We feel for Rick Donley; really, we do. Especially after reading this morning’s New York Times article by Chris Smith (Texas Tribune). How befuddling it must be for Donley, as president of the Beer Alliance of Texas (read: lobbyist for big boys Bud Light, Miller Lite, Budweiser, Coors Light and Natural Light), to have to continually explain why allowing small breweries in Texas to distribute their beer is such a bad, bad idea, how it will ruin us all, and how your very children will be in danger if craft breweries are able to make their product available under the same regulatory channels that the big boys do.
Here are some favorite passages:
Mr. Donley said he worries that their products could be shipped to dry counties or to minors. “This regulatory system has worked well since Prohibition,” Mr. Donley said. “Why anybody wants to disrupt it is a question I can never quite get an answer to.”
…while the locally brewed beer business is booming nationally, it is lagging in Texas, where the laws governing distribution are restrictive.
You may recall that we broached this issue in our October 2010 issue; many of you echoed our frustrations. Now’s the time to keep pushing, folks, especially since the lunacy of our regulatory system is qualifying as national news. Want to join the fight? Check out Texas Beer Freedom, a non-profit lobbying group on OUR side of the issue.
I encourage you to read the entire article to get how truly transparent and ludicrous Donley’s argument is. (And let us know if you, to, see obvious parallels to a certain family values argument that makes levelheaded people boil in their boots.)
(Many thanks and props to Christopher Smith who wrote and researched the NYT/Texas Tribune article.)11 Comments »
Yesterday we learned from Leslie Brenner that Tex-Mex is not Dallas’ strong suit. We have steak houses, but so does every other city in America. Home cooking? Sushi? Burgers? Cupcakes? New American? I’m so confused. So, dear snow-bound Dishers, take a moment to think this through. What cuisine is our strong suit?54 Comments »
Call me a curmudgeon but I don’t think the fact that the Super Bowl is coming to the area is going to make or break too many local restaurants. Sure, a few will profit from corporate buy-outs and private events, but for the most part the majority of small independent restaurants will suffer. Why? Because many locals don’t give a flip about football and the last thing they are going to do is go out to dinner when they think every restaurant in town is booked with rowdy out-of-towners.
I’m sure the “Gentleman’s Clubs” and Kent, Dean, and Stephan will do well. Good for them. However, how many Cheeseheads are going to head to Scardello’s or Mozzarella Company to sample local, artisanal cheese? How many Iron City Beer guzzlers will sample a Texas beer flight at the Meddlesome Moth? Hey Jay-Z, are you there? We’d love to hear your plans. The rest of us are either fleeing the city or hunkering down at say The Grape, Local, Cadot, or Suze. Restaurants, make your pitches below.
Don’t be afraid to dine out at your favorite local hang next weekend. Make it Minorities Rule weekend. The lunatics will be elsewhere. That’s my 5 cents. Your ball.6 Comments »
Pay no attention to Tim. He’s clueless. However, I’ll say this about Dallas Observer restaurant critic, Hanna Raskin: she’s got ginormus matzah balls. I just finished a quick read of her cover story “Homesick Restaurants: How Dallas Became a Dining Nowhereville.” It’s is an interesting read, but I have a few problems with some of her observations. Like:
“The Dallas dining scene is broken, as anyone who’s eaten out lately can attest. It’s slipped from being a city that drew international attention for its renegade restaurants to a town where corporations serve as tastemakers, chefs aren’t taking chances and customers are so stingy with their food dollars that restaurants can’t engage in the type of fine-dining play that distinguishes cities such as Chicago and San Francisco.”
Well Hanna, “eat out lately” is all you have done. Hence your statement: “Atlanta has grits, Chicago has pizza, Memphis has barbecue and Dallas has—well, mussels.” Mussels are a trend (with chorizo!). You are right: We aren’t San Francisco or Chicago (or Los Angeles), we are Dallas. So, we don’t have what they have and that makes us broken? Yikes! Another outsider’s perspective on what we need.
At the risk of sounding like a female dog, I ask you why you chose to print this:
“Many chefs who chant the organic, local, seasonal mantra advocate a hands-off approach to cooking. “Chefs need to let ingredients speak for themselves,” Dallas Morning News critic Leslie Brenner wrote in her prescription for the city’s restaurants, published last summer.”
I’ve been writing about food here for 14 years. Why didn’t you call me?
Horrors! Sharon Hage closed York Street! Avner Samuel reinvented himself again! Cool it. Sharon will be back and Avner’s ability to shed his skin every few years and open another concept is, and has been for 30 years, an important dynamic here. Oh, and by the way, Avner was an integral part of the “Gang of Five.” Born in Jerusalem, he cooked all over Europe before moving to Dallas in the early 80s and started making tortilla soup from scratch at the Mansion. Stephan and Dean will confirm his influence. They all learned a lot about their techniques and regional ingredients from the Mexicans in their kitchens. One of which, Amador Mora, now has his own restaurant, Maximo.
Dallas has ALWAYS been the way you find it now. Our cuisine sprung from cowboys and Mexicans, not a gold rush and a culture filled with ethnic neighborhoods. We have a long history of Tex-Mex. And chili. And Helen Corbitt’s casseroles (Have you eaten at the Zodiac Room? There’s some vintage Dallas food there.)
“Dallas’ untethered cuisine is so thoroughly out-of-step with how most epicureans are now thinking that the city’s begun to exist in a sort of self-imposed isolation, a decidedly unhealthy position for a city with culinary ambitions.”
Oh my head. I believe the kitchens in Dallas are more vibrant and progressive now than they have been in years. We have more farmers markets; we have a stronger “eat local” movement; we have vegetarian and vegan. Our locavore scene may not be as big as other cities, but it’s a hell of a lot bigger than it was ten years ago or even five years ago. TWO years ago. We are not broken. Quit trying to fix us. Grrr.
UPDATE: A smart chef in town just called me to say, “Dallas diners are the problem. They talk about being epicureans but at the end of the day they prefer to go to Houston’s.”68 Comments »
My husband has been in education for almost 30 years. He’s done his time in inner-city schools for below-the-cost-of-living pay, he’s taught 10 classes a day from a cart with 5 minute breaks and 15 minutes for lunch. He’s broken up fights, been called names, and had his heart broken on more occasions than I can count.
But he’s a teacher, an educator. That’s what he signed up for; that’s what he expected.
What he didn’t expect was to be denied the 20 percent educator discount at Cafe Brazil yesterday when we stopped in for a celebratory brunch after the marathon. Apparently, a school business card with his name and title on it (yes, he has those because he’s a department director now) and a drivers license proving he really is who he said he is, just wasn’t proof enough for him to receive that $2 off our bill. Had he been wearing his school lanyard (which, thankfully, he leaves at home on the weekends) he would have qualified.
Our waitress said it’s because the manager “runs a tight ship.” If that’s the case, I don’t think those are the kind of people I want to go sailing with.19 Comments »
Listen up Dishers, we have a local controversy spreading across the internet faster than a lightning-struck, dry oak– I mean hickory–wood pile in a West Texas windstorm. It’s time we talked about food bloggers, a unit of special victims.
Yesterday, DMN food critic, Leslie Brenner, released “her” Best in DFW Barbecue list. It didn’t take long for the pits to hit the fans.
Last February, I hired local Full Custom Gospel BBQ blog writer, Daniel “BBQ Snob” Vaughn, to produce a cover story on the best barbecue in our area. In the piece, he focused on many of the out-of-the-way-down-and-dirty finds that usually get overlooked by glossy publications. Turns out many of his spots ended up on Brenner’s list. And Vaughn feels he should have been credited in Brenner’s round-up.
It’s a long story (stories!). I’ve been tied up for two days (don’t I wish) and I need to get up to speed on the controversy. Thanks to Dallas Observer’s Hanna Raskin for starting the conversation. Thanks to the local bloggers, readers, and friends who have texted, e-mailed, and phoned me with their opinions. Get your knives and forks ready–we shall continue the conversation here on SideDish as soon as I can get my thoughts together. Until then, read the hot links, start talking, or put another log on the fire. There is a lot to discuss. And we like to talk brisket.
13 Comments »
I am on vacation. I vowed I would not use a computer for 10 days. Well, despite the lovely beach, fine food, and great reading I’ve done, I can’t fight my addiction with connecting to the Internet any longer.
Yesterday, I jumped on quickly to learn that Go Fish Ocean Club closed after business on Saturday night. This morning I checked in to find a this comment from Uppercase Matt:
TD’s facebook says: Chef Tiffany Derry: Last nite the owners of Go Fish closed its doors and decided not to tell me nor the staff anything. How do you tell all the guys that has been with you for over 2 years that they no longer have a job.Like a thief in the night they packed everything away and til this point has not called to explain anything to me. It wont hold me down because tomorrow is a new day and God is good all the time, vengeance is the Lord
I spoke with Mike Hogue and John Tesar a couple of weeks ago. Hogue assured me he was dedicated to building several restaurants downtown. I asked him about the prospect of Tesar getting his own restaurant and got a vague answer. I don’t have my notes here, but Hogue basically said he loved working with John and John had done some amazing things at Dallas Chop House and the new concepts without answering my direct question. I got the feeling that Tesar had to open 2 or 3 spots before Hogue would build Tesar his own kitchen.
Tesar told me was no longer corporate culinary director. He said he is a consultant for DRG. I’ve heard several reports of Tesar talking to other restaurant projects in town. The whole situation is a discombobulated mess. Hogue wants to open restaurants; Tesar wants to cook.
However, closing Go Fish Ocean Club without telling chef Tiffany Derry was rude and disrespectful. Maybe it was a good business decision, but Hogue’s method stinks.I understand Hogue can do whatever he wants—it’s his money and his operation. But Derry’s appearance on Top Chef brought national attention to Mike Hogue as a successful restaurateur. Maybe it didn’t bring customers but, at the very least, he should have included her in his plans for Go Fish Ocean Club.8 Comments »
Bing, Microsoft’s search engine, is test driving a “Food Cart Finder” feature to enable people to find local food carts and trucks on the move using their twitter feed. Alas, it’s only in Portland for now.
Hey City of Dallas and Dallas County officials, pay attention to this. Happy Eaters = Happy Voters. And new revenue sources.
Dishers, what do you think? Do you want 250 carts and food trucks in Dallas and a fancy food finder that gives you up to the minute information on what is available and where?6 Comments »
Yesterday I asked RW diners to send in the names of servers who performed above the call of duty. Now I’m getting emails from servers who would like a forum to discuss their customers. So, here is your own mini-Bitterwaitress space, dear server. Go. The audience is listening. If you’re really good, I’ll start a weekly post for you. Oh, and name your restaurant or I will delete you.9 Comments »
Pop-Tart World is a café in Times Square dedicated solely to exotic versions of the once (and still, IMO) lowly Pop-Tart. The “promoters” (love the emerging term to replace restaurateurs) of Pop-Tart World offer build-your own PTs, Fluffer Butter (marshmallow spread sandwiched between two Pop-Tarts frosted fudge pastries), Sticky Cinna Munchies (cinnamon rolls topped with cream-cheese icing and chunks of cinnamon-roll Pop-Tarts), and (beat, beat) Pop-Tarts sushi (three varieties of Pop-Tarts minced and wrapped in a fruit roll-up). Customers are treated to a “light show every hour” and the first suckers in the door “get frosted.” What. Ever. Yuck-a-doo.
Now, one hand, we have locavore guru Michael Pollan explaining why “paying $8 for a dozen eggs is a good thing” and on the other hand (thigh), we have Pop-Tart World. (And don’t get me started on the food spin offs coming to a store near you as soon as the movie Eat, Pray, Love, Make Money is released.) Oh, it all makes me want to take my head off and send it to the cleaners.3 Comments »
We’ve reminisced about old Dallas delicatessens (Phils, Gilbert’s, Wall’s) and we’ve criticized the new ones that failed (Roaster’s, Zinsky’s) and the one’s still in business (Deli-News). Let’s pretend that we have been hired by a company to build the perfect delicatessen for Dallas. Big sandwiches? Great bagels? Acme smoked fish? What? Whaddayawant?! I say, bring back the blueberry cheesecake from Phil’s! Spill it people, somebody with money is looking for your ideas.37 Comments »
First D Magazine. Then the New York Times. Now the Chicago Tribune and San Francisco. I am channeling my inner Grace Slick–let’s start a revolution. Scream below if you want funky food trucks in Dallas. Hey city of Dallas, hear us roar!11 Comments »
Single, white female, 57, fed up with the impersonal medical care profession, is looking for reliable health advice and a husband who is a practicing rheumatologist. Must be over 50 years old and knowledgeable about arthritis, aging and, unlike most rheumatologists, be compassionate and dedicated to treating not just symptoms, but actually allowing a patient to complete a sentence before asking the next question. Applicants must enjoy unlimited expense account dining and travel and dogs. Hours of actual husbanding are flexible. Housing arrangements TBD. Neurologists also considered. Vegetarians or married men seeking to pad their withering clientele need not apply. Grrr.12 Comments »
A few weeks ago I was having breakfast at Craft Dallas. There were only three customers in the restaurant which makes me nervous since I’d hate to see Dallas lose this place—the food is really special. However here is the transcript of a conversation I had with my waiter. I pretended to be from out of town.
Jump for the story.45 Comments »
I haven’t been able to reach anyone to confirm if Taco Mundo is officially closed, but a diligent Disher sends the following report on Taco Mundo in Fort Worth.
One of Carolina Galvan-Rodriguez’s restaurants, Taco Mundo, opened by our offices. It was great — we went there for lunch a lot. It was usually packed around lunchtime…seemed to be doing great business. But this morning I got a company-wide email from one of my coworkers who said that both she and her husband had received a charge on their debit cards from Taco Mundo on July 9, and neither of them had been there in weeks. They called and called and got no answer, so they went to the restaurant to straighten things out and the restaurant was closed for failure to pay rent.
I checked my own bank account, and sure enough, I’d been charged on July 9th too (actually, I think the card was charged on the 7th, but it posted on the 9th), and I haven’t been there in several weeks either. My bank is reversing the charges, but anyone who’s used a debit or credit card there might want to check their own account and dispute any fraudulent charges they’ve received from there.
Ouch. Post below if you’ve been charged for a meal you didn’t eat.48 Comments »
Over on Go Oak Cliff, a little game is going on: Four vacant spaces in the Bishop Arts area and four potential restaurants opening soon. It’s fun speculation. But I have a bigger question: How many restaurants can North Oak Cliff comfortably support? I live in the area and eat out most nights. Yet there’s new restaurants even I haven’t tried. I’m happy to see the OC bursting with new business. But when is enough enough? Discuss.11 Comments »
Good morning and welcome back to reality. Let’s start this (joyfully) short week off with a letter to Phil Romano. You know Phil. He has given Macaroni Grill, We Oui (Hi, Nick!), Fuddrucker’s, Nick & Sams to our fair city. Oh, and Eatzi’s. Everybody loves Eatzi’s, right? At lunch it’s a mob scene. The market is crowded with baskets of fruits and vegetables crammed next to shelves lined with gourmet products. The center of the space is a round food case filled with prepared foods, fresh fish, and meats. Boxes of wine are on the floor all over the store. The environment is semi-controlled chaos—it makes you feel like you’re in a space where everyone wants to be.
I like to be at Eatzi’s on Lovers Lane around 6:00 in the evening. Check that, I have to be at Eatzi’s after work if I want anything to eat on the nights I don’t dine out. My refrigerator is a science project—Styrofoam containers with leftovers in various stages of decay and condiments. It doesn’t make you hungry.
Neither does the blaring opera music at both Eatzi’s location. Ave Maria! Last week I asked the gal at checkout how she feels when she gets off work. “That’s the way the boss wants it,” she said as she squeezed the top of her nose with her fingers to relieve the pressure of what was probably chronic cluster headaches. “Oh, but we love it,” she said. “It keeps us on our toes.”
Phil, I’ll give you this—you’ve got your cheery staff well trained. But every customer I surveyed in the store was annoyed by the Placido Domingo’s voice piercing their ear drums. Phil, please turn it down. We might stay longer and buy more.19 Comments »
I rarely watch Larry King Live. The guy makes my skin crawl. However, I could not resist watching Mick Jagger’s appearance last night. The subject? One of my favorite albums of all time, Exile on Main Street. First of all, the gig wasn’t live and every segment ended with Larry standing in front of a zillion images from the EOMS album cover (and soon-to-be-released documentary) in starched jeans, red shirt, and those stupid suspenders. I hate to say this but I would have rather endured Barbara Walters—at least she would have listened to the freakin’ record. King prefaced two questions with, “You know my old pal Frank Sinatra used to tell me…”
On a better note, I did discover a nice King Ranch casserole at the new Eatzi’s store on Lovers Lane where the music of Placido Domingo almost shattered my ear drums as I watched owner Phil Romano and his family dine alfresco and chat with local PR maven, Martha Tiller.
Thanks Larry, I know you can’t always get what you want, but at least this morning I’m happy and remembering what I can still remember of Austin in 1972.12 Comments »
Last July, thanks to the nice folks at Arts & Letters Live, several loyal SideDish readers were invited to a private screening of the movie Julie& Julia. I wrote a review of the movie.
The following night I attended the Arts & Letters Live program that featured the Julie Powell, the Julie who wrote the blog that the movie was based on. After the program, Julie and I had a chat. I told her I didn’t like her.
I wish I could chat with Julie today. Actually, I wish I could pick up the phone and call Meryl Streep because she got screwed at the Academy Awards. Julie & Julia was not the greatest movie ever made, but Streep pulled off the bigger-than-life character of Julia Child. She took acting to another level.
Which brings me to last night. Over a plate of King Ranch casserole I watched The Blind Side. Other than Waiting to Exhale, The Blind Side is one of the worst movies I have ever seen. I have nothing against Sandra Bullock—even her cute little body can’t pull off tight white pants. But she was not “Best Actress” material by any stretch of the imagination.10 Comments »