I’m a lot crabby today. It started last night when I arranged to meet a colleague for drinks at The Establishment, the new craft cocktail lounge on Travis. The place opened a week or so ago and is owned by Brian Williams and Michael Martensen the boys behind Cedars Social. I arrived at 5:45PM and found the doors locked. Of course, they are too cool to put up a sign but I’d seen the picture of the entrance on Facebook so at least I was in-the-know enough to know which of the five doors into the space to knock on. Using my iPhone, I went to their Facebook page for hours.
Apparently they are too cool to list their hours. From reading older posts it looks like they randomly decided when to open: Sometimes 5PM; sometimes 7PM. Also, the bar isn’t called The Establishment—that will be the name once they get the kitchen open. The bar/lounge is actually called Smyth. Unless you are on Facebook 24/7, you wouldn’t have a clue. I called the phone number which was answered by some space cadet at Cedars Social who couldn’t help me one bit. Strange business model if you ask me. Maybe it works in New York, but this is Dallas and I think Tristan Simon taught us a while back at Sense that private or reservations-only bars don’t work here. The ‘80s are over.
Next…22 Comments »
The good news is stone crab season opens today and the shipment for the area locations of Truluck’s are at the airport at this moment. The bad news is they won’t be served in Addison anymore. Last night was the last night for the venerable seafood spot.
Managing Partner Bo Dorton just confirmed Addison is gone. “I opened this spot over 16 years ago,” he said. “It’s a sad day for sure but we are going to absorb the staff at the new building we’re building on McKinney.
The new building will go in behind the current location across from the Hotel Crescent Court. Plans have already been submitted to the city and they expect the larger restaurant to be up and running next summer.
On September 19th, a collective “oh, nooooooo” went up from the many food truck owner/operators who have parked in the Dallas Arts District. On that date, it was announced that their leader, their protector, their mentor, Veletta Forsythe Lill, the Executive Director of the Arts District would leave after her post. Lill spent the last four years overseeing significant changes in the Arts District. She also spent eight years on Dallas City Council. Since the food trucks first started showing up in the Arts District in mid-2011, Ms. Lill has carefully vetted each one to ensure that visitors were receiving the highest quality fare. I’ve seen her work tirelessly, even during vacations, to ensure agreements among the food trucks, permits departments, and Dallas City Hall.
I thought Executive Director to revitalize the Dallas Farmer’s Market would be a great new challenge for Ms. Lill. Jump for Love Letters from a few of the food truck owners, where Randy Wolken pleads for Mayor Lill. Continue reading "Love Letters from Dallas Food Trucks to the Arts District’s Veletta Lill"2 Comments »
Brian Marsters, Director of Operations for Matt’s Rancho Martinez, has saved 5,000 emails from customers asking when the new Lakewood location of this popular Tex-Mex restaurant will open. “I would like those 5,000 supporter to contact (Dallas City Councilmember) Angela Hunt and ask her the same question.” Marsters and co-owner Estella Martinez are befuddled by their situation. “We can’t open because we are caught in the crossfire of a feud between our landlord (Stonelake Investments), several area homeowners associations, and the City of Dallas.”
The saga started when Matt’s lease expired in February and the landlord chose to replace Matt’s with a Mi Cocina, which is already up and running. Matt’s relocated to the building vacated by Consignment Solutions at 1904 Skillman Ave. The opening has been delayed by a series of the usual suspects such as myriad permits, grease traps, and parking, but last Wednesday the plan for the restaurant and Stonelake Investments development projects clashed when Stonelake applied for a permit to close off a block of La Vista between Skillman and Live Oak and created a pedestrian mall.
Stay with me, now.38 Comments »
Last week I reported PegasusNews was bought by the Dallas Morning News. In the post I pondered the whereabouts of ace reporter Teresa Gubbins. The rest of the PegNews staff are now employees of the DMN, but Gubbins didn’t make the move. (More likely, she wasn’t asked to make the move. She’s been there and done that.) Nobody could get TG on the phone so I offered a prize to the first person who could find her.
Earlier today I tweeted: Hey, I spotted @tgubbins coming out of a cartology class early this morning. She’s alive!
I just received a reply from former D Magazine managing editor turned CultureMap editor, Jennifer Chininis:
What is CultureMap, you ask? Right now it’s four former D Magazine employees sitting around trying to launch a new lifestyle website. I guess Gubbins ups that count to 4.5. TG still writes freelance for us.
No prize, Chininis. You didn’t read the fine print of the contest. They are: “contest not valid for individuals who leave D Magazine only to turn around and steal the talent.”
UPPITY DATE: Timmy has a CultureMap business story.7 Comments »
I was living in Fort Worth when Reata moved to Sundance Square in 2002, taking over the old Caravan of Dreams space. Not long in Texas, I experienced every day as a Lone Star adventure, and in Fort Worth those adventures were often accompanied by cattle and cowboys, boots and a biker boyfriend. Things aren’t like that for me anymore. I live in Dallas now. I haven’t seen a cow up close in years. I still wear my boots, but that biker boyfriend is only a cherished memory. Time passes. Things change.
But I was excited to revisit Reata. My first meal there, shortly after that opening nearly 10 years ago included the restaurant’s famed tenderloin tamale. I’ve never forgotten that day, the afternoon sun streamed through the windows as I sat across from a woman whom I thought would become a friend (she didn’t) and sank my teeth into my first bite of seasoned beef wrapped in masa and topped with pecan mash. It was heaven in a corn husk.
On Saturday last, I and a fellow ballet lover arrived at Reata at 4:35, after seeing Dracula at Bass Hall. The restaurant wasn’t seating yet, but the hostess gave us a buzzer with a jazzy picture of a horse on it and told us to wait. To pass the time, we browsed the little gift shop, running our hands over rhinestone bracelets, turquoise necklaces, and belts made of both. We tried on studded handbags for size and discussed whether fringe is just a Texas thing or a nationwide trend for spring. We left the spurs for someone else and got a drink at the handsome bar, which I like to fantasize fills with rugged working men later in the night. (I’ve been told it does not.)
This news breaks my heart. Nana Restaurant at the Hilton Anatole, led by the talented and innovative chef Anthony Bombaci, will close on June 9. The restaurant will undergo reconstructive surgery and emerge as an upscale steak house in late September.
Here are some of the details I’ve beat out the bushes. The new name has not been selected. (We can certainly help with that. Leave your suggestion below.) The interior, designed by a California firm, will be “contemporary with an LA-inspired design.” (The skyline view will remain Dallas’!) The menu will be “all about steaks and one-of-a-kind sides and desserts.” The executive chef of the steakhouse hasn’t been confirmed, but that person will work under Anthony Bombaci who has been promoted. I don’t know his position at this point.
Oh, Nana. You have been such a blessing to this city. We loved you when Doug Brown was the chef and Jason Foss was the pastry chef. We loved you during the fancy days when David McMillan sent entrees out of Versace and Rosenthal china and general manager and wine expert Paul Pinnell roamed the room. We love you for bringing Anthony Bombaci to Dallas. This news makes me appreciate my last meal at Nana even more.
Make a final visit and pay homage to Nana. You have a little over three months to get your Bombaci fix. Make a reservation now: 214-761-7470. And name the new restaurant below!
Last week, the chefs realized that one of the losing contestants (either Bev or Grayson) would be returning through Last Chance Kitchen, which would increase their numero to cinco. Sarah (who looks like Austin Eater editor Andrea Grimes, don’t you think?) is noticeably disappointed when Bev walks through the doors to compete with the other four in this elimination challenge because tiny Bev is a fierce competitor. She is a beast.
Now three out of the five contestants are repping the Asian continent. I would just like to point that out. #minoritypride
Jump for more shenanigans. Continue reading "Top Chef: Texas, Episode 14 Recap"7 Comments »
We’re suckers for any press release that contains the following sentences:
It seems a couple well-intentioned entrepreneurs have teamed up with J&D’s Foods to create a little something they’re calling baconlube—the world’s first bacon-flavored, water-based, American-made, personal lubricant.
Billing itself as the “gold standard of meat-flavored massage oils” (natch) baconlube, they say, is like the McRib of sex: it’s delicious, makes men crazy, is here for a limited time, and is in short supply.
If you’re thinking “stocking stuffer!” (let’s stay on track here), we’re right behind you. But the boys only made 3,000 bottles of this pork-flavored nectar. It hit the interwebs yesterday at www.baconlube.com. How much, you ask, for a product that promises such a satisfying holiday season? Only $11.99.
you know you want more. jump for it… Continue reading "This Little Piggy Went Downtown"13 Comments »
Forgive me Master Sommeliers and wine collectors around the world, I have sinned. I am here to confess my deepest darkest wine secret: I improperly stored four bottles of fabulous wine. For nearly 35 years.
Look at the photos and weep with (for?) me. I recently uncovered these bottles in a box buried beneath a pile of old Christmas decorations in my garage. Yes, my garage, where it sat for close to 35 summers, winters, springs, and falls. I am a human species of Phylloxera.
I could have pulled another Billionaire’s Vinegar and called Sotheby’s and claimed the wine was given to me by Richard Nixon and I’ve kept it hidden in a bricked-up Paris cellar. Instead I’m posting pictures of my crime. Perhaps there are others who have committed the same dirty deed.
Full confession below. Continue reading "Confession: I am Guilty of a Heinous Wine Crime"22 Comments »
A friend just called and told me Mai’s Oriental in Snider Plaza had closed. I looked up some old reviews of the spot which was opened by Mai Phom in 1994. Then I realized that sometime within the last two years, the name of the restaurant was changed to Jiang’s Cuisine. I had no idea the restaurant had switched hands until this moment.
I feel horrible. Mai Phom was Dallas’ primary Vietnamese cuisine evangelist. She opened the city’s first popular Vietnamese restaurant in 1980. The original restaurant in East Dallas still bears her name but she moved to the tiny spot in Snider Plaza where she could be found every day. My former colleague Mary Brown Malouf once wrote:
“Those were the days when ethnic food meant Mexican food, unless it meant Szechuan. Now Vietnamese is practically mainstream and even has at least one almost upscale representative. Mainly, it has become habitual; many of us go out for Vietnamese as often as we go out for Mexican. So it seems strange to me that Mai, who was a pioneer, is now relatively unknown. Her little restaurant in Snider Plaza is practically a secret.”
I tried to reach someone with the restaurant to get a clear picture of what has transpired, but they have already closed and there is no voicemail. If anybody out there has the story, I’d love to know it.
UPPITY DATE: Jiang’s Cuisine has moved.11 Comments »
Yesterday, I posted the news that Michael Costa of The Office Grill filed for bankruptcy. In the comments section, one of Costa’s former employees asked a great question.
Anybody have some suggestions for the former employees when it comes tax time? We never received check stubs or info on the taxes taken out of them, that is when we did get them and they didn’t bounce.
I contacted Gregory P. Williams, a CPA with Restaurant CFO Partners in Plano. He has a lot of answers. They are below. I’ve also included his contact information if you have more questions.18 Comments »
I got a semi-frantic email from a semi-frantic restaurant owner. “Savor Dallas is moving to the Irving Convention Center this year. We got our invite to participate and apparently they are moving to broaden their appeal.” I went deep into Savor Dallas’ Facebook page and found this:
Savor Dallas announces the 8th Annual event will be held March 30-31, 2012, and expands regionally. Participants can enjoy wine, food, spirits and the arts in the Dallas Arts District, and the new Irving Convention Center at Las Colinas, 500 W. Las Colinas Blvd.
Hey, Jim White! What is up? Are you changing the name to Savor Dallas and Irving? Have you ever heard of a basketball tournament called “The Final Four?” Dude, give us the news.
UPPITY DATE: Savor Dalling Irvas Dallas organizer, Jim White, responds below. He is on top of the whole situation. All good. Jump for it.12 Comments »
I first encountered this tasty treat while walking past a street vendor in Paris. It is a custard tart of some kind, I have never figured out the actual name.The are available everywhere in Paris from bakeries to street vendors and SO tasty. Please help!
Well, he at least took a picture and said please. Okay, let’s get busy.6 Comments »
I was talking with a friend of mine who loves the fried food madness of the Texas State Fair. Obviously many other people share her passion for fried strawberry waffles, fried margaritas, fried butter, and fried bubblegum. The recent “winners” for this year’s State Fair were announced Wednesday and the local blogs comment boxes have lit up like fried Christmas trees.
I hate it all as much as I hated eating in Paula Deen’s restaurant in Savannah. I can still smell the cloud of burnt butter that met me at the door of Lady and Sons Restaurant. The portions were obnoxiously huge and I had to shower when I got back to my hotel.
The last time I visited the Fair, I sat at one of the picnic benches and watched a family of three eat their way through a pile of food. The husband and wife, maybe in their early 40s, were obese. The woman was in a wheel chair with an oxygen tank. The husband, who weighed at least 350 pounds, was shoveling food in his mouth using both hands. The saddest sight was their son. He couldn’t have been 12 years old and already on the verge of obesity. He was listlessly staring at the ground and gnawing on a huge turkey leg.
I can hear you crying: “It’s only once a year. Live a little. Have some fun.” I can’t. That isn’t fun or funny to me. It’s gross.32 Comments »
Earlier this morning, I received a link to a Seattle Weekly blog post written by former Dallas Observer “critic” Hanna “Sudafed” Raskin and planned to write a rebuttal. Eater “Up at Dawn” Dallas beat me to the punch. However, I would like to throw a few more. Her post– “Professional Food Critics Not Needed in Portland”– is embarrassingly amateur. Read it, I’ll wait.
This quick assessment from a professional food critic who reviewed Dallas restaurants while taking copious amounts of sinus medication? After my ENT doctor read about Raskin’s sinus problems, he called me and said: “She had no business reviewing restaurants. Her palate was dead.” If I were a restaurateur who was reviewed during her reign, I’d be demanding a redo. No wonder she called Dallas a “dining nowhereville.” She wasn’t able to taste anything. She blathers on:
I shouldn’t be surprised that the imagined relationship between rigorous professional criticism and good food doesn’t hold up. I moved here from Dallas, a city that’s covered ruthlessly by established food critics, including the Dallas Morning News‘ Leslie Brenner, D Magazine‘s Nancy Nichols, and Texas Monthly‘s Pat Sharpe. The food there isn’t any better for it.
Hanna, you take one trip to Portland and declare “Portland appears to have entered the post-professional critic era, and the food scene hasn’t suffered.” Oh my. I need a Xanax. Writers in Portland were sadly laid off by print publications. Raskin should be next.21 Comments »