Food News

The Dallas Observer's Top 10 Food & Restaurant Articles in 2021

The cutting block at Terry Black's showing off.
The cutting block at Terry Black's showing off. Chris Wolfgang
If we’re not eating, we’re thinking about our next meal, right? Perhaps more precisely we’re thinking about our next chicken-fried steak. The stories that logged the most flight time this year run the gamut from pandemic-related funds for restaurants, to booze and Buc-Ee's. Also, hidden gems are big crowd favorites.
click to enlarge Oak'd adds bits of bacon burnt ends to their chicken-fried steak. - ANGIE QUEBEDEAUX
Oak'd adds bits of bacon burnt ends to their chicken-fried steak.
Angie Quebedeaux
The Best Chicken-Fried Steak in Dallas for CFS Day
Writer Angie Quebedeaux crushed the chicken-fried steak beat for us this year. Oct. 26 is Texas' official Chicken Fried Steak Day, as designated in 2011 by the Texas House of Representatives. We rounded up 16 places where you're sure to walk out without even a smidge of regret.

No Booze on the Motherf**ckin' Plane
Well, we wanted to get away. But not being able to pregame on the flight got us grounded real quick. Southwest still isn't serving booze on airplanes, which is just so frustrating that we can’t act right and get our 30,000-feet bloody mary’s back. Alas, here’s one thing; about a week ago Southwest Airlines announced that they'll soon launch a new fare category with perks we’ll "happily" pay more for. That has to be booze, right?
click to enlarge It was called Fuku. Was the joke on us? - LAUREN DREWES DANIELS
It was called Fuku. Was the joke on us?
Lauren Drewes Daniels
Chef David Chang’s New Hot Chicken Ghost Kitchen, Fuku, Has a Disastrous First Day
Honestly, we were suspect from the get-go. This was a mobile ghost kitchen venture that felt like a name-grab. Celebrity chef David Chang of Netflix’s Ugly Delicious and The Chef Show and founder of the two-Michelin starred Momofuku Ko, was rolling up to Dallas with yummy sandwiches. Wow. How lucky are we? Actually, it was a disaster at a comical level. Their GrubHub page shows a 501 error. Can’t say we’re surprised.

Mike Chen Ate Nothing but Buc-Ee's for 24 Hours and It was Glorious
YouTube vlogger Mike Chen moved to North Texas this year and did a big belly flop into Texas cuisine — a good belly flop in bold and daring way. He stood in the cold rain before the sun was up for Snow’s BBQ in Lexington. And he committed to eating all his meals for 24 hours at a Buc-Ee’s. We learned a few things about his foray here: Always order your food from the kitchen (through the kiosks) instead of grabbing it from under a heat lamp. And he said the pastrami sandwich he had there was “one of the best sandwiches I’ve had since coming to Texas.” Who knew?

8 Fantastic Barbecue Spots You Might be Snoozing On
Chris Wolfgang has eaten enough barbecue to know which places we’re likely snoozing on. Some of these spots aren’t so sleeper since the article posted, but there are still some, like Lakewood Smokehouse and Harris Bar-B-Que in Cedar Hill.

First Look: The New Food Hall in Downtown Dallas Gets it Right
The AT&T Discovery District in downtown is pretty awesome, and we don’t just say that because it’s a nice walk for lunch from the offices here (well, maybe that’s part of the reason). Here they’ve brought in local food vendors with great food in a lively space.
click to enlarge Lamb tongue crostini with Israeli-style pickles at Canary by Gorji. - BRIAN REINHART
Lamb tongue crostini with Israeli-style pickles at Canary by Gorji.
Brian Reinhart
Seven Under-the-Radar Dallas Restaurants That Serve Big Flavors without Big Hype
Our former food critic Brian Reinhart shared with us some of his favorite spots that live about 5 feet from the spotlight. He set this up in an if/then format: “If you can’t get into Sachet or Knife, try .. Gorji.” This list endures. These are all great spots. Save this in our digital wallet.

Taste Tested: Dave’s Hot Chicken Seven Levels of Heat
Oh goodness. That time writer Danny Gallagher tried all seven levels of spice at Dave’s Hot Chicken. The reaper is the hottest level: “It’s sneaky. It’s a spice ninja that creeps up on you and strikes just when you think you’ve conquered it.” Not ironically he said you always end up paying the price in the end.

Honeychild’s Sweet Creams Loses Funding After Local Restaurant Files Suit Over Minority Preference
Last May, the owners of The Lost Cajun in Keller, Jason and Janice Smith, filed a lawsuit against the Small Business Administration seeking to halt disbursement of pandemic-related grants aimed at helping restaurants based on minority-preference. Fascinatingly, they had previously received their own Paycheck Protection Program funds (more than $150,000) filing as a woman-owned business, the very sort of thing they were suing over. Meanwhile, an ice cream maker in Houston, Honeychild’s, caught wind of our story and called us to tell us she’d been promised funds to help her business, but then the money vanished after a preliminary injunction was granted on Smiths’ suit. We checked the Facebook page for The Lost Cajun to see how they’re doing, and they’re running some sweepstakes for an all-expense paid trip for four to New Orleans. No kiddin’.
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Lauren Drewes Daniels is the Dallas Observer's food editor. She started writing about local restaurants, chefs, beer and kouign-amanns in 2011. She's driven through two dirt devils and is certain they were both some type of cosmic force.