THE GROCERY LIST

Where the restaurants get their groceries.

SEAFOOD

THE FISH TREND IN DALLAS IS TOWARDS cutting out the middle man, so maybe it’s not so surprising that Steve Connelly in Boston is one of Dallas’ most widely used seafood suppliers. Chris Svalesen of Fish estimates that perhaps 60 Dallas restaurants now fly in their own fish. Locally, Chef Kent Rathbun often gets his sushi-quality tuna and yellowtail from Kazy’s Gourmet Shop, a retail Japanese market that flies in sushi flsh.

POULTRY

Grubb’s DOESN’T SUPPLY EXOTIC STUFF. They supply chicken. Quail, pheasant, ducks, and even turkeys are just a sideline. Hotel Adolphus, The Mansion, and Star Canyon buy Grubbs’ birds, as do more humble but chicken-conscious places like Williams Fried Chicken in South Dallas, Mama’s Daughter’s Diner, and Houston’s. These chickens are all natural-no chemical feeds or steroids are used. And Grubb’s is the only local large supplier that doesn’t bring in their chickens from out of town, so they’re fresher by several days.

PASTA

Paris Gourmet ON ELM STREET SELLS DRIED pasta made by Barilla, the Skinner’s of Italy. What Italian mothers have in their pantry is not de Cecco, it’s Barilla, and that’s what Kevin Ascolese buys for Mi Piaci and what Ron Rosenbaum buys for The Crescent Club. You can buy it at Tom Thumb.

Fresh Pasta Delights in Piano makes its pasta sheets with egg whites so they can be rolled a lot thinner. Fresh Pasta supplies them to several restaurants. The shop also makes Blue Mesa’s chipotle penne.

Cive No’s Raviolismo, a tiny pasta factory on Peak Street, sells lobster ravioli to Ewald’s, smoked chicken and goat cheese ravioli to Hotel St. Germaine, and nutty pumpkin and black bean ravioli to Monica Aca y Alla. Terilli’s ravioli of the day is Civello’s ravioli of the day. Bugatti Ristorante buys the “vegetable medley” ravioli and calls it “pasta primavera.” Parigi’s buys heart-shaped ravioli once a year. You can buy the pasta and sauces at the shop on Peak Street or at TJ’s Seafood in Preston Forest.

MEAT & GAME

WHEN THE WYNDHAM ANATOLE WANTED to put lion on the menu for a special dinner, the chef called Preferred Meats. (They knew whom to ask because Preferred already supplies the kangaroo meat for the grilled kangaroo with wild mushroom risotto and apple hazelnut sauce on the regular menu.) Preferred Meats specializes in high-quality and exotic meats, and its customer list reads like a who’s who in Dallas restaurants. They sell buffalo to the Hilton in Arlington, The Riviera, and Enigma. Lombardi Mare, Cafe Pacific, and North-South all buy Preferred’s venison, which usually comes from New Zealand instead of the Hill Country. (It’s cheaper to get meat from New Zealand than Austin-go figure.)

CONDIMENTS

THERE’S ONLY ONE DALLAS RESTAURANT daring enough to put hemp seed brownies on its dessert menu. Green Room chef Marc Cassell buys the (sterilized) seeds and hemp oil from Gourmet Food International, an em-ployee-owned company specializing in exotic comestibles. GFI also sells aged vinegars and all kinds of olive oils. (Scott Black-erby at Nana Grill uses the Montova Gold, at $30 a liter.) They sell rive brands of chocolate and are the exclusive importers of Hawaiian vintage chocolate used by Star Canyon and by Henry Mahler in the Anatole’s pastry kitchen (it’s available at Marty’s). In addition to fresh pates and a nice line of saucissons, GFI sells Renaissance deli meats out of San Francisco and is responsible for convincing Eatzi’s to drop the ubiquitous Boar’s Head brand.

CHEESES

PAULA LAMBERT CHANGED THE way Dallas thought about curds and whey, and catering companies like Food Company buy a lot of The Mozzarella Company’s Italian-style cheeses for those cheese and fruit tables so popular at cocktail parties. It’s available at some Tom Thumb stores, Marty’s, and the factory on Elm Street.

When David Woodward of Mediterraneo was looking for a blue-veined sheep’s milk cheese, he called Bill Green at Hardie’s, just south of the Farmers Market. Green handles cheeses from every country in the world, and especially knows his way around Spanish cheeses. What he eventually found for Woodward’s Mediterranean menu that tilled the palatal requirement, if not the geographical theme, was a Blue Rathgore from Ireland.

Gourmet Food International has perhaps the best selection of true farmhouse French cheeses in the city and sells them to high-end places like The Crescent Club, where the customers know how to appreciate moldy, smelly cheese.

FRUITS& VEGETABLES

DFW AIRPORT AND DALLAS’ LOCATION IN the middle of the country means it’s a mega-capital for smaller produce distributors. Cooseman’s sells to the companies who sell to the restaurants. Cooseman’s has pioneered lots of gourmet produce- such as Belgian endive. Holland peppers, sun-dried tomatoes, and portobello mushrooms-that are now staples but used to be a specialty.

When Danielle Custer, chef and manager of Laurels, had to have crosnes {pronounced crones) on the menu. Hardie’s found them for her. “If you saw one, you’d swear you should spray it with insecticide,” says salesman Bill Green. “It’s a white, corkscrew-looking French thing an inch or so long-kind of a cross between a potato and a radish.” Unglamorous-sounding stuff for $18 a pound. Hardie’s features special produce and chefs at the Anatole and The Crescent know it as well as Custer does.

DESSER

Javier’s calls it a truffle cake-on Dessert Dreams’ price list, it’s called Oblivion. From the professional point of view, desserts require a whole different set of equipment and skills, so many chefs farm out their desserts to specialty suppliers like Dessert Dreams. Owner Shari Carlson has won all kinds of medals in the Culinary Olympics in Frankfurt and is a member of the Epicurean World Master Chefs Society, but her company sells everything from down-to-earth American desserts like the apple, blueberry, and strawberry/rhubarb pies on Daddy Jacks’ menus to the lemon cream cheesecake, chocolate marquis, and maca-damia nut cheesecake featured at The Melrose. Lone Star Park buys the American-style sweets like pineapple upside-down cake, Boston cream pie, and German chocolate cake for the track’s club. Silks.

L’Epicurien’s owners, Karen Cassady and Roger Buret, work with chefs on developing exclusive desserts for restaurants. But once a restaurant drops a dessert from its menu, it’s available to other restaurants. For example, you might have had the Trois Rivieres (layers of while, semi-sweet, and milk chocolate mousse with layers of almond meringue) at The Riviera, and now you can eat it at Tony’s Wine Warehouse (where it’s called a Menage a Trois), Marty’s, and the Grape Escape in Fort Worth. The Stoneleigh’s jaconde (a chocolate pear tart) comes from L’Epicurien. L’Epicurien also sells creme brulee tarts to Whole Foods and Java Jones and makes Tos-cana’s signature dessert, the tiramisu bread pudding.

Owned by Chef Michel Platz, Out of a Flower specializes in exotic ice creams flavored with flowers, herbs, and spices. Sipango buys (and sells) peach-champagne ice cream from Out of a Flower as well as the Armagnac-plum. Ziziki sells the passion fruit and the rose petal ice cream; its sister restaurant, Tarazza, features coconut banana chip and almond flake ice cream. The Francophile Hotel St. Germaine serves French lavender ice cream, the eclectic Melrose kitchen likes Texas roast pecan ice cream, coconut and curry herb sorbet, the pink grapefruit and tarragon sorbet, and the white ginger, lime, and parsley sorbet. Platz is developing a roast tea sorbet in honor of Princess Diana.

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