Restaurant Spotlight: Roots Southern Table

I love condiments. I have often joked that food is simply a holder for my condiments. Add how in the past year, I have also explored Southern cooking more purposefully. Maybe because my maternal grandmother was such a fantastic cook whose repertoire included classic Southern dishes like fried chicken and biscuits.

No wonder when I read mention of hummus made with a “Southern staple” in my Restaurant Hospitality feed, I had to check it out (though truthfully, hummus is a spread that I run hot and cold about).

Black-eyed peas are the chickpea substitute. The chef is Tiffany Derry of Roots Southern Table in Farmers Branch, Texas.

Photo Credit: Eater-Dallas Those of you who are reality foodie tv watchers may remember Chef Derry from Top Chef and a host of other programs.

Chef Derry is having a hot moment, her story being picked up in several food media publications. In addition to the Eater article, I like this wonderful 2019 interview article with Chef on Battman’s Chefs Connection,

Turns out that Michael Twitty includes a recipe for Black-eyed Peas Hummus in his bestseller The Cooking Gene. You can find a beautiful photo of Black-eyed Peas Hummus with Twitty’s recipe @ Farmhouse Cook.

What really excited me, however, was the menu posted for Roots Southern Table.

Roots Southern Table interior is so gorgeous and elegant with its neutral greys, wood, and coastal blues.

Where is this place?

Farmers Branch Texas. OH. Sounds like one of those tumbleweed-infested, in the middle-of-nowhere towns that dot the ginormous state of Texas.

Googling it, I read that Farmers Branch is an inner-ring suburb of Dallas. Okay. So while Austin, not Dallas, is on my top foodie tourist spots to travel, I can see making an exception because of a restaurant like this one: Roots Southern Table: Duck Fat Fried Chicken, ditto Potatoes, Southern Greens, Cast Iron Cornbread, Texas Peaches, Pekin Duck Breast. YAASSS!

RST Menu 7-7-21 (2)_Page_1.png

Foodie-in-the-Making and Hamburger Smackdown

Daniel Boulud’s $120 Burger made from wine-infused short ribs, black truffles preserves, foie gras, tomato confit still makes my heart flutter ❤

What influences and memories contributed to your becoming a foodie?

Is there a dish that makes you weak in the knees?

Have you dropped some serious cash on Goldbelly?

My father was a foodie. So no wonder I became a foodie too.

[Well that and because my mother was a fair-to-meddling and sometimes outright terrible cook (which she had no problems copping to). But that’s a story for another time.]

Though he had six mouths to feed on a working class postal worker’s salary, typically he had few hesitations about splurging on food (e.g. we had lobster and crab in the freezer and Italian antipasto delicacies in the cupboard) for all of us.

So when when my Goldbelly email mentioned they were carrying a beloved “famed six-ounce cheeseburger, cooked up on a well-seasoned griddle and served on French bread from Rotier’s in Nashville, I flashbacked to memories of one of my favorite cheeseburgers of all time.

While I am talking about my favorite sandwich–hamburgers–today, I had an equal love affair with the Lincoln Sub which is what my Dad usually brought home.

The Lincoln Burger, two hearty hamburger patties with melty American cheese mixed with mayo on French bread.

I have visited Nashville only once. We went to the Grand Ole Opry, but no one mentioned Rotier’s, which USA Today once included on their 10 Best list. I suspect if they had, then I would have moved the Smoky Mountains to go try it and see how well it stacked up to my beloved Lincoln Burger:

Photo Credit:

Many moons later, when Lincoln’s reopened in Highland, IN, my ex-husband and I stood in a very long line and spent some bucks to eat and bring home some beloved Lincoln’s.

The Steelworker Special, basically a patty melt with roast beef, instead of cheese, was still pretty tasty.

But alas, the Lincoln Burger just didn’t hold the same thrill. Part of it can be attributed to a growing penchant for high-quality beef and exciting condiments and toppings. But then again, my eyes often glaze over feasting on White Castle. They are far from quality beef (basically beef slime after all).

No matter. Hamburgers are still pretty near to my favorite food ever. It’s certainly what I am most likely to ask for if one of us is doing take out. And if there is a hamburger that you think I should try, I would to love to hear about it.

Chicago Southland Foodies Founder’s Blog: What you’ve find here…

Chicago Southland Foodies’ Mission: To create an online community of people across the world who love discovering, eating, learning about, and talking about good food. Locally, to help foodies in the Chicago South Suburbs create and experience scrumptious eating experiences whether that is dining in or eating out.

Towards that end, in the Chicago Southland Foodies Founders Blog, I will cover:

Food trends and other happenings in the culinary/food service industry
–my day job is doing research and marketing for a culinary textbook line so I trip across oodles of fascinating factoids and information across the web or from talking with chefs and instructors.
–coverage includes ingredient and cuisine trends, local and celebrity chefs, books and movies (popular, documentaries, indie film). I will probably lose some readers, but rarely Food Network or foodie reality t.v. Sorry, I remember Gordon Ramsey from British cooking magazines back in the day and when he was nice (or so I remember). Like restaurant reviews, I suspect other Chicago Southland Foodies will be happy to fill in these omissions.

Deep Dives into food and culture
–these will often be original articles, essays, and interviews rather than simply content aggregation (a fancy marketing term for sharing content and links while traipsing the web, food media, and Facebook sites or groups like Eater, Delish, Black People Eats, Bon Appetit, Saveur, Food and Wine, Cuisine Noir…) in the spirit of pioneering food writers and like MFK Fisher, Ruth Reichl, and Edna Lewis (whose level of writing I aspire to).
–Plus, I have a strong interest in culinary history and gastronomy (where food and culture intersect) especially forgotten history and pioneers (because as is often said, “history gets written by the victors).

Reviews on product finds, eateries, books, and food media
–don’t be surprised to see lots of product discoveries and the occasional restaurant or eatery review. That’s because I cook more than I eat out these days and oft times, I enjoy trying out recipes and eating my own cooking more. These could be local grocery store or cool stuff online.
–That said, I anticipate that Club members will have a lot to say about the good and bad of restaurants (here and away) to help you discover divine places to eat out. And places to stay away from.

Food sharing/Product Exchange & other social events
–Food tastings, Coffee klatches, Learning adventures, guest speakers, Movie watch parties, Readings, Recipe-sharing, Restaurant trips, Chicago Southland farmer market meet-ups, Pop-Up stores and more.

Foodies Defined

Photo by Taryn Elliott on

Hi, I’m Gayle. Founder of Chicago Southland Foodies. Upon seeing that last bit, maybe you’re thinking “Why she have to go there?”

Foodie. Not only that, but one who leans “bougie.” Like, really?

Surely, “bougie” hasn’t always had positive associations. Especially, when I was growing up. Same as nerd or blerd (a.k. a. black nerd which I also self-identify with). So trust me, it’s with more than a little trepidation that I use all those adjectives to give you a good sense of what this community is about.

Many folks find the word foodie downright cringe-worthy (if not, yesterday’s news). Like chefs. Well, so says an economics wonk in this 2016 Washington Post article: Stop calling yourself a foodie.

So feel free to substitute the noun of your choice:
food lover, food enthusiast, gourmand, gastronome, connoisseur, passionate eater, food nerd.

Image Credit: Glutto not only has interesting articles but apparently is a food technology company too.

While foodie sometimes gives me pause too, I identify with it and use it because foodie fits:

A foodie is a person who has an ardent or refined interest in food and who eats food not only out of hunger but also as a hobby. The terms “gastronome” and “gourmet” define the same thing, i.e. a person who enjoys food for pleasure.


Foodies is fun to say. And admittedly, I have a thing for words that end with the long vowel e sound.

My daughter is named Cory.
My last dog was Cody.
My current dog is Hailey.
And when we were kids, my siblings used to call me Gay-LEE.
On occasion my significant other will answer to Day-VEE.

But not food-DEE. He’s one of those folks who abhors that word. He just eats.