Category Archives: Contributor

BLUE CHAIR BAY BANANA RUM GIVEAWAY & RECIPES

Another SDD Blue Chair Bay giveaway! (LUCKY!) This time we’re giving away a bottle of Blue Chair Bay’s latest flavor, Banana Rum! Enter to win ye a bottle o’ rum, me matey, and check out some recipes Laura whipped up using the delicious banana rum (and only a few banana-related puns and catchphrases).

My take on Blue Chair Bay Banana Rum:
In my experience, flavored liquors are very hard to do right… but Blue Chair Bay did it right with their Banana Rum. Blue Chair Bay Banana Rum has a rich flavor and a real banana taste. First, I tried it straight up, and it tasted exactly like Bananas Foster, evident by its buttery, caramel finish. It doesn’t taste artificially sweet either. I even tried it as a twist on the old standard rum and coke, and it was actually pretty darn good.

My Recipes:
I’m not typically a dessert or sweet drink person, save for the occasional espresso martini, so I knew I’d be my own toughest critic. But not to toot my own horn (toot toot), but these turned out pretty darn delicious. All of them are best served ice cold, which should be pretty appealing since we are smack in the middle of a Dallas summer.

photo 2Not Your Nana’s Banana Crème Pie Martini
3 oz Blue Chair Bay Banana Rum
2 oz clear crème de cacao liqueur (I used Hiram Walker brand)
3 oz half-and-half
Garnish: Graham cracker rim (to make: first rim martini glass in honey and then in graham cracker crumbs)

Combine ingredients in a shaker with ice, shake, and pour into graham cracker rimmed martini glass.

 

photo 1Frozen Chocolate Banana Martini
1½ oz Blue Chair Bay Banana Rum
1½ oz white or dark crème de cacao liqueur (I used Hiram Walker brand)
1½ teaspoons of chocolate syrup
1 cup of ice, add more if necessary
Maraschino cherry for garnish

Combine all ingredients (except for cherry) in a blender with ice, blend until slushy. Pour into martini glass, garnish with a cherry, add chocolate syrup for garnish or to make even more chocolate-ly. (Because … chocolate.)

photo 3Banana Rum-ssian
1½ oz Blue Chair Bay Banana Rum
¾ oz coffee liqueur (I used Kamora brand)
¾ oz half-and-half
¼ oz of Icebox ice coffee concentrate (you can find this at Central Market or online) or CoolBrew Coffee

Combine ingredients in a shaker with ice, shake, and pour over ice.

For a refresher on the rum recipes Susie came up with before with the Blue Chair Bay White Rum, click here.

Enter to win a bottle of Blue Chair Bay Banana Rum!!!

Win a bottle of your very own by doing any (and all) of the following BEFORE NOON on Sunday, August 10 and tell us which one of the recipe above that you’d like to try using Blue Chair Bay Banana Rum (or make up one of your own!!).  

(One entry per platform per person will be accepted.)

Yo ho and a bottle of (banana) rum! Enjoy and good luck!

About Blue Chair Bay Rum:
Blue Chair Bay Rum is born on the beach for the times you just want to let go and live in the moment.Blue Chair Bay Rum is a collection of premium-blended rums created on the shores of the Caribbean and inspired by multi-platinum singer-songwriter’s Kenny Chesney’s love of the island lifestyle. Each of Blue Chair Bay Rum’s four varieties, White, Coconut, Coconut Spiced and Banana is 100% beach-made and mellowed in casks at one of the oldest, most respected distilleries in the Caribbean. Imported from Barbados and bottled by Fishbowl Spirits, Rochester, NY. Blue Chair Bay White Rum 40% ABV, Blue Chair Bay Coconut, Coconut Spiced Rum and Banana 26.5% ABV. Available in 750ml and 1.75L bottles

Please enjoy Blue Chair Bay Rum responsibly.

Laphroaig 10 Year Old Single Malt Scotch Whiskey

Do you know what a good day is? Getting home to find a bottle of Laphroaig 10-Year Old Single Malt Scotch Whiskey waiting for you. (Talk about a good way to unwind from a rough day.) Having had (and greatly enjoyed) Ardbeg Whisky (Scotch) before, I had a guess what Laphroaig was going to taste like. Since they’re both on the southeastern coast of Islay, part of the Hebridean Islands off the west coast of Scotland, I had high hopes.

I opened the bottle and took a quick smell, and my nose immediately picked up smoke. I poured myself a glass, neat (obviously), and took another whiff. The aroma opened up a bit and I caught the typical earthy/peaty smell that scotch from Islay often bares. (One might question what peat smells like, and I really can’t explain it. But, for those interested here is your science lesson: peat is simply decayed vegetation that occurs in natural areas. Some call those areas peatlands, but just imagine a bog. Very wet, spongy ground, that allows vegetation to decay over time.) Alright, enough science, back to the scotch. It had a heavily peaty aroma because distilleries in this area of Scotland often use peat fires to dry their grains. The scotch then takes on that smoky flavor, which is VERY distinct. The first sip brought the exact same flavor, peaty/earthy, and it was VERY bold.

I put a few ice cubes in the glass to chill the scotch, and as it chilled I noticed a slight spice to the scotch, which really complimented the smokiness. As the ice melted, I added a little bit a water to finish it off, which brought out the spices completely and really opened up the entire bouquet. While the smokiness was still the headliner of the scotch, the spices were just as bold on the finishing end of the drink.

This is Laphroaig’s original “basic” scotch, it has been distilled the same way for 75 years. I would highly recommend this as a staple in your liquor cabinet. Head to the website to see your other options from Laphroaig.

*Side note: last year SDD Contributor Rico reviewed the 2013 Laphroaig Cairdeas: Port Wood Edition. Each year, Laphroaig releases a limited edition to celebrate friendship, Cairdeas in Gaelic. Without going into too much detail that bottle went under a double maturation process in both bourbon and port wood casks to create a unique flavor. For a review of the 2013 limited edition click here.

Twitter: @Laphroaig
Facebook: www.facebook.com/laphroaig

Located at fine retail locations nationwide for around $50/bottle. (BONUS: This also includes a unique code inside each bottle that allows you to register as a “Friend of Laphroaig” and receive a lifetime lease on one square foot of land on the island of Islay, right next to the distillery. How awesome is that?)

**Disclaimer: I received this amazing bottle for free from Laphroaig**

An Open Letter to Suburbia from a Suburbian

To Whom it May Concern:

One of the best parts of living in the ‘burbs has been my slow realization that living out here is not the end of the world socially. Every time you look up, there’s a new import of a Dallas favorite, a side project from a chef you already love, or places that have helped us move beyond the downtown/uptown view that we’re all watching MMA fights at wing restaurants between trips with the kids for unlimited breadsticks and a dip in a chocolate fountain.

As this has happened, I’ve noticed two distinct feels for these northern concepts. The first (let’s call it the “right way” to do business) is to create a restaurant that will be part of the neighborhood with a great dining/drinking experience that stands on its own. This seems like a really easy concept to grasp and a general key to success … right?

There’s a second troubling approach I’m starting to notice and it can be summed up as “Hey, you suburban Neanderthals, put down your slop for a second and come have the honor of dining on what us city folk eat.” Sometimes this comes through from a server; other times you can just feel it permeating the entire restaurant the moment you walk in. It’s not limited to second locations – in fact, most of the biggest offenders I’ve encountered are places that have opened out here only. For a few of these, you can almost circle the date on the calendar in 12-15 months when the novelty will wear off and everyone moves on to the next big thing.

Now, I’m not going to name names or turn this into a list – different places have bad days, sometimes a waiter from the Dallas location who feels this way takes a shift and does a poor job of hiding an attitude or, being frank, there are (gasp) exhausting suburban stereotypes in suburbia that reinforce the whole outlook. I love that I can hop over to a second Lockhart’s and walk out with ribs and some of the most underrated turkey you’ll ever see at a BBQ joint and I certainly don’t want to seem ungrateful, especially as someone who spent my childhood in a town that didn’t get a Chili’s within 30 miles until I was in high school.

So, why am I ranting? Because as a person who moved out here after 7 years in Dallas “proper”, it’s exciting to me to not only kill my own misconceptions and judgments, but bring friends out here and have them do the same. I won’t pretend to not still venture to Dallas when I can, but it is very satisfying to have a community feel up here that also captures some of the best things about living near the city. There are people who plan their lives around the Lakewood house and the job downtown, which is awesome, but there are also plenty of great opportunities (and parking spaces, yards, less congested roads, etc.) outside of the bubble as well.

There’s nothing worse than convincing a person to come out all this way, taking them somewhere that sounds great on paper and then watching them get so turned off they either find a way to never come again or just suggest making a few drinks and ordering in at your place. So, please, if you’re an owner of a restaurant, bar, cocktail lounge, house of wine, illegal moonshine bathtub or anything else that lets us eat, drink and be merry, please remember to keep treating customers the way you would want to be treated and help us to continue to build up a real food and drink scene north of 75.

Yours (somewhat ungratefully),

Brian

Cubierto’s

Hi. My name is Brian, and I have a confession that will be hard to hear for most Texans: At some point in the last 5 years, I gave up on Tex-Mex/Mexican. I didn’t stop eating it or anything, but after hopping from place to place, it all was beginning to run together to the point where seeking out new places or menu items lost all appeal. I think this came about from excessive exposure – especially when every night out in Uptown had to be started with a group of 12 (8 girls, 2 beaten-down dates, 2 single guys usually) headed to Primo’s (RIP), MiCo’s or Chuy’s. It’s not that I don’t like it – I just sort of realized that if I went limp and stayed real still, Mexican food would still find me.

Picture courtesy of Cubierto’s
Picture courtesy of Cubierto’s

That’s why when Susie asked me if I’d tried Cubierto’s, I made a note of it, but didn’t rearrange any immediate plans. To her credit, she didn’t give up, and kept telling me that I wouldn’t regret the trip. Finally, as the polar vortex welcomed me home to DFW from a work trip, I felt the long-dead Tex-Mex craving knew it was time … time for Tex-Mex.

As I walked up to the building, I had hesitations. The patio looked great and expansive, but it was still early in the evening and the happy hour crowd hadn’t quite been replaced by the night diners. Then, there was a note on the door about following a dress code. This was obviously a chance to write my own Addison/North Dallas joke, but instead, I opened the door and found a very happy hostess, a great atmosphere and live music going on by the bar. The service was extremely welcoming and pleasant (not always a given during this time of night on a weekend as folks recover and gear up for the second wave.)

For drinks, I tried two different margaritas – the house-made frozen one as this experiment’s constant, and then the higher end offering on the menu. The frozen one was good – not too sweet, the tequila came through and it was very refreshing, but there’s only so much you can say about a frozen house margarita. The top shelf one with cointreau was perfect. The overbearing sweetness that usually limits me to a margarita or two every few months had been replaced by a balanced taste of tequila, lime and orange that was equally enjoyed by my margarita-eschewing fiancée. I found myself wishing I had just started with this one and couldn’t even bring myself to try the sangria or the pepper cocktail, but have both of those on my list for next time.

For a meal, we had the chicken mole and the tenderloin quesadillas, which were both excellent. I had a friend in college who had family in Mexico City and was obsessed with finding the perfect dish, and this was about the closest I’d seen anything come to the homemade attempts we’d all split after being disappointed elsewhere. The quesadillas were also fantastic and replaced the ones at Tupinamba’s as my favorite, rarely-mentioned quesadillas in Dallas.

I owe Susie for convincing me to check this place out and definitely recommend the trip to anyone looking for something a little bit different than the usual Dallas spots.

Drink strength: 4.5 of 5 (that top shelf will get you)
Food: 4.5 of 5 (everything from the salsa trio to the entrees was excellent – and there’s a lot more to try we missed)

Cubiertos Gourmet Mexican and Margarita Bar
www.cubiertosdallas.com
facebook | Twitter: @CubiertosDallas | Instagram: @CubiertosDallas
18020 Dallas Pkwy, Dallas, TX 75287
(972) 381-7779

Astoria Caffe & Wine Bar

Truth be told, I find wine to be a bit intimidating. I can’t do what sommeliers do. I’m a beer guy. I have no idea how to really even “taste” wine as a professional would, seeking out hints of boysenberry (what does boysenberry even taste like???) or a lingering aftertaste of leather or graphite (whaaa?). I couldn’t tell you if a wine should be older or drunk the same year it’s made, and I have no idea of the “terroirs” associated with different wines. (Wait … since when are dog breeds involved in wine-making???) Nevertheless, the staff at Astoria Caffe & Wine Bar in Addison Circle makes me feel like a pro and helps me get to just the right glass (or three) of vino.

Wine and CheeseI recently had the chance to visit this corner bar with the wife for a light dinner of wine and cheese (which is totally acceptable). This wine bar is family-owned, completely unpretentious, and boasts a diverse selection of wines and a small, well thought-out menu. It’s the kind of place where you can see yourself being a regular. For those who aren’t big wine drinkers, don’t fret, Astoria stocks a selection of domestic and imported beers, too.

For the casual wine drinker who doesn’t want to an entire bottle (or the indecisive), there are plenty of choices available by the glass. I thought that the prices for both glasses and bottles of wine were quite reasonable. If you’re looking for something in particular or just need help with a recommendation, the staff is eager to help and knowledgeable about the bar’s offerings.

Astoria is intimate and cozy, allowing one to quickly feel right at home. The interior has a dozen or so small tables as well as a dog-friendly front patio surrounded by lush trees. This wine bar attracts an eclectic mix of patrons that range from the mature wine snob to young couples to hipsters. Those looking for a great first date spot in Addison or those simply looking to unwind with a glass of good wine in a relaxed atmosphere can look no further.

Whether you’re an experienced wine buff or an amateur like me, there’s a lot to appreciate at Astoria Caffe!

ASTORIA CAFFE & WINE BAR
astoriacaffe.com | (972) 239-5853
15701 Quorum Drive, Addison, Texas 75001
Facebook | Instagram: @Astoriacaffe_Winebar | Twitter: @Astoriacafewine

Happy Hour: Daily from 3pm to 7pm

  • Monthly bottle specials
  • Live-music on select nights

 

Where to Get Your Adult Milkshake Fix in Dallas/Fort Worth

Originally written by Lauryn Bodden, edited and updated by Susie O.


Ice cream, desserts, and booze:
these are a few of my favorite things.

With national ice cream month upon us, it appears there is no better time than now to enjoy this match made in heaven. Pick your favorite frozen pint of dairy, blend it with a splash (okay, splash is a little naïve) of Kahlua or booze of choice and top with desired toppings like whipped cream, peanut butter cups, and fudge.

But then again, Dallas has its fair share of adult milkshakes floating around town and something of this measure should really be left to the experts. That being said here is a roundup of some of my favorite places to get that boozy shake fix.

Grub Burger Bar | Photo credit: Susie O

Grub Burger Bar
grubburgerbar.com | multiple locations

– Bourbon & Caramel
– Mint Chocolate Chip
: Vodka, crème de cacao, crème de menthe and Andes mints
– Birthday Cakefetti: Cake vodka and sprinkles
– Moonshine American Pie: Apple pie moonshine, applie pie filling, bakes pie crust, maple syrup, vodka and kosher salt, grated cinnamon and granola crumble
– Dirty Kitchen Sink: Chocolate vodka, pretzels, peanut butter, salt, butterscotch sauce, caramel sauce, chocolate chips, coffee grounds and potato chips
– Tipsy Worms & Dirt: Vodka, crushed Oreos and gummy worms

Royale - adult milkshake
The Royale’s Adult Milkshake | Picture by Susie O

The Royale Magnificent Burger
royaleburgers.com | 3310 Dallas Parkway, Suite 121 (Plano)

These overdressed shakes are boohoozy. Options include some tamer options like their Salted Caramel Shake spiked with Nassau Royale Liqueur (pictured above) and their Banana Shake “jolted” with Maker’s Mark, then get a little crazy. Their Magnificent S’mores Shake (pictured as the header) has chocolate ice cream, fudge, toasted marshmallow, and a graham cracker rim … then they add marshmallow vodka. It’ll set you back $13.50, though! (Other options include vanilla with Myer’s Dark Rum, chocolate with Godiva Liqueur, and strawberry with Ford’s Gin.)

Kenny’s Burger Join’s Chocolate Grasshopper | Picture by Rachel Farrar

Kenny’s Burger Joint
kennysburgerjoint.com | Frisco & Plano

– Insomniac: Espresso vodka, Kahlua, Baileys and chocolate syrup
– Attitude Changer: Stoli vanil, Godiva dark chocolate liquor and Oreos
– Easy Rider: Maker’s Mark and caramel
– Chocolate Grasshopper: Crème de menthe, white crème de cocoa and Oreos

Twisted Root Adult Milkshake (Big Fat Elvis)
Twisted Root Adult Milkshake, the Big Fat Elvis | Picture courtesy of Twisted Root

Twisted Root Burger Co.
twistedrootburgerco.com | multiple locations

– Cookies & Cream: Amaretto and Oreo cookies
– Bailey’s & Banana: Bailey’s Irish Cream and 99 Bananas Liquor
– Chocolate Cake: Vanilla vodka, Frangelico and chocolate vodka
– Fruit Loops: Strawberries and 99 Bananas Liquor
– PB & Chocolate: Chocolate vodka and peanut butter
– German Chocolate Cake: Malibu rum, chocolate vodka and pecans
– Grandpa’s Favorite: Butterscotch schnapps and vanilla
– Rocky Road: Amaretto, chocolate vodka, pecans and marshmallows
– Chocolate Bananas: 99 Bananas Liqueur, chocolate vodka and chocolate chips

Snuffer’s Burgers
snuffers.com | multiple locations

They actually don’t offer them on the menu, but it’s a Snuffer’s secret that you can ask for them!

Hopdoddy’s Strawberry Buttermilk Milkshake Special | Picture courtesy of Hopdoddy

Hopdoddy Burger Bar
hopdoddy.com | multiple locations

You can add any booze you want to the shakes listed on the menu!

Alamo Drafthouse
drafthouse.com | multiple locations

– Breckenridge Vanilla Porter Shake: Breckenridge Porter (nitro)
– Grasshopper Shake: Crème de cacao, crème de menthe, vanilla ice cream and whipped cream
– Irish Coffee Shake: Bailey’s Irish Cream, vanilla ice cream, coffee and whipped cream
– Maker’s Mark Milk Punch Shake: Maker’s Mark, vanilla ice cream, nutmeg and whipped cream
– Reposado Chocolate Shake: Reposado tequila, chocolate, cinnamon and whipped cream
– The Temptress Shake: Lakewood Milk Stout (nitro)

Del Frisco’s Grill’s Vanilla Adult Milkshake | Picture courtesy of DFG

Del Frisco’s Grill
delfriscosgrille.com | D/FW locations only

Their more adult-seeming Vanilla Adult Milkshake is a blend of Nocello Walnut Liqueur, Crème de Cacao, chocolate liqueur, and vanilla ice cream.

Header image courtesy of The Royale Magnificent Burger.

THE SOCIAL HOUSE’S SUMMER SIPS & BITES

Summer is upon us, and we all know what that means, Dallas … patio season is now in full swing! With that said, The Social House recently had us come in to try out some fresh bites and Summer cocktails on the patio of their Addison location.

Everything we tried at the tasting was great. It may just be that I love mangos, but my favorite beverage was the Frozen Mango Margarita. The thickness of the fruit itself makes this frozen margarita taste more like a smoothie. It’s pretty awesome. If it’s food you’re after, check out the Irish Pork Nachos. They’re made with house-cut chips, topped with Ancho pulled pork, avocado mousse and pickled jalapeños …yes, it was as good as it sounds.

Whether you are looking for a great patio to lounge on a beautiful day, a tasty beverage after a long day or some delicious food for a grumbling stomach, The Social House is your one-stop shop!

PROTIP: Check out their amazing happy hour specials! For example, the cocktails shown above (or below) are all served at half-price during happy hour… Talk about the happiest of hours!

Social House Addison
5100 Belt Line Rd. #410
Addison, TX 75254
TEL: (972) 392-4300
Happy Hour: Monday-Friday from 4PM till 7PM