Last week we loved, loved, loved on Teresa “Gumshoe” Gubbins. She’s a hell of a reporter and can bake a mean rhubarb muffin. She mows her own lawn and she swears a lot. She’s old Dallas.
Today, we welcome a new restaurant reviewer to Dallas, Hanna Raskin. Beginning June 1, she will cover the local food scene for the Dallas Observer. She just pulled into town a couple of days ago and is currently hunting for a place to live. (I like that she is so risky!)
Hanna comes to Dallas via Ashville, North Carolina. She rides a bike, plays loads of Scrabble and miniature golf, and is married to an insurance salesman. In her spare time, she blogs on SlashFood where she recently covered the North Carolina’s Museum of the Albermarle’s “Dine With a Pirate” program.
Since she doesn’t know much about Dallas, perhaps you guys can tell her what restaurant she should review first!
Jump for a Q&A with Hanna.
NN: Who are you:
HR: I grew up in Ann Arbor, Mich. I graduated from Oberlin College, where I spent most of my time sequestered in the college newspaper office (and acquired the transcript to prove it.) Since I wasn’t qualified to do much else, I took a newspaper job after graduation, reporting on three rural counties in eastern Mississippi. I spent another few years at The Arizona Daily Star before returning to school in 2001 to earn my master’s in American History and Museum Studies. My thesis on the relationship between Jews and Chinese food thrust me into the world of food writing; I was most recently the food editor for the Mountain Xpress in Asheville, N.C.
NN: In the past you have reviewed restaurants in an interesting way. You dine once anonymously and another with the chef. I like the idea as it certainly gives you a different look at what the restaurant is trying to achieve. Do you plan to continue that tactic?
HR: That system was devised for a particular restaurant scene; I suspect another method might work better here. But I’m still figuring out how to get to my office.
NN: How long do you wear a pair of jeans before you wash them?
HR: I’m a pretty messy eater, so I’m lucky if I can wear anything for a full day without staining it.
NN: I understand you like mountain biking. Did the Observer tell you that the highest point in Dallas is 841 feet above sea level?
HR: We didn’t have the elevation conversation, but I’ve noticed the lack of runaway truck ramps on the highways here. As a mountain biker, I’m disappointed. As an urban cyclist, I’m thrilled.
NN: Where have you eaten in Dallas?
HR: Since I pulled into town three days ago with a packed U-Haul and no known Dallas address, I’ve managed to visit Tei An, Tillman’s Roadhouse, Neighborhood Services Tavern, York Street and the free breakfast bar at La Quinta.
NN: In one of your recent posts on Slashfood, you said, “Eating isn’t the only thing people do in restaurants…They have sex.” Have you had sex in a restaurant?
HR: Civilian diners do many things that restaurant insiders would never consider doing, including ordering casseroles and having sex in the bathroom.
NN: Have you ever worked in a restaurant?
HR: I waited tables for more than a decade, working in restaurants ranging from a coney joint to a white-tablecloth dining room.
NN: What is your cocktail of choice? Your wine? Your hangover cure?
HR: While I appreciate mixologists’ artistry (and their upper arm strength), I like my liquor neat. I typically drink scotch in the winter and bourbon in the summer. My favorite wines are red and earthy. I actually attended a two-hour seminar on hangover treatment at a cocktail convention last summer: I understand Pedialyte and Fernet Branca have their adherents, but I still swear by greasy cheeseburgers.
NN: Do you mow your own lawn?
HR: I make a point of never living anywhere with a lawn: My last house was surrounded by gravel.
NN: How much do you weigh?
HR: If I was a prizefighter, I’d be a light flyweight.
NN: What was the last book you read? (Not food related)
HR: The good folks at the Dallas Public Library were kind enough to send me a lengthy reading list when I asked them how I might best ready for Texan citizenship: I just finished T.R. Fehrenbach’s Lone Star.
NN: What was the last vacation you took?
HR: I’m not sure if a Sunday outing counts, but I recently made the pilgrimage to Charlotte’s brand new NASCAR museum.
NN: How did you hook up with the Observer?
HR: An editor called me and asked whether I’d be willing to leave Asheville.
NN: Other than yourself, who is your favorite food writer in Dallas?
HR: See below.
NN: What is your least favorite question?
HR: See above.