Win a $50 Gift Basket for Your Valentine from Empire Bakery!

Dear Empire Bakery,

How do I love thee? Let me count the ways, Linzer cookies, shortbread cookies, chocolate brownies, cranberry scones and cranberry walnut bread and so many reasons more.

If you’ve eaten at any of the best restaurants in Dallas, Rosewood Mansion on Turtle Creek, to Bolsa Mercado, or Lee Harvey’s, just to name a few, you’re already familiar with Empire Bakery Company’s delicious baked goods. What you may not know is they also have a retail store where they sell to the public.

Owners Robert and Meaders Ozarow have been honoring the tradition of bread making in their Dallas, Texas, bakery for over 20 years. This family-owned and operated artisan bakery sells wholesale to many local restaurants and bakes European style natural breads, pastries, cookies, sandwiches and salads at it’s retail location (on West Lovers between the North Dallas Tollway and Inwood).

With goods this fresh, you can order your choice of bread today (download menu Empire Baking Menu), it will be baked from scratch in the morning and can be delivered tomorrow while still warm straight from the oven!


Roses are Red, Gluten is GREAT!

Sugar is Sweet & OMG are Those Brownies!?!?

Starting today through Friday February 14th, 2014 comment below, post on Facebook or Tweet your Valentines using #UrbanValentines and you’ll be automatically entered to win a $50 Gift Card from Empire Baking Company!


One lucky winner will be chosen. The more you post, tweet and share, the better your chances to win. Must be over age 21 to win. Winner will be announced on Valentine’s Day at 3:00 pm on social media. Winner must pick up Gift Certificate from Empire Bakery no later than 30 days after announcement, and my decision is final. So, bring on your most clever, funniest Valentines!


Phone: (214) 350-0007



Twitter: @EmpireBaking

Hours: Mon-Sat 8 a – 6 p | Sun 9:30 a – 4 p

Address: 5450 West Lovers Lane (at Inwood Lane), Dallas, Texas 75209

Click the map for Google Maps directions.


empire baking company directions


Dallas Urban Acres Market Farmstead Kickstarter

On August 3, 2013, in Shopping, by Bev Garvin

An Urban Farmstead is Coming to Oak Cliff

Urban Acres Market is wrapping up its’ Kickstarter campaign to raise $30,000 by August 5th to build a one of a kind Farmstead only five minutes from Downtown Dallas in historic Oak Cliff that will bring the farm into the city.On July 28th, they announced that they had reached the goal and were now going for the next mark of $45,000 by Monday, August 5th. To incent people to help them reach their goal, they have lots of cool prizes for donations of all amounts.

Urban Acres started between a few good friends who had an idea to connect farms with people who want locally grown organic food. Today, Urban Acres Market has become a wonderful source of local, organic food for about 2,300 people in the Dallas metroplex. At Urban Acres, their goal was to provide the public with access to the very best local and organic foods while supporting Texas farm families and artisans. So they created a co-op-style produce system with pick-up locations all over Dallas that make shopping easy and trying new veggies fun. The Kickstarter funding will allow Urban Acres to expand its’ scope and even better serve the community. Here’s the inside scoop:


The Urban Acres Vision

To create a small oasis, (approximately 1300 sq ft) in the historic neighborhood of Oak Cliff right in the heart of Dallas, that will bring together the best of Texas farms and local artisans all under one roof. Imagine a place where patrons can enjoy deliciously prepared local food, learn about aquaponic gardening, the importance of bees, feed the chickens and enjoy a cup of locally roasted coffee while relaxing in a rocking chair on the front porch.  A place for our community to interact over food, and the idea that local food matters while sipping ice tea.  It might just be the craziest thing, but so was bringing organic fruits and veggies from Texas farmers into the city and because of the Urban Acres family, this is a reality today.


The Urban Acres Farmstead Construction Check List:

  • City Permits, Demo, Construction, & Plans
  • 4 Foot Cheese Case
  • Open Kitchen to slice and dice veggies and fruit
  • 300 Sq Ft Aquaponics Garden
  • Bee & Butterfly Garden
  • Front Porch Patio with Communal Table & Rocking Chairs
  • Nice Beautiful Sign for Front of Store
  • Lights and Signs for Inside of Store
  • Big New Front Door


How Can You Help?

Urban Acres is here because of YOU – and they can’t do this without you. With your help, Urban Acres will create a unique gathering place for our community and help Dallas see that local food matters. In return, they are offering fantastic gifts featuring many of Dallas’ best artisans at each donation level.

Your Gift to Dallas:

  • An aquaponics farmstead for growing produce and education
  • A chicken run to supply the freshest eggs in town
  • An artisan cheese case crafting the best-in-Texas cheeses
  • A fun and funky community space for classes and events
  • A bee and butterfly garden
  • Farmstead-to-table events
  • Access to farmstead-to-table gourmet goods

Urban Acres Gift to You:

  • Exclusive farm tours
  • Special edition Urban Acres apparel and accessories
  • Aquaponics classes
  • Cooking classes with notable chefs
  • Fresh organic locally grown produce
  • A party with a chef
  • In-store exclusives
  • High-fives and immense gratitude

More Information:



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



Top 10 Hottest Food Porn Shots of 2011

On January 20, 2012, in Food Porn, by Bev Garvin

My Hottest Food Porn Moments


Tease Me, Please Me

Chef John Tesar’s farm-to-table menu at The Commissary in One Arts Plaza, features an array of imaginative dishes and a unique gourmet burgers in a casual upscale setting.  There are about a dozen delectable burgers to choose from, each accentuating unique local and exotic ingredients.  This Farmer Burger hit the spot one night with it’s perfectly cooked, juicy pink, medium rare center, of grass fed all natural beef, accompanied by a fried duck egg, speck and white Vermont cheddar on a brioche bun brushed with Eschire butter.  This over-the-top hunky burger was served along side a fantastic stack of onion rings.  It is the kind of burger one fantasizes about and would expect from a “Rock Star Chef” like Tesar. As you can clearly see, this burger is not for amateurs, it’s hard core all the way.

Got Wood?

Sometimes you just crave something that’s nice, big, thick, juicy, smoky, and satisfying.  And when you do, the nice folks at Lockhart Smoke House in Bishop Arts have just the thing – meat, and lots of it.  This quaint neighborhood shop isn’t pretentious or fancy. When you walk in you’ll order at the butcher counter in the back, pay for your food and take it to your table.  There are no forks, there is no sauce, their ribs are dry rubbed, smoked, served on butcher paper and sold by the 1/2 pound.  This place is veritable sausagefest.  No really, they proudly sell authentic German Kreuz sausages which originate back to Charles Kreuz in the 1900’s, and the famous Kreuz Market that’s still open today in Lockhart, Texas, (where this BBQ joint gets it’s name).  They use the same time-honored traditions people have enjoyed for more than 100 years.  The ownership has been passed down through the generations and changed hands a couple times over the years, but not much else has changed.  This market-style eatery still sells quality smoked meats, and good old fashioned sides like deviled eggs, baked beans, mac-n-cheese, coleslaw, potato salad and so much more.  Looks pretty tempting, no?

The Big Oh!

I have to admit, I work myself into a frenzy and get weak in the knees when I know I’m going to have dessert.  Like a crack whore in a crack den, I’m hopelessly addicted, and I’m completely powerless to resist basking in the afterglow of a decadent meal by indulging in something sweet and sublime.  I eat dessert pretty much every time I get a chance (way more often than I should), because a really good one makes me swoon.

This Italian Meringue Shortcake with Berry Compote by Executive Chef/Partner Chris Ward of The Mercury in the Preston Forest Shopping Center is a confectionery work of art that is as arousing and opulent as it looks.   Visions of sugarplums dance in my head at the very thought of it.  The sponge cake was incredibly fresh and moist.  The plump, voluptuous berries had a luxurious mouthfeel as they erupted with exuberant intensity.  Their ambrosia was undeniably enhanced by the mellow meringue and subtle softness of the fresh whipped cream.  The entire dessert menu at The Mercury was taunting and tempting, it doesn’t get much better than this, but I think I must go back to experience the Chocolate Fantasmagoria with fresh fruit compote next time.

But just you wait, I have saved the best for last.  Tomorrow I’ll announce the winner of my VERY Hottest Food Porn Moment of 2011, and your mouth will drop to the ground if it hasn’t already.


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Top 10 Hottest Food Porn Shots of 2011

On January 19, 2012, in Food Porn, by Bev Garvin

Hottest Food Porn Moments


Afternoon Delight

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.


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This article was re-published from, 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.

Fall Gourds at Dallas Farmer's Market | Photo Credit: Bev Garvin-Urban Epicurious

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:

My Perfectly Cooked Brined Turkey | Photo Credit: Bev Garvin-Urban Epicurious

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.

Local Produce Shed 1 at Dallas Farmer's Market | Photo Credit: Bev Garvin-Urban Epicurious

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?

Banana Creme Pie R&D Kitchen - I Love PIE! | Photo Credit: Bev Garvin-Urban Epicurious

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.