My fondest memory of SMU-trained pianist Alessio Bax takes me all the way back to high school. I was fifteen or sixteen, and playing violin in the Greater Dallas Youth Orchestra. Right before one of our concerts at the Meyerson, the piano soloist had a family emergency and suddenly dropped out. We were pretty much screwed. Rhapsody in Blue without a pianist? George Gershwin would probably turn over in his grave. But then Alessio Bax came in and saved the day. He was stage-ready after only rehearsing with us once. It was brilliant! I remember thinking, “Wow, this guy is amazing, and he looks like Ewan McGregor.”
According to yesterday’s NYT Diner’s Journal, SMU-trained pianist Alessio Bax is also a fancy schmancy eater. Bax, at 35, is called “a rising star in classical music” by Jeff Gordinier, but – take it from me – he’s already a star. Born and raised in Italy, Bax moved to Dallas in 1994 and studied at SMU. He’s now part of the faculty there.
Here’s a snippet of his interview with the New York Times:
On an Apulian dish he longs for “Fave e cicoria. It’s fava beans, puréed, with bitter greens. We make that here at home. That one really brings me back to my childhood. Not only eating it, but just the smell of the fava boiling.”
On his bottomless stomach “When my mother was feeding me as a kid, she had to use two spoons. Because by the time she would put a spoon down, I would start crying for more food. I’ve been told that I used to open the oven and get food from the oven. And that was very dangerous.”
On a meal he can’t forget “If I have to single out a really memorable experience, it was probably a Kyoto-style meal in Japan — two of them, actually, in Tokyo. It was fantastic. What I liked was that it was about subtlety. It was all about matsutake mushrooms. They were in season. The first thing I could think about is music, where you really have to go deep inside it to know it.”
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A little weenie in the Hofmann Hots organization in Trinity Groves just told me the first “store” is getting ready for a soft opening on February 8.They will feature smoked kielbasa quarter pound or natural lamb casing German franks on housemade buns. Expect to see a Fajita Dog (grilled red and green bell peppers, grilled sweet onion, pepper jack cheese, chipotle ranch, grilled half jalapeno); Himalayan Dog (sweet onion chutney, toasted curry aioli, fried onion straws with fried curry leaf dusted with garam masala); Sweet and Smokey Dog (maple glaze, smoked gouda pimento cheese spread, chopped bacon); and a Bruschetta Dog (balsamic tomato compote, fresh basil, and shredded mozzarella cheese).1 Comment »
Wick Allison, D Magazine’s chairman and editor in chief, is in the process of developing a local television channel called D-TV. So far, he has refused to consider any type of local, food-related show. He’s out of town this week so I’m gonna run his show.
If you have an idea for a food show, leave it below. If you would like to star in your own idea for a food-related TV show, get out your smart phone, hit video, upload your video to Vimeo or YouTube, and email the link to me at firstname.lastname@example.org. State your name, show idea, and then pitch the hell out of it. Please keep your ramblings to a minute or less. Use props, friends, dogs, food, whatever you want, but keep it (reasonably) clean.
This is not a joke. This is a genuine call to arms. Each audition tape will be posted on SideDish and sent to our D-TV producer, Janice Tomlin. Note to Wick: Don’t ever tell me I can’t have something. Come on y’all, kick up some sass. Send ASAP. Will run them through next Friday…2 Comments »
As some of you may recall, I brought to your attention a troublesome parking situation at Ascension Coffee. They were forcing unnecessary valet in their tiny parking lot and prohibiting parking in the front spots, which number only 14 and are shared with a salon. This seemed wildly inappropriate considering the to-go attitude of many of its patrons. Ascension claimed that due to high traffic and no spots being available, people were backing out on to Oak Lawn and causing a log jam situation that wasn’t safe for anyone. In this case, their valet tactics proved wearisome, to say the least.
I received an email from Russell Hayward this morning letting me know they had corrected the issue as best they could in response to all of your input, which was beautifully succinct and effectively conveyed. You guys are awesome. See email below.
Hey Matthew, i think we finally got everybody in the right place on the Valet situation. It will now be just ‘overflow’ parking, all the self park spaces will be available for self parkers. Thanks to all your readers for their comments, it helped get everyone on board as to what our customers require. I left a note up on the Blog for whomever follows the story.
I gotta say, I think they nailed it. Thanks to all of your insightful response, we levied a major flood of injustice here. So, please, go to Ascension and try their coffee and their food. It’s really good stuff, as I said earlier. The righteous have prevailed and our voices will not be squashed by the elite (though no elite were really involved here or harmed during the progression of this hot topic). We are the people and we demand freedom of choice and convenience along with our fancy, artisan indulgence. Tonight, we sleep in peace.
I’ve known Wick Allison, the editor in chief and owner of D Magazine, since 1974AD. He’s an intelligent man in so many ways. However he doesn’t know bupkis about bagels, baba ganoush, or Bordeaux. He is a culinary ignoramus. Wick’s idea of a perfect meal is a tuna sandwich with extra mayonnaise on toast, served with fries. No wonder he’s been satisfied with my food writing for 16 years. It’s the only section in the magazine that is over his head.
Yesterday I wrote a post urging you to help me get SideDish on TV. We (I) have a great opportunity to create as many food-related shows on KTXD — soon to be D-TV – as we (I) can get developed. However, Wick claims he’s not interested and because he isn’t interested, you aren’t. I sent him a link to my post. He didn’t reply directly but he told his assistant to tell me that he “isn’t a foodie” and doesn’t know the first thing about “foodie talent.”
How could such a entrepreneurial thinker be so brainless about food programming? Food Channel? Food Network? Bobby Flay Eats Dry Toast? Wick would never miss a chance to cash in.
Suspicious, I snuck into Wick’s office last night to search for ammunition. And there between the version of The Bible he edited and the current issue of The American Conservative, I uncovered the mother lode. Tuna sandwich and fries, my sass. Wick is a freakin’ closet foodie, and I found the pictures to prove it. He travels the world and eats and drinks with all of the major players.
What do you say now, Wickster? Fried shrimp with Paula Deen and the Pope? Barbecued ribs with Ronald Reagan and Padma? How long before I find more evidence of your secret epicurean adventures? Give SideDish a show, or I’ll give you one you’ll never live down.6 Comments »
The same family behind La Popular Tamale House is bringing creative Mexican dishes to East Dallas with its new Peak and Elm Cocina y Bar. Father-and-son Jesse Moreno and Jesse Moreno Jr. have teamed up to bring contemporary, artistic food to New East Elm, where the owners of Peak and Elm have planted themselves at 132 North Peak Street.
“The building dates back to the 1900s. It’s part of the original trolley street car stop for Dallas. This line was part of the Junius Heights line,” said Jesse Jr. Inside the corner building are cute vintage items, like doorknobs glued to the bar (a perfect purse hanger) and antique suitcases, to give it that old-timey feel.1 Comment »