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Breckenridge Brewery (Breckenridge, CO)

In anticipation of the upcoming Breck Trek nights in Dallas this week, I stepped in to the actual Breckenridge Brewery for a pint and a tour. The state of the art brewery recently moved to a brand new facility in the Littleton neighborhood of Denver, Colorado. The beautiful mix of industrial metal and rustic wood creates the perfect atmosphere for beer connoisseurs and curious minds alike to enjoy an afternoon learning about the beer making process. I may not know much about beer, but the smell of the brewery alone was enough to make me want to start home brewing.

I started the tour with a nice glass of the Bumps N’ Jumps Session IPA, which is an exclusive and limited collaboration between Breckenridge and Vail (two awesome CO ski resorts). It accompanied the tour beautifully with light bitterness and full hop flavor. We then learned about the German-engineered tanks that are used in the facility the process and some of the things that make Breckenridge Brewery unique. My favorite tidbit was the fact that all of the spent grain (grain that the brewery no longer needs, which has been separated from the sugary liquid that will eventually be turned into beer) goes directly to a local farmer to feed his cattle. Efficiency, people.

The best stop on the tour was the barrel room, where all of the barrel-aged beer is stored for a period of time to absorb the taste and smells of the barrels themselves (much like aging a spirit). This room smelled like HEAVEN. The aromas of wood and rum and vanilla all played so well together that I refused to leave. They have several beers on rotation through the barrel room, but one beer that they always have available is their Whiskey Barrel Aged 471 Double IPA with Citra hops, which gives off aromas of tropical fruits and citrus flavors. 

You may think that a brewery tour is all there is to do at the Breckenridge Brewery … EHHH! After the tour, I got to indulge myself in lunch at the Farm House, their on-site restaurant. Rustic rocking chairs, plush and comfy seating, and a stone fireplace provide for a mountain-esque ambiance. We started our meal with—what else—a flight of beer. Up for review was the Nitro Orange Chocolate Stout, the Break IPA, the Ophelia Hoppy Wheat, and the Whiskey Barrel Aged 471 Dry Hopped with Citra IPA. All were delicious and has citrus-y flavors, but my favorite was the Ophelia for its lightness and Mosaic hops. 

Up to the challenge of satisfying my hunger were several plates, which we shared as to try the most items. We chose the chicken pot pie, the venison chili mac and cheese, and the salmon with risotto and asparagus. I don’t know which I enjoyed more because I didn’t stop to breathe between bites … everything was that good. As for desert, and my stomach said “no” but my eyes and my head said “OH YEAH, BABY. You have months before bathing suit season.” Guess which won? We indulged anyway and ordered the Apple Galette, a warm apple pie/strudel served in a cast iron skillet and topped with house-made vanilla porter ice cream.

This experience was the perfect lead in to the Breck Trek tour, which will be traveling across the US to give the other states a taste of the Colorado lifestyle. Live music, beer education, and of course Breckenridge Brewery beer sampling will occur at every stop on the tour. The Breck Trek will hit Dallas the week of January 16th, check out times and locations here

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2920 Brewery Lane, Littleton, Colorado 80120

Breck Trek | Facebook 

Cantina Laredo Tequila Dinner Series ft. Herradura

Whether it is warranted or not, very few spirits get the same bad wrap that poor old tequila does. Most of us know exactly why, too. Flashback to college … ahh, the good ole college days. To make a long (and messy) story short, there was usually tequila involved. Unfortunately, my buddies and I didn’t always go for the good stuff … we were drinking the bargain basement stuff like Montezuma and whatever else we could get our hands on (cheaply). Do I even need to go on and say that many a night ended badly? More than once, we learned the hard way that drinking the cheap stuff never was a good idea.

Good thing those days are over.

I was fortunate to be invited to one of Cantina Laredo’s new high-end tequila dinners via Susie. This 4-course dinner was at the Addison location and featured drink pairings that featured Tequila Herradura. Founded in 1870 in Amatitán, Jalisco, the brand has consistently produced high quality tequilas from the beginning. They insist on using traditional methods and 100% agave. The brand controls 30% of the tequila market in Mexico … so they must be doing something right.

There were three glasses of tequila to welcome us at our place settings. (That’s the way to start things off on the right foot!) We took things slow and sipped these over the course of the dinner, as one should with fine tequilas. Our first course was a Sope de Brisket, a delicious and tender beef brisket served in a flaky pie-like crust. The appetizer was accompanied by a Paloma cocktail. This was a simple but refreshing combination of Herradura Blanco tequila and Fresca soda. (OMG how I’ve missed Fresca!)

This was followed by a Mango Salad. While I am not normally a fan of fruit in salads, I actually didn’t mind this. The mango melded well with the dressing and queso fresco, and the jicama added in a nice crunch. It was fresh, light and colorful.  The Santiago Cocktail comprised of Herradura Blanco shaken with Midori, grapefruit juice, grenadine and sweet and sour mix. It was enjoyed by others, but it was simply too sweet for my taste.

We had a choice between two main dishes … the Seabass Oscar with Chili de Arbol Sauce was excellent. The fish was perfectly cooked–tender, flaky and not overdone–and the sauce that accompanied it was the perfect mixture of spicy and sweet. This was definitely the better of the two options, but you couldn’t have gone wrong with the filet either.  Here we enjoyed a classic Margarita with Herradura’s Reposado Tequila. You can’t beat a margarita made with top-shelf tequila, that’s all I will say… the Dia y Noche Flan was a nice finale to the dinner and was served with an Old 43 Cocktail. The Old 43 is a dangerously delicious mix of Añejo Tequila, Licor 43, Kahlua, half & half and fresh brewed coffee topped with whipped cream and a cherry.  An awesome alcoholic, cinnamon-y hot chocolate drink.


This was the first of Cantina Laredo’s series of tequila dinners in the the DFW area.  Check out  the the list of the locations and brands of tequila they will feature in the coming weeks. For $49.99 per person, these dinners are an excellent deal. (I think that just the assortment of tequila and cocktails alone are worth that price!) Add in the delicious food and you definitely get more than your money’s worth. If you missed the Addison event, I’ll include the recipes for Herradura tequila-based cocktails for a Mexican night of your own.

City Tequila Date Phone
Addison Herradurra 5/21/2015 (972) 458-0962
Grapevine Don Julio 5/23/2015 (817) 358-0505
Fort Worth Cabo Wabo 5/29/2015 (817) 810-0773
Lewisville Gran Centenario 6/4/2015 (972) 315-8100
Frisco Herradura 6/4/2015 (214) 618-9860
Dallas Casa Noble 6/13/2015 (214) 265-1610

Thank you to Chef/Manager Rambo Saucedo for treating us to this great dinner.

Cantina Laredo – Addison
Website | Facebook | Twitter
4546 Beltline Road
Addison, Texas 7544
(972) 458-0962


Tequila Recipes

Ice glass, add:
1½ oz. Herradura Blanco Tequila
Garnish: grapefruit slice

Mix all ingredients. Top with Fresca.

1½ oz. Herradura Blanco Tequila
½ oz. Midori
1 oz. Fresh Grapefruit Juice
1 oz. Grenadine
½ oz. Sweet & Sour Mix
Garnish: Grapefruit Slice

Shake with ice until chilled and strain into Martini Glass

Classic Margarita
1½ oz. Herradura Reposado Tequila
½ oz. Grand Marnier
1 oz. Fresh Lime Juice
1 oz. Fresh Orange Juice
½ oz. Simple Syrup
Garnish: Lime  Wheel

Shake with ice until chilled and strain into salt rimmed Martini Glass

Old 43
1 oz. Herradura Añejo Tequila
½ oz. Licor 43
½ oz. Kahlua
½ oz.Half & Half
Garnish: Whipped topping, Cherry

Combine ingredients in Irish Coffee mug. Fill with fresh, hot coffee to ½ from rim.

Houilhan’s Celebrates with a Culinary Comeback

Popular Addison happy hour destination Houlihan’s just celebrated its 43rd birthday.  As part of its ongoing birthday celebration, Houlihan’s is dishing up (pun intended) a special “Culinary Comeback” menu that features some of their most popular items from menus past through the end of May.

Grapefruit Jalapeno Cocktail

I braved the torrential downpours of late to check out the “Culinary Comeback” menu with my wife.  Maybe it was the lingering effects of Cinco De Mayo, but I ended up ordering a very Mexican-inspired dinner–a  Grapefruit Jalapeño cocktail and the Achiote Grilled Shrimp Tacos (both features of the limited time menu).  The Grapefruit Jalapeño cocktail is an interestingly spicy yet refreshing drink, with Deep Eddy Ruby Red vodka, lime, soda water and fresh jalapeños.  The jalapeños may not be not suitable for those who for usually shy away from spice, but it did have a nice bite without being overpowering.  As for my shrimp tacos,  the chipotle-achiote marinade gave a surprisingly deep, smoky flavor to the dish and the chipotle mayo and sweet chipotle dressing added a nice sweet/savory touch.  These tacos are by no means your traditional, bland fish tacos.

Achiote Grilled Shrimp Tacos
Achiote Grilled Shrimp Tacos

Opting for a “girly” drink (though Susie would argue that that’s an insult to some), my wife decided on the Strawberry Basil Lemonade.  The summery mix of fresh strawberries, basil, fresh lemonade and Bombay Sapphire gin was the perfect thing to start summer (err spring?) off with a bang.  The basil was a welcome change … it’s more unique than throwing mint in it and it gave it a really nice fragrance.  Frankly, I was tempted to order one myself, but thought the pink drink looked better in her hands than in would in mine.  Paired with Houlihan’s ever so popular wild mushroom and arugula flatbread (a mix of crimini, shiitake and oyster mushrooms with a roasted garlic white sauce, a blend of cheeses and truffle vinaigrette), my wife’s combo was an excellent light and satisfying choice.

Strawberry Basil Lemonade | Picture borrowed from Houlihan’s

It’s clear that Houlihan’s has a lot to celebrate … and I love how they actually listen to their customers.  (Case in point: the comeback menu.)  Add in food and drinks features like Certified Angus beef, organic salad greens, gluten-free and vegetarian  options, and the always noteworthy happy hour menu and I will gladly celebrate with Houhilan’s.

Their Culinary Comeback menu will be available through the end of May.  Check out the menu.  Happy 43rd birthday Houlihan’s!


Houlihan’s (Addison location; there are 3 in the DFW area)
www.houlihans.com | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram
5225 Belt Line Road, Dallas, TX 75254
(972) 386-0689

Happy Hour: 3pm-7pm & 9pm-11pm (“Happy Apps” until close)

  • $3 domestic drafts & long island ice tea by the glass
  • $4 wells cocktails & craft beers
  • $5 traditional or fresh agave margaritas, mojitos, mango ginger or mandarin martini  and long island iced tea pitchers
  • $1 off glass of wine
  • 13 appetizers for $3.95

Cook Hall Beer Dinner featuring Deschutes Brewery

Earlier this year, I attended Cook Hall’s Beer vs. Whiskey Dinner, which was an experience to remember. (Though that’s tougher to do than you’d think … I refer you to the title.)  So when I was invited to March’s beer dinner featuring Deschutes Brewery, I couldn’t resist. March’s beer dinner featuring Deschutes Brewery, teamed with dishes from local chef Nicholas Jimenez, was a match made in heaven.

Much like the craft brew scene is growing here in Texas, in Oregon craft beer is growing exponentially. In fact, Oregon is home to the most breweries per capita in the U.S. and Oregonians spending more money on craft beer than any other state.

Chef Nicholas Jimenez used his ingenuity to evoke the wild, adventurous spirit of Oregon in our meal. Our first course was a roasted fennel and sun choke soup garnished with crispy artichoke chips and topped with an orange oil. The flavorful and hearty soup was paired with Deschutes’ River Ale Golden Ale, and it was a great way to shake off the chill of early spring evening. To offset the heavier soup, this ale was crisp, light, and slightly hoppy with hints of fruit.

Deschutes River Ale GoldenAle from Deschutes Brewery Beer Dinner at Cook Hall Dallas
Deschutes River Ale GoldenAle

For our second course, Chef Jimenez created a beet-horseradish cured salmon gravlax served with a watercress salad, pickled radish and coriander. Colorful and a bit wild, everything in this dish came together to work really well.   The beer of choice with this dish was the Fresh Squeezed IPA which has earned both national and international prizes … and for good reason. This IPA has a strong, crisp citrus smell with hints of malt which were perfectly paired with the dish.  I can easily see smooth brew  being a summer crowd pleaser.

beet horseradish cured salmon gravlax from Deschutes Brewery Beer Dinner at Cook Hall Dallas
Beet & Horseradish Cured Salmon Gravlax

The third course, and my personal favorite, was an espresso crusted lamb loin. The lamb was tender and juicy and cooked to absolute perfection. The espresso was an interesting (read: perfect) complement to the meat and was not overpowering as I thought it might have been with a delicate meat like lamb.  Served with braised Belgian endive, English peas and a barley risotto, all were nice additions in both taste and texture, but the meat is really what wowed me.  To wash it all down, Cook Hall introduced the only dark beer of the evening–Deschutes’ Obsidian Stout.  I enjoyed the full bodied stout’s roasted coffee and chocolate notes which were echoed by the hint of espresso in the lamb. Considering how dark and heavy some stouts can be, Obsidian drinks easily and, unlike other stouts, doesn’t fill you up too much.

Unfortunately, I didn’t get to try the dessert.  Damn peanut, almond, etc. allergy … so an almond cake dessert was not exactly in the cards for me.  Our dessert was served with an eclectic variety including grilled pineapple, ginger ice cream, pineapple sorbet and extra virgin olive oil. My source (a.k.a. my beautiful wife) said it was a nice way to cap off the meal–sweet and refreshing without being too rich.

I did not, however, pass on the Zarabanda Farmhouse Saison, the brainchild of Deschutes and Chef José Andrés, who we can all thank for introducing America to the concept of tapas. (Bless you for bringing tiny dishes into my life, my friend.) This spiced pale ale has a dry, sweet taste with hints of lemon verbena, sumac and dried lime.  Did you get all that? If not, just know this beer packs in a range of flavors, all notable from first sip.  It was a great compliment to the tropical flavors of the dessert … so says my wife.

Whether your intrigued by the concept of beer dinners, looking to grab a meal before a Dallas Maverick or Stars game or just needing a drink, Cook Hall has you covered. (BONUS: they validate the W’s parking.)

Check out Cook Hall’s website for updates and information on their monthly beer dinners.  (DOUBLE BONUS: Sign up for their newsletter while you’re there and get a free snack.)

Cook Hall Dallas 

www.cookhalldallas.com |  Facebook | Twitter | Instagram
In the W Dallas Victory | 2440 Victory Park Lane, Dallas, TX 75219

Happy Hour  (5pm to 7pm |  Monday – Friday): 5 cocktails and 5 small plates each for $5
Check out their menu for more information.

Deschutes Brewery
www.deschutesbrewery.com | YouTube | Pinterest | Tumblr
901 SW Simpson Ave, Bend, OR 97702


*Cook Hall was kind enough to pick up my tab for the evening.*

Ké Spirits’ wKé

College taught me a number of things, but one of its most important lessons was my love for whiskey. It’s an acquired taste that began as a means to drink with the boys and developed into my own guilty pleasure. I like it over ice or with a splash of ginger ale.

Typically, whiskey offers a slight bite with some smoky, woody qualities. Particularly, Ké Spirits’ Whiskey (wKé) delivers a rich, smooth flavor of grain and wild flower that brings a lasting bite. It’s a strong, but pleasing aroma of elements.

Ké describes its grain components as an uncommon combination that is processed by slicing, rolling, and in some cases, crushing them to capture and retain the unique flavors. Then comes the two-phase fermentation process in which the temperature and environment are closely controlled. Lastly, the liquids are distilled through small handmade copper pot stills in a two-phase copper distillation column. This lends hand to its opulent caramel color.

The legend of Ké Spirits originates in the late 1400s when the art of distillation made its way to Ireland. Irish Catholic monks used it to craft a beverage, whiskey, (“water of life” in English). It was made quickly and crudely to offer a barely drinkable solution. Then, in 1498 Padraig Barry discovered a grain process that turned young, hardly drinkable whiskey into a surprisingly rich and smooth beverage.


Fast forward 470 years, Joe Barry learns of secret family stories detailing the mysterious “Ké” distillation that generations before him worked to protect from kings, invaders, thieves, and raiders. After retiring in 2007, Joe Barry journeyed to Ireland to unveil the truth of “Ké.” For the next five years he worked with distillers to recreate the original process himself and now offers three varieties: Ké (vodka), tKé (tequila), and wKé (whiskey).

Keep warm by the fire with a glass straight. If that doesn’t do the trick, here is a recipe provided by Ké spirits for a wKé Irish Coffee:

unnamed-18wKé IRISH COFFEE
1 ½ oz wKé
4 oz Freshly Brewed Coffee
2 tsp Dark Brown Sugar
Fresh Whipped Cream
Nutmeg, Cinnamon, or Chocolate

Combine wKé, coffee, and brown sugar in a warm Irish coffee glass and stir until sugar is dissolved. Top with whipped cream and a sprinkle of nutmeg, cinnamon, or chocolate.

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**Disclaimer: This bottle of joy was provided to me by Ké spirits**


Another SDD Blue Chair Bay giveaway! (LUCKY!) This time we’re giving away a bottle of Blue Chair Bay’s latest flavor, Banana Rum! Enter to win ye a bottle o’ rum, me matey, and check out some recipes Laura whipped up using the delicious banana rum (and only a few banana-related puns and catchphrases).

My take on Blue Chair Bay Banana Rum:
In my experience, flavored liquors are very hard to do right… but Blue Chair Bay did it right with their Banana Rum. Blue Chair Bay Banana Rum has a rich flavor and a real banana taste. First, I tried it straight up, and it tasted exactly like Bananas Foster, evident by its buttery, caramel finish. It doesn’t taste artificially sweet either. I even tried it as a twist on the old standard rum and coke, and it was actually pretty darn good.

My Recipes:
I’m not typically a dessert or sweet drink person, save for the occasional espresso martini, so I knew I’d be my own toughest critic. But not to toot my own horn (toot toot), but these turned out pretty darn delicious. All of them are best served ice cold, which should be pretty appealing since we are smack in the middle of a Dallas summer.

photo 2Not Your Nana’s Banana Crème Pie Martini
3 oz Blue Chair Bay Banana Rum
2 oz clear crème de cacao liqueur (I used Hiram Walker brand)
3 oz half-and-half
Garnish: Graham cracker rim (to make: first rim martini glass in honey and then in graham cracker crumbs)

Combine ingredients in a shaker with ice, shake, and pour into graham cracker rimmed martini glass.


photo 1Frozen Chocolate Banana Martini
1½ oz Blue Chair Bay Banana Rum
1½ oz white or dark crème de cacao liqueur (I used Hiram Walker brand)
1½ teaspoons of chocolate syrup
1 cup of ice, add more if necessary
Maraschino cherry for garnish

Combine all ingredients (except for cherry) in a blender with ice, blend until slushy. Pour into martini glass, garnish with a cherry, add chocolate syrup for garnish or to make even more chocolate-ly. (Because … chocolate.)

photo 3Banana Rum-ssian
1½ oz Blue Chair Bay Banana Rum
¾ oz coffee liqueur (I used Kamora brand)
¾ oz half-and-half
¼ oz of Icebox ice coffee concentrate (you can find this at Central Market or online) or CoolBrew Coffee

Combine ingredients in a shaker with ice, shake, and pour over ice.

For a refresher on the rum recipes Susie came up with before with the Blue Chair Bay White Rum, click here.

Enter to win a bottle of Blue Chair Bay Banana Rum!!!

Win a bottle of your very own by doing any (and all) of the following BEFORE NOON on Sunday, August 10 and tell us which one of the recipe above that you’d like to try using Blue Chair Bay Banana Rum (or make up one of your own!!).  

(One entry per platform per person will be accepted.)

Yo ho and a bottle of (banana) rum! Enjoy and good luck!

About Blue Chair Bay Rum:
Blue Chair Bay Rum is born on the beach for the times you just want to let go and live in the moment.Blue Chair Bay Rum is a collection of premium-blended rums created on the shores of the Caribbean and inspired by multi-platinum singer-songwriter’s Kenny Chesney’s love of the island lifestyle. Each of Blue Chair Bay Rum’s four varieties, White, Coconut, Coconut Spiced and Banana is 100% beach-made and mellowed in casks at one of the oldest, most respected distilleries in the Caribbean. Imported from Barbados and bottled by Fishbowl Spirits, Rochester, NY. Blue Chair Bay White Rum 40% ABV, Blue Chair Bay Coconut, Coconut Spiced Rum and Banana 26.5% ABV. Available in 750ml and 1.75L bottles

Please enjoy Blue Chair Bay Rum responsibly.

Dixie Vodka: Stand With the General

I honestly would buy this vodka just for the bottle. (You know those people that select liquor based on how pretty the bottle is? I may have been (slash am) a perpetrator of this act. Don’t judge.) But listen: this is one of those times where your creative selection process has worked out for the greater good of alcohol consumption.

There are so many great attributes to Dixie Vodka:

  • the price point for alcohol content
  • it’s 6 times distilled from American corn
  • it’s handcrafted in Charleston, SC and produced by a company named Chicken Cock Whiskey
  • it has a totes a badass mascot with an even more badass catchphrase:“Feared on the battlefield, admired in the ballroom & loved in the bedroom, General Beauregard Dixie.  Man amongst boys.  Stand with the General.”

Now, vodka isn’t my typical drink of choice, especially for shots, but this one made it tolerable (and dare I say … enjoyable?). That oh-so-familiar burn down the throat wasn’t as harsh as regular brands and its smoother finish makes it an easy choice cocktails or on the rocks. Supposedly, the brand is designed for Southern males, but ladies, I say grab your glasses and let’s sip on some Dixie Vodka at the gun range to give these men a run for their money.

General Dixie is available as straight vodka and also in two flavors: Black Pepper and Mint. It will feature signature drink recipes such as the Mint Julep Martini and Bloody Dixie (version of Bloody Mary), created by leading Charleston mixologists.


General Beauregard Dixie Vodka
Facebook: General Beauregard Dixie
Twitter: @GeneralDixie

**Disclaimer: I received this bottle for free from Dixie


Written by Enrico DeLeon III
With the big juice craze gaining more and more steam amongst all our super healthy friends, Jamba Juice‘s new line of fresh juices could not have come at a better time!  JJ rolled out the new menu at select locations only* to test them out, and us DFW-ians are lucky enough to have a chance to taste them!
When first hearing about this new line, it made me happy to hear that someone in the smoothie world was finally breaking into a real line of juices (not just one or two or simply just wheat grass shots).Jamba Juice’s expanded juice platform incorporates high-nutrient super foods like kale, beets, cucumbers, apples, oranges and chia seeds. They offer great tasting beverages which increase your fruit and vegetable intake without taking awhole lot out of your pocket.I recommend trying their “Tropical Greens” juice. Although it has all of their Supergreens (organic baby spinach, organic baby kale, and organic red and green chard), the blend of ice, fresh apples, pineapples and chia seeds gives you a great tasting beverage with nature’s sweetness from the fruit complimented by the freshest flavors of the greens. Don’t be scared to try this amazing beverage just because you may not like all the greens… you’ll definitely be surprised! Besides, if it’s good enough for Popeye the Sailor Man, it’s damn sure good enough for you!  (It might even win you a hottie like Olive Oil.)

The following stores in the Dallas area will have fresh-squeezed juice:

  • Southlake – 222 State St, Southlake, TX 76092
  • Sundance Square – 400 Main St, Fort Worth, TX 76102
  • Frankford – 18204 Preston Rd, Dallas, TX  75252
  • Shops at Legacy – 5700 Legacy Dr, Plano, TX 75024
  • Greenville – 5923 Greenville Ave, Dallas, TX 75206
  • Northwest Highway – 8421 Westchester Dr, Dallas, TX 75225
  • Las Colinas – 6440 N MacArthur Blvd, Irving, TX 75039
  • Watauga – 8450 Denton Hwy, Watauga, TX 76148
  • Hulen – 4801 Overton Ridge Blvd, Fort Worth, TX 76132
  • Spring Creek – 1201 E Spring Creek Pkwy, Plano, TX 75074
  • Flower Mound – 3180 FM 407, Highland Village, TX 75077
  • Camp Wisdom – 3040 Camp Wisdom Rd, Grand Prairie, TX 75052
***Rico was given a gift card by Jamba Juice to try out some of their new options.***