It’s perfect picnic weather outside, dontcha think? Not a cloud in the sky and not a hurricane on the horizon (good luck with that today, Republican National Convention). Do your stove a favor and leave it alone tonight. Instead, pick up this three-course “Dinner for Two” at Bolsa Mercado made by Chef Brian Luscher at The Grape; he’s incorporated some produce grown in the Dallas County Youth Village’s garden. Proceeds benefit Cafe Momentum.
Toby Haggard’s Texas arugula & mizuna salad, charred corn, pickled onions, Texas tomatoes, Vital Farms egg, hand-torn croutons and fresh herb buttermilk dressing
Dry-rubbed local beef flank steak, roasted yams with pole beans, Caprino Royale goat feta & flat leaf parsley and black pepper-lemon butter
Black plum cornmeal butter cake with spiced rum anglaise
Just when you feel like you are up to your eyeballs in Dallas douchebags, you get an email from Tom Spicer and somehow this city takes on more depth. Tom Spicer is a forager, a poet, a cook, and a nutjob. Today he’s selling amaranth greens used in creating callaloo, a delicious Caribbean soup especially when the pretty weeds are stewed in coconut juice. (Yes, there are variations in the spelling of the dish. I am using epicurious.com‘s version which is our style. Tom, of course, has his own. Hit it, Tirebiter.
Do not Dred Calaloo~
From Kingston Town to Kat Mandu
there’s an edible green that’s good to stew
and this Jamaican spinach is sooo delicious too
So when nothing ventured means nothing gained
cook these nice greens but make sure they’re strained
then add some fresh lemon juice so their flavor’s contained
Amaranth greens in colors from green and red to a variegated hue
will capture your imagination, your heart, and make your happy tummy too
ok, there you have it… it’s the best I can do, say hello to my Jamaican friend, Rasta Calaloo
As seen in our August 2012 issue.4 Comments »
Last Saturday, cupcake lovers flooded the halls of St. Mark’s School to partake in Dallas’ 2nd annual Cupcake Camp Dallas. After attending the camp last year, there was no way I was about to miss this year’s event. Not only did is showcase some of the most talented, creative bakers in the Dallas area, but all proceeds go to the LEAP foundation, a group of volunteer physicians and support staff who provide free surgical care to needy countries around the world.
This year’s event was, as expected, bigger and better than ever. More than 7,500 cupcakes were donated by the professional and amateur bakers participating in the camp. I kid you not when I say, I probably brought home close to four dozen cupcakes, because, you know, it was for charity, and I was just doing my part. The ingenious use of cake and frosting in all its glorious varieties was again a pleasure to partake of and I look forward to Cupcake Camp Dallas’ return next year.
As decided by an esteemed panel of judges, a number of awards were handed out. My beloved, Trailercakes, brought home first place in “best of show,” “best frosting,” and “best tasting cake” for their Oreo cookie and salted caramel cupcakes. And let me just say, they deserved it. Other top winners included Sugar Ray’s Bake Shop, runner-up in “best of show” with their lemon ricotta cupcake, Sweet Pea Bakery,” winner of “best of show, best frosting, best cake-amateur division” with their raspberry lemonade cake, and Dallas Cake Club in ‘best appearance.”
For information on next year’s Cupcake Camp visit their website here.
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Attention all sugar junkies, prepare yourselves for Dallas’ biggest bake sale of the year, Cupcake Camp Dallas is back and bigger than ever. This year’s event will see over 25 professional bakeries and 19 amateurs all donating more than 7,500 cupcakes for charity. The event benefits the LEAP foundation, a non-profit organization composed of volunteer physicians and support staff who provide free surgical care to children and adults with deformities.
This year’s event is being held on June 2nd at St. Mark’s School of Texas (10600 Preston Rd, Dallas) from 1-4 PM. Tickets can be purchased online or at the door.
Many well-known Dallas bakeries, including Society Bakery, Dimples, Trailercakes, and Tart Bakery will be in attendance, but this is also a wonderful opportunity to taste of the talents of many excellent bakers from all around the Dallas area that you may be less familiar with. A full list of bakers can be seen here.
Last year’s event was such a huge success, the camp is expecting to double its attendance this year. We’ll have a full report of the camp for you here at SideDish after the event, but trust me, this is one eat-a-thon you will not want to simply admire through the glowing pixels of your computer monitor.3 Comments »
Chef Stephan Pyles has changed the way I view chicken. You see, I have always been resistant to ordering an entrée of chicken from any high-end dining establishment. Call it poultry prejudice, but I have always sorta looked down on the lowly chicken when it competes with beef, lamb, pork, buffalo, lobster, or just about any number of more tantalizing menu options. Don’t get me wrong, I love a nice piece of hot-n-juicy fried chicken from Bubba’s Cooks Country just as much as the next guy, but when I am sitting down at the table of a culinary mastermind, I am not particularly interested in what he or she is doing with chicken.
I don’t think I’m completely alone, am I? Mr. Anthony Bourdain once said, “Chicken is boring…chefs see it as a menu item for people who don’t know what they want to eat.”
Do you have a few extra calories to spend this weekend? If so, head over to the The Landmark Restaurant at the Warwick Melrose and order a bowl of burrata fondue. The buttery Italian cheese is whipped with herbs, cream, and olive oil and melted into a thick dip. We dipped into the hot cheese with these crusty slices of grilled bread and pulled out long, messy strings of hot cheese. Chef is Mike Pacheco.
Few restaurants have received as much pre-opening buzz as Nick Badovinus‘ highly anticipated Off-Site Kitchen. As a fan of his work at the Neighborhood Services ventures, I’m not ashamed to admit that I was as giddy as a school girl every time a shred of news regarding its opening surfaced. Naturally, when Off-Site Kitchen did open, 98% of the blogosphere rushed to see what kind of magic Badovinus and crew had been brewing up for all those months, and appropriately, nearly every food writer got right to work gushing about it all over the internet. And honestly, it deserved every bit of praise that has been thrown at it.
Now that some of the early chatter has started to simmer down a bit, it seems only appropriate to express my love for the humble, working-man’s menu at Off-Site Kitchen, particularly through praise of one of my favorite items on the menu board, the 48-hr cracked pepper brisket sandwich. It took a few visits to be able to mentally pry myself away from their excessively delicious burgers, but when I was finally able to take the plunge into non-burger territory, my efforts were so handsomely rewarded, I no longer fear to stray.
The popular International Grand Tasting at Savor Dallas 2012 took place on Saturday night at Irving Convention Center in Las Colinas. Organizers noted the move from Dallas to Irving was to make it easier for the residents of Fort Worth to attend. Any worry that the change in venue would deter event patrons was quickly dispelled once the doors swung open. The place was packed, people shuffled around tightly, filling the venue as guests got the opportunity to hob-nob and rub elbows with some of the finest chefs in DFW. The food and drink were, of course, spectacular as chefs were well prepared to excite and surprise their guests this year.
While nearly every dish our small group sampled was delightful, we thought we would pay homage to some of the most exciting and delicious dishes presented this year. So here are (in no particular order) our picks of the Top 10 Best Bites of the 2012 Savor Dallas International Grand Tasting…
I’ve done a decent amount of travel around Dallas as part of my own personal taco crusade. But unfortunately, my taco radar is pretty much dark across the taco dense region just east of Harry Hines and north of Northwest Highway. A few establishments have crossed my path in this area, but one experience in particular which involved a tiny, no-name roadside taqueria, lack of electricity and refrigeration and a putrid, spoiled pork barbacoa taco, has left such a sour taste in my mouth that I rarely adventure there these days.
Luckily, I was redirected back to the area by the highly respected taco tycoon, Jose Ralat-Maldonado of Taco Trail fame. When this dude tells you to make a trip somewhere, it’s best not to question his authority. This particular outing brought me to a previously unheard of joint called La Nueva Fresh and Hot. I am a sucker for fresh, I’m a sucker for hot, I’m even a sucker for neuva. How could I go wrong? I couldn’t.
Read on amigos…1 Comment »
While the Korean-Mexican fusion concept is far from novel at this point, this doesn’t mean it is not every bit as delicious as it was when people were going absolutely batty over the idea of a Korean taco. Now that this multicultural mish-mashing seems to be slowing down a bit, perhaps it is safe for me to declare my personal favorite, an honor which I bestow upon Kor-BQ in Plano.
I first sampled Kor-BQ shortly after they opened in late 2010. At the time, whisperings of the taco fusion movement from the West Coast, particularly L.A.’s Kogi food truck, were just barely reaching the ears of North Texans. It was an exciting time for everyone, and I’m sure I was not the only taco lover excited to sample the intriguing flavor profiles of “East meets West.” Kor-BQ was the first of its kind to hit the Dallas area dining scene. Many others have followed, but I still find myself trekking up to Plano anytime I need to fulfill my cravings for a sweet and spicy Korean short rib taco.
We caught up with the fine folks behind Rockstar Bakeshop this weekend as they celebrated the maiden voyage of their shiny new truck, which they’ve lovingly named “Layla.” The weather may not have been ideal last Friday, but the whoopie-heads were out in full force to support Dallas’ first mobile whoopie shop. Judging by the droves of smiling faces, all in attendance were satisfied with what Rockstar had to offer, which included their usual line-up of whoopies, but also some new creations such as the chocolate dipped pretzel sticks, bourbon glazed bread pudding (which sold out in, like, 10 mins) and a toasted marshmallow s’mores bar. With the support of the wonderful ladies of Easy Slider truck, it’s no wonder that the Dallas food truck scene is blowing up like an atom bomb.
I caught up with Denver Leonard, who along with his wife, Kristen, are the brains and brawn behind this whoopie operation, and asked him some very important questions regarding their the business, future plans, and the legitimacy of their rock star status.
Jump for an insider’s dish into the world of whoopie… Continue reading "Rockstar Bakeshop Goes Mobile With A Little Help From Their Friends"
I’m not at all ashamed to profess my love for donuts. Some may label these decadent morsels of fried dough a “guilty pleasure,” but when I sink my eager teeth into the perfect donut, I feel no guilt at all, simply a euphoric rush of gustatory satisfaction which no other breakfast pastry can provide. Last year, I presented my list of the Best Donuts in Dallas, but since that time, we’ve seen some notable changes on the Dallas donut frontier. The beloved Hypnotic Donuts traded in their inconspicuous habitation of a pizza joint in North Dallas for a vibrant new shop in East Dallas. Other donut shops, such as Pookie’s Donuts on Lemmon Ave, who donut bombed D Magazine a few weeks ago, and Denton Square Donuts who I visited previously, are also getting in on the donut love currently wafting through the air around Dallas.
Jump for a hole lot more…8 Comments »
We could all use a little more whoopie in our lives. This Friday, Dallas will see the launch of its first whoopie pie truck brought to us by the fine people at Rockstar Bakeshop. Of course, Rockstar is not new to Dallas by any means, as they have been camping out behind a whoopie-strewn table now for months in conjunction with some other trucks around town. Rockstar, which specializes in rock-themed whoopie pies, have finally put the finishing touches on their new digs and will be cruising the streets starting this week. And to kick it all off, they are throwing a party this Friday, March 9 from 5-8 PM at Dowdy Studio (located just behind Good 2 Go Taco). Rockstar has decided to christen their sweet new ride “Layla,” after the legendary Clapton tune. (Apparently “Cocaine” was not quite sending the right message.)2 Comments »
Ever since the Chinese New Year, I made a Chinese New Year’s resolution to find some exceptional Chinese food. Pretty creative idea, I know. If I’m being completely honest, I have never been too impressed with my experiences in the past, and many of this town’s apparent favorites were a bit of a let down for me. After probing many friends, both Asian and non-Asian, about their stand-by establishments, I was pointed to Taiwan Café, an incredibly humble joint in a strip mall in Plano. As the suburbs north of Dallas seemed to be the most celebrated areas for Asian cuisine, I thought this was probably a decent option, and when I found out it was cash only, this was only an affirmation of its legitimacy.
Another location of Taiwan Café exists in Richardson, and at one point they shared the same owner, but since that time, the Richardson location was sold and ownership changed, the name, however, stayed the same. So, I can’t speak for this second location, but the grub at the Plano joint is better than any other I’ve had in Dallas. Continue reading "Eat This Now: Taiwan Cafe in Plano"
This past weekend may have been rainy and overcast, but a beacon of sunshine poured down upon the Bishop Arts District, resting on a quaint little renovated house painted brightly with hues of violet and blue. Within these walls rested Dallas’ first “pop-up” pie shop, brought to us by the wonderful women at Emporium Pies, partners and co-owners, Mary Gauntt and Megan Wilkes. Wanting to test the waters a bit and see what kind of response the Dallas diners would have to a dedicated pie shop, they moved into the space at 314 N. Bishop Ave. over the weekend to provide this city with some of the finest pies it will ever see.
Walking inside, the space is small but cozy, with no more than a few chairs, a sales counter, a couple tiny tables with three stands displaying the day’s pie options. On one rests a French silk chocolate pie with a crunchy pretzel crust, another holds a bourbon pecan pie with shortbread crust, the last displaying a streusel topped banana pie. I ordered a slice of each, which were then all neatly packaged in small wicker baskets with a wooden fork and tied up with string (these are a few of my favorite things). The entire presentation is so insanely cute, it makes fluffy baby bunnies look like swamp trolls. I took a seat on the porch and dug in.
Jump for a whole lotta pie porn…
Last year, we reported on the invasion of the New York City cheese shop, Murray’s Cheese, to the great state of Texas. Perhaps some brushed it aside, after all, Murray’s decided to set up shop in the inconspicuous deli sections of Krogers across Dallas. Indeed, many people have likely passed by their cheese stands many times while shopping, assuming they were no more important than the stale donuts and Boar’s Head deli meat in their near vicinity. However, take it from me, this is one kiosk you do not want to miss. Quality cheeses flood the few tables and displays they maintain, alongside cured meats, crackers, dips, olives, jams, antipasto, dried fruit and nuts.
I am a complete sucker for the little old ladies dishing out their free samples, but never before has a woman in a hair net rocked my world as much as the day I was first taunted to try Murray’s Smoked Gouda Dip. It has found a permanent place in our grocery basket for the last few months, indeed there has probably not been a trip to the store in which it didn’t return home with us.7 Comments »
Imagine for one second that you happened to forget that it was Valentine’s Day next week. Maybe you were busy at work, maybe you were simply swamped with World of Warcraft, who cares. You forgot and now your wife is giving you the what for. I know how you feel, I’ve been there before. There’s a reason the arms of my micro-fiber couch have sleepy-drool stains on them.
Fear not compadres, there is a foolproof way to get yourself out of the dog house and back on that lovely pedestal.
Step 1: Flowers (they are all suckers for dead plants).
Step 2: Learn the value of a good-ole, tear jerkin’ apology.
Step 3: Surprise her with a night out at Stephan Pyles.
You wife will be putty in your hands.
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 »