If you've ever wanted to let your taste buds guide you on a tour of Texas, here are five restaurants that made the New York Times 2021 Restaurants List.

I've always thought that it would be cool to plan a vacation around my taste buds, meaning going places in different cities based on what kind of food you can find there.

Once when I was a kid, we came to Texas just to have Whataburger. I even accepted an invitation to go to California just so I could sample In-N-Out Burger. Yes, Whataburger wins if I'm choosing between the two, but as a grown adult, I think it would be fun to plan a trip where every stop along the way was in a city with a great restaurant.

Texas Monthly just published an article that lists the five Texas restaurants that made the New York Times "2021 Restaurants List" so, touring Texas based on my taste buds just got real.

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What's even better is that a couple of these are perfect for a day trip, so let's start with those.


Let's start in Farmers Branch, about two hours north of Temple. This suburb in the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex is home to Roots Southern Table. Open Tuesday - Sunday from 5p-10p, their website says "Reservations are highly recommended", meaning you should plan ahead if you want to get a table.

The menu features "Chef Tiffany Derry's homage to modern Southern cookery." Start me off with the Cast Iron Cornbread and the Texas Peaches, followed by their signature Duck-Fat Fried Chicken, and I should be set for the night.


It's no secret that Austin is certainly a must stop on any foodie's list of cities to visit, and with the drive being just about an hour south of Temple, I could head there at just about any time to see what's cookin'.

Birdies made the NYT top 50, so I'll make that my destination. Birdies is a wine bar and restaurant that also features a dog-friendly back yard. My dogs love going on car rides, and would be more than thrilled to end up someplace that's not the veterinarian.

Birdies is closed on Sunday & Monday, so make your plans for Tuesday-Saturday if you want to visit. Snacks are offered from 4-5p, with dinner service from 5-9p, till 9:30p on Thursday, Friday and Saturday.

Looking at their menu, I already know what I'll have. I'll start with the charred okra with a hazelnut and tomato dip, then jump right into my entre' of 44 Farms minute steak, field peas, and Steelbow’s magic peppers. Sounds good, right?


Before I moved to Texas in 2017, I had always heard that San Antonio was the best city in Texas for Tacos. Me being a taco fanatic, I knew I'd visit San Antonio soon enough. There is always so much to do in San Antonio, so a day trip probably won't do. I'd make this one an overnight trip for sure.

Start with the Riverwalk, see the Alamo, then hit Fish Lonja for lunch. Truth be told, I'm not much for fish tacos, but I am into trying some new things, so fish tacos it is.

Closed on Monday and Tuesday, you'll once again need to plan on visiting Wednesday - Sunday from 8a-3p.

Let's do this, San Antonio!


Jump on the 10 and head towards Houston for some great eats at Blood Bros. BBQ in Bellaire. Finally, a BBQ joint on this list. You don't have to twist my arm to get me to have some BBQ. The scent of a smoked brisket is one of my all-time favorite smells.

The owners post a new menu on their socials every day, so you'll always be in for something different. Make sure to follow their socials. Here's the link to their Facebook page.

Serve me up whatever the brisket meal for the day is with an unsweet iced tea and I'll be good to go!


Once again, more than a day trip here, but Sylvia's in Brownsville, Texas makes the list. Sylvia's is known for their gigantic breakfast tacos. They say breakfast is the most important meal of the day, and come to think of it, there is no better way to start the day than with a breakfast taco.

I'm not sure what else Brownsville has to offer, but I'll find out after I have breakfast.

Bon Appétit

There you go! Safe travels if you plan to let your taste buds guide you.

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