Best Sweet Treat 2007 | Delicious Cakes | Best of Dallas® 2020 | Best Restaurants, Bars, Clubs, Music and Stores in Dallas | Dallas Observer
True story: A cupcake fell on the floor in a friend's kitchen. We were busy cleaning up the icing mess, while the majority of the cake carnage lay in a heap on the counter. The husband walked in. "What happened?" "Cupcake casualty." "How long was it down?" "More than 5 seconds." "Where's it from?" "Delicious Cakes." "I'm all over that." He scooped up the broken mound and savored it with reverence due a sacred relic. We've since experienced the Delicious Cakes greatness at a wedding and two other special events. Every time the baked creations have been perfectly moist and light, with just the right amount of icing—never any sugary overkill. The name seems simple and presumptuous, but it's an astute description of what the bakery has to offer in various forms (wedding, bridal, groom, personal party and bundt). Recommended flavors included Italian cream, red velvet, Mexican chocolate and fresh strawberry.
Like other cuisines—Italian and Chinese creep to mind—unearthing good Thai can be confounding. It can be listless. It can be sloppy. It can be uninspiring. Royal Thai shakes up the ennui, not only with fresh cuisine, but with its Thai elegance and sophisticated staging that includes a wine list fraught with clear thinking (acid lush whites and reds along with the usual Chard-Cab brigade). Tom kha gai, a soup of galangal, coconut milk, chicken, mushrooms, lemongrass, kaffir lime and chilies is an opus of tart and spicy. Tender, juicy satay begs for dunks in an appropriately spicy peanut sauce (these choosy mothers didn't choose Jif!). Salads, like the searing yahm plah meuk with calamari, lemongrass, mint and lime, or the brisk chicken lahb bedded on clean iceberg lettuce shreds, can be meals, humming as they do with flavor you can feel all the way down to your hangnails. Smooth curries are here, as are the whole fried fishes (cat and snapper), battered and brittle and moist and spiced like the best of them. Which they are.
The atmosphere at this spacious restaurant is both relaxed and elegant, with simple black décor that makes the enormous crystal chandelier hanging from the middle of the ceiling pop. Yet the prices are fairly low, with tasty wonton and eggroll appetizers at $3 to $5 and noodles, stir-fries and Thai curry dishes for $8 to $10. The Massaman red curry is fantastic, as is the spicy peanut sauce and cashew stir-fry. The owners also have a humanitarian component to their business plan—according to their menu and Web site, one penny of each dollar spent is donated to the global, New York-based Hunger Project.
Atop a lunch line tray sits a simple work of gastronomical delight. Delicate, crispy crust (the best kind if you ask us) spread with a thin layer of pesto bright with basil and just a touch on the salty side. Fresh mozzarella is ooey gooey in an intimate cuddle with a diced trio of red onion, grilled chicken breast and fresh tomato. The edge pieces of the thin, rectangular pie are sparse on melty goo, so you have a retreat from the middle, more heavily topped squares. It is, dare we say, a perfect exercise in balance. Scalini's neighborhood joint already had us for its dark, friendly retreat-like atmosphere, but it keeps us coming for the pesto pizza.
In our vegetarian phases, the thing we missed the most was breakfast meats. While we've still never met a truly satisfying bacon replacement, the faux breakfast sausage is doable. Even then, it's difficult to find at restaurants—unless you're at Buzzbrews Kitchen. This tiny shoebox of a diner, nestled in a motel parking lot, offers veggie sausage as an alternative to the delicious but dead pork flesh on most of its plates. Not a fan of meat analogs? Try the Hare Krishna—a breakfast of eggs stuffed with avocadoes, covered in cheese and served with "garlic marbles" (small seasoned potatoes) and grilled tomato.
Catherine Downes
If you need a break from the corporate humdrum and find yourself craving some killer meat-free food in a Zen atmosphere, this isn't just your best bet, it may be your only one. The atmosphere is decidedly bright and colorful, with a building reminiscent of a Buddhist temple, complete with prayer flags, Krishna statuettes and brightly painted walls. There are hearty soups, appetizers like hummus and samosas and a well-rounded menu of "big-bang entrees." You can't go wrong with the Cosmic Stir, a tofu and vegetable stirfry, or the Socrates Plato, a pile of flavorful portobella mushrooms over basmati rice. It all comes with naan, a fluffy and delectable Indian bread, and you can select a refreshing herbal cooler or hot chai tea to accompany this meditative smorgasbord of culinary bliss.
Like any good ethnic restaurant, Quán Kiên Giang has a near inscrutable menu; one that helpfully offers color photos embedded in the plastic-coated, spiral-bound menu. Here you'll note spring rolls as plump and virile as kielbasa; stir-fried Alaskan crab, red and bulbous; pinwheels of stir-fried frog legs dipped in fish sauce; and catfish steaks in a clay pot. On the table you'll see the pho ensemble. Pho, the traditional Vietnamese beef rice noodle soup, is served with a plate of vibrant multi-leafed stalks of basil, crisp bean sprouts, thin slices of jalapeño and half a lime, plump and dripping. Its broth is rich, the beef as thin and puckered as seersucker, the noodles separate and tender. Squirt bottles of sriracha, chili sauce and hoisin sauce saddle up for more intensity. Charred beef is served over tender rice noodle cakes hugging a mound of mint leaves topped with slivered carrot, cucumber and jicama. Ladle the strong fish sauce condiment over all of it and watch the rice drink it in as it adds an extracted fishmonger fume and tangy bite. In the dining room you'll see streamers and a mirror ball hovering over high-backed chairs upholstered in patterned bordello red. Their motto: "In order to respond affection and enthusiastic support from you, we have been using up ability, 5-year experience to serve you with satisfied and delicious meals." Because ultimately, a meal that isn't satisfied isn't worth the plate it is written on.
Friendly, curvy waitresses in tiny outfits are hardly a unique restaurant theme. Or a good one, honestly. But if you like Hooters, you're going to love this place. Why? Hi-def plasma TVs on the wall. Free wireless Internet. Expansive menu. Modern music. And, most important, hard liquor. Look, it's your choice. But if it's batter-fried chicken wings and a pitcher of flat beer served by a girl in pantyhose to the beat of Mack Rice's "Mustang Sally" vs. pulled pork nachos and a vodka tonic delivered by a girl in a lumberjack flannel midriff top to the beat of U2's "Beautiful Day," then, really, do you have to choose? Use your imagination and you can probably come up with two bigger reasons.
A winery inside the city limits? Times Ten Cellars is the venture of three men, Christopher Lawler, Rob Wilson and Kert Platner, who took their love of wine to the next level and beyond. Walk through the wine-tasting rooms decorated with an eclectic mix of modern and antique furniture and local art and check out the barrel room where the trio makes wine from grapes grown at vineyards in California and, starting this year, at their 100-acre Cathedral Mountain Vineyard near Alpine. When the right moment of perfect fermentation arrives, a mobile unit backs up to the building, an old post office, and the bottling begins. The bottles get labeled—all the labels feature different chairs, the better to imply a relaxing experience—and are served either in four-wine tastings or single glasses. Visit Times Ten Cellars before dinner for an appetizer such as pâté, gourmet cheeses and smoked salmon, or visit after dinner for wine and desserts made by Doughmonkey. On a recent Saturday night, the place was hopping with wine lovers there for the select wines by the glass or bottle, all half-price.
Kathy Tran
If only all fast food tasted this good. The wraps at Chaat Café are truly innovative. Made with naan bread and tandoori chicken, they are prepared on the spot, like everything else at the restaurant. The meat is marinated in yogurt and spices in a clay oven until it is tender and juicy. The best part, besides the taste? The fast-food prices. Chaat Café, the first fast-food Indian restaurant in the United States, is already well-known in the Bay Area, where there are multiple locations. A second DFW location, in Irving, is coming soon. They get the high-tech jobs, and we get Chaat. That's fair enough.

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