A LUV Letter to Southwest Airlines

WARNING: THIS STORY ISN’T ABOUT BOOZE; IT’S ABOUT MY FAMILY AND HOW AWESOME SOUTHWEST AIRLINES IS. If you aren’t interested … scroll along. 😉

Being an aunt to two beautiful children is the most fulfilling thing in my world. Yes, sharing my adventures and drinking experiences with y’all is really fun, but knowing that I can help shape my niece’s and nephew’s lives brightens mine every day.

When my sister learned of her first child, Ten’s, severe peanut allergy, we were all greatly concerned and hoped we could find a way to help him live a normal life—because I don’t care what anyone says, a severe allergy to something common like peanuts can make a child’s life difficult. Thanks to a ton of research, my sister found a doctor in Dallas who offers exposure therapy for children. (This is a proven and safe treatment … if you have any questions, just ask!)

The idea was simple—every week for 18 weeks, Ten gets dosed up and monitored—but the execution was less than simple. Her beautiful family lives in Albuquerque, a full 650 miles from said doctor. My parents and I live in Dallas, so she made the choice to make the trip from Albuquerque to Dallas every.damn.week. With flight costs being what they are and most airlines’ cancelation policies and change fees being strict and expensive, it was a daunting idea. (Especially because, if there was any change in Ten’s heath 24 hour prior to the appointment, that week’s appointment had to be postponed.)

And then Southwest Airlines swooped in to save the day. Alice starting squirreling away miles, watching for fare sales, and setting up her weekly flights to make it happen. And, since Ten wasn’t yet two years old, he flew free. (Huge win.) Even more incredible, if Southwest is alerted that there’s someone onboard with a peanut allergy, they don’t serve peanuts that flight* and families are allowed to board early to get the wee ones settled.

My amazing sister made it happen. She schlepped her pregnant, nauseous self and her adorable, allergic boy on a weekly flight to Dallas to make his appointments where he progressed beautifully, winning over every nurse in the office as he went. And, just before his second birthday, he went to his last appointment. Ten could now eat peanuts, giving him the chance to enjoy what is now his favorite food (peanut butter, or “baya”) and his family the peace of mind that a rogue peanut butter and jelly sandwich wouldn’t take him down.

Over the course of what ended up being 22 weeks of appointments, he grew to love airplanes and, of course, Southwest. When he saw a heart, he’d point and say in a proud tenor, “Southwes!” (He had trouble with the second t for a while.) He loves watching airplanes and will tell you that the planes are going to “Dayas” or “Querque”. (He was also well-versed with the safety cards.)

To mark the end of his treatments and his second birthday, my family figured that the best way to celebrate the extraordinary process he went through was with a Southwest Airlines-themed party. The company being what it is, we made some calls and told our story to any employee that would listen—which was pretty much every one we spoke to—and were given little children’s games, pretzels, gifts, and such here and there.

Then, we started amassing extra napkins from flights along with pretzels and cups … and things like custom Southwest teddy bears and paper airplanes started to show up in the mail. A friend even sent him a branded t-shirt (that is now his favorite clothing item) and some other little gifts from their employee store! Apparently we’d struck a cord …

Living in Dallas, our family knows an employee or two, so we called in some favors. None were too busy to at least try to help. We were blown away by everyone’s kindness and generosity. In the end, we pulled together a pretty festive party for the little man.

We are all so appreciative of Southwest on so many levels—for being the airline they are so that my nephew could make his weekly appointments and for being so generous to help him celebrate two huge milestones. Thanks to EVERYONE who helped make it happen.

There’s no question it’s called the love airline.


*This was before August 2018 when Southwest stopped serving peanuts.

Catch Lovers Seafood’s new menu and patio

Blue crab and truffle deviled eggs.
Crispy shrimp corn dogs.
Maytag blue cheese potato chips.

Say what??

These are just a few of the things you can find on Chef Kent Rathbun’s new menu at Lovers Seafood and Market. I recently had the chance to sample a little bit of everything from this new menu and hear all about their new weekly specials … and you’re gonna want to go check it out.

The tasting started off on a boozy note with the unveiling of their signature cocktails. The tasting lineup featured their Marfa Mary and Gypsy Wife along with a classic, the Corpse Reviver. Each of them were light enough to start the meal nicely without blowing out your palate. (They were also delightful to enjoy on their cute patio!) My personal favorite was the Gypsy Wife (Ketel One, St. Germain Elderflower Liqueur, grapefruit, basil and lime). This should be no surprise since I’m very into grapefruit-based cocktails lately.

These delicious cocktails are half priced during their happy hour which you can check out Monday through Saturday from 3-6pm. The happy hour also features half priced oysters … such a steal! It’s also very important to note that on Wednesdays they have half priced martinis all night long.

On the new menu, you’ll notice that they have added more grill-oriented items like the Roadhouse Cheeseburger and tender kale salad. This is part of their strategy to re-brand as more than just a seafood spot. (Rumor has it that they will soon change their name to “Lovers Seafood + Grill”.) I love that there were multiple healthy options on the menu like the charbroiled burger bowl that was served over quinoa and sweet potato pieces.

The tasting wrapped up with a sampling of the desserts … and ohhhemmmmgeeeee. They have a key lime pie to die for. The graham cracker crust and raspberry coulis were so good that I would come back just to have dessert.(I seriously considered licking my plate clean. Calories be damned.) Don’t skip dessert when you go!


LOVERS SEAFOOD AND MARKET
loversseafoodmarket.com
5200 West Lover’s Lane (Preston Hollow)
214-414-9880

Tulum, Mexico

DRINK

WILD Tulum – By far our favorite bar on the trip in overall experience and quality of cocktails. The staff is friendly and the space is oddly breathtaking thanks to towering cement canopies. Like many of the outdoor restaurants and bars in Tulum, you’ll get whiffs of copal, a natural mosquito repellent, that colors the experience further.
10km, Carretera Tulum-Boca Paila
wildtulum.com

Nômade – This.place.is.gorgeous. One of the most breathtaking beach resorts we saw also made thoughtful cocktails served up by an incredibly friendly staff. Make a plan to enjoy a cocktail and a couple appetizers and watch the spectacular Tulum sunset. Even more, move inside to experience their second bar that has a sexy, darker feel to it.
Carr. Cancún – Tulum KM 10
+52 984 803 2243
nomadetulum.com

Todos Santos Bar – A crafty-ish cocktail spot for the finer palates that can also make a vodka soda to another’s liking. Look out for ladies night when the ladies drink fo’ free.
5G2R+RJ Tulum

Azulik – This resort’s unique, earthy design is the embodiment of eco-chic. Their cocktails are some of the more creative we saw in town, so whether for a late night drink or a brunch, this spot needs to be experienced.
Carretera Tulum-Boca Paila, KM 5 (Hotel Zone/Beach Road)
+52 984 980 0640
azulik.com

Gitano – GIT your butt here for a slightly more elevated dinner experience. Make sure to visit the gorgeous bar in the back and enjoy the architecture along with the meal.
Beach Road Km. 7, Boca Paila
gitanotulum.com

Casa Jaguar – Laid-back, creative cocktails in an open-air space make for a nice spot for dinner or drinks.
Carretera Boca Paila Km 7.5
+52 984 202 2464
casajaguartulum.com

Bolas de Postre I Scream Bar – Hold on to your bar stool (or you hat if you walk by) … this irreverent bar is a good stop for a quick drink at almost all hours (8am-3am). It’s a simple spot where you can get your 1-and-1 or a decent margarita. (And if you don’t stop at the bar, after a certain time number of drinks, you’ll probably be jovially harassed by the staff and whichever guests they can get to chime in with them on your way by.)

Pasito Tun Tun – This late-ish night spot in Tulum Town is a change from Beach Road, but still laid-back. Don’t miss their beer and mezcal shot special or their “besos de mezcal” neon sign.
Calle centauro, Av. Tulum esquina (Tulum Town)
+52 984 688 8550

Batey Mojito and Guarapo Bar – Pop in for fresh mojitos and stay for the live music! (cash only)
Calle Centauro Sur (Tulum Town)
+52 1 984 745 4571

EAT

Chamico’s – Slightly outside of the main tourist areas of Tulum, this beach restaurant (literally, on the sand … on a beach) has the best ceviche I’ve ever had … and in the best setting. Grab a seat, palm tree, or sandbar to enjoy this unique dining experience. Also not to be missed is the full fried fish that you can see the cooks preparing on the walk in.
7JG9+V9 San Pablo (Tulsayab)
+52 984 216 6761

Safari – They do the “food truck” thing really well here. In fact, they do it so well that the truck doesn’t even have to move. The kitchen of this outdoor eatery is an Airstream with a fire out front where you’ll watch some of your food be prepared right next to a small patch of herbs they use regularly. The cocktails are simple, but incredibly well done. Ceviche, tacos, and a margarita … simple and perfect.
15 Tulum, Quintana Roo
+52 984 134 8322
safaritulum.com.mx

Casa Malca – Even if the food and drink weren’t as fresh and delightful as they are, this space is wildly artistic. Each space, including outdoor areas, offers a unique look and feel, giving diners and guests the chance to enjoy the multifaceted art hotel that occupies a space once inhabited by Pablo Escobar himself.
Carretera Fed, Av. Boca Paila km 9.5
casamalca.com

La Zebra Hotel Tulum – Pop into their restaurant for their delightful fish tacos. They’re..worth.the.visit.
Carretera Tulum-Boca Paila Km 8.2
+52 1 984 115 4726
lazebratulum.com

DelCielo – Enjoy breakfast in this cozy spot in town before taking a walk around the local shops to experience the town’s color.
Av, Satélite Sur 5, Centro (Tulum Town)
+52 984 160 0770

Mateos – If you’re looking for a spot to watch your game while on vacation, this is it since many of the hotels and resorts don’t have TVs. It’s good for late-night food to soak up the mezcal and cervezas.
Carretera, Boca Paila km 5.2 Manzana 10 Lote 16
+52 984 179 4160
mateosmexicangrill.us

DO

BEACH SO HARD — It’s a beach town … go to the beach!
SOAK — Visit some of the striking cenotes (natural swimming holes) on the beach and in the jungle. It’s truly an incredible experience. (Take a towel and a diving mask to take a look around underwater.)
BIKE — There are bikes to rent all around town, but be safe as the streets aren’t the smoothest.
SHOP — Shop around in town or in the Beach Zone and it won’t take long to find a fun item or eight you’ll want to take  home.
RELAX — It’s a chill town; go with the vibe.
MEDITATE— Yoga on the isn’t hard to find around town, be it on a beach or in a studio.

STAY

Chat with The Beach Planner about where to stay. With her services, she’ll help coordinate your trip from dining to diversions as long as you book your lodging with her!
http://www.susiedrinksdallas.com/visiting-mexicos-riviera-maya-with-the-beach-planner/

Fried Chicken + Bubbles = the Dream Team

I love sparkling wine.
I love fried chicken.

(I’d like to meet someone who doesn’t agree with the above. … actually, I don’t think we’d get along, so NM.)

Street’s Fine Chicken sent out a press release, and they have the right idea: fried chicken + sparkling wine. The pairing is classic, and one of my favorite things in the world is to pair haute elements with food that comes in a cardboard container of some sort.

So, of course, I HAD to do some “research” to verify that their fried chicken did, in fact pair nicely with sparkling wine. And, research I did. (Not like I didn’t know what the research would return, but it’s best to do your due diligence.)

Luckily, my results were correct. Using bubbles to mitigate the richness of the chicken is just about perfect. Acid can act as a palate cleanser, which is why you’ll often see pickled items served alongside fried items. Since sparkling wines usually ring in 2.5 to about 4.5 pH, their acidity helps to cut the richness and greasiness of the chicken. Choosing a dry sparkling wine helps to push through the fat, and makes for a delightful experience.

Street’s Fine Chicken’s signature fried chicken is “brined for 24 hours and fried in herbs from various French Provinces.” They take their time to do it right, and they get it right. They also offer sparkling starting at just $5 a glass and $18 a bottle, so you can try out the pairing for yourself. (Enjoy.)

 


STREET’S FINE CHICKEN
streetsfinechicken.com
3857 Cedar Springs Rd. | 469-917-7140
5211 Forest Lane, #108 | 972-803-5181

Jalisco Norte’s new menu brings the heat

Dallas is no stranger to Mexican food—I mean, there’s practically a tex-mex place on every corner. But, about a year ago Jalisco Norte opened on Oak Lawn next to the Zyn22 and I thought to myself, “oh a new tex-mex spot. Cool. I need to check it out.” And I filed it away in my mind but never got around to actually trying it.

BIG.MIS.TAKE. … and not just for missing out on amazing food, but for assuming it was “just another tex-mex place”. Last week I finally went to check out Jalisco Norte to taste Chef José Meza Arróyave’s new menu and I learned that nothing about this restaurant is like a typical tex-mex spot. You won’t find massive plates of greasy enchiladas or a combination plate that you need a separate table to eat—but don’t worry, there is still queso and guacamole! Instead, you will find a refreshing menu of agave-inspired cocktails and uniquely assembled dishes. Overall, the restaurant’s vibe heavily relies on all of Chef Meza’s experiences growing up and cooking in Mexico City. (In fact, there were the coolest masks covering the walls and each and every one of them was hand-picked by the owners in Mexico City.)

During our tasting, the chef said his goal for when people dine at Jalisco Norte is for his food to give them a sense of nostalgia—they wanted diners to know the dishes they grew up with. So he uses everything he has learned all over the world as a guide and uses local ingredients to compliment his expertise.

The tasting started off with three mini tostadas that were unlike any tostada I’d tasted before. There was a tuna tostada with avocado puree, the De Pata Tostada with pickled pork terrine and the fish ceviche tostada with fresh chile powder. All the flavors were fresh and paired together in a way that I would have never thought of – but it worked magic on my tastebuds.

But wait … let’s not forget about the cocktails! I started the evening with the Crafty Paloma and my friend had the Bring the Heat, which is their take on a spicy margarita. I’m a wimp when it comes to spice but she loved her cocktail so much that she convinced me to try it and I kind of wanted to steal it.

Next on the tasting menu came the Coast Chile which I was a little nervous about because of the aforementioned aversion to spicy stuff. But I’m not afraid to admit it – I inhaled this dish. The hatch chile was perfectly cooked and stuffed with lump crab and then topped with baby tomato chips and jalapeño dressing. So, so good!

The second and third tasting was the Osso Bucco and the Veracruz Branzino. The sauces on these two dishes were incredible. The Osso Bucco was packed with so much juice and flavor.. I could’ve eaten four tacos full. The Veracruz Branzino was served with a plantain sauce which I was skeptical about – but was the perfect companion for the fish. I would have probably dipped tortilla chips in that plantain sauce if the table wouldn’t have judged me for it.

Obviously I had to have a cocktail break (or two) with all this food! I tried the Ranch Water which was tequila, lime, Topo Chico and served in the Topo Chico bottle (love that). It was super refreshing and if you’re still sticking to your healthy New Year resolutions—it won’t ruin your diet.

And after that, I just HAD to try their take on the Frosé and it did not disappoint! This cocktail will definitely be added to my rotation of warm-weather patio drinks when the time comes. And how amazing does the fresh mint look?

 

Believe it or not, I still had room for more of Chef Meza’s delicious food and it was a good thing because the carne asada was perfectly cooked and worth every bite. It came with a molcajete sauce that was a bit too spicy for my taste but everyone else loved!

One of the highlights of the whole evening for me was the dessert.. but that’s really no surprise. The light and airy ‘Carlota de lemon’ has a cool story. The Chef explained that this dish is very common in Mexico and is essentially a Mexican ice box cake. It’s something many families would throw together because they had all the ingredients on hand and leave in the freezer for it to come together. It was light, sweet and I 100% wanted seconds.

The morale of the story is don’t be like me. Don’t wait to check out Jalisco Norte and don’t for a second think that it’s your average tex-mex spot. And don’t forget to save room for dessert! All the dishes that Chef Meza has put together with his contemporary approach are something you must try.


JALISCO NORTE
jalisconorte.com
3858 Oak Lawn Ave #470 (Oak Lawn)
(214) 443-5183

Ashley L

Susie and I met through her cousin/aunt & uncle and my best friend/godparents when we were kids.  After I moved to Austin, TX, in early 2018 we reconnected and became fast friends again!

Beat: Austin, TX + surrounding areas
Hometown:  Carlisle, PA
Current City:  Austin, TX
Day Job: Publicist for food, beverage, franchise, and lifestyle brands

Favorite Cocktail: Aperol Spritz, Kir Royal (Remind me of my vacations in Italy and France) or a Slightly Dirty Tito’s Martini with 3 blue-cheese stuffed olives on the side (Reminds me of my Papa)
Favorite Spirit: Tito’s or Johnnie Walker
Favorite Bar: Perch (LA), Chateau Marmont (LA) Whislers (Austin), Péché (Austin), Gotham (NYC) – for cocktails with dinner

Spirit Animal: Flamingo
Fun Fact:  I am a former DI athlete!  I played field hockey for The University of Michigan where we won 4 Big Ten titles!  GO BLUE!

Instagram handle: @newsforchews

Dr. Chris R

My attention span is shorter than a 3 year old, adventurous and plans vacations frequently to eat and drink.

Beat: Anywhere south of 635. If I can fly to a city faster than I can drive in Dallas traffic, nope.
Hometown: San Antonio, TX
Current City: Dallas, TX
Day Job: Dentist

Favorite Cocktail: Mezcal Old Fashioned
Favorite Spirit: Whiskey
Favorite Bar: Billy Can Can
Spirit Animal: Susie O
Fun Fact: I may or may not enjoy a cup of coffee over a cocktail most nights.

Instagram handle: @chrisro125dds

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
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Disclaimer: I was given complimentary product from Banfi.

Susie knows all things boozy …