It’s an all-too-common occurrence when visiting a new city: You only have a few days in a place, but the guide books and Chowhounders list dozens of places you should try during your trip.
Or you've lived somewhere for years, yet feel overwhelmed by the sheer number of culinary choices – and end up falling back on the old stand-bys instead of venturing out and trying somewhere new.
Fort Worth Foodie – a quarterly magazine and website run by Crystal Vastine – has come up with an ingenious solution to these woes: A food tour that takes participants to three different restaurants in the same Fort Worth neighborhood. The Fort Worth Foodie Taste Tours are held once each month, themed according to season. The first tour, “Summer Brews,” is centered in the West 7th / Cultural District. It was first offered in June and will be held once more on Saturday August 17, beginning at 3 p.m.
The tour after that, for September, October and November, will be devoted to the cheese boom in Fort Worth, with the restaurants still to be determined.
We tagged along on the July “Summer Brews” tour held last week. Our group of a dozen participants met at Rodeo Goat Ice House, where we snacked on a burger not normally on the menu, topped with bacon grits and a quail egg, and accompanied by “fries” that were actually fried dough – the idea, according to chef Keith Grober, was to create the sensation of eating breakfast. It paired brilliantly with a “breakfast beer” from new Fort Worth brewery Martin House – a beer made from four different grains and designed to evoke the flavors of a bowl of cereal.
From there, it was on to nearby Brownstone, a restaurant that’s been trying to reinvent itself after parting ways with founding chef Casey Thompson, of Top Chef fame. The happy hour-style bites includes a nicely spicy “buffalo-style” humus, topped with blue cheese chunks and fried grits with red pepper sauce. The beer this time was another Fort Worth specialty, Rahr and Son’s “Ugly Pug” black lager.
Feeling a little buzzed by this point in the proceedings, our group made its way to Hacienda San Miguel – a restaurant that opened in 2010, and that I’m embarrassed to say I’d never been before. Based on the dessert we tried – an elegant twist on the classic Mexican street food churros, served over coffee ice cream -- we’ll be back again very soon. (We also had beer here – Dos Equis XX/L.)
Along the way, we me the chefs at each restaurant, and had a terrific time talking with our fellow food tour-goers, exchanging tips and recommendations about our favorite Fort Worth spots. For visitors to the city or Fort Worth-based food lovers alike, the tour proved a terrific way to spend a Saturday afternoon – not to mention a much-needed introduction to a couple of restaurants we having been paying enough attention to.
The cost of the "Summer Brews" tour is $45 per person, and to participate you must be 21 years of age or older. To sign up for the next tour, go here.