Last week H-E-B announced they were expanding into the "DFW Metroplex." While we could argue over whether that odd geographical phrase is a real word, we see no point in getting snippy with the San Antonio-based grocer. They're too kind to quibble with. Regardless, two stores are slated to open in fall 2022 in Frisco and Plano, neither of which is in Dallas nor Tarrant County. But that's fine! Not irritated at all that they still won’t put a store in Dallas-proper.
Alas, their new North Texas stores will be at Preston Road and Spring Creek Parkway (Plano) and Main Street and Legacy Drive (Frisco).
For the time being, there's an H-E-B in Waxahachie, which is 28 miles south of downtown Dallas, and another store in Burleson for the Tarrant County side of things. And there are certain items at H-E-B that are worth a special trip no matter where you hunker down. Pulling from my own experience and tapping into a Reddit stream for a touch of democracy, here are nine things worth the trip to any H-E-B now.
1. Mama Tang’s Spicy Asian Vinaigrette
My aunt told me about this, swearing it changed her relationship with sauteed vegetables. She was right. Made with vinegar, soy sauce, sugar and oyster sauce then cut with some heat, it’s perfect for salads, cooked vegetables or meats. Be sure to get the spicy, not the regular. Or get both. Since you’re there, just get both.
2. The Entire Produce Section
The fresh guacamole and pico de gallo are a given. But this first part of the store is always stocked with fresh, seasonal goods, and it's simply inspiring; it makes you want to eat local, fresh food. Two weeks ago a Central Texas store had Tajin mangos that were amazing. There are always great finds in the produce section.
3. Jalapeño Pimento Cheese
This is such an underrated product. Why isn't it a national food?
4. Beemster Graskaas Cheese
These particular wheels of cheese are made from the first spring feeding after the snow has melted in the pastures in Holland. The farmers throw open the barn doors, and happy cows frolic in the meadows shaking off the winter. This makes for the best cheese. H-E-B offers more of Beemster's backstory on the land and a “bog-draining engineering feat” here.
5. Whatever They've Cooked Up for Breakfast
While traveling somewhere last summer, we found these croissant-ish pretzel bread pastries called "kblanskies" in the deli at an H-E-B. They were amazing. We’ve asked around at other stores, but haven’t been able to find them; they're either sold out or never heard of them. You never know when you’ll get lucky and find something amazing at an H-E-B.
H-E-B has an above average wine selection and, bonus, someone there usually can help with recommendations. Staff picks are the best.
7. Antone's Sandwiches
This is a regional pick, but here it is anyway. Antone’s is sort of like the Jimmy’s Food of Houston. The original specialty grocery store catered to South-Asian and Mexican immigrants and also made po’boys, which can be found in the deli section at H-E-Bs around Houston (from Conroe to Galveston, for certain). What's amazing is the po'boys smell exactly the same as they did in 1985. It's an olfactory trip back in time.
They put effort into finding community favorites.
8. Fresh Tortillas
From Reddit and a since-deleted profile: “The 'taste like corn, sturdy like flour' half and half tortillas are a sign from the heavens that HEB has been blessed by the lord.”
Hold my Beer concurred with “HEB is not [bleeping] around with those tortillas. I like corn tortillas but they always break, no matter what I do. Then I found these and my life changed. I never looked back.”
9. Jalapeño Bacon
H-E-B's jalapeño bacon gets a lot of Reddit love too. I actually got their bacon last time and it was, in fact, above par. So, let me just say, you get a couple slices of that there jalapeño bacon, chop it up, saute it, throw in a pan with some Brussel sprouts, green beans, asparagus or whatever, then add three tablespoons of Mama Tang’s Hot and Spicy and can’t nobody tell you nothing. Promise this is how the Jesus and the Easter Bunny want us to eat our vegetables.
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