Friday evening, D Magazine’s lifestyle editor, Raya Ramsey, and D: The Broadcast’s Courtney Kerr headed over to Le Biboquet for cocktails. The restaurant opened last week and Carol filed a report on the French bistro in the former L’Ancestral space at Travis Walk.
Here’s Ramsey’s report:
Courtney and I decided to pop in (no reservations) at 5 pm for drinks. No food, just wine. We were the first outside diners in the restaurant. There was a table outside eating with the hostess and a table of kitchen crew eating in the corner. We had three rounds and eventually split an order of fries. The food plates were cleared. We ordered a fourth glass of Prosecco at 7 pm and instead of bringing us drinks, our waiter brought us the check. At this point, the restaurant was still pretty empty. He told us we needed to leave because of reservations coming in. He was clearly uncomfortable asking us to leave but cited “he’s getting nervous about incoming reservations.” Not sure who “he” was, but okay. The odd thing was that the restaurant was still empty. I mean, there was only one, maybe two or two tables of diners. I totally get a brand new restaurant preparing for a reservation-packed night, but no one was there. Why couldn’t we stay for one more glass and then wrap it up? We weren’t asked to move outside, where I doubt anyone would be dining, we were asked to leave. It was the strangest experience and it was uncomfortable for all three of us. The owner was there, bustling around, but never stopped by about this.
Is this a normal thing to happen? I guess I just don’t like the way in which it was executed. The server felt weird about it, which made us feel weird about it. Maybe he could have told us at 6 pm, “Hey guys, at 7 pm, the tables are reserved for tonight’s dinner rush,” instead of just kicking us out on the spot.
Hmm. If I’m a new restaurant, I’m not asking anyone to leave. Especially those two. I’d love to hear how other restaurants handle this.46 Comments »
A delivery driver for a local food company called the police and claimed he was physically assaulted by Jack Perkins, the owner of The Slow Bone barbecue restaurant on Irving Boulevard. Perkins also owns Maple & Motor Burgers & Beer. The driver says he ordered a chopped beef sandwich at the counter and was asked if he wanted to add cole slaw for an extra $2.00. “I ordered and it’s $7.50 for sandwich,” said the customer. “I said ‘you gonna hit me for $2 for cole slaw?’” He claims Perkins “lit-up like a firecracker,” threw the sandwich, and followed him out to his truck where Perkins allegedly bumped his chest against his. He climbed into his truck and pulled into the parking lot next door and called the police.
Perkins’ version is different. He claims the customer ordered a chopped beef sandwich ($6.99) and, when an employee asked if he’d like to add a side of cole slaw, the customer said, “You want $2 for cole slaw? It’s already too &%*ing expensive.” Perkins says he told the customer he didn’t have to eat it and “he could just go.” He grabbed the sandwich and tossed it in a trash can.
The customer, who denies swearing at the employee, says he walked out of the restaurant and Perkins followed him. Perkins claims, “The guy slow-walked” to the door “giving me the eyeball.”
“He starting calling me cheap, “bulldogged” me, and told me to go to McDonald’s,” said the customer. “He gets an inch from my ear and he’s yelling ‘get the hell off my property’ and he is so close his spit is hitting me.”
Perkins says he escorted the man to the property line but never touched him. The Dallas Police Department showed up and issued Perkins a ticket for misdemeanor assault.
Other news from The Slow Bone: Starting Sunday, the restaurant will offer lunch only and close at 3:00PM everyday.
If you write or read food blogs or food-news-driven sites, Josh Ozersky’s article “Blog-Tied: How a Hunger for Clicks Drives New York’s Brutally Fickle Food Scene” is a must read. Ozersky did time as a writer on Grub Street and he lived to write about it. Here’s the money pull quote:
“I was the first editor of Grub Street, and those two years were, for all the excitement, a life radically wretched. I’ve been in a bad marriage, survived a doctoral program, suffered obsessive episodes requiring medication, lived with a girlfriend who worked as an escort, struggled to keep a business afloat, been in tax trouble and written nine books—and I have never felt the kind of pressure I did when I was helming Grub Street.”
Ozersky details the problems blogs restaurants and writers face in the nasty blogosphere.
“The blog ecology forces any potential restaurant to stress novel dishes and weird concepts because it needs to break through the noise.”
“The blogs give their blessings freely but withdraw them soon after: they’re like children who shower a puppy with adoration and then quickly regret its existence.”
I’m not asking you to cue the violins and feel sorry for anyone. I choose to swim in these shark invested waters but, honestly, it’s not always fun. Speaking from where I type, the behind-the-scenes world of the Dallas restaurant news business is wicked and full of back stabbers, liars, and cheaters who don’t “play” fair. Read Ozersky’s piece. And if you have a thought, I’d love to hear it.
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People ask me what Nancy looks like all the time. Usually I make sh*t up and hem and haw my way past that question until we start talking about the weather. Well, the truth is Nancy has pink skin, hooves for hands, and big cartoonish eyes. She’s got a tail that wags when she’s happy and a snout that can sniff out truffles three feet underground. If you put an apron on her, she looks exactly like a Piggly Wiggly.
So my favorite part of this video isn’t even the part where Nancy talks about her 100 Best New Restaurants list and threatens Lisa Pineiro’s life after she asks for Nancy to divulge a secret or two. Watch Lisa’s face at 3:23. It. Cracks. Me. Up.
If you look really, really closely (or maybe you can’t see it with all the editing they did), you’ll see Nancy wearing pigtails. And her last words on local television? “Eat it, Tim!”
Join us at our 100 Best Restaurants party tonight at 3015 Trinity Groves. We’re revealing which restaurants are on the list tonight. Nancy will be there wearing her piggy suit again. You’ll be in for a shock, I promise.
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T-minus 57 hours and counting. At 6PM on Wednesday, May 22, the pre-release date editions of the June issue of D Magazine will be delivered to Sharon Van Meter’s 3015 at Trinity Groves. And we are throwing a party from 6-8PM to celebrate the cover story: 100 Best Restaurants in Dallas. At 7PM, we will announce the top ten best restaurants in Dallas. So far we have representatives from 64 restaurants which range from a mom-and-pop in Richardson to a swanky haute cuisine spot in Uptown. There will be food: an eclectic mix of haute cuisine, off-the-beaten-path barbecue, and a variety of dishes from ethnic restaurants. Along with the food tastings, there will be cocktails by Brugal Rum, beer by Trumer Pilsner, DJ Jose Guevara, Land Rovers on display and a See’s Candy buffet. Additional sponsors include Express Working Capital and Poggenpohl.
If you don’t like my picks, you can throw a pie at me. I’ll be right outside the front door waiting for you. It will cost you $20 to toss a pie but the money collected will go to the North Texas Food Bank.Click here for event tickets ($50.)6 Comments »
I have a pile of emails from unhappy employees of both locations of Blackfinn American Saloon. Sure, people get upset when a business goes under, but people really get angry and type about it when they don’t get paid. This group of ten people all claim they are owed money by Blackfinn owner Bill McCrorey. The strongest voice of them all comes from one of McCrorey’s former employee, TK Koen. He writes:
I am contacting you because of the article you did on in June of 2009 about Bill, Republic and his being in trouble for not paying employees and the TABC.
Well, he is at it again, but on a much grander scale. Bill has acquired both the Blackfinn in Arlington and Addison, a bar down town called Stone Street Martini Bar, Sanchitos in Plano and is trying to open Rare at Park and Central. But he has done it on the backs of good employees and vendors he has failed to pay. He closed Blackfinn in Arlington without paying the staff and owes money to much of the staff in Addison not to mention thousands in unpaid vendors including liquor vendors, which is a violation of TABC rules. He is deeply in debt to the state comptroller for not paying taxes and he hasn’t filled payroll taxes in some time.
You may remember McCrorey when he owned Las Colinas Prime. I wrote a series of reports detailing The Saga of Republic Turned Las Colinas Prime It was a nasty tale of unpaid employees, TABC violations, and pissed-off vendors told through one of the principals, Michael Costa.
I’ve contacted McCrorey and his company Visionary Restaurant Group (the mailbox is full). I just spoke with another partner this afternoon who confirmed Valient’s report. I will have more on Thursday. Stay tuned.39 Comments »
I’m a lot crabby today. It started last night when I arranged to meet a colleague for drinks at The Establishment, the new craft cocktail lounge on Travis. The place opened a week or so ago and is owned by Brian Williams and Michael Martensen the boys behind Cedars Social. I arrived at 5:45PM and found the doors locked. Of course, they are too cool to put up a sign but I’d seen the picture of the entrance on Facebook so at least I was in-the-know enough to know which of the five doors into the space to knock on. Using my iPhone, I went to their Facebook page for hours.
Apparently they are too cool to list their hours. From reading older posts it looks like they randomly decided when to open: Sometimes 5PM; sometimes 7PM. Also, the bar isn’t called The Establishment—that will be the name once they get the kitchen open. The bar/lounge is actually called Smyth. Unless you are on Facebook 24/7, you wouldn’t have a clue. I called the phone number which was answered by some space cadet at Cedars Social who couldn’t help me one bit. Strange business model if you ask me. Maybe it works in New York, but this is Dallas and I think Tristan Simon taught us a while back at Sense that private or reservations-only bars don’t work here. The ‘80s are over.
Next…22 Comments »
I have never understood the popularity of chicken wings. The majority of the ones I have tried are just masses of fried dough swimming in a hot or sweet sauce. Sometimes there is even a wad of what looks like chicken meat on the inside.
This Sunday, Super Bowl watchers will consume 1.25 BILLION chicken wings. PETA reports 600 million chickens are killed just to satiate football fans for one day. I’m not a card-carrying PETA member, but of all of the animals we consume, chickens get the shaft. And it makes me crazy when people refuse to eat red meat because they consider the action unethical, but have no problem eating chicken. Especially when you can do a little research and make better choices of the meats you do choose to consume. However, there is nothing good about chicken wings.2 Comments »
I was excited to try Max’s Wine Dine. I love Champagne and fried chicken. Been pairing them together since college. Monday night I unofficially dined at Max’s with some dear friends. Good News: The Henri Billiot Brut Rose Champagne was a lovely way to end a day. Bad News: The pan borracho (“drunk bread) is a disgusting mess of torn sourdough bread, prosciutto, and thyme soaked in a savory white wine custard and baked with Gruyere, provolone, and Parmigiano-Reggiano. It, unlike the fried chicken, is not meant to be paired with Champagne. This dish is a culinary crime and felony charges ought to be filed. Can I get a witness.
Hey, wanna play a guessing game? Go below.6 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 »
The other day I reported news about the transition on Frontburner. We’ve all known for a long time that the data on GuideLive, especially the online restaurant listings have been anemic for years. Go to GuideLive.com and search for the directory listing for The Porch. What you find, dear readers, is a paragraph copied from The Porch’s website and pasted as editorial on the site. Now, according to the press release:
Rich Alfano, General Manager of The Dallas Morning News’ Arts and Entertainment business, said, “Pegasus News allows us to reach more consumers and strengthens our ability to provide the latest and most relevant information about places to visit, events, music and restaurants. Pegasus News’ hyperlocal data provides consumers with information on approximately 225,000 places, 5,000 events, 4,200 restaurants, 2,500 bands and Friday Night specials.”
Poof! They don’t have to bother their busy editors, they just bought the content of PegNews and will paste it in their online content and web apps. (Pop-Up Media?)
So what, you ask? So what about the staff at Pegasus News? Most of them are now employees of DMN. But where in the creme brulee is dining reporter Teresa Gubbshoe Gubbins? She’s gone underground (not dat DAT underground, like REALLY, REALLY deep under the surface of the earth.) She ain’t talking to me. Hmm, little Ms. Skinny B where art thou? Shall we bring her to SideDish? Oh, that would be so peachy!!!! Find her…First one to spot her wins a prize.35 Comments »
Two reputable and well-known Dallas restaurants have reported this scam to me. Here’s how one owner tells the tale:
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The restaurant is approached during a busy lunch or happy hour when the night shift is coming on. A person (in both cases it was a woman) enters and shows a dry cleaning receipt for about $65 to the manager, claiming that she was dining at an earlier date, and had food spilled on her garment (white pants, both times). She demands immediate cash payment for the receipt. In our case, the requested identification did not match the name on the dry cleaning receipt. When told we would investigate it further, she declined to give a valid phone number and left.
She is hoping to confuse the manager or employees into paying, hoping there is poor communication between the staff that would allow an accident of this type to happen, unknown by management. Damaging a guest’s property is one of the worst things that can go wrong when waiting tables. In most cases the restaurant is (or should be) eager to set things aright with the guest, another aspect that helps their scam.
The $65 might seem like small change, but free money is free money. And if they can trick 3-5 restaurants along (Beltline, Preston, McKinney) into paying the receipts they’ve made $180-$300 for a few hours work. Sure beats selling door-to-door subscriptions.
Kobayashi, excuse me, Kobi (小林尊), is the “Japanese eating sensation” who has claimed “dozens of competitive eating titles, including downing a world record 69 hot dogs in 10 minutes in July 2011.” That is not a typo. SIXTY NINE. (He also inhaled 337 chicken wings in 37 minutes.)
This morning Hofmann Sausage Company of Syracuse and the Zaccanelli Food Group of Dallas signed Kobi (please don’t confuse him with this loser) “as a business partner and brand ambassador.” Kobi joins, wait for it, the “Dream Team of Hofmann ownership which includes Roger Staubach, Frank Zaccanelli, Phil Romano, and Jim Boeheim and drives the creation of a new business division designed to expand the U.S. and international reach of Hofmann Hot Dogs.”
In other words, Hofmann Hot Dogs, the oldest hot dog company in America, are now posed to become the new hamburger. If Dallas restaurateur Phil Romano has his way, every child in America will eat 2,000 pounds of Hofmann hot dogs a year. Romano plans to roll out hundreds (thousands?) of Hofmann hot dog restaurants across the country. First one is set to open in Trinity Groves.
If you don’t believe me, you can just jump.
If you don’t want to jump, you can watch Kobayashi eat…6 Comments »
It seems like only yesterday we were all marveling at the new wave in techno cooking: the process of sous-vide. The circulators and gadgets looked fancy and complicated and the results were certainly impressive.
Fast forward to the real yesterday and the story in the Huffington Post: How Sous Vide Went From Haute Cuisine To Casual Dining. Writer Carey Polis tells us how large franchises such as Chipotle and Panera Bread have embraced the sous-vide technique and are now featuring boil-in-a-bag items on their menus.
Anybody else out there remember Stouffer’s or Banquet boil-in-a-bag dinners? If so, perhaps your mom was also an early pioneer (Tomasina Keller?) of sous-vide cooking when she slit open a thick plastic bag and poured chipped beef or Chicken ala King over semi-burnt toast.
Jay Jerrier is either the smartest restaurateur when it comes to using social media effectively or a total social media whore. The distinction doesn’t matter. He has 5,000 “likes” on his Facebook page and, to celebrate, he “doing $1 pizzas tonight at Cane Rosso from 6pm – 9pm.” His goal is to real 10,000 “likes” and do it again. Rules:
Tonight only at our Deep Ellum restaurant
- $1 Marinara, Margherita, or Focaccia…no additions or substitutions
- Dine In ONLY
- 6pm – 9pm…we open at 6pm!!
- Be nice to your servers (i.e. please tip them like you paid full price…a $0.25 tip is not cool)
- It is NOT BYOB tonight
Who knows what will happen if Facebook adds a “love” button. Let’s get this party started.3 Comments »
I can’t believe anyone would fall for this, but I’m throwing it out there just in case someone is tempted to believe this is real. The email address is firstname.lastname@example.org. I’m pretty sure those guys at Bolsa type better than this and they don’t know what Skype is.
Hello how are you doing today,My Name is Mrs Candy Moore , I will like to make an Order for Chicken Salad OR Sandwiches to feed 150 people is needed on the 15th JUNE is for my Mothers Birthday Party ,and it will be pick up 3pm on the event date Go ahead and get me the Total cost now..And also i want you to get back to me with your Information such as Full Name ,Restaurant Address and Phone Number or Cellphone Number so that i can text you as well …so that i can have it forward to the Private Carrier that will be coming with there Cold and Warmer Truck to pick up the Order …You can also talk to me on my Skpe … enrique.martinez310
Can anyone provide enlightenment on how this would ever work? I don’t get it.11 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 »
For our loyal customers, Chef Kyla (myself) and Family (Original owners that started and built Thairrific 10 years ago) would like to thank you for coming to Thairrific.
However, due to changes internally.
My Family, Wonderful Wait Staff, and my loyal Cooks will no longer be present at Cedars Springs.
Phomsavanh was running the family-owned business until longtime regular customer Daniel Sikora bought the restaurant with his company, Crucial Pickles LLC, in December 2010. Sikora played the role of an investor and handled the marketing side, while Phomsavanh managed and cooked. All was going well until six months after Thairrific moved to its current Cedar Springs location. On May 2, (what Phomsavanh thought would be) a negotiations meeting turned into a private ousting.
Jump for it.