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The Times
Scott Tranter, owner of Crazy Otto's Empire Diner in Herkimer and host of CNY Flavor, knows how to make magic in the kitchen.
Cooking: The Cuisine of West Texas
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About this blog
By Scott Tranter
Diner wizard Scott Tranter, owner of Crazy Otto's Empire Diner in Herkimer and host of CNY Flavor, knows how to make magic in the kitchen. For more of his tips, visit www.cnyflavor.com or www.crazyottosempirediner.com.
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Jan. 24, 2013 12:01 a.m.



Spicy.  That’s the first thing that comes to mind.  Real Tex-Mexican food with its wonderful spices and flavors is the staple for West Texas.  Everything has a spicy flavor to it.  Even breakfast.  My host in Texas says they have three types of food, Mexican, barbecue and more Mexican.   The locals refer to their cuisine as Mexican, not Tex-Mexican.

Since moving to New York I have only been able to eat Mexican food on my trips to other locations.  Mexican Food is not a real popular item here in Central New York.  It’s way more than Taco Bell and is an art itself.  Meats, cheeses and spices are rich and plentiful.  Salsas come in different varieties of strength, depending on the variety of pepper.  Each is a varying degree of flavor and spiciness   I love spicy salsas and like to add it to Mexican cuisine.  I put it on top of burritos and even my rice and beans.



While I was in Texas, I had the opportunity to eat in three Mexican restaurants.  They all were decorated in traditional Mexican theme with bold tiles, bold artwork and bold colors.  Complimentary appetizers are chips and salsa.  The servers all spoke Spanish and used hot pads when serving the dishes.  And boy were they hot.  I had the opportunity to try burritos, a spicy shrimp dish and a beef dish.  All were excellent.  Dinner for four including beverages of coffee and tea was just under $100.00.

Another popular food item in West Texas is barbecue.  Texas barbecue is mostly beef and spices again contain lots of flavor.  Chili is a favorite of Texans.  There are thousands of chili recipes and each location and family has their own version and specialty.

I had the opportunity to go to breakfast.  The restaurant served traditional breakfast items but each contained its own original spices.  I had the Eggs Benedict which was a little spicy and very delicious.   Breakfast for four was $64.00, including beverages but not including tip.

West Texas has the usual fast food joints such as Taco Bell, McDonalds, Sonic and Jack-in-the-Box but none ever seemed to be too busy.  I like breakfast sandwiches from Jack-in-the-Box.  Unfortunately, the ones I ate from West Texas were lacking.

From my earlier blog you may recall that I mentioned that businesses in West Texas are having difficulty finding and keeping employees because of the boom in the oil industry.  That was evident in some restaurants.  At a Waffle House, the cook mentioned that he was just about to complete a 27 hour shift.  He was obviously very tired and made a number of mistakes while we were there.

Texans love to eat and carefully plan out the next meal.  Just my kind of place.



 

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