At Chino Chinatown, Mexican-Fusion Ramen Tastes a Little Like Pho

Categories: Eat This

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Michelle Kessler
Depending on your taste buds, ramen + Mexico = either deliciousness or the Cilantro Danger Zone
Michelle learned to love ramen as a teenager, growing up in Singapore and traveling around Asia with her family. Brian is newer to the scene: He didn't even try instant ramen in college. Together, they're hunting for DFW's best ramen.

The Shop: Chino Chinatown

The Atmosphere: Yuppie fusion chic. Chino Chinatown is the Trinity Groves development's Latin-Asian fusion concept, and it comes with a full bar, red ropes strung across the ceiling, a big lantern-bedecked patio ideal for people-watching, and vibrant paintings on the walls. Don't miss the bathroom hallway, with its gallery of giant photos of exuberant Dia de los Muertos figures in loud corsets. When we visited, the clientele was in a festive mood - several tables were enjoying multiple rounds of fancy cocktails and decidedly unfancy wine, and a dozen women chatted, toasted, and laughed around a big table inside.

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Five Dallas Restaurants Where You Can Celebrate Cinco de Mayo on the Cheap

Categories: Drinking, Holidays

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Kathy Tran
Go to these, now.
Today is Cinco de Mayo, but you already knew that. Not because you're some kind of expert in Mexican history, but because you really, really like to drink. In this fair city, we celebrate this joyous occasion in the most American way possible, by ignoring Mexico's history and tradition in favor of many tequila shots.

Fortunately there are plenty of bars who are willing to take advantage of your inability to control your alcohol consumption, and that means cheap drinks and snacks to soak them all up with. We've rounded up the five best Cinco de Mayo deals for those of you who need to trash your livers on the cheap.

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The Pizza at CiboDivino Is Worth a Visit to Sylvan Thirty's New Italian Market

Categories: First Look

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It's not really Neapolitan pizza, but it's great.
If there is one thing you need to know about CiboDivino it's that they aren't serving Neapolitan pizzas like they claim. I mean this as a compliment, really; Dallas already has enough "authentic" Italian pizza, and it was time for something new to spin through the air. What's most important is whether or not the pizza is delicious, and as you can likely predict after looking at the picture above, the answer to the question with respect to this pie is yes. As for classification, that's a bit tricky.

The pies are about the size and shape as a Neapolitan pizza. Where they differ is the crust, which is thicker, though still pliable. If your biggest complaint about Neapolitan pie is that floppy, soggy crust in the center at each round, check CiboDivino out. The cheese is applied in a thin veil, and there's a good bit of acidic tomato sauce. There are also plenty of blistery black bubbles and charring that give this pizza a nice aroma and flavor. I find myself wishing this place would bill itself as a New York City-style pizzeria and deli shop.

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Campestra, in Forth Worth, Is a Revolver Spin-Off and You Should Eat There

Categories: First Look

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Capestra's guacamole with pig skins
Campestre Chula Vista, in Fort Worth, is a massive ode to Michoacan cooking, the work of the same guys that brought you Revolver Taco and are expected to open a new restaurant in Deep Ellum later this year.

The Deep Ellum location is still a ways off, though, and back in Forth Worth, things are trucking along quite nicely. The Campestre is by no means a finished product, but there are tables for dinning indoors and out, a colorful fresh coat of paint laps every paintable surface in bright pinks, oranges and blues, and festive music flows from speakers, seemingly from every direction.

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At Fat Cow BBQ in Lewisville, Redefining Strip-Mall Barbecue

Categories: Barbecue

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Chris Wolfgang
Not your everyday strip mall fare.
Strip malls are the stigmata of suburbia: bland architecture filled with non-descript businesses that you only patronize because they're convenient to your dull drive home. When space aliens first land in the suburbs, they'll assume we're a species that loves donuts and manicures and lacks the ability to do our own laundry.

Expectations are lower when you go to a strip mall restaurant, with certain exceptions made for certain ethnic cuisines in certain suburbs. Imagine my surprise, then, when I stepped out of my car at Fat Cow BBQ in Lewisville and smelled wonderful barbecue smoke. Yes, it's located in a newer-looking strip mall, but out back sits an honest-to-goodness woodshed and large barrel smoker. Smoke really does make everything better. Even strip malls.


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CiboDivino, an Italian Market and Cafe, Finally Opens at Sylvan Thirty Today

Categories: Food News

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courtesy CiboDivino
Get ready to spend lots of money at this place, folks.
We've been pretty hype about the restaurants opening at Sylvan Thirty, the brand-new, multipurpose development just south of Downtown, and for good reason. In just the last few months, a great creperie has opened, Teiichi Sakurai started serving up reasonably-priced (and stellar) ramen, and there are plenty more planned for the city's hottest new development. Now, one of Sylvan Thirty's most highly anticipated spots, CiboDivino, will finally open its doors.

CiboDivino is the brainchild of Daniele and Christina Puleo. You may remember Chef Daniele Puleo from the excellent Daniele Osteria in Oak Lawn, along with restaurants in Roanoke and Fort Worth. This undertaking, though, may well be the jewel in Puleo's restaurateur crown. As both a market and cafe, CiboDivino has plans to offer Dallas something it sorely lacks: great Italian food in a fast-casual setting.

The market side of CiboDivino will sort of resemble a larger Eatzi's, evidenced by the fact that former Eatzi's chef Ryan Olmos will helm the market's kitchen. You'll find prepared Italian foods, fancy olive oils, handmade pasta, fresh cut flowers, and whatever the hell "private label legumes" are. You can also probably expect a solid charcuterie and cheese program, good wines, and plenty of classes on both. The market will stay open until 10 p.m. seven days a week, which is great for folks in the area who have a pretty long drive to a decent grocery store.

The cafe will focus on pizzas fired in a Naples-made wood oven. Also on offer is an impressive selection of wines curated by Puleo, a self-described wine aficionado. The wine selection will come primarily from California and Italy, and offer nearly 350 different bottles. If wine isn't your thing, pair your pizza with a local beer from Lakewood Brewing or Rahr & Sons. Every Saturday, CiboDivino will host wine and cheese pairing classes, which are a great excuse to spend a lazy afternoon consuming cheese and getting wine-drunk before the evening ever starts.

This place may also come with your brand new favorite patio. The space, designed by Ron Guest, will feature a 2,200 square-foot wrap around patio and additional lawn space for al fresco picnicking. We really can't think of a better spring dining experience than picking up a charcuterie and cheese board, grabbing a bottle of wine, and sitting out in the sun under the view of the Dallas skyline.

CiboDivino officially opened its doors today at 7 a.m., after what appears to be a soft opening this weekend based on posts to the spot's Facebook page. If you make it out to today's grand opening, report back and tell us -- how's the pizza?

Heim Craft Barbecue, DFW's Next Big 'Cue Spot, Has Bacon Burnt Ends

Categories: Barbecue

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Matthew Martinez
There's still time, if you hurry, to be counted among Heim's early adopters.
All that has been written about Heim Craft Barbecue in Near Southside Fort Worth to this point has buried the lede. Sure, the brisket, smoky with a pitch black bark, might be better than Pecan Lodge's. Do not sauce Heim's brisket.

And, sure, the line outside the black trailer in the lawn of Republic Street Bar gets longer every Wednesday and Saturday. They have now sold out five consecutive Saturdays, taking only three hours to do so most recently. Seriously, this place is the next to blow up on the 'cue scene.

But Sweet Porky's Ulcer, cue the Halelujah Chorus: THERE ARE BACON BURNT ENDS HERE, PEOPLE. STEP RIGHT UP AND STOP YOUR HEART IN ITS TRACKS WITH SOME BACON BURNT ENDS.

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How to Use a Gaiwan to Up Your Tea-Steeping Game

Categories: Food News

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All photos Scott Reitz
Tea bags will never be the same again.
If you're like me, you left your recent visit to The Cultured Cup in an upbeat mood, with a bag of Don Fang Mei Ren in your hands and the hopes of finding stone fruits in the bottom of your next cup of oolong tea. But at home you read the steeping instructions and you hit a hitch. "Superb with Gong Fu Cha or Gaiwan," the label read, and you asked: "What the hell is this?"

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Richardson Gem Afrah Is Growing, So Get in the Buffet Line

Categories: Food News

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The new Richardson location of Afrah still needs some work.
If you doubt for a second why Afrah is building a massive, new restaurant right next door to the original in Richardson, you only need to show up on a sunny day during buffet service. The lunch buffet is a long-standing tradition in office-worker, daytime-calorie maximization, but what happens at this Lebanese spot borders on unprecedented, spilling out from the main dining room and onto the patio.

I showed up at noon, and a slow-moving line snaked out the door. The tables on the patio were as filled as the trays that left the queue, and customers churned through the place, stopping to leave money at the register on the way out the door.

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The Chocolate-Dipped Paletas at CocoAndre: Just Go, OK?

Categories: Eat This

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Scott Reitz
If fewer syllables were involved the song would have gone "happiness, is a warm chocolate-dipped vanilla and dulce de leche paleta on West Davis Street."
CocoAndre is a shop on West Davis Street in Oak Cliff that sells all manner of chocolate. Like many chocolate shops, you can get fancy chocolate bars studded with nuts or fruit or both. You can also get tiny truffles in no fewer than one million flavors.

CocoAndre also sells chocolate molded into everything from chocolate Louboutins complete with red chocolate soles to massive teddy bears that stand at attention like they're gaurding Buckingham Palace. You can get chocolate old ladies, chocolate labradors and chocolate rabbits, even though Easter is long gone. You can even get chocolate Texas-themed things like boots and maps of the great state of Texas.

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