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.
My prayers have been answered: There’s finally a cocktail delivery service in Dallas. I know what you’re thinking, “But, Tiffany … what about Lash Delivery, MiniBar, TopShelf, or any of the other many booze delivery services already in town?” Let me finish. Granted, there’s no shortage of alcohol delivery services in Dallas; the biggest difference is that Sourced is only one that’s delivering a cocktail experience rather than dropping off handles of vodka in brown paper bags. (Which, if that’s your thing, cool.)
The company launched in Austin in October 2015 by founder and CEO, Tim Angelillo, who enlisted the help and cocktail expertise of Brian Floyd, who earned his bartending chops under the tutelage of revered cocktail great, the late Sasha Petraske. With these two at the helm, the delivery service has seen success in the Austin market and launched in Dallas in April 2016. The company prides itself in sourcing the highest quality ingredients and products from local vendors from Dallas and Austin, and is working to take on Houston by the end of the year.
OK, so here’s the premise: you want to throw a party, and you want to offer a legitimate cocktail rather than just beer and wine. Problem is, you don’t have the tools, glassware, time, or know-how to actually make this work. (So is life.) That’s where Sourced comes in. They will deliver everything you need to assemble, execute, and serve the cocktail of your choice, all in a nifty barrel complete with recipe card by knowledgeable cocktail specialist to teach you how to make it. (All within three hours of your order request.) Then, after your party is over, all you need to do is put all of the empty bottles, used glassware, and tools back into the barrel and Sourced will come by and pick it up from your front door. You don’t even have to wash anything.
Peruse the website or mobile app to see the current cocktail offerings as they offer a rotating menu of at least a dozen available options. Depending on the cocktail you choose, you can purchase in drink packs of 6, 12, 24, and so on, and the site breaks down the price per drink. I can tell you now, the prices are hard to beat. This is coming from someone who frequents many a cocktail bar, and unless you’re ordering off of a very good happy hour menu, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a premium cocktail for less than $10. Sourced cocktails break down to be about $6 on average.
You don’t have to take my word for it; check out what Sourced is all about at sourcedcocktails.com. Throw a party, learn about cocktails, wow your guests, and take all of the credit. You don’t even have to do the dishes.
I sit on my couch covered in aloe vera on my sunburnt bits and hydrocortisone cream on my mosquito bitten bits, the faint whir of my dryer working on the second of three loads of bonfire-scented laundry waiting for Uber Eats to arrive with a juicy bacon cheeseburger reflecting on the incredible weekend I just experienced with Camp Our Way. The idea of returning to summer camp as an adult made me equally excited and trepidatious–outdoor activities, s’mores, new friends, bonfires, and other fun, but with booze and a touch of freedom. Yes, it’d be a blast … but would 15 years of aging since my last camp experience prove to be a damper on the camp highs that I previously experienced? I was a great camper back in the day–I had the towels with my name embroidered, wrote the ‘rents postcards, played the part of “Susie Camper”, and always seemed to find a camp romance. Well … it turns out that not much has changed.
Camp Our Way held its first public adult summer camp this past weekend just outside of Austin. Tiffany, one of my contributors, and I headed down south (in a tricked out, lifted Toyota 4Runner TRD Pro … a beauty of a tank if I’ve ever seen one), taking our time and making an experiencing of the 35 road trip–Czech Stop, Pokey O’s Waco, Coffee Bean, the whole nine.
Campers are invited to drive on their own (and surrender their keys upon arrival) or hop on the camp bus from their originating city. Since we were traveling from Dallas and not San Antonio or Austin, we got to camp a bit late; and let’s just say that the party bus must have been an actual party. We arrived and were already behind, but we did our best to catch up.
COW is working finding just the right camp to host–enough freedom to let the adults do their thing, but enough structure to make the camp experience fully immersive. You could say that they’re doing a damn good impression of Goldilocks right now.
The venue for this past session was Camp Young Judea, a Jewish (children’s) camp complete with a kosher cafeteria and brightly colored Semitic murals adorning the cabins and set on a quiet river. (Oh, and the cafeteria is kosher so we had to observe certain rules; only kosher items were allowed in the cafeteria, so we quickly learned that Lone Star Beer is kosher. Boom. And hence the bacon cheeseburger upon my return to Dallas.) We found the lodging itself to be perfect–the cabins were clean, bug-free, and allowed for enough privacy for everyone to be comfortable. We unpacked, made our beds, and then headed to the party. The awkward “hey, where are you from, why are you here?” conversation started slowly and was egged on with drinks poured by the badass head counselor, Justin.
Each day campers were invited to take advantage of various activities–a high ropes course, zip lines, a giant swing, archery, etc. The beauty of this concept, though, is the freedom to do them only if you want to. Don’t want to break a sweat playing dodgeball? Sweat it out at the pool while working on your tan. Too lazy to do yoga? Do corpse pose in a hammock for a couple hours. Just don’t feel like being an adult? Head to the river and slide down the giant water chute. Just want to hang out? Stop by the treehouse with a beer or three. (Each camp will offer different activities, and the Dallas camp promises a lake, complete with a blob!)
So yeah … activities are fun, but doing them with a beer in-hand kind of makes them more fun. The entire weekend we had access to adult beverages. One of the “activities” was the chance to do a wine tasting with Flat Creek Estate, learn how to make Justin’s killer margaritas, and enjoy some hand-dipped root beer floats with Not Your Father’s (boozy) Root Beer.
Like I said … I’m knackered from all the fun (my memory foam bed was truly worth every penny I paid for it when I starfished on it last night), but it was a pretty fantastic weekend and I’m already missing the fun, people, and activities … and having a bit of trouble adulting.
That said … COW will be hosting other camps throughout the summer, including one for Dallas residents on Lake Trinity. I’ll be there–either as a counselor (if they’ll have me) or a camper–so come party with me at camp!
109º. My car today said 109º. Let’s be serious, y’all … that’s some bullshit. Temperatures anywhere north of 95º shouldn’t be a thing, but when they are, the best place to be is firmly in a pool … and preferable with a cool pool float*.
Well … I did just that last weekend. Only problem? I didn’t take enough booze with me down to the pool to outlast the whole arc the sun makes over my pool. I had a cooler with a couple bottles of water and the remnants of the six-pack we started the day with, but we knew that wasn’t going to do. Enter: Drizly. I’d heard about the many alcohol delivery services that have hit the Dallas scene as of late, but I went with them because their logo is adorable (Drizly … it’s like grizzly! Adorable.)
With a refreshed hope for the remainder of the afternoon, we navigated the app to pick out some whiskey, vodka, and cider (for the gluten-intolerant faction amongst us) to hold us over. To round out the order, we tapped in some bar goodies for later (ahem, Luxardo cherries), a bag of ice, and some mixers.
Seemingly immediately, I got a confirmation that my order was on its way! We were stoked. Since we were clever enough to note on our order that we were by the pool, we listlessly paddled around the pool anticipating the delivery.
Then … it happened … Jose strolled into the pool area with a bag of ice and it couldn’t have been more than 30 minutes after I placed my order. He greeted us, confirmed I was the one who ordered (because who wouldn’t want to intercept THAT delivery?!), dropped off the ice, then scurried off to get our box of goodies. (Yup, it was a whole box … we’re ballin’.) Back again with the goods, he offered to fill my cooler and ice down the drinks. I mean … that’s some white glove service!
With the cooler and my glass full without so much as removing my pinky toe from the pool, my friends and I were ready to wait out the sun properly lubricated–both with liquor and sunscreen. A huge thanks to Drizly for the seriously special delivery!
Visit the website or download the app (Apple, Google), sign up for Drizly, and use my referral code (SusieDrinks) to get $5 off so you’re ready the next time you need that assist–be it in the pool, around 5pm on a particularly boring work day, or even as a lifeline at a party when you’re running low on ice or (banish the thought) whiskey.