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

Local eateries help you ‘go vegan’ for a week

Here’s the problem I have with most vegans: It is all-or-nothing with them. Sure, I like soy burgers on occasion or a big leafy salad (no egg or cream dressing!) for my entree every once in a while. But I also crave veal scallopini and foie gras occasionally — so sue me. (No. Don’t.)

But this is why my friend Eddie Garza is different. Eddie’s not a proseyltizer. He’s a true vegan, and I avoid ordering steak tartare when I’m with him, but he’s not the kind to throw blood on me as I exit a meat factory. He just wants people to be aware of the damage done to animals for the sake of food, cosmetics and the like. But he knows I drink milk and he’s still my friend.

He’s also the local organizer for Mercy for Animals, the national vegan-friendly organization established by a gay guy, Nathan Runkle. And he wants everyone in Dallas to go vegan … at least for a little while.

First there’s “Vegan Day at the State Fair,” which takes place on Saturday. Local chefs and foodies will judge the best fried vegan foods and no-kill lovers can commune with Big Tex. (Hint: Steer clear of the corny dogs — not exactly vegetarian, despite the word “corn.”)

CORRECTION: The Texas State Veggie Fair is NOT affiliated with the State Fair of Texas. It takes place at 406 S. Haskell St. on Oct. 16. DallasVegan.com

Then there’s MFA’s planned “Go Vegan for a Week” initiative with area restaurants. From Oct. 24–31, five upscale restaurants — Salum, The Second Floor, Bijoux, Tillman’s Roadhouse and Stephan Pyles — will offer vegan options — “compassionate, sustainable and healthy” — on their menus. That’s in addition to already-vegan and -vegetarian places like Bliss, Kalachandji’s and Cosmic Cup Cafe.

Many of the options sound yummy: tempura cauliflower and broccolini with white bean puree at Salum; soba noodles with bok choi and Thai chile vinaigrette at The Second Floor — which may prove you don’t have to give up flavor to save an animal.

You can learn more at DallasVeganWeek.com.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones