Tasting notes

Veggie Fair returns, Dish launches fall menu and you can win foodie swag!

Ahi-Tuna-Pica

A-HA, AHI! | Dish’s ahi pica is one of its best fall menu additions from new chef de cuisine Garreth Dickey.

ARNOLD WAYNE JONES  | Life+Style Editor
jones@dallasvoice.com

You can get deep fried bacon and fried butter and fried just-about-anything at the Texas State Fair, but this weekend, the fried foods are more animal friendly at the Texas State Veggie Fair, now in its second year. Sponsored by Jamey Scott with DallasVegan.com to celebrate and promote the health benefits and environmental impact of the vegan lifestyle, the festivities start on Saturday with the Texas premiere of the documentary Vegucated where, a la Morgan Spurlock, three meat-eating New Yorkers go vegan for six weeks. The screening will take place at the Texas Theatre in Oak Cliff on Saturday at 1 p.m., with the filmmaker in attendance.

That night, the animal rights group Mercy for Animals, founded by gay vegan Nathan Runkle, hosts the official kick-off party for the fair at Sons of Hermann Hall, starting at 7 p.m. Then on Sunday, you can enjoy the entirety of the fair — including a fried food competition (for which I will serve as a judge), music and speakers, as well as veggie food — at Winfrey Point on Lawther Drive on White Rock Lake. Admission is free to the fair and runs from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. For more information, visit DallasVegan.com or TexasStateVeggieFair.com.

North Texas seemed to progress quickly from sweltering heat to autumnal cuddliness with almost no transition time at all. I’m not just talking about the weather, but about the food as well.

It certainly feels like fall already at Dish. The new chef de cuisine, Garreth Dickey, has retooled the menu at the three-year-old restaurant, editing some of the regular items and adding all new ones. The coolest tweaks to the menu: A “weekly specialties” list, which Dickey swaps out each Wednesday, and a $35 prix fixe menu which allows him the opportunity to experiment with new recipes and you to be the first to try out what’s new.

The tender flat iron steak, already a staple of the menu, is still there, as are the selection of flatbreads. But burgers have been deemphasized in favor of tacos (the sweet and tangy Carolina pork tacos, $12 as a dinner entrée or two bucks each in the bar at happy hour, are a special now; don’t miss ‘em), and Dickey’s new prosciutto flatbread is the best of them all.

Perhaps the standout of the new items, though, is the ahi pica appetizer. More flavorful than the usual tuna tartare, this version sings with the slow-rising heat of scotch bonnet chilis and the tropical wisp of coconut atop a large wonton disk.

Dish doesn’t have a pastry chef, so Dickey’s desserts are simple yet exceptional. The caramel pot de crème has the personality of creamy butterscotch, and the sweetness of the banana cake is softened with a hint of saltiness.

This month, Café Brazil re-released its seasonal coffee blend — always popular with longtime regulars — as well as a new menu that exudes the fall season. Among the offerings: cinnamon pumpkins pancakes and French toast a la bananas foster, two sweetly indulgent breakfast items designed to raise your blood sugar.

Not to be outdone, Capriotti’s Sandwich Shop on Preston Road in Plano lists “the Bobbie” as one of its most popular offerings. It is nicknamed “Thanksgiving on a bun,” and that about sums in up: Sliced turkey, stuffing and a cranberry relish recreate the sensations of turkey day with the convenience of a sandwich. In fact, it’s the perfect day-after Thanksgiving meal without all the mess and lost refrigerator space.

This year, the annual Beaujolais & Beyond Wine Festival, sponsored by the French-American Chamber of Commerce of Dallas, moves to the brand new Omni Dallas Downtown on Nov. 18. You can check out the big new convention center hotel while sampling wines from France’s Beaujolais region as well as American Rhone style wines, all set to a hip ‘60s-inspired theme. Participating restaurants include Parigi, Hotel St. Germain, Bonnie Ruth’s Café and many more. Tickets are $60 in advance ($55 for four or more) and available at FACCDallas.com. 

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online exclusive

Get some culinary swag! To win a pound of seasonal blend coffee from Cafe Brazil, a pint of Dickey’s barbecue sauce and more, email lifestyle@dallasvoice.com.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition October 21, 2011.

—  Kevin Thomas

Dallas loses animal rights activist and writer as Eddie Garza moves to New York City

 

No pretense of objectivity here: I’m sad that I’m losing a friend and contributor and, perhaps most importantly, a voice for veganism and animal rights in Texas.

Keep in mind, I’m not a vegan, nor even a vegetarian. But because of Eddie Garza, I try to eat at least one day a week as a vegan would, and depend on Eddie to keep me apprised of good vegetarian options and developments in Dallas.

That’ll be harder for him to do; Eddie moved to New York City this past weekend, to take over as New York campaign coordinator for Mercy for Animals, the vegan-animal rights group he’s been associated with for two years, the last year or so as its Texas campaign coordinator. It’s a huge promotion for him, and a testament to Eddie’s success in turning the beef capital of America into a place vegans can feel comfortable.

I’ve written about Eddie, and his group (which is one of the gayest organizations ever — in addition to Eddie and founder Nathan Runkle, the director of investigations and the new Texas coordinator are gay or lesbian), and even run articles by him (about subjects unrelated to MFA). Eddie also contributed to the Observer’s City of Ate blog as well as his own Dallas Vegan site. He’s smart and passionate and knowledgeable and he keeps me aware of vegan issues in a nice way. You never feel shamed by Eddie’s passion, just enlightened.

Eddie promises he’ll be back every month or two to help with the Dallas office and visit friends, which I assume will include me (pictured left) and his best gal-pal Lisa Petty (pictured right). New York’s gain is our loss.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

Yee, haw! Bull-riding for bucks (and bucks) is harder than it looks

Me before the fall (more pics after the jump)

Being atop of a mechanical bull in the middle of Cowboys Stadium is no place for a fat, middle-aged gay man to be on a Wednesday afternoon. But there I was yesterday, risking life and ego for eight seconds of possible glory.

The idea was a valid one: Raise money ($2,500 for first place; $1,000 for second) for my charity of choice. I chose two beneficiaries: Legal Hospice of Texas, for which I am committed to raising $500 by the middle of next month; and Mercy for Animals, because I thought it would be cool to give an animal rights group money for basically abusing a cow. (Since it was mechanical, it didn’t really count as animal exploitation, although Eddie Garza, MFA’s Texas coordinator, said he’d take the donation even if it were on a real bull — and he seemed unconcerned that my body would be the one taking the real beating.)

Cowboys Stadium is a charmless cavern when there are no events taking place other than something as small as this one, though admittedly, the lack of crowds was nice. On the huge screens play a continuous loop of Dallas Cowboys highlights, all of them winning plays — in other words, none from last season. Ten days earlier, the eyes of the world were focused on this billion-dollar temple to excess; today, the field looks like the parking lot of an abandoned strip mall. Gone is the Astroturf, revealing ugly concrete underneath where dirt is being shipped in. The rodeo will be there this weekend, and they need to dust it up.

That’s kinda what we’re all here for. Dickies is sponsoring, again, a media mechanical bull-riding challenge, where members of the press are invited to a bracketed elimination competition to see which pencil pusher can claim, briefly, some degree of athletic prowess. And they asked me to participate.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

Fur is murder

ANIMAL INSTINCT | Daniel Hauff equates all livestock to the gentlest house pet. (Arnold Wayne Jones/Dallas Voice)

… but eggs are worse. Mercy for Animals’ Daniel Hauff is among many gay folk passionate about animal rights

ARNOLD WAYNE JONES  | Life+Style Editor
jones@dallasvoice.com

In an area of the country where meat consumption and hunting are often equated with American values, taking on an industry can seem like an uphill battle. But it’s one Daniel Hauff is happy to fight.

Last week, Hauff — the national director of investigations for Mercy for Animals, the pro-vegan, animal rights group — held a press conference where he reveals horrendous treatment of catfish in local fisheries. He called on the district attorney to take action, and the Texas Legislature to prohibit the vivisection of animals, including fish, in the state.

It’s just another day at work for Hauff, whose job is to reveal the truth behind how animals are treated in a variety of contexts.

“Absolutely everything that has to do with protecting animals goes back to an undercover investigation,” he says. And he’s the one responsible for getting it done.

Eddie Garza, MFA’s campaign coordinator in Texas, says there are few people in country who do what Hauff does — and he’s probably the only gay person doing it.

“There are a lot of the LGBT community” who are active in protecting animals from cruelty at all levels, Hauff says. MFA itself was founded by a gay 15-year-old, Nathan Runkle, more than a decade ago. Garza is also gay.

“MFA at one point had a campaign coordinator who was transgender. I think a lot of the reason for that is commonality of looking at oppression. I assume a lot has to do with growing up gay and having to deal with people spitting on you for who you are. Putting yourself in someone else’s shoes [is common for us], and I am now a lot stronger person for having endured it.”

Hauff certainly has the background to give weight to his cause. He attended DePaul University, where he read international studies with a concentration in human rights and social justice. “I was studying genocide and intending to get my hands dirty in human rights work,” he says. Instead, he shifted his focus to animal rights.

Hauff had been a vegetarian for several years, starting in high school, but eventually abandoned it. Then in 2005, he saw a video that churned his stomach: A raccoon dog being skinned alive.

“That sort of opened my eyes,” he says. “My partner Reeve came home and knew something was wrong. I was actually crying in the alley after I saw that video. I knew that there wasn’t a difference between my dogs and the animals we were eating.”

It so affected him, Hauff decided to do something he hadn’t before: He went completely vegan overnight. Reeve supported his decision and went vegetarian that week, eventually becoming a vegan as well. (Their pets are also vegan.) And he became active volunteering with Mercy for Animals.

“Within a year I had become so involved with MFA I applied for a job. I decided to do my year in-service for animal rights instead of human rights,” Hauff says. He expected the work to be a brief stopover on his path to human genocide studies, but five years later, it’s still his profession.

It’s not easy work, but it is important — to him and the creatures he seeks to protect.

“The first undercover investigation for MFA that we did that was employment-based,” meaning operatives for MFA go undercover in slaughterhouses and other animal-based industries, applying for jobs and then cataloging abuses and law violations. On the last day of the investigation just concluded in Texas, Hauff himself was wired with a hidden camera, interacting with the people in the abattoir (though he admits his duties generally don’t put him undercover).

Hauff also works with veterinarians to improve treatment, as well as with Temple Grandin, the advocate for humane treatment of animals celebrated in a recent TV movie. But in truth, Hauff sees everything short of veganism as half-measures.

“Temple reduces suffering, but it’s not kind in any way. I have never seen an animal going to their death without fighting for their life. We could walk into any slaughterhouse Temple Grandin has designed and still be horrified,” he says. “It’s often standard practice that we’re revealing.”

Hauff says he considers the egg and dairy industry far crueler than meat consumption itself. He doesn’t expect everyone will ever become a vegan like he is, but that’s not really the point.

“There are less cruel ways of doing things,” he says. “It’s about reducing suffering.”

And the more people know, the better they will be about making choices.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition Jan. 28, 2011.

—  John Wright