Located in Buffalo Gap, a tiny town three hours from Dallas, Fort Worth, Tom Perini’s Perini Ranch Steakhouse had all odds stacked against it. Even so, “in an empty barn, behind some trees so you can’t even see it from the road,” the restaurant is celebrating its 40th year anniversary with impressive success.
Initially, Tom used to work from his chuckwagon for almost 12 years. Chuckwagons were basically prototypes of the now-popularized food trucks. Getting the meat and wood from the cowboys, they’d prepare sumptuous meals. Requiring food that would give sufficient energy, their clientele, the cowboys, would give harsh yet effective reviews and call out any mistake effectively so that you wouldn’t repeat it ever again. Over time, they developed their cooking merit and became popular.
A Simple Yet Sustainable Way Out
As they gained in demand, it was clear to Perini that the chuckwagon was not a financially sustainable venture. Wanting to remain close to his roots, he, with his wife, Lisa, opened a steakhouse. With a proper ranch atmosphere, their food joint is authentically Texan, with a simple menu and the main quarters in the original barn with extended seating outdoors. Having beef as the main star of the menu, along with delectable burgers and signature roasted cowboy potatoes that are served skin-on, seasoned with an abundance of butter and garlic, the meals are prepared over mesquite wood.
A Grounded and Acclaimed Joint
In spite of a simple menu, limited press, and remote location, the smoked peppered beef tenderloin by Perini’s Ranch was named the mail-order gift of the year by the New York Times in 1995. While they weren’t prepared for it, the restaurant quickly set up a system that works to date to deliver their dishes. In the same year, they started cooking for and with prominent figures and food joints across the country. They were also invited to the James Beard House, where they won the James Beard Foundation’s American Classics Award in 2014. When Jacques Pepin visited their town as a guest chef in 2011, they cooked together at their very own Buffalo Gap Wine & Food Summit.
Over the years, the Perinis have focused on retaining the quality that made their steakhouse influential, also giving them merit in American beef diplomacy. Helping other independent restaurants protect themselves across the country, the Perini couple has also been president of the Texas Restaurant Association while also traveling across the globe on behalf of the United States Meat Export Federation and the Texas Beef Council.
Gastronomy is one of the vital parts of any culture. And eating like a local always gives you a better perspective of any culture, much more closely than visiting a touristy spot. The country of Latvia is also rich in gastronomy. Latvian cuisine is an essential part of their cultural tradition. Some local dishes there might seem a bit odd by sight, but there is no better way to delve into a distinguished memorable culinary journey than to try the local Latvian foods by yourself. Here are a few Latvian delicacies to experience the tradition.
Rye Breads are a Latvian staple. Rye Breads come in different variations in the country, like sweet sourdough, rich dark, etc. Rye bread is a popular accompaniment in any Latvian meal, which can go with almost any dish. With a spread of butter, some cheese, and pieces of ham, it is also a commonly consumed go-to breakfast for the locals.
Speck is a centuries-old food tradition of Latvia. It is a type of extremely fatty smoked bacon made from pork belly. Centuries ago, it was consumed by the local villagers, to gain a lot of extra energy to be able to work hard in the fields every day. ‘pelēkie zirņi ar speķi’ is one of the most traditional dishes made with speck. This simple but tasty dish is made from fried onions, mixed with speck and different types of peas.
Another common smoked protein of Latvia is smoked fish. Having direct access to the Baltic Sea, fish has taken up a major part of Latvian cuisine for ages. Eel, pike, and cod are the most traditional dishes, among many others. Fishes are smoked in long batches in Latvian households to make them tastier and more durable. ‘Liepajas menciņš’ is a never-to-miss dish if you are looking to try an authentic Latvian dish. This signature dish of Liepaja region is made from smoked cod, onions, and potatoes.