Football season is nearly over. In a couple of weeks, we’ll have had all the big hits, wild finishes and exhaustive periods of waiting around while every scoring play gets reviewed over and over. Gone, too: the tailgating, the lighthearted Sunday binge drinking, and the wings.
Buffalo wings are as integral a part of the culinary fabric of gridiron fandom as nachos or dogs are a part of baseball’s. Same goes for hockey and, well, I whatever it is hockey fans like. Molson’s? Sushi? No idea. But there is little doubting the supremacy of the humble buffalo wing as a preferred snack of the couch-bound Sunday masses.1 Comment »
I popped in yesterday to see how Marc Cassel and his wife, Suzan Fries, were doing at 20 Feet, their much-anticipated casual seafood joint on Peavy Road, next to Goodfriend. The roof had sprung a leak, and their freezer, bought at auction, was on the fritz. They seemed sanguine about the setbacks, though, and said they were shooting to open next week. Cassel was making a late lunch for him and missus. Pork belly sandwiches. He asked if I cared for one, but I declined so as not compromise my journalistic objectivity. When he wasn’t looking, I snapped this picture of a shopping list dated January 7. One can only hope that the Post-It Notes and toner cartridge have been procured.6 Comments »
I’m sure New York Times restaurant critic Pete Wells doesn’t need my validation of his scathing review of Guy Fieri’s American Kitchen & Bar. But last Thursday I decided to give it a try. It wasn’t a premeditated meal, it was purely spontaneous act. I’d gone to New York to see some plays and stayed near Times Square because I wanted to be able to walk to the theaters. I had no interest in doing anything else except read and sleep. I wanted to rest my palate and stay away from fine dining. That’s easy to do in Times Square. However, my friend and I passed Fieri’s 500-seat behemoth of a restaurant several times a day and we couldn’t resist trying it out.
I’ll be brief: three of us sat down at 1:30 on Thursday and there were 28 people in the restaurant. We split an order of egg rolls, a hamburger, and a bowl of tortilla soup. I spit out the one bite I took of the eggroll. The consistency of the meat was mushy, almost liquid like regurgitated cat food. The $18.50 burger MAY have had a quarter pound of meat somewhere between those thick buns with a bouffant of iceberg lettuce strands created by running it through a meat slicer which is pure lettuce abuse.
I realize Fieri has helped a lot of mom and pop restaurants get huge boosts in their business after appearing on his Food Network show Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives. I’m sure underneath all of that Paul Dean-style jargon such as “Go Big or Go Home” encouraging diners to eat fried food there is an artery-clogged heart of gold, but his investors can’t be too happy with the crap coming out of the kitchen. Or the fact that the restaurant was dead every time we passed it. The swag shop alone is bigger than most Dallas restaurants. American Kitchen & Bar feels like it’s trying to be the new Hard Rock Café. If you find yourself staying in a hotel in Times Square and you pass the place four times a day, stay away. You’re better off at Carmine’s next door.22 Comments »
I almost didn’t do this post. Making my own bacon was a learning experience. And not the cool kind. I’m into learning experiences where I either learn that I’m immediately good at something or I learn because documentaries are educational.* This wasn’t like that.
I figured bacon makin’ would be a challenge, of course, but I also assumed that there would be a vision-quest type of aspect to it. I mean, seeing a pork belly transform into bacon – how can that not be a spiritual enterprise? I thought that through the bacon, I would connect with my spirit animal** and learn some universal truth about life. No dice. I did learn some things – many of which could safely be filed under the header “How Not to Make Bacon at Home Properly.” If only an emoticon existed to express my feelings.5 Comments »
What an awful year for Monica Greene. Recently she left her restaurant Monica’s Nueva Cocina and today she closed BEE in Oak Cliff. (H/T DS and FB) BEE’s official Facebook page:
To All Dear Friends and Patrons: Bee closed it’s doors for business today. Thank you for your support for the past two years. Love to all.
Several people have reported that Monica’s Nueva Cocina on Oak Lawn has closed as well. I’ve left messages for staff.
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Alice Laussade woke up this morning still covered with glitter. Normally, that would indicate the previous night’s activities included a lap dance. Not so in this case. Laussade, aka The Cheap Bastard, and her husband Mike put on Meat Fight yesterday at Sons of Hermann Hall. All the signage — the Meat Fight sign hanging above the judges’ table, the signs for the various meat stations — was done in glitter. Though it occurs to me now, as I type this, that I didn’t think to ask Laussade today whether she got a lap dance yesterday. So that possibility can’t yet be ruled out yet.
The fighters yesterday included: Jack Perkins (Maple & Motor), Chad Houser (Cafe Momentum), Tiffany Derry (Private Social), Matt McCallister (FT33), Cody Sharp (The Front Room), Jeffery Hobbs, Jeana Johnson (
Acme F&B Good 2 Go Taco), Jeff Bekavac (Neighborhood Services), Eric Hansen (Il Cane Rosso), Randall Copeland (Restaurant AVA), Omar Flores (Driftwood), and Brian Luscher (The Grape).
The latter spent a sleepless night at the Grape, tending his fire. And it paid off. Luscher captained the winning team, whose name was Meatallica. In the individual categories, Bekavac won best sausage, Flores won best pulled pork, Derry won best pork belly, and Perkins won best Brisket. That was the determination of the judges: Daniel Vaughn (aka the BBQ Snob), Will Fleischman (Lockhart Smokehouse), Tim Byres (Smoke), Justin Fourton (Pecan Lodge), Stephen Joseph (Riverport BBQ), Nick Pencis (Stanley’s Famous Pit BBQ), and Aaron Franklin (aka the Jesus of barbecue from Franklin Barbecue).3 Comments »
Long-suffering readers of this blog will notice that we’ve deployed a new system for commenting.
Commenters can now log in via Facebook, Twitter, Google, LinkedIn, or accounts from a bunch of other social networks of which most of you have never heard. When you opt for one of these social log-ins, your comments will no longer be subject to moderation before posting. Keep in mind, though, that we are still carefully monitoring comments to ensure they adhere to the decency standards necessary for a civil discussion.
You can still comment on our site as a guest, but guest comments must be approved by a moderator before posting.
Now the new fun stuff that our new commenting allows:
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Unfortunately, one cost of this transition is that any post published prior to the switch that we’ve made today can no longer be commented upon. It’s a cost we’re willing to accept for a system that we hope will continue to spur insightful conversations among our readers.
The boys behind Cedars Social, Brian Williams and Michael Martensen, are opening a new place at 4513 Travis Street in the Knox/Henderson area in the space formerly known as Trece. The Establishment will be a bar-centric take on the classic oyster bar and the menu will offer 15 types of oysters and “an ever-changing selection of small plates, house-made charcuterie.” They are scheduled to open in early December. To kick off their love of oysters, they will host Oyster Fest this Sunday, October 28. The event will take place from 2:00– 6:00 p.m. in the parking lot next to the soon-to-open restaurant/bar. Just look for the tents, $1 oysters, $5 Palm Beer, $5 Aylesbury Duck Vodka Oyster Shooters, and $10 Etoile Sparkling Wine.2 Comments »
Every year, the March of Dimes Signature Chefs Auction raises big money for healthier babies, and the magical feasting is happening tomorrow at 6:30 p.m. in the Omni Hotel. A little birdy tells me there are still tickets left. Andrew Chalk attended the event last year, and he seemed to really enjoy it. Jump to read the press release and info down below.
This is a sponsored post.
Redwoods, crisp breezes, ocean views, and of course, fantastic food and wine. Who wouldn’t want to get away to California’s Central Coast? Well, it’s not quite Big Sur, but on Tuesday, October 9, four lucky winners (and a guest) can experience the Central Coast right here in Dallas, sponsored by D, Crú, Union Bear, The Fish, Malai, and Robert Mondavi Private Selection.
Just click here to be in the running for the exclusive Robert Mondavi Central Coast Wine Crawl. It’s an exclusive guest list, and believe me, you want to be on it. This experience will include samplings from some of the West Village’s tastiest venues. You’ll also get to sip matching wines from Robert Mondavi Private Selection. Drop-dead delicious.
We’ll pick one winner per week and send you an email with instructions if you’re one of the lucky ones.
Oh, and swag bags for all!
I’m sure you know your way to San Jose, but do you really know the Muffin Man? He does not live on Drury Lane, he lives in Dallas and he makes magnificent muffins every morning at Jonathon’s Oak Cliff. Krista Nightengale got up close and extremely personal with the Muffin Man and his wife, Mrs. Muffin Man, and files this report.
Jonathon Erdeljac never expected his muffins to be big. the native Houstonian is the type of person who wants to do one thing and do it well. When he was executive chef at Bread Winners, it drove him crazy that he would go to work and have to crank out 20 varieties of muffins every day. “If I was nailing three out of five, that’s good in baseball, but not good for me,” says the 36-year-old redhead. “I’m very passionate about what I do.” So last year, when he and his wife, Christine, struck out on their own to open a restaurant called Jonathon’s Oak Cliff, Erdeljac made a decision.
Dallas native Patrick Russell will be the executive chef at the soon-to-open Max’s Wine Dive on McKinney Avenue in Oak Lawn. Russell spent the last four years at Craft Dallas where he started as a line cook and ended as a sous chef. He’s now in the top-clog position and will preside over a staff that includes Adam Shallenberger former sous chef at Ellerbe Fine Foods in Fort Worth.
On the floor and in the cellar will be Paul (Dali, Nana) Pinnell and Mark Cotton. Pinnell will be generally managing with Cotton assisting. Juan Taboada, who put together a nice list at Decanter Restaurant and Wine Lounge, will be buying and managing the restaurant’s retail program.
Cue the press release
MAX’s Wine Dive is bringing its mantra of “Fried Chicken and Champagne?…why the hell not?!?” to Uptown Dallas. With a plethora of wines from around the world and expertly prepared gourmet comfort food, MAX’s provides an “urban-chic” atmosphere that is relaxed and unpretentious. Half of the menu will showcase MAX’s “Classics,” known to all MAX’s locations, including the Famous Southern Fried Chicken, The Texas “Haute” Dog, and Pan Borracho (“drunk bread”). The other half of the menu will feature Chef Russell’s own creations – items which will be unique to Dallas – utilizing the freshest seasonal ingredients available.
Opening date is mid-September.1 Comment »
It’s Hatch green chile season, or so I’ve heard (can’t remember where), so I thought I would pander to that crowd this week, in the form of grilled grits with poached egg and Hatch chile cream.
As usual, when I do food from New Mexico, I like to throw in something shaped like Texas — people find that kind of thing “cute,” whatever the hell that means, and, though I can’t prove it, I’m pretty sure foods shaped like Texas are more nourishing than those shaped like other states. If the picture didn’t give it away, eggs get the Texas treatment this time. Of course, you can poach your eggs like normal (I guess), just, whatever you do, don’t try to shape them like Delaware. That would look and taste bad.
P.S. I threw in some fried stuff for no real reason. Enjoy!
Continue reading "Look What I Made: Texas Shaped Food Part II"
Yesterday I attended TexSom, the international wine conference held at The Four Seasons Resort and Club in Irving. At lunch I was seated at the same table with a woman named Lindsay (last name redacted) who runs a restaurant in Austin. She tells our table that buying local is critical in Austin. “Chains just don’t survive,” she said referring to restaurants. I asked her whether the same spirit translated into consumer wine choices. After all, Austin is in the center of the Hill Country AVA (American Viticultural Area). “They don’t give a sh*t,” she shot back. Austin is weird. They love their local food movement, but apparently their aren’t many “vine huggers” in the area. Dees this mean Texas wine is lacking some credibility?
Oh you must go below to know. Continue reading "Report From TexSom 2012: “For Sale In Texas Only” Label on Wine Bottles Misleads Consumers"7 Comments »
Fever Tree thinks so. The firm, a small producer of premium cocktail mixers, makes its products from the finest ingredients sourced largely from small producers. That means things like fruit juices, soft spring water, cane sugar, real ginger and natural quinine. Compare that with the saccharin sweeteners and artificial preservatives in major brands. Fever Tree co-founder Charles Rolls makes the case that up to 75% of the cocktail is the mixer, so it affects the flavor of the finished drink. This sounded compelling, so I decided to get some expert opinion from my rolodex of Dallas bartenders.
Michael Martensen of The Cedars Social and formerly at The Mansion Bar at The Rosewood Mansion on Turtle Creek replied, “Fever Tree is all I use for mixers behind the bar at The Cedars Social. It is the highest quality of mixer that I have found for each category that they make a mixer for: ie club soda, ginger beer, etc. What also makes it so good is how consistent the Fever Trees are. As a bartender, you want to be able to grab a bottle on confidence and know you are pouring the best product available.We go through 20 cases of Fever Tree a week! As for ‘Is it important pour a high quality mixer?’ Yes, just as important as using filtered ice.”3 Comments »
This weekend I’m going to a BYOB painting class, and hopefully I’ll discover that I’m some sort of art genius instead of a blob artist. What are you doing? Oh, you don’t know yet? Here are some ways you can fill up your time in case you don’t feel like painting a Tuscan landscape with me.
Want to make new friends without joining an online group? Go to the “Meet and Eat” Dinner Party tonight at Bolsa Mercado. The menu is light and summer-y, and just the way it should be since the outside temperatures are too high for comfort. Join the fine people of Bolsa Mercado for a five-course dinner with summer berry soup, roasted hen, and sweet corn ravioli starting at 7:30 p.m. Cost is $75 per person (tax/gratuity included) and guests must email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 214.942.0451 to reserve a spot using a credit card.
Erin’s compiled her weekly farmers market report for all you morning risers. If you still want berries, you better lug yourself to the closest market, because berries are starting to run out this season. Continue reading "Bits & Bites: Things To Do and Chew in Dallas, July 27-29"
This just in: Ziziki’s Restaurants owners, Costa and Mary Arabatzis, are opening Meze Small Plates and Wine Bar in the space formerly known as The Commissary. Instead of gourmet burgers, expect to find Greek-style food. Opening is set for September.
The craft beer scene is starting to hop! Recently Deep Ellum Brewing Company hosted a Brew B Q event in their brewing and beer patio. Could you imagine this get together happening in Victory Park rather than Deep Ellum? It’s all local Dallas beer, food, and people. (We don’t claim several of the necklaces.) Look out Austin, Portland, and San Diego, we’re headed to the top of the list.1 Comment »
Celebration Farmers Market: Holleman Farms will return from vacation this week with Red Wattle pork, as well as their standard offerings of fresh eggs and whole chickens. Jerry from Joy Farm will have tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers, and of course, Texas peaches. Get them while you still can. If you notice any of your favorite regular vendors are missing, stop inside the market store. Many of them leave their products for sale when they can’t make it to the farmers market.
4515 W. Lovers Ln.
Saturday, 8:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.
Grapevine Farmers Market will be getting some interesting melons in for the weekend. Look for Pecos cantaloupe, locally grown Israeli melon, and orange flesh honeydew. Market Organizer Jack Morehead advises that this year’s Texas peach season started early, and will finish early. Freestone peaches will be here this weekend but not for much longer. Freestone peaches separate from the pit easily. You’re less like likely to tear the meat, which makes them great for grilling, entertaining, or anything you might want a nice presentation for.
325 S. Main Street
Thursday – Saturday, 8:00 am – 4:00 p.m.
Jump for more markets. Continue reading "Farm to Market Report: Weekend of July 21-22"2 Comments »
The developers of Klyde Warren Park (The Park) have been busy building the 5-acre green space that covers Woodall Rogers Freeway. The area will connect the Arts District and downtown with Uptown. The $110 million dollar attraction will feature fountains, a botanical garden, a performance stage, a children’s garden, real trees and grasses, and a dog park. I’ve had my nose to the ground since they started trying to dig up the scoop on the restaurants that will be granted rights to serve at, on, or around The Park.
I’ve heard rumors (many) the main restaurant will be operated by Wolfgang Puck’s catering operation which already has a stranglehold on most of the Art’s District concessions. This morning I got confirmation on a new chef-driven restaurant that will open at 2000 McKinney. It’s called Lark (on the Park). The owner, as it should be, is long-(long)-time-Dallasite-veteran-restaurateur-and-reformed-party boy, Shannon Wynne. He of the Moth, Flying Fish, Flying Saucer and other flying related concepts.
“Plans today suggest Chef Nick Amoriello will be going over there from the Moth,” Wynne says. “We will be interviewing additional chefs for Lark where we plan to present non-cute food.” What does he mean by non-cute food? “No mac and cheese or mamas fried chicken. Just good meals at a fair price.” When I asked him to expand his thoughts a little he said: “The beer program at the Moth will not be traveling to Lark as there is room for only one deluxe gastro pub in Dallas, but Lark promises more wines and mixed drinks. We are slated to open in December or early January.” Fearing he’d hang up on me, I pressed on. What about the interior? (Wynne designs his own spaces) Just before the line went dead he said, “The interior is a secret. Dallas illustrators will be heavily featured.”
That’s all I got. But I have to say it’s always good news when a unique Dallas project adds other unique Dallas project to the mix. Or The Park in this case.
UPPITY DATE: My initial post flushed an elusive ivory-billed woodpecker from the bushes. It calls: “Wolfgang Puck was a smoke screen. John Muse of Hicks and Muse fame will be opening a restaurant there.”11 Comments »