A typical Wednesday night for me consists of spending some quality time with my sofa and DVR whilst I satisfy my never-ending sushi craving with Bluefish takeout. Last Wednesday, I stepped out of my comfort zone. I found myself at the House of Blues bobbing my head to a special rendition of Tupac’s “California Love,” munching on ooey gooey butter cake squares and cheering on ten of TGI Friday’s best bartenders.
What originally began as a challenge between two Friday’s bartenders has grown into a battle of close to 10,000 bartenders from around the world for the coveted title of “World’s Best Bartender.” The 22nd event sure didn’t disappoint. The House of Blues was decked in a red and black theme, featuring a DJ on the ones and twos, sporadically placed full length banners with the bartender’s portraits, cowbell party favors and, of course, cool lighting that could convince anyone they were out on a Saturday night.
Family, fans and guests helped themselves to spinach and artichoke dip, flatbreads and other grub as the MC, John Taffer of Spike TV’s “Bar Rescue,” prepared the energized and, perhaps, tipsy crowd for the night’s festivities. John explained to us, in that booming voice of his, that these bartenders had to whip out their best in the compulsory rounds to get to this point. They are judged on not only the fun stuff (formally known as guest engagement), but also the technical components of the job (drink testing, pour testing, knowing the recipes perfectly) in eight-minute intervals. Continue reading "Dallas Bartender Regrets His Performance at 2013 TGI Friday’s World Bartender Championship"2 Comments »
Today marks day one of our “Survival of the Cutest” contest. After going through hundreds of dog photos, Jason found the most adorable 32 North Texas canines for your bored-at-work-viewing pleasure, and he’s made it easy cheesy for you to vote for the most adorable Dallas dog (besides the one that’s curled up around your feet right now). It took a few barking matches (aka web meetings) to finally narrow the list down, so do another dog-lover a favor and cast your ballot. If you need help picking a favorite, I would strongly encourage/kindly threaten you to pick London, the English bulldog (pictured above), and Nemo, a three-legged beagle with tricks up his sleeve.
To the dear owners of London and Nemo: Need a dog-sitter? I’m your gal. Just pay me in chocolate.
CBS is looking for amateur bakers with great whipping abilities (in the kitchen). Its new baking series (no name yet) “follows the trials and tribulations of the competitors – young, old, from every background and every corner of the United States – as they attempt to prove their baking prowess.” The producers tell me that the CBS version is based on a popular show in the UK called The Great British Bake Off. Sounds tasty. If you think you’ve got what it takes to be the next best amateur baker, apply here and attend the open casting call at DUO: All Things Culinary from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday, December 15.
The first five people to reply down below with a line that goes something along the lines of “YES, I AM TOTALLY GOING TO THIS CASTING CALL TO BECOME A FAMOUS BAKER AND I HAVE ALREADY PRE-REGISTERED” will get a front-of-the-line pass, c/o of the nice CBS producer. Good night, and good luck. May you bake with fury.13 Comments »
How long before extreme eating is an Olympic sport? Or synchronized slugging? Or…well I could go on and create a slew of categories for the Eating Olympics because I am on deadline, but instead, I will regurgitate a press release. Here goes:
Hypnotic Donuts [ed note; gorgeous donut pics on that link] is putting on their inaugural “Beat the Heat – World’s Spiciest Donut” eating contest.The contest is designed around the hot Dallas temperatures in August and the numerous people that eat or buy Hypnotic Donuts various spicy donuts- Mexico, Hell Fire and Devil’s Death Dance (World’s Spiciest Donut). The contest will start with a regular donut and as each donut is eaten the donut progressively becomes spicier.
Jump for more. (What about dirty forking, dumpster diving, or the back strap?1 Comment »
Check out this vintage sign that was shipped to Dallas. It’s currently getting hooked up inside a local restaurant. Guess the name of the place and you will win a Godiva Chocolate black-almond-truffle-scented candle.36 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.
We had so much fun the first time we played this game. Let’s play it again. Can you guess the name of this restaurant?20 Comments »
Friday night’s soirée, TACA Lexus Party on the Green, took place on the lawn at the Rosewood Mansion on Turtle Creek. There were cars up for winning, a cork pull, fabulous trips and dinners in the silent auction, and food. Oh, so much food. More than 30 chefs gathered in the courtyard to offer up some of their best fare. And it was all going really well, too, that is until Mother Nature got involved. It was a bit muggy at first, then there were sprinkles—little ones that grew—and then it rained. Partygoers and chefs headed toward the doors of the Mansion. Within a couple minutes, Mansion employees walked around offering umbrellas to those who stayed outside. But within maybe 15 minutes, it all cleared up, people and chefs returned to their stations, and the party continued. Continue reading "TACA Lexus Party on the Green Gets a Taste of Mother Nature"
D Magazine intern Erin Ahlfinger files this report.
As part of Oyster Fest 2012, Fish City Grill held its third annual oyster eating contest at the Preston Road location Sunday afternoon benefiting March of Dimes. The spicy aroma of Cajun seasonings welcomed contestants and attendees as they arrived, and drew in plenty of curious passerby. Blues rock band Prophets and Outlaws provided entertainment and a touch of southern atmosphere as crawfish bubbled away in a pot large enough to hold a meeting in. The mudbugs were a supplemental attraction. This was Oyster Fest, and the bivalve mollusk would rule the day.
For those who prefer cooked oysters to the raw variety, Fish City Grill Executive Chef Randy Morgan manned the grill preparing lemon butter and parmesan chargrilled oysters. Some 1200 raw gulf oysters had been shucked and waited in a refrigerated truck for the competition to begin. Continue reading "Fish City Grill’s Oyster Eating Contest Was a Slurping Success"
White Rock Local Market at Green Spot Market and Fuels kicks off its fourth season of markets on Saturday March 24 (8AM 1PM). White Rock Local Market is a non-profit 501(c)(3), independent farmers market offering a venue for local farmers, ranchers and artisans to bring what they grow or make and sell directly to the East Dallas neighborhood.
To get things rolling, they are hosting a chili cookoff on Saturday. So far judges for the contest include Jeffery Hobbs (Sissy’s, Suze), Graham Dodds (Central 214), and Brian Luscher (The Grape). Winners take home vintage trophies and gift certificates for market products.
Jump for the market’s awesome vendor list and how to sign up for the cookoff. Continue reading "White Rock Local Market in East Dallas Needs Chefs for Chili Cookoff"1 Comment »
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"
Jonesy’s gone, but five chefs are left
In fair San Antonio, where we lay our scene.
It’s still unclear whose knife skills are best,
At least we know Ed sleeps in suits, not blue jeans.
Jump for the rest of sonnet.5 Comments »
I’m pretty excited for this Saturday’s festivities downtown. City Lights kicks off. I’ve been watching more than 3,000 lights be strung, orbs be placed, and tubes be constructed in the Neiman windows for the past couple weeks. I’m just waiting for all of it to light up. After you watch the tree be lit, Santa make his appearance, and the finale at AT&T, support some of the restaurants downtown. A lot of them are offering some discounts. And then there’s Wild Salsa, which is giving 30 prizes of free food for a year. Winners get $25 a week for 52 weeks to spend on food. (Trust me, you can go to Wild Salsa and get dinner for two for that much. I suggest the Ensalada Mexicana.) Send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org and explain why you love downtown. (If you don’t have any ideas, I can give you a few.) Include your name, number, and email. They’ll randomly draw the winners.
Other discounts for Saturday only:
* Wild Salsa, Dallas Chop House, Dallas Fish Market: 20 percent off food
* Iron Cactus: $5 hot chocolate infused with Rumpleminz
* Ravenna: Children under 10 get a free pasta dish; accompanying adult must purchase entrée
* The Joule: complimentary hot chocolate, hot cider, popcorn, and cookies
Henry Gentry of Henry’s Homemade Ice Cream insists ice cream will “make you pretty.” After 26 years of making ice cream at the “micro-creamery” in Plano, Henry’s business is looking pretty good. I’ve noticed his name on some fancy menus alongside the likes of Paula, Tom, and Jimmy’s.
Henry “speaks in ALL CAPS.” He sends word: “HENRY’S placed in every category this year at the NATIONAL ICE CREAM Awards in Jacksonville, FL. A total of 30 entries were submitted by Ice Cream companies from all over the nation. The competition was tough, but HENRY’S licked them!!!”
1st Place in BEST NEW FLAVOR for Butterscotch Blast
2nd Place in Homemade Vanilla
2nd Place in Strawberry
5th Place for Best Southern Flavor for M. L. Dubay Toffee
In the press release, Henry thanked his employees (a nice touch) and Mrs. M.L. Dubay for surviving cancer and opening her Toffee Treats business. Ice cream must make you nice too.5 Comments »
Intern Megan Falconer spent her Saturday spectating at the Travel & Adventure Show’s Fiery Foods Competition. Let’s read her recap…
Saturday, three local chefs fired up the kitchen and taste buds of spectators at the International Fiery Foods Challenge as part of the Travel & Adventure Show at the Dallas Convention Center. Kenneth Patrick, the owner of Ken’s Texas Catering, made habanero shrimp. Spiceupyoursoul blog creator, Prajakta Remulkar, prepared a spicy gambas dish, and the founders of Brothers Sauces, Barry and Darryl King hit it hard with Crockpot pork.
jump to find out who won the competition AND the trip to Mexico… Continue reading "Fiery Foods Recap"
UPDATE: We have winners. Thanks for playing everyone.
We are giving away two pairs of tickets for this weekend’s Travel & Adventure Show at the Dallas Convention Center—an event that, apart from being a trade show, is also home to the Fiery Foods Challenge on Saturday and a cooking competition with the grand prize of a Yucatan vacation on Sunday.
The travel show starts on Saturday at 10 am with The Fiery Foods Challenge running from 1:30 to 3:30 pm. The format: three North Texas chefs will compete for audience votes with their signature dishes. Kenneth Patrick from Cedar Hill, owner of Ken’s Texas Catering, will whip up his habañero shrimp (1:45 p.m.); Prajakta Remulkar, who writes at spiceupyoursoul.blogspot.com will come out swinging with spicy gambas (2:15 p.m.); and Barry and Darryl King, founders of Brothers Sauces will blow the lid off their “Beat The Heat” crockpot brisket (3:15 p.m.)
jump to find out how to win tickets… Continue reading "Free Tickets To This Weekend’s Fiery Foods Challenge and A Chance To Win A Yucatan Vacation"1 Comment »
Monday nights, from 6–10pPM, Cane Rosso will host a Celebrity Chef Pizzaiolo who will make a special pie to sell for $16. So far the completion is scheduled through Dec. 19. The celebrity pizzaiolo who sells the most pies on their night will win the coveted Cane Rosso Golden Peel and Trophy. Portion of the proceeds from the pie benefit Deep Ellum Urban Gardens. Food and drink specials for industry staff.
Schedule thus far (with more to be announced)….
11/7 – Brian Luscher from the Grape
11/14 – Chad Houser and Janice Provost from Parigi
11/21 – Randall Copeland from Restaurant Ava and soon to open, Left Bank
11/28 – Jack Perkins from Maple & Motor
12/5 – John Tesar from The Commissary
12/12 – Dean Fearing from Fearing’s
12/19 – Daniel Vaughn from Full Custom Gospel BBQ
12/20- Nancy Nichols and Leslie Brenner
Jump11 Comments »
As I mentioned yesterday, several of us got together at the Dallas Chop House last night to judge some barbecue. The seven pitmasters (three from Oklahoma, four from Texas) got their smokers out to Main Street Garden early yesterday, pulled onto the Great Lawn (except for Big Daddy’s, whose 46-foot smoker was unable to fit on the lawn), and got to work. They were each given St. Louis-cut ribs and told to cook for five hungry judges.
We reaped the fruits of their labor last night. (We being Cathy Barber from the Dallas Morning News, Teresa Gubbins from Pegasus News, Robert Wilonsky from the Dallas Observer, and Dave Cathey from the Oklahoman.) We judged the ribs on texture, tenderness, appearance, and sauce. We judged the crust, the cut, the rub. We wondered if the ribs were too spicy. Too sweet? Was the fat cooked down? Was there too little fat? Did we like the pumpkin-y sauce? What about the hot sauce? How about that pickle? After about two hours and sampling 35 ribs apiece (don’t worry, we didn’t all of them), we were stuffed. And we’d made a decision.
The winners are all below. Go.
October is my favorite month for many reasons. But the most important reason is what happens this Saturday: the Red River Rivalry (say that three times fast). While I’m preparing my down ’Horns symbol and getting my vocal chords ready for a lot of Boomer Sooner-ing, I’ve also been preparing my stomach. DRG Concepts, which is basically taking over downtown Dallas dining, and Downtown Dallas, which has a hand in just about every cool event that happens downtown, are getting together tonight and tomorrow for the Red River BBQ Shootout. Even if you’re not a Sooner or a Longhorn, you’re going to like what’s going to happen. Tonight, a few of us media types are going to judge barbecue from four Texas pitmasters and four Oklahoma pitmasters. We’ll pick the best barbecue joints from each state to go against each other tomorrow night at Main Street Garden. And here’s where you come in: you pick the winner and the receiver of the $1,000 prize. Show up at Main Street Garden sometime between 5 to 10 tomorrow and taste both dishes. Then choose who you think does barbecue the best. While you’re there, you’ll hear bands from both the states as well. Go here for more info. And while you’re doing that, I’m going to refresh myself with what makes good barbecue by reading this.
At this point, I have no idea who will win the barbecue contest. But I do know who will win Saturday’s game—Boomer!
Do you only drink Texas wine? Or are you drawn to Virginia Viognier? Passionate about bubbly from New Mexico or think Colorado Cabernet is the next great thing? DrinkLocalWine.com has a contest for you. Every state in the country is making wine and there is a lot out there to like. During Regional Wine Week, October 9-15, wine from every state other than California, Washington, and Oregon will be showcased and celebrated. The website is asking for fans of wine from the other 47 states to submit brief write ups– just 47 words– on their favorite wine, region, or producer from any place other than California, Washington or Oregon. Entries will be evaluated by the website editors with the best winning a spot at the 2012 DrinkLocalWine.com event in Denver. More information here.1 Comment »