The result of her travels is a catalog of recipes gathered along the way, serving as a herencia—Spanish for heritage—to be passed on to others.
Like the traveler in the story, the quintet comprising the restaurant's leadership team each bring their own unique experiences to the table, lead operating partner Joey Shashy said.
"Herencia really is a compilation of where we've all been over the years," Shashy said. "We've worked together probably 40-plus years ... together as a team. ... And we've all done some different things along the way."
The menu serves as an amalgamation of cuisines from throughout the South, he said.
"The inspiration is from Texas, from Latin America, Mexico and Louisiana," Shashy said. "We call it Texican, and it gives us a broad stroke to do whatever we want."
That means modifying certain dishes to cater to Herencia's unique flavor profile.
"The concept gives us the ability to take any kind of protein and seafood, and we can ... make it Texican through either a cooking technique or spice palette," Shashy said.
Some examples of those dishes include grilled meatloaf with roasted jalapeno, sofrito sauce and roasted vegetables; jumbo Gulf shrimp stuffed with blue crab cakes, poblano crema and cilantro rice; and queso blanco with slow braised beef brisket and roasted red and poblano peppers.
The interior of Herencia sports a sophisticated Texas Hill Country ambience seen in the limestone-clad walls and leather upholstery.
The Texican inspiration does not stop with the food menu. Herencia's bar features craft cocktails, margaritas, wine and beer.
"We don't use mixes in our bar. So everything we make is with fresh juices and fresh ingredients," Shashy said. "We also want it to be a bourbon restaurant because Texas has become a fairly big bourbon distillery place."
The restaurant also added nonalcoholic options to its drink menu, such as the Sunset, a mix of orange juice, grenadine, lime and mint, as well as Las Energia—honey ginger with cucumber, passion fruit and lime.
1431 E. Southlake Blvd., Ste. 551, Southlake