Road Foodie

Some people drive simply to arrive.

To Eat and Drank in Marfa

Posted By on February 23, 2009

Marfa, Texas. 0 miles.

For a Marfa-rita, just add ice.

For a kickin' Marfa-rita, just add ice.

To Drink, in Texas:
* Noun, singular: Drank, as in “Could ah git a drank, here, or whuut?”
* Noun, plural: Dranks, as in “Me and Merle got a few dranks down to the corner.”
* Verb, present: Drank, as in “Ah ain’t gonna drank that – it’s water!”
* Verb, past: Drank, as in “Merle done drank up all the Lone Stars, durn it, it wudn’t me, honey!”
* Verb, past perfect: Drank, as in “We was gonna drank that iced tea, honey, but Merle brought some whisky, instead. Wudn’t that nahs?”
— reprinted with my permission from the scholarly tome
Cowboy Cocktails: Boot-Scootin’ Beverages and Tasty Vittles from the Wild West, Ten Speed Press, ‘00 (I wrote all the non-recipe text—including recommended listening for each drink—cowboy chef Grady Spears wrote the cocktail recipes)
Marfa sports some excellent restaurants, which I will enthusiastically continue to explore, enjoy, and report upon. But I’m here to work and that means cooking in pretty regular. As previously noted, the GetGo market, just down the street from Marfa Ballroom, offers a surprising array of good food, but what I’m missing most is fresh herbs. There is a farm market under the same metal canopy that’s home to the Marfa Food Shark “Wednesday through Friday and some Saturdays” (more about this in a later post), but it’s closed for the season. So herbs are out. At the funky little Pueblo market, I spy some
Marbling is my middle name. One of 'em, anyway.

Marbling is my middle name. One of 'em, anyway.

nicely marbled pork chops in a healthy shade of pink, indicating that they have perhaps not suffered the “improvement” to which most supermarket pork has been subjected (ie all the tasty fat’s been bred right on out). I haven’t eaten supermarket pork in years…but hey, I’m willing to try new things. (See marbling: looks pretty good, huh?)
In the absence of fresh thyme, my trusty traveling spice market steps in, and I make up a paste from dry oregano, smoked paprika, garlic powder, and a bunch of orange sea salt and Tellicherry pepper. To save on dishes, I mix it up right on top o’ the chop.
While the chop is marinatin,’ I whup up a nice marfa-rita with reposado tequila (yep, I broke down and bought it from El Cheapo Liquor), fresh lime juice crushed in my Crate n’ Barrel squeezer, and the Scottsdale Triple Sec. After writing many cocktail recipes (and engineering many cocktails), the ratio for both authentic daiquiris and margaritas has finally settled in like this: 2 parts strong (rum or tequila), 1 part sour (fresh lime juice), and 1 part sweet (Triple Sec, simple syrup—or, in them Better Times, Cointreau or Citronge).
In the immortal words of Will Smith (Independance Day): I have GOT to get me one of <em>these</em>! (Maybe when I'm cookin' for more than one person, again…) ” title=”marfapot” width=”300″ height=”225″ class=”size-medium wp-image-600″ /><p id=In the immortal words of Will Smith (Independance Day): I have GOT to get me one of these! (Maybe when I'm cookin' for more than one person, again...)

I’ve got kale, and the couscous that I scored back in Scottsdale, so this little menu makes me feel pretty special. The Marfa-low is real well stocked in the kitchen department, but there’s no griddle pan and the skillet is non-stick (ie no sear possible, here), so I explore the possibility of using the broiler function on the oven. I remember broilers from college, can’t be that bad, right? In fact, this broiler gets pretty durned hot, and after 3 minutes on each side, I turn it off and the chop luxuriates in the gentle caress of residual heat cooking, a technique of which I am a huge proponent. (What this means, in practice, is that after the initial sear, I let the chop hang on the rack for ten—or even fifteen—minutes, then crank it up high again for 2 to 3 minutes, just for some warmth.) The result is über-juicy meat that’s actually warm when you eat it. The many exuberant fans of The Ultimate Mr Beef, a recipe in my recent book
The Relaxed Kitchen: How to Entertain with Casual Elegance and Never Lose Your Mind, Incinerate the Souffle, or Murder the Guestsare very familiar with this process, except that in the case of Mr Beef the 7 to 10-pound standing rib roast rests in the turned-off oven for 2 ½ hours before its final nuke. Although I originally learned the technique from British cookery writer Robert Carrier, it was not until I wrote the
The Palm Restaurant Cookbook that I understood how this technique could be successfully brought to smaller cuts. But, I digress. (Nothing new, when it comes to meat.) “East of Eden” is cued up on the flat-screen, Stella’s on her sheepskin, and I am in my own little version of West Texas heaven.


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