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  • Format: Hardcover
  • Copyright: 2009-02-01
  • Publisher: Random House Inc
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Sophisticated yet unpretentious Western fare from one of Texas'?s premiere restaurants. A destination restaurant and local favorite, Reata serves up a menu that would make any food lover--cosmopolitan or cowboy--hungry for dinner. Signature dishes like Chicken-Fried Steak and Rodeo Rib-Eye share the spotlight with fancier fare, such as the Tenderloin Tamales with Pecan Mash and Sun-Dried Tomato Cream and the Shoot-Your-Own Maple Duck Breast in Sage Brown Butter Sauce. Evocative photography captures the lively and convivial atmosphere of this Fort Worth legend.

Author Biography

A native of Fort Worth, Texas, MIKE MICALLEF is president of his family’s non-manufacturing companies including Reata Restaurants, Flight Services, Sierra La Rana, and CF Ranch. After graduating from Texas Christian University with a BBA and a certificate from the world-renowned ranch management program, Mike spent two years with Tsunami Partners where he managed various equity investments. Mike also serves in an advisory capacity to companies in the finance, banking, and entertainment fields. Mike divides his time between Alpine and Fort Worth and loves to hunt and fish with his dad every chance he gets.
A true entrepreneur, AL MICALLEF is the founder of the Reata restaurants and owner of JMK International, Inc. When not starting new ventures Al participates in a variety of hobbies, including hunting, fishing, team roping, flying, race car driving, and polo. His most recent interest is Reata Thoroughbred Racing. Al is also firmly committed to giving back to his community and has offered a lifetime of expertise and support to many charitable associations.


When you roll into a new town and step out of your pickup to stretch your legs, you might look to the east and then to the west, but what if nowhere in sight can you spy a promising place to eat? Perhaps you settle for the local greasy spoon, or maybe you climb back in your rig and head on down the highway to the next town. Not my dad. He had just bought the ranch of his dreams in the Davis Mountains of West Texas, and as he saw it, there was only one thing missing. With no great restaurant in Alpine, he identified a business opportunity. But I’m getting seriously ahead of myself.
In the spirit of that wonderful old bumper sticker, my dad wasn’t born in Texas but he got here as quick as he could. No, let me take that back. I believe that in some profound way, my father, Al Micallef, was born to be a Texan. When he was a boy, he read books about Texas and saw movies about Texas--many of them the cowboy-and-Indian shoot-em-ups that were standard issue for an American male growing up in the 1940s. He even curled up at night beside an old crystal radio, listening to “border-blaster” radio broadcasts from just across the Rio Grande River, the border between Texas and Mexico. Cowboys and Indians, sheriffs and outlaws, pirate broadcasters, and wildcat oilmen--these weren’t just characters in stories to my dad as a child in Detroit, of all the unlikely places. In time, they were my dad. It was his destiny to become a Texan.
This book, about the glorious cuisine of the Lone Star State, is also the story of one American family who did, on the giant canvas that is Texas, what American families have always done: sought to make life a little better by taking risks and working hard. Today, our family is most visible in its Reata restaurants, the original in the tiny West Texas town of Alpine, and its much larger sibling in the increasingly sophisticated “cowtown” of Fort Worth.
Long before Texas meant gushing oil, JR Ewing, or the Dallas Cowboys, it meant steers on the open range. And it took rugged men unafraid of huge risks to take on Mother Nature and just about everybody else to raise cattle. This history has nurtured an attitude held by many Texans of entrepreneurship, those individuals seeing new opportunities and not afraid to bet the farm--or the ranch--on their next great idea. My father has that entrepreneurial DNA, with a dozen or more other enterprises in which he saw some beckoning opportunity. Truth is, Al Micallef never did anything halfway--he still doesn’t. His life in Texas, and by association all our family’s lives here, began with that most classic of Texas dreams: the cattle ranch.
This spirit is Texas to us, and it’s Texas to millions of others today who have many colors of skin, who follow many faith traditions, who speak many languages. Together, I think I can say, we all want the same thing from this book you’re holding in your hands--for you to come to know and love our Texas and her traditions just the way we do.
Gone to Texas
Even for those of us who arrived much later, the words “Gone to Texas” have had special meaning since the early 1830s. It was in those years, when today’s state was Mexican territory remaining from Spain’s colonial empire, that the call for new settlers was answered all over the young country known as America. History tells us that folks simply packed up their houses and businesses, pointed their wagons west, and left behind only a hand-lettered sign over the door or nailed to the front gate: “Gone to Texas.” That was all it said. It said a mouthful.
And it still does.
By the mid-1970s, had those settlers managed to stick around, they surely wouldn’t have recognized the place. Beginning with momentous discoveries in the early twentieth centu

Excerpted from Reata: Legendary Texas Cooking by Mike Micaleff, Julie Hatch
All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.

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