A Night with Ballast Point Brewing & Distilling Co.

A bit ago I attended a happy hour with Ballast Point Brewing and Distilling at Bird Cafe. To be honest, I didn’t know much about Ballast Point before going to the happy hour, and I learned that Ballast Point began as a small group of home brewers in San Diego, California. Most of the beers are named after fishing terms. The labels have illustrations of fish to pay homage to the brewery’s origin’s. After they made a name for themselves through their beer, Ballast Point began distilling. The company now has seven spirits they call their own.

Ballast Point happy hour beer menu
Ballast Point happy hour beer menu

I began the night tasting some of Ballast Point’s beer on tap. For those of you who like hoppy beers, go for the Grunion Pale Ale (5.5%). It has a nutty flavor as well as a summer fruit aroma. This beer won the 2015 Best of Craft Beer silver award. Next, I went for the Scotch ale. Piper Down (5.8%) is now in the running as one of my favorite craft beers … it’s not super heavy and it has a smooth taste. I tasted a chocolate, sweet after taste with this brew. This beer won the 2015 Best of Craft Beer gold award. The name came from Scottish bag pipers that drank too much … the piper became top heavy and people would yell, “piper down” when they began to fall. (I have to admit, I went back two days later for more.) My last tasting was the Victory at Sea Coffee/Vanilla Porter (10%). As expected, it was a dark, smooth brew. I am not a coffee drinker, but that didn’t not stop me drinking this beer. It had more of a vanilla taste than coffee.

San Diego Street Car
San Diego Street Car

Moving on to the spirits, I was curious about the first cocktail on the list–the San Diego Street Car (Devil’s Share Moonshine, Ancho Chili liqueur, corn water, lime, Burlesque bitters, egg white). I was puzzled by this concoction, so I had to ask the bartender how he came up with this interesting drink. He said it was his version of elotes in cocktail form. He wanted to bring out the corn flavor of the moonshine rather than mask it. After understanding the background of the drink, it made me enjoy it all the more.

I would urge you to go to your local liquor store and try out some of Ballast Point’s spirits. Here’s your shopping list:

-3 Sheet’s Rum: made from pure cane sugar rather than molasses (80 proof)
-Fugu Vodka: Filtered 15 times (80 proof)
-Devil’s Share Moonshine (whiskey): hints of tropical fruit (98.6 proof)
-Devil’s Share Burbon: American oak barrels, hints of caramel and vanilla cream (92 proof)
-Old Grove Gin: made from juniper berries, rose, and coriander (88 proof)

Ballast Point Brewery
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Bird Cafe's amazing bar
Bird Cafe’s amazing bar

Ballast Point Brewing and Distilling
155 East Main Street
Fort Worth, Texas 76102

Dallas #BoozeNews: February 23, 2015

Stop in and try some of the new menu items from Bowl & Barrel!  Enjoy dishes like Jumbo Crab Cakes, Green Chili Grilled Cheese, and new cocktails (pictured in image featured above)! Read more about the new items in Rico’s recap!

'Til Morning Cocktail
’Til Morning Cocktail from The Library

New year, new cocktail and wine lists at The Library!  The cocktail list will feature classics along with new creations, and the wine list will have domestics and international selections. “Highlights include: ‘Til Morning, blending Woodford Reserve Bourbon, maple syrup, lemon juice, Carpano Antica Sweet Vermouth, egg white and a Laphroaig Rinse and Warwick International, featuring Japanese whiskey, fresh ginger, honey syrup, Cointreau, lemon juice.”

Bad boy Dallas chef, John Tesar, will be releasing a book this spring, Knife: Modern Steak and All American Meats, written with Josh Ozersky.  The book will feature “full-color photography by Dallas photographer Kevin Marple throughout, KNIFE will be a celebration of American steak; an exploration into modern, self-sustaining Texas ranching; and a trip inside the mind of one of the most distinctive and acclaimed meat chefs in the world.”

Woodford Reserve will release their Kentucky Straight Rye Whiskey, a 100% rye this week!  Rico spent some time with the brand ambassador at their event in Dallas and said it’s some good s**t.  Check out the full experience here.

Malai Kitchen will now serve beer flights featuring their three house brews.  Flight will be “$8 and include a 5 ounce pour of Bia Hoi (light Vietnamese lager), Thai-P-A (medium bodied and brewed with Thai herbs), and the Thai 1 On seasonal rotator (this month’s rotator is a Belgian Tripel).”

Woodford Reserve Launch Event

At the beginning of the month, Woodford Reserve Kentucky bourbon invited me to an exclusive, salon dinner to see firsthand what the brand is stirring up next. Master Distiller Chris Morris hosted the event. He led through a guided introduction and tasting of the brand’s latest addition, Woodford Reserve Kentucky Straight Rye Whiskey. With the help of Henry’s Majestic in the kitchen, the event was quite the success.

Look for Woodford Reserve Kentucky Straight Rye Whiskey to release this March at your favorite spirits store. Even if you’re not a rye whiskey fan, Morris promises that this is one you won’t want to miss.

Try out one of my favorite cocktails from the evening, the Vieux Carre:

Woodford Reserve Kentucky Straight Rye Whiskey
Sesame Vermouth


If you have been in the vicinity of West Village as of late, you’ve noticed the new monstrosity of a building that went up in the space formerly occupied by the Hank Haney driving range.  While I’m sure we all miss the green space and blue sky that good ole’ Hank afforded us, I’m kind of wild about some of the businesses in the new building … namely Public School 214 and Eureka.

Eureka was the first of the two to open a couple months back and I was invited in with a guest to experience, as they call it, an
“enlightening burger experience, accompanied by fresh ingredients, artisan recipes, craft beer, classic cocktails and rock n’ roll.”

The Truffle Cheese Fries and our first round of drinks were the first to hit our table … and we loved every second of all of them.  I enjoyed an Old Fashioned and my (super fun and awesome) +1 enjoyed a Greyhound.  The bar offers a decent selection of high-end liquors, but doesn’t ignore the usuals and their cocktail list affords the classics while getting a little crazy with some more creative options.

Truffle Cheese Fries (creamy Havarti truffle sauce, green onions)
Truffle Cheese Fries (creamy Havarti truffle sauce, green onions)
Golden Ale Mussels (jalapeño bacon stock, crispy pancetta, golden ale beer and petit herbs)
Golden Ale Mussels (jalapeño bacon stock, crispy pancetta, golden ale beer and petit herbs)

The Golden Ale Mussels aren’t to be missed.  Of the appetizers we tried, this was by far our favorite thanks to the jalapeño bacon stock.  Just make sure you ask for extra bread!

Bone Marrow Burger (bone marrow porcini butter, charbroiled onion, mustard aioli, oven-roasted tomato)
Bone Marrow Burger (bone marrow porcini butter, charbroiled onion, mustard aioli, oven-roasted tomato)

The Bone Marrow Burger was a suggestion from our waiter.  It was a LOT of flavor and was incredibly rich. I couldn’t even get close to finishing it … though I’m not sure if it was because of its decadence or because of the mound of onion rings, fries (sweet and original), Beef Ragu Grits (stone-ground grits, shaved horseradish, fine herbs), and about five other things.  (Ugh … they should have told us to wear stretchy pants.)

Panko Crusted Onion Rings
Panko Crusted Onion Rings

Their menu is LARGE and offers anything from burgers to pizzas to a taco bar. (Seriously.)  I’d say that they should focus on fewer things, but they seem to have an understanding of this game as this is their 14th location with a 15th on the way.

The vibe is decidedly Uptown … as is the crowd.  What is one to expect in the area, though?  Parking is a bit of a nightmare and I couldn’t figure it out myself and accidentally set off a fire alarm in the parking garage.  (Oops.)

Stop in to see what Eureka has to offer … just make sure to order those Truffle Cheese Fries.  (It’d be rude not to.)



Bowl & Barrel’s New Menu Items

Last week, Bowl & Barrel, a boutique bowling alley and modern American tavern, invited me to an evening of new food and fun at The Shops at Park Lane. The pictures below showcase some of their new food items, tasty beverages and the lovely evening it turned into thanks to the B&B staff. From the Jumbo Lump Crab Cakes to the Wagyu Steak & Blue Cheese Sandwich and everything in between, the handcrafted execution of everything that came our way left us all with a good impression.

Be sure to pop in the next time you’re in the mood for some great food to match up with good times!

Bowl & Barrel
Shops at Park Lane
8084 Park Lane Suite 145
Dallas, TX 75231

Hours of Operation
SU – TH » 11am to 12am
FR – SA » 11am to 2am

Dallas #BoozeNews: February 18, 2015

Sunday is NATIONAL MARGARITA DAY and the Oscars.  Just sayin’.

SĒR Steak + Spirits is going to get all Missy Elliott on happy hour and  … well … reverse it.  They’ll offer 15% off cocktails and beer along with $7-9 select wines by the glass and specialty shared plates and sweets every Thursday through Sunday, 10pm to close.

Austin Eastciders has released a  new hard cider, Texas Honey, that you can find in stores this week, and its Small Batch No. 2 will be out next week!  The Small Batch No. 2 is made with BLACK apples.  I’m not sure how I feel about that yet … but I know I’m intrigued.

The newest offering from the house of Francis Ford Coppola is the 2013 Sofia Red, a Rhône blend of Grenache, Syrah and Mourvèdre grapes all grown in California’s Paso Robles appellation, the Sofia Red is the first red wine to join the Sofia family of wines, which originated with the introduction of the Sofia Blanc de Blancs sparkling wine sixteen years ago.


Addison and the Dallas Farmer’s Market will get La Ventana Taqueria outposts this year!  The Dallas Farmer’s Market in the Market can expect its taco shop to open early summer, complete with indoor seating and a patio.  The Addison location will feature a 2,344 square foot restaurant and bar, 945 of it will be patio!

Legendary burger and Cheddar Fry hot spot, Snuffer’s Burgers, will open two new restaurants in 2015–Addison (4180 Beltline Road) and Red Oak (132 E Ovilla Road)!

Kin Kin Urban Thai will open February 27 at 2801 West 7th Street in Fort Worth!  The coolest part? “February 27March 1, guests can enjoy all food at 50 percent off of normal menu pricing simply by checking in on their social media accounts, including Facebook and Instagram.”

Vivo 53 is now open in Downtown Fort Worth!  Stop in for Italian-style artisans pizzas, handmade pastas, and a pizza-flinging show.

Pizze (Sunny side up egg, bacon, Yukon gold potato & Bermuda onions)
Pizze (Sunny side up egg, bacon, Yukon gold potato & Bermuda onions)



Mercat Bistro

If you haven’t discovered the small, French bistro in the Harwood District, Mercat Bistro, you’re missing out, mon amie.  Exquisite coffees, delicious food, and a (very) small and well-done cocktail list allow a brief respite from the craziness of Metropolitan Dallas.

Pull up a bar stool, order a macaron and a latte, and get some work done thanks to their free WiFi … and stay for dinner.

Manhattan cocktail (Texas whiskey, vermouth, bitters)
Manhattan cocktail (Texas whiskey, vermouth, bitters)
Butcher’s Cut Steak (greens, peppercorn sauce), served with French fries
Butcher’s Cut Steak (greens, peppercorn sauce), served with French fries
Bread & Strawberry Butter
Bread & Fresh Strawberry Butter
The Gentleman
The Gentleman
Cold Poached Salmon (cucumber & sherry tomatoes salad, dill mayo GF)
Cold Poached Salmon (cucumber & sherry tomatoes salad, dill mayo GF)
Ricotta & Honey, Plateau de Fromages, Manhattan cocktail, Shishito Peppers
Ricotta & Honey, Plateau de Fromages, Manhattan cocktail, Shishito Peppers



Pommes Frites
Pommes Frites
French Macarons & Latte
French Macarons & Latte

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2501 N. Harwood St.
(214) 953-0917

Monday-Thursday, 5-7pm | 1/2 price glasses of wine
Saturday | $10 carafes with the purchase of an entree

Mon – Fri: 7:30 am – 10:00 pm
Sat: 9:00 am – 2:00 pm, 5:00 pm – 10:00 pm

“Breakfast In Bed” Cooking Demonstration

Chef Scott Gottlich and Andrea Maricich and Mixologist Seth Brammer “Breakfast In Bed” Cooking Demonstration

2nd floorThis was my first experience with a cooking demonstration, so I wasn’t sure quite what to expect. The menu sounded decadent, and considering that it combines two of my absolute favorite things on this planet (my bed and breakfast foods), I was eager to attend.  We walked into The Second Floor’s Privé private dining room and were greeted with a drink buffet of coffee, fresh squeezed juices, teas, a fire and roses strewn across the table. (Let’s just say that it was fittingly romantic.)

The chefs gave a short introduction and put an emphasis on learning the techniques they were about to share with us. They explained that, of course, once you master the techniques you can play with recipes for all tastes and occasions. They demonstrated each dish, and then we were delivered a sample from the back kitchen.  You know … to make sure they did it right.

First Course: Red Velvet Crépes with Cream Cheese Mousse Filling and Raspberry Coulis
Watching these chef’s make crépes made it all seem so simple. It’s all about the batter … if you can mix it right, you can really make any flavor–sweet or savory. The coulis only took about five minutes to reduce, and it made such a fresh alternative to syrup or Nutella. (Not that we’d ever consider replacing Nutella … we aren’t communist.) When it came time to sample this dish, there was definitely something left to be desired … in that I wanted five more helpings. They included orange zest in the filling, which was so refreshing and cut right through the richness of the cream cheese and chocolate batter. The raspberry coulis was the perfect combination of sweet and tart. Let’s just say I had to resist the urge to lick the plate.

Tip from the chefs: Make sure to turn the pan in a circular motion to spread all of the batter thinly and evenly. This ensures even cooking and a proper crepe.

Red Velvet Crépes with Cream Cheese Mousse Filling and Raspberry Coulis
Red Velvet Crépes with Cream Cheese Mousse Filling and Raspberry Coulis

Second Course: Oysters Eggs Benedict with Tasso Ham, and Wholegrain Mustard Hollandaise Sauce
This was another twist on a classic breakfast dish. Since this was one of the dishes Chef Maricich served when interviewing for her position at The Second Floor, I knew this was going to be a winner. The chefs went into detail about how exactly to mix the eggs and fat to emulsify properly in order to make the perfect hollandaise. They added stone-ground mustard and Tabasco to give it a little zing, and then moved on to poaching the eggs. They brought out the sample, and the portion was huge! The oysters were perfectly battered and crisp, yet still juicy. Unfortunately they served us regular Hollandaise and I was so disappointed. (I guess this served as more motivation to make the dish on my own.)

Tip from the chefs: Use a bit of vinegar and create a vortex of spinning water in the pot to helps keep the egg together and round.

Oysters Eggs Benedict with Tasso Ham and Wholegrain Mustard Hollandaise Sauce
Oysters Eggs Benedict with Tasso Ham and Wholegrain Mustard Hollandaise Sauce

Third Course: Lobster and Asparagus Omelet with Fontina Cheese and Arugula Salad
This was by far the easiest of the dishes to prepare. (Which means I may try it first.) The lobster was fresh, sweet and not overcooked, and the asparagus added texture. There was plenty of cheese and it oozed out of the center with every bite. It was very rich, but considering the fact that this was all for a special occasion, I didn’t mind. (Who am I kidding? I never can have enough cheese, regardless of the occasion … gluten intolerance be damned.)

Tip from the chefs: You may add water in an omelet, but no milk! Milk is reserved for scrambled eggs and will change the consistency of the omelet.

2nd floor omelette
Lobster and Asparagus Omelet with Fontina Cheese and Arugula Salad

Then it was time for cocktails! Mixologist Seth Brammer came out and demonstrated
A) a slew of drinks with fresh ingredients that were just what we all needed to liven us up for the remaining presentation, and
B) a bunch of pretentious drink-snob jabs while simultaneously being so full of knowledge and expertise that he was himself a real pretentious drink snob.

It was the perfect combination … not only did I learn how to make the best quality, fresh squeezed and strong mimosa, a made-from-scratch Bloody Mary and the tried-and-true Irish Coffee … I now know how and where orange juice is made and why it never really tastes like real oranges, what vodka ratio is the best for a true bloody mary (4 parts mix to 1 part vodka) and how to whip cream just perfectly thickened enough for any dish or drink. In Seth’s own words, “people don’t whip their own cream anymore, and that’s what’s wrong with America.” (Amen, my friend.)

Fresh Pressed Mimosa
Fresh Pressed Mimosa

Tip from the mixologist: In order to make the cream float on top of the coffee in an Irish Coffee, flip a spoon upside-down and pour the cream over the back of the spoon.

Irish Coffee
Irish Coffee

After we all had each of the three cocktails, the chefs came back out and did a quick demonstration of a simple and classic “Egg in the Hole” paired with The Second Floor’s own maple-cured salmon. Unfortunately, we didn’t get to eat this dish! This was a huge menu, and Chef Maricich even joked that she maybe “bit off more than she could chew.”

Egg in a Hole & Salmon
Egg in a Hole & Salmon

In the end, I could have certainly bitten off and chewed even more because this entire spread was top-notch. I’m looking forward to practicing and mastering the techniques they shared with us!

For details about the second floor and other events, head to thesecondfloorrestaurant.com.

susie knows all things boozy in dallas …