Like I said yesterday, I was stuck in Vancouver because of American Airlines’ system failure on Tuesday, but at least I’d had a good meal on Japan Airlines before I landed in Canada. It helped tide me over.
During those waiting hours, I glanced down at my passport and determined that I’ve been to Taiwan six times in the last 4.5 years. And if you include those trips to Brazil, Russia, China, Estonia, and Japan in between – that’s a lot of international flights. Heck, that’s a lot of airplane food.
Over the years, I can’t remember all meals I’ve eaten above the clouds, but I do know that American Airlines serves the absolute worst food. They used to give you a free instant noodle cup in the middle of your journey from LAX to Taipei (which was really its only redeemable feature), but they’ve cut that service out in that last few years or so. Those cheapos. This time, on my way to Taiwan, I flew American and received a deep dish pizza an hour or two before arriving in Japan, and it was basically just a circular brick of baked dough with some tomato sauce on top. Lovely.18 Comments »
Sometimes I daydream about how Troy Aikman spends his retirement days. Aikman, I imagine, spends most of his time playing mini golf inside his 11,433 sq. ft. house, followed by an afternoon session of sorting out his fan mail in alphabetical order. Maybe in the mornings, after a protein shake, he yells motivational quotes to himself as he does his 200th pull-up. “I THINK I CAN I THINK I CAN I THINK I CAN!”
The real truth is Aikman goes around selling wings. He is the national spokesperson for Wingstop, which was founded in 1994 in Garland. Bet you didn’t know that.
Cool. Now this local chain is spreading its wings (get it?) into Russia and Singapore. That’s 50 restaurants for Russia and 20 for Singapore. Pretty soon, Aikman’s face is going to be glowing from across the Pacific Ocean.
I don’t know about you guys, but the thought of Putin sitting inside a Wingstop makes me want to create a Youtube video like this one. I’ll call it “Putin Lubleet Wingstop.”1 Comment »
Last weekend I was dining in a nice, popular restaurant in Grapevine. My companions and I were enjoying our meal, and I was in the midst of telling another of my famously captivating anecdotes when my wife dared to interrupt me to point out there was a (non-human) animal crawling around the floor just behind my chair.
It was a small mouse. (I realize mice are generally small, and I’m no expert on their physiology, but this specimen seemed tinier than average.) I stood and, without another thought to my own safety, corralled the creature with my foot towards the outer wall and out the door. I turned towards the rest of the packed dining room to acknowledge their praise of my quick thinking and fearlessness in the face of adversity, but I’d apparently made such quick work of the rodent that no other tables had taken notice.
Having had a lovely day, and being in a relaxed mood, I wasn’t terribly put out by what had happened. I returned to telling my story and partaking of the restaurant’s fare. When our waiter finally came back to our table a few minutes later, I decided to alert him to the presence of the creature and point out how the crack beneath the door could provide an easy route back inside.
I was certain he’d want to know. I was wrong.25 Comments »
I’ve never set foot inside Crystal’s Pizza, but everyone keeps telling me that it was “the sh*t.” Pardon my language. Dan Koller even emailed me and Nancy just to grieve over Crystal’s closing with a beautiful, wham bam one-liner sentence: “To Dallasites of my generation, this is a big effing deal.”
So maybe Alice Laussade wasn’t overreacting when she reported that Crystal’s Pizza is shutting its doors to fluffy childhood memories forever and ever and ever. On Sunday, February 17, to be exact. That’s when Irving becomes Crystal’s Pizza-free. (According to Liz, who calls it “that childhood house of horrors,” goodbye isn’t such a bad thing.) Anyways, I digress. The whole point of this post is to make you aware that Crystal’s is selling all of its stuff, in case you’re interested. I say “stuff” instead of “trash,” because I’m nice like that. I’m trying to give Crystal’s the benefit of the doubt. However, a Facebook post from yesterday stated that Crystal’s is selling a stack of 2,000 tickets for $5 “for those who wanted something with a Crystal’s logo on it.”
What in the world do you do with 2,000 unusable tickets? A couple of ideas come immediately to mind:
At least Crystal’s is being environmentally friendly by selling its…stuff. Hey, I’m all for recycling. And, yes, there will be more junk for sale in the coming days.
Shannon Wynne is busy, busy, busy these days. The restaurateur says that one of his current projects, baby Lark, should be open the first week of March. Pretty soon the good visitors of Klyde Warren Park will have a new place to eat right across the street. And Wynne has picked the best-looking couple, Melody Bishop and Dennis Kelley, to be his executive chefs. These two lovebirds moved to Dallas from Los Angeles, where they both met each other as sous chefs working at the Tavern. Now they’ve got a baby named Oscar and a whole restaurant to help open. I met with them at KWP, and we dove straight into their love story.
Carol: Was it love at first sight?
Melody: Drinking lots of martinis.
Carol: Wait, what?!?
Melody: You know, being a sous at Tavern was rough; we were just always on the same schedule, so we would always go and have martinis after work and go and talk about the day.
Carol: Is there a rule against dating in the kitchen?
Melody: A little bit, even though it happens a lot. We kept it under wraps… and then I got pregnant.
Dennis: Then it couldn’t be kept under wraps anymore!
Carol: How did Shannon Wynne lure you to Dallas?
Melody: He’s actually a family friend of mine. I’ve been talking to him throughout the years about his different projects. When we talked about the Lark – you know, now we have a 1.5-year-old, and it’s nice that he can be with his cousins.
I rolled my smokes up into my sleeve, polished up with some nice pomade (Dapper Dan’s to be exact), and hustled my way over to the media event for Hofmann Hots on Wednesday night. I love any chance I get to cross the Margaret Hunt Hill Bridge, and this night was just swell with good vibrations. I stormed in with jazz hands flaring and mouth watering for some juicy hot dogs. The first thing I noticed was the commanding presence of the mastermind behind this new joint, Phil Romano. He hugged me with his eyes, so I thought it appropriate to ask him for a picture. Success. We discussed contemporary metal music, swan migration in South America, and swapped a few recipes for our favorite soufflé. While none of that actually happened, Mr. Romano was warm and welcoming and seemed wildly enthusiastic about Hoffman Hots, in spite of all this lawsuit craziness that’s going down.
Nik Gjonaj has this thick northeastern accent that tells you, right away, he’s not a Dallas native. He lives in Detroit, where he owns an upscale chop house and a flurry of other restaurants. When his cousin and business partner, Kola, lured him to Uptown, he fell so in love with Dallas, he says he might move. Permanently.
But for now, the restaurateur is happily traveling back and forth for his new project, Pop Diner, which sits right next to Max’s Wine Dive on 3600 McKinney Ave. Inside, it’s exactly what it sounds like: bright colors, 1980′s and early 1990′s pop art, and booths to make it feel like a diner affair. Much of what you see on the walls is made by Lesli Marshall, a mixed media artist in Dallas. The art is fun and playful, but most importantly, it acts as a rotating gallery for the diner. Everything’s for sale. Continue reading "Pop Diner in Uptown Softly Opens Today at 11 A.M."
Tim Love is really going through with his plans to kill all the Love Shacks, besides the last one standing in Fort Worth. Today, on Twitter, “The Rootinest, Tootinest, Doggone Shootinest Chef in the West” announced that he’s calling his new Denton restaurant baby “Queenie’s Steakhouse.”
Coming soon to Denton, Texas!A tribute to my amazing mother! twitter.com/cheftimlove/st…
— Tim Love (@cheftimlove) February 6, 2013
18 minutes ago, he tweeted a sampling of this yummy dead fish.
Queenies menu testing! twitter.com/cheftimlove/st…
— Tim Love (@cheftimlove) February 6, 2013
Correction: This article first stated that there’s only one Love Shack left. There are actually two Love Shacks still standing, and Tim Love says another one is on its way.
Richard and Tiffanee Ellman (Oak) have teamed up with John Paul Valverde (Coeval Studio) for Belly & Trumpet, a cozy restaurant located inside a house on 3407 McKinney Avenue in Uptown.
Featuring the carefully balanced and innovative creations of Executive Chef Brian Zenner (Chef de Cuisine, Oak), the menu will change regularly and be comprised of sharable items. Chef Zenner enticed former Mansion on Turtle Creek colleague, Rudy Mendoza, to join him as his Sous Chef, and together they will seek to incorporate global influences into a menu that Zenner describes in the following manner: “With Belly & Trumpet, we are striving to extend beyond the ordinary in everything we do. We are challenging ourselves to be inventive and thoughtful, often taking a classic favorite and adding an exciting twist. Regardless, our primary goal is for our food to be consistently soulful and delicious.” Chef Zenner will remain the Chef de Cuisine at Oak while overseeing Belly & Trumpet on a daily basis.
The General Manager, Adam Karpf was most recently the manager at Michelin rated Spiaggia in Chicago, and prior to that he was a manager at the Mansion on Turtle Creek. Thus Belly & Trumpet reunites Zenner, Karpf and Mendoza in a setting where their teamwork and collaboration will serve them well in creating the social, shared experience of Belly & Trumpet.
Jump for a sneaky peek at the menu.2 Comments »
Pretty soon, you’ll be able to buy one of Norma’s famous pies in a 4,000 sq. ft building that can seat 135 people. The new Norma’s Cafe will be at the Centre at Preston Ridge (8400 Gaylord Parkway, Frisco), starting mid-April. Lucky, lucky Frisco.
J. Pepes on Greenville is closed for renovations. A loyal SideDisher and J. Pepes fan writes in:
J Pepes is closing for “renovations” after Sunday (2/3). Don’t know anything else about what they’re doing, when they’re reopening, etc., but the many regulars are despondent at the loss of their local.
Eater National calls Pizza Hut’s new pizza sliders a “monstrosity.” I call them fancy bagel bites.
Winning the “Grossest Super Bowl Foods” category, these chicken wings cupcakes from a New York bakery are truly, deeply nasty. ABC News says that “the cupcake itself is made of cornbread then topped with blue cheese frosting and accented by an actual chicken wing on top.”
Bonus: It’s National Pancake Day at IHOP tomorrow (Feb. 5). FREE pancakes, my friends. Free pancakes.
It’s been awhile since we’ve heard anything about Uno Immanivong, the Dallas woman who owns the boutique food company, Foodie Couture. I asked Nancy if she knew her, and Nancy goes, “Sounds familiar… Mico Rodriguez?” Yep, apparently the two worked on a restaurant concept together back in 2010. It was going to be called Pinky Chan – China Town. Immanivong and Rodriguez created this elaborate backstory about Pinky Chan, an Asian concubine who loved sewing and Parisian life, for the restaurant. (I refrain to comment on this. Must. Bite. Lip.)
Since then, Immanivong told me she’s been pretty busy. She’s been trying out for reality shows. None of them worked out until… ta da! The Taste happened. The Taste on ABC is a ripoff of NBC’s The Singoff The Voice, except they cook instead of sing, and there’s Anthony Bourdain instead of Cee Lo. The “Auditions Part 2″ aired on Jan. 29, and whaddyaknow, Immanivong was chosen to be on AB’s team because of her lap gai with minced gizzards. ”I have to come in first place because the name says it all: Uno,” says the single mother of an eight-year-old girl. ”I would say I’m a home cook almost on the border of a professional chef.”
In the meantime, while we wait to see whether she wins and lives up to her name, Immanivong is also getting ready to open her first restaurant at Trinity Groves. It should be open by May. She and her partner, Adrian Berdin, are planning to do Asian-Latino food. “It’s an eclectic mix of both of our styles, smaller proportions, it’s about sharing family meals, and we’re going to focus on cocktails.” Those are all the details she’s releasing for now (besides the fact that it’s basically going to be the Americanized version of Asian street food). Think: “lemongrass and fermented fish and all those great things and making it palatable,” says Immanivong.
The restaurant will also be called Chino. I wasn’t sure if Immanivong was naming her first restaurant after pants or the Spanish word for “Chinese.” Either one would’ve been a little… odd. ”Chino means Latin China Town,” she told me. Interesting definition of Chino, but let’s focus on the more important things: Asian street food is making its way to Trinity Groves. And if you’re dying to try some of Immanivong’s food, you can attend her Chino preview/pop up event on February 9 for $80: http://cravechino.eventbrite.com/7 Comments »
The same family behind La Popular Tamale House is bringing creative Mexican dishes to East Dallas with its new Peak and Elm Cocina y Bar. Father-and-son Jesse Moreno and Jesse Moreno Jr. have teamed up to bring contemporary, artistic food to New East Elm, where the owners of Peak and Elm have planted themselves at 132 North Peak Street.
“The building dates back to the 1900s. It’s part of the original trolley street car stop for Dallas. This line was part of the Junius Heights line,” said Jesse Jr. Inside the corner building are cute vintage items, like doorknobs glued to the bar (a perfect purse hanger) and antique suitcases, to give it that old-timey feel.1 Comment »
Longtime Fort Worth and Dallas restaurateur, Shannon Wynne, loves flying-related names. He’s the giant behind Moth, Flying Saucer, the future Lark (on the Park), and now his latest idea: Bird Café in Sundance Square. (His son, on the other hand, sticks to land animal names, like Rodeo Goat.)
Bird Cafe will have – count ‘em – 6,400 square feet of indoor space and 2,300 square feet of patio space, split between two levels. Goodness gracious. It’s going to be a monster.
In the press release, Wynne states: “The chef driven menu will focus on small plates at dinner which we do very nicely and are extremely popular at the Moth. Currently we are positioning Chef David McMillan to oversee our program at Bird Café. While pretty upscale, we will be very approachable at lunch and dinner.”
So that’s what Mr. McMillan has been sneakily up to these days. It looks like Mr. Wynne has been keeping him pretty employed with the Moth – and now Bird Cafe – ever since his main gig at the Screen Door in One Arts Plaza closed.
Bad new for deli lovers: Gio’s in North Dallas is closing on January 31. Manager Mark Walls just confirmed. “This construction just did us in,” Walls said. “The guys who fund this place aren’t restaurant guys and they are tired of funneling money in.” Gio’s will not be relocating.
The construction he refers to is the tangle of rebar and concrete at LBJ and Preston Road. Preston Valley Shopping Center is also home to Stein’s Bakery,India Palace, Shanghai Restaurant, Fuji Steak House, Café Greek, and Penzy’s Spices.
A SideDish reader tells me the landlord already has two clients with deli concepts lined up to open. Walls couldn’t confirm this but said potential renters have toured the property.
Almost two years ago, I posted:
The stretch of Preston Road that runs south from LBJ Freeway to Royal Lane has seen its fair share of delicatessens come and go. Many of us remember Wall’s Delicatessen, which opened in 1951 in Preston Royal Shopping Center. Then, of course, there was Gilbert’s in Preston Forest. Wall’s closed in 1990 and operates only a catering facility, and Gilbert’s ceased its cranky operation in 2004. Ed’s Deli, Deli News Too, Zinsky’s, Bagelstein’s, and Roasters’ n Toasters have all opened and closed in the last few years.
Why can’t Dallas support good delicatessens? Gio’s, we’ll miss your hot Italian sausage with grilled peppers and onions and your half sours.
36 Comments »
The super hipster coffee house trend is invading Dallas, and it doesn’t look like it’s slowing down anytime soon. Brooke Humphries, the same woman behind ACME F&B and Barcadia Bar, is the coffee brains behind Mudsmith, a new shop opening at 2114 Greenville Ave., across the road from the future Trader Joe’s. It’s fancy schmancy, just like all the other new coffee shops these days, and it will be serving Four Barrel coffee out of San Francisco.
The press release states:
Mudsmith baristas will be using Chemex and V-60 for slow pour over methods and two custom made Stradas by La Marzocco for specialty espresso drinks. French press will be the house coffee. All coffee drinks will be carefully made with the Four Barrel beans and specific technique. Eight craft beers and four wines on tap will rotate frequently. Fresh pastries baked in-house and a selection of sandwiches such as the jalapeno meatloaf with redneck cheddar and guava BBQ sauce and a ham and cheese with raisin chutney also made in-house with local and organic ingredients will be offered. Three Happy Cows yogurt, Roots Juices and several other local companies’ product will fill the shelves of the coolers.
Mudsmith opens January 28 at 7 a.m. It’ll be serving coffee seven days a week from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m.
The boys behind Bowl & Barrel and Sunset Lounge are at it again. Josh Sepowitz and Kyle Noonan of Free Range Concepts can’t stop opening restaurant after restaurant. Don’t they ever get worn out? Don’t their feet get tired?
I guess not! The Rustic, a full-service restaurant and bar, is their latest venture, but this time it’s in Uptown, at the corner lot of Lemmon and North Central Expressway. FRC has partnered with Grammy nominated Pat Green, local businessman Brian Manion, and their favorite chef, Sharon Hage, to work on the entire concept. Hage, of course, will be taking care of the menu.
The press release also states, “With a live music venue outside, The Rustic will be able to provide a form of entertainment that few restaurant concepts can offer. The size and layout of the patio will offer the flexibility to accommodate both casual dining and large outdoor concerts, yet the primary focus of The Rustic will always be exceptional food and drinks.”
Brian and Christi Rudolph, owners of the Holy Grail Pub, are opening a new Texas comfort food restaurant in Irving. The press release states: “FM Smoke House will feature many smoked dishes such as bacon-injected brisket, beer can chicken, beef short ribs, beef tenderloin and house made hot dogs. Other menu items include Texas favorites such as chicken fried steak, fried turkey breast, chili, and frito pie. Special smoked meats and seafood will be available on a rotating basis in season.”
FM Smoke House will have a full bar, family-style platters, and take-out and catering options.
660 Walnut Ridge Road; operating hours will be 11 a.m. – 12 a.m. daily.3 Comments »