This morning chefs from all over the world gathered at St. Monica Church in Dallas to pay their last respects to Dallas’ most significant chef Jean LaFont. Once family and friends were seated, a parade of over 50 chefs dressed in chef whites filed down the aisle. It was a stunning moment. Forgive me for not getting all of their names in here. I hope if you were there, you will leave your name below. I recognized, with the help of Chris Ward: Chef Ewald Scholz, Chef Christian Gerber, Chef Cherif Brahmi, Chef Didier Viriot, Jean Marie Cadot, Chef Louis Vacher, Chef Joe Garza, Chef Laurent Champalle, Chef David Brawley, Chef David Sokol, Chef Chris Ward, Chef Sharon Van Meter, Chef Pete Curley. Other notable names include Phil Vacarro, Anne and François Chandou, and Patrick Esquerre. Hedda Dowd and Jim Deibel both spoke. Deibel told the crowd how he entered the “French-only” kitchen at Oz and applied for a job while all the other chefs snickered. Dowd, a longtime friend of LaFont, gave a moving speech on LaFont’s character. He left home at 13 to become a butcher and worked his way up through every station in traditional brigade system kitchens of France. “He was a “complete chef,” she said. “He was a rôtisseur, a patissier, a saucier, a poissonnier. He could do it all. He was a chef whose presence was known the second he walked into a kitchen.” To paraphrase Dowd, Jean LaFont taught so many chefs how to cook, the ripple effect of his talent will be with us for a long time. LaFont is survived by seven children: Sonia, Stephanie, Jean-Luc, Mireille, Jean-Pierre, Magali, and Marise; four grandchildren, two sisters, and two former wives. And a huge community of food loving friends. The family will be checking this site. Please feel free to leave them a note. (Or correct my spelling!) Short video after jump. Continue reading "Funeral Services Held Today For Chef Jean LaFont"7 Comments »
I posted a piece over on FrontBurner earlier today about the contribution of Frito Pie, and its forbears, to the history of Western civilization.
So, of course, a reader decided to share with me the above photo of her brother’s Frito Pie Pizza. She writes:
I know it’s a Boboli crust and then I assume Frito pie ingredients. I haven’t had it but he says it’s amazing.
My brothers and sisters, we are truly living in an age of decadence.
I am always on the look out for great opportunities to sip and savor the beauty of a glass of wine from around town and around the world. A few great ones are happening over the next few weeks and their press releases have just popped into my inbox just in time to find that perfect bottle to toast your sweetie, and yourself, for Valentine’s.
Fuqua Winery continues to bring us fun and informative tastings. Tonight at 7pm they are holding their second (because the first one was so much fun) blind tasting of Sauvignon Blanc wines from New Zealand to South Africa, and everything in between.
If you are more of a big, bold red wine fan join them on Thursday, Feb 2, for their Texas Tempranillo release party, Vat #15. Tempranillo is perhaps best known as the grape of Rioja, and often referred to as Spain’s “nobel grape,” but it also does very well in our Texas soils, being able to withstand our long, hot summer weather. This new release is 100% Texas grown grapes from the Texas Hill Country AVA. Call for reservations for either – 214-769-1147. Continue reading "Upcoming Opportunities to Taste"
Jump for more beautiful photos by Desiree Espada.
Tito Beveridge (that’s his real name) is an unlikely character to be competing with the likes of Smirnoff, Belvedere, and Absolut when it comes to makig vodka. He’s a former petroleum industry geologist who went to UT. He worked in the US and South America before he switchied to mortgage banking. All the while, he nursed an interest in making spirits. If you knew him when, you probably were a recipient of a gift which contained his latest homemade vodka. When the mortgage market hit a downturn in the early 90s, he decided to turn his hobby into his occupation.
I’d say he made a monumental move. Jump for his story.6 Comments »
TX Delizioso got out on the streets this last week for their soft opening. They will continue to roll cautiously as they start their Go Texan + Italian food truck concept. TX Delizioso comes from the same people who drive the much-loved Enticed Shaved Ice. Their ambitious menu (for a food truck) includes personal-sized pizza at $7, which includes any number of toppings. They also offer chicken fried steak, chicken-fried chicken, and chicken-fried bison. In our schedule, you’ll find “TBDs” until they work out some kinks in their truck. You can track them on TX Delizioso Facebook feed. We will update this schedule as we get more information from them.
The Arts District food truck schedule is expanding to include Saturday afternoons. This Saturday will include Jack’s Chowhound, 4 Seasons Truck, Easy Slider, The Butcher’s Son, and Gandolfo’s NY Deli all lined up on Flora Street.
Go below for the food truck schedule for this week. Remember, food trucks break down and food trucks don’t like drenching downpours. Always check their Twitter and Facebook feeds. And if you don’t see your favorite food truck here, it’s not because we don’t try, we probably waiting for information. Feel free to send it. Jump for the weekly schedule. Continue reading "Week of January 30 Food Truck Schedule in Dallas"2 Comments »
The first bird I hear singing every morning is a Carolina Wren. If you click on this site right now and buy tickets you will hear the exotic sound of the Ka-ching.
Hurry, the upcoming (May 6) Chefs for Farmers event, Mixing it Up on the Boulevard, is sure to sell out fast. From now until February 21, you can purchase two tickets for $100. After that, if there are tickets left, you’ll have to pay $60 a pop.
The event, organized by Iris “Oh*Brownie” McCallister and Christina “Fresh Point” LaBarba, will unite local farmers, chefs, and purveyors at Lee Park in Dallas. The outdoor festival will include food, wine, and spirits provided by at least 30 area chefs.
This year Stephan Pyles will be head chair! Chefs Kent Rathbun and Dean Fearing will be head stools honored for their outstanding community outreach and support of local growers. Cold Springs Farm’s Beverly Thomas will also be recognized for the Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) commitment to grow and provide certified organic, in-season produce and herbs to consumers.3 Comments »
A couple of weeks ago I gushed about my love for the burgers at Kenny’s Burger Joint. One of our Sidedishers, “Kirk,” commented that they offered “the closest facsimile of poutine in the DFW area.” When I heard this, it was not long until I found my way back to sample the Kenny’s version. As you likely know, “poutine” is a classic Canadian dish, traditionally composed of crispy French fries, cheese curds, and a brown gravy. The most successful variations of poutine are able to serve the fries thick and crisp, the cheese curd soft but not so completely melted that they lose all their texture, and the gravy incorporated into each bite, but not so much as to turn the whole thing into a soup or make the fries overly soggy. However, this dish is incredibly hard to find in Dallas. I don’t understand why this is so. Perhaps it’s our distance from our neighbors to the North? Perhaps there are not enough Canadians here in the Lone Star State? It really is a travesty.14 Comments »
You all remember Carol Shih. She’s been an intern at D Magazine for a while. Last October she came to me with an idea for a series of posts on SideDish called Good Asian Grub. She did such a good job, we hired her. For the last two weeks she has been getting our restaurant directory in shape. (BTW, we have over 1,000 editorial listings available on any smart phone or computer or our D Recommends App in the iTunes store.) Carol speaks Chinglish (half-Chinese, half-English) which comes in handy in editorial meetings. Here is her official bio:
Carol Shih recently received her degree in Public Policy at Duke University, where she quickly decided her degree was useless if she wanted to write for magazines. So she graduated and moved back to good ol’ Carrollton, the city she was named after. As the new online assistant dining editor, Carol is often hungry from reading restaurant menus (thanks, PR people) and keeps a stash of Meiji chocolates inside her desk.
Be nice to her. She is young and full of enthusiasm. PR peeps, add her to your lists: Carol.Shih@dmagazine.com.6 Comments »
I have just returned from San Antonio where I was a guest of the San Antonio Convention and Visitors Bureau. I was invited to cover the San Antonio Cocktail Conference held at the Sheraton Gunter Hotel. The hotel is allegedly haunted. I can now vouch for what I thought to be a preposterous suggestion. I saw many spirits during my stay.
This was the first Cocktail Conference held in Texas. Top bartenders, excuse me, mixologists, came together from all over the state and country. There were four days of guided tastings, educational seminars, and, of course, cocktail parties. Sme of the classes were “How It All Started in Texas: Tito Beveridge,” “The Science of Flavor: How Biology, Genetics and Psychology Affect Your Perception of Flavor in Cocktails,” and “Making Cocktails in the Home. ” I’ll attempt to pull together several reports this week.
Starting with one below.4 Comments »
In late December I posted the “Top Twelve Bites I Put in my Mouth in 2011.” Well, I screwed up. It should have been 13 because the gnocchi, crunchy barley, and earthy mushrooms I devoured at Nana was the inspiration for the post. My apologies and compliments to the chef, Anthony Bombaci. You sir, are truly one of the finest chefs in Dallas. Here is my latest review of Nana.
I’ve spent the better part of the past 12 months eating pizza, gourmet burgers, and tacos. So it was quite glorious to sit in a glamorous dining room among a rich and well-coifed crowd, with the bright lights of the Dallas skyline twinkling in the distance. Women were dressed in fancy chiffon gowns and beaded black dresses. Men removed their Stetsons and handed them to the hostess. It wasn’t a trip back in time; it just happened to be the same night as the Cattle Baron’s Ball. For one Cinderella-style evening, our threesome basked in their finery. We were also thrilled with the edgy fine-dining experience presented by Anthony Bombaci, one of Dallas’ more underpromoted chefs.
Last Tuesday the Snooty Foodie attended the awesome idea for a dinner at Campo Modern Country Bistro. We’re running behind on getting the report up, but sometimes being late is better than not at all. Apologies to all concerned. John Alexis from TJ’s wrote about the Total Catch project in January. He was so inspired he helped organize a dinner to promote the movement. Hungry for grouper brains? Read on.
A few years ago, when the whole “elevated comfort food” movement really started to take shape, it seemed like every restaurant in the city was creating their own version of the fancy-fied mac-and-cheese. I must have tried them all. Various iterations typically called for elegant or exotic cheeses or expensive luxury proteins, each dish doing its best to push as far as possible from the childhood version, that slop in a blue box. Many dishes were highly successful, indeed, many restaurants began to claim this as their signature dish. Now that the novelty of a $15 mac-and-cheese has begun to wear off, there are really only a small handful that, to me, have weathered the trend and continue to be a completely crave-able dish, and Victor Tango’s version, the Crab, Mac and Jack Gratin, still sits on top of my list.
DUO, the all-things-culinary store owned and operated by Shinsei owners Tracy Rathbun and Lynae Fearing, will soon feature a juice bar. The Gem, owned by Leslie Needleman and Mary Kathryn Bass, will open inside DUO on February 6. They will feature fresh squeezed juices, juice detox plans, and smoothies plus house made cashew milk. They will offer fresh sandwiches, soups, and various grab and go options.
Katrina Markoff of Vosges Haut-Chocolat, the woman who sells bacon chocolate candy bars for $33 a box and probably makes a darn good living from it, is holding two truffle classes (making bacon truffles?? maybe??) in Central Market for a pre-Chocolate Festival event on February 4. The real Chocolate Festival kicks off on February 8 when Central Market hosts some of the hottest chocolatiers at their Dallas, Fort Worth, and Plano locations to show what these superstars can do with mighty fine cocoa beans.
At least now I know what I want for V Day: bacon freakin’ chocolate candy. Whoever mails me a box, wins.
Jump for dates, times, and locations. Continue reading "Chocolate Festival at Central Market, Feb 8-14"
Lady parts continue to trend in the restaurant names department. Spread Eagle is about to open (sorry) downtown and Bikinis Sports Bar and Grill will open on February 2 2012. When oh when will someone have the (beat, beat) “nerve” to open a Penistro?3 Comments »
SideDish photographer Desiree Espada roams the roads with her camera looking for good things to eat and shoot. Check out her photo essay of Bolsa Mercado. Then feast your eyes on what to expect when the Jerry Garcia of donut making, James St. Peter, opens Hypnotic Donuts on Sunday, January 29.
Glory be to the donut. Continue reading "Desiree + Camera: Photo Essay of Hypnotic Donuts in East Dallas"
Loren Means has been filing Top Chef: Texas recaps. But Loren is switching jobs at D and her new position will take up what is left of her free time. I thank her for her efforts. Our new editorial assistant, Carol Shih, will take over TCT duties next week. Happy trails, Loren.
The six cheftestants still standing are Paul, Ed, Grayson, Chris, Lindsay, and Sarah. With Beverly gone (I told you she wouldn’t be Top Chef), the chefs seem a bit more relaxed and easy going. They are having fun again. Padma, Emeril, and Chef Cat Cora greet the chefs for the Quickfire.
Hit it…1 Comment »
Dishers, where did you dine and what did you eat this week? Here is what you reported last week.12 Comments »