Category Archives: Reviews

Slim Shooters

Pool season only just started, and I’m already tired of canned cocktails and sparkling seltzers. So what’s better than a can by the pool? … a tube. (Yes, you read that right.)

The people at Slim Chillers (the folks who make delicious boozy popsicles, Skinny Freezers) just came out with a new product, Slim Shooters. These premixed shooters are ideal for a pool day with friends when you don’t want to make a bunch of different drinks to accommodate all the picky guests. Just take the whole pack to the pool, throw them in the cooler to chill (which isn’t even necessary), and enjoy!

There are two different flavor packs you can get now—Creamy & Delicious or Refreshing & Fruity.

Refreshing & Fruity (Specialty): Coconut Lime, Black & Blue, Granny Apple, Raspberry Lemonade, and Just Grape

Creamy & Delicious (Vodka Cream): Salted Caramel Pecan, Strawberry Cheesecake, Chocolate Mint, Peaches n’ Cream, Oatmeal Cookie, and Banana Cream Pie

The flavors were all quite nice, but my favorite were Salted Caramel Pecan, Black & Blue, and Coconut Lime. The best part, though? They limited the sugar, so they’re not overly sweet and are a little kinder to your calorie budget!

Each pack comes with 30 tubes of vodka-based boozy shooters at 25mL each. Ringing in at 35 proof (17.5%), these little pockets of booze are true party starters. What even better is, if you don’t feel like lugging a cooler to the pool and emptying your ice machine, they can be served at room temperature!


SLIM SHOOTERS

35 proof (17.5%)
~$27.99 for a 30-pack

In the DFW area, these (and their Slim Chillers popsicles) are available at Total Wine, and other liquor stores. Look for a place close to you here.
Or order online here.

The Horseshoe (Bossier City, Louisiana)

After our visit to West Texas, my friend and I decided we’d keep giving y’all fun road trips that were safe to take during all this … and we decided that Shreveport/Bossier City had to happen. You know, for the people.

If you need a little break from the city, The Horseshoe in Bossier City is open and ready for visitors. It’s an EASY 2-1/2 hour drive from Dallas, and they’re currently offering some great rates.

With times being as crazy as they are, The Horseshoe in has made safety a priority for their guests and their staff with the following measures:
– masks are mandatory in public areas
– hand sanitizer everywhere
– rooms are ultra sanitized with an electrostatic sprayer and then sealed with a sticker and staff won’t enter unless requested
– social distancing is encouraged everywhere, especially in the casino where every other slot machine is blocked off, only three are allowed at table games, and they’re SANITIZING THE PLAYING CHIPS
– the valet is temporarily closed

Learn more about Caesars and the Horseshoe’s COVID-19 health and safety measure and protocols at caesars.com.

Because we felt safe, we took advantage of the chance to enjoy some much-needed down time to enjoy the hotel, part of which included (a really delicious) breakfast in bed*, time by the pool in a private cabana, and meals at their restaurants.

*They’re currently only offering room service during breakfast hours, but it’s a meal that’s not to be missed. They’re famous for their ham steak (for good reason), and the yogurt parfait is DELICIOUS. Don’t sleep on their biscuits and bacon, either.

Some of their eateries are closed, but Jack Binion’s Steakhouse, Jasmine’s Noodle Bar, and 8 oz. Burger Bar are open. (Make sure to get the french onion soup at Jack Binion’s … it’s a sneak winner beside the filets and potatoes au gratin!)

Their hotel pool, DARE, is usually a “day club”, but it’s currently only open to hotel guests. The pool offers a full bar, private cabanas, one of which has a PRIVATE POOL so you can have your own socially distant pool day. Make it a party with their lineup of frozen drinks.

Make sure to sign up for Caesars Rewards to get special offers, and be SURE to swipe it anytime you can.

Horseshoe BC gets my stamp of approval … just make sure to be a good human if/when you go … as we should all be doing, be respectful of others when you’re in public, wear a mask, wash your hands, keep your distance … and don’t be an asshole.


HORSEHOE BOSSIER CITY
(a Caesars Property)
caesars.com/horseshoe-bossier-city
711 Horseshoe Boulevard, Bossier City, Louisiana
(800) 895-0711


Breakfast picture by Sarah Mize
Cover picture courtesy of Caesars Entertainment

Thanks to the Shreveport-Bossier Convention & Tourist Bureau and the Horseshoe for having me out to experience the hotel and the city.

#SBFunSide #OnlyLouisiana #eat318 #PressPlaySB #mediavisit #casino #horseshoeBC #bossiercity #shreveport #texasroadtrips #texasroadtrip #comegetataste #easttexas #binionshorseshoe

Event Recap: Sangria & Paella Making Class at Bulla

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!


BULLA GASTROBAR
bullagastrobar.com
6007 Legacy Drive (Plano)
972-805-4590
Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

RESTAURANT REVIEW: MI DIA

With three DFW locations, Mí Día scratch kitchen has something very unique to offer … it doesn’t just focus on the traditional.

The menu is well designed and carefully crafted with a fresh mentality. I dined in and enjoyed a few items off their catering menu (which are also on their regular menu), and was surprised by the excellent quality that usually isn’t found in cooking intended for large production and was pleased by the bold flavors I enjoyed. Their largest catering order was for 4,000 people, so should you be on the market for a catering option, I think your needs will be met with weddings, birthdays, holiday gatherings and more!


I normally go with my gut (pun intended) on food choice, but I stepped outside my comfort zone and let my waitress dictate my experience! She recommended the Fig and Berry and Cloud 9. The first is their current signature drink with blackberries, figs, house-made cinnamon agave, THREE liquors, and a cinnamon sugar rim. It may be a new favorite. The second was a LTO cocktail that gained enough fans that it made its way on to their cocktail menu. It’s made with 1530 Blanco Rosa, Cointreau Noir, lemon, lime, vanilla agave, and hibiscus air (ummmm basically the adult cotton candy). I’m not sure if calories are involved with air, but I’m here for it either way.

Now, on to the food! Tamales are one of my favorite traditional items—kinda like when I go to an Italian joint and judge them on their chicken parmesan. Theirs definitely passed the “Taylor test” … the masa tastes crazy fresh, the ratio of masa to protein was spot on, and both proteins (pork and chicken stuffed with New Mexico red and green Chile sauces) have a spicy, but not overwhelming kick to them. Who doesn’t love a good taco, right? Especially when you get to build it yourself! The Cochinita Pibil were pork tacos served with picked onions that offer a bright acidity that really livens up the dish. The meat was moist, well seasoned, and comes tied up in a banana leaf! You can’t go wrong here!

On to dessert … holy churros, (Chalupa) Batman! If you like chocolate, cajeta (Mexican carmel), and fried dough, YOU MUST try this. Y’all know I have 28 sweet teeth and this did not disappoint. The crunchy outside with a creamy cajeta inside, lightly drizzled with chocolate and side of cappuccino ice cream was the best way to end this dinner.

Every dish that passed our table made us want to extend the meal—the presentation was nicely crafted and polished. Believe it or not, you eat with your eyes first, folks … and I was pigging out.

If you’re dining in, their happy hour is Monday thru Friday, 3-6PM; $2 off multiple menu items and $5 house margaritas. Seeing as we are coming up on patio season here in Texas, theirs has oscillating fans and is fenced-in by wire trellis covered with greenery. It has a relaxing, laid back vibe … just what we all need to unwind from the day.

I can’t wait to come back and try more of their food and drink offerings … though I’m not sure I’ll be able to be enticed to try something other than what I’ve already had since everything was perfect.  I guess I’ll just have to go for lunch, enjoy a couple HH drinks, and stay for dinner!


MÍ DÍA FROM SCRATCH
Grapevine: 1295 S Main Street | 817.421.4747
Plano: 3310 Dallas Parkway, Ste 105 | 972.403.7474
Flower Mound: 2601 West Windsor | 972-874-4747

midiafromscratch.com
FacebookTwitterInstagram

PRODUCT REVIEW: Schofferhofer Hefeweizen Pomegranate

It’s starting to warm up, and when this time of year rolls around, I’m personally always looking for low calorie beverages that won’t leave me feeling put out (bloated, tired, tipsy … you name it). So, with summer right around the corner, Schofferhofer Hefeweizen Pomegranate should be on your list of fruit-forward bevs to try … and drink beside a pool, on the lake, at the beach or whatever your plans my be!

Schofferhofer Grapefruit was created back in 2007 and was super successful when it was introduced at Epcot’s Food & Wine Festival at Walt Disney World back in 2012, so they’ve been working on some new options. Now their newest edition to their fam is the pomegranate flavor!

This beer doesn’t taste like beer, and I can appreciate that for my people out there who don’t like it. (But y’all are #crazy.) I’m talkin’ like, lighter than a shandy. That being said, it’s super unique in that it’s 50% pomegranate juice, 50% hefeweizen and that’s exactly the order in which you’ll taste it too. Sweet like juice up front, mild wheat beer taste on the finish that’s not overpowering. So if you like beer that doesn’t taste like beer, this could totally be your jam.

If you do like beer, this might also be for you in the following instances:
– You want something fruity to mix it up and stay “hydrated” since it’s already 50% juice.
– You want to use it as a mixer with a seltzer water to stay even more “hydrated”.
– You want to make a punch with it by adding some gin or vodka.

You can add this beer to your cart at these DFW retailers: Total Wine, Specs, Goody Goody, Whole Foods, Kroger, Market Street, Winco Foods, Central Market, Sprouts, some other spots, and even Bed, Bath & Beyond!

So really it comes down to would I recommend it, sure, if you are in the mood for a light, fruity drink.

STATS
Special ingredients: pomegranate juice
ABV: 2.5%


Schofferhofer Hefeweizen Bier
schofferhofer.usx

Facebook: /SchofferhoferUS
Twitter: @schofferhoferus
Instagram: @schofferhoferus

bartaco in Preston Center

Bartaco may be new to town, but they’re not new to the game. Margaritas and tapas-style taco bites are their specialty, and they know how to do them right. With a uniquely Asian flair, bartaco has something for everyone.

We started with margaritas, specifically the Pomegranate Margarita and the Classic Margarita, both of which were delicious and smooth. The Pomegranate Margarita is actually part of their “Margarita March” promotion, but more on that later on (skip to the bottom if you really can’t wait that long).

I would suggest starting your meal with some salsa roja and corn tortilla chips, which you get to break yourself; and the duck quesadillas, which are tender and served in a blue corn tortilla. If you’re looking for something lighter, the tuna poke is a colorful and refreshing option.

Everything ordered at bartaco is served family style in small tapas form, so you can order as much as you want and not feel guilty about it at all! Each taco will run you $2.50 – $3.50.

We tried a ton of tacos—the baja fish, spicy chorizo, falafel, fried oyster, glazed pork belly, carne asada, and Brussels sprout. All of the tacos were delicious, but the crowd favorite was the Brussels sprout taco … which isn’t even officially on the menu! It comes with a sweet balsamic glaze and spicy carrot purée, which tastes more like a sweet potato mash and works beautifully with the other ingredients. This taco was so good that we ordered a second to share.

We supplemented our taco frenzy with a side of Asian slaw and black beans with sofrito. Sides are easy to add on at just $2.50 each!

Round two of drinks hit the table to help us finish our meal. We (greatly) enjoyed the Mojito Tinto (Flor de Caña silver rum, winter spiced sangria, lime, mint, and sugar) and, of course, the Smoke on the Water (Banhez mescal, Pisco, pineapple, lemon, bitters, and egg white), pictured below. bartaco also serves bottled and canned beers, wines by the glass, and sangrias by the glass or liter.

If you’re anything like me and need to end your meal with something sweet, then the platanos fritos are the way to go. They come with a side dish of a mayo dip, but I personally think they taste better dipped in chocolate gelato. If anyone has tricks for kicking a bad sugar habit, I’m all ears.


Now, back to the Margarita March news that we’ve all been waiting for. Each week in March, bartaco will feature a different specialty margarita, like the Pomegranate Margarita mentioned above (Liber grapefruit cordial, lime juice, lucardo marascino, and Libelula Joven Tequila*). The drinks are only around for one week each in March, so grab your friends, order some tacos, and get to living the #bartacolife!

Photo courtesy of bartaco

BARTACO
bartaco.com
6130 Luther Lane (Preston Center)
Instagram | Twitter

 

*This tequila was selected specifically for bartaco by Destilladora Bonanza and is crafted in the highlands of Jalisco (obviously … or it wouldn’t be Tequila!)

Chateau Tanunda Grand Barossa Dry Riesling

I don’t know about you, but I like to know the history behind what I drink. Call me a booze dork, but knowing the story behind each drink makes it seem to taste that much better.

Chateau Tanunda is located in South Australia—about an hour outside of the town of Adelaide. It was built in the late 1880s and is home to some the oldest vines in the Barossa Valley. The Chateau is the largest and oldest wine Chateaus in Australia. The Gerber family purchased the Chateau in 1998 and continues to revitalize and restore the buildings to keep its history alive. If I ever make it Australia, this for sure will be on my bucket list of wineries to visit.

Chateau Tanunda recently sent me a bottle of their Grand Barossa Dry Riesling, and I was eager to sip, smell, and enjoy it. This fresh, crisp wine has aromas of citrus fruits such as lemon and lime. When most people (myself included) think Riseling, they think sweet, because the higher the acidity of the wine, the more sugar can be in the wine without leaving the sweet taste. If you haven’t had a riesling in a while, or have always been turned off due to the sweetness, you should try a dry riesling. You will be pleasantly surprised.

P.S., I loved reading that most of the grapes in this variety are from old vines that were planted on the estate in the 1920s!

Tasting Notes
Grape Varietal: Riesling
Color: White/clear
Aroma: Lemon and lime
Palate: Bright citrus flavors with a slight acidity
ABV: 11.5%

CHATEAU TANUNDA
chateautanunda.com
Grand Barosssa Dry Riesling: ~$10
can be found in a liquor store near you
YouTube |Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

Disclaimer: I was given complimentary product from Banfi.

Howdy, Smithworks Vodka!

I recently had the privilege of welcoming Smithworks Vodka into the Lone Star State with an amazing Blake Shelton concert at the famous Billy Bob’s Texas!

Smithworks Vodka was launched in early 2016 and I’m happy to say that Smithworks has recently expanded its distribution to Texas. Over the next few months, Smithworks will be available in twenty- four states.

Smithworks is an American-made vodka that is made with corn from Kansas, Missouri, and Oklahoma and water from Lake Fort Smith. Smithworks is distilled three times and charcoal filtered for a smooth taste and clean finish. It’s finished and bottled with pride in Fort Smith, Arkansas, and named after the dedicated team there and their hardworking values are symbolized through the tractor icon. They say, “Born and bred in the traditions and values of America’s Heartland, Smithworks embodies the values of the place in which it comes from – local pride, simplicity and hard work.”

Blake Shelton is part of the Smithworks family. He said that he had been waiting to partner with the right brand and he found his home with Smithworks; Shelton said he shares the same values and mission as Smithworks (Vodka. His favorite way to drink Smithworks is with diet lemon-lime soda garnished with a lime. Simple enough.)

Shelton is quoted as saying, “I grew up in Ada, Oklahoma and was raised on the values of hard work, humility and an appreciation for the simple things that make up a good life. As part of the Smithworks family, I’ve been involved in the development of the brand and I’m excited for everyone to finally taste what we’ve been crafting. At its core, Smithworks celebrates that moments in life are better spent with good people and great drinks.”

For the rich mouthfeel and smooth (lack of) flavor, we were surprised by the low price tag—just under $20. A great price for this smooth, clean vodka.

SMITHWORKS VODKA
smithworksvodka.com
~$19.99 / 750mL

We’re eagerly awaiting distribution in the great state of Texas … a note from Smithworks: For now, you can find Smithworks Vodka in AR, CO, IA, KS, LA, MI, MO, NE, OH, OK, TN, IL, NC, and PA. If it’s in your neck of the woods, ask your favorite local spot about us—it’s usually the personal touch that gets it done.

Banner image courtesy of Smithworks.