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News Bites: Boba and Banned Books, The New York Times is Excited About These Two North Texas Restaurants

SideDish’s weekly digest of need-to-know dining happenings in Dallas.
Manny Rodriguez

Read a banned book, drink some milk tea

In honor of Banned Books Week, Hello Dumpling will host a read-in at its East Dallas restaurant Thursday with Wholly Informed Sex Ed in support of books that have been challenged or banned throughout the country.

Hello Dumpling owner June Chow and WISE founder Sherri Cook decided to host the event together at Chow’s restaurant. Chow says she tries to not use Hello Dumpling as a platform for anything but humanitarian efforts, but something about books being banned was a step too far.

“Books are books,” she says. “I can’t even imagine that one should politicize them. This is knowledge.”

The event is part of an annual week-long campaign promoted by the American Library Association and Amnesty International to highlight issues around censoring books. Texas schools have removed more than 800 books that deal with race, racism, sexuality and LGBTQ issues—more than any other state in the nation, according to the Dallas Morning News.

The idea is to bring a book, read a book, find a book, or take a book home while at the event. Hello Dumpling will provide various milk teas and boba for those who want to sit and read. Cook says she is bringing most of the top 10 most challenged books of 2021, which include The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas and Gender Queer by Maia Kobabe.

Cook’s organization, WISE, is dedicated to sexual education. The nonprofit has a fiscal sponsorship from Communities Foundation of Texas and will collect donations Thursday for North Texas Giving Day.

“This is about education, this is about information,” Cook says. “Nobody has the right to keep us from that.”

Hello Dumpling | 1146 Peavy Rd. Boba for Banned Books will be from 11 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. Thursday.

These are the North Texas Restaurants the New York Times is Excited About

The New York Times on Monday dropped its 2022 list of the 50 restaurants they love most, and two North Texas restaurants made the cut.

Sister in Dallas and Smoke’N Ash B.B.Q. in Arlington received accolades from the Times for being dynamic and revelatory. Neither restaurant is super new to Dallas-Fort Worth, but both have their own flair for the food they serve.

Smoke’N Ash B.B.Q. initially opened as a barbeque restaurant in 2018 but transitioned into serving Ethiopian fare a year later. The Times wrote that diners began asking for a fusion of the two, and co-owners Patrick and Fasicka Hicks granted their wish.

“The vibrant Ethiopian flavors — brisket comes lacquered with awaze, a spicy sauce made with berbere — are an ideal match for barbecue,” a Times staffer said.

Sister was described as “Italian-ish” by the paper. Benji Homsey, one of the creators of Sister and a partner of Duro Hospitality Group, says “Italian-ish” is the right word. Pasta leads the menu, but you won’t find red sauce or classic chicken parmesan on it.

“There are these very vibrant flavors and lots of acid, lots of spice,” Homsey says. “People in Dallas are used to spice and acid—Mexican cuisine, steakhouses—big, bold flavors. We wanted to infuse some of those flavors into our Italian-ish cuisine.”

The restaurant opened in 2021 in what was formerly The Grape. Duro Hospitality Group transformed the space with opulent antiques and rose wallpaper, a credit Homsey gives to Corbin and Ross See of Sees Design, two other Duro Hospitality Group partners.

“To me, it feels like it has a very, very vibrant soul and it feels like it’s been there a long time,” Homsey says. “We didn’t want it to feel like a shiny new gym that just opened up.”

The Times praised Sister for two of its pasta dishes: clams vongole and buckwheat lumache. The charred eggplant dip, which we noted in our 2021 best new restaurants list, also received a shout-out for its nutty flavors. Our last food critic, Eve Angus-Hill, wrote fondly about Sister’s pork secreto: “It’s tender and rich in flavor and like no loin you will ever encounter.”

Bon Appétit recently released its list of the best new restaurants in America. This new list by the Times is one of the restaurants they’re “most excited” about that have been around for a few years.

Sister | 2808 Greenville Ave.

Smoke’N Ash B.B.Q. | 7301 Matlock Rd. Ste. 127, Arlington

In other news

More than 100 chefs are slated to conduct demonstrations at the State Fair of Texas Celebrity Chef Kitchen throughout the duration of the fair. There are some familiar names on the list: chef John Tesar of Knife, chef Nikky Phinyawatana of Asian Mint, chef AQ Pittman of José, chef Eric Dreyer of Monarch, and so many more. Check out that list here.

Black Ship Little Katana, a Japanese-Korean-American fusion restaurant located within the Restaurants on Lamar at Omni Dallas Hotel, reopened Friday since closing in March 2020. The menu features sushi rolls, bibimbap, and ramen. The restaurant is open Wednesday through Saturday from 4 to 10 p.m. Black Ship Little Katana | 665 S. Lamar St. Ste. 130.

ICYMI: H-E-B, the beloved grocery store, opened up its first location in North Texas Wednesday, and it comes with a treat. True Texas BBQ, the barbecue chain, will open up inside the grocer as a drive-through option, the Dallas Morning News reported. The menu has barbecue classics like brisket, turkey, pork, and chicken, all smoked on post oak wood, according to the News. True Texas BBQ | 4800 Main St. Frisco.


Nataly Keomoungkhoun

Nataly Keomoungkhoun

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Nataly Keomoungkhoun joined D Magazine as the online dining editor in 2022. She previously worked at the Dallas Morning News,…