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.
With bars across the U.S. closing (temporarily, we hope), we’ve all been challenged so far this year to make our own cocktails. I believe that the Old Fashioned has long been a cocktail that allows us to define ourselves, much like our Starbucks order. (For example, I’m a triple grande almond milk latte with sugar-free vanilla over light ice. Because I can make those demands.) But, whether you watch your bartender’s every move to understand the right way to flame an orange peel or eyeball something until it looks like it’s almost the right color, we could all use a few tips on the home bar front when it comes to making one of the most popular cocktails of the last decade.
When making an old fashioned, there are some shortcuts that can offer not only a great drink, but consistency. And to me, consistency is key. If you have friends over and one guest’s first cocktail is watered down and the next has too much bitters, you’ve already lost the battle. So, looking for something to give your home bar a consistent cocktail every time, we found DeKuyper Classic Ol’ Fashion Liqueur to be a reliable option.
They make it pretty easy to put together your cocktail … pour some of their liqueur over ice and just add bourbon. (We can all handle that, right?) They call it an easy “two-step solution for cocktail lovers of all skill levels.” They describe it as a “tart citrus balanced by bitter notes and a touch of sweetness, followed by hints of orange and bakery spice”. It’s easy, consistent, and you never have to worry about having the right ingredients on-hand or throwing on a mask and gloves to go to the liquor store to pick up a bottle of bitters.
On a recent road trip, I took the bottle along so we didn’t have to bring all the ingredients for an Old Fashioned. Poured over ice and combined with Jim Beam Black, all I had to think about bringing along was the garnish!
DeKuyper Classic Ol’ Fashioned Liqueur Order on Drizly.com
We’re all celebrating things and each other a little differently right now, but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t gather, dress up, celebrate each other, or enjoy a drink together! Since I’m sheltered in place with my mom, we wanted to have a little party, so we invited some of our friends to join us for a boozy tea party … over Zoom!
We sent out a PaperlessPost invitation and, amazingly, everyone was able to attend! (In my opinion, it’s best to keep Zoom “parties” a little smaller—8 or less—so people aren’t speaking over one another and everyone can be engaged and participate. We ended up with 11, which was lovely, but a little tougher to keep everyone chatting.)
Just because we couldn’t be in the same room didn’t mean I couldn’t still make it a real party, so we planned to deliver goodies to each attendee before. The local guests got hand delivered favors, drinks, and snacks, and we sent recipes and scheduled deliveries ahead of time for the out of towners. (Drizly is great for alcohol deliveries!)
My mom and I gathered whatever gift bags and crinkle paper we had on-hand and laid our materials out to stuff the bags. Mini bottles of booze, mixers, garnish for the drinks, boozy gummies from Sugarfina, tea, a bottle of Campo Viejo Brut Reserva Cava, a little bag of Pokey O’s cookies, a box of sweet items, and a box of “tea sandwiches”.
What’s a tipsy tea party without the tipsy?! Each attendee was given the chance to pick a spirit—TX Whiskey, Absolut Elyx, and Beefeater Gin—to enjoy a cocktail during our tea. I had a local bartender* create cocktails for us and batch them out and I purchased mini and 375mL bottles of my chosen spirits so each guest only had to add the spirit to the drink for a perfectly mixed cocktail.
Since our bars and restaurants are operating much differently than usual, many hospitality professionals are out of work. While I COULD have taken a few hours to have come up with these on my own, I decided that giving some work to a bartender was a better choice. Luckily, Chris (aka Betty Cocktail) lives around the corner from me, so I had her take over for me! (She is brilliant — if you need a cocktail class or cocktail pairings for a dinner, give her a buzz!!!) bettycocktail.com
STRAWBERRY BASIL FIZZ (Recipe courtesy of TX Whiskey)
1 oz TX Whiskey
.5 oz St. Germain
.5 oz lime juice
2 oz sparkling wine
3-5 basil leaves
Muddle strawberries and basil, then add TX, St. Germain, and lime juice. Shake with ice until well combined. Strain over fresh ice, top with sparkling wine and garnish with strawberries.
OOLONG AGO (Recipe courtesy of Betty Cocktail)
1.5 oz Beefeater
.5 oz lemon juice
1.5 oz Oolong syrup
For syrup: boil 3 cups of water with 12 oz doctored agave and dehydrated citrus peels, Add 2 Citrus Oolong teabags and steep for 2 hours.
DON’T BE DANDELYIN’ (Recipe courtesy of Betty Cocktail)
1.5 oz Absolut Elyx
.5 oz lemon juice
1.5 oz Dandelion Root syrup (boil 3 cups water with 12 oz dark agave, add 2 teabags and steep for 2 hours)
For syrup: boil 3 cups of water with 12 oz of dark agave, the add 2 Dandelion Root teabags and steep for 2 hours.
My mom and I couldn’t agree on what we wanted the table to look like, so she went for a more classic tea look, and I took mine up a notch bringing some antique items and a contrasting table cloth together with plenty of flowers and gold accents. (Because that’s 100% my aesthetic.) And I topped it all off with a teapot from Vulgar Teacups. My mom hated it; I loved it.
To get everyone in the mood, I made a playlist of some of my favorite jaunty tea-party-with-an-edge songs. I have to admit that I started with a few songs from the “A Simple Favor” soundtrack, because it’s fire. Check it out below, and share it from Spotify!
What’s tea without some fancy bites? We packaged up some of our favorites like homemade cucumber sandwiches, cheese wafers, and chicken salad sandwiches. (I chose not to make the chicken salad myself and got it from Bowen House!)
CRIPSY RICE COOKIES
2 C sharp cheddar cheese
.5 C softened butter
1 C flour
.5 t cayenne pepper
1 t Worcestershire sauce
.5 t salt
.75 C Rice Krispies
Preheat the oven to 350°. Mix cheese, butter, flour, cayenne, Worcestershire and salt until mixture lightly sticks together. Gently fold cereal into dough. Shape into 1-inch balls and put on a baking sheet with about an inch of space for expansion. Then use a fork to flatten each and leave lines on top. Bake 15 minutes at 350º, or until they’re slightly crispy. Allow to cool on a rack.
1 cucumber, peeled and sliced very thin
8 oz softened cream cheese
1/4 C light mayonnaise
1/4 t garlic powder
1/4 t onion salt
1 dash Worcestershire sauce
sliced white bread, crusts removed
1 pinch lemon pepper
Slice cucumbers and allow to drain between paper towels for at least 10 minutes. (Best done in a colander.) Remove crust from bread. Mix all remaining items together and spread on one side of every piece of bread. Add cucumbers on half the pieces, spread out evenly. Sprinkle a bit of dill on each side with cucumbers. Build into sandwiches and cut into your desired shape.
Every pizza lovers’ favorite holiday—March 14 (3.14), aka PIE DAY—is coming up!
Fireside Pies is having an awesome special on March 14 you can buy one pizza pie and get your second for only $3.14*! Now the real question is, are you going to share your second pizza with someone, or keep it all to yourself?
While you mull over that question, here are some ideas of what to order … The Bruschetta with goat cheese, diced tomatoes, cremini mushrooms on a toasted crostini is a refreshing appetizer to start your meal off right! The Texas Bibb salad is a great side dish to compliment any pizza with the freshness of avocado, hearts of palm, and some zest from the red wine vinaigrette.
Up next: Triple ‘Roni pizza with pepperoni, mozzarella, and a hint of truffle oil that absolutely takes this pizza to the next level. It’s even delicious the next day … where my cold pizza lovers at?!
The Neapolitan with mozzarella, diced tomatoes, and basil is a great Vegetarian option. We had this one made gluten-free for my mother’s sensitive stomach; the GF crust is more of a thin crust, but is still delicious with all the great toppings they pile on top. As a slightly gluten-intolerant person myself, I know more than most that it’s tough to find a good GF crust.
There are libations a’plenty here. They have a great wine and beer selection along with some fresh cocktails. I really enjoyed the Peroni Spritz (Aperol, grapefruit, lemon, Peroni). It made me feel like I was sitting at a cafe in Italy watching the old nonnas chatting with each other.
Stop in on 3/14 for this amazing BOGO deal!!!
FIRESIDE PIES FiresidePies.com
Locations in Dallas, Fort Worth, Grapevine, and Plano
Dallas didn’t get too cold (yet) this year, but on the days it has, I found myself craving something warm and boozy. Once I had gotten past my hot toddies and it was too late in the day for an Irish Coffee, I turned to hot chocolate cocktails!
I put together a few different spirited options for y’all … from the traditionally spiked vodka, then went to tequila and scotch options. Because it’s always fun to try something different, right?
PEPPERMINT WHITE CHOCOLATE (VODKA)
½ C Absolut Elyx vodka
½ C white chocolate chips
1½ C milk*
¼ C sweetened condensed milk
1 t vanilla extract or vanilla paste
whipped cream (if desired)
Add chocolate and milks to a medium saucepan and summer, stirring constantly, until chips are melted. Once melted, remove from heat and add vodka. Top with whipped cream and peppermint pieces, if desired.
SPICY HOT CHOCOLATE (TEQUILA)
3 oz Patrón Tequila (more if desired)
3 C milk*
3 T cocoa powder
3 T tbsp granulated sugar
Pinch of sea salt
¼ t cinnamon
¼ t cayenne pepper
Combine all ingredients (except for tequila) to a saucepan and whisk until combined. Heat on low until it’s slightly boiling, then remove from the stove. Add tequila, then pour into mugs and top as desired. (I added cinnamon marshmallows and a pinch of cayenne pepper on top.)
HIGHLAND HOT CHOCOLATE (SCOTCH)
3 oz Highland Park Magnus Scotch whisky (more if desired)
3 C milk*
3 T cocoa powder
3 T tbsp granulated sugar
1 t Sugar in the Raw (or any coarse brown sugar)
Pinch of sea salt
Combine all ingredients (except for whisky) to a saucepan and whisk until combined. Heat on low until it’s slightly boiling, then remove from the stove. Add whisky, then pour into mugs and top as desired.
… you can also whip up my famous HAUTE CHOCOLATE and add whatever spirit sounds good to you.
¼ C cocoa powder
½ C hot water
20 oz semi-sweet chocolate
10 C whole milk
2½ C heavy cream
12 oz can evaporated milk
¼ t salt
Either in a crock pot or a large pot, whisk cocoa powder with hot water until mixed. Add in chocolate, milk, heavy cream, evaporated milk, and pinch of salt. If using a crock pot, cook for at least 2 hours on high OR low for 4 hours and stir occasionally. Keep on warm to serve. If using a pot on the stove, heat for about 15 minutes on medium and stir often. Then, keep on simmer and continue to stir occasionally. Makes about 20 servings.
*the higher the fat content of the milk you use, the richer your drink will be
I stopped into Edith’s French Bistro in Richardson’s CityLine, and will say … it was parfait. With it’s third location in DFW, this restaurant has a lot going for it! With an approachable menu with a French flair, it has options for anytime of day. I wish I could have ordered one of everything and eaten my way through their entire menu … so it looks like I’ll be coming back to do just that. I’ll also be looking for a chance to enjoy their high tea service, and will be keeping an eye on their unique special events!
Of course, you’re here to hear about the booze. So, here we go …
The Death Proof was clean, crisp, refreshing and a definite sipper since it has TWO kinds of liquor in it. (But still lovely to drink for the less hearty drinkers out there.) The honey-ginger syrup is refreshing with just the right amount of kick.
The Rhubarb Gin Slingwas the perfect brunch drink … and perfectly Instagrammable thanks to the flower garnish. Perfect for sweet and non-sweet drinkers.
The Brie & Fig Tartine was an perfectly balanced dish that I’ll be craving all week. The toasted bread makes this dish perfectly crunchy … and it’s sweet thanks to the roasted fig jam, sour and salty from the pickled rhubarb, and creamy from the melted brie. There were so many textures and flavors to love on this dish.
My husband indulged in the Flounder Pappardelle—the pasta was perfectly cooked with the blackened seasoning from the fish, and there was a fresh acidifying from the tomatoes and arugula.
I had the Chicken Paillard, and the breading on the chicken is the most flavorful I’ve ever had. With the finishing pan sear it’s texture was crispy on the outside and moist on the inside. The accompanying salad with arugula, tomato, fennel, orange, and avocado added a bright, fresh touch.
For dessert we shared the Pineapple Lemon Meyer Tart. It was a dream! The texture was perfectly pillowy and both flavors were balanced and bright … just exquisite, and the soft yet crisp cookie on both sides has just the right touch of sweetness. We also made sure to grab a croissant, which they make from scratch daily! Our was red for Valentine’s Day … and I’ll be sure to grab a few more to start off this Friday in the right spirit. It was everything a croissant should be: light, flakey, chewy, crisp, not overly buttery, and made with care. (And if you have ever made a croissant yourself, you know that it’s not something that you’ll ever do again.) The perfect end to a meal if you’re not a fan of sweets, or the perfect take away to reminisce over the next morning.
Put this place on your must-eat list ASAP. Be it Valentine’s Day, a date night, or a working lunch! We will for sure be back for brunch very soon since dinner was this good!
EDITHS FRENCH BISTRO edithscafe.com
3551 Wilshire Way, Suite 100 (CityLine in Richardson)
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!