Smoked salmon dip, lamb pressed and fried pie

In this week’s roundup, our food writers tell you about an appetizer dip that’s enough as a meal on its own, a fried dessert you don’t need to go to the State Fair for try, from a vegetarian dish at a sushi bar, to braised lamb and a versatile condiment that gives home cooking a restaurant feel.

Have you eaten or drunk anything recently that you still think about? I want to hear about it. Email me at [email protected] or find me on twitter.

Smoked Salmon Dip at Douglas Bar & Grill

Douglas’ smoked salmon dip at Snider Plaza is served with chunks of buttered toasted brioche.(Sarah Blaskovich/staff)

I’m a sucker for smoked fish: we eat it at home and I find myself ordering it all the time from restaurants in Dallas. The smoked salmon dip with mustard and dill from Douglas’ upscale barbecue restaurant in Snider Plaza was perfect for a light lunch. (I opted for this appetizer instead of Douglas’s excellent smoked brisket and mac because, you know, you shouldn’t eat that stuff all the time. Or so they say .) Douglas is owned by Doug Pickering, a pitmaster who grew up in the Park Cities area and is one of many young restaurateurs to devote time and money to a mall he’s been visiting for decades. It should be interesting to see what happens next in some of the vacant spaces in Snider Plaza. Sarah Blaskovitchsenior food journalist

Douglas is at 6618 Snider Plaza, Dallas. It is open from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday.

Lamb pressed with anise

Press Lamb with Anise
Press Lamb with Anise(Courtesy of the village)

Mention The Village in Dallas and Meridian will almost always come up, and rightly so. The Brazilian restaurant has been widely hailed as an exciting culinary star in the city. But Anise, Meridian’s more laid-back neighbor downstairs from Hotel Drey, is also worth noting. The lamb pressed on the restaurant’s newly revamped menu was one of those dishes that made me interrupt the conversation I was having to experience the food in a brief moment of stillness. It is made with shoulder of lamb braised in red wine, broth, ras el hanout and a few aromatics until extremely tender, then carefully pressed into a rectangular shape and sautéed, resulting in a crisp exterior. The accompanying field peas and Moroccan-spiced roasted carrots are nice, but the lamb topped with okra shavings is memorable on its own. Claire Ballor, food journalist

Anise is located at 5630 Village Glen Dr., Dallas.

The best things we ate this week: beef kebab, sashimi and tom kha gai

Fried Chocolate Pie at Blues Burgers

Fried Chocolate Pie at Blues Burgers
Fried Chocolate Pie at Blues Burgers(Amanda Albee)

After downing a simple Trailer Park cheeseburger at Blues Burgers near Love Field, I had planned to share it as the best thing I’ve eaten this week – with charred edges around the edge of the locally made brioche bun that prevents the juices from the burger running down your forearm, and how satisfying, crunchy and juicy it all was. But then I saw the home fried pies for dessert. There’s never a bad time for pies, especially fried pies, a Southern luxury. I don’t see many of these in Dallas, and I have an insatiable sweet tooth and nostalgia for eating gas station versions as a kid, so I seized the day and ordered two. The pie was bigger than most fried pies, with imperfect fork indentations indicating homemade goodness. It also smelled better than I expected, so I ate my first pie – which was dripping with velvety chocolate cream – in my car. The buttery, flaky crust was as thin as paper, and though I thought I had stocked up on fried foods on recent visits to the State Fair, I found room for it and a peach the next morning. Amanda Albeecollaborating writer

$6 at Blues Burgers, 1820 W. Mockingbird Lane, #44, Dallas.

Nigiri lawyer at Uchiba

Nigiri at the avocado at Uchiba in Dallas
Nigiri at the avocado at Uchiba in Dallas(Kevin Gray)

Uchiba has a lot to love on its menu, from sushi and rolls to grilled and skewered meats. Every time I visit I order an assortment of dishes, both raw and cooked. But I can’t eat at Uchiba without asking for several pieces of avocado nigiri. This simple bite features well-seasoned rice topped with a slice of avocado, which is brushed with tamari and sprinkled with yuzu kosho, a condiment that fuses Japanese citrus fruits with chili peppers and salt, and all wrapped in a thin belt of nori. It’s light and fresh, with more flavor and texture than its constituent parts might lead you to believe. I always surround a healthy serving of avocado nigiri with salmon, sea bass, mackerel and skewers, but this perfect bite might be my favorite on the menu. The avocado nigiri is also available from the bottom brother, Uchi, so you have two chances to eat it. And the best part: it’s only $2 a piece during both restaurants’ daily happy hour. Kevin Graycollaborating writer

Uchiba is located at 2817 Maple Ave., Dallas.

Japanese restaurant Uchi will open a spin-off restaurant in Plano

Drama Queen Thai Crispy Chili at Asian Mint and Central Market

Drama Queen Thai Crispy Chili
Drama Queen Thai Crispy Chili(Tina Danze)

Sometimes the biggest difference between my home cooking and restaurant dishes is the finishing touch – a homemade salsa, aioli or crunchy accent. Luckily, I found a packaged condiment that gives chef-level pizzazz to my everyday cooking: Drama Queen Thai Crispy Chilli. Made in Thailand, these spicy and crispy red chili and garlic crumbles are sold locally in two flavors: Crispy Thai Basil and Original. The latter is labeled “extremely spicy” with good reason; it’s ideal for those who order their Thai food at the spiciest heat level on a scale of 1-5. The Crispy Thai Basil flavor is Drama Queen’s collaboration with local restaurant Asian Mint. It is also very hot – about 3.5 on the 5 point scale. With both flavors, a little goes a long way. I loved how a light sprinkle of Thai basil crisps spiced up my scrambled eggs. Besides a welcome hint of spice, it brought a crunchy counterpoint to the soft curd. Just 1/2 teaspoon of the original flavor spiced up a bowl of leftover rice. It would enhance instant ramen or any noodle dish. There are countless uses for both versions – try them on anything you’d like to drizzle sriracha on. What makes it better? That crack! — Tina Danze, Contributing Writer

Drama Queen Thai Crispy Chilli is sold at Asian Mint, Central Market, and can also be found on Amazon.

The best things we ate this week: crispy beef, a hibiscus taco and a cocktail in a flask
The best things we ate this week: fried olives, a peach cookie and a Hamburger Helper
The best things we ate this week: sandwiches, sandwiches, sandwiches

About James Almanza

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