Edible Houston Spring 2024

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SPRING 2024 | Issue 42







Happening Around Houston
Mexican Plant-based Cooking
SPOTLIGHT ON LOCAL Katy Asian Town is Heating Up
Texas Tempranillos
and General Store in the 6th Ward
FARMERS DIARY Flower Farms are Blooming COVER Fresh Spring Salad Ingredients (photo by Pauline Stevens) THIS PAGE Alex Au-Yeung (photo courtesy of Phat Eatery) Arnosky Family Farm (photo by Monique Threadgill) RECIPES IN THIS ISSUE 22 WHOLESOME HUMMUS 24 FRESH SPRING SALAD WITH VINAIGRETTE Spring 10 26 Expanding our roots in Texas soil. Luxury tasting room arriving Spring 2024 in Fredericksburg. WWW.HALTERRANCH.COM FOLLOW THE JOURNEY ON INSTAGRAM @HALTERRANCHTX

While editing this issue, I was reminded of archaeological digs. Each article explores different layers of our area’s history, unearthing connections between the past and present, while showing us ways to navigate the future.

Paula Niño Kehr talks with writer and filmmaker Adán Medrano about the Texas Mexican plant-based traditions of Indigenous people that stretch back 15,000 years and how he’s reintroducing them to today’s home cooks.

I write about how Veronica and John Avila, owners of Henderson & Kane General Store, were inspired by family history and the history of Houson to create a space where local makers can engage with diners and home cooks.

Aries Payne examines how recent demographic changes in the area’s Asian American population, which are related to a network of geopolitical, economic and historical forces, have created new opportunities for enjoying Asian cuisines in Houston’s western suburbs.

These stories remind us that food is very personal — John Avila remembering the smell of the smoke rising from his grandfather’s barbecue pits — and deeply connected to the past — Adán Medrano researching the ancient practice of cooking in earth ovens. And Payne’s article shows that what we eat is affected by very modern concerns such as demographics and the commercial real estate market.

Each article reminds us that foodways aren’t static but dynamic. They are a conduit integrating history with the present and the future.

Every time we step into the kitchen to cook, sit down at a restaurant table to eat or walk into a grocery store to shop, we are entering a complex web that connects us to thousands of years of history, to cultures around the world, to geopolitical events past and present, to rural farmers, to movements supporting agricultural workers, to shifting real estate markets, to scientists, to truck drivers, to the earth around us and to each other.

Hopefully, this spring, while relishing some beautiful weather, you’ll be able to sit at a table and enjoy those connections and the fruits they bear.

Happy cooking, eating and reading.


Monique Threadgill monique@atxpublications.com


Ralph Yznaga ralph@atxpublications.com


David Leftwich david@ediblehouston.com


Claire Cella Stacey Ingram Kaleh


Ashley Brown Stacey Ingram Kaleh

Paula Niño Kehr

Aries Payne

Pauline Stevens

Colin James Sturdevant


Pauline Stevens


Grace McCormick grace@atxpublications.com


Nathan Simmons tmem23@gmail.com


5524 Bee Caves Rd., Ste. J-4 Austin, TX 78746 512-441-3971 info@ediblehouston.com ediblehouston.com

2 Spring 2024
Edible Communities James Beard Foundation's Publication of the Year, 2011 Edible Houston is published quarterly by ATX Publications LLC. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be used without written permission of the publisher. ©2024 Every effort is made to avoid errors, misspellings and omissions. If, however, an error comes to your attention, please accept our apologies and notify us. Edible Houston is a member of Edible Communities. for $35 /year SUBSCRIBE TO THE MAGAZINE AT edibleHOUSTON.com

Woodsy Olive Oil Aged in Bourbon Barrels

I am a bourbon fan. A novice one but I love the flavors and how they can enhance other ingredients. Speaking of, have you ever tried olive oil aged in bourbon barrels with olives grown right here in Texas? If you answered no and you love bourbon, get in on this deliciousness. If you said yes, then we are kindred spirits, because you’ve probably already heard of — barrel drum roll, please — Lone Star Olive Ranch’s Bourbon Barreled Olive Oil, which is sold under the company’s Olive These Foods label. I’ve found this prized item at Henderson & Kane’s General Store, which is tucked away off Washington Avenue. This olive oil is produced from Texas roots and soil out in Madisonville. It doesn’t get more local than that. It’s also a family business to boot.

This olive oil is rich and not just for bread dipping. It has a soft kindled vanilla and wood flavor. The barrel and bourbon come through as a slow blossom on the tongue. What should you be doing with this olive oil? Get your hands on some local mycologist’s goods such as hen of the woods mushrooms, truffle, exceptional sea salt, herbs of your choosing and some white pepper — slice and dice these ingredients and cook in the bourbon barrel-aged olive oil. The easiest way to get your hands on a bottle is to swing by Henderson & Kane or purchase at farmer-producer-chef.com

Got Chocolate?

Listen. There’s chocolate and then there’s chocolate. And if you haven’t heard of an artisanal chocolate enterprise calling itself “a yumsmith company” selling delicacies exquisitely packed in boxes labeled XOCO D’OR, then thank the heavens your eyes have scanned this section of What’s On Our Counter. Back in the winter of 2023, I bought 48 of these delectable chocolates for guests at a literary reading series I run at Two Headed Dog. These impeccable flavor bombs infuse dark chocolate with vanilla bean, which enhance the smoothness and clean cocoa taste. This is a sweet you’ll want to get your hands on. Heck, I get a box every month just about.

The chocolatier behind these gems doesn’t broadcast their name across the public sphere, but I’ve met the gentleman. Darragh Smith, and his family members, personally sell these flavor nuggets at area markets. All the offerings are inspired by the chocolatier’s childhood memories of growing up in France. Flavors include passionfruit, mint, coffee and salted caramel. They also offer a monthly special such as white chocolate, pumpkin, dark chocolate, French lavender and milk chocolate. You can purchase them at area markets such as: Memorial Villages Farmers Market, The Woodlands Farmers Market, Eleanora's Market and Esplanade at Navigation Market. Or order at yumsmith.com. All I can ask you now: got chocolate?

Culinary Garden in a Bottle

Did you know that Octavio Orozco, who is from Guadalajara, sells a garden in a bottle? I’m talking about the jars of Chilesquiles, the scratchmade chilaquiles sauces that he sells at farmers markets around town. The most popular one, or at least my favorite, is the Roasted Green. This dark olive-green sauce is loaded with what could be the perfect garden of ingredients: tomatillos, onion, serrano pepper, garlic, cilantro, spices and citrus juice that doesn’t make it just zing but sing. I’m a simple man myself and like to layer the sauce over fried eggs, but each variety of sauce that Orozco offers has a different heat level and comes with a recipe idea to cater to its unique complexity. And get the chips and guacamole if he’s offering them for sale.

These handcrafted, small-batch Mexican delicacies can be found at markets such as Urban Harvest Farmers Market, Rice Village Farmers Market, Heights Mercantile Farmers Market and Central Market on Wesleyan. They can also be purchased at chilesquiles.myshopify.com

Sweet Dreams Are Made of These

Sugar, spice and everything nice. And maybe a base of purified water or milk and 600 rotating flavors. I’m talking about a frozen dessert that’s gonna cool you down come the hot, hot summer. Word on the street is that I used to sling scoops at this place, a small gem in the heart of Montrose. If you guessed SweetCup Gelato & Sorbet Originale, you are in on the scoop about this institution that opened in 2012.

They serve rotating sorbet flavors such as Leonard’s Chocolate, Pomegranate Rose and Key Lime Cilantro that are so creamy you’d swear they were made with dairy. It’s the art behind owner Jasmine Chida’s craft. And if you love your dairy goodness, then take a chance with her gelato, because it is going to hit the sweet spot on your sweet tooth. Chida uses no artificial flavors and no fillers. No corn syrup, either.

Chida has concocted a myriad of flavors, and nothing is ever guaranteed to be in rotation on a specific day. But my all-time favorite is Mint Cookies & Cream. I love it in the summer heat. The mint is cooling and seeps into the cookies, reminding me of when my grandmother Dotty would save Girl Scout Thin Mint cookies in her freezer and let us enjoy them by the pool.

That’s just what Chida does. She sells an experience and nostalgia in every bite. Do yourself a favor and hit up that OG shop at 3939 Montrose Blvd. where you can enjoy a scope before bringing a pint or two home. For more info visit sweetcupgelato.com

edible HOUSTON 5 4 Spring 2024
WORDS BY COLIN JAMES STURDEVANT Colin James Sturdevant is a poet and writer based in Houston. He enjoys trying craft cocktails around town, foolishness and at-home cookery. Photo by Darragh Smith Photo by David Leftwich Photo by David Leftwich Photo by David Leftwich


Mozzarella sticks. You would never think of judging a restaurant based on those fried gooey hunks of nostalgia you devoured as a kid — except at Nonno’s, the retro-modern pizzeria from Sara and Martin Stayer, the duo behind Nobie’s and The Toasted Coconut. If you were to reach into your childhood memories for the platonically ideal mozzarella sticks, you’d find Nonno’s perfectly melted mozzarella wrapped in crunchy breading paired with a springy, harmonious marinara. All those adjectives point to the level of detail the team at Nonno’s puts into everything they serve, from cocktails to salads such as a buoyant Caesar laced with marinated anchovies that seamlessly balances the salty and acidic elements. Then there is the creamy, tangy, cloud-like vanilla goat cheese cheesecake.

Any and all of those delicious options would be reason enough to visit but we haven’t even gotten to the crackling pizzas and sizzling vibes. The pizzas are Chicago tavern-style featuring cracker-thin crusts made with dough that had been fermented for three days. Toppings can be customized, or you can choose one of their specialty pies such as the Meat Head with capicola, pepperoni and sausage; the Wise Guy with sausage and giardiniera; or the vegetarian Lean Green N Mean with pesto, arugula, kale and sunflower seeds. It’s all served in a space that fuses an ‘80s Pizza Hut, complete with pseudoTiffany-style, stained-glass light fixtures, with a space-aged arcade sporting rounded corners,

Blade Runner mood lighting, pinball machines, video games and a reel-to-reel playing classic Houston hip hop. The only thing missing is an animatronic bear singing Beyoncé and ZZ Top. Despite that, this Montrose joint is one of funniest and tastiest restaurants to open in the last year.

Visit at 1613 Richmond Ave. houstonsbestpizza.com


One of Houston’s premier restaurant groups, Underbelly Hospitality (Georgia James, Wild Oats, Pastore), has teamed up with one of Mexico’s premier pastry chefs, Luis Robledo Richards, to open a taqueria, Comalito, in the recently renovated historic Houston Farmers Market. The lynchpin of this Mexico City-inspired eatery are the excellent corn tortillas, which are made in-house with heirloom corn from Mexico.

Those tortillas serve as the cornerstone for a host of dishes from sopa de tortilla to a succulent tacos al pastor. Though the tacos, which include suadero, costras and more, are the star of the show at this casual eatery, don’t overlook the appetizers such as the cebollitas preparadas that transform the humble onion into a rich dish by marinating, grilling and then caramelizing green onions. Onions are also key to the excellent frijoles puercos, which pairs black beans, chorizo, bacon and chicharrón with umami-rich grilled onion broth.

No matter what you order, save room for dessert, specifically the heavenly churros. These fluffy swirls of fried dough sprinkled with cinnamon-sugar are light and crunchy on

the outside and soft and luscious on the inside, akin to an aria sung by Maria Callas. There’s a reason Richards is considered one of the top pastry chefs in the Americas. His restaurant is a welcome addition to Houston’s ever-growing options for excellent Mexican food.

Visit at 2520 Airline Dr. | comalitohtx.com


Beer, baby goats and a cranky tortoise. What’s not to love? Two of our favorite farmers, Lisa and Christian Seger of Blue Heron Farm, recently opened a beer garden on their 10.5acre spread near Waller where they raise goats, ducks, a couple of pigs and some farm cats; foster dogs; and make their well-crafted goat cheeses. Seeing a need for a local watering hole and to diversify their sources of income, the duo decided to evolve their popular farm tours and dinners into something more permanent.

So, the couple converted a half acre of their farm into a rural oasis using many repurposed materials: the bar is a transformed shipping container and the bathroom is a remodeled Airstream. There, they serve a rotating selection of local beers, such as Lone Pint Yellow Rose Smash IPA, hard seltzers and wine. They also offer a few snacks such as their goat cheeses, of course. You can even pet the goats for a small fee (goats need to eat too). And, if you're lucky, you may even have an encounter with Jeremy, a large African spurred tortoise known for his daring, if slow-moving, escapes.

Visit at 29625 Bunting Rd., Waller blueherontexas.com.

6 Spring 2024
WORDS BY DAVID LEFTWICH Photo by David Leftwich Photo courtesy of Blue Heron Farm
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Rooted in Love


Texas Mexican cuisine is a culinary tradition steeped in history. Its roots stretch back 15,000 years to the cooking practices of the Native Americans of central and south Texas and northeastern Mexico. These early societies had a deep connection to the land and knew how to use and prepare plants native to the landscape in tasty and nutritious ways.

Chef, writer and filmmaker Adán Medrano — who is working on a book that explores the plant-based culinary traditions of Texas Mexicans — says archaeological evidence suggests that, aside from the meat of antelopes, turkeys, ducks, rabbits and quail, these Indigenous peoples ate plants such as pecans, black walnuts, acorns, grapes, berries, seeds and tubers.

By using ancient cooking technologies, such as earth ovens, they were able to transform indigestible roots and tubers, such as sotol, into edible, highly nutritious foods.

Today, much of what is cooked in Texas Mexican cuisine remains plant based. Staples such as chayote, calabacita, beans, nopales and chiles feature prominently in Mexican soups, salads, moles and enchiladas.

“The plant-based cooking traditions in Mexican gastronomy are very strong and they’re very ancient. These are recipes and dishes that have been part of our tradition for hundreds of years,” says Medrano. Medrano has extensively documented the Indigenous roots of Texas Mexican cuisine in his books, Truly Texas Mexican: A Native Culinary Heritage in Recipes and Don’t Count the Tortillas: The Art of Texas Mexican Cooking. Not to be confused with Tex-Mex cuisine, comida casera, the homestyle cooking of Texas Mexican families, is the heart of Texas Mexican foodways.

In his forthcoming book, The Texas Mexican Plant-Based Cookbook, slated for publication by Texas Tech University Press in 2025, Medrano celebrates long-held plant-based traditions and hopes to inspire people to reconnect with Indigenous ingredients, some that remain in use today and others that have been lost or forgotten.

Nopalitos, for example, have been an enduring plant staple in Texas Mexican cooking. Rich in vitamins, calcium and fiber, the pads of the cactus plant are eaten in stews, salads and added to eggs. In Houston, they can be found on the menus of many Mexican restaurants such as Picos

in Upper Kirby, Soto’s Cantina in Cypress and Cochinita & co. in the East End.

At Cochinita & co., chef Victoria Elizondo includes them on her menu for their nutritious value and Mexican roots, as well as to introduce diners to a different vegan and vegetarian option. Recognizing that nopales are not everyone’s favorite ingredient, she created a bright salad that combines them with many flavors and textures — crispy jicama, sweet corn, fresh oregano, generous amounts of lime juice and pico de gallo — to balance out the nopal’s texture.

In creating the menu for her restaurant, Elizondo wanted to include vegetable-forward dishes to meet customer demand and because she loves vegetables and wanted to offer diners, regardless of whether they’re vegetarian or not, different options.

Aside from the nopales salad, she serves dishes like a vegan tinga, prepared with lion’s mane and oyster mushrooms, chipotle en adobo and caramelized onions.

“In the U.S., people have the idea that Mexican food should be heavy with lots of pork and beef, but there are a lot of dishes that are plant-based. What I wanted to showcase in my restaurant is that Mexican food doesn’t have to be heavy or meat-based,” Elizondo says.

The focus on meat can cause us to limit our vegetable-focused options to say, a spinach enchilada or a tostada with beans, losing sight of other delicious options.

Beans, for example, are versatile, rooted in Indigenous traditions and are an important part of Texas Mexican cuisine. With so many varieties that differ in flavor, color and texture, beans offer infinite possibilities and Medrano encourages people to try the various ways they can be eaten.

The creamy texture of navy beans, for example, can add smoothness to a dish like Medrano’s avocado and navy bean salad, and their pale color pairs nicely with the green avocado. Pinto beans can be used as a flavor base, much like a stock, to make dishes like enfrijoladas. “Enfrijoladas build on the flavor of puréed beans by adding herbs and spices to make a sauce. In this case, the beans are a matrix to build more complex flavors,” says Medrano.

Left Page

Left: Beans and other produce sold by a Mexican vendor at The Houston Farmers Market by David Leftwich

Right: Nopales by David Leftwich

Right Page

Left: Medrano Pipián Sunchokes photo by Adán Medrano

Right: Medrano photo by Marie D. De Jesus

While nopales and beans have remained staples in Texas Mexican cooking, other Indigenous ingredients like mesquite have fallen into disuse despite their historical significance.

Today, we mostly think about mesquite being used to impart flavor in grilling and smoking, but the tree’s pods and the mucilage surrounding its seeds are sweet and rich in calcium, iron, protein and soluble fiber. Medrano remembers chewing on the pods growing up, but for most people, the culinary uses of the fruit are unexplored. He would like to see them reclaimed.

“All the way from Austin and San Antonio to Saltillo, Monterrey, and the states of Nuevo León, Coahuila, all throughout that area — what I call the Texas Mexican region — mesquite was a primary source of nutrition,” says Medrano, citing archaeological evidence that points to people in the Texas Mexican region consuming mesquite some 9,000 years ago. “[It] was not just the food of choice, but it was a symbolic reality and identity of the people, much like corn is today for Mexicans.”

The tree’s dried seed pods can also be ground into a flour, known as mesquite meal, that lends itself to a variety of preparations like breads, cookies and beverages.

Growers such as McCartyLand Farms in Seguin sell the pods, but they can easily be picked off mesquite trees around Houston. “In the springtime, just go over and pick the pods when they’re dry. That’s it,” Medrano says. “You can use them to cook or put them in a blender to make flour.”

With the ground meal, he makes breads and cookies, and in his upcoming cookbook, he shares recipes for mesquite atole and mesquite agua fresca, illustrating the diverse uses of the ingredient.

Another ingredient that Medrano would like to see rediscovered is the sunflower, particularly sunchokes, also known as Jerusalem artichokes. These are the edible tubers of the native sunflower variety called Helianthus tuberosus.

Medrano pairs the sunchokes with corn in a sunchoke and corn tart or serves them cooked simply atop pipián ranchero and tortillas.

The tubers have a slightly sweet, earthy flavor and a texture that resembles water chestnuts or potatoes. Today most of what we consume of the sunflower are its seeds, but eating other parts of the plant was an ancient tradition in Texas that can be reclaimed.

Growing up as a migrant farmworker, Medrano feels deeply connected to the land. Beyond inspiring people in the kitchen, he hopes that people will develop an appreciation of how plants are an integral part of our earth and become more attuned to taking care of it. “This plant-based book is really about enjoying the beauty of the earth upon which we walk and from whom we get sustenance,” he says.

He also hopes to inspire younger generations to explore the ancient Texas Mexican plant-based recipes and traditions. “They’re fun to learn about,” Medrano says. “They’re very tasty, and … they have a story. I think food is always wonderful when it connects you to a story, whether that story is about the food itself, our ancestors or about you.”

edible HOUSTON 9 8 Spring 2024
Left Page Elote Right Page: Chef Beatriz Martines Aside from spending time with her family, Paula Niño Kehr loves to explore Houston and learn about the people behind its food. She also enjoys cooking, dancing and reading.

Global Kitchens


Along a stretch of Bellaire Boulevard, you’ll find Houston’s Asiatown, a sizable residential and commercial area home to restaurants, bakeries, grocery stores, retailers and more. The community has been the city’s go-to spot for Asian and other international goods since the early 1980s when Houston’s main Asian American business district began migrating from its original location just east and south of downtown.

Currently, Asiatown takes up roughly six square miles (3,840 acres) of real estate. Although this is an impressive amount of ground, Westpark Tollway and U.S. Highway 59/Interstate 69 create boundaries that make it difficult for the community to grow beyond this. Commercial real estate is maxed out in the area, and as the Houston area’s suburbs continue to expand, it has become less accessible to residents outside city limits. However, Katy Asian Town, a recent 15.5+ acre development northeast of the intersection of Interstate 10 and Grand Parkway, has broken this barrier, offering many of the things Houstonians love about Asiatown but, for some, just a little bit closer to home.

This new commercial district started as a 100,000-square-foot shopping center in 2018, with international supermarket H-Mart at its core. It has since evolved, encompassing more dining, shopping and entertainment options. You’ll also find apartments and condos, college campuses and office space, attracting early-career young adults, in addition to the already growing Asian population.

New residents aren’t the only ones moving to this newly developed community. Numerous eateries have decided to either expand or launch their businesses in Katy Asian Town. Established chains such as 85°C Bakery Cafe, Michelin-starred Tim Ho Wan, Beard Papa’s, Gong Cha, Happy Lemon and L&L Hawaiian Barbecue have set up shop, while new and original entities, including Soju 101, Patis & Toyo, Phat Eatery and 8 Ounce Korean Steak House have also opened up. What are restaurateurs finding so attractive in this growing west Houston suburb?

Well, for one, Katy’s Asian population is booming, as is that of Fort Bend County, where much of Katy is located. According to the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2020 data, Katy’s Asian population almost quadrupled over the span of 10 years, while Fort Bend’s grew almost 84 percent.

And although Katy Asian Town was built amidst this significant demographic shift, the city itself has long been a desirable place to live, not only for its sense of community among diverse groups but also for its family-friendly amenities, numerous and affordable housing options, its strong economy and its good school system, whose Asian student population increased from 11.1% to 16.1% between 2010 and 2020.

Katy Asian Town offers access to both Katy Independent School District as well as satellite locations of the University of HoustonVictoria and Houston Community College. The Metro Grand Parkway Park & Ride and the Regus coworking facility are also there for commuters and those who work remotely.

As the Asian population in the greater Katy area has surged — and available commercial real estate has become rarer, even in nearby Sugar Land, which also has a large Asian population — Katy Asian Town has started filling a demand for space for Asian retail stores and restaurants. And, it’s not finished growing. Besides lots still available in the first phase, there are two other phases, a university center and a mixed development site, in the works, as well.

The recent growth in the area has also benefited the establishments that have already chosen to make Katy Asian Town their home. Alex Au-Yeung, chef and owner of Phat Eatery, was among the first to see the development’s potential and opened his Malaysian restaurant there.

“I thought this area was a good opportunity,” he says. “Katy has the charm of a small town with all the conveniences of a big city. I also learned that there are many people working in the oil and gas industry in the area who have lived in Malaysia and were missing the food.”

Phat Eatery continues to gain new customers regularly. “We love seeing new faces inside our restaurant,” says Au-Yeung. “Even after five years in business, we constantly see people coming from all parts of Texas.”

Due to the establishment’s success, Au-Yeung has since expanded the dining area into the suite next door and has recently announced his plans to open a second location in The Woodlands early this year.

Along with the aforementioned Phat Eatery, there are a host of other restaurants that have become popular weekend destinations for Katy’s diners, including Square Root Poké, Soju 101, Tan Tan Wok, Dim Sum Box and Haidilao.

Beyond meals, drinks and sweet treats, there’s also plenty to keep one entertained while at Katy Asian Town from a Cinemark 19 to Andretti Indoor Karting & Games to mini-golf at PopStroke or batting cages at Home Run Dugout. Shops abound as well offering everything from skincare and cosmetics to housewares and more.

In the five years since its inception, Katy Asian Town has quickly become a go-to destination to enjoy a variety of Asian cuisines. As the area grows, we can expect more restaurants, shops and activities, including Wushiland Boba, Portillo’s, Cat Haven Lounge, and claw machine arcade, Claw City, which are slated to open in 2024.

“Katy Asian Town is a hub of many Asian cultures and backgrounds,” says Au-Yeung. “It’s a great experience with flavors from around the world. You can spend the whole day exploring, eating and shopping.”

Where To Eat in Katy Asian Town

8 Ounce Korean Steak House 8 Ounce specializes in Korean BBQ, with quality beef, pork, chicken and seafood options with traditional sides.

85°C Bakery Café Founded in Taiwan, this café’s rotating pastry selection is baked fresh throughout the day, so you’ll always find a savory or sweet delight.

Beard Papa’s Flaky, double-layered cream puffs with your choice of flavored cream filling await you at this popular Japanese chain.

Bingo Cake Café This cafe offers a wide selection of baked goods, savory dishes and beverages, but you can’t leave without trying one of its popular cakes.

Chung Wang BBQ This mom-and-pop, Hong Kong-style barbecue joint offers char siu, roast duck and more.

Dim Sum Box Opened by Gilbert Fung, the son of Hoi Fung who founded Fung’s Kitchen, Dim Sum Box offers an array of satisfying dumplings, steamed buns and small plates.

Eight Turn Crepe You can visit this spot for lunch or dessert thanks to its light, sweet and savory Japanese-style crepes.

Gong Cha This popular, international bubble tea franchise from Taiwan makes fresh tea and pearls throughout the day for a refreshing treat.

Haidilao This Sichuan-based restaurant offers patrons a fully customizable hot pot experience.

Happy Lemon A unique bubble tea concept, Happy Lemon’s menu consists of lemonade and tea blends while offering its own twist on milk teas and smoothies.

Honey Pig BBQ New to the Katy area, Honey Pig BBQ, which was founded by Korean immigrant Micky Kim, serves up high-quality Korean barbecue in a fun environment.

iEats Rice Noodle Whether you’re in the mood for soup or stir fry, iEats offers various noodle-centric dishes.

Kizuki Ramen & Izakaya This Seattle-based Japanese restaurant is serving up a variety of traditional ramens as well as izakaya fare such as gyoza and karaage.

Kowbell Burger This eatery has a solid selection of specialty burgers loaded with flavors from South Korea.

L&L Hawaiian Barbecue Get a taste of the Pacific with L&L’s Hawaiian comfort food, from barbecue chicken and katsu pork to Spam musubi.

Paris Baguette From signature cakes and matcha mochi donuts to sandwiches and coffee, this South Korean-based bakery sells fresh-baked goods that can be enjoyed anytime.

Patis & Toyo This Filipino restaurant from local restaurateurs Mike and Marit Gabriel offers popular dishes from various pancits to kare-kare.

Phat Eatery This James Beard-award semifinalist is known for its delectable Malaysian food from beef rendang to sizzling egg tofu.

Phanh Ky Asian Noodle House One of Katy Asian Town’s earliest occupants, this South Vietnamese eatery features hủ tiếu, a noodle soup made with pork broth.

Soju 101 A Korean karaoke lounge, bar and eatery, this establishment has a large menu of Korean starters, tuckpocky, soups and more.

Square Root Poké Customize your bowl of Hawaiian poké with proteins ranging from fresh ahi tuna to tofu.

Tan Tan Wok This restaurant, sister to the popular Bellaire eatery, is known for its large menu spanning from Chinese classics like sesame chicken to Vietnamese sizzling seafood.

Tim Ho Wan This Michelin-starred import from Hong Kong has area critics and dinners raving about its well-executed dim sum.

Thaicoon This Thai eatery and pub serves creative cocktails and takes on classic dishes.

Torii This newcomer offers Japanese-inspired cuisine from sushi to wagyu hot rock. Uncle Tetsu Originating in Japan, Uncle Tetsu is known for its signature light and fluffy cheesecakes.

10 Spring 2024
Left Page Top: Phat Eatery by Jenn Duncan Bottom: Beef Rendang at Phat Eatery by Chuck Cook Right Page Top: Alex Au-Yeung Courtesy of Phat Eatery Bottom: Photo by Dim Sum Box Aries Payne is a long-time writer and editor based in Houston, TX. With an extensive writing, editing, and marketing background, she is dedicated to using her knowledge to help people and organizations grow and reach their full potential through the written word. Photo by Charles Deluvio


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TANTALIZING empranillo



Perhaps more than any other locally grown grape, Texas Tempranillo tantalizes our taste buds. Its luscious mouthfeel and delicate dynamism make it worth exploring again and again — and a varietal that Texans seek out. How has this Spanish varietal captivated both Texas wine makers and wine drinkers?

According to Julie Kuhlken, Ph.D, WSET III, CEO and co-owner of Pedernales Cellars in Stonewall and a sixth-generation Texan, Texas may be the largest grower of Tempranillo outside of its native Spain, where it’s the foundation for many celebrated wines. “Texas could be a second home for Tempranillo. We have the right conditions,” says Kuhlken.

Kuhlken and her husband David, co-owner and winemaker, chose to focus on Tempranillo when they started Pedernales Cellars in 2006. “At the time there had been some commercially grown Tempranillo but it was not clear that it was going to be a winner for Texas, ” says Kuhlken. She had a feeling Tempranillo would like the dry heat on their property. Today, it’s almost 50 percent of what they grow, make and sell. When you visit Pedernales Cellars, you may see as many as six Tempranillos available, and they almost always have Tempranillo Reserve, their flagship wine, on the tasting menu.

“What really made Tempranillo so successful in Texas is captured by its name, which means ‘the little early one,’” Kuhlken shares. “The thing about Tempranillo is that it ripens very quickly and early, and in Texas that’s fantastic because you get it out of the heat early in the season. We pick Tempranillo in our vineyard in late July, long before the dog days of summer.” This is important because the fruit maintains its acidity.

It’s also advantageous from a business and sustainability standpoint. “With a grape that wants to grow here, you don’t have to intervene as often with chemicals. It’s more sustainable. It’s better for a business where you want to make a living. It’s better from a holistic view at every stage,” Kuhlken emphasizes.

For Ron Yates, the decision to focus on Tempranillo was more an affair of the heart. The flip-flop clad owner and president of Spicewood Vineyards in Spicewood and Ron Yates Wines in Hye is a seventh-generation Texan and comes from a long line of farmers. But he was the first in his family to not grow up on the ranch.

A self-described socialbutterfly, he’s long been interested in bringing people together to celebrate good times. That passion shows as Yates flutters between his office, the tasting room where he loves to say hello to customers and the vineyard.

Yates fell in love with Tempranillo while studying abroad in Spain as a University of Texas at Austin student. He lucked out and lived with a family who grew Tempranillo in the Toro and Ribera del Duero regions. Even more than the wine itself, he was inspired by the power of wine to bring Spanish families, like the one he stayed with, together at the dinner table. “Even the kids who were away at college would take the train home, spending hours traveling, every Sunday to have lunch with mom,” he says. And wine was always part of that.”

“Tempranillo was the impetus for this whole endeavor,” Yates says. He was studying communications and was on track to become a lawyer, when he let his passion guide him in a new direction — bringing some of that Spanish wine and spirit to the Texas Hill Country. He purchased Spicewood Vineyards in 2007 and planted Tempranillo in 2009, as soon as he could get some vines. His first commercial release of Tempranillo was in 2012, and since then, he’s been spreading his love for the wine to all who walk through his doors.


Yates says one reason Tempranillo does well in Texas is that “the topography, the soil types, the growing conditions” are comparable to Spain’s.

Another reason is its resilience across the state’s different growing regions. “Tempranillo grows well in all the major growing areas — West Texas, the Hill Country, the High Plains. And that’s nice because Texas, as you know, has variable weather,” says Kuhlken. “Having the diversity of where you can source it is very useful.”

“Tempranillo has been grown in Texas at a larger scale for more than 15 years, and has gained a reputation for consistent quality fruit,” says Paul Bonarrigo, owner and winemaker at Messina Hof Winery, which has locations in Bryan, Fredericksburg, Grapevine and Richmond. He, like Kuhlken and Yates, is a fan of the grape and has deep roots in Texas. Bonarrigo, whose family has been Texas wine-making pioneers for 46 years, also highlights the range of benefits the state provides wine makers. “Texas is a huge and diverse state in regards to terroir and grape growing potential … We have great water in both quantity and quality for keeping our plants healthy, we have a wide range of nutrient rich soils that allow for many varieties and styles to be made here, and we have strong agricultural and innovative roots that help us to constantly be pushing to improve and develop new ways of growing and making wine.”


When Yates started producing Tempranillo, he was working with two styles, one from his Spicewood Estate and the other from the High Plains. Now, he sources Tempranillo from seven or eight different Texas vineyards. He’s drawn to the opportunity and challenge of exploring how grapes grown in different regions of the state yield different expressions.

“To me the Hill Country is like [Spain’s] Ribera del Duero where it’s hot, not too cool even at night, needs more oak influence and produces big grippy, heavy Tempranillo,” he says. “We [his winery team]

tried some fruit from the High Plains and it had a bit of a softer side that reminded me more of a Rioja, more delicate with more intricacies, not as ‘slap-you-in-the-face’ when you drink it.”

Kuhlken is also passionate about the complexity of Tempranillo, which can be classified as Joven, Crianza, Reserva or Gran Reserva depending on how long it is aged in oak. “Tempranillo is a grape that is very sensitive to how long you age it,” she says.

Joven Tempranillos tend to be lighter and brighter, young wines with little oak influence. They showcase the primary fruit flavors of the grape. Crianza wines are aged a minimum of two years with six months to one year in oak barrels. They carry more complexity, with subtle oak and a hint of spice. Reserva Tempranillos have a more robust mouthfeel, more oak characteristics like vanilla, cedar and tobacco and smoother tannins. They are aged for 36 months and spend a minimum of 12 to 24 months in oak barrels. Gran Reservas, which are aged for at least five years, two or more in an oak barrel, have well-integrated tannins and a long, lingering finish.

Not only does length of time in the barrel matter, the type of oak also shapes each wine. “For me, with French oak you get more of the smokiness, and with American oak you get more of the vanilla and coconut qualities,” says Kuhlken. “The thing you get from oak aging is both the flavors you get from the oak and all of the oxygen exchange, which changes the tannins … the polymers form longer strings and then they become softer. The oak helps smooth [the tannins] out.”

Thanks to terroir and the oak-barrel aging, you can find a Tempranillo suitable for any of our Texas “seasons.” A Tempranillo is the perfect companion for a winter campfire, a spring festival, a summer barbecue or Thanksgiving supper in the fall.

edible HOUSTON 15 14 Spring 2024
Photo courtesy of Messina Hof
Top: Becker Vineyards photo by Monique Threadgill Left: William Chris Vineyards photo by Ralph Yznaga Top Right: Photo courtesy of Spicewood Vineyards Bottom Right: Pedernales Cellar photo by Ralph Yznaga


The dynamism and complexity of the varietal also makes Tempranillo an excellent grape for Texas. It offers room for experimentation that whets our Texas-sized appetites to push boundaries.

For innovators like Yates, who’s been working with Tempranillo for more than 16 years, the varietal offers the opportunity to challenge the status quo. When he started, the goal was to make wine that everyone enjoys and brings people together. One way he pushes himself is through collaboration and friendly rivalries with other Texas winemakers. “It’s really fun, really tight-knit, and people really help each other out,” Yates says of the Texas wine community. “There’s so much to learn. I’m seventeen years into this and I’m barely scratching the surface. The collaborative element here helps make everyone better.”

“At first it was like, can we do this?” says Yates. “But once I got into it, there’s nothing else I’d rather be doing. Now that we’ve figured out it’s possible to have a successful wine business in Texas, for me, it’s about testing the limits of quality. I want to continue to get better and better and better.”

Bonarrigo and Kuhlken share similar sentiments and are also motivated to expand notions of what is collectively possible for Texas wine. “We have learned a lot over the past 46 years about where grapes grow well and what viticulture practices lead to the best quality fruit, but we still have so much more potential that is unexplored,” says Bonarrigo. These days, wineries all over the state serve Tempranillo, from Spicewood to Stonewall, Hico to Lubbock to Bryan. Texas winemakers, including Pedernales Cellars, Spicewood Vineyards, Ron Yates Wines and Messina Hof, have won numerous awards at the national and international level for their Tempranillo wines. But what is it that really makes Tempranillo a frontrunner for “the grape of Texas,” as Yates calls it?

“It’s the best suited to the fight of growing grapes in Texas,” says Yates.

“It ripens early, making it sustainable, and pairs well with the food we like here,” Kuhlken says, giving examples such as barbecue, steak and enchiladas.

“It grows well, makes great wine, and people are becoming more and more aware of what we are doing with it in Texas,” Bonarrigo says of the varietal.

“I think Tempranillo has a second home here,” says Kuhlken. “However, Texas is the size of France, there’s no single variety that’s going to knock out all of the others because there’s lots of things that grow well in Texas. Mourvèdre is good, Viognier is excellent, Tannat is excellent…but I think Tempranillo is particularly well-suited.”

While Kuhlken, Yates and Bonarrigo acknowledge that Texas will never be known for just one grape — more than 40 varieties are grown here today — they all agree that Tempranillo has the capacity to set our state apart on a national, and even international, scale.

“Drink local! Texas is a huge winedrinking state. Given how much Texans love everything about our state, people should be drinking more Texas wine.”


When it comes to Texans’ love of wine, it all boils down to taking pride in hard work and invention, finding solace in companionship and helping to make life just a little bit better for your family and neighbors.

No one captures this essence quite like Yates. “Each wine, each grape, really, tells its own unique story,”he says. They highlight the many people and the hard work that goes into producing each bottle: late nights chasing deer out of the vineyard or lighting fires before a freeze, and many on-the-fly adaptations.

Yates takes immense satisfaction in people enjoying the wines made from vines he and his team planted, tended and protected. “All that work that we do,” Yates says, “is to bring people together in celebration — and I love that. To me life is about sharing the good times. Our hard work gets to help people enjoy their good times.”

Whether you’re looking for an award-winning wine, a delicious wine to bring to dinner or a barbecue with family and friends, or a wine that tells the story of Texas, try Tempranillo from a local winery.

Tell your friends the story of how that Tempranillo journeyed from the vineyard to your table, passing through the hands of many passionate, hard-working growers, winemakers and bottlers. Then let the wine open up a new story that’s yours to write.

Augusta Vin

140 Augusta Vin Ln. Fredericksburg, 78624 augustavin.com

Becker Vineyards

464 Becker Farms Rd. Fredericksburg, 78624 beckervineyards.com

Bell Springs Winery

3700 Bell Springs Rd. Dripping Springs, 78620 bellspringswinery.com

Bending Branch Winery

142 Linder Brand Rd. Comfort, 78013 bendingbranchwinery.com

C.L. Butaud

12345 Pauls Valley Rd. #2 Austin, 78737 clbutaud.com

Driftwood Estate Winery 4001 Elder Hill Rd. Driftwood, 78619 driftwoodwine.com

Fall Creek Vineyard 1820 County Rd. 222 Tow, 78627 and 18059 FM 1826 Driftwood, 78619 fcv.com

Haak Vineyards & Winery 6310 Avenue T. Santa Fe, 77510 haakwines.com

Hilmy Cellars

12346 E. US Hwy 290 Fredericksburg, 78624 hilmywine.com

Hye Meadow Winery 10257 W. US Hwy 290 Hye, 78635 hyemeadow.com

nwood Estates 10303 US-290 Fredericksburg, 78624 inwoodwines.com

Kuhlman Cellars 18421 E. US Hwy 290 Stonewall kuhlmancellars.com

Lewis Wines 3209 US-290 Johnson City, 78636 lewiswines.com

Llano Estacado Winery 3426 E. FM 1585 Lubbock, 79404 llanowine.com

McPherson Cellars 1615 Texas Avenue Lubbock, 79401 mcphersoncellars.com

Messina Hof Winery

Bryan Estate Winery 4545 Old Reliance Rd. Bryan, 77808

Harvest Green 8921 Harlem Rd. Richmond, 77406

Hill Country 9996 US Hwy. 290 Fredericksburg, 78624 messinahof.com

Haak Vineyards & Winery 6310 Avenue T. Santa Fe, 77510 haakwines.com

Pedernales Cellars 2916 Upper Albert Road Stonewall, 78671 pedernalescellars.com

Perissos Vineyard and Winery 7214 Park Rd. 4 W. Burnet, 78611

Pontotoc Vineyard Picnic Table

7899 US Hwy. 290 Hye, 78635

Weingarten 320 Main Street Fredericksburg, 78624 pontotocvineyard.com

Ron Yates 6676 Hwy. 290 W. Hye, 78635 ronyateswines.com

Saddlehorn Winery 958 FM 1948 N. Burton, 77835 saddlehornwinery.com

Salt Lick Cellars & Wine Garden 18300 FM 1826 Driftwood, 78619 saltlickcellars.com

Signor Vineyards 362 Livesay Lane

Silver Spur Winery

107 Pecan Street Hico, 76457 silverspurwinery.com

Spicewood Vineyards 1419 Co. Rd. 409 Spicewood, 78669 spicewoodvineyards.com

Slate Theory E. 10915 US-290 Fredericksburg, 78624 slatetheory.com

Torr Na Lochs Vineyard & Winery 7055 TX-29 Burnet, 78611 torrnalochs.com

William Chris Vineyards 10352 US Hwy 290 Hye, 78635 williamchriswines.com

Stacey Ingram Kaleh is a native of the Texas Hill Country. Born and raised in Austin, she lives in Spicewood with her husband, two young daughters and fluffy dog Zeus. She’s been exploring Texas wineries for more than a decade, enjoying great wine, stellar company and scenic views as she learns from local winemakers. Follow her wine adventures on Instagram @TXWineGirl.

Founded in 1998, Driftwood Estate Winery sits on a bluff overlooking our Estate Vineyard and the gorgeous Texas Hill Country from which visitors can enjoy our award winning wines. Driftwood radiates Texas pride in its production of high quality wines made from 100% Texas grapes. As a Veteran and family owned and run business for the past 25 years, we were the first commercial vineyard in Hays County. Our vineyard has grown to 18 acres of grape vines, and the winery produces 10,000 cases of wine each year.

In 2023, we were honored by winning ten medals (one for every wine we entered) at the San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition. We are very proud of our 2019 Tempranillo, made with grapes from Newsom Vineyards in the Texas High Plains, that took home a Double Gold!

16 Spring 2024
Sip on a Glass or Pick up a Bottle of Tempranillo at These Texas Wineries:
info@driftwoodwine.com www.DriftwoodWine.com (512) 692-6229 4001 Elder Hill Road Driftwood, Texas 78619
Paul Bonarrigo photo courtesy of Messina Hof Julie Kuhlken
edible HOUSTON 19 Catherine York Realtor® 713.471.4575 cyork@greenwoodking.com 3201 Kirby Drive Houston, TX 77098 Your Dream. My Mission.

Culinary Corner Store


In a side room at Henderson & Kane, John and Veronica Avila’s neighborhood-focused barbecue joint and general store in the historic Sixth Ward, stands a tall, hand-cranked metal tamale stuffer made in San Antonio in the 1940s. The device was used by John’s maternal grandparents, Ambrose and Mary Saenz, to make smoked brisket tamales at A.C. Saenz Tamales and Barbecue, their restaurant in Bryan, Texas.

“They sold so many tamales,” says John, “that their business grew well beyond the two hands that were originally making them.”

As a child in the 1970s, John would help when he visited. When it was tamale making time, the Saenzes would use the machine to crank out the masa and barbecue brisket mixture, which the visiting grandkids would wrap in corn husks.

John remembers that customers stood around the bar, usually ordering a half dozen tamales, which would be served with chili con carne and crackers. “These folks would unwrap the tamale, and kind of like boudin, cut the tamale into little pieces, putting them on the crackers, spooning some chili on it, maybe adding some hot sauce, then eating it while drinking a beer,” says John.

Family history is one of the elements that inspired John and Veronica to open their own community-oriented destination for great barbecue and for local products, produce and proteins.

But neither John nor Veronica started their professional careers in hospitality. Veronica, who is from El Paso, where her grandparents ran a Mexican restaurant, is a practicing architect. John, who grew up in Houston’s East End, was, in 2010, working a corporate office job, which he says, “just didn’t feel like it was home.”

So, he sold a bunch of his stuff and moved to Austin. There, he began working for chef Melissa Brinckmann at Cake and Spoon, which set him on a culinary path.

“Really exhausted after a long day at the farmers market selling the stuff that we were making [at Cake and Spoon], I remember sitting in the sun and thinking, this is exactly what I want to do. This makes me

happy more than anything else I've been doing,” says John.

While working for Brinckmann, John met and began working with award-winning pitmaster Aaron Franklin, which rekindled a love for barbecue that he learned from his grandfather. John has fond memories of eating barbecue and drinking Big Red at his grandparent’s restaurant.

“I can still smell the fires in their brick pits. Even now, when I smell our fires just right, it makes me think of their place. It had that perfect smell,” says John.

With the knowledge he gained from Franklin, John moved back to Houston where he met Veronica. But before the duo started their joint ventures, John moved to New York City to help launch a barbecue spot in Brooklyn. While there, he gained an appreciation for the city’s bodegas, with their vibrant displays of fruits, vegetables and cut flowers and shelves of everyday ingredients — something he wanted to recreate in Houston.

After returning to the Bayou City, he and Veronica opened, in 2016, El Burro & The Bull, a now-closed barbecue stand in Conservatory, a downtown food hall that has been replaced by Underground Hall. Once El Burro was established, the couple began looking for a brick-andmortar location, ideally something historic and that piqued Veronica’s interest as an architect.

A year later, a 1930s building in the historic Sixth Ward became available. Soon function was following form. The building had once been a corner grocery owned by Lawrence Scardino, who emigrated from Sicily in 1896. The building’s bones were still infused with the spirit of its old occupants, which also included Garcia’s Meat Market.

“We just kind of knew it needed to be a store,” says Veronica.

“Houston had places like this in every neighborhood when I was growing up,” says John. “Most of them had groceries, but also had something in the back cooking, whether it was burgers, like Stanton's or Mexican like Mi Familia.”

Wanting to continue that tradition with the food and locally made goods they loved, the couple brushed off an unused business plan and converted the space into a barbecue restaurant and neighborhoodfocused grocery store that features locally raised and produced foods.

When they opened Henderson & Kane in 2018, they only stocked a handful of local goods. Now, they carry over 300, from an array of jams and jellies from Pearland-based Biggs Farms and heirloom flours ground by Barton Springs Mills to coffee roasted by Amanecer Coffee Co., founded by former employee Marlen Mendoza, and condiments made by chefs Evelyn Garcia and Henry Lu, whose restaurant Jūn was recently nominated for a James Beard Award.

Left Page: Photo by David Leftwich

Right Page:

Top Left: Photo by David Leftwich

Top Right: Photo by Henderson & Kane

Bottom Left: Photo by David Leftwich

Bottom Right: Photo by Henderson & Kane

According to Veronica, the store’s most popular items are staples such as eggs from Sweet Hill Farms in Nacogdoches, milk from Mill-King Market & Creamery in McGregor, and steaks from 44 Farms, the Texas ranching outfit that is the source of all Henderson & Kane’s beef for retail and restaurant use.

Veronica and John choose items based on customers’ needs and what they like and use themselves in their home and restaurant kitchens. But what further adds to their products’ uniqueness is, as Veronica says, “You can write a story about every product on the shelf.”

“Some of them are family businesses, where the mom and dad are making it and the kids are making the deliveries,” says John. “Others, two best friends are making a product and putting it on the shelves, or two sisters are making the chocolate we sell. Every single product has a story.”

This focus on personal connections is one thing that sets Henderson & Kane apart from your average grocery store. The Avilas are building community one product and one customer at a time.

One aspect of developing this network is hosting seasonal dinners (the next one will be a four-course meal on April 27). “At these dinners, we try to incorporate as many products from the shop as possible,” says Veronica. The makers of each product are invited to the dinner, which creates a unique opportunity for guests to meet the people who make what they are eating. “It makes it so much more personal,” says Veronica.

These moments of community building help the couple stay motivated through challenges such as navigating the grocery business’s tight margins or searching for a long-term produce farmer to stock their farm stand display. The support of family helps as well. John’s daughter, who recently earned a master’s in finance, has helped them grow their business, while her fiancé occasionally pitches in with various repairs. Plus, John’s brother is a partner in the business.

Through connecting to the past — their families’ and the city’s — John and Veronica are creating a future where locals can enjoy good barbecue, local growers and makers can connect with the community, and customers can buy everything they need to make a meal with locally sourced ingredients, from housemade tortillas and sausages to onions and olive oil. They can even purchase wine and beer.

“I hope,” says Veronica, “that we're able to really represent Houston and the diversity of Houston on our shelves.”

Learn more, including about their catering opportunities, at hkgeneralstore.com and @hendersonandkane on Instagram.

edible HOUSTON 21 20 Spring 2024
edible endeavor
David Leftwich is editor of Edible Houston and loves to cook with locally grown vegetables and hang out with his daughter, wife, dog, cat and a few too many books.

What's In Season


Bok Choy, Green and Red Cabbage, Kohlrabi, Napa Cabbage

Broccoli, Cauliflower, Romanesco

Easter Egg Radish, Scarlet Turnip, Watermelon Radish, Fennel, Beets

Garlic, Leeks, Shallots, Spring Onions, Sweet Onions

Microgreens, Salad Greens

Mustard Greens, Rainbow Chard, Spinach

And... Strawberries!

From the Water Crawfish

Soft-shell Crab (from April)

Black Drum, Sheepshead, Spanish Mackerel

For more information on farmers markets, seasonal recipes and what’s in season, visit ediblehouston.com

Edible flowers turn an ordinary dish into a showstopper. Here are some simple ways to incorporate flowers into these springtime dishes.

Wholesome Hummus

Recipe and photos by Pauline Stevens

1 clove garlic, smashed 2 cans garbanzo beans (approx. 15 oz ea.), drained 8 T. tahini

1 oz. extra virgin olive oil, plus extra to drizzle

11/2 T. lemon juice

1t. salt, to taste

Option: add 1/4 t. cayenne pepper or 1t. paprika


Rinse the garbanzo beans and place them on a kitchen towel. Gently rub to remove the skins. Simmer for 15 minutes and drain.

Place garbanzo beans and remaining ingredients in a blender or food processor and mix until smooth.

Drizzle with extra virgin olive oil and add your preferred toppings, such as grape or cherry tomatoes, basil, kalamata olives, and a sprinkle of edible flowers for a little extra flair.

Pair hummus with bread, crackers or scoop it with your favorite veggies.

Beside her passion for photography, Pauline Stevens enjoys traveling and baking. She also visits every possible farmers market, even between frequent visits to NYC where her quadruplet sons live. Follow her store on IG @redbirdshouse.

22 Spring 2024

Fresh Spring Salad

Serves 4

4 c. arugula

1/2 c. thinly sliced radishes

1 pear, halved, cored and thinly sliced

1 c. blueberries

1/4 c. pistachios

1/4 c. sunflower seeds, hulled


Assemble the salad starting with the arugula and layer the remaining ingredients on top of the greens. Serve the vinaigrette alongside the salad.

Sherry Vinaigrette

Serves 4

1 shallot, minced

3T. sherry vinegar

2t. Dijon mustard

7T. extra virgin olive oil

Salt and pepper to taste

Optional: whole grain mustard


Place the shallot in a bowl with the sherry vinegar and allow to sit for 10 minutes to soften. Whisk in the Dijon mustard. Whisk in the olive oil in a slow, steady stream to emulsify the vinaigrette. Season to taste. Add 1t. whole grain mustard if desired.

Nestled in the heart of the Texas Hill Country, The Wayback stands as a testament to the charm and hospitality of Austin. With its roots deeply entrenched in the ethos of community and comfort, this quaint retreat offers an unparalleled experience for both locals and travelers alike.

An Immersive, Restorative Experience

At The Wayback, guests are invited to immerse themselves in the essence of Texas Hill Country while basking in the serenity of its tranquil surroundings. Whether seeking solace from the hustle and bustle of everyday life or embarking on an adventure through the vibrant streets of downtown Austin, this boutique hotel serves as the perfect haven for relaxation and rejuvenation.

Cottages with a Touch of Casual Elegance

Guests are offered the choice of eight classic board-and-batten cottages, each exuding its own unique blend of charm and character. With interiors that seamlessly blend fresh, natural elements with a touch of vintage flair, every cottage offers a cozy retreat from the outside world.

Farm-toTable Dining as Relaxing as it is Delicious

One of the standout features of The Wayback experience is its commitment to farm-to-table dining. With menus that change with the seasons, guests are treated to the freshest and finest flavors sourced locally from nearby farms and artisans. Whether indulging in a sumptuous meal in the elegant dining room, enjoying a leisurely bite on the patio, or


opting for a picturesque picnic on the lush lawn, every culinary experience is a delight.

Located at the Door of the Texas Hill Country

Here, guests can celebrate the region's rich culinary heritage. Conveniently located just minutes away from downtown Austin, The Wayback also offers easy access to the renowned vineyards, wineries, distilleries, and breweries that dot the Hill Country landscape. From leisurely wine tastings to adventurous brewery tours, guests are invited to explore the diverse array of experiences that await just beyond the hotel's doorstep.

Perfect for Special Occasions, Corporate Retreats & Intimate Weddings

In essence, The Wayback offers more than just a place to stay—it provides a sanctuary where guests can embrace the spirit of Texas hospitality while creating memories to last a lifetime. Whether seeking a peaceful retreat or an exciting adventure, The Wayback invites all who enter to experience the warmth and charm that define Austin's vibrant culture.


- Farm to table cafe

- Eight board and batten cottages

- Salt water pool

- Close to downtown & the Texas hill country

edible HOUSTON 25
Bee Cave Road Austin, Texas 78733 512.520.9590 / waybackaustin.com / reservation@waybackaustin.com
Use Code EDIBLE15 for 15% off cottage stays

l o s s o m B li s s


It ’s that time of year when the monotony of driving on Texas interstates is brightened by the brilliant blues, purples, oranges and reds of bluebonnets and Indian paintbrushes that have seemingly blossomed out of nowhere. Flowers make us happy. The sight of them — and the giving and receiving of them — brings us joy. Whether you’re planning a special event, want to tell someone you’re thinking of them with a surprise bouquet, or just want to bring a bit of nature’s beauty into your home, these local farms are growing happiness —in the form of flowers!


“I strongly believe that flowers can unite us, bringing all people and all cultures together,” says Pamela Arnosky, co-owner of Arnosky Family Farms. She recalls that the old-fashioned community barn raising they held for their famous Blue Barn was a true testament to what we can all do together. That barn, situated on a beautiful 60 acres, is now a staple of both Wimberley and Blanco, with many regular visitors from Austin and San Antonio. The farm operates on an honor system. Visitors enter the barn, pick up the flowers, vegetables or eggs they want and leave cash.

After running a small greenhouse business in Brenham, Frank and Pamela Arnosky started farming in 1991, purchasing the perfect land for their farm on FM 2325. The Arnoskys are passionate stewards of their land, which is home to many native plant and animal species

“It is a treasure to be protected,” says Pamela. “All are welcome there, and it is a sort of portal of connection to what is best on this Earth.”

The couple grow cut flowers on 16 acres. They’ve sold to grocery stores and farmers markets in Austin for many years. After building the Blue Barn, they began to supply their own farm market with bedding plants, hanging baskets and garden transplants. One of their most popular flowers is ranunculus, which has a long vase life.

Pamela explains that most cut flowers should last as long in a vase as they would on the plant. “Start with a clean vase, remove all of the leaves that will be below the water line, and use flower food if you have it, or at the minimum, you can put a drop of chlorine bleach in the vase. Changing the water frequently, while removing the spent flowers is also very important in maintaining maximum vase life.”

The Arnoskys’ passion for flowers is contagious. “Flowers are pure

love,” says Pamela. “Before anything can bear fruit, it must flower. So the flower represents the promise of successful outcomes.”

They love welcoming people to the farm to experience the inspiration that flowers can bring. “The Blue Barn has become a destination for folks seeking peaceful, beautiful outdoor times, alone or with their families. We plant the flower beds around the barn to be beautiful at Mother’s Day, for example, so folks can come out for a picnic and buy a bouquet to take home.” To learn more, visit texascolor.com.


Winkelmann Flowers is a small flower farm outside of Austin, where a husband-and-wife team have transformed their passion for farming, flowers and creating into a sustainable family business. Grant and Carrington Winkelmann fell in love while attending Texas A&M and started growing their flower farm when they moved to the Austin area in 2018. A farmer through and through, Grant has been growing and selling vegetables since high school. When the couple started the business, he chose crops that would be profitable on a small amount of acreage. “Based on my experience growing both, I knew that flowers could generate a lot more income on an acre than vegetables; it also didn't hurt that my girlfriend and later wife, Carrington, was falling in love with floristry at the same time!”

Carrington runs the floral studio, which she describes as “flowering around Texas for weddings and gatherings.” It’s hard to imagine a beautiful wedding without flowers, but it can be easy to go overboard. If planning a wedding on a budget, Carrington suggests focusing on centerpieces on your tables and for the wedding party.

“Florists are natural creatives,” she says, “and [they] love color so give them the freedom and flexibility to create for you, and as long as you've hired someone whose style matches your own, they will usually deliver a floral vision better than any you could've dreamed up yourself!”

In addition to providing wedding florals, the pair appreciate how flowers can enhance our everyday lives. “Many of us have jobs or lifestyles that require us to spend most of our time indoors. Flowers bring the natural world inside and allow us to watch something grow and change over time.”

The Winkelmanns grow tens of thousands of flowers a year on a little less than two acres. They get particularly excited about flowers that aren’t typically grown in Texas. “We are known most for our ranunculus, dahlias, lisianthus and coxcomb.”

“I strongly believe that flowers can unite us, bringing all people and all cultures together,...”
Pamela Arnosky
edible HOUSTON 27 26 Spring 2024
Left and Right Page: Arnosky Farms

“Recently, we have also gotten into tulips in a big way and we also grow lots of delphinium, snapdragons, marigolds and sweet peas, among other crops.”

Their flowers are available at Austin Flower Company most of the year and occasionally at San Antonio Flower Company. They also offer weekly drop-offs and delivery to Austin florists, who can sign up for information about weekly availability on their website thefarmerandi.com. They can even arrange a porch pickup for you at their home in San Marcos or farm in Driftwood. Just reach out to them anytime.


Wildseed Farms, in Fredericksburg, is the largest working wildflower farm in the country. It is the go-to spot for seeds, plants or simply a lovely afternoon spent enjoying fields of flowers and a wine tasting.

Owner John Thomas is a native south Texan who grew up in a ranching family in Eagle Lake. In 1971, he combined his planting expertise, Texas ingenuity and business knowledge to start a turf seeding company. As it grew into a successful business, developers and landscape architects asked: “Why not wildflowers?” In response, John formed Wildseed Farms in Eagle Lake in 1982 and invented two machines to produce the results he dreamed of: the J-Thom 42 Wildseeder and Vacuum Seed Retriever (VSR).

As the farm and his wife Marilyn’s beloved gift shop grew in popularity they decided to expand. In 1997, John designed and constructed Wildseed Farms Market Center located on 200 acres on Highway 290 east of Fredericksburg. The farm features walking trails, flower fields, display gardens, a nursery, a deli and a large gift shop offering home decor, women’s apparel, jewelry and seeds. There is also the winery that features Texas wines grown and bottled on the farm. The Market Center is open year-round.

John currently has over 1,500 acres of wildflower in production and is considered one of the leading experts on wildflowers in the nation. He actively consults with many state highway departments including those in Texas, Oklahoma, Louisiana, Alabama, Florida and Ohio.

Learn more at wildseedfarms.com.


This micro flower farm, owned by Gracie Cavnar, is a pastoral respite embedded within Hope Farms in south Houston. Hope Farms is a project of Recipe for Success Foundation, a nonprofit Cavnar founded in 2005. The organization’s mission is to end childhood obesity by educating children about their food and by mobilizing the community to provide them healthier meals. The seven-acre Hope Farms contributes to that mission by growing fresh, affordable food and training veterans and others to become urban agri-preneurs.

Because much of the classroom work Recipe for Success does was shut down during the pandemic, Cavnar started Flower Child knowing that growing and sharing flowers would make her happy. There weren’t many farmers growing cut flowers in Houston.

“I’m all about local farming, whether it be food or flowers, with regard to the impact on the carbon footprint, supporting the local economy and the ecological nature of growing flowers organically. And I felt like a lot of people shared that sensibility,” says Cavnar. So she rented space within Hope Farms and began growing flowers in a 1/8-acre garden and greenhouse.

Using the success of Flower Child as an example, Cavnar now offers classes through her nonprofit foundation on how to turn a farm into a business.

“The beautiful piece, for me, of having a flower business is the Zen quality to it of focusing on growing and nurturing things,” she says She also loves that the flowers are growing just minutes from most of her customers, smack in the middle of the bustling city. The farm is open to the public Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. so that visitors can experience that “Zen quality” for themselves.

Flower Child offers a variety of services. Customers can sign up for regular deliveries of fresh-cut bouquets designed and created by Cavnar or for the birthday club, which offers 12 flower deliveries to friends or family on their birthdays. Corporate customers can contact Flower Child about supplying flower arrangements for events. The company also does limited weddings and special events. Cavnar works closely with these clients, curating the wedding in her field based on their color preferences. And finally, Flower Child offers “Bubbles & Bouquets,” which are private flower arranging classes.

In the spirit of friendship and giving, Flower Child also offers Grace Notes — gifts that include some of Cavnar’s other products such as homemade chocolate, bath salts, potpourri and edible flower petals.

Whether it’s giving or receiving flowers or enjoying them in your garden, flowers can enhance your mood. “It literally changes your brain chemistry. Every time you look at and appreciate them, you get that rush,” says Cavnar. “No gift brings more joy.”

Learn more at flowerchild.love.

edible HOUSTON 29 28 Spring 2024
Writer and editor Ashley Brown lives in Wimberley with her family of rescues: a dog, two cats, and two donkeys. In addition to animal welfare, her passion is exploring the Hill Country's natural beauty, small farms, eateries and drinkeries. Top: Photo courtesy of Wildseed Farms Bottom: Photo courtesy of Flower Child

A Room with a Hill Country View

Ap tly known as a “little piece of heaven,” Wimberley is a magical, charming and convenient place for a weekend (or longer!) getaway. Just an hour from Austin and San Antonio and three hours from Houston, Wimberley provides a respite, a nature retreat, a shopper’s paradise, a friendly community and a place to unwind and enjoy delicious food and drinks. Whether you prefer a secluded cabin or a full-service inn, there are ample options for comfortable accommodations.


Nestled along Cypress Creek on a beautifully serene three acres, Creekhaven Inn & Spa is a boutique wellness resort. After owner Helena Hauk went through a years-long, arduous personal journey to get healthy and feel good, she decided she wanted to bring accessible wellness to all of Creekhaven’s guests as well. As the largest bed and breakfast in Wimberley, Creekhaven has 16 rooms situated within stone and wood buildings. The landscape that surrounds them boasts a patio and grassy knoll along the creek, shaded by beloved cypress and oak trees. A true oasis, the patio is alive with vibrant flowers and plants and the friendly squirrels who enjoy being spoiled by staff and guests alike with nuts and treats.

Just a 10-minute walk to Wimberley Square, the inn is a full-service property where guests can opt to enjoy total privacy or take advantage of a high level of hospitality. Hearty but healthy breakfasts are made from scratch with love and care and delivered to guests’ doorsteps if they prefer, or they can dine on the patio or in the main house. The caring staff wants guests to feel pampered and relaxed.


“You can get that lovely high-end experience — and an incredibly good night’s sleep — without the fuss or pretension,” says Hauk. “There’s not a whole lot like us out there, and it’s hard to know what you’re going to get until you experience the magic.”

Twelve of the 16 rooms have been renovated, and most have jetted soaking tubs. The inn is also committed to non-toxic cleaning — they mop their floors with vinegar, and avoid fragrances in the laundry detergent and rooms, except for a signature essential oil blend, made by Hauk, which is used in diffusers in the rooms. “Our only other fragrances are the natural delicious aromas coming from the kitchen each morning,” she says

Creekhaven Inn has an onsite spa where you can treat yourself to a massage, and bikes and kayaks if you want to play outside. They can also arrange private yoga classes or sound immersion experiences. “You can totally bliss out and never leave your room if you want, feeling safe and secluded … or, with all Wimberley has to

offer, you can excursion out until your heart’s content and enjoy the shopping, wineries, breweries, glass blowing, fishing, golf, horseback riding, hiking and swimming,” says Hauk. They also love hosting retreats — whether it’s corporate or an artist/creative retreat — and bringing people together with intention.


Vintage Oaks Farm in nearby Driftwood is the ideal location for a wedding or event, situated on 12 acres just seven minutes from Wimberley Square. It also offers charming accommodations for those looking for a getaway.

The Hunters Cabin is a rustic, cozy retreat, perfect for those seeking a tranquil escape surrounded by nature. It is not lacking, though, in modern comforts. With its huge window providing views of wildlife, the cabin’s interior is designed with a blend of vintage hunting and fishing decor alongside contemporary amenities. Guests can unwind by the firepit or enjoy barbecue and scenic views from the private deck.

The Red Rooster cabin adds a touch of whimsy and character to the Vintage Oaks Farm experience. This colorful and uniquely designed cabin stands out with its next-door chicken coop, a source of fresh eggs for guests. The interior is adorned with eclectic decor, making it a delightful place to relax and rejuvenate.

Beyond the cabins, Vintage Oaks Farm provides guests with a serene environment, picturesque surroundings and a range of amenities to ensure a memorable wedding or event. “For couples seeking a wedding experience that seamlessly blends nature’s beauty with timeless romance, the Open Air Chapel is a whimsical haven where love is celebrated amidst the vintage oaks and the magic of the great outdoors,” says owner Sissi Baskin. “The rustling leaves provide a natural symphony, and dappled sunlight filters through the lush canopy creating a dreamy atmosphere.”

A three-day wedding package offers a unique and comprehensive celebration that goes beyond the traditional one-day event. It provides the couple and their guests with a more relaxed and immersive experience, allowing everyone to fully revel in the joyous occasion. They also offer the perk of a certified wedding planner to oversee countless details. “Their expertise, industry connections, and organizational skills contribute to a well-executed and memorable celebration for the couple and their guests,” says Baskin.

The farm is also home to the Live Oak Event Center — a space crafted for corporate excellence. “From state-of-the-art facilities to elegant aesthetics, our event center sets the stage for successful meetings, impactful presentations and unforgettable celebrations,” says Baskin. If you’re seeking a one-of-a-kind location in the Hill Country for your next special occasion, look no further! vintageoaksfarm.com


Birdsong consists of six secluded cabins spread across 10 acres. Every cabin was built from the ground up by owner Rodney Bursiel.

Although Bursiel is now an award winning photographer with his own gallery in Wimberley, he and his father ran a construction company for years. In 1997, Bursiel was savvy enough to buy five acres in a great location on Skyline, off of RR 12, just minutes from the Wimberley Square. He started with two cabins, and admits it took him about seven years to learn about the rental property business. Back then, there was no Airbnb and everything went through one property management company — Wimberley Lodging. In those early years, most of the guests were Houstonians who had seen the cabins advertised in their local newspaper. With nothing but a phone number, they’d book them sight unseen. They were always pleasantly surprised when they arrived. Each Birdsong cabin maintains total privacy — the only life you’ll see from the porches or yards are deer, foxes and birds. All of the cabins have their own private pool, hot tub, king bed and full kitchen — except Little Bird, the cozy yet sleek tiny house with a small kitchen and hot tub out in its courtyard. Each cabin is decorated with care by Bursiel, and features his photographs from around the world. He regularly renovates and updates them to ensure they’re fresh and modern in addition to being cozy and comfy.

Birdsong is a great choice for those seeking the privacy and concept of actual homes, with no shared walls, and little to no interaction with others. It’s a true getaway, four miles from the Square — and just down the road from Jobell Café and Bistro as well as Casa V Wine, where you can stock up on nice wine to bring back to relax under the dark skies and listen to coyotes in the distance. The cabins are also a relatively affordable option given the benefits of having a full kitchen where you can save money by cooking at “home.”

If you’re a nature lover, Birdsong Cabins were created with you in mind! birdsongcabins.com

If you prefer to be closer to the plethora of shops and restaurants, Wimberley Inn + Bar is located in the perfect spot, less than a mile from the hustle and bustle of the Square. “We are close to the action but still secluded enough for a tranquil getaway on our six acres. Our on-site bar and kitchen and oversized pool are great unique amenities, providing for a resort-like experience. With so much to enjoy, some guests feel inclined to spend their entire visit on property!” says innkeeper Ben Webster.

The inn has hosted guests since the ‘80s, but had a full renovation in 2020. New amenities include rainfall walk-in showers, Parachute linens, fresh and eclectic decor with their signature hot pink accents and beautifully xeriscaped grounds. The old innkeeper’s house was converted into a bar and restaurant, serving craft cocktails and delicious bites for guests and locals alike. The bar has a relaxed vibe, decorated like a tasteful living room, with an outdoor deck where twinkle lights and a large fire pit create a lovely ambience. There’s even a little library off the bar if you’d like to peruse the bookshelves while sipping a cocktail. They feature a unique full brunch menu on Saturdays and Sundays (menus are available on the website).

Despite the fact that the inn is the largest in Wimberley, there are only 21 guest rooms of varying sizes and configurations, including six larger suites, two of which are exclusive upstairs bar suites. So while guests can enjoy all of the amenities of a hotel, there’s still a rather intimate feel. “Our tiny-but-mighty team is always just a text message away from handling requests, offering recommendations and suggestions, or helping with reservations!” says Webster. wimberleyinn.com

RELAX / HEAL / UNWIND / EMBRACE / CONNECT 6 unique cabins close to
Wimberley birdsongcabins.com/contact/
Left Page Left: Photo courtesy of Creekhaven Inn Right: Photo courtesy of Vintage Oaks Farm Right Page Left: Photo courtesy of Birdsong Cabins
Right: Photo courtesy of Wimberley Inn + Bar
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