Even More Special Delivery
Just in time for holiday shopping and hostess gifting, TCU Florist has expanded its services to offer gift baskets filled with wine and local culinary treats, such as cupcakes, scones, locally roasted coffee, cheeses, fudge and more.
Local vendors include Fort Worth’s Sugar Biscuit Cakery, Eagle Mountain Farmhouse Cheese in Lipan, Fort Worth Fudge Co., Rodak’s Coffee, Daddy Ray’s Famous Gingerbread, Sweet Savour Bakery, and Vending Nut Company. Customers can customize a basket and add fruit and flowers if desired. Or, choose from themed baskets, such as “wine, flowers and fudge” ($79.99), the “men’s snack basket” ($79.95) with cookies, coffee, chips and salsa, and the “farmhouse gourmet” ($59.95) with crackers, cheese, fruit and jam. 3131 S. University Drive, Fort Worth, 817-924-2211, www.tcuflorist.com.
Gypsy Scoops Falls for Pies
Win best Thanksgiving dessert this year by replacing traditional pumpkin, pecan or apple pie with one of Gypsy Scoops’ fall ice cream pies. The popular ice cream parlor, located in Fort Worth’s Riverside Arts District on Race Street, is selling whole pies with graham cracker crusts in flavors like pumpkin pecan, banana pudding and caramel apple.
Small pies ($15) serve eight and large pies ($20) serve 12. Owner Julie Markley says she’ll keep pies on hand to sell whole or by the slice ($4), but it’s best for folks to place pie orders in advance. Gypsy Scoops will be open until at least 6 p.m. the day before Thanksgiving. 2905 Race St., Fort Worth, 817-357-6730, http://gypsyscoops.com.
Tortas + Tacos = Tortaco
As indicated by the kitschy moniker, Tortaco, new in Fort Worth from the same restaurant group as Meso Maya, Snuffer’s and El Fenix, offers both tortas and tacos. The flashy new eatery, with its eye-catching orange sign and rock-’n’-roll vibe, opened quietly last month in front of Fred’s Texas Cafe near West Seventh Street. Patrons can choose from 10 different fillings to be stuffed in fire-toasted telera bread for a torta, or house-made flour tortillas for a taco.
Options include seared beef tenderloin with black truffle aioli, tamarind pork, barbacoa and braised beef tongue, house-smoked brisket burnt ends and tempura battered fish. There are bowls, too, like the hamachi filled with sliced yellowtail, and the vegetarian with butternut squash, arugula, cauliflower, sweet corn and Vermont white cheddar. Tequilas and mezcals, made from native Mexican agave, are available on a lengthy menu as sips or shots, with premium varieties reaching the $30 mark. A brunch menu is in the works. 910 Currie St., Fort Worth, 682-990-0735, www.tortaco.com.
A Fort Worth First
Combining destination dining and imbibing with grocery shopping, the first Fort Worth location of Whole Foods opened in the new Waterside development with great fanfare. A bread-breaking ceremony revealed a shiny new 45,000-square-foot structure brimming with a wide variety of natural and organic products for which the grocery chain is known. Folks are also flocking to it for grab-and-go sushi, brick-oven pizzas, smokehouse specialties, the expansive salad bar and to belly up to the on-site bar.
The virtual watering hole features 12 TVs, plenty of bar stools and booths, as well as 16 taps pouring all local beer, a first for any Whole Foods store. Customers who sip and shop can also leave their wine glass at convenient drink drop stations when finished.
Materials used in store construction include recycled tile, regionally sourced reclaimed oak and salvaged brick from a 19th-century tobacco warehouse. Check the online calendar for weekly events like Tuesday beer tastings, Wednesday wine specials and Thursday pizza deals. 3720 Vision Drive, Fort Worth, 682-316-8040, www.wholefoodsmarket.com.
Paco’s, Part Two
When Paco and John Mexican Diner closed last year, Fort Worth lost a beloved roadside gem run by father-and-son duo Francisco and Paco Islas. Location might have played a role, as the small, BYOB eatery was a few blocks off West Magnolia Avenue’s bustling restaurant row. Now the Islas are back with Paco’s Mexican Cuisine, and this time they’re in the middle of the action.
Located across from Ellerbe Fine Foods in a former sushi joint, Paco’s is open for breakfast and lunch, serving mostly the same menu of fresh Mexican dishes like red snapper tacos, breakfast burritos and seafood tortas. There are plans for dinner service and a beer and wine menu in the coming weeks. For now, Francisco will still spend his evenings at Saint-Emilion, where he’s a tenured employee. 1508 W. Magnolia Ave., Fort Worth, 817-759-9110.
Now, that’s Italian
Fans of Clay Pigeon Food and Drink know executive chef and owner Marcus Paslay’s handmade pasta is a daily menu special. Now Paslay will open Piattello Italian Kitchen in Fort Worth’s busy new Waterside development.
He’ll serve more house-made pastas along with pizzas, soups, salads, antipasti and dessert. Paslay says he’ll stay close to his cooking philosophy of using what’s in-season and freshest while breathing new air into the world of Italian cuisine. The 5,300-square-foot restaurant will seat 175 inside and an additional 30 on the 800-square-foot patio. Piattello will open in the morning as Piattello Coffee Bar, offering Avoca coffee beverages and grab-and-go breakfast items, pastries and yogurt parfaits. Expect a December opening. http://piattelloitaliankitchen.com.
Le Cep Restaurant will commemorate its second anniversary with a special menu featuring the most requested dishes of 2016. Guests can enjoy lobster and snow crab creme brulee, bay scallop with chimichurri, and strawberry pavlova through November on the a la carte menu Tuesday through Thursday, or as part of a four-course tasting menu Tuesday through Friday. 3324 W. Seventh St., Fort Worth, 817-900-2468, www.leceprestaurant.com.
Salsa Limón will open a new location this month on the ground floor of the Tower in the former Spec Ops Burritos space. Owner Milo Ramirez says the menu of tacos, tortas and burritos will be the same as his other locations, but at “Centro” (the downtown location’s nickname), there will be a full bar with specialty cocktails. 550 Throckmorton St., Fort Worth, www.salsalimon.com.
The 11th annual Romanian Food Festival will take place at St. Mary’s Romanian Orthodox Church in Colleyville, Nov. 4-6. The three-day event typically attracts an estimated 5,000 visitors with its traditional food, music, folk dancing and more. The menu includes cabbage rolls, dolmas, meat dishes, pastries and beverages such as spiced hot wine. Tickets are $5 for adults and $3 for children and can be purchased at the door. 3801 Glade Road, Colleyville, 817-858-0801, www.romanianfestival-dallas.com.
The 49th annual Fort Worth Greek Festival, where families of St. Demetrios Greek Orthodox Church prepare specialty dishes to share with hundreds, will take place Nov. 11-13. Visit for authentic spanakopita, dolmas, gyro sandwiches and the flaming saganaki — Greek cheese set ablaze with liquor and served on pita bread — as well as live Greek music and folk dancing. Admission is $1 and all menu items are purchased with tokens, sold for $1 each. www.fortworthgreekfestival.com.
The Capital Grille is offering a Wagyu & Wine dining special through Nov. 20. For $25, guests can enjoy one of the prime steakhouse’s “luxury burgers” paired with a glass of red wine typically reserved for bottle-only sales. Wagyu burgers include the cheeseburger topped with a fried egg and crisp onions, the wild mushroom cheeseburger with 15-year aged balsamic, and the caramelized onion burger with Jarlsberg cheese. Wine pairings are selected by advanced sommelier Brian Phillips. 800 Main St., Fort Worth, 817-348-9200, www.thecapitalgrille.com.
Taste of Northeast will take place Nov. 9 at the Hurst Convention Center and will feature food and drink samples from notable Northeast Tarrant County restaurants, including Crepes Bistro, From Across the Pond, Italianni’s, Miguelito’s, Modern Market and Riverside’s new Tributary Cafe. The $25 ticket ($30 at the door) includes access to gift market shopping from local vendors. Proceeds benefit Arts Council Northeast. www.tasteofnortheast.com.
Chef Louise Lamensdorf, formerly of Bistro Louise, is offering an expansive Thanksgiving catering menu for those who wish to order everything including the bird. Menu items include crabcakes and jumbo shrimp, as well as classics like cornbread dressing, garlic mashed potatoes and giblet gravy. Don’t forget Lamensdorf’s decadent desserts, including pumpkin pecan pie and her famous coconut cake. Deadline to order is Nov. 18. 817-291-2734, www.bistrolouise.com.
Stayton Cooks for a Cause
Residents of The Stayton at Museum Way retirement community are using their cooking skills to help end Alzheimer’s disease in Fort Worth with the launch of a cookbook. The Stayton Cooks to End Alzheimer’s is now on sale ($40) and proceeds benefit the Alzheimer’s Association North Central Texas Chapter.
Organized by the categories of soups, salads and appetizers, entrees, desserts and “miscellaneous” (think casseroles, breakfast items, jams, breads and snacks), the book features nearly 100 pages of recipes, including this one for Mom’s Famous Chocolate Pie.
The chocolate meringue pie recipe was submitted by resident Kathryn Bryan, whose 100-year-old mother made it instead of cake for birthdays. Other recipes include Easy Beef Tips in Mushroom Sauce, Broccoli Bisque, Cancer-Fighting Spicy Pumpkin Soup and Flaming Lemon Jubilee Sundae. Order a copy at 817-439-6936 or www.thestayton.com.
Mom’s Famous Chocolate Pie
Serves 6 to 8
• 1 1/2 cups sugar
• 1/4 cup cocoa
• 1/4 cup flour
• 1/8 teaspoon salt
• 2 cups milk
• 2 egg yolks, beaten
• 2 tablespoons butter
• Baked 9-inch pie shell
• 3 egg whites
• 1/3 cup sugar
• 1/3 teaspoon cream of tartar
• 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1. Heat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Mix all dry ingredients into saucepan; add just enough milk to make paste. Add eggs and remainder of milk.
3. Cook until thick. Add butter until melted and pour into baked pie shell.
4. Meringue: Beat egg whites and cream of tartar until soft peak forms. Add sugar gradually until stiff peak forms, add vanilla and stir.
5. Spread on hot pie. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes until golden brown.