To prepare for this fall's Best of Dallas® 2012 issue, we're counting down (in no particular order) our 100 Favorite Dishes. If there's a dish you think we need to try, leave it in the comments, or email me.
A recent trip to an Indian grocery in Carrollton had me longing for paan. We'd just eaten a boatload of cheap curry and were looking for something light to finish the meal. We eventually found the digestive, after trying two or three sweet shops, at Al Markaz just down the road. The paan we got there was terribly boring, but it reminded me of Taj Chaat House's version, which is delicious and much more intense.
Good paan is loaded with flavor, takes a long time to chew up and packs a serious punch. Syrupy sweetness yields to fennel and other spice flavors before cloves take over, filling your nose with spice and numbing your tongue. Taj's version is all these things in a date-stuffed leaf that will keep you chewing for what seems like an eternity.
When you're finished you're left with fresh clean breath, a settled stomach (no matter what your preceding meal) and a desire to avoid paan for at least a couple of days. It's a wild ride. And worth it.
No. 100: The Cleaver and Block Burger at NHS Tavern No. 99: The Bone Marrow at the Meddlesome Moth No. 98: Arepas at Zaguan Latin Cafe No. 97: Jalapeno Poppers at City Tavern No. 96: Elotes: Everywhere No. 95: Dan-Dan Noodles at Royal China No. 94: Smoked Ham Mac and Cheese at The Porch No. 93: Chicken and Waffles at Jonathon's Oak Cliff No. 92: Regina Margherita At Cane Rosso No. 91: Devils On Horseback At The Chesterfield No. 90: Ginger Soy Baby Back Ribs at Tei Tei Robata No. 89: Croissants From Rush Patisserie No. 88: The Reuben At The Cock & Bull No. 87: The Brisket at Pecan Lodge No. 86: The Roast Chicken At Bolsa No. 85: Chicken-Fried Egg at Union Bear No. 84: Brisket Tacos At Manny's No. 83: The Blueberry Ricotta Pancakes at Smoke No. 82: The Oxtail Ragout at Central 214 No. 81: The Italian Beef At Jimmy's No. 80: Pulled Whole Hog BBQ Eggs Benedict at Smoke No. 79: Veal Cheeks At Bijoux No. 78: Sweet Shrimp At Yutaka No. 77: Pho At Lemongrass No. 76: Shanghai Buns at Jeng Chi Dumpling House No. 75: Pepper Bomb At Goodfriend No. 74:Veracruz Cafe's Sopa de Atlahua No. 73: Fish and Chips at the Londoner No. 72: Italian Combo At Carbone's No. 71: Breakfast Schnitzel At Crossroads Diner No. 70: Berkshire Pork Belly Buns at Howard Wang's Uptown No. 69: Bolognese At Princi Italia No. 68: Cabrito a la Parrilla at El Ranchito No. 67: Kimchee French Fries At sSahm Food Truck No. 66: Just About Any Burger At Off Site Kitchen No. 65: St. Pete's Chili Dog No. 64: Mesa's Enmoladas No. 63: Pork and Octopus at Oak No. 62: Spicy Crispy Wings At Malai No. 61: Spicy Fish Soup At Korea House No. 60: Deviled Eggs At R&D Kitchen No. 59: Falafel At Fadia Bakery No. 58: Bistec Con Queso At El Tizoncito No. 57: The Burger At Local No. 56: Patty Melt At NHS No. 55: Guisado Verde Tacos At La Nueva Fresh And Hot No. 54: CFS At All Good Cafe No. 53: Ramen At Tei-An No. 52: Fried Chicken At Sissy's No. 51: Sampler Plate With Samoon at Judi Bakery No. 50: Dolmas At Pera Turkish Kitchen No. 49: The Sloppy Taco At Off Site Kitchen No. 48: The Fried Bologna Sandwich At Maple And Motor No. 47: Sour Cream Enchiladas At Mia's No. 46: Pork Banh Mi At Nammi No. 45: White Clam Pizza At Nonna No. 44: Banh Mi From Nammi No. 43: Pastor Tacos At La Banqueta No. 42: The Brunch Burger At The Grape No. 41: The Scotch Egg At Central 214 No. 40: The Nooner At Jonathon's Oak Cliff No. 39: The Large Tabouleh at Ali Baba No. 38: The Chile Relleno At Avila's No. 37: The Brussels Sprouts Fritters At Snack No. 36: Loukoumathes At Greek Fest No. 35: Coffee and Doughnuts At Rosemont No. 34: DIY Fried Chicken Taco at Pollo Campero No. 33: International Bakery Cuban Dulceria's Cubano No. 32: The Pork Chop At Acme F&B No. 31: The Crispy Duck At Bangkok City No. 30: Panamericana Torta At Tortas la Hechizera No. 29: Tom Kha Gai At Bambu No. 28: Hummus and Super Bread at Pepper Smash No. 27: The Fried Chicken Sandwich At Union Bear No. 26: The Jerk Chicken At Island Spot No. 25: Grilled Whole Bronzini At Tei Tei Robota No. 24: Nova's Smoked Salmon Potato Skins No. 23: The Wings At Ten Bells Tavern No. 22: Oak's Ham And Cheese Croissant No. 21: Brisket Enchiladas At ME Lounge No. 20: The Black Bean Dip At Gloria's No. 19: The "Sliced Leg Of Lamb" At Ziziki's