A chilled tangle of buckwheat noodles delivered by a sure-handed server landed on our dark wood table; we shuffled sake cups like a game of Three-card Monte to make room. Four dipping sauces, each with its own unfolding intensity of umami, accompanied the soba at Tei-An. This was my very first proper meal in Dallas: an introduction to Texas by way of a sleek Japanese restaurant tucked away in a funny plaza. That and, well, an appetizer of tequila and mezcal at Las Almas Rotas in Expo Park.
This all seems to me—Rosin Saez, your new SideDish dining editor at D Magazine, hello nice to meet you—like an apt way to make your acquaintance, Dallas. As someone from Seattle, I can already tell we’re going to get along just fine.
I grew up in Washington state, where family vacations meant getting knee-deep in the tidal flats to wrestle stubborn clams out from the sand; where my dad would cook salmon in the smoker in the backyard while he had Puerto Rican rice stewing on the stove; where my grandpa simmered menudo on weekends; where mom brought Hawaiian eats back from trips to the island; where I covered Seattle’s diverse dining scene, a whiplash of pop-ups, burgeoning food movements, and big-name chefs.
I came here from Seattle Met Magazine, where I worked as an associate editor. Food, ferries, fashion—you name it, I covered it. But before I had even left the Pacific Northwest, word spread that I was packing my Subaru for Texas. Unsolicited, though very much appreciated, recommendations of what to do, where to eat, and how to experience Dallas came flooding in: famed barbecue institutions, beloved taco joints, dive bars by neighborhood.
Everyone had some sort of Dallas connection. How didn’t I know you lived in Dallas for eight years? And you have family here? My mechanic was doling out tips! Exactly no one was shy about sending me off without a list of go-tos and deeply loved favorites. I plan to pay a visit to each and every one of them, from the comforting, no-frills neighborhood gems to the trendy, is-the-hype-real newcomers. Dining—and I believe life—lives everywhere in between. I’m as content with a shot and beer and a basketball game as I am seated at a lush, multicourse dinner.
And that’s what I hope to do as your SideDish editor: track the shifts and changes in Dallas’ dining scene, dive into what’s new, revisit what’s nostalgic, get occasionally think-y about things, talk to those making our food and tell their stories, and really just plain have fun.
As someone quite far from her usual habitat, I certainly welcome any tips. (Clearly, you’re a passionate bunch!) Put them in the comments. Email me. If you’re so inclined, you can follow me on Twitter or on Instagram. Perhaps we’ll cross paths out in the real world. But for now, thanks for having me. Let’s eat!