Click here to see the full-sized version.
Words by Alice Laussade/Pictures by Dan Zettwoch
Click here to see the full-sized version.
Words by Alice Laussade/Pictures by Dan Zettwoch
You don't walk into Henry's Ice Cream in Plano by accident. Plano is far. You're here on purpose. On a mission. And because you made the pilgrimage all the way out here, your expectations are stupid high.
Your toddler stares at neon signage of Henry's Ice Cream and thinks to herself, "This better be good. I rode in that piece-of-vegetables car for, I dunno, some amount of time I can't even process right now because none of you losers taught me how to tell time yet, just for the promise of ice cream. Then, when the car stopped, you took me inside a sadass Fuddruckers because 'We're sorry, sweetie. Your mom doesn't understand Plano,' and then you told me some lie about how people have to eat dinner before dessert. Whoever made up that rule should be made to chug an entire sippy cup full of She Ra farts. That's right. They should have to chug farts. And then, we should all be allowed to point at them and call them a bunch of fart chuggers. Because screw eating dinner. Ice cream. We all want ice cream. There's even a song about it. I'd sing it for you, but I left my plastic microphone at home, which I'm pretty sure you remember is stupid far away from here. I'm ready for this dang ice cream. I swear, if this is like the time you told me Fraggle Rock would blow my mind and it turns out that you've just over-hyped the shit out of Henry's Ice Cream, I'm gonna five-point-harness the ice cream man in the junk."
The cardboard cow out front consoles her, "Oh, this shit is delicious. If you don't like it, you're wrong."
The Observer's very own Alice Laussade, who for years put her cast-iron stomach on the line as The Cheap Bastard to bring you reviews of Dallas' low-cost lunch spots, was named a finalist in the humor-writing category of the 2013 James Beard Foundation Awards, which is like the Oscars of food and food journalism, except with no cheesy musical numbers.
Alice was nominated for The Cheap Bastard's Ultimate Guide to Eating like a Total Cheap Bastard in Dallas, a story that is about exactly what its headline says it's about. Plus, it's funny. You should read it.More »
Alice "Cheap Bastard" Laussade has spoken, so we have a winner in our Meat Fight caption contest. Apparently -- and this surprises her co-bloggers, who pegged her as more of an Anthrax fan -- Alice is into Peter Gabriel, 'cause she picked commenter mitchiswright's entry. How ... sensitive of her.
Vegetarian Peter Gabriel, then and now. Kinda makes you want to go bite a cow, doesn't it?
See his caption and the original photo below. Thanks for entering, everyone, and if you haven't got your tickets to Meat Fight, coming November 4 to Sons of Hermann Hall ... well, too bad for you, slowpoke. It's sold out. Better luck next year.
For a substantial bribe, however, certain Observer staffers might be willing to tell you how to track down mitchiswright, once he sends his contact information to Patrick Williams so we can tell him how to collect his tickets and collect any vital identifying information: address, a recent photo, hours he's likely to be home alone before November 4. Just stuff like that.
Tickets to Meat Fight, the barbecue competition and fundraiser being hosted by Alice "Cheap Bastard" Laussade at Sons of Hermann Hall in Deep Ellum, are sold out.
Photos by Jeff Bekavac and Maxine Helfman
The New Meat Justice League: Brisket Hat, Chicken Fists and Meat Muff.
Never fear, though, because City of Ate has a pair of tickets that will let some lucky duo gorge themselves on delicious dead animal parts, beers from Deep Ellum Brewing Co. and tasty tastings from Knob Creek. Better still, the fortunate two can pretend they're contributing to the National MS Society, Meat Fight's beneficiary. Bestest still, the lucky ducat winners won't have to listen to Alice stand outside their homes chanting "loser, looooser," which she intends to do to anyone who doesn't come to the November 4 event.
How do you win the pair? Simple: In the comments below, write a single caption for the photos of those three chefs up there, Jeffery C. Hobbs, Jeff Bekavac and Chad Houser, who will square off in a barbecue competition. The winner will be chosen by Alice, so you should have a good idea of the sort of creativity we're looking for here. We will announce the victor at 5 p.m.-ish Thursday.
Everyone knows that in a nice restaurant, special etiquette must be practiced. Carefully following the rules of decorum reserved for fine dining is what separates The Fancys from The Normals. The trouble is, it's hard to remember every single rule at once. Well, lose your shit not, friend. The Cheap Bastard has created this handy-dandy guide to eating with Fancys in Dallas just for you.
Tracie Louck / Art by Dan Zettwoch
The Cheap Bastard's Ultimate Guide to Eating like a Total Cheap Bastard
In these pages you'll find answers to most every question you could have about dining at an expensive restaurant. How much sex is too much sex in the unisex bathrooms at Fearing's?* When is it acceptable to punch the valet at Charlie Palmer in the junk?** Yes or no: Jams and a suit jacket, Weekend at Bernie's-style, at The French Room?***
I visited six of Dallas' fancy restaurants in order to give you real-world examples of the proper do's and do-not-do's for your nice night on the town. If you learn the rules of decorum for these restaurants, you'll know how to refrain from acting a fool in any fancy Dallas food place.
*Have as much as you want, but it's unisex, so hover over the seat, ladies. Say no to herp.
** After you get your car and only when you have a clear path to the street for a getaway. *** No. Only well-dressed stiffs are welcome.
You'd think that there's no way that Firexbox could be the name of a restaurant, but you'd be wrong. When I first saw it, I thought, "Surely there's just a typeface issue here with their logo and they mean Fire Box with chopsticks in the middle and that design element just went wrong." But, nope. The URL is firexbox.com.
On totally reliable Yelp, there are a bunch of five-star reviews of this drive-thru sushi and hibachi restaurant. So, I had to try it out.
I would like to say that this was the first time I'd ever been to a sushi drive-thru. But that would be a lie. I also tried the drive-thru at Sushi & Rice Express. I wish I could tell you that I loved the food at Sushi & Rice Express so much that I went back again and definitely didn't get the weird dumps from having eaten their sushi. I also wish Meg Ryan's face still looked normal. And I wish that cats didn't have such visible buttholes. I wish that my iPhone (a device from the future that lets me send invisible letters to people in Australia in under two seconds without the use of carrier pigeons) could fucking take a phone call without dropping it, or that it would at least change its name to iNotPhone. I wish seitan had never been invented. I wish the world was 50 percent more boobs and 49 percent fewer balls. But, I digress. My point is, (and I know this is breaking news) on the cheap food options list, drive-thru sushi can be a risky choice, butt-stuff-wise.More »
In her never-ending quest to find cheap, non-lethal lunches, Alice "Cheap Bastard" Laussade ventures as far north as Forest Lane, within spitting distance of the 'burbs. She's a fearless bastard too.
Mom count: 11
Business lunch count: 2
For months I've heard rumors about Liberty Burger. "You gotta get there early -- the line gets so long." "Best burger in town. I'm telling you." "They. Make. Their. Own. Mustard." "It's all fresh -- they don't freeze that shit." When I arrived at 11:52 a.m., I pulled into the parking lot of Liberty Burger the same time as five other cars full of people. Eye contact was made. We all realized we were headed for the same line. Sonovashit. Engines were immediately killed. Car doors flew open. Even the toddlers were ripping out their earrings like, "Aw hell no! All these people better keep their old-ass hands off my kid's meal. I will cut a bitch."More »
Each week, Alice "Cheap Bastard" Laussade scours the city for good, cheap lunches. Well, most weeks. Many weeks. OK, she does whatever she damn well please when she freakin' feels like it. (We don't argue. The woman carries a shiv. Rumor has it, she's on parole.) This week, she felt like a little Greek.
Other patrons in the restaurant count: 2
Pieces of Orbitz gum I had to chew post-meal to get rid of garlic mouth count: 12
You've driven past Kostas Café a million times on your way to zebra-painted Electric Boutique to buy strippering outfits. (Side note: On the Electric Boutique website, their FAQ section answers the question, "What's a 'business day'?" I thought they were going to reference that Flight of the Conchords "Business Time" song about doing sex, "Aww yeah -- It's business. It's business time!" But they didn't. They just actually defined "business day." Which means several people who come to their site -- enough to make this a frequently asked question -- trying to buy shoes with fish in the heels really don't know the definition of a business day. So awesome.)More »
Wagon wheel count: 8,000
When I walked into La Parrillada at dinnertime, I wasn't sure if they were really open. They had multiple signs out front that said, "Yes, we're open." But zero people were inside. There weren't even crickets inside, mocking the emptiness of the place, it was so empty. Crickets were on the porch smoking cigarettes, like, "Yo, this place is sad enough inside without us in it. It'd just be mean for us to cricket in there." Other cricket to the first cricket: "Stop saying 'yo.' Even Jesse from Breaking Bad thinks he sounds like a dork when he says 'yo.'" First Cricket: (so completely cricket-embarrassed)
During the day, La Parrillada has a walk-up taco window that offers a wide variety of dollar tacos. When it's dollar taco time, I prefer the La Banqueta location that is directly across the street from La Parrillada. But that doesn't mean La Parrillada is useless to me. The fact that La Parrillada is open late and is right next door to The Goat means that it will serve a distinct purpose in my future.More »