Cafe Momentum's pork loin with cider beans and pickled mustard seeds

Cafe Momentum's pork loin with cider beans and pickled mustard seeds

Allison Slomowitz/Special Contributor

Chefs love springtime. With so much lovely produce coming in --  asparagus, English peas, fiddle head ferns, radishes, morel mushrooms and more -- color returns to plates, lightness returns to dining.  Some of my favorite dishes in the last couple of months have been produce-forward; others were delicious turns on American or Asian classics. 

This crispy pork belly salad with smoked carrots, baby turnips and cashew ricotta was a lovely winter-into-spring dish at Remedy in March.

Crispy pork belly and smoked carrot salad at Remedy

Crispy pork belly and smoked carrot salad at Remedy

Allison Slomowitz/Special Contributor

A recent visit to CBD Provisions, where Richard Blankenship has recently taken over as executive chef, turned up some delightful surprises, including this wonderful smoked carrot dip with green almonds and dollops of house sour cream. (The green almonds are the slices that look like olives.) The dip is served with house-made seed crackers.

Smoked carrot dip with house sour cream at CBD Provisions. 

Smoked carrot dip with house sour cream at CBD Provisions. 

Leslie Brenner/Staff

Slices of octopus tiradito make a vibrant starter at Cafe Momentum. They're dressed up with toum (creamy Egyptian-style garlic sauce), olives and aji amarillo.

Octopus tiradito with toum, olives and aji amarillo at Cafe Momentum

Octopus tiradito with toum, olives and aji amarillo at Cafe Momentum

Allison Slomowitz/Special Contributor

I also loved this pea shoot salad with house-made ricotta and crispy prosciutto in a lemon vinaigrette at Cafe Momentum.

Pea shoots salad at Cafe Momentum

Pea shoots salad at Cafe Momentum

Allison Slomowitz/Special Contributor

At Remedy, chef Danyele McPherson knocked it out of the park with her fried house-made bologna sandwich with mayo and sweet onion. It's shown below with a cup of tomato soup.

Remedy's fried bologna sandwich

Remedy's fried bologna sandwich

Allison Slomowitz/Special Contributor

Cafe Momentum's pork loin dish features apple purée, spinach, braised beans finished with cider and pickled mustard seeds.

Pork loin at Cafe Momentum

Pork loin at Cafe Momentum

Allison Slomowitz/Special Contributor

Who doesn't love a salmon skin handroll? The one chef Yuki Hirabayashi made recently at Sushi Bayashi using sockeye salmon skin, rather than the skin of farmed salmon, was terrific.

Sockeye salmon skin handroll at Sushi Bayashi

Sockeye salmon skin handroll at Sushi Bayashi

Kye R. Lee/Staff Photographer

Skewers of baby octopus and charred green onion added up to a tasty little starter at Sushi Bayashi in March.

Sushi Bayashi's baby octopus skewers

Sushi Bayashi's baby octopus skewers

Leslie Brenner/Staff

And in April (still at Sushi Bayashi) chanpon -- ramenlike noodles in a pork broth with seafood -- made a fine lunch.

Chanpon noodles at Sushi Bayashi

Chanpon noodles at Sushi Bayashi

Kye R. Lee/Staff Photographer

Mot Hai Ba -- Colleen O'Hare and Jeana Johnson's modern Vietnamese place in East Dallas -- has a new chef, too: Peja Kristic . In early May, he served this delicious barramundi caramel claypot with charred bok choy.

Claypot barramundi caramel at Mot Hai Ba

Claypot barramundi caramel at Mot Hai Ba

Leslie Brenner/Staff

And Mot Hai Ba's silky garlic noodles, a side dish, were crazy-good.

Garlic noodles at Mot Hai Ba

Garlic noodles at Mot Hai Ba

Leslie Brenner/Staff

You may know about the terrific barbecue at the Slow Bone, Jack Perkins' place on the edge of the Design District. But if you're a fried chicken fan, you simply must try the Slow Bone's. Chef Jeffery Hobbs, who was opening chef at Sissy's Southern Kitchen and Bar, is now in charge, and this gentleman definitely knows his way around a bird.

Ribs, fried chicken and sides at the Slow Bone

Ribs, fried chicken and sides at the Slow Bone

Leslie Brenner/Staff

I couldn't find the fish balls in a dish called "fresh vegetables with fish balls" at First Chinese BBQ in Richardson -- just some lightly breaded and fried fillets. But the vegetables, in a light, garlicky sauce, were wonderful, and it added up to a delicious dish.

Fresh vegetables with "fish balls" at First Chinese BBQ in Richardson.

Fresh vegetables with "fish balls" at First Chinese BBQ in Richardson.

Leslie Brenner/Staff

Japanese snapper "head cheese," which was offered recently as a special at Teppo Yakitori-Sushi Bar, was original and outstanding.

Teppo's Japanese snapper "head cheese" 

Teppo's Japanese snapper "head cheese" 

Leslie Brenner/Staff

Richard Blankenship's house-made rigatoni with English peas, braised Texas lamb and spring garlic at CBD Provisions also impressed at CBD Provisions.

Housemade rigatoni at CBD Provisions

Housemade rigatoni at CBD Provisions

Leslie Brenner/Staff

Kabocha squash wich curried lentils, pickled grapes, preserved lemon and herb salad at Cafe Momentum was one of the best vegetarian main courses I've had in some time.

Cafe Momentum's vegetarian kabocha squash dish

Cafe Momentum's vegetarian kabocha squash dish

Allison Slomowitz/Special Contributor

Remedy's cheeseburger has old-fashioned flair, but Danyele McPherson ups the ante with Wagyu beef, house-made dill pickles and a griddled challah bun. A winner!

The cheeseburger at Remedy

The cheeseburger at Remedy

Allison Slomowitz/Special Contributor
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