Anastacia Quiñones-Pittman is one of the most creative chefs in Dallas. And if you’ve eaten her glorious seasonal ceviches and inventive tacos and modern Mexican dishes at José, you’ll want to know more: Where does she find her best ingredients — and the inspiration to build them into something exciting.
Here, in the first edition of a new monthly feature, are the secret sources of this acclaimed chef.
Essential appliance: Vitamix blender. It will crush anything! The creaminess of a puree or a sauce depends on it.
Go-to knife: Six-inch Shun utility knife. It’s flexible and sharp and keeps its form.
Best fishmonger: TJ’s Seafood Market. For ceviche, I like redfish — it absorbs lime juice really well but stays buttery and light.
Best produce source: Fiesta Mart. They have things I’ve never seen anywhere else, like culantro, a leaf that’s like a very intense cilantro.
Where does inspiration strike: Half Price Books on Northwest Highway. I go to the cookbooks section.
Favorite cookbook: Mexico from the Inside Out by Enrique Olvera. Every time I look at this book, I feel like I’m seeing it for the first time.
Gas or electric: Gas, 100 times over. It’s easier to control heat, and you can actually see how hot the flame is.
Off-duty dining: Ka-Tip Thai Street Food and Del Sur Tacos in Oak Cliff. I’m obsessed with the crispy
Beverage: Barr Hill Gin from Vermont with Q Grapefruit tonic over ice. That’s what they call my chef water.