The Top Five Bites from Taste of Dallas 2012

Jerk Chicken from The Island Spot (photos by Lesley Mann Lynch)

Fair Park was a sensory overload this weekend with the tastes and smells of more than sixty restaurants and food trucks. Out of the hundreds of food options, these are plates that stuck in my taste bud memory.

1. Jerk Chicken from The Island Spot

This was no contest. The combination of spicy, complex jerk seasoning and perhaps the crispiest chicken skin I’ve ever seen, made The Island Spot’s Jerk Chicken the absolute best thing I ate at Taste of Dallas. I could eat my weight of this chicken, as long as I had enough cold beer to wash down the spice.


Kofta Chalao

2. Kofta Chalao from Afghan Grill

Even though a braised dish is not something I would usually order on a hot, Texas evening, I wiped my plate of Kofta Chalao clean. This Afghan Grill dish consists of sautéed chicken meatballs simmered in a house blend of spices, garlic, and onions, served over a helping of saffron rice. The meatballs were unbelievably tender and the sauce bursting with flavor built up over a long braise.

Sweet Emotion

3. Sweet Emotion from Rockstar Bakeshop

The irony is that this classic dessert flavor profile was served out of a pink and metallic food truck manned by tech-savvy ladies (my receipt was texted to me from their iPad) armed with whoopie pies. The combination of luscious cream cheese frosting and perfectly moist red velvet cake called out to me, but they have several more-adventurous flavor combos on their seasonal menu.

Dolma from Zeytin

4. Dolma, Zeytin

These cold, pungent grape leaves stuffed with rice transported me to a little cafe overlooking sky-blue Mediterranean seawater. Well, as close as $1 can get you to that sort of locale. Making these flavor-packed bundles a bargain, if there ever was one.

Emmolada from Mesa

5. Emmolada from Mesa

Catalina, Chef Olga’s mother, is the person originally behind the fantastic mole smothering this emmolada. The dish starts with a tortilla fried in olive oil, which is then dipped in Catalina’s mole sauce and topped with fresh cheese. Need I say more?

What was your favorite taste of Dallas?

Lesley Mann Lynch is a D Magazine summer intern. She went to the University of Cambridge on a full ride and got her masters in Bioscience Enterprise. She’s now at El Centro getting her certificate in basic culinary skills.


  • Velma

    You are so right about the taste of The Island Spot. It was so good that I visited the booth twice at the Taste of Dallas event.

    The variety of foods sold at the restruant is great. The rum punch is the best in town!

  • Nikki

    I stopped by The Island Spot on Saturday. I couldnt resist the smell of the chicken on the grill. I ordered the jerk chicken and fried plantain. It was awesome! I will definitely visit the restaurant to check our what other great things are on the menu!
    This was my favorite booth- hands down.

  • Rita

    I stopped by The Island Spot on Sunday. I had never had Jerk Nachos before, they were great. The chicken on the grill smelled so good. It was the best booth there. Thumbs up to the owners.

  • Was Mesa There on Sat?

    When we stopped by there did not appear to be anyone manning the ship. Bummer since that was one a handful of restaurants we were interested in visiting.

  • TDrakes

    I second the comment about the rum punch. You must go to Carrollton and try this place! The staff is really nice and it is a good way to get a taste of the Caribbean right here in the metroplex!

  • Lateefat

    Great #1 pick on the Island Spot! It’s a hidden gem in the metroplex, so glad you’re shining the light on how wonderful the food is! Definitely worth the drive to experience authentic Caribbean food!

  • Pat

    The “Island Spot” is the place to be! The food is beyond fantastic and will make you want to visit again and again…and AGAIN! The rum punch is simply devine. You dont have to go to the Caribbean to experience the taste…’s right here in Carrollton, Texas.

  • Josie

    Jerk Chicken was a first for me. Island Spot introduction to this dish was “right on”. Best booth at this years Taste of Dallas.

    Next Stop, the restuarant. Great job Island Spot.

  • Rhonda

    Two thumbs up for this wonderful place. You would have to be a total jerk to not enjoy the “jerk chicken”. The flavor and taste is beyond compare. The food is great, very flavorful and seasoned to perfection…stimulates the taste buds..not too spicy but just right.

  • Gloria

    Mesa had the BEST ceviche!

  • Tim

    The Island Spot was hot! I also can’t get enough of Ssahm’s Korean Tacos. Two years in a row it has been my favorite. Going to start tracking that truck down around town.