IT'S FALL, YOU GUYS. WE MADE IT. In the words of noted pot roast and red cabbage fan Gerald R. Ford, our long national nightmare is over. At least until April.
Granted, the autumnal equinox only just took place this past Saturday. And it's still pretty damn hot outside. But the cooler air has been sneaking into town in the mornings for the last week or so, tempting us all with a hopeful taste of the lower temperatures we didn't get to fully embrace last year.
And with those brisk, stirring breezes come visions of the fall foods that simply aren't as enjoyable during Houston's almost eternal summer: pecan pies, pumpkin pies, Starbucks lattes flavored like pumpkin pies (shut up), bœuf bourguignon, bun bo hue, pozole, coq au vin, roasted butternut squash, roasted acorn squash, roasted apples (try them; trust me) and so much more.
Besides the bounty of cool weather produce that will start showing up in farmers markets -- spinach, kale, beets, cauliflower, broccoli, pumpkin and more -- these are the dishes we're looking forward to eating the most once the temperatures finally drop.
5. Pot roast
Like former president Ford, I love a good pot roast. I love coming home to one even more -- the scent of slowly braised beef, roasted potatoes and sweet carrots hitting you with a welcoming thickness the moment you open the front door -- so thank God for Crock Pots. If you want to cook your pot roast in the oven the old-fashioned way, all the better in cold weather too: There's nothing quite so icky as heating up the house with a full-tilt oven in the summer.
Best place to enjoy: The Raven Grill
4. Chicken pot pie
Tender chicken, sweet carrots and peas, creamy gravy, flaky pie crust: Chicken pot pie is warm, filling and comforting in the same way that visiting your grandparents' house and finding not a single dish or rug to be out of place after 30 years is. It's not a mature or elegant dish, but it's hearty and delicious -- and that's all that matters.
Best place to enjoy: Daily Grill