Favorites of 2023: Food, Travel, and Lifestyle

Columnist Kersten Rettig has covered a variety of restaurants, travel destinations, and interesting people in the community this year.

Here are some of her favorites.

Sobriety of a Salesman: Chef Delivers Daily Bread

Five years ago, Mike McCoy was two months into his sobriety, living in his 2013 Volkswagen Passat behind his Arizona church. His daily bread consisted of saltine crackers and not much else.

Today, Mike provides 1,255 meals each month to adults and adolescents in early sobriety and spends 10 days in April at Augusta National Golf Club, where he is on the culinary team for members-only Berckman’s Place during the Master’s Golf Tournament.

Whatever Happened to Tortilla Soup?

Ask a neighbor which food is synonymous with Dallas, and she will likely say steak. Maybe he’ll chime in with barbecue or Tex-Mex, meaning margaritas and queso. Why doesn’t anyone say tortilla soup? The ubiquity of its place on menus, both Tex-Mex and traditional, indicates its importance in Dallas, yet poor Tortilla Soup is overlooked when we are called upon to cite our indigenous cuisine.

Who is Behind Dallas’ Most Exciting Restaurants?

Duro Hospitality is a Coriolis force of the revolving North Texas restaurant scene.

From all appearances, it’s a flourishing hospitality company that has created six and counting one-off concepts that function as gathering places, serving food and drink to paying customers. Their force presents when you take a closer look at the level of talent and expertise leading the company, the intention with which they executive every element of its restaurants, and the energy the team invests into making the concepts “classically irreverent” and “completely immersive.”

Portugal is Popular for Dallas Travelers

Portugal is the new destination darling. The small, western-most European country, known for its colorful azulejos, or ceramic blue tiles, that adorn commercial and residential buildings, palaces, and monuments, is all the rage right now.  Instagram feeds are reeling with photos and videos of our friends and neighbors posing on the Pink Street, the Peña Palace, and the dramatic beaches of Algarve. Why?

Jim Severson Keeps Hope in His Heart

Every day, when Jim Severson gets in his car for the first time, he looks to the sky through his sunroof and thanks God for giving him another day.

The 65-year-old chef/owner of Sevy’s is grateful for his wife Amy, son Erik, daughter-in-law Jessica and their son, Bennett, daughter Jenna, and his wide group of friends, staff, and guests. Jim, or Sevy, as he’s known, was diagnosed with stage IV prostate cancer 16 years ago and was given three-to-five years to live.

Family Time is Vital: Get A Seat at À Table

Josephine Giesen is on a mission to allow more families to enjoy more dinners together by alleviating the stress of meal planning, shopping, preparing, and cleaning after weeknight dinners with her company simply called À Table.

She was born in Lebanon, where she grew up surrounded by immediate and extended family members. Every evening, her mother would call her children to the table by saying, “Les enfants, à table,” meaning “kids, at the table.” 

Reasons Cheeseburgers Are Worthy of a National Holiday

Normally I try to avoid writing about made-up food holidays, but National Cheeseburger Day on Sept. 18 is a little more relevant this year with the recent passing of Jimmy Buffett, songwriter of the ultimate elegy to food: “Cheeseburger in Paradise.”

Preston Hollow Man Pens Tribute to His Beloved Bronco

Most of us have had a pet that was a little more special than the others, one that seemed to speak to us and understand exactly what we were saying.

Thomas Wikman had Bronco, a 167-pound Leonberger who, by all accounts, was an extraordinary dog with a remarkable owner.

A native of Sweden who has lived in Preston Hollow for the last 23 years, Thomas holds a master’s degree in engineering physics from Uppsala University and studied electrical engineering and applied physics and worked on his doctorate in robotics at Case Western.

How Does Malai Kitchen Use 53,000 Pounds of Flour?

Malai Kitchen’s in-house-made rice noodles are the food equivalent of luscious, soft white velvet. These noodles are different from all the other noodles in North Texas because they are made using a noodle machine designed and built in Vietnam just for Malai Kitchen. It’s a bespoke noodle maker, if you will.

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