We’re Enjoying, Tasting and Loving: Garden Cafe and Chef Mark Wootten

When Gary and I first started dating the landmark to get to his house was Garden Cafe, the charming East Dallas breakfast and lunch spot “just off the beaten path” transformed by owner/Texas lawyer Dale Wootten in the early 1990’s.  I was unfamiliar at the time, living in Uptown since moving to Dallas and not venturing far outside my bubble.  I quickly came to love Garden Cafe, and do so even more now, a few years after moving over to Gary’s East Dallas neighborhood.  And there is a lot to love Garden Cafe for, including their incredible garden, seasonal menu, use of fresh ingredients, kid friendly atmosphere and (most importantly for me) dog-friendly patio.  My love for the spot grew exponentially over the weekend as we hosted a charity dinner with Garden Cafe Chef Mark Wootten (son of owner, Dale.)  I have always known Mark’s food was good…I learned Saturday how great it is.

Here’s a journey through our delightful meal with the wine pairings I put together.

Chilled Melon Soup finished with a to die for Lime Granita with Segura Viudas Brut Reserva Cava (for the gentlemen) and Segura Viudas Brut Rose (for the ladies) in celebration of my recent trip to Spain.

Spicer Greens with Fig Vin, Asian Pear, Gorgonzola and Walnuts with Domaine du Tariquet Uni Blanc/Colombard white blend, proving that an unusual combo can create a most surprising pairing; most of the guests had not heard of either varietal before, but loved the pairing.

Gorgeous Seared Ahi Tuna and Cucumber Salad with Siduri Russian River Pinot Noir, a distinct Pinot from one of the best regions for the varietal in California.  I an always tell a wine from Russian River for its fruit and cola filled characteristics.  This one is done beautifully by our friends Adam and Dianna Lee, sponsors for our July 30th Dallas Uncorked dinner for the June Jones Foundation. 

Seared Lamb Chop with Jalapeno Pear Glaze on Comeback Creek Farms Heirloom Zucchini with Miner Stagecoach Vineyard Merlot; the Merlot I serve people who say they want drink Merlot and after one sip, they’re hooked.  A perfect pairing with lamb from one of my favorite wineries in Napa Valley. Mark also, graciously, made a perfect seared medium rare piece of salmon for me…since I am not a meat eater.

And for dessert, Chocolate Mousse with Port Ganache and Shortbread with Graham’s 6 Grapes Port.

A fresh and fabulous dinner by Chef Mark, celebrating the basics of why Gary and I love to cook so much, focusing on what is seasonal, local and fresh from the garden.  Now, if only we could have a glass of wine on that patio with Yoda at Garden Cafe….but that is a different story.

Chef Mark Wootton prepping lamb chops

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