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.
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Congratulations, Miracle Whip’s marketing team, you’ve created a very catchy ditty, but unfortunately, there’s no way anyone can sing open your mouth, find your tangy creamy side and let it all out. People are going to raise their eyebrows.
I’ve known Wick Allison, the editor in chief and owner of D Magazine, since 1974AD. He’s an intelligent man in so many ways. However he doesn’t know bupkis about bagels, baba ganoush, or Bordeaux. He is a culinary ignoramus. Wick’s idea of a perfect meal is a tuna sandwich with extra mayonnaise on toast, served with fries. No wonder he’s been satisfied with my food writing for 16 years. It’s the only section in the magazine that is over his head.
Yesterday I wrote a post urging you to help me get SideDish on TV. We (I) have a great opportunity to create as many food-related shows on KTXD — soon to be D-TV – as we (I) can get developed. However, Wick claims he’s not interested and because he isn’t interested, you aren’t. I sent him a link to my post. He didn’t reply directly but he told his assistant to tell me that he “isn’t a foodie” and doesn’t know the first thing about “foodie talent.”
How could such a entrepreneurial thinker be so brainless about food programming? Food Channel? Food Network? Bobby Flay Eats Dry Toast? Wick would never miss a chance to cash in.
Suspicious, I snuck into Wick’s office last night to search for ammunition. And there between the version of The Bible he edited and the current issue of The American Conservative, I uncovered the mother lode. Tuna sandwich and fries, my sass. Wick is a freakin’ closet foodie, and I found the pictures to prove it. He travels the world and eats and drinks with all of the major players.
What do you say now, Wickster? Fried shrimp with Paula Deen and the Pope? Barbecued ribs with Ronald Reagan and Padma? How long before I find more evidence of your secret epicurean adventures? Give SideDish a show, or I’ll give you one you’ll never live down.6 Comments »
I spent an early lunch on the lovely patio at Ascension Coffee today. The weather was perfect for a good scooter ride to the Design District, so I partook in Ascension’s deliciously balanced chemex pour-over and caprese style sandwich. Both were fantastic and soothing. I like this place. I wrote some pretty words about it when it first opened. Yet I struggle with the customer service and strict coffee etiquette they follow. (i.e. You can’t get a cortado to go, because it’s not a cortado if it’s not in a glass). Either who, while I enjoyed the breeze and city sounds overlooking Oak Lawn, I noticed a young man bring a valet stand over to the parking lot.
What? Is Ascension getting ready to host some kind of grand opening, jam-packed lunch gala? Even though there are only ~15 spaces in the small lot and not many options beyond that, the coffee-swilling aristocrats and happy hipsters inside Ascension didn’t seem to mind. Why does it need valet?
Over the course of 30 minutes, from about 11:20 a.m. to 11:50 a.m., I watched three cars depart in frustration after they were told to park along Hi Line Dr. if they weren’t going to use valet. Most of the spots were empty in the lot (see photo). To be fair, some folks just handed over their cars and strolled inside without any problems. Even so, I have some issues and questions. Although I didn’t get off my a** to ask the valet why the hell he was claiming domain over the small lot for lunchtime, it seems completely unnecessary to force valet upon patrons at a place that’s supposed to include comfort and convenience.
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 »
Teresa “Gubbshoe” Gubbins filed a report yesterday on CultureMap. In the post, she shines a bright light on Mi Cocina, the powerful Tex-Mex restaurant that will probably be the first chain restaurant to open a kiosk in the White House. (That is pure speculation on my part. But, I wouldn’t rule it out if the GOP takes control.) Mi Cocina, the behemoth, filed a lawsuit on September 7 in the Texas Northern District Court against Martin E. Solis-Martinez, owner of Mi Cocina Hondurena in Garland, for trademark infringement. (The same company also prohibited Mi Cocina founder Mico Rodriquez from using his name, which MCrowd also owns, on or in his new restaurant, Mr. Mesero. And though that seems petty, Mico admits he screwed that up.)
Oh, it gets better.
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 »
I’m not one of these wide-eyed, narrow arteried, “bacon makes everything better” optimists. Admittedly, bacon does, in fact, make most things better (notably life), but things like bacon cereal, bacon vodka and chicken fried bacon are all best left, well, uninvented.
I grew up in a bacon loving house, among a bacon-loving people,* and while I usually enjoy bacon in the standard, plated form, I can’t help but think from time to time, “Oooh, bacon on that would be good.” As such, I can relate to the sometimes ill-advised inclination to overdo a good thing (or disguise a bad one**) by adding bacon to it — the line between bacon decency and bac-insanity is so vague, you may not know it when you’ve crossed it.
Continue reading "Look What I Made: Maple Bacon Glazed Donuts Recipe"
Vices! Getcha vices! Vices all with one call! The Stand, the upscale concession style restaurant on McKinney Avenue is now offering cigarettes and beer with your delivery order. They claim: “Date night just got more convenient and safer.” I’m asking: “How long do I have to wait for a Mac Daddy Dog, carton of Camels, six pack of Coors Lite, and a date?” That would be more convenient for me.
Over on Frontburner, Tim has the story.1 Comment »
We live in a strange world with strange food fads. First, there was edible dirt, which birthed out of Copenhagen’s Noma. Then, in 2011, London had its own scary bout of breast milk ice cream called “Baby Gaga” that sold for $22 a scoop. According to a WSJ article that came out yesterday, now that it’s the height of barbecue season, some chefs are getting all kinds of crazy with edible ash made from hay and several kinds of burned vegetables.
Boston chef Frank McClelland, for instance, coats his food in ash and “sees potential for vegetable ash as a kind of breakfast spread—a wake-up call that could work better than jelly atop a buttered English muffin. ‘You need a little caveman in the morning,’ he says.”
Ashes on top of English muffins and bagels?? I’d rather eat my jelly and cream cheese. Ashes belong at the bottom of barbecue grills and in David Bowie songs.3 Comments »
McDonald’s better keep an eye on Erin McKool, the new queen of fast food. This mother of a four-year-old boy is opening up Start, a kid-friendly restaurant at 4814 Greenville Ave. that provides “good for you” food in a cutting edge environment. There WILL be a drive-through for moms-on-the-go. But really… healthy fast food? Isn’t this an oxymoron?
Owner McKool explains it best:
“Our food is healthy and handmade, but not necessarily ‘diet food.’ Organic and natural is critical to us, so all of our eggs, milk, sugar and many other items are organic. We only use meats and eggs from humanely raised animals, and we don’t use products that are raised on hormones and antibiotics, or treated with nitrates. Our bakery items are made with 100% whole wheat flour.”
The menu has everything from steel cut oatmeal with pecans, maple syrup, raisins, and dried cranberries to baked chicken and cheese empanadas. Substituting for a gluten-free English muffin or burger bun is just $1.50 extra, and over at the Kid’s Corner section, little ones can get grilled cheese sandwiches on multigrain bread with breaded and baked (or grilled) chicken bites. The only thing that’s missing are the french fries, but I guess those aren’t very healthy. Still, Start looks like a pretty darn good way to start and end the day, every day. Repeat this new mantra yourselves, folks: McKool’s is the new McDonald’s. McKool’s is the new McDonald’s.
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 »
It’s 1 a.m. and you have a massive cupcake craving that’s ruining your entire night. What do you do? Suck it up? Brave the night, albeit cupcakeless, as man was designed to do since the very beginning of time?
No, because starting as early as fall, word has it that you can go to a cupcake ATM at Sprinkles‘ Plaza at Preston Center location for a late-night snack. The machine is supposed to hold 600 cupcakes at one time, and, according to Bradford Pearson on Park Cities People, “the cupcakes are cycled out to maintain freshness. All uneaten cakes go to a local charity.”
Pray, tell me which local charity would want stale Sprinkles cupcakes? The fresh ones are honestly scary enough. It’s a simple mathematical formula for those of you who understand equations. 1 Sprinkles cupcake consumed = 1 new cavity created.
Convenience has reached a whole new level of ridiculosity. I fear for future generations.18 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 email@example.com. 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 »
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 »
This guy sure asks a lot of questions for a guy from Austin. Here is his scenario:
16 Comments »
Two couples are driving from Austin to Dallas this Saturday, returning Monday. Three of the four of us grew up in Dallas. Typically, our visits are consumed with family obligations and aging parents. Not this weekend. We’re coming to play. And eat. And walk and visit museums.
We originally wanted to enjoy chef Pyles’ Fuego, but he’s not doing it this year, it seems. [Ed note: Pyles says Fuego is “catch as catch can” but this week he will release some firm dates.] One of us is a vegetarian. We’re into good food. We like locally sourced too. So far, our plan is Samar on Saturday night, and Si Tapas on Sunday night. I’m thinking Velvet Taco would make for one easy lunch. I like Dream Café for Sunday brunch, but where else should we consider? We like sitting outside. What other place should we try to fit in for lunch? Where should we go for desserts? Is Five Sixty good for a late night cognac? Thanks in advance for taking the time to answer.
I visited an Indian restaurant in Irving this past weekend with a couple friends, eager to consume mango lassi with a side of samosas since it was a place that I’d heard good things about. I walked in, and it was one of those confusing restaurants where you’re not sure what to do first. Seat yourself or wait to be seated? There wasn’t a sign, so the woman behind the cash register told us to order first after I’d asked.
Six samosas, three drinks, and four entrees later, I could tell that the employee was struggling with my large order. She didn’t have a fancy cash register to add up the bill, but possessed a calculator-looking thing that spat out the receipt at the top. That’s fine. I understand that not every restaurant has the means to buy the most modern technology. What boggles my mind is when the cashier woman finished adding up my bill, she told me she wasn’t sure if she did her math correctly.
Really? I wondered if she was serious, and when she gave me another confused look, I pulled out my calculator app and began adding up my own order. A lot of you will probably think I’m a snot for even mentioning this out loud, and I agree, yes, I probably am. But I’ve realized that all this time I’ve taken competent cashiers for granted.
Has this happened to you before? Do you carry around a big calculator everywhere you go so you can tally up your bill? If this happens again, I think I’ll bust out my TI-83 and at least look a bit more professional when I’m doing someone’s job for them.13 Comments »
FYI, Michael Costa and his sidekick Brian Luisi have resurfaced at Sneaky Pete’s in Lewisville. According to a nice gentleman who just answered the phone at Sneaky Pete’s, the duo has been hired as consultants.16 Comments »