Blaze Pizza Grand Opening Event

Let’s get serious for a hot minute … Is there anything better in life than indulging in a piping hot, cheesy, made-to-order pizza? Well, maybe one thing: if that pizza happens to be FREE. Listen up, folks. You’re going to want to hear this.

Blaze Pizza, Frisco’s latest purveyor of pies, will host their grand opening celebration on Friday, May 22, from 10:30 AM-11 PM. Simply follow Blaze Pizza on InstagramTwitter, or  Facebook, and receive a FREE custom-built, artisanal pizza (one per guest) any time that day. It’s that simple!

And let me tell you, this pizza … it’s good. I had the opportunity to sneak a peek (and a bite) this evening, and I promise you, you won’t want to miss this.

A little 411 on Blaze Pizza: they make their own dough (from scratch) and offer 30+ fresh, artisanal ingredients to choose from on their signature pizza assembly line. As you mosey on down the line, your dedicated “pizzasmith” will customize your pie. You can choose from 8 compelling Blaze signature pizzas or opt to craft your own masterpiece. With unlimited toppings at your disposal, the build your own option (which is a generously proportioned 6-slice pie) is a steal at $7.95. Your selection is then fast-fired in a blazing hot oven for 180 seconds, resulting in a perfectly crisp crust with just the right fold-ability factor (yeah, that’s a word).

Also available are a variety of beautiful salads (the Tomato, Basil, and Ovalini is not to be missed and is just $3.95). I’m told the S’more Pie is a must, so save room for dessert. Blaze will offer beer and wine, featuring Community and 512 for your sipping pleasure.

Blaze Pizza
blazepizza.comFacebook | Twitter | Instagram
3311 Preston Rd., Frisco, TX 75034
(972) 468-9700

Open Daily:
Sunday: 11am – 9pm
Monday – Thursday: 10:30am – 10pm
Friday & Saturday: 10:30am – 11pm

Asador’s New Menu Items

Ok, y’all … it’s no mystery that I have a pretty serious obsession with Asador.  (Evident here, here, … and here.)  I was lucky enough to be invited in to try some of their new menu items from their Executive Chef, Brad Phillips.  They update their menu so often (like … sometimes daily) that they’ve decided to print their menus in-house so they don’t have to wait for a printer.

Some things are always amazing and can’t be missed, like their cocktails which are mixed using infused liquors inspired by the ever-awesome Tyler. (P.S. she’s a lady and she’s awesome.)  One of my contributors, Laura, joined me for the meal and swore that she’d be back as soon as should could be … it was that good.

To start … cocktails … oh, the cocktails.  I started with the Mellow Honey (Honeydew and cucumber-infused gin, fresh lemon juice, and prosecco), and it is, no doubt, the perfect light cocktail for spring.  The infused gin was so delicate without letting the other flavors mask it–truly amazing.

We enjoyed the Farm Salad to start that will be different every time you order it.  They go for fresh, so they only put the best stuff in there.  The “croutons” on this were absolutely craveable. The Pork Belly served with sunny side-up quail eggs were perfectly crisp and incredibly flavorful and the kimchi BBQ sauce made it just to die for.  This is a bacon and egg combo that I can seriously get behind.  These seriously can’t be missed.  The PEI Mussels with ginger, cilantro, lemongrass in sambal broth were so good that I nearly asked for a straw for the broth.  We actually did ask for more bread to soak it up–and that’s no crime.  They paired the mussels with a crisp glass of white wine that really hit the spot.

Stop in and try some of the new options that they’re slinging from the bar and the kitchen … I promise you’ll be impressed.

ASADOR
asadorrestaurant.com | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram
2222 N Stemmons Fwy (in the Renaissance Hotel), Dallas
(214)631-2222

Houilhan’s Celebrates with a Culinary Comeback

Popular Addison happy hour destination Houlihan’s just celebrated its 43rd birthday.  As part of its ongoing birthday celebration, Houlihan’s is dishing up (pun intended) a special “Culinary Comeback” menu that features some of their most popular items from menus past through the end of May.

GRAPEFRUIT JALAPENO COCKTAIL - Houlihan's
Grapefruit Jalapeno Cocktail

I braved the torrential downpours of late to check out the “Culinary Comeback” menu with my wife.  Maybe it was the lingering effects of Cinco De Mayo, but I ended up ordering a very Mexican-inspired dinner–a  Grapefruit Jalapeño cocktail and the Achiote Grilled Shrimp Tacos (both features of the limited time menu).  The Grapefruit Jalapeño cocktail is an interestingly spicy yet refreshing drink, with Deep Eddy Ruby Red vodka, lime, soda water and fresh jalapeños.  The jalapeños may not be not suitable for those who for usually shy away from spice, but it did have a nice bite without being overpowering.  As for my shrimp tacos,  the chipotle-achiote marinade gave a surprisingly deep, smoky flavor to the dish and the chipotle mayo and sweet chipotle dressing added a nice sweet/savory touch.  These tacos are by no means your traditional, bland fish tacos.

Achiote Grilled Shrimp Tacos
Achiote Grilled Shrimp Tacos

Opting for a “girly” drink (though Susie would argue that that’s an insult to some), my wife decided on the Strawberry Basil Lemonade.  The summery mix of fresh strawberries, basil, fresh lemonade and Bombay Sapphire gin was the perfect thing to start summer (err spring?) off with a bang.  The basil was a welcome change … it’s more unique than throwing mint in it and it gave it a really nice fragrance.  Frankly, I was tempted to order one myself, but thought the pink drink looked better in her hands than in would in mine.  Paired with Houlihan’s ever so popular wild mushroom and arugula flatbread (a mix of crimini, shiitake and oyster mushrooms with a roasted garlic white sauce, a blend of cheeses and truffle vinaigrette), my wife’s combo was an excellent light and satisfying choice.

Strawberry Basil Lemonade | Picture borrowed from Houlihan’s

It’s clear that Houlihan’s has a lot to celebrate … and I love how they actually listen to their customers.  (Case in point: the comeback menu.)  Add in food and drinks features like Certified Angus beef, organic salad greens, gluten-free and vegetarian  options, and the always noteworthy happy hour menu and I will gladly celebrate with Houhilan’s.

Their Culinary Comeback menu will be available through the end of May.  Check out the menu.  Happy 43rd birthday Houlihan’s!

 

Houlihan’s (Addison location; there are 3 in the DFW area)
www.houlihans.com | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram
5225 Belt Line Road, Dallas, TX 75254
(972) 386-0689

Happy Hour: 3pm-7pm & 9pm-11pm (“Happy Apps” until close)

  • $3 domestic drafts & long island ice tea by the glass
  • $4 wells cocktails & craft beers
  • $5 traditional or fresh agave margaritas, mojitos, mango ginger or mandarin martini  and long island iced tea pitchers
  • $1 off glass of wine
  • 13 appetizers for $3.95

C’Viche

There’s a new chico in town … and his name is C’Viche.  Get your ass into this play ASAP, because it’s f**king delicious.

Their cocktails pack a punch and are a perfect complement to their Mexican and South American food.  They have an extensive full bar with some more exotic options, so you can get traditional margaritas or get a little crazy with Pisco drinks.  Check out some details of my visit below.

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We started with their complimentary chips & salsa while we poured over their menu.  Their food options are limited in the most perfect way–they don’t do all that much, but what they do, they do really damn well.  Their menu is literally five simple sections … ceviches (obvi.)and crudos, specialties, quesadillas, “snacks”, and tacos.

In the meantime, we ordered a couple drinks with the help of the owner and chef, Randall–Jackie* went with their mojito and I opted for a Pisco Sour … because Pisco.  Jackie hadn’t tried Pisco, so we were given small tastes to sip.  If you want to know more about Pisco, check out #SDDContributor Brian’s review or mine from ages ago!

Their bar is pretty extensive, offering “100% agave Mexican tequilas & mezcal, Caribbean rums, Brazilian cachaça and Argentinian Pisco”. You can also opt for their local or Mexican & South American beers on tap or some wine.  But, when in C’Viche …

Their food is unexpectedly good.   Though, they’re owned by the same guy as Clark Food & Wine Company, so I should have known better … because that place is legit.)  The food is inspired by Mexican and South American cuisine and makes the food its own in a special and delicious way.

My absolute favorite food item we tried was the Tuna Crudo “Poke Style” (tuna crudo, tamari, ginger, and scallions).  Jackie and I had a little fork fight over who got the last piece … I kid you not.  We also got into some serious queso business along with their Street Style Corn and Avocado Fries.  Not to be missed is their fresh fish, which you can choose which fish you prefer, chopped (ceviche) or sashimi style (crudo), which style you’d like (Baja, Peruvian, island, or Asian), and you can even have them make it into a salad for just $2.

The atmosphere is decided casual thanks to the nice natural light it lets in, red metal bar stools, industrial lights, and cement floors.  The music keeps it light and the staff lights to kid around … which just makes things a little more fun.

Stop into C’Viche soon and get you some of their tuna crudo to accompany their new happy hour specials.
C’VICHE & TEQUILA BAR
www.cvicheandtequila.com
1922 Greenville Ave, Dallas, TX 75206
(214) 238-3509

*Jackie is my new friend who happens to be a fellow blogger … check her our at Pretty Petals! You’ll hear about her again.

The Second Floor Bar

I have visited the Dallas Galleria more than few times (women be shopping’, yo), and I’m kind of mad at myself that all along, I have been missing out on the greatness that is The Second Floor by Scott Gottlich.

Aptly named, this sleek, contemporary spot is nestled away on the second floor of the Westin Galleria, and just paces away from the interior mall entrance. I had a chance to belly up to the bar to check out The Second Floor’s liquid offerings. Let me tell you, they’ve got a lot going on here, folks. This is not your average hotel bar. It may be attached to the Westin, but the sippable menu at The Second Floor easily competes with offerings you would expect to find at some of the best watering holes in Dallas. If you haven’t discovered this spot yet, it could be a game changer.  Ladies, is that shopping trip you dragged your guy on taking just a liiiitttle bit longer than originally advertised? Sit him down at the bar, and you’re solid for at least another hour. Better yet, are the odds ne’er in your favor when swim suit shopping? Screw swimsuits … they have cocktails.

When I say they do things differently here, I’m not kidding; I was impressed to learn that The Second Floor actually makes their own hand-crafted aromatic tonic, infused with orange bitters and burnt cinnamon. The Second Floor’s creative and thoughtful cocktail menu offers seasonal features in addition to old standbys; one fan favorite is the Cucumber Sip (Organic cucumber vodka, elderflower, strawberry, & soda, $12),  which I’m told is The Second Floor’s most popular drink.  I had the opportunity to sample the House Sangria ($8), which was chock-full of boozy berries that I’m told spent a good amount of time hanging out in a cognac-lemon-elderflower concoction prior to taking a dip in my glass. (Is it rude to ask for a fork to get these leftovers from the bottom of my glass?) The sangria was rich and bursting with fruity goodness, and ultimately waaayyyy too easy to drink.

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A few new inventions that are featured on The Second Floor’s spring cocktail menu include:

  • GRILLED MARGARITA – Char-grilled orange, El Jimador tequila, Combier, lime ($12)
  • CINNAMON SIDECAR – Four Roses bourbon, Combier, lemon, cinnamon, bubbly ($13)
  • CHAPALA – Hornitos Black Barrel tequila, mole bitters, grapefruit infused agave nectar, ground Mexican chocolate ($13)

 

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Perhaps the thing I was most impressed with overall about The Second Floor’s fleet of beverages is their extensive whiskey menu. With more than 70 American whiskey offerings in total, and an equally impressive Scotch list, the menu runs the gamut from old standards to Texas labels to far more exotic options. (18-year Japanese whiskey, anyone? ) Intriguingly, The Second Floor offers a very nice variety of whiskey tasting flights. Oh, yes. Flights start at just $12, but if you’re feeling saucy, go for “The Big Spender”–this flight features three whiskeys each aged 21 years or better (Hello, 25-year Macallan), and it can be yours for a mere $100.

Additionally, The Second Floor boasts a comprehensive wine list with more than 80 offerings by the bottle, 20 of them by the glass. If you are a beer drinker, they’ve got you covered, featuring 12 premiums, 12 Texas craft brews, and 5 domestic options.  Pro-tip: With any food or beverage purchase, The Second Floor will validate your Westin Galleria parking, which is kind of awesome. Must remember this come holiday shopping.

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Stay tuned for another post soon about their new menu offerings for Summer 2015!
The Second Floor offers up some mighty fine happy hour specials.

Happy Hour- 4-6 PM, Monday- Friday

  • Specialty cocktail of the day (changes daily) $5
  • Domestic beer $4
  • “The Best $5 Wine in the City”- Honoro Vera, Garnacha OR Les Costières de Pomerols, Picpoul de Pinet

Various snacks and small bites, $2-5

The Second Floor by Scott Gottlich
The Westin Galleria Dallas, Level 2
13340 Dallas Parkway Dallas, TX 75240
(972) 450-2978

Grand Cercle: des Vines de Bordeaux (aka: a wholebunchawine)

I had the opportunity to attend an amazing wine tasting event hosted at The Tower at Cityplace: “Grand Cercle, des Vins de Bordeaux: From Barrel to Bottle”. As you may have guessed, this event featured wines from the Bordeaux region–34 wineries from the Left and Right banks were represented, to be precise. If you would like to learn more about the Bordeaux Region in France, and the fabulous wines it produces, here are some fabulous quick hits to bring you up to speed.

What made this event particularly unique was the fact that the wines we tasted were being poured not by their distributors, but by the winemakers or vineyard owners themselves, who came from France to be at the tasting. (Ooh, la la!) It made for a special opportunity to hear about what I was tasting directly from the vintner. While I certainly enjoy wine, the enthusiasm and expertise some of my fellow attendees appeared to bring to the table made me feel like a middle school kid who’d snuck into a high school dance. That said, I was fascinated listening to some of the super-fancy-pants Dallasites in attendance (some of whom donned an amazing array of bow ties, paisley suits, straw hats, and the likes) as they chatted up the super-fancy-pants French wine gurus.

Vintner

Yes, I may have been a fish out of water at this event, but I was such a happy fish. A warm, toasty, happy fish; nearly 150 varieties and vintages of wines were poured that evening, and I’m always oddly intimidated by the spittoon concept.  That said, it would be implausible for me to review more than a few of the wines I tasted (for several reasons…). While this event was definitely red-centric, I was pleased to see a handful of white Bordeauxs being poured throughout the evening. (After all, I’m a white girl…wait…I mean, I am a girl who enjoys white wines.) My favorite of the bunch may have been the 2011 Chateau Magrez Fombrauge Bordeaux Blanc, which was vibrant and lightly acidic, with hints of melon and citrus. It was perfectly drinkable. Maybe a little too drinkable. The 2010 Chateau Le Sartre Blanc was also lovely- medium bodied, with a juicy tropical citrus profile. That’s not to say I left this event without being blown away by an untold number of reds. Notably, I enjoyed the 2011 Chateau La Marzelle, which was rich yet soft and supple, with a hint of cherry and deep, peppery finish.

This event hosted a silent auction that took place throughout the evening, featuring a number of rare and hard to find bottles as well as limited releases. While I did not partake in the silent auction, I saw many guests enthusiastically scrawling down numbers that contained more digits than I personally have ever paid for a bottle of vino. What I did partake in was the tasty variety of hors de oeuvres that were made available throughout the evening, which were a vital component in maintaining the ability to walk in a straight line following this event.

This event gave me a new appreciation of wines from the Bordeaux region- excuse me, Vins de Bordeaux- and I’m pretty sure I’m like roughly 10-15% fancier now, having attended.

 

 

Hilton@Play: Nick Jonas

Hilton has started a new series, Hilton @Play, a partnership with Live Nation, where Hilton HHonors members can experience private events at their properties.  It’s part of an effort to give their hardworking guests the chance to play a little.  (I like it.)  HHonors members have the chance to reserve tickets with their points on the HHonors website.

For their Dallas Hilton @Play event, the brought Nick Jonas to the Hotel Anatole for a private concert.  When you arrived, there was a red carpet experience followed by a VIP-style reception, complete with a live DJ, plenty of food, an open bar, a photo booth, and plenty of people with which to mingle.

The concert itself was so small that everyone got a great place to watch.  Even better, there was a bar inside the venue (sweet) and enough video coverage that you could see every second of the show in full HD glory.

Nick did his thing on stage and, I’m not the crazy Nick Jonas fan like the girls in front, but I really enjoyed the show.  (He is really damn talented, after all.)  The girls went extra wild when he mentioned that Dallas is his hometown — because we do breed talent in the Big D.

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During the concert, they replaced the appetizers and savory food with a smorgasbord of deliciousness for concert-goers to enjoy after the show.  On the way out, we even got goodie bags and the chance to snap a couple pap photos on the red carpet again.

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The Chester (New York City)

I don’t know who Chester is, but I really like that dude.  I was lucky enough to try out The Chester while in NYC this past April and have been haunted by some of the delicious dishes I had since.  The Chester is an unassuming little restaurant in Midtown (with another location in The Meatpacking District in the Gansevoort) with traditional American fare … with a twist.

We hit The Chester up for brunch because we couldn’t have a big a dinner since we were running a half marathon the next morning.  (Seriously.  We’re nuts.)  So we opted for a not-too-late brunch and hit it hard.  Because … carbs are important.  But, their dinner menu sounds absolutely amazing–I mean Orange-fennel Salad, Squid Ink Tagliarini, Eggplant Toast, Pork Belly … ugh, why didn’t we go for dinner?!

Their brunch menu has some of the more traditional options, but who needs traditional when you can have Breakfast Eggrolls!?  They were packed with scrambled eggs and veggies and were fried to a perfect crisp.  We also opted for the Blistered Shishito Peppers (lemon zest, fried garlic, and maldon sea salt).  My sister said that, without a doubt, they were the best shishito peppers she’d ever had. I’d really have to agree.  The garlic added a bunch of flavor and the best little hint of texture.  I went with The Sawdust (Rosemary-infused Ketel One, Moet, lemon juice, and agave) to start light and it was a great choice.

The cocktail menu offered some classic options but mostly slightly remixed options.  The West Side, Roosevelt, and Hellfire were all tempting!

Entrees were a challenge.  I mean … how do you choose between Eggs Benedict on a cheddar scone topped with chorizo hash and Banana Pancakes with rum-caramelized bananas and salted caramel?!  I mean … my mouth is watering and I’m about to look at flights to head back up there right now.  Luckily, someone had recommended their Fried Chicken (sweet tea brined chicken served with blistered shishito peppers and Thai dressing), so I at least had a hint.  The sweet tea brine gave it a subtle sweetness that was irresistible.  When the waitress came to clear our plates, I actually said to her “Don’t look at me … I’m hideous” because I’d gotten so into the chicken that I, quite literally, had it all over my hands and face.

My sister went with The Burger (hanger steak, pimento cheese, and miso-Russian dressing served on a homemade buns with steak fries) and really enjoyed it.  (I actually don’t know if I’ve ever seen her eat as much as I did that day.  No judgement.)

If I had ANY room left, I’d have opted for some of their fresh oysters. They offer a selection of East Coast and West Coast oysters.  (Which look amazing.)

The drinks at The Chester were all unique, yet classic.  Since we had a big race to run the next day*, I followed-up the meal with The Cobblestone (Tanqueray, mint, cucumber, rhubarb bitters) instead of dessert.  It was all I could do to resist the Sweet Ginger (Jameson, mont, honey-ginger syrup, and lemon)

The Cobblestone
The Cobblestone

The restaurant itself was HUGE–especially for a New York City space.  There were two full bars offering both liquor and a selection of local beers–one in front with windows that allowed an open facade for beautiful spring days and one in the back of the restaurant … for less pleasant days.  The Meatpacking space looks a bit brighter and offers a large, wood patio.

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I’ll be hitting up the Meatpacking location on my next visit to The City, so stay tuned for another report!  (Apparently they have a club, The Arthur, hidden inside.*  That’s happening.)

 

THE CHESTER
TheChesterNYC.com
Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

Midtown
45 East 33rd Street, NYC 10016
(212)201-1228

Gansevoort Meatpacking
18 Ninth Avenue, NYC 10014
(646) 253-2284

*The Arthur: Reservations required after 11 p.m. Contact: info@paigegroupny.com.

susie knows all things boozy in dallas …