Cinco de Mayo 2016

Special: Verde Infusion ‘Rita ($11.50)
Events/Perks: PARTIES AT SELECT LOCATIONS (see below)
Hours: April 27 – May 5
Location: all locations

Addison – The party on the patio includes an outdoor food and beverage bar with entertainment by DJ P from 6-10 p.m.
Frisco – DJ Sonido Mart will play from 6-10 p.m. and the party will be both inside and on the patio. There will be giveaways and prizes all evening.
Grapevine – DJ Dos Aces will spin tunes and giveaway prizes from 5-9 p.m.
Lewisville – Hit the dancefloor when The Enablers Band starts at 7 p.m. Between songs there will be giveaways and prizes.

Events/Perks: parties at all 3 locations (see below)
Hours: May 5, all day

Downtown Dallas – live music from Tamborazo de Arranque (7-9pm), photo ops with a luchador
Addison – live music from Tomborazo de Arranque (7-9pm)
Dallas Farmers Market – $2 frozen or rocks signature margaritas

Special: $5 Classic and Frozen margaritas
Events/Perks: live band on the patio starting at 5pm
Hours: May 5, all day
Location: Plano – The Shops at Legacy

Special: $5 Mi Dia Frozen Over, $5 Mi Dia Rita Rocks, and a discounted Margarita of the Month
Hours: Thursday, May 5, 11am-10pm | Reservations Strongly Recommended: (972) 403-7474
Location: Plano only

Special: Cinco de Mayo themed feast that includes: stuffed jalapeños, shrimp diablo, lobster queso flameado, roasted qual, posole, skirt steak, tostada, lobster rice, flan, churros, and other dessert items paired with “top-shelf tequila and Mezcal cocktails”
Price: $55/person
Hours: May 5, 6pm (reservation required: 214.379.1111)
Location: Dallas – Park Cities

Special: House Margaritas 14oz Cinco Cup – Frozen/Rocks $4
14oz Cinco Cup Dos XX Lager/Ambar & Corona Light Drafts $3
Variety of Cinco Shots for $2/$3/$4
Dos XX Ambar/Lager bottles & Corona/Corona Light bottles $3
Location: all locations

Special: Shrimp Campechana ($9) and Mesquite Grilled Poblano Chile Relleno ($13)
Hours: May 4 & 5
Location: Dallas – Cedar Springs

Special: “recess” (aka happy hour) will be available until 11pm, $10 Cinco de Mayo Nachos
Hours: until 11pm
Location: Dallas – Uptown/West Village

Special: $3 frozen or rocks house margaritas
Dates: May 5-8
Location: all loctions


The Royale Magnificent Burgers

[The scene opens on an open restaurant with a line of booths on one side, tables with white chairs, and an open kitchen complete with ice cream and double-sided bars.  Four clocks sit on the wall bearing the times at different locations with a blank spot reading “Bermuda Triangle”.]

The Royale Magnificent Burgers is one of Plano’s newest burger joints from John Tesar, the Apheleia Restaurant Group, and Plan B Group with a decidedly literal Wes Anderson theme.  The basics: amazing burgers, badass adult milkshakes, and a full bar offering cocktails.

First and foremost … get your ass to The Royale and order yourself an adult milkshake.  We went for the Salted Caramel Shake with Nasau Royale Liqueur and it was ah-mazing.  There was just the right amount of alcohol to give it a kick without being a day-ruiner.  (You know … too much sugar and a bad proportion of booze to milk so you get the sugar rush and a bit of a buzz just to lose the buzz and hit the sugar slump?  Awful.)  The icing on the cake … err … the whipped cream on the milkshake was a slice of marshmallow, light whipped cream, something delightful covered in chocolate, and caramel, and, of course, a pinch of course salt.

Royale - adult milkshake

The food at The Royale was delightful.  We couldn’t miss The Onion Ring Elevation after seeing it on a neighbor’s table served on the neck of a cast iron giraffe.  (We named him Steve.)  The tempura batter was light and perfectly spiced and the accompanying smoked paprika-chipotle aioli was the perfect pairing.  Also not to be missed: their poutines.  We went for the Lobster Poutine that has large chunks of quality Maine lobster meat atop crisp fries, cheese curds, and gravy.  They were pretty damn delicious once they remembered to add the gravy!

I have to say that I’m not “up” enough on all the Wes Anderson jargon to know why a lot of the names on the menu are funny, but I can appreciate the quality of these patties.  The  Burger Sauvage (a 6oz 80/20 patty with avocado, sprouts, swiss cheese, sautéed mushrooms with a side of mushroom aioli), while standard ingredients, kicked other portobello swiss burgers’ asses with the bold addition of sprouts and avocado. We took the manager’s advice about the burger and ordered The Salmon Exhibition–a salmon patty green onion, lemon zest, olive oil,  lettuce, tomato, and kimchi aioli with a side of their house made pickles.  I’ll give him this, while I’d never had a salmon burger, this one was top notch.  (He told us that he’d love almost 30lb since they opened and he eats at least two a week with lettuce instead of a bun.)  Luckily they serve a Daily Slider Ensemble so you don’t have to go through the Sophie’s choice of picking your burger.

And yes … you can get a Royale with Cheese.

Their drink menu was going undergoing a bit of a revamp so I don’t go into too many of their cocktails, but they opted to rename some classics (a Moscow Mule was “The Czar”) and put a bit of an edge on others.  Don’t miss their selection of local beers and wines by the glass, bottle, and ON DRAFT!  I think the real winner in their bar is the physical bar itself.  The double-sided bar offered three or four seats on the internal bar side so you can eat at the bar and still face your friends.  (I’m not sure how they can get away with this with liquor laws, but I’ll celebrate while it’s a thing.)

I have to say that their bathrooms are perhaps some of the neatest I’ve come across … just don’t let the fact that they’re unisex take you by surprise.  (There goes checking your teeth for meal remnant or adjusting your rack in the mirror. 😒)  Make sure to visit the facilities to see the faux unicorn heads and Hawaiian-feeling wallpaper!


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3310 Dallas Parkway, Suite 121, Plano, TX

Cruzan Rum Blueberry Mojitos

I guess I’ve pigeonholed myself.  I suppose that I deserve it for making (writing about) drinking my hobby.  At this point, I’m no longer surprised when I’m asked to make a drink for a party as my contribution.  I was honored to do so for a longtime family friend’s baby shower recently.

The color scheme being blues and yellow, a matching drink was requested.  I did my best with a Blueberry Mojito made with Cruzan Rum … because I refuse to try my hand at a cocktail using Blue Curaçao.  (Thought I’ll say that some local bartenders are starting to use it more … and not doing it badly.)  While I thought the drink (which was the only alcoholic beverage served) would be plenty for the afternoon party, it was gone in 45 minutes!

1 cup fresh, washed blueberries (plus more for garnish)
4oz Cruzan Rum
8-10 fresh mint leaves
2 teaspoons mint simple syrup
2 limes
6oz club soda

To create blueberry puree, blend blueberries until smooth.  Add rum, mint syrup, lime juice, blueberry puree, and ice in a cocktail shaker and shake until combined.  Pour over ice and top with club soda.  (Optional: Garnish with blueberries, mint leaves, and a lime wedge or curl.)

TIPS: To batch out this cocktail, I combined the ingredients in a drink dispenser and allowed guests to garnish it themselves.  To keep the mint crisp, keep the stems in ice water.  Puree and syrup can be prepared in advance.

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Aged: 2 years in American oak casks
Proof: 80 (40% alcohol)
Nose: light coconut
Flavor: vanilla with a slight banana finish
Sipping/serving suggestions: in cocktails
Price: ~$12 for 750mL

Drink dispenser purchase from WalMart for $5!!!!!!

Pappas Bros. Spring 2016 Cocktails

Being from Arlington, my family ventured over to Fort Worth often.  But visiting Dallas was a trek.  It felt like we packed a lunch and asked our neighbor to feed the dog when we came over here.  One of the first meals I recall having in Dallas was a perfectly cooked steak at Pappas Bros. with a side of their famous scalloped potatoes.  While I felt quite pretentious telling people my favorite restaurant was Pappas Bros., I’ve never been much of a liar.

For this reason, when I heard that they were releasing their new seasonal cocktail menu, I jumped at the chance to meet a buddy for dinner and try all of the new offerings.  And kids … they’re damn good.

COFFEE OLD FASHIONED (Cognac, coffee simple syrup, bitters)
How do you make an Old Fashioned better?  Well … you shouldn’t really f**k with them … but if you do, change as little as possible.  Their coffee simple syrup added just a bit of intrigue to the standard cocktail, which they have always done quite well here. 


SWEDISH CHAMPAGNE ELIXIR (Absolut Elyx, Grower Champagne, vanilla liqueur, pineapple, lemon, strawberry, Angelica, cinnamon)
Guys … this cocktail is somethin’ else.  If you read my first #DrinkingWithSusie, you’ll know the significance of the badass copper pineapple from Absolut Elyx, but the delicious potion inside is a different story.  It was like dessert in a cup.  I think (read: I know) it’s meant to be shared as it holds about three standard cocktails, but I killed this all on my own.

FINE & DANDELION (reposado tequila, apricot brandy, lime, cinnamon, Burdock Dandelion Soda)
Being one who doesn’t love tequila, I have to admit that this cocktail is quite well done.  The soda itself is incredibly flavorful, lending a touch of ginger spice to the cocktail while the apricot brandy brings in a hint of sweetness.


NEW YORK SOUR (bourbon, lemon, cabernet)
I have to say that my favorite thing about a New York Sour is the perfect simplicity of it.  They did this classic drink very well … and it looks sexy as hell.


PEAR COBBLER (Manzanilla Sherry, pear, lemon, grapefruit, black pepper)
This slightly remixed cobbler (sherry + fruit) is light and perfect for the warm weather ahead.  The fresh pepper milled on top adds just a bit of spice to make this drink delightfully well balanced.  (Want to try this at home?  Check out the “Cocktail of the Week” feature of it on for the recipe.)


We snacked on some appetizers to get us through all of the cocktails–the Fried Oysters and their Texas Selection of Cheeses.  I always miss the chance to get appetizers (or know better than to order them) as I know I’m going to eat my weight in steak and potatoes shortly.  It’s something I need to remember, though, because both were absolutely incredible.  I think I’ll need to make this an after-work stop for a cocktail and app more often … and you’re all welcome to join me if you don’t hog the sharp cheddar.


10477 Lombardy Lane, Dallas, TX 75220

Dry Sparkling Water

I was recently sent an assortment of Dry Sparkling Water in seven different flavors to try out. Dry is the product of the founder’s need to keep in touch with the culinary world after leaving it and it’s billed as an “unexpectedly crisp sparkling beverage”.

The product is meant to be a suitable substitute to pair with food in place of alcoholic beverages. But … if you’re an SDD Contributor … you find out how it’s going to pair with booze. (It’s what you do, because, are drinks really meant to be enjoyed without liquor? Not if I can help it. At least not after work hours. Or while sick.)

Of the seven flavors, I enjoyed the Vanilla Bean flavor the most.  I was, however, a little shocked that it had 16g of sugar considering it was supposed to be a “healthy” alternative option.

Here are the recipes I tried and highly recommend!


6 oz. vanilla bean DRY
1 1/2 oz. bourbon
Mix in a highball glass

Pinapple Spritzer
3 oz. juniper berry DRY
2 oz. light rum
2 oz. pinapple juice
squeeze of lemon

Other drink recipes using DRY can be found here.

Click here to find Dry Sparkling Water near you.

CiboDivino Dinner ft. Puleo Wines

“I love this place.” That’s the text I sent to Susie as soon as I finished my first dinner experience at CiboDivino Marketplace.

As this was my first event as a Susie Drinks Dallas contributor, I went into it with the belief that there was no such thing as being too prepared, so I brought along a fellow foodie friend (so I could pick his brain) as well as a brand new notebook in which I could take many a note about the dinner. (I was tempted to bring a voice recorder just in case there was a guided tour of the space (which there was), but I decided against alienating strangers with that level of intensity. Yes … I was that kid in school.) Furious writing in my composition book would just have to do. Since the evening was relaxed and enjoyable with great company and delicious food and wine, the note taking was downgraded from excessive to thorough.

The special five-course dinner was hosted by CiboDivino owners, Daniele and Christina Puleo, as well as Executive Chef, Ryan Olmos.  I was enthralled by the passion and knowledge that the team has for all aspects of the meal: a fervent dedication to responsibly-sourced ingredients, simple, yet articulate preparation of the food, a thoughtful selection of Italian and Californian wines that are hand-picked by Daniele himself, and the crafting of a space that promotes breaking bread with friends and family. By the time we were done with Daniele’s tour of each unique part of the marketplace and cafe, my appetite was ready to tackle whatever delicious goodies he and Ryan had to offer.

Before food, of course, there was wine (as it should be), and Daniele and Christina were very excited to introduce their new private label Puleo wines, currently available in Pinot Grigio and Chianti varietals. The Pinot Grigio is quite surprising–not as watery as I’m used to with most Pinot Grigios. Puleo’s expression is quite flavorful on the nose with stone fruit notes that round out into flavors of green tea and chamomile. As I would find out, this white wine paired very well with the first three courses of the meal. As for the Puleo Chianti, the wine was ripe with cherry flavors and dark fruits, and had a depth of flavor indicative of a Chianti without veering into a residual bitterness. I enjoyed this red with the meat course as well as with dessert. FUN FACT: all wines at CiboDivino are available for purchase at retail prices and can be opened and enjoyed on-premises at no additional charge. Personally, the option to enjoy a high-quality wine at a restaurant without the usual restaurant markup makes the wine taste that much better.


The appetizer course included a variety of Neopolitan-style pizzas fresh from the wood-burning Stefano Ferrara oven (flown in from Italy), quite possibly the most impressive charcuterie board that I have ever seen, and a smoked Tasmanian salmon appetizer bite that I swear encapsulates everything that CiboDivino stands for, which is “divine food.” I sampled two of the flatbread pizzas, one with a classic Margherita preparation and another with fig, arugula, and Gorgonzola cheese.  Neopolitan-style is my favorite kind of pizza, and the crust was perfectly crispy on the outside with just the right amount of chew on the inside.  While both were delicious, I was partial to the Margherita. (Pretty sure that I could eat a whole pizza in one sitting … I don’t know if that’s a good or a bad thing.)

Can we just take a moment and appreciate this charcuterie board? Have you ever seen one so beautiful? It has three kinds of house cured meats, all smoked in-house: lamb pancetta, brown sugar and Serrano ham, and beef bacon (that’s right, you heard me, BEEF BACON). The lamb pancetta, which was aged for a whopping 70 days, had a soft gaminess to it that I loved, and the beef bacon was something I’ve never experienced before. To call it delicious would be a disservice, and apparently I’m not the only to think so. Ryan told us that it’s hard to keep the beef bacon in the display case because it sells out so fast. It was perfectly savory with a familiar unctuousness that I love about bacon, except it was unmistakably beefy and very satisfying.


The highlight of the appetizer course for me, however, was the smoked Tasmanian salmon bite with cucumber cream, caper berry, and a dusting of espresso. The salmon, also cured and smoked in-house, was a tender and salty punch that was balanced by the cool cucumber cream with a kick of briny freshness from the caper berry, and the espresso dust on top added an earthy note that rounded out all of the flavors. I easily ate five or six, since I clearly don’t understand the concept of an appetizer course. (Whatever.)


Pasta was the star of the second course was the Caserecci alla Norma, served with cherry tomatoes, fresh basil, and eggplant two ways on pea puree. The dish was light and flavorful, with the pea puree serving as a fresh, delicate sauce that complemented the natural flavors of the fresh vegetables beautifully.


The third course highlighted a different kind of pasta, Fettuccine al Limone. This was my favorite of the two pasta courses; the perfectly al dente ribbons were enveloped in an ethereally light and creamy marscapone cheese with fresh zucchini, leeks, fresh mint, and fragrant lemon zest. The flavors were full and satisfying without being overly filling. (I’m also a huge supporter of lemon on everything, so I loved every bite of this dish.)


Then came the fourth course, the crown jewel, which was brought out on a large wooden meat board.  CiboDivino proudly serves 44 FARMS meats, and our group was lucky enough to sample the perfectly seasoned coulotte cuts served alongside caramelized onions and arugula. The marketplace is the only spot in town where you can go in and buy raw cuts of renowned 44 FARMS beef, and they will even grill it for you (free of charge) if you decide you’d like to enjoy your steak at one of the many communal tables inside or on the spacious dog-friendly patio.


Needless to say, by the end of the fourth course, I was stuffed. At this point, I was chastising myself for going HAM on the appetizers. That didn’t stop me from partaking in something sweet, though.  For dessert, Daniele and Christina served bite-sized dessert offerings from their cafe. I, close to a food coma, still managed to snag a Raspberry Lavender Truffle, because no matter how full I am, a meal does not feel like it has concluded until I’ve had something sweet. This two-bite flavor bomb was a wonderful ending to an unbelievably delicious meal. The truffle was deeply chocolate with lavender lending an assertive floral note that cut through the richness beautifully.

Picture courtesy of CiboDivino Marketplace

Everything about dinner at CiboDivino was delightful.  The marketplace offers so many unique goods, some of which are available exclusively there.  Daniele and Christina, as well as Ryan, were all gracious hosts with evident love and passion for what they’ve created together.  It’s rare to meet people who are doing exactly what they love to do, and then for them to do it well, and humbly. It was an honor to be a part of the entire experience. I personally cannot wait to visit again soon.

  • CiboDivino also has a wrap-around indoor/outdoor bar with 11 local beers and one Italian import beer on draft.
  • Paciugo gelato is also available at the cafe, along with Lavazza coffee.
  • Food menus are generally not published on the website, as dishes are determined by the freshest produce available at the farmer’s market on any given day.
  • The marketplace is open 7 days a week, from 8AM – 10PM daily.
  • They also host occasional wine and beer dinners and are currently prepping for their one-year anniversary party next month.

CiboDivino Marketplace
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1868 Sylvan Ave., Suite #D-100 (West Dallas in the Sylvan 30 Complex)

Mother’s Day 2016

Brunch including Brioche French Toast, Coffee Rubbed New York Strip Steak & Mama’s Bread Pudding
Menu items are individually priced

Offerings: all-you-can eat buffet
Extra Perks: music by Goga, professional photos available in the Garden Court
Cost: $80 for adults, $30 for 6-12yo, free for 5yo & under
Times: May 8, 10:30am-2:30pm (last seating at 2pm)
Location: Addison
Reservations: call 972-386-6000

: IVY Crab Cake Benedict – toasted brioche, jumbo lump crab cakes, poached eggs and creamed spinach topped with hollandaise, home-style potatoes
Price: $3 Mimosas, other prices vary per brunch item

Times: Brunch 10:30am – 2:30pm | Dinner 5pm – 9pm
Location: Fort Worth
Reservations: OpenTable

: brunch buffet
Extra Perks:
Cost: $29.95
Times: May 8, 10am-3pm
Location: Dallas – Uptpown (West Village)
Reservations: 214-559-3483 or

Offerings: buffet with seafood, omelet, carving, and dessert stations – separate buffet for children
Extra Perks: face painters, balloon artists, Mother’s Day photos
Cost: $65 for adults, $25 for 6-10yo, $15 for 5yo & under
Times: May 8, 10am-2pm | dinner seating, 6pm
Location: Dallas – Uptown
Reservations: call 214.871.7444 or OpenTable

: Special menu includes your choice of a House or Cesar salad with a Filet & Lobster entrée, served with Mashed Potatoes and Green Beans in a Port Wine Shiitake Sauce
Price: $74.95
Hours: May 8th 11am–9pm

: Prix fixe brunch (8am – 3pm) and three course prime rib special (available all day)
Price: $23 price fixe brunch (includes fresh baked blueberry bread with lemon honey butter, seasonal fruit, your choice of one brunch entrée and beverage and $27 three-course prime rib special

: A “Taste of Italy” special that will include a live pasta station, including a wide arrange of delicious and fresh toppings for pasta and fun Italian desserts
Price: $58/adult, $28/child, and children 5 & under FREE
Times: Sunday, May 8th; seating’s available at the following times: 10:30am, 11:30AM, 12:30pm, 1:30pm & 2:30pm

Offerings: brunch buffet
Extra Perks:  entertainment, 10:30am-1:30pm
Cost:  $65 for adults, $35 for 4-12yo, free for 1-3yo
Times: May 8, 10:30am-1:30pm
Location: Dallas – Design District

Offerings: traditional Italian options, $1 mimosas, bellinis, and bloody Marys
Cost: Menu items are individually priced
Times: May 7, 11am-3pm
May 8, 9am-3pm
Location: Fort Worth – Downtown
Reservations: (682)207-8700 or

: Full Mother’s Day brunch menu featuring Chicken & Waffles – fried chicken atop a Minnesota wild rice waffle, served with agave nectar butter
Price: $39 per person


The Hospitality Sweet

I’ve always wanted to be a Martha Stewart-type.  Too bad I can’t bake anything more complicated than brownies.  (I’d have said cupcakes, but I have trouble making the frosting look cute.)  Since I don’t have the baking aptitude to be Martha, I’ll let someone do it for me.  Enter: The Hospitality Sweet.  The adorably decorated mint-and-white restaurant and bakery decked in wainscoting recently opened its second location in the Plaza at Preston Center.


Expect sweets, coffee, beer, wine, and delicious breakfast (served 7-10am) … and less whimsical, but entirely practical, lunch items like sandwiches, soups, and even lasagna. But … bubbly things first.  Stop in and grab a glass of champagne or wine–they use an enomatic system so you know that you’re sure to get an unoxidized glass of whatever you choose to sip. ( If you aren’t familiar with the enomatic system, it’s a sort-of Tupperware* for liquids … but quite a bit more high-tech and much more sexy.)


Beyond the drinking (because apparently there has to be more than just booze … whatever), they offer some of the most beautifully simple sweets–jaunty cake balls, brightly colored macarons, crispy croissants and more for the taking.  The one item that I couldn’t leave without trying, though, was the brownie.  Two separate coworkers told me to try them and I thought, “There’s no way that they could be THAT good.”  I was straight wrong.  These brownies and so good that I cannot wait to get my face in one of them again.  (And I don’t have any words for them past that.)  Oh, and if you plan ahead you can order one of their absolutely gorgeous cakes in sizes anywhere between 5” and half sheet for your events or, you know … Tuesday.

While THS does sweets well, they also offer scrumptious savory items.  After a delicious sampling of blistered shishito peppers and aioli, mixed greens salad complete with watermelon radishes, and a hearty soup, we were offered a bevy of sandwiches–hot pastrami, club, brisket, and more.  Hands down, the brisket sandwich (caramelized onion, cheddar, and BBQ sauce on white bread with a house made pickle) was the winner.  (And trust that I tried them all … because someone has to do the research for y’all.)  Everyone else seemed to greatly enjoy their house made chips (I had given up fried food for Lent); one guy even requested the other end of the table’s leftover mound of chips … then promptly ask for a  takeout container.  (Respect.)

Parting notes: you can order online, don’t miss the brownie (can’t stress that one enough, people), they rent their space for private events, and they offer happy hour.

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400 N Ervay (Downtown in the historic post office)
M – F 7AM – 3PM

6135 Luther Lane (Preston Center across from Men’s Warehouse)
M – S 7AM – 6PM


*Does anyone else think of the narrator at the beginning of the Disney version of “Aladdin” when they hear “Tupperware”?

susie knows all things boozy in dallas …