Now Playing

Brian Luscher of The Grape with his McKinney-produced Post Oak Red Hots

Stalk Market

by Kim Pierce | Photography by Nick Prendergast | Modern Luxury Dallas magazine | June 25, 2013

We have a burst of restaurant creativity to thank for fueling farm-to-fork fever big-time in North Texas, as chefs rush to embrace the best ingredients. Trickle down means there’s more for all of us, including provision-savvy home cooks. But the wave doesn’t stop at farm and ranch. Locally made artisan foodstuffs are gaining their own momentum at farmers markets and specialty stores, such as Green Grocer Dallas and Patina Green in McKinney. And a few regional goodies are even chef-driven, bringing the whole movement full-circle. Now that’s synergy you can relish.

Starch Defender
Craving carbs? Topping our list is Julian Barsotti’s ethereal handmade raviolini at Carbone’s Fine Food and Wine (4208 Oak Lawn Ave., carbonesdallas.com). Sure, you can order it from the menu but, even better, you can whisk boxes of the frozen little pillows home, including new sausage-and-cheese, to personalize your Italian feast. The pasta’s as delicate as lamb’s ear and cooks amazingly fast. Drizzle with sage-y browned butter or grab some house marinara. Easy, fast, fantastic.

Hots Diggity
The Grape chef-owner Brian Luscher’s Post Oak Red Hots (postoakredhots.com) are red hot in our book. Made at McKinney’s Local Yocal Farm to Market (213 N. Tennessee St., localyocalfarmtomarket.com), with locally pastured beef and pork, they’re fraught with garlic, and the casings snap when you bite into them. Get ’em hot off the grill every Saturday at White Rock Local Market (whiterocklocalmarket.org) or buy packages along with Luscher’s other sausages at Green Grocer Dallas (3614 Greenville Ave., greengrocerdallas.com), also a hotbed of local finds, including an organic version of extreme artisanal Carnival Barker’s Ice Cream (damngoodicecream.com) made in Deep Ellum. While you’re at it, knock back some Deep Ellum Brewing Company Rye Pils (deepellumbrewing.com) with those links.

Steer Madness
Speaking of Local Yocal, that’s your ticket to mind-blowing locally pastured prime, all-natural wagyu-Black Angus beef. The pampered cattle are humanely finished in a Melissa feed yard on hay, repurposed supermarket veggies (part of owner Matt Hamilton’s 2011 drought-survival strategy) and a small mixed-grain allotment, resulting in supremely marbled, buttery steaks and exceptional “lesser” cuts. Limited production and pricey, but worth it. While you’re there, slip into nearby Patina Green (116 N. Tennessee St., Ste. 102, patinagreenehomeandmarket.com) for other awesome local finds, including housemade salad dressings, buttery local tortilla chips and Windy Meadows Family Farm chicken.

Pure Heaven
After a hiatus, tiny artisanal On Pure Ground Dairy (onpureground.com) is back with Cheryl and Paul Haubrich’s silky, handmade North Texas chevre. Plain is Divine (that’s the name, too), but the flavored rounds are even better, including peppery Texas Twister and, perfect for summer, peaches and cream with cardamom and racy peach chipotle. Find it at Scardello Artisan Cheese (3511 Oak Lawn Ave., scardellocheese.com), Green Grocer Dallas and Patina Green. Smear it on warm baguette slices from Village Baking Co. (5531 E. University Blvd., villagebakingco.com), now open daily, and still bringing bread to area farmers markets every Saturday.

Supreme Cream
Italian cream cake may be the next best thing to chocolate, and at Jimmy’s Food Store (4901 Bryan Ave., jimmysfoodstore.com), Mary DiCarlo Francis makes hers using an old family recipe. Anytime Italian’s on the agenda, Jimmy’s is the place to shop, soup to nuts, cheese to wine. Brothers Mike and Paul DiCarlo run the East Dallas grocery, which stocks local artisanal foods, too. A few doors down at FM 1410 (1410B Fitzhugh Ave., 214.404.9104), eccentric urban farmer Tom Spicer plucks the goods from out back and shares foods he’s foraged and specially procured, such as chanterelles.

Oil Barons
There’s nothing easy about growing olive trees in Texas, but Dallas’ own Jim and Karen Henry are the pioneers getting it done near Carrizo Springs. We just love their versatile Texas Olive Ranch Meyer-lemon-infused extra virgin Arbequina (texasoliveranch.com), a secret weapon to aim at salads, fish and veggies. Find this and other great flavors at area farmers markets. By the way, Jim’s not satisfied he’s found the best olive-growing land in Texas; he’s investing in a parcel near Victoria where he’ll plant 300,000 more trees. Just call him Little Jimmy Olive Seed.

Grain with Envy
If all this foraging makes you thirsty, stop by your favorite spirits shop for the latest infused vodka from the Hill Country’s Deep Eddy Vodka (deepeddyvodka.com), which famously gave us its sweet-tea-infused vodka. It doesn’t get more Texan than red Rio Grande Valley grapefruit, and the team blends essential oils from the zest with concentrated juice to get their tangy-tart Ruby Red grapefruit vodka just right. Why pink? Real color from real fruit. Serve with club soda and a twist of lime on the rocks—you’ll be one cool cucumber.