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On the Prowl: Finding the Best Margaritas in Fort Worth, TX

19 May

Cool, refreshing, with just the right mix of sweet and sour: nothing says summer quite the way a margarita does! If you happen to be passing through Forth Worth, TX in the coming hot months, this little post may help.

We found this article on livability.com and took a few excerpts to share with you here. To see the full article in its original location, follow this link. And check out the rest of the site while you’re there – we love browsing their reviews for new ideas and suggestions.

You know what would make browsing even more fun? A margarita….

Get Your Margarita On in Fort Worth

Lance C. | Livability.com
May 6 2011

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For reference, the by-the-book margarita, carved into stone by the booze scholars at the International Bartenders Association, is composed of seven parts tequila, four parts Triple Sec (a French orange liqueur) and three parts lime or lemon juice. The mixture is poured over ice in a salt rimmed glass. With a recipe that simple, though, there’s plenty of room for improvement.

If you’re ever in Fort Worth, TX, you might want to consider trying the ‘ritas at one of these places:

Dos Gringos

In my experience, the best margaritas come from the places that don’t look like they’re trying too hard. Dos Gringos (Spanish for, uh, two gringos?) is a run-of-the-mill TexMex joint in the DFW area but they serve positively enormous margaritas served in Boracho glasses. Though their “Best Margaritas” title has been ceded to the usurpers at Joe T. Garcia’s, there’s something to be said for taking the title home at least once. Give the Gringo-Rita a try, it’s their top shelf signature.

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The Lonesome Dove Western Bistro

If your tastes are quite a bit fancier than “Arlington dive bar,” The Lonesome Dove Western Bistro might be up your alley. It does have the word “bistro” in its name, after all. Located in the touristy Stockyards section of Fort Worth, Lonesome Dove is the creation of local rock star chef (and one time Iron Chef competitor/winner) Tim Love, specializing in rustic Western cuisine. But we’re not here to talk about the kangaroo nachos. One of Lonesome Dove’s signature cocktails is the Jalapeno Cucumber Margarita, which tastes more or less like it sounds – not quite spicy, not quite sweet, with a solid bite from the Casa Noble and Cointreau.

La Familia Mexican Restaurant

If you want style without the heavy price tag associated with gourmet food, La Familia will set your margarita on fire. No, literally. Their house margaritas are served with flaming sugar cubes balanced on lime wedges, like a half-remembered absinthe recipe. Reviews are mixed on the margaritas themselves, but who doesn’t like a little spectacle?

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Bubble Tea for the Curious Soul

8 Feb

Hi everyone!

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Bubble tea is one of those drinks that some people assume is only really around in the summer time. But it’s actually available all year round, can be served hot or cold, and is a great way to add some flavor to your menu. We found some good info from a few different articles to share with you. Enjoy!

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The Post Gazette answers two good questions to get us started: Bubble Tea is a Sweet Asian Treat that Eyeballs You Back

What is bubble tea, anyway?

Bubble tea (sometimes known as ‘boba tea’), as might be expected, began as a beverage based on tea. But today, the drink is now more commonly known for its fruity or even flowery incarnations. Served hot or cold, common flavors include mango, lychee, and strawberry, but even sesame, taro, and lavender variants can be found.

The characteristic pea-sized tapioca also varies. Though black tapioca pearls — those eyeball-like elements — made from the root of the cassava plant are ubiquitous, clear and white tapioca pearls (some made from caramel, starch and chamomile root) also are used.

With a chewy texture akin to a cross between a gummy bear and mochi rice dough, the pearls lend an edible element to the drink. They’re also the aspect of bubble tea that’s most likely to provoke queasiness, but for those who love them, the “bubbles” are the best part.

What’s this crazy tea’s History?

Though bubble tea is now known for its tapioca pearls, the drink actually got its name in a different manner.

Bubble tea is reported to have originated in Taiwan in the 1980s, when tea stands competing for after-school business among students began adding fruit flavors to their drinks. The tea and the flavoring had to be shaken vigorously for an even consistency, which resulted in frothy bubbles in the beverage.

Liu Han Chie, who owned Chun Shui Tang teahouse in Taichung, Taiwan, claims that he was the first to add tapioca to the tea in 1983, and the idea quickly caught on. But no matter who the inventor of bubble tea was, tapioca pearls have been an inseparable element ever since.

The popular drink soon spread to other Asian countries before traveling to North America via the Asian community in Vancouver, then popped up in trendy cities on the West Coast. Now, bubble tea can be found across the country. Luckily, no lengthy pilgrimage is needed to get your hands on one of these drinks, as many Pittsburgh establishments feature bubble tea on their menus.

Some of you may now be wondering, where can I find a place that serves bubble tea?
Although it may require a little hunting, bubble tea is sometimes easier to find than you might think. A variety of restaurants and tea or coffee houses offer a good selection. Here is a brief list we’ve compiled to help you get thinking.
Pittsburgh:
The Rose Tea Cafe (Forbes Ave, Squirrel Hill)
Lu Lu’s Noodles (Craig Street, Oakland)
The Beehive Coffee House (South Side)
Florida:
Shing Wang Bubble Tea Café (NE 167th St., North Miami Beach)
Got Tea? (West Waters Ave, Tampa)
North Carolina:
Pho Vinh Long (601 D St., South Charleston)
South Carolina:
Bubble Tea Cafe (1260 A6 Bower Parkway, Colombia)
Texas:
Boba Tea (4933 Belt Line Rd, Addison)
Coco’s Cafe (8557 Research Blvd # 118, Austin)
What if I want to make it myself?

You can absolutely make bubble tea yourself! There are a ton of recipes out there. Here’s one you can try:

  • 1/2 cup dried pearl tapioca
  • 1 cup crushed ice
  • 1 cup very strong chilled black tea
  • 1 cup milk, or to taste
  • Sugar to taste

In a medium saucepan, bring water to a boil over high heat, then add tapioca pearls. Stir lightly and let the pearls float to top. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 15 minutes, covered. Turn off the heat and let the tapioca sit for 15 minutes, then rinse under cold water.

Mix the ice, tea, milk and sugar in a shaker, until the liquid is frothy and blended. Place about 1/4 cup tapioca mixture in bottom of large glass, and pour the drink over it.

Makes a 16-ounce drink.

— whatscookingamerica.net

For Super Bowl Fans with Texas-Size Appetites

1 Feb
With the Big Game right around the corner, this week’s blog post takes a look at some of the best places to eat in Arlington. This review was originally published in the New York Times, and now it’s found a second home on the DineLocal-USA page so you can plan out your meals (if you’re one of the lucky football fans who has tickets to the game!) during your stay.
Enjoy the Super Bowl, and eat some good food – whether you’re watching from the stands, from the crowded insides of a local bar, or from the comfort of your own home!
-The DineLocal Team

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For Fans With Texas-Size Appetites

By Sam Sifton
Published: January 31, 2011

ARLINGTON, Tex. — The faithful have started to arrive in this drab, featureless city a little closer to Fort Worth than to Dallas. They have come sweat-panted and reverent to stand along Collins Street to photograph Cowboys Stadium, to walk the sidewalk surrounding its $1.2 billion form.

The building rises up out of the immense rolling prairie as if raised by supplicants to the higher power of football, capitalism and Texas, a silver biscuit large enough that were the Statue of Liberty to be erected inside it, the torch would barely blacken the retractable roof. On Sunday it will be the stage for the Super Bowl between the Green Bay Packers and the Pittsburgh Steelers.

All over the city and region parking lots are being expanded or resurfaced in anticipation. Landscapers trim bushes and trees, plant flowers. Men repair streetlights and potholes along Interstate 30, the corridor that links Fort Worth to Dallas. The odor of fresh paint fills the hallways of local hotels. Enforcement of a new anti-panhandling law has been stepped up.

And from White Settlement in the west to Deep Ellum in the east — an area of north Texas that is 9,000 square miles in all — local restaurants and bars are getting ready for a rush of business.

I was part of the advance guard, a special-teams rookie sent out to feed. For four days I did so, up and down the economic ladder. I stood in for forthcoming Wisconsinites and Pennsylvanians with a taste for cheese or sausage, for media hounds, sex workers and all those who follow the money that comes with a Super Bowl game.

There was plenty to cheer. I found excellent tacos, ate glazed quail at the Ritz, stood in an all-male line of Fort Worth barbecue hounds. I followed in the footsteps of Roosevelt at the Original Mexican Eats Cafe in Fort Worth, and in those of George W. Bush at Sonny Bryan’s Smokehouse in the shadow of the Southwestern Medical Center of the University of Texas.

There were double-breakfast mornings followed by quadruple-lunch afternoons, followed by dinners and more dinners still.

I had a meal at Bolsa, an art house hangout in the city’s Oak Cliff neighborhood with a grand hamburger, decent pizzas and an ambitious cocktail list, and another in a grim little barroom in the Sheraton here, just down the road from Rangers Ballpark in Arlington, across from the Six Flags Over Texas amusement park. I took in the sight of Tim Love’s Lonesome Dove restaurant near the Fort Worth Stockyards (wild boar ribs!), ate a cheeseburger loaded down with onions and jalapeño at Kincaid’s and put more than 300 miles on the odometer of a truck built right here at the G.M. plant, looking for places to eat.

One of the best was Nonna, a trattoria in Dallas that is across the street from a Whole Foods market. The restaurant, with its Italian menu, excellent wine list and cosmopolitan service style, serves as a clubhouse for some of Dallas’s most influential citizens. (Jerry Jones, the owner of the Cowboys, was there the other night in black suit and well-polished black cowboy boots, walking the dining room and shaking hands. “I used to think I could only really get excited about Dallas playing a football game,” he drawled. “But this is pretty great.”)

They wave across the spare dining room while eating sweet fried oysters and baby artichokes bathed in fiery Calabrian chili butter, and devour plates of elegant pasta with sea urchin. A cut of firm Petrale sole can follow, a Pacific flounder served crisp from the wood oven and paired with Dungeness crab and a tangle of spinach. It is a balm for anyone just in from the airport with a crick in his neck and the feeling that it is slightly insane to travel great distances just to watch television commercials on the 60-yard high-definition screen Jones installed in the middle of his stadium.

Robb Walsh, a Texas food authority who recently helped found Foodways Texas, a group devoted to the preservation of the state’s food culture, suggested another remedy: Babe’s Chicken Dinner House, in Roanoke, a short drive from the Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport. (“Gateway to Super Bowl XLV,” read the signs there.)

Babe’s is a family business with restaurants across north Texas. But the Roanoke location is the original and, Walsh says, the best, a restaurant founded in 1993 in a barn of a room that might have served as a stage set for “Friday Night Lights.”

Only two entrees are served. You can get chicken fried steak or you can get fried chicken. (Get both, and see your doctor when you get home.) The C.F.S., as chicken fried steak is known among the local food maniacs, is a wide plank of pounded, floured and fried beef, served with an immense bowl of peppery cream gravy on the side. The cognoscenti do not pour this over their meat, but instead dip bites into it as they go along. “You don’t want anything congealing,” Walsh said.

New York has nothing to compare with the excellence of Babe’s fried chicken. It has a shatteringly crisp and salty exterior, not at all greasy, that gives way to meat of amazing juiciness in both breast and thigh.

With these come bowls of creamy corn, buttery mashed potatoes, biscuits and as much sweet tea as you can handle. (All meals begin with a regrettable green salad.) For dessert, spread some of the salted Plugrá butter that is on each table onto a biscuit, then drizzle sorghum syrup over the top. Whoa.

Discussion of where you can get the best barbecue in the Dallas-Fort Worth area can be pitched. Many will tell you that you cannot get it at all, that you need to drive south toward Austin and Lockhart if you want brisket, beef ribs, beans.

The dry, flavorless brisket at the original Sonny Bryan’s in Dallas makes a strong argument that this is true, and the meat at Angelo’s in Fort Worth does not mount much of a defense either. (Still, both restaurants are worth a visit simply to see. They were founded in 1958, and appear to have been placed in smoke-fragrant amber.)

Daniel Vaughn, a Dallas architect and self-professed prophet of smoked meat who blogs as the BBQ Snob, believes the city can hold its own. A meal at Smoke, the chef Tim Byres’s haute barbecue restaurant, would seem to back him up, at least on the brisket front.

By insistent text message, Vaughn sent me to Mac’s, a quiet Dallas lunch spot in a low-slung brick building on Main Street, not far from the interstate. Billy McDonald runs the show there, and has for more than 30 years, after taking over the business from his father, who started it in 1955. Brisket, pork ribs, ham, turkey, jalapeño-spiked sausages and kielbasa are all available, smoked over the green hickory McDonald keeps stacked out back, and which keeps his large oven running 24 hours a day.

The brisket is hugely flavorful, with a rich crust and a melting interior. The ribs — “dirty old things,” McDonald called them — are sweet. His kielbasa will be manna for some number of Pittsburgh fans used to the flavors of Eastern Europe. But it is the moist and smoky turkey that astonishes.

Dean Fearing, chef and owner of Fearing’s in Dallas.

There are arguments here about tacos, as well. For some, the best come from the stand inside the Fuel City station on Industrial Drive in Dallas, a business perched almost on the banks of the flood plains of the Trinity River. Corn tortillas filled with picadillo or barbacoa are favorites, slathered with hot sauce and covered with onions and cilantro, and eaten in the parking lot as traffic screams by.

Better, though, is Fuel Town 2, a Texaco station on Inwood Road practically under the Stemmons Freeway, a short drive from the airport at Dallas Love Field. The barbacoa is less greasy than at the competitors, full of flavor, and the tortillas warmer, fresher, tasting more emphatically of corn. Served with lemons, cilantro, grilled onion and whole jalapeño, with a chunky red salsa, a taco here may be the perfect Dallas snack food. And at $1.50, a good value, too.

You’ll spend more at Fearing’s, the chef and restaurateur Dean Fearing’s comfortable and excellent flagship establishment in the Ritz-Carlton hotel in the Uptown region of Dallas. Maple-soaked buffalo tenderloin runs $46, with jalapeño grits, a butternut squash taquito and a tangle of greens. The glazed quail, a rich and buttery appetizer-size bird, is $18.

It is terrific eating all the same (get the deep-fried apple pies for dessert). And Fearing is a constant and ebullient presence in the dining room, the face of a prideful city. Those who have come to the Super Bowl will not mind the prices, he said.

Tickets to Super Bowl XLV have a face value of $600 to $1,200. More than 100,000 people are expected to attend, according to N.F.L. officials. The economic impact on the Dallas-Fort Worth metropolitan region alone, they say, is expected to be more than $600 million.

“It’s great,” Fearing said, laughing. “I can double the minimum check and get people to pay in advance. Hey, I’m in the black for February already.