The donut is America’s unsung hero.
For decades these delicacies have been fueling this nation’s finest law enforcement officers, and without them your streets would be overrun with all kinds of riffraff. Countless early morning board meetings have been brightened by the magical combination of sugar and fried dough. And where would Homer Simpson be without his signature pink icing with sprinkles? Not season 587, I assure you!
Despite their iconic nature, frankly speaking, truly exceptional donuts are not easy to find in Dallas. I don’t think I am alone in my sentiments towards the Dallas donut scene. While this city is surely not lacking in the sheer number of independent donut shops, it is eerie how incredibly similar and mundane most neighborhood shops have become.
But for the valiant donuteer, all hope is not lost. I have scoured this land for three years searching for something extraordinary. Of course, it would be unrealistic for a person to try every donut shop in this city (and still live to tell about it). So I’ve hunted for suggestions from every corner I could think of (blogs, Chowhound, Yelp, Urban Spoon, magazines, newspapers, Twitter, Facebook, the cops at Waffle House) and ate my way through enough donut shops to personally ensure the future of Lipitor. Luckily, fantastic donuts do exist in this city.
Here I present to you, in no particular order, the five best places for donuts in and around Dallas.
Last night John Tesar played a 53-year old geezer chef on a thrilling episode of Food Network’s Extreme Chef. He faced two younger chefs: Joe, a douchey New York dude who was once a private chef for Donald Trump; and Greg, a Portland chef who couldn’t cut it in medical school so he quit and went to the CIA.
Tesar was confident from the start. “I run 10 miles a day,” Tesar gloated. After that, he works all day and night. The competition took place on a 60-acre farm in Malibu Canyon and the premise had the chefs running all over the place to source ingredients.
HEARTY BREAKFAST was the segment. To obtain eggs, the chefs had to conquer a “crop-stical course” made of bales of hay formed into various tunnels and towers. Tesar, a virtual Jack LaLane, was first to the eggs (he picked duck!) and he won the first competition soundly with his ginger and duck egg French toast. (I think there was a fruit salad and some whiskey involved, but I can’t read my notes, and I refuse to rerun the show.) It only matters that when the Simon Cowell wannabe (and lookalike) host announced Tesar as the winner, Tesar took a modest Zen-like bow. Tesar is now the master of “the unconventional use of an egg.”
No, it’s not over. There are still 45 minutes left in the show. Here we go.11 Comments »
In the history of time there are a few moments of brilliance that stand out in my mind. Newton discovers gravity. Galileo proclaims that the Earth revolves around the Sun. Einstein develops the theory of relativity. May I add one more? James St. Peter decides to put a donut in the freezer. You always thought the only good donuts were advertised behind a glowing neon “Hot Doughnuts Now” sign. Well, you were wrong. Mind, prepare to be blown.
You can’t stop reading now.
Dining out was once so simple. You sat down in a restaurant, ordered whatever sounded good, ate it, and went on with your life. Now you need an advanced degree in epidemiology before you’re qualified to choose an entrée. Every day, we get bombarded with health warnings about food: too much added sugar will kill you if excess salt doesn’t get you first. Menus are loaded with politically charged, often slippery buzzwords: “sustainable,” “organic,” “locally grown,” “free range,” “grass fed,” “genetically modified,” “farm raised.” Go ahead and order red meat, but that cow had best been raised on tall-stem Texas blue grass handpicked by a nun.
Many area producers and restaurateurs have their hearts in the right place, but I can’t help but be suspicious of some who tout ingredients as “organic” or “local.” This is Texas. There is no such thing as a locally grown tomato in January. Organic is even more confusing. If your butterhead lettuce was sprayed with an “organic” pesticide such as a bacterial toxin or pyrethrum or rotenone, can it really be considered organic?7 Comments »
Ladies and gentlemen, this week’s discovery by Daniel Walker.
There’s a reason everybody loves weekend brunch. It’s our way of sticking it to the alarm clock and proclaiming, “No longer will I be obligated to wake up before noon in order to enjoy pancakes! I’ll sleep in as long as I please and still have my six-egg omelets, thank you very much.” Brunch is a liberating adventure, the perfect morning pick-me-up for the vigilant weekend warrior. Screw the early bird, let him have his worm. I’ll take the 1 PM waffle any day.
We are fortunate to have many superb options for brunch in Dallas, but Oak Cliff residents are graced by the presence of Jonathan’s, which offers one of the city’s brunches. This renovated home is a cozy, clean, and fresh culinary outlet for chef Jonathan Erdeljac to prepare his creations.
I met with a group of fellow dedicated brunchers this weekend to sample a wide array of intriguing dishes offered by Chef Jon’s menu. Once the food arrived, it was not long before the table was filled with joyful expletives, food moans, and fist pumping as each person was delighted with their selection. Forks and knives flew across the table like a scene from a Chinese Kung Fu cooking show, as each diner attempted to sample their neighbors highly praised dish. No one was harmed in the making of this write-up.
Jump for the best stuff. Continue reading "Eat This Now: Brunch at Jonathon’s in Oak Cliff"9 Comments »
It used to be that the parents could go away to golf, chill, and dine in luxury or they could take the kids to the place where little ones are given the impression that the whole world was designed for them. The JW Marriott San Antonio Hill Country Resort combines both options. Golf predominates for adults, with not one but two TPC (Tournament Players Club) 18-hole courses designed by Pete Dye and Greg Norman exclusively serving resort guests. The centerpiece of activities for kids is a six-acre water park named the River Bluffs Water Experience where you’ll find a 650-foot rapid river ride, multiple water slides, 1,100 ft. lazy river, children and adult pools, whirlpools, and an expansive activity pool. These, and a host of other amenities (about more of which below), are not only the province of families, who tend to fill the weekends. During the week, the resort switches identities to become one of the leading corporate retreat locations in Texas. It is one of the few places where a Hewlett Packard, or a Yahoo, can bring thousands of employees. Continue reading "Weekend Trip: JW Marriott San Antonio Hill Country Resort"3 Comments »
Summer is upon us, and for those of you with kids, this means you get those little bundles of joy sulking around the house all day long. So, imagine it’s 10 AM Saturday morning, and you have tried just about everything short of water boarding to get your kids out of bed and doing their chores. Well, all you diligent parents, I have found your solution. Breakfast tacos from Luna’s Tortilla Factory.
It seems simple enough, but with the prospects of wrapping their lips around these breakfast beauties first thing in the morning, no punk teen could even dream about staying in bed.
Word on the street is that the Deep Ellum/Commerce St. location of Cowboy Chow is being taken over by D’s Best Breakfast favorite, Buzzbrews. In fact, this weekend is the Chow’s last one in that location. Look for Buzzbrews to start slinging their hash to downtown brunchers, the 2 am Adair’s crowd, and hungover hipsters sometime in July.
The Highland Park Village “Starbuckians” will soon have a new place to wear their designer work-out togs and read Park Cities People. Starting June 4 at the civilized hour of 8AM, Patrizio will open for breakfast. (You can sleep in; they serve until noon.) Need to know more? Jump… Continue reading "Patrizio in Dallas Opens for Breakfast on Weekends"
Like many people, I don’t make a habit of indulgence, in fact, I allow myself only semi-annual immersions into the world of brexcess (breakfast excess, so clever). Last Sunday, with a mountain of home improvement projects ahead of me and the delusional idea that I could rechannel all those carbohydrates into kinetic energy, the hubs and I headed to Crossroads Diner to roll around in what many have referred to as the best %$*& pancakes around.
jump for brekky pics… Continue reading "Who Doesn’t Love an Old-Fashioned Carb Overload on a Sunday Morning?"
You might be inclined to think you’ve reached a new low when Tim Rogers declares your night “the saddest sounding night ever.” Not I. I spent last night blissfully alone in a suite at Hotel St. Germain, drinking champagne, wearing a tiara, eating two-person servings of cheese and desserts, and watching American Idol. The original plan had me joined by my husband and dog at 9 pm, but when they played the wild card that allows them each one opt-out a year, I took it as a boon. How often do we, as adults, get a malice-free evening to just chill out and, as Elizabeth Gilbert (and the Italians) say, practice the fine art of doing nothing?
Not often enough, it seems. No matter how much you love your spouse and kids/pets, an evening of rolling around in blissful self-absorption doesn’t suck—especially when you do it in a foofy hotel room with butlers ready to buttle at the ring of a bell.
jump for more deets… Continue reading "Final Frippery. Wrapping Up My Breakfast With the Royal Family"
Posts from the field. The run up the the Breakfast in Bed With the Royal Wedding starts now.. jump to get a peek at the suite. Continue reading "The Royal Treatment at Hotel St. Germain"
One of my late-grandmother’s greatest pleasures was pointing out what she believed to be my striking resemblance to Princess Diana. This is the same woman who, every time my brother came to visit, would shout out, “Who’s the Boss?” because in her mind he was a dead ringer for Tony Danza. But I digress.
There’s no avoiding the fact that Kate Middleton will be marrying Princess Diana’s eldest, the future King of England, tomorrow at dark-thirty (CST). And since no one else would agree to be the D Royal Wedding expert, it seems that I’m it. I couldn’t be happier because the title comes with the bonus of spending tonight in a suite at Hotel St. Germain and enjoying a traditional English Breakfast in Bed With the Royal Family, part of the hotel’s Brit Week festivities.
The plan: I’ll wake be awakened early at 4:45 am, pin on a fascinator, and tuck into the tray of bangers, grilled tomatoes, and the mushrooms delivered to me in bed as my husband and dog, Lucy snore through it all, (of course Hotel St Germain is pet friendly).
If you’re at all interested, check in here and with our Twitter feed to keep up with the royal doings.
And if anyone knows where I can find a Union Jack kerchief for Lucy, give me a shout.
See you in the a.m.
Forget trying to find a hotel room in London next month. Stay on this side of the pond, where the Hotel St. Germain is hosting a spate of Royal Wedding festivities with pomp, pageantry, and kitsch to spare.
Start with a pinkie raising Royal Tea and Book Signing on April 28 from 1 to 3 pm. Sip the Queen’s favorite brew while you sample royal wedding cakes and listen to Dallas author Nancy Smith Becker, on hand signing copies of her new novel, Imperial Wedding of Old Paris. $30 per person.
Or how about Dinner with “The Queen” on April 28? A four-course gourmet dinner (with wine and Louis Roederer Brut Premier NV) paired with a viewing of The Queen. Chef Chad Martin’s adaptation of the actual 1953 Royal Coronation menu will include Filet de Boeuf Mascotte and Chocolate Roulade, Strawberry Galette. Seatings from 7:00pm
We love Breakfast in Bed, and on April 29th there’s good reason to book a room and stay nestled in. Guests who spend the night in one of the hotel’s luxury suites will wake up to breakfast in bed with the future King and Queen of England. How is this possible? Hotel St. Germain will bring you a full English breakfast in your suite while you laze about betting your fill of all of the televised Royal Wedding coverage.
Stick around for dinner that evening (April 29) when the hotel will be serving a formal Wedding Supper and a Screening of the film, The Kings Speech featuring the future King’s great-grandparents, George VI and the Queen Mother. A six-course menu (paired with wine and Bollinger Champagne) will include such English favorites as beef Wellington, roasted quail and stilton with poached pears and walnuts. Special remarks by Mr. David Huntley, representative of Historic Royal Palaces tip this party over the top. $150 per person. Seatings from 7:00pm
For reservations and more detailed pricing, contact the hotel’s Concierge at 214-871-2516.
Oak Cliff resident and D Magazine creative director Todd Johnson files his take on Oddfellow’s in Bishop Arts.
Bright and airy with its farmhouse-chic good looks, this new Bishop Arts cafe is a snapshot of North Oak Cliff’s shifting sociological landscape. It’s a place where pageboy-cap-wearing hipsters in skinny jeans sit alongside OC veterans in irony-free cardigans and sensible shoes. As the restaurant’s menu proudly boasts, Oddfellows does serve “food for all.” And tasty food at that. Founded by Matt Spillers (Eno’s Pizza Tavern), Scott Griggs (Fort Worth Avenue Development), Jason Roberts (Go Oak Cliff), and a host of OC community leaders, Oddfellows serves a comfy mix of breakfast and lunch staples. (As of press time, dinner service was scheduled to begin in April.) Though it stumbled out of the gate, the restaurant has found its footing in recent weeks. Breakfast is the cafe’s best meal, serving some of Dallas’ finest pancakes: thick cake-like centers with delightfully crisp edges. Other winners included the tortilla de papas (a Spanish-style omelet, skillet baked with potatoes), an open-faced fried egg sandwich with shaved ham and mozzarella, and a side of fried green tomatoes. Yes, fried green tomatoes for breakfast. What a great idea. Those wonderfully crisp, tart tomatoes can also be found on Oddfellows’ lunch menu in the form of a sandwich layered with avocado, bacon, and sprouts. It makes for a memorable meal, as do the frisée, bacon, and root vegetable salad and the pressed portobella sandwich with tzatziki and olives. Click for the finish.
SPOILER ALERT! SPOILER ALERT! If you haven’t watched the last night’s show you better go elsewhere. This report by Loren Means.
3 Comments »
And the winner is…. Richard Blais! Phew. Now I don’t have to go into a tail spin about why I don’t think Mike Isabella should have won. I spent the entire, not-so-exciting episode, stressing about who would take the title. I didn’t realize until the very end that my entire body had been tense for about an hour. I’m not sure how I got so personally involved. I’m not up for $200,000, a spread in Food & Wine Magazine, and a showcase at the Aspen Food & Wine Classic. I am not an All-Star Cheftestant that has strenuously competed for several weeks in a brutal competition. In fact, I am not a Chef at all. Although, I do make a mean baked ziti. But I did care. A lot. Especially after Richard’s heartbreaking explanation on why he deserved the title. Someone give that guy a hug already! Mike’s explanation of how he quit his job and missed his honeymoon did nothing to move or inspire me. How does one “miss” a honeymoon exactly? Isn’t it just postponed? I highly doubt his wife took off to Tahiti alone with a note to Mike -“sorry you missed it.” Maybe I’m just being mean now. Continue reading "Final Episode: Top Chef All-Stars"
I’ve been told the best restaurants are found in the worst places. You know, those old hole-in-the-wall joints that always seem to have lines stretching down the street. Who knew I would happen upon one such place today in my quest to try the cinnamon roll at the Mecca restaurant?
So far I have done just 10 of the Things Every Dallasite Must Do, so I set out to accomplish No. 11: consuming the aforementioned breakfast treat. Among the tire stores, carpet warehouses, and gentleman’s clubs on Harry Hines Boulevard, I couldn’t help but worry that I had chosen the wrong adventure. Surely nothing delicious could come from such an out-of-the-way area. Raised in a growing Dallas suburb where Starbucks mounts every corner and there are pastry shops aplenty, I was skeptical as I parked in the dusty parking lot and shuffled into the crowded old diner where I had called earlier to reserve two cinnamon rolls (I was told that if I didn’t reserve them, my trip would probably be in vain). Continue reading "Dallas Must-Do List: Eat a Cinnamon Roll at Mecca"
Nearly every morning on the way to work, I drive past Crossroads Diner, which I’ve been meaning to visit ever since I read Nancy’s review of the place. This morning, I finally stopped in. And I’m glad I did.
What you see here is a three-egg frittata made with roasted red peppers, goat cheese, and chorizo ($8.95). On the left, that’s hash browns. On the right, if you look closely, you’ll see whole wheat toast. In the near distance, just beyond the whole wheat toast, you can probably make out a cup of coffee ($2.75). All of the forgoing went into my mouth and, from there, into my belly. About that experience I have this to say: I will do it again.
The frittata was fluffy. The eggs were perfectly cooked — firm without being rubbery. The rich, creamy goat cheese worked well with the savory chorizo, which sat in big, satisfying chunks rather tiny rabbit-dropping-size pellets. It’s hard to screw up hash browns; they didn’t.
I have three complaints. Continue reading "You Should Eat at Crossroads Diner"
Last Thanksgiving, I was assigned the task of getting the pies. Instead of thinking, I turned to you, loyal Dishers all, to find out where to go. You recommended Rosebuds, Norma’s Cafe, the Montmorency cherry pie at Central Market, Mama’s Daughter’s Diner, Tootie Pie in Frisco, and Little Apron’s Bakery. Since November, my family has eaten a lot of pie.
Rosebud’s has a very good chocolate pie. Central Market’s cherry pie is satisfying for the price ($15), but it has a mass-produced taste. I’m sorry to report that Norma’s apple and cherry pies were completely dissatisfying. They both had a tough, crunchy crust on the top and a soggy bottom (insert joke here!) By the end of the holiday seasons I still wondered if I’d ever find a pie I could fall in love with.
Well, I did. I found pie nirvana in a cherry pie from Chef Tracy Mitchell at Little Aprons Bakery in Dallas. Biting into pie was a This.is.Incredible experience. A perfect crust, both top and bottom, and perfect, fresh cherries inside (insert next joke here!). I am certain that I have never had a better pie. Ever.
Getting a pie from Little Aprons is not as easy as other retail store fronts and it’s pricier ($25), but it is well worth it. Little Aprons shares a kitchen with Chocolate Secrets on Oak Lawn, so some of the desserts are available there, and Chocolate Secrets will take and process Little Aprons orders for you.
I never made it to Mama’s Daughter’s Diner or Tootie Pie in Frisco. I found my pie heaven with Little Aprons Bakery’s cherry pie. Yours?10 Comments »