Everyone outside the Lone Star State thinks they know Texas cuisine. Common misconception is that you’ll find nothing but giant steaks and chopped brisket across this land. Rest assured, Texas has those and much more. In fact, to truly get a little bit of Texas in every bite, make your way to the always delightful foodie experience at Love and War in Texas in Grapevine, a tourist-friendly suburb northwest of Dallas.
Flanked by highway 121, Love and War sits along a strip of consumer friendly and recognizable eateries like Golden Corral and Chuck E. Cheese. Just on the other side lies Grapevine Mills Mall, a popular outlet mall containing most of today’s trending brands like Kenneth Cole, Michael Kors, and Banana Republic. Inside, the masses enjoy casual dining experiences like Chili’s or the local favorite Café Rainforest, a restaurant complete with a jungle setting and mechanized wildlife. You can be comforted by the many franchise restaurants or make a bold decision to venture out to Love and War, as none of them encompass the spirit of Texas.
Love and War stays true to humble origins by the easily distinguished barn-like façade and southwestern landscape. By leaning into the cliché, Love and War offers the popular Texas experience a tourist or Texas enthusiast hopes to encounter. Upon entry, you’re greeted with that southern comfort we’re all fond of. As the host or hostess guides you from the stone fireplace at the doorway to your table, booth, or bar, you’ll pass every icon associated with Texas from Troy Aikman autographs to portraits of Willie Nelson. From all the famous signatures, you’ll find that Love and War is a favorite of many local celebrities like governor candidates and Cowboy Hall-of-Famers. Part of the visual delight L & W offers is the homage to these identities as well as the patriotism to state and nation.
Come and take it
What’s particularly special about L & W is that the menu breaks down Texas into regional categories rather than the beef and brisket catch-all everyone else thinks there is. With the famous Hill Country of mid-Texas, L & W showcases early German colonial influences and native wildlife with venison bratwurst on a bed of delicious and tangy sauerkraut. This area is also home to one of my personal favorite dishes, The Hunt. This feast on a plate features succulent duck wrapped in bacon and skewered with charred jalapeno, spicy venison sausage, juicy quail, whipped mashed potatoes, and a nice helping of “Texas Caviar,” a black-eyed-pea medley with carrots and peppers (seen above). Blue crab topped portabellas or spicy habanero fish tacos represent a taste of Texas Gulf Coast. The Border offers tough decisions between various favorites like steak fajitas and brisket enchiladas. If you feel like indulging in the Texas steak experience, the West Plains offer an array of delicious cuts like the Trail Boss T-Bone, the Cowboy bone-on Ribeye, or the ever popular Buffalo Ribeye; all of which make the Lone Star State proud.
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Under the stars
If the food alone wasn’t a selling point, Love and War offers the best of local talent to perform in either of their 3 stages located in the bar, dining area, or patio. Cover charge will run a measly 10 USD from time to time but with great food, great tunes, and great beer served in a Texas sized personal pitcher, you’ll be happy to pay the fare to become a Texan for one night.
Overall, the menu, music, and setting showcases the identities and culture that make Texas the glorious state it is. By doing so, you’ll gather that Texas is a micro juxtaposition of the identity of the United States, which is the perfect blending of various cultures to establish the home of many. So drop by Love and War and order a Shiner and enjoy an authentic Texas experience.
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