Category Archives: Event Recaps

Amaro Montenegro Cocktail Competition

Five of Dallas’s most promising bartenders assembled at High & Tight Barbershop last Wednesday to duke it out over cocktails of their own creation, all of which featured Amaro Montenegro.

Amaro Montenegro is a sweeter amaro with floral, warm spice, and candied orange peel notes that finishes with an ethereal bitterness. It’s what I’d call a gateway amaro for uninitiated tastebuds. The sweetness to bitterness ratio is heavily skewed in the former’s favor, making it much easier for those who’ve never had much amaro experience to acclimate to the world of bitter liqueurs.

The event itself was a fun and casual neighborhood affair, one not tainted by pomp and circumstance. The crowd was mostly industry friends, and each of the competitors were hand-selected and invited to participate in the event, which brought some fresh faces to the Dallas booze competition scene. The featured players were Andrew Stofko (Victor Tango’s), Noah Partridge (Osteria Pane Vino & Crudo Wood Fired Taverna), Austin Gurley (High & Tight Barbershop), Rogher Jeri (Renfield’s Corner), and Ricky Cleva (Henry’s Majestic & Atwater Alley). The judging panel featured Omar Yeefoon from The 86 Company, Matt Orth from Southern Glazer’s Wine and Spirits, and Matt Brown from Total Beverage Solution.  Not too shabby of a lineup.

The order of cocktail presentations was determined by drawing names out of a hat, and with the judges in position at the bar and the spectators all with Montenegro cocktails in hand, the competition was officially underway.

andrewFirst up was Andrew Stofko with his Japansese-inspired cocktail, Seppuku Realé, which featured squid ink, seaweed, nori, and sesame. When asked about what place Montenegro holds at his bar, Andrew responded, “I’ve found Montenegro to be a great introductory amaro–less bitter than many of its counterparts, but a start in that direction to the unfamiliar palate. I use it mostly as a modifier in drinks at the bar, but for the competition I wanted to try using it as a base spirit. Other industry folk will order it as shots, too, occasionally.”

The finished cocktail was stunning in its simplicity with a mysterious black hue and nori and sesame seed garnish. Despite its potentially intimidating color, the drink was pleasant and easy (read: too easy) to drink, with an umami taste throughout that just made me want sushi real bad.

This competition was off to a good start.

noahThe next player up was Noah Partridge with his cocktail, the Montenegroni, which I must tell you was my favorite moniker of the night. Montenegroni? This is genius-level pun game. Respect. Noah’s cocktail was a play on the classic cocktail and consisted of Aperol, Horizon Gin, and Montenegro served up in a coupe glass with a lemon garnish. It was balanced, well-rounded, and boozy–all of the things you want from a Negroni. At this point, I was already starting to sense that the judges were going to struggle to pick a winner; these guys were bringing their A-game.

Enter Austin Gurley. I didn’t know it yet, but he was about to take this competition in a new direction. The barman has no lack of veneration for the event’s star ingredient. When asked about his view on the liqueur, he replied, “Amaro Montenegro is fantastic juice! austinBright rose on the nose with a nice caramel sweetness and an herbal bitter finish. It’s absolutely fantastic at balancing cocktails since it adds a nice viscosity and sweetness to offset more tart and dry components, then provides a bitter finish for complexity.”

His cocktail, Elinas Sonnet, featured a whole egg (he’s favoring flips this fall), strawberry orgeat, hibiscus syrup, caramel cordial, lime, Redemption Rye, and Montenegro with Angostura bitters for garnish. Did you get all of that? What he did with that laundry list of ingredients is nothing short of sorcery. I expected a cocktail that would break under the weight of its components, and what I experienced was a light and airy beverage that was reminiscent of strawberry milks from my childhood … except boozier and so much better.

The penultimate competitor was Rogher Jeri with a riff on an Italian soda, La Dolce Elena. Another Montenegro enthusiast, Rogher had this to say about it: “I enjoy Montenegro for its beautiful balance between the sweet and herbaceous bitterness that give Italian amari their unique qualities. I drink it on its own, neat. Sometimes mixing it 2 parts with 1 part Grand Marnier. I’ve also been playing with aging it in American Oak barrels, which adds a beautiful vanilla and oaky sweetness that balances beautifully with the original recipe. Because of the limited quantities we can age at a time, it isn’t on our menu, but if you ask, we might just have some you can sip on.”

rogherI knew the man was serious when he presented his homemade soda with yerba mate and chamomile tea. Another player who came to win! Along with the soda, his cocktail included ice made of Crazy Water 3 for its minerality, Hoodoo chicory liqueur, orange zest, and rose water. The aromatics of his cocktail highlighted the floral characteristics of the Montenegro and the presentation emphasized it as well with an elaborate rose garnish.

The final competitor of the night was Ricky Cleva with this cocktail, Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead. He’s no stranger to Montenegro, that’s for sure. In his words, “I have two cocktails on the menu in Atwater showcasing the versatility of the spirit. Montenegro is my favorite amaro at the moment. I imagine you’ll continue to see its presence on the menu in Atwater through the fall and winter menus.”

rickyBefore the Devil Knows You’re Dead featured kiwi cordial, orange bitters, El Dorado 5 year rum, lime, Amaro Montenegro, and finished with a hibiscus Aperol floater and honeysuckle garnish. The cocktail resembled an end-of-summer sunset (how apropos) and possessed a slight funkiness and depth of flavor that I really enjoy. It was a welcome punch to my palate with its layers of flavor.

I did not envy the judges’ job that night. They had some serious deliberation to do, so they went to a dark corner to hash it out. All five cocktails were thoughtful, well-constructed, and impressively executed and vastly different from each other. If there were a Montenegro cocktail spectrum, the competitors covered a significantly wide range–from sweet, nostalgic flips to savory, opaque black concoctions.

And the winner is…

Andrew Stofko with his Seppuku Realé! Andrew’s win earns him a trip to the 2017 San Antonio Cocktail Conference that takes place in January where his cocktail will be featured. Second place distinction went to Austin Gurley with his Elinas Sonnet cocktail.

An Evening of Agave at Stock & Barrel

A few weeks ago, Stock & Barrel Kitchen Americana in Bishop Arts District hosted its first spirited dinner with Don Julio, aptly named An Evening of Agave. I happily attended, albeit slightly worse for the wear since I had just returned from my first ever Tales of the Cocktail experience a few days prior, but hey … tequila. ‘Nuff said. The dinner was an intimate affair offering only 15 seats, at the bar and involved not only a four-course dinner paired with cocktails highlighting the Don Julio line of tequilas, but also an interactive educational experience led by none other than Senior Don Julio brand ambassador, the ever delightful and engaging Jorge Raptis.

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The dinner experience opened with introductions from Stock & Barrel Chef/owner Jon Stevens and Bar Manager Jeremy Koeninger before they gave Jorge the floor to tell us more about the history behind Don Julio as well as the thoughtful process that turned agave into the tequila that was before us. He spoke about the philosophy behind Don Julio that drives the manner in which they cultivate, harvest, and cook the agave, as well as distill, bottle, and age the tequila, and why production volume should never compromise the level of product quality.

The ambiance of the event was very casual and interactive, so the guests were encouraged to ask questions and have an open dialogue about the food and cocktail courses, as well as the Don Julio tequila itself. There were tasters of different tequilas for each guest, in addition to the cocktail pairings, so needless to say (but I’m going to say it anyway), our intimate group of bar guests became very fast friends.

 

Now of course, while the tequila was very smooth and enjoyable, Chef Jon Stevens was not about to let it overshadow the food courses. He made this clear by simply bringing out the first course: Wild Salmon Tartare with avocado cream, grapefruit segments, Yukon potato crisp, and lemon verbena. It was a bright flavor punch to my palate, tempered very well by the subtle fattiness of the salmon. The course was complemented by Jeremy’s cocktail creation dubbed Electric Love, which featured Don Julio Blanco, verbena, and Cocchi Americano, an Italian aperitif wine. The Blanco’s crisp, citrusy flavor paired with the tartare dish and its accouterments beautifully.

Chef Stevens’ second course (my favorite of the meal, without a doubt) was Mediterranean Octopus Carpaccio with tangerine, radish, and honey pimento. The thinly sliced octopus had hints of smoky char that I loved, but by its very nature of being carpaccio, it was an ethereal deliciousness that I kept chasing. The next thing I knew, I had devoured my second course, wishing I could have a second helping, maybe even a third. My friend Paige expressed a similar sentiment, with a wistful face when she found her plate empty as well.

Mediterranean Octopus Carpaccio

The cocktail pairing for the octopus course was an Ancho Bravo, made with Don Julio Reposado, demerara syrup, and Ancho Reyes. The Reposado coupled with the demerara brought a slightly cinnamon-y warmth that lent itself well with the smoky, meaty octopus, and the Ancho Reyes provided a welcome spicy kick. It was pretty boozy, so I took my time to sip and savor it.

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We bounced back pretty well though when the third course arrived: Braised Berkshire Pork Belly with creamy Brussels sprouts and preserved cherries. Chef Stevens had prepared us well by having the first two courses whet our palates, leading us to this wholly satisfying and deliciously unctuous pork belly dish. The creamy Brussels and dark berry tartness of the cherries ensured that the dish would satiate our taste buds without being too heavy.

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The third course paired with The Oleroso Agave, a cocktail with Don Julio Añejo, Oleroso sherry, and Luxardo syrup served up in a coupe glass. It was a spirit-forward concoction that accentuated the savory notes of the pork belly, and the sherry played well with the preserved cherry sauce. I especially enjoyed this pairing as Añejo is typically my favorite tequila expression, with the extra time the tequila spends aging in barrels.  The flavor comes out with honey and caramel notes that I just love.

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Our fourth and final course was the Butterscotch Pot de Creme, served with vanilla cream, sourdough crisp, and sea salt. This dreamy and delectable dish was served with a taster of Don Julio 1942. The butterscotch pot de creme was silky and light, and the sprinkle of sea salt elevated the dessert to another level of deliciousness. The sourdough crisp offered a welcome crunchy texture to the dinner’s velvety finale, and the deeply caramel and chocolate notes of the Don Julio 1942 brought this particular Night of Agave to a definitively beautiful conclusion.

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Based on the overwhelmingly positive feedback from guests after the Don Julio dinner, Stock & Barrel hopes to keep the spirited dinner series going every other month, with each one featuring a unique spirit.  For more information, check out stockandbarreldallas.com or follow Chef Stevens (@stockbarreltx) and Jeremy Koeninger (@jeremykoeninger) on Instagram for any event announcements and updates.

STOCK & BARREL
stockandbarreldallas.com
316 W. Davis St. (Dallas)
(214)888-0150

Dîner En Blanc Dallas

For years I had to listen to my fancy friend in New York talk about his experiences at a too-French-to-be-true tradition, Dîner en Blanc.  As the story goes, everyone who is accepted to attend stands at the ready, traveling picnic in-hand, clad in white until the mystery location is revealed.  Then, everyone descends on the venue and a party breaks out.  I.was.jealous.  Why didn’t Dallas have their own annual trés chic picnic?  N’est pas juste.

The tradition began in France in 1988 when François Pasquier came back from a long trip and invited his friends to meet at a park and have a picnic.  He decided to have the event annually and invite people to bring friends.  It got so big that the cops began to shut them down before they began, so his solution was a last-minute venue revelation; the attendees would know each other thanks to their uniform–all white.  His family and friends expanded the event to other cities over the years, and now more than 10,000 people attend picnics throughout the world every year.

2015 was Dallas’s first Dîner en Blanc, and it was quite a party.  Everything is bigger in Texas, so the first year boasted almost 1,200 participants (a large inaugural dinner for a city), on the Ronald Kirk Bridge (formerly the Continental Avenue Bridge).  We ate, we drank, we danced, we drank more, and we watched fireworks.  Il était parfait.

Image by Rebecca Kirstin of Beckley & Co.
Image by Rebecca Kirstin of Beckley & Co.

Guests are required to wear all white and encouraged to get creative with their dress.  The post-Labor Day white clothing ban be damned!  Last year I donned a Marie Antoinette wig that landed me in the Huffington Post.  (My outfit from last year will be tough to top this year.  Pun completely intended.)  The white-washed palate makes the idea of red wine somewhat terrifying, though.

[KGVID]http://www.susiedrinksdallas.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/08/IMG_1885.mov[/KGVID]
Video by Rico Deleon

This year, the date has been revealed (Friday, September 30) and the “interest list” has been opened.  Run, don’t walk, to vie for a spot.  This exclusive event will have only 2,200 spaces and they’re released in phases–they begin with friends of the hosts/hostesses, then friends of those friends, and then the public applications are reviewed.

PUT YOUR NAME ON THE INTEREST LIST FOR 2016

Tickets to attend are $37 and include transportation to and from the location and a designated space at the event.  Only members can attend, and membership is $8 per year and members are given the chance to attend consequential years.  You are expected to bring your table, chairs, table decor, food, and drink … and take it with you when you leave.  Tables and chairs can be rented on-site and food and drink can be pre-ordered and picked up at the start of the event.

Rendez-vous au dîner!

——-

Dîner en Blanc – Dallas
Friday, September 30, 2016 – 6:30pm
Location TBA
dallas.dinerenblanc.info

***Header image courtesy of Dîner en Blanc Dallas.

I’m 30.

I turned 30 last month.  When their number came up, some friends my age mourned the end of their 20s, some celebrated a second 29th birthday, and others just ignored the coming of another decade completely.  I decided to do none of these and instead opted for a giant party.  (Because I love a good party.)  My wonderful sister took it upon herself to plan a shindig the likes of which won’t be matched for quite a while.

The black and white party was held in my dad’s backyard at our home in Arlington–it was decked out with globe lights, swan floats in the pool, gold mylar balloons and giant white balloons with tissue paper tassels, and a large screen playing “Casablanca”.  Guests were asked to wear black and white and I wore gold.  It was, in a word, perfect.

My sister let me put my hands on ONE thing for the party–the bar.  Instead of hiring a bartender and stocking a full bar, I asked four of my favorite barmen in Dallas to create and batch out a drink for the evening.  I’ll just say that guests weren’t left thirsty.  Stephen Halpin (formerly of Parliament and now the US Brand Ambassador for Patrón Spirits), Brian McCollough (owner of Vicini and The Standard Pour), Austin Gurley (High & Tight), and Christian Armando (formerly of The Standard Pour) were my chosen mix masters, and they each created fantastic drinks featuring some of my favorite spirits.

View More: http://madisonkatlinphotography.pass.us/susiedrinksdallas

ROSÉ ALL DAY FT. PATRÓN (Stephen Halpin)
Patrón Citrónage Orange, rosé wine, St. Germain, strawberries, raspberries
Garnished with a lime wheel

CLEARWATER REVIVAL FT. ABSOLUT ELYX (Brian McCollough)
Absolut Elyx, Yuzu, lemongrass, pineapple syrup, champagne vinegar, topo chico
Garnish like wheel

BLUEBERRY GINGER COLLINS FT. TULLAMORE D.E.W. (Austin Gurley)
Tullamore D.E.W., ginger liquor, tropical syrup, lemon, soda
Garnished with a peach

SOUTHERN BLOSSOM FT. PISCO PORTÓN (Christian Armando)
Pisco Portón, Rosé, Giffard Pamplemousse, lime juice, simple syrup, rose water
Garnished with a rose petal

One cannot live on liquid alone, especially when a party is outside in June … in Texas.  I decided that some boozy popsicles would be the ticket, and French 75s were the perfect thing to freeze.  Check out the full French 75 popsicle recipe using Bulldog Gin and Mia sparkling wine.

And last, but not least, no party of mine is complete without shots … I don’t care how hold I am, they’re happening.  For this occasion, I decided that I’d get basic and separate the men from the boys (as it were) with Tullamore D.E.W. shots.  As some of you may know, it’s my favorite Irish whiskey … I even named my dog Tully.

Since the booze was handled (and handled well), goodies needed to be on-hand to soak up the liquor.  They stocked a donut bar with some of Dallas’ best from Hypnotic Donuts, a popcorn bar with all the fixins from Pokey O’s, delicious hors d’oeuvres, a party bus (you know, for safe transportation for our guests), and a badass gif photo booth, and you’ve got yourself a hell of a celebration.

I cannot begin to describe how meaningful it was to be surrounded by family and friends to celebrate my birthday.  If I must age, I’m glad that it’s surrounded by loved ones.

View More: http://madisonkatlinphotography.pass.us/susiedrinksdallas

Special thanks to William Grant and Sons, Absolut Elyx, Patrón, Tullamore D.E.W., Pisco Portón, Campari USA for the liquor and SimpleBooth/The Infinite Agency for the photo booth.

Even more special thanks to my amazing sister who planned such an amazing party and everyone who helped her pull it off, especially my awesome parents!

Sourced Craft Cocktails Delivery Service

My prayers have been answered: There’s finally a cocktail delivery service in Dallas. I know what you’re thinking, “But, Tiffany … what about Lash Delivery, MiniBar, TopShelf, or any of the other many booze delivery services already in town?” Let me finish. Granted, there’s no shortage of alcohol delivery services in Dallas; the biggest difference is that Sourced is only one that’s delivering a cocktail experience rather than dropping off handles of vodka in brown paper bags. (Which, if that’s your thing, cool.)

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Picture courtesy of Sourced

The company launched in Austin in October 2015 by founder and CEO, Tim Angelillo, who enlisted the help and cocktail expertise of Brian Floyd, who earned his bartending chops under the tutelage of revered cocktail great, the late Sasha Petraske.  With these two at the helm, the delivery service has seen success in the Austin market and launched in Dallas in April 2016. The company prides itself in sourcing the highest quality ingredients and products from local vendors from Dallas and Austin, and is working to take on Houston by the end of the year.

OK, so here’s the premise: you want to throw a party, and you want to offer a legitimate cocktail rather than just beer and wine.  Problem is, you don’t have the tools, glassware, time, or know-how to actually make this work. (So is life.) That’s where Sourced comes in.  They will deliver everything you need to assemble, execute, and serve the cocktail of your choice, all in a nifty barrel complete with recipe card by knowledgeable cocktail specialist to teach you how to make it. (All within three hours of your order request.) Then, after your party is over, all you need to do is put all of the empty bottles, used glassware, and tools back into the barrel and Sourced will come by and pick it up from your front door. You don’t even have to wash anything.

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Peruse the website or mobile app to see the current cocktail offerings as they offer a rotating menu of at least a dozen available options.  Depending on the cocktail you choose, you can purchase in drink packs of 6, 12, 24, and so on, and the site breaks down the price per drink. I can tell you now, the prices are hard to beat.  This is coming from someone who frequents many a cocktail bar, and unless you’re ordering off of a very good happy hour menu, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a premium cocktail for less than $10.  Sourced cocktails break down to be about $6 on average.

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You don’t have to take my word for it; check out what Sourced is all about at sourcedcocktails.com. Throw a party, learn about cocktails, wow your guests, and take all of the credit. You don’t even have to do the dishes.

SOURCED CRAFT COCKTAILS
sourcedcocktails.com
Facebook | Twitter | Instagram
512-650-6246
Current service areas: 75204, 75214, 75205, 75206, 75219, 75226, 75201, 75270, 75202, & Austin

*Header image courtesy of Sourced.

Big Taste of Fort Worth 2016

Gourmet cuisine from Tarrant County’s best restaurants, premium wines from local wineries, an open bar serving one of THE BEST Texas whiskies, and rubbing elbows with some of the most influential members of the Tarrant County community … and all for a good cause … that’s what makes a great night.

For 37 years, The Barrett Havran Memorial Big Taste of Fort Worth has been creating these great experiences. Every year, they partner with the best of the best Tarrant County has to offer, including a VIP wine tasting, and an incredible auction to benefit Big Brothers Big Sisters. This year’s event was hosted at the beautiful Omni Hotel, in Fort Worth.

The live auction had several luxe packages including a seven-day stay in Tuscany, a Capital Grille dining experience with former NFL running back LaDainian Tomlinson (also a celebrity tasting judge at the event), and a luxury Fort Worth weekend including dinner for two at Del Frisco’s Double Eagle Steakhouse, tickets to Bass Performance Hall, along with a night stay at the Worthington Renaissance Fort Worth Hotel complete with use of a new Lexus LS460 during the stay.

The silent auction included Pulsar Watches, various wines (oh, so many wines, including Champagne Taittinger, Robert Foley Vineyards, White Rose Estate) along with art, books, electronics, and clothing.

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The food tasting featured an all-star lineup of Whiskey & Rye our of the Omni Fort Worth, Del Frisco’s, The Capital Grille – Fort Worth, and Eddie V’s Prime Seafood.

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All the chefs brought their A-game to provide countless samples for guests to eat. There was absolutely no excuse for anyone to leave hungry … or sober, for that matter. (Thank you, Uber.)

About that … guests were invited to enjoy multiple open bars serving beer selections and Robert Mondovi Private Selection wines.

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The most amazing part was they were also featuring one of my new favorite whiskeys, Texas Silver Star.

This stuff … is amazing … and local. The artisans behind this concept are Mark Lusignan, Ben Alexander and Don Alexander of the Trinity River Distillery located in Fort Worth. This small-batch whiskey is distilled from select corn, barley and rye, and aged in new charred American white oak barrels for around 2.5 years. In addition, the team collects and stores rainwater in two 13,000 gallon steel tanks that they process and filter using reverse osmosis for use in their products. This event featured the Spirit Whiskey and, my personal favorite, Texas Honey. (Go out and find some. I guarantee you won’t be disappointed.)

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In all seriousness, being a part of this event was completely amazing. The Barret Havran Memorial event supports Big Brothers Big Sisters’s mission to help at-risk youth graduate high school, avoid juvenile delinquency and prepare for college and job readiness. Seeing the outpouring of support from some of Fort Worth’s most influential community was incredible to witness.

The Fort Worth chapter of BBBS currently has 700 children on their waiting list. If you would like to learn how you can help impact these children’s lives, you can donate or volunteer at www.bbbstx.org.

Keep an eye out for next year’s Big Taste of Fort Worth event so you can be part of the change!

Baileys Almande Yoga with a Twist

Written by: Jamie Javor

Yoga. Brunch. Take those two beautiful words, tie them together with a cute little bow, and you get the perfection that was the Baileys Almande Yoga with a Twist event this past weekend. The action unfolded on the 7th floor of The Jordan apartment building, on the pool deck overlooking the city. (After all the rain we have been experiencing lately, the weather gods smiled down and gave us some much needed sunshine.)

Stephanie with V12 Yoga led the class while Rahim Quazi played the guitar. (V12 yoga has regular scheduled classes, but they also organize free yoga at different locations throughout the city.)

Yoga

So about this Baileys Almande … Ah. Mazing. Served with Vita Coco Coconut Water, blended as a frappe or on the rocks. (Recipes below.) While this new Baileys is of course alcoholic, it’s very difficult to tell because the liqueur is so light. The flavor isn’t too thick, or too thin, and has the perfect amount of sweetness. Definitely not too overbearing. The taste isn’t quite as potent as the original Baileys. The almond and vanilla flavors help make this drink uber refreshing and easy to drink on ice.

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Call me crazy, but I think it would be great in coffee too. It’s made with almond milk and is gluten and dairy free. Check out some recipes here or below.

State & Allen catered the vegan brunch that included fresh fruit, vegan granola, vegan sausage, and quiche. They don’t just do catering though. State & Allen has a brick and mortar and prides itself on being “Dallas’ first GREEN CERTIFIED restaurant”.

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Picture courtesy of Baileys

Us drinking yogis had a great, little workout and delicious vegan brunch with drinks … all in all, not a bad way to kick off Sunday.

Namaste.


Baileys Almande
Almondmilk Liqueur
www.baileys.com/en-us/baileys-almande.html
FACEBOOK | TWITTER | INSTAGRAM | PINTEREST

ALCOHOL CONTENT: 13% alc/vol
NOSE: almond, vanilla
FLAVOR: light, clean, refreshing
CREATED WITH: almond oil, almond essence, cane sugar, purified water, and vanilla — GLUTEN FREE. DAIRY FREE.
SIPPING SUGGESTIONS: over ice
PRICE: $24.99 (750 mL)


Aloha Almande 
(Created by Mixologist Leann Berry)
1 3/4 oz Baileys Almande
3/4 oz Ketel One Vodka
1 3/4 oz Vita Coco
2 pieces Fresh Pineapple
3/4 oz Pineapple Juice
1 cup Ice
Pineapple Slice for Garnish

Combine Baileys Almande, vodka, Vita Coco, fresh pineapple, pineapple juice, and ice into a blender. Blend until smooth. Pour contents into a Collins glass.

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Picture courtesy of Baileys

 

Very Berry Almande (Created by Mixologist Leann Berry)
3 oz Baileys Almande
2 oz Vita Coco
2 Blackberries
1 cup Ice
Blackberry and Lemon Twist for Garnish

Combine Baileys Almande, Vita Coco, blackberries, and ice into a blender. Blend until smooth.  Pour contents into a Collins glass. Garnish with blackberry and lemon twist.

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Picture courtesy of Baileys

 

THE SDD TEAM WAS INVITED TO ATTEND THIS EVENT FREE OF CHARGE.

 

 

Chefs For Farmers Mix-Off/Yes Chef! Event

This past Sunday I had the honor of being a judge for the Chefs For Farmers‘ sold-out Mix-Off/Yes Chef! event at Design District’s event space, DEC on Dragon. What did that entail, you ask? Well, I got a wear a big ol’ fancy sash that read, “CFF JUDGE” as I walked from table to table, sampling food bites and cocktails from some of the city’s best restaurants and bars.

Small Brewpub, FT33, The Joule, The Grape Restaurant, Patina Green Home and Market, Independent Bar & Kitchen, Uchi Dallas, and The Blind Butcher all had sous chefs in attendance to battle it out for best food. As for the cocktails, bartenders from Top Knot, Armoury, D.E., Parliament, The Theodore, Filament, Henry’s Majestic, Midnight Rambler, and Rapscallion came armed and ready with tins, spirits, syrups, and garnishes to wow the crowds and the judges … even this one who got caught picking pepper out of her teeth by an event photographer. Why am I so awkward?

My life sounds hard sometimes … I know. Especially when I showed up at 5PM really hungry. I think I sampled offerings from half  of the the competing chefs before the event’s moderator, Jimmy Contreras, came up to me smiling and said, “You know you have to try all of the dishes at the Judges’ Table upstairs at 6pm, right?” *Blink blink* “Well, I do now!”

Luckily, I made sure to attend the event in a flowy dress that allowed for over-consumption. With my newly gained knowledge I set aside my dishes in-hand and went to the rooftop to focus on more important things–the cocktails. The temperature was in the high 80s, so I was really looking forward to some icy concoctions featuring sponsored spirits, Patrón and Makers 46. I managed to sample half of the cocktails before being sitting down for the official judging portion of the event. (This is one situation where “slow and steady wins the race” isn’t a thing.)

(At this point, I am thinking that maybe I shouldn’t have had so many samples before sitting down. Oops.) When all of the samples of food and cocktails were assembled on the table in front of me, it all looked a bit daunting, but obviously I kept my cool.

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Or not.

I attacked the cocktails first as it was a hot day and all iced drinks were diluting at a rapid pace, and any drinks that did not feature ice was warming up just as quickly. You know my priority: SALVAGE THE DRINKS. Once I marked down my cocktail vote, I forged onward with the food bites and hoped that none of the many photographers crowded around the table would catch an unsavory photo of my chipmunk cheeks stuffed with food.

Winners were announced at the end of the event. (You didn’t think I was going to say who I voted for, did you?)

  • Returning champion, Brian Bell from The Blind Butcher, took People’s Choice Sous Chef again with his sausage and bone marrow BBQ dish
  • Sarah Green from the Joule took home Judge’s Choice for her Frito Hand Pie
  • Ryan Frederick from Henry’s Majestic won for Best Makers 46 cocktail
  • Jesse Powell from Parliament won both Best Patrón cocktail and overall People’s Choice Bartender

All winners’ dishes and cocktails will be featured at the three-day Chefs For Farmers 2016 festival, September 23-25. Tickets for the main event go on sale soon. Check the CFF Facebook page or website for more information as it is released.

Chefs For Farmers 2016
www.chefsforfarmers.com
September 23-25