Dining for Dummies: Asian Market Edition

The April issue of D Magazine is a food lover’s paradise. One feature included information on local ethnic markets. In an effort to help you decipher the guide, here is a run-down of some foods that were included in the feature. I’ll start with the Asian markets.

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Dining for Dummies: Italian Edition

I don’t like tomato sauce. Not that I’ve gotten that off my chest, I feel much better. Yes, that means I don’t like traditional, red sauce pizza, spaghetti with tomato sauce, or lasagna. You can imagine what a minefield dining at Italian restaurants is, then. The menus are always terrifying. Even if you, like most normal people, like tomato sauce, Italian menus still can be daunting. Let’s fix that.

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The Localist: On Pure Ground’s Divine Texas Chèvre

Last week, while tasting my way through the display case at Scardello, I told the cheesemonger I wanted to focus on sampling Texas-made cheeses. Without missing a beat, he immediately reached for a wrapped disk of fresh chèvre. Within a matter of seconds, he handed me a small tasting spoon with a sample. It was love at first bite. I adored the creamy consistency and vibrant fresh flavor. The chalky texture that plagues so many goat cheeses was nowhere to be found here. It was mild and pleasingly rich. The flavor was gentle enough to appease the most discerning palate, while thoroughly impressing my cheese nerd friends who arbitrarily rate the quality of a cheese by the volume of its sweat sock aroma.

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Bite Fight: The Best Tres Leches Cake in Dallas

A fine tres leches cake is a beautiful thing. When there’s creamy vanilla sweetness coupled with a curious balance struck between light and rich, that’s when you know you’ve hit the jackpot. Pastel de tres leches is a dessert with a history soaked in Latin American cross-culturalism, burgeoned by canned milk production in the 1940s, and widely popularized in Texas by the 1990s. Dallas is rife with restaurants offering their own take on this ubiquitous, fluffy dessert, often upping the ante by changing its nomenclature. To find out how many milks it really takes to exemplify this cake, I tasted the tres leches at the health-conscious Kozy Kitchen, the cuatro leches at the trendy La Duni Latin Cafe, and the cinco leches at 2013′s Tex-Mex newcomer Mesero Miguel.

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The Localist: Morrison Organic Peas and Texas Caviar

Black-eyed peas are a humble yet well-loved legume famous for dotting New Years celebration tables. Known primarily for the good luck and fortune they bring to those who consume them, a satisfying bowl is all some can think about during the winter season. Their presence doesn’t stop there; I see them continually popping up as a hearty salad option and favorite dip on party tables throughout the year.

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Taste Test Thursday: Texas Honey

One of my best friends in college was a guy named Oshri. As the beekeeper of the Duke Gardens, he had it something bad for those pointy little bugs.

During one of his honey-collecting trips, I suited up in a white space suit outfit and helped him bottle raw honey into a hundred plastic containers. Some containers had dead, crystallized ants in them. Others didn’t. I remember taking home a bottle with one of the dead bugs and feeling proud of it.

Raw, unfiltered honey is one of the best things we can enjoy. It helps with allergies, it has changed the economy of Sierra Leone, and it makes our world a better place. All the honeys we taste-tested this week were so different from each other, it’s kind of incredible.

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Tickets on Sale for ‘A Community Cooks’ at WE Over Me Farm

Guys, I can almost smell spring in the air. And that means ‘A Community Cooks’ at Paul Quinn College Farm is happening soon. Every year, the football-field-turned-farm transforms into a beautiful backdrop for one of the most delightful dinners of the season. Honestly, it’s gorgeous and you won’t want to miss it.

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Taste Test Thursday: Guacamole

Avocado is a summer fruit, but when it’s 20-something degrees outside (like it was this entire past week), all our bodies are longing for sunshine. And guacamole, obviously.

In Texas, if you say you don’t like guacamole, people will look at you funny. People will think there’s something wrong with you, ’cause chances are… there might be. Guacamole is a universally liked appetizer, and we know we’re ordering it before we even sit down to eat. It’s easy to make, easy to eat, and it’s healthy. The best time to do this guacamole taste test would’ve been in the summer, but I couldn’t wait until then. It’s too far away.

Avocados are life-saving fruits, and they make the world a better place. That’s why I had to do some sleuthing. I had to find out where the best guac in Dallas is made.

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10 New Fort Worth Restaurants You Need to Visit Right Now

Fort Worth is stepping up their game with hot new restaurants. Every week, this city is exploding with more and more dining options. Good. Now you’ve got an excuse to break your restaurant habit and try something new. Go fire up your engine and visit these 10 restaurants, listed from newest to oldest.

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Unrefined, a Gluten-Free Bakery, Opens Two More Locations

Four years ago, mother-and-daughter duo Anne Hoyt and Taylor Nicholson opened Unrefined Bakery on Buckner Boulevard with a huge leap of faith. They didn’t have any formal culinary training and used only word-of-mouth and grassroots marketing. Such efforts have proved fruitful, as the flagship bakery is now one of three locations, with new stores recently opening in the old Society Bakery spot on Greenville Avenue and in Frisco.

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How to Celebrate Chinese New Year in Dallas 2014

Every year, as soon as Chinese New Year rolls around, Asia shuts down. Chinese people take advantage of their two-week holiday to get outta town. If a loved one dies during the extended break? Well, you’re pretty much screwed. A lot of funeral homes aren’t open for business, either.

Here in America, Chinese New Year isn’t as widely celebrated for more than one obvious reason. Yet Asian-American households still take it seriously. Especially young kids. For them, it’s like a second Christmas. Per tradition, parents, relatives, and family friends give hong bao (red envelopes) filled with money to children and even young adults. Families gather to eat dumplings, noodles, new year cakes, and fish. It’s always the biggest and best meal of the year. And today all of the multi-day celebrations begin. 2014 is the year of the horse.

Chinese culinary traditions are naturally confusing, even if you grew up with them. But here are some of the foods you need to start the new year off right.

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Joel Salatin Preaches at Urban Acres’ Second Annual Steward’s Dinner

Urban Acres transformed its nondescript warehouse into a fair-themed event space for its 2nd Annual Steward’s Dinner on Tuesday night. While the true focuses were the creative dishes prepared by local chefs and a much-anticipated talk by farmer Joel Salatin, the décor set the stage for a fun evening. With a face painter and a man on stilts, nothing could go wrong. A sign greeting attendees proclaimed the dinner a “No Waste Event.” Urban Acres takes sustainability seriously. The theme ran throughout the evening with constant reminders that everything was compostable or recyclable.

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‘Burbalicious: Dolce Cafe Bakery in Flower Mound

I say this with love: Flower Mound is a desert when it comes to good food. Very few non-chain restaurants are able to survive and thrive in this northern suburb, and places like Empress of China are your best bet along Justin Road. Lunchtime options, if you’re not into Subway and Chick-fil-A, are basically nonexistent. It’s a little sad.

But now, hope comes in the form of Dolce Cafe Bakery at 1913 Justin Road. When the small, independently owned place opened next to the Village Church, it came as a real shock. Here was a restaurant so different from all the other surrounding joints, it didn’t make sense. But then again, it did. Flower Mound people were starved for something cool, and after December 9, Dolce’s first day, they started trickling into this Italian bakery and restaurant, eager to try something new. Word spread quickly about the tasty house-made artisan breads, savory scones, and coffee.

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Let Half Pint Palates Help You Raise a Gourmet Baby

The charismatic founder of Half Pint Palates, a direct-delivery frozen-baby-food company that began service in 2013, started her culinary education on a livestock farm in western Kentucky. Growing up with a garden that produced most of the veggies her family ate exposed her to quality you can’t get at most grocery stores. “That’s where I learned my passion for food and flavor,” Anderson says.

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