Category Archives: Reviews

The Cookery Dallas

As a young child, I took cooking classes with my sister and a few friends, then fancied myself the next Sarah Lee.  There’s nothing like ruining a béchamel, letting pasta water boil over, and adding noodles to a soup too early (effectively making it stew with really fat, gross noodles) to show you that you know a hell of a lot less than you thought.  Needless to say, we could all use a little schooling in the kitchen.

Lucky for Dallas, we have an alternative to the stuffy cooking classes that are BYOB (woof) thanks to The Cookery.  The little school in the Design District offers public and private classes on topics from sushi to tapas and will soon be offering a cocktail class.  Owner, Kelly Huddleston, makes cooking approachable.  And thanks to her experience working as a cooking instructor all around the world, she has mastered many different types of cuisines.

Kelly and her sous chef explain each step of the process from learnings how to pick the best produce, cuts, and ingredients to the correct way to debeard mussels.  (Ew.)  They even add a bit of color commentary as the class progresses … a much more casual approach than other cooking classes.  Adding to the fun of the class, they pair wine, beer, or a cocktail with each course of the meal.  The highlight of this experience, though?  You don’t have to clean up.

In our class we were walked through “An Evening in Paris” where we made Garlic and White Wine Steamed Mussels with Gougères, Steak au Poivre with a Brandy Cream Reduction, and a Dark Chocolate Soufflé.  Everyone seemed surprised how easy each dish was thanks to the tips and tricks from Kelly, and every dish turned out incredibly well.  (We didn’t ruin a single thing!)

Peruse the classes available on their website, all ringing in around $95.  Since they keep classes to 14 or less students, make sure to plan ahead and make reservations in advance.  Since the school offers private parties, check with Kelly if you have an occasion coming up and she’ll organize something just for your group.

¡Bon appétit!

THE COOKERY
thecookerydallas.com
1130 Dragon St #180 (Design District)

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

EDGE Bar at the Four Seasons (Denver, Colorado)

FACT: The hotel bar is coming back.  Some of the most iconic and groundbreaking bartenders that not only participated in the craft cocktail movement but started it, were found in hotel bars, and we are glad to say that the trend is swinging back around.  My fellow Dallasites have seen this exemplified in Midnight Rambler, Knife, and Dragonfly, but on my last visit to Denver I was delighted to visit EDGE Bar at the Four Seasons and found that it had some of the bartenders upping the cocktail game behind the bar … in a hotel.

While cocktail menus are fantastic, I’ve always enjoyed having conversations with bartenders and having them make me something off the menu.  (When it’s not busy, of course.  Don’t be that jerk that takes up five minutes on a busy Saturday night.)  I was delighted when both of the resulting cocktails were extraordinary.

Their program is innovative thanks to options like a monthly barrel-aged cocktail feature, the use of unique liqueurs and spirits, and knowledgable bar staff.  With leadership from their brand new bar manager, James Menkal, we’re sure to see more unique and innovative options from EDGE Bar.  Menkal was named one of Eater’s Best Bartenders in Denver last year and one of Zagat Denver’s 30 under 30 in 2014, so we can expect some exciting things from him.

Beyond a fantastic cocktails program, EDGE offers plenty of local beers along with more than 50 wines by the glass.  The bar itself is spacious and is a perfect spot for anything from a drink to shake off the work day or to shake it out before heading out.  There is plenty of lounge and bar seating and the bar is complete with televisions … if that’s your thing.

After a couple drinks, we were escorted to the dining room for dinner.  We started with the Beets and Goat Cheese and they were absolutely on point–a bit earthy and balanced with the light tang of the goat cheese.  The highlight of the menu was, without a doubt, the steaks.  EDGE smokes their meats with pecan wood and is one of the only places in Colorado using pecan wood.  The result was a deliciously smoked meat with a deep flavor that left us wanting more.

To complete the meal, we ordered the Roasted Cauliflower and the Lobster Mac & Cheese.  The Roasted Cauliflower was incredible and the entire table agree that we’d all order again; the texture was perfect and the light curry dusting added the perfect zing.  The Lobster Mac & Cheese was surprisingly delicate and the cheese was very light.

While we were too full after our meal to have dessert, we were treated to a milk chocolate lollipop in the shape of a cow with a couple drops of white chocolate.  It was an incredibly simple but perfect end to a delectable meal.

Overall, the EDGE Bar and Restaurant offered a perfect night without a single misstep.  I’ll be back on my next trip to Denver without a doubt to see what Menkal had done with the bar and to have another cut of their pecan-smoked steak.

EDGE Bar at the Four Seasons Hotel Denver
fourseasons.com/denver/dining
1111 14th Street, Denver, Colorado
(303) 389-3000

Savor to Partner with Angel’s Envy Whiskey for Pairing Dinner

Savor Gastropub will be teaming up with Angel’s Envy Whiskey later this month to offer a five-course pairing dinner.  Lucky for us, it lands on Fat Tuesday, just in time for us to spoil ourselves one last time before the masochism that is Lent.

The pairings were brilliantly and thoughtfully developed by Angel’s Envy and the chefs at Savor with some original plates and some currently offered by Savor.  Angel’s Envy out of Louisville, Kentucky offers several expressions including a bourbon, rye, port finish, rum finish, and cask strength.  These pairings include cocktails featuring their bourbon and rye expressions, each prepared creatively and well-matched to each course.

First Course: Savor Wedge Salad, Truffle Maple Glazed Bacon, Chicken Fried Pickle Red Onion with A Creamy Buttermilk Dressing
Paired Cocktail: “Parkside Angelito”, Angel’s Envy Bourbon, lemon, maple syrup, ginger, rosemary

Second Course: Rabbit And Pork Dumplings, Sesame Soy Broth, Scallions
Paired Cocktail: “Social Currency” (Angel’s Envy Bourbon, China China liqueur, Curacao, cherry shrub, pickled cherry)

Third Course: Crispy Pork Belly Fennel, Green Apple, Miso Caramel
Paired Cocktail: “A Different Kind of Sazerac” (Angel’s Envy Rye, barrel aged Peychauds, absinthe)

Fourth Course: Beef Tenderloin, Cast Iron Seared Beef Tenderloin, Ragout Of Wild Mushrooms, Creamy Grits, Port Wine Jus
Paired Cocktail: “The Path of Envy” (Angel’s Envy Bourbon, Ruby Port, Amaro Nonino, pink peppercorn, thyme)

Dessert: Nutella Torte, Red Beet and Mascarpone Cremeux, Orange, Candied Hazelnut Nougat
Paired Spirit: Angel’s Envy Rye, neat

The dinner will take place on Tuesday, February 28 at 6:30pm.  To reserve a spot, call Savor (214.740.7228) soon as seating is limited.  $80 will get attendees five incredible dishes and five chances to taste the versatility of Angel’s Envy.

Savor Gastropub
savorgastropub.com
2000 Woodall Rodgers
214.740.7228

Complimentary valet for diners.

Driving, Not Drinking: Lexus GS200t

Yes, this is a booze blog.  I hear you loud and clear … something seems a little weird here.  BUT, I am known to DD from time to time and [GASP] … not drink.  That said, I enjoy a nice drive every once in a while, and I was lucky enough to get a schmancy, brand new, fast as hell Lexus GS200t for my travels to the San Antonio Cocktail Conference last month.  I’ll just say this: thanks to the car (and, sure, the company) I really enjoyed the drive.

This beauty got us there quickly (thank you, tollway around Austin!) and with an surprisingly small amount of gas.  From Dallas we were able to drive to San Antonio and a quarter of the way back on one tank.  The handling was also second to none, which is helpful since its acceleration is also impressive thanks to the 241 horsepower in the engine that got us up and moving to 60mph in just 7 seconds.  (Ok, we didn’t test that feature … but we were tempted.)

So we’re checking boxes: fast, fuel efficient, handles like a dram dream … but this baby is more than just performance.  The inside of the car is more like a cockpit than a car thanks to the seemingly endless features, and was much more spacious than expected.  The trunk alone could have fit nine, maybe ten cases of wine and my two yoga mats.  (Because that’s how I measure.)

The hardest part of the week with this car has been the time since they took it back … my neighbor that I park across from just got a brand new one–black exterior, black interior, just totally sexy.  And I have to see it every damn day when I back into my garage.  (Talk about torture.)

In general, especially for a low emission sedan, this car really raises the bar.

LEXUS GS200T
Five-passenger sport sedan
8-speed direct-shift automatic “Electronically Controlled Transmission with intelligence (ECT-i) and paddle shifters”
Rear wheel drive
143mph top speed
0-60mph in 7 seconds
17.4 gallon fuel tank capacity
22 city/32 highway MPG

Disclosure: My team was provided use of a Lexus GS200t free of charge. Opinions are all my own.

NOLA Brasserie Valentine’s Day Menu

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.

NOLA Brasserie
nolabrasserie.com
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1201 Main St. (Downtown)
469-872-1820

Product (P)Review: Cali Whiskey

Before it really took off, I remember how excited I used to get for winter offerings like Sierra Nevada’s Celebration Ale and Shiner Cheer. They weren’t the best beers in the world, but they were part of the season – basically the bro version of PSLs (that then mutated into basically an extension PSLs as the market became overrun with seasonal stuff, but that’s a whole other thing.) Now that everything is flavored for the holidays with the same dash of chemicals, finding something that stands out in this group is very hard.

In a seemingly unrelated note, when Susie offered me the chance to try CALI, a new whiskey from Sukkah Hill Spirits, I perked up. First, the idea of beach whiskey is just wonderful to me, but it’s also not like this is two surfers distilling in a bathtub. They turn out highly rated, award winning liqueurs and did not seem like the type to take branching into such a competitive area lightly. If you’d like to learn more about them, this November Q&A from Saloon Box is a great place to start.

The backstory also touched my heart – husband and wife make booze, wife loves whiskey, husband decides they need to make something delicious they can both sip together. It’s a tale as old as time…or something. So, on a nice January day, I opened my sample bottle, sat down on the patio (go Texas winter weather!), took a few sips then immediately picked up my phone and texted Susie a photo and a rambling explanation of how good this was.

The whiskey was very smooth and, despite not being intended as such, had a distinct holiday flavor – led by cinnamon and all spice, but not in that Fireball sense we’ve all become accustomed to tasting everywhere. There were also hints of baked apple, nutmeg and other spices – but again, I have to stress that none of it was too sweet or overpowering. The result was incredibly easy to drink and, while I was told the whiskey was perfect for a hot toddy, it was 70 degrees and I was enjoying it neat too much to consider anything else. This was the exact same feeling I got from those first sips of Celebration and Cheer – something unique to the season that was just fun to drink. It wasn’t officially a winter whiskey, but the spices and flavors line up well with the holiday season.

Right now, CALI whiskey is only being sent for reviews as they prepare to make the product available sometime this spring, but this is definitely a bottle to keep an eye out for as it becomes available.

Aged: less than 2 years (not an aged whiskey)
Proof: 85 
Nose: baked pumpkin bread, orange peel and baked apples
Flavor: nutmeg, allspice, molasses and dark bread
Price: $32-36 for 750mL

CALI WHISKEY
calidistillery.com
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Yolk Media Event

There are people who like breakfast, and then there are people who LIVE for breakfast. I fall into the latter category and have been known to eat breakfast meals at any hour of the day. Eggs, bacon, avocado, fruit, pastries, waffles — I truly believe that you can satisfy any craving with breakfast food.

That said, I’m stoked to share my experience at the newest location of breakfast favorite, YolkThe breakfast and lunch spot’s first-ever Dallas location was right next to Tei-An in the Arts District, but now they have an even more accessible location in Preston Center! This brightly colored, family-friendly, sit down restaurant serves a variety of sweet and savory breakfast plates as well as some standard lunch fare daily until 3pm. 

I know some of you are a may want some suggestions on what to order, so I went ahead and tasted all of their best sellers for you (it’s a rough job, I know). Here’s a quick rundown of some go-to favorites that you can’t go wrong with:

Eggs Benedict: classic, rich, savory. Always a solid choice with an english muffin, Canadian bacon, poached eggs, and a side of potatoes.

Chilaquiles with Chorizo: for your Spanish side. This option comes with house made corn tortilla chips, salsa verde, avocado, jack cheese, red onion, crema, and is topped with two eggs any style. Side note — this plate is also gluten free!

Chicken & Waffles: Oooh boy. As their top selling item, it’s easy to see why people can’t get enough. Bacon waffle topped with crispy fried boneless chicken breast and sausage gravy, served with a side of warm maple syrup. 

Citrus Blast Salad: for those who aren’t always in the breakfast mood. This refreshing salad has a little bit of everything–mixed greens, grilled chicken, apple, avocado, pecan, raisin, mandarin orange, dried cranberries, bleu cheese crumbles, and mango chardonnay vinaigrette.
Heads-up: this option only comes in one, large size, so either come hungry, share, or be prepared to take some home.

Patty Melt: substantial lunch choice. Fill-er-up with this char-broiled burger, gilled onions, American cheese on grilled rye with a side of onion chips.

Stop in for some yummy breakfast and lunch options between the hours of 6am and 3pm.

YOLK
eatyolk.com
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Preston Center: 8315 Westchester Drive, 469-351-0344
One Arts Plaza: 1722 Routh Street, 214-855-YOLK
Sundance Square Fort Worth: 305 Main Street, 817-730-4000
Many locations in Illinois and Indiana, also!