I feel it is important for you, the food blog reader, to get to know some of the folks behind the posts you are read. In May, we fell in love with Teresa Gubbins. Then we welcomed new Observer critic Hanna “Ellie Mae” Raskin to Dallas. Since Leslie Brenner is out of town, I asked Dallas Dude aka Steven Doyle, a foodie bon vivant about town and blogger on Dallas Hillbillies City of Ate, to come forward and spread his life before you. Jump for another exclusive SideDish interview and an interesting photo of the real Jethro.
NN: Hey Dude/Doyle, give us Dude/Doyle 101.
DD: I was always a food enthusiast, even as a very young child. My grandfather owned a diner and my mother was an excellent home cook that was constantly having me try new things that most children would shun. I also have fond memories of sitting before the tube watching the likes of Julia Child and Jeff Smith. Smith would go into great detail about food history and why each dish he was making was so important. He was so charismatic that I would often attempt the dishes even at an early age.
NN: So are you Dallas Dude or Steven Doyle? How many foodie hats do you wear?
DD: I prefer Steven Doyle, but am stuck with the dude moniker on a few food sites like Chow. Stephan Pyles still calls me the DallasDude. He can call me what he likes as long as its not “late for dinner”.
NN: You look like a tall dude. How tall are you?
DD: I am an even 6’3” but objects in mirror are closer than they appear.
NN: Have you ever worked in a restaurant? If you could work in one restaurant in Dallas, which kitchen would you choose?
DD: When I was 14 I worked at a cafe in the now defunct North Town Mall where the Cordon Bleu is located today. I went from busboy to fry cook in a few weeks, possibly due to the rapid turnover rate. A few months later I was night manager. Later in life I was part owner in a restaurant, bar and catering business in Kansas. I prefer this side of the fence.
I did fulfill a fantasy recently by assisting in the kitchen at 48 Nights. Ava’s chefs Copeland and Tate said I did well. It would be fun to work in every kitchen in Dallas just for one night. What a column that would be!
NN: What is one food you love but you don’t want anyone to know you love?
DD: Pork chops and apple sauce.
NN: Do you mow your own lawn?
DD: There are certain things you vow never to do after you become an adult. One of them is to move yourself with the help of a friends pick up. The other is to mow your own lawn. I owned a farm in Kansas and mowed many acres each week. I am pretty much done with that.
NN: What is your stance on foie gras? Are you pro-duck?
DD: A fan of the foie and love duck, especially when prepared by the capable hands of Sara Johannes at Five Sixty. Or at First Chinese BBQ. I am into duck fat fries, too. Know where I can get them in Dallas?
NN: Let’s say the Food Network offered you your very own show and told you that you could do anything you wanted on the air. Tell us the name of the show and what we could expect to see.
DD: Didn’t I ask this question to someone myself last week? There is a BBC program called Ready Steady Cook hosted by Brit celeb chef Ainsley Harriot where contestants work along side real chefs in a mini Iron Chef type battle. I might want to rip that off. I would want Iron Chef-slayer Kent Rathbun on my team. I don’t watch TV unless I am in a bar, so I would have to wait for the DVD version to come out.
NN: Best taco in Dallas?
DD: El Si Hay in Oak Cliff across from Bolsa, hands down. And the elotes sold in the cart on the side of the shack are pretty special too. I did find a new place on Northwest Highway by Bachman Lake inside a gas station called El Trompo Taco. They make wonderful al pastor tacos off the spit. It’s on my watch list.
NN: Worst meal you’ve eaten in Dallas?
DD: I did a thing on Dallas chicken and waffles some months back and sampled five different versions in one day. One of those made me ill, but I won’t say which in fear I may be forced to eat another plateful. I knew as I took the first bite I might die.
NN: You have to tell us your favorite chef. And why.
DD: I seem to have quite a few chef friends and it is difficult to say who is my favorite. I gravitate towards people with these amazing talents and enjoy having a pint with them and listen to their war stories that cannot ever be repeated. Chefs using local farmers and ranchers definitely get bonus points with me. I think I dropped enough names for one day.
NN: Do you know J.T. Lemley like Kim Pierce knows J.T.? Be honest.
DD: I love Kim! I seem to run into her everywhere, but possibly just because she is everywhere. I do not know J.T. personally. However, I am always less than six degrees of separation from a Lemley tomato. I have friends that know J.T. and that suits me fine. Chad and Janice from Parigi know him well.
NN: If you were a fruit, you’d be a (fill in the blank). If you were a vegetable, you’d be a (fill in the blank).
DD: If I was a fruit I would be snuggled into Carmen Miranda’s hat that she wore for the 1943 film The Gangs All Here. If I was a vegetable I would want to live happily on Lemley’s.