Lyfe Kitchen Is Bringing its Fancy Fast Food to Fancy Dallas

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Not your everyday Filet-O-Fish
The last time I heard about Lyfe Kitchen it was mentioned in an article in the New York Times Magazine a little more than a year ago. Mark Bittman was lamenting the options for affordable, healthy dining on the quick in America, and was resigned to bean burritos from Taco Bell and veggie sandwiches from Subway, it seemed.

The available of healthier fast food has been changing, though. Bittman mentioned a few businesses he recently found in L.A., including Lyfe Kitchen, which he endorsed as a good (albeit expensive) fast food restaurant. Maybe the endorsement helped the chain, because they're about to drop three location in the Dallas area soon.

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At a "Stylish Korean Kitchen" in Carrollton, a Delicious Taco of Questionable Taconess

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Gavin Cleaver
All week at City of Ate, we celebrate the magic of the taco. Check back for more interviews, essays and maybe a list or two. Or maybe four?

The little slice of Korea up in North Carrollton, where 35 meets PGBT, is pretty sweet. It's got a Super H Mart, where everything inside will baffle and amaze you, it's got umpteen Korean restaurants, Korean frozen yogurt places, Korean toy stores, Korean brunch places, there's even a Korean toilet store, where the toilets spray your butt with water.


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The BBQ Ranch in Fort Worth is Texas in Miniature

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Gavin Cleaver

Somewhere, in a far-flung part of Fort Worth, there is a corner of land that will remain forever Texas. It's in Texas, obviously, but that's not quite what I'm driving at here. The BBQ Ranch, a recently opened barbecue restaurant in the corner of five acres of ranch, is so very Texan that it's almost painful. If it were any more Texan, this would be where Big Tex spent his yearly vacation.

What I'm trying to say is that the BBQ Ranch delivers the sort of classic rural barbecue experience that nowhere else in Dallas-Fort Worth possibly could. And it's very lovely.

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I Ate the Choomongous and I'm Still Alive Today

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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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Off-Site Kitchen's Brisket Sandwich Is a Gold Medal Sandwich

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Gavin Cleaver

A surprising number of business people have business lunches at Off-Site Kitchen. You might think, being business people, in suits and ties, discussing contracts (all business people ever discuss is contracts) and tapping away on their Blackberries like it's 2004 might shy away from a place as earthy as Off-Site. Yet, here they are, on a Monday afternoon, sitting out in the sunshine five yards from a table football table and three yards from a large trash receptacle.

Why would they choose a place that serves ginormous sandwiches for not much money over a place that serves them a $50 steak that can be accompanied with strong alcohol?

Here's why. Off-Site Kitchen is delicious.

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I Ate the Lamb Brisket at Tim Love's Woodshed Smokehouse and Now Everything's OK

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Gavin Cleaver
Beef *and* lamb briskets.
Woodshed Smokehouse's menu has been teasing me for months. With all those exotic items (smoked mozarella! Bizarre sausage! AN ENTIRE GODDAMN SHIN OF BEEF! Smoked rutabaga, which is called "swede" back home because "rutabaga" is literally impossible to say in a British accent), I had actually spent what might be hours of my life lining up my ideal Woodshed Smokehouse meal, and then realizing that I couldn't afford such a spread without auctioning off at least one of my limbs.

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I Tried Smoking My First Brisket and It Was Terrible

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Gavin Cleaver
The smoker of dreams.
Looking back, I think I had been scared to try smoking a brisket. Having never seen chunks of meat that size back home, it's a scary commitment for two reasons. One, you can't eat a brisket by yourself. That means you have to invite people round for brisket. This has to be done in advance, and that means the promise of edible brisket. What you've done there is set yourself up for a fall when, actually, the brisket turns out to be terrible. Your guests will go hungry, probably destroy your property in a fit of rage, and eat anything they can find, even that expensive cheese you were keeping for an occasion more special than your house being ransacked by former friends.

See Also: An Englishman in BBQ Sauce Archives

Two, it takes so long to do it right that you need to block off two days of your time. In this busy merry-go-round world we all live in, where demands on our time are everywhere and anywhere, who can actually spend sixteen hours or so doing one thing? Unless that thing is video games, obviously. No one's relying on you to complete Fallout 3, though.

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Five Texas Barbecue Events to Put on Your Meat Calendar

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Catherine Downes
What with the announcement of this year's Meat Fight date (more on that in a minute), and the sad fact that said date is way off toward the end of the year, we thought it might be time to have a quick poke around the internet to see what we could see. And what we saw was a bounty of barbecue events.

See Also: DFW's 10 Best Barbecue Joints

Barbecue events are, of course, a delicious excuse to both be outside and to eventually slip into a meat coma, slumped on the floor, back pressed up against the vegetarian friend or relative you persuaded to come along and be designated meat-free driver. Also, you could probably use a reminder that the weather won't be like this for long, and the endless Texas summer will soon make us all wish for thundersleet. We've tried to stick with ones near the DFW area, but there are a few worth driving for, no doubt.

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Your First Look at Lockhart Smokehouse Plano, the Suburbs' Newest Barbecue Mecca

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Rachael Cleaver
The Whole Enchilada. Not pictured -- an enchilada.
The new Lockhart Smokehouse, right on Plano's main square, is up and running, and the crowds are already forming. Tuesday afternoon, your peak-time lunch wait would have been a good 40 minutes or so, which is cruel given that you can smell Plano's barbecue mecca from more than a block away.

After its attempts to subtly open last week by way of inviting locals over on Twitter to try a few things out, the Morning News burst the dam of smoked meat during the soft opening, and now the barbecue cat is out of the grease-soaked paper.

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To The Glory of Vietnamese Coffee

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Gavin Cleaver
I took this with a real camera.

One thing I have discovered since moving to America, besides that pile of barbecue I consumed last year, is just how amazing Vietnamese coffee is. The one above is from Pho Bistro in Carrollton, at 3052 Old Denton Rd, but they're the same all over. It's basically one of the most delicious things imaginable. So strong, and yet so sweet, it's like Hulk Hogan asking to take you out for a lovely dinner at your favorite restaurant. While dressed in a tutu. Hulk Hogan, not you. This has come off the rails. Let's try again.


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