Farm to Table|Texas Flavor, Alabama Chef Pt. 1


By Sarah West

Spring showers drip through the greening canopy as the car glides lazily around the curvaceous landscaped urban lanes near East Samford. A stone façade pays homage to a drier climate, it tells tale of influence from a western terrain. Timber and rock serve as visual compliment to aroma’s that drift beyond the curb. Hot and savory are the flavors in the air. You can almost taste it. We stand in line surrounded by pictorial hunting stories shared from far and near, we bask in anticipation with little concern for the growing line, an expected continuum. We’re all here for the same reason. Food unites people.
House-made tortilla’s cascade from the press. A window provides patrons with a process exhibit. From conveyor, they are rolled and stacked in heated pans. From the oven, yields fresh baked loaves, Texas sized. Wood crackles as the heat is managed o’er a fire, a chandelier of sorts displays brisket, shoulder and various selections of smoked and roasted game.
Today, I forego my usual favorite, pulled pork shoulder accompanied by slaw and tortillas. This I often pair with Alabama White Sauce, salsas and sweet pickles. Chef David Bancroft has appeared in an instant from the kitchen, catching me by surprise to say, “we have only two specials left.” Scrolled out on a butcher paper menu, the special reads “BBQ Molcajette.” I have never had this dish, so I’m inclined to try it. After David’s exuberant descriptive, no persuasion is needed. A dish made for sharing, fortunately, the rest of my party is up for the adventure. It is late afternoon. This luncheon turned casual supper calls for margaritas, blood orange with salted rim.
The early evening light pours through industrial doors, casting streaks across the table. The room of white washed walls, interesting artifacts and impressive mounts reflect roots, heritage, husbandry and legacies of land stewardship and farm-raised cuisine.
Chef David arrives at our table curating the anticipated new mammoth sized dish. A volcanic mortar filled to the brim with barbeque brisket, St. Louis ribs, spicy chorizo and some of the best baked beans, he explains he spent hours perfecting. And they are the best I’ve ever had. Complete with all the appropriate garnishes, and flourished with tortillas.
We savor all that we can. Admittedly, there was plenty left. This is a quintessential family meal with flavors of southwest and comfort that is universally southern.
Sarah West serves the Opelika Observer as a contributing columnist, with written works of Cultural Arts relevance and prose. She is a preservation, and conservation advocate, activist, and visual artist of American Illustration with a focus on Regional Narrative Painting. She is founder of the Sarah West Gallery of Fine Art, A Center for Cultural Arts, Smiths Station, Alabama’s premier fine arts destination. She is the appointed Official Artist to the City of Smiths Station, a Lee County syndicated columnist, the director of her art center’s Cultural Arts Outreach Initiative which partners with local schools to make the arts accessible to all. She also serves a chief curator to the City of Smiths Station, City Hall Art Galleries. She is a founding member of the Smith Station Historic Commission. She is a member of the Women’s Philanthropy Board- Cary Center, Auburn University College of Human Science. She is an elected member of the Society of Illustrators- NYC. She mentors art students of every age through weekly classes at her studio located in the heart of Smiths Station, Alabama. To learn more about her work and activism visit,


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here