Dallas' Whole Foods Stores, Ranked By How Much They Drive Us Nuts

Categories: Complaint Desk

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file photo
This Whole Foods is only a little bit the WORST.

In this era of hippy-dippy, gluten-free, all-natural organic food, going to Whole Foods is just a foregone conclusion. You, assuming you're lucky enough to not live in our city's vast food desert, are going to round up all those stupid reusable bags, hop in your Subaru, and head to the nearest for your fix of hulled hemp seed, fish oil, and sustainably sourced booger-wipes for the kids. In this bourgeois food world, Whole Foods is a status symbol -- if you have $46 to spend on a jar of magical honey, you're practically living the American dream.

And yet, we bitch. It's a time-honored tradition of urbanites, complaining about how these organically produced wonderlands aren't the perfect utopias that those hemp-wearing corporate overlords in charge promised us. Sometimes, you actually have to LOOK for a few seconds before locating the organically pressed olive oil. Ugh.

Here, the five Whole Foods stores that exist inside Dallas' city limits -- we know how picky y'all are about geographical accuracy -- ranked in order of how likely they are to make you want to go on a kale-boosted killing spree.


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In Defense of the Cruffin, Because Tinkering Pastry Chefs Make Life Better

Categories: Complaint Desk

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Scott Reitz
Can you spot the cruffins? They're right next to the croissants.
Earlier this week, Leslier Brenner, the food critic at The Dallas Morning News, took an indirect shot at her own food section when it paid tribute to Bisous Bisous' muffin/croissant mashup. "How about a little originality?" Brenner grumbled.

I get the grumble. When I visited Bisous Bisous last year, I surveyed the case with anticipation. The macaroons looked amazing (I took half a dozen home) the madeleines were beautiful (I grabbed four) and the croissants (two) were light and flaky. And then there was something that looked like it might be sold at a shopping mall, or maybe the airport, Terminal D.

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Bob Armstrong Dip Is a Fancy New York Chef Meal Now

Categories: Complaint Desk

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New York Post screen grab
You're doing it wrong
A recent story in The New York Times tackles the the state of Mexican dining in New York. Authentic Mexican restaurants are overtaking the city, which would be great if they didn't all suck. The Times points out that the chefs running these kitchens know little about Mexican cooking and that "a week's vacation has become a research trip, and a snack bought with pocket change has become a $13 appetizer."

I think the same thing just happened to Tex-Mex, which has also experiencing a moment in New York. Two restaurants, El Original and Javelina both opened this year, and the latter was just written up in the New York Post for its take on a dip that many in Austin and Dallas will recognize. Bob Armstrong, the loaded queso born in Texas, has traveled north.

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Dallas Breweries Are Wisely Embracing the Light-Bodied Beer

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Brent Nuss
Let me start by saying this: I love IPAs. There are few beers I enjoy more than a hoppy, coppery IPA that has a nice ABV to it. When I first got into craft beer it was through beers that weren't necessarily heavy or hoppy; Shiner Bock, Real Ale Fireman's 4, and St. Arnold's Lawnmower, are just a few that acted as a tipping point for me. Those are beers that don't have heavy bodies, and can be found at most restaurants that don't cater to serious beer drinkers. Though, like any fan of craft beer, eventually I settled into a particular style or two that I am most fond of, and serves as my go-to order when I am at a bar.

If you spot beer snobs at a bar, you'll see a lot of them ordering ordering stouts, IPAs, maybe even a barleywine, or some beer whose category starts with "Imperial." These are beers with complex flavors, heavy bodies, and typically higher ABV percentages. Stick around and you'll see one of them put back three or four IPAs and call it a night. By drinking a couple craft beers, they'll have a nice buzz thanks to a beer with real flavor.

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Beer, Rants

Why Warning Labels for Sugary Foods Make Sense

Categories: Complaint Desk

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Dennis Skley
The new face of your favorite soda?
The new face of Coke?Legislators in California and New York are currently considering warning labels for sugary drinks.

If it sounds like overbearing nanny-state legislation -- and if you live in Texas, it very well might -- recall how warning labels have contributed in part to a massive reduction in smoking and the staggering social costs associated with the habit.

And it turns out the medical costs associated with diabetes, a disease that is caused in part by the consumption of excess sugar, are just as high as those of tobacco-related health care expenditures. In 2012, Americans spent $176 billion in direct medical costs associated with diabetes, making the cost of adding a warning label to drinks that can cause the disease seem like a wise investment. Still, it seems a little weird to think about a warning label on that seemingly innocuous as Dr Pepper, right?

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Dallas Officials Make Life Easier on Urban Farmers, but Not Before Obsessing Over Corn

Categories: Complaint Desk

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Dylan Hollingswoth
Vets James Jeffers (left) and Steve Smith are farming Oak Cliff.
Liz Goulding is the former leader of Slow Food Dallas and a contributor to the Dallas Observer.

The Dallas City Council this week voted on a motion to accept a number of language changes in the community garden ordinance passed in 2011. Among other things, the word "community" was replaced with "urban" to make it clear that the sale of locally grown produce from urban gardens is allowed, offsite in residential areas and onsite in commercial areas. The wording proposed was the product of a year's worth of work from a group of urban agriculture activists, farmers, and beekeepers. I sat through a lot of those meetings. I thought perhaps all the coalition building and hand-wringing was overkill, but this week proved me wrong. Really wrong.

Somehow a discussion about the future of urban agriculture became a discussion about corn. I wish I could tell you that the corn was a proxy for some sort of larger discussion about the role of growing food in the urban landscape, but it seemed to literally just be about whether the ability to grow corn in your front yard is the end of the world or not. There is a new litmus test in town: pro-corn or anti-corn?

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Death to Bread Service

Categories: Complaint Desk

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Flickr/Bruno Raymond
Bread is good, but not always great, please get this bullshit off my plate.
When you walk into one of the city's better restaurants, there's a certain set of expectations that you bring along. If you're planning to drop a pretty penny on a decent meal, you expect great service, top-notch food, and a great atmosphere. You also probably expect for a basket full of bread or rolls to make it to your table, and that's one of those old-school dining traditions that really, really needs to die.

Sure, it's great to wait the 15 minutes before your dish comes to the table with a basket of warm, crusty bread and butter. But most of the time, bread service is such an afterthought at restaurants that the result is much more reminiscent of a few old buns dragged out from the back of your own bread bin at home than a Francophile's yeasty dream. Often, the bread in these baskets is cold, slightly stale, and leaves you wondering exactly when (or where!) it was even baked.

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Dallas Doesn't Need Any More Ramen Shops

Categories: Complaint Desk

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Kathy Tran
Raman Hakata is the latest ramen shop to open in the area, but it won't be the last.
I realize I'm rolling a heavy stone up a steep hill, but Wabi House, the latest ramen restaurant planned for Greenville Avenue, has me feeling a little down. I get it: Trends drive restaurant menus, and they drive customers, too. But the restaurateurs who explore less fetishized cuisines contribute most to a city's culinary culture.

Let's first note that Dallas is woefully behind on the ramen wave. Ramen restaurants began their push in larger cities well over a decade ago. And look where that's gotten them. I happened to be in New York over the holidays and while wandering around, I passed several ramen restaurants without even looking for them. They were everywhere. They're so ubiquitous that David Chang of Momofuku declared ramen dead last year. Ruined. This, from one of the guys who started the whole trend.

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Your Friendly Reminder That Texas Restaurants Can Still Pay Servers Two Bucks an Hour

Categories: Complaint Desk

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zoetnet
Pay up Texan diners, because Texan restaurateurs don't have to.
New York state's wage board wants the state to hike the base wage for tipped employees to $7.50 an hour by the end of the year, part of an almost nationwide push to help servers, bartenders and other employees who count on tips for a significant portion of their income.

Meanwhile, in Texas.

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Macarons and Macaroons Are Not The Same Thing, Dammit

Categories: Complaint Desk

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Scott Reitz
M-A-C-A-R-O-N. It's not hard.
There is much talk about the trendiness of "macaroons," those pillowy little cream or jam filled cookies that people are lining up around the corner at Joy Macarons and Rush Patisserie to pay three bucks a piece for. "Macaroons" are the most popular cookie in the world right now. Entire bakeries are popping up to meet the demand for the pastel-colored cookies.

The only problem, of course, is that these shops aren't selling macaroons at all. They're selling French macarons, and far too many people don't seem to realize that the two cookies are entirely different things.

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