Went home to visit last weekend and make it out to the shore, definitely enjoyed the view
Thursday, May 31, 2012
Thursday, May 24, 2012
Wednesday, May 23, 2012
Friday, May 18, 2012
I took my first trip to the Dallas Farmers Market (http://www.dallasfarmersmarket.org) on Saturday.
The Market consists of four large “sheds,” one of which is enclosed, along with an adjoining floral area. At the open sheds, farmers and produce vendors sell everything from fruits and vegetables to eggs and meat. At first, it reminded me of a place Anthony Bourdain might go to in a developing country on “No Reservations.” There was a crowd, cars attempting to maneuver through, and one vendor barking about out how he had the sweetest strawberries while a competitor offered a taste of her tomatoes.
It was quite different than a suburban farmers market you might find in the middle of a planned development with balloon animals and face painting. After thinking about it, It only made sense that a city surrounded by agriculture would have real farmers trying to make a living rather than just growing plants to be green or cool.
After taking in the physical structures and the lay of the land, what really struck me were the colors. From the bright reds of the strawberries and tomatoes to the deep greens of the cucumbers and zucchinis, the colors almost made me want to be a vegetarian (until, of course, I talked to the cattle rancher selling his grass-fed beef and I made it inside to the Old World Sausage Company, but I’ll get to those later).
It was nice being able to talk to the actual people who grow the food I’m about to buy and know where my food is coming from. One shed is full of produce vendors who get their food from wherever and I had little interest in spending much time there. If I were going to buy pre-packaged produce from California, I’d go to Tom Thumb and get a rotisserie and two-for-one toilet paper to go along with it.
After walking some more, I decided on some great tomatoes and peaches from “Betty’s Tomatoes” and some tart, green plums. I also decided on a steak from Northstar Ranch (http://www.northstarranch.net/3246.html). They raise strictly grass-fed beef with no hormones or antibiotics. Along with the farmer’s market, Northstar Ranch also sells its meat at a supermarket in Denton. I really enjoyed talking to the ranch’s owner; he even gave me some tips on grilling the steak: add a little bit of lemon pepper and garlic and only add salt after the meat is cooked since it pulls moisture. The steak certainly did not disappoint the next day! It was very tender, and because the meat itself had a lot of flavor, a little bit of seasoning was more than enough. (This beats anything at Tom Thumb!).
After exploring the outdoor sheds, I made my way inside. There were a few vendors selling crafts in addition to different kinds of food, including craft cheese, honey, and meat. There were also a few places to eat.
Not that I had room for it, but I also got a piece of cheesecake. The cheesecake was very creamy and rich without being heavy.
Here's an interview with the owner Al Cappua
Here's an interview with the owner Al Cappua
I was a bit disappointed by the options inside; half of the space was empty. I feel like there is a whole lot of potential with that space. Apparently, the Dallas Farmers Market has been struggling financially and the city has been considering different options with what to do with it. I have also been to the Deep Ellum Market and the Urban Bazaar in the Bishop Arts District, and while both had a better variety of vendors, neither could compare with the Dallas Farmer’s Market’s produce. So I hope the Market can continue to grow because, although I enjoy pre-packaged salami and cheese Danishes filled with who knows what as much as the next guy, I also really like being able to buy food straight from those who actually grow it.
Saturday, May 12, 2012
Saturday, May 5, 2012
Tuesday, May 1, 2012
I spent last Saturday at the Urban Bazaar in the Bishop Arts District (http://bishopartsdistrict.weebly.com) of Dallas. The thing I liked about the neighborhood is that it seemed like a walkable urban community with plenty of small businesses as opposed to the sprawl and strip malls full of big box stores and fast food chains that seem to dominate the landscape around Dallas. We were able to find parking within a few blocks and headed over. The main area covers around four blocks, with some other shops scattered around. The neighborhood is full of independent businesses, including a soda shop, chocolate shop, and a few boutiques along with several restaurants.
One of my favorites was M'Antiques: It was full of old posters, prints, etc -- pretty much any knickknack you could imagine from the 1920's to today. The bazaar itself consisted of many types of vendors ranging from tarot card reader to crafts to custom shirts. Of course, I tried the soda shop (got a Fanta), and then went to Eno's Pizza Tavern (http://www.enospizza.com). Along with pizza, Eno's serves pasta, sandwiches, etc. The pizza was quite good. The crust was thin, but not too crispy. They also serve a variety of microbrews, including the East Coast's own Dogfish Head! Then I headed over to Dude Sweet Chocolate (http://www.dudesweetchocolate.com), a chocolate shop. As soon as we walked in, we were introduced to the store. They make all of their chocolate on site, and we were encouraged to sample as much as we wanted. If you want a Hershey’s bar or a Kit Kat, there is probably a 7-11 or CVS near by. If you want a chocolate bar with Hawaiian chocolate made with cane sugar and honey or chocolate with sea salt and hazelnuts, this is your place. After a few tasty samples, we left with a chocolate bar (WHAT KIND?) and a box. As we left, a chocolate tour came in (how do I sign up for that!!).
My visit to Bishop Arts was a breath of fresh air from the Wal-Marts, Chipotles, and gated communities of the world. I worry that with a neighborhood like this, they could be a victim of their own success and the little café’s and burger joints will be forced out by Starbucks and In-N-Out Burger; or struggle with $6 dollar chocolate bars and $4 soda, I hope the businesses can make it. I, for one, am happy to spend a few extra support them!
(Sorry no pics)