The sun was setting just as dinner started in the picturesque Napa Valley vineyards Texas natives Brenda and Clay Cockerell with Chef Dean Fearing cooking up a Texas sized barbecue paired with Brenda and Clay’s Coquerel Family Wine.
With local folk/country Juliane Band playing favorites from Willie, Patsy and Loretta under a lantern lit white tent, cowboy boot wearing guests joined together to celebrate the start of the 31st Annual Auction Napa Valley, Texas style.
Continue reading "Coquerel Family Wine Estates and Chef Dean Fearing Start Auction Napa Valley with a Texas Bang"
The last sold shout comes out from Wine Auctioneer pro Fritz Hatten on a drenched but joyous group of over 800 Auction Napa Valley guests dawning rubber boots and Napa wine festive attire celebrating the 31styear of the wine and dine weekend benefiting local Napa Valley charities.
$7.3 million was raised over the 4 day event much of it at the actual auction, with the highest single Lot dollar amount raised for the Fund a Need Lot 24 benefiting children’s health and wellness charities in Napa where the only prize came from dozens of kids carrying balloons and cupcakes around to each individual bidder to show their gratitude. The Lot sold for $1.1 million spread out among 132 bidders.
Continue reading "Auction Napa Valley Brings in $7.3 Million For Charity and Gives Guests a Lavish Weekend of Wine and Food"
Forgive me as I step up on my soap box for a minute. Last Sunday, I took my family to lunch at Pecan Lodge Catering in Shed 2 of the Dallas Farmers Market. I’m a long-time supporter of local farmers and both D Magazine and SideDish have promoted many of the events, cooking classes, and developments that take place at DFM. But I’ve got to say, I’m very disappointed in the progress inside Shed 2. The air-conditioned space designed to encourage local, artisanal food vendors and local handicrafters is still half-empty. At 1:00PM last Sunday, the cavernous space was sparsely populated. Unfair Park’s Robert Wilonsky wrote a great piece on the economic reality the vendors face: high month-to-month rents and little security as vendors can be moved at any time for any reason. (It’s all here.)
(Stepping down) Anywhoo, despite what goes on behind the scenes, we had a great time hanging in Shed 2. First, we feasted at Pecan Lodge Catering. As I mentioned earlier today, the barbecue side of PLC’s menu was “closed” because they were putting the finishing touches on their new smokehouse. Instead of going for the usual burnt ends, we explored other items on the menu. And you know what I found? The best piece of fried chicken in Dallas. The guy in line behind me said, “I drive all the way from Balch Springs every weekend to eat this chicken.” Who is going to argue with that?
Jump for more goodness. Continue reading "Quick Report: Shed 2 at the Dallas Farmers Market"9 Comments »
Several years ago, Steve Hartnett (Cool River, Fox & Hound, Flip’s, Bob’s Steak & Chop House in Grapevine), bought a pad of land at the corner of Main Street and Highway 114. His dream was to open a small community of art-filled restaurants connected by a landscaped walkways. Currently half of his dream is up and running: Bob’s Steak & Chop House and Fireside Pies are open. Sometime in mid-July, his two restaurants, Mi Dia and Winewood Grill, will be completed.
I stopped by the construction site the other day and got a feel for what the finished project will look like. The chef at Mi Dia is Gabriel DeLeon, the former chef/owner of Masaryk Modern Mexican Kitchen in Addison. “The menu will be part Tex-Mex, Mexican, and Santa Fe,” says Hartnett. “DeLeon will be doing a lot of dishes with chiles from New Mexico.” Hartnett, who designs the interior of all his restaurants, has purchased “a bunch” of vivid over-sized oil paintings of fruit by artist Dennis Wojtkiewicz to hang on the walls at Mi Dia. The back wall of glass will overlook the courtyard where another stunning piece of art: The Pastoral Dreamer, a bronze sculpture by artist David L. Phelps, centers the space.
Next to Bob’s is Winewood Grill, an 8,800-square foot upscale American grill cheffed by Brent Hines, former executive chef at Sky Creek Ranch and sous chef at Hickory House at the Gaylord Texan. Details on the finish-out and menu are still in the works.
“Business at Bob’s and Fireside is great,” says Hartnett. “We are really excited to get these next two restaurants open.” At the rate he’s going, he will soon be able to charge admission to view his art collection.
I took my family to lunch at Pecan Lodge Catering on Sunday. We knew the barbecue operation had been halted for a while as owners Justin and Diane Fourton built a new smokehouse, but we have lots of other favorites on their menu. (The Hot Mess is ridiculously soothing.) Details on our experience will come in a later post, but this morning comes word that the Fourton’s are back in the barbecue business. On Saturday, they will start serving their, now famous, burnt ends along with new items such as homemade smoked sausage, pulled pork, and mesquite smoked brisket and ribs.
And they’re having a contest! And Sweet Tea flavored vodka from Deep Eddy!
Can you walk and chew gum? Then you can drink Texas wine and tweet! I’ve participated in this monthly Twitter chat and while it’s a little hard to get a word in (difficult for me, anyway), I’ve always learned some unique facts about Texas wine. Tonight the Texas Department of Agriculture will announce a major new initiative designed to promote and support restaurants that offer Texas wines. Locapour? IJS.
Jump for directions. Continue reading "GO TEXAN Twitter Tasting Tuesday is Tonight"
The Bordeaux region of France is one of the great wine producing regions of the world. However, language differences and an arcane classification system can make it difficult for new wine enthusiasts to come to grips with the wines. Where do you turn for reliable, informed advice free from commercial bias? One answer is top-rated Dallas restaurant Bijoux where sommelier and co-owner Gina Gottlich is running a series of tasting classes focused on major wine regions of the world. Last Friday, I was a guest at the Bordeaux class. We tasted four wines while Gina talked about each one and provided a slide show to explain maps, grapes and winemaking. The wines were carefully chosen to illustrate the different types of wines produced in the region.
The Cliff Notes are below.1 Comment »
A loyal Disher (h/t DG) sends a link to a recent newsletter by Dr. Dirt. His parents know him as Howard Garrett, the multi-media writer/talker of all things growing. Anywhoo, Dr. Dirt has a quick guide to identifying genetically modified food in the grocery store. So if you’d like a little less Monsanto in your morning meal, check this out.
Many consumers don’t realize that the FDA does not require genetically modified food to be labeled. That’s because the FDA has decided that you don’t care if the tomato you are eating has been cross bred with frog genes to render the tomato more resistant to cold weather. Some consumers may not be concerned with eating “Franken Food”, but for those who are, here is how to determine if the fruits and vegetables you’re buying are (GM) genetically modified.
For conventionally grown fruit (grown with chemicals inputs), the PLU code on the sticker consists of four numbers. Organically grown fruit has a five-numeral PLU prefaced by the number 9. Genetically engineered (GM) fruit has a five-numeral PLU prefaced by the number 8. Example: A conventionally grown banana would be 4011. An organically grown banana would be 94011. A genetically engineered banana would be 84011.
Dr. Dirt has more guidelines for steering clear of GM foods in your diet. Click here. If you have questions on this newsletter or any other topic, check his radio show schedule. Or follow him on Twitter or Facebook.6 Comments »