Category Archives: Guest Contributor

One90 Smoked Meats is Smokin’

Written by Carolina Merino

If you’re like me and had never heard of One90 Smoked Meats (shhh please don’t rat me out), then believe me, you’re going to want to familiarize yourself … and fast. This unassuming shop in East Dallas put on a great show.

This past week I had the privilege of attending a One90 Smoked Meats media dinner, hosted by the owners of One90 and Oak Highlands Brewery. As explained to us that evening, long time friends, Kyle St. Clair, Herman Guerra, and Adam Weatherred had been smoking meat together for years in their backyards before leaving their respective careers and opening up their shop in 2015. And for good reason … because they have this art down to a science. (Yes, I wrote that correctly.) Their smoked meats are perfection.

The dinner started off with an assortment of cold shaved smoked meat and cheese trays, smoked salmon dip, and a brisket chili that brought some serious heat. That was followed by a stop at the bar to taste one (or more) of Oak Highland Brewery’s 10 craft beers on tap. The DF-Dub, a German dark wheat style ale, was a standout and paired nicely with the smokiness of the entire meal. (Because, beer and BBQ.)

Then, it was time for the main event—melt-in-your mouth brisket, pulled pork, and buttery poblano sausage. While seated, trays of mac and cheese, potato salad, and coleslaw were delivered to our tables. If all that wasn’t mouth-watering enough, we ended the meal with a decadent banana pudding that tasted like it was made in your grandmother’s kitchen.

Their shop kiosk reads “small batch craft meats” and that’s the dining experience One90 offers with their popular sandwiches piled high with the smoked meat of your choice, their vacuum-sealed grab-n-go smoked meat packages, and bevy of unique meat options which also include duck breast, rack of lamb, beef tenderloin, pastrami, and salmon. (They also have all this available online.) You can order meat delivered directly to your door or sent to anyone across the country as the perfect holiday gift.

Additionally, One90 has put together a menu of their go-to staples to make your holiday extra special. Orders must be placed by November 14 for Thanksgiving and December 19 for Christmas. Order now!

I enjoyed every bit of this meal and can’t wait to head over to their storefront to try one of their delicious ham sandwiches and grab some packaged brisket to go!

At first glance, One90 Smoked Meats seems like a typical bbq joint, but as I quickly learned, it truly is so much more.


ONE90 SMOKED MEATS
one90smokedmeats.com
10240 E. Northwest Highway (Far East Dallas)
(214)34-MEATS

Cover photo courtesy of One90.

“APERITIVO HOUR” WITH CAMPARI

Written by Andrea McCall

If your Super Bowl weekend was anything like mine, it was full of highs (endless guacamole, Gaga performing at halftime) and lows (Tom Brady winning … again, Beyoncé not performing with Gaga at halftime). So when I was invited to a Campari happy hour at Americano, I knew my week was on the up and up. The restaurant’s already successful happy hour just got happier with the re-introduction of “Aperitivo Hour”,  an event hosted by Campari.

“Aperitivo” in Italian means a low-alcoholic drink consumed prior to a meal, intended to stimulate your appetite … but what I heard in that definition was for me to become as classy and smart as an Italian, I’ve gotta pre-game with my pals before dinner. CHALLENGE ACCEPTED.

This Italian idea of sharing a drink and some snacks with friends before dinner sounds like a win-win, and low ABV drinks from Campari make it an even better sell. Small bites like fried calamari and fried olives (Susie’s favorite) paired with an Aperol Spritz (Campari, grapefruit bitters, prosecco) or the restaurant’s namesake Americano (Rosso Vermouth, Campari, soda) get you prepped for what will certainly be an excellent dinner.

Stop by the downtown hot spot weekdays from 4-7 to cultivate your new favorite Italian tradition.

Bon Aperitivo!

 

Americano
americanodallas.com
@americano_Dallas
1530 Main St. (Downtown)
214.261.4600

 

Everything the Perfect Home Bar Should Have

Written by a Guest Contributor

When hosting friends or for those quiet nights in, having the perfect home bar set up is a slice of luxury that everyone should have.

We all love getting dressed up and heading out for the night with friends to a plush restaurant or bar, especially on a Friday or Saturday night without the worry of work in the morning. However, every now and then it’s nice to stay in and enjoy a quiet night in or invite guests round for a celebration or casual get-together.

It is for these occasions when a home bar setup comes in handy and is the perfect centrepiece. The best part is, you can stock up your cabinets with the alcohol and liquor of your choosing – if something doesn’t take your fancy, it’s off the menu, and your favourite is always the special.

Proper Furniture
The first thing is to ensure you have the proper furniture for your home bar, a specialised and dedicated cabinet and/or sideboard is a must. Your bar must not have any other use; it should be exclusively kept for drink – i.e. kept clear of children.

You are not going to want something too big, or anything too small that you cannot fit all of your drink and barware. Consider what you will be including in your home bar – what types of liquor and how much? Also, take into consideration the size of bottles you will be storing as such items should be stored safely; otherwise you run the risk of shattered glass along the floor.

Stock – Pick your Favourites
Once you have decided on your furniture and know exactly how much room you have to play with, it is time to stock up your home bar with your personal preferences. If you are planning to invite friends round from time to time, it might be worth investing in popular favourites, even if they might not be your personal preference.

For beer lovers, a mini fridge to store bottles or cans is ideal – after all, the best way to serve beer is cold – and wine connoisseurs might look to install a rack in a cool and dry area behind the bar. If your taste is for something a little stronger, gins and spirits are easily stored in a cabinet and served with ice.

With a home bar, you can take the opportunity to experiment with mixing drinks – a popular talent for any barman, especially when impressing guests.

Barware
With your favourite tipple of choice in stock, the correct barware is an essential finishing touch – the correct glass must be used depending on the drink. You simply would not serve wine in a pint beer glass.

Glasses do not have to cost the earth and can be bought for a reasonably price; popular bar favourites include LSA glassware which is handmade for an extra classy look. If your bar focuses predominantly on wine then the glasses you buy must match the types of wines – believe it or not, the shape of the glass does have an effect on the taste of the drink.

Rules
The last thing any good home bar needs is rules that should be obeyed. As already touched upon, the bar should not be used for anything other than drinks – do not allow children to play around the bar due to the number of breakable glass items.

Keep your bar setup neat and tidy, do not allow clutter to gather and never leave dirty glasses on the side. As soon as you are finished with your glasses, get them washed up and put back into their designated space ready for future use.

The perfect home bar setup should not be difficult or expensive to achieve. With these simple steps, you, too, will also be able to enjoy the benefits of your favourite bar in the comfort of your own home.

The Original Pancake House

Written by Anna Tomczyk

Most great nights out leave me surprisingly hungry, despite any late night burger runs. When Susie asked me to visit the newest location of The Original Pancake House in Irving for a Saturday brunch, I was a bit confused. (I mean, one would assume that a booze-less brunching normally wouldn’t be Susie approved. As it turns out, OPH truly sets themselves apart with high quality ingredients and top-notch hangover mitigating breakfast favorites.) Their menu offers a large selection of breakfast and lunch dishes and there’s something on the menu for everyone.

The staff at the Original Pancake House in Irving was eager to please and greeted me quickly. After being seated, I was given a full breakfast and lunch menu along with their specialty coffee menu. This particular location has a full service espresso and brew bar to serve up your favorite coffee beverages all day. PRO TIP: order a pick-me-up drink at the bar while you wait. Their brews are locally sourced and their espresso (a blend of Guatemala, El Salvador, and Brazilian coffee) is brewed in-state. I ordered a vanilla latte and it was perfectly balanced with a surprisingly savory finish.

Every great brunch place has to get the basics right, so I started out with the sugar-cured, thick-cut bacon and buttermilk pancakes with a glass of fresh squeezed orange juice. I can tend to be pretty picky about my bacon and it didn’t disappoint–it was perfectly crispy. Some places have a hard time freshly squeezing juices and managing to chill them the same day before serving, but not OPH. It came out chilled and very refreshing. And the best part of this plate, of course, is the pancakes! The owner of this location let me know it takes five days to make their famous pancakes and guaranteed they would not disappoint. I buttered my pancakes with their soft, whipped butter and smothered them next with in-house pancake syrup … and they were indeed delectable and just as fluffy and flavorful as I was promised.

Since I have a strong European ancestry and my hubby is 100% Polish, it’s comforting to see dishes such as the OPH potato pancakes and the Dutch Baby on the menu. For those who are unfamiliar with potato pancakes, they’re shredded potato, egg, onion, and flour all pan fried to golden brown resembling the more popular (but less delicious) hash brown. My mother-in-law makes traditional Polish-style potato pancakes and they are a homemade favorite for everyone in our family. Amazingly enough, OPH serves really fantastic potato pancakes with your choice of savory sour cream or sweet apple sauce–I’m convinced they would be mother-in-law approved. The Dutch Baby was just as amazing (if a bit more oddly named), and I was eager to try this signature sweet offering. This traditional German pancake has a slight lemon flavor without being overpowering. The flaky, golden baked treat is topped with whipped butter, lemon, and powdered sugar.

Dutch Baby (Picture courtesy of OPH)
Dutch Baby (Picture courtesy of OPH)

OPH offers quite a few other breakfast dishes–omelets, crepes, dutch pancakes, other egg specialties, and some really fantastic sandwiches and random other lunch items. The restaurant truly made me feel like a friend of the family and I was able to see the fun culture and pride that everyone from the servers to the owner to the head chef have for the food they make and the guests they serve.

This is the place to keep in mind to frequent with friends and family alike when you want to give your kitchen a rest but still enjoy made-from-scratch, hearty goodness.


The Original Pancake House

ophdfw.com
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LOCATIONS

***OPH invited me in for brunch.*** 

Cinco Tacos Cocina & Tequila

Written by Anna Tomczyk

Everyone loves a relaunch.  That’s why, when Susie asked me to stop into Cinco Tacos Cocina & Tequila (formerly Lazaranda), I was excited to see how they’d remixed their offerings and if they still had their killer ceviche on the menu.

As I entered Cinco, I noticed the modern craftsman décor splashed with bold Mexican colors and up-beat Mexican music. I was greeted immediately by a friendly, fun staff and they escorted me to a table in the bar area. The bar at Cinco is separated from the main dining room, allowing this restaurant the ability to go from a happening Saturday night out, to a calm mid-week dinner in no time.

I quickly noticed their expansive tequila list (because … tequila), Mexican beer and drinks, and, of course, their margaritas–they have 10 different choices when it comes to their margaritas, a fully loaded tequila bar and are also stocked with more than 12 beers on tap … holy tough decisions, Batman. My date (ahem … my handsome husband) and I both tried out the house margaritas, he ordered his frozen and I had mine on the rocks. It should be said that this is not an average boring house margarita made with mediocre mix and (god forbid) cheap tequila … oh, no, you won’t run in to that here. Their house margarita is made with 100% Agave Tequila and freshly squeezed key limes allowing a natural, balanced sweetness to blend flavors with the smooth tequila. They dusted the rim of the glass with a blend of salt and Tajin, which added a slight savory tang to this semi-sweet drink. Both styles of margaritas were more than acceptable – whether you like it on the rocks or frozen, the house margarita is a must!  Also, don’t miss the incredible selection of tequilas–great for mixing or sipping!

Picture courtesy of Cinco Tacos
Picture courtesy of Cinco Tacos

As we were happily sipping on our margs, we were able to try many appetizers and the house chips and salsa. I was again very delighted to see the generous use of Tajin on the house-made chips that paired nicely with their in-house salsas. All of their salsas were very fresh and full of flavor, and my favorite was the Molcajete Salsa –a peppery, roasted tomato blend with a warm medium spice.

Their appetizers were phenomenal and proved to be authentic, but mastered to their own unique style. Among the many small plates we tried, the Aztec Shrimp Ceviche was one of the most memorable. The shrimp ceviche boasted a bold key lime flavor, with grilled cactus leaves, fresh tomatoes, onions, and Serrano and pasilla peppers. I am always a sucker for ahi tuna and the Michoacan Fresh Tuna Tostadas had a satisfying blend of citrus and savory, and the creamy chipotle dressing completed the small bite perfectly. We finished our small plate happy hour with dessert, and the house made flan was a show-stopper with a warm, nutty flavor, and creamy texture.

foto-home-0211
Aztec Shrimp Ceviche

Cinco Tacos Cocina & Tequila is a taste of Mexico right here in Dallas. With so many choices throughout the DFW area for Tex-Mex and Mexican restaurants, this hearty Mexican restaurant is a must try for those seeking a truly authentic Mexican dining experience. You will not be disappointed with the modern accents on traditional classics, and the chef holds nothing back with the freshest ingredients and a well-rounded menu.  I’d suggest bellying up to the bar and ordering a (few) margaritas and enjoying a boozy happy hour with some of their delicious appetizers.


CINCO TACOS COCINA
cincotacoscocina.com
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5000 Belt Line Road, Addison
(972)866-8900

Happy Hour: Monday-Friday, 3-7pm
Beers: $3-4
Wells: $4
La Zaranda Signature Wine: $4
House Margaritas: $4
Premium Margaritas: $7
Select appetizers $9.50-11

Sunday Brunch Buffet: Sundays 10am-3pm
$19.95/person, $7.95/children 10 and under

***Cinco Tacos Cocina invited me in to try out their offerings gratis.  All images courtesy of Cinco.***

Product Review: Pickle Juice Chaser

Written by: Anna Tomczyk

Designed with the trendy “pickleback” shot in mind, The Pickle Juice Company has announced their brand new product, The Pickle Juice Chaser. What is the big “dill”, you might ask? (Yeah, I made the pun … whatever.) The chaser provides 10 times the electrolytes, vitamins, and zinc and is ready to easily pour out of a bottle (forget making a mess with old fashioned pickle jars).

The Pickle Juice Company boasts 15+ years in the pickle juice arena, but up until now their primary focus remained in the innumerable health benefits in this powerful beverage. The juice is a big hit for pickle-lovers nationwide and those looking for a 100% natural, healthy thirst quencher. Pickle juice is proven to prevent dehydration and muscle cramping, which has also made it a great choice for athletes of all levels. (Yes, drinking can be considered a sport.)

As a pickle lover myself, I was eager to give The Pickle Juice Chaser a shot … a literal shot, by trying the infamous pickleback shot first. I found the chaser a satisfying balance of savory and salty. To my surprise, it completely took away the harsh sting that can follow a shot of whiskey. The aftertaste was as if I bit into a juicy dill pickle, slightly salty with full pickle flavor.

63034ae01b041240dbc5cd88853c38cbThe Pickleback
1 shot Jameson Irish Whiskey
1 shot Pickle Juice Chaser

Pour each shot into separate shot glasses. Drink the whiskey shot immediately followed by the shot of Pickle Juice Chaser.

If you aren’t into shots but want to try the chaser, The Pickle Juice Chaser works great in cocktails and martinis as well.

The Dirty Pickle Martini
8 oz gin or vodka
½ teaspoon dry vermouth
2 tablespoons Pickle Juice Chaser
2 pickled okra spears for garnish

Add ice halfway up the cocktail shaker. Add gin, vermouth and pickle juice. Shake well and strain into 2 martini glasses. Garnish with a pickled okra spears.


The Pickle Juice Chaser by The Pickle Juice Company
www.picklepower.com
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Available for purchase online or at Kroger, Academy, and HEB.

Product Review: Equality Vodka

written by Kevin Craft

Fall is coming, which means Dallas Pride is just around the corner! For those of us that that it means our favorite event of the year is coming, you’ll need an impressive cocktail to serve at your pre-pride festivities. I got you covered with Equality Vodka.

I wasn’t sure about taking on a new Texas Vodka (I’ve been a Tito’s fan for a while now), but Equality was very smooth, and pairs with almost any mixer you’ve got in your fridge. Equality Vodka for sure found staying power in my liquor nook.

The best part? Finally you can drink as much as you want and know you’re supporting a good cause. (Because that was what was holding us back, right?) For every bottle purchased, Equality Vodka will make a donation to a nonprofit organization recognized for advancing the equality movement for LGBTQI communities.

I created this cool refreshing cocktail recipe that’s perfect to celebrate before hitting the parade and as simple as it can get.

_DSC1006_2

Equality Vodka® Rainbow Sour
2 parts Equality Vodka
3/4 parts Lemon Juice
Water or Club Soda
1 slice of lemon
Water
Food coloring, three colors max

First step: (PROCRASTINATOR ALERT! You’ll need to do this the night before.) Make at least three colored ice cubes in an ice cube tray. You won’t need yellow … it comes into play later.

Second step: When life gives you lemons … slice them and use them as the perfect pop of color in your drink! Lemons not only add flavor to the cocktail, but they’re totally photogenic. (Perfect for any Instagram addicts out there.)  Put the ice cubes in a clear glass, add Equality Vodka, the lemon juice, and the water/or club soda in that order.

Product Review: Limoncello di Capri

written by Jim Hargreaves*

Limoncello is a difficult spirit to review … much like the glass it is often served in, it has an inherently narrow profile. Take some fruit, steep in ethanol, add sugar, and limoncello is born. However, it is exactly this singular focus — the lemon — which makes this liqueur such a challenge to create without revealing subtle flaws, and likewise, so brilliantly delicious to imbibe when made right

Limoncello di Capri is crafted using organic lemons strictly harvested from the Italian islands of Capri and Sorrento, using a cold infusion process, without artificial colors or additives. Long story short … it’s the real deal. In fact, the brand was the first to patent the term “limoncello”, using a recipe that was handed down from the drink’s original creator, Vincenza Canale. Canale, an innkeeper on the isle of Capri, first served the elixir to her guests in the early 1900s.

While the packaging appears generic compared to other premium spirits, the vessel belies the quality of the liquid contained within. Limoncello di Capri pours a milky, pale yellow, rich color, though not as brilliant as others. It’s a hue deserving of a hot summer day, though, quite frankly, drinking a good limoncello is just as enjoyable in the depth of winter. (Hey, you can’t sit around waiting for the weather to change to write a review!) The aroma is bright and fragrant, with a clear hint of alcohol.  Keep in mind, limoncello is often upwards of 60+ proof — a wolf in really delicious sheep’s clothing. There is a distinctly sharp citrus character in the nose, though the scent of sweet sugar and lemon oil found in some of the best examples is rather subdued. All in all, breathing in the vapor certainly entices one to take a healthy sip.

The taste, obviously of lemon, is lighter and crisper than many lesser brands, washing away cleanly and quickly prompting the next swig. A boozy burn comes through quickly as the spirit meanders down the throat. The flavor is long and lasting, with a noticeable bite and a slightly dry finish. Above all, there is the fruit, clean and striking and strong in a way as to make your cheeks salivate. Simple yet delicious. If you could squeeze a yellow sun until it dripped with nectar, one might imagine it to taste of good limoncello.

limoncello_01

For those seeking an entry into world of this famed Italian spirit, Limoncello di Capri is a more than a suitable offering. A bit bold, and lacking some of the subtleties of more balanced makes like Villa Massa, it is nevertheless mouthwatering, and like any good limoncello, unapologetically focused. Find a patio, some friends, and try a sip … and presto (as the Italians would say).

Serving Suggestion: Store in the freezer and serve cold, straight, in a cordial glass or small champagne flute

For recipes, visit www.limoncello.com/en/ricette_cocktail.html.

LIMONCELLO DI CAPRI
www.limoncello.com/en/
Ask for Limoncello di Capri at your local liquor store as it has only recently been imported in to the US.
*NOTE FROM SUSIE: Jim is my cousin who also designed my amazing logo.  Check out his other amazing work at www.hhargreaves.com!