Sidle up next to the well-heeled crowd at FT33’s long, marble bar, and you’ll quickly discover an array of exciting creations incubating in the bartenders’ laboratory. Whiskey ages in barrels by the window, mascerated lemon peels await Old Fashioneds and wisps of fog from liquid nitrogen-chilled cocktails float in the air. So why would anyone perch themselves here and order nary a drop of alcohol (aside from the watchful eye of that know-it-all AA sponsor)? Here’s why: dessert.
More specifically, tea-smoked apricot with bergamot ice cream and salted vanilla caramel. Pastry chef Maggie Huff employs a cold-smoking method to impart a hint of Earl Grey flavor to the apricots before stuffing them inside buttermilk cake. Fortified with a stockpile of candied bergamot jam she preserved at peak season, she decided an ice cream flavored with the jam would complement the bergamot notes in the Earl Grey tea. “Sometimes I come up with a dish that I think sounds good, but someone else could think it’s too weird. Luckily, it’s been very well-received,” Huff says. “Copious amounts of butter and brown sugar” don’t hurt, either.
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The unique qualities of the dish are exactly what make it worth ordering. It’s complex, not overly sweet, and can stand alone or round out just about any meal. Don’t drag your heels on this one. FT33’s menu constantly evolves to reflect the best of each season, and Huff is already experimenting with new creations on the tasting menu, so if you hope to try it out, best to go soon. And no one says you have to skip the booze.