My colleague Donna Chen founded the blog Donna Cooks, which should be essential reading every day for all Dallas food lovers. As my lovely wife the Rock Star so eloquently puts it, she has her finger planted firmly on the pulse of the Dallas food scene, and so when she reports that Scardello Artisan Cheese opened in Oak Lawn, we were quick to respond to her call. In particular, we were taken with the final line of her review, which suggested that a tasting at Scardello's was "a lovely way to spend an hour or a relaxing afternoon," and since we are staunch defenders of the concept of weekends that feel like vacations, we eagerly pointed the car down the Tollway in search of fromage one recent Saturday afternoon.
Scardello's interior leisurely evokes a small town downtown vacation, with exposed original brickwork in its narrow 1920's storefront (with extra parking in the rear.) High ceilings create an open, airy feel. Large display case of said cheese and a cooler for wine stand along one side of the store, while a wine shelf and salt bar/bookshelf dominate the other, with a scattering of tables at the back. In short order, Rich The Cheesemonger and his sidekicks explained the setup. We decided to purchase a sampler plate of four cheeses and an accompanying pair of white wines to make a light lunch. Soon, we began our repast with Hoja Santa, a young goats-milk Texas cheese (a mere kid, as it were) wrapped in the Hoja Santa leaf, which imparted touches of pepper and sassafrass with a slight finish of mint. Next, we progressed to the Marin (California) Yellow Brick, a cows-milk Camembert which was similar to brie but with a slightly stronger, more nutty flavor that really pleased my lovely bride. Then, we moved on to the Idiazabal Raw, a sheep's-milk selection with a slightly smoky bite reminiscent of Gouda, which made it very gouda to a smoked cheese lover like myself. Finally, we finished with Bosque Blue, a raw cows-milk number as salty as an old vaudeville trouper like Irene Ryan and twice as intense. Throughout, we paired our bites with Joel Gott Sauvignon Blanc, and a blanc de blancs sparkling wine with pear notes which worked well with each of the cheeses, not to mention olives and almonds, which added nice savory touches. Thoroughly sated, we soon took our leave. Website is
http://www.scardellocheese.com/, where you will note that they have already started having tasting events; please log on if you wish to secure reservations with your credit card. Finally, they will not only take your email address for their mailing list, if you so desire, they will also record your cheese preferences in their database, so you won't have to worry about remembering what you ordered last time if you wish to enjoy it again. Next time you wish to spend a lovely afternoon on vacation, please consider cheese, and remember:
LIFE IS TOO SHORT FOR MEDIOCRE FOOD!!!