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Taste Test Thursday: Pumpkin Pie

Iron your great grandmother’s fall foliage table runner and polish your turkey-shaped candelabras, Thanksgiving is merely a week away. How did it creep up so fast? Good question. Don’t worry if you haven’t had time to dust off your Williams-Sonoma cookbook, though. Area grocery stores are stocked full of ready-made, no fuss options for your holiday banquet. Some of which aren’t too shabby, either.

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Taste Test Thursday: Cranberry Sauce

Thanksgiving is fast approaching, and while your Pinterest board may be overflowing with mouthwatering recipes that you’ve been daydreaming about making since April, it’s important to keep alternative, quick options on hand. Let’s face it, life throws curveballs — especially around the holidays — and that heavenly turkey and cranberry strudel that you’ve been dreaming of might never materialize.

Over the next few weeks, we’ll be tasting Thanksgiving staples that can be purchased at grocery stores in and around Dallas. We’re kicking things off this week with cranberry sauce. The holiday side comes in a variety of flavors, shapes and consistencies. My personal favorite is the gelatinous blob that comes in the shape of the can. The more can rings imprinted on the mold, the better. On the other hand, there are some delectable whole-berry, organic sauces out there that are sure to delight even the snobbiest of dinner guests.

I ran around to a handful of grocery store in town and picked up a few varieties of cranberry sauces, and a handful of helpful D Magazine staff members tasted them. Here’s what they thought.

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Taste Test Thursday: Dill Pickles

Dill Pickles, they’re versatile and delicious. You can slice them, fry them, stick them in a sandwich, or use their juice to chase down a shot of whiskey. There’s nothing quite like the briny zing of a dill pickle. But like most things, they come in a variety of shapes, colors and textures. There’s kosher, organic, spicy, sweet, garlic-infused, all of which flaunt the title “dill pickle.” For this week’s blind taste test, D Magazine staff tried a handful of store-bought spears. Here’s what they thought.

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Taste Test Thursday: Restaurant Chips and Salsa

It seems everybody has an opinion when it comes to chips and salsa in Dallas, and more often than not, the opinion is a strong one. It’s one of those heated issues that can be uncomfortable to bring up in a room full of people — like religious views, or whether or not David Lynch is a sellout for endorsing a line of women’s athletic wear (I recently had a friend storm out of a cocktail party in a huff over that particular topic). People hold their favorite chips and salsa combos near and dear to their hearts. And truthfully, the quality (or lack thereof) is enough to lead someone to a specific restaurant, or steer them away. Ideally, we would have tasted all of the chips and salsas in town for this week’s blind taste test, but there was simply not enough counter space, or room in our bellies. So I narrowed down the selection to seven. Here’s what happened.

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Taste Test Thursday: French Baguettes

Last week a colleague asked me where he could find a delicious French baguette in downtown Dallas. I sat there for what felt like an hour with my mouth open while my eyes glazed over. I finally answered with a long “uhhhhhhh….” Truth is, I had no idea. Ridden with an overwhelming feeling of inadequacy, I hopped on Google and started searching. While I couldn’t find anything in the downtown area, I did come across plenty of information on the usual suspects: Empire Baking Company, eatZi’s, Whole Foods, Village Baking Co. and Central Market. It seems each bakery has its own version of the classic French loaf. But which one is the best? A handful of conscientious D Magazine staffers stuffed their faces with bread for this week’s blind taste test. It was a tough job, but somebody had to do it. Here’s what they thought.

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Taste Test Thursday: Apple Pie

October is National Apple Month. What is National Apple Month, you ask? I’m not entirely sure. But I do know that I like apples. And more than apples, I like pie. I’ve yet to find a flaky, succulent circle of happiness that I wasn’t eager to shovel into my mouth; from rhubarb to arguably the best pie on earth — chicken pot pie. So, for this week’s taste test, D Magazine staffers tried a handful of apple pies from grocery stores in town. I didn’t think it would be fair to include luscious, gourmet pies — I’m talking to you Emporium — in the ranking.  The pies varied in texture, flavor and price (ranging from $3.99 to $14.99) but only one reigned supreme. Here’s what happened.

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Taste Test Thursday: Pumpkin Beer

I grabbed a shopping cart at Spec’s this past weekend and loaded it up with every single gourd-infused brew that I could get my hands on. It was apparent that my enthusiasm for drinking all of the pumpkin beers had taken over when it came time to check out. I had to put some back. With help from a lovely beer aficionado, I narrowed down my selection to ten. Surely, ten was a good number? Wrong. It was still too many.

I made a final cut on the day of the taste test, squeezing it down to six, pumpkiny beers. Yes, Lakewood’s Punkel was axed. But everybody already knows how delicious it is, right? I wanted to feature some lesser-known brews. So, for this week’s installment of Taste Test Thursday D Magazine staffers sipped on (and chugged) a selection of pumpkin libations. Here’s what they thought.

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Taste Test Thursday: Raspberry Jam

There’s nothing I love more than a buttered piece of crispy-on-top toast, covered in jam. Raspberry jam.

That extra, seedy little crunch goes a long way. Just thinking about it makes me hungry.
As many of you may know, this is my last day at D, which means it’s my last taste test. Forever. But don’t shed too many tears for me, Argentina (or Dallas); I’m going to be eating and drinking my way in San Francisco like the pudgeball that I am. Come visit, SideDishers. I’ll miss all of you. Even you, not-nice commenters. I’ll be thinking of you, too.

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Taste Test Thursday: Pimento Cheese

Cheese, cheese, cheese, cheese.

I love cheese.

In fact, I’m inhaling it right now. As a hardcore Southern-Asian-American gal, one of my favorite snacks is a tub of pimento cheese with a pile of crackers. Who doesn’t love mayo, cheddar, and veggie bits all smushed up together? One of my favorites in Dallas is made by We Me Dallas, but I didn’t exactly have the time to visit her at the farmers market this weekend. Instead, I went out and got these five other ones.

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Taste Test Thursday: Dallas Delivery Pizza

I once watched a Freaky Eaters episode of a 20-something man addicted to pizza. Bread, cheese, and tomato sauce was all he’d eat. No veggies, no nothing. His health suffered, his personal life went down the drain, and he was throwing up some weird gunk every morning.

I finished watching that episode and wanted to eat pizza immediately.
Here’s the thing: You can’t hate pizza. There are all sorts of pizzas, so it’s impossible to dislike. Hate Cane Rosso’s? Go to Zoli’s. Want to dine in? No. Fine. Do take out. Or better yet, sit on your couch and watch the Mavs lose by one point and drop to the eighth seed, while you order a 16-incher and swallow your woes with gobfuls of cheese.

That’s the way we do it here in the Big D. We order for delivery.

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