As Daniel and I drove to Bolsa in Oak Cliff last Saturday, we contemplated the sanity of our mission. I mean, seriously, we are just two crazy-busy foodies, who are ALSO parents, worker bees (I don’t care what anyone says, being a SAHM is WORK!), part-time real estate agents (not really, but it feels like that when your house is on the market), and bloggers.
Why add one more thing to our “must do” list, even if it is lunch?
We had a long time to discuss this since apparently Oak Cliff is a T-Mobile dead-zone and we were using Google Maps on Daniel’s Motorola CLIQ to navigate. Without reception for the better part of five miles, it took FOREVER to find, so if you’re a T-Mobile customer, bring printed directions : – )
Although I am a DFW native, I must admit that this trip was my first visit to Oak Cliff. I had no idea what to expect from Bolsa, especially after driving several miles through one of the oldest parts of DFW. Though you wouldn’t know it if you came from the Tarrant County side of the metroplex, Bolsa is just a few blocks west of the Bishop Arts District, which is a fascinating, eclectic, artsy community.
We stepped through the front doors, unaware that we were about to have a refreshingly unique dining experience. If superbusylifefatigue is your malady, Bolsa is the cure.
From our table I spotted a huge stack of cookbooks in their open kitchen. They’d need them, considering the fact that they have no freezer or fryer on site. They don’t need freezers since they buy fresh ingredients daily. Availability changes from day to day, which keeps things interesting. They don’t use just any ingredients, either. Printed right on their menu it says: “We use the best naturally-raised and organic ingredients we can find, sourced from local growers and fisherman throughout Texas wherever possible.”
From their website:
The team has enlisted local Chef Graham Dodds to lead the kitchen, whose work has turned heads at Dragonfly just like the organic honey crafted by Dodds, wife Amy and their worker bees have warmed everyone’s sweet tooth one spoonful at a time. Bolsa will serve lunch and dinner seven days a week from an ever evolving, carefully thought out menu designed by Chef Dodds. The kitchen has no freezer or fryer by design. Many of the ingredients in the kitchen are also available in the Bolsa market area. Locally grown in Texas, is organic and of compelling quality, Chef Dodds will find a way to build it into a dish or sandwich or bite to die for. The menu is also designed for take-away if dining in is not an option.
On the day we arrived, there were many yummy options to choose from. A bruschetta tasting with Texas tomatoes and Dallas Mozzarella Company goat cheese, for starters. There was also the Windy Meadows chicken breast with fingerling potatoes, brussel sprouts and arugula pesto.
Daniel settled on the Meyer Ranch Burger, featuring grassfed/organic beef from Montana and a mixed baby lettuce salad from Tom Spicer’s local market. Total winner. I went with the Vine Ripe Tomato Sandwich featuring Texas tomatoes and Dallas Mozzarella Company goat cheese. (P.S. I LOVE grassfed beef, and here’s a great place to buy 100% grassfed beef for your meals at home)
Honestly, as I type this all I can think about is how I’d like to get my hands on another one of those sandwiches. Juicy and tangy with just a hint of something sweet, it definitely hit the spot . . . the big, round, ever-expanding spot we call my belly, that is.
In keeping with their local theme, Bolsa offers products from area growers and artisans. I found it hard to resist buying a bag of Oak Cliff Coffee Roasters coffee, and I don’t even drink coffee. From their website:
The market area of Bolsa surrounds the interior space. It features everything that a bohemian c-store should, from newspapers to fresh roses and cactus to Graham and Amy’s home raised honey and beeswax candles. Virgin olive oil, organic pasta and artisan chocolates join the usual sodas, teas, and water. Illy coffee is served in the café and also sold in the market. Texas made products dominate nooks and shelves and also appear on today’s menu. Guests essentially have the run of the kitchen’s pantry and cooler as what is on the plate is also available on the shelves.
If you’re coming from H-E-B or surrounding Tarrant County suburbs, you’re in for quite a drive. But the food and ambiance are well worth the trip. Though we didn’t have time, a stroll through the arts district would have made for a perfect post-meal experience.
Not all the waiters at Bolsa are immediately aware of how seriously the restaurant takes its commitment to local and organic. Be prepared to have your waiter ask the chef for more info… just in case.
This is the kind of place you wish you lived near. Much like a non-corporate local coffee house, Bolsa is a destination you’ll wish you could make your home away from home.