Bishop Cider Co. is opening up in Bishop Arts very, very soon. I’ve been keeping an eye on its Kickstarter page (9 more days left, and its goal has already been exceeded), and it looks like people in Dallas are pretty excited about this new craft hard cidery place.
Monsanto announced this morning that its income increased by 22 percent in the company’s second quarter. I know some of you don’t like it when I talk food politics, but this is important. Monsanto is rapidly growing and changing the way we eat. It’s scary. I’m this close to pulling a Barbara Kingsolver and subsisting on my own homegrown food for a year.1 Comment »
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 »
I’ve never set foot inside Crystal’s Pizza, but everyone keeps telling me that it was “the sh*t.” Pardon my language. Dan Koller even emailed me and Nancy just to grieve over Crystal’s closing with a beautiful, wham bam one-liner sentence: “To Dallasites of my generation, this is a big effing deal.”
So maybe Alice Laussade wasn’t overreacting when she reported that Crystal’s Pizza is shutting its doors to fluffy childhood memories forever and ever and ever. On Sunday, February 17, to be exact. That’s when Irving becomes Crystal’s Pizza-free. (According to Liz, who calls it “that childhood house of horrors,” goodbye isn’t such a bad thing.) Anyways, I digress. The whole point of this post is to make you aware that Crystal’s is selling all of its stuff, in case you’re interested. I say “stuff” instead of “trash,” because I’m nice like that. I’m trying to give Crystal’s the benefit of the doubt. However, a Facebook post from yesterday stated that Crystal’s is selling a stack of 2,000 tickets for $5 “for those who wanted something with a Crystal’s logo on it.”
What in the world do you do with 2,000 unusable tickets? A couple of ideas come immediately to mind:
At least Crystal’s is being environmentally friendly by selling its…stuff. Hey, I’m all for recycling. And, yes, there will be more junk for sale in the coming days.
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 »
If I ever want to get a good sleep I have to turn my computer off. If I don’t, I run the risk of passing it in the middle of the night and noticing the little green light next to Teresa “Gubbshoe” Gubbins’ name on gTalk. For while I am making a middle-of-the-night bathroom run, Gubbshoe is scouring Facebook, Craig’s List, Angie’s List, and this list, and beating stories out if the internet bushes. I swear she is a vampire.
This morning she shines a beacon on the big news in East Dallas: Jay “The J” Jerrier is opening a second location of Cane Rosso at 7328 Gaston Ave. at Grand Avenue, near White Rock Lake. (I know something about Jay that she doesn’t but I’m not telling!)
Anywhoo, it begs the question: Does North Oak Cliff have a hipper food scene than East Dallas? Or vice versa?
Do you like the Goodfriend-Mecca-Matt’s-Barbec’s sensibility of East Dallas or the Oddfellows-Bolsa-Boulevardier-Smoke-Hattie’s vibe of Bishop Arts District and North Oak Cliff? And WTF, Marc Cassel? Will you ever open?14 Comments »
Think back to when you were in college and the professor posed a question for the class. If you were anything like me, you were too shy to raise your hand. Luckily, both Ben Hurt and Blaine Iler aren’t the shy types, and when they raised their hands on that fateful day in class, it was the beginning of a fruitful partnership that is helping to positively impact the world.
Since they both had ambitions in entrepreneurship, Ben and Blaine decided to put their heads together to come up with an idea that could benefit the biggest problems facing society today. They decided on a conscious capitalism project called Impact Foods to help alleviate world hunger. After a trip to Honduras, the vision became even more clear that something effective needed to be done. They followed in the footsteps of SMU alum Blake Mycoskie, who started a little project called TOMS Shoes, by proposing the 1:1 business model. They launched their business. For each package of granola sold, Impact Foods donates a micronutrient pack to a malnourished child. Now the granola can be bought in stores like Whole Foods for $6.99 each.
I had a lovely chat with both Ben and Blaine and decided to delve deeper into their vision for a better tomorrow.
Jump for the Q&A.3 Comments »
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 »
Recently Applebee’s launched a new ad campaign. (It has Don Draper written all over it!) The tagline is “See You Tomorrow.” According to ADWEEK, it “positions Applebee’s as the champion of a sort of anti-foodie backlash, pitching fare that purports to be tasty, and simple, but still somewhat classy—for example, new summer dishes like Lemon Shrimp Fettucine and Florentine House Sirloin.” The TV commercials feature “chefs” with names like “Carl” who wax poetic over their ingredients only to be stopped by a voice from above: “Carl, you’re doing it again. You’re talking about tomatoes like they’re your children.”
The money quote from the piece: “It’s classic food porn with a faux-haute twist—a dinner bell for the happily apathetic.”
Fascinating stuff. Check out how many people it took to pull this campaign together: four Content Managers, three Cognitive Anthropologists, seven Creative Directors, and scads of “Peggys,” “Rogers,” and “Petes.”
One question. What is classic food porn? No, make that two. Are you happily apathetic?12 Comments »
Every once in a while, usually in a doctor’s office, I come across a magazine article that compels me to tear it out and save for future reference. Thankfully, this piece titled “The Truth Behind Food Labels” is not only in print, you can read it online. In the May-June issue of Audubon magazine, Gretel H. Schueller writes a straightforward guide, for lack of a better word, to the labels on food items that promote an array of feel-good, environment-friendly assertions. You see “cage free,” “hormone free,” “all natural,” “organic,” “fair trade,” and “biodynamic” in stores everywhere. Which designations are authentic? Schueller details the good, bad, and the ugly truths behind the label and the greenwashing of food items. Bullet points:
Free Range: When it comes to “free range” and “free roaming,” all a poultry farmer needs to show is “that the poultry has been allowed access to the outside,”… The animals may get only short periods outside in a cramped area—the USDA considers five minutes adequate to approve use of the claim. There are no restrictions regarding what the birds can be fed.
American Humane Certified: A program of the American Humane Association, this label permits both caged and cage-free options for egg-laying hens. A caged hen can be crammed into a space the size of a sheet of paper. Forced molting through starvation is prohibited, but beak cutting is allowed.
Dolphin Safe: This is a partially certified claim because the National Marine Fisheries Service verifies only tuna caught from a specific region—the eastern tropical Pacific Ocean—and not all tuna. Tuna from this designated area might bear a label that includes the additional phrase “US Department of Commerce.” Tuna caught outside this area and labeled “dolphin safe” has not been independently substantiated. To muddy the waters further, the dolphin-safe label is not licensed by any single organization, so there are no universal standards in place and most companies have developed their own logos.
The bottom line: If you see Cruelty Free, Cage free, Environmentally Friendly, Nature’s Friend, No Chemicals, Vegetarian Fed on a package, disregard it. The vague labels mean nothing and have no standards to back them. Anybody can say any of those things about anything. Trust is gone. (This post was written in a certified caged and toxic environment.) READ THIS NOW.7 Comments »
It hurts me to report this, because I do find myself at Pizza Patrón on some occasions, excited to hand over a $10 bill in exchange for cinnamon churros and greasy, greasy pizza – pizza so bad that it tastes good. But I think we can all agree that Pizza Patrón is being a nincompoop about its latest promotion that the pizza chain just announced. According to the press release, if you order in Spanish between 5 and 8 p.m. on June 5, you can receive a free large pepperoni pizza while supplies last. I’m all for the promotion of our immigrant communities and celebrating their positive force of change, but there has to be a better way to do it than this weird publicity stunt that’s given non-Spanish speakers a platform to complain. This free pizza exchange has already prompted a lot of crazies to reinforce their ideas that we should be speaking English in this country in public places at all times. (To which I politely reply: No. Thank. You.)
Jump for the entire press release.29 Comments »
We sent editorial intern James Williford to attend the Tate Lecture Series with Michael Pollan, the best-selling author of The Omnivore’s Dilemma and In Defense of Food: An Eater’s Manifesto. Here’s what he learned from the Pollanator:
Last night, after toting bagfuls of Tom Thumb groceries onstage at SMU’s McFarlin Auditorium, Michael Pollan opened this year’s Oncor Lecture with a familiar pronouncement: Americans have a disastrous relationship with food. Aside from an apple, the locally-bought foodstuffs—which, one after another, he pulled out of the bags and joked wryly about—were over-processed junk with appallingly misleading label copy. Holding up an almost neon-yellow tube, he said: “No one has ever confused Pringles with health food, right? But now you can get Pringles Multigrain. ‘Cheesy Cheddar,’ artificially flavored, but multigrain. So that’s a real winner. You put ‘multigrain’ on everything, because we’ve read that it’s good for you.” The audience laughed.
Pollan has his shtick down, but his message is serious and not quite as uncontroversial as it might at first seem. It’s not just the quality of the food that we eat, he says, but the way that we think about food in general that, over the last 30 years or so, has swelled our guts, impoverished our culinary culture, and left us increasingly susceptible to coronary disease, diabetes, and certain types of cancer. And how do we think about food? As nutrition.4 Comments »
Even tequila can be political…and not because of how or where it is made, but because of the man who makes it. Two weeks ago the latest venture from singer-song writer, performer, entrepreneur, author, and former Texas Gubernatorial candidate, Kinky Friedman, launched, Man In Black Tequila. A tequila for every man, a tequila of independence, a tequila that actually tastes like something more than the overly processed, filtered, sanitized and homogenized products that populate the shelves of liquor stores today.
I sat down with Kinky earlier today to learn more on the product he calls the “ultimate expression of the art of distillation,” and a tribute to “men like Paladin, Zorro and Johnny Cash who had moral clarity, knew right from wrong and tried to be a man of the people, unlike many who lead our country today. A hero or scoundrel, he was the force to be dealt with.” Our visit also led into his former run for Governor of Texas in 2006 and his continued firm beliefs of how to improve the state. He still believes that the state could be better run by musicians than politicians, as musicians do get up late but work late and they would be honest, and musicians understand the qualities needed to be a true artist – that you have to struggle, you have to be lonely and you have be ahead of your time and behind on your rent. Something he notes not many politicians understand. Continue reading "What To Drink Now: Man In Black Tequila"4 Comments »
I once made my opinion of the (worthless) honeydew melon very clear. Today I bring up the yucky chicken wing. They have never appealed to me but apparently I am in the minority. This morning comes word from the National Chicken Council: “More than 1.25 billion wings will be consumed during Super Bowl weekend (100 million pounds!), and, if they were laid end-to-end they would circle the circumference of the Earth – more than twice – a distance that would reach approximately a quarter of the way to the moon.”
My initial response is: if you can circle the earth twice, why don’t you just drop off a few million pounds in places where one chicken for a village causes more excitement than the Super Bowl.
My secondary response is actually a question: How many chickens does it take to make 25 billion chicken wings. Hah! You say: do the math dummy; one chicken has only two wings. But your assumption would be wrong. I turned to the Wing-onomics department (true!) at The National Chicken Council for an answer.
You’ll have to jump because you, like chickens, cannot fly.6 Comments »
In August 2008, I traveled to Savannah, Georgia where I dined at Paula Deen’s restaurant Lady & Sons. We ran a post titled “Paula Deen Wants to Kill You.” I wrote:
I can still smell the rancid butter that hit us in the face when we walked in the door. I’ve got to find the pictures I took of the food I ate–everything was dripping in butter. I remember the chicken pot pie was big enough for four and almost everything was fried. OK, she admits she’s “not your cardiologist,” but she really is contributing to the delinquency of dieters. The night we went, at least 75 per cent of the diners were beyond overweight–they were obese. It was sad–like people watching at the slots in Vegas–everyone was gambling with their lives.
Last week Paula Deen confirmed the rumor: she has Type 2 diabetes. I wonder how many of her dedicated fans also suffer from Type 2? This really chaps my sass because two members of my family didn’t have a choice: they both were diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes when they were young. They have to continually monitor their diet and control their blood sugar. However, Ms. Deen, and other people who put on blinders and continue to fill their body with fat and sugar, had an option. Like not eating a burger made with Krispy Kreme donuts. It’s now rumored that Deen may become the spokesperson for Novartis, a company with a drug designed to treat diabetes. If she personally profits from developing Type 2 diabetes (Hey yáll, I’m your endocrinologist!), I’m going to go berserk. I can already see the talk show circuit lighting up. It makes me sick.81 Comments »
Several years ago I met a man for lunch at Stephan Pyles. It was the first time we’d met. We sat down and ordered. When the food arrived, he grabbed my hand and asked me to join him in prayer over our lunch. I bowed my head but kept my eyes open. Diners all around us were watching us as the very nice man prayed. And prayed. And prayed.
I admit I was extremely uncomfortable. Not because he was religious and blessed his every meal and minute on earth, but, and I don’t know how to put this gently, because I felt he was imposing his beliefs on me. Now don’t go all crazy on me, I am being honest. Looking back at it, I realize it wasn’t that big of a deal. However, I would like to hear what you think about this situation. Should he have asked me if I would have liked to join in prayer or was it “fair” that he grabbed my hand and assumed it was okay?
I deputized Disher Melisa Ambers to cover last night’s sold-out Café Momentum dinner at the the Communities Foundation of Texas on Caruth-Haven. The concept behind the dinner series, developed by Chad Houser and Janice Provost of Parigi, is dedicated to teaching young, at-risk youth with life skills. Café Momentum works closely with the programs of the Youth Village Resources of Dallas. Local chefs and volunteers donate time and product and the kids work alongside the pros. Their common goal is to open a permanent restaurant for the program.
Last night was the largest and most formal Café Momentum dinner to date. The young men, under the direction of Phil Willis, delivered flawless fine dining service. They passes appetizers in the foyer as the 100 guests arrived. Most of the young men were veterans; only one had never been a part of Cafe Momentum before. One of them, in fact, has already graduated from the culinary program at the Youth Village and has finished his time at the detention facility. He’s back in school but wanted to volunteer.
Jump for photos and the full report.2 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 »
John Jay Myers has swung the doors wide on The Free Man, his new Cajun cafe & lounge in Deep Ellum. His mission: combining a bit of Bourbon Street with a nightly live-music venue. Menu items: etouffee, jambalaya, gumbo, boudin, alligator, and more. Sounds great to us, but the Cajun vs. Creole distinction seems to have some people in a huff. The general consensus: Bourbon Street/New Orleans=dignified Creole, while western Louisiana=wild & wooly Cajun.
I’m guessing you have a lot to say about the hair-splitting (or cavernous) distinction. I do so love a debate.