Give these gals some credit (sorry) for speaking up when they’re down on their luck. Kathy Jack and Susie Buck of Jack’s Backyard closed their popular indoor/outdoor venue on June 26. There has been some talk going around about why they closed and even though they’ve released the statement below, I’m still a little unclear on their message. Owner Kathy Jack writes “I developed a plan with the head of the creditors’ committee to repay our back debts and start repaying investors but ultimately, we were not given that opportunity.” By the landlord? By the bank? Whatever, I admire her courage and commitment to make things right. I’ve asked for more details. Below is the statement she released late last night.
Recently, we sent ace intern James Bright out to Four Lounge to chat with Keith LaBonte about the current state of cocktails. What he returned with is both instructional and inspirational. Take it away, James…
For almost two weeks I’ve been waiting to try a peanut butter and jelly martini. I talked to virtually every person I came into contact with about my excitement and hopes regarding the drink. Thankfully, Four Lounge’s proprietor and molecular mixologist Keith LaBonte didn’t disappoint. The beverage is a perfect blend of light peanut butter sauce and vodka with a delicate jelly whip cream.
jump for more mixology… Continue reading "How To Smoke a Cocktail, Courtesy of Four Lounge’s Keith LaBonte"
Last evening, Chef David McMillan invited us down to One Arts Plaza to taste some of Screen Door‘s new summer dishes and cocktails. What follows is a visual journey through that tasting.
jump for a visual journey through Screen Door’s new menu items… Continue reading "Screen Door—A Summer Menu Tasting in Pictures"
Yep, it’s that time of year again: time to celebrate the Mexican army’s glorious victory over the French at the Battle of Puebla, on May 5, 1862.
Now, how about a margarita? Here are your best bets for making the day a grand fiesta.
Booze: $2 Dos XX, Coronas, margaritas, tequila shots
Food: $2 street tacos, Mexican pizzas, and nachos
Tunes: Live DJ music
When: 7 pm to 2 am
Booze: $5 El Jimado tequila shots, $3.50 regular margaritas, $4.50 large margaritas, $2 drafts, $2.50 domestic bottles, $3.50 imports
Food: $5 choriqueso, cheese enchilada dinner, or half orders of nachos
Tunes: Mariachi music starts at 7:30 pm
Extras: all day happy hour
When: 11 am to 10 pm
La Calle Doce
Booze: $3 margaritas and draft beers, $5 El Jimador tequila shots
Food: $5 food specials like shrimp cocktail, cheese enchilada platters, and half orders of nachos
When: 11 am to 10 pm
Booze: $5 house margaritas, Sangria, Bloody Maria, Limonada Corrupta, Tequila Slammer, and Silver Azul Blanco tequila shots and half-priced drafts
Extras: all day happy hour
When: 10 am to 11 pm Continue reading "Where to Eat, Drink, and Make Merry
for Cinco de Mayo in Dallas"
So you’re out for drinks, dinner, brunch, whatever, and the check comes. All parties reach for their wallets, but one magnanimous soul says, “I’ve got this.”
Cue the obligatory back and forth:
“No, no, let me.”
“No, no, I insist.”
“At least let me get the tip.”
“No, really. I want to.”
and on and on it goes.
I especially dislike being on the giving end of this merry-go-round because when someone argues against letting me treat them, it dampens the moment. I can’t do it often, and if I’m trying to be nice, who are you to block my mojo? What we all really want is for the receiver to say, “Wow, thanks. What a nice surprise.” Or something to that effect.
But when the shoe is on the other foot, I’m just as guilty as anyone. So, a few years back I decided that I needed to get better about accepting generosity when it comes my way. I adopted a two round rule. When I’m on the receiving end of someone else’s generosity, I give it two solid, back and forths, after which I smile and love them up with a warm and heartfelt thank you.
But I want to know about you. How many rounds do you think is reasonable?
(I know all of us have encountered a special someone who never reaches for his or her wallet—those cads who expect the world to cover their bar tab. Let’s not talk about those people. They’re tools. This is about acknowledging generosity.)6 Comments »
Here are our thoughts from opening night at the new jogging trail-adjacent bar:
The Concept: It actually backs up to the Katy Trail. We parked on Blackburn Street, walked up a path to hop on the trail, and walked a few feet to get to the back entrance of the Ice House. Dozens of wooden picnic tables cover the patio. Inside it’s all wood walls, tin accents, one long bar, and (as we counted) seven flat-screens, featuring sports. To summarize: casual.
Who’s There: Families with kiddos, girls in sundresses, and sets of couples packed the picnic tables. Inside, groups of guys (college-aged to 40s) and gals (mostly 20s and 30s) with beers in-hand huddled around each table. Basically anyone who wants a low-key evening with some brewskies can enjoy this place. Continue reading "First-Take Bar Review: Katy Trail Ice House"
Love tequila? We do. Which is why hearing that Chef Kent Rathbun (Abacus, Jasper’s, Blue Plate Kitchen, Shinsei, etc.) is co-hosting a tequila showdown. Bartenders at Rathbun’s restaurants will compete to create cocktails using Tequila Ambhar’s platinum, reposado, or anejo tequilas; the winning blend will be chosen by mixologist, Marcelo Nascimento and featured at Rathbun’s restaurants throughout April with an overall winner to be picked at an end-of-the-month party.
In addition, Rathbun’s hosting the following events:
Tequila Ambhar Tasting at Kent Rathbun’s Home – March 22, 6:30 – 9:30 pm. Indulge in Mexican vanilla-rum raisin tamales, smoked pork shoulder chalupas, and ceviche nachos along with Ambhar Kiwi Basil, Pear Meyer Lemon, and Ambhar Sunset cocktails. Puff on a Don Beningo cigar to round out the evening. $125 per person
Tequila Ambhar Cocktail Showdown at Aqua Lounge – May 1, 3 – 6 pm. Taste all seven cocktails created through Rathbun’s contest and vote for your favorites. Passed hors d’oeuvres will be provided. $98 per person
Ambhar and Moet Summer Bash at Aqua Lounge – June 5, 1 pm. Restaurants participating in the cocktail challenge include Abacus, Rathbun’s Blue Plate Kitchen, Zea WoodFire Grill, Shinsei and Jasper’s in Plano. $98 per person
It’s was the opening race of the 2011 NASCAR Sprint Cup season and the biggest event on the NASCAR calendar. The Daytona 500 is a spectacular spectator event but it took place about 1,000 miles from Dallas. Fortunately, Texas Motor Speedway had a solution that allowed fans to watch the race in style and eat well at the same time. It’s called The Speedway Club, a nine floor building at the track overlooking turn one that has a plush ballroom at the top. They invited me to check it out…
Thanks to Hayley Hamilton for posting her inspirational list of Oscar night cocktails. As someone about to be in possession of a home with an actual bar, I will be holding on to those recipes for later use. Those of you not so stymied, time to get cracking!
In addition, Big Pappa Frank Bruni scoured New York City on behalf of the New York Times to compile an additional list of that city’s mixologists’ ideas for Oscar night cocktails, each created in the spirit of the characters portrayed in the Best Leading Actor/Actress category. One mixologist’s choice to funnel red wine into the lower portion of “The Natalie Portman” is truly inspired. Another’s use of a frozen chunk of rock in lieu of ice in “The James Franco” is Onion-worthy comedy.
Steven Doyle has the latest scoop on the peripatetic mixologist, Jason Kosmas. Take it away, Dallas Dude.
Jason Kosmas has had a busy year. Earlier this year he left Neighborhood Services Tavern to work along side Eddie “Lucky” Campbell behind the bar at Bolsa. He also published his second book Speakeasy. Kosmas told me that he is going to leave Bolsa soon to work as beverage director at Twomey Concepts alongside chef Tre Wilcox at the soon-to-open Marquee Club in Highland Park Village.
The humble and talented bartender has regrets leaving Bolsa adding that his time with the restaurant has been enjoyable. “Historically I have not moved around much in my career, says Kosmas. “I left Neighborhood Services because I need more flexibility in my schedule after the book was released. When I was first approached by Justin Beam [Twomey Concepts] I said I wasn’t interested because I have been very happy being part of Bolsa. I love the clientele, the neighborhood and all the staff. But when I saw the details of the opportunity it made perfect sense.”
The Management position will give Kosmas a chance to exercise his creativity and work hours which will enable him to spend more quality time with his family. Kosmas will begin working for Twomey Concepts next Monday morning hashing out the details of staffing and outfitting the soon-to-open restaurant. Kosmas will oversee all aspects of the beverage program including the wine program which he said will be a fantastic value for the market.
As for Eddie Campbell, he and fellow barman Michael Martensen (The Cedars Social) started a build out for their yet-to-be-named downtown concept that will feature many of the same pre-Prohibition cocktails and a small menu at the former Dr. Bell’s BBQ space once home to a bar run Jack Ruby.
Well, all of this great news comes just in time for cocktail hour. Thanks, Steven. Chin-chin.
We love a freebie, and this one’s a no-brainer. The Uptown location of Urban Taco is so jazzed about being named one of D’s best new restaurants, that they want to pay it forward by treating anyone bringing in a December 2010 issue of D Magazine to a free Apple Cider Spiked Punch or a Hot Cocoa-Quilla every Tuesday throughout the month of December.
(Uptown location only. Actual drink may or may not look like the picture above.)
I went to The Second Floor a couple of weeks ago to test out the newest cocktail on the Molecular Mixology list: the Pumpkin Vanilla Martini. I’d like to start this little recap off with my conclusion: I think The Second Floor is a little gem lost among the Oceanaire and The Grill on the Alley giants at the Galleria. I’m no food snob, but I do love to eat, I am a little finicky, and I can tell you I enjoyed everything served. The martini was beyond delicious. The pumpkin concoction was served with a sprinkling of cinnamon for spice, a dollop of frozen Godiva white chocolate liqueur (which is created in front of you at the bar), and a side of candied cranberries. An invitation to try a smattering of dishes was welcome, and everything from the flatbread to the house-made potato gnocchi was tasty. Jump for details.
We sent intern Valeria Turturro out to learn about the various wines the holiday season has to offer. Read her report below.
“Oh the weather outside is frightful…” Okay, it’s not quite frightful yet, but a girl can dream. And walking into the Hotel Palomar yesterday on an unusually chilly Dallas night was a surefire way to get into the holiday spirit. The warmly lit lobby was the perfect welcome to the “Wines for the Season” wine and food event inside Central 214. Guests gave donations to benefit Resource Center Dallas and the fight against HIV and in exchange got to sip and taste nine wines perfectly paired to their chef-prepared hors d’oeuvres. Central 214’s celebrity chef Blythe Beck, known as “the Naughty Chef,” created a menu to complement a list of wines put together by Kimpton’s master sommelier Emily Wines.
We were transported into a world of single malt scotch whiskey this week as Nicholas Pollacchi, Global Ambassador of The Balvenie introduced us to a range of Balvenie scotches accompanied by a five-course meal at Nick & Sam’s Steakhouse. The highlight of the tasting was the Balvenie 17-year old Peated Cask. This single malt whiskey came about when Malt Master David Stewart mixed a peat and barley mixture and then distilled it in oak casks. Then he emptied the casks and filled them with 17-year old Belvenie scotch. The whiskey took on a distinct peatiness. He mixed that with 17-year old Balvenie aged in American oak. The result is a whiskey that has a distinct peatiness that is not to the exclusion of other aromas and flavors. In the mouth, there is toffee and peat. In the finish a pronounced smokiness emerges at the back of the mouth. This is a complex and likable whiskey.
Another special member of the Belvenie family is the Belvenie 21 yr. Port Wood Cask. As its name suggests, this is matured for 21 years in barrels (known as pipes) that previously contained Port wine. The nose smelled of rose petals and oranges. The woody flavors in the mouth were explosive. This whiskey won Single Malt Whiskey of the Year at the International Wine and Spirits Festival.
The evening started with an excellent Blood and Sand cocktail. You can ask for this made with Balvenie when you visit Nick and Sams. Recipe follows: Continue reading "Special Report: Balvenie Single Malt Scotch Tasting at Nick and Sam’s in Dallas"4 Comments »
It didn’t really terrify. But it does come with a good ghost story. We asked intern Taylor Walker to find out more at the launch party of Frozen Ghost Vodka at Ghostbar. Her report below.
As hordes of jersey-clad Dallasites headed into the American Airlines Center to watch the Stars’ (eventual) 4-1 victory over the Red Wings, I, along with a dozen or so of the city’s restaurant workforce, made my way up to Ghostbar to celebrate an exclusive launch party for Frozen Ghost Vodka. Once my crowded elevator ride ascended to the 33rd floor of the posh W Dallas-Victory, I found myself facing an empty, albeit, swanky club, the blaring beat of Stevie Nicks’ “Edge of Seventeen,” and an ice sculpture that both mimicked and held a bottle of the signature vodka. Following the crowd’s lead, I made my way over to the bar, passing several monitors that displayed the drink’s eerie, eye-catching logo (a ghost pressing up against the opaque/icy tint as if he’s trapped within the bottle), which seems to channel the Let The Right One In advertisements.
Yesterday afternoon, a contingent of Japan’s most notable sake makers from the Niigata province converged in Tei An in One Arts Plaza for a sake tasting and rice-wine education. Turns out there’s a lot more to sake than the hot bottle that appears in front of you at the neighborhood sushi bar. (In fact, of the seven sake makers I spoke with yesterday, the consensus was that sake should only be warmed by resting the bottle in warm water. According to the experts, warming it above 112 degrees ruins the delicate flavors.)
jump for the faves… Continue reading "Sake To Me! Niigata Sake Debuts at Tei An"
We sent intern Meredith Stein to take part in a tea party sponsored by Beefeater 24. Her report is below.
4 Comments »
I was on cocktail number two when one of the many servers roaming about Bar Celine crouched next to the table we had surrounded and began pouring us all small glasses of straight gin for a quick tasting. “Oh, don’t pour me one,” insisted Katherine, my partner-in-crime for the evening (and D’s chic shopping intern, I might add). “Don’t pour you one?” Dan Warner shot back from across the table (charming English accent and all). “That’s what we’re here for, come on!”
Yes, gin was precisely the reason we had all gathered together on a Monday night. Warner, the international brand ambassador for Beefeater London, and Desmond Payne, Gin Master Distiller, were throwing an alcoholic tea party of sorts—all in celebration of Beefeater 24. The tasty gin, handcrafted of 12 botanicals (including an exquisite blend of Chinese Green and rare Japanese Sencha teas), was simply making its Dallas debut. Dallas is only the 10th market to carry the new gin, joining the ranks of New York, L.A., San Francisco, etc. Yes, Dallasites, we’re moving up in the world.
Jump for more about the party.