FORTY YEARS AGO, when most Americans thought there was no better place to shop than the supermarket, Lancaster County promoted itself as a center of local foods and traditional dishes. Then, as the rest of the world became more and more interested in these things, Lancaster became less so. Amish families that had been farming for generations were suddenly working in retail stores and factories and their land gradually became subdivisions and shopping centers. Now, just when you thought that the area had been turned into an endless mall, a whole new generation of farmers is bringing back the idea of local food. Produce is organic, livestock is grass-fed, and a growing number of people are creating cheeses that are world-class.
I have a dear friend who calls Manhattan home. We share a passion for all things culinary and anything involving curds and whey. She visited Denver a decade ago during the National Western Stock Show and saw a Grand Champion steer corralled in the lobby of the Brown Palace Hotel. The only cheese she recalls tasting here was florescent orange and poured over nachos at a Denver Broncos game.
Since then she has referred to Denver as “that cowtown,” and visited only long enough to change planes for Aspen.
Dallas’ cheese scene came into being on a quiet corner in Deep Ellum 33 years ago when Paula Lambert founded Mozzarella Company. A visit by day to the tiny factory — still on the corner of Elm and Walton — is on the bucket list of every cheese lover or chef who lands here. This is where we’ll begin our first day in Dallas.
Today, Deep Ellum is one of the trendiest places for an after-dark crawl. Pubs, clubs, the chef’s tasting menu at Local, the Taproom at Deep Ellum Brewing Company — there’s something for everyone. The Traveling Man sculptures and music venues ranging from indie to alt, dance, blues and jazz remind us that legendary music permeated these streets a century ago.