FOOD & DRINK

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Sweet Nothings

ASSIGNED TO WRITE ABOUT A bakery that specializes in sugarless treats (an oxymoron if there ever was one), I was immediately crabby. I’ve always believed that I’d rather have one bite of Haagen-Dazs than a whole container of nonfat frozen yogurt. But visiting Sugarless deLite shook me to the core-I liked it!

I started with the much-touted, 68-calorie hot fudge sundae, sampling it as I strolled around this seemingly calorie-filled store. with its bins of sugar-free candy, racks of low-calorie fudge, and refrigerated shelves of not-bad-for-you cheesecakes and pies. All too rapidly, I found myself lapping up the last dregs of the sundae and lining up my purchases on the counter.

That night, I offered my husband a dessert platter heaped with chocolates, cherry pie, and more. He eyed me warily, took a bite, and reached for more. Told he could eat all he wanted and not have to spend the evening on the treadmill, he put a serious dent in the platter’s contents.

This bakery isn’t perfect-the cheesecake needs a shot of flavor and grandma makes better pie crusts-but it’s a delight for anyone even remotely figure-minded. 1389 W. Campbell Rd., Richardson, 214-644-2000.

-Suzanne Hough

DRINKS

A Toast to Valentine’s Day

IT’S NOT SIMPLY WORD-play to say we “savor” romance but are “consumed” by lust. Here are our favorite romantic drinks to savor, and recommendations by some experts:

Grand Marnier. It’s the perfect ménage à trois: You, your love, and this blushing orange liqueur. Pour in a fishbowl-sized snifter, the glass slightly heated to bring forth the dizzying uprush of fumes. This muscular nectar of the gods must be drunk in little bee-sips, which makes it a great aid to languid verbal foreplay.

Luksosowa. “No grain, no pain” is the slogan of this Polish “luxury vodka.” Made from potatoes, not from grain, Luksosowa slides down as smoothly as silk on skin. Sip it straight, slowly, and feel a glow, rather than a burn. You’ll never go back to grain vodka again.

Alizé. In our September 1995 issue we touted Alizé, a blend of aged cognac and passion fruit juices. The tip bears repeating for Valentine’s Day: Savor Alizé alone, on the rocks, or blended half and half with chilled champagne. To make a Passionate Margarita, blend 1 1/2 ounces Alizé, 1 ounce tequila, 1 ounce fresh lime juice. Blend with ice. Now chat’s passion.

Champagne. Jeannie Terilli of Terilli’s on Greenville Avenue had two words for us: Kir Royale, champagne mixed with raspberry liqueur. Jasper Russo, Marty’s wine buyer and general manager, says his store sells a lot of Perrier-Jouet champagne around Valentine’s Day, especially in the “flower bottle.” And, he reports Marty’s sells more rose champagne around Feb. 14 than at any other time of the year.

Wine. No particular wine is associated with Valentine’s Day, says Russo, but most people look for wine that has a specific romantic association for them. So find the Cabernet you had on your first dinner date, or the Pinot Noir from that wine bar in San Francisco you visited on your honeymoon, and savor the memories, as well.

BOOKS

BECOMING A CHEF

“There’s no book like it on the market,” says chef Victor Gielisse, of Becoming A Chef. Gielisse, who has been a vibrant food force in Dallas since his arrival here in ’82, and Cindy Pawlcyn of the bot new Fog City Diner were among a select group of America’s top chefs interviewed for this fascinating book which paints an up-close, behind-the-scenes picture of the world of food.

Among the questions the chefs are asked is what does it take to make a good chef? A passion for food, says Gielisse, who was the chef/owner of Actuelle. You need to travel and eat all over to develop your palate, Pawlcyn says.

Becoming A Chef tells aspiring chefs which books to read, what the best cookbooks are, and which cooking schools are recommended. As a bonus, the book includes a favorite recipe from each chef. Gielisse chose “the simplest of foods expertly prepared”-carpaccio with green peppercorn dressing and summer salad. A votre saute, -S. H.

GOING OUT

They’ll Make You Feel All Right

FORGET ELVIS IMPERSONATORS. THE FIVE- not four-members of Hard Night’s Day are Beatles soundalikes, more concerned with getting the dog barks right at the end of “Hey Bulldog” than with chili-bowl haircuts and high-button suits. For two years now, the musicians have made their regular Friday gig at Club Dada a light-hearted, pop-rocking tribute.

“Every once in a while I’ll wear my Beatle boots,” says Mark Ehmann, the bassist/singer who takes Paul McCartney’s parts. “But as another guy in the band has said, we don’t want to be Beatles twinkies.”

In their quest for musical authenticity, the band plays period instruments-a left-handed Hofner violin bass, a black pearl Ludwig drum kit, Rickenbacker guitars, and Vox amps-just like the original lads used on the ’64 tour. Covering 107 of the Beatles’ approximately 270 songs, they hew more to rockers like ” Revolution” and classics like ” HeyJude” than to the novelty tunes and orchestral works. “We try to do it tongue-in-cheek, which is how the Beatles were anyway,” Ehmann says.

As they enjoy a windfall from “The Beatles Anthology,” the band has been filling the club lately. Check it out. One shot of “Oh! Darling” is all it takes to straighten out those wayward kids who think Wings was Paul McCartney’s first band. -Thomas Korosec

GADGETS

THESE ARE A FEW OF OUR FAVORITE TOOLS…

A QUESTION POSED TO SOME Dallas culinary experts: Let’s say that Cousin Ruth is throwing a surprise anniversary-party for your parents, and she wants you to help her prepare the food, You decide to take your favorite kitchen tool with you, in case she doesn’t have it. What do you choose?

Renowned cookbook author Barbara Kafka kept it simple, choosing a wooden spoon because “you can do anything with it.” Local cooking instructor Ann Cartwright opted for her Le Creuset ovenproof casserole dishes in assorted sizes; real estate entrepreneur/ home chef Marc Birnbaum thought long and hard before he decided on his hand-held juicer/reamer.

American Institute of Wine & Food member Hugh Stevenson chose an oven/ meat ther mometer; self- described “dilettante cook” Logan Geeslan favored her Braun juicer and her zester.

Describing herself as a “gadget queen,” home economist Anne Steirer chose a triangular “vise” that makes quick work of removing lids.

And Cousin Ruth? Her favorite tool is her new-fangled horizontal peeler. It, like anvthing else mentioned here, can be found at Williams-Sonoma or Crate & Barrel.

Oh, one more: . Local TV pro-ducer Sheela Tessler said her favorite kitchen gadget is the phone. She uses it to make reservations for dinner.

-S.H.

TELEVISION

WITH CABLE, TV CHEFS GIVE 24-HOUR SERVICE

JULIA CHILD IS STILL THE MOTHER of all TV chefs, but these days foodies are all over the tube. PBS continues its Saturday-afternoon marathons, The Discovery Channel (TDC) runs cooking shows every day, and there’s even a channel, aptly named TV Food Network (TVFN), that’s totally devoted to the subject. Day or night, flip on TVFN and you can learn how to make the perfect pot roast, which wines to serve with fish, and more.

TVFN’s shows go where no food broadcasters have gone before-for example, on the British import “Ready…Set,,.Go,” nationally known chefs are given five main ingredients, the use of a stocked pantry, and 20 minutes to come up with a menu, prepare and present it, beautifully garnished. It makes me sweat just watching.

Some shows feature coo-perky chefs, like Graham Kerr (“Best of Graham Kerr” on PBS and The Discovery Channel) and Jeff Smith (“Frugal Gourmet” on PBS). Others have Stepford-wife-type hostesses with big hair and perfect manicures, such as Debbi Fields, whose TVFN show “Hospitality” should be avoided at all costs, Instead, tune in Emeril Lagasse (TVFN’s “Essence of Emeril”) or David Rosengarten (TVFN’s “Taste”), both of whom make cooking look simple and fun.

Julia Child’s latest program, “In Julia’s Kitchen With Master Chefs” airs on PBS each Saturday. And, if that isn’t enough, you can catch her old shows on TVFN. You might not be inspired to throw together a lobster soufflé, but I’ll bet after all this watching you can do a passably good Julia imitation! -S.H.

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