Forgive me as I step up on my soap box for a minute. Last Sunday, I took my family to lunch at Pecan Lodge Catering in Shed 2 of the Dallas Farmers Market. I’m a long-time supporter of local farmers and both D Magazine and SideDish have promoted many of the events, cooking classes, and developments that take place at DFM. But I’ve got to say, I’m very disappointed in the progress inside Shed 2. The air-conditioned space designed to encourage local, artisanal food vendors and local handicrafters is still half-empty. At 1:00PM last Sunday, the cavernous space was sparsely populated. Unfair Park’s Robert Wilonsky wrote a great piece on the economic reality the vendors face: high month-to-month rents and little security as vendors can be moved at any time for any reason. (It’s all here.)
(Stepping down) Anywhoo, despite what goes on behind the scenes, we had a great time hanging in Shed 2. First, we feasted at Pecan Lodge Catering. As I mentioned earlier today, the barbecue side of PLC’s menu was “closed” because they were putting the finishing touches on their new smokehouse. Instead of going for the usual burnt ends, we explored other items on the menu. And you know what I found? The best piece of fried chicken in Dallas. The guy in line behind me said, “I drive all the way from Balch Springs every weekend to eat this chicken.” Who is going to argue with that?
Jump for more goodness.
I also caught up with Ben Rikhilal at Kurry King. He moved out of Shed 2 when the new rent rules went into play, but moved back in last June. What I didn’t know is that the affable Rikhilal played soccer for South Africa in the 1968 World Cup. “We lost in the first round,” Rikhilal said. “But I went on to become the president of soccer in South Africa.” Today, thanks to the high rent he is paying, he is barely making ends meet. I suggest you stock up on his products. His dip spices are a must have for your pantry as is his white bean chili mix.
We couldn’t miss Paul Wackym, the energetic pusher behind the addictive Wackym Cookies. My perfect nephew depleted Paul’s salted caramel samples. (I prefer the crunchy margarita cookies.) Since he started sampling his cookies at the Farmers Market, Paul has managed to get his cookies on the shelves in grocery stores around town. Brian Luscher serves them in his restaurant, The Grape.
Outside, our local farmers were slicing and selling some fine fruits and vegetables. I have a bag of peaches and a bowl of blueberries sitting on my desk.
I urge you to take a cooking class, participate in Days of Taste, join Farmers Market Friends, and get to know the regular vendors at the Dallas Farmers Market. They are so devoted to bringing you local goodies. It breaks my heart to learn how hard Ben Rikhilal works to cover his costs.