An international attorney with a head for resolving disputes and a palate for expense wine begs the question:
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Ok, Nancy. I am looking for your suggestions here. What are the best restaurants in Dallas that allow BYOB?
One thing that Irving residents know and do a darn good job of concealing from the rest of us is this: The town is patchwork quilt of ethnic culinary gems. From Indian markets to authentic Peruvian, and from Mexican tacquerias (with more choices of taco than you ever thought possible) to Honduran favorites – the choices are endless. If you want credible white tablecloth dining, head to the Four Seasons. But if you want a cornucopia of ethnic delights, start just one mile south on Belt Line Road.
Jump for a taste of empanada. Continue reading "Empa Mundo is an Empanada Gem in Irving"
Thai-rrific was a North Dallas favorite until it moved to Oak Lawn last year. And since I live around there, I am sure glad it did.
Despite the Cedar Springs address, the restaurant fronts Throckmorton Street. Big windows provide a view of the well-lit dining room and its diners: concrete floor, tables topped with white paper over white clothes and black banquettes, two-tops and four-tops of boys from the hood drinking bottles of wine they brought in themselves.
We were seated at a half banquette/half table set up in a cozy corner and proceeded to fill our bellies.
We started with the pik gai yut, or stuffed wings. Our waitress said it was the house specialty. Essentially it was two large chicken sausages shaped like wings. What I mean by that is that ground chicken was mixed with cilantro, onions, rice, and lemongrass and kind of formed into wing shapes before being roasted and sliced and presented in a brown sauce. Lip-smacking good.
The Office Grill’s Michael Costa, Texas Bear and Bull, LLC, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy on September 26, 2011, six days before he was to appear at hearing to determine if he’d breached his lease agreement. The next day, the Texas Comptroller revoked The Office Grill’s sales tax permit for lack of payment. Legally, The Office Grill can’t operate as a restaurant, yet, as of ten minutes ago, they were open for business.
On September 30, the landlord, 18020 N. Dallas Parkway, LTD filed a motion to convert the Chapter 11 filing to a Chapter 7. Chapter 11 means creditors are held off until reorganization or refinancing is obtained. Chapter 7 means there is no hope for reorganization and assets are to be distributed to creditors. A meeting of the creditors is scheduled for November 7.
The chef left right after Costa was arrested by the TABC on September 20 and Costa’s liquor license is suspended. He’s operating without a sales tax license, liquor license, and a chef? I’ll say this, the guy doesn’t go down easy.8 Comments »
When Dale Wootton bought a run down strip center on Junius street in the early 1990′s it was easy for an outsider to say, “what is Dale doing?” But he had a vision created from a deep love for the neighborhood. Since then he transformed an old eyesore for Junius Heights into one of the most popular and comfortable breakfast and lunch spots in Lakewood, Garden Cafe. It is a cozy restaurant dedicated to using fresh produce from their garden in their southern, comfort food cuisine. He even put in a large, fenced in play area adjacent to the back garden so the kids could have their own place to play while their parents finished brunch on the outdoor, dog friendly patio.
Now, Wootton wants to expand his business by adding dinner service, just to 10pm, with a selection of wine and beer available. He and his attorneys have done at least a year and a half of leg work on this, petitioning, rezoning, doing out-reach, asking the neighborhood for feedback, and constantly making concessions. Continue reading "A Glass of Wine at The Garden Cafe….Is That So Wrong?"24 Comments »
Who likes free? Who likes Slurpees? Who likes free Slurpees? If you answered yes to any of the questions above, I’ve got a deal for you. Actually, 7-Eleven does. Take it away corporate office:
7-Eleven Inc.’s 84th birthday on July 11th, aka 7-Eleven Day, participating 7-Eleven® stores across the nation will celebrate by giving customers a free 7.11-oz size Slurpee® beverage. As a special birthday treat, a select 7-Eleven store in Dallas also will hold a series of competitions, including timed Slurpee-drinking contests, one-minute 7-Eleven-themed challenges and a Twitter popularity contest. Winners will be rewarded with exclusive 7-Eleven prizes.
More surprises below! Go. Continue reading "7-Eleven Stores Celebrate Their only 7-11-11 Birthday this Century with Free Slurpee"2 Comments »
Shhh! It’s hush-hush. Underground. Vegan. But if you call 214-679-0999, they might let you attend. You’ll have to know the secret word: SideDish.
Meet Howard Marc Spector, a local attorney and a wine collector. He gave up golf in 1998 to pursue his passion for wine. He won’t tell me how much wine he has in his cellar, but to give you an insight into his wine profile, he will allow me to print a breakdown of his collection: 25% German, 33% French, 10% Italian, 10% Spain/Portugal, 15-20% USA.
When he goes out to dinner, he likes to tote his own wine. He has perfected the fine art of B.Y.O.B. Today he starts a series of B.Y.O.B reports. Along the way, he will fill you in on how he and his wine club manage to drink the wine they want at the restaurant they choose. Welcome him.
Twelve pound vinyl luggage hanging off your shoulder may not seem like a chic fashion accessory, but for wine lovers everywhere, there is no better item of arm-candy than a three-bottle wine carrier with a strap as wide as a scarf. And even if you don’t want to toss around phrases like “tea-infused,” “tannic structure,” “kirsch,” and “essence of wet dog fur,” you may still enjoy the Holy Grail of food and wine — BYOB.
BYOB used to sound cheap – it meant we had a surplus of folks on the party list, but a deficit in the beer budget. Now we have a more rarefied term for BYOB – corkage, as in “Do you allow corkage?” Over time, I am going to let you in on my local wine group’s corkage secrets. Who we are, where we go, what wines we bring, and how we decide. I’ll also explain the etiquette of corkage – how to ask, how to ask again, how to get a restaurant to reconsider, and how not to screw it up for the rest of us.
Jump for the whole story. Continue reading "B.Y.O.B. in D.F.W: Nonna Tata in Fort Worth"12 Comments »
So, it’s Thursday afternoon and your so-and-so boss is once again demanding that you submit the widget report in triplicate before you head out for the day. The clock ticks away the minutes as you watch your plan for a romantic picnic at the arboretum splinter upon the rocks of professional commitment. Would that there were someone to fill the gap between good intentions and successful execution.
Enter Highland Park Cafeteria’s picnic program. Click onto Highland Park Cafeteria’s website by 2 pm on the day of the concert and staff will assemble a custom picnic (think cookies, sandwiches, chips/guacamole, gourmet cheese tray, salads, hotdogs, BBQ sandwiches, beverages, whatever) and have it ready for pick-up by 6 pm in their van next to the Martin Rutchik Concert Stage.
Problem solved. Disaster narrowly averted. Catastrophe staved off for another week.3 Comments »
Dang, I almost forgot. Tonight at 7PM, you can join in the fun. Winos all across Texas will “chat” about Texas wine on Twitter. Here’s the deal.
Tonight’s guest is Katy Jane Bothum, executive director of the Texas Hill Country Wineries. She’ll be talking about plans for the Hill Country Wine Trail’s road shows around the state, the upcoming Austin Wine and Music Festival taking place Memorial Day weekend, and other updates from the #2 fastest-growing wine destination in the nation.
As part of Twitter Tuesday, pick up one or more of these three wines from Texas Hill Country Wineries – Bending Branch Winery Tannat, , Dry Comal Creek Vineyards 2009 Black Spanish, and Becker Vineyards 2010 Viognier.
To chat with Katy Jane, follow her on Twitter @TexasWineTrail and use the hashtag #GOTEXAN.
Jump if you don’t know how to Twitter. Continue reading "Hey Twitter Followers: It’s GO TEXAN Twitter Tuesday"
Sharon Hage will guest chef in Urbano Café’s new space on May 4. The event is almost sold out. I just spoke with owner Mitch Kaufman. He says they are adding two seatings on Tuesday, May 3. Hage tells me she is in the process of finalizing the menu which will highlight the bounties of spring. Best part? It’s BYOB. 214-823-8550. Seatings are 6:30 and 8:20 PM. Price is $75 plus tax and tip.
Discuss…6 Comments »
Owners Kristenand Mitch Kauffman have leased a space two doors down from Urbano Cafe. They plan to add another dining room. Mitch calls it Two Doors Down. The space has a full kitchen but Chef K’eo Velasquez may not be flitting between the two. It may be used more for special events and catering and it opens next week! Details to come.1 Comment »
Here is something we have not seen for a long time: a new Malaysian restaurant! Blue Ginger Garden is situated in the southeast corner of Independence and Parker in central Plano. Signs in the front proclaim: Malaysian Cuisine and Nyonya Delights. Those are clues that the people behind this establishment are aware of the multiple cultures that underpin the cuisine in that country where the majority of the population (60%) is Malay, Chinese make up 30%, and almost another 30 % is Indian. Malaysia is the crucible for merging these ethnic cuisines to produce something that, like grapes in a fine wine, is more than the sum of its parts. The best-known example is Nyonya cuisine, a confluence of Chinese and native Malay influences. The result is that a Malaysian restaurant has the potential to be a very special experience or a disaster if the kitchen fails to grapple with the subtleties of cooking the recipes of so many cultures.
The menu at Blue Ginger Garden is ambitious. You could start with Indian-inspired roti canai (Indian pancake) $2.75 . Continue with a bit of China with the Penang chow kueh teow (stir-fried noodle, Penang-style) $8.75 before proceeding to nyonya acar (mixed vegetable relish) $$5.75 or nyonya pig trotters with vinegar $8.95. The menu is five pages long and includes the lunch menu where everything is less than $7.
The people behind Blue Ginger Garden are Esther & Hai Say. Hai, a retired engineer, works the front of the house. Esther, a former tailor(her work bedecks the windows and walls), is in the kitchen. If you think backgrounds so removed from the restaurant business are unpropitious for a good meal, taste the food. On our visit the chef showed a dutiful attention to flavors and textures. My dining companion, a native Malaysian who had just returned from a two-week vacation back home, pronounced Blue Ginger’s roti canai better than the versions she ate in Malaysia. I particularly enjoyed the (Chinese influence) hometown pork belly with wood ear, an interesting mushroom that looks like a window blind and tastes meaty like a shitake).
The restaurant has been open for two weeks and is still working themselves out, but early signs are good. If you have a group of 8 to 10 people, you may want to reserve the private room. Oh, and Blue Ginger Garden is BYOB. We will be back.
Blame it on the full moon. Blame it on the bossa nova. What. Ever. A few gals from the office went to dinner last Saturday at Horne & Dekker and one slipped part of a centerpiece into her purse. It wasn’t an elaborate candle or flower arrangement, the centerpieces at Horne & Dekker are a trio of house-labeled peas, carrots, and whoopass wrapped in kitschy H &D labeling. On their way out, one eagle-eyed darling spotted a lonely can of Whoopass on the patio and couldn’t contain herself. She had to know what was inside. (Full story here.) I sent a note of apology to owners Shawn Horne and Flynn Dekker and they replied:
I thought we were a little light on the Whoopass around here. We forgive your associate, but ask that she please return the silverware and fine china. Just remember that opening the can of Whoopass may cause harm…serious harm.
For the record, no china or silverware was swiped from the restaurant—just one No. 303 can of Whoopass. We asked you to guess what was in the can and we had a few bets going on around the office. Watch The Whoopass Mystery for the reveal.13 Comments »
If you are looking for a unique evening out, you might consider attending Garden Café’s Poetry Dinner on Friday, October 30th. Doors open at 7:30 p.m., the “country-style buffet” starts service at 8:00 p.m., and poetry reading begins at 9:00 p.m. Cost is $30 and includes tax. Tip jar by the register. Bring your own wine. Have a lovely time.
Y’all remember chef Jordan Swim, the chef behind the underground dinners? Well, he is back with another offering—this one will take place on October 17th at 7:00 p.m. The four-course menu is “fall-inspired and is $50 per person. Details here.4 Comments »
My mom is under the weather so yesterday I called Neighborhood Services and ordered one of their Hot Bird To Go dinners. I picked it up at 5:30 p.m. and headed over to her house with a bottle of wine and some good cheer. Good heavens, there was enough food for six people. The canvas bag was filled with a whole (huge) roasted chicken, two sides (rabe sautéed with red peppers and bacon and oven roasted herb potatoes), a ginormous mixed salad with Granny Smith apples and poached onions, and a 12-inch baguette slathered with melted butter and of clumps of softly sautéed garlic cloves.
The meal was around $37 bucks and I think if you take the canvas bag back, you get $5 off your next purchase. Please call ahead to order. Warning: could be habit forming. 5027 W. Lovers Ln. 214-350-5027.5 Comments »
Wine markup in restaurants. It’s a hot national topic. How much is too much; how little is not enough. Corkage fees. Bring your own. Oh, where will the madness stop.
Today Alfonso Cevola, Italian Wine Director at Glazer’s, makes some interesting observations on his blog, On the Wine Trail in Italy.
Wine lists. Working with several clients over the last few weeks, and really finding some very different opinions. But more and more I am seeing restaurant people rethinking the way they serve wine in their places. Less popular is buying a wine for $17 and reselling it for $65. The wave I have been seeing, in Houston, in Dallas and Austin, is that same wine on a blackboard for $39. You know at $39 a party of four will buy two bottles. At $65 they might nurse that bottle of wine. So the establishment sells one bottle and had $48 in gross profit. Selling two bottle for $39 and they have $44 to work with. A smaller profit? Yes. A happier clientele? Most assuredly. And most likely to return sooner. This is a wave that is coming from San Francisco, from Southern California, New York, and Texas is right there, too, with these ideas. This is exciting stuff for the wine producers back in Italy who have a storeroom full of wine right now.
I’ve noticed lower wine prices in restaurants lately. I paid a little over $30 retail for a 2005 Arzuaga Crianza Ribera del Duero (Spain) and noticed it on the wine list (same vintage) at Maximo for $65.11 Comments »
Why is this news on SideDish? Because it came from Amy S. and Kuempel is the head of the house committee considering the “Dewhurst Bill.” Kuempel was found in the Capitol without a pulse but was revived and was transported to the hospital breathing on his own.