Monthly Archives: February 2011

What I would miss most if I had to move north

Photo by Taylor Adams

There are numerous aspects of Dallas that I love: the heat, the friendly people and of course, the food. After–really, not that much that thought at all, I came to realize that I really don’t know how I could live a fully-content life without easy access to fried chicken.

As most of us know, not all fried chicken is good chicken; thankfully, there’s Bubba’s. I’ve been lucky enough to be near a consistent source for the comfort food for much of my life. As a child, my dad and I would stop by Bubba’s for breakfast before I went to elementary school. Today, its location down the block from the SMU campus makes it an ideal Sunday lunch destination after church.

The batter is my main focus on most fried food items. Some restaurants prepare chicken pieces with a delicate batter that falls off just as you pick it up. As the batter is usually the best part, this is simply not acceptable. Others have a dense crust, one more appropriate for chicken fried steak. There’s a golden mean of batter consistency that’s necessary to achieve chicken-fried perfection, and I believe Bubba’s reaches it every time.

Options of fried chicken take over the left side of the board above the order counter at the small restaurant. Depends on the day, but a leg and a wing will do for me, or the chicken tenders (the fried, not the grilled) are more than satisfying–just depends if I feel like getting my hands messy.

I feel that there are certain sides that should accompany fried chicken: mashed potatoes and gravy, green beans or baked beans. But Bubba’s has some other options for those who are less limiting to their comfort food items: squash casserole, yams, coleslaw and corn on the cob are just a few.

Bubba’s is owned by Babe’s, which I’ve only visited three times in Carollton (none of the nine Babe’s locations are a convenient distance from me). I’m thankful I have the Bubba’s for one reason only–the yeast rolls. While Babe’s serves standard biscuits with their fried meals, Bubba’s serves buttery rolls that when you tear apart, seem to be too soft to handle the honey that pairs so perfectly with them.

Unless I tried them when I was 7, I believe I have never tried Bubba’s cinnamon rolls for breakfast. I suppose I’ll be stopping by there before church this Sunday.

Bubba’s
6617 Hillcrest Ave., Dallas, 75205
214-373-6527
Take-out, drive-through and sit-down
Breakfast, lunch and dinner served 6:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. seven days a week.

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Even a favorite can’t be perfect

I’m among the many who love the restaurants lining Henderson Avenue. One of my favorites draws in customers with a desirable porch in the summer that is thankfully covered and heated in the winter.

The Porch has brought diners in for expertly-designed cocktails and expensive comfort food for almost three years. I couldn’t be more satisfied with the smoked ham mac & cheese casserole. The Stodg burger is a guilty pleasure with aged cheddar, bacon, a fried egg and traditional toppings. The pounded chicken parm is a cheesy favorite I order repeatedly.

The big board to the right of the 45-foot bar lists the feature cocktails and menu items. Wood-topped tables line the inside for a comfort feeling, while the porched seating provides diners to lookout to Henderson Avenue.

I recently dropped by the Porch on one of our frigid evenings eager to indulge. My date ordered a Caesar salad, which was well-tossed with parmesan and a creamy dressing. I know I will never call a Caesar dressing perfect, and this one wasn’t, but it made for a salad worth ordering again. Though my favorite part was undoubtedly the parmesan wafers lining the bowl.

We had heard that we would find some of the best fish and chips in Dallas here and we were eager for our main courses to arrive. My choice had been the grilled cheese paired with a tomato soup that a waiter promised was better than La Madeleine‘s, (which is in no way true at all). Beside the over-advertised soup sat a griddled sandwhich of  sliced tomato in between melted layers of  Port Salute, provolone and aged cheddar. The bread, a thick slice of brioche, was perfectly grilled with a copious amount of butter. I believe I share Julia Child’s love for butter, but when taking a bite of this sandwich, all I tasted was butter and tomato, an odd combination not worth tasting. Give me regular toast with loads of cheese and I would be happy.

On the other side of the table were the coveted fish and chips. The breaded halibut was too hot for me to take my time dipping it into the sweet dill tartar sauce. The breading was perfect–so many fish and chip attempts fail at the first bite of a bland, fried coating of a fish. However, the failure at the Porch came with the fish itself, which lacked any flavor. A simple dredging in seasoning before the batter would solve this problem, I imagine, avoiding the utter disappointment of the diner when finishing the bite–the taste of an impressive batter leaves the senses as the “taste” of a bland fish takes over.

So a couple of items are struck from the Porch’s menu for me, but I still have no doubt the atmosphere, cocktails and oversized burgers will have me return.

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A sweet side of society

Photo by Taylor Adams

After finding out the loyal Daily Campus staff members would survive their drives through icy weather to create a newspaper for this week, I decided to make a stop on Greenville Avenue to bring gifts showing my gratitude. Of course, my presents of appreciation always come in some form of chocolate, and today’s chocolate presents came from none other than Society Bakery.

This small store is always surprisingly loud when I walk in; the small kitchen in the back seems to always be packed with a staff fulfilling an order (this time the order was some Green Bay Packer-themed cookies).

The bright colors on the walls and decor are typical for many bakeries that I’ve visited, but the homemade look of these cupcakes are something different than the other cupcake-filled bakeries. The over-sized cupcakes impressively manage to stay inside the cupcake liner while a thick swirl of frosting tops the mushroom-shaped dessert.

Photo by Taylor Adams

Popular favorites of chocolate, carrot cake and red velvet are lined inside the glass casing. As with many bakeries, the red velvet is the big seller for this spot. But I find myself ordering the chocolate and banana cupcake more often than anything else. Society uses fresh banana in the cake, making it the most moist of any other option on their cupcake list. Crisp chips of chocolate contrast this smooth banana cake that holds a heap of banana frosting.

Society is also known for its whoopie pies–worth ordering on your second visit. But for me, I’m all about the cupcake.

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Some perfect pizza found in a Dallas dive

It has one door. It holds one bar that reaches down one side of the small room it has for dining. It has a few windows that never get to let in light. It doesn’t even have a website. What it does have is a retro interior that serves as the ideal setting for martinis and pizza.

Louie’s is known for its pizza in Dallas, which explains how this small building on the side of the road gets adequate business on a Monday night.

After walking through the miniature entryway, we waited to be seated (which, by the way, you don’t need to do) and already heard the bartender taking martini orders from three arriving customers.

And just a slight warning for you while you’re waiting on your meal to arrive: the bartender serves his drinks generously strong (at least it was for my Cape Codder).

The small Caesar we ordered was more than an appetizer to split, but acceptable considering it was $7. Had the dressing recipe used half the amount of anchovy that it did, this acceptably-sized salad would have been gratifying–and I’m a true appreciator of anchovy flavor in a Caesar. But some sparse croutons and just a light dusting of Parmesan couldn’t save the overwhelming fish taste in this one.

Thankfully, my main meal wasn’t near the disappointment of the Caesar. I prefer a thin crust on my pizza, as do many Dallasites, according to the full tables in this establishment. But Louie’s has the crust that is both crisp  enough to make a loud bite and sturdy enough to hold your toppings of choice.

My pizza last night had pepperoni and jalepenos (which my date proceeded to tell me makes a nacho out of a pizza). I appreciate a copious amount of cheese on my pizza, and the Wisconsin cheese layer on this one simply made me eat more than I should have.

Next trip, I may jump on the crab claws for appetizers and try one of Louie’s sandwiches. But I may take a pizza home afterward, just in case.

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