Gemma Serves Some of the Best Desserts and Tea You Can Find

The pine nut tart with tea service at Gemma.
Photos by Catherine Downes
In Happy Endings, food critic Scott Reitz travels part of the globe that says "Dallas" in search of great desserts and great places to eat them. This is the sixth in an occasional series.

In a few of these Happy Ending columns, I've talked about restaurants whose sweet offerings are so good they are worthy of dessert destination status -- places you'd visit for their confections alone, regardless of whether you've planned on having dinner. Gemma, without a doubt, is worth visiting just for a sugary nightcap. The Henderson Avenue restaurant opened late last year, and if you're interested in learning about the rest of their dinner service you should check out this week's review, but first focus on that pine nut tart pictured above.

See also: Gemma Is Making Beautiful Food, from Sea to Briny Sea

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Proving Off-Site Kitchen Is Amazing with Actual Real (Sort of) Science

Categories: Eat This

Thumbnail image for Offsite_SaraKerens_BurgerWithfries.jpg
Sara Kerens
Kenji Lopez-Alt with Serious Eats is a prophet of smashed burgers. Yes, burgers that you press on a griddle, potentially squeezing out all the blessed juices. Now we know you just slammed your fist on your keyboard and spat Dr Pepper all over your screen, but hold on to your burger anger for one more second. He explains.

In short, Kenji references a sciency process called the Maillard Reaction, which has a Wikipedia page so it must be true. It has something to do with large proteins breaking down into smaller compounds. It's a bit heavy and distracting for burgertalk, but he says it makes the burger taste meatier, and as long as you press super early in the burger cooking process your burger juices remain intact. There's a chart with blue lines that's titled "smash time vs. final weight." Charts win every time.

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Chef Brian Luscher Is on a Red Hot Streak

briancluscher arms cross.jpg
The cheeseburger chef Brian Luscher serves at Sunday brunch at The Grape on Lower Greenville was anointed the Greatest Burger in Texas, and he dishes up cozy comfort food to hundreds of devoted Dallas diners each week. That hasn't gone to his head.

But he is looking to grow. Although the city of Dallas thwarted his first attempt to open a permanent place to sell his Post Oak Red Hots, Luscher isn't discouraged. I sat down to talk with him about his foray into the cured meats business, his love of East Dallas and just how he feels about chefs who take themselves too seriously.

How did you get in the hot dog-making business?
About two years ago, Chad Houser, the Cafe Momentum guy, and his wife managed the White Rock Local Market. She asked Chad and I and a few other chefs to do a demo, and it was in my neighborhood, so I thought it was cool. I got there and saw the beautiful produce, fresh baked bread, candles, local cheeses, an incredible array of groceries, but there was nothing to eat.

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Bocce the Restaurant to Open in Oak Cliff; Bocce the Sport to Take Over Dallas

Categories: Food News

Bocce ball in Klyde Warren Park
I think it was about a year ago that I played some bocce ball in Klyde Warren Park, setting off a wave of nostalgia for what I think is the greatest drinking sport known to man. In another life, in another city, I was involved in a league and regularly drank myself into a stupor while lobbing heavy resin balls at my friends. I wondered why there weren't more bocce happenings here in Dallas. I even briefly toyed with the idea of starting my own league here, before I realized I had absolutely no time to devote to the effort. Little did I know a league was just getting started in Oak Cliff.

Bocce is taking off, not just in leagues but in the restaurants that host the sport. When the Vagabond recently opened its doors, it offered a bocce court out back. Bryan Street Tavern and Outpost host regular league play, and when Stephan Pyles' San Salavaje opens later this year, it will be flanked by a bocce court. If that's not enough, a new restaurant is opening in Oak Cliff very soon, and it's even named after the sport.

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Domino's Fried Chicken Crust + KFC Fried Chicken Corsage = Fried End of World

Categories: Food News

Domino's new not-pizza
What a week for omens.

At this point, the only way we'd top the amount of doomy metaphors is if Nostradamus was resurrected onto a 100 tortillas and the tortillas all rolled, upright like tires, to Stonehenge and burst into flame under a gaggle of crows.

Here's a quick snapshot of the past month in The-Ol'-Apocalypse-is-Coming Omens-o-Meter:

1. Blood moon following lunar eclipse
2. A plant from space grew startlingly fast on Earth
3. That last episode of Game of Thrones
4. Tax day
5. KFC's new chicken corsage
6. Domino's new pizza with fried chicken as the crust

All of these things are totally 100 percent scientific and real, and the final two are the subject of today's end-is-nigh concerns. Let's talk about them.

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Lakewood Brewing Goes Big Box With Andrews Distributing

Categories: Brews News

Lakewood Brewing Co. has decided to turn over the distribution portion of its business in order to shift its focus solely on the craft of brewing beer. Andrews Distributing announced the new partnership in a news release this morning.

If you've not heard of Andrews, you've almost certainly swilled a few of the brands the company carries. Massive breweries including Shiner Bock, Blue Moon and Samuel Adams are handled by Andrews. Here in the DFW area, Rahr & Sons Brewing Co. holds an account with them as well.

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I Ate the Choomongous and I'm Still Alive Today

Gavin Cleaver
Yes, the picture is in portrait. No, I'm not very good.

Every year, the Rangers roll out a whole bunch of stuff designed specifically to clog your arteries. It's their public service, as a socially-minded ballclub, to cut down on the population explosion in DFW by culling those stupid enough to eat a two-foot sandwich.

I am one of those people. Yet somehow, I live. This is the story of my folly.

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Cane Rosso White Rock Looks To Incite Hysteria this Tuesday with $1 Pizza Night

Categories: Food News

Cane Rosso

Every now and then Cane Rosso owner Jay Jerrier likes to throw a cog in the wheel. Sometimes by coming out against ranch dressing, other times it's throwing an anniversary party where his certified Neapolitan pizza costs just one little dollar.

There will be crazy. Promise.

Jerrier has done this before. For the past several years he has offered dollar pizza at his original Deep Ellum spot and the lines have snaked down the sidewalk. Expect a similar scene tonight, Tax Man Night, as they celebrate the one-year anniversary of the Cane Rosso White Rock location.

See Also: Cane Rosso Earns Another VPN Certification, Making Texas a Neapolitan Pie Mecca

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Malai Attempts Craft Brewing Alongside Their West Village Asian Cooking

Categories: Food News

Craft brewer is the new hipster.
What to get some attention for your restaurant? Try brewing your own beer. Malai Kitchen announced they'd be serving their own house-brewed beer on tap at the restaurant and within two weeks they've gotten a mention in almost every food blog in Dallas. The Huffington Post even checked in on owners Braden and Yasmin Wages, who recently took their cooking to New York City for a special event.

The craft beer movement has been exploding recently, but restaurants for the most part have stayed out of the brew-pub game, electing to purchase any local beer they want to serve from the from craft breweries. The Wages, however, wanted to serve a brew that emulated one of their favorite beverages served in Vietnam, and bia hoi, the light lager brewed with rice, isn't made anywhere in Dallas.

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Bourdain's Parts Unknown Season Three Has Me Craving Kulcha

Categories: Food News

Last night as I was buried in my couch watching the season premier of Anthony Bourdain's Parts Unknown, it occurred to me that we've done a lot of blogging about food-related television shows like Top Chef on City of Ate, (mostly when the show has a local participant featured) but we've not spent much at all on more serious programming. Bourdain's latest is a must-see for anyone who has an interest in food, travel and culture, and that holds true even if you've not enjoyed his previous projects, including No Reservations.. Parts Unknown is Bourdain's most creative work to date and arguably some of the best food journalism available right now.

This latest season opened with images of a street vendor selling small fruits in the Punjab region of India that borders Pakistan. His street cries, carefully looped with urban-turned-musical sounds, provided a rhythmic soundtrack that was perfectly tailored to the opening images of vendor stalls, whizzing cars and livestock wandering the city streets. Music drives the imagery throughout the show, and slick cinematography and camera tricks provide visual interest that can almost border on psychedelic.

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