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Keeping Cool at the FRESH Grill & Patio

FRESH Grill + PatioSeptember is always a great month for East Texas weather. The summer heat is fading, evenings are cooler and it’s the perfect time to take advantage of outdoor dining.

That means a visit to the FRESH Grill & Patio is a fun and casual way to enjoy lunch, dinner or relaxing time with friends. The area was recently renovated to better serve our guests, and new items have been added to the food and drink menus.

Open daily, the FRESH Grill menu features an assortment of appetizers, salads and casual entrees like burgers, tacos and hot dogs. You can also purchase food from inside the store to enjoy on the patio.

The FRESH Grill is also a great stop for happy hour. From 4pm to 7pm on Monday through Thursday, enjoy $1 off beer, wine and mixed drinks, and 1/2 price appetizers every Thursday. Order a cool cocktail like the Lemon Sunset, Patio Mojito, Vino-Rita or Sriracha-Lada, and enjoy live music on Fridays and Saturdays. It’s the perfect atmosphere for a casual evening with friends or family.

Hours: Daily 11am-9pm

FRESH and Festive: Family Movie Night

For as long as they have existed, there has been a logical connection between movies and food.  One of the iconic series that cemented this connection for me is the TBS series “Dinner & a Movie.”  For over a decade, “Dinner & a Movie” has offered a generous helping of blockbuster movies tied in with a theme menu that’s cooked while you watch.

Here are a few of my all-time favorites:

  • Forrest Gump and the “Shrimp Happens” recipe
  • Coming to America paired with “Land of the Free-Range Turkey Burgers with Jerri Curly Fries” recipe
  • Thelma and Louise presented with “Two Hot Peppers on the Lamb” recipe

If you have watched one of these shows, you know how entertaining it is to add the cooking angle to a classic flick.

Tonight, we are trying our own version of dinner and a movie on the Back Patio.  Starting at 7 p.m. you can watch the family movie, “Hoodwinked,” on our large inflatable screen.  Inspired by the classic tale of Red Riding Hood, this entertaining story involves a goodie bandit who is after Granny’s recipes.

And the dinner… well, that is really the best part!  You can customize your dinner to whatever you want given the vast offerings at FRESH.  You can enjoy classic fare from our 801 Grill or go inside the store and choose from our delicious chef-case items, soup and salad bar, or taco and sandwich bar.  Or, in the spirit of the goodie fairy, you can take advantage of our Pie-Palooza and partake in a delicious FRESH made pie and some free ice cream!  Goodies indeed!

A FRESH Point of View: Green Chili Cheeseburger

What do you think of when you hear Hatch chili?  When I asked my two-year-old he said he was “going on a horse to go home to get some chili and it was hot” which I think is his rendition of David Davis’ Children’s book, “Texas Zeke and the Long Horn.”  But seriously, I thought it was a specific chili pepper unique to Hatch, New Mexico. However, I quickly discovered that was not exactly correct.

According to the Chili Pepper Institute at New Mexico State University, “There really is no chile pepper variety named ‘Hatch’, but rather is the area where the chile peppers grow. The town of Hatch, New Mexico is located about 40 miles north of Las Cruces, NM. The town of Hatch, New Mexico has marketed their Hatch grown chile peppers over the years in a way that ‘Hatch’ chile peppers are in high demand all over the world.”

New Mexico grows more chili peppers than all the other states combined. The warm days and the cool nights of the New Mexico summers provides the optimum growing environment for chilies. How does New Mexico feel about their chilies? The chili pepper is actually New Mexico’s state vegetable, and it is the main ingredient driving New Mexican Cuisine. If it isn’t in every recipe it certainly is included in every meal. The most famous dish has to be the Green Chili Cheeseburger that began its rise to stardom at roadside eateries along Route 66 in the middle of the last century.

This simple twist on the All-American cheeseburger is a great way to consume chilies. You’re not hiding the chili, you’re putting it front and center. Whether it’s a hot or mild variety you will taste the chili. The juicy beef, the creamy melted cheese and the toasted bun all work well with the smoky flavors of the flame roasted green chilies.

During our Some Like It Hot festival which kicks off this Friday, we’ll be serving up our version of the Green Chili Cheeseburger in the 801 Grill. We’ll top our hand made beef sliders with our signature green chile con queso and roasted chilies from Hatch, New Mexico. Be sure to ask for hot or mild because we’ll have both. So come out and enjoy the heat, it’ll be delicious.

While trying to find “the” green chili cheeseburger recipe to share with you, I discovered that practically every resident of the state has his or her own recipe. Not only are they all different, but also every one of them is the best, or so says its author.  So you can try our Hatch Chili Salsa recipe  or this simple one.

FRESH Green Chile Cheeseburger

6 roasted hatch chilies
2 lb fresh ground chuck
4 FRESH made burger buns
6 oz FRESH green chile con queso

Peel seed and stem the roasted chilies, then chop them into medium pieces.

Divide the beef into four equal portions and form them into patties.

Season the patties with salt and pepper and cook them they way you like them, which I’m assuming is medium rare.

When they are almost ready top each with the queso and place the buns on the grill to toast.

When the queso starts to melt top each with a quarter of the roasted chilies

Place the burgers on the toasted buns, roll up your sleeves, grab the burgers with both hands, spread your elbows as far as you can, lean forward and dive in!

View this recipe to print or add items to your Shopping List.

Freshie Faves: A platter to pause for!

The culinary path at FRESH is ever winding. I have been shown the way to a many gastronomic jackpots in my short time here. And the one that is by far the most entertaining to say and delightful to eat is charcuterie (shär-kū’tə-rē’).

This flavorsome method of preserving meat goes way back, in fact, 6000 years back! During the rise of the Roman Empire the cuisine started to be refined but it was the French that propelled it to its greatness. This division of the culinary arts is devoted to the making of salted, cured, smoked and preserved meats, like bacon. Yes, bacon. Now, I have your attention! And be prepared to taste much more than bacon.

Charcuterie has been has quickly become a rising rock star. It has found its way into foodie’s hearts and tummies everywhere. And our own Cheese & Charcuterie Manager, Andrew Griffith, has painstakingly crafted the perfect cheese & charcuterie platter that is paired, each week, with a FRESH wine selection. He changes it up often to keep things interesting!

You can order a platter for 2 or 4 at our 801 Grill on Friday and Saturday evenings while listening to our Live and Local music series. Or take it home to your own patio or to bring as a hostess gift to your next gathering.

You will be dazzled by thinly sliced Prosciutto di Parma, Capocollo, Serrano Ham and even perhaps some of Creminelli’s artisanal salamis. These savory slices are balanced by an offering of both soft young cheeses like brie and more dense mature cheeses like parmesan. Andrew throws in some fruit paste or quince for good measure along with some whole olives. Our fresh baked rustic Italian bread is a soft mild canvas for you to build the perfect bite upon!

OH my goodness, I’ve made myself hungry again. I’ve got to go eat something!

A FRESH Point of View: Grillin’ and Chillin’ for Memorial Day

Memorial Day originated after the Civil War to commemorate the fallen Union soldiers of the Civil War.  Over time, it has evolved to honor all Americans who have died in wars.

In addition to honoring fallen members of the armed forces, Memorial Day is also the unofficial beginning of summer.  For my team here in the market at FRESH, it most importantly marks the beginning of the grilling season.

To kick things off right, I am hosting a Memorial Day Grillin’ and Chillin’ event on the Back Patio this Saturday, May 26 from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m.  With a little help from my friends, we will be grilling up some amazing recipes including seafood, beef, pork, chicken and vegetables.  Don’t mean to name drop, but you might spot Rick and Brennen Murrey of Cibo Vino, Mundo or Carlos of the famous Villa Montez and Cedrick Fletcher of Fat Catz and ZaZa’s Modern Italian.  We just recently welcomed Za Za’s to the FRESH neighborhood and are happy to have them join us.

Come prepared for an informative class with lots of samples.  Seating will be available on a first come, first serve basis.  To provide a little friendly competition, be sure to wear your funniest apron for a chance to win a gift card from FRESH.

Come early and stay late.  Starting at 11 a.m. our 801 Grill will open with a Memorial Day weekend lunch special consisting of BBQ Ribs, Picnic Potato Salad and Texas Watermelon Salad.

We also have great live music that day. Mike & Natalie will perform from 12-2pm and Travis Brink will cap the evening off, performing from 6-9pm.

FRESH and Festive: (Birthday) Party on!

Free cake and ice cream, new dishes at our 801 Grill, and a performance by the reggae-rocker who won our hearts on America’s Got Talent – now, doesn’t that sound like a birthday party?

Join us tomorrow for our very first birthday! Here’s what’s in store:

801 Grill Returns: Our patio is back in action, with the seasonal return of our 801 Grill. New Executive Chef Michael Brady has come up with some tempting new menu items. But don’t worry – many of your old favorites, like our trio of fries, will be back, too.

Samples and surprises, oh my: There’s always something new to taste in the aisles at FRESH, but tomorrow, our sample carts will be on overload, with all kinds of delicious goodies to try. You’ll also find party favors to take home and FREE birthday cake and FRESH gelato, served from 11 a.m-7 p.m.

Music Series: Also back for the season: Our exciting live music series! We’ll be bringing back local and regional acts to play on our Back Patio on Friday and Saturday evenings, and, of course, it’s always free. For our special party, we’ll have music all day! So grab a seat, and a beverage, and sit back to enjoy the show.

  • Daniel and the Dealers: A beautiful blend of Soul, R&B, Funk, and Blues with Daniel de la Rocha at the helm backed up by ensemble of gifted local musicians. 12 p.m. to 3 p.m.
  • Travis Brink: Equally talented on the guitar and the banjo, Travis Brink plays acoustic favorites with a bluegrass/country/roots flair, sometimes slipping some of his own compositions into the mix. 4 p.m. to 6 p.m.
  • Cas Haley Band: You loved him on America’s Got Talent, where he took second prize during the national talent show’s second season. And now this original musician is back in Texas, bringing us his infectiously fun brand of reggae/rock. 7 p.m. to 9 p.m.


FRESH Point of View: Mardi Gras in November – at FRESH!

This Saturday, Nov. 19, we want to invite you to ”laissez les bon temps rouler.”

Wait, let me translate that for you: Let the good times roll – at our Mardi Gras in November event, with plenty of New Orleans-inspired food, music, and fun.

Yes, we know the REAL Mardi Gras won’t start for another three months. But, much like New Orleans, we at FRESH like to seize any excuse to throw a party. And really, can you blame us for not wanting to wait three more months to enjoy some great gumbo, perfect po’boys, grilled oysters, and raging-good Louisiana-style music?

Our Mardi Gras goodies will be a mix of Cajun specialties (the traditional country food of the Acadian people of rural Southern Louisiana) and Creole dishes (the upscale city food of New Orleans, a mix of French, Spanish, German and pretty much everything else.)

The fun will be going on all day, all over the store:

Seafood specials: Our seafood manager, Chef John Peters, is a Louisiana boy who’s cooked in great New Orleans restaurants, including the legendary Commander’s Palace. So you know he knows his way around Gulf Coast seafood. We’ll have lots of specials in the seafood department all day, including fresh gumbo; barbecued oysters; oyster Rockefeller soup; Louisiana-style grilled fish; and a real Louisiana shrimp boil, complete with corn and potatoes.

Chef Kent Rathbun returns! Popular celebrity chef Kent Rathbun will be back in the Fresh Taste Kitchen from 11 a.m.-2 p.m., for cooking demos, delicious samples, and all-around entertainment. (Fun fact: You probably know Kent for his Texas restaurants, especially Abacus and Jasper’s, but he cut his culinary teeth at the famous Mr. B’s Bistro in New Orleans back in the day!)

King Richard and the Bayou Boys: Led by “King” Richard Doredant, a singer/songwriter and guitarist from New Orleans, the boys do Texas-style blues and roadhouse rock with a definite N’awlins influence. Hey, one of their original songs is called “Crawfish.” Enough said. They’ll be rocking out on the patio from 6-9 p.m.