If you are a food geek you already know this. But for those of you who don’t keep up with the fascinating world of gastronomic experimentation through biology, chemistry, neuroscience, and physics, the Taste of Science presented by The World Science Festival is a big deal. The event took place last weekend in New York. The sessions featured neuroscientists, biophysicists, food scientists, chemists, mixologists and chefs. And right there with Wylie Dufresne (WD-50), Maxime Bilet (co-author of Modernist Cuisine: The Art and Science of Cooking) and César Vega (Food Scientist with the physical chemistry of cocoa and chocolate), was Private Social chef Najat Kaanache. For the photos, check out this gallery in the Wall Street Journal.
On Wednesday night, The Libertine hosted an All Local DFW Beer Dinner. (I was invited as a media guest.) Inside the wooden farmhouse, each of the five courses were paired with one beer from one of our very own breweries, and they offered their best. Lakewood’s Bourbon Barrel Aged Temptress continued to age and grew some exciting new flavor balances. Deep Ellum’s Dreamcrusher Double IPA was aged in-house, against common practice, and came off with a delicious easiness of mouth feel with nothing easy about the depth of flavor. Rahr’s The Regulator was paired with a sweetbread pot pie and matched with demanding presence. Community Brewing Company’s Inspiration also paired exquisitely with a tender braised duck leg, and to finish off the pairing, Peticola’s Alfred Brown Ale delighted our palates alongside the dessert.
Ever since I stumbled upon Rudy’s Chicken’s Facebook page, I’ve been meaning to visit this South Dallas icon at 3115 S. Lancaster Rd., where the neighborhood goes for its chicken. And, truthfully, any page with the tagline of “CHICKEN SO GOOD YOU’LL SLAP YO MAMMAS MAMMA” gets my blood flowing. It makes me want to yell “chicken” the same way Mel Gibson drags out “FREEEDOOOOMMM” for 8 seconds long, right before he gets beheaded in Braveheart.
Yesterday Matt Shelley and I arrived in front of an unassuming, white building at 1:30 p.m., where the drive-thru line for Rudy’s Chicken was about five cars long, and the stand-outside-pick-up line had 6 to 8 people waiting. But the lines at Rudy’s move quickly. You’d think there might be little green elves inside, but no. Employees wear red polo shirts, rushing to fill orders as they received orders. “What you got?” called a man from the back. “Two breasts and two legs!” I shouted through the thick, hazy smell of oil. “That’ll be seven dollars,” said the woman operating the cash register. “It’s cash only.”
Matt grabbed his separate order of 13 thighs, legs, and breasts (it came with 14, but he gave one of the legs away to a homeless man standing nearby) and we drove off. There’s nowhere to sit inside at Rudy’s Chicken. If you want liver and gizzards (7 of each for $5), it’s a 10 minute wait in the hot, hot sun. So we stuck with fried chicken, got our order and buzzed outta there. It felt like we were carrying gold in our hands.
Okay, I’ve since abandoned my pear and my stomach feels kinda queasy, but you can’t blame me for clicking on a headline like “The Best Placenta Recipes on the Internet!”
Because I bet you will, too.
You suck, Cheap Bastard.
P.S. Placenta ice cream should be the new breast milk ice cream.2 Comments »
Maybe you’ve noticed, but Desiree Espada, my wing/camera woman has left us for the bright lights of New York City. For the first two months of her absence, I sort of panicked and cried myself to sleep every night. (I miss Desiree.) Then came the day I found Kelsey Foster, who does amazing, amazing work, and sparks flew. It was stars and hearts and the whole nine yards. We sent her to Belly & Trumpet in Uptown to capture its stunning beauty.
It’s been a weird year for me and food. I’ve lost my ability to ignore cookies and cake, my cubicle looks like a grocery store (the Jalapeno Ketchup guys just sent us a shipment of spicy goods), and I’m hopelessly addicted to Kroger brand saltines. A box of them sits on my desk. My excuse is that they go pretty much with everything.
Although these crackers and QT’s F’real milkshakes both rank pretty high on my list of favorite things to eat this year, I doubt any of you guys really care about either of them. I know, I know. Y’all have sophisticated taste buds. So, here it is: a semi-sophisticated list (in no particular order) of the best bites I put in my mouth in 2012.
1. The elotes from Taqueria El Si Hay. The wait takes forever because the elotes man shaves off fresh corn every time someone orders. The woman behind me talked these elotes up, and she was so, so right. $2.50 for a cup of hot corn, sour cream, cheese, and gobs of butter? So worth it.
2. Soup dumplings at Taiwan’s Din Tai Fung. Sorry, Royal China. Your xiao long bao, though excellent, don’t even come close.
3. Cloud nine pie at Emporium Pies. Probably my favorite pie in the whole world. One bite has so many surprises and textures to it. There’s frosty meringue, creamy caramel, and a toasty pretzel crust. It’s a perfect salty/sweet, crunchy/soft combination.4 Comments »
FT33 and Chef Matt McCallister will welcome Chef Randy Rucker of Houston, for a guest chef dinner and a one-of-a-kind dining experience. Rucker, winner of the 2011 Houston Rising Star award will bring his classical Southern perspective infused with modern techniques to McCallister’s season-inspired modern cuisine for a one-night-only culinary event. The evening will highlight bounty from both McCallister and Rucker’s foraging expeditions throughout the Texas woods in an innovative 14-course small plates menu. The dinner is Monday, January 14 at 6PM. $125 per person; $150 with wine pairings (plus tax and gratuity), 214-741-2629. (photos by Kevin Marple)
After I finished putting together my mother’s almond milk bubble bath, I left her a note to tell her I’d be skipping out on her chili lasagna with bologna sugar cube wraps. She’s a bit of an artisan when it comes to dining combinations, but tonight was going to be my night. I had to break free from form and let loose the hair that I couldn’t grow because of a microwave accident I suffered in my late teens. My friend Jason has a second cousin who knows a guy that works at the post office, and he said that he overheard a couple of his customers raving about this new mecca of hipster grunge called Serious Pizza. It sounds like just the place for me to launch my shamisen one man band and show the world my brand of cool, while also absorbing a little of theirs.
Jump and get more serious.
All of your senses should be aroused when a plate of food is set in front of you. Before you take one bite, you’ve already eaten the dish with your eyes. The presentation of a dish is important. My eyes shut, my shoulders slump, and I breathe a heavy sigh each time I spy a dessert, entrée, or appetizer that has been assaulted with squiggles, swirls, dots, and curly cues of sauces, frostings, or oils forced through a squeeze bottle. Chefs, a little goes a long way. Not only is it outdated, it makes me think you are trying too hard to sell what is underneath. What started with the Hostess Cupcake (Halloween costume idea!), should stop now.
What presentation style turns you off?16 Comments »
D Magazine intern Erin Ahlfinger files this report.
As you drive down W. Davis Street in the heart of Oak Cliff, a field of sunflowers is the last thing you’d expect to see tucked among the single-story brick buildings, just blocks from the thriving Bishop Arts District. The fact that it’s so out of place in its surroundings is part of what makes this display of farming as public art so charming.
The project is a collaboration of the agricultural and artistic expertise of art dealer Cynthia Mulcahy and artist Robert Hamilton, who run Mulcahy Farms. They began looking for a site over a year ago, and chose the 1.6 acre plot in Oak Cliff for its location and visibility. The land was cleared and prepared for planting in March. Seventeen hundred and sixty Aztec Gold sunflower seeds went into the ground in a grid pattern under an ominous sky on a North Texas spring day. Days passed, and farming as art became entertainment as area residents and passerby took notice and began to express interest. Police, firemen, and bus drivers now honk in approval as they pass through their daily routes. “It really is like street theater,” notes Hamilton. “The traffic slows down.”5 Comments »
I’m a sucker for birds. So is Mexican artist Luis Sottil. You may have seen his work in other Mi Cocina restaurants: he currently has paintings in six other restaurants. The mural at the new Mi Cocina in Lakewood, in the old Matt’s space, is scheduled to open in July. Sottill uses only natural pigments such as cochinella, mother of pearl, minerals, vegetables dyes, and14kt gold in his paintings. For this painting he was inspired by these birds: “Hooded Oriole, Altamira, Golden Cheeked Warbler, Painted Bunting, Texas Hummingbirds, and the Northern Mockingbird.” Tex-Mex for Twitchers!
UPDATE: Scott from dallasfood.org brings up a good point in the comments section. Several of the birds listed above would be a rare sighting at White Rock Lake. The press release reads:
This is the first time Sottil has studied the local natural environment and incorporated it into his Mi Cocina murals. The artist has chosen to feature birds including the Hooded Oriole, Altamira, Golden Cheeked Warbler, Painted Bunting, Texas Hummingbirds and, of course, the Northern Mockingbird.
Luis Sottil was inspired by his research of the history and “exuberant beauty” of White Rock Lake and the Lakewood area, and it reminded him of the lush biodiversity on his native Tampico, Mexico. In particular, Sottil was drawn to the many colorful birds that are common inhabitants of White Rock Lake which reminded him of home.
Hmm. Methinks Sottil should seek the advice of JR Compton and switch out the golden cheeked warbler for a monk parakeet. If you truly want to represent the “exuberant beauty” of White Rock Lake.
Earlier this week, I was minding my own business and munching on a purple yam (skin intact, baked in the oven – just the way I like it) when my co-worker asked me, “What’s that purple thing?” I looked down at the purple yam I was snacking on, and it suddenly dawned on me that purple yams are like gold kiwifruits. Not everybody knows that they exist.
Now it is time for me to interrupt your usual morning program with (what I like to call) Friday Fun Fact Time. Purple yams are available. You can buy them in Asian markets. More specifically, you can find them at the H Mart in Carrollton where I do all my purple yam shopping.
I find them much sweeter than the regular sweet potatoes you find at grocery stores. The flesh melts into a gooey, sticky consistency after you wash the skin thoroughly, pop them into the oven at 400 degrees Fahrenheit, and leave them in there for a good 40 to 60 minutes. Don’t forget to line your baking pan with aluminum foil so they don’t stick, either.
The Earth Day idea started with an original focus to think green, live green, be green…but over the years it has transformed beyond this idea into one of also living local, eating local, and supporting local (along with living a healthier lifestyle with a focus on sustainability). Miele, German based producers of the high-end kitchen appliances and vacuum cleaners, has embraced these ideals in every aspect of its business, carrying the principle of bearing responsibility for generations to come. With this comes their focus to help their customers live a better life with the help of their tools. Last night at their Dallas gallery showroom in the Design District, Miele hosted a “Better Living” dinner with Chef Uwe Muller, adjunct instructor at Dallas’ Le Cordon Bleu who recalls growing up in his native Germany with Miele appliances in his home. I was an invited guest. Continue reading "Miele Celebrates “Better Living” In Time For Earth Day"3 Comments »
Instead of, you know, working, I am doing some online shopping in secret. Except it doesn’t really count as ‘shopping’ when you know you can’t afford a set of natural Opinel knives for $88, does it?
This is all D Home’s doing. Ever since I got hooked onto their blog, I’ve been drooling over pretty photos of chairs and flowers and chandeliers, none of which I actually need. But now that my imagination is running wild with crazy redecorating ideas, the first place I want to start is in the kitchen. It’s where I spend a good chunk of my time eating and pretending to know how to cook.
Jump if you like drooling too.1 Comment »
Hey, ya’ll. We have a drool-worthy SideDish Pinterest board for you to waste more of your time on. And if hot food pics don’t suit your liking, follow our Travel, ShopTalk, Weddings, Home, and – of course – Nancy’s “World of Birds” board. Didn’t know that Nancy was a birdwatching fanatic? Yeah, neither did I until she once stopped our conversation mid-sentence and grabbed her binoculars (that she apparently keeps at her desk?) to watch two eagles flying outside our window. Props to her bird photography, though. Just look at this baby hummingbird…8 Comments »
I’ll be quick and to the point: Canary By Gorji is the most underrated restaurant in Dallas. Every time I eat there I am seduced by the creative cooking and I fall in love with Chef Mansour Gorji.
I took my family to Canary By Gorji for dinner last night and we had a comfortable, laid-back dining experience. (I don’t have pictures because I didn’t use my cell phone.) The music, service, food, and atmosphere all work together to produce a calm atmosphere. We left happy and I didn’t feel like I’d just worked a review.
If you’ve eaten at this small, mostly Mediterranean-inspired restaurant, you have met Gorji. When he isn’t at a market buying fresh ingredients, he is in his kitchen creating unique dishes or visiting with customers. He was the first chef to champion the pomegranate, which he still uses as a garnish on steaks and in sauces. Last night, I devoured a celery root (trending!) and carrot salad that was so fresh it tasted like it was just plucked from the garden. The filleted trout served with a just a touch of white wine and lemon sauce is topped with tart barberries and capers. His food is so clean; so delicious. My mother claimed the pork chop as “the best she’s ever eaten.”
Gorji is a hard working chef. Not only does he cook every night, he supports local charities and produces a line of products which are sold online and in local stores. I’ve never seen him without a smile and a good-natured laugh. Go visit him. He will dazzle your taste buds and your heart.
Yesterday, I visited a food market near the beach at Ipanema in Rio de Janeiro. I spent long time at the stall in the picture to watch the owner make his own hot sauce by mixing various peppers with vinaigrette and herbs. Besides peppers, dried herbs, and sauces, he displayed several medicinal nuts. I don’t speak Portuguese, and it was difficult to understand the passionate descriptions of the two ingredients in the picture below the jump. Do you recognize them? Continue reading "Report From Rio: Guess the Mystery Ingredients"12 Comments »
I woke up this morning craving two things: donuts and a Big Breakfast from McDonald’s (don’t ask me why). The universe must really love me, because I walked into work this morning only to discover a big box of donuts sitting on my desk. It came with a mysterious note from Rinny & Joaquin Lewis: “Mark suggested we bring these by. Thank you [insert smiley face].”
Er, thanks for the donuts, guys, but… who are you?? Have we met before? And what did I do to deserve these fatty donuts? Three weeks ago, I gave a random man my extra DART ticket, but that was the latest act of kindness I can remember…10 Comments »
Last night, I schmoozed with some Dallas media people at Five Sixty by Wolfgang Puck for a complimentary sampling of its Chinese New Year’s menu. Big D foodies like Teresa Gubbins, Steven Doyle, Jennifer (RealPoshMom), and the nice lady from foodbitch (I swear you said your name was “Katie,” but your blog says “Rachel.”) busted out their phone cameras the second after Executive Chef Patton Robertson finished introducing each course. Photos of the five courses happily lodging inside my intestines have already been posted on several different blogs, so there’s no point rehashing all the deets. I’d just like to add this little bit: the lobster dumpling had a thicker skin than I’m used to, yet the golden pineapple sticky cake made the whole elevator ride up to Five Sixty completely worth it for someone with baby acrophobia.
Jump because you’re hungry and you know it.