Football, Barbecue and TacoCon: This Week In Dallas Dining

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Ibex is one this week's additions to our 50 most interesting restaurants
There is an undeniable energy that props of the spirits of humans across the country as the first week of September comes to pass. Last night, the NFL kicked off the months-long saga that is beer, chicken wing and nachos season and it's time to rejoice. If you're not a fan, there's always salads. Have fun with that. The rest of us are going to put on a few pounds and dip fattening things in bright, orange cheese food while watching the game at our favorite bar. We'll wrap the week up first, though.

This week I reviewed Chennai, a must-visit restaurant in Plano for Indian food fans. There are no nachos, but there are dosas, and to be honest the crepe-like creations stuffed with potato curry might take the win.

Elsewhere on CoA, could you believe we announced the coming of another burger bar? Say hello to Dee Lincoln's take on a little beef between the buns. We also told the State Fair of Texas to get it together on the fried food front, and added five more restaurants to our list of Dallas' 50 most interesting. We're getting close to the end.

Not with Gavin Cleaver, though. The Brit is back and he has trolled a barbecue troll. Apparently you can do that.

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Burgers, Casseroles and Labor Day Weekend: This Week in Dallas Dining

Categories: Lettuce Wrap Up

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Valerie Elise Thompson
Nova, the Oak Cliff gastropub is one of this week's most interesting restaurants.
Bliss. Labor Day weekend is so many things at once. It's license to indulge too many off the beaten path burgers. It's an excuse to dick off on a Monday because nobody's in the office anyway. It's a sign that maybe, just maybe, the glowing hell-orb that hangs heavy over your shoulders every time you step outside will soon relent. It's also a sign that the State Fair of Texas is close. So get out of your office and fast as you can and buy your self a cold one. But let's wrap up this week first

This week I reviewed Mercat, the small bistro that opened downtown on Harwood Street earlier this summer. I loved the dining room, but the food needs some work. It would be nice to see them pull off some improvements because the price point is reasonable, and downtown could use a reputable French restaurant.

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Handsy Waiters, Bad Fish and Taco Nerds: This Week In Dallas Dining

Categories: Lettuce Wrap Up

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BonChon Chicken in Dallas? This is big news.

Are you ready for BrewFest? Of course you are. But first we have some food news to wrap up.

The more I think about it, the pending arrival of BonChon is probably the biggest food news of the week. Their chicken is addictive, and it's the sort of place you can hang out and have a beer or three, which will only lead to your consumption of more chicken. I'm predicting a mini Korean Fried Chicken euphoria when this place opens.

This week I reviewed Pakpao, the Design District darling that's drawing big crowds with its boldly spicy dishes and inventive cooking. Both lunch and dinner crowds are sizable, and they don't take reservations so there can be a wait for a table. Across all of my visits that wait was minimal, though.

Elsewhere on CoA, we had two big discussions regarding restaurant service. The first was about restaurant staff and their "handling" of customers and drew heated comments from both sides of the camp. We also took a look at restaurant surcharges. Restaurateurs take note: Dallas customers do not like being charged for a few extra tortillas.

Meanwhile there were some glazed doughnut issues in Deep Ellum, a sandwich with a lot of pig and cow, and an interview with the guys behind Mutts, Bowl and Barrel and the upcoming Rustic.

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Who the F*#& Ate all the Doughnuts? This Week in Dallas Dining

Categories: Lettuce Wrap Up

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Stanton Stephens
Michael Peticolas is just one of the local artisans we looked at this week.
You've made it. And other than the potential for a little precipitation this evening, the weekend forecast calls for some seriously impressive weather. The low 90s in Texas in August is something you really should take advantage of. But not before we wrap this week up.

Surely, you've heard of FT33. The restaurant has been making both local and national news since it opened. I waited till Matt McCallister's Design District spot had been open close to a year to review it, because many restaurants seem to run out of steam after that initial hot run. But FT33 has not run out of the good stuff, and I think there's much more to come. You can check out my review here.

Elsewhere on CoA, we paid a visit to the new Trader Joe's, and then left when we discovered there was no cold beer. And a doughnut shop briefly opened and then closed when hungry Dallasites cleaned out the doughnut racks shortly after.

We also paid a visit to the folks behind Carnival Barker, one of nine food professionals we featured in another post celebrating our local artisans. And we kicked off a new series that takes a look at our best coffee shops, while adding five more restaurants to our list of places guaranteed to keep you from getting bored.

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Angry Bees, Angry Pizza and Banh Mi: This Week In Dallas Dining

Categories: Lettuce Wrap Up

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The scene inside Zoli's this week on opening night.
The weekend is here, which means many of you about about to fill your lives with beer. You should take it easy though, because there's going to be a lot of suds next week on CoA, and then BrewFest happens. Pace yourselves: Drink bourbon instead.

This week I reviewed HG Sply Co. and was let down. A comment on my story offers that Applebee's makes better steak; that's a little harsh, but I wasn't impressed with mine, either. The nachos and the cocktails are worth a tentative visit. Say yes to beet-infused tequila.

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Vodka, Natto and the Dallas Farmers Market: The Week That Was in Dallas Dining

Categories: Lettuce Wrap Up

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Catherine Downes
Meet Tony G., whose Carrollton restaurant is the subject of this week's review.
With Lakewood's anniversary party coming up Sunday, you've got plenty of reasons to drink a lot of beer, and you should. But not before we wrap up this week's food news.

This week I visited the Russian Banya in Carrollton. Check out the review, and if it sounds like the kind of place you could get into, grab a bottle of vodka and go. You'll leave with a story of your own.

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Booze Booze Booze and More Booze: This Week In Dallas Dining

Categories: Lettuce Wrap Up

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I've been thinking a lot about what makes a restaurant experience satisfying. It takes more than good food. Surveys have shown that customers are more likely to return to a restaurant with mediocre food and exemplary customer service than a restaurant that leaves them feeling slighted, no matter how good the food. I'm wondering if restaurants that truly bring something new to a community are also more likely for a revisit -- if only because they keep us from becoming bored.

To that end, I've started compiling a list of restaurants I think are worth a closer look. No. 50: Joyce And Gigi's, No. 49: East Hampton Sandwich Co., and No. 48: 20 Feet Seafood Joint were profiled this week. We'll keep counting them down until we get to our annual Best of DallasĀ® issue this September.

Elsewhere on CoA we took a closer look at Bar Smyth, the cocktail lounge that's turning heads in Uptown; worked with area bartenders to come up with a few summer cocktails; and came up with a new and improved cleanse that involves vodka and rum.

We also got collectively very, very drunk.

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Carnitas, Barbecue and the Measure of a Great Food City: This Week In Dallas Dining

Categories: Lettuce Wrap Up

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How does Dallas rank as a food city? I ask because the Washington Post published an article this week in which Mark H. Furstenberg bitches for two pages about his city's food scene, which I typically regard as pretty great. Not New York City or San Fransisco great, but generally a pleasure to explore.

Furstenberg delves deeper than typical food commentary often does, however, pushing past popular restaurants as a measure of goodness to look at ingredient availability, affordability and tradition. It's a great read. There's a shout out to Texas-based Central Market and many other points that will resonate with Dallas-based food fans. Have you had enough of over-priced cocktailery at the hands of fancy mixoligists, for instance?

I bet you haven't had enough of Taqueria Y Carniceria Guanajuato, though. The subject of this week's review produces excellent menudo and carnitas on the weekend, and I recommend you check them out -- especially if you wake up feeling a little under the weather tomorrow.

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Outdoor Deep Frying the Illegal Milk Trade and Veg: This Week In Food News

Categories: Lettuce Wrap Up

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Outdoor cooking season is here and a recent article in The New York Times lists a compelling reason for cooking with gas. While charcoal will always be king for the grill, using a gas burner to heat up your frying oil outdoors makes a lot of sense.

Deep frying inside can be a really big bummer. Oil particles collect on every surface of your kitchen, and if you indulge too much, your house will smell like a fast food restaurant. Moving the operations outdoors will save your home from off-putting smells, and outdoor burners are capable of firing up really big pans. Ever wanted to host a really big fried chicken party? Now's your chance.

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LARK, Carbone's and Barbacoa: This Week In Dallas Dining

Categories: Lettuce Wrap Up

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The unofficial start of summer is here, and the three-day weekend promises smoldering grills, coolers full of beer, and if you stumble over to 20 Feet this weekend quick enough, the first of this season's soft-shell crabs. Let's get this week wrapped up.

This week I reviewed Lark on the Park and gave it two enthusiastic thumbs up. Not really, we don't do that here, but there's lots to praise at this new restaurant that flanks Klyde Warren Park. Stop in for a beer, and I bet you'll decide to stay for a bite.

Elsewhere in CoA we swilled some Till and Toil, sipped some terrible tea and opined on the golden age of Texas barbecue.

We also confirmed that Dallas will never, ever eat bugs.

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