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Holy Hefe-Weizen – Chamberlain’s Bavarian Brau Haus

With less than two months to Addison Oktoberfest and our fearless (and never drinkless) leader Susie out of town, I was treated to a preview of Chamberlain’s Brau Haus.  A little background first…

Addison’s Oktoberfest has been one of the city’s most popular events since it kicked off in 1987.  With a tenure of nearly 3 decades, the festival is widely considered one of the most authentic Oktoberfest celebrations outside Munich and has been recognized by USA Today and Forbes as one of the Top Oktoberfest celebrations in North America. From September 18 – 20 it will be home to all things weizenbier, sauerkraut and sausage.

Despite one’s inclination to think the event is aimed at adults or those interested solely in drinking beer and eating, it’s actually a very family-friendly event with a variety of activities suitable for the little ones, including carnival games, rides and music. There is even a 5K and 1 mile run benefitting Dallas-based Wipe Out Kid’s Cancer (WOKC).

On September 18-20, Chef Richard Chamberlain hosts Chamberlain’s Brau Haus, a full-service restaurant, for the second year in a row.  Chamberlain & Co. will deliver a Deutschland dining experience worthy of curing the most serious cases of the travel bug for those yearning to go to Munich … or it may make the bug bite harder. (Either way ….) A brief glance of the menu at the pre-Oktoberfest tasting event and I knew it to be wise to preemptively loosen my tie, unbutton the top button on my dress shirt, and get comfortable. (I still don’t know why they didn’t encourage us to wear sweatpants.)

The Brau Haus menu features a packed 3-course meal with Paulaner beer pairings throughout.  I was somehow able to restrain my usual tendency of partaking in a second round of table snacks typically offered at restaurants (no shame), in this case, fresh German pretzels.

Our first course included (get ready): a sampling of smoked rainbow trout with a horseradish cream and pickled onions, Bavarian ham with German mustard and a cucumber, dill and tomato salad.  Winner of this course: the trout.  It was was cooked as you would expect it to be at restaurant of Chamberlain’s caliber, perfectly.  The horseradish cream and pickled onions were spot on and seemed to include nearly all the different aspects of taste – salty, bitter, sweet, etc.

The second course featured Bavarian braised pork with onion potatoes and a paulaner jus along with a trio of German Sausages.  As if more was needed to justify my indulgence, house made sauerkraut and bacon filled up the remaining space on my plate.  Winner of the second course: the pork.  The Chamberlain’s crew served up pork that was so tender the meat seemed to gently and gracefully fall onto the fork as if yearning to be eaten.  (How’s that for meat poetry?)

It was a serious internal debate whether there was room for the warm cinnamon apple strudel top with a salted caramel sauce, but don’t worry logic and reason prevailed. (All this coming from a guy who typically eats pretty healthy.)

Tickets for the 6:30pm or 8:30pm dinner on the 18th, 19th or 20th or for Oktoberfest’s other packages need to be purchased by September 4th as quantities are limited.  The$49 Brau Haus package gets you:

  • admission to Oktoberfest (a $10 value)
  • the 3 course tasting meal with  Paulaner beer pairings
  • a Paulaner Oktoberfest 1 litre beer stein with a bier or wine flight
  • (the best part) your choice of a $25 gift card to either Chamberlain’s Steak & Chop House or Chamberlain’s Fish Market

Needless to say, Chamberlain’s Brau Haus dining experience should be reason enough to visit Addison’s 2014 Oktoberfest celebration.   Add to it the Draught Haus, an authentic Munich-style beer hall with a Texas twist in at the Addison Conference Center, more food and fun and there I’d be interested to know your rationale for not going.

To buy your tickets to Chamberlain’s Brau Haus or for additional event and package information, visit the Oktoberfest 2014 website.

Oktoberfest 2014 | Addison Circle Park | September 18-21
MORE DETAILS HERE …

Chamberlain’s Steak and Chop House
www.chamberlainssteakhouse.com
Facebook | Twitter: @ChamberlainSTK
5330 Beltline Road, Dallas, Texas 75254
(972) 934 – 2467

*Many thanks to Chamberlain’s, Paulaner and the city of Addison for my meal!

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An Unforgettable Experience: Asador’s Harvest Dinner with Cocktail Pairings

Last Friday I was lucky enough to have a seat at Asador’s 3rd Harvest Dinner. If you take anything away from this review, understand that you MUST dine here. I was quite honestly blown away with every dish and every cocktail. I was also impressed how friendly and obviously talented the executive chef and mixologist were. Asador did one of the very best executions of farm to table high-end dining I’ve experienced. With the current craft cocktails trend being craft cocktails with “everything but the kitchen sink” muddle in (where some bartenders sacrifice taste for shock value), I was happy to discover that Asador’s cocktails were inventive, but with a real purpose behind every ingredient.

Let’s dive in, shall we? The Harvest Dinner took place in the new ballroom and rooftop terrace at the Renaissance hotel, which boasts great views of the Dallas skyline. It was a perfect summer night, and I enjoyed taking in the beautiful sunset while enjoying Asador’s amuse course, which was a Bay Scallop Ceviche and the Classic Rum-Brandy Punch, with nutmeg sprinkled on top.

The full menu can be found here, but in efforts not to write a novel, I’ll just cover my personal highlights of the evening.

photo 2 (11)The second course was Octopus Carpaccio, comprised of paper-thin slices of octopus paired with pickled plums and jicama. It was a light and refreshing summer dish, but the octopus made it a bit more substantial and very flavorful. The paired cocktail was called the Air Mail, which was a crowd favorite (lime juice, honey syrup and Prosecco). It brought out the sweetness of the pickled plums and tempered the acidity of the octopus.

The fourth course was Mesquite Roasted Texas Rib Eye with corn pudding, charred corn succotash and grilled baby jewel lettuce. This was truly one of the best pieces of beef I’ve ever had–it was cooked perfectly rare and melted in my mouth. (I’m sure there’s a pun here, but I’ll skip it.) The cocktail pairing was the Bourbon Thyme Smash. I stay away from bourbon drinks normally because I’m a ‘fraidy cat (to Susie’s everlasting disappointment), but this cocktail was tangy and refreshing thanks to the clove and honey syrup and fresh lemon. I’d come back just for a cocktail.

Last but not least … dessert! I audibly gasped as I tasted the fruity yet savory dessert, Texas Grapefruit Curd, topped with toasted coconut, a shortbread cookie and just the best whipped cream I’ve ever tasted. They paired the dessert with a simple Aperitif Cocktail of Amaro Nonino. This was the perfect ending to an absolutely flawless meal.

The executive chef explained that he had created the courses keeping in mind that it was just a bit warm outside (good joke), so he made sure every course was light and refreshing. #nofoodcoma

Everyone I interacted with at the Asador was genuinely friendly and hospitable. This would be a great place to take parents or to go for a romantic dinner because you can be assured that both the service and the experience will be impeccable. Even if you just have time to stop by for a cocktail, you are in for an absolute treat. And don’t forget that it’s restaurant week, so this is a perfect opportunity to try Asador out for the first time or for a refresher evening.

Thank you to Asador for the spectacular evening!

 

ASADOR
A Modern Texas Farm to Fire Cuisine located in the Renaissance Hotel
2222 Stemmons Freeway, Dallas TX 75207
(214)267-4815
www.asadorrestaurant.com
Facebook | Twitter & Instagram: ‪@Asador_Dallas

HAPPY HOUR SPECIALS
Monday-Friday | 4pm – 7pm

  • $4 Draft Beer & $6 House Wine
  • $6 Select Specialty Cocktails
  • $1 Appetizers
photo credit: http://us.sauzatequila.com

Down By the Bay, Where the Watermelons Grow …

National Watermelon Day was on August 3rd, but in my world, it’s always watermelon day! (I love watermelon, especially in the summer. I’ve even started eating it like a Texan; by adding salt to it!)

What else pairs well with salt and watermelon? Tequila! I was sent a bottle of Sauza Blue Silver Tequila, made from 100% blue agave, to try it out and create a few cocktail recipes using it. Sauza Blue Silver Tequila is really great tequila, and I love tequila to begin with, so doing a product review was obviously a pleasure.

On its own it has a smooth, clean, citrus finish. Also Sauza mixes wonderfully in cocktails. For those of you who aren’t huge tequila fans, you might like this one, because it is very smooth and easy to drink.  

Sauza Tequila and Watermelon Cocktail Recipes

Do yourself a favor and get a watermelon and some Sauza tequila and try out some cocktail recipes like the ones below! I guarantee they will cool ya down!

Watermelon Sangria (makes 2)
3 ounces of Sauza Blue Silver Tequila
1-2 cups of watermelon, diced small
1 orange, squeezed
1 lemon, squeezed
1 lime, squeezed
White wine
Soda water
Ice
Lemon and lime garnish
Muddle the watermelon in a shaker, then add the tequila, orange, lemon and lime and add ice. Shake like there is no tomorrow. Strain into glasses over ice, top off with white wine and a splash soda water and garnish. photo copy

Watermelon Spritz
1½ ounces of Sauza Blue Silver Tequila
3 ounces of watermelon juice (to make your own … cube watermelon, quickly blend, and then strain)
1 lime, squeezed
1 lime, cut into wedges
Soda water
Ice
Fill glass with ice, add tequila, add watermelon juice, lime juice, and add cubed limes, top off with soda water.

If you don’t want to whip up your own cocktail, you should try Sauza’s sparkling margaritas.

According to their website: “Our ready-to-serve sparkling margarita is made with real tequila, and comes in Original Lime, Mango Peach, Wild Berry flavors and now Watermelon!” 

DISTILLED IN MEXICO Sauza® Tequila, 40% alc./vol. DRINK RESPONSIBLY

Kanaracuni Cocktail Club – The Perilous Botanical Quest

Hendrick’s Gin recently embarked upon a real journey to find a botanical element that they could add to their traditional Hendrick’s Gin that would bring out its flavors and take the tried and true spirit to a new level. Lesley Gracie (Master Distiller), David Piper (Global Brand Ambassador), Charles Brewer-Carias (an old school explorer), Francisco Delascio (botanist), and a local Indian chief and guides ventured to Venezuela’s jungle to the Kanaracuni River to find the elusive flavor (to set up the  Guyana’s first cocktail bar).

Each day, the team took a different direction from base camp to search and brought back samples of the plants they found. Each evening, Lesley distilled the plants using the small copper still they took along. The adventurers found an element that played perfectly with Hendrick’s flavor notes on the seventh day of searching, the Scorpion Tail, a plant native to the Venezuelan jungle. They were able to transport 8 liters of the Scorpion Tail distillate back to Scotland (though customs was understandably a bitch) to create 350 liters of Hendrick’s Kanaracuni. Since only 350 liters were made, it won’t be available for sale. The entire journey was purely for the art of making an exquisite spirit.

Local bartenders were invited to the Dallas Zoo’s Flamingo Room to taste the Hendrick’s Kanaracuni and test some recipes. We started with a toasted cinnamon and pineapple cocktail and appetizers, some dried and seasoned crickets and mealworms (I kid you not). The group was treated to a video about the trip and then were given the chance to try the spirit. It has the usual herbal flavor of Hendrick’s with a certain bite that mellows into a spicy heat thanks to the Scorpion Tail.

The night wore on an delicious bites and a traditional martini was served which featured the Hendrick’s Kanaracuni (omg it was amazing). We met some animals native to the area they explored and were even treated to a blow dart competition where we were able to shoot the Global Brand Ambassador with paint balls. I, unfortunately, was a little too good at it and hit him square on the protective eyewear he was wearing. (Half and inch lower and I’d have been taken off the Hendrick’s media list!!!)

I personally am delighted to see a liquor company out there pursuing the art of distilling instead of the money behind it. I’d like to see more distillers follow suit!

Check out more about the Hendrick’s Perilous Botanical Quest at www.hendricksgin.com/perilousbotanicalquest.

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Beat the Heat at NYLO Hotels

Hey, y’all … check out this brilliant promotion happening now at all three local NYLO Hotels!

Anytime the temperature goes over 100 degrees, NYLO will be offering drink specials!

NYLO invites sun-lovers to cool off this summer by any of their DFW hotel pools and enjoy refreshing drink specials during the blazing month of August! Every day in of August that the temperature hits over 100 degrees, make your way to NYLO Hotels for $4 draft beers and $4 calls. If the temperature keeps climbing, NYLO hotel’s the place to be to make this summer even hotter.

Cherry Negroni

Ocean Prime(d)

Sometimes being me is tough (I know … wah wah wah … getting free alcohol is sooooo hard. But bear with me here).  Trying new places all the time is really nice, but it keeps you from revisiting some of the tried and true awesome places that you’ve always enjoyed.  Case in point: Ocean Prime.

They asked me to stop in and try some of their classics again and some new offerings.  Since they told me I was in for 11 full-size cocktails on this adventure (which I limited to nine), I took along a friend.  Here’s how it went …

We walked into the posh Uptown restaurant and the familiar smell of steak, liquor, and truffle wafted from the bar.  We were seated and immediately greeted by John, our server, and he was attentive and courteous all evening.  My kryponite, truffle butter popcorn, was delivered to the table (and the heavens opened up and angels sang), then the drinks started flowing.

  • CHERRY NEGRONI (Plymouth Gin, Carpano Antica Sweet Vermouth, Cherry Heering, fresh orange, lemon juice) – I’m not the biggest fan of the traditional negroni (Campari, gin, and sweet vermouth), but even though the recipe it incredibly different than the traditional cocktail, it had a nod to the traditional cocktail with a smoother note thanks to the Cherry Heering and lemon juice.
  • PEACH BOURBON COOLER (recipe not available) – as a HUGE bourbon fan, this was my favorite drink of the evening.  It was really light and perfect for summer yet incredibly potent thanks to the bourbon (duhhh) and fresh peach liqueur
  • CARIBBEAN MULE (Bacardi 8 Rum, Domaine de Canton, house made sour, old fashioned bitters) – this fun (and entirely too easy to drink) take on the mule is light and perfectly balanced.  The old fashioned bitters and ginger liqueur were such a fun, fresh flavor when mixed.
  • CUCUMBER GIMLET (Bombay Sapphire Gin, muddled cucumber, lime) – another dangerously easy to drink cocktail, this was very strong, but refreshing thanks to the muddled cucumber.  I do love a cucumber cocktail, and this was delightful.
  • BERRIES & BUBBLES (Belvedere Cytrus Vodka, marinated blackberries, house made sour, Domaine Chandon Brut, dry ice) - this spectacle of a cocktail was a nice drink, but is more interesting thanks to the dry ice.  It’s pretty simple and a nice go-to, but I’d only order it again to watch it bubble!
  • WHISKEY CLOVER (Gentleman Jack Whiskey, Hennessy VS, honey water, lemon juice, orange juice) - the flavors of this delight really played well together.  The honey water is a perfect touch and makes this cocktail just the right amount of intriguing.
  • BLACK ORCHID (Belvedere Black Raspberry Vodka, St. Germaine, lemon juice, white cranberry juice) - this cocktail is an old friend.  It’s one of my favorites in Dallas because it’s just a perfect balance of light and doesn’t get old thanks to the black raspberry (because … yum) and looks as exquisite as it tastes thanks to the ice ball that has an actual orchid frozen inside.

All cocktails are $12-14, and have enough punch to make the price tag almost worth it.  (The truffle butter popcorn is what makes it more than worth it!)  All cocktails that are served over ice have either ice balls or giant Sonic ice (you know what I mean)–and that’s just awesome.  They have “Award-Winning” cocktails, but also have some dynamos behind the bar that will shake, stir, or muddle whatever your heart desires.

Since we were at Ocean Prime, we thought it’d be a sin not to eat since their food is pretty … pretty good.  Aside from the three bowls of truffle butter popcorn that I downed all by myself (don’t judge me), we tried a new happy hour offering, Salmon Rillette, which is a light and fluffy salmon rillette served with toast and spicy pickles (yummmm).  Meryl (my +1 for the night) ordered the Goat Cheese Ravioli … and I was kind of pissed I didn’t order it myself.  It.was.delicious.  I also couldn’t decide between the French Onion Soup and the Lobster Bisque, so John made it easier on me and brought a cup of each.  Best choice ever?  Perhaps.  The Lobster Bisque is kind of epic hanks to the chunks of lobster on top and its exquisite texture and crunchy corn.

Some other high points: I love their bathrooms (is that weird?), their bread is delicious and perfectly crusty, they have great live music in the bar, staff is attentive, and it’s mostly business people in the bar and they clear out around 8pm.

Stop into Ocean Prime and check out some of their new offerings … but don’t forget about their old favorites!

OCEAN PRIME
www.ocean-prime.com
Facebook
| Twitter: @oceanprimeCMR | Instagram: @OceanPrimeDallas
2101 Cedar Springs Road
(214) 965-0440

HAPPY HOUR (available in the lounge) | 4-7pm, Monday – Friday: Select discounted appetizers, $7 wines by the glass, $3-4 select beers, $7 select handcrafted cocktails

Sunday | 3-course menu for $39 (featuring crab-stuffed lobster)
Monday, 4-7pm | 1/2 price oysters
Tuesday | discounted select champagne on the terrace and lounge
Wednesday | half-priced select bottles of wine
Thursday-Saturday, 7pm | live music

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BLUE CHAIR BAY BANANA RUM GIVEAWAY & RECIPES

Another SDD Blue Chair Bay giveaway! (LUCKY!) This time we’re giving away a bottle of Blue Chair Bay’s latest flavor, Banana Rum! Enter to win ye a bottle o’ rum, me matey, and check out some recipes Laura whipped up using the delicious banana rum (and only a few banana-related puns and catchphrases).

My take on Blue Chair Bay Banana Rum:
In my experience, flavored liquors are very hard to do right… but Blue Chair Bay did it right with their Banana Rum. Blue Chair Bay Banana Rum has a rich flavor and a real banana taste. First, I tried it straight up, and it tasted exactly like Bananas Foster, evident by its buttery, caramel finish. It doesn’t taste artificially sweet either. I even tried it as a twist on the old standard rum and coke, and it was actually pretty darn good.

My Recipes:
I’m not typically a dessert or sweet drink person, save for the occasional espresso martini, so I knew I’d be my own toughest critic. But not to toot my own horn (toot toot), but these turned out pretty darn delicious. All of them are best served ice cold, which should be pretty appealing since we are smack in the middle of a Dallas summer.

photo 2Not Your Nana’s Banana Crème Pie Martini
3 oz Blue Chair Bay Banana Rum
2 oz clear crème de cacao liqueur (I used Hiram Walker brand)
3 oz half-and-half
Garnish: Graham cracker rim (to make: first rim martini glass in honey and then in graham cracker crumbs)

Combine ingredients in a shaker with ice, shake, and pour into graham cracker rimmed martini glass.

 

photo 1Frozen Chocolate Banana Martini
1½ oz Blue Chair Bay Banana Rum
1½ oz white or dark crème de cacao liqueur (I used Hiram Walker brand)
1½ teaspoons of chocolate syrup
1 cup of ice, add more if necessary
Maraschino cherry for garnish

Combine all ingredients (except for cherry) in a blender with ice, blend until slushy. Pour into martini glass, garnish with a cherry, add chocolate syrup for garnish or to make even more chocolate-ly. (Because … chocolate.)

photo 3Banana Rum-ssian
1½ oz Blue Chair Bay Banana Rum
¾ oz coffee liqueur (I used Kamora brand)
¾ oz half-and-half
¼ oz of Icebox ice coffee concentrate (you can find this at Central Market or online) or CoolBrew Coffee

Combine ingredients in a shaker with ice, shake, and pour over ice.

For a refresher on the rum recipes Susie came up with before with the Blue Chair Bay White Rum, click here.

Enter to win a bottle of Blue Chair Bay Banana Rum!!!

Win a bottle of your very own by doing any (and all) of the following BEFORE NOON on Sunday, August 10 and tell us which one of the recipe above that you’d like to try using Blue Chair Bay Banana Rum (or make up one of your own!!).  

(One entry per platform per person will be accepted.)

Yo ho and a bottle of (banana) rum! Enjoy and good luck!

About Blue Chair Bay Rum:
Blue Chair Bay Rum is born on the beach for the times you just want to let go and live in the moment.Blue Chair Bay Rum is a collection of premium-blended rums created on the shores of the Caribbean and inspired by multi-platinum singer-songwriter’s Kenny Chesney’s love of the island lifestyle. Each of Blue Chair Bay Rum’s four varieties, White, Coconut, Coconut Spiced and Banana is 100% beach-made and mellowed in casks at one of the oldest, most respected distilleries in the Caribbean. Imported from Barbados and bottled by Fishbowl Spirits, Rochester, NY. Blue Chair Bay White Rum 40% ABV, Blue Chair Bay Coconut, Coconut Spiced Rum and Banana 26.5% ABV. Available in 750ml and 1.75L bottles

Please enjoy Blue Chair Bay Rum responsibly.

susie knows all things boozy in dallas …