I spent the better (or worse) part of last week on business in the city of Dallas, Texas. DallASS is an inflated city with inflated prices and lots of, um, fake grass? It really is true, I’ve noticed that fake grass is a distinctly different green than natural grass and Dallas is covered with fake green turf, the kind that comes in bolts like fabric. Unfortunately, the cuisine mimics the foliage in its lack of authenticity.
At the beginning of these business trips everyone present from the organization gathers for dinner on the fist night. I loathe this occurrence. Work dinners are stuffy, impersonal, and the location is invariably the hotel “restaurant”. Since I hold the conversation and ambiance at these work dinners to a very low standard I expect something fantastic from the food. I never order by price (the way I ALWAYS do in other restaurants) because these dinners are on the company expense account and Momma didn’t raise no fool! The restaurant located in the DFW Hyatt is called Mister G’s. I ordered a glass of Cartagena Chardonnay ’02, a Chilean wine that delivered a balanced taste and a persistent tropical finish. We ordered the appetizers tapas style, most consisted of red meat (from which I am currently abstaining) but there was a shrimp cous-cous dish that was tasty, slightly peppery, and the cous-cous consisted of extra-large grains which I found exciting. I ordered a spring salad that arrived in a HUGE glass bowl (the sort of thing you might find at Pier One) and though the lettuce, tomatoes, and carrots were crisp the vinegrette that lined the pan was sticky and sweet. Alas, I prefer my dressing sans sugar. My main course was a polenta encrusted snapper on a bed of roasted vegetables and juniper berries. The snapper itself was tender and very snapper-y. I can’t really describe the taste but Tom Robbins once wrote that a main character swallowed a tab of ecstasy and that the pill tasted like snapper. I enjoy snapper (and I love Tom Robbins) and that description doesn’t really do the brightly colored fish justice, but I have to concur with the overall sentiment. The polenta “crust” was not “crusty” it was more of a batter, very corny. Very much like the grits at Waffle House after they mold to the bottome of the bowl. The “crust” very nearly overpowered my snapper and that is just not cool. The roasted vegetables and juniper berries were delicious. The juniper berries still had their little chared hairs attached and some gourmands might find that odd but I found it festive, inviting, and tasty. That’s probably a “texture” thing, huh? Or maybe it’s that since my days roasting coffee I’m a sucker for a good “roasted note”. I skipped desert because I just wasn’t in the mood and nothing on the menu really caught my eye. The next night I had a half-moon shaped flour-less espresso tart that had two little dark chocolate twigs erupting from the dark and coffee-chocolatey depths. THAT, is what I’m talking about.
Other DallASS food items of note:
The fruits and vegetables were delicious, but what else is new. On Thursday morning I could have stuffed my face with danishes but I’ve been watching my stuffed hour-glass figure and opted for the fruit. I know I ate an entire mango and I’m pretty sure I devoured half a pineapple and four kiwis. I ate PURPLE CAULIFLOWER for the very first time! It’s really just cauliflower . . . that’s PURPLE! Apparently the color is from the antioxidant group called anthocyanin. That’s the same stuff that colors red cabbage and red wine. Now you know! There was a room service TRAVESTY. I ordered Blue Crab Migas, I was so excited for the crab and eggs and green scallions and the queso fresco. I nearly cried when the “queso fresco” wasn’t so much the authentic Mexican cheese that I know and love – as it was a shallow bowl of Philadelphia cream cheese. I couldn’t even eat the meal, but that’ s what you get from room service. Additionally, Dallas is supposed to be a hot bed of Tex-Mex cuisine, right?!?