Category Archives: Food Event

Pecan Lodge PR Party

Dude.

That shit is great.  I’m not kidding.  The best smoked meat I’ve ever had.  Anywhere.  Any time.

Last night, Hubbard and I were fortunate enough to be invited the Pecan Lodge’s PR party for their new location in Deep Ellum on Main.  You won’t believe it.  It’s a great space.  Lot’s of room, comfortable environment.  Everything is amazing.

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They have a new line waiting for you.  More smokers this time.  Faster line with more meat.  So, you probably won’t have to get there before dawn to queue up.

Let me just say this…

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Hubbard looked at me, “This is the best BBQ I’ve ever had.”  I said, “Yes, it is.  I told you.”  He agreed again that it was the absolute best in all eternity.  Look at that smoke ring.  Damn.

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If it looks good to you at all, it’s ten times better than you’re thinking.  AND they have a big patio space with live music (check their website), a bar, their own brew, serving dinner on Friday and Saturday.  We’ve landed in Pecan Lodge heaven, kids.  I want to take a sleeping bag and spend the night there until they open on May 23.

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Local notables.

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Are you happy yet?  You wait.  You just wait until you go.

 

Goodbye to Club Schmitz

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Last Friday Hubbard, myself and few friends made our way to Club Schmitz to pay our final respects.  It’s not gone yet, but May 31 will be it’s final day since it opened in 1946.  Hubbard and I attended the University of Dallas and this was one of the closest spots to get a cheap beer and decent burger, play a little shuffleboard and shoot some pool.  The place was packed.

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I suspect it will remain packed until it’s final day.  So, if you want to pay your final respects and gobble up one more patty melt with tater tots, you might want to try and get there early on a week day.  Our friend Bo here prefers the “double double”.  You can just guess what that is.  Strangely enough, I didn’t take any pictures of the food.

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It’s the feel of Club Schmitz that we’re going to miss.  The well worn table and time-warp restrooms.  The ripped seats and plastic pitchers of beer.  It’s remembering what it was like to be young and new to beer joints and finding one that you could call your own.  Goodbye Club Schmitz.  We’re going to miss you.

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The sign still says open, but not for long.  Don’t forget to grab a T-shirt.

 

Underground Dinner with Ryan Barnett

You’ve heard of those underground dinners, right?  Pop-up restaurants?  Well, Hub and I were unexpected stand-ins for a good friend of ours who couldn’t make it.  I had always wanted to attend an event like this but never really gotten around to it.  Such fun!

It was held at My Private Chef in Deep Ellum by Chef Ryan Barnett.  There were two communal tables and a four course dinner.  Delicious!  Ryan likes to focus on locally sourced food.  The freshness and purity of the flavors really showed through in each dish.

Our first course was a chilled mussel salad with peach and grapefruit.  A light vinaigrette and the bitterness of the greens perfectly complimented the shellfish and the fruit.  I would have never thought of a mussel salad, but I will from now on.  It was very nice.

Next, a veloute’ of sweet Texas corn topped with a little crab and some thinly sliced green onion.  And sweet it was.  It was delicately, yet fully flavored.  Creamy and smooth, delicious with the little touch of crab.

I wanted to pick up the bowl and drink it.  But, I behaved and used my spoon!

Next on to the fish.  Flounder served with an assortment of local squash.  Very nice.  A squash blossom was a lovely touch, as well.  The flounder was cooked perfectly.

So good.  I love fish.  But, what I don’t usually like at all is lemon desserts.  I am glad that I’m not the type that won’t even try something I have disliked in the past because the lemon tart was fantastic!  Not overpowering.  Tender crust.  It really was excellent.

Chef Ryan will be doing these dinners every two weeks.  We went to the first one on the 3rd.  So check in with him for more info… ChefRB@me.com.  Request to be on the mailing list if you want to be notified of new dinners.  This one was $50 for four courses. It was BYOB with wine service provided.  The service was great.  Conversation was lively and the food…  wonderful!

Like Chef Ryan on Facebook.

http://www.facebook.com/ChefRyanBarnett

Del Frisco’s Grille for Lunch

What’s better than a free brunch at the new Del Frisco’s Grille?  Not much!      Hubbard and I were treated this Saturday and loved every bite.  This is the steakhouse’s answer to a bar and grill.  Very stylish and a great location.  The patios is spacious.  They even have an patio upstairs in their second dining area.  Bonus:  they serve brunch on Saturday and Sunday.  I love that.  I’m always craving something delicious on Saturday afternoons.  I think if you see the pictures you’ll be craving it, too!

I’m a sucker for deviled eggs.  With truffle-chive vinaigrette?  Are you kidding?

Hubbard is still talking about these cheesesteak eggrolls.  They really were delicious.  Tender beef.  Cheesy, crunchy.  Great idea.

I thoroughly enjoyed this Carbonara Flatbread.  Isn’t it lovely?  Prosciutto, Parmesan, cracked black pepper cream sauce.  Kind of like a ham and egg pizza but better.  And we still haven’t gotten to the the entrees yet.

Want a drink?  How about that white Sangria?  So light and refreshing.  Makes you want to drink it all day!  The Bloody Mary comes with a tray of garnishes that you can use to fix up your own glass.  I never got to that because I was actually just interested in tasting the mix.  I hate a dull Bloody Mary and this one was nothing but dull.  Not too spicy, still full of flavor.  Of course, the brunch punch isn’t too bad either.

Bacardi, Malibu, orange and pineapple juices, grenadine… yum!

When I go to a new place for brunch I always try the Benedict.  This one was particularly good.

Sitting atop white cheddar and scallion biscuits, topped with chipotle hollandaise, the eggs were perfectly prepared.  I’m pretty picky about poached eggs.  This was a great entree and very filling.  Hubbard had to try the chicken fried steak.  He makes a mean chicken fried steak here at our house.  So, he can be critical when it comes to CFS.  Not much to complain about when it’s made from ribeye!

The chorizo gravy gave a nice full flavor to the dish.  Hub liked it a lot.  The steak was very tender and not chewy or fatty at all.  And yes, the crust says on the meat when you cut into it!  Delicious fries.

Yes, they are really called Sea Salt and Parmesan Frites.  Call them whatever you want.  They’re really good.  Maybe not as good as the desserts.  But, damn close!

This was my favorite.  Coconut cream pie.  Delicious!

Bread pudding?

Lemon cake?

Oh, come on!  You know you want it!  We’ll be going back for sure!

The Grape for Restaurant Week

I know I’m late.  I should have written sooner.  But, I’ve been thinking about it…

I have always been this huge fan of Restaurant Week.  And I mean it.  Like “fan” as in “fanatic”.  I believe in the good that it does for the North Texas Food Bank and I think it’s a great way to go all out.  Discover new food.  New styles.  New wines and dining rooms.  I’ve always felt liberated by Restaurant Week.  $35 for three courses in some of the best restaurants in town?  What’s wrong with that?

This year, I was unenthusiastic.  I always like to try new places during this time.  I’ve been to most of them on the list now.  Go back to one of last year’s winners maybe?  Then I thought, why not go to one of the places I already love?  I know The Grape is my kind of place.  When I saw their RW menu I decided I couldn’t miss it.  The chef, Brian Luscher, came out to say hi before the meal.  The food was fantastic.  Everyone around us seemed to be having a great time.

Chef explained that he liked Restaurant Week.  It showed.  The menu was loaded with intriguing choices.  The wines were fantastic.  And everyone in the room seemed to be genuinely glad to be there, including the people who were working.  Sound like a typical RW story?  Hell, no.  People bitch like crazy about RW.  Yet, there they are.  Making the reservations and hoping they’ll have a great evening. 

The Grape felt just like it has every time I’ve ever been there.  Because it’s a great place.  Intimate.  Wonderful food.  Amazing happy hour.  Good people.  If you just relax and say yes, you’ll always come back.

Chef’s Picnic at White Rock Photos

You’ll have to forgive me.  My camera lens obviously had a little smear of somthing on it that I didn’t notice.  But, I’ve got to show you the pictures of the Chef’s Picnic at White Rock Lake’s Centennial Celebration this past Sunday.

If you go around back at the Bath House Cultural Center the place is usually locked up.  Not today…  it’s ready for a party!

So many great chefs came together for this event.  Check out this link for the details.  The food was amazing and the open bar wasn’t too bad either.

Look  at these beautiful salads…

 

Add some grilled chicken, sausage, smoked brisket…

A few more sides and you’ve got yourself a damned good lunch!

There won’t be another 100 year celebration at White Rock.  But if you see an event like this again, packed with fantastic local chefs, grab a ticket and go!  It was well worth the price and a terrfic afternoon.

Cinco de Mayo at Work

Who says you can’t have fun at work?  We got the idea for a taco bar this year.  The day started with taquitos for breakfast, thanks to Ox.  When lunch rolled around we luckily, we had Gary, the brisket master, on staff.  Cindy brought pulled chicken.  Becky brought the ground beef.  Corn tortillas, flour tortillas, taco shells and all the taco fixings.

Guacamole, tortilla roll-ups, refried black beans, Spanish rice, queso, tortilla chips of all shapes and sizes along with pico de gallo and two homemade salsas.  It was all delicious!  Laura brought some limeade so that we could at least pretend to have Margaritas.

Cindy is a conservative eater, though I thought she put together a pretty good looking plate.

Josue, on the other hand, is not afraid to pile it on.  This is just one of this plates.  He ate every bite and more.

And you know me…  brisket taco, chicken taco, beans, rice and guac with a little plate of queso and chips on the side.

Just when you think it might be time to put it all away…  a wave of nacho “Supreme” makers come on the scene.  Chips, some meat, queso, peppers, etc.  It was just about all gone by the time we finally gave up.

Did I forget to mention strawberry shortcake?  That, too!  I forgot how fun that squirty whipped cream is.

Sadly, tomorrow is only May 6th.  Oh well… there’s always July 4th!

The Pizza Tour or How I Learned to Eat Pizza All Day Long

First you start with a party bus ready to go at about 11:00 in the morning.  At the back, you’ll find a keg of beer.  At the front, Steven Doyle, our gracious host and organizer.  Pack the bus with a bunch of hungry people and you’ve got yourself a Pizza Tour.

Our first stop was the home of Janice Provost.  Janice owns Parigi on Oak Lawn Ave and she’s been thinking about pizza a lot recently.  We, being the helpful crew that we are, were happy to sample some of Janice’s ideas.

Did I mention that this is Janice’s home?  This isn’t the kitchen at the restaurant.  This is how she does it at her house.  I’m suffering serious kitchen envy.  Maybe that’s why I forgot to take a single picture of the pizza.  Hand formed, thin crust and quality over quantity when it comes to toppings.  I’m not always a huge fan of truffle oil.  But, the all white mushroom pizza with just a drizzle of truffle oil was fantastic.  The crust of all her pies is exceptionally good, too.  Thin, yet crispy enough to support itself.  I really like that.

Then, back on to the bus to drive to Rockwall.  I have to admit I was puzzled.  With so many great pizza joints in Dallas, why were we driving across the lake?  Once we got there, I knew why.  Zanata.  I didn’t look at a menu.  They just started turning out the pizzas. 

Looks like Chef Ted has done this before.  In fact, it looked like he could probably make pizza in his sleep.  The ingredients were fantastic.  Bacon, Brussel sprout leaves, carmelized onions, housemade sausage, gorgonzola, eggplant… not all on the same pizza mind you.  But, all fabulous. 

 I might even drive to Rockwall again for that pizza.  If you live in or around Rockwall and haven’t been… for shame!  Ted came out to the bus and had a  beer with us.  Then back to Dallas. 

This time for Coal Vines pizza.  I’ve been hearing about how great the pizza is at Coal Vines forever, but somehow I had never been to sample their product.  We arrived at the end of brunch and Chef Samir was nice enough to come and talk to us about their restaurant and the pies.

I’m starting to see a trend.  Everywhere we go, the pizza is excellent.

Our biggest challenge; saving room for two more places.  Good pizza and a glass of wine is a hard thing to get up and walk away from.  But, alas, that is exactly what we must do.  Back to Deep Ellum, where we started.  First we check out newcomer, Serious Pizza just across from Elm Street Bar who supplied our now empty keg.  Thanks, Elm Street!

This was probably the most casual pizza place on the tour.  It just opened this week.  But, that guy in the photo has got to have been tossing pizzas long before last Thursday.  They do sell by the whole pie or the slice.  Lots of ingredients to chose from.

Notice anything different about this pizza?  Use the Parmesan and crushed red pepper shakers for scale.  This pizza is huge!  And it appears that they fixed this one up with most of the ingredients they had on hand.  Very good.  Should be a great walk-up place once the word gets out.

Then to Cane Rosso.  This is Hub and my current go-to spot for pizza. In fact, despite this full day of pizza eating I would gladly return to Cane Rosso this morning.  Unfortunately, they aren’t open on Sunday.  We’ve been there pretty regularly since they opened.  Check out their menu.  They make their own crust, sauce, mozzarella… all of that really adds to the end result.  However, this trip we didn’t have to do the ordering.  We sat down and they just kept it coming.  First, a big plate of fried artichokes and Calabrian chili aioli for dipping.  Then, the pizzas.

A huge plate of homemade pappardelle was incredible.  That was a new one for me and that’s what I’m really craving this morning.  And then some dessert maybe?  How about a big s’mores calzone?  A dessert pizza with carmelized apples?  Or a brown paper bag of zeppole?  Just shake to cover the little fried dough balls with powdered sugar.  There’s a chocolate sauce for dipping, too.

Did I fail to take a lot of pictures?  Of course, I was too busy eating and drinking wine to take a photo of anything more than the one pizza above.  Finally, I didn’t have to worry about how much I was eating.  Next, we would be going home.  Only one thing left to do…

Jim McClure, our tour bus saber guy, instructing Steve on how to open a bottle of Champagne.  This has become our traditional sign off for the end of the tour.  Thanks to Jay at Cane Rosso for letting us use his patio for a little sword play!

Happy Pizza Tour, Steve!  Can’t wait to see what you come up with next!! 

I’m sure you’ll be able to read more about the tour on CraveDFW, Steve’s new food and entertainment site.  Check it out!

Restaurant Week 2010

So, have you made your choice(s) yet?  We decided to go for the Mansion and Cafe Pacific.  I was good this year and waiting until “Reservation Day”, the day that they are officially supposed to start taking reservations.  I’ll never do that again.  Abacus and Craft were ringing fast busy.  I don’t trust Open Table for RW reservations because I’ve made them and had the establishment come back and say they weren’t serving RW during that time slot.  I’d rather just have everything up front and clear on the phone.  That’s usually why I start calling way before the list has even come out.  This year, I didn’t do that. 

Have you seen the menu for Pappa’s Brothers?  One of the 2nd course options is an 8 oz filet with mushroom ragout and shrimp.  That’s a pretty significant dish for $35 considering you get a salad and dessert, too.  As time goes by and I see more menus, I wish I had more reservations.

I did get smart this year and plan a girl’s night out for Restaurant Week.  Why didn’t I think of this before?  Three of my friends and I are going to Arcodoro Pomodoro on a Friday night.  Sounds like fun to me!

So, where are you going?  Are you going?  Any thoughts on RW?

Bastille Day

We had a great time at the Bishop Arts District last Wednesday for the Bastille Day celebration.  The heat, though, was as bad as I thought it might be or we would have stayed longer.  We got there about 5:45 and met our friend S for pizza and salad at Eno’s.  I love the thin crust at Eno’s.  But, it could have been just a tad crispier.  The place was packed when we left to join the festivities outside where we hooked up with Steven Doyle from the Observer’s blog “City of Ate“.  (I think that’s such a clever name!) Steve knows everyone!  Introduced me to Andrew Chalk from D Magazine’s blog “Side Dish“.  It was fun to put a face with a name finally.

They were expecting 500 or so people at this event.  About 1500 showed up.  We were lucky to have gotten Tshirts, wine glasses and, most importantly, tickets for mussels.  They sold out of all of the previously mentioned goods.  There were scads of local chefs on hand for a mussel competition.  But, I had my eye on David Uygur and our friend Kevin Dean, who was assisting during this competiton.  Uygur is opening an Italian spot next to Dude Sweet Chocolates.  It will be called Lucia.  And if his Italian food is as good as the food at Lola used to be, I might just go ahead and move to Oak Cliff!  Anyway, the mussels they created were fabulous and the fresly made bread was perfect for sopping up the tasty broth.  Not surprisingly, they won the competition!

Now, if this would have been a beautiful Spring evening…  I would have stayed until they threw me out.  Evidently, the French weren’t thinking about us Texans and street festivals on that original Bastille Day so long ago.  And after about an hour and half in the sweltering heat, I had to hit the road.  Will I be back next year.  I imagine so.  I probably will have cooled off by then!