We feel that independent restaurants--those mom-and-pop venues with fresh food at reasonable prices--make for the best meals while on vacation. It's important to seek them out, but it's not always easy. Visitors to vibrant Frisco, Texas, could easily get caught up dining on fast food, but those who do so miss some of the best flavors in Texas. Here are our favorites.
Everything that comes out of the Tres Méridas kitchen, which is run by chef Cecilia Hinojosa, is a bite of heaven. This Mexico City native cooked at the prestigious Ritz-Carlton Chicago before gracing Texas with her talents. The menu reads like a culinary journey through Latin America--arepas (stuffed corn cakes), seviche, flautas, enchiladas, cochinita pibil (slow-cooked pork shoulder).
Tender hand-pulled pork nestled in fresh corn masa will become the tamale with which you'll compare all future tamales. Classic tortilla soup is vibrant in color and bold in flavor, and at $4 a bowl, how can you go wrong? Every dish is beautifully presented. One of my favorites is the tostones, fried plantains mashed and topped with ground beef, herb aïoli, homemade salsas, and fresh cheese. The tres leches (three-milk) cake is cold and sweet--a perfect finish to Ritz cuisine at strip mall prices. 2809 Preston Road, Suite 1200; (972) 334-0937. Soups and salads: $3-$9, entrées: $10-$22.
Double-Dip Frozen Custard
This family-friendly eatery definitely brightens up the town. Candy-colored walls and sliding garage doors draw you in for the not-to-be-missed old-fashioned double-dip custard. Ask owners Lloyd and Nancy Sheets for recommendations, and they'll tell you everything is good. And they're right. Among the most popular choices are the Grasshopper Sundae (fresh custard, creamy mint topping, and a scoop of Oreos), strawberry shortcake, and Caliche's (blend of chocolate or vanilla custard with a choice of toppings from caramel and peaches to toasted coconut and cookie dough).