For the Love of Food: Introducing new food columnist from Hardin

Bluebonnet News welcomes food columnist Keri Elliott, who will be sharing her favorite recipes, restaurants and tips in her twice-monthly column called "For the Love of Food."

By Keri Elliott, columnist

We all have a way to our heart – words of affirmation, physical touch, receiving gifts, quality time, acts of service, and food. Okay, okay, maybe food is not one of the languages of love, but it is for me.

As a child I was raised on an acre garden where you could find me running barefoot through the potato rows taking a big ol’ bite of a dirty, gritty, freshly-picked new potatoes.

On any given day, you could walk into our home and hear the sound of various food channels playing in the background. Mountains of cookbooks filled the shelves of a bookcase in our spare room. My parents often hosted social events at our house where friends and family would rave over delicious meals that had been lovingly prepared. My father was often referred to as the “Mr. Miyagi” of the grill. My mother the Julia Child of her time!

I write all of this to introduce myself. Hi! I am Keri Elliott – wife, mother, daughter, friend, and self-proclaimed foodie. “For the Love of Food” will be a culinary adventure through the restaurant world – taking you to restaurants and dives that you may have heard of and some I hope to introduce to you, as well as recipes that I feel the world needs to know about. I do my best to follow an 80 percent healthy and 20 percent indulgent lifestyle. Some weeks you may get a “how to” on making traditional recipes with a healthier twist and others will be full fat and full carb recipes.

The city of Liberty has its own foodie haven, located in none other than a food truck. With the types of options available you would expect to be seated at a dining table with pressed linens, not necessarily an open and inviting picnic table. The setting where everyone knows your name and loves to offer suggestions.

Red Top Wagon, located at the corner of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Travis streets, is a newcomer on the eatery scene, but their menu speaks volumes to head chef Scott’s experience in the kitchen. As a starter I suggest the Fancyschmancy Fries, a culinary wonderland of crispy fries topped with a delectable truffle aioli. Follow that up with the Swamp Shrimp, some of the best fried shrimp this side of I-10. The homemade swamp sauce is the perfect amount of sweet with a touch of heat, it says it right there on the menu.

My current favorite main course is a specialty and not offered daily. Be sure to check their Facebook if you plan on coming to get it. The seared tuna with slaw and blueberry salsa is a perfect light accompaniment to the heavier fried shrimp. If you want to keep it light and they are not offering the tuna, you should try the cabbage and shrimp. I know what you are thinking and, yes, you are right, it is delicious, although I have a hard time narrowing down which item to order first.

I suggest you just do like I did the first time I ate there and order one of everything. I would also be mindful that all their creations are made fresh at the time of your order in the small food truck kitchen, so you may have to wait a few minutes. Use your time wisely, venture a few steps away to Red Top Treats and indulge in a snocone topped with cotton candy. You can also finish your meal with a Strawberry Shortcrepe from the “Treats” stand.

Pricing is very fair for the quality of food you would not expect to find in a styrofoam to-go container. The restaurant has great owners, community-oriented environment, and all in all great place for lunch. The Wagon is open Monday – Friday: 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Be sure to tell them Keri sent ya!

Do you have a suggestion? Want recommendations on how to cook something or what to eat? Email me at

I would like to offer a huge thank you to Scott and Jolee for allowing us to take over and have a photoshoot at their “Wagon.”

Photo Credit: Tonya Neuman with Lasting Memories Photography

Logo Credit: Kennedy Rives with K3 Designs


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