I’ve said it before, though it bears repeating: Comments on social media and websites have pretty much wiped out the now-lost art of emailing questions and/or thinly disguised vindictive barbs to a journalist. When I started this gig back in 2011, angry, curious, helpful emailers crammed my inbox with a wide-range of rants, tips, and questions – those early ones were mostly concerned with how I sucked compared to my predecessor. Now, all I get are press releases (most of which have nothing to do with food) or the odd African prince who needs me to hold on to a few million dollars for him until the political climate in his failed state calms down. (Can you believe my luck?!)
For every 147 African princes, I’m the recipient of one or two actual legit questions – an occasion so rare, I’ve made it a column both times it’s happened over the last year (“Caldo My Inbox,” Dec 13, 2017 and this week).
Catherine Coles from Fort Worth wanted to know why I avoid one particular kind of eatery.
“Chow, Baby,” she writes, “I love reading your column, but I wonder why you never write about breakfast places. Most of the time, if I go out to eat, it’s for breakfast. What are some of your favorite places?”
Well, Cathy (can I call you that?), I’m more of a brunch than a breakfast person – probably because one involves drinking mimosas and the other stale coffee. There are a few morning places I enjoy, particularly Brewed (801 W Magnolia Av, 817-945-1545). The all-day breakfast menu boasts a nice balance of classic breakfast fare and a few stick-to-your-gut flourishes like the pulled pork hash skillet ($9.50) and fried egg sandwich ($11). For you healthy eaters, there’s granola and yogurt with berries ($7). The coffee is imported all the way from the other end of Magnolia Avenue, from Avoca Coffee Roasters, so that’s a plus.
For a more classic breakfast choice, I’m always up for Westside Cafe (7950 Camp Bowie West, 817-560-1996). My favorite is the Country Breakfast ($7.99), three eggs any style with bacon, ham, or sausage and two buttermilk pancakes. You’ll leave a diabetic. But what’s the harm in a little after-breakfast insulin?
But Cathy hasn’t been the only nonviolent emailer recently. A certain Kim Becker from Fort Worth wanted to know where she can curl up with a decent soup this time of year.
“Hey CB,” she writes, “Now that the weather is heating up, places aren’t serving as much soup. I still love a good soup, regardless of the weather, and wanted to know if you could recommend some places.”
Yes, Kim. You’ve really struck a nerve with me here. I’m assuming you’re not referring to pho or Asian whole-meal soups, so like you, I’m often baffled that soup disappears from area menus when the temperatures rise. Those same kitchens are still serving hot entrees, right? I’m even more bewildered as to why more kitchens don’t churn out cold soups this time of year.
For me, the best place in town for soup has long been Cafe Modern (3200 Darnell St, 817-840-2157). Chef Denise Shavandy always uses fresh, seasonal ingredients, and nowhere is that more pronounced than in her daily selection of soups. Shavandy isn’t scared of spice, either, so be prepared for spoonfuls of Middle-Eastern kick.
The Modern’s across-the-street neighbor, The Buffet Restaurant at the Kimbell (3333 Camp Bowie Blvd, 817-332-8451), features two soups every day. At the moment, the kitchen is serving a refreshing, cold gazpacho blanco. If you’re looking for a less pinky-out soup selection, the Near Southside’s Z’s Cafe & Catering (1116 Pennsylvania Av, 817-348-9000) is always serving fresh, affordable, and organic (when possible) cups of bliss.
Keep the emails coming – maybe more than one every three months would be nice.