Another year of stuffing my face has passed, and I’m psyched about what 2014 has in store for my picky palate. (I’m less enthusiastic about having to remember it’s a new year every time I have to write down the date.) The last year has been one of transition for the Fort Worth foodiesphere. A few great restaurants closed, and a slew of new places have opened. But the new year cometh, and I’m ready to find the best of this town.
This year I’m on a mission — make that 51 separate missions (the paper doesn’t run the column during the week of the Best Of issue) — and I want to take you, the reader, with me. I’ve tried to cast as wide a net as possible with Chow, Baby, but it has some serious coverage gaps that I plan on addressing.
Where is the African food? I want to get my yam on and eat off a bread plate, with my hands. Surely somewhere in Arlington or Hurst there’s an Ethiopian restaurant gem that I just haven’t found yet. Are there great Egyptian food joints other than King Tut (1512 W. Magnolia Ave.) and Al Wadi Café (2712 Brown Tr., Bedford)? With the growing Egyptian population in the Mid-Cities, there must be demand for good sambousik. The version at Al Wadi ($4.45) — phyllo dough stuffed with cheese, ground beef, minced onion, and pine nuts — is the best I’ve ever had, but does some other place also do it well? I’ll also be on the lookout for the best curry dishes. There are plenty of Indian and Middle Eastern places, but precious few great ones outside of Arlington.
Here’s another mystery: Is it just me, or is there’s a dearth of inexpensive non-chain seafood places in this area? I’m hoping it’s just me. I’m happy that Waters: Chef Bonnell’s Coastal Cuisine (2901 Crockett St.) and Pacific Table (1600 S. University Dr., Suite 601) have hooked me, but both tend to be a little pricey, and both have had their issues with consistency. J&J’s Oyster Bar (612 University Dr.) is always good, but I’m looking for something with a little more chef-iness. I know a reasonably priced place that specializes in non-fried seafood is out there, and I’m going to find it. I’ve spent too many nights craving oysters, mussels, and cod and had to settle for some B-grade blackened catfish at a gas-station diner.
A few weeks ago I bemoaned the lack of delivery places in our fair burg (“Feed A Fever,” Dec. 4). Since then I’ve been inundated with e-mails telling me all of the places that will deliver. Though many of them are not near my hovel, I’m going to try as many as I can and report back to you as to whether or not you should allow their food in your home.
I’d sell my nana for a place that serves a good breakfast and is neither a chain nor a greasy spoon. That is, someplace you could take your banker or the guy who’s going to make a film out of your book — something with just a smidge of class.
Finally, I’ve gone chocolate mad recently. And I’m determined to find the best chocolate dessert in this city. I plan to eat every molten lava, flourless, sheet, and bundt cake of that flavor under the 817 sun. Hell, I’ll even crash a wedding or two if there’s a chocolate groom’s cake to sample. This one is going to get messy.
This year I’m not content to let the game come to me. I’ll be driving headlong down the path of foodie glory, armed with my custom-made “Eat or Die” bib, elastic pants, and displaced emotional issues. Failure is not an option. Suggestions are welcome.
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