Although La Garza is all about sisterhood (“I am Sissy,” Garza says. “Sissy is southern slang for “sister” and I am developing every aspect.”) there will be no sissy in the kitchen. La G has plucked Jeffery Hobbs and named him “leader of the kitchen.”
Oh, it’s a tangled tale—an episode of As the Restaurant Turns. Here’s the synopsis: Lisa was married to Chef Gilbert Garza. Together they operated Suze Restaurant, the cozy spot on Midway and NW Highway. At some point, Jeffery Hobbs joined the happy couple to work on the kitchen team as chef and partner. Hobbs and Gilbert ran a great restaurant. Lisa concentrated on catering. Lisa was picked as a contestant on Next Food Network Star. The experience was devastating, as most former TV reality participants will admit is generally the case. The Garzas divorced and Lisa retreated for a couple of years. She emerged as a fancy caterer. Found a new guy. Got re-married and is now pregnant with new restaurant.
After eight years at Suze, Hobbs splits to partner with burgeoning bully restaurateur, Jack “Maple & Motor” Perkins. They’re consulting on taco joints. Then La G calls Hobbs and asks him to be the “leader of her kitchen.” According to La G, Gilbert has given his blessing to the deal. See, there can be happy endings. Or beginnings. Stay tuned.8 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 »
In 1971, I spent most of my Sunday mornings in a line around the original Herrera’s on Maple Avenue. My friends and I would sit under a dripping window AC unit for hours, waiting for our turn at one of the nine tables inside the tiny, lard-based Tex-Mex restaurant. Once seated, you popped open the six-pack of Coors you brought with you and watched founder Amelia Herrera hand-pat flour tortillas by the front door. The food was such a religious experience for me that, 17 years later, I got married at Herrera’s, which by then had moved into a bigger building across the street and expanded into more locations all over Dallas. Recently, they moved into a newer building down Maple.3 Comments »
She’s got a hankering for diamond-less rings. And she’s new in town. Give her a hand.
Hey, Nancy! I just moved here from Atlanta and I am hungry for the onion rings served at The Varsity. What place in Dallas has onion rings like these?
Last night I decided to drop into Princi Italia, Patrick Colombo’s new spot in the old Poplolos space in Preston Royal. The executive chef, Kevin Ascolese, was Columbo’s chef at Ferre in West Village. Before that he cooked at Salve and Mi Piaci. I also spotted veteran chef/baker David Brawley in the kitchen. If my brain synapses are functioning correctly today, I believe Brawley and Ascolese were together at Salve. (I can still taste the bread he made there.)
The space, designed by JonesBaker, has been completely redone into a sort of contemporary Texas-Tuscan farmhouse. The ceilings have been raised and I loved the rustic basket “chandeliers.” The room is light and open. I feel like the bar area may prove to be too small once word hits the surrounding neighborhood. Two flat screen TVs can be seen from any spot in the house. (Not so Tuscan.)
However, the food was classic Ascolese which translates into finer versions of “safe” Dallas Italian food. I could eat the tagliatelle Bolognese every night. The sauce was barely a sauce. The light, house made noodles were tossed with fresh tomatoes, basil, small bits of meat, and Parmigiano-Reggiano. Not a drop of liquid pooled on the bottom of the plate. Which I guess is a good thing because there would have been nothing for me to sop it up with. No bread. Patrick, you hired David Brawley and don’t serve bread on the table? Yes, he can make pizza dough; he proved that at Fireside Pies. And Princi does have a wood burning pizza oven. I guess I’ll eat pizza next time.
I almost choked on a salad of rapini and arugula. The greens were blanched and formed a tangled salad of soggy leaves and stems which were topped with a salty, in a good way, blob of burrata cheese. Once again I yearned for bread. The broth beneath the weed was a drinkable liquid of olive oil, specks of red pepper, and lemon. The plates of Italian “specialties” such as grilled Colorado trout, veal Slatimbocca, and grilled wild Alaska salmon going to other tables looked interesting. The portions are just right and priced from $13 to $20. The list is full of nice Italian reds, whites, and sparkling wine most of which are in the mid-$30 to $50 range. You can order a carafe of several interesting wines for $15 to $31 (12 ounces).
Princi reminds me of Popolos when they first opened—it’s a perfect fit for the demographics of the nearby neighborhood. However, times have changed and Princi is much more casual. Shower shoes and shorts and school uniforms were the norm last night.
I listen to a lot of public radio. A couple months ago, my home girl Terri Gross broadcast an interview on Fresh Air that focused on the logistical and ethical questions at play regarding growing meat from stem cells in a laboratory setting.
Before you jump to conclusions about real vs. lab-created meat, science writer Michael Specter, who traveled to laboratories in the Netherlands and North Carolina to examine the progress scientists have made in developing in vitro meat, is quick to point out that this is real meat. It’s real muscle cells, the same ones that live inside a real cow, minus the environmental bugbears such as pesticides, UV radiation, etc. (Specter wrote about the arguments in favor of lab-made steaks in the May 23 issue of The New Yorker.)
Even though the technology and global feasibility are still in development, I’d lay money on the fact that the technology’s not going to fade away. And being that this is Texas, this is a topic worth familiarizing ourselves with so that we can have a reasonable discussion about the technology’s pros and cons.
Pros: a reduction in animal cruelty and greenhouse gas emissions
Cons: You tell me. Especially in light of rising population numbers and the domino effect of socioeconomic and environmental pitfalls associated with feeding all those people.
Agriculture stats show that the largest share of Texas’ agricultural income is derived from beef cattle. Texas ranks #1 in the country in cattle raised—a number that can exceed 14 million head. That’s about 20 percent of the nation’s beef cattle.3 Comments »
In the early 1970s, Julia Child, that awkward, unlikely figurehead from the front of the mid-century culinary ship, had me at bonjour. Like many of you, I spent many formative (pre-cable) hours following Julia on PBS, enchanted by her stilted speech, her soap-and-water directness, and her unapologetic rapture in the kitchen.
Years later, in 1988, my college boyfriend and I drove to Virginia so that I could meet his grandmother, Maimie, for the first time. During our visit, she flooded me with stories of her college roommate at Smith, who just happened to be Julia McWilliams (pre-Child). According to the birdlike Maimie, they called each other by the nicknames “Skinny” and “Fatty.” Maimie was the latter. And Julia—or Skinny—was a domestic lost-cause.
But I digress.
Julia would have been 99 this week, and in honor of her royal rightness, HuffPost compiled nine of their favorite episodes of The French Chef, Julia Child & Company and Julia & Jacques: Cooking at Home. The omelette episode, especially, takes me back to that vinyl couch in our sunroom, where I spent many a Saturday afternoon glued to the set (and the vinyl) as Julia stumbled through sentences and tried to find something to do with her hands when they weren’t actively engaged in pinching dough and swinging a cleaver. Revisiting those clips today feels like opening a window on a breezy fall day. Join me in enjoying them.
jump for more Julia nostalgia… Continue reading "Julia Child Would Have Been 99 This Week. That Gets Me Thinking…"
This kinda sorta rude Disher sez:
Nancy, you all seem to write about Pizza, especially Jay Jerrier’s. Can you move your brain away from Cane Rosso and perhaps tell me about where to get a calzone?
I picked the wrong day to quit feeling chirpy, chirpy, cheep, cheep! (Warning, that song will attach to your brain forever.) And dude, you don’t need to capitalize the P in pizza. Calzone suggestions anyone? Jay?17 Comments »
Café Mykonos, a “European restaurant with a Greek influence,” is, according to their website, undergoing a facelift. This morning comes word from their head surgeon, chef Tony Gardizi. You remember Tony. He’s cheffed at Vino and Basso, Guthrie’s, Bali Bar, Mi Piaci, and Capriccio Ristoranti. Most recently he went down with the ship at Decanter Restaurant in Bishop Arts. Chef Gardizi’s new menu at Café Mykonos rolls out today.
UPITTY DATE: Gardizi said the new menu is locally sourced New American. It will not be Greek at all.
Jeez, I forgot to mention Vueve. You remember Vueve and Club Nine7Two. The Champagne company got upset and they had to change their name to Vue. There was a miniature Trevi Fountain in the dining room and Gardizi attempted to create Global Cuisine? If you don’t remember, Heather will show you around.4 Comments »
If you ever decide to become a restaurant critic be prepared for the inevitable question: “What is your favorite restaurant in Dallas?” It’s a hard question for me to answer. Not because I’m evasive, it’s because I feel like I have to quantify my choice by answering “well, if I’m in the mood for Mexican then I would consider this place or that place. If I want casual then I head here.” And so on and so forth. Pick one out of 6,200? That’s tough.
Ten days ago I took my mother, brother, and sister-in-law to dinner at The Grape. I wasn’t going to do a review. I wasn’t even hungry. I’d just spent a long week and a half eating tricked up fancy food at a new restaurant in Dallas and I just wanted to kick back and enjoy time with my family. Two and a half hours later, I emerged renewed. Just when I thought I couldn’t be impressed, I was impressed. I can now say, without hesitation, that The Grape is currently my favorite restaurant in Dallas.
I decided to call chef/owner Brian Luscher, who I’ve never met in person, and talk to him about my experience at his restaurant and discuss some of the details he pursues in his kitchen. I combined the interview with a quick review.
Jump for the glory of The Grape.29 Comments »
Two Dallas food biz veterans, Wendy Krispin and Kay Agnew, are joining forces to open Royal 60. Both gals are dear to my heart as they have spent most of their lives catering. (I still believe every presidential candidate should be able to cater a wedding for 400–hardest job in the world.) Kay has been slinging Cajun food and running restaurants almost 30 years while Wendy is just out of rookie status at 25 years. Kay’s restaurant Margaux’s has had at least nine lives and probably close to that many locations. Her current digs in the Design District will be the new home for Royal 60. “This project is a way for Kay and I to celebrate our combined experience,” Wendy said. They are working on the plans for Royal 60, but it will basically be a wine bar with food. Details on the way…You go, girls.
Last summer, Amy Severson, co-owner of Sevy’s, blogger, and all-around smart person, and I had what we thought was a great idea. We decided to write a book on the history of Dallas food. We did a zillion searches and couldn’t come up with one book that covered the subject. We began collecting bits and pieces of information. Amy spent days at the library researching anything related to the restaurant or food business in the Dallas area. She has interviewed grandchildren of long-lost Dallas restaurants and food businesses. What we have found is unique and amazing and over the next few months, we will post some of the discoveries.
Today, we start with our History of Dallas Food series with La Tunisia, an opulent restaurant that opened in 1959. My grandfather used to take me to La Tunisia for special occasions. Do you have memories of La Tunisia? I thought they moved to Preston Royal, but Amy has traced it to McKinney Avenue. However, we did find postcards and a menu which I’ve photographed and posted below the jump. Here’s our report:
There was a time in history when the term “middle eastern conflict” referred to the weekly disagreement between Jeannie and Major Anthony Nelson.
Jump, please.40 Comments »
My mother grew up in a small town outside of Archer City, Texas. A couple of nights a week she watched her mother go out in the back yard, grab one of the many chickens running around the yard and snap its neck. A couple hours later the former “pet’ was devoured for dinner. It wasn’t a trend; it was how they lived.
Now having a groovy chicken coop in your backyard or on a patio in New York is trendy. The gals over on the D Home blog have the scoop on the “must have” coop. If you want to get your backyard bird party started, the folks at Northaven Gardens have the knowledge and supplies. I’d rather have a goat.
With our ferocious invasion of the In-N-Out‘s double-doubles under control, we turn to face our next assault: conjugated linoleic acid from Murray’s Cheese on Bleecker Street in New York City. No, we don’t need any rope, conjugated linoleic acid is a good thing. It is one of the healthy fats (love it!) found in cheese. There are many New Yorkers who think Murray’s Cheese shop is the best in New York. And, like so many New York businesses, Murray’s had humble ethnic start. From their website:
“Murray Greenberg was a Jewish Spanish civil war veteran and communist who opened a wholesale butter and egg shop a few doors up Cornelia street in 1940. The old timers tell me [current owner Rob Kaufelt] that even though he was an old leftie, he was still a street smart capitalist who used to buy cheese cheap and trim it and sell it. In the 70′s he sold the shop to his clerk Louis Tudda, an Italian immigrant from Calabria.” Grab a Kleenex and continue here. (I’d cast Dustin Hoffman as Murray and Helen Mirren as Paula Lambert in the movie War of the Cheeses.)
Fast forward to May 17, 2011. Murray’s has two locations in New York where they sell a gazillion cheeses. They have a books, cured meat, crackers, dried fruit and nuts, and an olive and antipasto bar. Phew! And a serious online shopping site. However, you won’t need to order Murray’s cheese if you like Murray’s cheese because Murray’s cheese has made a deal with Kroger and soon their cheese will spread across North Texas. (They are already in Houston. What else would you expect from a communist cheese maker? No emails please.) It looks like a Kroger store in Irving (June-ish, not sure which location) will be the first outpost for Murray’s Cheese shop. I say shop because they are building little areas inside each Kroger to mimic the interior of the Greenwich Village store. (Twinwillow, I see a job opportunity in your future.) After that, it’s Katy bar the door– I hear the whole Upper East Side is relocating Frisco.
The first three shops to open in Dallas-Fort Worth are at the following Kroger locations:
-Irving 7505 N. MacArthur Blvd. Irving, TX 75063 (Opening Date: 5/25/11)
-Dallas 5665 E. Mockingbird Dallas, TX 75206 (Opening Date: 6/15/11)
-Fort Worth 3300 Texas Sage Trail Fort Worth, TX 76177 (Opening Date: 7/6/11)8 Comments »
Over on Frontburner, Jason Heid waxes nostalgic on The Tomato, a Denton “eatery much-loved by UNT alumni and originally forced to close to make way for a CVS.” Jason is so happy. The restaurant is reopening in Sanger.3 Comments »
My mom is sitting in the other room reading the Dallas Morning News. Suddenly, she burst into tears. “Oh my god, The Bronx is closing!” I jumped on to Eats where La Brenner posts about Karen Robinson Jacobs’ report. Oh my god is right. I remember hanging out there when Stephan Pyles was the chef and the quiche was the best in town. And the omelets. I am feeling old and sad right now.
From 1993 until her death in 1997, Darren McGrady was Princess Diana’s personal chef. He helped her recover from bulimia and prepared William and Harry’s daily meals. He moved to Dallas in late 2003. I profiled McGrady in May 2004.
Today McGrady is a busy dude. He’s a chef, author, culinary consultant, event planner, and public speaker. His first cookbook, Eating Royally, is filled with recipes and remembrances from the palace kitchens. The book is in its fifth printing and all advances and royalties are donated to the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric Aids Foundation. Today he sends this happy story.
I was thrilled to learn that Prince William had chosen the Chocolate Biscuit Cake recipe from my book Eating Royally, recipes and remembrances from a palace kitchen for his wedding cake because Chocolate biscuit cake is also his grand mothers favorite cake. I used to prepare it for both of them when they had tea together. The Queen would request the cake in the menu book for Sunday tea when she knew her grandson would be joining her from Eton.
UPPITY DATE: McGrady just dropped this note: “Just wanted to clarify though that the chocolate biscuit cake recipe was not my creation but a recipe we had used at the palace that i had put in my book. I just changed on my blog, BIG apologies, although I made the recipe many times for William it wasn’t my recipe. Think I am better at rattling pans than blogging.”
Jump for the rest of the story. Continue reading "Prince William Chooses Dallas Chef Darren McGrady’s Recipe for His Wedding Cake"10 Comments »