Tuesday, November 18, 2014

The Kitchen Chick -- Cool classes in Galveston

I spent a chunk of last week in Galvestoneveryone's favorite Texas island, researching a Christmas shopping article.  

My family will laugh at the 'shopping' part since I'm the least shopperly of three sisters.  So I was happy to find unique and fun gifts to feature; "unique and fun" being words I've never used in conjunction with shopping.

Chef Mary Bass, teaching me how to pipe icing at The Kitchen Chick in Galveston.

Just a short walk from my hotel in the historic Strand district was The Kitchen Chick, a boutique cooking store, where I joined a wine-fueled cooking class in making cupcakes. 

Outside of the fact that everything tastes better after a couple of glasses of wine, the cupcakes were delicious and we took home recipes to go with our memories.  

The spicy gingerbread cupcakes with cream cheese frosting might even make me break our rule of no-sweets-in-the-house. 

In case you'd like to try them yourself, here's the recipe: Martha Stewart's Gingerbread Cupcakes.  Use your favorite cream cheese frosting recipe, remembering to have the ingredients at room temperature and whip until light and fluffy.

Then "Take Whisks in Life" (a motto I adopted from The Kitchen Chick) and plan your own unique and fun trip to Galveston.

Copyright 2009-2014 Kathleen Scott, for Hill Country Mysteries. Unauthorized reproduction is prohibited.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Good Eats in a Cool Town -- Fredericksburg, TX

In downtown Fredericksburg, Der Lindenbaum was a favorite of Lady Bird Johnson, whose letter to the owner hangs on the wall.

Fredericksburg is the kind of small town that feels like home, but better. To start with, the town is located at the foot of perhaps Texas' best wine trail, the Fredericksburg Wine Road 290.  

Then there's an historic downtown that appeals to the eye with limestone buildings of Texas-German stone architecture, still well kept and home to unique shops, businesses and entertainment venues.  

And visitors find a lot to do--monthly art walks including more than a dozen galleriesfestivals almost every monthwildflower drives in spring, peach stands in summer, grape crush in fall, holiday lights in winter and year-round hiking at area parks.  

But the first question anyone who's planning a jaunt asks is, "Where should I go to eat?" because this village of around 10,000 souls boasts more good food than many towns ten times the size.

Our friend Jack recently asked the question so I'm sharing a few favorites:

Der Lindenbaum--heartfelt, old-school German food served in a century-old stone building. Known for their schnitzels, hand-cut from heritage pork grown on a farm near Austin. Moderately priced. 312 E. Main St., Fredericksburg, 830-997-9126, www.derlindenbaum.com

Fredericksburg Herb Farm--The stone restaurant is surrounded by flower, herb and vegetable gardens accented with sculpture. Inside, the chef focuses on fresh local foods, creative preparation and beautiful presentation, including house-made focaccia bread with airy texture and buttery crunchy crust. Moderate to expensive. 405 Whitney St., Fredericksburg, 830-997-8615 FredericksburgHerbFarm.com 

The Cabernet Grill's menu could be described as "Texas with a twist," delicious favorites dressed for a night out, such as Pecan-crusted crab cakes and Grilled Texas quail, jalapeno-rubbed and bacon-stuffed.  Plus a great Texas wine list. Moderate to expensive.  2805 S State Hwy. 16, Fredericksburg, 830-990-5734,www.cottonginlodging.com 

August E's serves up a combination of fine dining and art, “Nouveau Texas Cuisine,” a delicious amalgam of fresh ingredients and creative preparation, served in an atmosphere reminiscent of an art gallery. Expensive. 203 E. San Antonio St., Fredericksburg, 830-997-1585, www.august-es.com.  Photo Credit: Cynthia Lively

And for dessert, the Fredericksburg Pie Co. may make the best pie in Texas. Fillings such as soul-soothing coconut cream or chunky tart peaches or buttery toasted pecans nestle in tender, flaky and flavorful crusts. Inexpensive.  108 E. Austin St., Fredericksburg, 830-990-6992, FredericksburgTexasShopping.com

If you go, I want to know..."Where did you eat?"

Copyright 2009-2014 Kathleen Scott, for Hill Country Mysteries. Unauthorized reproduction is prohibited.