With her chunky blue necklace and fitted blazer, Amelia Von Kennel bears little resemblance to your typical farmer. Neither does her husband, Ben Von Kennel. But then again, they don’t really consider themselves farmers.
“We grow tomato plants,” Ben explained, “and we feature them to local markets and restaurants.”
The couple now sources their hydroponically-grown plants to some of the most popular restaurants in Dallas. But before all this, in their early 20s, they both worked in advertising, a world that had always felt familiar. Both of their families were in the industry. They worked long hours and earned steady paychecks but aspired to do something more fulfilling. One day, they decided to risk it all – their financial security, their relationship, their entire life. Ben and Amelia quit their jobs, took out a few loans and moved from Dallas to the small town of Bells to start their own produce business. Ben says Amelia jumped on board the minute he proposed the idea to her. Some friends and family members, however, lacked the same sense of enthusiasm.4 Comments »
As I was leaving my favorite salon yesterday, I noticed a new coffee shop called Origin Natural Food across the street. I was intrigued by its window displaying terms like “healthy, preservative-free, chef-prepared, and hand crafted coffee.” I thought we would be getting another genuine, craft coffee shop with handmade goodies to go with. But then I saw some dreaded terms that I despise: gluten-free and natural. Natural is one of the most cheaply, sold out terms that’s confusing and dismantling the health food community today. It has no real meaning. It has no regulatory oversight whatsoever and can be plastered across virtually any product with impunity. Also, as Nancy mentioned the other day, gluten-free is only useful for those people whose bodies cannot tolerate it. It has no health effects – good or bad – for anyone else. Ever since fat-free products starting making us the most obese nation in the world, any new supposed healthy “term” gets pasted across products from cereal to soda, claiming its promise of making you a better human with a smaller waist. Ok, ok, I will chill out and get off my home-grown, herbal garden stool. Fortunately, I consulted with my dear friend, Raya, and she calmed me down (a little); however, this is not going to end well.
Every year, the football field-turned-We Over Me Farm at Paul Quinn College puts on a fundraiser that I mark into my calendar with a bright pink highlighter. Not even two free tickets to the Dallas Symphony’s April 11 concert (featuring Liszt’s Piano Concerto No. 2, by the way) can sway me from my commitment to attend “A Community Cooks” on Thursday at 6 p.m. Here’s why:
I love farm manager Andrea Bithell, and the work study students who work side-by-side in the fields with her do too. Spend five minutes with her, and you can see that she genuinely cares about the community and her kids.
There will be peacocks. The Greenhill School of Addison recently donated Bonnie and Capone, a 6-month-old brother and sister pair, to Paul Quinn College Farm. They act as security guards to keep snakes and other pests away from the produce that’s growing. Apparently, the peacocks are also befriending the farm’s resident chickens: Dizzy, Lady Bird, and Irva.
The food is killer. Eddie “Lucky” Campbell is shaking up some fun cocktails, while a sexy lineup of Dallas’ best chefs are gathering on the field to cook their signature recipes with locally grown ingredients. (Participating chefs include: Randall Copeland, AVA; Garreth Dickey, DISH Restaurant & Lounge; Graham Dodds, Central 214; Jason Ferraro, Hibiscus; Jeff Harris, Bolsa; Chad Houser, Café Momentum; Orazio LaManna, Legends Hospitality/Dallas Cowboys Stadium; Dan Landsberg, Dragonfly; Brian Luscher, The Grape; Jason Maddy, Oak; Matt McCallister, FT33; Janice Provost, Parigi; Anastacia Quiñones, Komali; Jim Severson, Sevy’s; Nathan Tate, Boulevardier; Sharon Van Meter, 3015 at Trinity Groves; and Mark Wootton, Garden Café.)
As seen in our April 2013 issue.
Mr. Bradford Pearson alerted me to this happy news: Urban Acres is moo-oo-oo-ving.
Whoever wrote this blog post is very excited (!) and so are we (!)
Yup, IT’S OFFICIAL! Our Urban Acres store is moving to the corner of Beckley & Greenbriar this spring, right by Methodist Hospital. We’re taking over the old gas station building right next to Mama Connie’s Diner. Our new place has a covered front area as you can see in the photo which will become a patio. We also have lots of fun plans for the inside – we’ll keep you posted on progress!
Until then, we’ll still see you every Friday, Saturday and Sunday at our current store at 1301B West Davis!
Every year on SideDish, we like to devote our energy to supporting small local food businesses here in DFW. For twelve days, we’ve been highlighting jams, jellies, pies, classes, wines, coffees, teas, and basically any food product made locally on Dallas (or close to it) soil. Today is Juice Cleanse Day. For more gift ideas, take a look through our last eleven days at the bottom of this post.
Back in October, ShopTalk editor Raya Ramsey did a 5-day cleanse with Roots Juices, the company that packages fruits and vegetables into neat containers for a healthy, nutritious experience. Well, she loved it. Raya is currently sitting right next to me and and raving about the almond milk, which she says is creamy and nutty tasting.
Roots has several kinds of kits: the Detox & Cleanse (very popular), Hangover Recovery, Cocktail Mixers, and The 6 Pack. Any of these would be perfect for that health-conscious friend or relative who’s always wanted to do a juice cleanse, but never knew how to go about doing it. And since Brent Rodgers, the man behind Roots Juices, is feeling very generous this holiday season and knows exactly what you need, he’s offering a free Hangover Recovery kit to one very lucky SideDish reader. Here’s how to win: The third person to tweet out a link to this post (please include @DSideDish) will earn this $30-value prize. Got that? So easy, right? Look, here’s all the stuff you could win:3 Comments »
Every year on SideDish, we like to devote our energy to supporting small local food businesses here in DFW. For twelve days, we’ll be highlighting jams, jellies, pies, classes, wines, coffees, teas, and basically any food product made locally on Dallas (or close to it) soil. Today is Gifts That Give Back Day. If you’ve got a product that you want included, send me an email with your information and a picture. This list will often be updated, so don’t fret about deadlines. We’re here to serve you guys.
Ben Hurt and Blaine Iler of Impact Foods are doing a little extra something this holiday. It’s pretty incredible. “This year, give the gift of making an impact with our friends at Impact Foods. The local granola company feeds a child for every bag they sell – but this year they are doubling the impact you can make. During the month of December, Impact Foods will be feeding two children for every bag sold. Impact granola can be purchased at Whole Foods, Eatzi’s, Urban Acres, Oak Lawn Coffee as well as online at Artizone and Abe’s Market.”
If you haven’t read these boys’ story and journey, read Iris’ interview with them here.2 Comments »
Last week, at a come-and-go tasting lunch hosted by the recently launched Gina’s Organic Kitchen, I fell head-over-heels in love with this raspberry chia mousse. One bite and I was a goner. Gina Villalobos, the Organic Health Queen, whipped together this dessert made from chia seeds, coconut milk, raspberries, and dark agave nectar. It’s dairy-free, amazingly light and airy, and satisfies that sweet tooth without being too sugary. I told Gina that I could eat her raspberry chia mousse every day, and I mean it. I would do anything to get my hands on one right now…
Gina sells each raspberry chia mousse for $6.95. You can either visit Gina’s commissary kitchen for eat-in or pick-up, or order for delivery from the food truck. If you want some of this ch-ch-ch-chia mousse, pick up your phone and dial 214-702-5685.2 Comments »
I don’t know much about quinoa. I know that, inexplicably, it’s pronounced KEEN-wah. I have also heard whisperings that it comes from South America and it’s the reigning Healthiest Grain in the World. (Suck it, oats.) But that’s it. Whether or not quinoa existed prior to 2011 is really a gray area for me. In the meantime, however, it has carved out quite the culinary celebrity.*
I’m always skeptical of these buzzed-about fad foods, but it turns out quinoa is pretty, pretty good. It’s delicious, really. It has a strong flavor for a grain (seed, technically), nutty and earthy, with a texture akin to hominy grits getting it on with couscous. All good things.
My first stab at using quinoa was a cold chicken salad with some pomegranate – a couple of so-called super foods mixing it up, no big whoop. It was bright, fresh, and delicious. For whatever reason, it got me thinking it would be interesting to desecrate a holiday favorite – stuffing/dressing – by building it around quinoa. So I did, and it rules. It does not taste like you’re eating anything nutritious, which is usually a good thing, right?
Anyway, I couldn’t decide which recipe to go with, so here’s both. Enjoy.1 Comment »
About nine years ago, Gina Paterno Villalobos was diagnosed with high-risk breast cancer. To combat the disease, she completely changed her diet and turned to organic whole foods. She witnessed amazing results.
After training at the Kushi Institute Center for Natural Healing and getting certified at the Natural Gourmet Institute for Food & Health, Villalobos is now known as The Organic Coach in Whole Foods circles. This week, she opened Gina’s Organic Kitchen, which delivers to your home or office food that is both tasty and healthy. The best thing about it? Her food truck used to be an old SWAT ambulance.
“This is a way of being able to impact more people and make more of a difference in people’s lives,” says Villalobos. She puts it very simply: “All people have to do is order and eat.” Right now, she’s delivering to the Preston Hollow, Uptown, and Knox-Henderson areas, but plans for expansion are underway. Guests can also pick-up food or sit down at Gina’s commissary kitchen at 10870 Plano Road in Dallas to eat. Villalobos hopes to have a storefront and dine-in location open early 2013.
“I think Dallas is ready for healthy,” Villalobos says.
So, there you have it, Dallas mommies. Dinner just got easier. There’s no need to cook when you have Gina’s Organic Kitchen around. For first time customers, Villalobos suggests trying the springy sweet pea soup, wheatberry delight, miso-glazed wild salmon, or blueberry pecan baked tart.
If you haven’t visited ShopTalk today, you best head over there. Raya Ramsey, my desk buddy, went five days detoxing with Roots Juices and kept a journal about her experiences. She bares all in a hilarious post that she published this morning. It’s a pretty fantastic read, if you ask me.
My favorite line of hers has to be this one. It speaks to me, it really does: “At first, I hesitated, especially in light of all the recent freebie talk. Then I checked my rear in the mirror. It needed a detox, and I’m a broke editor.”
In the midst of composing my list of healthy options at the State Fair of Texas, I completely forgot that there is, in fact, a separate Texas State Veggie Fair for people who prefer the middle ground between eating healthy and going all fried out. You+Dallas made this pretty video composed of footage from the 2011 TSVF, which explains what veganism is and what it’s all about. If you still don’t get how vegans are saving the world one animal at a time, you’re lucky there’ll be guest speakers from places like Mercy for Animals to guide you through the problems surrounding animal cruelty.
Basically, TSVF is a gathering point for animal rights activists, fried healthy food fanatics, and even yoga-enthusiasts. Teresa Gubbins has a list of all the fried food finalists here, and the very unhealthy looking list includes desserts like fried tiramisu cheesecake, which I can most certainly get behind.
The Texas State Veggie Fair takes place at Reverchon Park this year instead of Winfrey Point on October 21, from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Admission is free, but a $5-$10 donation is suggested.
On a recent romp through the State Fair, I’ve discovered that it is possible to eat healthy foods there, contrary to popular belief. You just have to know where to find them between the stalls of endless fried-to-death junk.
Most people who avoid contracting fried fooditis go for the usual suspects: turkey legs, pickles, hot dogs and hamburgers. These are all safe options. They’re not exactly low on calories (except for pickles), but they work. At least they’re edible, right?
Lucky for all you healthy eaters out here, 2012 will be known as the year the State Fair of Texas actually has tasty non-fried options. This year, for instance, Good Karma Kitchen and SlushWorks teamed up to create an anti-fried food menu inside the Food & Fiber Pavilion that features a gluten-free cheddar cornbread cake on top of sweet baked beans.
The Food Court also has the highest concentration of healthy food options. Inside this building, there’s Greek salad, blackeyed pea soup, savory and sweet crepes, and rotisserie chicken for less than 20 coupons each.
Jump for the list of healthy options (with a printable pdf created by our favorite web designer Charlotte Tobin).14 Comments »
Okay fried food fanatics, we are giving you a daily space to write your own reviews on the the great fried food you eat at the great State Fair of Texas. Include the booth numbers if you remember. This post will be up daily until it’s all over and the grease traps are clear.2 Comments »
All hail Caesar—salad! The American Institute of Wine and Food (AIWF) held its 21st annual Caesar Salad Competition on Sunday at the Westin Galleria Hotel. This year 10 chefs faced off to see who would be crowned king and sadly, there could only be one victor.
I started off with Capital Grille’s Chef Keith Hanks’ Caesar salad with a side of perfectly cooked, succulent prime beef. The salad was light and a bit tangy. The flavor of the salad was greatly enhanced by fresh cracked pepper and the grilled prime beef seasoned with a porcini mushroom ash and topped with 12-year aged balsamic vinegar.
Jump for more photos from the event.
There are very, very few events that would make me clean my bike and fight with the air pump machine, but Eden’s Garden CSA Farm has one on Sunday, October 14 that’s making me reconsider. Barn Aid 2012: Le Tour de Farms mixes everything that’s good (healthy eating, exercise, grocery shopping, and philanthropy) into a single afternoon of fun and bike riding. Here’s how it works: You check in to Lake Highlands Community Garden at 1 p.m. Then, over the course of the afternoon, you either bike or drive your way through 32 miles of roads. On the way, you’ll be making pit stops at places like Urban League’s Community Garden at Parkland on Elam and the We Over Me Farm at Paul Quinn College, where you can harvest produce and pick up some organic veggies. Once you reach your destination at Eden’s Garden CSA Farm, sit down to a community-style, three-course meal prepared by the bearded chefs of Dallas (Mark Wootton of Garden Cafe, Graham Dodds of Central 214, and Chad Houser of Café Momentum). Pretty simple, right? But I’m not done. At dusk, doors open to the public, and everyone’s invited to watch a free screening of Urban Roots and listen to Lorynn the Redhead play angst-ridden folk music.
To attend, buy your tickets here. If you’ve read this post all the way down to this sentence, and you’re still on the ticket-buying fence… well, consider this: A portion of your money is going to the Youth Village Resources of Dallas’ gardening program. Charles Plummer, the guy who teaches teenage boys at the Youth Village how to grow organic crops, will put that money to good use. He might even make more of his compost tea with it.
There is rarely a time when it is common to see a group of people congregated outside of a grocery store at the brink of dawn…that is unless a Trader Joe’s is opening in your neighborhood. Actually, it doesn’t necessarily even have to be in your neighborhood, as residents from Duncanville, Denison, Ellis, and Allen will attest while they stand in line at the opening of the new store in Plano.
There is an energy brewing amongst the excited patrons that feels celebratory and relieved at the same time. The store is decorated outside with balloons and employees can be seen inside setting up for the opening, dressed in their classic Hawaiin print shirts. Carts are lined up to perfection and ready, the grand opening banner is being put up, and it’s just a matter of hours before opening.19 Comments »
I just stumbled upon the cutest blog ever made for mommies, BentoLunch.net. Since today is the first day of school for most kids in Dallas, this means all you parents out there are packing school lunches every morning for your offspring. (Handing your kid a Lunchable doesn’t really count as putting in effort.) If you’re serious about packing healthy, nutritious lunches for your children, take a look at some of these ideas from Shannon Carino, BentoLunch.net blogger and extraordinaire.
Not to brag or anything, but I may have been the one to convince Chef Ryan Barnett to make his fourth and last pop-up dinner on August 24 completely vegan. It all began when I cornered Barnett for a photo in the kitchen during his second pop-up dinner. (See photo to the right.) As he told me his plans to make his last pop-up completely vegetarian, I asked, “Why not make it vegan?” Vegan cooking for a French-trained chef like Barnett is quite a challenge, you see, but I’m sure he’ll make it look like a piece of cake. This young fella first started his culinary training at L & M Kitchen & Salumeria in Oxford, MS, and then went on to work at Neighborhood Services, Bistro 31, and Ormsby Catering.
Jump to the bottom of this post for reservation info or continue reading an interview with Ryan Barnett, where we discuss bonsai trees, Alice Waters, and all things random under the sun.
Carol: What made you actually listen to me?
Ryan: I looked at it as a challenge. I hate when people come in, especially when I worked at a steakhouse, and we had no other options other than sides. Vegans want to eat a full start-to-finish meal just like everyone else. It became more of a challenge. How do I pair all these ideas down? How do I make this into a flowing meal? Finally I sat down and tied it all together.4 Comments »
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