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

Jaden’s

Jan 20, 2013 By Patricia Sharpe

Jaden’s formula for success involves equal parts style and sustenance. Totally of the moment, this new Dallas restaurant sports the obligatory slick fifties motifs set off by exposed ductwork and oversized hanging lamp shades. Some nice original art—like the sinuous copper-wire-and-stainless-steel sculpture near the entrance—adds to the equation. As for…

State Fare

Jan 20, 2013 By Patricia Sharpe

From Austin’s new Coyote Cafe (612 W. Sixth) comes the classiest club sandwich you’llever eat, and quite possibly the best. Offered as an occasional special at the Texas spin-off of Santa Fe’s original Coyote Cafe, the sandwich makes some key substitutions: Chile-seasoned grilled swordfish stands in for boring old turkey,…

State Fare

Jan 20, 2013 By Patricia Sharpe

Spinning in its own distinctive orbit, Austin’s Mars has created a stylishly multicultural menu, with Middle Eastern, Pacific Rim, and Mediterranean cooking styles all getting their due. This grilled salmon in a velvety sauce punched up with Japanese horseradish demonstrates how the small, trendy restaurant makes culinary worlds collide. Owner…

State Fare

Jan 20, 2013 By Patricia Sharpe

Chef Stephan Pyles grew up in the food business—his parents owned the Big Spring Truck Stop Cafe—and despite a degree in music and the best intentions, he’s still cooking. With two restaurants in Dallas and two in Minneapolis, Pyles and partner John Dayton have enthusiastically spread the word about Southwestern…

The Porch

Jan 20, 2013 By Patricia Sharpe

What are they doing here, hiding $100 bills in the booths? Spraying Love Potion Number Nine around the dining room? Flashing subliminal messages on the big-screen TVs (“You love the Porch, you must eat at the Porch . . .”)? I ask this in all seriousness, because now that…

Trio

Jan 20, 2013 By Patricia Sharpe

It was the long-ago winter when my family’s two superannuated cats expired right before the holidays that Mother issued a surprising edict: “We’re having Christmas dinner at the Four Seasons this year.” It took three days to pry the reason out of her: She couldn’t bear the thought of…

Well-Schooled

Jan 20, 2013 By Patricia Sharpe

The only fish you can’t eat at Pesce are the sensuous subjects of the still lifes on the walls and the gaudy tropical inhabitants of the big aquarium by the door. If you want to occupy the center stage at this smart Houston seafood house (3029 Kirby), grab a…

Central 214

Jan 20, 2013 By Patricia Sharpe

I don’t know about you, but every time I go out to eat, I say a little prayer to the kitchen gods: “Oh please, oh please, oh please, let there be something fabulous on the menu tonight.” Usually, however, the kitchen gods are out having a smoke in the alley…

The Sandbar

Jan 20, 2013 By Patricia Sharpe

Seldom has the buzz been so great for something so small. After months of anticipation, the Sandbar has finally opened in downtown San Antonio. Does the minuscule urban fish house live up to the hype? Decidedly. Scrunch around one of the seven paper-topped tables and order a sumptuous bowl…

Stagestruck

Jan 20, 2013 By Patricia Sharpe

At Aurora, the key word is “drama.” You step into the small, curtained vestibule of this new Dallas restaurant. The hostess ceremoniously verifies your reservation (“Omigod,” you think. “What if they don’t have my name?”). Then she flings open the draperies to reveal a jewel box of a dining…

Fearing’s

Jan 20, 2013 By Patricia Sharpe

Like a summer blockbuster that’s been anticipated for months, überchef Dean Fearing’s domain at the new Ritz-Carlton in Dallas finally opened for business in mid-August—and how. The seven dining rooms (yes, seven, each with its own ambience) filled up immediately, and the hotel’s Rattlesnake Bar was colonized by the…

State Fare

Jan 20, 2013 By Patricia Sharpe

October in Texas doesn’t always mean cool weather, but it does mean the beginning of quail season. At Anthony’s in Houston, chef Bruce McMillian stuffs the small succulent birds with seasoned wild rice and couscous, roasts them to a turn, and finishes them with a garnet-hued blackberry sauce. Hunters may…

State Fare

Jan 20, 2013 By Patricia Sharpe

The bird on your Thanksgiving table this year should be pheasant—specifically, the savory roast pheasant with garlicky sausage jambalaya dressing from Cheryl and Bill Jamison’s new cookbook, Texas Home Cooking (Harvard Common Press). When Thanksgiving is over, try other recipes—both traditional and modern—from the Jamisons’ eminently readable text, which…

State Fare

Jan 20, 2013 By Patricia Sharpe

Evan Daily wants to improve the environment; so when he opened Evan’s at 3939 Montrose in Houston the week of Earth Day 1990, he took steps beyond using recycled-paper menus and business cards. At Evan’s, organic produce and chemical-free meats are the basis of the meal, not just food for…

State Fare

Jan 20, 2013 By Patricia Sharpe

“We thought about closing Hilltop after we bought it, but we just about had a mutiny on our hands,” says James D. Smith, Jr. He was speaking of the legendary country eating place that Madalene Hill opened 38 years ago in Cleveland, just a few miles from its present incarnation…

State Fare

Jan 20, 2013 By Patricia Sharpe

The ingredients are earthy but the effect is divine in chef Mark Morrow’s rustic anitra arrosto, or roast duck. Morrow’s recipes from Mi Piaci in Dallas (14854 Montfort) do a turn on traditional Italian fare: fresh fowl brushed with honey and balsamic vinegar and slow-cooked creamy polenta, made from simple…

State Fare

Jan 20, 2013 By Patricia Sharpe

When Bruce Pike was 16, he was doing chateaubriand and baked Alaska at the University Club in San Antonio. Now at 31—having migrated through some of that city’s fancier restaurants (including La Buca and Biga)—he is doing his own thing at Luna Notte (6402 N. New Braunfels). “I’m going…

State Fare

Jan 20, 2013 By Patricia Sharpe

Underscoring the “comfort” in comfort food, the Roaring Fork in Dallas (14866 Montfort) has brought classic roasted chicken into the nineties with a dish that’s a breeze to fix and soul-satisfying to eat. Chef Lance Youngs generously bastes the fowl with a lemon-and-honey glaze brightened by thyme and chives. The…

State Fare

Jan 20, 2013 By Patricia Sharpe

Autumn along San Antonio’s Paseo del Rio is truly a season of change—especially at the Zuni Grill (511 River Walk), where chef David James’s revamped menu creates a casual and innovative bill of fare with an intentional nod to the Southwest. But don’t expect a run-of-the-mill chile relleno at Zuni.

State Fare

Jan 20, 2013 By Patricia Sharpe

The cooking of Northern Mexico got its spark from ranching culture, in which food was prepared with indigenous ingredients and cooked over a wood fire; it has long been over-shadowed by the more glamorous and complex cuisine of the South. But former restaurateur James W. Peyton of San Antonio redresses…

Luna Blue Cafe

Jan 20, 2013 By Patricia Sharpe

MOONSTRUCK “Luna” means “moon” in Italian and Spanish, but San Antonio newcomer Luna Blue Café will be on my must-visit list way more often than once in a blue moon. To begin with, the service at this bright, light ristorante is excellent—the waiters watched our table like hawks, and the…

Steamed Mussels With Chorizo Sausage

Jan 20, 2013 By Patricia Sharpe

Crostini Use any rustic style bread, such as ciabatta or sourdough. Slice bread and brush with extra virgin olive oil. Either grill or toast bread slices. Rub garlic cloves into hot bread. Mussels 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil 16 to 18 Prince Edward Island mussels, cleaned with beards…

Season’s Eatings

Jan 20, 2013 By Patricia Sharpe

When we asked chef Bruce Auden of San Antonio's Biga on the Banks to create a festive holiday feast, he served up a menu with some delicious twists on tradition.

Fish Cooked In Paper

Jan 20, 2013 By Patricia Sharpe

Pescado Empapelado al Diablo (Fish Cooked In Paper With Devil’s Sauce.) One of the most relaxing places on Oaxaca’s coast is the picturesque Lagunas de Chacahua. At the restaurant Los Delfines de Chacahua, owner Juana Ramírez says that this is the most popular dish she serves. The “paper” used is…