Some of Dallas' Best Chefs Will Pair Their Food with Beer at the HopChef Competition

Categories: Food News

via HopChef
Chefs + beer = what could go wrong?
Craft beer is more popular than ever, which means that chefs have been as interested in creating dishes that pair beautifully with an IPA or witbier as they were previously in cooking to suit fine wines. Local gastropubs and fine-dining restaurants alike are bulking up their beer selections, and the industry's taking notice. Dallas-brewed beers made a strong showing at the Great American Beer Festival this year, and a highly-respected national brewery has also started to take notice of what chefs are doing in Dallas.

New York-based Brewery Ommegang is known for its solid lineup of traditional Belgian-style beers, and it's challenged chefs across the country to cook dishes that complement the flavors of these brews. Previous stops of the HopChef competition have been in Philadelphia, Miami, and Boston, and the brewery is bringing its challenge to five of Dallas' brightest chefs on November 3rd at 3015 Trinity Groves.

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Dallas' Burger Boom Is Over, Thank God

Categories: Food News

Thumbnail image for hopdoddy-burger-downes.jpg
Catherine Downes
Is the age of the burger coming to a close?
I've been poring over local-restaurant news while trying to lay out my restaurant-review plan for the rest of the year, and the list I've compiled is strangely void of burger restaurants. I couldn't be happier.

Don't get me wrong. I love burgers. (Especially this one.) But there are only so many feelings one can have, so many words one can use to describe a charred hunk of ground beef tucked inside a white-bread bun.

See also: How I Picked the Best Burger in Dallas

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Bet the House, Denton's Newish BBQ Spot, Is Selling Out Fast, and for Good Reason

Categories: First Look

Photos by Kathryn DeBruler

The Five Commandmeats Lesson #1: "sold out" signs at BBQ restaurants are what distinguish the truly hungry from the peckish.

Bet the House BBQ is sold out. The sign on the front window says so in clear, authoritative lettering. Having never let a sign deter me before (stop signs? more like, what signs?), I try the door. It's unlocked. Inside there are a few tables that run along the long counter where brisket is sliced and fixins get fixed. Behind the counter stands a woman who informs me that she has to get started on preparations for the next day, but that there's just enough BBQ left for a small order.

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Five Awesome Food Events in Dallas This Weekend, October 16-19

Categories: Events, Food News

via Facebook
Every Thursday, the Dallas Farmers Market -- newly renovated and bustling with vendors -- stays open late. For vegetable lovers, these extended hours represent a rare opportunity to get their late-night-produce-groove on, while others see the combination of food trucks, an open-air market and beer and wine vendors as prime "milling" territory. So whether you need some fresh tomatoes for your sauce or you just want to get saucy with some tomatoes, Market After Dark is just the event for you.

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The Improbable Success of the Texas Veggie Fair

Categories: Events

Life is good when you're snacking on a vegan corn dog.
It's pretty impressive if you think about it: Gathering 7,000 vegetarians and otherwise curious omnivores together to celebrate meat-free living might be hard enough, but to do it in Dallas? Texas is a land that celebrates steakhouses, where smoked beef brisket is its own food group, and where beans aren't beans until they've been whipped with lard.

Maybe -- maybe -- you could imagine some like-minded weirdos in Austin, but here in Dallas, most of us don't recognize vegetables unless they've been squeezed into juice. At least that's the prevailing wisdom.

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Knife Is One of America's "Best New Restaurants"

Categories: Food News

Catherine Downes
This guy is really good with meat.
For all of the fit-throwing, cursing, and discussion about food critics in Dallas, we've kind of lost sight of the fact that John Tesar is actually an incredible chef. The controversy surrounding you-know-who's three-star review of Tesar's second Dallas restaurant Knife may have died down, but the hype for his "modern steakhouse" has only just begun.

Yesterday, Esquire held its annual Best New Restaurants In America awards, and Knife was the sole finalist from Dallas. This is Tesar's second appearance on the list: His seafood restaurant in Preston Center, Spoon, was a winner in 2013. Clearly, Tesar and his utensil-themed restaurants have dazzled both food critics in Esquire's employ over the past two years.

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Hibiscus Chef Graham Dodds Won't Let Your Hate Mail Stop His Menu from Evolving

Categories: Interviews

Local food is one of those trends that has been absolutely beaten to death by food critics and chefs, and has recently become a little lost in translation. Any chef can slap "local greens" on their menu when they're really buying from a massive multi-national food conglomorate, but others have fully committed their menus and their restaurants to buying almost exclusively from the bounty of local farmers.

See also: Cold Beer Company Found Out "Local" Is Harder Than It Looks, Especially in Dallas

Hibiscus' Graham Dodds is one of those chefs. After tenures at some of Dallas' other great restaurants, including Bolsa and Central 214, Dodds has been cooking up his ultra-seasonal food at Hibiscus for nearly a year. In that time, he's quietly transformed the Henderson Avenue establishment into an innovative and constantly-evolving restaurant. I sat down with Dodds to talk about what local food really means, how he built relationships with over thirty local farmers, and why he thinks genetically modified food might be causing the downfall of our civilization.

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Al's Beef, a Respected Chicago-Style Dog, Is Coming to Dallas. How Well Will It Travel?

Mr. Beef offers Italian beef sandwiches made with roasts cooked on site.
Earlier this week, news that Chicago-based Al's Beef would set up multiple locations in the Dallas area bubbled up like oil droplets in a pan of simmering jus. Much like Five Guys hired former Redskins player Mark Moseley to head up the burger chain's expansions, Al's Beef turned to Chicago Bears legend Mike Ditka to aid with theirs. They even named a hot dog after him. It's called the "spicy jumbo Ditka dog," and it's topped with onions, mustard and sport peppers.

Ditka's not just Ditkaing around; he's shipping Al's locations all over the country. There are now Al's beef in Las Vegas and California, and now five locations are planned for Texas, in and around Dallas. The first one will land in Addison, ironically in a space that used to house a Texadelphia, which sold a Texan take on Philadelphia's namesake sandwich.

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Cold Beer Company Found Out "Local" Is Harder Than It Looks, Especially in Dallas

Kathy Tran
The patio at Cold Beer: Definitely local, and awesome.
It seems like the only people who don't romanticize opening their own restaurant are people who have actually opened one. Home cooks are lulled into the fantasy by guests who gush over dishes that have been slaved over for a day. Diners see mistakes they're sure they could fix with the wave of a spatula. They all dream up elaborate menu themes based on their personal tastes and color schemes for the walls that will never come to fruition. The more serious restaurant daydreamers -- the ones who end up standing in the lobby of city hall holding a binder full of paper and longing for the boring job they abandoned for this dream -- talk in pressured speech about farm-to-table menus, local beers galore and, most important, the handcrafted everything that will draw an endless stream of customers.

Recent restaurant reviews:
- Casa Rubia Is the Best Restaurant in West Dallas' Hit-or-Miss Trinity Groves
- ¡C. Señor! Is Making Cuban Magic in Oak Cliff

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Dinnertime at El Fenix Is Tex-Mex Heaven

Categories: Cheap Bastard

Alice Laussade
Follow the Cheap Bastard as she scours the city, looking for a good -- or at least non-lethal -- lunch for less than 10 bucks.

Grandpa and grandma double-date count: 4
Praline count: 7

One could go to El Fenix at lunch. But it's much more fun to go for Old Lady Dinnertime (OLD). It's in the 4:50-5:15 p.m. range and is the sweet spot of the El Fenix scene.

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