Friday, January 1, 2016

Running to Roanoke

There are lots of places to eat in our area, but along with not being a ‘chain’ restaurant one of the criteria for inclusion in the Near-Normal Traveler Blog is that there is something
Nash Metropolitan 
interesting to see in or near the town in which the restaurant is located. We’ve run up to Roanoke on numerous occasions and from the area we’ve visited, I thought it began as a collection of restaurants for farmers/ranchers and had progressed to places for suburbanites. However, the town has an interesting background and a few places that reflect its history.

In 1847 a group of twenty settlers came from Missouri to begin a community near Denton
Prairie Style House
Creek, just north of Roanoke’s present location. Originally called the Medlin Settlement, housing was moved when the frequent flooding of Denton Creek endangered the settlers and their livestock. Along with several houses, a general store was built. The store carried materials needed by the settlers, including supplying them with that most needed commodity, nails. Ranching was the main source of income for the people at that time; the only farm products grown were the vegetables and fruits which sustained the families. Eventually there was enough by cattlemen that the railroad came through; one of the surveyors renaming the town
Roanoke after his hometown in Virginia. In the mid-1880s, the town boasted two hotels, the Pacific and the Eureka, to serve travelers and folks coming to visit the two saloons, dance hall and a pool room. ‘It wasn't uncommon to see a fight going on in the middle of the street in those days.  A lot of these fights took place when the men would bring their hides into town to trade them for drinks at the saloons.  There were many a fight in the Old R.M. Snead Saloon and there are still those that can remember the Saturday nights in Roanoke.’ (from History of Roanoke) There was also a post office, Union Church and the Texas and Pacific Railway Station. It is rumored that the outlaw, Sam Bass, spent some time in this little town. Things were going well until 1910 when all of the stores on one side of the street caught fire. People carried buckets of water to fight the fire, but most everything was lost.

Although it wasn’t until 1933 that Roanoke was incorporated, its first school began about 1847. By 1913 there was a permanent building that housed all of the grade levels. There is
House with tower
still an elementary school within the city limits; Roanoke is part of the Northwestern Independent School District. The little town continued to grow, but became a food destination with the revitalization of the downtown area in the late 1990s and early 2000s. There are several places to eat in Roanoke and we’ve sampled a few of them. For information about my rating system, see Reading the Reviews.

What we ate:

Four Carrots
The Classic (504 North Oak Street, Roanoke, TX 76262, 817-430-8185) is a very nice
Top L to R: Logo, Salmon mousse
Middle L to R: Potato soup, Roasted garlic and goat
cheese, Jalapeño apple cobbler
Bottom L to R: Caesar salad, Schnitzel, Bread
restaurant in an old house. There are original paintings gracing the walls, and there is a very pretty bar area. The menu is interesting in that you can get a ‘fixed price’ menu as well as a la carte items. Along with our Roku Riesling, we had a very lovely lunch. As a holiday special, the chef had prepared a smoked salmon mousse in phyllo cups. Dave said that although the texture was wonderful, the onion overwhelmed the flavor of the fish. He also had the potato soup that he said was very good: thick, rich, and full of bacon. I had a roasted garlic and goat cheese puff pastry with radicchio. The garlic and cheese were wonderful; the radicchio was okay. My garlic Caesar salad was fresh with a creamy dressing that had a pop of horseradish; the croutons were homemade. The three types of fresh bread accompanied our meal – all were excellent. Dave’s pork schnitzel was good, but not made from a chop. His mashed potatoes were okay, but nothing special. The sugar snap peas were excellent, with a sweet flavor and crunchy texture.
  However, the show-stopper was the jalapeño apple cobbler with vanilla bean ice cream. The cobbler was full of cinnamon, apples and had just enough pepper to let you know it was there without overwhelming the other flavors. The cobbler dough was delicate with a flavor all its own. This was a great ending to the meal. Although this can be a very expensive place to eat, we’d go back to sample more of their offerings.

Happy New Year from the Near-Normal Traveler
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