“Nothing-NOT a conversation, NOT a handshake or even a hug establishes friendship so forcefully as eating together!”

Jonathan Safran Foer

Great Picks at “The Picnic”

Good Day,

Down Barton Springs Rd “The Picnic” food truck park hosts a handful of amazing local food trucks. I commute Barton Springs often and can’t help but rubberneck as I drive by to try and get a quick peek of the food trucks for the day.

My roommate and I eventually ventured here on a beautiful sunny afternoon, and I found myself drawn to an individual food truck by the name of Gambino’s Gourmet Exchange-the Southern aroma was comforting, and the Creole and Cajun spices left a tickling tingle in my nostrils and soon enough my mouth was watering something fierce. My roommate waved me on to order, generously treating me to lunch and I happily went with the Gumbo Of the Day. 
For the life of me I cannot remember what it was, but boy my taste buds do! I am salivating just thinking about it! The Gumbo of the Day comes in a small plastic bowl with generous portions of their homemade Andouille Sausage sliced up and ready to take you on a flavorful adventure! The afternoon was early, and the park was not too busy, so the fella working the truck brought out the bowl of what would soon change my life in the form of a rich, dark and delicious chunky gumbo. He happily told me what the gumbo of the day was and a bit later came back to ask how it was! “How thoughtful,” I remembered thinking, that’s not the type of behavior of just any average food truck! Also, average is not the right way to describe this treasure. Outstanding, Fantastic, The Bee’s Knees, and Superb all sound aboutright, and Gambino’s Gourmet Exchange sure is doing it right, fresh and authentic.
 Their yelp bio says everything from their gumbo to their pickles, right on down to their hot sauce is all hand made from scratch and I ain’t lying when I say you can sure taste the difference that labor of love makes!
My roommate decided to go with probably the most exciting food truck out there that day. “The Mighty Cone” caught both our interest initially, but I have a tendency to go with my Southern Roots. I sure was glad when my roommate bit more off than what he could chew. These things were huge, and he had ordered two! Lucky me! “The Mighty Cone” is a food truck that serves cone shaped soft tacos with fillings like the all too famous and my roommate’s fantastic pick, the Chicken Avocado Cone. They also serve up the Shrimp Avocado Cone and the classic Avocado Cone. Also, yes, the avocado is deep fried to pure deliciousness and adds the perfect amount of crisp in every bite. 
Also if you are looking for a fantastic dessert, I highly recommend you dash as quickly and cautiously as you can right across the road to grab two fistfuls of Churros. The warm, cinnamon bliss comes from the small food truck Raspas Locas Y MAS and is fried and dressed fresh to order! Definitely worth the stop if you are in the area!
Get on down to Barton Spring’s “The Picnic” and get a taste of Local Austin! 
 
Cha

2017 DFW Best Dining, Socializing, & Drinking Patios!

Good Day Drinking, and Socializing Buddies,

Grace Bar Patio downtown For Worth.

If you’re like me I feel it is hard to beat a FANTASTIC patio to kick it on while you enjoy a cocktail, eat or socialize with friends. If you look up the word patio on Wikipedia, it defines it as: (an outdoor space used for dining or recreation that adjoins a residence and is typically paved). That may be the Wikipedia definition, but truthfully patios are so much more than this.

In today’s times’ people search high and low, far and wide, and go to endless lengths to create amazing patios. Patios in most cases are an extension of how one perceives socializing, cooking, partying, or spending time with family and friends to look.

Restaurants, bars, nightclubs, and event venues are no exception to this rule. They know if they can create a fantastic outdoor atmosphere that it will attract people who love the outdoor way of life. When you are in the sunshine or under the moonlight, everything is always fresh, and vibrant! To me, drinks and food always taste better outside. It just feels a lot better, and you do not feel confined. Being outside has a freshness to it that can’t be emulated any other way than being outside.

In the last year, I have spent much time outside looking for great patios that you can have some have fun, eat, socialize, play games, listen to music, drink, and feel alive. I wanted to share these favorite places with you in hopes you will have as much fun as I have had kicking it and slinging the good times. My choices may not have the word “patio” in their name, but if they are on this list, it has a patio for sure.

Top 11 Cowtown Best Breakfast Spots!!

“Good Morning Y’all!” is an appropriate way to kick off this article about my TOP 11 picks for “Cowtown Best Breakfast Spots.”

I happen to love BREAKFAST! Well, let’s be honest- if you follow me then you know I love any and all types of food. However, I am extremely partial to breakfast. I love waking up early, getting things done, then chowing down on a delicious Texas breakfast to get my motor running. I say a “Texas Breakfast” because I love biscuits and gravy. It is a stable Texan and Southern dish. No matter where I eat, I always try to add the B & G, and it has to be good. Now that I am thinking about it, I also love authentic Mexican breakfast. I will leave it at I love any and all kinds of breakfast cuisine, lol!

Montgomery Street Cafe.

When I was a boy, I would get up very early and look forward to breakfast. If I were traveling with my dad for the restaurant business, I would love to hit up the hotel cafe’s buffet and pile on the bacon, eggs, and of course, biscuits and gravy. I remember one morning my dad asking me if there was any of the pig left on the buffet or if it was all on my plate? He basically called me a piggy, but it was not going to stop this munch-a-sorus named Trey! And while I have always been a big eater, the allure of breakfast sends my taste buds and senses into “Full Tilt Boogie!”

I do not know about you, but the thought of a big plate of biscuits and gravy sitting in front of me with about ten pieces of bacon just makes me happy. My plan is always the same, ask for extra gravy and dip my bacon into the gravy thus covering the bacon strip with gravy. After I eat a bite of biscuits and gravy, I then take a big fat juicy bite of the gravy covered bacon strip. So it just doesn’t get much better than bacon covered gravy I don’t care who you are. I always tell anyone that will listen that if a person does not like gravy you better watch them close. Keep one eye on your breakfast and one eye on them. If they don’t like bacon, they have to be either shifty, shady, or plum crazy! Any of those three are enough to make me keep a close eye on them until I can finish and make my exit. You will not be touching my breakfast, no sir!

Clay Pigeon Dream Land!

Good Day,

Marcus making fresh pasta!

Some years back Top Chef Stefon Rishel said to me one night, “Trey, have you eaten at Clay Pigeon and have you met Marcus Paslay yet?” The answer to both questions was no and no. I ask Stefon, “What in the world is a Paslay anyway? Sounds like a flower child!” Stefon went on to say how incredible Clay Pigeon and Chef Marcus Paslay were! Sometimes when people rave about a particular Chef or place, they tend to over exaggerate. But, knowing Stefon- he wouldn’t just give credit away to any ol’ chef, cook, or kitchen unless they are truly incredible. After Stefon’s great praising session, I got all excited. I couldn’t wait to meet this Chef Marcus Paslay, the flower child- or so I thought!

Clay farm fresh desert!

It didn’t take me long to get to Clay Pigeon on White Settlement Road. When I pulled up, and I saw the little building and it had so much charm- I loved it.

A Texas Legend!

Good Day Chow Hounds,

My family has been in Texas for 170 years farming, ranching, operating restaurants, meat packing plants, and multiple other businesses. I love Texas history, but I especially love the history that involves Texas food, drink and the businesses that bring folks together. If you love Texas, food, and drinks, then get your taste buds ready for some deliciousness in history.

Way back in 1927 in Fort Worth, Texas, a man who worked for Armor Packing Plants named Joe Riscky decided to quit his job making 9.00 dollars a week. At that time Joe and his wife Mary made a decision to open a little grocery store called Riscky’s Grocery Store and Market. Riscky’s offered everything from a personal touch to fantastic customer service. When they decided to start offering lunches with sandwiches and BBQ, Fort Worth loved it.

Going Loco for Papalote!

Tortas, Tacos & Tostadas…Oh, My!

When my best friend comes into town, there are usually two things guaranteed to happen. We are either going to be on the couch ravenously eating delivery pizza, and binge-watching Netflix or we are going out for tacos and an adventure. Today was one of those “Tacos and Adventures” visits.

My friend, Peaches, groaned hangrily at me in the car to hurry and decide on our taco destination. We were leaving our climbing adventure at Castle Hill’s Graffiti Park, and our thighs burned with a brute reminder that neither one of us had physically exhausted ourselves since P.E. in middle school. Tired and starving, my typical response to her whines would be a groan back that she should pick somewhere, but not today- no, today was different.

Best Tacos In Texas 2017

Good Day,

Wild Salsa Shrimp Tacos!

Some say the “Taco,” a staple of traditional Mexican cuisine, dates back to the 18th or 19th century and in the silver mines in Mexico. While tacos do not have a very long history, I don’t think anyone truly knows their origins. If I were a betting man, I most definitely would say the taco has Hispanic roots, lol.

If you say, “Hey Trey, describe a taco to me in your words.” I would say without hesitation, “A taco is an unbelievable treat of tasty, creative goodness wrapped up in a corn or flour tortilla!”

I really can’t explain the flavor of a taco, but each of you know that when you see the word “taco” anywhere, the mind goes into what I call the “Full Tilt Boggy!” The word “taco” sends our thoughts running amuck with visions of delicious toppings, meats, and cheeses. Truth be told I never get sick of tacos, and I can never get enough of them ever. They are addicting! One is not sufficient, three for sure isn’t, and ten might be just right. I am in LOVE with tacos. I have spent the better part of the year eating tacos with Celebrity Chef David Hollister and watching David cook a bunch of tacos. David’s love for tacos unquestionably matches mine.

Michi Ramen

There’s something so comforting about a big warm bowl of ramen. Also, no, get that instant dried noodle package out of your mind! I am talking about the good stuff. The creamy, filling and authentic noodle soup that’s beautifully piled high with delectables of your choosing that range from tender grilled pork slices called Chashu, roasted nori which is seaweed, blackened garlic oil, woodear mushrooms and green onions. Now imagine all that goodness hiding a bounty of ramen noodles that have a perfect chewy texture marinating in a steamy, savory, stout, pork broth. Mouth already watering? Good! What I just described is my absolute favorite go-to Ramen order, Shoyu Tonkotsu, otherwise known as the signature “Michi” ramen created in good ole’ Austin, Tx.

Head as fast as you can into Michi Ramen! This Ramen House describes themselves as “traditional…with a Texas flair.” With a dish like their “Texas Ramen,” that features smoked BBQ pork ribs and comes with a side of Texas toast, jalapeños and pickles- who can argue with that? Also, Veg-Heads not to worry! They offer options to make your ramen vegetarian or vegan! After slurping up your meal, they offer twelve different Mochi ice cream flavors, featuring a rotating seasonal flavor.

When I first moved to Austin in 2015, I became obsessed and ate at Michi Ramen at least a few times a week for a month or so before trying ramen anywhere else. I still haven’t found a ramen joint in Austin quite as tasty as here. I loved these delicious noodles so much I named my beloved cat after the place!
The best part is with a donation of a packaged non-perishable food item that the restaurant donates to the Capital Area Food Bank of Texas; they thank your kind soul with free Mochi! That should make not only your heart feel good, but your stomach too!

Michi Ramen started as a food truck back in 2012 and was voted the Best Ramen in Austin just two years later. With their great beer, wine, and sake options and happy hours throughout the week, I would say all the more reason to celebrate their success! You can check out the brick and mortar location on North Lamar, pick up to-go at their South Lamar location or check them out in San Antonio!

Until the next joint!

Cha

Buzzin at Buzzmill!

Turning twenty-one was suppose to change everything. No longer would my friends and I wander around late at night, scratching our heads, puzzled on what to do because everything has closed. No longer would bold, black Xs mark and signal my youthfulness to the masses. No longer would I jealously chug water as my friends tipsily giggle an order for more rounds. I planned to rage- paint the town red some might say.

Pssh, what a fail that plan was. My birthday rolled up on me so quickly (on a Monday no less) that to celebrate I merely accompanied my friend to my favorite hangout, “Buzzmill,” for my first legal alcoholic beverage at that magic midnight marker.

The NEW amazing M Bistro!

“Culinary Deram Team”

If you drive into Montgomery Plaza, off 7th Street in Fort Worth, from any direction and roll your windows down- you can smell it. All you have to do is sniff the air, and I am sure you can smell the deliciousness cooking up at the NEW M Bistro. I did, I have dined at the M Bistro four times now, and each time, Chef Steve Mitchell has something new and exciting for me to try.

Laid Back At “Lazy Dog”

Good Day Chow Hounds,

I am going to say about 8 or 9 months ago; I was ripping down Hwy 121, in Euless with my foot mashed on the floor of my Dodge, like I usually drive, and looked over and saw this big, lodge-looking building in the process of being constructed. That is why I love driving so much in Texas; I get to see so many things you would not see otherwise. Don’t get me wrong, it is always nice to board a private jet or a helicopter to move about, but I love driving. I am so A.D.D. it is hard for me to sit still, but when I am behind the wheel, I feel better.

So, as I stated, I saw this beautiful lodge-looking building. My curiosity was running at full tilt! I just had to find out what it was. It didn’t take me long, after a few U-turns and couple of streets later, there I was. I jumped out and asked the guys working what they were building. The guy said, “Man, it’s a Lazy Dog!”

I then said, “Lazy Dog? What is that?”

“TACO LIBRE” Taco Fest Dallas!

Taco Heads!

“TACO LIBRE” celebrates the region’s best taquerias served with a side of a lucha libre wrestling featuring LA PARK, and music from Jenny and the Mexicats (Madrid), Los Skarnales, Piñata Protest and Supersonic Lips. “Trey’s Chow Down” will be there to chow down, and enjoy the smells of some of the best tacos in Texas!

Salsa Limon!

The area’s best taquerias have been deliciously curated by The Taco Trail’s José Ralat, ranging from traditional to contemporary. Participating taquerias include Urban Taco, Cinco, Holy Frijole, Revolver, Chile Pepper, Resident, Salsa Limon, Taco Heads, La Norteña, El Padrino, Trompo, El Tiz, Tacodeli, OMG Tacos, Maskaras Mexican Grill, Taco Stop ,Ki’Mexico (Shreveport, LA,) Taqueria Saltillo, El Come, Taco Bodega, La Nueva Fresh & Hot,La Vecindad, BBQ on the Brazos, Rock and Roll Tacos (Forney) and more. Each taqueria will have a $2 taco including plenty of veggie options.

Saturday, April 29 the Shed – Dallas Farmers Market.
Get your tickets now. Our last two years have sold out. http://link.dallasobserver.com/click/9326828.37058/aHR0cHM6Ly9wcmVraW5kbGUuY29tL3RhY29saWJyZQ/57474145498e153bbf054a31D816355c3

Thanks,

Trey (Chow Down) Chapman