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090422 food column

Bite by Bite
Conquering My Culinary Bucket List One Dish at a Time
By Emily Banks Wooten

About four months ago we were traveling through Georgetown and stopped at a cute little place called The Baked Bear that featured homemade, custom ice cream sandwiches. We treated ourselves that day and it was so dang good that ever since, I’ve been trying to come up with a reason to go back to Georgetown just so we can make another trip to The Baked Bear. I’m not joking.

Turns out, our friend, Greg Davis, former hometown boy who’s now an esteemed National Geographic contributing photographer, had an exhibit opening last Saturday at the Georgetown Art Center. We had the good fortune to see the exhibit, “Oaxacan Gold – Illuminating Mystical Mexico,” when it opened May 7 at Art Center Waco. In fact, I’d written a feature story about it for East Texan, Polk County Publishing Company’s quarterly magazine, and really “needed” to take a stack of magazines to Greg.

Plus, it was my birthday weekend. Hmmm. I think I’d stumbled upon a way I could have another one of those ice cream sandwiches without just coming out and admitting that I wanted to drive three and a half hours for an ice cream sandwich. (I promise they’re that good though.)

So that’s pretty much how I talked Sweet Hubby into driving to Georgetown and spending a night recently:

“It’s my birthday weekend and I sure would like to go to Georgetown for one of those great ice cream sandwiches.”

“Greg’s got an exhibit opening there and we really need to show our support. Plus, I’ve got a stack of magazines I need to give him and it would just be too expensive to mail them.”

“We haven’t taken Mother anywhere in a long time and she’d love to see Greg’s exhibit. Plus, she hasn’t had the chance yet to meet Amy, that sweet and pretty new love of Greg’s.” 

The Baked Bear features over a dozen original-recipe cookies and ice cream flavors, giving guests a chance to mix and match to find their favorite combination. Before they’re served, the sandwiches can also be rolled through toppings. Homemade from original recipes and hand-scooped on site, the cookies are baked from scratch daily.

To order your ice cream sandwich, the first step is to choose your top and bottom by mixing or matching any cookie or brownie. Choices include chocolate chip, cookies and cream, cookie monster, funfetti, gooey butter cake, Nutella chocolate chunk, snickerdoodle, vegan/gluten free fudgy brownie cookie, vegan/gluten free chocolate chip, white chocolate macadamia nut, something seasonal and cookie of the month.

The second step is to choose your ice cream from the following: bear batter, butter brittle cake, blackberry crumble, caramel pretzel fudge, cookie dough, cookies and cream, dark chocolate, mint chip, mud pie, old fashioned vanilla, toasted s’mores and a seasonal flavor. 

The third step, if you so choose, is to select your toppings. Choices include: hot caramel, hot fudge, Nutella, whipped cream, almonds, brownie bits, Fruity Pebbles, Heath Bar bits, mini chocolate chips, mini M&Ms, Oreo crumbs and sprinkles.

The first time we were there, I selected the gooey butter cake cookie for my top cookie and the cookie of the month, Mexican hot chocolate, for my bottom cookie. I selected dark chocolate ice cream with no toppings. It was divine. I tore into that thing before it ever dawned on me to take a picture of it. The gooey butter cake cookie was one of the best things I’d ever had and I knew that if I ever went back, I’d pick it for both the top and bottom cookie.

When we returned Saturday, Hubby got a scoop of cookies and cream ice cream in a bowl, claiming an entire ice cream sandwich was “just too rich” for him. Mother got a scoop of old fashioned vanilla ice cream in a bowl with a gooey butter cake cookie on the side. I got the ice cream sandwich with gooey butter cake cookie on the top and bottom and dark chocolate ice cream in the center. Having failed to photograph it on our first trip, it never occurred to me that dark chocolate ice cream might not be the best option for a photograph as it could potentially resemble something that’s not appealing. Oh well. Too late.

Originally hailing from San Diego, The Baked Bear now has locations in 10 states, including the following five in Texas – Austin, The Colony, El Paso, Georgetown and San Antonio. One is coming soon to Webster. They offer franchise opportunities so if any of you would like to bring one to our little neck of the woods … just saying.

We enjoy a good brunch when we travel and, did I mention it was my birthday weekend? I thought I knew where I wanted to go, but after doing a little further research, I had a complete change of heart and selected something different and it was the best decision ever.
That’s how we ended up at 2020 Market Scratch Kitchen & Bar, an industrial-style, relaxed hangout serving homestyle cooking, steak and brunch, plus cocktails. We all agreed it was one of the best brunches we’ve ever had. It is truly a locally-sourced, farm-to-table experience with over 70% of its menu coming from within 100 miles of Georgetown.

The restaurant is the creation of two friends who’ve worked in the restaurant industry for years and decided that 2020 would be the year they’d fulfill their dream of opening their own restaurant. To them, 2020 represented a new year, a new opportunity and a new beginning. They said they cook food that is meaningful to them, with the menu coming from local farmer’s markets, gulf coast fishing boats and country farm fields.

Hubby was looking at one dish on the menu until he saw a waiter walk by with something called the “Humble Rooster’’ that caught his eye and made him switch gears. The dish was an open-faced buttermilk biscuit, topped with a huge spicy fried chicken breast, fried egg, cracked peppercorn gravy and chives. He picked seasonal vegetables for his side. He claims it was one of the best meals he’s ever had and that the spicy fried chicken breast is in his top three. He also enjoyed the veggies which were yellow squash, zucchini, tomatoes and onions sauteed with some garlic and Italian seasoning.

Mother selected a “True Southwestern Omelet” which came filled with grilled country ham, hickory bacon, onions and peppers and was topped with hatch chile queso, pico de gallo and queso fresco. She selected breakfast potatoes as her side. She enjoyed it all, commenting that it was the first omelet she’d ever had that came with queso instead of melted cheese.
I opted for “Eggs Florentine” which was an open-faced buttermilk biscuit topped with farm-fresh spinach, grilled tomatoes, poached eggs, chipotle hollandaise and chives. I went with the cheddar jack grits for my side. Every bite was delicious but the cheddar jack grits were especially good.

We definitely recommend 2020 Market Scratch Kitchen & Bar and look forward to going back in the future. It was a fun birthday getaway with some amazing meals and treats.

Additional information:

• Greg Davis’ latest exhibit, “Oaxacan Gold – Illuminating Mystical Mexico,” will be at the Georgetown Art Center through Sept. 24. Georgetown Art Center is located at 816 S. Main St. in Georgetown. The phone number is 512-930-2583 and the website is georgetownartcentertx.org. Greg’s works hang in private and institutional collections worldwide. More of his work may be seen at gregdavisphotography.com or on Instagram at @gregdavisphotography.

• The Baked Bear is located at 109 E. 7th St. in Georgetown. Hours are 1-9 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays, noon to 10 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays and noon to 9 p.m. Sundays. The phone number is 512-591-8345.

• 2020 Market Scratch Kitchen & Bar is located at 1500 Rivery Blvd #1100 in Georgetown. The hours are 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Mondays through Fridays and 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays. The phone number is 512-688-4289.

090422 food column two

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