It seems the height of cruelty to pull the liver out of a duck, leaving the bird with nothing to filter its Scotch, but it sure tastes good once it's out. Voltaire's sauted Hudson Valley foie gras is a mean organ. It's scored with repeating diamond patterns across its surface, folded, and settled atop a cushion of light mashed potatoes. Around the plate is a large fan of green apple slices messed with currants bathed in a clean, mandarin emulsion. Unlike most ornithological livers found in Dallas, this one is firm with a rich, nutty flavor that unfolds in the mouth.

Best place to buy a vegan birthday cake

Cosmic Café,

Cosmic Café
Catherine Downes
The adjective "vegan" usually evokes visions of plates full of gray, squishy substances or tasteless products designed to resemble meat, not a big hunk of chocolate cake or a large, gooey brownie. But at Cosmic Caf, the yummy Indian-style meals can conclude with desserts sans dairy products. The cakes, which don't scrimp on the frosting, may also be bought whole and taken home to celebrate the birthday of your favorite herbivore. They go great with Cosmic's mango, coconut, and banana ice creams. Sorry, those are for non-vegans only.

India Palace Restaurant & Bar
Short of hopping a plane to India, you won't get a better gulab jamun--cake-like fried milk balls in scented syrup--than at India Palace Restaurant. They make it to the proper consistency and temperature to prevent the mushiness that often mars this Eastern standard. A refreshing dessert after a heavy meal.
The Purple Cow
Maybe this '50s soda fountain-diner-burger joint with a purple train chugging along the ceiling with a preening purple cow in a freight car is a little much for those of us who act 6 but aren't. Yet this place is clean and bright, the food is good, and kids love it. Plus, they'll spike your milkshake with hooch, so you'll love it too. Just be careful not to confuse your shake with the one the kids are slurping, or you'll never get them to come down off the train tracks.

Mis Cazuelas
Taryn Walker
The folks at Mis Cazuelas know all the hot and spicy stuff (in the right proportions) to make their salsa easily the best in the city. The key ingredient is the cilantro, which other restaurants around town skimp on (or omit entirely) in their salsas. At Mis Cazuelas, there's just the right blend of herbs, tomatoes, and peppers.

Salve's Tartufo is a double-chocolate gelato truffle with lively brandied cherries that spark its creamy heft out of cloy range. This tight little dessert will arouse any set of sweet teeth.

It's topped with diced tomato, cheese, and cream. It's smooth. It's creamy. It's got a little tang in there. Plus a little smoke. And the horns won't start for at least an hour.

Spiced and fried balls of ground chickpea paste sounds less than appetizing. But for the aficionados of this Middle Eastern treat, any traveling distance is worth it for a bite. At this family-operated restaurant tucked into a Richardson shopping mall, the $7.95 platters of falafel satisfy even the newcomers from the oldest part of the world.
Behold, a pouch of tiny mushroom magic (not that kind of magic).
Beth Rankin
Behold, a pouch of tiny mushroom magic (not that kind of magic).
There are a many things to love about this tiny room with an open kitchen and an ice pit where live lobsters twitch and quiver. First, there's the cozy bar with odd, sloped couches and great martinis made with sake. Then there's the chalkboard where all kinds of exotic specials are posted, depending on the catch of the day, which may be sea urchin wrapped in sheets of raw flounder or whole sardines scorched on the robata grill, or any number of swimmy things. Beer-guzzling things too. Tei Tei features Kobe beef, meat that comes from the rare wagyu cattle. Wagyu cattle spend their lives getting massaged with sake and fed a diet that includes copious amounts of beer. The more expensive cuts of meat come from wagyu, which are known for watching sports on big-screen TVs, belching, and telling lewd Holstein jokes.
The $5.95 lunch special at Nuevo Leon, a Mex-Mex mini-chain, is not for the feint of appetite. Nuevo Leon's eight selections on its daily lunch special menu are nicely prepared with fresh ingredients, sauces that go well beyond the ordinary Tex-Mex glopfare, and generous portions. The plates here are huge. A hearty eater is hard-pressed to get through, say, the No. 8--two beef enchiladas, one pork tamale with chili con carne, rice, beans covered with cheese, and the usual basket of chips--without expecting a little siesta back at the office. The solution: split. At $3 each, you and a friend can be well taken care of. Tax, tip, and Coke and you're out the door for $5 a head. Now that's cheap.

If you can keep your mind and your lunch plans open, you will certainly enjoy the gourmet goodness and styling of Monica Greene as she opens up her Mexican kitchen to power-lunchers looking for the best bargain in town. Five bucks can buy you hefty portions of enchiladas, tacos, and burritos, but don't look for traditional Tex-Mex here. We are talking about fare with flair, Mexican food prepared and presented with thought, delicacy, and whimsy--whatever that means. The noise level here gets way over the top, but what did you expect? This is Deep Ellum.

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