I was invited to join a paella and sangria class up the road at Bulla Gastrobar in Legacy West. Needless to say, I have a new appreciation for the giant skillet of seafood and rice … and for this amazing restaurant.
Starting off the night, we enjoyed a few passed appetizers and cava while we learned about the head chef, the background of the restaurant, and how to make paella and three different types of sangria.
I’ve always been a little intimidated to make paella, but … fun fact, this dish gets its name from the pan used to make it. Anyone else intrigued by that? I’ll say this … it’s a good thing I didn’t try making this on my own. The ingredients are simple, but the process needs a little finesse. The dish is created with love, and from start to finish it takes about 30ish minutes … and that’s great because the smells were almost as intoxicating as the sangria and none of us could wait to eat.
Whether you are a microwave master or home chef, this class was perfect for all levels. Coming around a table, sharing, and conversing with fellow classmates made the evening an enjoyable and relaxing experience that I highly recommend attending … and make sure you’re hungry!
Bulla is hosting this exact class, “Lovers & Friends, Sangria and Paella Making Class” on February 13th at 7PM. If you don’t have plans yet and are still on the hunt for a fun night, grab tickets on their website for $200 for two people!
Dallas’s Ocean Prime just hit its 10th Anniversary in the heart of Uptown, and to show their gratitude to all of the thirsty (and hungry) Dallasites that have showed them the love the last 10 years, they offered a 10 Years, 10 Items, $10 special menu during the month of January in the OP Lounge and on the newly renovated terrace.
The Ocean Prime favorites that graced the menu were their best-sellers, and for a good reason. The OP experts I’m sure could rattle them off … but for those that are less familiar with their steak- and seafood-heavy menu, we’ll list them so you can seem like you know JUST what you’re doing next time you visit.
> Cocktails: Berries & Bubbles, Black Orchid, Cucumber Gimlet, Pine Fin Martini
> Food: calamari, goat cheese ravioli, sushi, ahi tuna tartar, 10 layer carrot cake, peanut butter torte
Although everything on the 10 Years, 10 Items was delightful, The Berries and Bubbles cocktail shines as the MOST INSTAGRAMMABLE in the lineup. The secret ingredient is dry ice that creates a bubbly, misty and energetic drink that not only tastes delicious, but will have everyone in the bar asking what it is so they can get one, too. (Susie’s note: Make before you set the trend to let all the dry ice smoke off or be VERY CAREFUL sipping it … because that s**t’s dangerous if ingested.)
> BLACK ORCHID (14): Three Olives Berry, St. Germaine Elderflower Liqueur, lemon, white cranberry juice > BERRIES & BUBBLES ($14): Belvedere Citrus Vodka, marinated berries, house made sour, Domaine Chandon Brut, dry ice
Ocean Prime recently unveiled a new spin on their calamari appetizer. The calamari is still marinated in buttermilk for 24 hours before crisping up in the fryer, but now they’re using a special blend of chili, hoisin and light soy sauces to add extra, deep flavor to the seafoodie favorite. The addition of julienne carrots, scallions, red bell peppers, Mung bean sprouts and candied cashews on top is unlike any calamari we have tried. THIS IS A MUST ORDER!
If you have room (I mean … you kind of have to save room), then you can’t pass on the 10 Layer Carrot Cake. This is another OP fan favorite. With just the right amount of sweetness to satisfy your sweet tooth, this cake will guarantee you go home with a smile on your face.
Ocean Prime is a PRIME spot for happy hour or even just a quick glass of red to wash down their ABSO-FREAKING-LUTELY DELICIOUS TRUFFLE POPCORN. No need for reservations, just pop in during happy hour after work to eat, drink and enjoy the mild Dallas winter on the newly renovated enclosed terrace oasis! (Susie’s note: Make sure you say hi to the Marcos at the bar … both will show you some really incredible hospitality.)
Blue crab and truffle deviled eggs.
Crispy shrimp corn dogs.
Maytag blue cheese potato chips.
These are just a few of the things you can find on Chef Kent Rathbun’s new menu at Lovers Seafood and Market. I recently had the chance to sample a little bit of everything from this new menu and hear all about their new weekly specials … and you’re gonna want to go check it out.
The tasting started off on a boozy note with the unveiling of their signature cocktails. The tasting lineup featured their Marfa Mary and Gypsy Wife along with a classic, the Corpse Reviver. Each of them were light enough to start the meal nicely without blowing out your palate. (They were also delightful to enjoy on their cute patio!) My personal favorite was the Gypsy Wife (Ketel One, St. Germain Elderflower Liqueur, grapefruit, basil and lime). This should be no surprise since I’m very into grapefruit-based cocktails lately.
These delicious cocktails are half priced during their happy hour which you can check out Monday through Saturday from 3-6pm. The happy hour also features half priced oysters … such a steal! It’s also very important to note that on Wednesdays they have half priced martinis all night long.
On the new menu, you’ll notice that they have added more grill-oriented items like the RoadhouseCheeseburger and tender kale salad. This is part of their strategy to re-brand as more than just a seafood spot. (Rumor has it that they will soon change their name to “Lovers Seafood + Grill”.) I love that there were multiple healthy options on the menu like the charbroiled burger bowl that was served over quinoa and sweet potato pieces.
The tasting wrapped up with a sampling of the desserts … and ohhhemmmmgeeeee. They have a key lime pie to die for. The graham cracker crust and raspberry coulis were so good that I would come back just to have dessert.(I seriously considered licking my plate clean. Calories be damned.) Don’t skip dessert when you go!
Truluck’s has been a longtime favorite of my sister’s and mine. When she first went to college and I’d visit, we’d stop in just to have dessert. Their Jack’s Sack was always our favorite—a chocolate shell hiding pound cake, berries, and whipped cream that the guest gets to crack and mix. It’s not just delicious; the destruction of the presentation is really rewarding.
It’s nice to see a longtime favorite with twelve locations continue to give diners new options to enjoy instead of adopting an “if it isn’t broken …” mentality. They recently released not just a new cocktail menu, but also a new happy hour and new menu items. The new happy hour is stupid good. (And I know happy hours.)
The new happy hour can be enjoyed Monday through Friday, 4:30-6:30pm and includes select cocktails starting at just $5.50 and appetizers starting at $6. More into wine? They have 12 from just $6 a glass.
The new cocktail list has a bit of everything among the 20 new cocktail options. Some new offerings have a slight tropical feel (like the Heart of Gold with pineapple juice and smoked orange syrup or the Sao Paulo Punch with cachaça, run, and pineapple syrup), some with a downright tiki vibe (like the Singapore Sling and the Uptown Swizzle) and others with a more traditional origin (like the Amaretto Sour 2.0, Uptown Manhattan, and the Aviator).
New food items like the Shrimp Primavera Flatbread can be enjoyed alongside old favorites like their shrimp cocktail (giant shrimp served over dry ice to keep them chilled) and Kung Pao Cauliflower. See the full menu of 20 cocktails, wines, and food items.
Beyond their new cocktails and appetizers, they continue to offer a large, thoughtful selection of wines and whiskey options (and obviously a full bar and beer). There aren’t many combinations I enjoy more than a dessert and a dram. I enjoyed the Balvenie Caribbean Cask with their Carrot Cake … and it was good.
Stop by one of their twelve locations during happy hour to enjoy their new half price options. While you do, you’ll be entertained by talented musicians and treated to incredibly attentive hospitality. Now, that’s the right way to unwind from a hard work day.
Uptown: 2401 McKinney Avenue (Uptown Dallas) | 214-220-2401
Southlake: 1420 Plaza Place (Southlake) | 817-912-0500
(+10 other locations)
The first time I visited Hudson House, I decided it’d be my new Friday afternoon martini spot the weeks I don’t go in for the pork chop special at Perry’s Steakhouse. This seafood spot in the Park Cities is a gem. While life usually gets in the way (of both), I have found another brilliant time to visit Hudson House … brunch.
The menu is American with an East Coast flair, and the spot itself is adorably Nantucket—expect plenty of heavy wood and tile with brass accents in this open restaurant with plenty of natural light. The staff is friendly and very happy to help your table decide on a spread. We gave the delightful bartender on the day how many dishes we’d like and what sort of items we enjoy and he sent out what he recommended. And I’ll tell you, that’s the way to do it.
Their cocktail options are on point. Mimosas and bellinis for $5, cocktails for $8-11, and their pièce de résistance, THE Royal Bloody—their original bloody with bleu cheese olives, a huge shrimp, and an oyster. (It’s a little steep for a brunch cocktail, but it’s a real photo opp. If I had it to do over again, though, I’d opt for the $20 bottle of prosecco. What a damn good deal, right?! I went for a bloody mary followed by a gibson … because vodka is breakfast liquor and they make a mean martini.
Per the food, you’ll find the usual trappings of a brunch menu—toasts, egg dishes, and some sweet options. And, really, everything is quite visually appealing. (You’ll want to ‘gram most of what hits the table.) Their toasts—avocado, country ham, and salmon—are delicious and the bread is perfectly crispy. If you’re into a benedict situation, ops for one of their three options—one being lobster, and damn, was it good. The eggs were prepared perfectly and the lobster was tender.
If you’re looking for something on the healthier side, they offer oatmeal and granola bowls along with a Power Breakfast (poached eggs, sliced avocado, maple bacon, and berries). We skipped those options and went for oysters instead. They do oysters well here. All East Coast options, and all listed on a board with descriptions. My favorite part of the presentation was that they actually mark which are which with colored picks and a color-coded menu. I hate it when I order a couple different kinds and have to guess which is the super salty one my neighbor prefers.
Stop in for a visit and you can enjoy an entire day in walking distance. Grab brunch at Hudson House, catch a movie at Inwood Theater, maybe a foot massage … sounds like a brilliant day to me.
Carnivores, rejoice! The Dallas-Fort Worth area will now boast a brand new Perry’s Steakhouse & Grille. Perry’s third DFW outpost, a stunning 10,000 square foot restaurant in Grapevine that will accommodate 400 guests, opened on February 5.
Upon entering the restaurant you will immediately recognize Perry’s signature restaurant style, but will also be treated to a vibrant new color palette, lighting, textures, sweeping sight-lines in the dining room, and dazzling use of glass throughout. Thanks to the lovely layout and always stellar service that one is to expect from Perry’s, the venue is the perfect location for a romantic dinner, business dinner, or simply a happy hour to decompress.
I was the lucky one who attended their “sneak peek” media dinner last week where we were treated to a bevy of Perry’s Steakhouse & Grille favorites.
Pork chop bites: Small skewered, bite-sized morsels of their famous pork chop. Paired with the Straight Paloma
Chateaubriand (Beef Tenderloin): Carved tableside and served with truffle merlot demi-glace, Bernaise, and Peppercorn reduction sauces Paired with 2015 Perry’s Reserve Cabernet
Perry’s Signature fried asparagus: Asparagus topped with jumbo lump crabmeat
Chocolate Crunch: Crunchy milk chocolate covered with a dark chocolate ganache served with homemade whipped cream, toffee, and peanut brittle. Paired with Jameson Mocha Old Fashioned
The standouts were the pork chop bites, the chateaubriand, and the fried asparagus topped with jumbo lump crabmeat. The bites have a savory-sweet caramelization on all sides and are served with a house made applesauce. (Susie’s note: get a little applesauce in every bite. It’s the perfect pairing!) The chateaubriand comes with a choice of sauces—the truffle merlot demi-glace, bursting with rich umami flavor, was my personal favorite.
Grabbing a seat at the bar for Perry’s popular Social Hour (their happy hour, available in the bar only) is always a fantastic idea. There, you can revel in the view of Bar 79’s towering wine wall which includes hundreds of wines, including Perry’s private label reserve Chardonnay and Cabernet, that perfectly complement the menu. During Perry’s Social Hour, you can wind down from a day of work and enjoy an array of bar bites, as well as wine, craft beer, and cocktail specials.
While tackling the famous 7-finger pork chop seems like a worthy culinary feat, knowing I can walk into the bar at anytime and order the bite-size version feels like an indulgence all its own. Make sure and order the “Strait Paloma” to enjoy alongside it. It’s an exceptional cocktail that pairs with the bites beautifully. You can also taste-test the martini menu with their “Pick Three” martini flight which is always fun. Social Hour is held Monday-Friday from 4-7 p.m. and Sunday 4-9 p.m.
And every Friday from 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Grapevine (and all Perry’s Steakhouse locations) will offer their Perry’s Signature Famous $14.95 Pork Chop lunch special which includes whipped potatoes and applesauce. This is truly a deal. (Susie’s note: This is a full lunch for me, and at least an additional meal. There has never been a better quesadilla made than one with leftovers from Pork Chop Fridays!)
West Dallas is swimming in fresh, delicious seafood thanks to one of its newest restaurants, Lovers Seafood and Market, opened last month by duo Tracy Rathbun and Lynae Fearing who brought us Shinsei. LS&M took over the space occupied by longtime seafood restaurant at Lovers and Inwood, Rex’s Seafood, and they did quite a bit with the space. I hear you can order some of this super seafood through order seafood online services. The Nantucket-esque interior makes you immediately feel like you’re in for great seafood … and you are.
With Chef Aaron Staudenmaier in the kitchen, the fresh seafood doesn’t have to carry itself, though it could. The menu offers some exquisitely simple seafood options with some classic, “down home” options. If you’re wanting to try your palate at other sensational seafood restaurants, there are many others all over like Finns Seafood Restaurant.
Before the meal began, I was delighted that they had little things to nibble on like truffle popcorn and pot bread. (Bread made in a pot … obvi.) Start your meal with their dips–Grilled Shrimp Dip and Pimento Dip–which are surprisingly delicious, or opt for their tuna poke (because everyone’s doing it) or the avocado toast.
The seafood is as fresh as it could be, so their market fish of the day is prooooobably going to be a good pick. Have a conversation with your waiter to see what they’re offering and how the chef recommends it prepared.
More into a little less cooked seafood? Check out their raw bar that offers options like oysters and buttery sashimi. Sit down and talk it out with the chefs while you enjoy those options, or even their more unique sea urchin and crab.
As the name implies, Lovers Seafood and Market has … a market. They offer daily features of fresh fish and shellfish along with select beef cuts. Stop in and get the best Dallas has to offer from LS&M. Remember: the fresher and higher quality the meat/seafood you start with, the less you’ll have to do to make it taste amazing.
No time to cook a meal yourself, or want to have fresh seafood for a get together? Call ahead and pick up a dozen oysters, shrimp cocktail, or poached salmon.
The new spot has already become a neighborhood favorite, and for a good reason. Pop in and find out how the former Rex’s spot has so much more to offer.
Need Valentine’s Day plans but are looking for something just a bit different from the usual steak dinner/flowers/sparkling wine? You may want to check out the Valentine’s Day menu at NOLA Brasserie to spice up what looks like is going to be a cold and rainy Valentine’s. Located in downtown Dallas, NOLA Brasserie brings the Cajun and Creole taste and exuberance of New Orleans to Dallas.
On Tuesday, February 14, Chef Ryan will be serving a special prix fixe menu just for you and your loved one. At $69 per person for four courses, guests will experience authentic Cajun and Creole comfort food, southern hospitality and live music by noted jazz musician, Carlos Guedes. Dinner begins at 5 PM, and the last seating will be at 10 PM. Carlos will begin his live set at 6 PM.
Guys, if you “just don’t have time” (lazy…) to get your significant other flowers, the night starts off with a red rose and a champagne toast. But really, for this to work you(!) have to plan the evening … meaning you just have to make one phone call to make a reservation and one call to ask your S.O. out.
The first course is a delicious, pan-seared Crab & Crawfish Cake with Jumbo Fried Shrimp for the table. The cajun seasoning and crystal aioli made it better than many of the crab cakes that I’ve had before.
The second course has three choices between a Strawberry & Walnut Salad or their popular Louisiana Gumbo. If you aren’t looking for the lighter side of things, get the gumbo. It is a dark roux gumbo with chicken, andouille & rice topped off with a crawfish fritter.
For the third course, you have the difficult choice between Cajun Filet Steak, Chicken Florentine, or Redfish Acadia. Each comes with garlic mashed potatoes. I went with the redfish and Whitney, my lovely wife, went with the chicken. Personally, I would stick to what they are known for: the cajun-inspired dishes. The redfish was topped with their famous crawfish Etouffee that set off the dish with bold flavor. If the garlic mash isn’t your thing, you can add asparagus, crawfish mac & cheese or cream spinach a la carte.
As if all of this isn’t enough to make you feel like you are going to burst, you get a choice between NOLA Bread Pudding or Chocolate Strawberries for the table for dessert. I’m a huge fan of bread pudding, and theirs is studded with pecans and topped with a house-made rum sauce, which made me fall more in love with it … because, romance.
In addition to the sparkling wine toast, their full bar of hand-crafted cocktails, as well as a varied wine list and beer, are available. Whitney and I were able to try a couple for you … for, you know, research.
The Sazerac (Sazerac Rye, Peychaud bitters, Herbsaint rinse) This traditional New Orleans cocktails is served in a Herbsaint-coated rocks glass and is garnished with a lemon twist. If you’re going to have a drink to make you feel like you’re in the Big Easy … this one will take you there … and maybe even make you a little easy. 😉
The Original Cosmo: a traditional cosmo with freshly muddled cucumber.
Lavender Lace: Yeah…it is a secret. But the menu says it is a Lavender Champagne cocktail served with a lavender-scented sugar cube. Whitney loved it because it was simple and delicious.
Cucumber Collins (Hendrick’s Gin, fresh cucumber, lemon juice, a hint of sugar)
As far as clear liquors go, gin is my go-to. Ask for them to go light on the lemon as it was a bit too citrus forward for my taste.)
If you have never been to this area of downtown, I would suggest grabbing an Uber or be ready for an $8 valet ticket. Otherwise, you can park in the Westin garage for $5 (with restaurant validation) self-park in the Westin Tower garage for free (4pm Friday through Sundays).
Overall, Chef Ryan put together a pretty great menu that will be a great addition to your Valentine’s Day festivities. Charm your love (or, ya know, your friend) and make a reservation on OpenTable or call 469-872-1820.