In the Texas Legislature, a Fight Between Grocery and Liquor Stores Over Who Can Sell Booze

Categories: Drinking

Curtis Perry/Flickr
Wal Mart might get to sell liquor, but it will never sell it like this.
Texas' liquor laws, if not the most confusing in the country (thank you, Utah), are confusing enough. So the battle in the Legislature, pitting Walmart, Costco and Kroger against some of the state's best-known liquor chains, fits perfectly.

It's not necessarily a fight between big companies out to get the little guy, since a variety of little guys support the big companies through a lobbying group called Texans for Consumer Freedom. And it's not necessarily about saving local jobs in the face of voracious multinationals, since the local jobs are being created by companies that aren't especially local unless you live in Dallas, Houston or Austin.

Rather, it's about a set of state laws that prohibit most publicly traded companies like Walmart from owning package stores -- retail outlets that sell wine, beer and spirits -- and would limit those companies to just five stores even if they could.

Confused yet? Don't worry -- it gets worse.

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Letter from London: What Texas Barbecue Tastes Like Overseas

Categories: Barbecue

Gavin Cleaver
It wasn't Texas, but it wasn't bad.
Gavin Cleaver is the former web editor and clueless barbecue correspondent of the Dallas Observer. He lives in England Great Britain the UK somewhere over there ------>

Hello from overseas. I hear you've been having some weather. Well, I'm here to inform all of you that you are now considered cool.

Yes, after years of stereotyping Texas as a place where cowboys cavort, wearing only oversized hats, in geysers of oil falling like expensive rain, you finally did something that people around the world are starting to consider cool.

No, not street cars, or endless debates about highways. Your brisket. It's cool now.

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Bob Armstrong Dip Is a Fancy New York Chef Meal Now

Categories: Complaint Desk

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 Observer Iron Fork Event: Full Restaurant List, Plus a Discount-Ticket Code

Categories: Events

These two guys are only the beginning
When we first announced that Omar Flores was going to take on Matt McCallister at this year's Dallas Observer Iron Fork event, the event was already shaping up to be a great one. El Come Taco had signed on as a participant for the first time, and some of my old favorites, including Cuban Dulceria International Bakery and Scardello, were returning for another round, too.

It's only been a few weeks, several more restaurants have piled on, and tickets are available at a discount for the next few days, so here it is: Your Iron Fork reminder.

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Longoria's Has a Pulled Pork Sandwich Now, Another Excuse to Go to Longoria's

Categories: Barbecue

Matthew Martinez
Twisted locks of pulled pork meet pickles, onions and Longoria's traditional self-serve sauce.
A specific hook carried me into Longoria's on my last trip to the corrugated-metal meat mansion in Everman. Owner David Longoria added pulled pork to his eclectic menu a little over a month ago, and by this time had mastered the new offering, making it time, once again, to check in on this true Texas gem.

And make no mistake, the sandwich, reasonably priced at $5, is a triumph, sweaty with savory juices that soften a toasted bun if you don't scarf quickly enough. The pork occupies the same pit overnight that houses Longoria's briskets, which are used for making their famous brisket sausage. But the shoulder stays in just a couple hours longer than its smoking bovine companion and slides right off the bone when done.

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The Cheap Bastard's Guide to Great but Terrible Pre-Workout Meals in Dallas

Pound three of these, plus two coffees and hit the trail, y'all!! Let's do some hill-repeats and try not to throw up sprinkles!!
Dallas: The land of real barbecue and fuck-yeah tacos. A place where figuring out where you want to go to lunch takes at least 10 minutes every day because you and your coworker get into a face-punch fight over which burger is the best burger in Dallas.

But, when you're at the gym doing Yogalates and leg-warmer-ed elliptical battles later, there are certain lunches you will most definitely (and instantly) regret.

Behold: The 5 Worst Delicious Meals to Eat Pre-Workout in Dallas: A Cheap Bastard Special Investigation. To be crystal clear, list-makers are first and foremost OMG-delicious, and then they create the most interesting consequences at the gym a few hours later.

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Dallas Breweries Are Wisely Embracing the Light-Bodied Beer

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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The Murky Future of Monkey King Noodle Co.

Categories: Food News

Scott Reitz
A rainy day at the King of noodles.
I spent nearly the entire month of January with the face-plague, and subsequently found myself in the line pictured above, outside Deep Ellum's Monkey King Noodle Company, waiting for my chicken noodle soup. For some reason it was always raining, or at least cloudy, which somehow made receiving that steaming bag of soup and dumplings all the more special. I love waiting on the brick sidewalk with a warm cup of simple tea in my hands, hoping the next name to be called is mine.

Sadly, I don't think I'll be able to repeat that experience many more times.

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Ten Dallas Restaurants You Should Be Eating at Right Now: Spring 2015 Edition

Categories: Best Of Dallas

Amy McCarthy
Oh, shit.
After what has seemed like a Texan-sized drought of restaurant openings, it seems like things are starting to pick up in Dallas again. Maybe it's all of those blue bonnets that sprouted a few weeks back, or the honeysuckle that just began to perfume the streets recently, but Dallas seems renewed this spring, which is a good enough reason as any to get out there and explore some new restaurants.

There are plenty of old standbys here, and a few new comers, but I get the sense that a tide has been set in motion. Come summertime you might not even recognize Dallas' dining scene, but for now, here's where to spend that precious dining income.

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Dallas Chefs Love the Humble Workhorse Blue Steel Pan, and You Should Too

Categories: Food News

Scott Reitz
It's not platinum shiny, but it's still beautiful. And functional, too.
I was having dinner recently with a couple who was planning to move in together for the first time. While sipping sake and nibbling on bits of fried things with chopsticks, we talked about the pleasures of boxing up belongings, dealing with rental trucks and movers, and because things always seem to turn toward food, we eventually discussed the best way to outfit a new kitchen. They were both ready to upgrade from the cheap non-stick pans they'd acquired in a boxed set from Target, and they wanted to know what kind of pans they should buy to get started.

I was hesitant to even advise because I already knew what kind of pans they would buy. I could extol the virtues of inexpensive, functional cookware for these two young, fledgling cooks, but even though they were asking for advice they'd already decided they were going to buy one of those shiny new stainless steel sets that cost hundreds of dollars at Williams Sonoma or Sur La Table.

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