Poised on the brink of a new destiny, I catapulted myself from the bubble bath and laid my garments out before me on my new vintage futon. Tonight will be a night of unparalleled revelry, and I shall dance with Venus before the moon parts the sky. Would she have me? I suddenly became preoccupied with thoughts of probable failure, for I could not bear to lose another lover with such magnificent cologne releasing from my pores. But with bedroom eyes, a staunch appetite for abandon, and a well-oiled set of legs, I began my sojourn with steadfast determination.
Five of my closest companions were awaiting my arrival at the newest Mockingbird Station addition, Mockingbird Taproom. It was a long overdue replacement for the previous tenant, if I do say so myself. And I do say so. I strutted into the station with much the same candor as any young Honeyboy Wilson would, and my friends were awaiting with cheerful demeanor. With much time for levity, we filled our mouths with the elixir of the lord: beer.
The story of Armadillo Ale Works begins with a happenstance meeting between Bobby Mullins, his ex-girlfriend’s dog, and an armadillo.
We’re sitting inside Deep Ellum Brewing Company in roundtable fashion, and a very reluctant Mullins is hesitant to answer my question, “Why Armadillo?” He’s trying to change the topic. For the past ten minutes, he and his partner, Yianni Arestis, have been telling me about their big dreams of opening the first craft brewery in Denton. It’s going to be called Armadillo Ale Works. In the last couple of years, Arestis and Mullins have been selling artisan sodas, and now they’re putting that on hold so they can focus all their efforts on beer.
Here’s where our beloved DEBC comes in. Enter John Reardon (owner) and Tait Lifto (brand and sales ninja) of Deep Ellum’s craft brewery. They’re two really cool, chill guys. One day, they’re hanging out at this event for brewers called Brews Cruise before the North Texas Beer Festival, and the next day, they’ve taken a liking to the Armadillo boys. “These guys are in it for the right reasons,” says Reardon. He can practically see their honest beer hearts poking through their shirts. The DEBC team decides to adopt the Armadillo men, and thus, a symbiotic friendlationship is born.
Last night I fell in love with HumBotanical, a sexy 70 proof herbaceous liqueur made with organic rum, fair trade hibiscus, organic ginger, green cardamom and kaffir lime. The drink was featured as the Seasonal Smash at FT33. If it isn’t on the ever-changing cocktail list when you go, ask them to make you one. It’s a gorgeous concoction of Ketel One Oranje, Hum, muddled cranberry, lemon, and habanero simple syrup, apricot, and fresh thyme poured over clear cubed ice (my favorite!). The drink is made with organic rum and is pungent with pepper, fragrant with lime, and finishes with a slightly sweet and spicy kick of cardamom. One of my very experienced dining partners said she’s never seen it for sale in Dallas and wondered how FT33 managed to smuggle the booze in from it’s epicenter in Chicago. However, one quick visit to Hum’s website informed me the spirit is alive and well at Pogo’s. BTW, the bar at FT33 opens at 4:30PM. See ya later.
Uppity Date: Jasper Russo of Sigel’s says: “Hum Botanical was introduced to the Dallas retail market by Sigel’s in April.It has been stocked in at least 4 of our stores continually since that time ($44.99): Greenville Ave, Fitzhugh, Addison, The Quadrangle. We are also the class B wholesaler responsible for supplying FT33.
What a shame. I feel defeated by my missing motivation – most certainly a result of the brain cloud that is left over from the beer. My disillusionment comes from the brimming glasses of beer at The Bottle Shop I drank for all of you. I am glad you’re willing to accept most of the blame for what will be a mildly unproductive day.
For this edition there will be no food, except that there is. Most of you may not consider beer to be food, but you’re mistaken. Don’t get all defensive and hide under your desk. I am not yelling at you. I love you. Any who, here goes. The Bottle Shop is a handsome little brew house like nothing else in Dallas. It’s dark, wooden, and leather. It smells clean, and the mahogany bookshelves (I actually don’t know for certain that it’s mahogany, but go with it) lined with hundreds of beers may appear daunting to the casual drinker. For the beer swilling suds junkie, it’s the perfect fix. Low lighting invites you inside this Greenville corner spot. My Peruvian friend and I choose the cozy leather couch and let the bearded, gentle bartender help us with our selections. He pours each draft with care and delicacy, and the only thing that would make this place cooler is if it were underground. This radical shop offers everything they serve in take-home form. There isn’t much in bottle form that you can’t find, and they allow you to mix and match your own six packs with anything you desire. If you’re the kind of cool that owns a growler, they can be filled here as well. The bar is aptly lined with regulars and there is a community table in the center of the joint for lively beer discussions. The Bottle Shop offers free pizza after 7 p.m. on Mondays. OK, enough with the shameless and endearing promotion. You get it. Let’s dive into the beers.
We all have that friend, the absurdly athletic, easy going good man who lets nothing shake his handsome feathers. He knows how to prepare duck a l’orange or a roast beef sandwich on rye. He smokes cigars but doesn’t inhale, and he knows who Arthur Rimbaud is. He also possesses a keen ability to construct objects from wood, hammer nails, and comfort a woman. Well, Plano has a new candidate to fill the shoes of said friend, and its name is Henry’s Tavern. Henry’s Tavern’s was born in Portland, Oregon; a place Dallas would be wise to consider tailoring its style towards… just, you know, a little.
Jump for some fun.
I just got off the phone with Corey Pond, one of the organizers behind this whole Untapped Festival shebang that’s happening on Saturday, September 8 from 1 to 11 p.m. Not only is there going to be an incredible lineup of Indie rock bands (The Burning Hotels, David Dondero, The Eastern Sea, etc.) at Trinity Groves, but there’s also going to be 50 different breweries with well over 100 beers at this thing. Holy cow. And 20-30 beers are rare and limited editions. Some of them have been brewed especially for this event, like Deep Ellum Brewing Co.’s green tea and sriracha ace (of the hop variety), Peticolas’ vanilla bean velvet hammer, and Rahr’s barrel-aged chile beer.
If you’d like two free tickets to the Untapped Festival, tell us what your favorite local beer is down below in the comments. The ticket winner gets two concert + beer tickets (each valued at $30), which includes a 2 oz. glass so you can sample 12 different kinds of beer. I’ll pick the random winner at 5:30 p.m. today, and that person (with a legit email address) will find out how to claim his or her tickets.
… is what Drew Huerter, the Head Brewer of Deep Ellum Brewing Co., says on receiving several boxes of 2012 Centennial hops from Portland, Oregon’s Indie Hops today. Huerter and Tait Lifto are driving to the airport at 8:30 p.m. tonight to pick up this shipment that was literally picked this morning and air-shipped directly to the Deep Ellum bros, so they can take it straight to the lab where the dudes are going to brew fresh hop beer (tentatively called “Hop Seeker”) tomorrow morning.
Huerter explains that drinking fresh hop beer is ““like vacation sex – it’s like regular sex as they are both fun and the mechanics are the same, but there’s something ‘extra’ in fresh hops that is difficult to quantify.”
The DEBC’s newest beer should hit markets in about 3 to 4 weeks. According to Lifto, it will contain “Gambrinus Munich malt, Great Western Vienna & C150 malts, Rahr Pale Ale malt and Raw Cane Sugar along with Summit, Chinook, Glacier, Columbus and fresh Oregon-grown Centennial hops (in the hop back) – the fresh Centennial hops add a jucier, grassier terroir (pardon my French) to the nose. It will be stylistically close to an American Strong Ale or Imperial Amber Ale weighing in at a very respectable 8.0% abv.”
As many of y’all are probably aware, the Meddlesome Moth does rare beer tappings every Wednesday at 5 pm. Half the people crowded in the bar knew that, and showed up for one specific reason: the special flight of three Ommegang brews ($16), poured in honor of Belgian Independence Day. The other half, including the extremely shouty foursome to my right, were chugging wine, thrilled to be out of the office. Hump day, am I right? At one point, Super-Loud White Guy wearing a pastel bowtie says, “You know, I told my last girlfriend that like, sometimes I wish I’d been born black or Hispanic. A week later, she broke up with me.”
Pretty sure that wasn’t the only reason. Probably didn’t even make the top five. But do these beers—Ommegang Gnomegang, Three Philosophers, and Art of Darkness—rate? Carol Shih and I taste-tested, discussed, ate zucchini chips (duh), and then had a quick chat with Ommegang’s Prescott Carter, who was making the rounds.
Former stock broker Brent Rodgers and his company Roots Juices are ideally poised to cash in on the mainstream craze that is known as vegetable juicing. After leaving finance, Rodgers went on a year-long sabbatical travelling the world from South America to Australia. He discovered that people all over the world had discoverecd juicing. “I discovered juicing early on in my journey while in Peru. It was when I was on the Syria-Israel border that I had a light-bulb moment. There was this long line, which I thought was to get across the border. But it was actually for fresh celery and carrot juice. It was then that I realized this was a way of life and not just a trend,” he says.
Now he has a juicing plant in the Walnut Hill area of Dallas from which he and his employees turn out 10 flavors of juices that are, by almost any metric, exotic. Here are the flavors: Continue reading "Roots Juices’ is Freshly Pressed, Delivers to Dallas"1 Comment »
It’s been a beer-y good summer for the dudes at Deep Ellum Brewing Company so far. Last week they announced they were selling their goods to Boston, and now it looks like they’ve got not one, but two beers they’re launching starting July 31. (Say what?!)
Allow me to introduce you to a new ale the bros are adding to their year-round lineup, the Dallas Blonde. She’s alluring, sweet, and definitely mellow. Head Brewer Drew Huerter writes, “Our Blonde is certainly in the American tradition and borrows its hop forward character from the subset known as Extra Pale Ale (XPA) and has the body some of the grainy character of a Pale American Wheat.”
Next up is the seasonal batch Wealth & Taste, which comes from a line in The Rolling Stones’ “Sympathy for the Devil.” This Belgian-style Blonde Ale won’t be brewed again this year, so there’s any extremely low supply. Get it while you can before it runs out, warn the dudes at Deep Ellum Brewing Co. They want to make sure you drink well, as always.
At this very moment, I am shooting the breezes with Nick Badovinus. He is on my speaker phone. He is laughing so hard and spouting Nick-isms so fast I can’t take them all down.
It all started when I noticed a Bud Kennedy tweet: “@eatsbeat Dallas’ retro Off Site Kitchen burger grill opening 2nd loc[ation] at 2405 N Henderson, Dallas.” What “shocked” me is Bud is a real reporter. He’s been in the business for a long time. He doesn’t gossip at media dinners, he makes phone calls and asks questions. I spoke with Nick a couple of weeks ago about his “renno” at NHS Tavern and he had no idea what he was going to name it. He had a new sign and some groovy new décor items, but he had no name.
He still doesn’t have a name of the place that will reopen soon. But it is NOT going to be Off-Site Kitchen. Why? Because Off-Site Kitchen is basically a commissary with a food service element. Badovinus has all of his food orders sent to Off-Site Kitchen (hence, the name) and from there, they are portioned and distributed to his other restaurants. It’s a smart business move that pays for itself by serving bitchin’ sandwiches.
Here’s what Badovinus is saying between sobs of laughter and disbelief: “Where does this s*&t come from? I mean who are these people who know more than I do? It has never come out of my mouth that there is going to be another Off-Site Kitchen. Never. How does somebody write that? I mean, do people just make these things up? Tell me, please. How does this get started? I mean people are already bitching to me that Off-Site Kitchen is too small so I’m, what, gonna take a place that sells a $3.75 cheeseburger and stick it in a high-rent location with valet parking? ( a 30-second guffaw) I mean do people think I’m stupid. It makes no business sense. Off-Site Kitchen is not a brand, it’s a place. (Oh, I see a t-shirt in the works!) It’s a real commissary not named Commissary. I mean why can’t people just call and ask me? I’m sorry this just makes me so crazy. I don’t know how you do this s*&t for a living. You must be freakin’ exhausted.”14 Comments »
Any Barista will tell you that there’s more to creating delicious frozen coffee than pouring your leftover morning joe and milk into the blender, but no barista in town knows it better than Mike Mettendorf, General Manager of The Pearl Cup. Yesterday Mettendorf packed up his portafilters and headed to the Ultimate Barista Challenge at the Southwest Foodservice Expo for the Frappe Challenges.
The Competition: The Ultimate Barista Challenge is a travelling competition locals can enter for a chance to unseat the current title-holder, Ultimate Barista James Duncan. Duncan has been a barista for four years, and has held on to his title for the last three. He has faced challengers across the country, and as far away as Shanghai. Duncan and Mettendorf had two chances to wow the esteemed panel of judges, who would evaluate each beverage on technique, presentation, and taste. The panel of judges included Chef Heather Karima of The Culinary School of Fort Worth, Chef Kevin Kelly of Kevin’s Travel, former barista Jae Duncan, and Danny Johns of WholeCup Coffee Consulting, who also emceed the competition. The only recipe requirement was that each frappe incorporate at least 1.5 ounces of freshly brewed espresso.
Jump if you like frappes.
Alberto Lombardi’s Bistro 31 is expanding upwards with its newest European-style terrace bar, 31, opening today. Now you can finish off a meal of steak tartare and steamed pei mussels in the bistro down below, then move your way upstairs to the bar overlooking Highland Park Village where you’ll sip on mimosas and make small talk with clients. It all sounds elegant and fine for Monday through Saturday, but then comes Sunday, June 17, when brunch service starts up in 31. A bar that serves brunch? Sounds too good to be true…
This is a long time coming, but hark back to the evening in which I gathered my friend Michael, who really likes beer in an intelligent sort of way and knows a lot about it, and two other friendly persons with distinguished palates, PCP’s Bradford Pearson and his fiancée Kelleen. Our mission was to drink beer and talk about it like humans with a limited budget for booze-buying. This is the second installment.
What we did: If you remember from Part I, we drank and joked our way through a selection of Bolsa Mercado’s stock. But Michael also brought three bonus bottles from his beer cellar, AKA his closet, which is what we’ll talk about here. Some were seasonal brews he bought here in Dallas a couple months ago, others were smuggled back from faraway lands like St. Louis (and have unfortunately never been available here in Dallas.) We tried to use correct glassware for beer type when possible. Mostly it wasn’t possible. To provide us with sustenance, I picked up a selection of cheeses, my favorite gluten-free crackers, water crackers, Gypsy salami, two Cane Rosso pizzas, and a pound of Haribo gummy bears, which ended up being my best/worst decision of the night. After snacking, we got down to business.
Jolly Pumpkin Luciérnaga (From Ann Arbor, Michigan; Purchased in St. Louis; $15)
Initial thoughts: Label says it’s an artisan pale ale, brewed in the grand cru tradition. Michael’s looking forward to this one, and tells us that this is another one of those breweries where “you can pick their beers out blindfolded. They all have a very consistent…something. Nice small tight prickly carbonation. They’re all a little funky. You’ll taste it.” It smells like green apple, pours honey-colored and beautifully in a tulip. By the time we popped this guy open, we’d had hard cider and a witbier. Brad’s had a few nips of bourbon.
About the brew:
4 Comments »
Michael: This…it’s a little sour.
Kelleen and Liz: UH OH.
Michael: It’s not very sour. It’s a lot of green apple-y, from what I remember.
Kelleen: It smells very fruity.
Brad: It’s interesting. The head on all of these is more consistent…still not the same, but more consistent…Oh, yeah. That’s got a very specific taste.
Michael: Again, still really floral, a lot of green apple, that really tight, prickly carbonation.
Brad: It doesn’t expand at all.
Michael: And all their [Jolly Pumpkin] beers are very refreshing, even the darker ones. All a little funky.
Brad: I kinda like the funkiness.
Michael: I get granny smith apple over everything, which is funny because they don’t even mention that.
Brad: There is still a lot of coriander.
Michael: It’s that same flora, lemony or citrusy…I love how carbonated their shit is.
Brad: It is very refreshing because of the carbonation.
Liz: Well. This is delicious.
We sent intern Karley Osborn out to brave a bartending championship in Grapevine on a Sunday night. What a trooper.
Two nights ago, while the rest of you were crying in your living rooms over Meryl Streep’s Oscar speech, I was cheering alongside the corporate world of TGI Friday’s as flair bartenders from nine of the chain’s international restaurants competed to become the “Greatest Bartender in the World.” Er, more specifically, the greatest TGI Friday’s bartender in the world.
The Gaylord’s Glass Cactus was decked out for the event’s 21st year like any 21-year-old’s birthday party venue should be with inflatable noise clappers, flashing strobe lights, and party anthems that sounded out of place until the drinks started flowing. Fans, friends, and family of the nine competitors helped themselves to fancified bar fixings like portabella sliders and fried jalapeno peppers as the competition introductions began around 7:00 p.m.
Jump for some Enrique Iglesias action.
Continue reading "TGI Friday’s World Bartender Championship Feat. Enrique Iglesias"
The Concept: Sundown at Granada is the Granada Theater‘s neighboring restaurant and bar with a long list of draft beers and hand-crafted cocktails. Although I’m sure you can grab a bite pre-show, I would be filled with panic watching a line get longer next door while shoveling down the last forkfulls of food and chugging the rest of a beer. This is a perfect spot, however, to discuss your favorite act post-performance and perhaps mingle with band members, who are sure to wander over for a bite.
Who’s There: Thirty-somethings interested in enjoying some quality time together. (Rather than 20-somethings hollering over their third round of Jager bombs.)6 Comments »
The Concept: Another place for bartenders to have love affairs with their carefully crafted cocktails. Classics inspire the menu. (A gimlet, the Aviation, and a “Beautiful Cigar Girl” grace the drink lineup.)
Who’s There: What appeared to be young business professionals (early 30s) packed the place to let loose on the bar’s second night of business (last Thursday). It was a relief to rub elbows with the grownup versions of the typical McKinney Avenue weekend crowd. Surprisingly, even though the mixologist’s concoctions were the obvious choice when ordering, we saw the usual suspects lined the bar. (Red wine, vodka soda, etc.) But once one person ordered something fancy, it spurred his neighbors to make more inspired selections.
When You Enter, Make a Beeline For: The big table by the door, if you’re bringing a crowd, or a seat at the bar. When specialty cocktails are the name of the game, always buddy up with a bartender. The space is small (like, Nonna small) so be prepared to stand.
Friday was the night to be French in Dallas! The French American Chamber of Commerce threw their annual Beaujolais and Beyond Festival at the new Omni Dallas Convention Center Hotel. This festival started in Dallas over 20 years ago and it celebrates the arrival of the first bottles of Beaujolais Nouveau wine which is ceremoniously released each year on the third Thursday of November. Recently organizers have broadened the scope and now include wines from elsewhere in France and French grape varietals grown in the US. They have also invited French restaurants and caterers to provide a cornucopia of food. Friday’s soiree had a ‘60s theme and most of the sponsors were in costumes (I had no idea how many identical twins Austin Powers had). Images from the decade were displayed on a giant overhead screen and a section near the front was roped off to display iconic cars which included a Jaguar e-Type, Volkswagen Karmann-Ghia, and a Porsche (Austin Powers 7th thought that it was the 356 Super 90). Impossibly thin girls in mini-skirts and Mary Quant tights danced on pedestals and one was kind enough to explain to me that the particular e-Type on display had the closed-in headlamps, making it more valuable to collectors.1 Comment »
Nestled in the shadows of the towering stadium of the Mesquite High School fightin’ Skeeters, sits a humble family-owned pie shop with owners every bit as sweet as their glorious cherry pie. Dallas needs more pie shops like Scrumbscious. Sure, plenty of places offer a handful of pie flavors, many of which are honorable in their own right, but when an establishment is willing to dedicate their lives to the creation of an American icon, you can rest assured they are going to do things right.
Choosing your slice of pie can be a daunting task indeed for the indecisive and scatterbrained among us, but luckily you are safe enough just throwing a dart at the menu board and ordering whatever it lands on (Note: do not throw darts in the store, they do not appreciate this). I could ramble on about my favorites, the silky smooth coconut cream, the rich, aromatic fresh pecan pie, but really, just go with your gut on this one.3 Comments »