1 year of A to Z

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So I learned at a breakfast that a friend of a friend of a friend had a dinner club where each month they tried out a new restaurant in the DFW area by working systematically through the alphabet. “Brilliant!” I yelped, and promptly stole it. That, and the desire to find a larger audience (and publish color photos) for my neighborhood-newsletter restaurant reviews led to the creation of this blog a year ago.

Given that the bride and I are lazy but goal-oriented, the A-to-Z project helped us to achieve a perpetual desire of ours: trying new restaurants. We love food, but we lazily fall into a rut of places easily within reach of our front door. A to Z has gotten us away from the hood and into the hands of some of the best chefs in town. Also, readers and friends have also been great in asking “When are you going to do O?” or “What’s on tap for F?”

Although we had a loose goal of trying to get through the full alphabet in a year, we knew that was overly ambitious: The alphabet in a year would have required eating at a new establishment every two weeks, difficult to do with business trips and other social social stuff. Nonetheless, we’ve made it more than halfway through the list of letters:

A is for Aviary Wine & Kitchen
B is for Barlata
C is for Contigo
D is for Dee Dee
E is for El Naranjo
F is for Fixe
G is for Gabriela’s
I is for Intero
J is for June’s All Day
K is for Kemuri Tatsu-Ya
L is for Lenoir
M is for Mellizoz Tacos
N is for Native Bar & Kitchen
O is for Olamaie
P is for Pitchfork Pretty

The best surprises so far, besides Aviary (more later), was the Italian at Intero, the best biscuits in the world at Fixe, the scene at Native, the rich southern chow slung at Olamaie, and the wonderfulness of Pitchfork Pretty.

In celebration of our year of A to Z, we returned the scene of the first crime. Aviary was accidental. We intended to start the alphabet with Andiamo’s, an Italian joint up the road, but it was unexpectedly slammed with no seats for the unreserved. Next on our list was Apiary, but it was out in the boondocks. So off to Aviary we went.

We consider Aviary the best all-around restaurant in town. Yes, there are better tasting dishes, better looking dishes, better digs, and better service elsewhere, but Aviary’s all-around mix of these essential ingredients gives it the best vibe in town, at least for our taste. The food is fantastic (especially coming from a postage-sized kitchen), the wine list in expansive and challenging, the space is neighborhood cozy, and the staff and owner are friendly.

We started with a glass of orange wine from Kakheti, Georgia (Dilao Amber Dry; $11) and Amberjack Ceviche (with cantaloupe hot sauce, charred olives, pistachio, and asian pear; $14) followed by Carrots Al Pastor (hay-smoked carrots, corn masa aioli, and pickled carrots; $9) and Unicorn Spaghetti (with uni butter, cheddar, shishito, and fermented corn ash; $18). All was delicious with richness tempered with vegetables and tangs of this and that. The owner regaled us with a description of the lasagna special, so we had that for dessert. Dee. Lish. Uss.

We’ve started looking property within walking distance of this neighborhood gem. 😉

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