Category Archives: Uncategorized

Welcoming the Original ChopShop to Park Cities

So, you find yourself having lunch sans alcohol … I know, I know … ick. But hear me out. At the end of the day, we can’t have a cocktail with every meal. Just like I can’t have cheese fries daily. (A girl can dream.) Even Susie O committed to a FULL MONTH without cocktails when she was on Keto .. and she’s SusieDrinks.

If you do find yourself focusing on healthy eating or if you just want good some old-fashioned nutrition, Dallas has plenty of places that serve up delicious AND healthy food. I ventured in to one such establishment recently, one of Dallas’s newest, the Original ChopShop!

My fellow contributor, Brian, was lucky enough to check out the location in Las Colinas/Irving earlier this year, but since I don’t often venture out into the great, white North, I was excited to hear that they were opening their third DFW location closer to my stomping grounds in the Park Cities!

Dallas is an active city, and as much as we love our cocktails, we also love to stay work out and eat a healthy meal from time to time, which is why this Phoenix-born neighborhood eatery has been such a hit! (We love the hippy dippy concepts coming to us from Phoenix as of late—Flower Child being the first.)

“We’ve been thrilled by DFW’s response to our ‘Just Feel Good Food’ concept,” said Jason Morgan, CEO of Original ChopShop. “It’s exciting to watch the brand become a part of daily life for North Texans—much like how it became a staple in Phoenix. With this next opening at University Park, we believe SMU students and local residents alike will appreciate having the new Shop in close proximity. Our multi-faceted menu will make it the perfect place for an on-the-go breakfast, study session, lunch meeting or dinner for the family.”

Obviously, I had to go see what the buzz is about for myself. The new 2,675-square-foot location was packed when I got there but the interior is ultra-welcoming with a relaxed atmosphere and sunny accents – making it the perfect spot for a lunch meeting or a quick and healthy breakfast! With the location being right next to SMU, I’m sure it will quickly become a go-to study spot.

The menu features an assortment of juices, breakfast items, sandwiches, salads, and protein/superfruit bowls. There was also a solid selection of protein shakes that I will definitely be returning for! Due to my aforementioned love of cheese fries, I opted for something a bit lighter for lunch—the veggie hummus wrap. It was delicious and filling since it was packed with tons of fresh vegetables including kale, carrots, broccoli, corn, cucumber, feta cheese and of course, hummus. You can choose to make any of the ‘Between Bread’ menu items into a wheat wrap or a yummy sandwich on 12-grain ciabatta bread.

I also ordered a juice from the massive list of options. I’m notoriously indecisive so picking one was tough. I ultimately went with the ‘Daily Detox’ which has beet, apple, ginger, lemon, orange, parsley and aloe vera. It was super refreshing and light. I loved that they have all the fresh produce on display behind the counter so you can see the ingredients that they use for whatever you order!

Beyond the ‘feel good food’ they are also doing good for the community! The company has established a local partnership with Children’s Health Dallas. Original ChopShop plans to give an annual $5,000 contribution to the hospital through various initiatives, which included the VIP preview event they hosted prior to their opening. How amazing is that?

So whether you want to eat healthy in preparation for all the goodies you plan to eat this holiday season, or you’re mapping out some good options for your new year resolutions or if you just want delicious, fresh food, I hope you find yourself near a location of the Original ChopShop.

The Original ChopShop
OriginalChopShop.com
6401 Hillcrest Ave., Ste 100 & various other locations

Another Round of the SACC Begins This Week

Every January San Antonio gets drunk … drunk with power knowing that most of the cocktail industry flocked to the home of the Alamo to party, learn … and party some more at the San Antonio Cocktail Conference (the SACC). Bartenders, bar owners, and newbies come from the reaches of the south to mingle with brand ambassadors, media, and daywalkers civilians enthusiasts at seminars by day and parties by night (and, in actuality, by day too).

Leading up to the main event, brands offer dinners for the locals or the early arrivals with thoughtful and usually quite opulent pairings. Seminars are offered Thursday-Saturday alongside an absolutely overwhelming tasting room experience. And, every night of the main SACC time, there are incredibly well executed parties and celebrations featuring brands offerings tastes, cocktails, and expertly-paired food … and, if done well, a fun hook to keep people hanging at their bar.

Seminars each year offer anything from light tastings with a side of education to a full-out exploration of terroir in a specific spirit aimed at attendees ranging from industry professionals to novices and aficionados. Expect anything from the history of women in mezcal led by the brilliant Emma Janzen and Graciela Angeles Cerreño, functional bar flair instruction from our friend Phillip Smith, a history of Japanese whiskey, and a history of tiki cocktails to a class about cooking with rum. A fun twist I’m excited about this year is an offering of a daily hour of health courtesy of Ketel One and The Healthtender. If you can rouse yourself to make it to one, your body will, no doubt, thank you.
Side note: I’m delighted to see such a female presence this year in the programming; it’s beautiful to see!

There is truly something for everyone here … so long as he can enjoy a cocktail or sip some whiskey. Seminars are all sold separately … so come for one or a ton!

This year’s signature cocktail is the Call Me, Honey, created by Jordan Corney of the local Bohanans Steakhouse. (He also created Patrón’s Margarita of the Year in 2016.)

Image courtesy of the SACC

Call Me, Honey
2 oz Deep Eddy Original Vodka
½ oz lemon juice
½ oz honey syrup (2:1 honey to boiling water)
1 oz orange juice
Green cardamom pod
Lemon wheel and cinnamon for garnish

Muddle cardamom pod in a shaker tin and add remaining ingredients. Add two cubes of ice and shake. Strain with fine mesh strainer into chilled rocks glass filled with ice. Garnish with lemon wheel and dust with cinnamon.

I’ll be attending Friday and Saturday’s festivities, so if you make it to Alamo City, send me a DM! If a trip south isn’t in the cards, you can follow along with this year’s SACC experience on my Instagram stories, or follow the conference hashtag #SACC2019.

SAN ANTONIO COCKTAIL CONFERENCE
sanantoniococktailconference.com
Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | YouTube

SACC 2016 Recap
A First-Timer’s Guide to SACC (by Tiffany Tran)
SACC 2015 Recap & 2016 Teaser

Kane Brown serenades Uptown Dallas Thanks to Hilton Honors

Amazing views of the Dallas skyline, a private concert by CMT winning artist, Kane Brown, a potato bar (yeah you read that right), and delicious hand-crafted cocktails. A dream come true, am I right?? Those were just some of highlights of the killer party that Hilton Honors threw at the new Canopy by Hilton Dallas Uptown.

Let me paint the scene: We walked in and were greeted with a fun photo-opp and trays of specialty cocktails that were so absolutely amazing that you don’t want to put them down. You turn the corner and see even more cocktail bars, a bacon bar, AND a mac and cheese bar! There was a crew creating Hilton Honors merchandise in real-time. There were also photographers snapping Polaroid pictures of guests that will later be turned into magnets at the afterparty. (Mine is below, so cute, right!?)

As we continued through the venue, there were trays of locally-sourced bites being passed in addition to Texan craft brews and cocktails. I was lucky enough to try a chicken wing (or three) wrapped in a waffle and drizzled in maple syrupso so good! In the opposite corner, there is a massive DIY taco bar where you could choose from brisket, chicken or pork and then add any topping you could imagine. 

Our group was invited back to gather around a small stage for a private, intimate concert. Kane Brown came out and treated the audience to an acoustic set of his songs and some other popular country songs by some of his friends.

After Kane Brown serenaded us, we headed up to the after-party at Upside, the hotel’s rooftop bar and restaurant. There were more cocktails, a wide assortment of desserts, and the coveted view of the Dallas skyline. The weather was being a little tricky so the skyline was playing peek-a-boo in the mist, but it gave the whole atmosphere a somewhat mysterious, exciting vibe! 

A big hats-off to Hilton for being gracious enough to invite our team to this experience that they put on for their Hilton Honors members. The platform allows members to cash-in points for VIP access to sporting events, bucket list-worthy adventures, private concerts (like this one), and even singing lessons with chart-topping artists. I don’t know about you, but after looking at all the things you can cash in your points for—Belgium getaways, Trans-Siberian Orchestra Concert Tickets?!—I’m totally ready to become a member!

Sound good to be true? Check out all the things Hilton Honors members are experiencing on Instagram.

And if you haven’t been to the Upside at the Canopy in West Village – it’s an excellent choice for date night, girls’ night or just casual after-work drinks! 

Upside at the Canopy by Hilton Dallas Uptown
upsidewestvillage.com
canopy3.hilton.com
2950 Cityplace West
Dallas, Texas 75204

Repeal Day 2016

Bowen House | 4-7pm | Special menu from Papas Pilar Rum

The Cedars Social | 9pm-2am | $3.33 prohibition cocktails and $5 beer, wine, and craft cocktails

Fat Daddy’s | 6pm | $5 select classic cocktails

Eastwood’s Bar | 6-10pm | 1/2 priced Old Fashioneds

The Standard Pour | 8pm-2am

Victor Tangos | 5-7pm | $0.83 cocktails

Whiskey Cake Plano | 11am-midnight | $5 classic cocktails, 20s music, photo booth, costume contest where you can win a trip to experience the Kentucky Bourbon Trail


NYLO Las Colinas | cocktail feature: Blueberry Moonshine Lemonade

So about six years ago, I published a list of happy hours around Dallas for my friends to use … and I’ve enjoyed sharing my thoughts on local watering holes and general cocktail lifestyle ephemera since.  It has been a (really) fun hobby that occupies some nights and gives me something constructive to do with my free time.  Recently, I was invited to be a Brand Ambassador for TGI Fridays and happily accepted the new challenge.  Last week, the ambassadors were brought to DFW from across the US for our brand immersion.  Other bloggers in attendance write about everything from general “mommy” lifestyle to DIY projects.  Also, I was surprised to learn that, of the eight bloggers, I am the only one who doesn’t blog full-time. (Must be nice!)

We arrived at the NYLO Plano for our overnight and were immediately taken to the Park & Preston Fridays to try some current menu items. (Have you tried the Potato Skins lately? Uhhh yum.)  TGIF is updating its recipes and doing away with preservatives and nasty stuff, so look forward to some cleaner eating when you visit.  The drinks ranged from cotton candy martinis to bourbon cocktails, and there was really something for everyone.  (But mostly everything for me.)

TGI Fridays actually holds a special place in my heart.  When I was very young, my dad worked in NOLA during the weeks and flew home for the weekends.  On Fridays, my mom would take me and my sister to have a cup of Broccoli Cheese Soup, and when we got home, our dad would be waiting.  I had a cup of soup, and while the recipe has been updated a bit (for the better), it took me back.

After our all-too-large meal, we went to see Emerald City at Cool Thursdays at the Arboretum.  (Cool Thursdays just happens to be one of my favorite events in Dallas!)  Everyone else went to bed when we returned from the concert, but, being who I am, decided to haunt the hotel bar for just one drink. (Really, it was just one.)

Day Two of our brand immersion started entirely too early, but I I did my best to be upbeat since I’m not much of a morning person.  We were taken to TGI Fridays corporate headquarters in Carrollton, which, just like the brand, is going through a slight refresh.  We heard all about the new brand inspiration and got a tour of the facility, ended with a visit to Little Fridays, the small test-restaurant in their offices.  (Did you know that Fridays hosted the first official “happy hour” at one of their restaurants in NYC?  Even more reason to love them.)

Our visit to Little Fridays was a blast.  We met the company’s head chefs (and bartenders) who are leading their menu refresh, and they seemed so proud of what they’ve done to update their offerings.  We were given the chance to try many (many) new items that will launch May 14, from their new and improved chicken fingers to steak, and of course, a whole bunch of delicious new drinks.  As previously mentioned, Fridays is ensuring higher quality in all of its products, with less preservatives and more … well deliciousness.  (When the Double Berry Mojito debuts … make sure you try it.  It’s just good.)

Perhaps the highlight of the Little Fridays experience was learning some bottle tricks from Katie Livezey, one of the finalists in Fridays’ World Bartending Championship, held every year since 1987 to find the best Fridays bartender throughout the world.  Katie not only mixed our drinks that day, but was patient and taught me a few beginner tricks.  (I was alright, but do need some serious practice.)

So, stay tuned for updates on new offerings from Fridays over the next year, and feel free to ask any questions about my new association!

Have FUN with Mom on Mother’s Day

Ditch the boring brunch and shake it up with Mom this Mother’s Day!  Here are some ideas for ways to show Mom some fun.

Bowl & Barrel – Grab your bowling shoes and buy Mom a barrel cocktail and a giant soft pretzel.

Mutt’s Canine Cantina – Bring all the bitches (err … dogs) along to enjoy the weather while sipping on a rocks Margarita made with 100% agave tequila and orange liqueur.

LOOK Cinema – Drop in for a movie and a cocktail, followed by dinner at the adjacent Coal Vines (which has a full bar). 

Anvil Pub – Get Mom shitty with Anvil Pub’s monstrous anti-brunch, F**k Brunch.  Choose from a huge mason jar of bloody mary, mimosa, screwdriver, and sangria, paired with a beer and garnishes big enough to count as a meal.

L’Acqua Nail Spa – Make a reservation for a mom/daughter* mani/pedi, which always includes complimentary booze. (Oh … and it’s BYOB and BYO food.)                       *Men are welcome, too … obvi.

Klyde Warren Park – Take a (literal) walk in the park and enjoy the April weather.  Grab a bite at Meso Maya (Downtown has a killer patio) and then finish the meal off with a (read 10) minis from Trailercakes.

Barcadia – Give your mom the chance to beat you at Skiball or Giant Jenga.  Sometimes competition is the best way to bond.

IFLY Indoor Skydiving** – This is a fun (and safe) way to bond with Mom.  See how she handles the 1400 hp vertical wind tunnel!  Grab some BBQ in Frisco at 3 Stacks Smokehouse after … because this …

**Book a flight at dallas.iflyworld.com

To top off the day, stop into TGI Fridays for one of their “mom-friendly” drinks, or go ahead and make them yourself!

Peach Sangria

  • ¾ oz. Hendrick’s Gin
  • ¼ oz. St. Germain Elderflower Liqueur
  • 2 oz. Seven Daughters Moscato
  • ¼ oz. Honey Simple Syrup
  • ½ oz. Peach Purée
  • 2 oz. Fresh Sour Rocks Mix
  • 2 Peach Slices, thawed
  • 3 Strawberry Slices


Cosmo Noir

  • 2 ½ parts Raspberry Vodka
  • 1 part Lemon Juice
  • 1 part Vanilla Syrup
  • 1 ½ parts Pinot Noir (floated)

TGI Fridays World Bartender Championship

image

Written by Lauryn Bodden

What’s better than tasty drinks, fried cheese, and good music? Watching someone juggle my liquor before I down it.

Taking the flair of bartending to a whole new level, TGI Fridays hosted the World Bartender Championship and it was nothing less than a party. They’ve been hosting this international event since 1987, and each year the competition only gets better. But it’s not just about how high or how many bottles of liquor one can juggle … it takes personality, memorization, and time management, as each finalist must put on a show, while preparing all 5 judges’ drinks within 8 minutes.

Upon arrival, we were ushered to our front-and-center table (NBD), glistening with giant posters of each contestant’s head. Trying to stay unbiased, we gladly raised our glasses to each finalist as they came on. Each one had their own style, which made the event even harder to judge.  My personal favorites included Plano local Katie Livezey, Russel Ward of the U.K, Genrev Paul Bacasno of the Phillipines, and Andy Hool from Canton, Michigan. I’m all about American pride, but who can resist a man who not only gives you alcohol, but does it while speaking with an accent? (I’m only human, after all.)

Katie showed pure personality as she got to know each guest on a personal level. Russel was all about the jokes. Genrey actually Skyped his manager back in the Phillipines while tossing drinks. But Andy Hool had it all from precision, flawless mixology, speed, engaging service, and style, which secured him the crowning title of World’s Greatest Bartender. (And let’s just say, his bartending skills weren’t the only thing that was strong. Read: he makes a serious drink.)

What’s even better is that the House of Blues hosted this shindig. This venue provided the perfect space for staging the mock bar scenes, spectators screaming for their favorite contestant, and everyone fist-pumping with fellow imbibers for the entirety of the 4-hour event. You better believe heads were bobbin’ to the music at an accelerated pace after throwing back a couple of TGI Fridays’ signature cocktails, the BFM (Best Fridays Margarita) and The Blackberry Long Island Tea.

The BFM was smooth combination of Patron Silver Tequila, Grand Marnier, lime and lemon juice, agave nectar, and fresh-squeezed lime. Nothing too fancy here, but as a self-proclaimed connoisseur of margaritas, I would say this was a great classic version. The tartness of the BFM was a perfect partner in crime to the Blackberry Long Island Tea, a mixture of Smirnoff Vodka, Bacardi Rum, Bombay Gun, Chambord, Triple Sec, blackberries, lime juice, cane sugar, Sprite, and fresh lemon. You know those annoying people that have to slurp down every last drop of their drinks? Well yeah … that was EVERYONE holding this dangerous cocktail and I was the worst offender. #sorrynotsorry. The fresh-muddled blackberries were a delightful treat and reflected the quality of TGI Friday’s drinks, which could have easily just been subpar when it came to the open bar event. 

As if I didn’t have reason enough to mark next year’s event on my calendar, TGI Fridays donated all proceeds from local, regional, and division bartender competitions to Feeding America, the nation’s leading domestic hunger-relief charity.

If you wanted an excuse to get rowdy, tipsy, and wowed by great talent, then that should pretty much do it. TGI Fridays you did me good. I’ll be back next year and everyone else should be, too!

2014’s Bar-cademy Awards (The Doscars)

Me and a couple of my cronies, Oh Hey Dallas and Foodbitch, decided to put a list of our favorite items/restaurants/venues in honor of tonight’s Academy Awards.

And the winners are …

image

Best International Food: Lucia

Best Southern Charm: Sissy’s

Best Vegetarian Fare: Spiral diner

Best Local Hero: TIE | Scardello, TJ’s Fish Market

Best Romance: sharing the Nutty D’Angelo at Perry’s Steakhouse

Best Drama: Chef John Tesar

Best Newcomer: TIE | True Foods Kitchen, CBD provisions

Best Bar Newcomer: The Blind Butcher

Best Costume Design: Crushcraft

Best Visual Effects: Savor

Best Taco: the Sam Diego from SoCal Tacos

Best American Classic: the Fruity Pebbles Shake from Village Kitchen

Best Pizza: Cane Rosso

Best Burger in a Supporting Role: Chicken Fried Burger from Liberty Burger

Best Burger in a Leading Role: the Classic Cheeseburger from The Grape

Best Cocktail: the belle femme at Boulevardier

Best Hangover Cure: the Bob Armstrong Dip at Matt’s Rancho Martinez

Best Mixing: Tate’s

Best Day Mixing:  F**k Brunch at Anvil Pub

Best Dive Bar:  Double Wide

Best Editing: Parigi

Best Adapted Restaurant: BARTER

Best Sound Mixing: The Rustic

Best Hidden Gem: MESA

Breakout Chef of 2013: Omar Flores (James Beard Nominee) for his work at Casa Rubia 

Best (Re)Directing: Stephan Pyles

Lifetime Achievement Award: Dean Fearing 

It was a big year for turnover in Dallas’s service industry.  We’ve compiled the biggest closings for 2013.  Au revoir … you will be missed.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9hpG0sRwnx8?rel=0]