Category Archives: Dallas

The Grill On the Alley- New Menu Offerings, New Look

I love a classic steakhouse, as any decent Texan (or honorary Texan, thankyouverymuch) should. That said, feasting on a 22oz ribeye … in a suit a tie … with the smokiest, oldest scotch on the menu … in a dimly lit cave of masculinity isn’t for everyone. The Grill on the Alley at Galleria Dallas realizes this; enter their decision to introduce some fresh, new menu items that extend beyond the requisite Porterhouse and baked potato. (Not that there’s anything wrong with that … it’s a thing of beauty, really.) Also in the works: a new, more contemporary look and feel. (The first thing to go will be the white table cloths.)

New seafood starters with a decidedly exotic flair have been added to the lineup. The Crab & Hamachi Roll (avocado, mango, tobiko, lime, $17) and Ahi Tuna Poke (onion shoyu, tobiko, avocado, wonton, $18) are fresh, light and delicious. Looking for something a bit more indulgent? (OK, absurdly more indulgent.) Check out the  Nueske’s Slab Bacon ($15) with a maple bourbon glaze. Holy meat candy, Batman.

Other lovely options that have been added to the lineup include a beautiful Sea Scallop entree served pan-seared with a smoked carrot puree ($36) and a bone-in Pork Tomahawk Chop ($35) with apple compound butter … and at 14oz this bad boy chop is well-suited for sharing. (Or, not. Being selfish is cool, too.) If The Grill’s new offerings have you wondering, “Where’s the beef?”, fear not. A 14oz Prime New York Strip ($49) has been added to the menu, too. All praise the god of red meat.

You won’t want to miss out on The Grill’s side dishes, with offerings like Roasted Vegetables (sweet potatoes and brussels sprout leaves are the star performers, $11) and Lobster Mash Potatoes ($25).

And by all means, save room for dessert. Stacked 6 layers high, The Grill’s Coconut Cake is glorious, if also a bit intimidating.

The Grill On the Alley offers Happy Hour Sunday through Friday, 4-7pm, and Sunday from 11am-7pm, with special prices on cocktails, beer, wine, and bites. See details here.

The Grill On the Alley- Galleria Dallas
3270 Dallas Parkway, Dallas, TX 75240
(214)459-1601

GM / Executive Chef: Robert Hall

Hours:
Mon-Sat: 11am-10pm
Sun: 11am-9pm

Haystack Hits w/ New Dallas Location

We all know there’s no shortage of burger joints in the Dallas area, but Haystack Burgers and Barley is quickly making a name for itself.  With the opening of their second location in Oak Lawn’s recently renovated Turtle Creek shopping center, Kevin and Jenny Galvan are shooting to recreate the success of the original Haystack in Richardson.  From what I’ve experienced, they are well on their way to creating another cult following.

Among the many things to like about Haystack (from its friendly staff, great parking to the inviting ambiance) is that Haystack’s menu offers the right amount of variety for a place with “burger” in its name, including plenty of choices for salads and sandwiches.

Among the ridiculous parade of items I was able to try at the last media event, there were a few notable things that I had to share::::
The ranchero chicken-stuffed jalapeños are an old family recipe that was passed down to Kevin, and for good reason. Served with ranch these hit the spot.  Not a fan of spicy things?  The friend pickles and homemade mozzarella sticks are solid options.

Sometimes it’s the small things that make a place stand out, or in this case, the large ones. Haystack’s burgers are a steal given the size and price and of course the taste.  I don’t think you can really ever go wrong going with a restaurant’s signature item(s), and the Haystack Burger is no exception.  With fried onions, BBQ sauce, cheese and bacon, it’s their signature for a reason.My personal favorite, however, was the Escabeche Burger.   A burger with a bit of a kick thanks to the pickled jalapeños and chipotle mayo mingling with melted pepper jack plus bacon and Haystack onions.

Want to try something a bit different? Haystack has you covered with the Chicken Fried Burger-just like it sounds and topped with jalapeno-bacon cream gravy.  On a lighter note, the Portabella salad is a stand-out.  Topped with a generous portion of grilled portabella, gorgonzola cheese and homemade balsamic vinaigrette, this salad is a nice alternative for those wanting something less heavy.

For those with a sweet tooth, there is a solid variety of shakes and the banana pudding.  Oh yes, the ‘Nana pudding.  Go ahead and splurge … it’s worth it.  Creamy, decadent, full of flavor… and nostalgic, for sure!

Now, I can’t forget the alcoholic side of things, can I ? Of course, not … Haystack offers a great beer selection featuring draft pours from local Dallas breweries, numerous American craft beers, and, not to be missed, the Haymaker.  The Haymaker is Haystack’s frozen signature drink, made with orange juice, ice tea, lemonade and Maker’s Mark served in a mason jar, and is a concoction that will appeal to everyone with a refreshing, light, citrus taste, yet plenty boozy. (As I learned the hard fun way.)

It’s nearly baseball season, and nothing seems more appropriate than enjoying Haystack’s massive burgers and a huge selection of craft beers while watching a game. The new location of Haystack Burgers and Barley really hit the mark … again.  Well done!

Haystack Burgers & Barley – Turtle Creek
Facebook | Menu 
3838 Oak Lawn Avenue,  Suite 175
Dallas, TX  75219
(214) 377 – 7802

Thanks to Kevin and Jenny for inviting me to check out the new location and sample the menu!

 

 

True Food Kitchen – Truly Good Food

Eating healthy is hard. There are so many unhealthy options that are way easier (and let’s face it, way tastier) to fit into our busy schedules. Have no fear, friend! True Food Kitchen is making it easy and delicious to eat good-for-you food. This anti-inflammatory diet based restaurant has tons of options to help keep you on that health track … deliciously. The chef graciously explained to me that processed foods cause inflammation, which prevents the body from absorbing all the good nutrients it needs. This can lead to a plethora of unwanted things such as Alzheimer’s, rheumatoid arthritis, and even cancer. Because of this, True Food Kitchen doesn’t focus on calories. Instead, they focus on pure, simple, and delicious food that is hormone-free and antibiotic-free to help the body process nutrients better.

After a complimentary Corepower Yoga class, I tasted some of their brunch options, which are sure to give you the perfect kickstart to your day.

Garden Scramble: Brussels sprouts, butternut squash, organic eggs, and smoked gouda

Quinoa Johnny Cakes: banana and quinoa (these taste nothing like quinoa and everything like normal pancakes)

They also have Gluten Free Blueberry Muffins, Banana Espresso Muffins & Vegetable Salad on deck for you to nosh on.  They also offer vegan, vegetarian, and gluten free options, all of which are on their regular menu!

True Food Kitchen also serves booze including beer, cider, wine, and cocktails.  Most cocktails are around $10. Because it’s always best to detox and retox at the same time …

True Food Kitchen

truefoodkitchen.com
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8383 Preston Center Plaza #100
214-377-3333

Prost! At Gordon Biersch

The beginning of fall marks the start of many exciting events–the long-awaited return of college football (and tailgating) season, the State Fair, baseball playoffs–and for the German beer fan in all of us, we have Oktoberfest. While I wasn’t lucky enough to make it to the original celebration in Munich, I was able to pop over to Gordon Biersch for their house brewed beers.

Despite a vaguely German-sounding name, Gordon Biersch has a modern and diverse gastropub-inspired menu that spans from flatbreads and fresh fish to revamped pub standards.  Their brewing philosophy is based off of the Reinheitsgebot (a purity law that was created in Germany all the way back in 1516). Gordon Biersch’s beers are brewed according to these ancient rules-using only malted barley, hops, yeast and water.

A fan of darker beers, I decided on the Schwarzbier, a brown ale with a smooth, rich caramel flavor. My wife had the Hefeweizen which is a traditional style of unfiltered, wheat beer. The hints of fruit and spice make it a great beer to sip with or without food. The crew was nice enough to bring over samples of their other three beers: MarzenCzech Pilsner and Golden Export. The Golden was an easy drinking beer with crisp, subtle hops while the Marzen had a sweet, malty taste.

Hefeweizen (left) Schwarzbier (right)
Hefeweizen (left) Schwarzbier (right)

What’s really nice is that the menu gives suggested food pairings to make the most of your experience.  The Ahi Tuna Wonton Nachos are fresh tuna tossed in a savory teriyaki and topped a mountain of crunchy wonton chips.  Add grilled pineapple, pickled ginger, green onions, a sprinkling of sesame seeds and drizzled with a cucumber wasabi sauce and Sriracha cream. And the Blue Crab Spinach Artichoke Dip is served bubbling hot with grilled crostini and herb flatbread.  Rich and decadent, it may require putting in some extra cardio time, but it was a great pair to our beers.

The Woodford Reserve Bourbon Salmon is served with quinoa and kale salad and asparagus–it’s one of a number of a “lighter” dishes available that doesn’t sacrifice flavor for calories.  We couldn’t skip dessert, so we shared a warm apple crostata with ice cream.

While the real Oktoberfest is over, but Gordon Biersch is keeping the spirit alive with well-crafted beers and food offerings. Consider swinging by for happy hour (Monday-Sunday 3-7pm & 9-11pm or all day Wednesday) for $4-21 ounce GB beers.

Other happy hour specials:

  • $4 21 ounce GB beers
  • $5 hand crafted cocktails
  • $6 select house wines
  • $5, $7 and $9 appetizer and small plate specials

Gorden Biersch – Park Lane
Facebook | Instagram | OpenTable
8060 Park Lane, Suite 125, Dallas, TX 75231
(214) 369-2739

Prost and thank you to the Dallas Park Lane location for having us in!

The Second Floor Bar

I have visited the Dallas Galleria more than few times (women be shopping’, yo), and I’m kind of mad at myself that all along, I have been missing out on the greatness that is The Second Floor by Scott Gottlich.

Aptly named, this sleek, contemporary spot is nestled away on the second floor of the Westin Galleria, and just paces away from the interior mall entrance. I had a chance to belly up to the bar to check out The Second Floor’s liquid offerings. Let me tell you, they’ve got a lot going on here, folks. This is not your average hotel bar. It may be attached to the Westin, but the sippable menu at The Second Floor easily competes with offerings you would expect to find at some of the best watering holes in Dallas. If you haven’t discovered this spot yet, it could be a game changer.  Ladies, is that shopping trip you dragged your guy on taking just a liiiitttle bit longer than originally advertised? Sit him down at the bar, and you’re solid for at least another hour. Better yet, are the odds ne’er in your favor when swim suit shopping? Screw swimsuits … they have cocktails.

When I say they do things differently here, I’m not kidding; I was impressed to learn that The Second Floor actually makes their own hand-crafted aromatic tonic, infused with orange bitters and burnt cinnamon. The Second Floor’s creative and thoughtful cocktail menu offers seasonal features in addition to old standbys; one fan favorite is the Cucumber Sip (Organic cucumber vodka, elderflower, strawberry, & soda, $12),  which I’m told is The Second Floor’s most popular drink.  I had the opportunity to sample the House Sangria ($8), which was chock-full of boozy berries that I’m told spent a good amount of time hanging out in a cognac-lemon-elderflower concoction prior to taking a dip in my glass. (Is it rude to ask for a fork to get these leftovers from the bottom of my glass?) The sangria was rich and bursting with fruity goodness, and ultimately waaayyyy too easy to drink.

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A few new inventions that are featured on The Second Floor’s spring cocktail menu include:

  • GRILLED MARGARITA – Char-grilled orange, El Jimador tequila, Combier, lime ($12)
  • CINNAMON SIDECAR – Four Roses bourbon, Combier, lemon, cinnamon, bubbly ($13)
  • CHAPALA – Hornitos Black Barrel tequila, mole bitters, grapefruit infused agave nectar, ground Mexican chocolate ($13)

 

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Perhaps the thing I was most impressed with overall about The Second Floor’s fleet of beverages is their extensive whiskey menu. With more than 70 American whiskey offerings in total, and an equally impressive Scotch list, the menu runs the gamut from old standards to Texas labels to far more exotic options. (18-year Japanese whiskey, anyone? ) Intriguingly, The Second Floor offers a very nice variety of whiskey tasting flights. Oh, yes. Flights start at just $12, but if you’re feeling saucy, go for “The Big Spender”–this flight features three whiskeys each aged 21 years or better (Hello, 25-year Macallan), and it can be yours for a mere $100.

Additionally, The Second Floor boasts a comprehensive wine list with more than 80 offerings by the bottle, 20 of them by the glass. If you are a beer drinker, they’ve got you covered, featuring 12 premiums, 12 Texas craft brews, and 5 domestic options.  Pro-tip: With any food or beverage purchase, The Second Floor will validate your Westin Galleria parking, which is kind of awesome. Must remember this come holiday shopping.

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Stay tuned for another post soon about their new menu offerings for Summer 2015!
The Second Floor offers up some mighty fine happy hour specials.

Happy Hour- 4-6 PM, Monday- Friday

  • Specialty cocktail of the day (changes daily) $5
  • Domestic beer $4
  • “The Best $5 Wine in the City”- Honoro Vera, Garnacha OR Les Costières de Pomerols, Picpoul de Pinet

Various snacks and small bites, $2-5

The Second Floor by Scott Gottlich
The Westin Galleria Dallas, Level 2
13340 Dallas Parkway Dallas, TX 75240
(972) 450-2978

Cook Hall Beer Dinner featuring Deschutes Brewery

Earlier this year, I attended Cook Hall’s Beer vs. Whiskey Dinner, which was an experience to remember. (Though that’s tougher to do than you’d think … I refer you to the title.)  So when I was invited to March’s beer dinner featuring Deschutes Brewery, I couldn’t resist. March’s beer dinner featuring Deschutes Brewery, teamed with dishes from local chef Nicholas Jimenez, was a match made in heaven.

Much like the craft brew scene is growing here in Texas, in Oregon craft beer is growing exponentially. In fact, Oregon is home to the most breweries per capita in the U.S. and Oregonians spending more money on craft beer than any other state.

Chef Nicholas Jimenez used his ingenuity to evoke the wild, adventurous spirit of Oregon in our meal. Our first course was a roasted fennel and sun choke soup garnished with crispy artichoke chips and topped with an orange oil. The flavorful and hearty soup was paired with Deschutes’ River Ale Golden Ale, and it was a great way to shake off the chill of early spring evening. To offset the heavier soup, this ale was crisp, light, and slightly hoppy with hints of fruit.

Deschutes River Ale GoldenAle from Deschutes Brewery Beer Dinner at Cook Hall Dallas
Deschutes River Ale GoldenAle

For our second course, Chef Jimenez created a beet-horseradish cured salmon gravlax served with a watercress salad, pickled radish and coriander. Colorful and a bit wild, everything in this dish came together to work really well.   The beer of choice with this dish was the Fresh Squeezed IPA which has earned both national and international prizes … and for good reason. This IPA has a strong, crisp citrus smell with hints of malt which were perfectly paired with the dish.  I can easily see smooth brew  being a summer crowd pleaser.

beet horseradish cured salmon gravlax from Deschutes Brewery Beer Dinner at Cook Hall Dallas
Beet & Horseradish Cured Salmon Gravlax

The third course, and my personal favorite, was an espresso crusted lamb loin. The lamb was tender and juicy and cooked to absolute perfection. The espresso was an interesting (read: perfect) complement to the meat and was not overpowering as I thought it might have been with a delicate meat like lamb.  Served with braised Belgian endive, English peas and a barley risotto, all were nice additions in both taste and texture, but the meat is really what wowed me.  To wash it all down, Cook Hall introduced the only dark beer of the evening–Deschutes’ Obsidian Stout.  I enjoyed the full bodied stout’s roasted coffee and chocolate notes which were echoed by the hint of espresso in the lamb. Considering how dark and heavy some stouts can be, Obsidian drinks easily and, unlike other stouts, doesn’t fill you up too much.

Unfortunately, I didn’t get to try the dessert.  Damn peanut, almond, etc. allergy … so an almond cake dessert was not exactly in the cards for me.  Our dessert was served with an eclectic variety including grilled pineapple, ginger ice cream, pineapple sorbet and extra virgin olive oil. My source (a.k.a. my beautiful wife) said it was a nice way to cap off the meal–sweet and refreshing without being too rich.

I did not, however, pass on the Zarabanda Farmhouse Saison, the brainchild of Deschutes and Chef José Andrés, who we can all thank for introducing America to the concept of tapas. (Bless you for bringing tiny dishes into my life, my friend.) This spiced pale ale has a dry, sweet taste with hints of lemon verbena, sumac and dried lime.  Did you get all that? If not, just know this beer packs in a range of flavors, all notable from first sip.  It was a great compliment to the tropical flavors of the dessert … so says my wife.

Whether your intrigued by the concept of beer dinners, looking to grab a meal before a Dallas Maverick or Stars game or just needing a drink, Cook Hall has you covered. (BONUS: they validate the W’s parking.)

Check out Cook Hall’s website for updates and information on their monthly beer dinners.  (DOUBLE BONUS: Sign up for their newsletter while you’re there and get a free snack.)


Cook Hall Dallas 

www.cookhalldallas.com |  Facebook | Twitter | Instagram
In the W Dallas Victory | 2440 Victory Park Lane, Dallas, TX 75219
(214)-397-4111

Happy Hour  (5pm to 7pm |  Monday – Friday): 5 cocktails and 5 small plates each for $5
Check out their menu for more information.

Deschutes Brewery
www.deschutesbrewery.com | YouTube | Pinterest | Tumblr
901 SW Simpson Ave, Bend, OR 97702
(541)-382-9242

 

*Cook Hall was kind enough to pick up my tab for the evening.*

Saved by the Bell

unnamed-14Class is in session, people.  Public School 214 will open its doors in the new section of West Village on January 29 as the first Texas location from the Los Angeles restaurant.  The open format, 5,000 sq. ft., 200 seat restaurant features a full bar with a dining room opposite.  The music and simplicity of the decor (industrial lighting, globes and other elementary reminiscent ephemera) keep the vibe modern and a bit hipster — this isn’t so much the place you’d go for a quiet meal, but for some good people watching with a good drink and a meal no the side, this’ll be the place.

While the vibe is decidedly Uptown, the food is anything but ordinary.  I’m talkin’ Chorizo Mac & Cheese, Fig & Prosciutto Pizza, Lamb Bolognese, and Nutella Cookie Sandwich out of the ordinary.  More on the food later … because cocktails.

The talked about the PS214 bar program with Colin Kerr, director of operations.  He is so passionate about what he does, and the cocktails on the menu are evidence of that.  He made each cocktail so unexpectedly detailed … even the Gin & Tonic is decidedly unique thanks to their housemade tonic.

  • The Crushed Velvet is their take on a Moscow Mule, featuring blackberry and blueberry reduction, lavender, Karlsson’s Gold vodka, and the obligatory ginger beer.  It’s just sweet enough to offset the bite of the ginger beer, making it a dangerous option.
  • The Yellow Smoke was my favorite of the night, with fresh pineapple juice, serrano agave, and xicaru mezcal.  The smokiness of the mezcal gives this somewhat simple drink a bit of exciting complexity.  I think Dallas is still timid when it comes to mezcal, and here’s hoping that this helps Dallas gain some progress in regard to this unique spirit.
  • The  (watermelon, St. Germaine, Aylesbury Duck vodka, salt & pepper) was delightfully sweet and refreshing, but could be improved.  Try this with tequila or gin instead of vodka to up the ante.
  • The Lavender Vanilla was a different take on an old fashioned with housemade vanilla bitters, lavender simple syrup, and Four Roses small batch whiskey.  I’d drink this all day every day …
  • The last cocktail that we tried was the Player’s Cut, a spirit forward cocktail that is their version of a negroni, with campari, Carpano Antica, and locally-made Brazos Texas-Style gin.  I enjoy a bitter drink, but they definitely slow me down.  I would order this again to go with my lamb bolognese!

The beer list exclusively offers craft beers and less nationals than usual — think Community Beer Co., Saint Arnold, Revolver, Real Ale, Peticolas, and many more.  They will offer 24 craft beers with the promise of rotators and seasonal options.  Check out their selection of drafts, bottles, cans, and event large format bottles for the table.  One of the random cans I’m stoked about is the Coconut Porter from the Maui Brewing Company!

Photo courtesy of Public School
Photo courtesy of Public School

I did note that their wine selection is incredibly limited with just one option of select varietals.  (Though they seem to have made good choices for the options they offer.)  Also note that some of these wines will be on tap.

The food, as I mentioned, embodies their mission to impart “an education in the art of food and beer”.  Some of the items are progressive while others are just f**king delicious.  In terms of appetizers, you pretty much can’t miss the Chorizo Mac & Cheese (hello, it is topped with sea salt and vinegar chips and has chunks of chorizo instead of the traditional ground chorizo) or the Bacon Cheddar Tots (with shredded potato instead of chopped).  To warm up, the Roasted Beet Salad is a ridiculously delicious mix of fresh and tender roasted purple and yellow beets, arugula, ricotta salata, pomegranate molasses, and marcona almonds.

The Wild Mushroom & Taleggio Pizza was delightful and ridiculously fragrant (and a great midnight snack) and the Fig & Prosciutto Pizza is a perfect balance of sweet and savory thanks to the fig glaze.  If you’re a fan of pasta, the Lamb Bolognese features whole wheat linguine and very mild ground lamb.

Now, dessert … DO NOT MISS THE NUTELLA COOKIE SANDWICH!  This is some seriously intense dessert with Nutella (duh), bacon brittle (uhhhh), cookies, and vanilla bean ice cream.  Don’t share this with more than one other person.

PS214 dessert
Pumpkin Coffee Cheesecake & Nutella Cookie Sandwich

Fun offerings to look forward to from PS214:


 

PUBLIC SCHOOL 214
www.psontap.com
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3700 McKinney Ave (in the new West Village area east of McKinney)
(214)599-6234