Unlike the last chef at Kitchen LTO who was brand new to Dallas, Blythe Beck is intimately familiar with the food scene. Which is not surprising, considering that she worked in some of the city's best restaurants before moving away for a few years to pursue consulting opportunities. Now that she's back, she's ready to indulge in some of her favorite Dallas restaurants once her stint and LTO starts and her schedule slows down.
When I asked Beck about her favorite Dallas restaurants, a look of slight shame crept over her face. "No! That's not a fair question," she said. "I eat at some places that are pretty embarrassing. It's not like when not seen at Kitchen LTO, Chef Blythe Beck is dining on the veranda at the Mansion in my fur coat." Embarrassing or not, these five Dallas joints are where you're likely to catch the "Naughty Chef" when she's not in the kitchen.
This East Dallas Vietnamese joint doesn't get the same fanfare that more upscale places like Dalat and Miss Chi's Vietnamese do, but it's probably still one of the best places in Dallas to find a cheap, authentically Vietnamese lunch. Beck didn't dish on what she ordered, but the usual Viet combination of pho, spring rolls, and maybe a freshly made boba tea are always a good choice at Vietnam.
Pappas Bros. Steakhouse
Again, Beck insists that she's not the type of chef that spends every night out at a fine dining establishment. Still, the crab macaroni and cheese at Pappas Bros. Steakhouse is enough to make her keep coming back. "Maybe there's a theme here with this mac and cheese thing. I just love it." Who could blame her when this dish has garnered such a loyal following that copycat recipes abound online for home chefs to replicate it.
This, of course, is the restaurant that Beck was so embarrassed to admit her undying love of. "They didn't have them in Arkansas, so I'm so glad to be back," says Beck with a hearty laugh. "It's the Catholic in me. I always remember going to Luby's every Friday for fried fish and mac and cheese. It's so shameful, but my love for Luby's knows no bounds." Now the rest of us won't have to feel any shame about our unabashed love for a good ole LuAnn Platter.
When she's looking for a quick lunch, Blythe Beck heads to Eatzi's on Oak Lawn. Instead of going for the pricey premade entrees, though, she prefers to hit up the DIY sandwich and salad bars where she can (somewhat) put her chef skills to work. She's also known for carrying around Eatzi's iced peach tea in big gallon jugs
There are plenty of Tex-Mex restaurants in Dallas, but Beck considers Mariano's at Northwest Highway and Skillman to have "the best salsa in the world," thanks to its chargrilled flavors and chunky texture. Since she'd been away for so long, Beck was practically salivating at the mention of the salsa, so you know there's got to be something good going on there. As a bonus, there's also a ring of chilled ice on the bar that will keep your margarita, reportedly invented by the founder of Mariano's, ice cold.