Dining for Dummies: Words You Think You Know, But Really Don’t

On a recent trip to Nashville, I ate at a really tasty restaurant. Only problem: When I got there, I looked at the menu and froze. I couldn’t order. I had no idea what one single dish on the menu was in its entirety. I asked the waiter approximately 63 questions. To my surprise, he wasn’t irritated, and in fact, said he appreciated me asking beforehand, rather than ordering and complaining after-the-fact. He also mentioned that he thinks many diners are embarrassed to ask. In the age of “everyone’s a food critic,” people don’t ask their servers the right questions out of fear of revealing what they don’t know. I don’t fall into that camp. I want to know.

For those of you like me, here’s all you ever wanted to know about dining but didn’t want to ask. Without further adieu:

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The Local Oak Makes Spam Sliders a Signature Comfort Food

At The Local Oak, a new neighborhood hangout, you can get Texas Surfers—these sliders made with grilled Spam, house-made pineapple relish, and slaw. It’s gutsy for a chef to bring Spam into Oak Cliff, but The Local Oak has some pros in the house. Chef Aaron Courtney just came from Nick and Sam’s Steakhouse, and […]

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What’s the Big Fuss About Oishii?

Before you guys start raising your pitchforks, hear me out. Like all of you Oishii fans, I’ve been rooting for this restaurant’s comeback. The owner, Thanh Nguyen, is an Asian-American like me. His Pan-Asian sushi restaurant suffered through a fire on December 30, 2012, and it’s taken him almost 10 months to re-open. Nguyen deserves a […]

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A Good Cause Plus Great Food Makes for a Unique Dining Experience

I’m not a food critic. So when I went to last night’s 17th Cafe Momentum pop-up dinner, I was a little worried about if I could do the food justice. I wanted to capture the evening, but my inability to describe food as anything other than “yummy” or “delicious” had me concerned. But the great […]

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Have a Bucket List? Company Café Wants to Know About It.

Two weeks ago, the popular Katy Trail restaurant, Company Cafe, put up a massive chalkboard wall on its exterior, asking diners and passers by one question: What do you want to do before you die? The project is a partnership with The Intown Chabad, a local Jewish community led by Rabbi Zvi Drizin. The point […]

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First Take Restaurant Review: Boulevardier in Oak Cliff

I’m late jumping onto the Boulevardier-love bandwagon, but we all know Oak Cliff’s new French bistro is bound to stick around for a long, long time. So, no rush, right? When the boys from Ava (Randall Copeland and Nathan Tate) and Veritas (Brooks and Bradley Anderson) announced they were moving into Bishop Arts District together, […]

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Trinity Groves Report: First Restaurant in Restaurant Incubator Program is Approved

Yesterday, I was invited to lunch at Trinity Groves. I sat at a large table surrounded by the partners involved in the massive project and several members of the Food and Concept Advisory Committee. As one of the partners, Phil Romano, chewed my ear off with details, Mike Babb filled my plate with barbecue. Babb […]

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If You’re Not Cooking, You’d Better Get Booking

If I’ve said it once, I’ve said it a thousand times: procrastination (while cool and an incredibly effective use of time) is a runinator of the third magnitude (magnitudes one and two are things like interruptions in cable service and untimely name mix-ups, respectively, which, while sucky, don’t suck nearly as much as putting on […]

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Special Report: Media Gets a Preview of Taste of Greenville Avenue

D Magazine intern Jessica Melton attended a press preview of the food that will be featured at Taste of Greenville Avenue (TOGA) this weekend. We’ve all been there before. The age-old looping conversation of “I don’t know, what do you want to eat?” Every now and then we get a break from having to make […]

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Sneak Peek: Nick Badovinus’ New Off-Site Kitchen in Dallas

I was tooling down Irving Blvd. yesterday after a run to the camera store and I spotted a couple of cars and a motorcycle in front of the soon-to-open Off-Site Kitchen. I opened the door to find owner/chef Nick Badovinus and chef Dan Riley trying out a few items for the menu. Besides getting a […]

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The Free Man Soft Opens With Some Semantics Issues

John Jay Myers has swung the doors wide on The Free Man, his new Cajun cafe & lounge in Deep Ellum. His mission:  combining a bit of Bourbon Street with a nightly live-music venue. Menu items: etouffee, jambalaya, gumbo, boudin, alligator, and more. Sounds great to us, but the Cajun vs. Creole distinction seems to […]

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These Are a Few of My Favorite Restaurants: The Grape in Dallas

If you ever decide to become a restaurant critic be prepared for the inevitable question: “What is your favorite restaurant in Dallas?” It’s a hard question for me to answer. Not because I’m evasive, it’s because I feel like I have to quantify my choice by answering “well, if I’m in the mood for Mexican […]

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Wild Salsa: Hate the Sign, Love the Food

Downtown’s pretty exciting right now. First, Dirt opened on Monday (adorable store, go visit). Then, last night, Wild Salsa opened. And, according to a conversation I had with the manager at Pho Colonial, their downtown location will open in two weeks. My husband and I have been watching Wild Salsa be built for the past […]

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Vitality House Cafe Opens in Richardson With Flavorful Menu and Full-Time Nutritionist

My husband and I battle for the title of Biggest Loser in our house; our respective weights fluctuating by 10 percent on a monthly basis (this month, he’s ahead, or behind depending on how you look at it). To be honest, we’d be happy for some steadiness, but as we all know, end-of-school-year stress, travel, […]

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International Bakery Cuban Dulceria in Carrollton Celebrates Glamorous Cuba

Rita and Sara Vazquez, the two smart and sassy gals behind the counter at International Bakery Cuban Dulceria, are throwing a three-day festival (May 19, 20 and 21 from 9:00am to 5:00pm) to honor the glamorous days in Cuba. They have invited Cuban artists, vendors, and musicians and there will be food. Lots of traditional […]

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Chef Kelly Hightower Punches Partner in Nova Dining Room

A well-informed, reliable Oak Cliff-dwelling person informed me that chef Kelly Hightower walked into the restaurant and punched one of his partners (“the dude who usually works the door”) around 7:30 pm on Friday night. “The guy’s face was all bloody,” says my secret source. “And the dining room was packed.” Talk of the incident […]

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Sam Sifton of New York Times Eats Dallas

I’m happy to report that some newspapers still have a budget! Last week, at the request of their sports department, the New York Times sent restaurant critic Sam Sifton to advance the local food scene. He did a fairly good job of flushing out a few out-of-the-way places. I was happy to read that Sifton […]

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An Unbiased, Around-Town Mini Tasting With Chef and Simply Suppers Author Jennifer Chandler

Last Friday, I had the pleasure of hanging out with my old friend, chef/cookbook author/radio & TV host Jennifer Chandler (in town from Memphis to sign copies of her latest book, Simply Suppers). I don’t deny that I sweated the restaurant choices a little; after all we only had one day and Jennifer did earn […]

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