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This Dallas Symphony Viola Wiz Has a Thing for Green Papaya and Funeral Potatoes

Occasionally we identify interesting local folks who are as obsessed with food and restaurants as we are, and share some of their thoughts on Dallas' dining scene and food in general. This is one of those occasions.

Barbara Sudweeks is the Associate Principal Viola player in the Dallas Symphony Orchestra -- in other words, a very, very important viola player. She's lived in Dallas since 1976, and through her extensive travels has tasted cuisine (and quinoa) around the world. She has a penchant for canning, and a few years back her strawberry jam and bread & butter pickles took top prize at the Texas State Fair.

1. What food reminds you of your childhood? Cherry pie. My grandmother let me "help" her make pies when I was a little girl. And scalloped potatoes, which were called "funeral potatoes" where I grew up. Also, pears because we had pear tree and when they were ripe my mother would pack one in my lunchbox.

2. What are a few of your favorite restaurants in Dallas? I have a long list and I love every one of these places: Bangkok City on Greenville, Cosmic Cup Cafe, Margarita Ranch at Mockingbird Station, Hook Line 'n Sinker, Agave Azul in Carrollton, Green Papaya, The Dream Cafe, Patrizio's, Toulouse, Rockfish, Javier's Mexican Restaurant, Sushiyama and Daddy Jack's.

3. You've traveled quite a bit. What are some of your favorite cuisines around the world? When I was on the Inca Trail in Peru, I ate (and loved) whatever was prepared for me. It was true local cooking and it was fabulous! In China, Turkey, Cambodia and Vietnam I loved the little local restaurants. I enjoy experiencing the local cuisine, wherever I am.

4. What essential items are always in your kitchen -- either to eat or cook with? Peanut butter and 1/2 & 1/2 (for my coffee) are staples. Apples and salad are always in my fridge, too. Important utensils are a wire whisk, a rubber spatula, a pressure cooker and my 5-quart soup pot (for making jam and soups).

5. What are your favorite guilty indulgences? Fresh caramels and toffee.

6. What kind of food would you like to see more of in Dallas? I think Dallas offers almost any cuisine you could ask for. However, if I had a wish, it would be that Dallas had a Quechuan (Peruvian) restaurant. It is some of most delicious and interesting food I've ever experienced. They can think of so many ways to use quinoa and potatoes!

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7. What are a few of your favorite dishes to cook? Mediterranean pasta salad, fresh homemade jams, and my Texas Trash.

8. What do you think is the best hole-in-the-wall or hidden-gem in Dallas? Daddy Jack's on lower Greenville.

9. Do you think the Dallas food scene is changing? I've been in Dallas since 1976. When I first arrived, there were only a handful of good restaurants in the city. Now you can pick almost any cuisine and enjoy a fabulous meal. It's growing and it has definitely changed for the better.

10. Any particular pre or post concert meals? I don't like to eat much before a concert. And it's a little difficult to find places that stay open late enough to get a nice meal after a concert. Toulouse (on Knox) and Sushiyama (on Forest) are wonderful and they are both open late. If I'm eating at home, pasta or a big salad.

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