The Texas Sommelier Association’s 8th annual international wine conference at Four Seasons Resort and Club Dallas at Las Colinas ended last night. The closing ceremonies included the announcement that Ryan Tedder of FT33 Restaurant in Dallas is Texas’ Best Sommelier. The Texas’ Best Sommelier Competitions is run behind the scenes during the two-day conference organized by co-founders and Master Sommeliers Drew Hendricks and James Tidwell.
While wine experts gather for seminars on wide-ranging topics on wine, twenty-two sommeliers compete in a rigorous three-part wine examination involving service, blind tasting, and theory. The winner is picked by an elite panel of Master Sommelier judges.
Last night Ryan Tedder was the winning sommelier. Tedder has sniffed and swirled at Stephan Pyles and most recently Grace in Fort Worth. Tedder has joined Matt McCallister’s merry band of forward-thinking culinary rebels gathered together to open FT33 in the Design District this fall. Tedder received a scholarship of $2,500 from the Guild of Sommeliers Education Foundation to be used for a Court of Master Sommeliers certification program. David Keck of Uchi Restaurant Group in Houston was the second runner up and will receive a $1,500 scholarship from the Guild, and the 3rd place winner Steve Murphey of Mid-Stage Wine & Liquor in Plano will receive a $1,000 scholarship. Additionally, the Culinary Institute of America at Greystone in St. Helena, California will be offering scholarships to all three top placers.2 Comments »
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 »
I don’t know whether to laugh or cry at this news: The new Taco Bueno in Allen doesn’t open until 9:30 tomorrow morning, but fans have already started camping out. And these fans plan to stay where they are overnight! The the first 30 people in line get a $100 gift card. If you’d like to join the party, the address for the Allen location is 1709 N. Greenville Avenue (just South of Stacy Road).
Jay Jerrier is either the smartest restaurateur when it comes to using social media effectively or a total social media whore. The distinction doesn’t matter. He has 5,000 “likes” on his Facebook page and, to celebrate, he “doing $1 pizzas tonight at Cane Rosso from 6pm – 9pm.” His goal is to real 10,000 “likes” and do it again. Rules:
Tonight only at our Deep Ellum restaurant
- $1 Marinara, Margherita, or Focaccia…no additions or substitutions
- Dine In ONLY
- 6pm – 9pm…we open at 6pm!!
- Be nice to your servers (i.e. please tip them like you paid full price…a $0.25 tip is not cool)
- It is NOT BYOB tonight
Who knows what will happen if Facebook adds a “love” button. Let’s get this party started.3 Comments »
Nick Badovinus and chef Dan Riley have been hunkered down for over a year developing the menu and creating all kinds of delicious roasted meats for Off-Site Kitchen. Today he is finally opening the doors!
Now, hold your horses. The dining room is tiny. Off-Site Kitchen is basically a take-out restaurant with a few stools inside and some picnic tables outside. Here are some pictures of what you can expect. The food, inspired by “what line cooks eat,” is basically simple sandwiches and breakfast burritos made from quality roasted meats. Roll the Badovinus quote of the year:
“It’s light industrial food,” he said. “It’s the kind of food you want to eat before you go solder something.”
Off-Site Kitchen will be open for lunch only from 10:30AM until 3PM for the next two weeks. Then the breakfast menu will kick in and they will begin serving at 7AM and will remain open until 7PM. “After we hit our stride, we’ll start rolling out the meat-by-the-pound program,” Badovinus said. “I’m so excited. This place is a real man cave.”
The original date for OSK’s opening was February 14, 2011. After Badovinus missed his mark, he decided to workshop the place and open on Valentine’s Day this year. “You see how many financial sacrifices I made to pay for my original vision,” Badovinus said. “I mean I’ve got a wheelbarrow of pork rinds down here. Who doesn’t love that?”
Badovinus was only half-joking about the Valentine’s Day opening. He and chef Dan Riley have used the Off-Site Kitchen space to tweak the menus of Badovinus’ other restaurants (Neighborhood Services, Neighborhood Services Tavern, and Neighborhood Services Bar & Grill). They also use the huge kitchen as a commissary for the other restaurants. The receive, portion, and distribute all of the meat and seafood at Off-Site Kitchen.
SOLDER, EAT, REPORT. No call-in orders. Plan to show up and wait.
[Also, Neighborhood Services Bar & Grill in Preston Royal will open for lunch in two weeks.]
The menu and photos are below.
Monday night, the Winspear Opera house hosted a sold-out concert featuring Kathleen Edwards, a Canadian folk and country singer, and Bon Iver. Yesterday, one concert attendee, Dallas Observer critic Scott Reitz, wrote a post about the ridiculously expensive “petite sandwiches” served at the concession stand. He posted a picture of what looked to be space food canapes—little Pacman-shaped bread circles with a slice of roasted beef. A little later, I received an email from a reader who’d tried to dine at The Commissary on Monday night. The place was jammed. The reader said the food was good but the service was a disaster.
In the comments section of Reitz’s post, the ubiquitous Jon Alexis (jonfromtjs) made some remarks that rocked my opinion of One Arts Plaza. I admire Lucy Billingsley and her vision of creating a space where Arts District patrons can dine before and after a show. However, Jon pointed out the problems on Monday night. Snippets: “Commissary delicious but slammed, understaffed, and stressed;” “Screen Door, chef working bar, poor lady so frazzled she’s knocking glasses over;” “Jorge’s, one bartender for 20 people at the bar.” Both Tei-An and Fedora were closed.
Jon brings up a great point. “Can the restaurants not look at the schedule and see when a concert is sold out MONTHS prior that they should staff up?” I thought Screen Door offered pre-event dinners but perhaps they only run for larger events. The patio area is a perfect place to hang before and after events. I would think the already struggling restaurants would at least stick a buffet table outside and serve some drinks. Or call in the food trucks. This is a perfect scenario for One Arts on what would otherwise be a slow Monday night. I’m sure the Kathleen Edwards concert drew a crowd that would have returned to any of the places at One Arts Plaza if they’d been impressed. Now, all they remember are plastic packets of Pacman canapés made by Wolfgang Puck Catering. But don’t get me started on that again. (Wolfgang Puck? Why not a local caterer.)37 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 »
Alma‘s execuchef Anastacia Quinones tipped us off to an event that she (rightly) assumed would be right up our alley. On Sept. 4, from 6 to 10 pm, the Bishop Arts District plays host to the Hotter than Hell Margarita Meltdown, a block-party-style competition for bragging rights to the best margarita in Dallas. Restaurants from all over town will be on hand mixing up their finest agave fare. Hacienda on Henderson, Neighborhood Services Tavern, and Alma will be mixing it up in honor of Henderson Ave. Maximo from North Dallas will be on-hand defending their title. Wild Salsa, Iron Cactus, and Ten Sports Grill make up the Downtown Dallas contingent. Bolsa, Smoke, Nova, Mesa, and Veracruz Cafe will show up representing Oak Cliff. Finally, Sfuzzi from Uptown/Las Colinas will shake it up bi-partisan-style.
Here’s how it’s going to go down:
All participants will be required to make 1 specialty margarita at least 50 times. All contestants will be judged by the public. A total of $1000 will be awarded. $500 for 1st place, $300 for 2nd, and $200 for 3rd place to the bartender with the most votes. Join us for $20 per person to taste and vote for your favorite margarita meltdown. You get a wrist band to taste each entry and a chip to vote for your favorite one.
Just be sure to save some money for cab fare. This one sounds like a humdinger.
To learn more, visit the Dallas Margarita Fest website.
An animal-loving Disher files this report:
Nancy, here’s a terrible experience last night [Saturday] at Maple & Motor. It turned out okay but could have been much different: A rather disheveled woman driving a green Mazda (with Wisconsin license plates) was at Maple & Motor around 7:30pm. It was 103. She left her dogs in the car with the windows barely cracked open. There was the long line of folks waiting to order and I knew they would have been trapped in that hot car for at least twenty minutes. Poor dogs.
Apparently the staff at M&M called for the owner to let the dogs out. However two groups of customers also called the police. I contacted owner Jack Perkins. “We did have a situation like that,” Perkins said. “We did champion the welfare of the animals, as we always will. The customer, who was not a regular, went home, left the animals, called in, and picked up the order later. No human or animal was injured in the making of their hamburgers. Well. I suppose the cow was.”
Okay @DSideDish TwEATers, are you lining up for the parade. Tweet details of food and drink, or any other details, to @DSideDish and we will retweet. Have fun.1 Comment »
I so wasn’t going to write this story, but I have now been contacted by five people in or around the restaurant business. I feel that if I don’t step in and attempt to clear the air, the tale will grow longer and more sordid with each telling. I have heard multiple versions of the heated exchange between chefs John Tesar and Nick Badovinus at The Commissary late Wednesday night.
Round One: I received the following text from John Tesar at 11:20 p.m. Wednesday night: “Nick from Neighborhood [Services] just assaulted two of my staff and created a violent scene in my restaurant…Crazy drug drunk chef stuff. I was calm but he has lost his mind. Sorry for the bad news just wanted you to hear the real story.” I didn’t see the text until the next morning. I texted back: “Huh? Just got this. Call me when you get a chance.” A little after noon yesterday, Tesar texted back: “It’s just best to let this one go thank you.”
Oh, but we didn’t let it go. Jump.
UPDATE: Saturday, May 28, 2011. I have just had a long conversation with chef John Tesar. The bottom line is he is reversing the story he told me yesterday. Here is his statement. “I was wrong. It was an error in judgment. I did it to cover up the event. The only reason I did that is that I tried to protect everybody who was involved, not only myself. I had a selfish motivation. I didn’t want to draw attention to a brand new restaurant. At the same time I wasn’t going to throw another member [Badovinus] of my profession under the bus.”70 Comments »
Jon Alexis, head halibut at TJ’s Seafood Market says the popular seafood market in Preston Forest will close from May 21-26 so they can do some renovation. They don’t want any seafood going to waste so they’re marking everything down. On Saturday, from 4-6PM, fresh seafood (including Copper River salmon), house-made sauces, take out food, and Vietri dinnerware will be marked down 25%. Don’t call and ask them to hold anything for you, just get over there and have your way with them.
In other seafood news, Sea Breeze Fish Market and Grill has a fresh batch of Copper River salmon and a fine selection of fresh fish.
I’m sure there will be mass hysteria in Frisco and Allen when the first two branches of In-N-Out Burgers in Texas open their doors in the morning. One reader told me the Allen location was opening at 1:30AM. “That is false,” said Carl Van Fleet vice president of planning and development. “We may open a little early if we have customers waiting (we usually open at 10:30am) but early would be around 9:00am maybe a few minutes earlier if we can be ready.”
If you’ve never been to an In-N-Out, you need to learn a few things about how to order. You don’t want to sound like an idiot and babble on about animal style if you don’t understand what animal-style means. You could end up (sorry) with something other than a cheeseburger. Remember, you are entering a sanctuary filled with a frenzied mass of cult worshipers. To help you, I have attached some must-know background information and our Newbie’s Guide to In-N-Out which illustrates and explains the secret menu. So open these links, print them out, and study hard. It’s everything you need to know before you go.
OMG, two of my favorite words in one headline. Free. Margaritas. Expect a tequila-frenzied mosh pit at Margarita Ranch at Mockingbird Station on Thursday from 6 to 7:00PM. The folks from Cointreau and Herradura finish pouring their FREE MARGARITAS, the restaurant will extend its happy hour specials.
Anybody else offering free margaritas in Dallas on Cinco de Mayo?
Update: Sevy’s Grill is offering complimentary Quervo Silver Margaritas or Palomas from 5 – 7 pm!
The following is going on as we speak. As you can see, there are about 3,000 kids down there right now, which means that the Beer Garden is practically a ghost town. And it has its own band. Need we say more?
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