I’ve had more than my fair share of vegetarian entrees placed in front of me by chefs beaming with anticipation of converting me to a meatless lifestyle. It never took. Not one of the dishes offered that X-factor I need in order to feel satisfied, probably because in addition to being vegetarian, most of them were shunning salt, fats, and oils in an attempt to also create something healthy.
Last night, at Madras Pavilion, I felt like I finally discovered the best of both—a veggie feast spiced to the gills and custom made for my hearty appetite. Not only was the food piping hot, fresh, plentiful, and affordable ($34 for a five-course chef’s feast for two), but it drew a crowd that was 90 percent Indian, always a good sign (apart from the two of us, the only other non-Indian table was a family of observant Jews, most likely there because the restaurant is also Kosher).
Course #1: Mulligatawny soup
Course #2: veggie fritters
Course #3: potato and vegetable dosai (I was already stuffed at this point.)
Course #4: naan and rice with pots of yellow dal, saag with cheese, vegetable curry
Course #5: cheese disc in sweet coconut milk and topped with crushed pistachios
But I fell down on the job, readers. I only took one picture, and it was after we had done serious damage to the fourth course of our five-course, $34 marathon.
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Jon Alexis from TJ’s Market has an interesting message to spread. Hear him roar:
We [TJ’s] get calls every day asking about crawfish for NEXT year. The callers think the season is done. But in 2011 we could have 3 more months of crawfish. And not just from TJ’s: everyone should have crawfish much later this season. This year’s crawfish season has been slow. Icy weather delayed at the opening of the season (Super Bowl weekend). And now, the flooding along the Mississippi and subsequent opening of the Morganza Spillway is submerging some of the country’s best crawfish land under 8-10 feet of water. Crawfishermen in the Atchafalya Basin prefer 3-4 feet of water in the bayous. The bad news is the current market price of crawfish is higher than usual. The good news is this flooding could stretch the crawfish season into August or even September. High water is making it harder to catch crawfish, leaving a heavier supply to come later this summer. Furthermore, the rush of cold, oxygenated, nutrient-rich water will improve crawfish conditions throughout the region, and especially in stagnant ponds in dire need of fresh water. Much like forest fires rejuvenate wooded areas, floods are healthy and natural for basins. The entire ecosystem benefits. Not to mention those of us who want to have a Labor Day crawfish boil this year!
Thank goodness Whole Foods has finally brought its tap room concept to Dallas (like Donald Trump, we’d love to think that our complaining had something to do with it). But seriously folks, in addition to on-tap wine and a variety of cheeses and nibbley bits, Lakewood on Tap will be filling growlers, half-gallon glass jugs tapped straight from the keg. If you’re wondering why growlers are such a big deal, head on in and ask for Jon-Robert. He’ll set you straight in no time. Until then, consider this a big step in the craft brewing movement.
If you’re not familiar with Kickstarter, you should be. It’s a fantastic, grass-roots, power-to-the-people fundraising platform through which moderately crazy people with good ideas solicit pledges for as little as $5 from folks like you and me.
Today’s Kickstarter shoutout goes to Armadillo Ale Works. The video is worth watching just for the production value. But their cause is true and the outcome would be another swig in the right direction for North Texas craft brewing.
Sunday night, Restaurant Stephan Pyles was packed for Share Our Strength’s 23rd Annual Taste of The Nation. The event raises money to end child hunger. Locally, funds go to the center for Public Policy Priorities, the North Texas Food Bank, and The Wilkinson Center. Stephan Pyles has been involved for 22 of the 23 years and has taken a leadership role. Sunday he was honored with an award for the major part he has played in raising over $2 million dollars for Taste of The Nation.
Share Our Strength’s Taste of the Nation Dallas chairs included Stephan Pyles (Honorary Chef), Terri Provencal (Event Chair), and Susie Priore (Auction Chair). In addition, two pages of the program listed local sponsors whose contributions amount to the major part of the funds raised.
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