At Cow Dog, local foodie and multimedia artist Alan Vannoy mans the window and stove himself, taking orders and turning out a wonderfully wicked assortment of griddle-seared, gourmet hot dogs. Alan soon handed us paper plates piled high with a lunch we’re still talking about months later. Mine, the “Artisan” dog, sat beneath a smear of apple-apricot chutney and melted Tillamook sharp cheddar atop a bun spread with white-wine mustard. Marshall sighed happily over his “German,” which was adorned with sauerkraut, a slice of bacon, a sprinkling of caraway seeds, and a hint of spicy mustard.

After devouring these at handmade metal-and-concrete tables on the front patio at Plaine, we stepped up to the coffee bar for a dessert of chai latte and jumbo-size, lemon-vanilla cupcakes. Owners Daniel and Jessie Browning, who also run a java joint in nearby Marfa called Frama, brought Plaine to Alpine in 2011 and moved to this location this past fall. As the menu does at Frama, Plaine’s menu features Scrabble letters, as Daniel is fond of the game. (“Plaine” and “Frama” are jumbled spellings of Alpine and Marfa.)

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