Saturday, September 1, 2012

30 Days of the Best Foods in Dallas

If you follow one of my daily food photo social media networks, you may have noticed I've been eating amazing food more often than normal. It was all in the name of research! I couldn't just write a list of 30 of the best foods I've eaten in Dallas without double-checking the worthiness of some items or getting a better photo that more accurately portrayed its extreme deliciousness. This list took weeks of re-evaluating, polling trusted foodie friends, and reviewing my food photo archives, and now my list of 30 of the best foods in Dallas is complete.

For each day in September I will add one dish with a review and photo below. I will also make it easy for you to find these foods and follow the daily updates by adding the hashtag "#BestFoodDallas" to my original Instagram post of that food and every tweet update, plus I have created a Foursquare list, Foodspotting guide, Facebook photo album, and Pinterest board that you can follow.

I realize the "best" foods in Dallas is a big claim, so you may be wondering how I defined "best". For example, can a dish with lobster (hint) and a hot dog (hint) be on the same best foods list? While I haven't tried every food in Dallas— and I don't think that would be possible— I have tried a lot of food in Dallas, and these dishes really stood out to me in one of three ways. It was either life-changingly amazing (^), the most delicious of its kind in Dallas (*), or unique to Dallas (@), so I will denote each reason with the symbol shown in parenthesis.


UPDATE 9/24/12:

I apologize I got unexpectedly busy with my business this month and have not had time to update this article every day as I had planned. Dallas Foodie is not my job; it does not pay me, so I must defer my free time to paying clients... unless of course you want to pay me to keep blogging I can send you my PayPal address. :-) I will continue to make updates when I have free time again. To see when my next update comes out, you should follow my Facebook or Twitter.

Day 9: “Grasshopper” Adult Milkshake @ Twisted Root Burger Co.

* Most delicious of its kind in Dallas

I consider myself a connoisseur of ice creams and milkshakes, and the adult (alcoholic) milkshakes at Twisted Root Burger Co. take milkshakes to a fantastic new level. First, Twisted Root starts out with a great milkshake; it's made with thick, housemade custard, topped with real whipped cream and served in a pre-iced, old-fashioned soda fountain glass with your choice of a spoon or wide straw. (You'll need to start with the spoon, then transition to the straw.) You can order this milkshake… or you can upgrade from great to fantastic by selecting from the menu of “adult” alcoholic flavors. The kicker with these adult milkshakes is that you can definitely taste and feel the alcohol. My personal favorite is “Grasshopper”, or chocolate-covered mint, or creme de menthe and chocolate— it seems to go by a variety of names— but it is vanilla custard with creme de menthe and chocolate-flavored vodka. The strong chocolate and mint flavors taste like drinking an Andes Mint. I am aware of two other restaurants that serve good alcoholic milkshakes in Dallas, but Twisted Root's flavors are particularly balanced, earning the Grasshopper a spot on this list as “most delicious of its kind in Dallas”.

Check out the fan feedback on the original photo post above:

Instagram Likes: 43, Instagram Comments: 3, Facebook Likes: 5, Facebook Comments: 1, Foursquare Likes: 5, Foodspotting Great Shots: 5, Foodspotting Great Finds: 3, Foodspotting Want It: 2, Foodspotting Comments: 1
  • SMUTexasFoodie: "Love twisted root!"
  • youcraycray: ":)"
  • smilenini "Yummy!!! I love Andes mint!!"
  • Mardon Navalta: "sounds F@##%&^ good!!!"

Day 8: “Best Burger in Texas” @ The Grape Restaurant

* Most delicious of its kind in Dallas

The burger at The Grape Restaurant is so good, it's on it's own level above the other great burgers in Dallas. The flavor starts with ten ounces of chuck eye steak, freshly ground-in-house only on Sundays and Mondays (translation: you cannot order the burger Tues.–Sat.). The chuck eye steak produces a burger patty rich with fatty flavor like a perfectly marbled ribeye steak. When you take a bite, the steak juices run down your fingers and soak into the bun. Speaking of the bun, it's a buttery toasted— yet soft—rich, egg-based bun, full of flavor, plus the juices. On top of the burger patty are two skinny pieces of bacon, criss-crossed. On top of the bacon is a  perfectly-sized slice of heirloom tomato, visibly sprinkled with salt and pepper to bring out the tomato flavor. Add two slices Bibb lettuce, a few slices of purple onion, and a slice of Vermont white cheddar cheese, and you have a burger sandwich so thick it's hard to open your mouth wide enough to take it all in. On the side are a few thick-cut, horseradish pickles; careful, they'll singe your nose hairs if you sniff. The plate is finished with a pile of housemade, thin-cut French fries, just how Parisians would like it. Note, this is a $14 burger because you are, in effect, eating a 10-ounce steak, and I dare say this burger is more delicious than most steaks.

I ate this burger so many weeks in a row that the fan feedback was dispersed amongst my posts, but this is the feedback on the original photo post above:

Instagram Likes: 28, Instagram Comments: 2, Facebook Likes: 3, Facebook Comments: 1, Foursquare Comments: 1, Foodspotting Want It: 2, Foodspotting Great Shots: 1
  • eb5texastriangle: "I want to moww that right now [smilie face]"
  • Theodore Kim: "It is No. 1!"

Day 7: Fior Di Latte Burrata @ Dough Pizzeria

^ A life-changingly delicious “best” food.

This is one of those dishes that makes you stop and think, “I didn't know cheese or tomatoes could taste this amazing.” This dish at Dough makes me angry that peel-n-eat stick mozzarella even exists because that form of processed cheese in my school lunchbox tasted so nasty that I didn't want to eat unmelted cheese for the rest of my childhood. By contrast, this mozzarella is one of the most divine foods you may ever put in your mouth. It's made in-house. They start with hand-pulled mozzarella burrata, then fill the center with stracciata. I had to look up “stracciata”; Wikipedia says “stracciata is a fresh, cows' milk cheese from the region of Campania and Agnone in the Molise region of Italy”. Sounds legit. Tastes like you want more. It's topped with fresh pesto and extra virgin olive oil, which only makes it taste better. One bite in and you've died and gone to the heaven where little Italians ladies are making your food.

The outer ring of sliced baby heirloom tomatoes is drizzled with a rich balsamic vinegar, extra virgin olive oil, fresh cracked pepper (upon request), and sea salt that brings out their natural flavors. These tomatoes are so flavorful you'll want to taste each variety individually while you ponder the essence of tomato itself. Alone and together, these tomatoes and mozzarella burrata are simple food at it's finest.

Check out the fan feedback on my original post:

Instagram Likes: 56, Instagram Comments: 3, Facebook Likes: 8, Facebook Comments: 2, Foodspotting Want It: 2, Foodspotting Great Shots: 2, Foodspotting Great Find: 1
  • Robyn Brooks Folmar: "Dough has the best burrata by far."
  • Celeste Rodachy Glick: "Oh I want!"
  • foodiepleasure: "Wow! That looks incredible."

Day 6: Chocolate Mousse @ Afrah Mediterranean Grill

* Most delicious of its kind in Dallas

I am a foodie who is always in search of the perfect chocolate mousse. I look for a spongy texture, such that my spoon makes a slight suction noise when it pulls away. The richness should be balanced between bitter chocolate and sweet sugar, which usually results in a color darker than milk chocolate but not so dark that it looks almost black. (You can see these features in my photo, above.)

I have spent the last two years seeking this perfect chocolate mousse in three cafes in Paris, five Italian and French restaurants in Las Vegas (including Thomas Keller's Bouchon), and every restaurant I can find that serves it in Dallas (which sadly isn't many). Of those in Dallas, the most world-class, perfect chocolate mousse is at Afrah Mediterranean Grill, but the real kicker is that it's available in all-you-can-eat quantities on their lunch buffet line. Yes, the best mousse in Dallas is on a buffet line. A couple of Italian and French restaurants in Dallas also serve good mousse, but no amount of artistic presentation and fancy garnishes can override perfection of the mousse itself. Afrah is proof that no frills, scoop-it-yourself food can be amazing food.

Check out the fan feedback on my original post:

Instagram Likes: 40, Instagram Comments: 3, Facebook Likes: 9, Foursquare Likes: 1, Foodspotting Great Shots: 2, Foodspotting Great Find: 1
  • deliciousyum: "Delish [smilie face with heart eyes]"
  • jessi1126: "Love that place!!"

Day 5: Perry's Famous Pork Chop @ Perry's Steakhouse & Grill

^ A life-changingly delicious “best” food

If everything is bigger in Texas, I submit the pork chop from Perry's Steakhouse & Grill as key evidence. (The photo above is only focused on one third of the portion.) The waiter described this pork chop as “7 fingers thick” and demonstrated by stacking two fingers from one hand over all five fingers from the other hand. He was not exaggerating. Not at all. Not only is this pork chop ridiculously tall, the width is no petite filet portion; oh no no no… this is three cuts of pork in one hunk of a hunk of meat! The pork is served on a skillet and carved tableside into its three respective cuts: the ribs, lion, and belly (I think). Whatever it is, the waiter will give you a tour of your plate, pointing to each section and explaining the different flavors and which cut tastes best with the homemade applesauce and slice of lime. It's as if you ordered a tasting flight of pork. The meat is amazingly moist and flavorful throughout, and the edges are coated in a caramelized rub, packed with flavor, just like you would find on a good brisket. If your vision of a pork chop is thin, dry, and bland, this pork chop will blow your mind.

In researching this article I discovered Perry's “Famous Pork Chop Friday Lunch”. They serve a “lunch-cut” of this pork chop with whipped potatoes and housemade applesauce for just $11.95. Excuse me while I go check my Friday lunch plans.

Interestingly, my original post of this food got less fan feedback than the other dishes in this list:

Instagram Likes: 42, Instagram Comments: 1, Facebook Likes: 9, Foodspotting Great Shots: 1, Foodspotting Want It: 1

Day 4: Bone Marrow @ Private Social

^ A life-changingly delicious “best” food. * Most delicious of its kind in Dallas

The staff here describes bone marrow as "beef butter", but I like to describe it as the most flavorful, rich steak flavor you've ever eaten, but in a gelatinous form instead of a meat form. Take a spoonful of the breadcrumb-encrusted marrow and spread it on the softly toasted butter garlic crostini— just like spreading jelly on toast— top it with a few of their throughly caramelized onions and a bit of parsley red onion mix, and you'll have the perfect bite of sweet, savory, rich, and fresh flavors. The marrow is actually so fatty rich that you'll want to take advantage of the provided palette cleanser, a colorful pickled baby carrot from Tom Spicer's urban garden.

The combination of all of these things is unparalleled to the way other Dallas restaurants serve bone marrow. And not many restaurants serve it, but the others I've tried were lacking in one or several areas, such as the marrow that is served with bland crackers, another with no palette cleanser, another with no fresh herb to offset the rich fat flavors, or the several where the marrow itself was tough (overbaked?) instead of smooth and juicy. The first time I ever ate bone marrow was at Private Social. I've eaten it probably a dozen times there and once at each of every other restaurant I could find that serves it. I probably wouldn't have grown to like bone marrow this much if I had tried it first somewhere else, so if you've ruled bone marrow out after trying it once elsewhere, go to Private Social and give it a second chance. And if you've never had bone marrow but you love steak, go get you some of this ASAP.

Check out the fan feedback on my original post:

Instagram Likes: 40, Instagram Comments: 2, Facebook Likes: 10, Facebook Comments: 5, Twitter RT: by @DSideDish
  • middleoftheocean: "Tasty!!"
  • pickupxoxo: "Hnnnnnnnggggg"
  • Robyn Brooks Folmar: "Love that marrow! The parsley is the best compliment (and how often does one get to say that?)"
  • Blanca Garcia: "Beautiful!"
  • Raul Santillan: "Hmmm.... The onions are a great compliment to this plate one of my faves @ Private Social"
UPDATE: more fan feedback is rolling in from Private Social's posting of this article:
  • Janice Graves: "I've had it and it's delicious!!!"
  • Nicole Quisling: "Had it and it was amazing!!!!!"
  • Todd Walz: "I had the bone marrow appetizer over this past weekend and loved it! My wife who doesn't even eat beef tried it and fell in love with it as well. Thanks to Chef Tiffany for an outstanding meal!"
  • Kathleen Pekny Catania: "I've had it twice, now I dream about this appetizer... Delish!!!"

Day 3: Whiskey Cake @ Whiskey Cake

@ A unique to Dallas “best” food

One of the best desserts you may ever eat is the Whiskey Cake at Whiskey Cake restaurant. Warm, moist toffee cake is encrusted with a sugary edge, topped with pecans, sitting in a bourbon anglaise sauce, bathed tableside with fresh whipped cream that melts into the cake and slides down the side, and it's served with a big silver bowl of extra whipped cream so you can continue basting your cake in more whipped goodness. Stop and think about the risk of naming a whole restaurant after one item on the menu. The rest of the restaurant has little to do with whiskey or cake, but this one dessert is delicious enough to bet the whole restaurant on this name. And they are winning that bet, hands down. Just look at the comments and feedback I got on my original post, copied below. People are infatuated with this cake, and they have every reason to be.

Check out the fan feedback on my original post:

Instagram Likes: 53, Instagram Comments: 4, Facebook Likes: 13, Facebook Comments: 3, Foursquare Likes: 2, Foursquare Comments: 2, Foodspotting Great Shots: 2, Foodspotting Great Finds: 1, Foodspotting Want It: 1
  • Jon Jackson: "I've has this, and it is wonderful."
  • Katie Roebuck: "Will you make this for me for the holidays? Ok good...:)"
  • cupcakefab: "LOVE Whiskey Cake!!"
  • anamarie84: "OMG one of my favs! You can order a whole one "to-go" too! We did that last night for a friends bday party. Soooooo good!"
  • amymmerritt: "Love love love Whiskey Cake!"
  • Jessica Smith: "Looks delicious!"
  • Myesha Johnson: "It IS delicious! Dangerously so! lol"

Day 2: “Amy's” Chicken Biscuit Sandwich @ Hypnotic Donuts

Amy's Chicken Biscuit at Hypnotic Donuts

@ A unique to Dallas “best” food

The conversation between myself and a foodie friend the first time we ate this chicken biscuit at Hypnotic Donuts went something like this: "Wow… this is good, like really good! How did they get the chicken to be so moist?" "The sign says it's marinated 24 hours." "Mmmm, you can tell." "Yeah, this is almost as good as Sissy's fried chicken!" [Nom, nom, nom…] "They should call these 'crack biscuits'. They're so good I kind of want to order another one, except it's so huge I couldn't possibly eat another one. Damn, that means we'll have to come back another day and try a different flavor." [The next day we texted each other…] "I'm still daydreaming about that chicken biscuit." "Yeah, me too!" [Later that week we went back to try other flavors…] "Mmm this one is good too, but Amy's was better." "Yeah, Amy's was better."

I rarely think about food days after I eat it, and I rarely go back to eat the same food twice in the same week, but this was so good that I had three chicken biscuits in one week! I've now tried four flavors, and we both agree that “Amy's” tastes best because it has the most layers of flavor in one sandwich: cheddar cheese, dill pickles, bacon, honey, and southwest spicy mustard on fried chicken on a biscuit. It's sweet, savory, salty, crunchy, and soft all in one bite. If you live in the inner Dallas bubble, this is worth the morning trip to Lakewood!

Check out the fan feedback on my original post:

Instagram Likes: 46, Instagram Comments: 4, Facebook Likes: 15, Facebook Comments: 2, Foodspotting Great Finds: 1, Foodspotting Want It: 1
  • Jorge Herrera: "I concur!!! Yum!!!"
  • jessi1126: "I still need to try this!!!! Yummmm"
  • rachelelizj: "That's my favorite, too! And @somethinglegit's"

Day 1: Deviled Eggs @ Sissy's Southern Kitchen

Caviar Deviled Eggs at Sissy's Kitchen

^ A life-changingly delicious “best” food

These deviled egg are magic. Sissy's takes two foods I normally don't like and puts them together to create one I love! And I know I'm not the only deviled egg or caviar hater whose eyes lit up in delight at first bite, and then asked for seconds. 
I think the main reason why Sissy's deviled eggs taste differently delicious is—no, not the caviar— the filling; it's very smooth and has a unique flavor, like a good dijon mustard more than an egg yolk. Then comes in the caviar flavor with a hint of salt, nothing fishy. The eggs are cooked perfectly wobbly, not rubbery. A dollop of crème fraîche and a sprig of herb add extra levels of fresh flavors and colors. A half dozen is $8, and a dozen is $14, and most people are going to want more than one, so order accordingly!

Check out the fan feedback on my original post:

Instagram Likes: 55, Instagram Comments: 5, Facebook Likes: 8, Facebook Shares: 1

  • onepanshow: [10 smilie faces with heart eyes]
  • aleciahuval: "Deviled eggs are back!"
  • sbarnes0215: "melt in your mouth Deviled eggs!"
  • smilenini: "Yum!!!!"
  • sarahallen: "I've had these at Sissy's--they're incredible!"


  1. Love this blog!so glad I found it!

  2. Thanks! I can't wait until my workload settles back down so I can publish the rest of this list. I still post daily in my social media sites though, so please follow me there.

  3. This is really an interesting list... I must go check some of these out.