And the Winner is…
“Foodie Couture” Chef Uno Immanivong of Chino Chinatown!
Last night’s Fork Fight at 3015 Trinity Groves was a fully packed house of almost 300 for this epic battle of delectable delights, as seasoned chef, Norman Grimm duked it out against Foodie Uno Immanivong to the bitter end. Here’s how it all went down.
Course 1 – Winner Kitchen LTO
Kitchen LTO’s Crispy Yellowfin Tuna Tartare, Tamari Glaze, Asian Pear, Avocado & Fingerlimes
Chino Chinatown’s Banana Leaf, Duck Confit Tamale with Roasted Heirloom Tomato Salsa & Crispy Duck Chip
In this round, there was no match. Kitchen LTO won, hands down. The subtle lusciousness of the rare tuna made me wish I had more. The duck tamale had good flavor, but it was cold when served and was seasoned with five spice, which is not my favorite seasoning. Also, the sauce lacked the depth of flavor it needed and there was no crispy duck chip.
Course 2 – Winner Kitchen LTO
Kitchen LTO’s Sake Glazed Pork Belly, Pink Lady Apple Puree, Sunchoke with Herb Salad and an Intermezzo of Watermelon Mint Granite with Tequila Lime Essence
Chino Chinatown’s Butter Poached Lobster Spring Roll with Pineapple Habanero Dressing
The pork belly was my favorite dish of the night, it was moist, cooked to perfection, and paired nicely with the sweetness of the Pink Lady Apples. It was all I could do to keep from licking the sunchoke off the plate!
The spring roll was nice, light and playful with enoki mushrooms sprouting from the tops. I liked it, but there wasn’t much flavor. Mine had just a small bite of lobster, and it was slightly overcooked. I hoped the sauce had the potential to make this dish a game changer, but it fell short because there was not enough and it had only the sweetness of the pineapple with no habanero, or even a hint of spice to be found.
Course 3 – Winner Chino Chinatown
Kitchen LTO’s Braised Short Rib, Seasonal Vegetables with Braised Marble Potatoes
Chino Chinatown’s Braised Mexican Coke and Lemongrass Short Rib with Grilled Bok Choy and Latin Sticky Rice
Chef Norm’s short rib was good, but the meat had overcooked as it was held in the warming drawer waiting to be served, so it was leaning to the dry side.
Chef Uno’s short rib, on the other hand, was a beautiful presentation that literally fell off the bone and it tasted even better than it looked, in spite of the “invisible” sticky rice (which was invisible because the rice didn’t turn out so chef Uno 86’ed it from the course), this dish was a total knockout.
Course 4 – Tie
Kitchen LTO’s Creme Fraiche Sorbet, Balsamic Reduction, Strawberries and Cracked Black Pepper
Chino Chinatown’s Pina Colada Cake with Salted Coconut Rum Caramel
The sorbet, even as it quickly melted into a puddle on my plate, was a lovely palate cleanser, the sweetness was perfectly balanced by the balsamic which intensified the perfectly ripe strawberries with an ambrosial essence that finished with the light subtle creme.
The cake was good, too. The salted caramel played nicely off the delightful little coconut cake which was a tad on the dry side, but tasted divine and was garnished by a powerfully alcohol-infused cherry. I think if this dessert had incorporated a little more of the caramel sauce on the cake instead of just as a drizzle on the plate, it would have been sublime.
Both chefs fought a hard battle but in the end, the dinner guests cast their fork ballots (literally forks in a bucket) and Uno Immanivong was declared the winner, congratulations, chef Uno! Next week will bring a new battle with two more restaurants at 3015 at Trinity Groves.
One last word of advice, these events are a lot of fun, but they are open seating which can be a little crazy. I recommend arriving early and grabbing your seat as soon as you get there. This way you can sit back, relax and have a really great experience with your friends. Or, better yet, get a group together and purchase a table that seats eight people. This way you’ll have a reserved seat and will get a break off the full ticket price, too.
Here’s how each Fork Fight will go down:
Each fight is $75 per person (or $500 for table that seats eight people) which includes cocktails, two appetizers, two salads, two entrees, and two desserts, one from each competitor.
Doors open at 7:00 p.m., when cocktails are served. The seated dinner begins promptly at 7:45 p.m.
Each week, the restaurants compete, a winner is chosen by the public and that restaurant moves on to the next round to face-off a different restaurant each week.
The Fork Fight full line-up is scheduled as follows:
Wednesday, July 10: Round 1 with SOUK vs. Casa Rubia Winner SOUK!
Thursday, July 18: Round 2 with Kitchen LTO vs. Chino Chinatown Winner Chino Chinatown!
Thursday, July 25: Round 3 with Amber Jax vs. Saint Rocco
Thursday, August 1: Round 4 with LUCK vs. Resto Gastro Bistro
Thursday, August 8: Round 5 with winners of Round 1 – SOUK vs. Chino Chinatown 2
Thursday, August 15: Round 6 with winners of Round 3 vs. Round 4
Thursday, August 22: Round 7 with winners of Round 5 vs. Round 6
Thursday, August 29: Final round with Sharon Van Meter vs. winner of Round 7
You can purchase tickets at www.brownpapertickets.com “Fork Fight” or just click the link.
What do you get when you take 30+ of the most talented local Dallas Chefs, from the very best restaurants in Dallas, add in 30+ local Artisans, Farmers and Ranchers, throw in a dash of music, and
a little20+ a lot of wine, food, people and fun at Lee Park on Turtle Creek Boulevard?
Chefs for Farmers is a grassroots organization that celebrates all things local. They are a group of volunteers who put on no-fuss events in support of local farmers, as well as the chefs and businesses that participate in the local food movement that donates 100% of the profits to charitable causes. Their goal is to raise awareness for the local locavore movement in Texas connecting chefs with local food resources. Each year the event has grown and has a different theme. This year they’ll be Mixin it Up on the Boulevard on Sunday May 6th, 2012 from 1-5 at Lee Park on Turtle Creek Boulevard!
What You Need to Know:
This will be THE Ultimate Food and Wine Festival because it will feature the very best of the best our local market has to offer, a day of great food, libations, music and a “special” featured guest performance entertainer you will NOT want to miss!!!
- Amazing Creations By More Than 30 Chefs
- Vino and Spirits From Over 20 Wineries and Distilleries
- Mixologists Pouring Potent Libations
- Farm and Artisan Display
- Best Dish Competition Sponsored by Artizone
- Grab a Blanket
- Bring Your Own Wine Glass to Donate to Café Momentum
- Tracks spun by local DJ’s
What: Chefs for Farmers – Mixin it up on the Boulevard
When: Sunday, May 6th, 2012 1:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Where: Lee Park – Turtle Creek Boulevard
Why: 100% of Proceeds donated to Meals on Wheels & Water for Chizavane
How Much: One / $60 – Two / $110
Hottest Food Porn Moments
Another equally seductive sandwich, but for totally different reasons, is the Sweet Italian from Scardello Artisan Cheese near the corner of Lemmon and Oaklawn in Dallas. I stopped in for a quickie and grabbed this to go one day while out running errands at lunch. It’s lusciousness swept off my feet as I indulged in it’s niceties. The bread was a not too crusty, it was a fresh baked French baguette, inside was a very thinly sliced prosciutto and buratta (fresh mozzarella cheese), but what will make you beg for more is the fig confit. The combination of the fresh baked bread with the saltiness of the ham, the sweetness of the fig and the gooey melted cheese will put a smile on your face that will last for the rest of the day. The fresh spinach salad with dried cranberries and vinaigrette was an enticing side note to the sandwich, and I appreciate that it didn’t come with the same old a boring bag of chips.
Local Flavor You Will Savor
This next dish comes from Local in Deep Ellum. Local is a modern American restaurant in the renovated Boyd Hotel, built in 1908. This quiet intimate neighborhood spot features many original architectural elements, and is land marked as the oldest standing hotel in Dallas. Local is a truly amazing hidden gem in the Dallas culinary landscape. The restaurant, owned by Chef Tracy Miller, features dishes whose main ingredients are grown locally, as the name implies, using the highest quality, freshest ingredients available from the local market year-round. This makes for a provocative seasonal menu because, no matter when you visit, or what you eat, you’ll know you can just sit back, relax, and take pleasure in the experience of artful dining.
This Lemley’s Peach Salad was both beautiful and decadent, beyond what words can describe. The peaches came from Shed 2 (the local produce shed) of the Dallas Farmer’s Market. It was served at the height of peach season, with a subtle, slightly creamy blue cheese and balsamic dressing. The flavors were so simple, but each shined with natural beauty as I ate every bite, tasted the last drop of balsamic nectar with my index finger, and lingered in the moment while I wished there was more after it was gone.
You Had Me at Gazpacho
It’s exciting when a talented chef reinvents a dish and you get to experience it in a whole new way, like the very first time, only even better. This Crab Gazpacho from Nosh Euro Bistro, was lasciviously prepared and presented to me by Chef/Partner Jon Stephens as I sat, front and center, at the kitchen theatre chef’s table. This reconstructed dish, had a mouthwatering light and creamy avocado citrus broth, brunoise style vegetables in every color of the rainbow, and it was gratuitously crowned with sweet, succulent, jumbo lump crab meat. The flavors were flirtatiously fresh, bright and melodious, the kind of taste that greets you like an old flame who says “Hello Lover” as it leans in for a kiss on the lips.
This article was re-published from www.ILiveinDallas.com, voted CBS “Most Valuable Blogger” People’s Choice Award.
Thanksgiving is quite possibly my very favorite holiday because, let’s just be honest here, I love to eat. Thanksgiving Day is the day when you can graze to your heart’s content, take a nice, long, tryptophan-induced nap, then wake up and do it all over again – with pie (Mmmmmm, PIE).
This year, I set out on a mission to find local ingredients in Dallas to prepare my Thanksgiving feast, and I’m quite pleased to report that our locally grown, organic food options are this Urban Foodie’s dream come true. This got me thinking about, not only what I’m going to make to eat, but reflecting on how truly grateful I am to live in Dallas where I have so many great food options right outside my door, some even within walking distance of my home.
Why Buy Fresh, Buy Local?
Buying fresh, local ingredients is a great way to go green, support your local community and improve your health all at the same time. Because food is grown and produced locally, it doesn’t have to travel very far to get to your table. This means the ingredients are fresher because they arrive to you faster, which is a greener alternative to food that has been shipped long distance, or imported from other countries.
Local food also tastes better. Ask any well-known chef in Dallas, they’ll tell you they purchase local ingredients whenever possible. The reason is the quality is superior, and using better ingredients equals better food. It tastes better because it’s delivered at the peak of freshness, when the vitamins and minerals are at their highest concentration, which not only tastes great, but is actually more nutritious, and healthier for you to eat, too. For me, buying fresh, locally grown ingredients is a no brainer. I’m supporting local independent business owners, butchers, bakers, farmers, and chefs who bring me amazing ingredients, and food that tastes great, it is healthier to eat, and it’s better for the environment, win–win!
Where to Buy Fresh Local Ingredients in Dallas:
Gobble, Gobble – No Thanksgiving meal would be complete without a delicious cooked turkey, and if you haven’t been to Rudolph’s Market & Sausage Factory in Deep Ellum, you’re in for a real treat. They’re a real live traditional butcher shop, complete with everything a meat lover could desire, including fresh turkeys. You can call ahead to reserve your a bird, or just walk right into the market to pick one up. Rudolph’s has whole fresh turkeys, free range birds, turkey breasts and whole smoked turkeys as well. They offer a wide variety of unique things in their store, including bones. Yes, you can purchase bones (turkey, as well as many other types of bones). Bones are used for making soup stock and I will use them to make extra homemade turkey gravy to accompany my delicious bird! Rudolph’s is located in Deep Ellum at 2924 Elm Street, Dallas, TX 75226 (214) 741-1874.
Dressing vs. Stuffing – Dressing is made in a pan and baked in the oven. Stuffing is the same thing, only it’s actually cooked inside the bird, hence the reason it’s called “stuffing.” Turkey stuffing recipes vary in different parts of the country. Up north, it’s made with breadcrumbs, oysters, and water chestnuts, but in Texas, we do it “Southern Style” with cornbread, sausage, and mushrooms. And the most delicious sausage in Dallas is made locally at Jimmy’s Italian Food Store. Jimmy’s is well-known for many wonderful things (Italian sandwiches, their deli, cannolis, pizza dough, and even wine tastings), but they’re best known for their sausage, which is why so many local Dallas restaurants feature Jimmy’s Sausage in dishes on their menus. Jimmy’s is located at 4901 Bryan Street (at N. Fitzhugh Avenue), Dallas, TX 75206 (214) 823-6180.
Parsley, Sage, Rosemary & Thyme - Tom Spicer, aka “Spiceman,” is the ultimate spice shop in Dallas. It supplies many of Dallas top restaurants with fresh locally grown spices of all kinds, and exotic produce like seasonal wild mushrooms, hearts of palm, and hand-trimmed artichokes, just to name a few. Spiceman’s F.M. 1410’s wholesale/retail chefs’ market is located just two doors down from Jimmy’s. When you go there, be sure ask to be added be added to Spiceman’s mailing list, he sends out weekly email updates to let you know what’s in currently in season at his market, located at 1410 N. Fitzhugh Avenue (near Bryan Street), Dallas TX 75204 (214) 954-7994.
A Thanksgiving Cornucopia – No Thanksgiving meal would be complete without the traditional side dishes, and desserts. At my house, our favorites include mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes (not the kind with marshmallows on top – ick), green bean casserole, corn pudding, Vidalia onion pie, Parker House rolls, herbed butter, turkey gravy, cranberry sauce (not that stuff in the shape of a can), apple pie, pecan pie, pumpkin pie, and let’s not forget, my grandmother’s fudge pie with fresh whipped cream. Everything at our house was made entirely from scratch and it was so, so, so, good. That’s the stuff family Thanksgiving traditions are made of. Did I mention pie?
No matter what your traditional Thanksgiving dinner family favorites are, you can find just about any kind of produce you need (fruits, vegetables, nuts, etc) to make those sweet and savory delights in Shed 1, (the Local Produce Section) of the Dallas Farmer’s Market. Everything sold in Shed 1 is grown within 150 miles of Dallas, and many have been grown organically (without the use of chemicals, or pesticides), although not all are “certified organic” due to the cost associated with that designation. Shopping at the Dallas Farmer’s Market is a great way to discover what’s in season, find fruits and vegetables you’ve never tried before, and spend a leisurely day sampling the freshest food Dallas has to offer. The Dallas Farmers Market is located at 1010 S. Pearl Street, Dallas, TX 75201, (just south of Downtown Dallas), (214) 670-5880.
I’m sincerely thankful Dallas has so much to offer from a local market perspective. These are just a few of my Urban Foodie favorite places to buy fresh, local ingredients in Dallas. I hope you’ll check them out for yourself, I know you’ll be glad you did. I’ll be writing more about Dallas merchants, stores, markets, chefs, and restaurants that are doing creative and interesting things within the local market soon, but I’m always looking for new places and noteworthy hidden gems, so feel free to share your favorites with me in your comments, or on Twitter: @UrbanEpicurious.