Frisky Frisco Pizzaiolo! Pizzeria Testa in Frisco has permanently hired Master Pizzaiolo, Michele D’ Amelio, who was recently crowned World Champion in the Italian Style Pizza Challenge at the International Pizza Expo in Las Vegas. Before the completion, Amelio couldn’t commit to a full-time gig at Testa because of visa complications. Once he became a world champion, he qualified for special visa the government grants to foreigners with special talents and—voila!—he’s now cleared to make pizza in Frisco. It’s a Caputo flour miracle! Go. Eat. Report. 8660 Church St. Frisco. 469-200-8015.
Happy Birthday, Driftwood. Hard to believe Driftwood is already celebrating its first year in business. To mark the occasion, they’re hosting a special Taste of Spring Dinner on April 15 with guest Chef Grant Gordon from Tony’s in Houston. Chef Omar Flores and Chef Grant Gordon will be serving a six course Taste of Spring Dinner with wine pairing for $150.00 per person plus tax & gratuity.214-942-2530.
Mais Gaúchos em Frisco! Estilo Gaucho, a new Brazilian steakhouse, is open in Frisco. Expect plenty of swaggering southern Brazilian cowboys armed with swords of prime meats and 1,300 wines. Sounds better than match.com to me! 8650 State Highway 121, Frisco. (Off of State Highway 121 and Preston Road at Stonebriar Centre) 214-618-6150.
Fuqua to France! Julia and Lee Fuqua of Fuqua Wines have organized a wine cruise up the Rhône River next November. Looks like something we all should do at some point in our lives. Check it out.
Tex-Mex Buzz: Neighbors close to Victoria’s Mexican Grill in the OC are loving what their eating. Have you been?1 Comment »
I’ve updated the list of restaurants hosting special Valentine’s Day menus. Check it out. I’d hurry and call, if I were you.
Our ShopTalk editor, Raya Ramsey, has plenty of cool suggestions for presents any girl would probably goggle at.
Do me a favor and swear off chocolate Hershey kisses this year. Buy some Bark Chocolate for your special someone. Matt Shelley loves it, and so did the entire D office.3 Comments »
If you design your kitchen so customers can watch your chef do their thing you’d better be sure they are on their best behavior at all times. Here are just a few incidents I have witnessed in the last month.
Busboy in u-shaped bar with customers all around him takes a plastic ice tea glass and fills it with ice and about four fingers of bourbon. He tops it off with Coke. He then walks through the upscale dining room to the open kitchen and hands it to the chef who takes a healthy swig. During dinner service.
I’m waiting in a short line for the ladies room which is located basically inside a restaurant’s very busy kitchen. The dude standing over the grill making fajitas (whoops!) wipes his sweaty brow with his forearm first and then a towel which he slings over his shoulder. He removes the meat, wipes the stainless steel table with same cloth, tosses meat down, and begins to chop with glove-less hands.
It’s a slow night in a restaurant on Cedar Springs. The entire kitchen staff is standing around a various little groups and chatting. One chef is eating a sandwich. One male cook has his arm wrapped around another male cook’s waist. When an order arrives, they break apart but not before one plants a big fat kiss on the other.
I could go on. And I’m sure some readers will chime in with other tales. I hope you listen and remind your staff to remember they are performing in front of a live audience.
Nancy6 Comments »
Imagine you are the owner of a restaurant. Feel the hot sweats? Yeah, it’s a scary business. There are many pleasures such as pleasing customers with great food and service. But there are many potholes. Some of which you don’t see coming until you hit them head on. Utensils get swiped, servers get stiffed, and people complain. But lately I’ve heard a couple stories from restaurateurs that have actually stunned me. Some people have a lot of nerve. Here is one scenario.
A large table of office mates celebrating their annual holiday feast. Lots of food and drink flowing. Gal gets up to use the restroom. Wobbles on high heels towards the door. An employee happens to be in said restroom when Wobbly Gal slips. Said employee catches Wobbly Gal in mid fall. In the process, Wobbly Gal’s hand gets scratched. Wobbly Gal goes back to table. All is well.
Forty eight hours later, the Not-So-Wobbly Gal returns to the restaurant. She asks for the manager and demands $350 to pay for the jeans that were ruined when Wobbly Gal tried to get the blood out by using bleach. Oh, and she wants money for her shirt too. She has no receipts for anything. She looks like she could “throw a wobbly” at any moment.
You may think this answer is easy. Just say no. But restaurateurs are people pleasers and they don’t want to do anything to hurt the oh-so-important “word of mouth” publicity their business depends on. Many restaurants fork over the dough.
So how would you solve this problem?13 Comments »
I’m not posting this because the author sits beside me in the office, I am posting it because it occurred to me that many of you may not read our print product, D Magazine. This month, Krista Nightengale wrote a story about the PooPrints program. What is the PooPrints program? I’m glad you asked. The PooPrints program is designed for high-density residential areas such as condos and apartments. Here’s how it works:
All dogs and owners are interviewed when they sign leases. When a resident with a pet signs a lease, the dog’s cheek is swabbed. This sample is sent to the BioPet Vet Lab in Tennessee, which extracts the dog’s DNA and keeps it on file. When a waste sample is found [on premise], Welch [the manager] puts it in a container with enzymes, shakes until it’s the consistency of a “milkshake slurry,” and sends it to the lab. Within five days, the DNA is analyzed, and, with 99.9 percent certainty, the culprit is identified.
And fined. Big time. Krista shadows the manager when he confronts a guilty owner.
4 Comments »
We called it here: Hot dogs are the new hamburger. It’s raining wieners all over Dallas. Phil Romano and Zaccanelli Food Group are readying to roll out Hofmann hot dogs. Today we learn Chef Brian Luscher of The Grape is throwing his dogs in the fight. On August 11, “Da Lusch” will debut Luscher’s Post Oak Red Hots at White Rock Lake Market. What are Luscher’s Post Oak Red Hots? They are house-made, all-natural, Post-Oak-wood smoked, South-of-Chicago- inspired sausages which will be served with pickles, sport peppers, mustards and other condiments made from scratch resting on fresh-baked buns from Garland-based bakery, La Francaise. Whew!
Will they be available at Eatzi’s? Probably not. For now, you can find them at White Rock Lake Market which operates the 2nd and 4th Saturday of each month from 8:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. at The Green Spot Market and Fuels. Need another Facebook “like”? BTW, all of you Chicago skeptics, and you know who you are, Da Lush is from hog-butcher-to-the-world town. And use guys, brush up on yah 588-2300, and git intada market beesfour yah beeyatch.5 Comments »
I’ve cruised past the construction site of John Tesar’s new restaurant, Spoon in Preston Center, several times this month and noticed zero activity. The permits were not on the windows and there was no construction taking place. Yesterday I checked Tesar’s Facebook and Twitter accounts, then texted and called him, and nothing. Last night I spoke with his rep, Bev Garvin. She says all is well and construction is “back underway.” They are preparing to knock down the front of the space and, after that, “expect a six-to-eight week turnaround.”
I asked her Tesar’s whereabouts and she giggled a bit. “I can’t tell you,” she said. “I only get to talk to him when they allow him access to phones or when they let him have phones.”
After I lifted my jaw off my desk, I asked, “Well, should I check the roster at Betty Ford Clinic or San Quentin?” She giggled again, nervously. “No, it’s all good I can’t tell you. If you poke around you might find out more.” She did say he would be back in Dallas on July 31.
I don’t feel like poking, so let’s play “Where’s John Tesar?” Prize worth $100 to the winner. (Some people, and you know who you are, are not eligible to play.)
I am going out on a long white oak limb here: Meditating in India.
Okay, your turn, GO!34 Comments »
We had so much fun the first time we played this game. Let’s play it again. Can you guess the name of this restaurant?20 Comments »
I am addicted to Shark Tank. And because I am too lazy to jump through the hoops to get on the show and present my idea, I’m using the power of my pudgy fingers to reach you. Let’s pick and roll:
I walk on the set of Shark Tank. “Daymond John, you are so out,” I say. “Barbara, if I wanted to sell my cellulite-reducing sous-vide hot dog you’d be my best friend, but I’m keeping it to myself. You’re out.”
I watch the other sharks glance around, really scared at this point, and go for the kill. “Kevin, don’t even open that ugly mouth. You’re out. Robert, you can buy me dinner after the show but, for now, you are dead to me.”
Cameras swing: Close-up of Cuban. Music swells.
Mark. We live in the same city. We love the same teams. More importantly, we eat in the same restaurants. Last night, our city’s finest chef, Bruno Davaillon of the Rosewood Mansion on Turtle Creek, lost Best Chef in the Southwest at the James Beard Awards in New York City to a young chef in Austin who appeared on Top Chef. It has been 18 years since a Dallas chef won this title. We need a local version of Shark Tank geared towards Dallas restaurateurs. That way, you and I can work together to tighten up our game and turn it around. We have the talent, we need the exposure. And that exposure shouldn’t have to come from the Food Network or Bravo.
I propose we put together a panel of experts and ask restaurateurs to pitch their ideas BEFORE they decide to sink their life savings into an upscale seafood and sushi restaurant in a bad location. Let’s kick the steak house wannabes to Fort Worth. Mark, I’m asking you to invest whatever it takes to help us bring the talent of the Dallas restaurant community to the international scene. In exchange, I offer you fifty percent of my idea. Oh, and you can keep the Mavs.
Looking forward to hearing from you,
Nancy12 Comments »
Exceptional Waterfront Bar and Restaurant in Collin County. $925,000. “This strong and stable bar restaurant is in an excellent destination area.”
Beautiful, Spectacular, Eye-catching Steakhouse in North Dallas. $225,000. “There are just not words to put the image of all this place has to offer.”
Traditional Tex-Mex Food Restaurant in North Dallas. $189,000. “Established in 2009.”
Hamburgers, Shakes, Salads. Dallas $95,000 Established 9 1/2 years. Owner pays himself $1,000/week, plus employee salaries of $6,500/ month. (click through business for sale tab)
French, Established 20 yrs, Cook will stay. Upscale area of Dallas. $149,000. “Seats 80 inside and 20 outside patio. Known for its consistent and quality food, it is one of the highest rated restaurants in its neighborhood.”
Elaborate and successful throwback nightclub/dinner club/jazz club. No price listed. “Awesome location.”
I was away from my computer most of the day yesterday and when I finally got around to reading the food news, I realized I missed some significant action. Here, in no certain order, are a few things I failed to report.
Teresa “Gubbshoe” Gubbins and Mike “Whole In One” Hiller tied in a race to be the first to report the closing of Horne & Dekker. Gubbshoe coaxed a quote from owner Flynn Dekker. However, Hiller has some bitchin’ discounts on laundry detergent you can download from escapehatchdallas.com.
Leslie “LaLa” Brenner ran the inside track and clearly beat the field on this announcement: Michael Sindoni, formerly of AGAINN restaurant in Washington DC, has taken the reigns as The Joule hotel’s Executive Chef and will be responsible for overseeing all food & beverage for the hotel including private banquets, room service, and the new Charlie Palmer food hall which is part of the hotel’s 2012 expansion. The restaurant will close for a short while and emerge as Charlie Palmer Steak which will be overseen by executive sous chef Joel Harrington. “LaLa” also admits she has a mild eating disorder when it comes to bread crumbs: “I am a sucker for bread crumbs,” she writes. “And they seem to be very much in the air these days. Or in the kitchen, anyway.” And I thought it was ragweed! (SideThought: Who thought the name AGAINN was a good idea?) Moving on.
EaterDallas needs a boost to their self esteem. This morning they use today’s warm weather forecast as a clever lead into the riveting announcement of Eater Hottest Chef Competition. Then they bash themselves over the head for doing so: “…while we’ve never been great at weather metaphors we are about to get real good at giving you some eye candy. Who is the hottest?” I think the metaphor worked beautifully. After all, it is as hot as Dean Fearing outside at this very moment and the forecast says late afternoon temperatures will be as cool as Matt McCallister. Good work, Merritt!
The 8th Annual Savor Dallas is almost here! March 30-31 to be exact. Cue the press release quote from Jim “Red” White: “We are excited to see Savor Dallas grow from its downtown Dallas base to include new events in Bishop Arts and Las Colinas.” says Jim White, Savor Dallas co-founder along with his wife Vicki Briley-White. “We’ve added a cool concert at the Kessler Theater, and created some great cooking and tasting opportunities that will benefit local food and wine groups like Les Dames d’Escoffier.” The White’s and company have lined up some big names in the business and have 400 premium wines to pour. It’s all here. Or call 888-728-6747.4 Comments »
I have two songs permanently embedded in my head. They’ve been there for years (centuries?). They have a life of their own and flow from the deep recesses of my right cerebrum and out of my mouth without a prompt. One is “I Want to Marry a Lighthouse Keeper.” The other is “Java Jive” as performed by Manhattan Transfer. We all know “Brown Sugar” has nothing to do with food, but, WITHOUT GOOGLE, what songs about food do you sing? Waiter, waiter, percolator…
All RaceTrac locations in the DFW area are offering FREE COFFEE of any size with any purchase. You can find one close to You can find locations here. Offer good through Saturday.
Hey, hosers! How’s it going, eh? What are your plans for Boxing Day? Betcha Yanks a toonie you didn’t know SideDish is freakin’ huge in Canada! Yep, it’s true, eh? Last time I was in Toronto (Toronnah) I spied some Canadian idiot sporting a toque (two-k) with a big red D on it! My brother-in-law went all Don Cherry on me and said the D stood for Detroit (dee-troi-e-ot). What else would you expect from a pansy Red Wings fan? (Q: What do you call 5 Detroit Red Wings players standing ear to ear? A: A wind tunnel!)
I love Boxing Day, the first business day after Christmas. All of Ontario closes and we sit on the chesterfield and chow down on donuts, beer, macaroni and cheese, and watch hockey. The NHL pretty much owns Canada on Boxing Day now. They have TEN GAMES scheduled. My friend’s mum puts out (uhoot) a hellofa buffet (boo-fay). And k.d. lang always sends me a fruit cake. Go Leafs! (Q: Why don’t the Leafs drink tea? A: Because the Canadiens have all the cups.) And hello Peterborough!9 Comments »
Three years ago, I introduced you to Charles Phoenix, the “Ambassador of Americana.” More importantly, I introduced you to his “recipe” for the Astro-Weenie Christmas Tree. (I made several for the D Magazine holiday party in 2008. Co-workers still stalk me for my secret herbal ingredient.)
Well, thanks to SideDish, Phoenix’s career and has catapulted over hosting grade school field trips and roller skating parties to doing national TV spots with Martha Stewart and commenting on NPR. (Rawlins in drag?) I think it’s time to bring back the Astro-Weenie recipe. Remember, as they say in England, you can always make one suitable for vegetarians. Mind your head.
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 »