Brunch Lesson #32: Fry It and Put It on a Waffle

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Photos by Kathryn DeBruler

You know you've taken gluttony to a new level when your waitress calls you a fatty. She said it in the kindest, most familial way possible but at its core her comment stung with the icy saber of truth. And yet, I feel my order-logic was sound: If a waffle can be topped with chicken-fried steak or chicken-fried bacon, can it not be topped with both?

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Order Your Ramen in Bulk at Shiawase, Allen's Hybrid of Tokyo and Vegas

Categories: Eat This

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Michelle Kessler
Are you hungry enough for Shiawase's ramen? Are you sure?

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: Shiawase

The Atmosphere: The spirit of Las Vegas is alive in Allen. Shiawase is an over-the-top palace of Japanese food: gigantic chandeliers, black-and-white, sparkly tile walls, bold red lighting along the sushi bar. The sushi chefs shout greetings whenever anyone enters or exits the restaurant. A well-stocked bar glows against the restaurant's back wall. Want a mint after dinner? There's a candy jar that could fit a bowling ball, filled with mints and studded with lollipops. They have seven flat-screen TVs.

There's not a single soft surface in the restaurant, so try to arrive at a quieter hour or your eardrums will be tattooed by the constant shouting of the waitstaff. At one point, servers brought birthday cake to a lucky customer, then surrounded the table in a scary-close circle and smacked a tambourine while singing "Happy Birthday." As we left, the sushi chefs enthusiastically yelled goodbye at us.

Shiawase is also slightly louder, but more family friendly, because they have a kids' menu. Choices include teriyaki, udon, a crab roll and "popcorn crawfish." Maybe the screaming toddler we heard was upset because he couldn't order something dumber and more American, like Godzilla-shaped chicken tenders.

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Give the Poptarts a Rest: Cháo Edition

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Photos by Kathryn DeBruler
Wake up and smell the pork's assorted, Dallas. What is pork's assorted, you ask? Well, from the look of the brown striated bits, the gray, ventricle-like pieces and the blocks of dark scarlet that occupied the bottom of my cháo bowl, it's a lot of things, none of which Westerners eat for breakfast. Having grown up in a culture where days often start with food that is individually wrapped or has its own mascot, a piping hot bowl of pork's blood cháo isn't exactly in my gastronomic wheelhouse.

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Eat This: Urban Acres' Chicken Salad Sandwich

Categories: Eat This

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Scott Reitz
The chicken salad sandwich at Urban Acres.
A long time ago, in an office cafeteria far, far away, I developed an all consuming chicken salad habit. I ordered the dressed bird in sandwich form, mostly, and occasionally on a bed of greens minus the bread. This was my lunch order five days a week for at least a year, and maybe longer. I had another chicken salad stint later in life when became obsessed with making chicken stock and needed to make use of excess chicken. I've eaten a lot of the stuff.

Over the years I've developed some requirements for chicken salad capable of making a lasting memory. It should have texture or some sort of crunch from nuts or celery or anything else with a bit of snap. Chicken salad should never be dry, and it helps if it has a little something extra to build layers of flavor. My all time favorite variation was one I made myself, with poached chicken, a pinch of curry powder, cilantro, cashews and golden raisins.

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Braving Brunch at Eureka! Dallas

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Photos by Kathryn DeBruler
Open seating. Wide open.
Kathryn DeBruler searches far and wide for DFW's most interesting breakfast food. Come along.

I didn't have high hopes going into this brunch, and the fact that a manager apologized half an hour after my order was placed didn't help much. She explained that I was there during Eureka's first official brunch service, and that the kitchen scrapped my original order when the end result didn't meet their standards. Admirable, Eureka!, but not confidence-building.

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The Italian Beef and Tallow-Fried Fries at Luscher's Red Hots: Because We Said So

Categories: Eat This

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Scott Reitz
This is not health food
I don't get, nor do I deserve, a lot of sympathy in my work. As soon as my face winces -- before I even get out a word of complaint -- I'm met with a barrage of facetiousness. "Oh, poor food critic guy eats out on someone else's dime." I pay, though, people. I promise.

Like those days when I'm not super careful about my dining plan and somehow manage to schedule a meal at Luscher's Red Hots after doing a first look at Spork -- all of this after reviewing a Tex-Mex restaurant. It's times like these I catch myself fantasizing about savoring a single parsley leaf with a fork and knife, but instead find myself ordering an Italian beef with french fries.

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Kolache Haven Is Kolache Heaven

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Photos by Kathryn DeBruler
#kolachefilter
Kathryn DeBruler searches far and wide for DFW's most interesting breakfast food. Come along.

In Texas, Kolaches are a thing. There are at least four festivals honoring the Czech pastry in our great state alone. The most famous kolaches hail from West, where legend has it that city revenue is driven almost entirely by sales of the sweet and sometimes savory buns. But for those of you who don't feel inclined to load up the car and high-tail to it to West, there are any number of kolache shops in the DFW area that should satiate your craving. My favorite is a shop called Kolache Haven.

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Sushi Robata's Ramen Is So Good They Could (but Shouldn't!) Rename it Ramen Robata

Categories: Eat This

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Michelle
Don't sleep on Sushi Robata's ramen. Sleep in it. Makes for easier slurping.
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: Sushi Robata

The Atmosphere: Everybody who knows their Japanese food loves Sushi Robata, one of North Dallas' favorite destinations for good sushi that won't leave you bankrupt. (The other, Fujiyama, is almost exactly a mile away.) Its decor is modern, with Japanese motifs like bamboo and cherry blossoms. The lighting is warm and welcoming, appropriate for dates or dinners with friends. We'd both been to Sushi Robata several times before, seated at its tables or at the counter which runs the full length of the dining room. But we'd never gotten around to trying the ramen.

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Sunrise Asian Cuisine: Dallas' Best Discount Sushi House for Poor, Sleepless Drunks

Categories: Drinking, Eat This

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Amy Silverstein
Sunrise Asian Cuisine is a great restaurant to eat cheap sushi, but it's even better as a restaurant to test your dining companion's character. An uptight, square person will be alarmed by things they may have heard while dining at Sunrise Asian Cuisine, such as "We've lost our liquor license" or "We ran out of salmon." They will be suspicious of the restaurant's food "happy hour" deal, which actually lasts for 16 hours, and the quality of the raw fish they're getting at a price so cheap. They will be annoyed that it takes the waiters forever to bring out the food, even when the restaurant is empty. And if you're friends with one of those super-squares who insists on vetting Sunrise through Yelp, there's a chance they may ignore the restaurant's many positive reviews and fret on the one review that says a whole table got food poisoning, or the one that says they found a bug in the water, or the one that says the women's restrooms were out of toilet paper for two hours and nobody cared.

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Jarams Donuts Are Transcendent, Like God with Powdered Sugar

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Photos by Kathryn DeBruler
Heavy breathing

"He went to Jarams." These are the words every woman dreams of hearing. For so many, they represent the culmination of a lifetime's worth of hoping, planning and dreaming. What little girl hasn't pined away for the day when she, too, would get the big, white donut of her dreams? I am referring, of course, to Jarams Donuts.

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