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Friday, July 29, 2011

Will Fort Worth Have a Food Park this Fall?

The only things sprouting in this 105-degree desert atmosphere are food trucks. Not the dirty, fried-everything food trucks but creative gourmet trucks that won't have you reaching for the Imodium.

Soon there may be a place where a bundle of these can park and grow their businesses together.

It's not new news. I'm sure you've read on the other Fort Worth blogs there is a potential food truck park moving in behind the Target on West Seventh and Carroll.  I sat down with the man behind the idea, Chris Kruger, to ask him about the park and the upcoming Fort Worth City Council meeting where the park's fate will be decided. 

First, what can we expect to see at this meeting? Nine board members will hear Chris' case, which he has seven minutes to present. The people opposing have seven minutes as well. The board members will vote right then and there.  Chris needs seven out of nine votes to have his food park approved. There will also be time where you can add your two cents at the end of this foodie dance.

What is the current opposition? According to a Star-Telegram article, a local manufacturing company said several businesses in the area don't want the "street clogged with diners." The article also said they worry about children running in the streets.

The proposed food park site is in a "light" industrial area but one that hardly has traffic. In fact, the CrossFit Seven gym next door uses the empty streets as a running course several times a day. I also imagine children will be on the benches eating or in the sandbox ... unless they were raised by wolves and are unsupervised. In that case, you would worry about them anywhere.

Chris said he plans to have parking in the lot next to his 7,250 square-foot space on Weisenberger. With all of that said, I hardly see "people-clogging" as a problem. The manufacturers own their plot, not the street.

I've found in my research that most of the opposition for food parks comes from "bricks-and-mortar" restaurants that say food trucks steal their thunder. There aren't any food service companies within 100 feet of this park that I know of. Others argue they aren't environmentally friendly, creating a lot of trash. Maybe an innovative idea can make this park more green.

Chris said this isn't going to be like most other food parks (or pods), which merely fill up vacant unpaved areas or parking lots and aren't very attractive. He wants it to be a nice outdoor space with park benches, trash cans, and even a sandbox for the little ones to play in. Just look at his rendering. I would enjoy myself here.

Why a food park? While Chris already stays busy as an attorney, he and wife Lacey have always had a passion for food. At one point, they thought about opening a grilled cheese food truck, and his wife has her own food blog with nifty tips on how to prepare a solid meal. He said he's been following the food truck trend since he lived in Austin. He even watched that show "The Great Food Truck Race" on the Food Network. With the trend growing in Fort Worth, he decided to jump in and create a pleasant space for it to grow. But it hasn't come easy. He said it's been a learning curve for him and the city of Fort Worth, because this is the first time either of them have attempted such a project.

If you're interested in getting involved or showing up to support, the hearing is this Wednesday, 10 a.m. Aug. 3 at the City Council downtown on Throckmorton. "Like" them on Facebook by clicking here: http://www.facebook.com/fwfoodpark.

To contact Chris email him at fwfoodpark@gmail.com. If you have any corrections or questions for me, email me at foodtravelfortworth@gmail.com.

If all goes well Wednesday, the park should be open this fall.  Right when the weather gets nice and we all emerge from our air-conditioned caves.

Food Park Photo Gallery (Chris' idea looks more tidy than these)




Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Ray's Prime Steak and Seafood

I'm a picky eater. Don't get me wrong ... I'll eat anything, but I won't eat it cold if it's supposed to be hot and vice versa.

My thing is that a restaurant has a very specific job: food. If that is your specialty, all I ask is that you prepare it well, serve it hot and in a timely manner.  This is like climbing Everest for some restaurants.

I also prefer a suitable atmosphere and service minus the side of attitude. You serve so get over it! This is what you do!

Ray's Prime Steak and Seafood got it right. The service was excellent and the atmosphere was warm and cozy. The carpeted floor absorbed a lot of the noise so I could hear my twin sister, brother-in-law and my husband talk. Most importantly, the food was delicious and just the right temperature.

And the best part was that it isn't crazy expensive for what you're getting. It's hard to find a nice steakhouse that doesn't blow up your wallet. However I was a little thrown off by the woman at the table next to us wearing a baseball cap.

Below are the items we ordered and their descriptions.

Mussels in a tomato broth. So good. Not fishy, mushy or lukewarm. 
The Chop Salad with fried onions, bacon and blue cheese dressing.
Very refreshing and full of flavor. The onions really added something. 

Lobster bisque with chunks of lobster meat at the bottom.
The last time I had lobster bisque this good was at Nine in Dallas' Victory Park.
And trust me, it costs a lot more there. 

Filet with red wine, mushroom reduction and mashed potatoes.
The steak was very tender and cooked to perfection. 

Brandy Alexander is an excellent way to finish a meal if
you want to drink your dessert. It is a strong and rich icy drink
made with dark creme de cacao, brandy, half and half and nutmeg.
My sister is an expert in this concoction and she joyfully approved. It was great.
Ray's would be a nice place for an intimate celebration or a date. They don't have a website, but their address is 3206 Winthrop, Fort Worth 76116. Call 817. 732. 1614.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Park Hill Café

Newsflash: It's hot outside, and sometimes I crave cool foods like sushi, fruit, salad and cold sandwiches. I was on the other side of town helping a friend move and remembered my favorite summer sandwich was close by at Park Hill Café.

The "Veggie"
I first met this sandwich ten years ago and we are still in a healthy relationship. It has mushrooms, red onions, bright red and juicy tomatoes, thinly sliced green apples and lettuce stuffed in soft wheat bread. What makes this sandwich is a cream cheese dijon mustard combo they spread on the bread. (I always stuff my Lay's potato chips inside the sandwich for a salty crunch. It is so good with the apples.)

This lunch even inspired me to go back the next day to help my friend pack.

P.S. The quaint neighborhood hangout recently started serving a fantastic brunch. I recommend the brunch eggs. The homemade breakfast breads and hash brown casserole come with the meal. My only complaint is that the atmosphere isn't amazing, but it's comfortable and fitting.

Pssst ... I hear their new dinner menu is pretty good as well!



Chilled cucumber and dill soup. 




"Tools for Tomorrow"

As I was leaving Starbucks this morning I saw this box. I've noticed it for at least a couple of weeks and it hasn't been filled yet. The small sheet of paper glued to the measuring piece is a list of supplies needed for donation. 

"Tools for Tomorrow"
 So I looked inside surprised to find this.

trash for tomorrow

I immediately thought about the state of our education system in Texas. Have we given up? Or are only those who have children in school paying attention? Because it will affect all of us in some way or another.

I know this doesn't have to do with food or things to do, but it does have to do with Fort Worth. This image was definitely a gadfly for me. 

Monday, July 18, 2011

This blog has a new email!

Feel free to contact me with any concerns, questions, ideas or just to say hi. 

foodtravelfortworth@gmail.com

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Out with the new and back with the old

UPDATE: Hui Chuan sold and has been renamed Little Lilly Sushi. It has an entirely new menu. 

Any time a child gets a new toy they seem to forget about the old one. Nothing is wrong with the old toy, it's just not new. The Toy Story movies are all about this phenomenon.

It's hard to keep the modern human's attention for very long and Fort Worth has received many new and flashy toys lately: bowling alleys, restaurants galore, shops and more. With that we've forgotten about our older friends, like one of Fort Worth's original sushi joints – Hui Chuan on West Camp Bowie.

Don't get me wrong, I've enjoyed the new places and they have something different to offer. But nothing compares to the friendliness, intimate atmosphere, calming music and fresh fish like Hui Chuan. It is still my favorite place to eat, especially when craving Super White Tuna sashimi. It comes with a light sauce and a jalapeno sliver. The fish never tastes ... well, fishy.

Today I checked out their lunch specials. I went with option A for only $8 (there are 4 options). It included piping hot miso soup, a fresh and colorful house salad and a plump California roll. All was filling and good. The salad had a light vinaigrette dressing, baby field greens, strawberries, green apples, cantaloupe and fresh cracked black pepper. Yum!

I challenge you to pull those old toys out of the closet and let them know you haven't forgotten about them.

I Love Fort Worth's Backyard

The only time I can stand to be outside right now is at 7 a.m. when I hit the trails for a jog or walk. This morning I loved seeing this kayaker. It reminded me that we don't have to live in Colorado to enjoy the outdoors (although it helps).  I like to see people enjoying Fort Worth's backyard.


See him? He's tiny. 

There he is!

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Pie Five doesn't get a high five from me

I have a small voice, and it embarrasses me when I have to yell to place my order. Not only did I have to scream my order at the loud McPizza joint, but the rude staff at Pie Five on West 7th actually told me to order faster.

"You can order your toppings faster you know," said the man behind the counter who almost received a black eye from moi.

"I bet I can, but I'm figuring out my toppings as I look through your pretty glass case ... you really need to be nicer," I said. I was ticked.

As I waited for my pizza to go through the conveyer belt oven, I noticed the place was louder than loud,  really hot and flies peppered the tables. I had to dine in because I was short on time, but wasn't excited about it.

I tried this place a few weeks ago and the staff was a bit nicer but not patient. There were so many options before you even get to the toppings: the crust thickness, garlic sauce, alfredo sauce or marinara sauce. I needed help figuring out what tasted good with what.

I asked the staff if they normally put garlic butter sauce with alfredo sauce. He told me to do whatever I want and rushed me through (side note: both times nobody was in line behind me).  My order was mushy, too rich and clearly lacked guidance.

I stayed traditional with my second attempt. It was OK. I liked the dough.

Domino's is cheaper, hotter and easier. I think I'll stick with them ... unless I need a pie ASAP.

A tent was set out in front of the pizza place the night before it's grand opening. The first 50 people inside received a free pie. 

The line wrapped around the building. This is moments before the opening of Pie Five. 

Friday, July 1, 2011

Independence Day in Fort Worth

Willie Nelson's 4th of July Picnic
When: doors open at 11:30 and festivities start noon July 4
Where: Billy Bob's in Fort Worth
How much: tickets are $35 at the door
Who: click here to see the schedule of artists

Old Fashioned Family Fireworks and Picnic
When: 8 p.m. July 4
Where: Fort Worth Botanical Gardens
What: Concert in the Gardens
How much: $16 for lawn pass (kiddos under 10 are free)

City of Fort Worth
When: 4:30 p.m. Monday July 4
Where: Trinity River Levee behind LaGrave field (601 N.E. Sixth St.)
What: games, water activities, pony rides and music
How much: free!

There is always a family barbecue or lake house to take it easy with your loved ones and friends. Whatever you do, remember those who died and are still dying for our independence. Happy 4th of July!!!

What are you doing for the 4th?