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Kirk B

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Everything posted by Kirk B

  1. The Tasting Room at Lola. York Street.
  2. I am not a big fan of chocolates, artisanal or otherwise. But others I know rave about Morgen Chocolate on McKinney Avenue in Dallas. They have an online shop on their website: http://www.morgenchocolate.com/index.htm I hope this helps. Kirk
  3. I second Nessa's recommendation of Taj Imports. They have a fascinating variety of products, from dals to cooking utensils and serving tableware that are entirely new to (Anglo) me. Their produce section is an education in and of itself. Taj Imports also carries a fairly large representation of English favorites, like Crunchie bars, HobNob crackers, etc. Closer to my home in Plano is India Gate, on the west side of Coit just south of Hedgcoxe. There also is Maitri Mart, on the east side of Coit just north of Hedgcoxe. Both of these are small, family-owned grocery stores that carry a good variety of basics, including a few vegetables. India Gate also serves chaat (at very reasonable prices). The owners are very helpful in explaining products and cooking techniques. In answer to Monica's question, yes, I have noticed that certain products aimed at the South Asian population are beginning to show up in Plano-area grocery stores, especially Kroger. Whole Foods also carries a small but gorwing line. I've seen several prepared cooking sauces and chutneys along with other products, and I am encouraged by the fact that they are much better quality than the usual "ethnic" foods that make their way into mainline grocery stores. I can remember a time in the late '70s, for example, when I stopped in a grocery story in Marysville, Ohio, and found a "Foreign Food" section that consisted of pasta, jarred spaghetti sauce, and LaChoy "Chinese" products.
  4. Good points, Richard, but I'll point out that the Tasting Room dinner at Lola (without wine pairings) is $65. Well worth a $15 to $25 splurge, in my book.
  5. Sorry to hear you didn't enjoy it. The lunch buffet is just OK, I agree. Nothing to travel far to get. But not bad for $7.99. I was there again for dinner last night, and had a really tasty meal. My teenage sons accompanied me, and they also enjoyed it. We had the same experience you mention: being warned about "very hot" dishes, but I think this was a case of well-intentioned servers who wanted to keep the WASPs from running out of their restaurant screaming in pain. So far, nothing on the menu has struck me as exceedingly spicy, but I am a big fan of vindaloo dishes so my capsaicin receptors may be more jaded than most. We really enjoyed the "Lollipop" chicken, and a dry-fried Ginger Goat. I know they don't serve either on the buffet. Kirk
  6. Only one nit to pick in this excellent essay. I know that "tea" in Portuguese is "chá," so I looked up the origin of "tea" and "cha" on Wikipedia.org. They say the following: "The word "Tea" "The Chinese character for tea is 茶, but it has two completely different pronunciations. One is 'te' which comes from the Malayan word for the beverage is used in the Min-nan dialect found in Amoy. Another is used by Cantonese and Mandarin which comes from the word 'to pick' and sounds like 'cha'. "This fact causes the name of tea in non-Chinese languages to fall into two groups. "Languages which have Te derivatives include Danish, Hebrew, Hungarian, Finnish, German, Indonesian, Latvian, Tamil, Singhalese, French, Dutch, Spanish, Armenian, and scientific Latin. "Those that use Cha derivatives include Hindi, Japanese, Persian, Portuguese, Albanian, Czech, Russian, Turkish, Tibetan, Arabic, Vietnamese, Korean, Thai, Greek and Romanian. "It is tempting to correlate these names with the route that was used to deliver tea to these cultures, but this correspondence does not follow. For example, most British trade went through Guangdong which uses Cha. "In Ireland, or at least in Dublin, the term "cha" is sometimes used for tea, and "char" was a common slang term for tea throughout British Empire / commonwealth military forces in the 19th and 20th centuries, crossing over into civilian usage. Recently in the United States, many coffee houses have begun to serve a milky, sweet, spiced tea called "chai", loosely based on Indian recipes but much less spicy." http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tea
  7. Two Indian-flavored buffets that I highly recommend. Please note that these both are buffets at lunch only, and full-service restaurants at other times (you can order from the menu at lunch, too, if you wish). The first is Sitar, located in the shopping center on the Southeast corner of Preston and Hwy 121 in Plano. They serve a daily buffet with several vegetarian and non-vegetarian choices, mostly the "classic" things like tandoori chicken, dal, lamb (sometimes goat aka "mutton") curry, and a very good chicken makhani. They nearly always have "rice pudding" for dessert -- I don't remember the real name of the dish, but it is superb. The buffet is under $8 during the week. On weekends they serve a more elaborate buffet, and have a couple of desserts, including gulab jamun, which my teenage kids eat in quantities that surely wipes out the restaurant's profits for the day when they descend on the buffet. The cost is a little higher on weekends, but I think it is still under $10 per person. I also revisited Bombay Chinese at lunch a week or so ago, and was very impressed by the offerings. They, too, have vegetarian and non-vegetarian offerings, and in keeping with the restaurant's "Indian Chinese" menu they offer several "Manchurian" style dishes, along with noodles, fried rice and some "dry-fried" dishes (meatballs, the day I was there) that are very good. There was "chop suey" served the day I was there, but I assure you it isn't anything like the LaChoy stuff some of our mothers tried to get us to eat. Again, the price is under $8 per person here, and they say they also have a weekend buffet at slightly higher prices. That probably means the selections are broader on the weekends, too. A review of Bombay Chinese is here: http://forums.egullet.org/index.php?showtopic=38007 By the way, I do eat things other than Indian food. One day soon I'll try to post about some other places. Kirk
  8. I'm glad you tried it, and I look forward to reading your comments about your meal.
  9. Scott, I am honored that you mentioned this! Your recommendations have enhanced my Dallas food experiences, too. Next time you head up to Chicago St., let me know. I'll join you for a slice (or five).
  10. For something Indian, but completely different, I suggest you try Bombay Chinese in Richardson. I posted a review of it here a couple of weeks ago. For TexMex, I suggest Mia's on Lemmon Avenue or any of the Mi Cocina outlets.
  11. Kirk B

    Coffee Crisp

    This is a wonderful thread! I didn't see it until tonight, but I can attest that all of these things run in the blood! I am a former Canadian who currently lives in Texas, and this weekend I brought my oldest son to Sault Ste. Marie, MI, to visit his selected college (Lake Superior State University). As soon as we finished the campus tour, we hopped across the bridge to "Soo," Ontario, and I just thought I would pass along what we had to do: First, lunch at Harvey's. Both of us ordered poutine to accompany our double burgers with mustard. Then, a stop at the A&P to load up on Coffee Crisps, Aero Bars and Smarties. A quick stop next door for a pack of duMauriers. Even though I gave up smoking years ago, I had to smoke some. (I am happy, in a perverse way, to report that the duMauriers made me sick to my stomach.) Penultimate stop before heading back to the bridge: the LCBO. There was a dearth of decent beers, though, so we chanced upon the Northern Breweries store up the street, and were able to pick up a 12-pack of their Red Maple premium lager. It's quite good. I also got to serve as an object lesson for my son. Coming back across the bridge, the U.S. customs agent asked whether we had bought anything. I said, "Just some candy." "Pop the trunk, please," he said. "And some beer!" I yelled, remembering that I had put the 12-pack in the trunk. A minute later, he returned and said, "You know, you didn't tell me about the beer. I can take it away from you and put your name on The List." My redfaced fear no doubt convinced him to let us go without being sanctioned, but my son said, "I won't ever try that, Dad! God, you can be an idiot!!" The candy was worth the risk.
  12. Silly premise (why pepperoni?), silly picks and really sophomoric writing yield useless ratings. Kind of akin to New York doing a rating of the best TexMex (or Texas barbecue) in Manhattan. What next, a blind taste test of Dallas' best pierogi?
  13. Hmm... Trading availability of Indian Chinese for the chance to live in Hawaii? The CHOICES we have to make!!! Seriously, I hope the Dallas outposts (apparently there is a second one here) are the start of a trend. I can think of any number of cities that would do well to have an equivalent of Bombay Chinese. Thank you for the welcome, skchai, and the links to some very interesting conversations.
  14. Forgive me if someone has already posted about this restaurant. I am relatively new to eGullet and am not sure I searched or checked very well. This is a post of mine from Chowhound, and I thought I would bring it over here in case anyone is interested in this unusual (to me, at least) cuisine. Bombay Chinese (located in the "Richardson Heights" strip mall on the access road of the west side of Central Expressway about a quarter-mile south of Belt Line in Richardson) is worth checking out. It's more than an unusual -- or novelty -- cuisine. We tried Bombay Chinese recently (on a Thursday night), and thought the food was very good. (I do have to say that I don't have another Indian Chinese food experience against which to measure it. In absolute terms, though, I think it will become a favorite, especially because I haven't found a consistently good Szechwan or Hunan restaurant in this area.) The restaurant was remarkably uncrowded when we arrived around 7, although they seemed to be doing a fairly brisk take-out business. The flavors, quality and variety of textures reminded me a bit of Thai, Vietnamese and other southeast Asian cuisines that have integrated Chinese food themes into their own vernacular and then enhanced them with local ingredients, spices and heat. The menu states that the flavorings are spicy (or medium spicy), but we didn't find the heat overpowering by any means. There is an extensive vegetarian menu, in addition to the "core" non-vegetarian selections. We ordered: A combination appetizer platter to start, which came with large portions of two types of chile-coated dry-fried chicken, vegetable spring rolls, and fried wontons. The chicken appetizers tasted a bit like buffalo chicken wings, but they had a depth of flavor (ginger, star anise, cloves?) that was really very nice. The platter came with two chile-based dipping sauces, one sweet, garlicky and hot, and the other hot and garlicky like a Thai sriracha sauce. For main courses, we shared "Bombay Chinese Special" goat, which was nuggets of very tender braised goat tossed with cabbage and onions in a very rich red sauce that didn't seem to have tomatoes. We also shared a Fish "Sizzler," which was a very lightly breaded fish (seabass or tilapia, my wife suggests) covered in a spicy, tangy sauce (again red) with mild green and red chiles with onions. The seasonings were very much like a "dry" tikka or bhindi masala. (The "sizzler" part involved the dish being served on cast-iron (fajita-style) platter. To be honest, there wasn't much platter-sizzling going on when the dish arrived at the table, but the dish was very tasty nonetheless.) The fish dish came with a steamed rice (cooked with corn, egg and interesting spices) on the side, but we also ordered Shrimp Fried rice, which had a strong (but good) curry/masala flavor like some Burmese rice dishes I've had in the past. Bombay Chinese serves beer and wine, along with soft drinks and juices. (Mango Lassi is listed as a dessert, rather than as a drink as at most Indian restaurants in the Dallas area. We'll have to try it on another trip to see whether it is any different from "the usual.") The Kingfisher lagers we ordered were a great accompaniment to our dinner. We definitely over-ordered, but takeout boxes will provide another meal sometime in the next couple of days. The cost of dinner for two, with two beers apiece, was $65 before tip. Without ordering the combination platter (which could have served four), and with only two main courses, we could have easily done dinner for under $50. Service was knowledgable, friendly and helpful. Decor is bright and very clean. The menu says a buffet lunch is served Monday through Friday for $6.99. I think I saw a weekend brunch advertised in the window, as well. I think this is a find -- could become a favorite of mine -- and would like to hear what others think of it. Bombay Chinese Restaurant 17 Richardson Heights (mall) Richardson, TX 972/808-9990 Cheers, Kirk
  15. As far as the chile relleno is concerned, the flavors were a great melding of at least three cheeses, a fresh chile and some very fluffy scrambled eggs, topped with both red and green sauces (at my request). The red sauce is chopped-tomato based and very light; the green sauce is tomatillo based. Good, but not my favorite (New Mexico chile based sauces). The chilaquiles also were light, with yellow corn tortillas adding texture and flavor. The breads, a $4.95 addition to the meal, included a banana bread muffin, and two other very flavorful breakfast breads (two of each came with the order). My wife also ordered a cinnamon/pecan sticky bun, which was way more than we could eat at breakfast, but made for a great mid-afternoon snack. Brunch is a very good value -- including tip, ours was under $35. I'm looking forward to going back for lunch and dinner at some point soon. Kirk
  16. We tried brunch at La Duni last Saturday, and were really delighted by the entrees. My wife had chilaquiles and I had the chile relleno, and both were outstanding. The breads and pastries are superb, too. It may have been a function of how much I needed a cup, but I think their coffee was the best I have had in Dallas.
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