I’d love to kick this off with a cliché like, “I’ve never met a taco I didn’t like,” but I’d be a big, fat liar. I’ve met a number of tacos that rubbed me the wrong way. (For the record, I’ve met an equal number that I don’t even remember because they made so faint an impression.) Top of the list (sublime): the calamari soft taco from Taco Loco in Laguna Beach. Bottom of the heap: the Nebraska-truck-stop, E. coli time bomb of ’93 that stranded me in a deserted campground for 30 hours straight.
Luckily, today’s lunch of fish and crawfish tacos at Fuzzy’s Taco Shop on Mockingbird did not fall into the latter category, nor did it fall into the former (admittedly, that bar is set pretty high). Where it fell instead is in the “old-reliable” category, which means I’d go there again and order the same combinations again but not stray too far from my choices (my companion was not so fortunate and marked hers in the “feh” category). Take my suggestions or not – nothing about this is life-or-death – but you can trust me that these combos won’t disappoint:
What’s your favorite taco joint in town? I really would like to know, but feel free to leave out your graphic tales of woe; I’ve amassed plenty of those on my own.32 Comments »
Our friend at the Market, Freda Ballas, sends along the line-up for the next series of classes at the Dallas Farmers Market. Good stuff.
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Here’s the most important thing you need to know about this year’s fair: the fried s’mores Pop Tart is in the Cuban booth, outside the entrance to the Cotton Bowl. That’s the only place that’s selling it. And even with map in hand, you wouldn’t think to look there. It took us nearly an hour of spinning in circles to find it. But, oh, when we did! Imagine: a s’mores flavored Pop Tart. Coated in Cereal. Maybe Count Chocula. Warm. Covered in whipped cream. Drizzled with chocolate syrup. I think they should sell this at restaurant brunches. I would order it. A lot. Forget what the judges said; this dessert is the clear 2010 fried foods winner.
And this ridiculous confection was the grand finale of a State Fair eating extravaganza last night that began with a corn dog and also included the fried Frito pie (meh), the fried beer (skip it), and the fried PB&J (still a crowd-pleaser). The only thing that could have made it any better would have been a dollop of ice cream on top of the Pop Tart. And don’t worry about me: My trip to the fair was preceded by a call from the doctor who said my cholesterol levels are “excellent.”8 Comments »
The list of things I enjoy but have no understanding of could form an unbroken string of topics stretching from the sidewalk on St. Paul up to our 21st floor offices. Organized alphabetically, the list would start with alchemy and bootlegging and progress through cheese making, juggling, string theory, sexual astrology, and water births.
As a Sagittarius (thanks for asking) it’s in my nature to want to understand how stuff works, and yesterday seemed like as good a day as any to flex that compulsion and start my exploration into those bulwarks of bacteria: artisan cheeses.
I started my education at Scardello, the luscious Uptown microcosm where warm and welcoming in-house epicure Emily walked me through a primer intended to hold me over until I could attend their next Cheese 101 class on Oct. 21.
Let the record show that I’ve sung odes to fine cheeses from Bruges to The Black Sea, but my applied knowledge of cheese comes to a grinding halt somewhere around Camembert. So when Emily presented me with a 13-item tasting slate and sat down with me to explain not just the provenance of each cheese but the proper method for consuming each bite (press it to the roof of your mouth and exhale), I decided it would be a good idea to start taking notes.
Within one hour I tasted the following:
jump to the story… Continue reading "Exploring World Cheese Culture at Scardello and Beyond"
The annual Dallas Farmers Market Friends hoedown is one of the best foodie events of the year. This year, the 16th Annual Hoedown, A Totally Texas Taste, will take place on Thursday, Nov. 4 at Fair Park’s Food & Fiber Pavilion. The evening highlights the best local chefs, artisans, and entertainment and benefits the Dallas Farmers Market.
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Yesterday we dispatched intern Valeria Turturro to the State Fair to cover Dr Pepper’s 125th anniversary cake competition. She files this report:
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Today I got my first taste of the State Fair of Texas. As someone who’s new to Dallas, I’m also new to Big Tex, endless fried food. and everything else that makes the Texas State Fair special. So what better way to break me in to the tradition than witnessing firsthand the frying of a cake.
In celebration of Dr Pepper’s 125th anniversary a cake competition was held at the fair earlier in the day. Julie Ray won first place. Abel Gonzales, the deep-fry king known for giving us heart-stopping concoctions like fried butter, was one of the judges for the contest.
Around 2:15 there was a swarm of cameras around Abel’s fried-food booth. I thought to myself, all this for a cake?
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The screensaver – call it the great office identifier, a glowing signpost through which we express our off-hours fidelities and obsessions. Take a look around you. I’d bet cash money that your colleagues’ computers are awash with pictures of their spouses, their dogs, the view from the cabana on their last vacation, the upside-down view of the cabana boy from later that same day…
Me? I have a Hipstamatic picture of a sandwich.
The greatest sandwich ever made. A sandwich that made the normally reticent Zac Crain ask, “How do you not weigh 300 pounds?”
I’ve eaten this sandwich consistently since November 27, 1984 — the day I got my driver’s license. This is the sandwich that got me through the death of my grandmother and the 30-years-overdue purging of my childhood home. It lives only in Jacksonville, Florida. It’s called a Mozzarella Lubi. I miss it. A lot.
Here’s how it goes (and I really do suggest you sit down for this): atop a hot dog bun, layer mustard, mayo, seasoned ground beef, onions, hot peppers, sour cream, marinara sauce and mozzarella cheese. The result is then microwaved (mysteriously in aluminum foil) and served with a cherry limeade.
I don’t expect you to understand.
But young Master Crain’s comment got me thinking that, as a new Dallas resident, I need a new signature sandwich. So I’m opening up the comments line to suggestions. Come on, Dallas foodies – the sloppier the better! My near-Herculean metabolism and I will be the judge.
Just caught up with Joey Milan, the brains behind Digg’s Tacos, a new South Austin-style taco joint going into the old Stromboli’s spot on Hillcrest across from SMU. Milan is a veteran Fort Worth restaurateur. He has operated Lucile’s Stateside Bistro in the Rivercrest Country Club area for18 years and The Stockyards Hotel and H3 Ranch Steakhouse for 12 years. Oh, and he’s a partner in Cousin’s BBQ in Fort Worth. (H/T BBQ Snob.)
“We are the same, simple guys who had a lot of success in 10 years back in Houston with Cabo “The Original Mix-Mex Grill” which we sold by 2001,” says Milan. “It is time for a really good taqueria. This is it.”
Digg’s is a new “brand inspired architecturally somewhat by South Congress in Austin, but different.” Most of the Digg’s concept is still in Milan’s head but the plans on paper call for a “quick-service food that is bold and very flavorful with uncomplicated and sincere service.”8 Comments »
I love Willamette Valley, Oregon…It was one of the first regions I became attached to by visiting friends and now family in the region. I love that though the wine industry has grown over the years, there is still that element of charm and a personal touch with the wineries. We had an opportunity to visit King Estate and stay in their guest cottage on the King Estate property during our wine tour of the Northwest and every element of our stay had that personal touch.
King Estate Winery is big…very big, and beautiful, and though there is a large flat screen TV in their tasting room, you can experience their charm and ever present hospitality when you enjoy your tasting on their expansive patio over looking rows and rows of vines. With a focus on creating wine as sustainable and organic as possible they have an incredible operation introducing their patrons to quality wine at reasonable prices. Continue reading "What I’m Drinking Now: A Visit to King Estate"3 Comments »
If show up at the grocery store in Dallas looking like you just got roughed up in the parking lot, chances are people will think twice about believing you are who you say you are. Which is how I almost didn’t make it into Central Market Cooking School’s Saturday Brewtopia event with much-lauded Brewmaster Garrett Oliver of Brooklyn Brewery. Good thing I’m persistent and in possession of an honest face, otherwise I would have missed out on what was one of the more informative brewing events of recent years.
If you’re at all committed to our (not-so-secret) malted mission, you’ve already read Tim Rogers reflections on Garrett’s hosting of Sunday night’s Supper Club at the Meddlesome Moth. Why, then, should I even bother to post about what, to the naked eye, appears to have been the same event on an earlier night? Because it wasn’t – not at all, not by a longshot!
Jump for the joy of beer. Continue reading "Garrett Oliver Geeks Out in a Good Way at Central Market’s Brewtopia"
Nancy asked me to recap last night’s most excellent Supper Club dinner at Meddlesome Moth, as far as I can tell, for two reasons: 1) She has the mistaken impression that I know something about beer because I like really hoppy IPAs and because I belong to a beer club, which means that once a month I get 12 exotic beers delivered to the office, giving me an opportunity to bloviate to my co-workers about how much I like hoppy IPAs. And 2) because she is afraid that her longtime friendship with Moth co-owner Shannon Wynne, made all the more problematic by what I assume is a red-hot jealousy harbored by Wynne’s new bride, Kimm (avec the double “m”), would make an unbiased recounting of the evening impossible. Me, I’ve got no such qualms. Wynne hates me. I’m unconflicted.
The big draw last night, over and above the beer paired with six courses of executive chef Chad Kelley’s vittles, was a gentleman by name of Garrett Oliver, whom the program called “the foremost authority in the United States on the subject of traditional beer.” He is also the brewmaster at Brooklyn Brewery and was clearly separated at birth from Herschel Walker (in person, he looks related to Neil deGrasse Tyson, too). Oliver told us last night that he has emceed 700 beer dinners in 10 countries. I was unimpressed. Only 10 countries? Meh.
This morning we introduce you to a restaurant set to open in the Shops of Legacy on October 4: Seasons52, a “fresh grill and wine bar” that enables guests to “celebrate living well.” The menu is orchestrated by Chef Clifford Pleau, and is inspired by the seasons and the fresh appeal of the farmers’ market 52 weeks a year. Master Sommelier George Miliotes (the 152nd master sommelier in the world) has constructed the wine list. The kitchen uses wood-fire grills and brick-ovens to create low calorie meals. “In fact, we make a promise that nothing on our menu is over 475 calories,” says Managing Partner Kean Dahl.
Christine Perez of D CEO attended a preview dinner and files this report.
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A trip up to the Shops at Legacy the other night proved to be worth the hassle of fighting traffic on the Dallas North Tollway. I was there for a preview dinner at Seasons52, which opens Oct. 4.
After champagne and samples of the restaurant’s signature flatbreads—fig with chèvre, smoked bacon, mint and wild arugula; chipotle shrimp with roasted poblanos, grilled pineapple and feta—we moved to the dining room for another six courses. Among the offerings, each perfectly paired with various wines: lemongrass sea scallop roasted on a cedar plank, mesquite-grilled lamb rack and quail breast; and ravioli stuffed with fresh goat cheese made by Paula Lambert, who was among the 24 or so guests.
Jump for more. Continue reading "First Look: Seasons52 in Plano"
The SideDish Supper Club at the Meddlesome Moth tonight is sold out. However, I just received a note from a Disher who can’t make it and is offering her seat for free. If you’d like to attend, drop me an email. First one to me takes the prize. The beer dinner with Garrett Oliver is from 4-6PM. Details here.
UPDATE: TICKET HAS BEEN TAKEN. See you tonight!
Disclaimer: Let me preface the following by saying that I was raised by Pennsylvania Dutch parents, which explains a lot about what I’m about to say:
When I was growing up, the list of what my parents “didn’t believe in” (mayonnaise, private cars, food made by strangers, and tuna from a can) was almost as long as the list of what they actively feared (avocados, botulism, spices of all kinds, and activities that attracted more than four people). That being said, both going to the State Fair and eating spicy foods were completely out of the question. (My only experience of going to a Fair came in 1976 when our elderly neighbors staged a pity-abduction and took my brother and me in the back of their wood-paneled Travelall. Sidenote: once we got there, I was both too thrilled and too afraid to eat anything.)
So, imagine the illicit charge I got (as both a food writer and Fair virgin) as I noshed my way through the tastings at last night’s Fair Food sneak peek in the Food & Fiber Pavillion. From this year’s bumper crop of TX commestibles, three standouts made my list for best bets for stocking the goodie-corner of my pantry.11 Comments »
As mentioned earlier in this space, last night was Il Cane Rosso‘s inaugural Thursday night outing to the Green Spot. The gentleman you see at left is the affable Jay Jerrier, the brains behind Il Cane Rosso’s mobile wood-burning pizza oven. If you want to know a little more about his rig, read this Q&A with Jerrier. Here’s what I can tell you about his Neapolitan pies: they are excellent in your mouth. Jerrier makes his pies in strict accordance with the guidelines of the Associazone Verace Pizza Napoletana. You can go here to learn exactly what that means. Chances are, if you dig pizza, you already know all this. I’d read about Il Cane Rosso before and had talked to some folks who’d raved about Jerrier’s work, but last night was my first taste. The pizza lived up to the hype.
My family ordered two pies: a margherita ($10) and an Emma with Jimmy’s sausage ($14). Il Cane Rosso’s website talks about how they hand-pull their mozzarella every day and how their tomato sauce is made with San Marzano tomatoes that have been hand-crushed so as to avoid breaking the seeds, which makes the sauce bitter. Yes, of course. But here’s what that means to me: I go to a place like Alphonso’s (right across the parking lot from Green Spot), whose pizza I really like, and I can stomach one, maybe two, slices. There’s just a lot going on with an Alphonso’s pie. Two pieces, and I feel like I need to lie down. And I don’t eat the crust because it seems like a waste of time.
That ICR margherita? I ate half of it, crusts included. It’s just so simple and delicate. The interplay of crust and sauce and cheese is a thing of magic. One bite might bring you all three; the next might bring you sauce and basil and a bubble of charred crust only, a different flavor profile. Am I making sense? Let me put it this way: my 11-year-old son will eat pizza if that’s all there is to eat, but he doesn’t particularly care for it. I always thought he was just strange. But last night I learned that the problem was, I’d never fed him a real Neapolitan pizza. He ate half that Emma (pictured) last night and declared that ICR’s was the first pizza he’d ever liked.
Frisco is home to Platia Greek Kouzina, a cozy Greek restaurant run by two sisters. Teresa Gubbins files this review in the latest issue of D Magazine.
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When Sally Maglaris opened Zorba’s with her then husband in 2001, their authentic Greek food stood out as the real deal, drawing a rapturous clientele and earning numerous awards for Best Greek in Dallas. Now Sally has partnered with her sister Rhea Manos and Yanni Garmiris at a new spot called Platia Greek Kouzina. The sisters come from a restaurant family. Their father had restaurants back in Chicago. The sisters took over a defunct pizzeria in Frisco and recast it as a kind of Greek-themed courtyard with faux stone, wall sconces, and high-backed upholstered chairs. Service can be distracted, but they have the food covered. The big magnet is the signature roast chicken with potatoes: a half chicken as juicy and tender as it gets, with thickly sliced potatoes baked until brown and soft. Pita bread is nifty with your choice of three dips, such as yogurt, eggplant, caviar, and a firmly textured hummus that makes the more common Middle Eastern version seem pallid. Greek casseroles are lush: moussaka with eggplant, and pastitsio made with thick macaroni and ground beef and capped with creamy béchamel.
The Libertine Bar is holding a Spaten Beer Dinner on Wednesday, September 29 at 7:00PM. Spaten is one of Germany’s most successful breweries and is deeply rooted in Munich’s venerable beer-brewing tradition. The details of the dinner and beer pairings are listed below. Tickets to the event are $50 per person. BUT if you are the first person to call The Libertine and say “Hey SideDish says I deserve two free tickets!” you and a friend will go for free. On you mark, get set, wählscheibe: 214-824-7900.1 Comment »