Morgen Chocolate, Inc. If you haven’t tasted freshly made chocolates, do yourself a favor and stop by here. Owner and chief chocolatier Rex Morgen was trained in Europe, and his chocolate factory produces all kinds and flavors-gorgeous truffles, creams, nuts and spectacular seasonal molded pieces. The chocolates are also available at Marty’s. Simon David, Stanley Korshak and The Coffee Company. The Brewery, 703 McKinney Ave., 954-4424.
Civello’s Raviolismo. Raviolismo produces specialty stuffed pasta-ravioli stuffed with goat cheese, duck, crawfish or even pumpkin (in addition to more orthodox fillings). Civello’s is a favorite source for local chefs and caterers, now drop-in customers can buy what the chefs do, or, if you’re entertaining, you can call and order ahead. 1318 N. Peak, 827-2989.
Tommaso’s Italian Fresh Pasta. You can find Tommaso’s packaged pasta in most grocery stores, but for a better variety try this retail store, which sells fresh spaghetti, fettucine, tortellini and most other pasta shapes you can think of by the pound. 5365 Spring Valley, 991-4040.
Pasta Plus. Pasta Plus was one of the first fresh-pasta shops in Dallas and is still one of the best. It’s evolved into a full-scale shop selling olive oil, herbs and imported foods, salads, breads and desserts in addition to pasta and pasta dishes. 225 Preston Royal East, 373-3999. 17194 Preston, 713-7181.
Out of a Flower. Co-owner Michel Platz left his career as chef of the five-star L’Entrecote at the Anatole to create a line of ice creams, sorbets and desserts flavored with fresh flowers and herbs, most of which he grows himself. These unusual desserts are available at The Brewery location and at TJ’s Fresh Seafood Market and Whole Foods. The Brewery. 703 McKinney Ave., 754-0324.
All Baba. For an adventure in dining try the thyme pies, which are the Middle East’s answer to pizza. Then go next door to Worldwide Foods for the pita bread, olive oil and eady-mixed spice blend to make your own at home. 1905 Greenville Ave., 823-8235.
The British Trading Post. This expatriate-ran establishment brings a little bit of the UK to East Dallas. Go for the Rose’s marmalade, clotted cream and other British staples. 10892 Ferguson Road, 686-8840.
Hines Nuts and Produce. For nuts, shelled and unshelled, raw and roasted, in every variety imaginable, this is the place. Hines also boasts a good selection of dried fruits and fresh produce-especially chili peppers. 2404 Canton, 939-0253 for nuts, 939-0204 fat produce.
Minyard’s in Preston Forest. This neighborhood Minyard’s has one of the best selections or kosher foods in town. In fact, a broad selection is also maintained at the Min-yard store in Bedford on Harwood and in Fort Worth on 4hon Road. 714 Preston Forest Shopping Center, 691-4529.
La Popular. This East Dallas tantale house is small but you can’t miss it-the bright purple and orange paint job is impossible to pass up-and you’ll be sorry if you do. Choose from freshly made vegetable, chicken or traditional pork fillings; take them home or eat them there. 4904 Columbia (at Fitzhugh), 824-7617.
R. J.’s Sho-Nuf. A barbecue joint that makes candy? You bet: R. J.’s piles more pecans than anybody into the melt-away praline patties the place makes for various Mexican restaurants as well as for over-the-counter customers. 3910 Maple, 528-5230.
Rudy’s Tortilla Factory. Restaurants know that tie best chalupa and taco shells come from Rudy’s. Crispy and greaseless.
these stellar staples are also available to retail customers, as are their fine tortilla chips in yellow or white corn. 5120 Maple, 521-2401.
Whole Foods Sourdough Bakery.
The best not-quite-French sourdough baguettes are at Whole Foods. Tangy. chewy and addictive, they’re baked by Dutch Regal Bakery strictly for wholesale (sold, too, at some Tom Thumb supermarket locations). 2218 Greenville Ave., 826-1172.
George’s Imported Foods. For the best bulk olive selection try George’s in Fort Worth. A comparable selection in Dallas can he found at Worldwide Foods with its selection of Greek and other style olives sold from vats. Betcha can’t try just one variety. George’s Imported Foods, 4424 While Settlement Road, (817)737-0414; Worldwide Foods, 1907 Greenville Ave., 824-8860.
The easiest and most enjoyable way to get acquainted with ethnic groceries in Dallas is the annual Ethnic Market Tour sponsored by the American Institute of Wine and Food. The buses leave early on a March morning and Kevin Rathbun. chef of Baby Routh, is the tour guide: he’s on hand at every stop to explain what to do with the dried cuttlefish, soba and other exotic foods you purchase along the way. Call 741-4072 for details.
Hernandez Mexican Foods. When Diana Kennedy, one of the world’s experts on Mexican cuisine, does a cooking demonstration in Dallas, she shops at Hernandez- that’s some kind of recommendation. The store stocks everything you need to fill your combination plate and more–from dried chilies and tortillas to fresh epazote, piloncillo (dried sugar cones) and banana leaves to wrap up your tamales. 2120 Alamo, 742-2533.
Al’s Import Foods. For a long time, Al’s was the ethnic grocery in Dallas. The store has specialized in Greek. Italian and Middle Eastern foods for over 35 years. Besides dry goods. Al’s sells fresh meats (wonderful Italian sausages), a great selection of grana cheeses and the best selection of olive oil in town. 8209 Park Lane, 363-3778.
Kazy’s Food Mart. The primary sushi source in Dallas. Kazy’s sells a full range of Japanese groceries (sushi-quality fish, noodles, nori, vegetables); kitchen implements (paddles, knives, bowls, chopstick rests); and tons of other fun, exotic stuff (origami paper, dolls, magazines). 8989 Forest, 235-4831.
Shin Chon Market. Besides the kim-chee and other Korean staples, this is an unusual source for fresh seafood-live blue crabs and red snapper are among the selection. 4460 Walnut St. in Garland, 276-9792.
Taj Mahal. 66 Richardson Heights, Richardson. 644-1329, and ImpoFoods, 1906 Promenade, 680-3232. Foods of the Indian subcontinent are available in numerous markets-especially in south Richardson. Powdered spices and fragrant basmati rice by the pound, sacks of multicolored lentils, split peas and beans, as well as Indian music tapes, bangles and shoes suitable for wearing with your sari are available in these two stores..
Golden Pacific. The most complete Asian market in the city. Golden Pacific is the size of a supermarket. Korean. Thai. Vietnamese and Chinese foods make this one-stop shopping for Pacific Rim groceries. 2108 Arapaho, Richardson, 234-5666.
Cafe Madrid Market. Adjoining the popular tapas bar and restaurant, Cafe Madrid, this little market is a great source for the best Spanish and Mediterranean ingredients: capers, peppers, olives and olive oil. manchego cheese and Spanish chorizo. 4501 Travis, 528-1731.
Worldwide Foods. Straight out of Arabian Nights, this store has all kinds of Middle Eastern breads, a wonderful array of feta cheeses, Syrian house-cured olives with peppers and lemons and the best prices on pistachios (three different kinds). 1907 Greenville Ave., 824-8860.
The dani group. Dam is really a food company with three divisions. The hospitality division manages the food service and does the catering it the Dallas Museum of Art and Dallas Theater Center, while another facet of the company produces a line of pre-prepared, low-fat entrées. The catering division, headed by chef Jeffrey Glick, is especially good at orchestratinjg very large events. 3300 Oak Lawn, Suite ,10, 520-0890.
Daryl’s by Design. Daryl Richardson is one of the most popular (though pricey) caterers in town. He, too, handles large events especially well, and his food displays are extraordinary, often featuring live preparation-cookies, pizzas and pasta cooked before your very eyes or striking table displays designed by an on-staff florist. 1801 N. Griffin, 655-1444.
GourmetDallas. Owner Rollie Black-well specializes in very professionally produced partie!-including food, props, service and entertainment–for 200 to 300 people, often designed around a theme. 10836 Gris-som Lane, 414-4954.
L’Epicurien. A lot of folks in the know feel that no chef-caterer in town can compete with Roger Buret, co-owner with Karen Cas-sady of L’Epicurien. L’Epicurien is especially good with French-influenced menus and classic cuisine, but they can ably cook anything from satay to couscous. L’Epicurien also runs a charcuterie business-their patés and sausages are available at Marty’s, the Wine Emporium, City Cafe to Go, Minyard’s at Preston Forest, Simon David and some Tom Thumb stores. 2025 Irving Blvd., 747-5885.
Food Company. Shelley Barsotti and Andy Hagar are co-owners of this custom catering company whose name says it all. Food Company serves some of the most exciting food of any caterer in Dallas. They don’t pass out brochures or a list of set menus, but adapt their style to a client’s preferences. Food Co.’s forte is Southwestern food and variations on ethnic menus, although their kitchen is versatile. 215 Henry St., 939-9270.
Wendy Krispin Caterer. An energetic alumna of many of Dallas’ better catering companies, Wendy has now set up her own shop and can efficiently handle anything from a simple cocktail party to a formal dinner or large-scale event. 2800 Routh St., 979-0501.
Nancy Beckham. Nancy is best known as chef-owner of Main Street News, but her catering business is equally lively and imaginative, whether she’s preparing dinner in your home or at a party site of your choosing. 2934 Main St., 746-2934.
Catering by Don Strange. Based in San Antonio, Strange is known throughout the state for Texas-sized bashes covering acres and serving hundreds. Experienced event-planner Kathy Phillips is responsible for Strange’s presence in Dallas. 363-4334.
Au Bon Gout. Owner Bettye Wellons specializes in exclusive dinner parlies for a limited clientele; she sets a perfect traditional table and her high tea parties are lovely displays. P.O. Box 7826, 522-3272 or 522-0171.
Wine experts agree that the secret to buying wine is not where you buy it, but whom you buy it from. The following is an introduction to some of the best wine salespeople in Dallas. (If you want to begin with some armchair shopping, Dick Avery’s monthly publication. The Wine Letter, offers up-to-date tips on wine-buying in the Metroplex. To subscribe, write: The Wine Letter, 2152 Kessler Court, Dallas, 75208.)
Gralley’s Fine Wines. This Lake-wood wine haven is owned by Ley Jaynes. who concentrates on less-expensive high-quality wine. Jaynes also believes in tasting before you buy, which is why his in-store tasting bar is so popular. 6330 La Vista, 823-8711.
Tony’s Wine Warehouse & Bistro. Michel Monzain is a former wine-maker who scours the market for good buys. Tony’s wine classes are extremely popular- last year more than 9.000 people learned how to develop a discerning palate. As Michel says, “We’re taking the mystery out of wine.” 2904 Oak Lawn. 520-9463.
P-K’s Fine Wines and Liquors. This little store on the edge of the Park Cities is a well-kept Dallas secret. Owner-proprietor Dennis Furlong prefers to keep a low profile, relying on word-of-mouth instead of advertising. He must be doing something right-PK’s has been in business for 25 years. 4134 Lomo Alto, 521-7470.
Sigel’s #1. Randy McLaughlin is the guy to ask for; a self-described wine buff for 25 years, McLaughlin worked for several Napa wineries and used to sell to Sigel’s before going to work at the store. 5757 Greenville Ave.. 739-4012.
Sigel’s #5. This store sells more fine wine than any other in the Southwest, and Michael Ross is its number one salesman. Ross’ talent is matching the customer with the wine. And, he says, “I’ve tasted most of what I sell so I have a personal knowledge of wine.” 15003 Inwood, 387-9873.
PoGo’s Wine & Spirits. Ann Strom-berger is the person to see here if you’re looking for something a little more esoteric in wine. PoGo’s specializes in boutique wineries and eclectic labels. 5360 W. Lovers Lane, 350-8989.
Neiman Marcus. Years ago, the downtown Neiman Marcus store was one of the premier sources for fine wine in Dallas. Now that same reputation is being established in the ever-expanding gourmet area of the NorthPark store. Mike Friend, a veteran on the Dallas food and wine scene, is the person to ask for. 400 NorthPark Center, 363-8311.
Wine Emporium, Etc. Bill Rich is the Wine Emporium’s owner, manager and salesperson. Rich presides over the enterprise, which specializes in wine education-with classes for people with all levels of experience-and tasting before you buy. 5820 W. Lovers Lane, 559-0733.
La Cave Wine Warehouse. Francois Chandou has been a force on the wine front since he opened the now defunct La Cave on Henderson, one of Dallas’ earliest wine bars. La Cave Warehouse is mostly for the serious oenophile; the store specializes in fine Bordeaux and offers wine storage. In addition, Chandou also imports hard-to-find cheeses-Camembert, Saint-Marcellin and Crottin de Chavignol, for example-from Androuet, a famous Paris cheese shop. 1000 Munger, #100, 979-9463.
MEAT, POULTRY, SEAFOOD MARKETS
Rudolph’s Market and Sausage Factory, Inc. After more than 100 years in the same block on Elm, Rudolph’s still sells meat the old-fashioned way, buying beef by the side and dry-aging it themselves. Rudolph’s also smokes its own bacon, hams and turkeys and makes a variety of German and Polish sausages. 2924 Elm, 741-1874.
Pescados. Gary Miller’s full-service market sells seafood wholesale and retail with fish flown in daily from around the country and the world. 7804 Spring Valley, 980-8797.
TJ’s Fresh Seafood Market. As owner Tom Haden says, “Come in and smell the difference.” There are usually 10 to 12 types of fish for sale, flown in daily, as well as shellfish. Haden keeps the Louisiana oysters in holding tanks of purified sea water for several weeks; mussels, scallops and clams are farm-raised. 11661 Preston, 691-2369.
Whole Foods. Whole Foods is listed elsewhere, but since most of us are eating a lot of chicken these days, it’s important to know that the poultry here-free-range, never frozen-is unparalleled. Whole Foods also claims to sell the freshest seafood in town- they get deliveries six days a week and take the temperature of every shipment, refusing any thai have warmed over 34 degrees. 2218 Greenville Ave., 824-1744.
Kuby’s Sausage House. It’s not just the amazing sausage display that makes Kuby’s special, or the cosmopolitan atmosphere (Kuby’s is a gathering place for resident Europeans). Kuby’s is one of the only places in Dallas that still understands the art of butchering. The butchers here will cut the meat to accommodate your recipe, and you can be sure it’s the finest quality. 6601 Snider Plaza, 363-2231.
Hans Mueller Sausage. Besides die famous Black Forest ham and wide variety of German sausages (over a dozen kinds of bratwurst). Hans Mueller makes Italian sausage, air-dries beef tenderloin and smokes meats in the plant next to the store. Most of the products are made without preservatives, and the factory produces some unusual items such as land jaeger-a kind of deluxe beef and pork jerky popular with Alpine hikers. 2459 Southwell Road, 241-2793.
Amore To Go. This establishment offers everything on its regular dinner menu for at-home enjoyment at the same moderate price. To-go service has its own entrance at the side door-call ahead or drop in, grab a tall stool and set your mood with a glass of wine while your order is filled. 6931 Snider Plaza. 739-0502.
Boston Chicken. The newest of the chicken chains to come to Dallas, Boston Chicken offers not only a rotisseried whole bird, but also a particularly toothsome chicken pot pie. loaded with white meal and vegetables, with cornbread and a side-dish salad or vegetable, for under $5. Eat on the premises, if you like; but the food’s craftily packaged to hold its heat until you’re home. 4216 Oak Lawn, 528-0555.
Chicken Chicken. This little place stakes out yet another roast-chicken claim. with wood-grilled as well as r?tisserie chicken. Accompaniments are fairly standard home-style, but co-owner Jean-Paul Horst, an ex-Plaza of the Americas honcho, has the haute background to raise the products above the run-of-the-mill fast-food humdrum. Old Town Shopping Center, Suite 505, 361-2222.
City Cafe to Go. If the language provided a loftier term for takeout, this City Cafe offspring would deserve it; the creative treatments of fresh salads, main and side dishes and sauces keep faith with the parent menu’s dedication to freshness. Prices are right up there, too. but not out of line, considering the quality. 5757 W. Lovers Urne, 351-3366.
Crescent Gourmet. The heady to-go menu here is restricted almost entirely to cold items-salads, sandwiches, light plates. Pastas and grilled meats combined with fresh seasonal fruits and vegetables are particularly fine. The only drawback: The place closes in the early afternoon, which means planning ahead for phone or fax orders. 400 Crescent Court, 871-3223.
Going Gourmet. This bright new entry on the takeout scene offers a huge menu of mostly Italian dishes in a tiny, spiffy space in the Midway/Northwest Highway area. While ex-Mansion captain Ettore Settembre minds the front, former Hofstetter’s chef Oona Settembre turn$ out an amazingly varied array of from-scratch classics with original twists, from cured salmon and herbed cream cheese on toasted bagels to osso buco, risotto, pesto-stuffed Brie, daily-changing soups, sauces and pastas. Open late for after-work convenience, the place also stocks specialty items (20 coffees, nine teas, prosciutto, porcini mushrooms) for home cooks. 4345 W. Northwest Hwy. at Midway, 351-6773.
Kathleen’s Art Bakery. The to-go sidebar to Kathleen’s Art Cafe, this little bakery dishes out the same kind of rnom-never-thought-of-this fare that keeps the cafe popular: signature meatloaf pizza and crab cakes, plus daily specials and indulgent desserts-at prices more modest than you’d expect. 4446 Lovers Lane, 692-TOGO.
Mise en Place. Already, in its short life, Mise en Place has redefined takeout pizza in Dallas, as well as the salads that make them a meal. Here, the pizzas are creative, involving gourmet ingredients and combinations: grilled tuna with tomatillo sauce and black beans and a pesto version with fresh spinach, mushrooms and glazed onions, to name but two. Salads are white-table restaurant quality, from the house standard of herbed baby greens in rice wine vinaigrette to a Southwestern Caesar with sun-dried tomato and spicy croutons. 7031 Lomo Alto at Lovers Lane, 520-2424.
DIALING FOR DINNERS
Takeout’s a timesaver, but have you ever wished a favorite restaurant’s food could magically appear on your own dining table? It can, via a delivery service that must surely be the ultimate in at-home dining convenience. Three such services now cover Dallas and surrounding areas, each with a roster of restaurants for whom they deliver.
Entrees On Trays. These guys pioneered the idea in Dallas almost five years ago and list some 40 restaurants as clients. The service charges $1 per entree, with a $3 minimum for each delivery. Entrees On Trays covers the broadest territory, delivering from 5-9:30 p.m. daily. To order, you call the restaurant directly and pay whatever plastic it honors. Call 828-0452 for info and menus.
Home Delivery Network. Only a year old, HDN takes your orders directly and accepts all major credit cards. Delivery hours are Monday through Friday, 11 a.m.-2 p.m. and 5 p.m.-10 p.m.: Saturday and Sunday, 4 p.m.-10 p.m. Coverage area is entirely north of Mockingbird, extending to Piano. HDN charges $4 per restaurant with a minimum charge of $20 for lunch and $10 for dinner. Call 248-4006 for details.
Takeout Taxi. The newest entry on the delivery front is Takeout Taxi, which began with 10 restaurants, all in Addison and Far North Dallas, early this year. The charge is $3 per delivery, plus $2 from each additional restaurant from which you wish to order; pay with major plastic or cash. Call 661-9991.
Aston’s English Bakery. Aston’s may be best known for sweet baked goods (butter cakes and cookies, for example), but this longtime Preston Center standby deserves special accolades for its cheese bread, a ched-dar-chunky loaf that makes the best toast in town. 6029 Luther Lane, 368-6425.
Bagelstein’s. Finally a decent bagel. But this North Dallas establishment did more than put bagels on the map in this town. It was also the first place we know of to introduce bagel chips-the crisp, toasted slices that are now a pricey snack item everywhere, but began as this bakery’s thrifty way of marketing day-old bagels. 8104 Spring Valley, 234-3787.
Cafe Partier. This bakery puts French bread on Piano tables as well as in its offshoots in Prestonwood Town Center and Richardson Square Mall. 2969 West 15th St., Piano, 985-0003.
Celebrity Bakery. Sweet treat hunters find breakfast-muffins and sweet rolls-as well as desserts at this Park Cities bakery. Its popular sibling resides next door to Border’s Books in Preston Forest. 65 Highland Park Village, 528-6612. 10720 Preston, Suite 1017, 373-0783; 2418 Fairmount, 922-9866.
Chichen Itza. This Lower Greenville bakery satisfies appetites for Mexican breads with Yucatan-style flaky puff pastries as well as die crusty Utile torpédos that used to be the closest thing on this continent to European rolls. 5710 Richmond, 828-0197.
Empire Baking Co. The latest entry in the great bread field, this bakery received intense attention from the moment it opened with a distinctive selection of hearth-baked sourdough breads unlike any other in Dallas. Empire’s dense, chewy, oatmeal raisin loaf rates right up there with celestial manna. 4264 Oak Lawn, 526-3223.
La Fran?aise. Loyal customers know that La Fran?aise honored the city with the first fresh croissants years ago. Other favorite items are the French pastries, fruit tarts and sausage rolls. 105 Lake Highlands Plaza, Kingsley at Audelia. 341-6365.
Massimo da Milano. The flour-dusted Italian rolls here have become a ubiquitous standard among Dallas restaurants. Besides purveying a toothsome array of Italian loaf breads, biscotti and desserts, this authentic bakery turns out the best bread sticks around. 5579 W. Lovers Lane, 351-1426, and all other locations.
Cheesecake Royale. The selection here is narrow with only eight flavors available-but the prices are more modest than most (from $10). This East Dallas place must be doing something right: Neiman Marcus is among its contract customers. 9016 Garland Road, 328-9102.
Heavenly Cheesecake. This little bakery carries the gospel to an ardent following of Far North aficionados with its creamy version of the classic. In Keystone Park, 13933 N. Central Expwy., Suite D-204, 644-6314.
Romano’s Cheesecake Company. Romano’s 50 different flavors are head-liners at many area restaurants and gourmet shops, but it also sells to retail shoppers with a craving for cheesecake. 3111-C Monticello, off Central Expwy., 521-1662.
Strictly Cheesecake. Fifty flavors are also offered here (some available only with advance orders), but Strictly Cheesecake can accommodate requests for special shapes and decorations. 8139 Fores! Lane, 783-6545.
Dallas Farmers Market. This is the most people friendly institution still functioning downtown, and is the prime year-round source for fresh fruits, vegetables, flowers and everything else that grows under the sun, at below-supermarket prices. The city-owned market is open daily from 6 to 6. 1010 S. Pearl Expwy., 670-5880.
Gourmet Foods Warehouse Outlet. The owners shop food shows for opportune bulk buys and closeouts in imported, luxe and uncommon food items. Good selection of pastas and olive oils, plus British biscuits, French and Belgian chocolates, Spanish saffron and 50 different kinds of coffee. 6065 Forest Lane, 788-5155.
Ralph’s Fine Foods. The quality and style of service here are reminders of what successful neighborhood markets used to be before superhomogenized food retailing. Custom meat cuts, special orders, prepared takeout items and a carefully selected inventory command customer loyalty. 6901 Snider Plaza, 368-0931.
The Bread Man Cometh
How did a man who never baked a baguette in his life change (he bread-eating habits of Dallas in less than a decade?
The answer lies in Patrick Esquerre’s own perceptions. Esquerre had no plans to slay when he came here from France in 1982. His intent was to research se If-service loud operations in this country, with the idea of adapting some of their methods in a series of French bistros he expected to launch.
But the early ’80s were yeasty years in Dallas, and Esquerre perceived a need the city didn’t know it had-for the good bread that is, to a Frenchman, a greater daily necessity than running water. “In America,” he says, “women either were making their own bread or buying the kind made by big industrial companies, with no taste and all those additives. What French bread has is just Hour, a little yeast, a pinch of salt. And time, which is what gives taste.”
With no background in bread-making but with the electric energy associates here would come to know is typical, Esquerre moved immediately to correct the situation. His first La Madeleine, located on Mockingbird adjacent to the SMU campus, quickly captured the college and Park Cities trade with a shrewd mix of authentic French baked goods and light bistro fare. Self-service kept prices affordable and at the same-time reinforced the comfortable informality that has become La Madeleine’s trademark ambiance in his 16 neighborhood bakeries in this area and in Fort Worth, Houston, New Orleans and San Antonio.
Esquerre, meanwhile, has maintained his roots in France even as he has put down strong ones here. He regularly travels to Paris and to Tours, to keep in close touch with his parents and friends in the Loire Valley region of his birth. At the same time, he feels a deep obligation to Dallas, where he lives and takes part tirelessly in commu nity activities, contributing lime and La Madeleine sponsorship to such cultural and charitable causes as KERA and Food Bank fund-raising. “It’s what I call “merci mar keting,” ” he explains. “I believe very much in involvement in the local community. We came here, and you were very responsive to what we tried to do. My philosophy is very simple: We are in the giving business. That’s why I like what I’m doing-because food is the most necessary thing to give, and we try to give more than people expect.” -B.C.
For many of us, Marty’s was not only our first gourmet resource, but also an essential part of our gustatory education. Twenty years ago, if you wanted such esoterica (then) as goal cheese or caviar, Marty’s was the only place to go. The original store, founded in 1943. sold mostly liquor, but in the early ’70s Larry Shapiro took over from his father and things started to change: “We decided to de-emphasize liquor sales and emphasize wine and food.’” Shapiro hired Suzy Rothstein as manager and Roger Buret as chef. Together they gave the food a Gal lic energy and built a reputation for quality that still stands. Susan Dunn took over from Rothstein and guided it for 16 years, and now, under manager Karen Joyce, Marty’s will undoubtedly continue to be the defini tive food source in the city. -M.B.M.
Mardi Schma and Jack Baum opened Hampton’s Seafood Market in 1982. Located in the Farmers Market area, the place offered food-lovers something they’d never expected to see here-52 varieties of sea- fresh seafood, displayed on. crushed ice. Ruddy tuna. Silver flounder, Gnarled oys ters of every exotic variety, along with clams, mussels and crabs. Until then, fresh fish in Dallas meant fresh-frozen. The ven ture was a bold concept thai worked-the spinoff restaurant/market in Preston Center has done well, too. Baum went on to open Newport’s, a West End seafood restaurant, and, Schma started City Cafe, her avant regional emporium. The partnership may have dissolved, but the trail was blazed, and Dallas diners have been reveling in by-the- sea benefits ever since. -B.C.
Paula Lambert was sitting in a kitchen in Perugia, Italy, eating fresh mozzarella when she said to two friends with her. “You can’t gel cheese like this at home.” Home was Dallas, where Velveeta was considered cheese and mozzarella was what came on top of the pizza, but Lambert would soon change ail that. Paula skipped the market research: instead she observed mozzarella-making at an Italian cheese “school” where she met an instructor who came to Texas to teach her the fine art of cheese production. In 1982, she opened her little cheese factory on Elm Street.
“We only made mozzarella and ricotta in the beginning, and really we were not successful, even though everyone loved it. I decided that instead of more customers we needed more cheese, so I went back to Italy in 1984 and learned how to make more kinds-mascarpone. scamorze. caciotta.
“That spring. Susan Dunn from Marty’s sponsored a party at the brand new Routh Street Cafe and Stephan Pyles served 20 dishes using my cheese.” That was a Hinting point. Southwestern cuisine was just being burn: chefs were eager to use Paula Lambert’s fresh cheeses, and she was happy to work with them, incorporating epazote or ancho chilies into the caciotta, rolling pesto or sun-dried tomatoes into the mozzarella. Now the factory produces dozens of cheeses, using sheep, cow and goat’s milk. Lambert’s cheeses are shipped to chefs and gourmet shops all over the country and have won ribbons in many competitions.
Lambert’s enthusiasm for work is unlim ited-you’re as likely to find lier at the fac tory with her rubber boots on stirring the milk as you are to meet her chairing a fund raiser for a good cause. Still, her mind is sel dom far from her business, which she pro motes energetically. “The cheese factory tied everything I loved together-Italy, food and people. There are other temptations-to open a restaurant, for instance. But I think we’re successful because we keep it small and focused. As long as I love it. I’m going to make cheese.” -M.B.M
Mart in (“I am not a wine snob”) Sinkoff is the most visible wine missionary in Dallas. His message is simple: enjoy. Since his arrival in Dallas in 1980, Sinkoff has been Spreading the word about wine, maintaining that “people should be as comfortable drinking wine as they are wearing a Gap T-shirt.”
Sinkoff came to Dallas with Glazer’s Wholesale Distributors after working in Bordeaux with the legendary Alexis Lechise. He left the company in 1989 to head Val d’Orbieu Wines, a new association of wine-makers from the Languedoc region of southern France, thus becoming the only wine importer in Dallas. (When colleagues on the coasts ask him why he bases the business in Dallas, he answers. Why not? “It’s a perfect match-a pioneering business needs a pioneering state.”) Sinkoff knew the Languedoc region “had a wealth of delicious wine,” and he had a goal: ’To create the first French wine completely accessible to Americans.” The label, Reserve St. Martin, emphasises grape variety instead of region, winery instead of vintage, making it, as Sinkoff puts it, “’the first French wine to speak English. I want this to be to wine what Swatch is to watches-the highest possible quality, affordable, easy. casual, fun.”
They’re not the words you’d expect to hear from the stereotypical nose-in-lhe-air oenophile. and you hear Sinkoff say them in atypical places. His is the highest wine pro file in town-listen to him on Karen Denard’s talk show, read what he says in The Dallas Morning News, sip and swish as he simplifies wine at public parties and ben efit wine-tastings. Sometimes he’s getting the idea across in less obvious ways. He produced the Cuvée du Cinema for the U.S.A. Film Festival, combined wine with art in a series of wine bottles painted by artist Robin Brisker to benefit the Heart Ball and has worked for an alphabet-long list of charitable organizations. Everywhere the message is the same: Drink what you like with whatever you like-the correct wine to drink is the one you enjoy. -M.B.M.
Queen of Caffeine
It probably is not true thai espresso runs in Bonnie Itzig’s veins. In ail other ways, though, the brew is life’s blood to the woman who, with her husband, Jerry, has raised Dallas’ coffee consciousness from zip to zenith in the past 10 years.
When the couple came here in the ’70s, the list of restaurants that served espresso would not have filled a demitasse cup, and fresh-roasted coffee was rare indeed. Observing the void, the Itzigs resolved to fill it, renting a small space in Deep Ellum where Jetty learned to roast fresh green coffee beans while Bonnie went knocking on restaurant doors to peddle their product.
The going was uphill-until she talked Neinian Marcus into letting her serve espresso to guests al a fashion event. Among those present was Jean LaFont, executive chef for the Vaccaro restaurants (“The Old Warsaw. Les Saisons. Arthur’s, et al.), then Dallas1 primary claims to cosmopolitan dining.
LaFont became their first customer’, others followed, as a new culinary day dawned m Dallas. The city’s growing list of stellar eating establishments wanted their coffee’s quality to match their food’s, and found it in the custom blends developed by the Itzigs. who christened their business La Crème.
With their wholesale business prospering, the Itzigs opened a retail La Crème- and learned thai the public’s awareness of espresso was slower-moving than the trade’s. Nobody came, until Bonnie was inspired to do the same thing for tea (hat she’d done For coffee; create custom blends. That sideline has grown to include over a hundred specialty, herbal and flavored teas that have won La Crème national tea industry awards for the past three years.
The wholesale side of La Crème now operates from an Itzig-owned building on Denton Drive, where a giant French master toasts 60 pounds of beans at a time. But, the signal addition to the business is a machine Bonnie developed to coincide with this city’s recent awakening to espresso’s many charms; her caffesorbetto dispenser produces a frozen nondairy dessert drink destined to be in Dallas what caffe latte has become in East and West Coast markets. which is to say a daily habit. Restaurants across the country are snapping the machine up as fast as she can produce them. You’d think Itzig would be satisfied. But not quite yet. “You know, we don’t want to be little always. I wan! to be Coca Cola!” -B.C.
Originally, Simon David was a small, cramped grocery store that happened to stock lamb and caviar as well as beans and beef. In 1963. it was bought by Tom Thumb, who left il alone for 20 years. But by the end of the ’70s. “’We could see the need for an expanded upscale supermarket in Dallas.” says Carroll Brown, v.p. of food service. Now Simon David is the grocery mecca of Dallas with a huge produce department, a meat selection unequaled in the city, a separate cheese department and a fine wine department. The deli and bakery make everything from scratch, and there’s a cafeteria, a candy store and a flower store upstairs. There’s now a Simon David store at Skillman and Abrams and one in Austin, but the original on la wood is the store where the gourmets go. -M.B.M.
GUY AND MARTINE CALLUAUD
The French Revolution
Guy Calluaud was not among the career opportunists who thronged Dallas in the early ’80s to hitch a ride on the Worldclass City express. Calluaud was already here, had been for almost a decade, introducing Dallas diners to sophisticated pleasures, creating a receptive environment for the culinary adventures boom times would bring.
Calluaud and his wife. Marline, opened their own place in 1974, a tiny lunch spot in the Quadrangle. When Calluaud’s prospered, the couple moved the restaurant to the charming residence on Fairmount (now occupied by Juniper) that was to become this city’s first five-star French restaurant.
“What we started in Dallas was not Continental, but pure French.” Guy recalls. In retrospect, the impact of fee Calluaud’s cuisine on local palates must have been dynamic. “Nobody had fresh fish-they hadn’t stopped to think thai lour hours from Dallas was fresh red snapper.” he says. “I also put sweetbreads on the menu-they were so little known then that my veal supplier used to give them to me free.”
The list of patrons whose first taste of Calluaud’s sweetbreads was a rapturous experience grew, along with Guv’s national reputation. The new. larger restaurant the Calluauds built on McKinney Avenue in 1978 became a major social headquarters for high-rolling Dallasites.
Whether from prescience or prudence, when the Hard Rock Cale made them an offer for their property in I 986, they accepted-and escaped the economic downslide that brought about hard times for many upscale eateries. The couple has been involved in several ventures since: currently, they’re passing the time al Joey Tomato’s, a modest Italian hangout that’s as far from haute French cuisine as can be imagined.
Bui will the chef who brought French food to Dallas ever do it again? Guy shrugs. “People are looking for value now in terms of quantity, not quality.” he says. “Still, maybe someday we’ll do another small brasserie-I’m very templed.” -B.C.
Ask your food-loving friends which trendy Southwestern chef invented tortilla soup, then stand back and watch them hurl superstar names at each other. Why will uni be laughing? Because you’ll know that tortilla soup actually was brought to Dallas by Mario Leal, who founded Chiquita, his first restaurant here in 1972. Leal was the first to introduce Mexico City cuisine, with its Continental influences, to local diners- along with a host of dishes, then unfamiliar, that have since become taken-for-granted favorites: ceviche, carne asada, chile rel-lenos and chicken parilla were all Chiquita firsts. Leal may not get the credit, but patrons of his flagship restaurant-renamed Mario’s Chiquita and moved to Travis Walk-can know they’re enjoying food that redefined Mexican dining in Dallas. -B.C.
Stephan Pyles, chef and co-owner of Routh Street Cafe, which closed in January, is just back from New York where he’s been talking to editors about his cookbook, which will now sadly serve as a memorial to the cafe thai paved the way for so many Dallas restaurants.
Routh Street opened on November 27. 1983, and while there are debates as to who was the first chef to start cooking Southwestern cuisine, no one argues that Routh Street Cafe was the pinnacle of the style. Routh Street was the quintessential regional American restaurant-sleek, arty, sophisti-cated and witty all at once. Most upscale Dallas restaurants were fussy and dark as a London men’s club, serving heavy versions of “Continental” food; Pyles had a different idea. He’d been taking frequent breaks from his job at The Bronx to return to California and join the staff as chef’s assistant at the Great Chefs of France Cooking School at the Mondavi Winery. “Everything was busting loose then in California-it was the culinary equivalent of the summer of love,” remembers Pyles.
So when John Dayton and Pyles decided to open a restaurant, Stephan already had a vision. Dallas designer Tonny Foy made it real, creating a glamorously modern ambiance. Routh Street Cafe was expensive and self-assured, offering a prix-fixe five-course dinner featuring only American foods-East Texas rabbit. South Texas venison, cactus fruit, ancho and serrano chilies and mint marigold. In conservative Dallas, where regional cuisine meant chicken-fried steak, everything about Routh Street Cafe was absolutely new. “It was the right time for us to do something bold. Routh Street was a restaurant for the ’80s- people were feeling flush and secure enough to experiment,” reflects Pyles.
Routh Street should have been a monument to that lime-a landmark restaurant to remind us of Dallas cuisine’s great leap forward. It might have aged gracefully, if it had remained the partners’ primary focus. But Pyles went on to open Baby Routh in 1986. then, the next year, Tejas and Good-fellows in Minneapolis, Dayton’s home town. It was a “spiritual drain, opening so many new places at once,” Stephan says.
Pyles’ Routh Street cookbook completes the cycle. He’s already looking ahead and visualizing-a small resort, a line of food products, another book, and maybe, we hope, the restaurant for tile ’90s. -M.B.M.