On a warm Fall afternoon, Lucas and I hopped into the truck and headed to the corner of Magnolia and 5th to try a new (for us) restaurant. Housed in an old building with big windows, which lend a surprisingly generous feel to the small space, was our destination: Magnolia Cheese Company. What better way to enjoy the beautiful day than by sitting at a table on the sidewalk, eating an array of cheese and meats, while sharing a bottle of wine and people-watching?
When I pushed open the door and walked in I was immediately drawn to the casual atmosphere. Seat yourself tables to the left, a wall of wine and the cheese/deli counter to the right, plus a huge chalkboard with the menu posted behind the counter. I paused, taking it all in, and noticed that something felt off. Looking over my shoulder I realized the door was wide open. Oops! Feeling like a dumb-ass for one quick moment, I shut the door behind me and made my way to the counter. Fancy cheese or no, this is Texas. So I should say I sauntered up to the counter.
After agonizing over the menu and weighing all of the options we decided on the Local Cheese Plate ($16.00) and a 3 Meat Plate ($14.00). Libations? The patient guy behind the counter offered us a wine sample, but it was not quite what we wanted. He held our order in the system while we stepped out of line to look through the bottles on the wall. Recognizing some of them and getting a feel for the mark-up, we selected something around $30 that we’d never tried before. Back in line with bottle in hand, we paid for our order and then snagged a table on the sidewalk facing Magnolia.
While sipping on wine and waiting for our food to be brought out, we watched people pass by, many walking their dogs or on bicycles. A trio of too cool for school hipster guys walked by and I pondered for a moment over what passes for fashion these days. Ugh. I brought my judgmental self back in check when I looked down and realized I was wearing an ugly old shirt, jeans and hiking boots. Double ugh.
But within moments we saw something so beautiful I could barely contain myself. The Local Cheese Plate – a glorious sight to behold! 5 different cheeses accompanied by an assortment of fruits (pears, persimmon, grapefruit, pomegranate seeds & figs), curried pecans, honeycomb, sauces, jams and a bowl full of sliced baguette. I wish I had taken the time to jot down exactly what cheeses we had, but my absolute favorite was the blue, followed by a creamy goat with bacon.
Next came the 3 Meat Plate. Wow! Serrano Ham, Bresaola and … Anchovies? Well now, that was a surprise. Lucas felt cheated because he’s not a big fan of anchovies. I however love them, but was certainly sorry to give up part of my portion of the other two meats. Lesson learned (ask what’s on the meat plate).
So? The Serrano Ham sat on a spread of potent garlic confit, while the Bresaola was placed strategically over what I like to call fat mustard. You know, when the mustard seeds are still grainy, fat and delicious? Roasted Red Pepper Sauce – remarkable stuff. Toasted pepitas. Balsamic reduction. Pickled Okra & Mushrooms over Frisee? Yep, everything was fantastic.
I had hoped to save room for dessert, but after devouring everything we were perfectly satisfied. I am truly looking forward to going back. And maybe, just maybe, trying a sandwich. Or just more cheese. Yeah, more cheese.