Full disclosure: Last night I took my good friend Don Waddington to dinner. Don, who recently lost his wife, Polly, wanted to attend Sevy’s 100th wine dinner celebration. Sevy’s has been Don and Polly’s favorite restaurant since it opened. The Waddingtons traveled on both D Magazine chef cruises, which also included Jim Severson and his wife, Amy. I know Jim and Amy and consider them good friends. Amy contributes to SideDish. I do not review Sevy’s, and it is one of the few restaurants I go to on my own nickel.
Back to last night. Sevy’s private dining room was filled with loyal customers. It was not a media event. I wasn’t working. However, I noticed a woman with a camera and a tape recorder in her hand working the room as if she was the hostess. She snapped pictures, took down names, and chatted with everyone in the room. When a course was served, she would sit down, but once she was finished, she was up again and working the room. At one point, I overheard her say, “Well, I can’t write about it if I don’t taste it.”
I turned to Amy Severson and asked if she knew the name of the woman. “She came in the restaurant the other day and introduced herself as a food writer, asked for a copy of our logo, and made a reservation for the wine dinner,” Amy said. “There was never any discussion of any quid pro quo, nor was there any discussion of her covering the wine and food dinner for us as a PR move.”
However, it was obvious to all at our table that this woman was all about PR, but not for the restaurant. She was there to promote herself.
Oh, let’s get to the bottom of this.55 Comments »
As you can tell from the headline, I am deep in the process of procrastinating. While my real job calls for thousands of words about dining, I am convinced it is far more important that I drop what I am supposed to be doing and answer a question sent to me by PR boy toy Jef Tingley. Yes, he spells his name with one “f,” but I will save that analysis for a later procrastination post.
“Jef with one f” asked me how to boil an egg. Don’t laugh. How many times have you had tiny shards of shell pierce the delicate skin beneath your fingernail? I shared my secret with “Jef with one f” by private message on Facebook which made several people curious enough to email and ask (BEG!) for my secret.
You are going to have to jump hard. Continue reading "The Perfect Procrastination: How To Boil an Egg"11 Comments »
D Magazine intern Carol Shih attended the Pizza Smackdown at West Village shopping center last Thursday. She observed three of the cities’ biggest pizza egos, I mean chefs. Here is here account of the shenanigans.
I am happy to report there were no casualties at the Mobile Pizza Smackdown (except for some bruised egos). The American Heart Association hosted their annual kick-off event and bravely invited Paolo Cavalli of Cavalli Pizzeria, Salvatore Gisellu of Urban Crust, and Jay Jerrier of Il Cane Rosso to a pizza battle in a corner alley of West Village. It seemed harmless enough to innocent bystanders there to just wine and dine, but unbeknownst to them, this was an epic, all-out pizza war between three rival chefs battling to become the King of Pizza.
Jump for the details.13 Comments »
Beginning today, July 15, 2011, I am banning the use of the word YUM from any post on SideDish. You can YUM away all you want in the comments, but I will do my best to keep it from appearing in an official report. I do my best to stay away from “foodie,” but have yet to find the perfect replacement. YUM, however, has many. HOWEVER, I reserve the right to use “yummers” or “yum” when I am being sarcastic or quoting a person.
If you spot the word YUM in a post after today, you will win a prize. Carry on.9 Comments »
Here’s what you need to know about Dee Lincoln’s second Tasting Room & Bubble Bar:
Two levels, Cedar Springs, yummy flatbread, pillows that feel like silky lamb’s fur, loads of reflective surfaces, excellent bubble-themed chandeliers, many many Park Cities babes in booty accentuating get-ups, wine dispensaries, valet, outdoor patio.
jump to check out some pics… Continue reading "Dee Lincoln’s Cedar Springs Bubble Bar Preview Party. An Evening in Pictures."2 Comments »
Everyday I get bizarre misguided press releases. So far this morning I’ve already received an invitation to a ribbon cutting for a new health care facility, a request to interview a Girl Scout leader, and a plug for a cookbook which “conjures up spellbinding recipes from the Harry Potter Series.” I generally delete them and go about my day. However, every once in a while something catches my eye and ticks me off. Like this one:
Jump and growl. Continue reading "Wolfgang Puck Offers Cinco de Mayo Tip"3 Comments »
The local chef groupies’ tongues are wagging so vigorously today that we can feel the breeze up here on the 21st floor. I, like they, attended the industry preview of The Commissary last night. Facebook and blogger reviews are already slathering on praise. Imagine what they’ll say when it actually opens.
jump for our thoughts and more pictures… Continue reading "John Tesar’s The Commissary Hosts Industry Preview"
I know you get tired of reading information we’ve received from a PR agencies, but press releases are a necessary evil in the news business. I’m not asking for sympathy, but if you think we regurgitate a lot of info, you should see some of the crap we delete. I thought I would share one that just came my way.
News: How a Woman’s Hormones can Make Family Holiday Get-Togethers Better
Women who have upcoming family holiday gatherings to attend can make them more enjoyable (and avoid the usual holiday headaches) when they know how their hormones will be impacting their mood, energy, patience and everything else that affects how smoothly family get-togethers go.
Oh, you can’t stop now. Continue reading "Why Some Press Releases Make Me Nuts"9 Comments »
An alert Disher sent me a link to a job posting on Craigslist. There is a new sports bar concept going up near Frankfort and the Tollway. Shocker, they are looking for “model type female servers and bar staff.”
What’s the big deal? One of the contact names for the restaurant is Michael Costa. Yes, the same Michael Costa involved in last year’s Las Colinas Prime saga that included TABC raids, gun shots, alleged theft, unpaid workers and contractors, and arrest warrants. Grab your Snuggie and read all about it here:
I called Mr. Costa and asked him if he was back in the restaurant business. He said, “Yes, in fact I’ve got several things going on.” And then he told me he was walking into a meeting and referred me to a publicist. I am waiting. I’m sure many others are waiting as well. Keep your eyes peeled.8 Comments »
Tip of the toque to Lisa Petty for turning me on to this link, which led me to this link, that led me to this psycho foodie highly caffeinated twitter- holic who allegedly “invented” the term foochebag. Until I found this link to Brandon Smith, an intern for ABC 7 Chicago’s food reporter, Steve Dolinsky. (Hi, Steve!)
Foochebag: “foodies who are categorized by “attention-seeking, elitism, and superficiality.” Basically, arrogant food bloggers and Twitter users.
Wow, it’s a new day. Are you a foochebag? I guess I am because I know Steve Dolinsky! You are if you are the “mayor” of any restaurant in Dallas. Step forward and let thyself be known.
Update: Mister Foochebag claims he learned the term from Michael Nagrant.
Update: Phaedra in Houston is claiming the rights. I am a douche canoe for calling her a psycho foodie.23 Comments »
As noted below, Chef Kenny Mills is no longer with Dallas Chop House. He wasn’t fired. It’s a complicated story—and we all know there are always at least four sides to every story–but today, I’ll present two: DRG Concepts and chef Kenny Mills.
From DRG Headquarters
Kenny Mills is no longer Executive Chef at Dallas Chop House and is no longer with DRG Concepts.
This development is the result of a management decision regarding operations and implementation of corporate culinary direction to ensure the success of the restaurant.
DRG Concepts President and Dallas Chop House Founder/Owner Mike Hoque said, “Chef Mills’ leadership in the kitchen at Dallas Chop House is appreciated and everyone at DRG wishes him all the best. In response to any questions that may arise from guests on how this management change will impact the DCH experience, it should be noted that the menu, recipes and features of the concept were developed with the collective culinary leadership at DRG, and were not the sole result of Chef Mills’ work. DRG Concepts Corporate Chef A.J. Joglekar and Culinary Director Chef John Tesar will continue to develop and deliver recipes at Dallas Chop House that exceed all expectations, and will do the same for all DRG Concepts brands. And DRG Concepts operations leadership will ensure that the experience and service that our customers receive continues to be stellar.” New leadership in the Executive Chef position at Dallas Chop House will be announced when ready.
“I put in my notice two weeks ago,” says Mills. “They [DRG] fired my sous chef and put in one of Tesar’s guys. I came in on June 1 and there was a whole new crew in my kitchen.”
Tesar, of course, is John Tesar the recently appointed culinary director for DRG. “Tesar wouldn’t let me run my kitchen. He told me I was an over-the-hill no talent cook. Life is just too short to work with people I don’t like.”
I spoke with Tesar briefly this morning. When I asked him what was going on with Kenny he said, “Hey, I’m the culinary director. This is just as big a shock to me as it is to you. I had no idea.”
At one point Mills sat down with owner Mike Hoque. “I told him I couldn’t run my kitchen like this and he said he would take care of it but nothing changed. I’ve done everything Mike has asked me to do here. But after Tesar slammed a bread bucket at me, I knew that if I stayed it wouldn’t work.”
Mills already has a new job lined up. UPDATE: Teresa Gubbins says Mills will begin his new job at Villa-O on July 6.41 Comments »
From the copy and paste press release department:
With season 7 of “Top Chef” about to heat up, Dallas area fans of Chef Tom Colicchio (and his Contemporary American cuisine) are in for a real treat later this June. They can actually book a seat at the table and enjoy Colicchio’s creations as he joins Chef de Cuisine Jeff Harris in the craft | DALLAS kitchen at W Dallas – Victory.
Jump for more.11 Comments »
Last week I told you about Neo Pizza in Victory Park. I liked it. I thought the price of my pizza was a bit high, but I said I would return anyway. Fast forward to now. I just got an email in my inbox that says owner Charlie Green is lowering prices as a result of recent feedback. Here’s the good stuff:
Appetizers now start at $5 (previously started at $8)
Almost all pizza prices have been lowered by $1 or more
The Kids Pizza (Regular size, which serves 2) is now $10. This equates to $5 pizza dinner per child
Almost all sandwich-salad combos have been lowered to $8
The PLT cold sandwich is $7. All sandwiches are $7-9 – very competitive with just about any other restaurant lunch option.
Pretty cool, huh? If all I have to do is ask, I’m going to start asking for a lot more. Let’s begin: I could really use a raise. And how about a new “Facetime” iPhone? And an iPad, while we’re at it, so I can take on Chris Cree in Words with Friends?
I’ll let you know when and if the good fortune keeps coming in. Until it does, go eat at Neo and make sure to let us know what you think.3 Comments »
The marketers of Patrón tequila were in Dallas last week to create more than an alcoholic buzz, they hosted a super secret dinner prepared by Tre Wilcox to a limited number of diners. Since they invited every news organization in town the supper wasn’t too secret, but the 25 or so non-newsy people who attended followed a series of texts to find their place at the table. Patron is roaming the country staging similar events. Andrew Chalk attended the dinner. Rave on.
5 Comments »
Patrón Tequila certainly tests the mettle of its fans. Last week, they challenged them to solve a perplexing riddle in order to be told, roughly, “Go to the junction of I-35 and Oak Lawn at 6:45pm and await a text giving you your final destination of the Patrón Secret Dining Society. Only the intellectually astute got through to where their education probably left them wondering: Why, when the heroes of classical mythology got sent to exotic locations for solving riddles, did I get to be sent here? What would Odysseus do? Camp out under the I-35 overpass? At least Scylla (a six-headed monster that Homer never described as ‘cuddly’) would not have followed. [ed. note: huh?] Continue reading "Chalk Talk: Patrón Secret Dining Society in Dallas"
“Fashionable types and foodies alike contemplated the fate of well reviewed and received Tesar’s Modern Steaks & Seafood, when its namesake, Chef John Tesar, abruptly departed the Houston area restaurant less than a year after its August 2009 debut.”
That is the first sentence of a press release announcing a few changes that have occurred at the restaurant in The Woodlands. Irreconcilable differences between Tesar and restaurant backers left the seeming successful restaurant with a big problem—Tesar’s no longer had a Tesar. Instead of faking it or informing their customers that John Tesar was not a chef but a valiant seafood-loving soldier who died (slowly) in the battle of the Alamo, they decided to delete the apostrophe and move forward.
Anywhoo, Tesar the chef, may have taken his apostrophe with him but he left two Dallas chefs behind. Apparently, they are kicking some sass down there. (Hi, Allison!). Austin Simmons, who trained under John “The Tease” Tesar at The Mansion and was a sous chef at Tesar’s has been named co-executive chef, the title he shares with another Tesar and Mansion alum, Jeramie Robison.
According to Stuart Rosenberg, the PR rep for Tesar’s Tesars, the determined restaurant “recently celebrated its best night in revenues since opening less than a year ago.” (Has it only been a year?) Robison goes on to say, “Buzz is slowly building locally for these two young chefs who have been giving Chef Tesar well deserved credit for the training that has enabled them to take on their new roles.”
He says a lot more below. Go. Continue reading "Tesar’s Modern Steaks & Seafood Drops Changes Name to Tesars Modern Steaks & Seafood"8 Comments »
The other day we reported Trader Vic’s was selling off their swag. I posted a link to the website handling the sale but the site went dark about an hour later. Guess some of the higher ups at Palomar weren’t too happy to think employees were leaking information to the media. I assured them that my source was not an employee. We pay rent for someone to live in the residences just to keep an eye on what goes on over there. Then I told them the truth–a D employee lives there and pays her own way.
Anywhoo, Greenlight Advertising, is here to make a statement, clear the air, and make Candy Evans cry. Go, Greenlight.
I wanted to share the following info with you both regarding the Trader Vic’s space in Dallas. We will post this to the Trader Vic’s Dallas Facebook fan page shortly.
“We apologize for the lengthy silence. As you may know, earlier this year a pipe burst in our restaurant. We tried tirelessly to find a way to keep the doors open, but the cost of remodeling was just too high. We will not be reopening Trader Vic’s Dallas, however, we are very excited about a new concept restaurant that will be taking over the space. For now, that is all we can share. As we work through this process, we will use this fan page to keep you as informed as possible. Thank you for all the great memories at Trader Vic’s Dallas!”
Greenlight Advertising is working with those involved to facilitate the transition of the space from Trader Vic’s to the new concept. If either of you have questions, feel free to ask me and I will do my best to get you what you need.
See, Candy. It isn’t all bad. You can have a virtual scorpion whenever you need a fix. Miss you, Tiki Man. I will always love you.7 Comments »
February 22, 2010
MEDIA ALERT…MEDIA ALERT
OSCAR’S PARTY KIT
Throw Your Own Oscar® Viewing Party
Provide your readers, viewers and listeners with insider tips on how to throw an award-winning Oscar viewing party at home!
Download Oscar® ballots, party play-along games, recipes, cocktails ideas and much more – invite your family and friends.
Event producer Cheryl Cecchetto shows you the “10 Must Haves” for throwing an awarding-winning party.
Master Chef Wolfgang Puck cooks and provides you with delicious and easy-to-make-at-home recipes.
Executive Pastry Chef Sherry Yard shows you how to bake a yummy dessert.
Moët & Chandon, the exclusive champagne of the 82nd Academy Awards®, provides a special cocktail that will wow your guests.
The cooking/planning demonstrations are available in broadcast quality formats upon request.
I® am sure Sherry Yard’s desserts are yummy but there is one detail missing from this notice, and without it, nobody can throw a proper Oscar-watching party. Go Dishers, give ‘em hell.2 Comments »
Each year, Joseph Baum & Michael Whiteman Co., a big-time restaurant consulting group in New York, releases their lists of foreseeable trends. It’s a fancy report that is meant to read like a technical survey, but, to me, it’s basically a round-up of what is going on now and a “prediction” that current big-city trends will spread. In short: it’s a lot of bull about pigs ears.
You can read the full report here. Below is a cheater’s sheet.
NEW PRIORITIES FOR BEATEN-UP CONSUMERS: “Too many restaurant and hotel execs are grappling with pre-recession consumer issues, while people today are expressing entirely new – and more complex — sets of concerns.” Yes, according to these guys, we (consumers) are “personal, emotional and ethical.” That throws me out of the equation, but for you this is very important. Are you familiar with your “hot buttons?” (Beat, beat.) “Hot buttons include: economic survival, reassurance, intimacy & friendship, feeding my knowledge, feeding my emotions, artisan, hand-made, neighborhood, local, authentic, real.” Cold, hard bitches need not apply to 2010. Look for this: “hotels and restaurants should be luring these hunkered down consumers from their psychological storm cellars (Cymbalta?) by replicating the “campfire experience” – building emotional ties and connecting to communities. OH GOODY, more S’MORES!
PUTTING FOCUS ON THE LEFT SIDE OF THE MENU: Have you ever read about the psychology of menu writing? I’ll bet you didn’t know that the left side of the menu is reserved for “emotional resonance.” In case you don’t watch In Treatment, that translates into creative snacky things, small plates, food sized for one, two, or for a crowd. Sharing is the key because we need comfort and safety for intimacy and friendship. (Hmm, I usually feel safer when I get the whole cake.)6 Comments »
Cibus. Interactive Cocktail Class on Thursday, October 22, 2009 (6:30-7:30pm). Join Mixologist Marina Catania to “shake the martinis”at Cibus Café in Northpark Passed Appetizers. $20 per person. 214-692-0001.
Aurora. “Truffles.” October Cooking Class on Saturday, October 24th at 10:00 am
4-course lunch with wine pairings for $125 per person. 214-528-9400.
Celebration Restaurant. Dinner with Dialogue Series. The first dinner is October 5th. The subject is “Sustainability-The ability to meet our present needs without compromising the ability of future generations to meet theirs. The Bruntland Commission.” Check the rest of the calendar here. Dinner 6-7 p.m.; Speakers 7-7:30; dialogue 7:30-? Reservations: 214-351-5681 or email@example.com.
RA SUSHI. A sake and sushi social on Monday, October 12. Learn sushi rolling and sake paring basics while you treat yourself to a selection of RA’s fresh sushi, appetizers and fine sakes. For $30, guests will enjoy a sushi rolling lesson and four courses paired with sake. Space is limited, and reservations are required. 469-467-7400 to make a reservation.
French American Chamber of Commerce and Goody Goody Wine & Spirits. Beaujolais Wine Festival Kick-off Party on Thursday, October 22, 2009. (Registration & Networking Reception – 5:30 p.m. Wine Tasting – 6:15 p.m.) The wine tasting will include (4) Crus du Beaujolais and (4) Bordeaux wines and hors d’oeuvres
Crus du Beaujolais Selection:
Domaine Bernard Santé, Juliénas 2007, Domaine Bernard Santé, Moulin à Vent 2006, Domaine Christian Bernard, Fleurie 2007, Domaine de la Roche St. Martin, Brouilly 2007
Château Palihas, Bordeaux 2005, Château Larrivaux, Haut-Médoc 2005, Vieux Château Palon, St. Emilion 2005, Château les Graves de Julien, Bordeaux 2005
Milestone Culinary Arts Center. 4531 McKinney Avenue. 214-526-3942.