Category Archives: Contributor

Harwood District DJ Brunch

Friday night vibes are best when they roll into Saturday morning for DJ Brunch.

DJ Brunch is a series by the Harwood District that rotated between Saint Ann, Mercat Bistro, Happiest Hour, and now, Dolce Riviera. Select Saturdays, you could nurse your hangover with some amazing food and hair of the dog while listening to some beats by DJs such as DJ Sober and DJ Souljah. We took the liberty of testing out the Mercat Bistro DJ Brunch for you. You know, for research purposes …

On the particular Saturday we went, it was oddly cold so we were #blessed that Mercat Bistro has a climate controlled, enclosed patio. We started the table off with a pastry basket of assorted fresh pastries, an order of shishito peppers, and the ricotta & honeycomb. Hey, we had a night of drinking to make up for!

As for drinks, well, we couldn’t only have mimosas, because that’s just too easy. … and we were with Susie. We ordered all three of their brunch cocktails—the Pêche Mignon, the Rose Gold & Bubbles*, and the Mango Cloud*. All were delicious, but the crowd favorites were the Rose Gold & Bubbles and the Mango Cloud. They both come deconstructed and the waiter pours your bubbles over gold flecked cotton candy. (Yes, our inner 5-year-old selves were jumping for joy.)

*no longer available

 

By now, our hunger had returned at full force. We tried the Quiche Lorraine, the Croque Madame Sandwich, and the Ham & Cheese Omelet. All were plated beautifully and tasted just as delicious.

But be sure to head over to Mercat Bistro for brunch and don’t forget to check out the Harwood events page to keep up with cool events like the DJ Brunch happening in the area.

The next DJ Brunch will be at Dolce Riviera on Saturday, March 10 between noon and 3pm. For reservations, call 469-458-6623.


Mercat Bistro
MercatBistro.com
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2501 N Harwood St., Dallas, TX 75201
214.953.0917

Harwood District

 

Wine & Magic

Didn’t think wine night could get any more fun? Think again.

Checkered Past Winery, located in the Southside on Lamar building, is making sure your wine night is never boring. Their $20/person Wine & Magic nights happen once a month, and let me tell you, this isn’t your ordinary magic show.

I’m glad Susie sent me (because magic makes her uncomfortable), and I’m glad she did.  The magic host, Trigg Watson, puts on a modern and entertaining (dare I say frustrating?) magic show. His tricks kept us on the edge of our seats and scratching our heads in awe.

While our team has been longtime fans of Checkered Past, we were excited to visit in a new capacity.

With over 60 wines and 20 local craft beers, the last thing you’ll be worried about is running out of options. To compliment the wine, Checkered Past offers an array of spreads (all made in house), charcuterie, and pizzas. Don’t forget to end your evening with one of their delicious desserts!

Upcoming Wine & Magic nights are March 10 and April 14. Stay tuned to Checkered Past’s website or wineandmagicdallas.com for other events and future Wine & Magic nights.


CHECKERED PAST WINERY
Checkered Past Winery
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Street’s Fine Chicken Now Offers Brunch

Brunch goers: loosen your belt buckles. Street’s Fine Chicken now offers BRUNCH.

Known for their high quality, southern-style fried chicken, Street’s Fine Chicken is THE place to go for all of your fried chicken cravings. Since opening their second location in North Dallas at Forest & Inwood, they’ve moved on to releasing new, seasonal cocktails and … more importantly … brunch!

Their new brunch menu is only available at their Cedar Springs location (North Dallas location to hopefully follow soon) and can be enjoyed from 10am-4pm on Saturdays and Sundays.

You can expect items like the Fried Chicken Sandwich topped with a fried egg (talk about a “which came first” joke!), Chicken Fried Bacon, served with jalapeño gravy, and Berry French Toast. My favorite was the Breakfast Burrito, which has both fried chicken and egg in it, and is served with brunch potatoes.

All of the items on the brunch menu are $10. (There’s something beautiful about that … and that’ll make big brunch parties easier to split checks!) Oh, and mimosas are just $3 and Blood Marys are $5. (Now you know why you need to loosen your belt buckles … but not really your purse strings.) Not into brunch cocktails? They’ve still got you … their signature cocktail list offers drinks named after famous Southerners like Dolly’s Pardon, Reba’s Red and Shania’s Twang. … oh, and craft beer and wine on tap.

One thing I truly appreciate about Street’s Fine chicken is that even though you’re eating brunch, they still think it’s acceptable to order dessert.

 


STREET’S FINE CHICKEN
StreetsFineChicken.com
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Dallas: 3857 Cedar Springs Road
469-917-7140

North Dallas: 5211 Forest Lane, #108
972-803-5181

Must Visit Dallas Food & Drinks Events in March

The month of March is full of different activities and events all over the world. From the widely-observed International Women’s Day to series of other festivities, every country has its own local food events that are celebrated with pomp and of course, an abundance of food. We decided to put the spotlight on a well-known city for this year’s list of early spring food/drink carnivals.

The city of Dallas, Texas is usually acknowledged as the cultural and commercial hotspot of the northern region of the state. It is no surprise, then that a host of eye-catching food events would hold here. They go further to prove the fact that one can discover a ton of things to do in Dallas.

This year’s celebrations, particularly those in March promise to be colorful, exciting and food-packed for all occasions. Here’s a few must-visit, food-related events to look out for during March:

Red Mare Wine Dinner

March 1st

The III Forks Steak place will be hosting an exclusive wine dinner in partnership with the Red Mare Winery. This exclusive wine dinner will feature a host of exquisite courses along with the finest wine, plus an appropriate dessert to seal the event. It will be held in the evening hours of the day.
Tickets: $125.

Texas Independence Day

March 2nd

The Oak Highlands Brewery is proud to announce an all-open celebration of the 182nd Texas Independence Day with a cold beer and BBQ ribs Dallas style. The event will also feature the brewery launch their new brown ale brand, made from pecans grown exclusively in Texas.

Festival of Colors by Radha Krishna Temple of Allen

March 3rd

Better recognized as the Indian cultural festivity of ‘Holi’. This event serves as a commemoration of the oncoming spring. Celebration involves lots of colors, cultural music and Indian street food at all its spiciest! Get your taste buds satisfied with the feel of garam masala spices you’ve never tried before! The Festival of Colors kicks off at noon.
Entrance is FREE

Dallas Bites! Best Tacos & Margaritas Tour

March 3rd

Are you a lover of hot, spicy Mexican food? Then this food festival is for you. Food Tours is glad to host the March version of their Best Tacos & Margaritas Tour this year. For $64 you get to experience a bus adventure through the best gourmet and street taco places in East Dallas. Participants are allowed to bring their own drinks while savoring the tastes of award-winning margaritas across the city.

Poke & Sake

March 22nd

This event will be sponsored by the Dallas Fish Market. It will feature an unforgettable night experience as participants will search out unique poke cuisines. Each poke dish will be paired with the perfect sake tasting.
Tickets: $55

Dallas Arboretum Food & Wine Festival

March 22nd

Won’t it look like a great idea to taste all the dishes available in the world without traveling? This food and wine festival is designed to do just that. The event will feature an assorted choice of cuisines from four regions. You can also enjoy the finesse and expertise of chefs from some of the fun places to eat in Dallas.

Between the Buns

March 24th

This outdoor food event will feature the best sliders Dallas has to offer, alongside with fried chicken, burgers and many other bun-related cuisines. There will also be music and of course, cold drinks at cash bars. The food event is set for a kick off in the second half of the day.

Bacon and Beer Classic

Date TBD

This event features everything with bacon and beer. Nothing sounds more appetizing than cheesy bacon fries or bacon mac ‘n’ cheese inside a baseball arena. It is a cross-country festival, which is held in major baseball playing grounds across the USA.

To the tune of a host of interactive games plus exciting music, participants get to experience the evolution of bacon-inspired recipes. These foods will be made by the best local restaurants in the area. Although the date for the Dallas version is yet to be revealed for this March, our friends at Edubirdie recommend the experience and advise us to look out for this year’s date. It promises to be quite the gathering.


Without a doubt, a lot of other food events will be announced with time. These are our must-attend picks. We believe you will find an event suitable enough for your taste buds among the ones we picked. Have fun!

**Crystal Roman, the author of the post, is a blogger and a freelance writer for www.edubirdie.com. She is currently exploring the most fascinating places and events all around the globe to share her experience with readers.**

Firestone & Robertson Distilling’s Whiskey Ranch

If Texas is the second largest consuming state of whiskey, why don’t we have more distilleries? Inquiring minds (and whiskey lovers) must know.

The owners of Firestone and Robertson contemplated this question and answered it. Then they built Whiskey Ranch, the largest distillery west of the Mississippi River and the second venue for the Fort Worth duo. Coming out with an incredibly popular Texas Bourbon put a fire under their butts, and they realized they needed more space and production to keep up with (and predict) demand. Ten minutes southeast of downtown Fort Worth on the space that was formerly Glen Garden Country Club, Whiskey Ranch sits on 112 acres of secluded rolling hills … and yes, they kept the 18-hole golf course.

Whiskey Ranch was designed with a Texas ranch in mind. The Austin stone and iron meet you at the entrance as you drive down the winding road that leads you to the distillery. Once you arrive, it is hard to believe that you are still in Fort Worth until you see the skyline in the distance.

The Ranch House, which houses the Ranch Store, TX Tavern, Oak Room, Back Porch, and a Barrel Breezeway, will be your first stop. The TX Tavern tasting room is currently open on Thursday and Friday during store hours for tastings. The Oak Room and Back Porch will be some of the best new event spaces in Fort Worth. With plenty of room for large parties and a great view of the golf course.

Beyond the store, bar, etc., they built a rackhouse to age their barrels. They also plan to create a track that will allow the barrels to roll from the distillery to the rackhouse. (It’s a whiskey lover’s dream track.) To keep themselves on their feet, their main building has a lab that will serve as R&D for new liquids. (We’re hoping for a rye and some other exciting expressions!) They also have a blind tasting room used daily to ensure quality from their spirits.

Now for the star of the show: the Still House. When you walk through the doors, you are met by a fifty-foot -tall copper still. This beautiful still was custom-built for Whiskey Ranch and is complete with two site-glasses where visitors can see the magic bubbling. (Or distilling if you want to get technical.)

Whiskey Ranch will allow for continuous distillation rather than the batch process that is used at Vickery. They will be able to produce about 40 barrels a day rather than 3 barrels (their current output). So, the original location in Downtown Fort Worth at 901 Vickery will remain open.

Daily tours of Whiskey Ranch will begin in the coming months. Also, they plan to offer live music and food trucks to accompany tours. Stay tuned! 


Firestone and Robertson Distilling
www.frdistilling.com/whiskey-ranch
@frdistilling
Whiskey Ranch: 4250 Mitchell Blvd, Fort Worth, TX 76119

The Ranch Store is open Tuesday-Thursday 12-5pm and Friday 12-6pm.
The TX Tavern is open on Thursday and Friday during store hours.

 

Perry’s Steakhouse Opens in Grapevine, Texas

Written by: Carolina Merino

Carnivores, rejoice! The Dallas-Fort Worth area will now boast a brand new Perry’s Steakhouse & Grille. Perry’s third DFW outpost, a stunning 10,000 square foot restaurant in Grapevine that will accommodate 400 guests, opened on February 5.

Upon entering the restaurant you will immediately recognize Perry’s signature restaurant style, but will also be treated to a vibrant new color palette, lighting, textures, sweeping sight-lines in the dining room, and dazzling use of glass throughout. Thanks to the lovely layout and always stellar service that one is to expect from Perry’s, the venue is the perfect location for a romantic dinner, business dinner, or simply a happy hour to decompress.

I was the lucky one who attended their “sneak peek” media dinner last week where we were treated to a bevy of Perry’s Steakhouse & Grille favorites.

Pork chop bites: Small skewered, bite-sized morsels of their famous pork chop.
Paired with the Straight Paloma

Chateaubriand (Beef Tenderloin): Carved tableside and served with truffle merlot demi-glace, Bernaise, and Peppercorn reduction sauces
Paired with 2015 Perry’s Reserve Cabernet

Perry’s Signature fried asparagus: Asparagus topped with jumbo lump crabmeat

Chocolate Crunch: Crunchy milk chocolate covered with a dark chocolate ganache served with homemade whipped cream, toffee, and peanut brittle.
Paired with Jameson Mocha Old Fashioned

The standouts were the pork chop bites, the chateaubriand, and the fried asparagus topped with jumbo lump crabmeat. The bites have a savory-sweet caramelization on all sides and are served with a house made applesauce. (Susie’s note: get a little applesauce in every bite. It’s the perfect pairing!) The chateaubriand comes with a choice of sauces—the truffle merlot demi-glace, bursting with rich umami flavor, was my personal favorite.


Grabbing a seat at the bar for Perry’s popular Social Hour (their happy hour, available in the bar only) is always a fantastic idea. There, you can revel in the view of Bar 79’s towering wine wall which includes hundreds of wines, including Perry’s private label reserve Chardonnay and Cabernet, that perfectly complement the menu. During Perry’s Social Hour, you can wind down from a day of work and enjoy an array of bar bites, as well as wine, craft beer, and cocktail specials.

While tackling the famous 7-finger pork chop seems like a worthy culinary feat, knowing I can walk into the bar at anytime and order the bite-size version feels like an indulgence all its own. Make sure and order the “Strait Paloma” to enjoy alongside it. It’s an exceptional cocktail that pairs with the bites beautifully. You can also taste-test the martini menu with their “Pick Three” martini flight which is always fun. Social Hour is held Monday-Friday from 4-7 p.m. and Sunday 4-9 p.m.

And every Friday from 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Grapevine (and all Perry’s Steakhouse locations) will offer their Perry’s Signature Famous $14.95 Pork Chop lunch special which includes whipped potatoes and applesauce. This is truly a deal. (Susie’s note: This is a full lunch for me, and at least an additional meal. There has never been a better quesadilla made than one with leftovers from Pork Chop Fridays!)


Perry’s Steakhouse & Grille – Grapevine
PerrysSteakhouse.com
682.477.2261

Monday through Thursday: 4-10 p.m.
Friday: 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.
Saturday: 4-10 p.m.
Sunday: 4-9 p.m.

Bar 79: open until 11 p.m. every Friday and Saturday.

 

Carolina was invited to a preview of the new location to enjoy a meal free of charge. Header picture courtesy of Perry’s Steakhouse.

 

TGI Friday’s Releases Its New Fire-Grilled Meats and Two New Cocktails

With their competition reinventing their menus with less items, there’s a new fire under TGIF’s behind. Their answer: do what they do, just better and for less cost to the consumer.

Friday’s is overhauling their entire menu, meaning new apps, entrees, sides, drinks, and more. TGI Friday’s new Choose Two menu dropped today and it’s all about fire-grilled meats … and good ones, at that. There are 15 different combinations for you to try, each for just $14.99.

First up: Philly Cheesesteak Egg Rolls and the Philly Cheesesteak Burger. We have yet to find someone who doesn’t love egg rolls (we held a poll in the tasting to prove ourselves right), so it only makes sense to American-ize them into a Philly Cheese-take (pun intended) appetizer.  The burger’s patty is juicy and topped with a cheesy pepper concoction that you’ll fork off the plate after it falls off the burger. Don’t worry – if you order the burger, you get an egg roll on top. (Because burgers are better with an appetizer on top.)

As for the new Grilled Meats menu … all of Friday’s meats are grilled fresh on the fire and never frozen, and they’re moving to higher quality cuts that give the guest a nicer amount of meat with less effort cutting around the less desirable bits. We won’t go through all the different meat and side combinations you can get—they’re all pretty damn good, so just pick your favorite(s). We will, however, tell you about all the juicy, fire-grilled meats you can now get …

Premium Center Cut Sirloin: 6oz seasoned with hickory smoked sea salt, topped with parmesan butter.
Dragon Glazed Salmon: Atlantic salmon fillet brushed with sweet and spicy Korean BBQ sauce, topped with mango pico de gallo.
Big Ribs: 30% meatier, bolder, tastier premium pork back ribs, cooked low and slow in house. (The new ribs launched in October and have been a hit.)
Parmesan Crusted Chicken: topped with a white poblano queso and toasted with crispy parmesan bread crumbs.
Bacon-Wrapped Grilled Shrimp: two skewers of three large jumbo shrimp, wrapped in hardwood smoked bacon and brushed with parmesan butter sauce.
14-ounce Bone-In New York Strip: this cut is ridiculously juicy and flavorful … not to be missed. It’ll give some steakhouses a run for their money.

New sides were also recently introduced to accompany these delicious meats—crispy Brussel sprouts, baked mac & cheese and giant onion rings. All of which were equally “souped-up” recently. Their standard mashed potatoes aren’t anything to shy away from, though … they fold in cheese to make them rich and they’re nearly impossible to hold yourself back from eating the whole pile.

The important thing to remember here is your eyes may be hungrier than your stomach, but that’s okay because they have to-go boxes for you to take things home.

Along with the new entree options, they’ve released two new cocktails, the Magic Lemon Drop Martini and their take on a Hurricane. They’ve been making efforts to move their bar to a “clean bar” concept—no fake colors or ingredients, just good, clean, quality ingredients.

The Magic Lemon Drop is cool on many fronts—visually, because of it’s greatly contrasting purple and yellow colors; experientially, because you get to be your own mixologist with the garnish by dropping it in and watching the color change; and Boomerang-worthy, because they use butterfly pea tea extract. The BPT extract is a new, trendy cocktail ingredient that makes a cocktail blue, and then changes color when some ingredients are added—purple with acidic ingredients, pink with a high pH ingredient. Less new, but still a stunner, their take on the traditional hurricane is fresh and delicious, made so partly because of the fresh passion fruit puree they use.

TGIF’s is stepping up it’s game again, y’all.


TGI FRIDAY’S
tgifridays.com
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The Botanist Gin

The Botanist is a new way to gin.

THE GIN

The only gin made on the island of Islay, this artisanal expression by the Bruichladdich Distillery presents 31 botanicals—nine classicly found in gin, and 22 of which are hand-foraged locally (and responsibly) on Islay. Since 2011, this “progressive exploration of the botanical heritage of … Islay” prides itself on a forager’s spirit.

The distillation process is equally as unique as the botanicals. They slow simmer in a pot-still at low pressure for 17 hours to release the most flavor from the ingredients. The “slow burn” results in a unique and complex flavor.


One of my contributors, Aaron, and I were lucky enough to be invited to a celebration of this expression. First, we were walked through a quick bartending demonstration where they showed us how to make the Red Lady (this an all recipes are below) by the brand ambassador.

Then we were invited to join the Botanist Gin team for a four course meal—all made with as-local-as-possible ingredients  that complimented the flavors in the accompanying Botanist cocktails. Each cocktail was extremely unique and brought out the complexity of the botanicals.

THE COCKTAILS

Fruit of Thyme
1.5 oz The Botanist Gin
4 oz Tonic Water
1 slim Ruby Red Grapefruit wedge

Squeeze grapefruit wedge in glass and leave in glass. Add The Botanist Gin, then ice and top with tonic water. Garnish with a sprig of thyme.

Red Lady
2 oz The Botanist Gin
1 oz Cointreau
1 oz Fresh squeezed lemon juice
6 strips julienned red bell peppers
3 drops orange bitters

In a shaker tin, muddle red bell pepper. Add all remaining ingredients, then shake without ice vigorously. Add ice and shake briskly. Double-strain into a coupe glass. Garnish with a julienned red bell pepper.

Smoke Show
2 oz The Botanist Gin
1 oz fresh squeezed lemon juice
1 oz ginger syrup
0.25 oz Mezcal
4 drops orange bitters

Add all ingredients to shaker. Fill shaker with ice and shake vigorously. Strain to a coupe glass and garnish with pickled ginger.

Gin for All Seasons
1.5 oz The Botanist Gin
0.25 oz Suze
0.25 oz fresh squeezed red grapefruit juice
0.75 oz simple syrup
3 oz soda water
1 pinch sea salt

Add The Botanist Gin, Suze, Fresh Squeezed Red Grapefruit Juice and Simply Syrup to a shaker and fill with ice. Shake vigorously and strain into an iced highball. Top with soda water.

Regroni
1.5 oz The Botanist Gin
1 oz Aperol
1 oz Cocchi Dry Vermouth

Add all ingredients to a mixing glass. Add ice and stir for 20 seconds until chilled. Strain and pour over large ice cube in rocks glass. Garnish with a sweet pepper circle.

  



THE BOTANIST GIN
TheBotanistGin.com
ABV: 46%
Price: ~$30/750mL

***All images by Aaron Hendrickson***
Thanks again to The Botanist for inviting us to join in on such an amazing evening with such unique spirit(s).