Open line | Arkansas Blog

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Open line

Posted By on Sun, Nov 30, 2008 at 5:08 PM

I'm back, you might have guessed, but not for long. Clothes to wash, etc.

So over to you.

But a few last words about Dallas: Do yourself a favor. Visit Avila's Mexican restaurant on Maple Ave., about a mile north of McKinney. It's a family place, run by Ricardo Avila with his mother presiding over the kitchen. If they didn't invent, they perfected, the brisket taco. But the hallmark dish is chile rellenos, stuffed with either beef, chicken or cheese, depending on the day. It's not the battered and fried version, but an almost healthy, but perfect rendition of a fat poblano stuffed with subtly seasoned filling. It's topped with cheese and a red sauce. With sides of beans, rice and a sprightly salad of lettuce, tomato, peppers, cilantro and onion it's a fine meal and I think it cost under $10.

I feel particularly warm to Mr. Avila because I left my credit card at his restaurant. It's closed on Sunday, but I ran him down by phone at his mother's house and he drove out to reunite me with my plastic. He was unbelievably gracious about it. His restaurant is one of two best Mexican picks in D magazine, though it's a small, homey place with limited parking. Hs care shows. He was written up in this Sunday's Dallas Morning News, along with a number of other famous local food people, for maintaining a slender figure amidst a world of plenty.

Somebody asked about "Slumdog Millionaire." Great story. Great acting by actors of three different ages for the lead characters. Stunning depictions of India. In retrospect, I think maybe there are some touchstones that help you understanda bit of the cross-cultural currents that roil the subcontinent. It's the story of a child from the slums, an orphan and a gleaner at the huge dump, who finds himself in a good run on "Who Wants to be a Millionaire?" It's more than that, of course. See it when it gets here. Don't wait for Netflix.

Finally, why don't more places in LR do Sunday brunch? We dropped in the Bread Winner, a bakery and cafe on McKinney this morning and the place was full by 9:30 a.m. Egg dishes, potato-based casseroles, fat cinnamon rolls, french toast, huge omelettes, fresh-squeezed orange juice, steady-pouring European roast coffee, platters of fresh fruit. Modest prices in a comfortable, casual setting. We picked it for no particular reason other than it was open and near our hotel. But there were many others to choose from. I love the mix of breakfast food and regular dishes mid-morning. It just seems like a treat, especially on Sunday. (Don't tell me church gets in the way. Several folks in this crowd had church clothes on, for worship after breakfast.)

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