Category Archives: Contributor

Luna Grill’s Newest Location

Eat Real, Fuel Good.
Luna Grill’s motto isn’t just a motto, it’s a way of life. When you eat real, good food, you feel good in return. Luna Grill aims to serve only the best real, good Mediterranean food and with their new Dallas location on Walnut Hill, they’re doing just that.

Here are some of my favorite dishes from the preservative-free and antibiotic-free restaurant:
For starters, you’ve got to try the Dip Trio with Garlic Sauce—Spicy Feta, and your choice of either Classic or Spicy Hummus (get the spicy). Then, take your pick of entrees. I tried the Norwegian Salmon and the Never, Ever Gyro (a blend of beef and lamb that has never been administered hormones or antibiotics). Each entree comes with rice, salad, pita, and your choice of roasted tomatoes or carrots.

 

 

 

If you’ve still got room after their massive plates, you can finish the meal with a baklava, or their special choclava (a chocolate baklava, duh).


LUNA GRILL
LunaGrill.com 
8165 Walnut Hill Lane, Suite 1300 (North Dallas)
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Deep Ellum’s Newest: DoHolics

Count your blessings that you don’t have to wait too long for DoHolics to officially open in Deep Ellum (right next to Chills 360)! The safe-to-eat cookie dough shop will be ready to host you on July 20th! I got a special sneak preview of some of their offerings so you can drool while you wait not so patiently.

First, you start by picking cup or cone, but I think these colorful cones are hard to pass up on! Then you choose from their 15 different flavors like Cookie Butter or Matcha … then add whatever toppings your heart (or stomach) desires.

What makes this cookie dough safe to eat? Well, it’s made with heat treated flour and pasteurized eggs, which makes it totally indulge-able. They’ve made something delicious that we really aren’t meant to eat totally edible … that’s kind of like making a unicorn.

And speaking of the fabled creatures … did I mention they have cookie shots with UNICORNS ON THEM?!

Had enough yet? Get ready for DoHolics to open up to the public on July 20th.


DoHolics
2646 Elm Street (Deep Ellum)
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8 Cool Whisky Cocktail Recipes

Written by: Roy Hansen

Whisky remains one of the most popular alcoholic drinks in the world, with millions of people enjoying a tipple each week. While purists will usually drink whisky “neat” or with a small amount of water, it can also be used to make some delicious cocktails. Whisky’s unique combination of flavors can add a lot of colour to drinks and make them much more interesting than vodka or gin cocktails.

If the idea of a whisky cocktail sounds appealing, this is the article for you. We’ve scoured the Internet to find the 8 coolest whisky cocktail recipes. These drinks are exciting, delicious, and very different from a boring Martini or Margarita.

Know your whisky

Before we jump in and start making whisky cocktails, it is important to understand that the type of whisky you use and the quality of the whisky will dramatically influence the taste. To research which whiskies are the best have a read of our favourite whisky review site Whiskeybon to get an idea. As for the type, have a read of these:

American whiskey
You may already be familiar with American whiskeys like Jack Daniel’s, Wild Turkey, Woodford Reserve, and Maker’s Mark. They are very sweet whiskey’s that are distilled in America and aged in barrels. The most common flavors in American whiskey are vanilla, citrus, oak, caramel, berries, spices, and cherries. There are 3 subcategories of American whiskey:

Bourbon Whiskey
Distilled from at least 51% corn, with the remainder usually consisting of rye and malted barley

Rye Whiskey
Distilled from at least 51% rye, with the remainder consisting of corn and malted barley

Tennessee Whiskey
Bourbon Whiskey that is filtered through charcoal to achieve a smoother flavour. It must be distilled in Tennessee to be given this name.

Scotch whisky
Scotch whisky must be created in Scotland. It is created using malted barley and water and aged for at least 3 years. It has a complex flavor palette which may include vanilla, nuts, cedar, oak, smoke, malt, tobacco, earth, and various fruits. It tends to be less sweet than American whiskies and is smokier. Most Scotch whiskies are double distilled. There are two main categories of Scotch whiskies:

Single malt Scotch whisky
Distilled at a single distillery using malted barley

Blended Scotch whisky
A blend of different single malt Scotch whiskies

Canadian whiskey
Canadian whiskey is distilled and aged in Canada for at least 3 years. It is usually made using 51% or more rye. It is a very light and smooth whiskey, even lighter than Irish whiskey.

Irish whiskey
Irish whiskey is distilled in Ireland and aged for at least 3 years. It is not peated, so is less smokey than Scottish whisky. Irish whiskey is triple distilled, which give is a smoother taste. They tend to be less sweet than American whiskies.

Australian and Japanese Whiskey
There have been many award-winning whiskeys from distilleries in Australia and Japan in recent years. The style of whiskies produced in Australia and Japan varies greatly — from delicate floral whiskeys that taste similar to Irish whisky through to strong single-malt whiskies that taste similar to Scotch whisky.

Cool Cocktail Recipes

Manhattan cocktail
This is a classic cocktail recipe that is delicious and presents well. It is also simple to create, which makes it a good place to start.

60 ml of Canadian/Irish whiskey, bourbon or rye whiskey
30 ml sweet vermouth
2 dashes Angostura Bitters
Cherries and a toothpick

Pour liquid ingredients into a mixing glass with ice cubes. Strain into chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with cherries skewered with a toothpick.

Whiskey Sour
This drink is another classic cocktail that oozes class. It has been around since at least the 1870s and has seen a big resurgence in popularity in recent years. The combination of sweet and sour makes it a delicious drink.

45 ml of whiskey (any type)
20 ml simple syrup
45 ml fresh lemon juice
(optional) Egg white
Maraschino cherryfor garnish

Pour liquid ingredients into a cocktail shaker with ice cubes. Shake well. Strain into chilled glass with or without ice. Add egg white (optional) and Garnish.

Irish Coffee
This cocktail is sweet, indulgent, and will give you a nice boost of energy! It is one of our favourite coffees for drinking while sitting around a fire on a cool winter night.

120 ml of hot coffee
45 ml of Irish or Canadian whiskey
2 teaspoons brown sugar
30 ml lightly whipped cream

Brew the coffee, then combine it with sugar in a mug or heat proof glass. Stir until the sugar is dissolved. Add the whiskey and stir again. Add some cream on top.

Espresso Old Fashioned
This is another stimulating coffee themed cocktail. It works will with almost any American whiskey and is very easy to make.

60 ml of espresso coffee
30 ml of bourbon or rye whiskey
10 ml simple syrup
Dash of Peychaud’s bitters
1-inch lemon peel

Shake all of your liquid ingredients in a shaker. Pour into a glass containing ice and stir for 30 seconds. Rub lemon peel on edge of glass.

Carthusian Sazerac
This cocktail is sophisticated, delicious, and has a very cool name! It’s the perfect whisky cocktail to make for any house guests you are trying to impress.

75 ml rye whiskey
Dash of green Chartreuse
15 ml simple syrup
Absinthe
Lemon twist
2 dashes lemon bitters

Place a small amount of absinthe into a coupe glass and swirl it to coat the glass. Discard excess absinthe. In a separate glass mix the whiskey, Chartreuse, and simple syrup with ice. Strain into the coupe glass, topping with lemon bitters. Garnish with lemon twist.

Manhattan
There is something about the Manhattan that makes it a cool cocktail. Perhaps it’s the many movies where famous characters stroll into a smokey bar and order one. You’ll be happy to learn that this classic cocktail is simple to make.

60 ml bourbon whiskey
60 ml sweet vermouth
1 to 2 dashes Angostura bitters
Orange peel
Maraschino cherries

Shake ice, whiskey, vermouth and bitters in a shaker. Rub orange peel around rim of glass. Pour into class and add cherries.

Hard Cider Spritz
This is a fantastic drink on a warm summer afternoon — refreshing and delicious.

30 ml rye whiskey or bourbon whiskey
120 ml hard cider
45 ml apple cider
Dash of Aperol
Dash of fresh lemon juice
Club soda
Apple slices

Combine all of the liquid ingredients into a glass filled with ice. Gently stir and garnish with apple slices.

Mint Julep Cocktail
The mint julep is the official drink of the Kentucky Derby. It is a sweet drink that works well in the warmer months, which is why so many people living in the southern United States enjoy it.

75 ml bourbon whiskey
2 sugar cubes of 15 ml of simple syrup
10-15 mints leafs

Add the mint and simple syrup to a collins glass or julep cup. Muddle well to dissolve the sugar and release the aroma of the leaves. Add bourbon and crushed ice. Stir well and garnish with a mint sprig.

 

Picnic with Ponies

What goes better with sunshine than a delicious rosé cocktail and a spectacular view of horses galloping in a field? I’m a little hard pressed to come up with anything else. That’s why I visited Black Star Sport Horses in Rockwall, Texas with a bottle of rosé in-hand!

Black Star Sport Horses is a full service training, show, and sales facility featuring an International Federation of Equestrians trainer. They offer riding lessons for all ages and skill levels, so no worries if you don’t know the tail end from the nose, they’ll help you figure it out!

The rosé I brought along is the Inspiration Rosé from Château de Berne,  a 1,235 acre vineyard in Provence, France originally built by the Romans. On the CDB property is an 18th century 5-star château-style hotel, a Michelin Star restaurant, and an award-winning spa and visitor center. Oh, and they make some really fantastic wine. I’ll take a one-way ticket, please!

 

Château de Berne Inspiration Rosé is one of three bottles from the Provencal range of classics, only recently brought to the US. This dry rosé, with fresh strawberry, cherry, cranberry, and pomegranate notes has been awarded the 2018 Bronze by Texsom International Wine Awards and the 2018 Silver by the Wine & Spirits Wholesalers of American Competition. At 12.5% alcohol, it pairs well with light cheeses and a side of fruit.

The day we made it out to Black Star, it was pretty warm, so we decided to batch out a rosé cooler to cool us off a bit more. Picnics can also get messy, so it’s best to batch any cocktails out before heading out.

SUMMER PEACH ROSÉ COOLER
3/4 cup sugar
1 1/2 cups water
2 cups frozen peaches
4 cups rosé (I chose Chateau de Berne’s Inspiration Rosé)
1 liter club soda
Rosemary for garnish

Puree the peaches with water and sugar.


CHATEAU DE BERNE
Château de Berne
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Featured: Inspiration Rosé, ~$20

BLACK STAR SPORT HORSE FARM
BlackStarSportHorses.com
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5565 FM 549, Rockwall, TX 75032

Essential Liquors for Your Summer Cocktails and Drinks

Written by Matt Smith

Summer is a great time to sit out in the garden, enjoy long, cool drinks, and get together with your friends and family. Many of us love having people over to sit in the garden, enjoy some drinks and food, and just spend quality time chilling out in the warm weather. Service up cold, refreshing drinks including cocktails is ideal for the summer months and will enable your visitors to enjoy a real treat as well as a refreshing drink. Even if you don’t have guests over, you and your family can enjoy sipping cold drinks outdoors as you soak up the summer sunshine.

If you plan to make cocktails and long alcoholic drinks with mixers, it is well worth getting your home bar stocked up. Of course, it wouldn’t be practical to stock it up with every spirit and liquor on the market. However, there are some key ones that you should invest in so that you can create some of the most popular summer drinks.

Alcohol Essentials for Your Home Bar this Summer

If you want to make sure you’re prepared when it comes to creating cocktails and summer drinks for your loved ones or for yourself, here are some of the top alcohol types of purchase for your home bar:

Vodka
From a relaxing vodka and tonic through to cocktails such as the Pornstar Martini cocktail, vodka is definitely one of the top choices for your home bar. This spirit will no doubt feature in many of the cocktails that you make at home. Even better, you can freeze vodka so when you serve it up it will add an extra touch of ice-cold refreshment to the drink you’re making.

Gin
This spirit is another summer bar staple if you want to be able to create sumptuous drinks for yourself or others. Of course, it plays a big part in the classic gin and tonic but you can also use it for creations such as the Tom Collins, the Rickey, and the Pink Lady amongst many others.

White Rum
If you are planning to make some exotic drinks to enjoy this summer, make sure you have a quality bottle of white rum on hand. Drinks such as mojitos and daiquiris are very popular during the warmer months so you will need a touch of the Caribbean to create one that is authentic and delicious for your visitors.

Tequila
Tequila Slammers, Tequila Sunrise, and Margaritas all require one thing to make them perfect—tequila! Invest in a bottle of good tequila for your summer home bar because there is no doubt you will be creating plenty of great summer cocktails that will require it over the course of the summer season.

Bourbon
One more excellent addition to your summer bar is a bottle of quality bourbon. Cocktails such as the Whiskey Smash are great for those summer evenings out on the patio. Or you can keep it simple and just add soda and ice for a cooling drink.

With all of these bottles to hand, you won’t go wrong this summer when it comes to cocktail creations and long drinks.

Scout & Cellar: Taking the Headaches Out of Great Wine

Over the years, I’ve had friends attempt to sell me a variety of products—leggings, skin care, oils, makeup, kitchen knick-knacks, nutritional supplements, weird nail stickers, and smelly candles. Sadly, I have never had a friend attempt to sell me anything I actually really want—or need—until I met Erin Gerner. Erin sells wine. Erin Gerner is a consultant for Celina based wine club Scout & Cellar.  Erin would love to help arrange for a box of wine to appear on your doorstep on a monthly basis. Erin is also my new favorite person.

Scout & Cellar was founded by local attorney Sarah Shadonix with a very specific goal in mind: curating an amazing collection of clean-crafted wine. “What is clean-crafted wine?”, you might ask. Clean-crafted wines contain no synthetic pesticides, no added sugar, zero added chemicals, and low sulfites. They are never mass-produced, ensuring quality control. Clean-crafted wines also remove one other thing from the wine drinking experience: the dreaded wine headache. Scout & Cellar, where have you been all of my (21+) life?

The great news is, you can choose to purchase from Scout & Cellar’s Clean-crafted wine collection without any membership, simply by shopping online. However, if you want, or, ahem, *need*  more wine in your life, you definitely want to consider a club membership. How does it work? When you sign up, you get to customize your experience; you decide what kind of wine you’d like to receive, and how often. Whether you want to receive all whites, all reds, or a mixture, and whether you’d prefer to receive shipments monthly, bi-monthly, or quarterly, they’ve got a plan for you. Members receive additional perks as well, like product discounts, and an invitation to visit the winery, which isn’t open to the public. Erin is an amazing consultant, and she will steer you towards wines you will love that you might not have tried on your own. I can personally attest to this, as she brought me two bottles she recommended, which were right up my alley … and as promised, no headache. Swoon.

Speaking of Erin and her wine savvy: she is also available for tastings, and you could be her next host! As a Host, you arrange a Scout & Cellar wine tasting and handle the guest list; Erin handles the rest. You get to earn cool host perks, and you also earn cool points for throwing a “party” your friends actually WANT to attend. (Hint: overpriced eye serum does not a party make.) Also, Erin is sweet as pie; the consummate hostess. A fun evening is all but guaranteed!

Finally, if clean-crafted wine speaks to your soul, definitely reach out to Erin about becoming a consultant. Scout & Cellar consultants spread the good news about clean-crafted wine … all while making money in the process. They host wine parties, they explain the collections, and they manage a team of other Independent Consultants who do the same things.

Thank you Erin, for sharing your fabulous Clean-crafted wines with me!


SCOUT & CELLAR
www.scoutandcellar.com
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Erin Gerner, Scout & Cellar Consultant
eringerner@gmail.com
www.scoutandcellar.com/eringerner

 

A Four Seasons Las Colinas Staycation

Sometimes a girl just needs to get away. But with all the (shudder) responsibilities, it’s nice that you don’t have to go  TOO far. For me, the perfect answer to scratch the staycation itch last week was a one-night villa stay at the Four Seasons Resort in Las Colinas. The drive from my Oak Cliff apartment to the resort was less than twenty minutes, but it felt like a world away. A world where I could just sit back in my plush terry robe and let the relaxation wash over me while I starfish the coziest, most comfortable king size bed.

 

Now, I had more reason to want a luxe getaway than just my own Calgon Take Me Away moment. It was also my boyfriend’s birthday weekend, so I wanted to make it special for him. Jackie, Samantha, and the room reservations team were so amazing and helpful with making sure our villa room was decorated and even had a birthday dessert surprise for him when we arrived.

The villa room we stayed in is separate from the main building, so once we unpacked and got situated, I used the Four Seasons app (more on this marvel later) to request golf-cart service to transport us back to the lobby so we could go to OUTLAW Taproom for a late lunch. Our driver was ready for us by the time we walked to the front courtyard. The drive was short and gave us a nice tour of the golf course and the main pool.

Lunch at OUTLAW was quick with friendly service. We were famished so we both ordered burgers to satisfy our hunger and then moved outside to enjoy drinks on the covered patio overlooking the resort pool.

After our lunch and cocktails, we returned to our room, and no shame, we got in bed and started watching “Fixer Upper” on TV. Before we knew it, it was four hours later and we hadn’t moved an inch, but it felt so good to relax in the room! So instead of heading back out to LAW, the steakhouse on property, we opted for room service. Using the Four Seasons app again, we ordered our hearts out like it was UberEATS, and within an hour, two attendants rolled in our feast on a mobile table.

I didn’t remember to take a photo of the room service table because we attacked it so quickly, but rest assured, it was delicious and very fulfilling! We ordered a tequila-poached shrimp cocktail appetizer, salmon, chicken, AND steak entrees (good grief!), as well as a New York cheesecake dessert that had a sweet happy birthday message scrawled around the plate.

That meal effectively put me to bed, and the next morning I enjoyed a nice cup of Nespresso coffee on the balcony … still in my robe of course.

Also, I mentioned the Four Seasons smartphone app earlier and said I’d say more about it: The app’s interface was so convenient to use, I have to make a point to sing its praises. I used it to check in a day early, and because of that, my room was prioritized on my day of check-in, and I was alerted that it was ready for me before noon, when standard check-in time is 3PM! I also used the app’s chat feature to request the birthday welcome amenity and every time I needed transportation from room to lobby (and vice versa). When it was time to check out, I used the app as well, and my folio was promptly ready for me to review. Everything was so easy to use, and I always received a prompt response. The app gets fives stars from me!

We didn’t rush to leave since we had a late check-out time and had the room until 3PM. So after a shower in the roomy marble bathroom, we made our way to LAW for its decadent mimosa brunch. One word: SEAFOOD. I’m talking shrimp, oysters, crab claws, mussels, ahi poke, smoked salmon, THE WORKS. For $59/person (which includes two mimosas), the price is so worth it on the seafood alone! But for those who aren’t as crazy about seafood as I am, there’s bountiful other options which include omelet and carving stations, pastas, salads, breakfast staples, pastries, sushi, and an entire room dedicated solely to sweets (which includes a station making fresh donuts).

Somehow, we didn’t eat ourselves into food comas at brunch and actually made it back home. It was a perfectly relaxing and quick getaway. I really felt like I was out of town for the weekend and came back rejuvenated. Thanks to the Four Seasons for providing a wonderful weekend experience! I’ll find another excuse to stay there again one day.


Four Seasons Resort and Club Dallas at Las Colinas
4150 N MacArthur Blvd, Irving, TX 75038
(972)717-0700
Four Seasons Dallas

OUTLAW Taproom
Off the Main Lobby
Mon-Fri: 3PM-1AM
Sat-Sun: 12PM-1AM
OUTLAW Taproom

LAW Restaurant
Sunday Brunch: 11AM-2PM, $59/adult, $24/child
Check website for complete service hours information.
LAW Restaurant

Feel Good About Lunch in Las Colinas

Eating healthy is haaaaard. I realized I could immediately end the sentence there and hit publish, but allow me to continue. As someone who has worked in the Las Colinas area off and on since 2005, finding a quick, cost-effective healthy lunch has basically been like searching for a unicorn. I can rattle off the calorie content of various chain sandwiches or bland salads and have double protein/replace rice with lettuce’d myself into more lunches than I can count. It has often seemed like everyone else can easily grab healthy bowls, juices, salads, and shakes quickly and not figure out to adjust their breakfast and dinner to keep from going overboard (or spend hours each weekend meal-prepping or whatever people more disciplined than me always do.)

That’s why when I saw the news that Original ChopShop was coming to Las Colinas/Irving (and is soon to open two more locations in the Dallas area), I felt a ray of hope. While there are some really good food options in the area, they’re either hard to get to, a bit on the slow side, or not cheap … and and all of which can make the work lunch run more difficult. ChopShop is right on Macarthur at George Bush, so it’s accessible with a quick-service counter and plenty of room.

Their menu covers a range of options, including protein bowls, sandwiches, salads (that can also be made into wraps), superfruit bowls, yogurt parfaits, fresh juices, breakfast items (millennial-approved avocado toast, bowls, sprouted grain bagels, and wraps along with coffee) and a variety of protein shakes. My coworker and I were able to hit the start of the lunch rush at 11:30am, order our items, eat, chat with a few staff members, and be out of the building in 45 minutes. That’s pretty great for a restaurant of any type operating in its first week.

The food itself was refreshing. We ordered two protein bowls (Thai Coconut Chicken and Teriyaki Chicken), two juices (Cool Down and Face Lift) and tried the Açai and Pitaya bowls for desert. It was a ton of food … but every item was good—the meat was quality, the veggies were fresh and the sauces were balanced with the meal, which is usually not the case at similar establishments.

 

The massive juice list was hard to whittle down, but Facelift was incredibly refreshing without being  too sweet. The superfruit bowls were also balanced, especially the Pitaya Bowl. I know açai is the cliché choice, but the Pitaya one was on par with some of the better bowls I’ve had anywhere.

My co-worker who joined me was new to the review game, but came back to the office informing the rest of our team we needed to all go back next week. We walked in to Original ChopShop expecting a pretty run-of-the-mill review, but instead, it looks like we have a chance to get a lot of people out of the same lunch rut we’ve been cursing at least a few times a week.

Las Colinas: rejoice.


Original ChopShop
OriginalChopShop.com
7300 N MacArthur Blvd #140, Irving, TX 75063

Pictures courtesy of Original ChopShop