If you’re looking for a new date night idea, or if you’re constantly on the hunt for authentic Italian food (the Northern states have all the luck with that), boy do we have a treat for you.
Antonio Ristorante, nestled away in Addison Circle, will transport you to the Italian countryside with its food, wine, and atmosphere. Classically trained Chef Antonio hails from Calabria, Italy and brings a hint of French cuisine to his tables for their $20 Tasting Tuesdays. Guests are served three lightly-portioned courses and wine pairings for each course. Even better, they’ll send you home with a simple and authentic recipe to try out the dishes in your own kitchen.
Chef Antonio prepares the main dish in front of restaurant goers and explains the recipe over a microphone; a waiter then explains the wine pairing with the notes that are to be experienced. Reservations for upcoming Tasting Tuesdays can be made here.
All of Antonio Ristorante’s food is ordered often to ensure freshness. If a customer especially likes a certain dish, the Chef will take note of their email and phone number to let them know the next time they have that dish. They also offer a few wild game options for the adventurous. Wine bottle prices are 30% cheaper than at other Italian restaurants with bottles starting at $27 – which we all know means you can spend that extra money on more wine.
A new food special will be available soon, and it’s a doozy. Their #LateNightDateNight offers a free pizza with any wine bottle purchase. Coming next week (the week of 5/4) for your date night needs, Thursday through Sunday after 9pm!
Regular readers know that I have my bubble. That’s the reason that I have contributors that just happen to cover areas north of 635 on my behalf. I’m ashamed of myself, but it’s true.
That said, I will travel to the great, white north for select things. One of those things: Ivy Kitchen. I finally made it in for their brunch this past weekend and wasn’t surprised in the least by the quality of the food and drink.
My friends and I decided to start with some brunch drinks–as all brunches should. We went with the Michelada, the Recovery (vanilla vodka, OJ, Robust), Sangria, and a pitcher of the Vine Peach Mimosa for the table. (Because what is brunch without a pitcher of something?) All were perfectly delightful, and the Recovery was a unique choice to break free from the usual brunch options–slightly sweet, slightly boozy, all delicious.
Once sufficiently lubricated, we started perusing the menu and had a hell of a time deciding what to order. Ivy Kitchen does a lot of different things, and surprisingly enough, seems to do them all well. We all decided to order a bunch of things and simply share so we could try more, which ended up being the absolute best idea.
Our brunch choices were somewhat traditional–Cinnamon Crusted French Toast that’s made with crushed cereal and the Ivy Crab Cake Benedict. I’m not often a fan of either (I’m weird about brunch food), but enjoyed both of them a little more than my meal companions appreciated.
Round two of food led us to some more savory options (and a shot or two of Patrón), including some of their new options, the Beef Short Ribs with Mustard BBQ sauce, Smoked Bacon Jalapeños, and Chopped Asian Salad. The Smoked Bacon Jalapeños were large jalapeños hollowed out and stuffed with brisket and spicy cheese then wrapped in bacon. These were SO DAMN HOT, but really delicious. I kind of fell in love with their Chopped Asian Salad (what, I eat salads …)–it was incredibly fresh and the many ingredients just worked … even the random smoked almonds.
To cap off the meal, we went for another round of drinks and I opted for their new Mojito Infusion, because new is always better, right? The orange infused rum paired well with the peach liqueur and citrus and was perfectly offset with the fresh mint. One more, please …
Houlihan’s is bringing craft cocktails to the chain restaurant scene with their new 10-drink menu. (At least as much as a chain of its caliber can.) Houlihan’s introduced new drinks for our tasting pleasure at the Prestonwood location in Addison over a week in May. Using unusual techniques and unique spirits, Houlihan’s new drink menu looks more like something out of a hipster speakeasy than a suburban chain restaurant.
Take, for example, their Oak Aged Manhattan. This cocktail is aged on-site, using a mix of orange peels and oak staves for a barrel-less aging process. Houlihan’s mixologists claim this technique gives a smooth, subtly nuanced spirit in less time. When I tasted it, there were undertones of maple and vanilla. It is a simple but well-balanced cocktail–just as it should be. Mine came served with a salty, fatty, perfectly candied bacon.
My second drink, the Houdini, took a decidedly sweeter, fruity direction despite the high-proof spirit used. Henry McKenna Single-Barrel Kentucky Bourbon mingles with maple syrup and homemade ginger-peach syrup. This is refreshing cocktail is a perfect patio drink.
The rest of the new drink menu really has something to suit all tastes. One of the more classic additions is a slightly remixed DirtyMartini, shaken up with the addition of huge olives stuffed with pungent gorgonzola cheese and some delicious candied bacon. They even offer a tiki drink–the Blue Taboo. It looks like a sugar rush in a glass, but it’s more than just that; the drink is undeniably sweet, but it is well-balanced by the addition of Owl’s Brew Coco-Lada, which is a handcrafted black tea brewed in coconut water with chai spices and pineapple juice. Now I didn’t sample it, but the Bleeding Rose is definitely one of the more original creations offered on the new drink list. St. Germain Elderflower liqueur, Absolut Hibiskus and fresh sour mix create the base of this cocktail which is poured over an Aperol-tea ice cube. The melting Aperol, a blazing orange-colored bitter Italian aperitif, will change the flavor profile of the Bleeding Rose over the course of the drink. And on another positive note even the ice is made of alcohol –so it’s the drink that keeps on giving!
Let’s not forget the food, because drinking on an empty stomach rarely ends well. I tried out the avocado toast with burrata. This summer special has a ton of fresh avocado smeared on top of toasted rustic bread and is seasoned with jalapeño, cilantro and garlic, to give it a bit of kick. A sweet, creamy burrata cooled the heat and added to the overall decadence of the dish. The portion size was generous enough to make for a light summer dinner. And not letting an opportunity get away to try something else from the limited time menu, I went with the Mahi-Mahi salad, complete with jumbo lump crab and a sweet and tangy citrus and pineapple salad.
The 10 new cocktails are only available at the Prestonwood location, but eventually they will roll out to Houlihan’s restaurants around the country.
… I guess, for now, we are the lucky ones. Cheers!
Dallas does brunch well. What makes a boozy brunch better? Having your dog along for the ride. Luckily for you, if you have a canine sidekick, I rounded up a list of pet-friendly patios in Dallas and beyond. (Because sometimes we all need a seeing eye dog to get us to our Uber after a four mimosa brunch.)
Lazy Dog Restaurant is one of the most dog-friendly restaurants in DFW, complete with a menu meant just for Fido and plenty for (thirsty) homosapians, too. In true local brunch fashion, Lazy Dog offers quite a few alcoholic brunch options including a housemade sangria sampler (white peach, raspberry moscato, and pomegranate red which can also be ordered by the glass and pitcher), a bloody mary, Peaches & Moonshine (Stillhouse Moonshine, peaches, cranberry juice, peach schnapps, ginger beer and mint), and more.
While they do have a dog-friendly menu, the menu for us humans is pretty damn incredible and even include gluten-free and family-style options. The weekend brunch menu offers some really amazing options that were, quite frankly, surprisingly good. I couldn’t say no to the Housemade Carnitas with Tater Tot Hash served with a roasted poblano pepper sauce that was perfectly light and savory. The Sunny Side Up Pizza was, while a brunch cliche, was baked perfectly and the eggs were exquisitely runny. They offer more traditional brunch options like (dog bone-shaped) pancakes and french toast, too … because brunch should have a sweet side.
While I’ve never had room for dessert after brunch (who wouldn’t finish pancakes and chilaquiles?!), we were treated to a couple of their dessert options–their Key Lime Cheesecake and Peach Crumble–both amazing bookends to our meal.
As mentioned, Lazy Dog offers a dog menu. Though it’s not as extensive as I’d hope it would be, lacking even a simple dog bone, it was a nice treat for our furry brunch buddy who gobbled it up so fast that I couldn’t even get a decent picture. Our waitress was very kind to cater the meal to her dietary needs, too, which was very helpful.
Pop into Lazy Dog, with or without a dog, and experience their quality options for you and Fido. Just don’t get too squeamish if you find a dog hair in your food—it happens when the dogs on the patio nearly outnumber their owners!
Everyone loves a relaunch. That’s why, when Susie asked me to stop into Cinco Tacos Cocina & Tequila (formerly Lazaranda), I was excited to see how they’d remixed their offerings and if they still had their killer ceviche on the menu.
As I entered Cinco, I noticed the modern craftsman décor splashed with bold Mexican colors and up-beat Mexican music. I was greeted immediately by a friendly, fun staff and they escorted me to a table in the bar area. The bar at Cinco is separated from the main dining room, allowing this restaurant the ability to go from a happening Saturday night out, to a calm mid-week dinner in no time.
I quickly noticed their expansive tequila list (because … tequila), Mexican beer and drinks, and, of course, their margaritas–they have 10 different choices when it comes to their margaritas, a fully loaded tequila bar and are also stocked with more than 12 beers on tap … holy tough decisions, Batman. My date (ahem … my handsome husband) and I both tried out the house margaritas, he ordered his frozen and I had mine on the rocks. It should be said that this is not an average boring house margarita made with mediocre mix and (god forbid) cheap tequila … oh, no, you won’t run in to that here. Their house margarita is made with 100% Agave Tequila and freshly squeezed key limes allowing a natural, balanced sweetness to blend flavors with the smooth tequila. They dusted the rim of the glass with a blend of salt and Tajin, which added a slight savory tang to this semi-sweet drink. Both styles of margaritas were more than acceptable – whether you like it on the rocks or frozen, the house margarita is a must! Also, don’t miss the incredible selection of tequilas–great for mixing or sipping!
As we were happily sipping on our margs, we were able to try many appetizers and the house chips and salsa. I was again very delighted to see the generous use of Tajin on the house-made chips that paired nicely with their in-house salsas. All of their salsas were very fresh and full of flavor, and my favorite was the Molcajete Salsa –a peppery, roasted tomato blend with a warm medium spice.
Their appetizers were phenomenal and proved to be authentic, but mastered to their own unique style. Among the many small plates we tried, the Aztec Shrimp Ceviche was one of the most memorable. The shrimp ceviche boasted a bold key lime flavor, with grilled cactus leaves, fresh tomatoes, onions, and Serrano and pasilla peppers. I am always a sucker for ahi tuna and the Michoacan Fresh Tuna Tostadas had a satisfying blend of citrus and savory, and the creamy chipotle dressing completed the small bite perfectly. We finished our small plate happy hour with dessert, and the house made flan was a show-stopper with a warm, nutty flavor, and creamy texture.
Cinco Tacos Cocina & Tequila is a taste of Mexico right here in Dallas. With so many choices throughout the DFW area for Tex-Mex and Mexican restaurants, this hearty Mexican restaurant is a must try for those seeking a truly authentic Mexican dining experience. You will not be disappointed with the modern accents on traditional classics, and the chef holds nothing back with the freshest ingredients and a well-rounded menu. I’d suggest bellying up to the bar and ordering a (few) margaritas and enjoying a boozy happy hour with some of their delicious appetizers.
Breakfast is by far my favorite meal of the day, and like a good appreciator of all-things food, I don’t relegate my breakfast enjoyment to the morning hours. After a good night out, I can’t think of anything more enticing than ending it with some breakfast favorites: pancakes, waffles, eggs, bacon and whatever else you can throw at me. Gone are the days of waiting in the drive-through lane for what seems to be an eternity for a dismal chicken biscuit and hello to “Midnight Brunch”.
Ida Claire’s is the new southern-inspired entry to Addison’s already buzzing restaurant scene. This eatery is the newest venture from the team that has graced us with Mexican Sugar, Whiskey Cake and other local DFW favorites. This place really helps to fill a void in Addison for non-chain, creative restaurants. Plus, their assortment of cocktails are a step up from most of their competitors.
I was excited to attend the appropriately scheduled preview (started at 11 pm) of “Midnight Brunch”, back in the end of September. (I know, I know … time for me to get back on the #SDDContributor wagon.)
Ida Claire’s has a charm all of its own: Think eccentric Southern great aunt meets 60s flower child. Whoever put the décor together for this place deserve a pat on the back–the place overflows with southern, vintage character and has just the right amount of quirkiness. Wood tables, birdcages hanging from the ceiling, and bright patterns form a welcoming and eclectic environment. And just because, there is a a kick-ass Airstream trailer on the patio decked out in various psychedelic prints. (In fact, the trailer can be reserved for private parties.)
The menu offers a wide variety of Southern-influenced dishes that tend to be on the heavier, lesssss healthy side, but that’s what I am looking for late at night. As the night went on, the plates kept coming and we kept eating …
Sweet Potato Chip Duck Confit. Freshly fried sweet potato chips smothered in duck fat gravy, goat cheese fondue and topped with a sunny side-up duck egg. Trust me, this one was as good as it sounds.
Crawfish Corn Fritters served with a smoked mustard remoulade. These were crispy on the outside and buttery on the inside, just the way a proper fritter should be.
Brisket Egg Burger. Ida Claire’s spin on a classic burger topped with B&B pickles, pimento cheese, black pepper aioli. This burger was huge and is definitely big enough to share, if you’re feeling generous.
And of course, the quintessential Southern breakfast food – Chicken and Waffles. Ida Claire’s version was jazzed up with chicory maple syrup and hot sauce butter. It doesn’t get much better than that!
The drink menu is no less thought out than the food menu. Naturally, a good Southern restaurant wouldn’t be caught dead without Juleps and I opted first for the Tobacco Peach Julep. Here, Tennessee whiskey, mint, tobacco syrup and peach bitters mixed for a true taste of all things Southern. Maybe a tad bit heavy on the ice, but good overall. From there, I went for the Vieux Carre (rye, brandy, Benedictine, sweet Vermouth, angostura and Peychaud’s bitters); it wasn’t a drink for the weak of heart. Throwing caution to the wind (no not Gone With the Wind), my wife opted to go with the Airmail, a refreshing and potent drink crafted from gold rum, lime, honey and sparkling rosé, which apparently now rivals the classic Moscow Mule as her current favorite cocktail. Her nightcap, a Scarlet Letter (Bonnie’s bathtub gin, hibiscus tea, honey, grapefruit, lemon and seltzer), was as you would expect from the ingredients: sweet, sugary and fruity, but all in a good way.
I have been fortunate to attend a number of events (thanks to Susie) and this one is certainly one of the more memorable ones. From the delicious food and drinks to the overall ambiance of the place, Ida Claire has a lot to offer. I will definitely be heading back sometime soon. While our food and drinks were on the house this time, the prices looked reasonable considering the quantity you get and the quality of the items.
Hats off to Ida Claire for providing Uber credit for transportation to and fro! Southern hospitality at its finest.
With nearly 200 restaurants packed into 4.5 modest miles, it’s getting tricky for restaurants to stand out in Addison. Newcomer Panevino, located at Addison Walk, manages to do just that. Indulge yourself in just one meal here and you’ll agree.
Owner and chef, Joseph Ajro, describes Panevino as a fusion of traditional Italian and European bistro elements featuring a wide and varied menu catering to all tastes. That is to say, you won’t find Chef Boyardee twirling his mustache anywhere near the kitchen of Panevino. Contrarily, executive chef Javier Perez (formerly of Sfuzzi) and his staff make everything in-house, using only the freshest, top-notch ingredients painstakingly selected and imports from the best regions in the world. Following the delightful evening I spent dining with Arjo in his restaurant, I left with the impression he is more or less obsessed with quality when deciding what makes the cut in his kitchen. When I tasted the product of his careful selection process, I understood why.
Panevino boasts an equally thoughtful wine selection featuring wines from around the world. Some of the offerings on the wine list deviate from the expected; Merkin “Chupacabra” Red Blend, anyone? Yeah, that would be an Arizona wine produced by none other than the guy from Tool. (That said, it was delicious.) Clearly, their sommelier, Noah Patridge, isn’t afraid to think outside the box when making recommendations for a new wine to try with dinner. He paired a different wine with each course we enjoyed at dinner, and all of his couplings were spot-on. Original cocktails influenced by European roots round out the drink menu, and a variety of craft beers are available on tap.
But, back to the food. There was not a single dish we tried that fell short of ridiculously good … and some dishes may or may not have made my eyes roll back in my head a little. First, I surprised myself by selecting the Pepper Crusted Ahi Tuna as my favorite appetizer of the evening. Served on a bed of artichokes and roasted peppers, the delicate flavor of the seriously fresh rare tuna was perfectly offset by the peppery sear. I’m not usually a big fan of rare tuna, but I would order this dish again … and again.
One of my favorite dishes of the entire evening, however, arrived in the form of our salad course–the Heirloom Caprese Tower. A glorious tower of the freshest Buffalo mozzarella I have ever tasted, interspersed with gorgeous heirloom tomatoes, fragrant basil, and a balsamic glaze, this “salad” was an emotional experience. I wept.
It was difficult to select a favorite entree from several excellent dishes we sampled, but WHEN (and not if) I return to Panevino, I plan on ordering the Homemade Gnocchi so I can stuff every last one of those perfect little ‘tato dumplings into my face hole. Crowned with tangles of delicate prosciutto, basil, shaved parmesan, and a rich tomato cream sauce, this is one of those dishes that manages to warm your very soul. If I had a little Italian grandma, I would probably have to lie to her when I lovingly professed her gnocchi to be superior. (Lucky for me, my descendants are Russian and English, so there aren’t many culinary white lies to be told ‘neath the branches of this family tree. Borscht? Kidney pie? idk.)
My husband’s favorite dish of the evening was the Lobster Ravioli, which I’m pretty sure speaks for itself; except for the fact that the ravioli happens to be crowned with scallops and lump crab meat, so it’s basically one big crustacean brigata on your plate. Also noteworthy was the Stuffed Jumbo Shrimp, filled with lump crab meat, plated atop lemon marscapone risotto, and drizzled with a citrus beurre blanc. Yowza. Panevino does seafood well.
Do save room for dessert. They are all made in-house, and they are not an afterthought; you cannot go wrong here.
Happy hour details:
4pm-7pm Monday through Friday
$5 Sangria, $5 House wines, and $2 off all Texas beers
Foodie movie fans: rejoice (again). Addison’s cinematic-adjacent culinary experience, Ivy Kitchen, has revamped its menu and it’s goooood. Expect some new food, new cocktails, and some old favorites. I should note that, while IK is in a movie theater, it’s far from your typical chicken-tenders-served-with-a-premixed-strawberry-margarita type fast-casual order from your seat kind of place. IK is real, quality food.
The evening at IK started at the bar (as most nights should) and we each tried a couple of their new options. I was blown away by the IVY Thyme (Bulleit Bourbon, Lillet Blanc, lemon, fresh thyme), if not for the flavor, for the presentation. The IVY League (Hendrick’s Gin, lime, cucumber, Lillet Blanc) was good, but didn’t blow my socks off since the combination isn’t completely unexpected.
Luckily they kept my favorite cocktail on the menu (and one of my favorites in all of Dallas, actually), the Bootstrap Manhattan. They start with TX Whiskey and coat a glass with a whisper of the local spirit, then they smoke a smoked maple plank and allow the glass to absorb the essence of the wood. With the smoky flavor on the glass, they add the whiskey, sweet vermouth, bitters, and a Luxardo cherry. The result is nothing short of delicious.
As mentioned, IK isn’t going to offer up sad congealed cheese nachos … their food is serious. While I could go on about each and every dish we tried (save a couple), I’ll simply highlight my favorites. One of those favorites is currently a special that will be moved to the menu (as it damn well should), the Bacon Marmalade Flatbread. It was surprisingly light and I had to stop myself from eating too much of it since it was one of the first round dishes.
Ivy Kitchen’s new chef is taking some basics and just making them really damn well. For his Tenderloin Stroganoff, he took a basic pasta dish and threw in some of what must be crack-laced beef tenderloin tips. (I may or may not have taken leftovers home …) The Thick Cut Grilled Pork Chop (molasses-brined center cut chop, au jus served with roasted garlic mashed potatoes & chilled Fuji applesauce) was tender, juicy, and perfectly cooked. And everyone loves sides … and they did them well. Their Sweet Potato Crisp was delightfully light, the Real Deal Mac & Cheese was, in fact, the real deal, and the Iron Skillet Brussels Sprouts were … well … Brussels sprouts … and y’all know what those to do to me. 🙋🏼(<–that’s me raising my hand to ask if we can get more Brussels sprouts.)
Basically there was pork in just about everything … and I was alright with that. (But if you’re not a porkavore like I am, then make sure to check the descriptions.)
On top of fantastic porkiness, IK also has a sushi bar with amazingly fresh options, a brunch menu that makes my mouth water, and a great wine list with reasonable yet scrumptious options. While you can’t get all of their offerings in the theaters, they have an entire Look & Dine menuwith items that are easy to eat in the dark and don’t offend your neighbor. I mean … both are good things.
Stop in and try some of the new options soon, check out their new patio (for the week of decent weather we have left), have a Bootstrap Manhattan, and catch a movie!