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How can you not love arepas? (Photography by Kenneth Myers/Flickr)

I’m New Here. And I’m Hungry.

Well hello, Dallas. Nice to meet you.

My name is Rochell, and I’m your new online dining editor. I wanted to introduce myself in the most obvious way possible: by talking about food.

I’ve lived in a few culinarily diverse places, and I’ve done some traveling to unusual destinations abroad, so my palate has taken on a very adventurous personality. I also worked for a chef who is a fan of gastronomy, so of course I developed a love for artistic dishes and wild new ways of doing things. Food is an incredibly versatile medium with which to make a masterpiece. But invariably, I tend to gravitate toward unassuming staple foods the most. I number Colombian arepas, street-style elote, Gulf Coast shrimp & grits, and classic Italian caprese (with plenty of balsamic!) among my favorite dishes. In my book, the best meals are those where a seemingly simple dish is perfected.

I may not be new to food, but I am brand new to the great state of Texas, which means I need your help. I am digging into the culinary scene, but there are a few specific things I need to know, and I figured SideDish readers are the best audience to ask.

First, I want to eat your favorite foods in the city in order to get my bearings here. So what particular dishes, no matter what the genre, have you tried around town that I absolutely need to taste ASAP? This sounds broad, but really, I’m looking for your most memorable, sigh-inducing, “dear God, that was good” experience. Was it one of those simple foods that was done just right at a hole-in-the-wall joint, or maybe a flavor pairing that you can’t forget?

Next, where can a girl from Arizona get the best mole in town? I prefer Oaxacan-style mole negro, but I’m open to all suggestions. This is a serious craving.

Lastly, and most importantly, I need your input. What do you, the readers, the reason I am here, want for the future of SideDish? What do you like, and what do you want to see more of on the blog? I’m taking on the restaurant directory as well, so tell me if you think we’ve overlooked any good places that should be in our listings. Remember that it’s not a comprehensive thing, but rather something we lovingly tend to so you have a reliable, streamlined source of information.

With that, I look forward to hearing your feedback and interacting with you about all things food-related.

51 comments on “I’m New Here. And I’m Hungry.

  1. Hi, Rochell. I’ll play along. You must have the lobster mac and cheese at Amberjack’s in Trinity Groves.

  2. Really good mole at Mesa on Jefferson Boulevard. Really good everything at Mesa.

  3. Heyy Rochell! Lovely to see your post! Expect an email from us soon! Welcome to Dallas!

  4. Try Meso Maya for some mole! Your comment regarding Arizona made me wonder if you have ever eaten at Barrio Cafe in Phoenix!?

  5. Welcome aboard Rochell!

    Interesting/Different: Palapas Seafood & Crushcraft Thai

    Cutting Edge: FT33

    Relaxing Bistro: The Grape

    Mole: Mr. Mesero

    Try Right Now: Belly & Trumpet is really kicking butt

    SideDish: More small, quality, out of the way places.

  6. Welcome Rochell. I hope people are nice to you. Look forward to reading your posts. I would suggest you get to Off-Site Kitchen for a burger.

  7. My favorite food in Dallas is the street-style tacos from La Banqueta, a hole in the wall taqueria based out of a gas station in East Dallas. Good mole over at Meso Maya which is walking distance from the office.

  8. YES. An excellent place. I had the pleasure of spending some time with Chef Silvana and was so impressed.

  9. Yes! Chef Silvana is so creative and genuine! If you ever get to Phoenix again, try a mole quesa at La Santisima.

  10. Good burger: Off-site Kitchen, Maple & Motor
    Good fried chicken: Babe’s
    Good chicken strips: Shady’s Burger Joint
    Good pie: Norma’s
    Good ice cream: Sweet Firefly
    Good food blog: less booze, more food
    Good mole: Cindy Crawford

  11. Try the Mole Poblano paste sold behind the meat market at any of the La Michoacana grocery stores and create your own dinner.

  12. The Grape for a consistently good experience including charcuterie. Mesa on Jefferson St. for Mole. PakPao for fresh Thai. Nick & Sams for best Steakhouse. La Banqueta for street level tacos and Ba Le for street level vietnamese. …Just a few thoughts.

  13. I second the previous mentions of Mesa and The Grape. If you’re looking for places that “define the area,” then I would also check out Fearing’s, Pecan Lodge, Smoke, AF+B, Mi Dia from Scratch and Lonesome Dove. The only place I have eaten arepas at here is gonna require a bit of a drive on I-30 and navigating the TCU campus for – tiny Venezuelan place called Sol de Luna. Parking is awful but worth it…

  14. Pingback: I'm New Here. And I'm Hungry. | Earn $20k Mo. 714-388-6147

  15. Pasta — Try anything that sounds good at Nonna

    Try the Crab and Green Chile dip and the Dry Aged Burger at Neighborhood Services

    Tapas — Casa Rubia

    BBQ — Pecan Lodge if you have time to wait (get the brisket AND the pulled pork). Also, Slow Bone is another great option.

    Cutting Edge — FT33

    Seafood — Spoon (try the singapore style lobster chili)

    Sushi — Yutaka

    Neapolitan style Pizza — Olivellas, Cane Rosso or Dough. Lots of good choices

  16. Welcome!
    In no particular Order:
    Loretta, Blue Cheese Burger, Goodfriend Beer Garden
    Banh Mi, Nammi Truck
    Blind Butcher, pastrami egg roles
    Afrah, shawarma platter
    Mai Hot Ba, any salad.
    Lobster Roll, Twenty Feet
    Mole at Mesa.

  17. My suggestion is: have some dudes write for you guys on occasion. You girls are great, but you’re kind of ignoring one half the population’s perspective.

  18. It seems my comment was deleted because it was not appreciated. I’ll just write it again.

    What I said originally was to hire some male writers. The gals are great, but this blog is effectively ignoring one half of the population’s perspective.

  19. Great suggestions so far and here are a few more

    Mai’s – 44a (coconut curry clay pot)
    Jimmy’s – Italian Stallion, Roasted Philly Pork (my favorite sandwich these days), or any other sandwich
    Sushi – Oishii
    Pho Chau – Decent Pho but order the Taro Root Bubble Tea Blended Style
    Coffee – Weekend Coffee, Davis Street Espresso or Method (you cannot find a better espresso machine in all of Dallas)
    Blind Butcher – Second the Pastrami Egg Rolls
    Bryan Street Tavern – Probably the best thin crust pizza in town (besides Neapolitan Style pizza)
    Burger – Everyone will tell you Maple & Motor and Off-site kitchen…you can not go wrong with these but try Stackhouse and sit on the upstairs patio for a great view of downtown.
    Best Patio with a view – HG Sply (plus the food is delicious…also great people watching)
    Gonzalez Restaurant for good Mexican but the tortillas here are amazing…like pancakes.

  20. You guys sure are taking it extremely personally that I am criticizing your lack of a male voice on this blog. I know you D Mag people are defensive, but refusing to post two of my comments simply for bringing it up? Touchy, touchy!

  21. Matt, no one deleted your posts, that I can assure you. Posts don’t necessarily show up immediately, and that process is a little slower when we are out of the office, which happened today. We have several male contributors, including some regular ones like Matt Shelley. He has a couple of posts working as we speak. But we’re sorry you feel that way! We try to give the most objective opinions possible. Let us know what you think we’re missing. This is the perfect time for that.

  22. I’m loving all of your suggestions!! Thank you, and keep them coming.

  23. I’ll give you $100 if you can find a post that Nancy or Carol wrote that is “feminine” is any way. They’re two of the most badass women I’ve ever met, and don’t ever find their writing to be lacking a masculine voice.

  24. I’ll give you $100 if you can find a post that Nancy or Carol wrote that is “feminine” is any way. They’re two of the most badass women I’ve ever met, and don’t ever find their writing to be lacking a masculine voice.

    And I expect Rochell will follow suit.

  25. First thing I would do is go back to the format that is readable. The slick cool format od the web page is not user friendly.

  26. Try Right Now: Cafe Strada. The best Caprese Sandwich. Simple and amazing!

  27. What’s up, Rochell! Welcome to Texas, and I look forward to reading about all your new gastronomical adventures here in DFW. Since you’re getting your bearings, I’d suggest the following for basics:

    Fried Chicken / Chicken Fried Steak: Babe’s or Bubba’s (same owners / different set up / all good eatin’ here) – Sissy’s is a newer, more upscale dig with excellent fried chicken, as well.

    Tamales: Avila’s (one is all it takes) or Luna’s (sell by the dozen – they also do kick ass tortillas)

    Burgers: Maple and Motor (tator tots are always hot and crispy, too) or Whiskey Cake (in Plano but worth the drive – plus, they offer local products and do a damn good job with their menu)

    Every Day Mexican: Tipico’s (hole in the wall – amazing refried beans/carne guisada or menudo – don’t wait for someone to tell you where to sit – grab a table – they’ll find you) or Tupy’s (in Frisco,chicken chile relleno with queso/ ranchero sauce and by far, the BEST chicken tortilla soup around – sorry, Grandma)

    Highfalutin Mexican: Meso Maya and Javier’s do an excellent job elevating traditional dishes, including mole. Mexican Sugar is a newer joint that dishes out incredible, fresh plays on traditional Mexican, too.

    Italian: Cane Rosso (must. go. eat.) or Adelmo’s (small and mighty – everything is memorable, especially the gnocchi)

    Spanish Tapas: Si Tapas (langostinos a la plancha or gambas al ajillo – si señorita) or Casa Rubia (newer, sexier, authentic with an artistic twist)

    BBQ: Pecan Lodge (be prepared to wait then nap afterwards) or Lockhart Smokehouse

    Popular around these parts: La Duni (quatro leches), Mi Cocina (Nachos Locos/Mambo Taxi), Blue Goose (it’s a popular hang)

    So, there’s my contribution to the first course of your meal in DFW. There are tons more to discuss and share, but I’m positive everyone’s suggestions will keep you full and entertained for a while. ;) Happy eating!

  28. The only place I have found in town that serves arepas is Sol de Luna on University Drive in FW. But I would love to find more – I used to eat them all the time when I lived in Houston, and they are grrrrrreat!

  29. ??? I have never thought about the sex of the writer when it comes to food reviews. Like, absolutely never. Due to your post, I did think about it. And after giving it some thought, I still don’t care and do not believe it has ever entered my mind that the sex of a food writer makes any difference in the visit or review. But thanks for the thought experiment anyway.

  30. What’s up, Rochell! Welcome to Texas, and I look forward to reading about all your new gastronomical adventures here in DFW. Since you’re getting your bearings, I’d suggest the following for basics:

    Fried Chicken / Chicken Fried Steak: Babe’s or Bubba’s (same owners / different set up / all good eatin’ here) – Sissy’s is a newer, more upscale dig with excellent fried chicken, as well.

    Tamales: Avila’s (one is all it takes) or Luna’s (sell by the dozen – they also do kick ass tortillas)

    Burgers: Maple and Motor (tator tots are always hot and crispy, too) or Whiskey Cake (in Plano but worth the drive – plus, they offer local products and do a damn good job with their menu)

    Every Day Mexican: Tipico’s (hole in the wall – amazing refried beans/carne guisada or menudo – don’t wait for someone to tell you where to sit – grab a table – they’ll find you) or Tupy’s (in Frisco,chicken chile relleno with queso/ ranchero sauce and by far, the BEST chicken tortilla soup around – sorry, Grandma)

    Highfalutin Mexican: Meso Maya and Javier’s do an excellent job elevating traditional dishes, including mole. Mexican Sugar is a newer joint that dishes out incredible, fresh plays on traditional Mexican, too.

    Italian: Cane Rosso (must. go. eat.) or Adelmo’s (small and mighty – everything is memorable, especially the gnocchi)

    Spanish Tapas: Si Tapas (langostinos a la plancha or gambas al ajillo – si señorita) or Casa Rubia (newer, sexier, authentic with an artistic twist)

    BBQ: Pecan Lodge (be prepared to wait then nap afterwards) or Lockhart Smokehouse

    Popular around these parts: La Duni (quatro leches), Mi Cocina (Nachos Locos/Mambo Taxi), Blue Goose (it’s a popular hang)

    So, there’s my contribution to the first course of your meal in DFW. There are tons more to discuss and share, but I’m positive everyone’s suggestions will keep you full and entertained for a while. ;) Happy eating!

  31. Click on the red circle by “Latest News” and it brings it back to the old style.

  32. Welcome to Dallas! I’m a Zonie too. It takes some time to get used to the Mexican food because there are no cheese crisps here. Quesadillas but not the same at all. If you want a great margarita go to Taco Diner get the mango marg. Uncle Julio’s try the Guava skinny margarita . Best Salsa go to Chuy’s on McKinney. Gloria’s restaurant for their ceviche and black bean dip. Gloria’s also has the best Sangria. If you want sushi go to Oishi. It’s the best! Everyone here is really nice! Best wishes!

  33. Welcome to the Big Dallas! If you need input, I would suggest the cinnamon sticks! They smell wonderful and add so much to a meal!

  34. What’s up, Rochell! Welcome to Texas, and I look forward to reading about all your new gastronomical adventures here in DFW. Since you’re getting your bearings, I’d suggest the following for basics:

    Fried Chicken / Chicken Fried Steak: Babe’s or Bubba’s (same owners / different set up / all good eatin’ here) – Sissy’s is a newer, more upscale dig with excellent fried chicken, as well.

    Tamales: Avila’s (one is all it takes) or Luna’s (sell by the dozen – they also do kick ass tortillas)

    Burgers: Maple and Motor (tator tots are always hot and crispy, too) or Whiskey Cake (in Plano but worth the drive – plus, they offer local products and do a damn good job with their menu)

    Every Day Mexican: Tipico’s (hole in the wall – amazing refried beans/carne guisada or menudo – don’t wait for someone to tell you where to sit – grab a table – they’ll find you) or Tupy’s (in Frisco,chicken chile relleno with queso/ ranchero sauce and by far, the BEST chicken tortilla soup around – sorry, Grandma)

    Highfalutin Mexican: Meso Maya and Javier’s do an excellent job elevating traditional dishes, including mole. Mexican Sugar is a newer joint that dishes out incredible, fresh plays on traditional Mexican, too.

    Italian: Cane Rosso (must. go. eat.) or Adelmo’s (small and mighty – everything is memorable, especially the gnocchi)

    Spanish Tapas: Si Tapas (langostinos a la plancha or gambas al ajillo – si señorita) or Casa Rubia (newer, sexier, authentic with an artistic twist)

    BBQ: Pecan Lodge (be prepared to wait then nap afterwards) or Lockhart Smokehouse

    Popular around these parts: La Duni (quatro leches), Mi Cocina (Nachos Locos/Mambo Taxi), Blue Goose (it’s a popular hang)

    So, there’s my contribution to the first course of your meal in DFW. There are tons more to discuss and share, but I’m positive everyone’s suggestions will keep you full and entertained for a while. ;) Happy eating!

  35. Lucia – ANYTHING!
    Boulevardier – braised lamb neck
    Belly & Trumpet – chef’s tasting menu
    PakPao – good Thai
    Bolsa – cocktails & a dinner of shared plates
    Stock & Barrel – great new place
    20 Feet – lobster roll & ramen noodles
    Babe’s – fried chicken
    Teppo – sushi
    Sushi Sake – sushi
    Enjoy Dallas!

  36. An absolute must try is Torchy’s Tacos. My favorite is The Independent for it’s super fresh and unique flavor combos; their taco of the month can also be amazing, a good excuse to go back each month.
    As far as Sidedish goes, my favorite part is the Taste Test. I believe the staff member who ran it recently left, but I loved seeing the reviews of local offerings.