By Meda Kessler and June Naylor
Chef Jesus Garcia returns to Crockett Row at West 7th to turn Oni Ramen into Kintaro Ramen. Kintaro, which means “golden boy,” opened last April in downtown Arlington and later as a ghost kitchen, which offers takeout only, in Fort Worth. Crockett Row Kintaro offers the same menu as in Arlington: half a dozen noodle soups, including a vegetarian version that also will be available in vegan form; several appetizers including gyoza; a la carte dishes including braised pork belly and bamboo shoots; and a few specials, which will change monthly instead of weekly. Look for dishes such as lamb birria this month and gumbo-style ramen. The soups feature temomi noodles, which are hand-pressed before cooking, creating a flatter, more undulating style similar to fettuccine. The bar offers beer and sake only. Dining in is an option, as is takeout.
Crockett Row at West 7th, 2801 W. 7th St., Fort Worth, 817-887-9013, kintaroramen.com
Paco’s Mexican Cuisine on Fort Worth’s Magnolia Avenue expands with the addition of Islas Tropical. Located in a former sandwich shop next door to Paco’s, it serves handmade paletas (fresh-fruit frozen pops), aguas frescas, mangonadas, smoothies, fruit baskets and giant drinks called piñas rellenas, or stuffed pineapples. The Islas family also plans to offer the occasional special savory snack, too, such as chilindrina, a large, flat chicharrón topped with cabbage, pickled pork rinds, pico de gallo and lime. In towns like San Antonio, El Paso and Harlingen, shops like these are renowned among devotees of fresh, sweet treats. Look for the Frida Kahlo mural — thanks to artist Juan Velázquez — on the building’s east side.
1500 W. Magnolia Ave., Fort Worth, facebook.com/islastropical
Chinese New Year
Festivities begin Feb. 12 and last for 16 days. Anything that includes being home with family, drinking, cooking and eating is our idea of a holiday. To mark the launch of the Year of the Ox, we will be eating dumplings, which are a new year staple. We’ll start with virtual dumpling-making classes with Hao & Dixya in Fort Worth (see Events for Feb. 7 and 11, facebook.com/haodixya). And then we’ll feast on some more favorite dishes from area kitchens.
First Chinese BBQ Roasted duck, Szechuan eggplant, Shrimp wonton soup, barbecued pork, and veggie hot pot 5310 E. Belknap St., Haltom City, 817-834-1888
My Lan Vietnamese Kitchen Pho with sliced rare steak, shaken beef rice plate, vermicelli bowl with grilled pork and egg roll 5307 Colleyville Blvd., Colleyville, 817-398-4023, mylanvietnamesekitchen.com
Thai Terrace Cool tofu spring roll with extra peanut sauce, pad cashew curry with beef, tom kha noodle soup and salmon in red curry 4220 W. Vickery Blvd., Fort Worth, 817-377-2652, thaiterracecuisine.com
The pastry chef and her team at the downtown Grapevine bakery know how to spin sugar into gold. At least it seems that way. Rountree’s wedding cakes and other patisserie propelled her to the finals on Food Network’s Holiday Baking Championship last year. The pastry chef — also a Keller resident, mom of three, part-time mortgage banker and CrossFit coach — spent much of the pandemic filming season seven of the competition. She competed against 11 other bakers for the $25,000 prize, and though Rountree didn’t win, she scored big points for imagination and skill. To celebrate Valentine’s Day, she and her bakery artisans whip up assorted cupcakes (Wedding Cake, Red Velvet and Champagne are a few options), intricately decorated cookies and artful macarons in flavors such as Chambord and Grand Marnier. Other ideas include chocolate-covered strawberries, hard shell chocolate heart-shaped piñatas filled with candies, and hot cocoa bombs. As for special-order Valentine’s cakes, Legacy can fashion anything you can envision, including a small version of your own wedding cake. One special creation this month is a signature mini tiered cake, picture, striped in black and ivory fondant, and festooned with pink, gold and red hearts and lips (from $50). Order by Feb. 5 for Valentine’s Day and at least a week in advance for any other special occasion you’re celebrating. Most specialty cakes start at $30.
120 S. Main St., Grapevine, 817-442-9999, legacycakesbakery.com
Central Market Cooking School
Central Market has partnered with a trio of big-name chefs for virtual cooking classes to celebrate Black History Month. Each event has two options: class only, $10 per household, or one which includes an ingredient kit available for purchase that serves two to four people, $70. The kits are available for pickup at the Fort Worth store only. Purchase tickets at centralmarket.com/cookingschool. Click on the link to your local store for details.
Feb. 10 Chris Williams He’s known for his mashup of Southern cuisine with international flavors at Lucille’s, his Houston restaurant that’s an homage to his mother, the late Lucille B. Smith. She had deep roots in Fort Worth; she was the first Black woman on the city’s Chamber of Commerce. Chris also started a nonprofit in her honor, Lucille’s 1913, to combat food insecurity and food waste in Houston. Menu Roasted lamb chops with Senegalese peanut sauce and coconut gremolata
Feb. 19 Marcus Samuelsson The New York-based chef has won multiple James Beard awards and is a familiar face on the Food Network. His new book, The Rise: Black Cooks and the Soul of American Food, is included with the food kit (as limited quantities allow). Menu Sunday roast chicken with chickpeas and couscous
Feb. 25 Tiffany Derry The Beaumont native now operates Plano-based Roots Chicken Shak as well as The Cupboard, a grab-and-go concept. Derry gained fame from her Top Chef appearances. Menu Crispy chicken with roasted garlic-lemon sauce, herbed potatoes and dressed arugula salad
Fort Worth Food + Wine Festival
Feb. 28-April 13 Forty at the ’Fork With the 2021 April festival canceled, organizers are offering an alternative event: Forty at the ’Fork — 20 collaborative dinners featuring 40 local chefs. (FWFWF also offered a similar event at the 2013 festival.) The premise is that while the menu is announced the week before the specific date, the chef isn’t revealed until the actual dinner. Frequent diners can try and deduce who’s doing what, but it’s a challenge. Wait to book and the event might sell out. Each event is limited to 50 guests to allow for social distancing. Local makers such as Sweet Lucy’s Pies, TX Whiskey and more also will be working with the chefs.
The Shops at Clearfork, 5289 Marathon Ave. (the former Twigs American Kitchen). $70 per person, BYOB; fwfwf.com