Carbone’s, a week-old Italian restaurant, is already turning into a neighborhood destination for Park Cities residents eager to try Julian Barsotti’s interpretation of Italian-American food. Customers have been trickling into this part-grocery store, part-deli in a steady stream ever since Barsotti’s grand opening last Tuesday, keeping his staff on its toes. “It’s been very busy. I didn’t anticipate being this busy right off the bat,” says Barsotti.
When I visited Carbone’s on Wednesday, it was 1 PM and all the tables (save two, maybe) were taken. Barsotti was crouched down next to an elderly couple, easy to spot in his Adidas shoes and red plaid shorts, and probably on the receiving end of the couple’s congratulations for the elegant layout of his store.
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Abacus in Dallas was the scene of a dinner hosted by Belvedere Vodka this week to announce the sponsors of the 14th Annual TWO x TWO for AIDS and Art to be held on October 20. The event has raised more than $34 million since its inception. Th organizers are hoping to top last year’s record of raising nearly $5 million. The money raised supports two objectives: amFAR, The Foundation for AIDS Research, which funds research and education to find a cure and prevent the spread of AIDS, and to fund acquisitions of Contemporary Art at The Dallas Museum of Art. TWO x TWO was established by Cindy and Howard Rachofsky. The annual event has grown to be the largest US fundraiser for both amFAR and The Dallas Museum of Art. Last year a piece by artist Mark Grotjahn went for a record-breaking $1 million.
Yelp! I hate somebody. Yelp! Almost everybody. Yelp! Won’t you please hate me!
—all due respect to John, Paul, George, and Ringo
Why I don’t like Yelp: Reasons number 2,343 and 2,344.
Yelpers walk into restaurants and introduce themselves as Yelpers, demand special attention, and become customers from hell. If they don’t get it, they murder the restaurant online. Usually you can flush out the grandiose writers by their pompous style. I’d hate to be a restaurateur and deal with these types.
Restaurateurs rating competitors on Yelp. Yesterday Maple and Motor’s Jack Perkins “exposed” Dace Street, the son of Gene Street who has been around the business (Snookies) for a few decades. On M&M’s Facebook page Perkins writes: “Check out what Dace Street is willing to do” and links to Street’s Yelp profile page. Street is out in the open: he boldly posts his picture on the page which also contains ten reviews. He gives 5 Stars to the Street-family-owned Liberty Burger and one to Maple and Motor.
It’s all bollocks. This is all starting to make Harvey Gough look like a softie. Hi Harvey, I’ll take a number 2 and melt the cheese!
UPDATE: I just received this note from Dace Street: “Some one is screwing with me. I took down the yelp profile that was associated with me. Good grief! I never took any pot-shots at M&M or anyone else.”
Chef Stephan Pyles has changed the way I view chicken. You see, I have always been resistant to ordering an entrée of chicken from any high-end dining establishment. Call it poultry prejudice, but I have always sorta looked down on the lowly chicken when it competes with beef, lamb, pork, buffalo, lobster, or just about any number of more tantalizing menu options. Don’t get me wrong, I love a nice piece of hot-n-juicy fried chicken from Bubba’s Cooks Country just as much as the next guy, but when I am sitting down at the table of a culinary mastermind, I am not particularly interested in what he or she is doing with chicken.
I don’t think I’m completely alone, am I? Mr. Anthony Bourdain once said, “Chicken is boring…chefs see it as a menu item for people who don’t know what they want to eat.”
This month Todd Johnson checks in with Graham Dodds, the newish executive chef at Central 214. His cooking is a far cry from his predecessor Blythe Beck. Have you tried the newish Central 214?
With his shaggy beard and dark painter’s cap, Graham Dodds looks out of place in Central 214, the restaurant he now helms at Hotel Palomar. It feels like a typical hotel restaurant—contrived modern decor, nondescript white leather banquettes, amber walls—so focus-grouped that it lacks any personality. And it’s not just the new chef’s appearance. Dodds’ culinary history is far too personal for such an impersonal space.
For the past three years, Dodds was the executive chef at Bolsa, the award-winning spot in the Bishop Arts District. He was in on the project from its inception, and his farm-to-fork approach—championing local and seasonal ingredients—was fresh at the time, not the marketing gimmick it has become. Dodds’ creations were simple, his flavors pure. Nothing was over-sauced or overwrought. Bolsa was an instant hit, and it established North Oak Cliff as a dining destination. D Magazine named it the 2009 restaurant of the year.1 Comment »
It’s fascinating seeing the state of each gas station taqueria. Some are highly evolved like Fuel City; they have a full staff and even a freeway billboard advertising tacos over gasoline. Some are less evolved, and this particular taqueria feels like it is either in its infancy or is in a state of life support.
The gas station market is small and narrow, leaving barely enough room for one dine-in table with a few chairs. There is a full kitchen in back where a line of crockpots are filled with various meat choices each day.
There is no menu or pricing stated, but tacos are $1 each and you simply ask the cook what’s in each crockpot. The day I was there, the options were chicken, beef fajita, chicharones (fried pork rinds), stewed beef, and beef tongue. I went with a couple beef fajita, chicharones, and stewed beef tacos.
I asked the cook for corn tortillas, though; she had just made a small batch of flour tortillas. She then proceeds to open a plastic bowl with a corn meal paste and presses several corn tortillas. She heads to the cooking surface to cook the newly made tortillas and adds the meats per my order. I ask for some onions and cilantro, but am told there is none. A small stack of red and green salsas in plastic to-go containers are at the counter and I take a few with my Styrofoam container.2 Comments »