By Jim Schutze
By Rachel Watts
By Lauren Drewes Daniels
By Anna Merlan
By Lee Escobedo
By Eric Nicholson
If fowl isn't your thing, stop by Holy Ravioli (4446 Lovers Ln., 214-696-3993) and pick up some pasta that will impress even your old Meemaw from Italy. You can choose from about a dozen flavors, all sold by the pound. Try the wild mushroom or chicken-gorgonzola-walnut (both $8.50 per pound) or my favorite, the lobster ravioli, made with very fresh Maine lobsters ($16.50 per pound). And you'll need some sauce, too. Holy ravioli will send you home with tomato basil, chipotle cream, spicy arrabiata, and several others, each one more delicious than the next.
Continuing with the ethnic theme, why not treat your guests to the traditional Mexican party food, tamales? Some of the best in town can be found at Dallas Tortilla (1418 Greenville Ave., 214-821-8854). The tamales are made in their Oak Cliff factory and come with or without jalapenos, in your choice of beef, pork, or chicken. Dallas Tortilla also sells marvelous fresh tortillas (natch).
If you've got a huge, extended family, then maybe it's time for drastic measures. Rather than picking up just an appetizer or main course, perhaps you should consider leaving things in the hands of professionals and having the entire affair catered. Might I suggest Breadwinners (3301 McKinney Ave., 214-754-0099). You won't find a more helpful person in putting together your meal than Catering Manager Mindy Jackson. "We're known for our customer service," she says. "I'll walk someone through the entire process." Breadwinners' catering menu offers silver dollar pan-fried crab cakes, southwestern spring rolls, goat-cheese-stuffed artichoke hearts, and so much more (many items for around $30 for an order of 24). "We can handle parties of just about any size," Mindy says. "We had a guy call once who wanted us to cater a meal for just him and his girlfriend. That was a bit too small. But we can do most anything else."
If you'd prefer to design your very own menu and have it catered, call Ty Gerot, the Director of Operations at the wonderful Tejas Grill and Cantina (2930 Parkwood Blvd., Frisco, 972-668-8108). "Most of the time, when someone wants us to cater," Ty says, "I'll hand them a blank piece of paper and ask them what they want. We don't just hand them a menu and make them choose. I call it tabula rasa." So the sky's the limit. Whatever you can dream up, the Tejas Grill can cook. And the staff from Tejas has a huge catering truck that allows them to cook everything on site, if necessary. So if your extended family includes, say, 3,000 people, that's no problem. I recommend the decadent Tejas Grill, a sizzling montage of cabrito, quail, flank steak, chicken, shrimp, and rib meat. And the Tejas Grill also has its own bakery, so don't miss the sizzling apple pie and gourmet cheesecakes. Furthermore, they can serve your entire family their signature State Trooper margaritas, a magical blend of prickly pear cactus juice and Jose Cuervo Tradicional. Tejas can cater your entire meal as inexpensively as $15 per person, which makes catering sound so much smarter than cooking the meal yourself.
Another wonderful caterer is The Festive Kitchen (3404 Rosedale Ave., 214-363-5111). But you can also drop in and pick up hors d'oeuvres (southern sausage cheese balls, spinach tortilla wraps), entrees (pork loin with fruit salsa and wild Indian rice, veal and chicken picatta), and desserts (pecan pie bars, Itty Bitty Rum Fudge Cakes). In fact, if you call ahead, they will meet you at the curb with your order.