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Food & Drink

The New Way to Picnic in Dallas

This summer, stay cool and current with these bright and bold—and local—takes on backyard barbecue staples.
locura small bites elotes
Kevin Marple
Roll up your falsa blanket and pack up the portable speaker. It’s picnic time. Sure PB&J sandwiches can suffice, but sourcing your picnic fodder locally will exponentially up the ante on dining alfresco. Look to folks like Laura Carrizales to provide Mexican street snacks. At Locura Small Bites, her elotes are steamed until tender, charred over an open flame for that backyard flavor, and then turned into kaleidoscopic creations using seasonal ingredients. Her goal is to retain the elements of elotescorn, crema, spice, and tangbut to remix them in a flurry of interesting ways that tickle her imagination.

Take your picnicking cues from Carrizales: get creative with what’s in the basket this summer. Here are a few ideas how, all from local businesses.

Stay cool, stay current with these bright and bold takes on backyard barbecue staples.

1. Seitan Sausage

Faux-meat savant TLC Vegan Kitchen’s Troy Gardner dreamed up a plant-based andouille sausage fashioned from seitan, vital wheat gluten, and Cajun spices, with pinto beans for texture. He serves it with an arrabiatta sauce, spicy brown mustard, and a bed of grilled vegetables.

2. Elevated Elotes

At Locura Small Bites, Laura Carrizales and Mel Arizpe’s whimsical, elevated plays on elotes and esquites use corn (on the cob or in a cup) as a blank canvas for truffle and Parmesan, strawberry and Thai basil, Middle Eastern za’atar spice, or the traditional Mexican chile-lime Tajín sprinkle.

3. Vegan Treats

Amaris Riddle of Moon Child Cakes makes vegan peach pop tarts that are pure nostalgia. The simplest, flakiest pie crust is folded around a chunky peach filling that whispers of spice. Her vegan banana pudding layers luxurious vanilla-bean pastry cream with billows of faux whipped cream and homemade vegan vanilla wafers.

4. New Orleans–Style Boudin

Deep Cuts Dallas offers a rotating selection of house-made sausages, ranging from habanero black bean to Tolucan-style green chorizo. But their Cajun boudin is one of our favorites. It’s made from heritage Berkshire pork and liver from Blackland Prairie Pork, which is cooked in a jus made from the bones. Popcorn rice and seasonings are added before the sausages are cased and smoked for more than an hour. They literally burst with flavor on the grill.

5. Sous Vide Ribs

Last summer, four Filipina millennials with culinary cred debuted adobo-marinated pork rib kits at their pop-up Bahay. The sauce—bolstered with spiced Jufran banana ketchup, garlic, and ginger ale—made us swoon. The ribs come already cooked sous vide; you baste them in the elixir and execute a smoky crust. Throw in zippy achara (green papaya pickle) to cut through the sticky-sweet, caramelized richness.

The Perfect Scoop

There is no picnic without potato salad. Tangy or creamy, Southern or Korean, brisket-laden or vegan, here are the best local versions of this classic summer side.

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