Old-School Lucky's Cafe Is Taking a Stab at Local, and the Regulars Aren't Thrilled

Categories: Food News

Scott Reitz
A list of locally sourced ingredients at Lucky's
I haven't seen this face in a while. I tell my waitress I want the "loud puppies," an almost-funny take on hush puppies that uses jalapeño to turn up the volume. She grimaces, subtly. Without saying a word her message is obvious: Don't order the loud puppies. I get the fried mushrooms instead.

I haven't been to Lucky's Cafe since nearly three years ago, when a Reuben sandwich failed to persuade me to return. Recently, though, I received a few inquiries about the Oak Lawn cafe. The kitchen has undergone some changes and nobody seems happy about them. In fact, a recent menu overhaul has some regulars in an uproar.

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

Categories: Complaint Desk

Waiter Flickr.jpg
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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I Experienced Burger Dread at Yolk in One Arts Plaza

Categories: Burgers

Nick Rallo
The Build-a-Burger at the new Yolk at One Arts comes with an orange for some reason
Careful thought is put into even Dallas' seemingly simple cheeseburgers. Take the one at Boulevardier, where sherry vinaigrette dresses the tomatoes and lettuce to make them less boring. Off-Site Kitchen's burgers are smashed onto the grill for that impactful sear. On Knife's hot grills, a flurry of salt and pepper hits the meat, and then it's left alone.

The art of a simple burger comes from attentive execution, and sometimes you can sense it's going to be great. Or, you can sense the opposite. It happens in the first few seconds after ordering. It's called Burger Dread, which is a thing we made up just now.

Burg·er dread - Short for cheeseburger dread
ˈbərɡər/ dred/
The harrowing moment, immediately following the order and leading up its delivery, when a customer deeply worries, and often knows, that the burger is going to suck hard.

I experienced potent burger dread at the recently opened Yolk in One Arts, where I went for the Build-a-Burger option.

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Pop Diner Has Closed, Thank God

Catherine Downes
Pop, popped.
Pop Diner opened to significant fanfare a little more than two years ago. The space was filled with Lichtenstein-esque prints and head shots of pop stars. The walls were bright red, the music was loud and the place was open 24 hours. It was just the sort of diner Uptown needed to keep late night drunks from digesting their own stomachs. We wanted to love it!

There was just one problem: the food was awful. I waded my way through dry, greasy burgers with meat of questionable provenance, terrible hot dogs and sandwiches that looked like they were assembled by a mitten-wearing walrus.

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Nine Band Brewery's Taproom Is Open in Allen, Its Beer Destined for a Tap Near You

Categories: Beer, Drinking

Brent Nuss
So ... close ... to ... beer.
Nine Band Brewery in Allen opened its taproom doors for the first time over the weekend, because people in Allen deserve to slug high-ABV beers under the auspices of locavorism, too, OK?

Large, handmade wooden tables and stools fill the room, and a number of TVs line each wall. Open seating made finding a spot difficult on opening night. Happy-houring office workers and a few UT Dallas students packed the room.

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Pera Keeps Adding Restaurants, and I Keep Longing for the Original's Bread

Kathy Tran
A full plate at Pera.
I still remember my first trip to Pera Turkish Kitchen in Far North Dallas. Four of us were piled in the car, headed up Preston Road, and I was salivating already, based only on food-blog scraps. I'd read that Habip Kargin and Serdar Sensel, the half brothers who own the place, used fresh, bright ingredients in their Middle Eastern cooking; that their dolmas presented grape leaves rolled taut around rice that retained its bite; and most important, it was rumored they baked their own bread and it perfumed the dining room. Apparently they brought it to the table piping hot.

You can tell a lot about a restaurant by the bread it serves. The pide bread -- different from pita -- served at Pera came out in near-perfect discs, about the size of a CD and as thick as a deck of cards. The bread was dimpled, it glistened with oil and it was flecked with herbs and sesame seeds. Each round let out a poof of steam when you tore in. That day I learned the drive was worth it, for the bread and olive oil alone.

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Seven Awesome Food Events in Dallas This Weekend, February 26 - March 1

Categories: Events, Food News

Five Sixty by Catherine Downes
Catherine Downes
Five Sixty by Wolfgang Puck is honoring the year of the sheep with a dish called Cumin Soy Marinated Sheep-chops. Sheep-chops are empirically better than lamb-chops, if only because they do not conjure up such vivid of images of this little guy. To go along with the sheep-chops, there will be a tasting menu of Cobia Sashimi, Dumplings, Whole Roasted Rouget, Chinese New Year Tangerine Cake and House Made Fortune Cookies. The cost is $110 per person ($155 with wine pairings).

What it be: Chinese New Year

When it: Thusday, February 26 and Friday, February 27, starting at 5 p.m. each day

Where dat is: 300 Reunion Boulevard E.

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What Dallas Chefs Cook At Home When It's This Cold Outside

Categories: Interviews

courtesy the restaurant
Don't let this sweet face fool you -- Graham Dodds is mean in the kitchen, even when it's freezing.

It is, regrettably, still cold outside. The weather will soon be warmer, but thanks to the sleet and snow and general disgustingness of our outdoor climate, we've all been holed up in our apartments for way too long. And because people don't bother to brave the weather for even the finest of food, that means that your favorite chefs get to spend the snow day chilling at home, too.

While you're holed up in your apartment praying that there's one more packet of instant ramen in the cabinet, many chefs choose to spend the day cooking the things they like to eat when they're not being forced to turn out four hundred fancy dishes over the course of an evening.

We asked some of Dallas' best chefs what they were eating on these frosty days, and got a pretty wide range of responses. Maybe they'll inspire you to go all Chopped challenge on whatever is rolling around in the back of your own refrigerator.

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Corned Beef and Hash at Deli News, Because Brunch Can Be Humble, Too

Photos by Kathryn DeBruler
Brunch used to be something extended families did on the rare occasions they got together. Either that, or it was reserved for holiday weekends, when sleeping in past breakfast time could be excused, given either the holiness of the occasion or the quality of the brunch being served.

But brunch, as you well know, has evolved into something else entirely. It's no longer a seldom-eaten meal; on the contrary, it's now a given one. Every weekend, it seems, there will be brunch. And there will be brunchers, eagerly spilling onto restaurant patios, mimosas in hand.

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Bowl and Barrel's Butterscotch Pie: Worth Wearing Bowling Shoes For

Categories: Happy Endings

Kellie Reynolds
Bowling optional, butterscotch pie mandatory
Not everyone is into bowling. "Boutique bowling" is for an even more specific demographic. But booze and pie -- now there are two things you can get behind, whether you're "The Dude" or not. The folks at Bowl and Barrel are reading your mind.

It ain't cheap to bowl here. On a Saturday night, you'll throw down $50 to rent a lane for an hour of bowling. This rubs some people the wrong way, considering you can bowl at a place like AMF at the rate of $18.19 per person, for twice the amount of time.
But then, you won't find butterscotch pie on AMF's menu. And, even at five bucks for a slice of silky vanilla cream pie floating in a moat of delicious sea salt caramel sauce, it's a trade-off worth your consideration.

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