Monday night, the Winspear Opera house hosted a sold-out concert featuring Kathleen Edwards, a Canadian folk and country singer, and Bon Iver. Yesterday, one concert attendee, Dallas Observer critic Scott Reitz, wrote a post about the ridiculously expensive “petite sandwiches” served at the concession stand. He posted a picture of what looked to be space food canapes—little Pacman-shaped bread circles with a slice of roasted beef. A little later, I received an email from a reader who’d tried to dine at The Commissary on Monday night. The place was jammed. The reader said the food was good but the service was a disaster.
In the comments section of Reitz’s post, the ubiquitous Jon Alexis (jonfromtjs) made some remarks that rocked my opinion of One Arts Plaza. I admire Lucy Billingsley and her vision of creating a space where Arts District patrons can dine before and after a show. However, Jon pointed out the problems on Monday night. Snippets: “Commissary delicious but slammed, understaffed, and stressed;” “Screen Door, chef working bar, poor lady so frazzled she’s knocking glasses over;” “Jorge’s, one bartender for 20 people at the bar.” Both Tei-An and Fedora were closed.
Jon brings up a great point. “Can the restaurants not look at the schedule and see when a concert is sold out MONTHS prior that they should staff up?” I thought Screen Door offered pre-event dinners but perhaps they only run for larger events. The patio area is a perfect place to hang before and after events. I would think the already struggling restaurants would at least stick a buffet table outside and serve some drinks. Or call in the food trucks. This is a perfect scenario for One Arts on what would otherwise be a slow Monday night. I’m sure the Kathleen Edwards concert drew a crowd that would have returned to any of the places at One Arts Plaza if they’d been impressed. Now, all they remember are plastic packets of Pacman canapés made by Wolfgang Puck Catering. But don’t get me started on that again. (Wolfgang Puck? Why not a local caterer.)37 Comments »
Here’s another great reason to head downtown during Texas/OU weekend: the folks at DRG (Dallas Chop House, Wild Salsa, Dallas Fish Market) and Downtown Dallas Inc. have teamed up to create the Texas/OU Red River Barbecue Shootout. What is the Red River Barbecue Shootout, you ask? It’s a competition between four pitmasters from Oklahoma and four from Texas on one night followed by a rocking party the next. The dudes doing the cooking are:
Kent Black Keith Jennison
Black’s – Lockhart Elmer’s – Tulsa
Joe Duncan Charles Smith
Baker’s Ribs – Dallas Leo’s BBQ - Oklahoma City
Kelly Duncan Jev Vandegrift
Big Daddy’s – Lavon Van’s Pig Stand – Shawnee
Cliff Payne Joe Wells
Cousin’s – Fort Worth Smokin’ Joe’s Rib Ranch and RV Park – Davis
The competition will take place on October 6. Pitmasters will be cooking their signature St. Louis pork ribs and sauces all day in Downtown’s Main Street Garden (St. Paul and Main Street) for a 7 p.m. special private judging by a panel of food experts, sports industry members, and community leaders. From this “blind” judging (where judges will not know who cooked what recipe and judge only on food) , two winners, one from Oklahoma and one from Texas will be selected. (The panel of judges will be announced in advance of October 6.)
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‘Scuse me while I saddle up my high horse. Am I the only woman who is concerned about the sudden surge in Breastaurants. I mean really 35 additional Twin Peaks? A bar opening in downtown called The Spread Eagle? Seriously boys? How would you like to take your daughter into one of the restaurant’s the gals in our office just conceptualized. We call them Peteries.
Hunky Town, Twin Pricks, Tooter’s, Pecker’s Hot Italian Sausage, Tube Steak Junction, Cake Balls to the Walls, Nuts and Butts, Quickies, Long Dong Silver, Tally Whacker’s, Love Mussels, Wee Willie’s, Twig and Berries.
Ladies, the floor is open.53 Comments »
I received several texts and tweets from peeps who attended last nights barbecue bonanza fundraiser at Pecan Lodge Catering at the Dallas Farmers Market. According to one of the organizers, the event raised close to $10,000 for the family of Lt. Shannon Stone, the fireman who died in July after falling head first from the stands at the Ballpark in Arlington.
The twEAT of the night came from the Pope of Pizza, Jay Jerrier who apparently made a pie covered with burnt ends, caramelized onions, and roasted hatch green chiles. Holy crow I could eat that right now.Jerrier says he made at least 50 pies and he plans to make them at his restaurant until the chiles run out.
How lovely to see Pecan Lodge Catering, Lockhart Smokehouse, and Cane Rosso work together to create such a spirited evening. If last night revealed the character of our next generation of restaurateurs, then we have a bright future.
Old friends John Ley and Elwyn Hull left their full-time jobs in search of more satisfying work. They knew they loved working with people and wanted to find a way to help nonprofit organizations. So, naturally, they opened Two Corks and a Bottle—a custom winery and wine bar (where the serve as the wine makers) as part of the Wine Not, International Winery System.
All wines have been crafted on the premises using grapes sourced from quality vineyards from around the world, including France, Italy, Australia, South America, and California. The list contains over 25 red, white, and fruit wines by the glass and the bottle. During their daily wine tastings, five tastes run non-members $5, and are free for all Wine Club Members.
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Tweeter up, Dishers! Tomorrow is the MLB All-Star Game. Don’t give a twit about the game? Me either! But Evan Grant, the Dallas Morning News Rangers beat writer and The Ticket contributor, and I are going to auction a special dinner for two to raise money for the family of Shannon Stone, the Ranger fan who died tragically on Thursday night. You will have a chance to bid on having dinner with Evan and me which is funnier and more interesting than any reality TV show.
Besides Happy Hour prices all night, there will be trivia games and prizes. Rangers swag and baseball tickets, and FREE garlic fries…Check it out. It’s all happening at Gordon Biersch in the Shops at Park Lane. Hope to see you there. Deets.
John Tesar has decided to close The Table, the 12-seat tasting room inside The Commissary.The Table will close on August 1 but is scheduled to reopen around September 15 with a new concept. The press release says Tesar will retool The Table menu and “spend the necessary time focusing on The Commissary and getting the service and other restaurant issues up to the standards that he has was known for at Rosewood Mansion on Turtle Creek.” I hope so. According to two of my friends who dined at last Sunday’s the lobster bake, the service “was the worst I’ve ever had.” And that person has had a lot of bad service. Go, John. Fix it and they will come.13 Comments »
Kristy Alpert’s latest report on where you can find great food for less than eight dollars.
For this week’s lunch “under” eight dollars, I headed to Carrollton for a Cuban food at International Bakery: Cuban Dulceria. I tried, truly I did, to stick to the $8 limit. However on this day I was on a quest to enlighten my mom on the deliciousness of Cuban cuisine. For her, I spared no expense—you can only have your first bite of a Cuban sandwich once. What we ended up having could be considered complete Cuban enlightenment.
Nestled between Target and Petco, and behind a Chili’s, once you are inside the door of this hole-in-the-wall bakery the strip-mall surroundings disappear and you are transported to tiny shop in Havana. The walls are covered with bright paintings and black-and-white family pictures. The shelves are full of aged wooden crates, nostalgic cigar boxes, and Cuban groceries. They only have a handful of tables, most customers grab their baked goods to-go, but we choose to sit and enjoy the whole experience.
Many times we have some interesting conversations in the glamorous open offices at D Magazine. None of us have any secrets because each time one of us takes a phone call or starts a conversation, any a co-worker within 40 yards can hear what you say. The other day a riveting conversation about douchey bars in Dallas started in one corner of the office and spread across the entire 21st floor.
I, once again, disregarded my mother’s advice, and decided to sink to a new low: I would like to start a list of douchey bars and restaurants in Dallas. Calling a place douchey– uninteresting, stale, preppy, mainstream, especially in a self-promoting way–swings both ways. Some people look for douchery while others avoid it. So, the term isn’t necessarily negative, it’s just an adjective. On your mark, get set, procrastinate below.83 Comments »
Teresa Gubbins has been all over this story like hot on fries (where did I just read that?). She reported Friday that the former owners of foodie favorite La Palapa Veracruzana that closed nearly two years ago, Raul and Olga Reyes, have been given a second chance to showcase their talents at Mesa. Their savior? No, not Carl Van Fleet of In-N-Out. The Reyes’, according to Gubbins, were saved by “by a support group that includes Chris Zielke, co-owner of Smoke and Bolsa, as well as Nick Zukin, the Portland blogger and restaurateur who is co-owner of Kenny & Zuke’s Delicatessen. Bolsa bartender Eddie “Lucky” Campbell consulted on the cocktail menu, which includes a luscious house-made horchata — spiked, of course.” Opening day is set for Friday, May 20. 118-A West Jefferson Blvd.1 Comment »
Monday night our photographer Desiree Espada dropped by John Tesar’s inaugural dinner at The Table, the 12 8-seat tasting room next to The Commissary. The table was lined with friends including Jennifer and David Uygur (Lucia), Chef Bruno Davaillon (Mansion execuchef), Michael Flynn (Mansion sommelier), Tim Byres (Smoke), Teiichi “Teach” Sakurai (Tei-An), and The “Ubiquitous” Brad. Sarah Reiss from our staff was also invited. Here are the pictures Desiree managed to capture.8 Comments »
Chef John Tesar is on fire. The guy has been working non-stop since last winter. First, he kick-started the menu at The Cedars Social, where he still oversees the kitchen. Then he signed a lease on the Dali Wine Bar space and divided it into two restaurants: The Commissary and The Table.
Early returns from The Commissary are blissful. Colleagues have stopped by my cubicle and uttered “OMG” “To Die For” and “How can it be so good and so cheap?” “It blew my hair back!” Saaa-weet! The menu is centered on gourmet burgers and fine wine. It’s a burger joint with a sommelier (Scott Barber). The other portion of the space, The Table is a 12-seat tasting room where Tesar will perform the higher end dishes that brought him to the Big Show. Teasar calls it “deconstructed fine dining.” He is resurrecting canapés!
Anywhoo, last night Tesar threw a private party at The Table. The guest list included Jennifer and David Uygur (Lucia), Chef Bruno Davaillon (Mansion execuchef), Michael Flynn (Mansion sommelier), Tim Byres (Smoke), Teiichi “Teach” Sakurai (Tei-An), and The “Ubiquitous” Brad. Who was that skinny little bitch sitting next to Byres? Our own Sarah Reiss. “The food was incredible,” Reiss said. “Tesar overwhelmed us (in a good way ) with 13 courses; he wanted to try everything out on his friends. I just sat back and listened to all the great industry talk and insider raves.” The 13-course, seafood-centric marathon, that was anticipated to last 150 minutes, lasted over 4 hours. Reiss gives the best dish award to the faux cuttle fish pasta with Iberico pork and lemon fondue.
Reiss said the talk at the table revolved around the current dining culture in Dallas and how chefs are trying new things on the menu (pig’s ear and tripe), and the fact that restaurateurs are more willing to take chances. “This generation is going to forever define the dining in this city,” said Tesar.
Wonderfully pompous or prophetic? Or both? The Commissary opens for lunch today. Go. Eat. Report.
In case you have been in a Chicago deep-dish pizza coma, you know Dough Pizzeria, “an Authentic Neapolitan style pizza restaurant (according to their website), is opening a location in the old Chocolate Angel space in Preston Forest Shopping Center. If you’d like to get a feel for the madness about to descend on this once quiet spot, tune into Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives tomorrow (Sunday) to catch the pizzeria’s close up with that spiky haired dude that makes my skin crawl. I just spoke with a Dough Pizzeria rep in their hometown of San Antonio and they expect the Preston Forest location to be open by mid-June. Could Dallas be the Naples of Texas? If so, is Napoletana pizza the new taco? Can Jay Jerrier work more than 24 hours in one day?8 Comments »
You may have seen this video before but every time I watch it makes me smile. Happy Good Friday.1 Comment »
Long ago, a friend of mine then in his mid-30s detailed his approach to dating. On a first date he would take a woman out for drinks, proceed to a Dallas Stars game, and end the evening with a lovely wine-infused dinner. He admitted he threw down almost $600. Mark had a lot of first dates.
I was stunned. “How in the world do you afford that,” I asked. Mark explained his idea which he called date averaging. The first date would be a grand, expensive evening at one of Dallas’ top restaurants. For the second and third date, he would scale back to a cool, hip dive.
Are you a date averager? If so, let’s consider Restaurant Pairing. Which two restaurants would you match for such a first and second date? I’ll offer up the first pairing: The French Room followed by Louie’s. Now, let’s hear yours.12 Comments »
A well-informed, reliable Oak Cliff-dwelling person informed me that chef Kelly Hightower walked into the restaurant and punched one of his partners (“the dude who usually works the door”) around 7:30 pm on Friday night. “The guy’s face was all bloody,” says my secret source. “And the dining room was packed.” Talk of the incident is the buzz of conversation all over the OC. I contacted Hightower and he replied, “Nova has no comment at this time.”20 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 »
Many of you have been curious to know about what is going on in the old Cuba Libre space on Henderson. Yesterday, I caught up with Consilient Restaurant’s head honcho Tristan Simon. Here’s what I found out.
What you once knew as Cuba Libre has been demolished, completely remodeled, and renamed Alma (soul in Spanish). The crews have just completed the construction. The design is “50s mid-century modern Mexican with low density seating.” They are now working on the “elevated regional Mexican cuisine” menu development and will begin hiring in the next two weeks. The goal is for Alma to open their doors in late January. Alma will likely be the last “major brand creation on Henderson” for Consilient because of the horrid parking situation.
Who will be the chef? “I can’t tell you yet,” said Simon. “But he’s a big deal.” By the end of the conversation Simon spilled the beans on the new chef. And yes, the guy will be a big deal AFTER HE MOVES TO Dallas.
Another quick note: Simon is still working with Julian Barsotti of Nonna on a deli concept. “We are doing the real estate and investing,” said Simon. “Jules is taking the lead in that project.” Meanwhile, Barsotti has been consulting on Consilient’s expansion of Fireside Pies. The newest location in Fort Worth has been retooled for roll out. “We started from scratch and did something more modern from the design standpoint,” said Simon. “We’ve also expanded the menu to include hand-cut pastas.”4 Comments »