Icing on the Cakery
“It was completely by accident,” Nicole Foster says of her baking career.
The owner of Hurst’s new HoneyLove Cakery started a custom cake business in her Arlington home two years ago after mastering two-tier cakes for her daughters’ birthdays.
“When you start doing things like that, friends and family start coming out of the woodwork,” she says. “Before I knew it, I had referrals. I didn’t try to do this. It just sort of fell into my lap.”
Now, she’s opened her first storefront, a bright and airy bakery where the front case is always stocked with indulgent, ready-to-take cakes and specialty treats.
“I think there are a lot more non-planners in the world than there are planners,” Foster says.
Don’t miss cupcake flavors like blueberry pancake, coconut mango and Oregon chai, or Foster’s jarred banana pudding or her signature, shimmery truffle gems — a silkier, creamier, jewel-shaped version of a cake pop.
1222 W. Hurst Blvd., Hurst, 817-616-5199, www.honeylovecakery.com.
Melt on the Move
While Melt Ice Creams became an instant destination for families and ice cream lovers of all ages when it opened on West Rosedale about two years ago — even gaining national press for its unique flavors like coconut curry and blueberry tarragon — owner Kari Crowe says she felt as if she was on an island, far from more bustling areas of the Near Southside.
Now, she’s moved to West Magnolia Avenue into a larger location with a spacious kitchen, outdoor patio and more parking.
“We were able to put in a walk-in freezer so we can make more ice cream and not run out during peak season,” Crowe says. “The pet-friendly patio is also really significant to us. It’s about 500 square feet and fenced so kids can be safe. It’s very communal.”
Other new features to come will include seasonal sundaes, craft cones in seasonal flavors and milkshakes. “My goal is to build synergy with area restaurants to work toward the common goal of bringing more people to the street,” says Crowe, who lives in nearby Fairmount.
1201 West Magnolia Ave., Fort Worth, 817-886-8365, www.melticecreams.com.
Le Cep Lightens Up
Lovers of Parisian cuisine on a time crunch will be happy to know Le Cep Restaurant has launched a la carte service, meaning any dish off chef Sandra Avila’s eight-course discovery menu is now available individually Tuesday through Thursday.
Avila says the weeknight alternative provides a faster, lighter dining experience for those who are visiting before a theater engagement or prefer not to linger over a lengthy meal. However, both the four- and eight-course menus are still available nightly, with the latter serving as the only option on Saturday. Avila changes her bill of fare every six weeks.
Highlights from her summer menu, which runs through July 30, include a Texas peach and Wisconsin mozzarella stacked salad with balsamic glaze, perfectly seared diver scallop nestled atop a watermelon slice drizzled in a fresh mint vinaigrette, tender duck breast confit paired with sweet fig, and a mouthwatering chocolate gâteau, or rich French cake, served in a cup with a creamy layer of premium Valrhona chocolate inside, topped with vanilla ice cream and garnished with ground pink peppercorns. 3324
W. Seventh St., Fort Worth, 817-900-2468, www.leceprestaurant.com.
The Beers of Summer
Whether cracking a can or popping a top, a cold beer can be the ultimate thirst-quencher when the summer sun sizzles. But navigating options amid the ever-growing local beer landscape can be daunting. Here are three of this summer’s brand new best bets.
Juice Grapefruit Session IPA, Martin House Brewing Company
A hop-lover’s summer dream, this seasonal IPA offers a hint of tart grapefruit flavor from a generous addition of grapefruit peel in the brewing process. The 5 percent alcohol content is lower than most of Martin House’s craft selections, making this a refreshing sipper for lengthier drink sessions, hence the name. Available in six-pack, 12-ounce cans. www.martinhousebrewing.com.
Drahthaar Double India Pale Ale, Rahr & Sons Brewing Company
Named for a breed of German wire-haired pointing dog (one of which resides at the brewery and is named Schnapps), this robust brew is refreshingly aromatic with earthy notes of citrus, pine and malty caramel. Available in bomber-sized 650-milliliter bottles, the bold beer boasts a 9.2 percent alcohol by volume, making it best for sipping slowly, perhaps by an evening campfire. www.rahrbrewing.com.
Moonlight Shine Wheat Ale, Wild Acre Brewing Co.
Unfiltered and dry-hopped, Wild Acre Brewing Co.’s Moonlight Shine Wheat Ale offers traces of vanilla and orange zest amid a refreshing taste and citrusy aroma. With a light 5.7 percent alcohol by volume, the brew is one of four core beers launched by the new brewery, which is located in the former Ranch Style Beans complex. Founder and CEO John Pritchett says the building provides for a practical space with a large yard and high ceilings in a historic building close to downtown. Look for the brew now at The Flying Saucer. Saturday tours at the brewery will begin in the coming weeks and 12-ounce cans in six-pack boxes will hit liquor stores by late July. www.wildacrebrewing.com.
Cork & Pig Comes to West 7th
Felipe Armenta is busy. With The Tavern, Pacific Table and runaway west Fort Worth restaurant hit Press Café on his roster, the young restaurateur has added Cork & Pig Tavern to the list.
Now open in the former AF+B space in West 7th, the concept is a spinoff of Armenta’s San Angelo-based original. (An Odessa location opened last year.) The space features an updated interior with a separate bar area, wooden tables and booths, white brick walls and industrial chandelier lighting.
Guests can enjoy wood-fired dishes like rotisserie prime rib, Carolina pork ribs and pub-style sausages, along with brick-oven pizzas, including a black truffle variety and one with fresh mozzarella, tomatoes and avocado slices called So. Cal. There are salads, sandwiches and sides to round out the menu.
Armenta’s partner, Virginia Dalbeck, a Hell’s Kitchen season-two runner-up known for her craft cocktails, is this location’s executive chef. A brunch menu, which includes blackberry walnut French toast and peach nectar muesli, is served Saturday and Sunday starting at 9 a.m.
2869 Crockett St., Fort Worth, 817-759-9280, www.corkandpig.com.
Ramen for All
After a spending a year and a half in Seattle, Jesus Garcia is back in Fort Worth to launch Oni Ramen, a fast-casual Japanese ramen restaurant set to open by late July in the West 7th corner space previously occupied by Kin Kin Thai.
The former Little Lilly sushi chef was approached by the owners of Sushi Axiom to lead the restaurant group’s latest endeavor, which will allow patrons to customize hot bowls of ramen to their liking.
“A lot of ramen places have prebuilt dishes. We want to make ramen a little more approachable,” Garcia says. Customers will be able to order at the counter, choosing chicken or pork, vegetables, type of noodle and even thickness of broth. A runner will then bring the steamy dish to the table. “You won’t have to carry around a hot bowl of soup,” Garcia promises, adding that eliminating servers will allow for lower price points.
The name Oni refers to demons of Japanese folklore, but in the restaurant’s case, it represents a focus on spice and heat. One of Garcia’s menu favorites is the Oni Reaper, infused with Carolina reaper, ghost, habanero and scorpion peppers in a miso broth with a spicy corn on the cob, a dish sure to induce a summer sweat.
2801 W. Seventh St., Fort Worth, 817-882-6554, www.oniramen.com.
Historic Downtown Weatherford kicks off peach season with the 32nd annual Parker County Peach Festival, to be held 8 a.m.-5 p.m. July 9. The one-day event features more than 200 booths with food, arts and crafts, along with live music, children’s activities and fresh peaches for purchase from local farmers. Admission is $5 and free for children 12 and younger. www.parkercountypeachfestival.org.
Natural Grocers, established in 1955, opened its first Fort Worth location late last month on West Seventh Street. The Colorado-based company sells organic produce, pasture-based dairy products, all-natural groceries without artificial ingredients, dietary supplements and body-care products. The store is hosting a month-long series of free grand-opening events, including tastings, cooking demos, nutrition classes and weekly health fairs on Saturdays from noon-4 p.m. through July 23. 2501 W. Seventh St., Fort Worth, 817-334-0801, www.naturalgrocers.com.
The Clearfork Farmers Market is the latest addition to the Trailhead at Clearfork, now a hub for health and fitness. Open 8 a.m.-noon on Saturdays, the weekly market neighbors Press Café and overlooks the Trinity River. Goods come from local farmers, growers, ranchers and artisans and include tomatoes from Baugh Farms in Wills Point, sourdough from Fort Worth’s Icon Bread, yogurt popsicles from Hidden Valley Creamery in Argyle and sausages from The Salty Pig in Fort Worth. 4801 Edwards Ranch Road, Fort Worth, www.farmersmarket1848.com.
Central Market Fort Worth hosts chef and cookbook author Caroline Wright for a cooking class using recipes from her new cookbook Cake Magic!: Mix & Match Your Way to 100 Amazing Combinations. Participants will learn how to make various batters, flavored syrups and frostings to create luscious custom cakes. Class cakes will include vanilla-olive oil with rosemary and lemon, and confetti cake made with vanilla syrup and malted vanilla frosting. 6:30-8:30 p.m. July 27, $60, 4651 West Freeway, Fort Worth, 817-989-4700, www.centralmarket.com.
At 78 years old, Martha McCormick is just getting started on her sweet new baking venture. The Keller native quit her longtime banking career to launch MMM Pies, a homemade pie business she runs from her kitchen. With a small sign in her front yard and neighborhood referrals, McCormick bakes pies almost daily, taking most orders by phone.
“I always bake to order,” she says. “I just think that’s how it should be. If you want a pie, you want a pie.”
While McCormick prefers to stick to her set list of varieties, which includes pecan coconut chess, peach cobbler, buttermilk and old-fashioned banana pudding with whipped meringue, she will take custom orders to make customers happy.
“One man wanted chocolate meringue with the pecans in it. He said it was just like his mama’s.” McCormick’s forest berry pie, a cobbler with a patriotic crust of stars and stripes made with a blend of blueberries, blackberries and raspberries, is also popular. “I’m supposed to be retired,” she says, “but people say I’m the pie lady.”
Forest Berry Cobbler
• 2 cups flour, plus 2 tablespoons
• 1/2 teaspoon salt
• 2/3 cup shortening
• 6 tablespoons ice cold water (plus more if needed)
• 1 cup blackberries
• 1 cup blueberries
• 1 cup raspberries
• 1 1/2 cups sugar
• 1/2 cup water
• 6 tablespoons butter
• Sparkling sugar, as needed
1. Heat oven to 400 degrees.
2. Mix 2 cups flour and salt together. Cut shortening into flour until mixture is crumbly. Add the ice cold water and mix until dough comes together, adding more cold water if needed. Divide dough in half.
3. Roll out half of the dough onto a lightly floured board and then place in the bottom of square 9-inch pie pan. Combine berries and pour into the pan, spreading evenly over crust. Cover berries with the sugar, remaining two tablespoons flour and 1/2 cup water. Slice butter into pieces and place evenly over berries.
4. Roll out remaining dough and place on top of cobbler. Sprinkle a bit of sparking sugar over the top crust. Bake for 40 minutes until bubbly and golden brown.
— 1860 N. Pearson Lane, Keller, 817-228-2952, www.mmmpies.info
The Ashton Depot Turns 10
The Ashton Depot, opened in 1899 as the Santa Fe Depot in response to growing demand for railroad service in Fort Worth, is celebrating its 10th anniversary as a full-service event venue this year.
The majestic space, with its original tin ceilings, stained glass windows and marble floors, also boasts a lush outdoor garden from which executive chef Cesar Gallegos frequently harvests ingredients for his event menus. Try Gallegos’ recipe for Citrus Grilled Black Tiger Shrimp with Artisan Lettuce Bouquets and Jalapeño-Orange Plum Jam, which features apples, plums, jalapeños, coriander seeds and more all sourced from the garden.
The colorful dish showcases summer’s bounty while providing inspiration for backyard gardeners.
Citrus Grilled Black Tiger Shrimp with Artisan Lettuce Bouquets and Jalapeño-Orange Plum Jam
Citrus Grilled Black Tiger Shrimp:
16 U-12 black tiger shrimp, peeled and deveined, tail-on
Zest from 1 lemon, 1 lime and 1 orange
2 tablespoons olive oil
Salt, to taste
Toss shrimp with zests and olive oil and marinate for five minutes. Season with salt and grill each side evenly until done.
Jalapeño-Orange Plum Jam:
Makes 5 cups
4 1/2 cups chopped and seeded red plums
1/2 cup water
2 cups sugar
1 jalapeño, diced small
Zest and juice from 2 oranges
1.75 ounces fruit pectin
Salt, to taste
1. Add plums and water to a medium pot and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer for five minutes.
2. Stir in sugar, jalapeño, orange zest and juice, pectin and salt. Bring to a boil for one minute, stirring constantly to dissolve pectin. Remove from heat and cool in refrigerator.
4 tablespoons corn syrup
4 tablespoons maple syrup
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 cup walnut halves
1. Heat oven to 275 degrees.
2. Combine syrups and spices. Toss with walnuts and bake on a non-stick baking pad for 30 minutes, stirring every six minutes.
Artisan Lettuce Bouquets
16 ounces mixed artisan lettuce leaves, cores removed, rinsed and dried
1 English cucumber, unpeeled and thinly sliced lengthwise using a mandolin
4 ounces crumbled goat cheese
2 apples, unpeeled and diced
4 tablespoons olive oil
4 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
4 tablespoons freshly squeezed orange juice
Salt, to taste
1. Separate lettuce leaves into small bundles. Use cucumber slices to wrap around the middle of each bundle to secure them. Reserve.
2. Whisk together olive oil and juices. Season with salt.
To serve: Plate each salad with one to two lettuce bundles and top with crumbled goat cheese and apples. Serve with Citrus Grilled Black Tiger Shrimp, Candied Walnuts and a smear of Jalapeño-Orange Plum Jam on crostinis.
— 1501 Jones St., Fort Worth, 817-810-9501, www.theashtondepot.com