Au revoir 2018 and welcome 2019!

Either 2018 was a rough one or we’re just getting old, but like everyone else, we’re looking forward to a new year and incredibly blessed to be able to look back at our last year’s yummy memories, created while breaking bread with family and friends, along with celebrating the successes of some of our favorite, local eateries. We're grateful for how much heart and hard work they put into delivering quality food and service to us and our fellow RGV foodies. So, happy one year anniversary to Scalisi's Chicago Pizza & More and Nuri McAllen, a happy FIVE year anniversary to Snowbite and SALT New American Table and a happy TEN year anniversary to House. Wine. & Bistro.!

As we look upon closing the “hell of a” chapter that was 2018, we also reflect on lessons that we learned throughout the year, in the hopes that they will help us navigate more precisely in the new year. Here we are once again, giving you our Top 5 Lessons of the Year so that you can feel like you are ready to conquer the world (or at least know where to find some good grub, LOL).

 

Go for the Hype, You Might be Surprised

Gimmicky items might be met with hesitation and somewhat of an eyeroll. Ok, not somewhat, but a full on eyeroll. While we try not to judge and know that all food is created equal (kind of), we were a bit skeptical about some hyped up places and the quality of their food. But boy were we wrong! Not one second after having a bite from a Qweenie Dirty Dog or a slice of Taco Pizza from Moran’s Pizzeria, did we realize that we actually put our foot in our mouth. Not only was the food UGH-MAY-ZING, but these establishments have proud owners who are working hard for their money, trying to keep their business running so as to provide the RGV with outside-of-the-box, quality food. And can we just add, also trying to build their empires.

 

Don’t be Afraid of Going the Extra Distance

Living in the Valley has definitely spoiled us into thinking that driving for longer than 20 minutes or being stuck in a 10-minute “traffic jam” is a real problem. While our beautiful home is growing rapidly, we still have the ability to go from McAllen down to Brownsville in less than an hour. So in 2019, make sure to get off the couch, put on some pants and make it down to places like The Loretto Bistro in Mission for their over the top brunch, Wanna Wanna Inn Beach Bar & Grill at the gorgeous South Padre Island for some delicious fried shrimp, Tower Burger Co. in Alamo for a gourmet burger, or Smoke: Texas BBQ & Watering Hole in Harlingen for some mouthwatering ribs and delicious mac n cheese.

 

Stick with What You Know but Add a Twist

Yes, we all know that Mexican food is the end all, be all in El Valle. If you’re craving some guac and queso, then head over to any old run of the mill place, but if you’re willing to take some extra time and find that diamond in the rough make sure you treat your tastebuds to Las Quesadillas, Taqueria Tepeque and Las Pupusas del Itacate. These places take such a simple aspect of Mexican food and add a whole lot of love and flavor (plus, super easy on your wallet). In the order of the latter make sure to sink your teeth into a Huitlacoche Quesadilla, a mix and match order of tacos (must add carnitas and barbacoa), and all the pupusas with all the meats!

 

Smaller is Better

Some of our best meals this year came from places that we have dubbed as “cozy”. What they may lack in size, they more than make up for with their abundance of savory food and welcoming customer service. The best thing is that they all specialize in something different. From the homemade pasta dishes at Bella Mia, to the fried chicken at Starlite Burger (yes you read correctly), to the international street foods found at The Gremlin, to baked daily bread and New American breakfast options at Bread & Butter Bakery Cafe, you are bound to find something that will put you in a state of bliss.

Oh my, we almost forgot! You must go to The Soda Fountain inside Lee’s Pharmacy in McAllen. We think it’s pretty sweet that you can enjoy one of the best milkshakes and burgers in town all while waiting on your prescription to be filled.

 

Yes, Pizza is Still the Solution

People, people if you still haven’t jumped on the bandwagon and come to terms that pizza is a.) its own food group, b.) the best comfort food out there and c.) the solution to all your worries, then why are we still friends? 2017 had some really great pizza and 2018 kept adding doughy deliciousness to the roster.  Our passion for dough, marinara, cheese and toppings, took us to places like Mama Mia Pizzeria, Cortino’s Italian Restaurant, Brick Fire Pizza & More, Stefano’s Pizza Express and The Pizzeria. Each place had its own style and twist to making the beloved dish, but above all, they were mostly consumed with a good glass of red wine (ok, more like a bottle or two) and some great friends on the side.

 

From the bottom of our hearts to our full tummies, your gals from Dishin’ It wish you a Happy New Year filled with an undying passion to seek out beautiful culinary experiences, endless mimosas, slices of pizza and hours of laughter with your friends and family. Cheers to 2019!

Gaby Jones and Trisha Watts work hand-in-hand with the service industry. Jones is in charge of craft and imported beer for L&F Distributors-South Texas and Watts is a freelance writer specializing in the marketing of the service industry. Each week they will have a new adventure and provide an opinion on multiple locations throughout the Rio Grande Valley. They can be reached at dishin.it.956@gmail.com.