My family used to have the weirdest Chinese New Year tradition. When I was a young lass, my mother would scrub seven or eight coins really well and hide them inside her homemade pork dumplings so she could watch my brother and I go cockfight crazy as we each attempted to amass the most number of coins. To our disappointment, my father would always win; his superior chopstick skills and fast-eating ways would earn him a shining victory (plus some pained teeth from biting down too hard). His winnings meant that he’d have the most prosperity for the rest of the year.
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One of Dallas’ most important chefs, Jean LaFont, passed away on Saturday. He was 72.
Services for Chef LaFont will take place on January 31 at 10:00AM at St. Monica Catholic Church at the corner of Midway and Walnut Hill.
UPDATE: SORRY FOR THE CONFUSION BUT THINGS HAVE CHANGED AGAIN: HERE IS THE RECENT UPDATE FROM THE FAMILY:
1. Service is being held at St. Monica Catholic Church, 9913 Midway Road, Dallas, TX, at 10:00, not 10:30.They are asking all chefs to wear their chef whites and hats to the service. They will be taking a picture of all chefs with a large picture of Chef Jean LaFont.
2. Reception is being held at Prestonwood Country Club, 5909 Preston Road, Dallas, TX, immediately following the service.
3. At this point there is not a specific area at Prestonwood Country Club, but they will direct you when you approach the front door. Chefs can change clothes if they choose.
4.. There will be a basket at the service for notes. Later today I will receive a mailing address for those of you who care to send notes to the family.
Anyone who appreciates sizzling flavors should head over to the 10th year of ZestFest, a food festival featuring some of the spiciest exhibitors and products from all over the country. Celebrity chefs like Jon Bonnell (Bonnell’s Fine Texas Cuisine) and Lou Lambert (Lambert’s) will be answering those burning questions of yours during their cooking demonstrations. Heck, what beats a weekend full of crazy people participating the Wing Stop Atomic wing competition or the jalapeño eating competition? Nothing. (Except maybe drinking tea with the Queen of England.) The blood, sweat, and tears from participants should be a pretty close second.
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I did not go to The Magic Time Machine for haute cuisine. When I packed up a good portion of my family, including three kids, and headed to the popular restaurant known for servers dressed as Peter Pan, Superman, or Jack Sparrow, I had no expectations of getting a decent meal even though the prices for entrees run from $13 to $23.99. I did expect to dine in a safe and clean environment. Or at least a restaurant that was not so filthy it caused my 12-year old niece to turn to me, dirty fork in hand, and say, “Uncle Nancy, I think you should write about how dirty this place is.”
We walked in at 5:43PM on Sunday night. We were greeted by the stench of stale air. It was like walking into an old house without windows: the smell of musky furniture combined with lingering cigarette smoke trapped inside for years. The dark carpet was littered with bits of paper (toilet?) and napkins. Nobody had bothered to vacuum between shifts (days?). I spotted a plastic Gerber baby food container tucked behind a round light to the right side of the front door. The contents were dried and cracked. As I watched my 3-year old nephew run down the short hallway, I noticed a lamp cord connected to an extension cord lying perilously on the rug about a foot from the wall.
Do a shot of Pepto Bismol and jump hard.