Sushi can be a polarizing topic for many people. There are those that can’t seem to wrap their brain around chewing raw fish and those who are such avid fanatics that they seek out sushi eating opportunities at every corner. I fall somewhere in the middle of these two reactions. I like to trick myself into thinking that I’m a sushi connoisseur when really, my palette is about as diverse as the California roll. I can handle crab meat, but ask me to eat a piece of raw tuna and I’ll promptly gag.
Regardless of how I feel on the matter, I couldn’t deny the chance to learn the tricks of trade in making sushi myself. This intricate process was shown to us by the expert chefs at Nobu yesterday for a technique class in perfecting the art of sushi. Their task wasn’t easy. They had a table full of media personnel to work with, all of whom seemed to share my lack of experience in the kitchen.
I noticed several flustered faces and a lot of talk about having anxiety attacks while our chefs were walking us through the steps, though I’m not sure why. Really, people, making sushi is not rocket science, but it definitely takes a bit of focus and perseverance. Here are some tips I picked up from our helpful chef, Sohta:
On my second venture to Marfa, I again found myself in absolute marvel of its energy, beauty and endurance. It is a strange little place, seemingly asleep and unkempt, but all the while buzzing with big city attitude and enchantments. Clean air and quirky sophistication abounds in this little big city. It wrapped me in its velvety overcoat, made no doubt from a designer you’ve never heard of. Marfa doesn’t need you, and at many times makes you feel like the awkward accountant who typically keeps his mouth shut in the office but decided to be daring at the Halloween party, and because of his social ineptitude has worn something disturbingly inappropriate. Either way, I set out to taste and here is what I have to tell.6 Comments »
For the last week, the garage attached to my apartment has smelled like barbeque sauce. While this fact seems irrelevant, I knew it meant something exciting was about to happen since my apartment just happens to be right above Stampede 66, Stephan Pyles’ new restaurant. I’ve been a loyal fan of Pyles’ last restaurant, Samar, since its opening in 2010, so I had high expectations for this one. Last night I stopped by for Stampede 66 for the soft opening. The crowd two-stepped to Jody Nix & The Texas Cowboys Band, which perfectly complemented the cattle-branding videos that played on the tv screens and Texas-themed fare (think fried catfish bites, brisket, chili and much more).
Get more details after the jump.
FT33 has barely cracked its door open, and it’s already making waves in the Design District. It’s pretty much at home in the Design District. Eight days after opening mid-October, FT33 couldn’t wait to announce a master sommelier wine dinner series. On day nine, chef/owner Matt McCallister invited media people to taste the goods at his restaurant. Desiree and I, curious, accepted the invite and ate lunch as his guests.
Jump to view more of Desiree Espada’s pretty photos.
It was pouring rain this morning, but that didn’t matter to fans who sat in their cars at 5 a.m., waiting outside the newest Trader Joe’s in Ft. Worth for the popular grocery chain to open its first store in Texas at 8 a.m. When doors opened, shoppers flooded through the produce aisles grabbing shiny cherry tomatoes, lingered in the frozen food section searching for their favorite meatballs, and made sure they placed that one special TJ item they’ve been living without inside their shopping carts. You could hear everyone breathing one collective sigh of relief. Trader Joe’s is finally here, and there’s no need to call Aunt Judy who lives in San Diego to ship a box of Two Buck Chucks anymore. We can all get our TJ goodies in Ft. Worth now.
If you’re not familiar with Trader Joe’s, worry not. I’ve compiled a grocery list for you that will make your shopping experience as smooth as whipped cream. I also asked random TJ shoppers to give me their input. Everyone was so obliging and terribly drunk on TJ love.
Jump for the grocery list.5 Comments »
D Magazine intern Michelle Saunders is a vegan who enjoys healthy eating. Now I feel bad for stuffing my face with a cream cheese puff pastry as I was editing this post for her.
Okay, I’ll admit it. When I first heard about Genghis Grill’s Health Kwest, a 60-day weight loss contest centered on daily meals at the chain, I was more than a little bit skeptical. After all, this is the restaurant inspired by the legendary thirteenth-century Mongol warrior whose nomad diet purportedly consisted of large quantities of meat and dairy products – not exactly commonly recognized diet foods. I wasn’t sure how many (if any!) options they’d have for a no meat, dairy, or gluten enthusiast like myself, but I was reassured to discover the menu is not all meat. There are, in fact, lots of vegetables as well as healthier starch options such as steamed brown rice. They even have tofu if you’re looking for a meat-less protein substitute, so vegetarians, fear not – the Khan has not forgotten you.
I met 26-year-old “Khantestant” Michelle Gamradt at the Arlington location she represents with hopes that she could shed some light on the second annual Health Kwest. Since this was my first time eating at GG, I had her walk me through the process she goes through every day. Upon arrival we were seated and each given a surprisingly small bowl then encouraged to go through the cafeteria-style line and “build our bowls.” Michelle and I discussed the khantest over her mango bbq shrimp and sausage bowl (under 500 calories!) and my spicy veggie bowl.
Jump for more.10 Comments »
The world is going pig-crazy.
On Friday, I heard that Jack in the Box was offering a very limited number of bacon milkshakes as a secret menu item. Did anyone get a chance to try one? I almost dropped everything to go search for one, but then I remembered my sanity. Now I’m lying deep in the trenches of regret.8 Comments »
As you can tell from the headline, I am deep in the process of procrastinating. While my real job calls for thousands of words about dining, I am convinced it is far more important that I drop what I am supposed to be doing and answer a question sent to me by PR boy toy Jef Tingley. Yes, he spells his name with one “f,” but I will save that analysis for a later procrastination post.
“Jef with one f” asked me how to boil an egg. Don’t laugh. How many times have you had tiny shards of shell pierce the delicate skin beneath your fingernail? I shared my secret with “Jef with one f” by private message on Facebook which made several people curious enough to email and ask (BEG!) for my secret.
You are going to have to jump hard. Continue reading "The Perfect Procrastination: How To Boil an Egg"11 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.
I listen to a lot of public radio. A couple months ago, my home girl Terri Gross broadcast an interview on Fresh Air that focused on the logistical and ethical questions at play regarding growing meat from stem cells in a laboratory setting.
Before you jump to conclusions about real vs. lab-created meat, science writer Michael Specter, who traveled to laboratories in the Netherlands and North Carolina to examine the progress scientists have made in developing in vitro meat, is quick to point out that this is real meat. It’s real muscle cells, the same ones that live inside a real cow, minus the environmental bugbears such as pesticides, UV radiation, etc. (Specter wrote about the arguments in favor of lab-made steaks in the May 23 issue of The New Yorker.)
Even though the technology and global feasibility are still in development, I’d lay money on the fact that the technology’s not going to fade away. And being that this is Texas, this is a topic worth familiarizing ourselves with so that we can have a reasonable discussion about the technology’s pros and cons.
Pros: a reduction in animal cruelty and greenhouse gas emissions
Cons: You tell me. Especially in light of rising population numbers and the domino effect of socioeconomic and environmental pitfalls associated with feeding all those people.
Agriculture stats show that the largest share of Texas’ agricultural income is derived from beef cattle. Texas ranks #1 in the country in cattle raised—a number that can exceed 14 million head. That’s about 20 percent of the nation’s beef cattle.3 Comments »
Our gal on the street, Julissa Treviño, attended Lightcatcher Winery’s Lucy Dance grape crushing party over the weekends. Behold her report:
Crowds of people—most of them in peasant skirts, peasant tops, and bandanas—lined up outside LightCatcher Winery in Fort Worth on Saturday at noon, waiting for their turn to participate in what the winery calls “the Lucy Dance.”
About 300 people showed up for the winery’s annual public grape crushing event, Crush Day, this weekend. Anyone dressed as Lucy (based on the I Love Lucy episode where she crushed grapes) got to take home a free bottle of the 2010 Texas Kiss Merlot Rosé.
jump for the report and messy pics… Continue reading "Lightcatcher Winery in Fort Worth Hosts I Love Lucy Grape Stomping Party"2 Comments »
I once had a dream wherein I visited a magical building, and in that building, lovely people danced around throwing handcrafted chocolates, magical brownies, and toffees in my mouth from all directions. I pranced around this magical building for hours, humming Simon and Garfunkel tunes, hugging everyone in sight, and smearing my entire body in chocolate fudge. It was a wonderful dream, but this past Saturday, this dream became a reality (most of it anyways).
This past weekend, at the Addison Conference Center, the brilliant minds behind DallasChocolate.org brought together the most talented group of chocolatiers in Big D. It was truly a festival for all to enjoy. I have not seen a happier group of people gathered in one place since the night I camped out with the Star Wars geeks for the opening of the Phantom Menace. It was like being transported to the mystical Willy Wonka’s Chocolate factory, without those disturbing Oopa Loompas narrating your every move.
The men and women showcasing their chocolate talents were no less than extraordinary. Some of the wonderful people included in the showcase included…2 Comments »
Ladies and gentlemen, and I use those terms loosely, meet Jon Battle. He pestered me for months about the opening of Dough in Dallas. He’s a FANatic fan of their pizza. Well, the persistent Mr. Battle was the first official Dallas customer to enter Dough Pizzeria Napoletana when they opened this morning. He took a bunch of nice pictures which I have entered below the jump. Continue reading "Special Report: First Customer at Dough Spends $62 for Lunch. Sends Pictures and Report"21 Comments »
Exclusive! Breaking! Must credit SideDish!!
Minutes ago, Bob Sambol told his staff and investors that he is decamping the legendary Bob’s Steak & Chop House to take a job at MCrowd. Come Monday, diners at the Mercury Grill will find Sambol waiting to greet them at the front door. He’ll run that operation and will spearhead an MCrowd foray into fine dining with as-yet-unnamed future restaurants in the Dallas area.
Naturally, if you’ve been playing along at home, you are right now recalling that Sambol is a thief who recently copped to stealing $300,000 from an investor. I asked MCrowd co-owner Ray Washburne why he would take on that risk and the baggage that comes with it. I found it curious that he didn’t have a ready answer and seemed to be thinking out loud as he looked for one. Washburne said Sambol is a talented guy and a hard worker. “In the restaurant business,” he said, “you have very few people who are true restaurateurs, who work the door and know their customers’ names.” Sambol is one of those guys. (Washburne said Al Biernat is another.) But Washburne also said the hire was a real Dallas thing. “One reason Dallas is a great city is if you’re honest and you work hard, people are willing to listen to you,” he said. I replied, “Honest?” Washburne laughed and said, “We’re all sinners. Bob has addressed his issues. He’s looking for a fresh start, and working with the structure that MCrowd has, he can flourish.” Hang on, though. There’s one more reason Washburne gave for making the hire. Sambol got deferred adjudication and is on probation for 10 years. “If he messes up once,” Washburne said, “he’s done. He’s got a gun to his head.” In other words, he thinks Sambol is a safe bet.
For his part, Sambol told Nancy: “I’m really excited. I’ve had some incredible heart-to-heart talks with all of the partners. I’ve been honest with them, and I respect [Mercury Grill chef Chris Ward] and his staff. We are not looking back. We’re looking forward to increasing business and perhaps creating new projects for Chris.”
Ward is known for being, oh, let’s call it quiet. What is going to happen when MCrowd installs an operator at the Mercury who has grown accustomed, over the years, to having his name on the building? “Bob has a great passion for the restaurant business,” Ward said. “He has plans to boost the business at Mercury. We’ve also talked about doing another restaurant together.”31 Comments »
A year ago, chef Chad Houser of Parigi and his freelance-writer buddy Randy Potts decided to take a trip together. Houser mentioned Tel Aviv and Potts started googling restaurants along the eastern Mediterranean. Tawlet kept popping up, a farm-to-table restaurant in Beirut owned by Kamal Mouzawak, dubbed by the NYT as the “Alice Waters of the Middle East.” Potts emailed Kamal about Houser and the possibility of him cooking in Beirut as a guest chef.
Today they landed in Beirut. For the next two weeks the duo will tour the farm-to-table scene in Lebanon with Kamal Mouzawak. We will carry Randy’s updates and Chad’s pictures here on SideDish.
Beirut sits on the Mediterranean, sandwiched between the sea and the mountains. In the same view you can see sand and palm trees, and, in the distance, snow-capped mountains and ski resorts, only a few hours drive away. The city is full of pale white high rise buildings with balconies covered with lines of laundry hanging out to dry. It is loud. Some streets smell like piss or a fishy smell from the sea. Then suddenly you turn a corner and the street will remind you of New Orleans or Paris or Southern Italy – pink and green buildings, gables on the balcony, cafes, Vespas weaving through the cars. But the sight of policemen wearing fatigues and police stations surrounded with sandbags are unnerving.4 Comments »