I don’t know about you but for decades I have made resolutions at the beginning of a new year. I always have good intentions of following through with them. Invariably, those resolutions go by the wayside.
As I sit in my home in San Angelo, I’ve given some thought to where I would like to go in Texas if given the chance to once again load up my car, hit the road, and travel the highways and byways of this great state.
Goal 1 – Visit the Remaining Texas Heritage Trails Regions
Since I’ve completed two of the regions, it seems only natural that I’d complete the other eight, so I’ve made that a mission this year to do so. I have no real time schedule but with eight to go, it’s going to be a challenge. I’ve already put together maps based on the various cities and towns in each region. While I’ve gone to all of these areas of Texas, I haven’t specifically focused on the regions themselves when visiting.
If you were planning my trips, which region would you want to visit first and why?
Goal 2 – Eat in the Heart of Texas
Throughout my life in Texas, I’ve enjoyed some outstanding dishes and celebrated great cultural diversity while eating them. It’s hard to choose a favorite culinary region, as the Lone Star State is so very different with its offerings. I do, however, have some favorite foods I like to eat so I plan to conduct a few foodie polls to see where I can find some of my favorite foods based on your suggestions.
To get your appetite going, I’ve created a list of 25 of my favorite foods I would be happy to eat if I were stuck on a deserted island.
- Barbecue Brisket – I admit, I prefer burnt ends but a good, lean brisket is delicious.
- Biscuits and Sausage Gravy – Yes, sausage gravy. Please don’t try to fool me with ham gravy. Not sure what that’s supposed to be but it doesn’t work for me.
- Breakfast Tacos – Gotta have great salsa to go with them.
- Chicken and Dumpings – While my husband from Ohio prefers dropped dumplings, I grew up with rolled, so that’s what I’m looking to taste.
- Chicken Fried Steak – This dish varies in so many ways, from size to breading, but the gravy is the key to success.
- Chili con Carne – Of course, chili is our state dish. We eat it any time of year, even in the heat of summer.
- Chips and Salsa – The state snack refers to the tortilla chip, not some other less worthy chip. That said, the Texas Frito makes a nice addition to any bowl of chili.
- Cornbread – I’ll eat our state bread both thick and thin. I like it sweet and savory. I really like it with a pot of pinto beans or purple hull peas and a side of sliced onion.
- Fajitas – Beef, chicken, shrimp or veggie, fajitas on a homemade tortilla makes a great meal.
- Fried Catfish – I’m pretty picky about my catfish. I don’t want to eat a thick piece of fish. I like cornbread battered but beer-battered runs a close second and give me some delicious tartar sauce to top it off.
- Fried Chicken – How many Sunday lunches, church socials, and reunions have I been to where fried chicken was the centerpiece? More than I can name. Hot or cold, it’s hard not to like it.
- Fruit Kolaches – Since there’s a Kolache Trail, this would be a good place to start. I’ve seen poppy seed, apricot, cream cheese, and more. Yum!
- Greens – As a young girl, I don’t remember liking greens but I love them now. Collards, mustard, and turnip are traditional for me. I’ve also added Swiss chard and kale to the mix. I always like to add a little pepper sauce to liven them up at the end. Now I want to find out who makes the best in Texas.
- Guacamole – Guacamole has been in my life since the early 80’s. You either love it or you don’t. I love it. I really love it when someone I’m dining with doesn’t love it. More for me!
- Hamburgers – Since Athens, Texas, says they invented the hamburger, I had to include this humble meal as an option.
- Margaritas – I prefer frozen, but would try any and all kinds.
- Peach Cobbler – The state cobbler is peach. I admit to being a bigger fan of the blackberry cobbler but I’m not saying no if you put peach in front of me.
- Pecan Pie – As both the state nut and the state pie, the pecan has a lot to live up to. I have had them overcooked and undercooked. I also have tasted them when they were entirely too sweet. When it’s done right, it’s perfection.
- Pinto Beans – It’s a simple bean. Most of us in Texas have a bag of pintos in our pantry. They make a great side dish and a delicious meal when you add a slice of cornbread to the bottom of the bowl and add enough pot liquor to soak into the bread.
- Queso – Queso can be tricky. It shouldn’t be made from the long box cheese. You know the one. That’s cheese dip, not queso. I’ve only found a couple of queso dips I really like, so if you know of great places that make it, let me know.
- Shrimp – If you remember the scene where Bubba is telling Forrest Gump about the different kinds of shrimp dishes, that’s pretty much how I will eat the state crustacean.
- Sopaipillas – One of the Texas state pastries, the sopaipilla is certainly delicious with honey. My husband introduced me to having it with chili. I recommend both.
- Strudel – I admit to not knowing the other state pastry is the strudel until I read about it when researching for this post. I am on board with any type of sweet pastry that I can have with a cup of coffee.
- Sweet Tea – It may not seem like something to add to a list for foodies but sweet tea is not just a matter of putting tea in a glass of ice and adding sugar. It’s very important to make it right with tea bags and real sugar.
- Tex-Mex – I’m not sure how many states have been paired with a country to create an iconic culinary combination. Tell me your favorite Tex-Mex dishes and I’ll show you happy people.
Goal 3 – Photograph the Beauty of the State
Probably the easiest goal of the three, taking photos of scenes in Texas is a given. I’ll continue to share the beauty and tell you the stories of my beloved Lone Star State.
After a crazy 2020, here’s hoping for a better 2021 in which we can once again explore and see Texas first!