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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

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…

State Fare

Jan 20, 2013 By Patricia Sharpe

Treebeards does lunch. Not the hasty post-modern “Let’s do lunch” but the leisurely traditional “Will you join me for lunch?” Inside the flagship Market Square location (315 Travis) in Houston, ceiling fans waft a breeze across baskets of fresh produce while customers queue up to peruse the possibilities: shrimp étouffée,…

Peas Be With You

Jan 20, 2013 By Patricia Sharpe

This farm-to-table feast will make you thankful for the Texas growers who still work the land and for at least one hip chef who gives new life to the fruits and vegetables of their labor.

State Fare

Jan 20, 2013 By Patricia Sharpe

Grains, greens, and wild game form a partnership in this power lunch from Dakota’s (600 N. Akard), an urban enclave deep in the heart of downtown Dallas. Dakota’s bills itself as a new American grill, its menu running the gamut from homey to nouvelle. Executive chef Jim Severson is particularly…

State Fare

Jan 20, 2013 By Patricia Sharpe

Venison is the name of the game in this stylish take on a Texas classic from Hunter’s Moon in Fredericksburg. Partners and chefs Cynthia Castleberry and Alan Hirsch embellish the lean meat with a lush demiglace-based sauce incorporating cranberries, pistachios, ginger, and sherry. The final kick comes from the judicious…

State Fare

Jan 20, 2013 By Patricia Sharpe

Sweetbreads are a rarity at most restaurants, but executive chef Raymond Tatum has made the rich organ meat his signature dish at Austin’s talked-about 612 West (612 W. Sixth). “People tell me that I make the best sweetbreads,” Tatum says. “And personally I really like them. It’s only human instinct…

Franco File

Jan 20, 2013 By Patricia Sharpe

The best French restaurant in Texas is in San Antonio? Mais oui. And around the state, there are others that are très bon as well.

State Fare

Jan 20, 2013 By Patricia Sharpe

Don’t judge Cuisine Actuelle by its pictures. The glamorous cookbook, written by Victor Gielisse, the chef at Dallas restaurant Actuelle (the Crescent, 500 Crescent Court), might well daunt the quotidian cook. But, in fact, most of its 150 recipes are as easy as pie. Rich, heavy sauces are conspicuous by…

The Shuck Stops Here

Jan 20, 2013 By Patricia Sharpe

Whether you plan to buy tamales or make them from scratch this holiday season, here's everything you need to know about these simple (and simply delicious) gift-wrapped treats.

State Fare

Jan 20, 2013 By Patricia Sharpe

One brother greets, the other cooks. Between them, Peter and Patrick Tarantino have created one of Dallas’ artier dining venues. At Tarantino’s (3611 Parry), chef Pat presides over a menu that does not shrink from extremes. “I introduce deliberate contradictions into my food,” he proclaims, “but my goal is to…

State Fare

Jan 20, 2013 By Patricia Sharpe

There are two ways to use Stop and Smell the Rosemary: Recipes and Traditions to Remember, the spectacular new offering from the Junior League of Houston. First, you can use the cookbook part to prepare any of the five hundred excellent recipes. Second, you can concentrate on the menu and…

State Fare

Jan 20, 2013 By Patricia Sharpe

“Mixing so many flavors, you wouldn’t think the dish would turn out,” says Ethel Fisher, the executive chef and co-owner of Houston’s Post Oak Grill. But it does, and more is more in this unlikely pairing of lamb and not-so-subtle tomatillo sauce. Fisher spent twenty years traveling throughout Europe…

State Fare

Jan 20, 2013 By Patricia Sharpe

March is the month for lamb—especially the delectable variety served at Monte Carlo in the Grand Kempinski Hotel Dallas. With a solarium, pale peach walls, and trees and potted palms scattered throughout, this light and airy place captures the ambience of restaurants in Italy and the South of France. The…

State Fare

Jan 20, 2013 By Patricia Sharpe

Opposites attract in this fetching dish from Houston’s Ritz-Carlton Hotel. A dusting of cajun seasoning and split-second blackening forthrightly support the lamb’s delicate flavor, and an opulent creamy sauce emboldened with jalapeños positions this creation by executive sous-chef Kevin Dimond squarely in the Southwest. Dimond’s mix-and-match technique has found a…

State Fare

Jan 20, 2013 By Patricia Sharpe

Food fads have their ups and downs. Today’s trend is tall, as chefs vie to see who can construct the most architectonic appetizers and elevated entrées. Houston’s Backstreet Cafe (1103 S. Shepherd) has its own entry in the culinary sweepstakes: the aptly named Meatloaf Tower. In designing the dish,…

State Fare

Jan 20, 2013 By Patricia Sharpe

“In another lifetime, I used to make this dish with a classic French Madeira sauce and specialty beef,” says Michael Thomson, the owner of Michaels (3413 West Seventh) in Fort Worth, “but it just didn’t seem indigenous.” So he switched to regular choice tenderloin, substituted bourbon (“our only native American…

State Fare

Jan 20, 2013 By Patricia Sharpe

Paella—Spain’s saffron-hued rice and seafood dish—comes in infinite, subtle variations. Restaurant co-owner Veronica Prida keeps the recipe light for nineties tastes, concentrating on seafood and chicken and omitting the usual sausage. She suggests preparing the rice and chicken ahead of time; the shrimp, mussels, clams, and scallops can be quick-cooked…

A Star-Spangled Spread

Jan 20, 2013 By Patricia Sharpe

This Fourth of July, forget the fried chicken and potato salad. Our potluck picnic, cooked up by six top Austin chefs, is full of culinary fireworks. Plus... extra web-only recipes!

Your Bird Here

Jan 20, 2013 By Patricia Sharpe

Turkey, shmurkey! This Thanksgiving, when your mother-in-law gets ready to serve up boring old tradition as a main course, you should cry fowl and turn her attention to these other fine, feathered, delectable friends.