Please give a warm welcome to Nicole, one of my very best friends. She is a fabulous writer and will keep you entertained while I’m away working on a few projects for the next few days. Thanks, Nicole!
Linds and I go back to the days when her talents were being honed at our many sleepovers, the results being anonymously shared with the objects of our crushes or timidly presented to our beloved junior English teacher. Linds was the one who taught me that brownies do not always come from a box, the one I stood in the lunch line with making an alphabetical list of foods we would rather be eating than what was on the menu at school, my pity party date to a tasty Italian restaurant when the guy I thought was my boyfriend asked some saucy little tart to the prom instead of me. Although I don’t share her talent for cooking and baking, Linds, food, and I grew up together. I will do both of us a favor, and not insert a picture of adolescent us here.
Then why am I as a non-chef posting on this incredible food blog? Because I salivate over the creations presented here. I salivate long-distance. Miles and interstates separate me from my friend’s delicious aptitudes, and I may or may not be using my guest posts as a way to entice her to join me in a warmer region of the country. (Don’t tell Lindsey, but the house next door to me is for sale.)
Really though, I’m here today because of football. To my husband’s dismay, I despise football. I do not understand football, with its many downs and yards, its quarterbacks and line backers, its ruthless tackling of other human beings. But this year the Super Bowl is in my backyard—yep, the miles separating Linds and I are those between the Dallas suburbs and the Salt Lake City suburbs—so I am forced by my adopted Texas pride to at least feign interest in football this year. My coping mechanism for this Super Bowl madness, and the freezing weather the Packers and the Steelers brought with them, is food. So I will take you on a tour of the deliciousness that awaits Super Bowl attendees in our sprawling Metroplex. I’ve chosen stadium food staples—hot dogs, hamburgers, pizza, and nachos—and am taking you to where the locals are picking up these calorie-infused nibbles not just on Super Bowl Sunday, but any day of the year. (Is this a subtle enticement for Lindsey to at least pay me a visit in Dallas? It’ll probably flop since she’s such a healthy eater these days. Maybe I can convince her husband . . .)
If you are going to spend more than $5 on a hot dog, it may as well be good. Wild About Harry’s (3113 Knox Street, Dallas; www.wildaboutharrys.com) delivers, and serves amazing frozen custard as well. Whether you order the Lonesome Dog like I do (just ketchup and mustard), or the Junkyard Dog like my husband (spicy Polish dog with jalapenos), you get a plump hot dog in a poppy seed bun that sticks to your ribs long past halftime of the big game. If you order custard, you’re one smart cookie—they aren’t stingy with the mix-ins at Harry’s. Harry himself (an adorable older man whose smile I think slightly resembles that of the six-foot tall hot dog statue that stands sentinel at the door) will likely drop by your table to make sure you love your food.
Image from www.wildaboutharrys.com
Twisted Root (2615 Commerce Street, Dallas; www.twistedrootburgerco.com) is located in the heart of a Dallas neighborhood called Deep Ellum, a gritty, soulful place where most surfaces are covered with graffiti, commissioned or otherwise. At our first lunchtime visit, the wait was over an hour—enough time to get a tattoo in one of the many surrounding tattoo parlors, if we felt so inclined. Twisted Root is worth the wait. Their burgers are a juicy blend of chuck and brisket (unless you opt for the much healthier bison, turkey, or veggie burgers). You can build your own or select a specialty burger like the Peppercorn Ranch and Bacon Burger or the Chipotle Guac and Cheddar Burger.
Whatever you do, don’t forget to order something to wash that burger down with—their root beer is homemade and to die for, and their milk shakes are clog-the-straw thick. Part of the fun is waiting to see who you are when you place your order—Twisted Root gives you a celebrity alter ego like Larry King or Lucille Ball and will call that name when your order is up. I always find myself staring at the counter waiting to see which pot-bellied man they’ve dubbed Angelina Jolie or the unfortunate skater girl that will cameo as Tiger Woods.
Campania (3800 McKinney Avenue, Dallas; www.campaniapizza.com) keeps it authentic, right down to the ovens and pizza flour imported from Italy. Naples practically seeps out of the crunchy, thin focaccia. You can order your pizza with tomato sauce, or “bianca,” which is white, or without tomato sauce. Either way, it comes with gooey fresh mozzarella, fresh basil and a liberal dousing of olive oil. We like ours with Genoa salami, but you can take your pick of such toppings as eggplant, arugula, zucchini, potatoes, or the more traditional ham or pepperoni.
Finish off your Italian experience Dallas-style with a Nutella Pizza or a Marshmallow Calzone, both of which speak for themselves.
Image from www.mattitos.com
For Tex Mex fare, Mattito’s (3011 Routh Street, Dallas; www.mattitos.com) is our favorite. Start off with the complimentary spicy cilantro salsa and crispy tortilla chips, and if that doesn’t satisfy your appetite for salt & spice, order the queso. I’m not even a queso lover, and I find myself dipping my chips in the melted goodness. Try the puffy chicken tacos, consisting of chicken, cheese, lettuce, and tomatoes in a UFO-shaped, deep fried tortilla shell. My husband swears by the Tacos de Pescado (fish tacos), and the Chile Relleno with the unique addition of raisins and pecans. Make your final course their delicious dessert nachos, a platter of crispy cinnamon sugar chips buried in vanilla ice cream, accompanied by chocolate and caramel sauces and whipped cream. Yum. Enough said.
So if you find yourself in Dallas for the big game or any other reason, stop by one of my favorites and I promise you won’t be disappointed. I wish I could tell you to “Tell them Nicole sent you,” but I don’t carry that kind of clout in the food world . . . yet. Until then, I’ll keep finding the most delicious places to eat in Dallas as part of my master plan to get my buddy Linds to join me. I know a great real estate agent, Linds!