On Monday night, Lark on the Park hosted its first beer dinner by teaming up with one of the most celebrated breweries in the United States, Founders Brewing. Dave Engbers, the co-founder of Founders Brewing made the trip all the way from Grand Rapids, Michigan, to celebrate this feast with everyone that attended. (I was invited as a media guest.) His presence, friendliness, and cheerful storytelling warmed the evening alongside the beers and made everyone feel like they were a part of his beautiful beer family. He stopped by each table to answer questions and talk about his beers with charm and eloquence. And while I didn’t feel the beer pairings were as adequately explained as they should have been (nor were the pairings that intriguing), the evening was still a great success for the restaurant and the brewery. Founders’ beers have only been in Texas for the last few months, and I don’t think they’ll be leaving anytime soon. The Centennial IPA is breathtaking, and it’s easy to see how it’s one of the highest rated IPA’s ever to land on this planet. The Kentucky Breakfast Stout, also highly rated and coveted by beer nerds all over, was an entrancing, deeply emboldened stout with so many layers of flavor and texture that I almost considered coming back after Lark closed to load up my growlers in an illegal fashion. The chefs from Lark also dazzled us with exquisite tastes and ingredients, never failing to include the highest of culinary vocabulary in their choices, i.e. fricassee, rillettes, confit, clafoutis. You may not know what the hell you’re eating, but it sure is delicious. Enjoy the pics, and don’t miss the next one.
On Tuesday night, Urban Acres partnered with Joel Salatin (the monumentally celebrated sustainable farmer and author from Virginia) and some pretty awesome local chefs to present a Steward’s Dinner at Four Cornery Brewery. We entered through the makeshift barn doors and an immediate wave of camaraderie passed over us. Everyone there was passionate about food. The Brewery – with its wide open warehouse space, bright metallic brewing containers, and beer posters adorning the walls – was filled with many attractive, clean faces. I don’t know if it’s because these people eat so well or maybe Urban Acres has a Handsome Clause in its member selection, but the room was brimming with good breeders. It seemed as though we were all on some magical food team together and couldn’t wait to share our encouragement and passion for sustainable living practices.1 Comment »
As a general rule, I typically avoid dinners with more than five courses, because most of them tend to suck the life out of you. Any program that takes longer than the length of a Lord of the Rings movie to finish is not my cup of tea. But when the owners of Oak, Richard and Tiffanee Ellman, invited me as a media guest to their restaurant’s first formal wine dinner, there was no way I could decline. I knew it would be good. And it was.
Oak is typically closed on Sundays, but the Ellmans are planning to host fun chef dinners every six to eight weeks. Each will focus on a different region. “This is what we hope will become a habit,” said Richard, who has decided to give execuchef Jason Maddy complete creative reins. The first wine dinner was Austrian-themed, which was Maddy’s way of paying homage to Danube, the Austrian restaurant he worked for in New York City.
It’s probably too late to pre-order your turkey and sides right now, but you can still simplify your life by dining at a restaurant on Thanksgiving day. Check out this list of 22 restaurants. I’m sure all of them would be more than happy to take your money. (New to the list: Sēr and Cook Hall.)
This weekend, while I was visiting Austin, my Nigerian friend asked, “What’s a turducken?”
This, of course, prompted a lively conversation inside a Korean restaurant about the pros and cons of stuffing a chicken inside of a duck inside of a turkey. Though I’m a happy carnivore, the thought of eating three different kinds of meat in one bite makes me want to gag. It’s foul. It’s animal overkill. Plus, this HuffPost article about an Aussie ‘Turducken Ridiculous’ (20 animals stuffed into one) is evil and gross. Think about it: if you were a turkey, would you enjoy being stuffed? Wouldn’t you prefer being savored at a Thanksgiving table alone?
According to my friend Sulamita, a turducken is not about the turkey. “No offense to the turkey,” she said, “but the chicken and duck make you better.”
A few weeks ago, when I sent out a bird call across the Twitterverse, seeking a turducken expert, one or two people answered. This guy named Freddie Mac (yes, that’s his real name) even sent me pictures of his family making a turducken. He told me to “imagine slow cooking a turkey in duck fat for 12-14 hours. You’ll never have dry turkey meat again.”
Wait, but can’t you have juicy turkey meat without stuffing other birds inside of it? Somebody help me out. I still don’t understand this repulsive turducken business.4 Comments »
John Tesar is having the best week of his life. Wednesday, he rocked Tom Colicchio’s kitchen on the first episode of Top Chef: Seattle; and yesterday, he softly opened his new seafood concept, Spoon Kitchen + Bar in Preston Center. It’s right across Westchester Drive from Hopdoddy and Texas Family Fitness, which makes dinner more fun if you’re sitting at the table closest by the door. Staring at people exercising as you dig into the uni appetizer feels so wrong, but so good at the same time. While Desiree and I sat down as Tesar’s guests last night, he was busy sweating in his shiny new open kitchen. Guess who was back there with him? Only our favorite tweet-every-hour baker, Joe the Baker, in the pastry weeds. No wonder he’s been so relatively silent on Twitter recently. Only three tweets on November 7. That day, I almost sent Joe a DM asking if he was still alive.
Jump for more of Desiree’s photos.
The M Crowd has announced an agreement with The Chevy Chase Land Company to open a Mi Cocina restaurant at The Collection at Chevy Chase, a luxury shopping destination located just ten minutes from downtown Washington, D.C. I’m sure former President George W. Bush wonders why his good buddy Ray Washburne, founder and part owner of Mi Cocina and Highland Park Village, waited to move Dallas Tex-Mex to D.C. until he was out of office. Perhaps Washburne is planning to spend more time in the nation’s capitol and I don’t mean making tacos. Could happen. He’s the kind of guy politicians like to court over strong margaritas. Today MCrowd owns 21 restaurants in Texas, Oklahoma, and Atlanta. Tomorrow, the world?
[Fun Fact from co-worker: "As someone who lived not far from The Collection at Chevy Chase, it would probably take at least 25 minutes to get to downtown DC from there."]1 Comment »
I didn’t have time to post this on Friday, so allow me to excite your Monday lunchtime with these mouth-watering plates prepared by chef Ryan Barnett on Thursday evening at his Pop-Up Dinner at My Private Chef in Deep Ellum. This 27-year-old chef served a four-course French dinner to a small, intimate gathering of 12 people where I was invited as a guest. Barnett came from the kitchens of Neighborhood Services, Bistro 31, and Ormsby Catering before he decided to fly the rest of his journey solo. He’s hoping in several months or so, he’ll have a place where there’s a set menu he can cook. For now, this chef is hosting four pop-up dinners, each with a different theme. On Thursday night, Barnett focused his theme on air, using duck and quail as several key ingredients in three of his dishes. As our dinner party reached the second course of Texas pea cassoulet with tender duck confit and soft lima beans, all the dinner guests held their bowls closely to their chest and couldn’t stop their spoons from moving. The woman to my left aptly described the dish as a warm “bowl of hugs,” which it most certainly was.
Jump for the four courses.
I’ve cruised past the construction site of John Tesar’s new restaurant, Spoon in Preston Center, several times this month and noticed zero activity. The permits were not on the windows and there was no construction taking place. Yesterday I checked Tesar’s Facebook and Twitter accounts, then texted and called him, and nothing. Last night I spoke with his rep, Bev Garvin. She says all is well and construction is “back underway.” They are preparing to knock down the front of the space and, after that, “expect a six-to-eight week turnaround.”
I asked her Tesar’s whereabouts and she giggled a bit. “I can’t tell you,” she said. “I only get to talk to him when they allow him access to phones or when they let him have phones.”
After I lifted my jaw off my desk, I asked, “Well, should I check the roster at Betty Ford Clinic or San Quentin?” She giggled again, nervously. “No, it’s all good I can’t tell you. If you poke around you might find out more.” She did say he would be back in Dallas on July 31.
I don’t feel like poking, so let’s play “Where’s John Tesar?” Prize worth $100 to the winner. (Some people, and you know who you are, are not eligible to play.)
I am going out on a long white oak limb here: Meditating in India.
Okay, your turn, GO!34 Comments »
An eagle-eyed cat that barks just informed me Sharon Hage is no longer the chef for the upcoming longest table dinner in the world, Outstanding in the Field. Apparently Hage backed out and the organizers have added Jon Bonnell of Bonnell’s Fine Texas Cuisine. Anne Jones, of Latte Da Dairy, is still the host farmer. The $200 tickets to the October 19 FloMo event sold out months ago. I’ve been trying to reach Hage for a week. Guess she’s gone off the grid. Or maybe she’s underground.
John Tesar has decided to close The Table, the 12-seat tasting room inside The Commissary.The Table will close on August 1 but is scheduled to reopen around September 15 with a new concept. The press release says Tesar will retool The Table menu and “spend the necessary time focusing on The Commissary and getting the service and other restaurant issues up to the standards that he has was known for at Rosewood Mansion on Turtle Creek.” I hope so. According to two of my friends who dined at last Sunday’s the lobster bake, the service “was the worst I’ve ever had.” And that person has had a lot of bad service. Go, John. Fix it and they will come.13 Comments »
Holy Grail Pub jumps on the hayride with their first Farm-to-Fork beer-pairing dinner. On Monday, May 30th, the Grail will serve six courses of locally sourced foods, served with select, full-flavored Texas beers. Each course will feature a dish made with ingredients from area farms, ranches and food artisans.
Monday night our photographer Desiree Espada dropped by John Tesar’s inaugural dinner at The Table, the 12 8-seat tasting room next to The Commissary. The table was lined with friends including Jennifer and David Uygur (Lucia), Chef Bruno Davaillon (Mansion execuchef), Michael Flynn (Mansion sommelier), Tim Byres (Smoke), Teiichi “Teach” Sakurai (Tei-An), and The “Ubiquitous” Brad. Sarah Reiss from our staff was also invited. Here are the pictures Desiree managed to capture.8 Comments »
Writer Randy Potts and Chad Houser (Parigi) are in Lebanon cooking with Chef Kamal Mouzawak. Potts has filed two reports. Today he sends the following update:
Lunch in the Garden
In the morning, I am up at 6:30 making fish kibbeh with Kamal – a beautiful bowl is filled with translucent white fish, cayenne peppers, cilantro, onions, saffron, cinnamon, zest of lemon and tangerine, fine wet bulgur. Kamal grinds the mixture using his Kitchen Aid grinder attachment and the result is pressed and laid across a bed of onions, pine nuts and salt and baked slowly. Later, Houser is making his contribution for lunch – grilled zucchini, stuffed with grated halloumi cheese, topped with a homemade mocajete — and watching the tomatoes grill beside a whole octopus.
Lunch today is for 20 people in the garden: it is a simple affair. Continue reading "Eating Lebanon: The Adventures of Chef Chad Houser, Randy Potts, and Chef Kamal Mouzawak"1 Comment »
Save the date: On Wednesday, October 19, Sharon Hage will be the guest chef for Outstanding in the Field’s longtable dinner that will take place at Latte Da Dairy in Flower Mound. There will be food, wine, and goats. Here is a report from the last event. Here’s how to reserve your place for the next.
Intrepid intern Katie Minchew ran away with the circus—for the afternoon. Read up on her adventures with the elephants at the Dallas Farmers Market:
The Shrine Circus is in town at Fair Park Coliseum until Sunday.
Yesterday, despite the unseasonably chilly weather, three of the show’s Asian elephants—Cindy, Betty, and Bo—presented a little side show at the Dallas Farmers Market where the public was invited to “lunch with the elephants.” Cindy and Betty worked up their appetite giving the kids (and policemen) rides around the ring while Bo lounged behind the scenes awaiting the feast of fruit supplied by the Dallas Farmers Market.
Larry Carden, son of the George Carden of George Carden Circus International, talked me through the feeding of these magnificent pachyderms. They eat 150 squares of hay per week, one thousand dollars of produce each week, and 20 bags of feed every day. They don’t usually get this much produce at a time so “this fruit table will be a treat for them,” said Carden.
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