Happy cows may come from California, but happy people come from cheese shops in Fort Worth, Texas.
At its roots, Magnolia Cheese Company is a cut-to-order cheese shop focused on local and American artisan cheeses, but an inspired menu that elevates sandwiches, salads and soups puts them in a class of their own. Proprietor Elizabeth Northern takes pride in each selection of the shop’s cheese case while chef Jen Williams is thoughtful of every component that graces the plate.
I have adored this Near Southside bright spot since its opening in late 2012, but lately their Sunday brunch menu has me outright addicted. I have made their cool and cozy shop my own personal foodie haven for the last six Sundays in a row. (All in the name of research, of course.)
Brunch standards of French toast, salmon, biscuits and gravy all have their place on the menu, but each gets a little extra attention by employing local ingredients whenever possible and combining an inspired balance of flavors.
French toast preparations change weekly, sometimes dotted with bites of dragon fruit or peaches with pink peppercorn depending on what is in season. Bread for this dish is soaked overnight in the same style as the bread pudding and is seared leaving a crunchy caramelized exterior and velvety center that is not excessively sweet.
Frittatas filled with Brazos Valley brie and fresno chiles one week appear the following week with a more classic combination of leeks, potato and tarragon. Buckwheat crepes come rolled with an herbed goat cheese and served alongside ribbons of salmon that have been cured in-house with whiskey and spices. Add a poached egg topped with rich béarnaise sauce to any dish for only $2.
While mimosas are the standard brunch accompaniment, opt for the michelada, a traditionally Mexican concoction of tomato juice, beer and savory spices. Magnolia adds a local flair with Blood and Honey, a citrusy wheat ale from Revolver Brewing Company in Granbury, Texas. These are sold by the carafe, which is a deal at only $11 and is more than enough to share among two people. The pickled okra garnish adds the perfect tangy bite.
If you don’t make it on a Sunday, take heart in the fact that you can nosh on Magnolia’s chevre cheesecake any day of the week. Served here with a drizzle of honey and a sprinkle of bee pollen, this dessert takes the cake in my book.
October will bring about a refreshed menu along with the pleasure of outdoor seating when the heat begins to subside. I have observed tables filling up faster and faster each week, so reservations are highly recommended though not required. I will see you on Sunday!
1251 W. Magnolia Avenue, Fort Worth, TX 76104 |Open 11am to 9pm Tuesday through Thursday, 11am to 10pm on Friday and Saturday. Brunch served Sunday 11am to 3pm.