Is Dallas Dessert Challenged?

I’m just listening to Leslie Brenner on KERA’s Think with Krys Boyd. She just stated that Dallas is “dessert challenged.” Apparently we like our desserts “too sweet.” Agree or disagree?


  • Sickofher

    Should we be more like New York, or LA? Maybe France?

  • Robie

    Who says Brenner’s preference for a less-sweet dessert is the right one?

  • Rimrock

    I tend to agree. They are an after thought-super sweet bombs. Also, they are almost all the same not matter where you go.

  • Sickofher

    @Rimrock, yes, chains do seem to serve the same desserts over and over. However a blanket statement on all desserts without naming which ones? And compared to who?

    Isn’t dessert, by definition, supposed to be sweet? Wait – I’m looking through a cookbook right now, let’s see: pie (sweet), cake (sweet), cookies (sweet), flan (sweet), cheesecake (sweet).

    Ok, so in my little Italian cookbook, it has a dessert of a nugget of parmesan cheese, drizzled with high quality balsamic vinegar. Which it then explains a really high quality balsamic will taste, well, sweet.

  • Kristin

    My problem with Leslie Brenner is that she comes across not as criticizing food, but as criticizing Dallas as a whole. The cumulative affect of her constant negativity is that her work tends to feel insulting and patronizing to the readers/listeners rather than descriptive or analytical about a particular dish or location.

    If everything is so terrible here, why stay? It must be very professionally unsatisfying for her to have to constantly consume food in such a backwards and dull place. 🙂

  • Daniel

    I think Americans in general like our desserts too sweet. The last dessert I had at a restaurant was about a month ago in Annapolis, MD. It was too sweet.


    And yes, Brenner is insufferably patronizing. Maybe in L.A. they’re so super-sophisticated they have balsamic vinegar-soaked rock salt for dessert. If so, hold tight, Leslie, the trend will make it here in about 10 months.

  • Jane

    LB is challenged. I tend to stay away from the opinions of food critics who are trying to lose weight and deep down, hate food.

  • tb

    Brenner can be irritating, but she also serves a useful purpose by challenging received Dallas wisdom. She has high standards; sometimes they’re goofy standards (in which case, ignore them), but sometimes they’re worth aspiring to. I certainly do not think that deep down she hates food or Dallas.

  • Reruns for dessert

    by Borborygmus


    “How lucky for me, the big time’s been made,
    Avner has recognized my powerful blade
    Of a pen which decides “Av” and “Av-not”
    Bonus stars for you, I now like what you’ve got.”

    (The rest of the industry, slaps foreheads, with groan
    Another Avner restaurant? C’mon. They all moan.)
    A few nights of Noshing, results are recognized
    Leslie’s opinion of great dining, unparallelized.

    Yet a Dean, or a Chris, or a Jeff, she’s disdainful
    As not up to snuff, her judgement just painful,
    Writing of Dallas’ favored food made for pleasure.
    Except for a steak or two we question her measure

    Of what is a two, or a three, or a four,
    Maybe your point is really to re-score.
    King-maker, Queen-bee, there’s really no difference
    In her efforts to exert her growing influence.

    But the problem lies further, as I’m sure we’ve all known
    To the top of the News, where her hiring was sown
    By editors searching for solutions. They’re bidding
    To bring back former readers, c’mon are you kidding?

    I’d consider this, except for ill-written skinny *itch
    Whose effort to change us seems to have hitten a hitch.
    So listen to the “Boo’s”, DMN readers resound,
    Time for a diet, a suggestion – lose a LB?

  • logan

    Nice poem. I tend to like pretty sweet desserts but then my palate’s not sophisticated, you know.

  • LJT

    @Daniel: balsamic vinegar-soaked rock salt for dessert. Giggle.

  • LJT

    I just think Texans enjoy desserts that have been around our whole lives. Give me a Texas chocolate sheet cake, German chocolate cake, banana pudding, or pecan pie over some kind of tomato basil sorbet anyday! Lots of happy memories associated with those desserts.

  • Gogocha

    Brenner aside, Dallas is comparatively dessert and pastry challenged to other cities her size. There might be one or two decent pastry places and a few chocolatiers. But dessert menus around town at the better restaurants are somewhat simple (which can be a good thing) and the same from place to place. In my opinion, Dallas’ desserts don’t challenge and aren’t as creative as some of their savory counterparts.

  • Teiichi’s Uni Ice Cream at Tei-An cures all that is evil.
    Also, Bruno and his new pastry chef Nicolas Blouin have a spectacular dessert program over at my house… err the Mansion.

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  • Eater

    If I am going to eat dessert, I want it loaded. Bring it on

  • Random

    The Brad is The Bragger

  • ldascha

    Leslie Who?
    The only time I ever read about her, or hear her name is on Side Dish, funny.

  • McCrevis

    I agree with Leslie. Too many sweet desserts. Also, I have not eaten many innovative desserts in Dallas. Overall, I enjoyed the interview with Chris, and I hardly found her condescending.

  • Melonie Sherman

    I listened to Leslie today. What a pompous ass. She named Nonna, Tei An and Lucia after every question. She dumped on Tex Mex and said Dallas was a great steak town but couldn’t say why. Sounds like she moved here because she didn’t have a job. Is she the breadwinner ? She talked about a husband what does he do ? She was boring and I thought the interviewer asked great questions.

  • chase

    as long as Houston’s (Hillstone) Apple Walnut Cobbler is served in your city, your city cannot be “dessert challenged”… there is nothing that compares to that dish.

  • Jo Bennett

    Not only dessert challenged…there really is a huge list of possibilities just look at the Bpn Appetit book of “desserts” alone..but such a VERY POOR representation of excellent bakeries…not counting chains serving cupcakes etc…I just wish this area would be up to this challenge.

  • Big John

    I 100% agree with Melonie. LB came off ignorant. She sounded very pompous but mainly just dumb. She continued to come across as a completely uneducated babbler. I now understand why her reviews seem so fluffy and without depth. I too was impressed with the way Krys Boyd handled the questions. It reminded me of Katie Curric interviewing Sarah Palin. LB’s seemed to stumble with simple questions that she should have easily navigated because of her supposidly strong understanding of food and the restaurant industry. She sounded as if she had no clue about the restaurant industry. She didn’t even have the basic understanding of Tex Mex, where and how it originated and the different culinary fabric of this important food style and culture. To say tex mex was not culinaraly significant is just ignorant. He kept wanting to equate quality with price and that is just not the case with food and the dining experience. If you want to read a good food and restaurant review, read the observer. How ironic tis publication is free. Great job Krys Boyb for keeping one side of the interview on an intellegent level. L.B. please go get some learnin!

  • DFWFoodie

    Isn’t dessert supposed to be sweet? Different strokes for different folks, I suppose, but I have to say I 100% agree with Kristin, Melonie and Big John. My problem with Leslie Brenner is that she not only seems to hate Dallas, but she consistently comes writes these negative and insulting reviews. Yes, we know you are from L.A. and are buddy buddy with Wolfgang Puck (good lord, if that’s what is important in life, I must be crazy)…but if Dallas is so bad, what is keeping you here?

  • Jay

    After working at an upscale ice cream shop, I definitely have to agree on this one. People are afraid of anything that can be considered different (such as salty or spicy ice cream), but they naturally gravitate to the flavors that taste like straight sugar or frosting. It’s severely disappointing.

  • CBS

    I would suggest Dallas is dessert challenged. In fact, I would suggest most of Texas is dessert challenged…just not in our DNA. That said, despite not being at the forefront of desserts, I’ll put La Duni’s quatro leche up against almost anything.

  • EW

    I think we all know the real problem with Dallas restaurants…foodrunners.

  • Lisa

    She is right-Dallas IS dessert challenged. Almost every menu I see has the regulars: creme brulee, key lime pie, ice cream, chocolate something cake. Disappointing every time. In other cities we travel to, almost every restaurant has some innovative desserts. We moved here 22 years ago from New Orleans and Dallas restaurants have never caught up with current food trends. Never will.

  • Christopher

    I’m sorry but dessert in New Orleans?…talk about playing the same note over and over and over and over

  • Jessica

    The leche cake at Javier’s is excellent. If it’s called dessert then I want mine sweet!

  • Joe

    Leslie Brenner is obnoxious, pretentious, pompous, condescending, and a poor food critic to boot.

    She makes the classic food critic mistake of conflating her own strange taste with good food, instead of trying to analyze in a way that is useful to readers.

    Her all time zenith was when she said Dallas doesn’t do Tex Mex well.

    Why do publications hire people like this instead of some one well-educated in culinary matters, a distinguished trained chef or some one with a similarly authentic background?

    But some times I wonder what happened to all the great bakeries Dallas used to have. There used to be a great French bakery in Preston Royal, and Gaston LeNôtre at Northpark

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  • Dcollier

    I enjoyed my time feeding Dallas’ sweet tooth. I think Dallas as a whole expects portion sizes that might not necessarily be in line with the rest of the fine dining community but it’s up to the diners continue to grow not just in amount of dessert but their tastes as well and up to the chefs to help guide them. It is definately a partnership!