Mesa needs more love.
At the media dinner I was invited to last night, there wasn’t a single breathing soul in the restaurant besides the bloggers and writers tasting the new menu by Raul Reyes, owner and chef extraordinaire of Mesa Veracruz Coastal Cuisine. Sure, it was a Wednesday evening, but it was still surprisingly empty for a restaurant of such high caliber.
Perhaps Reyes’ new fall menu can persuade enough people to venture out to the adventurous side of Oak Cliff, where Mesa is squeezed between a pawn shop and bakery.
Jump for some sweet shots by Melisa Oporto. Continue reading "Mesa’s New Fall Menu is Spectacular"
This month, Moira Muldoon walks into Whitehall Exchange in Bishop Arts. She files this report:
Texans are not supposed to complain about the heat. Not in the spring, not in the summer, not in the fall. We acknowledge the heat, of course, but it’s more like the sky being blue or the ground being underneath our feet. It’s a fact. And just like we can say, “Big sky today,” we can say, “It’s a hot one.” And then we’re supposed to move on.
But even when we (okay, I) don’t talk about it, the weather affects everything. And when it’s so hot for seven months out of the year, all things begin to be viewed through the prism of heat. Whitehall Exchange, the new bar in Bishop Arts, feels like a heat-defying place. It sits on the corner of North Bishop Avenue and West Seventh Street, with three large awning windows that swing out over the sidewalk.
Deep Ellum Brewing Company’s Brand and Sales Ninja, Tait Lifto, sends the news. This may be the place to hang before Savor Dallas’ sold-out reserve tasting:
Deep Ellum Brewing Company is proud to introduce the next step in our young life: a brand new beer garden premiering to the public tomorrow, Saturday March 31, 2012 from noon to 3pm. We will be open to the public for a brewery open house with a tour at 2pm. Come see the brand new beer garden, a new painting by the Davies brothers, listen to Fish Fry Bingo and more. You are invited to attend – we now accept credit cards at the door as well. I’m attaching a photo of the beer garden at 90% completion – it will be 100% by tomorrow.
It’s no secret that I avoid fried chicken like a bad disease. Something about fried chicken makes me want to look, sniff, and throw it back inside the KFC container it came in. Yet Sissy’s fried chicken is something else entirely. Paired with a fresh housemade Sriracha sauce, this Lisa Garza special has that hard-to-find balance you seek in any good ‘ole piece of Southern fried chicken: crispy on the outside, juicy on the inside.
At the media lunch I attended last week, I split a family-style meal with three other persons, and it took no small amount of self control to remember my table manners and share the amazing plates provided by Sissy’s Southern Kitchen and Bar.
Jump for some more Sissy’s love. Continue reading "Sissy’s Fried Chicken Makes You Feel Right at Home"
And it took them this long because? Fuel City, once the most undiscovered street taco in Dallas, is now the most overrated street taco in Dallas. And they have a patio and a PR agency to prove it.
Did you know the recipes for the tacos originated in Durango, Mexico? Read all about it. (Bonus point: Do we still have presses to stop?)
I was tooling down Irving Blvd. yesterday after a run to the camera store and I spotted a couple of cars and a motorcycle in front of the soon-to-open Off-Site Kitchen. I opened the door to find owner/chef Nick Badovinus and chef Dan Riley trying out a few items for the menu. Besides getting a free cheeseburger (look out for this one, Dallas. It’s a bobbydazzler and it is only $3.50), I got a brief tour of the space which they hope to get open by the end of the month. The food, inspired by “what line cooks eat,” is basically simple sandwiches and breakfast burritos made from quality roasted meats. “Low and slow” in Badovinus-speak. “It’s light industrial food,” he said. “It’s the kind of food you want to eat before you go solder something.”
The tiny restaurant at the corner of Wycliff and Irving Blvd. will basically do breakfast and lunch, but they will be open until 6:30PM and offer take out, including meats by the pound. “All of our meats except rib-eye will be around $3 a pound,” Badovinus said. I also tried a sliced peppered kielbasa sandwich topped with a sliced lettuce salad tossed in a Carolina pulled pork vinaigrette. (Sorry, I finished it before I remembered to photograph it.) Off-Site Kitchen will be a sandwich-lovers dream. They make it easy to grab and go or stay and eat on the covered patio.
Jump for photos.
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.
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 »
When Dale Wootton bought a run down strip center on Junius street in the early 1990′s it was easy for an outsider to say, “what is Dale doing?” But he had a vision created from a deep love for the neighborhood. Since then he transformed an old eyesore for Junius Heights into one of the most popular and comfortable breakfast and lunch spots in Lakewood, Garden Cafe. It is a cozy restaurant dedicated to using fresh produce from their garden in their southern, comfort food cuisine. He even put in a large, fenced in play area adjacent to the back garden so the kids could have their own place to play while their parents finished brunch on the outdoor, dog friendly patio.
Now, Wootton wants to expand his business by adding dinner service, just to 10pm, with a selection of wine and beer available. He and his attorneys have done at least a year and a half of leg work on this, petitioning, rezoning, doing out-reach, asking the neighborhood for feedback, and constantly making concessions. Continue reading "A Glass of Wine at The Garden Cafe….Is That So Wrong?"24 Comments »
In light of Mother Nature’s recent brutality, it’s no wonder that everyone we know is using these recent cooler days as an excuse to run to their favorite outdoor patio. I, myself, spent a good 30 minutes this morning in the backyard throwing the tennis ball with the new dog, soaking up the breezy 72 degree air, and making plans for which patios I’m going to hit throughout this noticeably cooler (and shorter) week. I’m liking the idea of Ginger Man, and the outdoor tables at NorthPark make me very happy for a little post-movie chit-chat. Then, of course, there’s BarBelmont, the upstairs and downstairs patios at Alma, the outdoor tables at The Old Monk, etc, etc. I could go on for weeks.
How about you? When the breeze kicks up and lunchtime, happy hour, or dinnertime calls, where would your friends be most likely to find you?
The Tesar is on The TV tonight. He will appear on The Food Network’s EXtreme Chef at 9PM. I believe The Tesar is hosting The Watching Party with specials on wine. Tonight’s episode “Survive The Farm” sounds exciting. Listen:
Three chefs travel to a farm to dig for their own ingredients, but a powerful dust storm stops them in their tracks. And one chef almost quits after a cow he’s milking goes mad.
Tune in to see which chef goes mad with the cow. Spoiler alert: It couldn’t be The Tesar. He’s already mad.
Give these gals some credit (sorry) for speaking up when they’re down on their luck. Kathy Jack and Susie Buck of Jack’s Backyard closed their popular indoor/outdoor venue on June 26. There has been some talk going around about why they closed and even though they’ve released the statement below, I’m still a little unclear on their message. Owner Kathy Jack writes “I developed a plan with the head of the creditors’ committee to repay our back debts and start repaying investors but ultimately, we were not given that opportunity.” By the landlord? By the bank? Whatever, I admire her courage and commitment to make things right. I’ve asked for more details. Below is the statement she released late last night.
The Highland Park Village “Starbuckians” will soon have a new place to wear their designer work-out togs and read Park Cities People. Starting June 4 at the civilized hour of 8AM, Patrizio will open for breakfast. (You can sleep in; they serve until noon.) Need to know more? Jump… Continue reading "Patrizio in Dallas Opens for Breakfast on Weekends"
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.
Saturday Ijust attended a press event at Park. I liked the food. But there were many things surrounding the event that make it harder than it should be to enjoy Chef Garreth Dickey’s menu items. I have put together some of them in a list at the bottom.
Jump.17 Comments »
Quick news: This Wednesday night (that’s tomorrow) marks the kick-off of Wednesday-night, half-price wine and jazz nights at Park.
Stay tuned…and if you go, let us know how it is.
Just found this plea in the comments section. Since it’s going to be such a gorgeous weekend, I thought I’d pull it out and let you guys make suggestions.
38 Comments »
I need a good patio for a few drinks and appetizers.. Something laid back!! Ideas please!