Dine like a Texan: Berry Season is Upon Us
By: Samantha Latta
With Texas’s prime berry season upon us, it only makes sense to take advantage of the most decadent dishes and drinks that the Lone Star State has to offer. From the traditional favorites to unique cuisine, there are several seasonal delights that must be enjoyed while they last! Whether you are a local, or just driving through, consider one of these spring time hot spots for a delicious treat!
Boiler Nine Bar + Grill – Strawberry Mint Sorbet
What better way to cool down than with Boiler Nine’s refreshing Strawberry Mint Sorbet? Made with kombucha, lime and black pepper meringue, this dish is sure to be a treat for your taste buds. Also, it is made for all Texans to enjoy, even those with dietary restrictions or preferences; according to Chef de Cuisine Emily Maddy, the Strawberry Mint Sorbet can even be made vegan! “The inspiration for this dish was to have a sweet offering that is inherently gluten free and vegetarian. Plus, can be made vegan, if necessary,” Maddy said. “When Texas berries are in season—typically from mid-April until June when the heat turns up—we order from Farm to Table, which sources from various farms in and around Austin.”
Bulla Gastrobar – Blueberry Ricotta Pancakes
Guests are prone to fall in love at first bite of blueberry fluff with this deliciously sweet brunch item at Bulla Gastrobar. The Blueberry and Ricotta Pancakes delight guests with a sweet way to start the day, topped with Blueberry compote and lime gel. This heavenly take on pancakes is all thanks to Regional Culinary Executive, Diego Solano, who believed he could make the restaurant’s pancakes even better than they were before. After some convincing to the owner (Carlos Centurion), and some nation-wide experiences, Solano returned to Bulla Gastrobar with the ingredients to success. Collaborating together to find the perfect touch, Solano and Centurion created the delicious breakfast dish!
“I have always loved the pancakes at Bulla Gastrobar, but thought they could be better. So I convinced owner, Carlos Centurion, to let me do some traveling in search for ideas on how to make the best pancakes,” Solano said. “After several trips across the U.S., I came back with the idea of trying to mix the Bulla pancake batter with ricotta cheese to make them fluffier. And instead of topping with blueberries, like most restaurants, we wanted to create a blueberry compote. Once the recipe was in the making, Carlos and I felt that the sweetness of the blueberries, especially local seasonal berries, needed to be balanced with a citrus flavor which brought in the lime gel component.”
District Kitchen – Lemon Blueberry French Toast
Brunch at District means incorporating a seasonal French Toast dish for fall and spring. This spring, District Pastry Chef Dennis Van created a Lemon Blueberry French Toast made with homemade lemon bread and served with a blueberry lavender compote.
“For District’s Lemon Blueberry French Toast, I wanted to pair two common flavors that remind me of spring, and I love brunch so I though why not go breakfast with it and tweak a classic French Toast? I added lavender to give it some floral notes, which also gives the blueberry compote another layer of unexpected flavor.” Van said.
RJ Mexican Cuisine – Blueberry Basil Margarita
A staple at RJ Mexican Cuisine, this margarita quenches thirst through its blend of Dulce Vida Reposado, Patron Citronge, blueberry simple, blueberries, lemon and lime juice, agave nectar and a garnish of fresh basil.
According to the owner and founder of RJ’s Mexican Cuisine, this springtime concoction was made specifically with their customers’ needs in mind!
“We created RJ’s Blueberry Basil Margarita to appeal to each guest that walks through our door. We know a basic tequila and lime margarita can be too tangy or intense for some, but the blueberries, agave nectar and fresh basil of the drink mellow out the tequila taste for a more refreshing margarita experience,” Owner and Founder, Jay Khan said. “Blueberries also contain many powerful health benefits, which is also a plus!”
Streets Fine Chicken – Dolly’s Pardon
Photo credit: Kevin Marple
A classy cocktail reminiscent of the country super star, Dolly Parton, the Dolly’s Pardon is a refreshing and tasteful blend of Aylesbury Duck Vodka, champagne, Cointreau, blackberry liqueur and blackberries. As the owner and proprietor of Street’s Fine Chicken explains, the drink is reminiscent of the famous Dolly Parton, with a unique twist on words that represents the idea behind its creation!
“The look of this cocktail really inspired the name. It is simple, but elegant, with glitz and glam, and packed with a punch. We thought to ourselves, ‘this is the Dolly Parton of champagne cocktails’,” Owner and Proprietor, Marco Street said.
“Additionally, Dolly comes from a moonshine family, and we imagined this berry-based cocktail to be the perfect cure for the morning after a night of drinking the white lightening, otherwise known as moonshine. So, we called the cocktail Dolly’s Pardon, as in, “I drank too much last night and need a pardon.”
Photo credit: Y.O. Ranch Steakhouse
Y.O. Ranch Steakhouse – Expresso Crusted Elk
This creative dish from seasoned chef Tony Street combines unique, wild game with a seasonal twist. The dish features espresso crusted elk and then tops it with a blackberry port reduction that results in a rare combination of flavors. “The Espresso Crusted Elk Tenderloin is perfect for this time of year and goes great with a wild rice,” Chef Street said. “Here at Y.O. Ranch Steakhouse, we specialize in wild game meats and those typically go very nicely with fresh berries and particularly with this dish because the sweetness of the fruit balances the bitterness of the coffee. This is a match made in heaven especially for Spring.”