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.
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.
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.