This summer we have several interns in the office polishing up their journalism skills. One, Jonathon, drew me as a “boss.” He spent his first few weeks here fact checking the master list of our restaurant reviews. It’s a horrible job.
Today, he comes across Vern’s, the home cooking spot in Deep Ellum. The phone is disconnected. Jonathon scours the Internet to find that other people have commented that the phone never works at Vern’s. I told him to do what any budding journalist would do—get in the car and drive down there. (We do this for all of our restaurant listings.)
He wasn’t too happy with me but he went. Upon return, I asked him to write up his adventure thinking it would keep him away from me while I dealt with important issues like the new yogurt shop in Preston Forest. An hour later he walks into my cube and says, “I wrote it. It’s a thousand words long. You’d better print the whole thing.” He left.
Here is his surprisingly insightful and funny take on life, Deep Ellum, and Vern’s in Deep Ellum. Leave him a note. He’s now a professional.46 Comments »
On July 4th, from 10:00a.m. to2:00p.m., the newly opened Yogen Früz in Preston Forest will offer two treats for the price of one.
Yesterday, Tre “Top Chef” Wilcox faced Rory “Next Food Network Star” Schepisi in a cooking contest at the Southwest Food Expo. InsideCorner’s Evan Grant was a celebrity judge. The video is here. I will tell the story in pictures. (Click on Evan’s badge below.)
|Southwest Foodservice Expo Celebrity Chef Smack-down|
Last month I drove past Republic in Las Colinas and noticed the name had changed to Las Colinas Prime. I called the restaurant on June 1st and talked with Brian Luisi. He told me the tapas-restaurant-turned-steakhouse had changed concepts and names. The restaurant, owned by Bill McCrorey, is managed by Michael Costa’s Rainmaker Restaurant Group. Costa is no stranger to the local scene. He was involved in other Dallas restaurants such as Toscana, Mediterraneo, and Sfuzzi. I reported the story. Over. Easy.
Yow. Zah. I stirred up a hornet’s nest. Former and current employees and contractors left horror stories in the comment section. It didn’t take long before I started receiving accusatory e-mails and phone calls. Their beef? It’s a really long story and you’ll have to jump. Continue reading "The Saga of Republic Turned Las Colinas Prime: Unpaid Workers and Bills, TABC Raids and Harassment, and a Possible Happy Ending"18 Comments »
This Thursday, July 2, Bishop Arts District merchants are hosting their First Thursday Wine Walk. Donate $5, get a glass with the BA logo on it, and sample wine at 18 different shops as you stroll the popular Oak Cliff hotspot.1 Comment »
Some people see Starbucks as the evil empire. Others can’t function without their non-fat no-whip double tall [enter drink name here]. Me? I love my local haunts (whatup, Pearl Cup and Opening Bell!) but have to admit that Starbucks is convenient, quick, and consistent. No crime in that. So, Starbucks fans, starting today there’s a new way to get your caffeinated freak on: customizable Frappuccinos. Yep, you can add any flavors, any type of milk, add more espresso, or perhaps even the blood of a young virgin sacrificed upon the altar of Corporate America to complete your creamy frozen beverage experience. Gentlemen (and ladies), start your blenders.4 Comments »
For all of you Type-A’ers out there with grocery lists already made up for the 4th of July, make like a Top Chef contestant and head to Whole Foods in Lakewood or Highland Park today to do your shopping. WF is donating 5% of their net sales today to KERA, our local public radio and television station (hi, Jeff!). Also, bring the kids with you if you’re shopping between 4–6, because Maya and Miguel will be making appearances at both stores during this time.3 Comments »
I was out of the office all day yesterday and returned to find an inbox with several notes from upset friends. The messages basically said “I can’t believe what Jennifer did to you in the Tom Colicchio interview” and “DallasFood.org said Tom Colicchio threw you under a bus!”
So, I just sat down and read Jennifer’s interview with Craft Dallas’ Tom Colicchio in which he says that last year I printed “some gossip that wasn’t accurate at all.”
This is a long story and it goes back to last spring when rumors were swirling around Dallas that N9NE and Craft were in trouble. I was in Aspen for the Food and Wine Festival. At the opening night soiree, a lot of Dallas folks in attendance and several big names in the Dallas restaurant biz came up to me and said, “Craft is changing to Craftbar.”
The next morning, I went straight to Tom Colicchio and asked him point blank. I printed his reply verbatim. Two weeks later, my cell phone rings and it is TC. He calls me a rumormonger because I speculated that something might change. Read the old report. What? I can’t voice an opinion? I don’t think I printed “some gossip that wasn’t accurate at all.”
What. Ever. So, we talked about an hour–specifically about blogging and how it differs from print product and how things on the Internet can get out of hand so fast–and ended on nice terms. He said if I ever needed to ask him a question, fire away. He is a man of his word.
Fast forward to a month or so ago. I get an e-mail from Craft’s local PR firm. They are interested in holding the SideDish Supper Club at Craft. I wrote (paraphrasing) “I called you folks before to get TC to do a SDSC and nobody called me back.” PR gal says lemme get back to you. She e-mails back and says TC is coming to town to do a wine dinner. Do I wanna talk to him? I say, sure.
Then a SideDish reader leaves a comment under the announcement of said wine dinner intimating that TC is no longer the owner of Craft Dallas. It reads, “Now that he [Colicchio] no longer owns the place, and signed a licensing agreement with the owners of the hotel, he is contractually obligated to be at the restaurant X times per year. What a shame.”
SO, as a recovering rumormonger and a woman of my word, I e-mailed the PR gal and asked her to verify or deny what the commenter said. I copy and pasted the comment and wrote: “Someone left this comment on the blog. Could you confirm or deny. I don’t want to leave comment out there if it isn’t true. Thanks, Nancy.”
The next day I get this reply from local PR gal: “I want to be sure to clarify that Tom is not doing a series of dinners at Craft. He’ll be part of the wine dinner next week, but each time he’s in Dallas, we expect his agenda to be different. In fact, with the filming of “Top Chef,” we’re not even sure when he’ll be able to make it back to Dallas again this year. Also, Tom’s name is still on the restaurant, and he is very much involved with the concept and menu. We would love to talk more about hosting SideDish’s Supper Club at Craft!”
I took a pass on talking to Colicchio because I originally (January) wanted to explore the idea of doing a Supper Club and that wasn’t going to happen because he would have just thrown his own wine dinner. And frankly, I didn’t appreciate getting such a flabby answer from the TC folks.
And that’s the facts.14 Comments »
Here is a song I’m hearing from many local chefs–they are touring Texs wineries. The lastest from Chef Gorji of Canary Cafe. He is closing the restuarant on July 3 & 4 to “research and select “Mediterranean Style” wines that compliment Canary’s menus and in preparation for our Texas Wine Pairing later in the month. We will reopen on July 7th and start our sixth year anniversary celebrations.” Never a dull moment around here.
Wow. Disher Andrew Chalk took his job at the Expo seriously. He just turned in video clips of the oddest finds at the show. Put on your earplugs and enjoy. (You know where to put the cork.) Great stuff, Andrew.
First up: Coffee made from civet cat poop.
Second: The cutlery eating machine.
Third: Food so good you can’t eat it.
Fourth: Making rum in Austin. Texas. Yes, Austin, Texas. Good stuff.
Finally: The talk of the Expo: Chocolate covered crickets. Yes, bugs.1 Comment »
I’ve been trying to wait until I had some firm details about the place, but the best I’ve got are some semi-reliable rumors—and this rendering—even though the grand opening is scheduled for July 23. (And the web site is still under construction.) Anyway, Hacienda is a partnership between Vickery Park owners and Lotus owners, so I think we can expect it to be as much a watering hole–plenty of tequila?–as a restaurant. I’m still waiting to get an idea of the menu, but I do think it’s going to be more upscale than, say, Cuquita’s but not as fancy as, say, Trece. I think we can expect a valet, even though there is adjacent parking (hate that). What else? Oh, if you’ve driven by the patio space looks pretty inviting, so assuming they can tolerate the summer heat, I suspect we’ll be seeing lots of pretty girls on that patio–perhaps waving to all the pretty boys on the patio at Capitol Pub. Stay tuned for more official details.14 Comments »
Remember when we told you that the folks behind Uptown’s popular State and Allen Lounge were re-opening the shuttered 2900 as a Tex-Mex concept? Well, word comes that the resto is going to be called the Nodding Donkey (an homage to Texas oil wells, pictured here), and it will feature not only Tex-Mex, but other “Texas style fare.” Read on:
Says Calabrese (one of the chef/owners), “At first we assumed that we would just do Tex-Mex and do it really well and that would be enough. But a couple of things then inspired me to think why not do a Texas style cuisine restaurant/cantina — Tex-Mex, BBQ, Smokehouse, Caballero cooking, Texas comfort food, etc. We will do it all and we will do it the best way possible. We will have about fifteen staple items, and then rotate others based on trends.”
Jump for the entire release. The Nodding Donkey is set to open this fall.2 Comments »
In this week’s episode of The Next Food Network Star, someone gets whacked with a sheet tray, someone channels Something About Mary during judging, someone serves raw burgers, and someone TOTALLY DOMINATES. Jump for it.4 Comments »
Just drove down Henderson Avenue this morning to get a slap in the face (AKA: double espresso from Pearl Cup) and saw that PARK—chef Marc Cassel’s new restaurant—is looking nice and near completion. That makes my stomach happy. I miss Cassel’s days at Green Room in Deep Ellum. That was a great restaurant. I’m hoping PARK is as good. More Henderson Avenue news: Cuquita’s (best liver and onions in Dallas) old spot is soon to be a new Tex-Mex place by the owners of Vickery Park restaurant. You know, Henderson Avenue is shaping up to become a great foodie hotspot.14 Comments »
Go Texan. Go Richard Chamberlain. Go to the store and make this recipe: Texas Beef Brisket with Texas Tomato Peach Barbecue Sauce. Jump for it.5 Comments »
Yesterday, I met Charles. He is at the Expo promoting Aphrodite Divine Confections in Garland. In this video he talks about being Santa at Collin Creek Mall, the “little factory in Garland”, what he does with his gloved finger and peanut butter, and his religious experience with a scone. Enter at your own risk.2 Comments »
Yesterday, the Southwest Foodservice Expo opened for a three-day run at the Dallas Convention Center. I spent most of the day wandering the halls with InsideCorner’s Evan “Grumpy” Grant. We bumped in to PegNews’ Teresa Gubbins and Marc Lee, Mark and Gena Maguire, Herschel Walker, Amy Severson, Lee Fuqua, and Richard Chamberlain.
I hope the 12 Dishers who “won” an opportunity to roam the event will file their reports below. If you followed DSideDish on Twitter, you already know our knee-jerk reactions. If not, I’ve decided to post my report through pictures. Click on the box below for slideshow.
|Southwest Foodservice Expo June 28, 2009|
I sat down with the Craft Dallas owner the morning after his very successful wine dinner with Ramey Wine Cellars. Here’s the full interview.4 Comments »
Paul Wackym makes wacky-good cookies. I met him (and his cookies) in Shed 1 at the Dallas Farmers Market. Last night I ate six of his margarita with Key lime and sea salt cookies for dinner. Check him out.
Or zucchini. Or both. Aren’t they pretty? Somebody tell me what to do with them.6 Comments »