Girls on Food

Dawn Fisher

I have called Dallas my home for many years. This is a perfect city for a foodie. There are always new restaurants and food events going on. I was born in San Antonio, TX. The Texas hill country will always have a place in my heart. When I was young, I spent every summer at my grandparent’s house in a small town north of Corpus Christi. They owned a restaurant and I spent many hours in that restaurant enjoying the food and the people. On Monday’s, when the restaurant was closed, my grandparent’s and I would drive to all the small towns and try new restaurants and visit some old joints. I learned to not only appreciate food as life-sustaining but also as a form of conviviality and fellowship. I love traveling and immersing myself in the food and culture. I have been blessed to travel to Europe and many places stateside. When I am not teaching school, I am busy whittling away at my restaurant bucket list, updating my food and travel blog, Fenomenale, writing travel experiences for Guidrr and spending time with family and my sweet dog. I am pumped to be joining Girls on Food. So let’s have fun and eat it up!

The 2018 Garden to Table Dinner Hosted by Independence Gardens Brings Farm to the Table For a Good Cause

Eating for a cause! It doesn’t get much better than that. I was honored and excited to attend the annual Garden to Table Dinner event hosted by Independence Gardens again last weekend.  A first grade teacher with a dream, Sarah Allen, saw a need and took action. Her students (and thousands others) live in an area referred to as the “food desert” because of the lack of grocery stores within walking distance from their homes. The need for access to healthy foods and the knowledge of nutrition is real. When she heard about Independence Gardens and their mission she knew she had found the perfect partner. Independence Gardens was found by Chonnie Richey. Being a first grade teacher myself, I am well aware of the effect lack of nutrition can have on children.

The six course menu was inspired by the fruits and vegetables growing in the community schools gardens and each course was cooked by a different local chef. Unfortunately, the weather made it impossible to dine outside. Nonetheless, the team transformed the cafeteria into a dream and the student entertainment was topnotch.

First Course – Chef Jennifer Bajsel
We started with a wonderful, comforting Roasted Apple and Squash Bisque. I overheard someone say it “tasted just like fall”. They were right it did; with hints of clove, cinnamon and the freshness of the apple squash.

Second Course – Chef Braden Wages/Yasmin Wages
Next up was the Thai Tuna Tartare. The diced sushi grade ahi tuna was perfectly seasoned with herbs including mint from the school garden. The homemade sriracha sauce was good and spicy.

Third Course – Chef Amanda Bensley and The Colony High School Culinary Program
The Blue Harvest Salad with Rosemary Dijon Vinaigrette and Mini Beef Tarts were next in line. The salad was dressed but not soggy and the crispness of the apples and spiced pecans were a wonderful addition. I was happy with the blue cheese, but one bite of the fresh goat cheese in the beef tart and I was in heaven. Wow!

Fourth Course – Chef Kyle Jones
The fourth course was another feast for the senses with a Sausage and Cornbread Stuffed Quail with Golden Raisin and Carrot Puree. The rich sausage and quail were wonderfully paired with the cornbread and puree.

Fifth Course – Oscar Miranda
For our next course we were introduced to Chef Miranda’s Vegan Cajun Polenta. The spicy and richly flavored jackfruit was amazing. The polenta brought down the spiciness of the cajun jackfruit. I would put this dish up against any cajun meat dish!

Sixth Course – Chef Cesar Barachina
Lastly, we we dined on Roasted Carrot Spice Cake with Candied Pecans, Pineapple Salsa and Cream Cheese Cremeux. The spice cake was moist and flavorful. I don’t often think of pineapple as a fall fruit, but is was a wonderful surprise to the dessert. I found myself trying not to lick the plate it was so good. Manners….

I also got to spend the evening with the winners of our ticket giveaway and my daughter. Four current and former educators. In a world full of negative news it was good to know people are making a difference!

Between the Buns Slides into Home Plate with Their Inaugural Slider Event

Last Saturday the Dallas Observer and Whole Foods held the first annual Between the Buns – Slider EventThirty of Dallas’ hot spots were busy cooking some of their most tempting treats for the taking. Seriously, there really isn’t a better biteful than a slider and a great vehicle to pretty much get anything into your mouth! 

Between the Buns
Dallas Farmers Market
920 S. Harwood St.
Dallas, TX 75201

There were sliders for every taste and eater. Here are some of the best bites of the day….

Hutchins BBQ – Pulled Pork
If there is one thing Hutchins knows how to do it is BBQ and this slider was no exception. Sauce-laden and juicy to the last bite with a nice crunch from the coleslaw.

Full Circle Tavern – The Italian Stallion
The Italian seasoning was spot on and the peppers added a little bite. Mamma Mia!

Arepa – BBQ Jackfruit Arepa
Shout out to all my vegan and gluten-free foodies! This fluffy corn cake was stuffed full of seasoned jackfruit and jicama slaw. A great change from beef or pork.

Snuffer’s – Bacon Cheddar Slider
Man, I love a poppy seed bun! his baby was filled nicely with a beef patty smothered in Dr. Pepper BBQ sauce, cheddar cheese and bacon.

Dot’s Hop House – Club Schmitz Burger
Dot’s Hop House pays homage to a Dallas legend with their namesake burger. Two patties, American cheese, lettuce, tomato and housemade pickles. Club Schmitz would be proud.

Easy Slider – The Mini Mac
Move over golden arches there is new burger in town that has you beat. This double-decker has two angus beef patties, American cheese, lettuce, onions, pickles and special sauce. It is small in stature, but mighty in taste.

The Dapper Doughnut – Strawberry Bella Mini Doughnut
After all that savory goodness it was time for something sweet. Warm and yummy, this mini doughnut was just what I needed to finish off the bevy of burgers.

The inaugural Between the Buns is in the books! Clear your calendars for next year’s event.

When the Wabi House in Dallas is Rockin’…

I’ve heard rave reviews about Wabi House for some time now. The loudest reviews have been from my twenty-something daughter and her friends who visit Wabi House no less than once a week. Located in the Lower Greenville area of Dallas; not exactly my neck of the woods. Last week I made the trek to Lower Greenville to meet the twenty-something gang for dinner. It was worth every mile of the drive. 

Wabi House
1802 Greenville Ave., Dallas, TX 75206
http://www.wabihouse.com

The entrance is decorated with a vibrantly decorated mural and outdoor seating with an open bar…weather permitting of course. The interior of the restaurant is decorated with punches of framed color set against pale walls with Edison bulbs hanging from a dark, wooden-beamed ceiling. The long, narrow dining room is filled with comfy booths and a few seats overlooking the kitchen.

Sweet Corn Fritters

We started with a couple of small plates. The first was the plate of Sweet Corn Fritters. These amazing morsels are made with niblets of corn cut fresh from the cob which is perfectly seasoned with salt and sansho pepper then drizzled with a spicy aioli. These babies were heavenly. The corn was sweet and savory with just enough breading to hold it all together. The drizzle of aioli was just the right amount of heat. Did I mention we devoured three orders!

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The Good, The Bad and The Ugly: Smoked Dallas

I was so excited to attend Smoked BBQ Festival again this year. How could I go wrong with BBQ, live music and trailer park olympics? I’d be a fool not to attend.

Smoked Dallas
Main Street Garden Park, Downtown Dallas, TX
http://www.smokeddallas.com/

Culling down my favorite bites from the sixteen pitmasters and chefs was a tall order, but I conquered. I narrowed it down to The Good, The Bad and The Ugly.

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Clucking Around in Lewisville, TX: Prohibition Chicken

Prohibition Chicken is the collaboration of Josh Babb and Sean Clavir (formerly of Musume, The Chop Shop and Chop Shop Live) and Chef Roger Kaplan (Restaurant Innovations). In addition to its great location, they chose Lewisville for the restaurant’s site because it lends itself to the old country vibe they were seeking.

Prohibition Chicken
201 W. Church Street, Lewisville, TX 75057
http://www.prohibitionchicken.com

The dining room is wonderfully rustic yet chic. The walls are covered in wood and the comfy booths are covered in flour sacks.

Rustic interior with natural lighting. Check out the phone booth door leading to the speakeasy.

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Il Vecchio in Pacific Grove, CA

Our first stop after unpacking in our rental was for dinner at Il Vecchio. Il vecchio is Italian for “the old”. This place screams old, but not in a bad way. It screams old world…Rome to be exact. The decor, the people and the food all have a familiar and comforting feel to them…like an old tradition.

Il Vecchio
110 Central Ave, Pacific Grove, CA 93950
http://www.ilvecchiorestaurant.com/

pane e olio

For a starter, I ordered the pane e olio (bread and oil). It arrived at the table on a wooden cutting board branded with the restaurant’s name. The ciabatta was fresh and perfectly complemented the balsamic vinegar, extra virgin olive oil and the sweet roasted peppers. The key here was the vinegar and oil; both were the best quality. The vinegar was aged and thick. The oil green with a rotund flavor.
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Garden to Table Dinner: Independence Gardens Hosts Dinner For a Good Cause

I love eating food, but when all that noshing is for a good cause, it tastes even better. That is exactly what happened last weekend at the Garden To Table Dinner hosted by Independence Gardens. Sarah Allen is a first grade teacher at a school with a high percentage of economically disadvantaged students. The students live in an area referred to as the “food desert” because of the lack of grocery stores within walking distance from their homes. The need for access to healthy foods and the knowledge of nutrition is heartbreakingly real. When she heard about Independence Gardens and their mission she knew she had found the perfect partner. I am a first grade teacher as well. I have seen first hand the effect lack of nutrition can have on children. I was beyond excited to receive an invitation from Chonnie Richey, Founder of Independence Gardens, to attend the event.

The six course menu was inspired by the fruits and vegetables growing in the community schools gardens and each course was cooked by a different local chef. It was an absolutely beautiful night to eat outside and the entertainment put on by the students was stellar.

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Desserts After Dark: Fort Worth Food + Wine Festival

Desserts After Dark
Fort Worth Food + Wine Festival
Panther Island Pavilion
395 Purcey Street
Fort Worth, TX 76102
http://fortworthfoodandwinefestival.com/events/desserts-after-dark/

The Fort Worth Food + Wine Festival is a three-day food spectacular including a BBQ Showdown, Main Event, Desserts After Dark, Rise +Dine and Burgers, Brews and Blues. The events are held at different venues in the Fort Worth area. I can’t think of a better way to end the week than by devouring a ton of sugar-laden delights. I headed over to Cowton for the festival’s “Desserts After Dark,” presented by the Fort Worth Food + Wine Foundation… time to enjoy something sweet and listen to some music!  Here are some of the lovelies. (My apologies for the grainy photos but it was desserts after dark.)

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Pi Day or Pie Day?

cherry pie, pi dayHappy Pie Day! Okay, so today is Pi Day, not Pie Day. I am using a little poetic license to make the most of it by eating some pie. I love pie and will pretty much eat any kind of pie: apple pie, pecan pie, pumpkin pie, bumbleberry pie, mincemeat pie, shepard’s pie. I am an equal opportunity pie eater. You know the best thing to put into a pie? Your teeth.  In honor of Pi Day I am sinking my teeth into a couple of my favorites: cherry and coconut cream.

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A Tale of Two Texan Onion Rings

On a recent trip to the Texas Hill Country I chowed down on some amazing onion rings. “Onion rings?! Big deal!” Well, they are a big deal; especially in Texas. Not all onion rings are created equal and there is more than one kind of onion ring. Fill up the car with some gas because you will be wanting to hit the road soon to try these two.

Longhorn Cafe
23624 W. US 290
Harper, TX 78631
http://www.longhorncafeharper.com/

onion rings, Texas Hill Country, Harper, Longhorn Cafe
Harper, Texas is home to the Longhorn Cafe. They are known for their good food. Look at those onion rings. I’ll wait…..They look delish don’t they? They were. The sweet onions were dipped in a cornmeal-based batter. The batter here is substantial and the onion slices have to be big enough to handle the batter. There is nothing worse than biting into an onion ring and having all the crispy batter crumble to bits or worse yet, bite into the onion rings and have the hot onion slide out of the crust and burn your chin. No worries here. Each bite of these onion rings left me with a perfect ratio of batter to onion. No crumbles. No burnt chin. Don’t forget the ranch for dipping. Yep, we have a winner here.

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