o t t Eat
By Marene Gustin
12 | Mv | July + August 2019
hat to eat when it’s hot enough to fry an egg on the sidewalk? Seasonal fruits and veggies, of course. They are fresh, healthy and bursting with flavor. Besides being in abundant supply at the local farmers market, you’ll also find them on plates at various restaurants around town. While tomato season may be starting to wind down, chef Daniel Berg says summer is the best time to enjoy an Italian classic salad at Memorial’s new b.b. italia kitchen & bar, part of his brother Benjamin Berg’s thriving empire of eateries around town. (Think B&B Butchers & Restaurant and B.B. Lemon.) “What really sets a great Caprese salad apart from others is fresh, heirloom tomatoes and high-quality mozzarella,” says the chef. “We import our mozzarella from Italy and we are currently using fresh, local heirloom tomatoes for our Caprese salad as they are in season, and I think it shows in the dish.” If you miss tomato season, you can chow down on the restaurant’s roasted beet salad with oranges, candied pistachio and shaved fennel. Delicious beets are harvested all summer long and into the fall. Chef/owner Lynette Hawkins has made the causal Giacomo’s cibo e vino in River Oaks a hit, both for her tasty Italian creations and for her well curated wine list. Both wine and foods often make the lists of best places to eat that will do minimal damage to your pock-
Seasonal Bites in the
et book. Every month she has a seasonal menu. “Because ingredients have the best flavor in their peak season,” she says. “And I like to support the local farmers. In July we’ll have heirloom peppers, eggplant and okra. Buying seasonally and locally is not only healthier and more delicious for the consumer, it is also healthier for the environment. Flying and trucking produce over long distances consumes a lot of petrol. This seems so obvious, but a lot people don’t realize this.” If you check her website you’ll also see that she does a monthly seasonal dessert, with proceeds going to Rescued Pets Movement, a local nonprofit that pulls dogs and cats from death row and finds them homes, often in other states that have a lack of adoptable pets. “I do it because I love animals,” the chef says. “I guess you could call it my ‘pet’ charity.” Hawkins herself has always rescued dogs and cats and, in fact, the restaurant is named after her previous rescued golden retriever, Giacomo.
Local Foods has spread its fresh salads and sandwich fare to five locations now. A favorite one is the one inside Heights Mercantile market in the historic neighborhood. This is the place to cool down this summer with the original Local Foods mint tea that will be back on the menu. Manager Arien Chabolla says look for lots of eggplant and roasted bell peppers in July and August. The menu features many vegan items that make use of seasonal vegetables and fruits. “We recently revamped our smoke trout sandwich and smoked salmon sandwich,” he says. “We buy most of our produce locally so it’s always seasonal. We buy from farms and ranches and have a strong relationship with the high school farm at Pro-Vision.”