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Royal Sichuan (Richardson)

there's a decent Indian restaurant in the near downtown area?

Jul 06, 2014
gavlist in Dallas - Fort Worth

Help with really picky eaters in Dallas!

I've always had the opposite impression, but my experiences have been mostly at dinner (where BBQ is only ~20% of the menu, alongside things like foie gras, shishito peppers, beet salads, and a host of other things that you'd rarely find at a BBQ place) and at brunch (pancakes with vanilla poached apricots, smoked salmon florentine, broiled grapefruit, granola).

In fact, I find the bbq there to be pretty lackluster, so I don't even consider it when I'm ordering. I can see that lunch might give you a different impression, but Smoke also has a totally different atmosphere than a typical "BBQ place" - much more like a restaurant (table service, cocktails, tablecloths and cloth napkins).

Jul 01, 2014
gavlist in Dallas - Fort Worth

Fermentation crock?

I've been doing small batch fermentation in ~1 quart glass jars, and it works just fine. My approach is to cover the surface with plastic wrap (pressing it down on the surface of the liquid). I then use something that will fit into the opening to weight the surface to keep the vegetables submerged. I assume that this keeps the culture fairly anaerobic, but still allows gasses to escape. It's not perfect, and I'm sure that a dedicated vessel would work a little better. Something like this seems ideal:
http://www.pickl-it.com/

You're right about mold being the problem with air exposure of the vegetables, and yes - if it's white mold I've scraped it off and have had no further problems.

The amount of time is temperature dependent - fermentation goes faster when it's warmer (but not too warm). Typically I find that foods are sufficiently sour for my purposes after 4 days or a week. I've never tried letting it go much longer, but that could be cool too.

Jun 12, 2014
gavlist in Dallas - Fort Worth

Walking distance Omni Hotel

just to be clear... you're referring to the Omni that's downtown on Lamar, not the one "at Park West" on LBJ, right?

If it's the one on Lamar, then you could walk to CBD Provisions in 12', Meso Maya in 20', Stampede 66 (which is probably on the pricey side, given your budget) in 20', and Savor or Lark on the Park in 23' (according to Google Maps). This also happens to be the order in which I would recommend these restaurants (CBD would be my first choice, etc).

Jun 12, 2014
gavlist in Dallas - Fort Worth

Best Philly Cheesesteaks in DFW?

agree - it's delicious. And it's only non-authentic in that they use higher-than-average quality ingredients.

Jun 11, 2014
gavlist in Dallas - Fort Worth

Minneapolis foodie in Dallas

Lucia is a good call. The tasting menu at FT33 would also be delicious. A number of people have raved to me about Spoon as well... I don't have enough experience eating there to comment, but it's probably worth considering.

Apr 22, 2014
gavlist in Dallas - Fort Worth

All things Goat

does the pambazo at La Hechizera not qualify? I'm not clear on what defines ahogada, but the pambazo is dipped in a salsa. Maybe the quantity of sauce is the distinction... the pambazo was definitely not swimming in soup.

Apr 11, 2014
gavlist in Dallas - Fort Worth

All things Goat

just remembered... FT33 has (or at least, has had) a goat mortadella as part of the salumi board. Very very good.

Apr 11, 2014
gavlist in Dallas - Fort Worth

Innovative in Dallas--April 5-7

I don't think $10 for foie gras is an unreasonable upcharge... as long as it contributes favorably to the dish. Your feeling was that it worked well, and enhanced the dish by 2x?

Apr 03, 2014
gavlist in Dallas - Fort Worth

Innovative in Dallas--April 5-7

I got a pretty negative report on the BB poutine, from a Canadian transplant. They felt that:
1) the fries were poorly executed (not crispy)
2) there was insufficient gravy
3) the foie gras added very little to the flavor, given the pretty substantial increase in price.

I, myself, haven't been yet.

Apr 03, 2014
gavlist in Dallas - Fort Worth

Innovative in Dallas--April 5-7

I haven't been to any of the restaurants you metioned, so I might be missing your mark... but for dinners FT33, Lucia, Casa Rubia would be the obvious choices. Belly & Trumpet, maybe. Tei An can be pretty cool if you like omakase, but it's not generally "innovative" in the sense of Uchi or Uchiko. Of the places I mentioned, Casa Rubia and Tei An are open Sunday - the rest are closed.

Apr 01, 2014
gavlist in Dallas - Fort Worth
1

Restaurants near Anatole Hilton in Dallas

glad you enjoyed it. I really need to get back and try the current version of the tasting menu - I think that pretty much every dish has changed since I tried it last.

All of those recommendations are excellent - I ate at Lucia last night, in fact (and it was delicious). I'm guessing they meant Yutaka for sushi.

Mar 28, 2014
gavlist in Dallas - Fort Worth

Restaurants near Anatole Hilton in Dallas

I've never been to SER, and haven't been to Abacus in a very long time. Belly & Trumpet has some good stuff - in fact, a few of the flavor combinations I tried on my first visit were really creative and quite delicious. I'd say, however, that there were probably as many failures as successes, and it leaves me somewhat underwhelmed.

I will say that two of Dallas' best bartenders have been working at Abacus lately, so it would definitely be a good place to grab a cocktail if your so inclined. Belly & Trumpet also has good people behind the bar.

Mar 20, 2014
gavlist in Dallas - Fort Worth

Restaurants near Anatole Hilton in Dallas

You're close to the design district, so I'd recommend FT33. Awesome and creative cocktails, incredible chef's tasting menu on Tues, Weds or Thurs, and a delicious regular menu as well.

Mar 18, 2014
gavlist in Dallas - Fort Worth

BBQ, Tacos & Local Food (Help me trim down my itinerary)

I haven't been to Manny's, but I went to Mia's for lunch a couple of days ago, and those brisket tacos were ridiculously good. Plus, they're a pretty atypical texmex entree... not your usual enchilada-con-carne with a side of taco.

Mar 15, 2014
gavlist in Dallas - Fort Worth

BBQ, Tacos & Local Food (Help me trim down my itinerary)

The costillas en adobo are delicious, as are the tortilla chips (I usually get some guacamole or ceviche to enjoy them with). That, plus the mole, either on a duck leg or tortillas enmoladas, make the restaurant destination-worthy in my mind. I agree, though, that there isn't much else that stands out.

good call on the brisket tacos.

Mar 13, 2014
gavlist in Dallas - Fort Worth

BBQ, Tacos & Local Food (Help me trim down my itinerary)

some thoughts...

CBD Provisions, while quite good, is not very Texan or local (in style).

I think that FT33 is very good, and definitely worth a visit (although, yes, it is a violation of your theme).

You are aware that Snow's, Lambert's and Black's are in Central TX, roughly 3 hours drive away from Dallas? Also, in that category I'd skip FM Smoke House... it's pretty disappointing.

I'd also pass on Hypnotic Donuts - I think that the donuts are better at Glazed Donut Works, and the chicken biscuits are better at Chicken Scratch. Emporium Pies is fantastic, and VBC is quite good although far from "world class".

By that time, the White Rock Local Market should be up and running (on Saturday) and I'd strongly recommend that you seek out Luscher's Post Oak Red Hots. Yes, it's a hot dog, but they're closer to TX BBQ than you might imagine (meat+fat+smoke) and incredibly delicious. I am not a hot dog afficionado, except for these.

Mar 12, 2014
gavlist in Dallas - Fort Worth

All things Goat

CBD Provisions has small meat pies filled with goat braised in stout. They're good - not stunningly good, but make for a pretty nice snack.

Mar 12, 2014
gavlist in Dallas - Fort Worth
1

Nonna vs Lucia

last night, at Lucia, I had what might be the richest dish I've ever eaten. Smoked sweetbreads stuffed into mezzaluna, topped with hedgehog mushrooms and wilted green garlic and some parmigiano. The sauce was a massively reduced stock... so rich and viscous. It was almost too rich... but amazingly good.

Also there was a really nice roasted beet risotto, with small cubes of bacon and topped with some grilled (I think) radicchio.

And a simple but ultra delicious "warm salad" of sauteed baby artichokes on top of ricotta, all covered in shaved fennel and grated bottarga.

oh - and candy cap bomboloni (basically donut holes) on a base of walnut butter with sliced pears and dollops of pear butter. Ridiculous.

Feb 28, 2014
gavlist in Dallas - Fort Worth

Any Chowhound Worthy Spots in Convention Center Area?

In the Art District, there's Tei An, which is a really fantastic japanese restaurant. Their specialty is soba noodles, which are delicious and relatively inexpensive. But it can also get pretty pricey - depending on what you want to eat.

Downtown, I'd recommend CBD Provisions in the Joule Hotel. Meso Maya is also pretty good.

In Deep Ellum, I'd hit up Il Cane Rosso - Neapolitan-style pizza.

I'd also say that you can easily get to Oak Cliff, the Design District or Trinity Groves within 15'... so that opens up:
Lucia, Boulevardier, Driftwood, Lockhart BBQ, Smoke, Mesa (in Oak Cliff)
Casa Rubia in Trinity Groves
FT33, The Meddlesome Moth (good beer selection... food only ok) and Ascension Coffee in the Design District.

Feb 11, 2014
gavlist in Dallas - Fort Worth

Long shot question: Where can I buy a Hario coffee grinder in Dallas?

Ascension usually has them, but I just called and they're out of stock. The guy there suggested trying Davis Street Espresso (I've never heard of it...).

You could also try Williams Sonoma or Sur La Table, both of whom carry it on their website.

If you're needing coffee as well, I'd suggest Ascension who is currently carrying Pilot (from Canada) and Ritual, or Weekend Coffee (downtown) who has Victrola, or Mudsmith (although I have no idea who they carry). If you'd prefer to try a local roaster, look for Cultivar - either at their shop on the east side of White Rock Lake, or at Scardello Cheese shop (worth a visit regardless).

Feb 08, 2014
gavlist in Dallas - Fort Worth

CBD Provisions

I have been for dinner several times, and brunch once. The brunch sucked... we sent back a poached eggs dish because they were cold. When they came back the eggs were warm, but WAY too salty (and I'm definitely not salt-averse). However, they handled it VERY nicely. No argument whatsoever when we sent the dish back, and they brought us some pastry to munch on while we waited for the replacement, AND they comp'd the eggs in the end.

I've also been for dinner several times and it's always been quite good. Not amazing - and maybe not up to the hype - but definitely solid. The burger is outstanding, the pork shoulder is great, the fish dish was good (can't recall details at the moment). I even like their salads. I've had both good and mediocre versions of their steak frites (but yeah - the fries are very good). I have never failed to (overall) enjoy a dinner there.

Feb 05, 2014
gavlist in Dallas - Fort Worth

Nonna vs Lucia

yeah, I almost never order the secondi. The times I've had them (mmm... veal chop!) they've been good, but the variety that I get from an appetizer and a small pasta appeals to me more. Also, I always feel like the David's entrees emphasize rich-on-rich combinations of ingredients, which become a bit too much with larger portions.

good question about the relative richness... Let's see...

on the current menu, Nonna has the following pastas:
veal ragu, cream and parmigiano (rich)
ricotta tortellini with suckling pig ragu (rich)
farro spaghetti (light)
gnocchi with oxtails (rich)
chittara with calamari (light)
amatriciana (light)
carbonara (rich)
kabocha squash tortelli (rich)
bolognese (rich)
lobster ravioli (light)

Lucia has:
spaghetti with octopus (light)
tagliatelle al ragu (let's say rich)
risotto bianco (light... but it has chicken livers)
fonduta langaroli with truffle (rich :)
gnocchi with oxtail (rich).

So, just for the pastas, Lucia has 3 rich and 2 light, for a rich-ratio of 0.6. Nonna has 6 rich and 4 light, for a ratio of... 0.6!

of course, this is based on my guess about how the dishes come out. I did a similar rundown of the antipasti, and both come out around 50/50.

Maybe the rich Lucia dishes come out richer... actually, I think you're right in this regard, but I guess I like that.

Jan 29, 2014
gavlist in Dallas - Fort Worth

Nonna vs Lucia

I went to one of their special seafood dinners not too long ago, and I'd say it was decent, but not up to their usual standard. Honestly, I think they bit off too much work - rather than develop a set course menu with, say 5 new dishes, they created an entire menu of new dishes... something like 20+ new things to cook, for only 3 or 4 days. It doesn't surprise me that their execution suffered a bit... nor does it excuse overcooked pasta. But I'd say that, on average, Nonna does a better job than that.

I would still give Lucia the edge. Recently they've been serving a rich, creamy, almost soup-like bagna cauda with lightly cooked vegetables, a sous vide egg, and shavings of white Alba truffles. so good.

Jan 29, 2014
gavlist in Dallas - Fort Worth

Dallas Downtown recommendations wanted!

I was never a huge fan of Oak - I had pretty variable experiences there, despite glowing reviews from DMN et al. But then they changed chefs, and I read a substantially less glowing report (I think from DMN again).

Jan 23, 2014
gavlist in Dallas - Fort Worth

3.5 Days in Dallas, Trimming the Itenerary

FT33 does a tasting menu - but only on Tues, Weds or Thurs, and they want you to request it when you make your reservation. The courses (I think 11, if you count all the small stuff) are all different from what's on the menu. I thought it was a fantastic meal - every single course was as good or better than the best of the regular menu items (which are also very good). Really interesting ideas and presentation and flavor combination, excellent balance of flavors, everything perfectly cooked. I also strongly recommend the beverage pairings - they were brilliantly chosen.

Matt is actually in the process of developing new dishes for the tasting menu - I think they'll have switched by March, so you probably won't get the same dishes I had last time.

Jan 18, 2014
gavlist in Dallas - Fort Worth

Dallas Downtown recommendations wanted!

El Fenix definitely has authentic local character, but not so much creative or using "high quality fresh local ingredients".

Jan 16, 2014
gavlist in Dallas - Fort Worth

Dallas Downtown recommendations wanted!

demigodh is correct. My comment was not meant that there are a lot of vegetarian options... just that, when they have them, they're often some of the best choices on the menu. You should definitely check the menu in advance... but since they might change it the day of your visit, you should also ask if they are willing to make something vegetarian if there's nothing on the menu... I suspect that they would.

Jan 16, 2014
gavlist in Dallas - Fort Worth

Dallas Downtown recommendations wanted!

Meso Maya is quite good. I'd go there, but foiegras has it right... El Fenix probably has more "local character". I have not been, but I've heard that Sol Irlandes is nothing special.

FT33 often has really fantastic vegetarian options (in particular appetizers). CBD Provisions is quite good too, but there aren't very many meatless options for you there.

Jan 15, 2014
gavlist in Dallas - Fort Worth

3.5 Days in Dallas, Trimming the Itenerary

Belly & Trumpet is good, but not nearly as good on imagination or execution as FT33. If you can make it on Tues-Thurs, I strongly recommend the tasting menu. I would also suggest Casa Rubia, which is doing some really nice stuff.

I see what you're saying about Fearing's or Pyle's. But I, personally, would skip them both.

A lunch alternative - if you're around on a Saturday, try to find the White Rock Local Market (it oscillates between two locations) and get one or two of Brian Luscher's Post Oak Smoked Red Hots. They are magnificent - without a doubt the best "hot dogs" I've eaten, although they have the smoke and unctuousness to qualify as near-BBQ. Kind of what you might expect from a Chicago transplant to Dallas.

Jan 14, 2014
gavlist in Dallas - Fort Worth