Unfortunately, Uncle Nancy wasn’t feeling well yesterday, so she sent me along with People Newspapers photographer Christina Barany to cover The Last Supper at Aurora. Chef/owner Avner Samuel said he was going to pull out all of the stops on this dinner, and he most certainly did. It was an elaborate 11-course meal that consisted of some of the most exquisite ingredients around. Think black summer truffles, prime osetra caviar, and gold-leaf garnishes. And the service was superb – the waiters were polite and attentive. It was my first time to dine at Aurora, and I’m heartbroken that I won’t be able to return like so many of Avner’s loyal customers have over the years. I can easily say it was the best meal that I have ever had. But my post-meal happiness quickly turned to panic when I received the bill. I thought this was literally going to be my last supper. I was either going to die of a heart attack right then and there, or Uncle Nancy was going to kill me with her bare hands for somehow managing to rack up a $560 ticket. I tossed and turned all night trying to figure out the best way to break the news to Nancy, none of which really sounded like great options. I thought up story after story, but I decided the truth was the way to go. Jump for Nancy’s reaction and the recap.23 Comments »
Hidden Ridge Vineyard is one of the most impressive properties I have had the chance to visit, most simply for what owners Casidy Ward and her husband Lynn Hofacket have done in land which is not a typical location for planting rows and rows of vines.
Situated on the western slopes of Spring Mountain in California’s Mayacamus Mountain range, technically in Sonoma, but unlike any other wine being made in Sonoma. The vineyard sits at a 55% slope, which in walking felt more like a 90% slope as it seemed that I was walking straight up hill when visiting with Lynn, Casidy and winemaker Timothy Milos, who collaborates with winemaker Marco DiGiulio in Hidden Ridges production, today. The only way to get to the vineyard is via 4-wheel drive, ATV vehicles, by foot or by the occasional helicopter. Continue reading "What I’m Drinking Now: A Visit to Hidden Ridge"
Again, thanks to all of you for your suggestions for lobster shacks along Highway One from Boston to Bar Harbor. We did our best to hit as many as we could in a little less than two days. We drove to six and ate at four. (Bad planning–two are closed on Mondays.)
Below you’ll find pictures. Here is how we ranked the lobster rolls we tried.
1. Harrasseeket 2. Morse’s 3. Sprague’s 4. Barnacle Billy’s.
We also sampled lobster rolls in Boston at Legal Seafood (too much tricked up mayo for me) and Summer Shack which was basically fresh lobster on bread. Delicious.
Jump for the joy of eating in Maine in the summer.9 Comments »
The DMA’s Seventeen Seventeen Restaurant is closed for the summer. To fill the gap, the Atrium Cafe started table service today. Every table was filled, and we had to wait a few minutes for a table for two, giving us time to peruse the new menu, similar to the old but not exactly. This threw my dining companion a little. She’d had her heart set on what was the Lunch Sampler: a cup of soup, half sandwich, and small salad. That particular combo is no longer available, though you can order a cup of soup and split a sandwich with a friend, which is what we did. New items included a salad trio with a scoop of chicken salad, Caprese salad, and greens with goat cheese croutons and a Kobe Gouda burger.
The waitstaff from Seventeen Seventeen was working the floor—still learning the ropes of the cafe’s computer system: we were informed upon sitting that our server couldn’t split the check, and when the bill did come, there was no way to leave a tip on our credit card (we left our tip in cash). Nevertheless, we enjoyed the carrot coconut soup and turkey pesto melt, though when we got almost exactly the same for takeout it rang up at a good bit less.
Our server told us that even after Labor Day, when Seventeen Seventeen reopens, the cafe will continue table service with a new staff.
Dallas girl Beth Adams is making a great name for herself, and her Napa Valley wine. In 2005 she started her own label, Abigail Adams Wine Company, named after her two grandmothers (Abigail Phillips and Ruth Adams) and began producing top notch French Style Rose and Viognier, Adi Rose and Abi Blanc from her Yountville home. Her hand harvested Rose is 100% Syrah and filled with rich berry and spice with crisp acidity and a clean, dry finish. Only 655 cases were produced in the current, 2007 release, Beth’s third vintage.
I got an email from Beth the other day regarding a special sale going on now through August 15th for Abigail Adams Dallas sales.
Please join me in an effort to kick out Pediatric Brain Cancer.
Until August 15th all Dallas salesof all Abigail Adams Wines will be donated to a fund in honor of Mary Margaret Deering.
My dear friend’s daughter, Mary Margaret Deering was diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumor on May 7th. She is, and has been in and out of Children’s Medical Center all summer. She is doing really well thanks to the amazing team of pediatric neurological surgeons at CMC!
Watching all the children and families around the hospital; all I can think about is RESEARCH. Hopefully one day no one will have to watch a child they love deal with cancer!
The fund will benefit these doctors and their Brain Cancer Research at Children’s Medical Center in Dallas.
Abigail Adams Adi Rose and Abi Blanc can be found at Central Market, Pogo’s and Moto Formaggio (who will also be donating an additional 25% to the fund.)1 Comment »
Trends come and trends go. Some of us witnessed the frozen yogurt craze in the 80s and early 90s. Now it’s back in a big way. Or is it gone already? Are we really, as DMN’s Leslie Brenner contends, in the midst of a taco uptrend? Or is she very late to the taco party that has been happening here for decades? How long before all of the cupcakes stores are empty waiting for the next cupcake? Oh, it’s here! Cake balls. I guess I should ask what is the next cake ball?
Jump for the fascinating, decidedly unscientific data. And then tell us, what’s the best trend you’ve seen lately? What do you really enjoy? And which trend do you just shake your head at, and wonder, “Why?”11 Comments »
I called corporate headquarters for In-N-Out Burgers yesterday to check on the opening of their first Texas location in Garland. Tracking down the only guy who can speak on the record for this company, Carl Van Fleet Vice President of Planning and Development, has always been a major task. I got lucky yesterday—he called back in less than five hours and left this message on my voicemail.
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“At this point in time, I can’t really speculate as to when we might open. It would be premature to try and guess and I would be misleading some of our customers. What I can tell you is that it is not going to be in 2010. We are just not ready. There is way too much to happen between now and then for us to be ready to go anywhere in the Dallas market.
Confidently, I can say it will not be in 2010 and only say it will be sometime in 2011. If I had to guess, I could say spring (he laughs) but it is vey early in the process and we have a lot of work to do.”