stuffed with Maytag blue cheese and walnuts just because the combo sounded different. Wham! Salty, sweet, pungent—this was no appetizer to trifle with. Hmmm. How to mellow out

Food & Drink |
January 20, 2013

Burning Pear

HOT TOPIC When you hear the name the Burning Pear, I challenge you not to think of British funnymen Peter Cook and Dudley Moore’s classic skit about a restaurant called the Frog and Peach (“There’s only two . . . dishes, really,” Cook says to Moore. “There’s frog à

Food & Drink |
January 20, 2013

State Fare

Some like it hot; Texans like it hotter. That’s why Carl Walker, the chef at Brennan’s in Houston (3300 Smith), branded his barbecued shrimp with black pepper and poblano chiles. Double-daring the Southwest palate, he paired the shrimp with his spicy version of a down-home favorite. “I wanted to make

Food & Drink |
January 20, 2013

7

The restaurant’s sign—a giant white “7” set against a marine-blue background—is —an enigma. But here’s a hint: Think “seven seas.” Located in a small, unfussy space —on South Congress, 7 brings Austin diners a daily-changing menu of pristine sea creatures from around the world. The storefront, formerly occupied by

Recipe |
January 20, 2013

Dutch Babies

There are innumerable recipes for these baked pancakes, varying the ratio of eggs to flour and the cooking temperature and time, so feel free to experiment. The finished product is actually quite similar to Yorkshire pudding (minus the beef drippings) or to popovers. Besides the traditional topping of lemon juice

Web Exclusive |
January 20, 2013

Oh, Baby!

When you tire of oatmeal and toast, head to Fort Worth for a special breakfast treat.

Food and Drink |
January 20, 2013

Cocina Confidential

What did I do when I wanted to indulge my weakness for cooking classes? I put San Miguel de Allende on the menu.

Food & Drink |
January 20, 2013

State Fare

Neil Doherty, the executive chef at the Marker in Houston’s Adam’s Mark Hotel (2900 Briarpark Drive) was something of a child prodigy. By 21, he was already a head chef in his native Ireland, where he learned the value of cooking with local ingredients such as seaweed and nettles. He

Food & Drink |
January 20, 2013

State Fare

Tacos go uptown in the hands of Dean Fearing. All it takes is a little lobster, jalapeño-spiked cheese, fresh spinach, and Fearing’s snappy yellow-tomato salsa. This new, beautifully photographed compendium by Arlene Feltman-Sailhac focuses on nine masters of Southwestern cuisine. Other Texas chefs spotlighted are Robert Del Grande of Houston’s

Pat's Pick |
January 20, 2013

Blowfish

Fishing Expedition Blowfish is blowing my mind. I’m sitting in this jazzy, five-month-old sushi bar in an Arlington strip center looking at a menu that’s as up-to-date as anything in Dallas or Houston. You want pure raw fish? A wide array is offered—tuna, yellowtail, eel, conch, plus specials like Hawaiian

State Fare |
January 20, 2013

State Fare

Hungry for shrimp? Use your noodle—udon, preferably—and head for Citizen in Dallas.