Posted Wednesday, Jan. 02, 2013
MAGNOLIA GETS CHEESY
Missing the gooey cheeses she tasted during her European travels, Fort Worth gal Elizabeth Northern became so fascinated with the artisan cheese-making process, she enrolled in the intensive cheesemonger program at the Cheese School of San Francisco. Now she has opened Magnolia Cheese Co., a shop and cafe offering not only local, regional and international cut-to-order cheeses, but microbrews and wine along with a delightful menu of small plates, sandwiches, salads and desserts. We love how melty sandwiches like the Eagle Mountain Gouda and pork can come with kale chips, and how rotating desserts include savory selections like apple and cheddar bread pudding. Chef Jen Williams shares the recipe on our website for her Texas Caviar, featuring Vermont Butter & Cheese Creamery creme fraiche. "These cheese makers work in small batches, rotating herds of grass-fed animals to keep their farms healthy," says Northern. "This just makes for complex, flavorful food." 1251 W. Magnolia Ave., Fort Worth. www.magnoliacheese.com.
Texas Caviar with Pancetta Crisp & Cumin Creme Fraiche
Makes 6-8 servings
1 tablespoon cracked black pepper
1 tablespoon crushed red pepper
1/2 cup kosher salt
32 ounces fresh black-eyed peas (preferably local)
1 red bell pepper, diced
1/2 red onion, diced
1-2 poblano peppers, diced
1-2 jalapeños, diced
1 cup herb vinaigrette (recipe follows)
6-8 pieces pancetta, thinly sliced
Cumin creme fraiche for garnish (recipe follows)
1. Season 3 quarts water with cracked black pepper, crushed red pepper and kosher salt. Bring to a boil and add black-eyed peas. Reduce heat and let simmer 15-20 minutes. (Chefs tip: Follow the five-bean rule always taste at least five beans or peas for doneness before deciding if the cooking process is complete.)
2. Drain beans onto a sheet tray to cool. Combine beans with diced veggies and herb vinaigrette. Add more salt and black pepper to taste.
3. Evenly spread pancetta on a sheet tray lined with parchment paper and cover directly with a second sheet tray. Cook at 350 degrees for 15-20 minutes until fat has rendered and pancetta is crispy.
4. Serve bean mixture with pancetta slices and garnish with cumin creme fraiche.
Makes approximately 2 1/2 cups
1/2 cup red wine vinegar
3 tablespoons cilantro, chopped
3 tablespoons chives, small cut
1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
2 cups grape seed oil or vegetable oil of choice
Whisk all ingredients except oil. Add oil slowly to emulsify.
Cumin Creme Fraiche
Makes approximately 1 cup
3 tablespoons buttermilk
1 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup ground cumin
1. Combine buttermilk with heavy cream in glass jar. Store in a warmer area of the kitchen for two days. Refrigerate on day three. (Chefs note: If youd prefer to leave it up to the pros, visit Magnolia Cheese Co. for Vermont Butter & Cheese Creamerys creme fraiche.)
2. Add cumin to a dry saute pan over low heat. As soon as you smell cumin, its done toasting. Combine with creme fraiche.
Magnolia Cheese Co.
RODEO GOAT WRANGLES BURGERS
In Cowtown, burgers are considered one of four food groups along with Tex-Mex, barbecue and steaks. So it's no surprise that curious foodies flocked to the curiously named beer and burger joint Rodeo Goat after it dared to open just steps from local favorite Fred's Texas Cafe. But the spacious ice house and restaurant, a concept from the Wynne family, the people who conceived Flying Saucer and Dallas' Meddlesome Moth, is holding its own against the holy grail of hamburger hangouts. Executive chef Keith Grober, a Culinary School of Fort Worth graduate, oversees an inventive menu that's 14 burgers deep, offering crazy creations like the CaCa Oaxaca, with chorizo, queso fresco, Tabasco mayo and a fried egg; the Salted Sow, with prosciutto, basil leaves and Italian sausage; and the Sugar Burger, a sweet combination of grilled peaches, candied bacon and jalapeño jam. Grober, who grinds his brisket-chuck beef blend in-house, says gourmet burgers mean more than squirting truffle oil on top. Rodeo Goat was originally going to be called Rodeo Clown because of its proximity to Will Rogers Coliseum, says Keith Schlabs, who works closely with the Wynne family on its restaurant ventures. But "goat," he says, seemed a little kitschier. 2836 Bledsoe St., Fort Worth. 817-877-4628; www.rodeogoat.com.
TORCHY'S TACOS MOVES IN
Torchy's Tacos could be considered Texas' first gourmet taco truck. Founder Mike Rypka says that in 2006, when Torchy's was launched out of the back of a food trailer on South First Street in Austin, nobody else was doing the whole "gourmet thing" out of a food truck. "We decided it would be really cool to come up with a gourmet version of street tacos." Now there are more than a dozen brick-and-mortar Torchy's locations across Texas, with the Fort Worth outlet being the latest and a Southlake store on the way. If you've been to a Torchy's, chances are you fell in love with its spicy offerings and devilish branding. Rypka's go-to item is the green chile pork taco paired with a bowl of queso, but we prefer the fried portobello mushroom taco and skillet of street corn. 928 Northton St., Fort Worth. 817-289-8226; www.torchystacos.com.
MARTIN HOUSE'S NEW BREW
College buds Cody Martin, David Wedemeier and Adam Myers quit their cush day jobs to begin a career in beer, launching Martin House Brewing in Fort Worth and leaving their spouses to serve as the household breadwinners. "We call our wives the 'real housewives of Martin House Brewing,'" says Wedemeier. "But we're really the househusbands." Martin, a former civil engineer, is the brain behind the venture and proud at-home brewer, having pleased his pals' palates for years with his flavorful libations prior to seeking a venue for production. He landed a location along the Trinity River and is preparing to bring his beer to market by February. Martin House's four year-round beers include a pretzel-based stout, a floral IPA and the playful "breakfast beer" modeled after a bowl of cereal with barley, wheat, oats and rye. Expect to find Martin House selections at local venues like Live Oak Music Hall & Lounge, Brewed and Flying Saucer. The guys, avid outdoor enthusiasts themselves, hope the brewery will one day serve as a beer stop for runners, cyclists and even kayakers. 220 S. Sylvania Ave., Suite 209, Fort Worth. www.martinhousebrewing.com
DUDE, MORE SWEET CHOCOLATE
We first tasted treats from Dude, Sweet Chocolate at Avoca Coffee, which has offered the Dallas-based chocolatier's gourmet fudge since the coffeehouse opened in 2011. Now Fort Worth has its own Dude, Sweet storefront, opened last month in the former FIG Designers space in the West 7th development. While we miss seeing FIG's fabulous fashions in the window, we can't help but be lured into the luxurious chocolate shop with every stroll down Crockett Street. Handmade creations include many surprisingly savory components, including Sichuan sauce and lime in the Trixie & Chim Chim chocolate bar, 100-year aged tequila in the One Night Stand chocolate sauce, and blue cheese and sea salt in the Albatross fudge. 2925 Crockett St., Fort Worth. 817-945-2234; www.dudesweetchocolate.com.
BONEFISH GRILL FINDS SOUTHLAKE HOOK
We were impressed with everything Southlake's new Bonefish Grill had to offer when we visited last month during its opening week -- the cozy, dim-lit dining room, the subtle Asian influences on the seafood-focused menu and the spot-on service, even with a packed house on its second day in business. The Florida-based eatery comes from the same restaurant family as Outback Steakhouse and Carrabba's Italian Grill and is known for its chef coat-clad servers and wood-grilled fish dishes. Don't be surprised to find chopsticks on every table, next to the Alessi salt and pepper grinders, and Asian-inspired selections like ahi tuna sashimi, wagyu beef and ginger dumplings, and jumbo Thai coconut shrimp. (Servers will push the restaurant's creamy and spicy Bang Bang shrimp as a signature appetizer.) There's a martini list, too; and while we considered the winter white cosmo with fresh lime and white cranberry juice, we opted for the Texas martini featuring Tito's Handmade Vodka and blue cheese-stuffed olives, appreciating the national chain's nod to a regional spirit. 1201 E. Southlake Blvd., Southlake; 817-421-3263, www.bonefishgrill.com.
MORE CRISTINA'S FINE MEXICAN
We propose a margarita toast, because North Richland Hills is now home to a location of Dallas-based Cristina's Fine Mexican Restaurant, established in 1989 by the Vargas family, whose roots stem from Central Mexico. The casual neighborhood eatery took over the former House of Anejo space and promises Tex-Mex "comida casera," or home cooking, along with grilled selections like salmon with pineapple butter and skirt steak and shrimp-stuffed poblano peppers. Executive chef David Woodward, who once worked with Stephan Pyles at Star Canyon Las Vegas, came aboard in 2010 to serve as the restaurant's corporate chef. Foodies will like that flour tortillas and chips are made in-house and that the refried and borracho beans can also come in black. 9159 Texas 26, North Richland Hills, www.cristinasmex.com.
UNDER A SAFFRON SKY
Mediterranean fans will appreciate a new dining option in Saffron Sky, an unfussy eatery that offers prettily presented, substantially portioned, flavorful fare that's on par with any Medi venue in town. Find fresh dolmas, lamb and beef kebabs, brick-oven spinach pies and combo lunch specials large enough to feed two. The restaurant is the first for owner Sam Shaban, who has imported luxurious furnishings and decor for more than 50 years at his Fort Worth-based wholesale import store, International Caravan Inc. (He was proud to show us his white marble tables and colorful bench seat fabric, along with murals painted by his daughter). Shaban plans to open a bakery next door offering European and Arabic-style breads, wedding cakes, cookies and pastries later this year. 5913 Donnelly Ave., Fort Worth.
TRIBECA COMES TO COLLEYVILLE
Those who have followed chef Sage Sakiri know his culinary concepts push past the straight and narrow. Offering foie gras "hit with smoke" in mason jars and amuses-bouche born out of molecular gastronomy, Sakiri is sure to raise eyebrows and excite palates in quiet Colleyville when he opens Tribeca Americana Bistro & Lounge this month in the former 62 Main restaurant space. He calls Tribeca eclectic and warm, offering American cuisine with immigrant influences from Central and South America, Europe, Asia and Africa. Sakiri most recently consulted for nearby Next Wood Fired Bistro and received praise during his time at Buk Balkan Bistro in New York City and Dino's Steak and Claw House in Grapevine. Expect valet parking, doorman service to the second floor, live music on the weekend, and a patio and balcony for private dining. 62 Main St., Suite 200, Colleyville, 817-788-3998.
RYAN'S GROCER ... AND MUCH MORE
When Ryan's Fine Grocer and Delicatessen opens this month, it is Hunter Ryan's lobster roll, offering yuzu creme fraiche, applewood smoked bacon and a serrano-avocado aioli, that we'll be shopping for first. The French Culinary Institute graduate, who's opening the Magnolia Avenue grocery store along with his sister, Brittany (also an FCI grad), will serve his signature sandwich in the store's specialty deli, along with house-cured sausages, smoked salmon, dry-aged beef and eventually, prosciutto. Expect fresh bread, specialty dry goods, and as much local produce as possible, Hunter says, as well as a selection of fine wines and beers, which can be enjoyed in the store's dining area or patio. 815 W. Magnolia Ave., Fort Worth; 347-208-7301, www.ryansfinegrocer.com.
The Fred's Texas Cafe patio is no longer the "fort" it once was. The beloved burger joint now boasts a beautifully expansive outdoor seating area, complete with a larger stage, cedar fencing and actual tables and chairs as opposed to the previous picnic tables. (Nostalgic Fred's fans can find those at the new Clear Fork Food Park.) 915 Currie St., 817-332-0083, www.fredstexascafe.com
FnG Eats, Keller's hot spot for upscale comfort food, is offering a hefty Sunday brunch menu. Entrees include carrot cake French toast with maple cream cheese glaze and black pepper bacon biscuits with chili gravy. FnG opens daily at 11 a.m. 201 Town Center Blvd., Keller, 817-741-5200, www.fngeats.com
FT33 chef Matt McCallister will welcome chef Randy Rucker of Houston to his new Dallas restaurant for Two Chefs Lost in the Woods on Jan. 14. The 14-course dinner will highlight bounty from McCallister and Rucker's foraging expeditions throughout the Texas woods. $125, or $150 with wine pairings, 1617 Hi Line Drive, Dallas, 214-741-2629, www.ft33dallas.com
Lanny's Alta Cocina Mexicana will offer a Stock Show prix fixe dinner during the Fort Worth Stock Show & Rodeo, Jan. 18-Feb. 9. Enjoy three courses, including Hamachi ceviche, rib-eye steak with frites and funnel cake with ice cream for $45 per person. 3405 W. Seventh St., 817-850-9996, www.lannyskitchen.com.
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