Throughout April, the New Guy is only eating at places suggested by City of Ate readers, in a futile attempt to speed his conversion to Texasism. Have a suggestion? Leave it in the comments or hit us on Twitter at @cityofate and @joeptone.
I've been faithfully heeding your dining suggestions, dear readers, and they've led me to some interesting places: deep into Ellum, down a cool stretch of Jefferson in Oak Cliff and into the shiny happy peopleness of North Dallas.
But let's start at my new favorite meal and a declaration that nearly made a couple staffers walk out of our weekly meeting.
Sorry if it's cliche, but Maple & Motor -- suggested by a couple different commenters -- is solid. I'm guessing it feels over-hyped by this point, and I'm sure there are diners who don't take kindly to owner Jack Perkins' take-it-or-leave-it approach. But, visiting on Saturday night I sort of dug the sign instructing you to wait until ordering to take your seat, along with the simplicity of the menu. There's a certain swagger to the place, and they back it up with the burger, one of the better straight up cheeseburgers I've had in a while -- certainly higher on my list than the also-solid Angry Dog burger. (I mentioned this at our staff meeting Monday morning. It didn't go over well.)
I was a little thrown off by M&M's RC Cola machine, but I'm thinking that's something I should get used to?
Earlier, I'd ventured into Oak Cliff for some Tex-Mex. My new theory: There are lots of places to get good Mexican over there, and I picked the wrong one. Or, rather, reader Carl picked the wrong one. "For Tex-Mex, only place to go is Gonzalez on Jefferson in the Cliff." The only place! I better go then!
Here's what I had:
It tasted as good as it looks -- not awesome, not terrible, just an average plate of enchiladas tucked comfortably under a thick blanket of sour cream.
Another reader suggested Allgood Cafe in Deep Ellum. So late Sunday morning, my Dallas Morning News and I made our way through the throng -- people everywhere, strewn about the sidewalk and the street -- and got our name on the list for a two-top. As you can see from the photo ...
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... I misordered. Went basic eggs-and-bacon when I should have done something more elaborate. It was fine, but nothing I couldn't make myself if I knew how to cook. Sort of slow service too, but who's in a hurry at noon on a Sunday?
A couple readers suggested Breadwinners for breakfast. In fact, I have probably had five or six breakfast-themed conservations since arriving in Dallas, and no other place has been mentioned (aside from the one Allgood comment). There's a lot of Bread-winning going on at Breadwinners. It's always packed, as it was when I visited on Saturday morning.
I definitely get it. Fun, diverse menu, upbeat vibe, fast and friendly service -- all hallmarks of a good brunch spot. Food's well executed too, although there's about 74 percent too much of it in each dish, including my Farmhouse tacos, which were the approximate size of an actual farmhouse:
Very solid meal. But as an eight-day veteran of the Dallas food scene, I believe strongly we need to diversify our breakfast recommendations. (Eight days is enough to start bossing you guys around, right?)