Tag Archives: Cheese

Il Formaggio, la Carne & il Vino: Una Boccata

18 Mar

Jimmy’s Food Store: A Dallas Staple

Jimmy's Food Store

I wanted to take the time to pay homage to one of my favorite local spots: Jimmy’s Food Store.  It amazes me every time this locally owned and run Italian grocery store comes up in conversation and so many people pause and say, “Wait, what’s this place?  Where is it?”

Jimmy's Food Store

Jimmy's, Located on the Corner of Bryan and Fitzhugh

Jimmy’s has a rich history in Dallas, starting back in 1966.  Grandpa Jimmy DiCarlo owned a grocery store in South Dallas for over 20 years, and then he and his son (also Jimmy, also owned his own grocery with his wife, Marie) decided to open Jimmy’s Food Store together.  After Grandpa Jimmy’s passing, Father Jimmy recruited his sons, Paul and Michael, to work in the store.  Over the course of its existence, Jimmy’s served as an imports store catering to many different cultures in the community.

Marie DiCarlo

Mama Marie, Rolling Her Infamous Meatballs

It wasn’t until the mid 90’s that the brothers decided to go back to their roots and start featuring Italian products as the focus of the store.  Their mother, Marie, rolled her famous, home-made meatballs, and the boys started stocking the shelves with Italian wines.

Today, while you won’t see Marie rolling her meatballs anymore, her recipes are still in full force.  Upon entering Jimmy’s, you will see hundreds of Italian wines stocked on shelves, fresh produce, home-made pastas and sauces in the refrigerators (I highly recommend their lobster ravioli and tomato vodka sauce), Italian-imported sweets and the famous meat counter in the back where everyone finds their way.  The family still owns Jimmy’s, and nine times out of ten I see Mike when I walk through the door.  The staff is nothing but knowledgeable and helpful when you are trying to pick out the best salami for your dinner party or when you are perusing the wine section, broken down by Italian provinces.  You might be caught off guard by their cheese selection; Jimmy’s offers an array of cheeses to pair with your sausage/salami of choice.

Muffuletta

MMmmMm - Muffuletta

You can also order food from the kitchen.  If you are in the area and happen to be craving a muffulleta, you now know where to go!  It’s to die for!  Stop by on a Saturday for a meatball sub and snag a wine sample (they are always offering tastes of the different regions).  The house-made cannolis are nothing to be joked about.  Order a side of olives to take home with you – you won’t be sorry!

What really makes this spot unique and wonderful is its commitment to staying “local,” as well as its family roots.  So many restaurants in the Dallas area feature meats from Jimmy’s Food Store; you probably have no idea how many!  One of my favorites at Fireside Pies, the Hot n’ Crumbled, features spicy Italian sausage from Jimmy’s meat counter!  Parigi on Oaklawn, Bolsa in the Bishop Arts District, State and Allen in Uptown and Rise n°1 in Inwood Village all feature foods from Jimmy’s as well!  I love the atmosphere when you walk into the store; everyone is so friendly .  I can’t tell you how many dinner parties I’ve planned for and purchased food for there; the guys at the counter are so helpful and always have great tips for serving!  While Central Market might have a more extensive cheese selection, they have nothing on Jimmy’s meat options!

James DiCarlo

James, aka "Father Jimmy," DiCarlo

If you find yourself in the area and planning for dinner, needing something to do on a Saturday afternoon or if you happen to be coming into town to visit friends/family, definitely check out Jimmy’s!  You won’t be disappointed with the experience, the smells, the tastes – anything!  They also offer gift cards which make for excellent stocking stuffers around the holidays or gifts for the culinary savant in your life.

For more information on Jimmy’s Food Store and the history of the family, CLICK HERE.


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Almeh…

21 Feb

Triston Simon’s New Digs Are A-OK – And That’s About It

Alma

Almost...

Perhaps it was the prolonged opening, pushed back again and again by torrential winds, ice and snow.  Perhaps it was the excitement that I let build too high.  Perhaps it was the legacy that sits before the Simon restaurant name that ended up leading to a let down.  Either way, our experience at Alma (the old Cuba Libre spot) was just Ok.

The Drinks

It wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t great.  We started off with some signature cocktails: hmm, interesting selection but nothing stood out.  I was expecting sangrias and margaritas, but instead we saw odd tequila based punches and brandy meets milk.  I really felt this was mixology gone sour.

Sopes

The Brandied Horchata and Tasty Sopes

The Apps

The queso fundido, featuring Chihuahua cheese and touted by the select few who enjoyed the pre-opening private dining event, was greasy and the cheese almost seemed to curdle.  A crony at the table brought up a good point: you must be careful when mixing oily and greasy together.  Chorizo is a very oily sausage, and when mixed in a mini crock with melted cheese you’ll need multiple napkins and some hand sanitizer to feel clean.  The sopes? TO DIE FOR!  They were great!  Perfect mix of veggie, crunch and flavor!

Enchilada Rojo

Just Alright: Enchilada Rojo

The Mains

Everyone on our four-top ended up ordering something different with a few sides!  This is a prime opportunity to showcase how well rounded your menu is.  I opted for the signature pork dish, the cochinita pibil (anchiote-marinated pork shank).  It was tasty, and I thoroughly enjoyed the side of mole sauce the waiter brought me; sadly, the latter was the best part of the meal.  The main component was just OK.  The enchilada rojo, featuring braised short rib, left MUCH to be desired.

Street Corn

It's the Small Things That Count: Side of Street Corn & Mole Sauce

The enchilada de pollo verde was very good!  The flavors were definitely there, and the Chihuahua cheese fit in wonderfully with this mix.  However, keep in mind  you are still pay $16 for chicken enchiladas.  The breadwinner was Michael who actually ordered the tacos de carnitas (pork jowel – you heard me) but received the tacos de carne asada.  He definitely had no complaints as this was the best entre of the night.  The meat was very well seasoned, came with an array of sauces that were delightful but not even needed, and the house made tortillas were soft and delicate.  The sides and sauces really made the meal.  The favorite of the night was the “street corn,” scoops of grilled sweet corn mixed with queso fresco and chili mayonnaise served in mini husks.  Talk about delicious!

The group was too full for dessert, but the menu didn’t even provide many tempting options. Once again, nothing stood out and no one was “WOWED” instantly.  So, it was easy to pass.

To sum up, the overall experience was fun.  The ambiance was great.  I really love what they did with the decorating, especially upstairs.  They added a fireplace which was a nice touch to a fun lounge area where patrons enjoyed pre dinner cocktails and apps.  The service was friendly – but almost too friendly.  There’s something to be said about a waiter who knows his boundaries and when to leave the table alone.  I left feeling like I wouldn’t really go out of my way to come back to Alma.  With anchors like Hibiscus and Victor Tango right across the street and at similar prices, that’s a no-brainer.  Plus, I have a problem picking out my courses at those restaurants because everything sounds SO good!  At Alma, nothing was exciting or really jumped out.

Cafe San Miguel

Try the Pomerita!

For the price, I just really was not impressed.  As before mentioned, it wasn’t the best, but it wasn’t the worst either.  Just a tip for those who want to be in the know: Cafe San Miguel is right down the street if you want regional Mexican cuisine; they are the self proclaimed inventor of the pomerita (pomegranate marg) and have a FABULOUS queso fundido, sans the grease-o.

Happy National Cheese Lover’s Day!

20 Jan

Seriously?  Really?  OH YEAH!  That’s right, my calendar says it’s National Cheese Lover’s Day!

I felt an instinctive need to share this with everyone, as pretty much ALL of my friends are obsessed with cheese.  Now I am starting to seriously reconsider my evening plan; a cheese tray comprised of delectables from Jimmy’s and some Pinot Noir at the Wine Therapist sounds very tempting!

Cheese Display

Happy Cheese Day!

Special acclamations to my friend Melinda who is enduring a rigorous no-cheese diet until April.  Girl, I have no idea how you do it!

Some thoughts I will leave you with:

  • What is your favorite type of cheese?
  • What Dallas restaurant do you think offers the best cheese tray?
  • When do you eat your cheese?  As an appetizer, with your main course or, as the French do, as your dessert?

Regarding the above, I would have to say aged, sharp white cheddar or a rich, creamy brie; Rise No. 1’s cheese cart; and cheese anytime – all the time!