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Home & Garden

Best of Big D: Food

Where to get the gourmet treats for your next dinner party.
photography by Chris Plavidal

Best Fish Market
TJ’s Seafood Market

This family-owned fish market opened in Preston Forest in 1989. Since then, TJ’s has not only survived the competition from the massive seafood display cases at Whole Foods across the street, it has grown to two locations. The second shop offers a sit-down, eat-in area and a full catering menu.

Readers’ Pick: Central Market

Best Butcher
Rudolph’s Market & Sausage Factory

There’s something nostalgic about visiting your trusty neighborhood butcher for the perfect cut of meat. In our big-box culture, the challenge is finding a full-service establishment to guide you through your carnivorous endeavors. With its knowledgeable staff, vast selection (think steaks, sausages, slow-cured hickory ham, and even sweetbreads), and more than 100 years in the business, this Deep Ellum shop more than fits the bill.

Readers’ Pick: Central Market

Best Wine Shop

Since harry sigel opened his first store in 1905, it has morphed from offering premium liquors and cigars to a wholesale and retail purveyor of fine wines. Sigel’s carries close to 5,000 wines, but each of the 11 stores is dedicated to educating customers. They host winemaker tastings and offer in-store samples.

Readers’ Pick: Spec’s

Best Cheese Shop

Karen and Rich Rogers do not make their own cheese or carry the largest selection in town. Whatever assortment they do have on hand, however, is always intriguing, and the couple is dedicated to educating cheese lovers of all ages and levels. They not only host cheese classes. They also organize tours of local dairy farms.

Readers’ Pick: Central Market

Best Ice Cream/Gelato
Carnival Barker’s Ice Creams

the only problem you’ll have with a pint of Carnival Barker’s is its disappearance rate. We love the Munchies flavor (peanut butter ice cream with chocolate-covered potato chips) and the other whimsical flavors, such as Hatch Chile Chocolate and Peppermint Bark.

Readers’ Pick: Paciugo

Best Gourmet Shop
Bolsa Mercado

bolsa restaurant recently suspended its lunch service, moving it next door to its sibling gourmet-to-go market. In the process, it made this popular neighborhood market even more so, expanding its menu, remodeling the interior to accommodate more seating, tightening its inventory of specialty goods, and improving its selection of gourmet delights.

Readers’ Pick: Eatzi’s

Best Bakery for Treats
Emporium Pies

Everybody loves pie. Favorites here include the Drunken Nut (Texas bourbon pecan in a shortbread crust) and the aptly named Lord of the Pies, a towering slice of apples baked in handmade caramel and topped with cinnamon streusel.

Readers’ Pick: La Duni

Best Chocolatier
Dude, Sweet Chocolate

This time last year, chocolate lovers had just one place to get their Chubby Nuts fix: Dude, Sweet Chocolate in the Bishop Arts District. Now Dude has a new location in Fort Worth where you can stock up on the aforementioned candied nuts, as well as a plethora of other handmade treats.

Readers’ Pick: Dude, Sweet Chocolate

Bread Bakery for Bread
Empire Baking Company

This bakery is a repeat winner, and we keep going back for more. Visit the Lovers Lane storefront and order a smoked turkey sandwich on freshly baked kalamata olive or jalapeño cheese bread. You can thank us later.

Readers’ Pick: Eatzi’s

Best Caterer
Bolsa Mercado

Recently, we were sitting in a daylong meeting with lunch catered by Bolsa Mercado. We were served a green salad with grapefruit and Texas pecan brittle and chicken from Windy Meadows with roasted mushrooms and farm egg sauce. We don’t remember anything from the meeting, but we will never forget that lunch.

Readers’ Pick: Two Sisters Catering

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