Saturday, May 25, 2024 May 25, 2024
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Where to find goodies for the lazy gourmet.

MANY OF US native Texans are not exactly what you could call your gour-mette cooks. Not only are we unable to cook exotic meals, we often have problems merely pronouncing their names -can you say “vichyssoise”? We assume that in order to prepare a truly epicurean meal, one must possess four things: an incredibly well-stocked kitchen; a fair amount of money (to keep the kitchen well-stocked); time (several hours per entrée); and the cooking expertise of Julia Child. Unfortunately, most of us are deficient in at least one of those areas. As a result, we may rarely attempt to master a salade de brocoli et poires d’avocat (broccoli and avocado salad) or scaloppine di vitello alla’agro dolce (veal scaloppine sautéed with a lemon butter sauce). And even if we do know how to cook such delicacies, we don’t always have the time in which to prepare them. So we do without, never realizing that Dallas is replete with gourmet shops and restaurants that provide carryout service.

During our search for portable first-class meals, we’ve found several consistently dependable places that offer a wide range of specialties. Some dishes should unquestionably be referred to as “gourmet” (the strawberry soup at The Winery), and others become exceptional because of the manner in which they have been prepared.

Marty’s, 3316 Oak Lawn. Marty’s is a lazy gourmet’s dream: Not only can he find an extensive selection of haute carryout, he can also have his menu planned for him just in case he can’t quite decide what he’s in the mood for. The menu changes each Wednesday and includes a selection of hors d’oeuvres (such as ballotine of salmon with crab and spinach), an appetizer to begin the meal (maybe clam farci or vegetable torte), a salad (perhaps fruit salad or a whole tomato stuffed with ziti salad), an entree with selected vegetables, several cheeses and a dessert. Also available for carryout are quiches (maybe crab or Lorraine), patés (such as pheasant and sweetbread), cold salads, crab meat in puff pastry, bass terrine with asparagus and all kinds of croissant and French-bread sandwiches. Desserts are spectacular: strawberry tarts, several kinds of cheesecakes and brownies, pastries, truffles, cookies, cakes. Mon-Sat 10-6:30. 526-4070.

The Winery, 2404 Cedar Springs. You may feel a bit like you’ve just stepped inside a large wine cellar when you walk into The Winery -row upon row of horizontally stacked wine bottles line every wall and most of the floor. But discreetly tucked away in the back is a counter that shelves some wonderful gastronomic creations. The Winery used to be known as Gourmaison, and most of the food was brought over from next-door neighbor, Jean Claude. Although Jean Claude’s visits are much less frequent now, The Winery’s selections are still first-rate. Dozens of varieties of cheese fill the display case, along with several different pǎtés. Various soups are available, depending on the day (such as the aforementioned strawberry, which consists of strawberries, sour cream, wine and sugar). You’ll also find shrimp salad, chicken salad, a sweet-and-sour carrot salad and a mixed-vegetable salad. And, of course, there’s fresh French bread, croissants and croissant sandwiches available with various meats. Mon-Sat 10-7, Sun 2-5. 749-0250.

DiPalma, 1520 Greenville. Good, fresh homemade pasta can be really hard to come by, but it’s abundant at DiPalma, a combination Italian food specialty store and restaurant. When DiPalma first opened, the “restaurant” section consisted of a few meager tables set obscurely in a corner. Now its space has opened up into an almost indoor-sidewalk cafe. The success of the restaurant has also meant good news for the carryout section: every entrée available on the menu can also be ordered to-go. The lemon garlic chicken, chicken lasagna and eggplant parmigiana are especially good; and the carryout portions are more than generous. DiPalma’s cold salads are superb. Try the salad sampler, a combination plate of three of the day’s numerous cold salads (try the ziti salad, which is fresh pasta and mixed vegetables; the chicken curry with apples, grapes and almonds; or the artichoke hearts salad). Good luck to dieters trying to bypass DiPalma’s pastries, which are lined up tray after tray just about at nose level. The “pretzel” pastry, with an almond and honey glaze, and the kiwi tarts are visual artforms. Mon-Thur 11-10, Fri & Sat 11-10:30, closed Sun. 824-4500.

Pasta Plus, 225 Preston Royal East. Another homemade pasta haven, Pasta Plus offers fresh spinach or egg spaghetti, ravioli, linguine, (also available in whole wheat), fettuccine, conchiglie and riga-toni. Preparation of the pasta is about as easy as grabbing a jar of Ragu, only it’s a lot more satisfying: After choosing your favorite sauce (there are about a half dozen to choose from including walnut, alfredo and vongole-red clam), you simply take it home and reheat it while you boil the pasta for two to four minutes. The ravioli (available with meat or cheese) is especially good; it’s tender and packed with filling. Another interesting item is “angel hair,” an almost microscopically thin pasta. And you’ll find all the appropriate trimmings here: fresh ground par-mesan cheese, fresh ground pepper (red and black), Italian sausage, 14 blends of fresh-roasted coffee, several kinds of pastries (the cannolis are wonderful) and, of course, Italian bread. Mon-Fri 11-7, Sat 10-6. 373-3999.

Goodies from Goodman, 12012 Inwood and 8302 Preston Center East. Something about this place reminds us of an old-fashioned corner drugstore – maybe it’s the unlikely combination of rows of exotic foods and spices located across from a supermarket-style produce case filled with fruits and vegetables. Or maybe it’s the trays of appetizers that are left scattered about on various tables for browsers to sample. Goodies from Goodman has probably the widest range of carryout items that we could find. Some are fresh, some are refrigerated, some are frozen. Among the frozen entrees are such specialties as salmon and asparagus en croute, beef and mushroom brochettes, crepes Normandy and filet of sole en croute. From the refrigerated section, we tasted some of the best chicken salad we’ve ever had -big chunks of white-meat chicken, slivered almonds and whole seedless grapes in a smooth mayonnaise sauce. Goodies also has numerous appetizers, dressings, sauces, macaroni salad, three-bean salad and a whole host of desserts (try the blackout cake, an unbelievably moist loaf cake). Mon-Sat 9-6, closed Sun. 387-4804 (Inwood) and 692-0773 (Preston Center).

Wonderful World of Cooking, 5007West Lovers Lane and 618 Preston RoyalWest. What you’ll find here is not exactlygourmet food, it’s just good food -thingslike pot roast and meat loaf and porkchops and chicken and dumplings. All 70some-odd entrees are cooked in the Wonderful World of Cooking’s kitchen andthen frozen in one-to-two, two-to-three orfour-to-five serving containers ready forbaking. You have a choice of appetizers,soups, salads, meat dishes (which youcombine with your choice of vegetables)or complete dinners (a large portion ofmeat with two vegetables). Selected entrees from the Scarsdale and Pritikin dietsare also available. What we love mostabout the Wonderful World of Cookingare its fresh-baked goods. The lemon-nutloaf, a sort of pound cake, was just moistand tangy enough to soothe the palate andsatisfy a sweet tooth while still being light,and the mini-cinnamon rolls could rivalGrandma’s. Also worth a try are thequiches, cookies and pies. And the Preston Royal location has a tea room openduring lunch (11-3), just in case you want alittle home-cooking, but don’t even wantto see a kitchen. Preston Royal: Mon-Fri11-6, Sat 11-5; 739-4803. Lovers: Mon-Fri8:30-6, Sat 8:30-5; 358-3345.