Heading to Dallas - 1st Time!
Well, it's really my 2nd time, but the 1st time was for work and I got stuck eating at focus groups the whole time. I'm sure there is more to the Dallas food scene than that! ;)
My husband and I are headed to Dallas next weekend - any suggestions? We're open to all types of ethnic cuisines (we're on a Thai kick right now), except for Indian food. I'm a strict vegetarian, but my husband is definitely an omnivore. We prefer casual, no-fuss types of places and since we'll be attending a formal dinner on Friday night, we'll want to keep things low-key for the rest of the weekend.
Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated!
Below are some photos of some Issan Style veg dishes.....some are a bit blurry
I know the one with the leaf is an appetizer/street food in Thailand called Miang Kam (Wild Betel Leaf with peanuts, ginger, tiny lime wedges, dried shrimp, toasted coconut and filled with a sweet palm sugar tamarind sauce)
The other steamed in a banana leaf is Hor Mok (made with bamboo shoots, rice paddy herb and enoki mushrooms)
Finally and my favorite is the Nam Prik Hed (a spicy mushroom salad)
Sounds like Bambu Thai is getting a resounding thumbs-up! Thanks LH for the suggestion of calling ahead - I don't usually consider doing that.
I've never had Vietnamese (but looks like something I'd definitely enjoy) and Ethiopian is already a favorite of ours, so those are two great suggestions.
I have a feeling we'll either a.) eat nonstop for 48 hours or b.) have to schedule another trip so we can get through this list of great eats!
For Friday Night "fancy" dinner I would go to Mesa in Oak Cliff. The drive might be somewhat of a haul from Park Central especially on a Friday night. Having been to NJ myself I know there is not much hope for Tex-Mex/Interior Mexican.
For the vegetarian try out the Chileatole Verde con Bolitas (Vegetable and Hoja Santa soup w/ Masa Dumplings), the Black Bean Tamale, Enfrijoladas or Enmoladas (Fresh Corn Tortillas with Black Bean or Mole Sauce). For the non-veg go for the Arroz a la Tumabada (Shrimp, scallops, mussels, crab, and octopus in a tomato and rice stew) or the Rabo de Res al Acuyo (Braised oxtail in hoja santa sauce with masa dumplings, yucca, white rice and corn on the cob). Finish with the Flan De Naranja (Orange Flan).
For the rest of the weekend I would go with Vietnamese and Ethipoian?
Nam Hua - Vietnamese Vietnamese (depends on if it is unseasonably warm) - I would go to Nam Hua in Richardson/Garland. Order the Goi Ngo Sen (Lotus Root Salad) and tell them you don't want any shrimp, just vegetarian. Also ask for the Rau Ram (Vietnamese Coriander) and and perhaps the Ngo Om (Rice Paddy Herb) on the side. This salad should be enough for one person. For your husband I would say maybe the Bo Thai Lan (Beef Style Thai Salad). This salad most closely resembles the Thai Larb Nuer. There are so many special menu items ranging from frog legs, goat, and mussels. It would be hard to narrow your choices to one.
Desta/Ibex – Ethiopian
These two places with be about two miles due east of your hotel. For the vegetarian ask for the vegetarian sampler you will get about 8 different options on a plate with plenty of injera. For the meat eater go for the tibs, kitfo or the Meat/Veggie sampler.
If you really want Thai I would suggest calling ahead to Shelly (the owner) at Bambu and telling her your vegetarian diet restriction. Let her mom make something special just for you and your husband....I have a whole list of Issan style Thai dishes that encompass both veg and non-veg diets. The meals I have had at Bambu have been nothing less of extraordinary. I can't say enough about the place.
If you're a strict vegetarian, you might want to try Best Thai. They have a special all vegan menu. They have a few locations, but I've only been to the one in Addison. http://www.bestthaidining.com
The best Thai I've had in Dallas is Bambu Thai in Richardson. They do offer tofu for stir-fry dishes, but do not claim to cater to vegetarians or vegans.
For authentic Thai, you wouldn't do bad by Bancock Orchid - NEC 183 @ BeltLine, Irving. For Americanized Thai, there's Blu (Blue) Ginger, also in Irving on MacArthur Blvd.
They are both very busy during the lunch hour, so unless you want to spend valuable vacation time "in line", it'd be best to go a little later. (The waitstaff at very small Bancock would also have more time to answer questions/explain dishes.) I have no idea what the dinner hour is like at either.
We are coming from central NJ, but we aren't NJ natives ;) We've both traveled extensively in the US and abroad and are always on the lookout for great local spots. We don't need anything fancy schmancy, but we do enjoy "a nice meal at Mendy's" from time to time.
We're staying at the Westin Park Central and I'm pretty sure we will have a rental car (husband will be there earlier in the week on business and I'm flying out on Friday to spend the weekend).
Hope that helps! Thanks in advance for your suggestions!
If you're coming from NJ, it's smart to skip Indian in Dallas. You've got some of the best Indian in the country near you.
You're a vegetarian so I'll suggest Kalachandrai's (sp). It's VERY informal and part of a Hindu temple. Excellent soups.
I'd also suggest you guys have something uniquely Dallas like Fearings and go have some Tex-Mex. Yeah, Tex-Mex has become somewhat ubiquitous these days but the garbage you get elsewhere in the country is nothing like they do it in Texas.
I know you said no Indian but, Mughlai (Indian) serves great vegetarian and (Halal) meat dishes as well. They're the very best Indian it town. Beautiful restaurant as well!
They do an incredible Sunday buffet starting at 12:00 noon.
Best Chinese in Dallas is, First Chinese BBQ in Richardson at Greenville and Polk. Strong on both veg and meat dishes.
Royal Thai on Greenville Avenue in "Old Town" for best Thai.
Thanks for your suggestions! I'm going to check out First Chinese BBQ and Royal Thai.
I appreciate the Indian reco, but I think we'll have to pass on that one. We live in an area with a huge Indian population and, thus, alot of Indian restaurants so it isn't for lack of availability that I want to avoid it. I have tried to like Indian food (I swear!) but something about it just doesn't agree with me.