Dr. Sue Williams isn’t suggesting that her patients take two chocolates and call her in the morning, but the Dallas-based medical doctor and professionally trained chocolatier does believe chocolate, sans the artificial flavors, colors and preservatives, doesn’t have to be taboo. That’s why she has opened Dr. Sue’s Chocolate in Grapevine, her first storefront offering the all-natural dark chocolate barks, wafers and chocolate-dipped candied fruits that she’s made for friends and family for years.
“It was a natural progression from being a doctor looking at something you enjoy eating and trying to figure out, ‘How can I enjoy this and not be unhealthy?’ ” Williams says.
Having made chocolate with her mother since she was a child, Williams began to explore the chemistry behind the art after she became a physician. She attended the Chocolate Academy in Chicago and started focusing on the benefits of dark chocolate.
“There was so much science in chocolate that I had not appreciated previously,” she says. “It sort of fed my scientific side as well as my creative, foodie side.”
After having success selling her line at small boutiques and farmers markets, then grocers like Central Market, Eatzi’s and Whole Foods, Williams knew her own store was next on the agenda. It would allow her to showcase even more sweet treats.
“There are a lot of things I experiment with that I can’t sell to grocery stores, like dipped fruit, candied orange peels and filled chocolates that don’t have much of a shelf life if you’re going to keep them all natural, which I believe is important,” she says. “I haven’t been able to share those with anybody except my friends.”
Williams’ specialty is her barks, which include blueberry ancho chile, cherry pecan, hazelnut coconut and ginger fig. She only uses dark chocolate and natural ingredients like local wildflower honey, and she tries to go light on the butter in her toffees.
“I also just try not to put in as much sugar as most people do,” she says. “But I’m not here to tell anybody that my chocolate, or anybody’s chocolate, is health food. The reality is it’s still a confection. A lot of it is knowing what’s in your food, making good choices and eating in moderation.”
Meaning we can’t give up our apple a day for chocolate just yet.
Also look for chocolate-making classes at Williams’ downtown Grapevine chocolate shop later this year.
— 520 S. Main St. Suite 208, Grapevine, 817-527-4424, www.drsueschocolate.com/.
LOVE FOR THE OVEN AT CANE ROSSO
Foodie social media went ballistic with activity when Dallas-based Cane Rosso announced in August that it would open its first Fort Worth location in the former Ryan’s Fine Grocer & Delicatessen space on West Magnolia Avenue. Owner Jay Jerrier’s (owner) custom-made, wood-burning Stefano Ferrara is finally here from Naples, and he calls this checkered version the lovechild of the solid red and solid white ovens located at his Deep Ellum and White Rock locations. Serving bona fide Neapolitan pies that are baked at blazing temperatures in seconds, Cane Rosso (Italian for “red dog”) is considered primo destination dining in Dallas, packing the house daily with pie addicts who can’t get enough of the pizzeria’s hand-pulled fresh mozzarella, hand-crushed plum tomato sauce and handmade, yeasty crusts. Expect the Fort Worth location, set to open this month, to offer shareable salads and apps, as well as a pizza that will be exclusive to Cowtown called the Gypsy Danger — featuring a sweet and spicy marmalade made with sopressata sausage, roasted jalapeños, mushrooms and mozzarella cheese. 815 W. Magnolia Ave., Fort Worth, www.ilcanerosso.com.
TAKING A SHOT
AT CLAY PIGEON
Chef Marcus Paslay was shooting clays with his father when the name Clay Pigeon came to mind as a restaurant moniker. “It kind of symbolizes taking a shot at something, and we’re certainly doing that,” says the former Neighborhood Services executive chef, who has cooked in kitchens in Alaska and Hawaii and helped open the Four Seasons in Vail. Now Paslay has breathed new life in the former Lambert’s Steaks, Seafood & Whiskey space with Clay Pigeon Food and Drink, which brings off-the-beaten path fine dining back to the industrial area of Fort Worth. Paslay’s menu of small and large plates will change regularly, as often as 10 to 12 times a year, he says. Visit now and find veal cheeks over parsnip puree and seared scallops with artichokes and Bosque blue cheese. There’s a daily steak special, prepared over the open kitchen’s wood-burning grill, and the pasta is homemade every night. A temperature-controlled wine room visible through glass from the dining area gives guests a glimpse of nearly 200 selections. “We’ll go local as often as possible,” Paslay says. “We’re really focusing on from-scratch cuisine, with everything made in house from start to finish.” 2731 White Settlement Road, Fort Worth, 817-882-8065, www.claypigeonfd.com.
PRIME TIME FOR MANSFIELD
“People are coming in and saying this is exactly what Mansfield needed,” says Fritz Doss, executive chef of Prime Grille & Sidebar, Mansfield’s new go-to option for upscale American cuisine. Doss, who’s worked in five-star hotel restaurants across the country for three decades, says area diners frequently drive to Dallas or Fort Worth for a nice dinner out, but Prime dishes like pan-seared rainbow trout, apple cider pork loin, bison sirloin steak and swordfish loin are keeping them close to home. Laid back and white tablecloth-free, Prime is comfortable, with a dark and cozy, Texas-inspired atmosphere and a festive “sidebar,” which features live music (mostly country acts) late night each weekend. Plan to sit on the covered patio when the weather warms. Prime is open seven days a week for lunch and dinner. 2300 Matlock Road, Mansfield, 817-405-2980, www.primemansfield.com.
FOOD FOR THE WHOLE PACK
Satisfy wolf-sized hunger at Great Wolf Lodge’s new Lodge Wood Fired Grill, a family-friendly restaurant blazing wood-fired steaks along with specialties like porterhouse pork chops, roasted wild mushroom pasta and grilled Caesar salad. The Grapevine location of the indoor water park and resort was the first Great Wolf property to debut the fiery new
a la carte restaurant in November. Parents will be impressed with the number of gluten-free menu items offered, such as flash-fried calamari, grilled artichokes, fire-roasted tomato soup and smoked ribs. We like that desserts (which have increasingly become entree-sized elsewhere) are mini versions of classic sweets, like cheesecake, red velvet cake and the salted caramel brownie, each served in a guilt-free-sized shot glass. 100 Great Wolf Drive, Grapevine, 817-488-6510, www.greatwolf.com.
NEW BREWS IN GRAPEVINE
Lakefire, inspired by summertime sunsets and weekly fireworks on Lake Grapevine, from Grapevine Craft Brewery is now on tap at several Northeast Tarrant County bars and restaurants. Owner and brewer Gary Humble launched his sweet and spicy pale ale around Thanksgiving after deciding to move production to a temporary facility in Farmers Branch. His Grapevine brewery, which will be near the historic Main Street district, is still in the works because of construction delays; a summer opening is anticipated. But craft beer connoisseurs can find Lakefire at Grapevine venues like Fireside Pies, Tolbert’s and Willhoite’s, as well as Mellow Mushroom and Wildwood Grill in Southlake. Look for the brewery’s Monarch Wheat, Sir William’s English brown ale and Nightwatch, a dry oatmeal stout, to follow suit. 924 Jean St., Grapevine (future location), 817-823-7225, www.grapevineontap.com.
PIZZA FOR SNOBS
With a sleek, stainless-steel Italian oven from Venice that bakes pizzas on a revolving stone in 90 seconds, Pizza Snob is set to crank out personal-sized pies with ingredients that span beyond humdrum ham and pepperoni. Set to open this month near Texas Christian University, the order-at-the-counter eatery comes from Jim Wisniewski, longtime restaurant consultant and owner of an Irving-based food product research and development center. Pizza Snob is Wisniewski’s first gig of his own, and his creative menu is aimed at attracting hungry college kids and pizza lovers alike. Expect specialty pies like candied jalapeño with sausage and Alfredo sauce, along with BLT and cucumber wasabi. Gluten-free varieties will also be on the menu, and Wisniewski promises his European yeast blend makes for a light and buttery crust that won’t weigh your belly down. “We build our pizzas a little bit different from most pizza places,” Wisniewski says. “We layer the flavors on. When you bite into the pizza, you know what you’re eating.” 3051 S. University Drive, Fort Worth, www.pizzasnob.com.
Reata at the Rodeo is a cold-weather tradition. The pop-up restaurant can be enjoyed during the Fort Worth Stock Show and Rodeo, Jan. 17-Feb. 8, at Will Rogers Memorial Center. It will serve a selection of menu favorites, including carne asada with cheese enchiladas, buffalo rib-eye steak and the fan-favorite tenderloin tamales, 11:30 a.m.-8 p.m. daily. And for member-only dining, Reata at the Backstage Club is taking reservations. 817-348-0642, www.reata.net.
Del Frisco’s Grille, the lively little brother of Del Frisco’s Double Eagle Steakhouse, is open in Southlake Town Square. The restaurant has two stories and two patios, along with festive menu items like cheesesteak eggrolls, roasted flatbreads, and pepperjack tamales, as well as the signature, hot-plated steaks for which Del Frisco’s is known. 1200 E. Southlake Blvd., Southlake, 817-410-3777, www.delfriscosgrille.com.
Apeizza e Vino, new in Southlake, is slinging Neapolitan-style pizza via its brick wood-burning oven imported from Italy. The Colorado-based franchise is the first in Texas and offers antipasto such as caprese with organic tomatoes and fior di latte mozzarella, along with Italian pies topped with ingredients such as porcini mushrooms, aged prosciutto, sopressata sausage and capicola cold cuts. There’s also a gluten-free menu of broccoli pesto-topped focaccia bread, spaghetti and ravioli. 2777 E. Southlake Blvd., Southlake, 817-406-0006, www.southlake.apeizza.com.
Bonefish Grill in Southlake has expanded its Sunday brunch menu. New items include surf and turf eggs Benedict, with filet mignon and lobster, a Kobe beef and egg burger served on a brioche bun and Cajun shrimp omelet topped with Creole sauce. Brunch is 11 a.m.-2 p.m. 1201 E. Southlake Blvd., Southlake, 817-421-3263, www.bonefishgrill.com.