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Pamper Your Mother at Afternoon Tea



FORGET TAKING MOM OUT for Sunday brunch on Mother’s Day. Instead, dazzle her with the pleasure of your company at an afternoon tea. Two places in Dallas have perfected (he spoil-me-rotten ritual, complete with the trays of treats that make tea lime special. She’ll feel like a queen.

Upstairs at Lady Primrose, the antique store in the Shops & Galleries of the Crescent, is one perfect setting. A recent tea there started with our choice of two teas from a list that ranges from herbal to Earl Gray. Then a server brought plates of tiny. crustless sandwiches-cucumber and tomato, chicken and pecan salad, shaved ham. Tender, decadent scones filled with plump golden raisins still oven-warm followed, with small, pretty pots of clotted cream and fruit preserves.

The scones arrived on the bottom level of a three-tiered plate rack; the middle held nutty shortbread and strawberries dipped in chocolate. The top plate held two Key lime tartlets and two pieces of apricot-decorated white cake. Teapots were tended to frequently.

The Adolphus Hotel offers tea PRODUCE

FUNGUS AMONG US

There’s good news…

THE MUSHROOM-LIKE FUNGUS HUITlacoche (pronounced weet-lah-ko’-chay), considered a gourmet treat in Mexico, is now popping up on menus in the United States, according to Glenn Bums, who distributes huitlacoche nationwide. The taste is almost always described as smoky with a hint of sweetness, or as a cross between mushroom and com (on which it grows).

Locally, you can sample huitlacoche in sauces-with sea bass at Star Canyon, as a special at The Mansion on Turtle Creek. Want to experiment at home? Call Burns at 407-469-4490, and he’ll sell it to you for about $13 a pound plus shipping. For recipes, turn to Rick Bayless’ Mexican Kitchen.-S.H.



…and there’s bad news

Lovers of fungi should beware: In Northern California last January, the 32-year-old grandson of wine-maker August Sebastiani died after ingesting the deadly Amanita phalloides-or the “death cap”-during an outing with friends. California health officials held a news conference urging people not to eat any wild mushroom. Vance Vonderheid of Cooseman’s Produce says North Texas is not immune to fungi dangers. The expensive morel mushroom, prized for its pungent flavors, has a poisonous cousin that thrives in this area. You’re better off picking in the produce section. -M.S.

GRAPEVINE

THE WINE DANCE

When 40 Sonoma County Wineries Association members stuffed themselves and some tasters into Sipango to benefit the Arthritis Foundation, we identified a few standouts among the crowd. Now available in Dallas, de Lormier Winery’s 1994 Spectrum ($13) is a blend of Sauvignon Blanc and Semillion with grapefruit and honey. Two new Char-donnays come from the Mayo Family Winery: the 1995 Barrel Select Chardonnay ($19.99), full of buttery-nut lusciousness; and the crisper, fruitier 1995 Estate ($14.99). Kunde Estates 1994 Century Vines Zinfandel (under $14) is silky, intense, fruity and finished with spice. Be sure to try the 1994 Murphy-Goode Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon ($30), the 1991 Nelson Estate Cabernet Franc ($16.50) and Preston Vineyards’ Rhone red “Faux” ($101 before all the good California wine leaks out of Texas again. -Mark Stuertz

among the plump sofas and wing chairs of its elegant, dark-wood lobby living room, where a pianist softly serenades guests. A tea captain is on hand to help with tea selection, and the featured third course is to-die-for chocolate truffles.

Tea patrons leave full of treats and pleasant memories. And that’s the important aspect of tea: It’s a comforting ritual, a buffer against the constant hustle-bustle of everyday life-and of motherhood. Reservations are essential at both locations. 3-4:45 p.m., Wednesday-Saturday, Adolphus Hotel, 1321 Commerce St., 214-742-8200; 3-5 p.m., Monday-Saturday, Lady Primrose, Shops & Galleries of the Crescent, 2200 Cedar Springs Rd., 214-871-8334. -Suzanne Hough

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