Monday, May 24, 2010

Cochineal: First Meal in Marfa, TX

Marfa, TX

Right after I submitted my papers and took my finals, I cleansed myself of anything that smelled like academia by roadtripping with one of my best friends and my mom.  Fickle Foodie and I have always wanted to visit Marfa, and I always wanted to try my hand at a true outdoors experience by canoeing on the Rio Grande through the Santa Elena Canyon in Big Bend National Park

Desert Sky Wind Farm

Our exploration of West Texas surprised us.  The furthest west we've ever been was Fredericksburg.  Who knew the drive west of F-burg was so gorgeous and easy!  Our favorite stretch was before we reached Fort Stockton, the gateway to Big Bend country and home of Paisano Pete, the largest road runner statue in the world.  Wind turbines appeared suddenly in the distance on the right and left of I-10.  Apparently, this is part of the Desert Sky Wind Farm.  The imagery reminded me of wind energy "propaganda" that numerates "elegant visuals added to our landscape" as one of the many pros.  Well, I fell for it.  I love the juxtaposition of modern aesthetics and desolate landscapes, and this theme seems to reappear throughout West Texas.

We drove past Marfa and past Valentine to do an amateur photoshoot at Elmgreen and Dragset's Prada Marfa outdoor installation/sculpture a la "Breakfast at Tiffany's."  I came up with the idea last minute, and grabbed a black cocktail dress, a string of pearls, and my black heels before leaving Austin.  Too bad we didn't have a white paper bag of pastry and a paper cup of coffee to complete the look.

Prada Marfa

After a long day of driving, we decided to treat ourselves to the talk of the town and foodies all over the U.S., dinner at Cochineal.  Sadly, I think it's overrated.  The price was hard to swallow, but I can forgive it somewhat because it's difficult to get fresh ingredients in Marfa. 

Not a very functional sign in front of Cochineal

If you want to try the place out, be sure to call to make reservations.  It has a small dining area, and it does fill up even on what was considered a non-peak season in Marfa.

Interior of Cochineal

Fickle Foodie and Food Dilettante


Fickle Foodie ordered the pork loin.  The pork tasted normal.  Nothing too exciting, although the grapes got all three of us excited when we read it on the menu.  The most delicious thing turned out to be the potato, leek, and parmesan terrine.  (We each tasted each others' dish.)

Herb Stuffed Roast Pork with Sauteed Red Grapes and Potato, Leek, and Parmesan Terrine

Mom ordered the swordfish.  It was the best out of the 3 main courses we tried.  In fact, it was fantastic!  Tender and deliciously tart with the mashed potatoes.

Wood Grilled Swordfish on Lemon Mashed Potatoes with Roasted Tomatoes and Sorrel Sauce
My rack of lamb was the most disappointing as well as the most expensive.  I advise against ordering it!  I ordered medium well, it came out rather burnt.  It was a lackluster dish.

Wood Grilled Rack of Lamb with Garlicky Cannelini Beans and Ratatouille Provencal

We shared the date pudding and rice pudding for dessert.  The date pudding was quite nice and comforting.  Not too sweet.  The rice pudding was again, lackluster.  But I guess there's only so much you can do to rice pudding.
Toshi's Baked to Order Date Pudding with Fresh Whipped Cream

Old Fashioned Rice Pudding with Raisins

I had planned on eating here again for breakfast the next morning, but after this dinner, I realized that it's not worth coming back to mediocre high-end food just because the NYTimes and many others have praised it to the skies. 

1 comment:

  1. Interesting. We wanted to go to Cochineal when we were in Marfa in December of 08, but missed out - though I have to say, your experience sounds like about what we were expecting!

    And three cheers for Prada Marfa!