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In my fantasy world, all the 7-11 convenience stores disappear (except, maybe, one or two) and replaced by Revival Markets. Yes, I recognize that this one-stop gourmet food shop and deli would lose a lot of its charm if it turned into a chain, but man, wouldn’t it be wonderful if I was never too far from their lamb pastrami melt?

Not that this glorious sandwich is the only thing that keeps me returning again and again to Revival Market even though for me the trip over involves facing the crazies that speed on the Allen Parkway. In the morning, the Market is a great place to find ingredients, inspiration for dinner, and of course, breakfast. On weekdays, Heights residents en route to downtown stop by for serious coffee drinks and takeout flaky buttermilk biscuits stacked with eggs, white cheddar, ham or bacon. Such sandwiches will have you vowing never to debase yourself again with an Egg McMuffin. The more substantial platters, like the Revival Breakfast (sunny-side up eggs, breakfast sausage, toast, seasonal jam) and the gruyere and mushroom omelet are best enjoyed sitting at one of the market’s café tables. Finally, if you really can’t face the tyranny of choice on Saturday mornings, breakfast that day and that day only consists of one chef-designed breakfast special and oatmeal.

For lunch, Revival Market’s selection of gourmet sandwiches is peerless. Standouts include (my obvious favorite) the lamb pastrami with peperonata brown butter aioli served on a pretzel bun and the open face chicken sandwich with melted provolone and tomato jam. Even old-school classics like baloney become sophisticated at Revival, where the “bologna” is actually house-cured pecan mortadella that’s dressed with spicy American brown mustard and romaine lettuce. Sides (included with all sandwiches) include mustard potato salad, heirloom beans, pickled vegetables, and a tangy ginger lime slaw.

During the holidays, Revival Market is a godsend for people whose culinary inclinations are inversely proportional to the number of courses they’ve promised to a houseful of relatives. In addition to offering traditional sides such as stuffing, mashed potatoes, sweet potato casserole, etc., Revival Market will (if you preorder) provide you with your own fifteen-pound (or more) bird. Catering is also available year-round—their phenomenal cheese and meat platter are great to round out otherwise totally homecooked dinner parties. In addition to these prepared foods is a carefully curated seasonal selection of local produce, meat, sauces, and house-made jams that are, incidentally, terrific as last-minute housewarming gifts (not that I know from experience).

Continuing with their tradition of fun pop-up foodie events, Revival Market announced two hog butchery demonstrations for summer 2014. For $100/person patrons will learn how break down a whole hog and sample porchetta. Adult beverages are not included by “BYOB” is strongly encouraged. I’m bringing cognac and a cleaver.

Revival Market
550 Heights Blvd, Houston, TX 77007

Joanna O'Leary

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