By Rebecca Combs, Foodable Contributor
Fresh. Local. Farm to Table. These are words and phrases that are being passed around a lot in the culinary world. Diners want to know where their food is coming from. Dallas may be a landlocked city with little greenery to be seen, but that does not mean there is a shortage of fresh and local ingredients. Here’s a roundup of where our chefs are getting their inspiration and food, and what makes these places special.
According to owner Jon Alexis, TJ's is where Big D chefs are shopping! In 2009, Jon took over as the third-generation owner of TJ’s, and is selling not only to top chefs like Omar Flores (Casa Rubia), John Tesar (Spoon Bar & Kitchen and Knife), and Matt McCallister (FT33), but also to the top private chefs in Dallas. So, why are they all hooked on TJ's? As Jon says, “Chefs come to us because we can get stuff that their vendors may not be able to get — and they can get it from us with no minimum. Plus, we give 25% off to professional chefs.” From crawfish bowls to lobster bakes, TJ's is always showcasing their fresh fish to the community. Want to impress someone for dinner? Drop TJ's a line! You can pick up your fish, the seasonings, and they'll even give you a recipe. Don’t feel like cooking dinner? At TJ’s, you can also dine-in. Next time you're in the area, weigh anchor at TJ’s.
TJ's Seafood Market
The DFM is located in Downtown Dallas and is one of the largest public markets of its kind in the country. It's a one-stop shop for your entire meal – from meat to produce to flowers. For chefs, this is a great market because it's year-round, and they even have a night market, which allows chefs to come get their fresh ingredients late at night or early in the morning. The DFM also puts on monthly cooking classes through the Dallas Farmers Market Friends (DFMF) Board and holds mixers with chefs and their local farmers. With the help of GROW North Texas, the DFM hopes to start a “Chefs Market” that will help with the purchase of “local food products from within the state of Texas or from within a 400-mile radius by chefs for use in restaurants in Dallas and Forth Worth.” The goal of the program is to create a way for chefs to place their orders online based on what is available on the farms. From cooking classes to locally grown food, the Dallas Farmers Market is not only great for chefs, but great for the community as well.
Dallas Farmers Market
1010 S. Pearl Expressway
Dallas, TX 75201
Spiceman's FM 1410 is the perfect stop for unique greens and garnishes. The unassuming location lends itself to being easily missed, but it's truly a Dallas gem. Located close to the corner of Ross and Fitzhugh, patrons enter through a door that is sandwiched between two buildings — one has a red awning and the other a black one. Spiceman's, however, has a classic Texas star over the door. Inside, it's not fancy or extravagant, but you’re sure to find the best sourced, and some of the rarest greens and mushrooms. And not just chefs shops here: Dallas cocktail master Brian McCullough (The Standard Pour) says, “I've gotten everything from lemon verbena, chocolate mint, thai basil, passion flowers, ramps and fiddleheads — you name it! Everything from garnishes to infusions.” So come crack open a bottle of wine, enjoy a few laughs with Tom “Spiceman” Spicer, and sample some greens on the patio out back that overlooks an 11,000-square-foot organic garden.
Spiceman's FM 1410
1410, 1410-B North Fitzhugh Ave.
Dallas, Texas 75024
“Think Local. Shop the Rock.” That's the catchphrase for the White Rock Local Market. Every Saturday, WRLM showcases locally grown fare and foods from farmers, ranchers and artisans. Their mission is to draw attention to local farmers and the health benefits that go hand-in-hand with eating local. From community gardens to volunteer days at local farms, WRLM is focused on fresh and local. Chef Brian Luscher (The Grape Restaurant) can be found at the market serving up Luscher's Post Oak Red Hots, which is quoted as being “the best hot dog you'll ever eat.” Brian is a huge supporter of the market because “everything is grown within 150 miles of the market. The market also accepts SNAPs. Plus, there are cooking demos and homesteading skills and cooking classes. And, it's run by really great folks.”
White Rock Local Market
These are just a few of the unique markets in the DFW area. Be on the lookout for fun and interesting shops. You never what you'll find or what you'll learn while you're there!