Company Man Grilled Cheese, Neighbor’s House Grocery
500 W 7th Street, Suite 175
This newly opened downtown grocer is a one-stop shop with local baked goods from La Casita Bakery and Stir Crazy Baked Goods, cold-pressed juices, grab-and-go meals, and a butcher shop that will prepare your selections while you enjoy a beer or glass of wine at the bar. To top it all off, there’s a grilled cheese menu board that will stop you in your tracks.
After weighing the options that include a hard-to-pass-up chicken enchilada grilled cheese on a Pearl Snap kolache bun, I finally decided to start with the Company Man Grilled Cheese. Thinly sliced prime rib is layered with horseradish sauce, caramelized onions and a creamy combination of American cheese, Swiss cheese and white queso. All of this is piled between slices of The Proof Bakery’s grilled sourdough bread before it hits the panini press. And while normally a glass of iced tea to wash it down would hardly deserve mention, this one has a detail that needs acknowledgement. A container of simple syrup poised amongst exotic tea flavors ensures customers don’t suffer through grainy bits of sugar in their cold beverages. Sometimes it’s the little things.
Neighbor’s House Grocery is open from 7am to 9pm Monday through Saturday. First floor parking is readily available in the garage on 6th Street that is just steps away form the entrance for a quick in and out.
The Cure, The Table
120 St Louis Ave, Suite 103B
You no longer have to wait for the weekend to grab all of the farmers market goodness thanks to The Table. This small storefront at 103 St. Louis Ave offers all of your farmers market favorites under one roof from Working Farms fresh figs to Dr. Sue’s chocolates beautifully wrapped and ready for gifting.
My latest addiction is thankfully one that is good for me. The Cure vinegar from Mockingbird Food Co. by Dena Peterson is a miracle drug and salad dressing all in one. Okay, I may be overstating the miracle drug part, but a morning shot of this concoction of apple cider vinegar, honey, garlic and cayenne pepper is a proper jolt to the senses and so far has warded off my typical summer to fall funk. When in a pinch to make a salad dressing, just mix one part of The Cure to one part olive oil to make a tangy dressing with a touch of sweetness. For Thanksgiving, I’ll be tossing this with baby kale, sliced almonds, persimmons and tart cherries.
Mockingbird Foods also offers a range of drinking vinegars and shrubs. This is a perfect mixer to have at a cocktail party to prepare both alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages to ensure all of your guests have a delicious drink in hand. Grab a few bottles of Topo Chico to mix with flavors like Fig Cinnamon to drink on its own or add a splash of rum and ginger beer.
The Table is open 11am to 7pm Tuesday through Friday and 11am to 4pm on Saturdays.
Lil’ Troy, Zoli’s Pizza
3501 Hulen St
If Cane Rosso is the rule-following angel on owner Jay Jerrier’s right shoulder, then Zoli’s is its alter ego with a New York accent on his left, wielding a pitchfork in one hand and a bottle of ranch in the other.
While Cane Rosso adheres to strict guidelines of Italy’s Associazione Verace Pizza Napoletana and it’s desired soft, floppy center, Zoli’s takes the New York approach with round thin crust that still manages to hold up to loads of ingredients. A square pan-style thick crust is also offered with toppings reaching all the way to the crisp, charred edges. Try them all, but if you need a starter pizza, order the Lil’ Troy on a round crust topped with vodka sauce (tomato sauce mixed with cream and, yes, vodka), milky stracciatella cheese, mini meatballs, cherry peppers crunchy garlic breadcrumbs.
Finish off at Cow Tipping Creamery, located under the same roof. You cannot order while seated at Zoli’s, but it’s well worth a few steps for the Black Forest stacker featuring Swiss Pastry Shop’s “uncake.” Chunks of baked meringue top a swirl of chocolate and vanilla ice cream coated in brown sugar hot fudge.
Sour Pickle Beer, Martin House Brewing Company
220 S Sylvania Ave.
The people have spoken and sour pickle beer from Martin House is here to stay year-round. Martin House was in a serious flow churning out nearly 20 microbrews this past summer. The one causing lines clear across the 4th Street bridge leading up to the brewery was their pucker producing collaboration with Best Maid pickles.
Sours are not my typical go-to, but one sip and I was transported back to childhood refrigerator raids of drinking pickle juice from the jar. It’s sour, salty, fizzy, refreshing and if you’re not careful, you’ll forget you’re drinking an alcoholic beverage. Plus, “it’s got electrolytes.” (if you don’t get that reference, watch the movie ‘Idiocracy’ immediately and thank me later.)
Martin House will soon be increasing production to meet the incredible demand that has the beer flying off shelves as soon as it arrives. If you can find it, I recommend a glass rimmed with Tajin chile lime seasoning and of course, a Best Maid beer pickle (made with Martin House Salty Lady) for garnish.
Now that laws were changed this past September allowing craft brewers to sell direct, you can purchase from Martin House Brewery or use this map that shows where most recent 6-pack deliveries have been made.
Fresh Gulf Redfish – Island Style, Twigs American Kitchen
5289 Marathon Ave.
Twigs Bistro and Martini Bar has reinvented itself as Twigs American Kitchen with a revamped menu featuring more locally sourced ingredients and bolder flavors. The martinis still remain, along with new cocktails including a well-balanced Orange Clove Old Fashioned made with local favorite, TX Whiskey.
The absolute standout of the new menu, however, is the gulf redfish prepared island-style. A thick portion of redfish with avocado mango salsa sits atop stir-fried broccolini and peppers that still maintain their bite. A brightly flavored cilantro-lime emulsion brings all of the flavors together without overpowering the sweet, mild flavor of the fish. Although, admittedly, I would eat just about anything with this sauce, each of the components is prepared flawlessly to layer flavor for a well composed dish.
If all this fish and veggie talk feels a little too clean-eating for your taste, then balance it out with a decadent Cast Iron Mac and Cheese or finish you meal with Drunken Donuts served with three alcohol infused sauces.
Twigs is open weekdays at 11am and for weekend brunch at 10am.