Leslie Brenner

  • Blogs

    October 10, 2014

    Sorry, Dallas, but Your Favorite Puffy Taco Is Not a Puffy Taco at All

    Despite a modest campaign to right puffy-taco wrongs, there remains a great rift in Dallas' puffy-taco universe. The issue centers around an impostor, a sham, a fraudulent taco promising supple puffiness that never makes its way to the plate. You'll find this taco at many Tex-Mex restaurants, includ ... More >>

  • Blogs

    September 17, 2014

    How Chef Brian Zenner Helped Oak Recapture That Elusive Fourth Star (Interview)

    Sometimes when a restaurant is struggling, all it needs is a new face to turn the whole thing around. In the short tenure of Chef Richard Gras, Oak went from earning four stars when Jason Maddy was chef to scoring only three from Dallas Morning News food critic Leslie Brenner. After Gras tendered hi ... More >>

  • Blogs

    January 2, 2014

    Eddy Thretipthuangsin, Star Chef at the Design District's Pakpao, Is Out

    Pakpao Thai Food has been getting a lot of praise lately, from Scott Reitz's fondness of the unyielding spice of their curries, to ranking among our list of Dallas' most interesting restaurants, to Leslie Brenner at The Dallas Morning News calling it one of the best new openings of the year. A lot o ... More >>

  • Blogs

    July 18, 2013

    Ocho Kitchen Space in Preston Center To Be Replaced with Mi Piaci

    Earlier this week, the folks behind Mi Piaci announced they'd be taking over the Ocho Kitchen space in Preston Center. Ocho, which opened last fall, quickly failed despite a number of changes to the menu and concept. Mi Piaci has been serving Italian cooking in Far North Dallas for more than two de ... More >>

  • Blogs

    May 24, 2013

    LARK, Carbone's and Barbacoa: This Week In Dallas Dining

    The unofficial start of summer is here, and the three-day weekend promises smoldering grills, coolers full of beer, and if you stumble over to 20 Feet this weekend quick enough, the first of this season's soft-shell crabs. Let's get this week wrapped up. This week I reviewed Lark on the Park and ga ... More >>

  • Blogs

    April 26, 2013

    Farmers Markets Ceviche Bars and Colorful Barbecue: This Week In Dallas Dining

    I think this might be the best spring I have ever encountered. There have been a few cold snaps here and there, but I find them invigorating. And these sunny days that are mixed in here and there are amazing. It's great weather for a vacation, which I intend to indulge in shortly after publishing t ... More >>

  • Blogs

    April 12, 2013

    Road Trips, Bowling Alleys and Brisket: This Week In Dallas Dining

    There is so much good stuff on CoA this week I'm having trouble figuring out how to wrap it all up. We're going to need some grade A, organic jumbo lettuce leaves to get this all taken care of, but I promise it's worth it. Have a look for yourself. This week I reviewed Bowl & Barrel, a Park Lane bo ... More >>

  • Blogs

    March 22, 2013

    South American Food, Accomplished Writers and Feathery Duck: This Week In Dallas Dining

    It's Friday if you haven't noticed. Hopefully you have some weekend plans? If you're still looking be sure to check out Lauren's events guide, but don't run out the door just yet. Let's wrap this week up, first. This week I reviewed Joyce and Gigi's, the new South American restaurant in East Dalla ... More >>

  • Blogs

    February 8, 2013

    20 Feet, Dead Twinkies And The Greek: This Week In Dallas Dining

    This weather is just odd. I find myself craving things like morel mushrooms, asparagus and spring peas as of late, even though I've not nearly gotten my fill of braised lamb and other hearty winter dishes. I wonder if the recent warm weather indicates anything about the coming summer. If it does I a ... More >>

  • Blogs

    January 18, 2013

    Mextopia, the Ricardo Avila Spot on Greenville, Has Closed

    The Dallas Observer's 2010 Readers' Pick for Best New Restaurant, Mextopia, has closed. Leslie Brenner got the details in a voice mail from owner Ricardo Avila. The plan is to reopen somewhere else with a new concept. Avila cited road construction near his restaurant as part of the problem.

  • Blogs

    January 18, 2013

    Stampedes, Crickets, Mango Cookies: This Week in Dallas Dining

    Observer food critic Scott Reitz is off work being a good son this weekend, so I'll wrap it up for the week. Stephan Pyles' new restaurant Stampede 66 was the subject of this week's review. Scott was disappointed cricket tacos weren't on the menu, despite the how comical those little legs are if ... More >>

  • Blogs

    January 4, 2013

    Cracker Barrel, Rodeo Goats and Tofu Porn: This Week in Dallas Dining

    It's over. All those special occasion dishes, all the festive cocktails, they're all gone. It's that time of year when were forced to come back to our desks and actually work, even if our desk tops have been pushed a little further away from our faces by a growing holiday midsection. You'd think we' ... More >>

  • Blogs

    December 28, 2012

    Dim Sum, Drunk Cows and Tex-Meh: This Week In Dallas Dining

    Have your weekend plans locked in yet? It's your last chance to party like it's 2012. I'm willing to bet most of you have already ducked out of your office this Friday, but for those of you who are still tethered to your desks, here's your weekly wrap-up. This week I reviewed Barbacoa Estillo Hidal ... More >>

  • Blogs

    December 14, 2012

    Meso Maya, Tesaring and Tamales: This Week In Dallas Dining

    It may look rather gloomy right now, but the weather man says we've got a great weekend ahead of us. If you've been reading CoA all week you should have plenty of plans, but just in case you tuned out... here's what you missed. This week I reviewed everything. There are scores of dishes in this wee ... More >>

  • Blogs

    October 24, 2012

    How To Navigate The Menu At Boulevardier Like a Champ

    Boulevardier, the subject of this week's review, has received nothing but gushing press until Leslie Brenner reviewed the restaurant for The Dallas Morning News last week. For the most part, I agree with Leslie's review, but I think there are some great things to focus on should you pay Oak Cliff's ... More >>

  • Blogs

    October 19, 2012

    Friday's Lettuce Wrap Up: Now With Fresh Greens

    Have you been outside today? While things may feel a little overcast over at the State Fair on account of Big Tex's mishap, the rest of Dallas is bright and sunny with a cool, fall breeze. It's time to kick off our weekends, but first there's a week to wrap up. This week I reviewed Monica's new res ... More >>

  • Blogs

    October 17, 2012

    Dallas Morning News Critic Leslie Brenner Really Hates Queso

    Leslie Brenner laid down the gauntlet today publishing a blog post that promises to inflame an entire state. "Queso is awful," writes Brenner saying she's ready to come out of the queso closet. She goes on to defend queso fundido, which often makes use of higher quality cheese, but that Velveeta bas ... More >>

  • Blogs

    October 8, 2012

    Meddlesome Moth Chef Moves To Cafe Pacific; Chef Dave McMillan Steps in at the Moth

    When Chad Kelley left The Oceanaire Seafood Room in 2009 to open the Meddlesome Moth he was quickly met by a stiff review from Hanna Raskin here at The Observer. I've dined at the restaurant a bit more than I should (the beer list is very seductive) and felt about the same. And over the past year, I ... More >>

  • Blogs

    September 28, 2012

    Blog Wars, Tacos, And #Fryit: This Week In Dallas Dining

    Ready for opening weekend at the State Fair? Or perhaps you're headed to Greek Fest instead to smash plates and drink Fix beer. Either way there's plenty of excuses to kick back with a cold brew this weekend, but before we get started, I've got a week to wrap up. This week I blissfully reviewed not ... More >>

  • Blogs

    September 26, 2012

    Brenner Lays The Smackdown On CraveDFW's Uchi News

    CraveDFW posted a story yesterday that Uchi, the sushi restaurant in Austin that's earned considerable national attention, would be opening a location in Dallas in six to eight months. The writer was told the news by an unnamed manager after dining in the restaurant. Eater confirmed the story with ... More >>

  • Blogs

    May 11, 2012

    Food Trucks And Beer Fests in 3, 2, 1: This Week In Dallas Grubbing

    Ready for the weekend? You should be. With a massive food truck festival to the north, and a big ass beer festival to the west, there are lots of reasons to get out of the house this weekend. We should probably wrap up the week before we start drinking, though. This week I reviewed nothing, opting ... More >>

  • Blogs

    May 4, 2012

    Cinco De Countdown: This Week In Dallas Food News

    Cinco de headache is close. You've got one more evening till you can spend the entirety of Saturday pummeling your liver with bad margaritas and shotgunned Miller Lites while eating your own weight in tortilla chips. Happy hour's calling, but first we've got a week to wrap up. (And make sure you ent ... More >>

  • Blogs

    April 26, 2012

    Private Social May Multiply, but Will People Come if Tiffany Derry's Not in the Kitchen?

    Eater dug up a scoop on Uptown's Top Chef destination, Private Social. A post on the restaurant's Facebook page hints at expansion plans, asking applicants to send in their resumes. Chef Tiffany Derry has yet to release any details on what she's planning on doing with her expanded staff, but rumors ... More >>

  • Blogs

    April 16, 2012

    Oak Cliff's Mesa Planning Expansion, Including a Patio on Which to Guzzle Its Cocktails

    Changes are coming at Oak Cliff's beloved Mesa. The restaurant opened just before my arrival and was the subject of my very first review. I loved the place, and the very same week Leslie Brenner did too. It went on to become one of the most notable openings of the year. Since my visits a few thing ... More >>

  • Blogs

    April 13, 2012

    The Cheap Bastard For The Win: The Week in Unicorn Farts and Dallas Food

    The weekend is here, and it promises to be a good one with the Big Texas Beer Fest offering craft brews for the masses. I'm sure you guys want to get it started as much as I do, but first there's a week to wrap. This week I reviewed Company Cafe. The restaurant has some great qualities and will hop ... More >>

  • Blogs

    April 6, 2012

    Pink Slime, Oysters and Gummy Tater Tots: The Week In Dallas' Food Scene

    Baseball is officially here. I ran over to the Katy Trail Ice House to test an iPhone app and snapped this shot while I was there. Rangers fans are out in full force. If any of you find your way to the stadium this weekend, here's some food you might want to check out. I'll talk about that iPhone a ... More >>

  • Blogs

    March 9, 2012

    Bad Sushi, Burgers and Too Much Cheese: This Week In Dallas Grubbing

    Another week has come to a close, this one under a shroud of dark gray clouds. Not really looking that inspiring yet, is it? Maybe this is your last good weekend to stay at home and make a big pot of chili. You could even put beans in it. I promise I won't tell. Before you hit your grocery store to ... More >>

  • Blogs

    December 14, 2011

    Meso Maya is Better Than Authentic. It's Good.

    Sara KerensAuthentic chile relleno? Nope. And you should be happy about that.​Does authenticity matter? What the hell is authenticity, anyway? Look it up in a dictionary and words like "real" and "genuine" stab at a definition. Framed this way, authentic seems a prefect descriptor for a Topps ... More >>

  • Blogs

    November 11, 2011

    Italian Eats, Stackhouse Love, and a Cheap-Ass Sandwich: This Week in Dallas Grubbing

    ​Ugh. On the heels of a massive bowl of Pho with a Dallas Super Yelper (more on that next week), I'm ready for a quiet night at home. I wonder how many minutes I'll last alone on my couch before I get the bug to get out and look for something to interesting to eat. I give myself till 7:30 tops ... More >>

  • Blogs

    October 14, 2011

    Beer, Vietnamese, a Goodbye to Alma and Lots o' Tacos: This Week in the Dallas Food Scene

    ​What a week. I drink too much beer and ate too many spring rolls during my review of My Lan in Garland, and I ended up with some great beer pairings from Matt Quenette over at the meddlesome Moth. Elsewhere in the City of Ate we hated on candy corn and laid out our favorite burgers. Justin ... More >>

  • Blogs

    July 20, 2011

    Plate Hate: Why Is There a Forest In My Drink?

    Scott Reitz​Leslie Brenner's new Best of Guide touts Dallas' top cocktails, complete with a swanky photo spread. One of the shots mirrors an experience I've had enough of. A high ball glass filled with glistening ice and dotted with kumquat slices is topped with not just a sprig of lavender, ... More >>

  • Blogs

    May 5, 2011

    In-N-Out Coming to Dallas Proper "This Month"

    Jonas M. Luster​The Dallas Morning News' Leslie Brenner reported this week that the long-awaited In-N-Out Burgers near Frisco and Allen, the California chain's first foray into the DFW area, is set to open next week. But what about those of us who consider Frisco a bit too near the edge of civ ... More >>

  • Blogs

    February 7, 2011

    Blue Goose's Sopa De Albondigas: Worthy of Any Tex-Mex Best List

    ​Just last week on the The Dallas Morning News' Eats Blog, Leslie Brenner lamented the fact that "Tex-Mex is not Dallas strong suit," and invited readers to submit an acceptable list of establishments. She listed El Ranchito, Cuquitas, Mias, and Mextopia as passing muster. I would have added ... More >>

  • Blogs

    January 14, 2011

    Hair-Cooked, Popcorn and Yogurt (Our Last Hair Pun, Promise)

    No. 2 in our photo series "Guys You Don't Want as Waiters if You Don't Like Hair in Your Food."​If hairy chicken, beer-flavored popcorn and frozen yogurt on hiatus should have anything in common, it's only this week in Dallas blogs. City of Ate Hanna Raskin found a hairy situation at Saint An ... More >>

  • Blogs

    December 30, 2010

    For Local Food Bloggers, It's A Holiday Wrap

    ​Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year's is the triathlon of Where To Eat for food blogs. Bloggers have every cuisine covered, from salty duck to eggnog ice cream. On the upside, this should be the last round of Where to Eats until February. Between lists, post-Christmas foodies are reviewing 2 ... More >>

  • Blogs

    December 29, 2010

    5 Food Resolutions You Damn Well Won't Keep

    ​We're optimistic that 2011 is going to be the year: The year we discipline ourselves to stop eating just before we feel full; the year we take walks instead of naps after lunch; and the year we admit that not every day is a reason to celebrate (Hey, it's Thesaurus Day! Let's feast!) But it do ... More >>

  • Blogs

    December 27, 2010

    Anthony Bourdain Liked Our BBQ-Gate,
    For Some Reason

    ​It's a fair bet there's not too much overlap between Anthony Bourdain and Dallas Morning News restaurant critic Leslie Brenner's lists of what they liked best in 2010. According to a recent feature story, Brenner this year thrilled to grilled mussels and escargot fritters. Bourdain enjoyed t ... More >>

  • Blogs

    December 10, 2010

    Smoke Gets in Blogs' Eyes, and Sister Cookies Are Doin' It for Themselves

    Where's there's smoke, there' smoke.​This week, Dallas food blogs are tittering about what's new and exciting. We have equal rights for cookies, a new gadget for barbecue, more angles on the possibility of food trucks and (predictably) a new list of places of restaurants willing t ... More >>

  • Blogs

    August 6, 2010

    Sloppy Seconds: Sweet Foods and Sour Jokes at Horne & Dekker

    See the full Horne & Dekker experience in our slideshow.​This week Dallas food bloggers and critics searched for exotic pizzas, beat the heat with cold beer and colder snow cones, followed the scent to taco stands and learned a lesson in German-to-English translation. Check ... More >>

  • Blogs

    June 25, 2010

    Sloppy Seconds Returns to City of Ate

    City of Aters, this week we are bringing back an old feature that our former web editor-turned-staff writer, Patrick Michels, used to do every Friday afternoon. It's an end of the week wrap-up of sorts featuring restaurant reviews and City of Ate highlights. This time around we decided to include ot ... More >>

  • Blogs

    August 21, 2009

    And The Winner Is...

    It was an unusually frantic week at City of Ate, thanks in part to those [expletive deleted]'s at Lazare, but more to our own tedious blogging software, which one day decided--all on its own--to block all comments.Still, we had a lot to work with. And if we were giving away prizes, these fine folks ... More >>

  • Blogs

    August 14, 2009

    Sloppy Seconds: Underneath The Tropical Sun

    ​When it feels like the rest of the world is out on vacation, daydreams about island living come easily -- and even if a tropical refuge in Bishop Arts doesn't quite give the same effect, sometimes the right table in the right restaurant is vacation enough for now. Plus, there are plenty of "tropi ... More >>

  • Blogs

    July 27, 2009

    Words And Meanings: A Blog Commenter's Responsibilities

    Ian Britton/​Every Monday in this space I pick something to rant about. Today, however, I'm at a loss.I did want to thank Leslie Brenner for bringing up the growing "we don't take reservations" trend, which I find annoying...although I understand the value to a restaurant's bottom line ... More >>

  • Blogs

    July 25, 2009

    Sloppy Seconds: Moving On Up

    ​Some places we covered this week are punching above their weight, for better or for worse, and others are aiming purposefully low. The best of City of Ate this week covers a handful of spots toying with a new social place.The Week in Review(s): Your own Dallas Observer: Dave tries slumming it at ... More >>

  • Blogs

    June 26, 2009

    Sloppy Seconds: Who Got the Hooch?

    Whether driven by an asinine Constitutional amendment, grand notions of urban planning or draconian dietary shackles, folks who find they have to suck it up, tug at their bootstraps and get down to business -- they're the ones who make the real innovations. This week, one way or another, from hooch ... More >>

  • Blogs

    June 5, 2009

    Sloppy Seconds: Tabletop Showdown

    Nothing spices up a kitchen like the element of competition -- as even a casual Food Network viewer could tell you. Describing a recipe for the camera? Not exciting. Breathily narrating your dish as you race to beat the clock and five other chefs? There's good eating in that.So at the end of a week ... More >>

  • Blogs

    May 22, 2009

    Sloppy Seconds: Hitting the Road

    It's the end of the school year, the start of summer, and the perfect time to start thinking road trip. But before you load up on Red Vines and jerky, it's worth a look at the best of our latest news in local food.The Week in Review(s):Your own Dallas Observer: Agave Tex-Mex, one of the most recent ... More >>

  • Blogs

    May 8, 2009

    Sloppy Seconds: The Friendly Confines

    From Cafe Brazil to Jimmy John's, we covered a handful of spots near and dear to our hearts here at City of Ate's Oak Lawn H.Q. Dave, meanwhile, highlights a place where it's no problem feeling right at home. But if there's one lesson to draw from the week, it's this: get out of New York. Even if yo ... More >>

  • Blogs

    April 27, 2009

    Written In The Stars

    Every so often, a ripple of controversy over the number of stars awarded to some restaurant disturbs Dallas waters.The three-star handouts to Rathbun's Blue Plate Kitchen and Hully & Mo by the Morning News certainly got folks excited. As for the big man's place, I can't say--never been there. I ... More >>

  • Blogs

    April 3, 2009

    Sloppy Seconds: Double, Double Your Refreshment

    Well, refreshment, maybe not. Double your fun, though, sure. Toil and trouble all you want. It's been a big week of twos here on City of Ate. A double dose of Veggie Girl, for instance. Two posts recapping the year's first quarter. We even had a couple items for the big race weekend at Texas Motor S ... More >>

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