Tuesday, June 9, 2020

Back Porch Drafthouse #SupportLocal



As my quest to #SupportLocal continues I was once again looking for a place I had not tried yet and had an open dining room. I asked a friend if he wanted to join me, that way I could get a taste of more than one dish. My appetite is not as hearty as it once was so I don't think I could even try an appetizer with my meal. I could have taken the leftovers I suppose but overall having a friend with you is part of the experience I think if you are not just trying to eat out of necessity. He suggested Back Porch Drafhouse. I had never been there before and I am not sure why. I never heard anything bad about the place so it was time to give them a visit. 

So they do have four locations, two in Oklahoma and two in Texas. This is the kind of restaurant that could really use your support in these times. While they have moved beyond the mom and pop status they are still nowhere near a corporate giant. They are arguably in the most dangerous stage of expansion. Then being forced to shut the dining room down for two months by a pandemic I am sure has put them in a tough spot. I am not sure if they did curbside or delivery but I could not find an option to order food online via their site. 

    

Back Porch Drafthouse has a classic American feel. It looks like those diners I would go into while traveling along Route 66.  They have lots of decore on the walls that range from neon lights, hubcaps, and old signage. Don't get me wrong though, this place was sparkling clean. And I don't remember music playing. That is not to say that there was none but at least if it was it was quiet enough to be what it is supposed to be, background music. I hate going to a place that has a radio blaring. I don't want to fight over the music to talk to my friends. For me, it was the perfect take on a bar that serves great food. Not overbearing and very comfortable. The service was awesome as well. I arrived later than my friend and was never made to feel rushed. She brought me my water then we ordered a beer before we ordered our food. We both decided to try a Martin House Sour Pickle Beer. Goodness, this beer was amazing! I love pickles and have been buying Best Maid Spicy Pickles for awhile now. So this just put two of my favorite things together. I have seen there is a spicy version of this beer so I will keep an eye out for that!



Okay, okay let's get back on track here and talk about the menu. Of course, they are a drafthouse or tap house so they have an awesome beer menu ranging from domestic, imported, and craft beer. On tap, bottled, or caned they have you covered. I would imagine that the craft beer rotates to keep it fresh and up to date with what is going on in the brewery scene. They even had some of our local brewery's beer available which I really appreciate but I had already tired the beer they had on offer. They also offer wine and have a full bar with some house specialties. Not to mention happy hour! (2p.m.-7p.m. Half price domestics.) But the best thing for a foodie like me was the food menu. Talk about a perfectly rounded southern style gastropub selection!

I am so glad they have made it through this pandemic because I have a lot to go back for. This menu was right up my alley. One of the first things I noticed when I walked in was that smokey bbq smell. And you can see it all over the menu. And jalapenos everywhere! So many items have some sort of jalapeno involved somewhere. I am addicted to spicy foods and hot sauce so I just felt so at home here. Let me be clear there are plenty of items that do not have jalapeno and I am sure if you do your due diligence and read the menu you can have them hold the jalapeno. While it seems they specialize in smash burgers there is something for everyone. Salads, soups, wraps, seafood, sandwiches, burgers, tacos, and a kids menu for the little ones. 

Alright, let's get into the food we tried! My friend ordered the Mother Porker: Shaved Ham, Hickory Smoked Pulled Pork, Swiss, Jalapeno Bacon Jam, PBR Caramelized Onions, BP Slaw, Pickles, Secret Sauce. With the Fully Loaded Queso Cheese Fries: Killer Queso, Chopped Bacon, Green Onions, Pickled Jalapenos, Buttermilk Ranch

I ordered the Smoked Jalapeno Patty Melt: Butter Toasted Sourdough, Smoked Jalapenos, PBR Caramelized Onions, Swiss, American, Secret Sauce, Pickles I just got regular fries but I did steal his for the photos because they just looked epic. 

We split our sandwiches in half so we could both get a taste, see this is where having a friend comes in super handy! I will start with my patty melt. I had been craving a patty melt, to be honest, so once I saw it and that it had smoked jalapenos on it I was sold. The buttery bread was grill toasted perfectly. Not so much butter I had to wipe my hands every time I reached for my beer. The burger was juicy and the cheese was nice and gooey. The stars though for me were those onions and smoked jalapeno. This patty melt was not spicy though, not sure why. You would expect it to be but it did not have much heat. That was okay with all that flavor packed into this sandwich, it did not even dawn on me until I started writing this. As for the fries I was really happy. I absolutely love skinny shoestring fires and these are the skinniest fries I have had since I moved to Texas ten years ago. Nice and crispy lightly salted scrumptious fry goodness. I did order the secret sauce on the side because I have a love-hate relationship with secret sauce. Some are great and some are just a disaster. This one however was the type I like. It was tangy and not sweet. Next time I will just order this as is. 

Smoked Jalapeno Patty Melt & Fully Loaded Queso Cheese Fry

The Mother Porker was out of this world! Everything on this sandwich just worked so well together. I have started smoking foods recently so I have a new found love for it. The smoked pulled pork just sang! I tried it by itself and I could have easily just eaten this on its own and been happy. Then you had the ham which was grilled so it released some of that fat. I really did not think I would be able to taste the ham but you could for sure. The slaw was crisp and zippy, there is nothing worse than a sad droopy chewy slaw. And this jalapeno bacon jam, let me tell you this stuff is freaking unbelievably tasty. It has a kick, with that salt from the bacon, and sweetness of being a jam this stuff just blew my mind. This is umami in its essence and encapsulates the local area. This is the type of food I would expect you to search out if you visit Texoma. For those of you that aren't from here, this is what the local area is called. It encompasses parts of Northern Texas and Southern Oklahoma. 

The Mother Porker & Fully Loaded Queso Cheese Fries!

The final rating is a 5 out of 5 apples! This place is a must-try!


Now that I have been here I can't believe it took me so long. If you are passing through and looking for that taste of modern southern food this is a place you must consider. I am really looking forward to going back and trying more of the menu. Also, I forgot to mention they have a brunch on Saturdays and Sundays that has its own menu. They have a Sunday Funday Cocktail menu as well, keep in mind that in Texas you can not order alcohol until after 12p.m.! Definitely going to go try this when I get a chance. 

Back Porch Drafthouse Social Media:
            
Love Food, Live Life!

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Tuesday, June 2, 2020

Antojitos Food Truck #SupportLocal



So life took a crazy turn for all of us these last few months. I am not sure many people thought something like Covid-19 could happen in 2020, not to mention the drastic response that came along with it. Shuttering business and "Shelter in Place" orders in nearly every city and state across America putting millions of people out of work. As the country starts reopening and people are going back to work and out to eat once more, you might notice something quite sad. I don't think I need to mention what individual people went, or are still going through. For me, it is seeing that local businesses were hit hardest that makes my heart heavy. Novelty shops, car washes, clothing boutiques, salons, and of course restaurants on the local level may never recover. These small businesses tend to survive on narrow margins and could not be ready for what happened. So now more than ever is the time to support your local businesses. This is difficult I know, corporate stores and restaurants tend to be cheaper and more convenient. Which sucks because many of us are financially crushed. I just urge you to at least once a month if not once a week to try and spend that hard-earned money in businesses that have been hard-fought to keep open. This supports the community as a whole rather than just the employees that work in corporate businesses. 

Okay so with the heavy stuff said it is time to move on. I did some searching online for local restaurants that I wanted to try. Sadly the first two places I went too are closed. Not sure if it is permanent or if they are just waiting until the seating capacity is raised, right now in Texas we are at a 50% maximum capacity for restaurants. Google said these restaurants were open and only serving takeout orders, but when I arrived both of them had handwritten signs in the window, "Sorry Temporarily Closed". I can't tell you how disappointed I was that I never took the time to eat at these places that had excellent reviews. I am determined to not let that happen again. As I was searching for a third restaurant to try I remembered a food truck I had driven by several times last week. So I looked them up on the social media sites, located them, and made my way to the parking lot they were working in for the day. 

Antojitos is a small taco truck with a menu that speaks my language. Sort of a Tex-Mex mix of tacos, shrimp skewers, and a steak sandwich.

The Menu!

I talked to the young man who was working the truck, trying to get more information about how long they had been in business and the history of the owner. This is when I learned he was just a student helping out a teacher. I had to ask if he was in culinary school, maybe the truck was a work experience program of some sort? Nope, he was just a junior in high school who was helping out one of his teachers. He did not have answers to the questions, nor did I expect him too once I learned he was just helping out. The schools are still shut down as of the time of writing this and I was just glad to see that this gentleman was working a food truck and keeping busy. 

After our short chat, I placed my order. I wish I could have ordered one of everything but alas my wallet and stomach could not bear the burden. I mentioned above that it is sort of a Tex-Mex mix of tacos only because of the pulled pork, brisket, and steak sandwich; guess that would be more my mindset than the truth of the matter. I was raised in San Diego and I could see this menu being just as at home there as it is here in Wichita Falls. I expect to pay a bit more for something from a food truck in America, things are just more expensive here in local currency. There is also the fact that market prices are going up on goods. To be honest, though Antojitos is fairly priced for what I ordered. It would be nice if there were a mix and match combo price for ordering different types of tacos but I can't complain. 

Rib Eye, Shrimp, & Pulled Pork Tacos

I ordered a Pulled Pork, Shrimp, and Rib Eye taco. I really wanted to try the sandwich too but they were unavailable when I arrived. Though I was disappointed I again have no complaint, I will just be sure to go back for it! The 6" street style flour tortillas are a good size for something like this. You can't really skimp on the filling or it is glaringly obvious. I paid $11 for my three tacos which looking at the menu price is only ₵.50 more for a mix and match of tacos than the average price of three of a kind. It did not take long to get my order and then I headed home to try this out. They were parked in the lot of a cell phone store and there was no seating available, I really did not want to eat in my car either. For me, that is not an issue because I live close to where they were operating that day. If seating is an issue for you keep that in mind when you pay them a visit. Also, I should not have to mention it but I will. It is a food truck and not a restaurant they really don't have seating unless they are in a food truck park/court or have a permanent location.  

Overall I have to say I was very happy with the food and the service. The guy working the truck offered to bring my food to my car when it was ready and though he could not answer my questions about the business he was very friendly. The pulled pork was not dry which can be a challenge if not cooked and stored properly. The shrimp was freaking cooked perfectly! I have to admit I was a bit skeptical once I learned this guy was just helping out and a high school student. He did not overcook the delicate seafood, hat tip to you good sir! Now I really wish I would have gotten his name to give him full credit. The rib eye was awesome, it is my favorite cut of steak so I was just in heaven! I am a huge fan of cabbage rather than lettuce on my tacos. I feel like the bittersweet can really bring balance to it since there tends to be bold flavors cooked into the protein. Always a sucker for both chipotle and avocado the two sauces were perfect. 


All that said the only thing I have a criticism about is that all three proteins were cooked with the same seasoning.  Don't get me wrong, it was an awesome seasoning that worked well with beef, seafood, and pork, but it did not allow any of the meat to stand on its own. While well cooked and worth the money I just felt like the flavor profile between the three tacos was just too similar. 

All in all, I highly recommend that you stop by this truck for lunch or diner. On that note, they are usually open until 11 p.m.! That is pretty awesome if you ask me. I work in a restaurant so if I can grab a quick bite on a break or after work I feel blessed. Not to mention if I am going to eat something that might be considered "fast food" I would much rather have it come somewhere that pushes street-style tacos that are home-cooked than from the "Bell of Tacos"! It will be worth the extra bit of money you might dole out.


Let me close out by saying when you #SupportLocal you will more than likely spend more money. By doing so you will not prop up major corporations that were able to stay open at a profit loss due to a global pandemic that laid waste to our economy. Keep in mind that big chains and franchises might need to close a few locations, but many of them will come out the other side of this in good order as time goes on. The mom and pop shop owners as well as the people they employ are the ones that need your help most now.  Don't break your own bank to do so but do what you can and keep these entrepreneurs in mind when you go out. 

If you are local to Wichita Falls Tx. what are your favorite local restaurants? What would you recommend me checking out? If you are not in Wichita please feel free to share your local hot spot, I encourage you to post below in the comments. Feel free to share links, unless they are just spam of course. 

Edit: I was contacted by the owner of the truck who apologized for my experience. I told him there was no need to apologize as I was very pleased with my experience, and plan to go back often. He informed me that they have daily and weekend specials as well as some side items that you can make into combos. So be sure to check out their social media to see if they have something you might want to try as a special. Here is the list of specials and sides he messaged me:
Monday: Steak Sandwich 7.99 with a side and a drink. Tuesday: 1.99 spicy chicken Tacos Wednesday: 1.99 Pull Pork Thursday: Nachos 7.99 drink and side. Friday/Sat/Sunday. 4 tacos, side, and drink 7.99 Sides can be nachos or onions rings Some weekends we have Free margaritas and we also have special dishes for sale such as a ceviche/ shrimp cocktail.

The final rating is a 4 out of 5 Apples! You really need to try this food truck!



Antojitos Social Media: