A Portland-living foodie who admits he needs a restaurant critic sends this note:
Ms. Nichols, I am coming down for the Oregon/LSU game next weekend and wondered if you could recommend any restaurants that aren’t too far from Arlington. In looking at Google Maps, I see the usual chain suspects around Arlington but there have got to be local spots worth checking out. Granted, I am coming from the town that apparently doesn’t need food critics to have good food. As a side note, the publications in this town are dying so restaurant reviews have been ceded to the blogs and local online food community. I generally use food critics’ columns/recommendations to help find dining destinations that I wouldn’t necessarily know about otherwise.
Help him, yáll I’m useless. (“Olenjack’s Grille and Chop House Burgers,” she whispers.)28 Comments »
What to expect: Meso Maya, the self-labeled “simple modern Mexican food” restaurant that opened in Preston Forest Shopping Center last week has success writ large from the kitchen to the curb. First, chef Nico Sanchez (The Porch, Hibiscus), whom owner Mike Karns (president of El Fenix) lured away from the Consilient Restaurant Group, is heading up the kitchen. Second, the management team is being wrangled, in part, by the lovely MCrowd veteran, Elizabeth Ruiz. Third, the menu is packed with abundant deliciousness from the fresh margaritas, to the guacamole, to the house-specialty budin Azteca.
We visited (undercover) last week and are still talking about it today. Here’s the scoop:
jump for pictures and details… Continue reading "First-Take Review: Meso Maya Rocks Preston Forest With Regional Mexican Moxie"6 Comments »
Earlier this morning, I received a link to a Seattle Weekly blog post written by former Dallas Observer “critic” Hanna “Sudafed” Raskin and planned to write a rebuttal. Eater “Up at Dawn” Dallas beat me to the punch. However, I would like to throw a few more. Her post– “Professional Food Critics Not Needed in Portland”– is embarrassingly amateur. Read it, I’ll wait.
This quick assessment from a professional food critic who reviewed Dallas restaurants while taking copious amounts of sinus medication? After my ENT doctor read about Raskin’s sinus problems, he called me and said: “She had no business reviewing restaurants. Her palate was dead.” If I were a restaurateur who was reviewed during her reign, I’d be demanding a redo. No wonder she called Dallas a “dining nowhereville.” She wasn’t able to taste anything. She blathers on:
I shouldn’t be surprised that the imagined relationship between rigorous professional criticism and good food doesn’t hold up. I moved here from Dallas, a city that’s covered ruthlessly by established food critics, including the Dallas Morning News‘ Leslie Brenner, D Magazine‘s Nancy Nichols, and Texas Monthly‘s Pat Sharpe. The food there isn’t any better for it.
Hanna, you take one trip to Portland and declare “Portland appears to have entered the post-professional critic era, and the food scene hasn’t suffered.” Oh my. I need a Xanax. Writers in Portland were sadly laid off by print publications. Raskin should be next.21 Comments »
The next few weeks include a handful of fantastic wine and dine events that should be marked on your calendars.
Monday, August 29th Marquee Grill will kick off their monthly supper club dinners with a tribute to the ubiquitous Hatch chile. This time of year everything seems to be about this well loved pepper and Executive Chef, Trey Wilcox and Executive Bar Manager, Mixologist Jason Kosmas have created a pairing dinner designed to excite the palate with unique combos over a four course dinner for $95 per person. Reservations required – 214-522-6035.
Here is the menu:
Hatch Chili Dinner Menu
Welcome Cocktail – Matador Dulce Vida tequila, cucumber juice, roasted mild hatch chili and pineapple purée with hot hatch chili oil.
Compressed Melons and Poached Lobster, Hatch Chili, Avocado, Crispy Taro Root Paired with Mohua Sauvignon Blanc
Grilled Sockeye Salmon, Hatch Chili-Jack Cheese Grits, Tequila Lime Sauce Paired with Laetitia Pinot Noir
Kobe Beef Cheeks, Green Chili-Bacon Potatoes, Baby Beet – Hatch Chili Chimichurri Paired with Titus Cabernet Sauvignon
Hatch Chili Citrus Panna Cotta, Grilled Pineapple, Cilantro Gel, Plantains Paired with Casa Dragones-super premium sipping tequila Continue reading "Upcoming Opportunities to Taste"
Wondering what’s going on with the Desperados’ Greenville Avenue renovation? Looks like we’ll see some action there in the coming week. In the meantime, let’s talk about the fact that September 1 marks Desperados’ 35th anniversary. In honor of the date, Desperados will launch their Say Adios To Hunger campaign with the North Texas Food Bank. Desperados is committed to providing the cash equivalent of 35,000 meals to the NTFB and is offering a free appetizer at both locations to customers who bring in non-perishable food items to help stuff the catering van.
jump for some feel-good quotes… Continue reading "Stuff the Catering Van and Get a Free Appetizer at Desperados’ “Say Adios to Hunger” Food Drive"
Even thought it’ll probably be hot until Halloween, that doesn’t mean you can’t fantasize about the fall. What better way to spend an autumn afternoon than whipping up culinary treats with sassy-pants chef Blythe Beck of Central 214? Throughout the coming year, Chef Beck will be hosting groups of 25 for instruction and collaboration on a variety of fall dishes, starting with a football-themed class on Saturday, Sept. 17 from 2 to 4 pm..
Each monthly class will feature a three-course meal and specially selected wine pairings. Chef Beck promises you’ll “leave with warm memories, a full stomach, and goodie bag of recipes and treats.”
Here’s the schedule so far:
Price is $125 per person. Complimentary valet parking provided.
Check the Central 214 website for class schedule and menus. For reservations, call 214-520-2865 or e-mail Karen.Pond@Central214.com
A champagne-colored Lexus SUV filled with four well-coifed, middle-aged women pulls up to the valet stand. Attendants surround the car and, with a flourish, simultaneously fling open all four doors. Expensive perfume scents the hot summer breeze. One woman stoops to adjust her strappy Jimmy Choos while another rearranges the belt over her Prada sundress. And then, with everything just so, they step onto the sidewalk and approach the entrance to Marquee Grill & Bar in Highland Park Village.1 Comment »
People are saying that Fitzhugh is the new Henderson. I’m not really sure if I buy that yet, but I am willing to admit that Ole Fitz is definitely moving in the right direction. Maybe you’ve heard about some of the melodrama surrounding the fairly recent goings on at RedFork. Circulating rumors focused on the early loss of two of the three founding chefs (Matt Balke, formerly of York Street, and Jeff Harris, formerly of Craft), a bit of hot dish which left many questioning if this new Dallas hotspot was even worth a try. With chef Ryan Carbery at it’s helm, RedFork was determined to press on.
The question remains: can the food still hold its own? Is this place still worthy of the early buzz once surrounding RedFork’s opening? The answer, my friends, is a resounding yes.