Promoters of The Longest Chef’s Table Event have shortened the seating of Thursday’s event to zero. I just received a note: “Due to unforeseen circumstances, The Longest Chef’s Table event in Dallas has been cancelled. Thank you so much for your interest and coverage of the event.” Does this make long table dinners a short trend?3 Comments »
Here is something we have not seen for a long time: a new Malaysian restaurant! Blue Ginger Garden is situated in the southeast corner of Independence and Parker in central Plano. Signs in the front proclaim: Malaysian Cuisine and Nyonya Delights. Those are clues that the people behind this establishment are aware of the multiple cultures that underpin the cuisine in that country where the majority of the population (60%) is Malay, Chinese make up 30%, and almost another 30 % is Indian. Malaysia is the crucible for merging these ethnic cuisines to produce something that, like grapes in a fine wine, is more than the sum of its parts. The best-known example is Nyonya cuisine, a confluence of Chinese and native Malay influences. The result is that a Malaysian restaurant has the potential to be a very special experience or a disaster if the kitchen fails to grapple with the subtleties of cooking the recipes of so many cultures.
The menu at Blue Ginger Garden is ambitious. You could start with Indian-inspired roti canai (Indian pancake) $2.75 . Continue with a bit of China with the Penang chow kueh teow (stir-fried noodle, Penang-style) $8.75 before proceeding to nyonya acar (mixed vegetable relish) $$5.75 or nyonya pig trotters with vinegar $8.95. The menu is five pages long and includes the lunch menu where everything is less than $7.
The people behind Blue Ginger Garden are Esther & Hai Say. Hai, a retired engineer, works the front of the house. Esther, a former tailor(her work bedecks the windows and walls), is in the kitchen. If you think backgrounds so removed from the restaurant business are unpropitious for a good meal, taste the food. On our visit the chef showed a dutiful attention to flavors and textures. My dining companion, a native Malaysian who had just returned from a two-week vacation back home, pronounced Blue Ginger’s roti canai better than the versions she ate in Malaysia. I particularly enjoyed the (Chinese influence) hometown pork belly with wood ear, an interesting mushroom that looks like a window blind and tastes meaty like a shitake).
The restaurant has been open for two weeks and is still working themselves out, but early signs are good. If you have a group of 8 to 10 people, you may want to reserve the private room. Oh, and Blue Ginger Garden is BYOB. We will be back.
I hate lemons in my water. Especially when they are huge slices. I can deal with a thinly cut layer, but for the most part, I like my water to taste like water. Last night I was served a big glass of water in a plastic tumbler and there were four lemon seeds floating around between the ice cubes. I wondered how much an average restaurant spends to add lemons to tap water. Seems like a great way to cut costs. Waddaya think?23 Comments »
Danny Hamlin may have won yesterday’s AAA Texas 500 at Texas Motor Speedway, but The Mario Batali Foundation and Speedway Children’s Charities-Texas Chapter were the real winners at the Asphalt Chef celebrity-studded charity fundraiser held on Saturday night. The event took place by the pool at the speedway’s Lone Star Tower and raised $85,515 for the two charities.
The event involved three teams facing off in a format similar to the Iron Chef . Batali teamed up with four times defending NASCAR Sprint Cup series champion Jimmy Johnson. TV personality Guy Fieri joined with NASCAR ace and 2004 Sprint Cup Series champion Kurt Busch. Our hometown hero, chef Tim Love of Fort Worth’s Lonesome Dove Western Bistro and Foreigner front man Kelly Hansen made up team number three. The judges, NASCAR driver Michael Waltrip, NBC 5 broadcaster Newy Scruggs and the Texas Rangers pitcher Tommy Hunter, gave the victory Love and Hansen for their shrimp and grits with chorizo.
The timing could not have been better. At the end of the week area food pantries reported their donations were down, Charlie Palmer’s at The Joule held a major wine and food fundraiser for the North Texas Food Bank to help correct that situation. The Big Red, was a two-night event. Friday was the opening salvo, Taste of The Big Red, a walk around tasting of wines from 20 Texas wineries and food by an A-list of Dallas restaurants: York Street, Fearing’s, Craft, Five Sixty by Wolfgang Puck, Abacus, Stephan Pyles, Bonnell’s, Salum, Scardello Cheese, and Top Chef Brothers Bryan and Michael Voltaggio. Besides real chefs, there was live music by Somebody’s Darling, Boys Named Sue, and Grant Jones & The Pistol Grip Lassos. BTW: Check out Texas-based Somebody’s Darling. I’ll swear Amber Farris, the lead singer, is Janice Joplin reincarnated.
Others can comment on the food, which I thought was uniformly excellent. The lines to get it were short as well. I shall treat this as a chance to stick a thermometer down the larynx of the Texas wine industry. Here, with a focus on truth rather than vacillation, is my take on the wines, in the order tasted5 Comments »