Category Archives: Contributor

Product Review: Pisco Porton

Ever have those friends who claim they cannot (or will not) drink a certain liquor after too many peer-pressured pulls from a plastic handle in college? Or they swear they will retch from a mere whiff of whiskey? Annoying, right? Well, when I was asked to do a review of Pisco Porton, my entire framework for the spirit was one of those cloying, annoying cautionary taIes had always promised not to become.

Earlier this year, I had a chance to travel to Santiago, Chile with a mix of sheltered coworkers and locals who promised to give us a well-rounded experience of the city’s nightlife in just a few days. I quickly learned pisco is mixed with everything – piscolas and pisco sours were everywhere and they were delicious, and as I would learn each morning, packed a hell of an aftershock. I came back raving to Susie about how this drink had kicked the crap out of me (in the best way possible). She kept nudging me to review it, but after a few raw flashbacks to how I felt from a week of pisco emersion, I decided it needed to wait until my memories from Chile dulled a bit. So, after some stalling, I was finally ready to go back and face my new frenemy.

For those not familiar, pisco is a white spirit made from grapes (technically a form of brandy) that, when done well, feel like the beautiful offspring of grappa and vodka. There’s a whole backstory where Peru and Chile fight over who does it best, but if you’re scoring at home, Porton is team Peru. If you do like history and South American culture, use this review and this article as a launching point because it covers it much better than I can.

I resolved to start with a straight pour served neat and was happy to find my sips did not leave me burning or second guessing what I’d gotten myself into. The drink was earthy with vanilla and fruity notes that came through as I savored it. I didn’t get the tobacco and oak mentioned in the review linked above, but it was still much easier to drink than I’d expected.

Now that I had invited pisco into my own home, I was ready to experiment beyond what had been prepared for me back in Chile. Luckily, Pisco Porton has a great website full of information and resources, including a strong cocktail library featuring both traditional and non-traditional recipes. After perusing (peru…no, I will not make that joke), I landed on three recipes that would hopefully prove how versatile the spirit is and didn’t sound too difficult so as not to be held back by my non-professional bartending skills.

Recipe #1: Peruvian Negroni

Take the classic negroni recipe and swap out gin for pisco and you’re all set. To be honest, after I mixed this, the pisco flavor was harsh and overpowered the drink. After rebalancing it and adjusting to the bite of the pisco (it’s not a mixer that’s going to disappear unless you’re making sugar drinks … and that’s just rude), it improved with each sip. If you’re looking to try pisco for the first time, stick with more traditional sour or cola mixers, but if you like the taste of pisco on its own, this will work for you.

Recipe #2: Peruvian Sidecar

Once again – we’re swapping out a traditional spirit (cognac) with pisco. Unlike a traditional sidecar that can sneak up on you before you realize how tipsy you are, the pisco version doesn’t tip toe around your wavering sobriety. However, the end product was a strong drink I could sip and enjoy and ended up being my favorite of the three. The bold profile of pisco is complimented nicely by orange and lemon.

Recipe #3: Portonero

Probably the most approachable of the three, the combination of pisco, lime juice, bitters and ginger beer was made to make every Dark and Stormy or Moscow Mule enthusiast ease into trying something new. At first sip, the pisco presence was masked heavily by the ginger beer, as ginger beer often does. Even after a second attempt with a different ratio, the ginger beer overwhelmed the spirit, making for a good drink, but not a great showcase for pisco itself.

Now that I’ve got my pisco legs back, I’ve made a few more sidecars and plan to infuse another bottle of with blood oranges and see what I can come up with.

Although I didn’t make one tonight, I think everyone owes it to themselves to try a pisco sour, because as Roy Kesey said in the previously linked interview with San Diego City Beat, “When you drink a well-made one, it feels like you’re drinking the world’s best lemonade, but then you fall down after the third one.” Salud to that!

Whisler’s (Austin, TX)

Written by Jaime Cawyer

Being from Austin, I was over the moon to have the chance to check out one of their newer bars, Whisler’s. Located in ever-growing East Austin, Whisler’s feels like it’s been there forever. The small indoor bar is perfect for small talk with your more than qualified bartender and the outdoor patio would be ideal for you and your group to sip all night. Whisler’s specializes in cocktails that are creations of their very own staff and I was lucky enough to have GM, Cesar Aguilar, concoct some of their latest drinks for me.

whisler's

Aguilar truly believes that he and his staff are never done learning and innovating when it comes to their cocktails. They create the menu by having the bartenders create their own cocktails and submit them to be on the seasonal menu. I had the pleasure of trying the fall menu of winners.

The first drink I tried was the simple and light Eastside Queen (vodka, lemon, and cranberry-rosemary syrup). If you like vodka (and I do!) then this is the perfect cocktail. Needless to say, this was something I would order a couple of in an evening.

eastsidequeen

Next I tried the Pink Lady (gin, apple brandy, lemon, honey, grenadine, and egg white), which tasted like I was drinking a cloud…a delicious, gin-filled cloud. This drink is sweet and creamy- definitely a hit with me. I probably would have claimed this one to be my favorite … until I found the next drink.

pinklady

My last drink was the I Yam What I Yam (butter-rum, meletti amaro, sweet potato shrub, and bitters topped with a roasted marshmallow). Yes … yes, you did read that right: Thanksgiving goodness … in your mouth in an easy-to-consume liquid form. (Stretchy pants not required.) This was, by all means, my favorite cocktail of the night. Sweet potato shrub is not something I had ever tried (or really had ever heard of) and I was apprehensive. I wasn’t sure it would translate into a cocktail. Foolish! It adds just the right amount of savory to counter the butter-rum and when you take a sip, while smelling the just-roasted marshmallow … well it’s just heaven.

iyamwhatiyam

The last thing we’ll mention is Whisler’s Oaxacan-style mezcalería, Mezcalería Tobalá. It’s a smaller bar upstairs carries a plethora of mezcals in half-pours to taste or full-pours.

Whisler’s is open everyday from 4pm-2am and is currently still serving their fall cocktail menu. Be sure to stay tuned for all of their future sure-to-amaze seasonal cocktail lists and be sure to ask who created your drink!

WHISLERS
whislersatx.com | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram
1816 East 6th Street, Austin, TX 78702
512-480-0781

JK Chocolate

The holiday season is upon us. Traffic is unreal, grocery stores are out of chocolate chips, and you have neither the time nor the inclination to bake homemade cookies for that White Elephant party/teacher gifts/hostess gift/birthday party. Now that you’ve decided to outsource your holiday baking, you’re faced with even more decisions: Are cupcakes too childish? Are cake balls still in? Will that whole cake get eaten? What exactly is a fruit cake?

Enter: JK Chocolate.

Purveyor of Microchip Cookies, cakes, and unfairly decadent chocolate sauces and the brainchild of Julie and Karleen, the roots of JK Chocolate reach back to 1984 when the two friends would prepare homemade chocolate sauces for their children’s teachers. The word spread quickly about their confections, and the teachers- bereft of the heavenly sauces after the kids grew up and headed to college- begged the duo to sell their products. The rest is cookie history.

IMG_7566JK Chocolate sells seven flavors of their perfectly munch able treats: Midnight Chocolate Chip, White Chocolate Chip Crunch, Peanut Butter Chip with Sea Salt, Six Spice Gingersnap, Pecan Sweeties, Cheddar Cheesies with Texas Heat, and, of course, The Original Chocolate Chip.

Available in 11- and 20-ounce cans, the flavors are also available in gift packs, party favor sets and multi-pack sets of smaller IMG_75711.5- and 2-ounce jars. You can mix and match flavors, cookies, sauces and mini-cakes for the perfect hostess gift, holiday snack, party favor or office presents.

The jar of Original Chocolate Chip Microchip cookies I brought home lasted a whopping two hours, so plan on buying more rather than less. They might be small, but they pack a hefty, homemade taste that’ll leave you craving more.

For store location, hours, online ordering and serving ideas, visit their website at www.jkchocolate.com.

JK CHOCOLATE
www.jkchocolate.com | FacebookInstagram
4710 W Lovers Ln, Dallas, TX 75209
(214) 350-0427

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Urban Rio Fall Cocktail Dinner

If you’ve ever paid a visit to Plano’s increasingly popular Historic District, chances are you are already familiar with the deliciousness that is Urban Rio. Hopefully, this also  means you are well-acquainted with Urban Rio’s breezy, rooftop watering hole, On the Rocks Cantina. In case you’ve been missing out:  This “Next-Mex” eatery features inventive menu items influenced by Mexican and Spanish flavors and ingredients from the Rio Grande Valley. Urban Rio places a heavy emphasis on fresh, creative menu items, with scratch-made ingredients (they grind their own corn for their tortillas). On the Rocks Cantina features 14 beer taps (10 of which are craft, including local selections), 8 frozen liquor taps, a creative variety of handcrafted cocktails, and assorted vino.

Even if Urban Rio is heavy in your rotation (as it should be), here is a little tidbit you may not know: Each month, Urban Rio features a  five course cocktail pairing dinner, and it’s only $34.90 per person. Let that sink in for a minute.  The average price tag of a craft cocktail in Dallas is in the double digits. I don’t think I need to elaborate any further on what a ridiculous deal this is.

I happily attended Urban Rio’s November Fall Cocktail Dinner. The menu was both festive and creative, with some delightfully unexpected offerings thrown in.

5 Butternut Squash Soup
Butternut Squash Soup

The first course paired a decadent Pumpkin Martini with a velvety Butternut Squash Soup.  The Pumpkin Martini (spiced rum, pumpkin spice syrup, nutmeg, cinnamon, crowned with house-made pumpkin whipped cream) made me feel like I was abusing my grown-up powers and indulging in dessert before dinner; this baby was sinfully creamy and delicious. The Butternut Squash Soup was prepared with a puree of onion and celery, which gave the soup a lovely, smooth texture without being overly rich. This gourd-centric pairing slapped us in the face with autumn-y goodness.

Our second course featured the Berry Breeze cocktail, paired with Berry Jalapeño Shrimp. The Berry Breeze (pear vodka, apple juice, and cranberry juice) was lightly sweet with a lovely pop cranberry. The sweetness of the cocktail was offset by the garlicky shrimp, accompanied by  a zesty berry-jalapeño sauce and a strawberry pico.

Berry Breeze

For the third course, we were treated to a Maple Old Fashioned, paired with Roasted Ham. The Maple Old Fashioned (maple rye whiskey, cranberry bitters) was surprisingly sweet and decadent for a spirit forward cocktail with only two ingredients. The sweet maple flavor paired beautifully with the smokiness of the ham, which was crowned with a zesty maple mustard sauce, served atop creamy leek mashed potatoes.

Maple Old Fashioned4 Ham

“Why stop at just one entree?” asked Urban Rio. The fourth course featured the  Pecan Dream cocktail, paired with Pecan Crusted Salmon. This pairing was my favorite, and I’m pretty sure I wasn’t the only one. I heard all kinds of praise songs being sung for the Pecan Dream (house-infused toasted pecan rum, banana, vanilla vodka, walnut liqueur, and sugar). This one-of-a-kind cocktail was reminiscent of delicious banana nut bread. It paired beautifully with the flaky, pecan-crusted salmon, which was prepared with mustard in the crust for just the right amount of contrasting bite to offset the sweetness of the cocktail. Bravo.

8 Pecan Dream7 Pecan Salmon

Finally, our fifth and final course paired the Chocolate Covered Raspberry, a beer creation, with an indulgent Chocolate Mousse. So, the Chocolate Covered Raspberry (Grapevine Brewery’s Nightwatch Oatmeal Stout with Lindemans Framboise) was technically not a cocktail … but, I am totally OK with this, because it was freaking delicious. Aptly named, the sweet, jammy, raspberry goodness paired perfectly with the rich, creamy chocolate mousse. I don’t usually consider beer when pondering after-dinner libations, but I definitely will going forward. Yum.

9 Chocolate Raspberry & Mousse

To tide you over ’til Urban Rio’s next amazing cocktail dinner in December (scheduled for December 16, at 6:30), the kind folks at the On the Rocks Cantina were kind enough to share a duo of festive holiday drink recipes you can create for yourself, at home.

Cranberry MuleCranberry Mule
2 oz Deep Eddy Cranberry Vodka
1 oz fresh lime juice
0.5 oz simple syrup
Fresh mint
Ginger beer

Fill copper mug with ice. Combine all ingredients in a cocktail shaker and shake with fresh mint. Strain into mug and top with ginger beer (we prefer Gosling’s!). Garnish with fresh cranberry skewer, lime wedge and sprig of fresh mint.

Winter VixenWinter Vixen Cocktail
1 oz St. Germain Elderflower liqueur
1.5 oz POM pomegranate juice
Champagne
Fresh pomegranate seeds

Fill the bottom of the champagne flute with pomegranate seeds (about ten). Layer St. Germain and pomegranate juice in the champagne flute and top with champagne.

Urban Rio Cocktail Dinners are hosted on a monthly basis, typically on the third Tuesday of every month (check out their events calendar to confirm future dates and times). Once again, the cost is just $34.90 per person (tax and gratuities not included)- such an amazing deal! Space is always limited, so make your reservation ASAP! For reservations, call 972-543-8911 or email elana@urbanrio.com.

Here are some other noteworthy Urban Rio happenings:

Check out On the Rocks Cantina’s 7 Deals for 7 Days specials, featuring:

  • Monday- $1 off all beer
  • Tuesday- $2 off cocktails on the rocks
  • Wednesday- $3 off Crown and Down
  • Thursday- $4 frozen drinks
  • Friday- $5 glasses of wine
  • Saturday- $6 beer-ritas
  • Sunday- $7 off bottles of wine

Be sure to check out their events calendar for additional drink specials and live music offerings.

logoSister restaurant Urban Crust is pairing with Urban Rio to throw a festive NYE bash at Urban Crust’s Rooftop Event Spot The “Cocktails and Confetti” NYE party  will feature live music from the Josh Goode Band, small bites from  Urban Crust, and a cash bar with signature drinks from Urban Rio  (credit cards also accepted).  Tickets are $50 and will go on sale on December 2. Tickets can be purchased here

I hear that Urban Rio will be offering a new series of quarterly beer dinners, launching in 2015. Just like the cocktail dinners, the five-course beer dinner will be offered for only $34.90 per person! The inaugural event, featuring Texas beers, take place on March 17, so make your reservations and mark your calendars!

URBAN RIO
1000 E. 14th St. Ste. 100, Plano, TX 75074
972-422-4466

Hours of Operation: Open Daily: 11 AM – 2 AM
Brunch Menu offered Sat. & Sun. from 11AM – 3PM

Spaten Beer Dinner @ Cook Hall

Spaten I recently had the opportunity to check out Cook Hall’s new fall menu (read about it here). It was basically bomb.com (side note: I was kind of shocked to find that this URL doesn’t seem to be registered…hmm). That being said, I was SUPER excited when Cook Hall generously extended an invitation to check out one of their signature beer dinners! Cook Hall hosts a bi-monthly 5-course beer pairing dinner, with themes ranging from the creative (whiskey versus beer throwdown!), to the educational (i.e., brewery or variety specific pairings). October featured a Spaten Brewing beer dinner. Jackpot.

Lagers

First, a little about Spaten Brewing Company: They have been around the block a time or two. This Bavarian brewery has been one of the leading exporters of German beer for over a century. Spaten is pretty much committed to kickin’ it old school when it comes to their brewing philosophy; they continue to brew in the tradition of the German Purity Law, circa 1516 (!), decreeing that beer should only be brewed using malt, hops, and water. Shocking revelation that a historic German brewery would do things by the book, I know.

Cook Hall prepared a five-course menu featuring thoughtful and creative beer and food pairings throughout the evening.

We started out sampling Spaten’s Premium Lager (Munich Helles Lager/5.2%). This crisp, balanced lager was notably drinkable, and paved the way for our delicate yet delicious starter, Roasted Beet Salad, served with blue cheese, dried fruits, and nuts. The tender, sweet beets paired nicely with the maltiness of the Lager.

Lager and Beet Salad
Lager and Beet Salad

2nd Course brought us Spaten’s Oktoberfest (Marzen/Oktoberfest/5.9%)- one of the sanctioned beers of Oktoberfest Munich (i.e. “THE” Oktoberfest…sorry, Addision/Lake Highlands/McKinney!). This smooth, full-bodied Marzen, with its malty aroma, was slightly bitter yet balanced with hints of caramel. Paired with the creamy, decadent, Butternut Squash Soup with oyster mushrooms, this duo could not have been a more perfect way to welcome fall (Seriously…this soup is everything. Please come try it before it goes away).

Oktoberfest and Butternut Squash Soup
Oktoberfest and Butternut Squash Soup

3rd Course featured Spaten Franziskaner (Hefeweizen/5.0%), the brewery’s Bavarian wheat beer. Spaten’s hefe is lightly malty with  a creamy finish, bringing lovely notes of banana and clove to the table. The Franziskaner paired nicely with our next dish, Gulf Shrimp & Smoked Bacon, with papaya mustard and avocado. The smooth, wheaty finish of the hefe was a match made in Heaven for tangy notes of chili and cumin in the papaya mustard.

Franziskaner and Gulf Shrimp
Franziskaner and Gulf Shrimp

4th Course, they brought out the big guns; Spaten Optimator (Doppelbock/7.6%). I love a good doppelbock, and Optimator is about as good as it gets. This sweet, malty offering is heavy-bodied, and features notes of caramel and licorice. It was a rich, indulgent accompaniment for our main course, the Braised Short Rib with ginger and chive spaetzle. Oh man, this was the good stuff. The short rib was fork tender, and the ginger and chive were a lovely, surprising twist on this traditional German noodle dish.

Braised Short Rib
Braised Short Rib

The 5th and final offering was Spaten’s Dunkel (Munich Dunkel Lager/5.5%).  This medium-bodied dunkel is lightly sweet and moderately, complex, with caramel and toffee flavors. If you have never enjoyed a thoughtfully selected beer with dessert, you have been missing out, my friends. The Dunkel paired beautifully with Caramel Roasted Pairs, served with brown butter ice cream. Lighter caramel notes from the beer intensified the richer caramel flavors in this dessert dish, and it really worked.

Dunkel and Pears
Dunkel and Pears

Bravo, Cook Hall. Bravo, Spaten.

Cook Hall beer dinners are hosted on a bi-monthly basis. Each 5 course meal includes one full-sized beer, and tasting sizes of four subsequent beers. The cost is $55 per person (tax & gratuities not included)- a great deal! Presently, the next beer dinner is planned for early December (firm date and menu TBD- check back here for updates). Space is limited, so make your reservation ASAP!

 

Cook Hall Dallas at the W DALLAS – VICTORY
cookhalldallas.com | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram
2440 Victory Park Lane, Dallas (Victory Park)
214.397.4111

Mon – Thurs. 11:30 AM – 10:00 PM
Fri/ Sat. 11:30 AM – 11:00 PM
Sun. 11:30 AM – 9:00 PM
Reservations available online at Cook Hall Dallas, or via Opentable

Moviehouse & Eatery DFW Grand Opening

 Moviehouse & Eatery has just launched their first DFW location in Keller (with another one set to open in Flower Mound Spring 2015 and Craig Ranch (date TBD)) , and this lucky gal got to attend their grand opening celebration. This Austin based dine-in theater concept is begging to be moved to the top of your date night list. For a fun twist on your conventional “dinner and a movie”, Moviehouse & Eatery features eight dine-in theaters, complete with suhhhhweet, comfy reclining seating and a dedicated waitstaff. Oh, and a full-service bar.

Moviehouse Taps

You will definitely want to arrive plenty early to your movie in order to fully utilize Moviehouse & Eatery’s impressive full-service bar in the lobby. The bar menu features a respectable wine list, an interesting beer selection with a focus on local craft brew offerings, and a creative cocktail menu.  I had the opportunity to sample two tasty libations at the opening; first, the Blueberry Ginger Sangria ($7.50). The sangria was bursting with berry flavor, and was dangerously easy drinking. Secondly, I sampled the light and refreshing Cucumber Strawberry Mojito ($8.50), which was chock full of lovely, fresh strawberries with just the right hint of mint. Don’t worry, friends; the drinks do not stop flowing when the movie starts; the entire bar menu is available during your show. Whew!

Cucumber Strawberry Mojito
Cucumber Strawberry Mojito

I also had an opportunity to sample some of the menu items Moviehouse & Eatery has to offer, and believe me when I tell you that we are not talking about the neon-yellow, cheese covered, circular nacho chips of your childhood. Moviehouse & Eatery’s menu features a wide variety of creative dining options, ranging from shareable appetizers and pizzas, to salads, sandwiches, and burgers. Take a peek at the menu here to learn more about their tantalizing offerings.

photo 4

If, by chance, you’re a little less hungry (or a little more focused on liquid calories), Moviehouse & Eatery has plenty of snacking options at the M&E Treats Candy Bar in the lobby.

photo 2In addition to traditional offerings like popcorn and classic candy, M&E Treats offers a variety of gourmet sweets for your face stuffing pleasure. Case in point: I don’t think you’ll be munching on chocolate covered Oreos at your neighborhood dollar theater any time soon.

I had the opportunity to enjoy a movie at the grand opening event (“Big Hero 6”- it was really cute- I am 30- I don’t have kids- don’t judge me), and I can totally vouch for the ridiculously comfy reclining chair situation they’ve got going on in their theaters. Holy moly, this was an amazing way to watch a movie, and every other theater I’ve ever been to is  doing it all wrong and I didn’t even know it ’til now. So basically, you’re kicked back in a big, plush chair with your feet up, sipping on a beverage of your choice, and chowing down on some seriously tasty vittles.

Moviehouse Seating

I will leave you with this final warning: watching a movie whilst seated upright, drinking an $11 Dr. Pepper, and munching on a Totino’s Party Pizza  is going to be a *little* disappointing the first time you do it after your get spoiled by Moviehouse & Eatery. Trust me.

Moviehouse & Eatery DFW
250 Rufe Snow Dr., Keller, TX 76248
(817) 518-9091

Ticket reservations available online at themoviehouse.com/keller

For specials and upcoming events, visit Moviehouse & Eatery on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/MoviehouseDFW

 

Ké Spirits’ wKé

College taught me a number of things, but one of its most important lessons was my love for whiskey. It’s an acquired taste that began as a means to drink with the boys and developed into my own guilty pleasure. I like it over ice or with a splash of ginger ale.

Typically, whiskey offers a slight bite with some smoky, woody qualities. Particularly, Ké Spirits’ Whiskey (wKé) delivers a rich, smooth flavor of grain and wild flower that brings a lasting bite. It’s a strong, but pleasing aroma of elements.

Ké describes its grain components as an uncommon combination that is processed by slicing, rolling, and in some cases, crushing them to capture and retain the unique flavors. Then comes the two-phase fermentation process in which the temperature and environment are closely controlled. Lastly, the liquids are distilled through small handmade copper pot stills in a two-phase copper distillation column. This lends hand to its opulent caramel color.

The legend of Ké Spirits originates in the late 1400s when the art of distillation made its way to Ireland. Irish Catholic monks used it to craft a beverage, whiskey, (“water of life” in English). It was made quickly and crudely to offer a barely drinkable solution. Then, in 1498 Padraig Barry discovered a grain process that turned young, hardly drinkable whiskey into a surprisingly rich and smooth beverage.

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Fast forward 470 years, Joe Barry learns of secret family stories detailing the mysterious “Ké” distillation that generations before him worked to protect from kings, invaders, thieves, and raiders. After retiring in 2007, Joe Barry journeyed to Ireland to unveil the truth of “Ké.” For the next five years he worked with distillers to recreate the original process himself and now offers three varieties: Ké (vodka), tKé (tequila), and wKé (whiskey).

Keep warm by the fire with a glass straight. If that doesn’t do the trick, here is a recipe provided by Ké spirits for a wKé Irish Coffee:

unnamed-18wKé IRISH COFFEE
1 ½ oz wKé
4 oz Freshly Brewed Coffee
2 tsp Dark Brown Sugar
Fresh Whipped Cream
Nutmeg, Cinnamon, or Chocolate

Combine wKé, coffee, and brown sugar in a warm Irish coffee glass and stir until sugar is dissolved. Top with whipped cream and a sprinkle of nutmeg, cinnamon, or chocolate.

mysteriouske.com | Facebook | TwitterInstagram


**Disclaimer: This bottle of joy was provided to me by Ké spirits**

Perry’s Steakhouse & Grille, Frisco

Perrys Bar 79

I consider myself a huge Perry’s fan. That said, when I learned their second DFW location was opening in my neck of the woods–located at Stonebriar Centre in Frisco–I was slightly (ok, ridiculously) excited. I had an opportunity to attend a “sneak peak” event at the new Perry’s location this past week … which was kind of the second best thing that happened to me last week.* (For the record, I’m pretty sure Susie actually shed a little tear when she realized she was unable to personally attend.**) Ohmylanta, folks. Consider my Perry’s fervor renewed and stoked. Wowsers.

This brand spankin’ new location (they opened their doors on 11/17) features some shiny, new bells and whistles in addition to signature features Perry’s fans will happily recognize. The dining room, capable of accommodating 350 guests, boasts Perry’s familiar towering wine wall. Features unique to this DFW location include a beautiful open kitchen concept, four private dining rooms, and an island bar. The restaurant has a decidedly open, airy feel … perfect for special occasions. The spacious and sumptuous Bar 79 (named in honor of the year the first Perry’s location opened their doors in Houston) provides a perfect space for a lively happy hour or pre-dinner cocktail. Like the Dallas location, an exterior patio is available for al fresco dining.

Perrys Wine Wall

The fact remains that the gorgeous aesthetics of the Perry’s Frisco location are basically a nifty bonus, because I’m pretty sure I would enjoy the food and drinks they serve here if I had to eat/drink them in a barn. Bar 79 presented us with an impressive array of creative and delicious beverage offerings at the preview event. I’m going to go ahead and say that it was nearly impossible to pick a favorite, so in no particular order, I delighted in:

Pineapple Ginger MojitoThe Pineapple Ginger Mojito – sweet pineapple paired with fresh mint, muddled with lime and shaken with Captain Morgan White Rum and just the right hint of ginger. I love unique mojitos, and this one was creative and refreshing.

Manhattan 46 – this classic cocktail is crafted with Maker’s 46, vermouth, and a dash of bitters, garnished with Luxardo cherries. If you aren’t familiar with Maker’s 46, this bourbon is finished in the barrel with specially seared oak staves, giving it a distinctive, oaky vanilla flavor. This cocktail was smooth as silk.

Classic Sidecar – this pre-prohibition era cocktail combines Hennessy VS, Grand Marnier, Caravella Limoncello, and fresh lemon juice. Just lovely.

Oolong Whiskey Spice
Oolong Whiskey Spice

Oolong Whiskey Spice – this one is new to the club, and I found it to be a most welcomed addition. Dickel #8 Bourbon, fresh mint, a hint of peach, fresh lemon juice, and yes, Oolong orange spice tea, give this cocktail a delightfully unique flavor. The flavor of the tea really shines through, but isn’t overpowering.

All mixology cocktails are $12

In addition to Perry’s stellar cocktail offerings, I had the opportunity to sample Perry’s Private Label Chardonnay ($13/glass, $52/bottle). This Sonoma County 2012 Chardonnay is a guest favorite, and I can see why. Pleasing notes of green apple, pear, and vanilla result in a lovely balance of sweet and crisp, with a long, lovely finish.

I had the opportunity to sample five eyes-roll-back-in-your-head-amazing dishes at the preview event (which was a good thing, since they were not stingy with the cocktails).

For starters, we enjoyed the Asian Ahi Tuna Tartare ($15.95). This was my first time to sample this lighter dish, and I can assure you it will not be my last. The tuna was remarkably fresh and delicate, crowned with a black sesame and teriyaki glaze. Crisp wontons accompanied this appetizer. I am generally not a big tuna fan, but I found myself wanting seconds of this dish.

Asian Ahi Tuna Tartare
Asian Ahi Tuna Tartare

Next, I was reacquainted with one of my favorite appetizers in DFW, Perry’s Signature Fried Asparagus ($16.95). As the name suggests, delicately breaded asparagus spears are fried, and then topped with tender jumbo lump crab meat. Holy smokes, I love this dish. So. Decadent.

Fried Asparagus with Crab
Fried Asparagus with Crab

If you are not familiar with THE Perry’s Famous Pork Chop ($36.95), you’d best acquaint yourself, ASAP. I love a good steak, as any good honorary Texan should, but Perry’s is a place where I really struggle with what to order thanks to this bad boy. SEVEN FINGERS HIGH, this hand-selected prime chop is cured, roasted, slow-smoked, and caramelized, then topped with Perry’s signature herb-garlic butter, and served with a side of apple sauce. Whew. In a glorious opening ceremony, the pork chop is carved tableside, while you look on salivating like one of Pavlov’s hounds. This might be the most tender, moist, decadent pork I have ever put in my mouth (sorry, every BBQ place ever).

Perry’s Famous Pork Chop
Perry’s Famous Pork Chop

I was so glad I had the opportunity to try the Chateaubriand, which is an off-menu item, available upon request (but I’m telling you about it now, so you win!). This beautiful tenderloin filet was presented with three sauces: truffle merlot, béarnaise, and roasted peppercorn; all three were spectacular accompaniments. The filet was melt-in-your-mouth good; velvety with a perfect crust. I see more of this in my future.

Chateaubriand
Chateaubriand

Finally, I was able to sample Perry’s Homemade Polish Sausage, a nod to Perry’s humble beginnings as a family-owned meat market in Houston. I am, admittedly, not much of a sausage fan- making me a decidedly bad honorary Texan. (Look, I am a native Floridian … and Floridian’s don’t know what sausage is, and there are some things we just can’t help about ourselves. But, I digress.) All of this was to say: I was so pleasantly surprised by this dish. The sausage, which was 85% lean, actually had quite a delicate flavor and texture. It was not remotely oily or greasy, but really tender and lovely, and I enjoyed it in spite of myself. The house-made BBQ sauce that accompanied it was tangy and flavorful. (And don’t forget the mustard!)

Polish Sausage
Polish Sausage

Perry’s has a variety of tempting specials throughout the week, for your eating and drinking enjoyment.

  • First, allow me to fill you in on one of the best lunch specials in DFW: Every Friday, from 11am-4pm***, you can enjoy Perry’s Famous Pork Chop with a side of whipped potatoes and apple sauce for $12.95. It basically costs me like $10 to eat at Chipotle on any given day (not that there’s anything wrong with Chipotle), so this is a NO BRAINER. In fact, I just got angry at myself that I haven’t had the opportunity to take advantage of this deal more often. Now that we have a Perry’s location in the great white north, that is fixin’ to change.
  • Perry’s popular Social Hour is a steal! Social Hour features a variety of mixology cocktails for just $6, wine by the glass starting at just $5, and a selection of tasty appetizers starting at just $5.95! Social hour takes place Monday-Friday, 4-6:30pm, and Sunday, 4-9pm. Check out the Social Hour.
  • Perry’s Bar 79 features live entertainment, ranging from classic lounge piano to lively jazz trios. Enjoy classy live music Monday-Thursday, 6-10pm or Friday-Saturday, 6-11pm.

 Perry’s Steakhouse & Grille
2440 Parkwood Blvd, Frisco, TX 75034
214-494-4645
Reservations, Menus, and Hours of Operation: Perry’s Steakhouse & Grille, Frisco

Notes from Susie:
*Rachel got engaged this past weekend, y’all! Congratulations to Champ and best wishes to her. 🙂
**I’ll admit that it was more than a solitary tear …
***If you show up at 3:45pm, you can enjoy the pork chop special (order immediately when you sit down) and then get right into Social Hour.