We love a list, and a (Secret) Local List is even better. Today, DFW Style Daily’s exclusive series continues with dining, shopping, and best of Big D tips from one of Dallas’ spiciest chefs.
The weather isn’t the only thing turning up the heat index these days. Celebrity chef and Dallas transplant Martita Jara is keeping things extra spicy in the kitchen as one of the hottest chefs to recently hit the Dallas scene. An expert in culinary delights, Jara was one of five people hand-selected by Italian-born American chef Giada De Laurentiis, to be on her team for season eight’s “The Next Food Network Star.” Currently, Jara can be seen on the OWN Network’s “Home Made Simple“, where she periodically appears as a guest chef to dish up tasty creations and savory recipes to a couple in need.
When she’s not in the studio filming back to back TV segments, the bubbly beauty embraces her talents in interior decorating – coining herself as a “lifestyle designer” who artfully transforms ideas beyond simple design. As an avid entrepreneur, we caught up with the dynamic personality to get the dish on where she frequents as she enjoys her new residency in the Big D. Read on for scoop to see what Jara names as the top destinations for dining, shopping, and browsing in the city of Dallas. Muy caliente!
Foodie Favorite: Trending towards the obvious, Jara taps Javier’s as one of her top places to dine. “There are great tequilas and wine; the food is super yum and I just love the ambiance – dark and intimate, just the way I like it,” Jara says. “The Mayan style pork is not to be missed!”
Go-To Shopping Destination: While most would tap a local boutique or retailer for this category, Jara admittedly frequents the local grocery scene four days a week for her shopping addiction. “My favorite place to shop would have to be Whole Foods in Highland Park. Everyone that works there is super nice and helpful and I can always find exactly what I need.” Resisting sugary temptations proves hard for the food expert as she admits, “I try my hardest not to get a dark chocolate lacy cookie every time I’m there.” Trust us, we understand the struggle.
Artistic Addiction: Finding extreme difficulty in narrowing down her top spot for artistic inspiration, Jara rationalizes that multiple locations in the Dallas area fuel her creative drive. “I love home décor shops, consignment stores, and estate sales…anything to do with home décor/design and kitchen supplies,” Jara muses. “Even if I don’t buy anything, I feel inspired just walking through these shops and stores, and can’t wait to get home to start cooking or making my place more beautiful. Thank goodness there are tons of places like this around Dallas to inspire me for my next dish, home, or restaurant project.”
Best Buys: With an itch for adventure and exploration, the celebrity chef knows the value in searching for hidden treasures. When not in the kitchen prepping a savory meal, the multi-faceted talent heads through the neighborhoods of Dallas to pick her plenty. “The best buys are always estate sales, yard sales, or thrift shops,” Jara notes. “Growing up, this is all I knew and now I just love the hunt! Nothing is better than going through a pile of old dusty stuff and finding a beautiful treasure. It’s so much fun.”
I Heart Dallas: When surrounded by food all day and night, fitness is definitely tops on Jara’s priority list. With a slew of both on-air and personal appearances packing her schedule, Jara relies on one of Dallas’ ultimate fitness destinations to keep her in tip top shape. “One of my favorite places in this awesome city is the Katy Trail. People are always so kind as they walk by, there are great cafes, and also restaurants along the way. If you live in Dallas or are visiting, hitting the Katy Trail is a must!”
Images via individual restaurants and retailers.