Lakewood is a neighborhood with chain restaurants here and there (and here), so it’s always nice to see a new concept pop up in the area. Dugg Burger opened recently thanks to four brilliant dudes (one is from Dallas and the rest are from California).
The concept is brilliant … they had a completely custom tool created to give their burgers a unique edge (or hole, as it were). The tool hulls out the bun top to make room for their 13 amazing toppings and then they’re lovingly placed on the grill on one of the (also custom) stainless steel magnetic domes to get it all nice and toasty. (Toasted buns … I mean … the best.) The process is below in a neat sketch they had made …
When you walk in, you order your burger (and fries … because fries) and they’ll bring it to your table. You choose from their 12 standard toppings and one “Lucky 13” topping which are always suggestions from customers. (They allow customers to submit their topping ideas online or on the brick wall in the shop, and if one is popular enough, they’ll add it to the lineup!) They like to keep their ingredients as local as possible–they get their meat from Freedman’s, their buns from Village Baking Company, and they have local beers stocked. (No local wines just yet.)
Man cannot live on burgers and beer alone (even really good ones), so they’ve sweetened the deal with their homemade Bread Pudding, which is made from a recipe from one of the owner’s moms. (She even checks in from time to time to make sure it’s the right recipe. Now that’s what I call quality control!)
Cambria Hotel and Suites has opened a brand spankin’ new Plano property on Parkwood Blvd, just steps from the suburban booze/fine dining/shopping wonderland we call Shops at Legacy. This is most excellent news for out of town guests, business travelers, bachelorettes, and packs of prowling cougars alike.
In addition to being an ideally located crash pad, the Cambria Hotel & Suites just so happens to be kind of awesome. The 129 room, 4-story hotel features comfortable luxuries (think spacious rooms with over-sized living areas, spa-inspired bathrooms, etc.) coupled with practical and useful features, like a multi-functional media hub for your undoubtedly excessive number of electronic devices. The Cambria Plano offers 2,400 square feet of meeting/conference space if that’s something you need … and, a full service bar and lounge area, if THAT’S something you need, in addition to a contemporary bistro. They also have a really sweet pool area, featuring a notably swanky looking cabana setup (complete with fire pits for the colder months, ThankYouVeryMuch).
I was excited to attend the Cambria’s grand opening celebration earlier this month, for a few reasons, really; in addition to checking out this cool new property, I got to experience not only a sampling of the impressive cuisine Cambria Chef DeMaria dreamed up for this event, but also a series of beer pairings offered up by five of DFW’s very own local craft breweries. This wasn’t just any ol’ beer tasting event, though- oh, no. Each of the five breweries in attendance were charged with the task of presenting their finest suds to a panel of judges, led by former Plano Mayor Phil Dyer, in order to determine which of the five offerings would earn a tap behind the Cambria bar. The offerings of the evening, in no particular order, consisted of:
Lakewood Lager, Vienna Style Lager, 4.6% ABV- this has always been one of my go-tos- it’s just so darn drinkable with its light maltiness and balanced bitter hop. I felt this was a contender due to its versatility (but it doesn’t matter what I think, because I’m no former mayor).
Community Mosaic IPA, India Pale Ale, 7.5% ABV- If you haven’t tried this beer, it’s about as hoppy as this guy. If you love hoppy, well-balanced beers, you will love this beer. I felt this was a brave offering from Community, seeing as it makes such a bold statement.
Peticolas Velvet Hammer, Imperial Red Ale, 9% ABV– this smooth, malty red ale is slightly floral, lightly sweet, and moderately full-bodied. It will also knock you on your ass in a relative hurry. That said, it’s interesting and delicious. Nice choice.
Deep Ellum Brewing Company Dallas Blonde, American Blonde Ale, 5.2%- I hear it goes down easy (that’s a joke…remember this?). But, it’s true; this delicate golden session ale is exceptionally drinkable. For that reason, I considered Dallas Blonde to be another favorable horse in this race.
Franconia Dunkel Lager, Munich Dunkel Lager, 4.4%- it’s the bier from here, y’all. Brewed following the practice of German Purity Laws, this dunkel is toasty and malty, with a light, chocolatey finish. I have always enjoyed the straight-forward, no-nonsense approach these guys take to their craft. While this may have been the darkest beer offering in the race, it was no dark horse, in my humble opinion (#jokes).
Five fine contenders, vying for one coveted tap behind the Cambria bar. While all five of these local offerings were winners in my book (or more accurately, in my belly…), there could only be one. And there was. The judges made a unanimous decision.
Are you ready?
Here it comes:
The Cambria will be serving…
Wait for it…
Community Mosaic IPA
There you have it. Community Mosaic IPA will be available behind the bar at the Cambria, in addition to three other craft handles, and twelve domestic offerings on tap. I did not correctly guess that such a bold offering would win the judge’s affection, but I loved the plot twist. I’m sure it was a difficult decision, but I’m not sure the judges could have gone wrong. To quote former Mayor Dyer, “I believe in beer”.
Because variety is the spice of life, Cambria’s bar and lounge features also an ample selection of liquor and wine. Featured cocktails include the Cambria Margarita $7, and the Blackberry Mojito $9.
I would be remiss to wrap up this event re-cap without mentioning how delicious the food offerings were. We were able to sample a variety of creative and delicious dishes, ranging from Cambozola Mac n’ Cheese to my personal favorite, a Franconia Dunkel braised sausage, served atop mashed potatoes with pepper-onion tapenade and a mustard gravy. Yes. Featured menu items in Cambria’s contemporary bistro include inventive dishes such as the Pesto Drummies Appetizer served with blue cheese & butter ($10), Sriracha Glazed Salmon, featuring house-made Sriracha, served with green chile grits ($13), and the Flat Iron Steak with garlic spinach and Idaho fries ($19). I also hear tell that Cambria serves up a killer house-made Tres Leches Bread Pudding topped with lime zest ($7). Run and tell that, homeboy.
Cambria’s bistro is open for breakfast from 5:00 AM- 10:00 AM. Dinner is served from 5:00 PM- 11:00 PM. The bar and lounge is open nightly from 5:00 PM- Midnight.
Cambria Hotel & Suites Plano – Legacy 7500 Parkwood Blvd., Plano, TX 75024
(972) 473-9010 Online Booking
Class 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!
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.
Fun offerings to look forward to from PS214:
brunch (the menu looks like a scantron sheet, y’all)
USB plugs to charge your phone under the bar (am I weird to be really excited about this?)
I recently checked out a new tasting room in historic downtown Grapevine, Messina Hof. They opened their new digs in early December, coining themselves an “urban winery.” Even though Messina Hof is new to Grapevine, they are the most awarded winery in Texas thanks to their two locations in Bryan and Fredericksburg. (The company owns more than 900 acres across Texas!)
Messina Hof picked a perfect location – the reconstructed 1891 Wallis Hotel. One of the best features of this building is the grand staircase that is right in front of you as you walk through the front door. The first floor is complete with a wine bar, tasting room, and a winery store complete with items such as cheese boards, glassware, wine tools (openers, cork stoppers, etc.), and of course bottles of wine. Up the grand staircase there is a second wine for peak times or for group tastings. Additionally, the second floor has rooms that can be rented out for private functions. There’s also a great patio overlooking downtown Main Street — we can’t wait to come back to see it during the holidays … Grapevine is, after all, the Christmas Capital of Texas!
Want a taste? Simply walk in during open business hours and one of the knowledgeable staff members will assist you with a tasting. $10 gets you 5 wooden nickels, most wines cost you 1 nickel, a few cost you 2, so for $10 you are getting 3-5 wines to taste. Or, if you just want to walk in and enjoy a glass, they have a few seats that allow your group to sit and enjoy a glass or bottle of wine.
They’ll debut a light food menu soon (think cheese and wine) that will pair well with all their wines.
Want something to go with your wine? Every Wednesday evening from 5 to 8pm, Messina Hof offers a tasting that is paired with a local food items. Call to reserve your spot because they like to have no more than twenty people to keep it small and intimate.
Messina Hof offers wine on tap, which is not only environmentally friendly, but it also ensures that the first glass of wine is as fresh as the last glass. Another awesome part about their wines on tap? They can sell growlers of wine! Walk in, enjoy a tasting, and buy a growler of one of the wines on tap. Each growler holds approximately 25% more than a bottle, and growlers can be brought back to purchase a refill. Unfortunately, the taps rotate as kegs run out, so you might have to try a new style when you go back to purchase a refill. I purchased a growler and can’t wait to go back and get it refilled.
I am a huge fan of Chef Kenny Bowers and his growing family of seriously delicious restaurant concepts, otherwise known as Kenny’s Wood Fired Grill (Addison), Kenny’s Italian Kitchen (Addison), Kenny’s Smokehouse (Shops at Legacy), and Kenny’s Burger Joint (Frisco and a NEW Plano location!). That said, I was super excited when I received an invitation to check out the aforementioned, brand spankin’ new Kenny’s Burger Joint location in Lakeside Market in Plano. Kenny and his awesome team hosted a holiday-centric event highlighting some fun and festive appetizers, and some seriously tasty cocktails.
If you’ve visited Kenny’s Burger Joint before, it’s no secret Kenny Bowers serves up a mean burger; quite honestly, probably my favorite burger. Kenny perfected his juicy, 8 oz. patties over a natural hickory wood-burning grill, and the availability of delicious topping combinations to follow said grilling extravaganza offers something for everyone. If you aren’t feeling a burger (excuse me, what?), Kenny’s menu features a variety of other tasty options, ranging from the black angus Big Dog, and the Steak Bomb (Kenny’s take on the classic Philly cheesesteak), to lighter options, like the fresh and delicious Ahi Tuna and Asian Chicken Salads.
Hopefully, if you’re a Kenny’s Burger Joint fan, you’re already aware of the greatness that is Kenny’s cocktail menu. Kenny’s well-rounded drink menu is thoughtful and creative, and includes indulgent additions such as the famed “Adult” milkshakes (I got to try the Chocolate Grasshopper (Crème de Menthe, White, Crème de Cocoa, and Oreos) and OhMyLanta, it was good. Additionally, Kenny’s Burger Joint offers a reasonable wine list and a respectable craft beer selection. Oh, and they offer Grey Goose on tap. So, there’s that.
I got to sample a variety of particularly delicious cocktails on this occasion, and today, you are in luck: Kenny’s talented bartenders were kind of enough to share some of their delicious cocktail recipes, so you can try your hand at recreating some of these beauties at home!
**Here’s a tip before you get started: Kenny’s standard for mixing cocktails demands no fewer than 25 “shakes” when mixing cocktail ingredients in a shaker. This results in bruising of the alcohol, which in turn creates a nifty sheet of ice atop the drink when you pour. (The more you know.)
Sapphire 75 2 oz Bombay Sapphire
Splash lemon juice
Splash simple syrup
Shake first three ingredients. Top with splash of Prosecco.
Under the Mistletoe 1 1/2 oz. Stoli Blueberry
3/4 oz. PAMA Liquor
1/2 oz Pineapple juice
Shake and pour, then top with a splash of Prosecco.
Frenchie 2 oz Grey Goose (consider using orange, for extra flavor)
½ oz Chambord
1/2 oz Pineapple juice
Shake first three ingredients and top with splash of Prosecco.
Silent Nyquil (heh) 2 oz Stoli Vanilla
Small shot of whipped cream
½ oz peppermint Schnapps
½ oz simple syrup
Splash crème de Menthe
Splash Blue Curacao
Shake first four ingredients and pour into martini glass. Drop crème de Menthe and Blue Curacao gently along side of glass (they will sink) and splash with Prosecco.
You’re likely to work up an appetite after all of that cocktail shakin’. So, it’s a good thing Kenny shared a variety of recipes for you to try at home- and just in time for your upcoming Christmas festivities, or fleet of non-negotiable house guests!
Bacon Wrapped Jalapenos 10 fresh Jalapenos, whole
1 c. pepper jack cheese, shredded
10 strips of bacon, raw
Cut a ¼” divot in each pepper from just below the stem to just below the toe. Set the divot aside. Gently scoop out as much of the seed and white membrane as possible, and discard. Be careful not to break or tear the jalapeño.
Form enough cheese in your hand to fit in the interior of the pepper and gently stuff (approximately 3 Tbsp). Replace the divot over the cheese. Gently squeeze the pepper in your hand, and compress to close.
Place bacon on a cutting board. Place the jalapeño on the bacon, just above the toe where the divot begins. Wrap bacon at an angle, overlapping on each wrap to make sure the divot is completely covered. Gently squeeze to help bacon adhere. Secure each end of the bacon with a toothpick. Refrigerate for at least one hour before cooking. Cook either using grill method or skillet/oven method:
GRILL PROCEDURE: Place cold jalapenos on medium heat grill, and close lid. Cook until bacon is slightly crispy and cheese begins to ooze. Carefully remove toothpicks. Serve with ranch and BBQ sauce for dipping.
SKILLET/OVER PROCEDURE: Preheat oven to 400 degree. Place cold jalapeños in a lightly oiled hot skillet over medium high heat. Lightly brown on all sides. Move skillet to oven, and finish at 400 degrees for approximately 10 minutes.
Bud’s White Queso
1 ¼ lb. White American cheese, shredded 1 c. Whole milk
1 c. Yellow onion, sliced in paper thin strips
½ c. Cilantro, chopped
¼ c. Pickled jalapenos, finely chopped
2 tsp. Cumin
Can be prepared in microwave or crockpot, as described below:
MICROWAVE: Combine all ingredients in a microwave safe bowl. Microwave until hot, stirring occasionally.
CROCKPOT: Place all ingredients in crockpot, stirring occasionally, until everything is incorporated and queso is hot.
Juicy Lucy Sliders 8- 2 oz. Burger patties 4 slices American cheese, folded into 2” squares
4 King’s Hawaiian Mini Hamburger Buns
4 tsp. Ketchup
4 tsp. Yellow Mustard
4 Tbsp. Onion, raw and chopped ¼”
4 Tbsp. Pickles, chopped ¼”
Place on square of cheese in the center of one of the burger patties, folding the corners of the cheese so there is a ½” gap between the cheese and the edge of the meat. Place a second patty on top, and crimp the edges together (like making a ravioli), making sure there are no holes. Repeat with remaining patties. Put patties in refrigerator to firm.
Season both sides of burger patties with salt and pepper. Gently place burger patties on an oiled, flat grill or standard grill.
Cook approximately 3 minutes per side over medium high heat until browned on each side or cooked through. When you flip the burgers, do so gently to prevent cheese from oozing out.
Place ketchup, mustard, pickles, and onion evenly on each bottom bun. Place finished burgers on top. Cover with top bun, and enjoy!
Note: Be very careful when biting into the sliders as the cheese can be very hot!
Kenny shared one more thing with us that certainly bears mentioning, and that would be the infamous EL JEFE GRANDE CHALLENGE. This slightly larger than average burger, priced at $50, features:
An impressive 3 lb. patty of the finest beef stacked on two ENORMOUS pieces of Texas Toast (made especially for this sandwich) topped with: · 10 oz. of French fries
· Sliced jalapeños
· ½ lb. of bacon
· Lettuce, tomatoes, pickles, onions, and your choice of 1 c. of mustard or mayonnaise
It is a sight to behold. Guests who complete El Jefe Grande in less than one hour will receive the burger for free, plus a $100 dining certificate for a future meal, and their picture displayed on a special wall of honor in the restaurant. Plan on signing a waiver before tackling this Big Boss. (Not kidding, actually.)
If you haven’t checked out Kenny’s Burger Joint yet (or, if you have!), I would strongly suggest paying them a visit on a Monday. Why, you might ask? Martini Mondays, my friends. Kenny’s Burger Joint features a collection of speciality martinis and cocktails for just $5, all day long, every Monday. Yes.
Moviehouse & Eatery has just launched their first DFW location in Keller (with another one set to open in Flower Mound Spring 2015 and Craig Ranch (date TBD)) , and this lucky gal got to attend their grand opening celebration. This Austin based dine-in theater concept is begging to be moved to the top of your date night list. For a fun twist on your conventional “dinner and a movie”, Moviehouse & Eatery features eight dine-in theaters, complete with suhhhhweet, comfy reclining seating and a dedicated waitstaff. Oh, and a full-service bar.
You will definitely want to arrive plenty early to your movie in order to fully utilize Moviehouse & Eatery’s impressive full-service bar in the lobby. The bar menu features a respectable wine list, an interesting beer selection with a focus on local craft brew offerings, and a creative cocktail menu. I had the opportunity to sample two tasty libations at the opening; first, the Blueberry Ginger Sangria($7.50). The sangria was bursting with berry flavor, and was dangerously easy drinking. Secondly, I sampled the light and refreshing Cucumber Strawberry Mojito ($8.50), which was chock full of lovely, fresh strawberries with just the right hint of mint. Don’t worry, friends; the drinks do not stop flowing when the movie starts; the entire bar menu is available during your show. Whew!
I also had an opportunity to sample some of the menu items Moviehouse & Eatery has to offer, and believe me when I tell you that we are not talking about the neon-yellow, cheese covered, circular nacho chips of your childhood. Moviehouse & Eatery’s menu features a wide variety of creative dining options, ranging from shareable appetizers and pizzas, to salads, sandwiches, and burgers. Take a peek at the menu here to learn more about their tantalizing offerings.
If, by chance, you’re a little less hungry (or a little more focused on liquid calories), Moviehouse & Eatery has plenty of snacking options at the M&E Treats Candy Bar in the lobby.
In addition to traditional offerings like popcorn and classic candy, M&E Treats offers a variety of gourmet sweets for your face stuffing pleasure. Case in point: I don’t think you’ll be munching on chocolate covered Oreos at your neighborhood dollar theater any time soon.
I had the opportunity to enjoy a movie at the grand opening event (“Big Hero 6”- it was really cute- I am 30- I don’t have kids- don’t judge me), and I can totally vouch for the ridiculously comfy reclining chair situation they’ve got going on in their theaters. Holy moly, this was an amazing way to watch a movie, and every other theater I’ve ever been to is doing it all wrong and I didn’t even know it ’til now. So basically, you’re kicked back in a big, plush chair with your feet up, sipping on a beverage of your choice, and chowing down on some seriously tasty vittles.
I will leave you with this final warning: watching a movie whilst seated upright, drinking an $11 Dr. Pepper, and munching on a Totino’s Party Pizza is going to be a *little* disappointing the first time you do it after your get spoiled by Moviehouse & Eatery. Trust me.
I consider myself a huge Perry’s fan. That said, when I learned their second DFW location was opening in my neck of the woods–located at Stonebriar Centre in Frisco–I was slightly (ok, ridiculously) excited. I had an opportunity to attend a “sneak peak” event at the new Perry’s location this past week … which was kind of the second best thing that happened to me last week.* (For the record, I’m pretty sure Susie actually shed a little tear when she realized she was unable to personally attend.**) Ohmylanta, folks. Consider my Perry’s fervor renewed and stoked. Wowsers.
This brand spankin’ new location (they opened their doors on 11/17) features some shiny, new bells and whistles in addition to signature features Perry’s fans will happily recognize. The dining room, capable of accommodating 350 guests, boasts Perry’s familiar towering wine wall. Features unique to this DFW location include a beautiful open kitchen concept, four private dining rooms, and an island bar. The restaurant has a decidedly open, airy feel … perfect for special occasions. The spacious and sumptuous Bar 79 (named in honor of the year the first Perry’s location opened their doors in Houston) provides a perfect space for a lively happy hour or pre-dinner cocktail. Like the Dallas location, an exterior patio is available for al fresco dining.
The fact remains that the gorgeous aesthetics of the Perry’s Frisco location are basically a nifty bonus, because I’m pretty sure I would enjoy the food and drinks they serve here if I had to eat/drink them in a barn. Bar 79 presented us with an impressive array of creative and delicious beverage offerings at the preview event. I’m going to go ahead and say that it was nearly impossible to pick a favorite, so in no particular order, I delighted in:
The Pineapple Ginger Mojito – sweet pineapple paired with fresh mint, muddled with lime and shaken with Captain Morgan White Rum and just the right hint of ginger. I love unique mojitos, and this one was creative and refreshing.
Manhattan 46 – this classic cocktail is crafted with Maker’s 46, vermouth, and a dash of bitters, garnished with Luxardo cherries. If you aren’t familiar with Maker’s 46, this bourbon is finished in the barrel with specially seared oak staves, giving it a distinctive, oaky vanilla flavor. This cocktail was smooth as silk.
Classic Sidecar – this pre-prohibition era cocktail combines Hennessy VS, Grand Marnier, Caravella Limoncello, and fresh lemon juice. Just lovely.
Oolong Whiskey Spice – this one is new to the club, and I found it to be a most welcomed addition. Dickel #8 Bourbon, fresh mint, a hint of peach, fresh lemon juice, and yes, Oolong orange spice tea, give this cocktail a delightfully unique flavor. The flavor of the tea really shines through, but isn’t overpowering.
All mixology cocktails are $12
In addition to Perry’s stellar cocktail offerings, I had the opportunity to sample Perry’s Private Label Chardonnay ($13/glass, $52/bottle). This Sonoma County 2012 Chardonnay is a guest favorite, and I can see why. Pleasing notes of green apple, pear, and vanilla result in a lovely balance of sweet and crisp, with a long, lovely finish.
I had the opportunity to sample five eyes-roll-back-in-your-head-amazing dishes at the preview event (which was a good thing, since they were not stingy with the cocktails).
For starters, we enjoyed the Asian Ahi Tuna Tartare ($15.95). This was my first time to sample this lighter dish, and I can assure you it will not be my last. The tuna was remarkably fresh and delicate, crowned with a black sesame and teriyaki glaze. Crisp wontons accompanied this appetizer. I am generally not a big tuna fan, but I found myself wanting seconds of this dish.
Next, I was reacquainted with one of my favorite appetizers in DFW, Perry’s Signature Fried Asparagus ($16.95). As the name suggests, delicately breaded asparagus spears are fried, and then topped with tender jumbo lump crab meat. Holy smokes, I love this dish. So. Decadent.
If you are not familiar with THE Perry’s Famous Pork Chop ($36.95), you’d best acquaint yourself, ASAP. I love a good steak, as any good honorary Texan should, but Perry’s is a place where I really struggle with what to order thanks to this bad boy. SEVEN FINGERS HIGH, this hand-selected prime chop is cured, roasted, slow-smoked, and caramelized, then topped with Perry’s signature herb-garlic butter, and served with a side of apple sauce. Whew. In a glorious opening ceremony, the pork chop is carved tableside, while you look on salivating like one of Pavlov’s hounds. This might be the most tender, moist, decadent pork I have ever put in my mouth (sorry, every BBQ place ever).
I was so glad I had the opportunity to try the Chateaubriand, which is an off-menu item, available upon request (but I’m telling you about it now, so you win!). This beautiful tenderloin filet was presented with three sauces: truffle merlot, béarnaise, and roasted peppercorn; all three were spectacular accompaniments. The filet was melt-in-your-mouth good; velvety with a perfect crust. I see more of this in my future.
Finally, I was able to sample Perry’s Homemade Polish Sausage, a nod to Perry’s humble beginnings as a family-owned meat market in Houston. I am, admittedly, not much of a sausage fan- making me a decidedly bad honorary Texan. (Look, I am a native Floridian … and Floridian’s don’t know what sausage is, and there are some things we just can’t help about ourselves. But, I digress.) All of this was to say: I was so pleasantly surprised by this dish. The sausage, which was 85% lean, actually had quite a delicate flavor and texture. It was not remotely oily or greasy, but really tender and lovely, and I enjoyed it in spite of myself. The house-made BBQ sauce that accompanied it was tangy and flavorful. (And don’t forget the mustard!)
Perry’s has a variety of tempting specials throughout the week, for your eating and drinking enjoyment.
First, allow me to fill you in on one of the best lunch specials in DFW: Every Friday, from 11am-4pm***, you can enjoy Perry’s Famous Pork Chop with a side of whipped potatoes and apple sauce for $12.95. It basically costs me like $10 to eat at Chipotle on any given day (not that there’s anything wrong with Chipotle), so this is a NO BRAINER. In fact, I just got angry at myself that I haven’t had the opportunity to take advantage of this deal more often. Now that we have a Perry’s location in the great white north, that is fixin’ to change.
Perry’s popular Social Hour is a steal! Social Hour features a variety of mixology cocktails for just $6, wine by the glass starting at just $5, and a selection of tasty appetizers starting at just $5.95! Social hour takes place Monday-Friday, 4-6:30pm, and Sunday, 4-9pm. Check out the Social Hour.
Perry’s Bar 79 features live entertainment, ranging from classic lounge piano to lively jazz trios. Enjoy classy live music Monday-Thursday, 6-10pm or Friday-Saturday, 6-11pm.
Notes from Susie:
*Rachel got engaged this past weekend, y’all! Congratulations to Champ and best wishes to her. 🙂
**I’ll admit that it was more than a solitary tear …
***If you show up at 3:45pm, you can enjoy the pork chop special (order immediately when you sit down) and then get right into Social Hour.
Last week I was privileged to attend a media dinner at a new Tex-Mex restaurant in Bluebonnet Circle, Pegaso Mexican Diner. The circle has made a huge turn around since the days of the Qui and Tiff and Andi’s. Now the circle is full of great restaurants and retail, and Pegaso is a wonderful addition to the neighborhood.
Pegaso is set up like Freebirds or Chipotle where you go through a line to build your plate. They also offer a few platters were everything is already chosen for you want a quick decision. The basics of the menu are: enchilada plates, burritos, burrito bowls, salad bowls, and street tacos. With almost everything, you pick your filling, sauce, and sides. My first experience was awesome because I was able to try a lot of the menu in small portions. I kept thinking about how good the food during the rest of my week that I went back a few days later for my weekend Mexican food fix. Going through the line for the first time was somewhat overwhelming with all of the choices. It was safe to say that I’m pretty sure I would not have been disappointed with anything I would have chosen. The simple things like the rice and refried beans are amazing. The food is such high quality (this is nothing like Taco Bell fast food).
Eventually they will be offering late night on weekends as well as breakfast.
I’ll admit it … I’m a queso fanatic. For that reason, I deem myself qualified to say that their queso blanco was amazing. My other top recommendations are the enchilada platter with chicken tinga, chipotle crema, vegan cilantro rice, and pinto refried beans. One of the best sides I have tried is the Spicy Mexican Elote (a corn dish with chipotle crema, mayonnaise, and queso fresco). This dish has a great mix of sweet and spicy flavors.
So awesome food, now what about the drinks? Yes, this is considered “fast casual”, but the margaritas are hand shaken using 100% agave Tequila (your choice of Silver, Reposado, or Anejo). I was a big fan of the skinny margarita on the rocks ($8.50). The cucumber margarita on the rocks ($10.00) was a refreshing twist on a traditional margarita and the cucumber mellowed out the sweetness.
Pegaso also offers a selection of domestic ($2.95), imported ($3.75), and local ($4.25) bottles. (I feel that I shouldn’t have to say that you can’t get the drinks to go … but I’ll err on the side of safety.)
All of the items at Pegaso are made with high quality ingredients and sustainable harvested produce when possible. They use healthy fats such as Canola oil in their fryer as well as accommodate any vegan request that is possible. This is a family-friendly restaurant with a very reasonably priced kids menu ($3.75).
PEGASO MEXICAN DINER
3516 Bluebonnet Circle
Fort Worth, Texas 76109 Website | Facebook