Chef Chat, Part 3: Jamie Zelko of Zelko Bistro
We conclude our visit with Chef Jamie Zelko of Zelko Bistro with tastings of two of her dishes.
First up are Chef Zelko's fried green tomatoes. She batters thick slices of Texas green tomatoes in buttermilk, seasons them with Creole spices, and then fries them in a Captain Crunch and panko crumb breading. They're served on top of greens with a crab meat remoulade and fried parsnips. Eating this dish transported me back in time, which was odd considering I didn't grow up eating fried green tomatoes. The first bite induces humming-noises of satisfaction with the warm, tart tomato's sweet, crunchy crust and forkfuls of chunky crab accompanying each bite.
The funnel cake does exactly what Chef Zelko intends -- it makes you feel like a kid again. The little fried morsels of Americana served with fresh berries and local honey took me back to the days of being blanketed by the smell of freshly-made funnel cake at the amusement park, and Mama telling me I'm crazy for wanting fried batter that cost, at the time, a horrific $3. Despite the past disappointments of only getting to smell the funnel cakes while munching on smuggled-in restaurant mints, Chef Zelko's dessert transported me to the childhood I could have had. For that, I left her bistro very happy.
Photo by Tam Vo
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