Exclusive! Breaking! Must credit SideDish!!
Minutes ago, Bob Sambol told his staff and investors that he is decamping the legendary Bob’s Steak & Chop House to take a job at MCrowd. Come Monday, diners at the Mercury Grill will find Sambol waiting to greet them at the front door. He’ll run that operation and will spearhead an MCrowd foray into fine dining with as-yet-unnamed future restaurants in the Dallas area.
Naturally, if you’ve been playing along at home, you are right now recalling that Sambol is a thief who recently copped to stealing $300,000 from an investor. I asked MCrowd co-owner Ray Washburne why he would take on that risk and the baggage that comes with it. I found it curious that he didn’t have a ready answer and seemed to be thinking out loud as he looked for one. Washburne said Sambol is a talented guy and a hard worker. “In the restaurant business,” he said, “you have very few people who are true restaurateurs, who work the door and know their customers’ names.” Sambol is one of those guys. (Washburne said Al Biernat is another.) But Washburne also said the hire was a real Dallas thing. “One reason Dallas is a great city is if you’re honest and you work hard, people are willing to listen to you,” he said. I replied, “Honest?” Washburne laughed and said, “We’re all sinners. Bob has addressed his issues. He’s looking for a fresh start, and working with the structure that MCrowd has, he can flourish.” Hang on, though. There’s one more reason Washburne gave for making the hire. Sambol got deferred adjudication and is on probation for 10 years. “If he messes up once,” Washburne said, “he’s done. He’s got a gun to his head.” In other words, he thinks Sambol is a safe bet.
For his part, Sambol told Nancy: “I’m really excited. I’ve had some incredible heart-to-heart talks with all of the partners. I’ve been honest with them, and I respect [Mercury Grill chef Chris Ward] and his staff. We are not looking back. We’re looking forward to increasing business and perhaps creating new projects for Chris.”
Ward is known for being, oh, let’s call it quiet. What is going to happen when MCrowd installs an operator at the Mercury who has grown accustomed, over the years, to having his name on the building? “Bob has a great passion for the restaurant business,” Ward said. “He has plans to boost the business at Mercury. We’ve also talked about doing another restaurant together.”31 Comments »
Last night the 14th annual Rising Stars Chefs’ Awards Dinner celebrated exceptional food and flavors created by some of the cities best up and coming chefs. The second event in the five day Dallas Wine and Food Festival, this event has become one of the most anticipated for lovers of great food and supporters of our local chefs.
With Executive Director Nikki Miller at the helm, a tasting event was held in early April where various chefs presented their creations to the Dallas Wine and Food Festival judging panel, and last night at the Nasher Sculpture Center the winners were honored, with lucky attendees enjoying the tasty winning dishes with wine pairings from Napa Valley Artesa Chardonnay and incredible Pinot Noir from Domaine Serene in Willamette Valley. A special treat this year, a reception cocktail of Makers Mark and lemonade. All the food was decadent with one common theme…butter. Follow the jump for pictures of the festivities.1 Comment »
Katherine Clapner, the dudette behind Dude, Sweet Chocolate, is throwing a party to celebrate the first anniversary of her shop in Bishop Arts. She’s going all out—apparently she’s dressing up as Selena and her staffers will tote marshmallow guns and attend as The Three Amigos. The fun will take place in conjunction with Cinco de Mayo Wine Walk, on May 5 from 7-9pm. In true Dude form, EZ Eddie at the turntables,100 Anjos Reposado will flow, and pinatas in the likes of people you’ve always wanted to whack upside the head.
Has it escaped anyone’s attention that Mother’s Day is
next THIS Sunday TOMORROW?
Mom may be around constantly, but Mothers’ Day comes but once a year. Treat her right by taking her out to brunch. Ladies’ choice.
jump for the menus… Continue reading "Mother’s Day Cometh, Dallas!"2 Comments »
9 Comments »
This one’s for my frugal foodies [winks and points finger at’cha].
I’m starting a new feature called “Ate it for $8.” Every week I’ll scour the city for new places to grab lunch for less than eight bucks. Don’t like the places I pick or have a great idea for an $8 lunch? Send me suggestions; I’d love to hear about where you go for cheap eats!
For my first cheap lunch, I went to Taco Joint in east Dallas. I’m a sucker for good Tex-Mex, and my friends constantly rave about this place — I can’t even begin to say how many you’ve-never-been-there?!’s I’ve heard. Needless to say, my expectations were pretty high for this place before even stepping through the door.
The vibe was right up my alley with vintage records stuck to the ceiling and regulars packed around each table. I heard the tacos were massive, so I kept it to just two this time … and I’ glad I did. I ordered a crispy taco ($1.99) and soft taco ($1.99), and munched on some better-than-average chips and salsa ($1.99) while I waited for my name to be called.
If you’ve had the pleasure of meeting Chef Hung at Kenichi, then you already know he is a kind and talented man. The recent tragedies in Japan and the wretched weather disasters in the U. S. have moved him to start a drive to raise some money to aid disaster relief. At the Second Annual Sake Festival at Kenichi on May 6, Chef Hung will add a special feature to the event.
We’re setting up for a special sampling, at $10 additional a pour. I’ve collected a few rare sakes in my travels to Japan–some have been honored gifts, some required fastidious seeking out, none are (or will likely ever be) available in the US. To these, I will add my collection of koshu–sakes I’ve personally aged. As you know, most sakes aren’t meant to be aged, and most don’t do well when “rested.” But certain ones can be interesting, and drinking aged sakes is a connoisseur activity, in some circles. Included in this collection are brews from regions of Japan which may not produce sake again in our lifetimes.
Attendees of last year’s festival sampled more than 50 sakes. This year there will be more. Friday, May 6th, 2011. 5pm – 8pm Kenichi Dallas. 2400 Victory Park Ln. 214-871-8883. $40 per person. Special tasting area with Hung, an additional $10 per pour.
Picture an extraordinarily proper woman with lovely pearls at Highland Park Village Starbucks at mid-morning who blurts to the barista: “I need a naughty mommy drink.”
A few years ago at Cafe Pacific in the dead of summer I will just never forgot the couple at the next table. The girl was dressed in a very shiny dress and her date in a shiny new shirt. They asked the waiter to describe Cafe Pacific’s famous ice cream pecan ball dessert. After listening to the description the gal asked, “Can we have that to go?” Ice cream?
Several weeks ago on SideDish a commenter who goes by “IntheIndustry” reported on a post the he/she overheard a customer announce “We’re Yelpers” to the waiter as if that qualified them to receive special service. I about spit my screen when I read that.
How about you? What are some of the funniest thing you’ve overheard while dining?24 Comments »
This just in from the press release department:
As you may have heard, the new Food Network series Best in Smoke on which Tim Love will be one of the judges, premieres Sunday, May 8th at 9 pm CST (it will air at 8:00 pm CST in subsequent weeks), and it features six of the best barbecue masters in the country. The contestants meet in New York to face off for a $50,000 grand prize and the right to claim the title of Best in Smoke. This competition tests the competitors’ endurance and skill as they take on multiple challenges in a day with limited resources and cook for vastly different audiences. From barbecue desserts to single bite hors d’oeuvres, no food is off limits. Contestants show off their personal style and quick wit throughout the competition, but a final mad dash to three separate venues around Manhattan and Brooklyn will determine which competitor will be awarded the coveted title of Best In Smoke.
The first episode is “Best Bite in BBQ” and the six teams are challenged to create their best “single bite” for the judges panel, which includes Tim Love. Once the clock starts, it’s an all-out scramble to the meat truck, and the competitor who cooks up the best “single bite” wins immunity from elimination and joins the judging panel for the next round. Then, the competitors devise the ideal BBQ hors d’oeuvre for an upscale art gallery opening. The fate of the finalists hangs on the opinions of the gallery guests who decide which competitor is safe from elimination.
You might be inclined to think you’ve reached a new low when Tim Rogers declares your night “the saddest sounding night ever.” Not I. I spent last night blissfully alone in a suite at Hotel St. Germain, drinking champagne, wearing a tiara, eating two-person servings of cheese and desserts, and watching American Idol. The original plan had me joined by my husband and dog at 9 pm, but when they played the wild card that allows them each one opt-out a year, I took it as a boon. How often do we, as adults, get a malice-free evening to just chill out and, as Elizabeth Gilbert (and the Italians) say, practice the fine art of doing nothing?
Not often enough, it seems. No matter how much you love your spouse and kids/pets, an evening of rolling around in blissful self-absorption doesn’t suck—especially when you do it in a foofy hotel room with butlers ready to buttle at the ring of a bell.
jump for more deets… Continue reading "Final Frippery. Wrapping Up My Breakfast With the Royal Family"
Hey, Dishers. Where did you eat this week? Did you find something fabulous? Did you find something foul? We’d love to hear your thoughts on your latest restaurant experiences. Here’s what you reported last week.15 Comments »
Posts from the field. The run up the the Breakfast in Bed With the Royal Wedding starts now.. jump to get a peek at the suite. Continue reading "The Royal Treatment at Hotel St. Germain"
There was a packed house at Sutra in Plano last night as attendees enjoyed the first event of the 2011 Dallas Wine and Food Festival. Sutra served a four-course meal and the Angelika Film Center, just steps away, conducted a special showing of the romantic comedy Today’s Special.
Pretty pictures of people and food after the jump! Continue reading "Dallas Wine and Food Festival Kicks Off at Sutra in Plano"1 Comment »
I forgot to post this picture of Parigi chef Chad Houser who cooked a Texas-inspired dinner at Tawlet in Beruit.3 Comments »
One of my late-grandmother’s greatest pleasures was pointing out what she believed to be my striking resemblance to Princess Diana. This is the same woman who, every time my brother came to visit, would shout out, “Who’s the Boss?” because in her mind he was a dead ringer for Tony Danza. But I digress.
There’s no avoiding the fact that Kate Middleton will be marrying Princess Diana’s eldest, the future King of England, tomorrow at dark-thirty (CST). And since no one else would agree to be the D Royal Wedding expert, it seems that I’m it. I couldn’t be happier because the title comes with the bonus of spending tonight in a suite at Hotel St. Germain and enjoying a traditional English Breakfast in Bed With the Royal Family, part of the hotel’s Brit Week festivities.
The plan: I’ll wake be awakened early at 4:45 am, pin on a fascinator, and tuck into the tray of bangers, grilled tomatoes, and the mushrooms delivered to me in bed as my husband and dog, Lucy snore through it all, (of course Hotel St Germain is pet friendly).
If you’re at all interested, check in here and with our Twitter feed to keep up with the royal doings.
And if anyone knows where I can find a Union Jack kerchief for Lucy, give me a shout.
See you in the a.m.
We are so excited. I mean really excited. So excited that we’re hardly getting anything else done this morning. Why? Because we’re spending all of our time clicking through the room guides, shopping resources, and crazy vs. cool chairs on the brand-spanking new D Home online.
Check it out. You’re going to want to bookmark this one.
The former Popolos space will soon become a modern Tuscan farmhouse-style restaurant. Veteran Dallas restaurateur Patrick (Cru, Ferre, Steel, Victory Tavern) is the force behind the deal. The man in the kitchen will be chef Kevin Ascolese, a long-time friend and co-worker of Colombo’s. You remember Ascolese. He cooked at Salve, Mi Piaci, and Ferre in the West Village. The dynamic duo are shooting for an opening in late August. “It won’t be high end, “Colombo said. “We plan to fit right into the neighborhood.”4 Comments »
Tre Wilcox and company will be ready for you in less than one hour. 33 Highland Park Village, 214-522-6035. Website.6 Comments »
Seems like our pal, “Best BBQ in Dallas” author (and creator of the Full Custom Gospel BBQ blog) Daniel Vaughn has been holding out on us. Turns out he’s been moonlighting as a savoneur. Ok, that may not be a real word, but the skinny is that the dude is part of a four-person team that recently completed a Kickstarter campaign to fund the creation of Meat Soap.
Yes…a soap…made from bacon fat.
The team consists of Vaughn, a chemist, a graphic designer, and a soap-obsessed marketer who combined their Superfriends powers to fund, design, synthesize, and hand make soaps that smell like “bacon, beef, and other delicious and delicate meats.”
“I think people might be interested in washing their hands with soapy bacon,” Vaughn says on Meat Soap’s website.
jump to read more about Meat Soap… Continue reading "No Matter How Good It Smells, Don’t Eat the Meat Soap"
Not that we need a reason to head to one of the best places in our great state, but if you are looking for something to do over the first weekend in June an event notice came a across that would make me take the drive down I35 featuring our own Paula Lambert, sitting beside some of the best culinary names in the business, to judge the first Edible Texas Wine Food Match where chefs will compete using local Texas ingredients paired with Texas wine. See details below or click here:
Edible Texas Wine Food Match, presented by Edible Austin and The Texas Food and Wine Gourmet. This first-ever culinary competition challenges chefs from Central Texas to create regional food to pair with appellation wines of Texas to bring out the best in both. Held on Friday, June 3, 7 to10 p.m. at the AT&T Conference Center in Austin, the competition is an official event of the 2011 International Association of Culinary Professionals’ national conference.
Guest judges include Jacques Pépin, world-renowned chef, television celebrity, author and culinary educator; Francois Dionot, founder and director of L’Academie de Cuisine; John Besh, chef, restaurateur, author and television personality; Michael Bauer, executive food and wine editor for the San Francisco Chronicle; and Paula Lambert, cookbook author and founder of the Mozzarella Company. Five Central Texas chefs, chosen by a panel of preliminary judges, will vie for the perfect pairing that reflects the soil, grapes, wine and food of Texas in three courses for 150 guests. Proceeds from the event will benefit the newly launched nonprofitTexas Center for Wine and Culinary Arts in Fredericksburg, Texas.
Continue reading "Here Is A Great Reason To Head To Austin"
Writer Randy Potts accompanied Parigi chef Chad Houser to Beruit to meet and eat with Kamal Mouzawak, who owns the restaurant Tawlet and is referred to as the Alice Waters of the Middle East. For the past week, the threesome has been touring the area and scouting organic farms, artisan bakeries, and markets. You can read their previous reports here, here, here, and here. Earlier this morning, Potts filed this final report:
After spending ten days in Lebanon visiting organic farms, wineries, and taking in the sites, Chad was ready to cook at Tawlet. His menu included twelve dishes, all Texas-style comfort food sourced from local seasonal, local, organic produce. Local as in Lebanon.
Number one on the list was Houser’s favorite, Ninny’s salad, named after his mother – okra sliced thin on the bias, soaked in buttermilk, lightly battered, lightly fried and chilled, then tossed with tomatoes, scallions, and a light vinaigrette . There was no organic okra so Houser make do with green-chili cornbread, little lamb sausages dressed up as Lebanese-style corny dogs, beef tenderloin crusted with coffee and garnished with a loquat relish. Houser spent all of the preceding day prepping, and on the day of the event he, for the first time, let me help in the kitchen.