Tag Archives: dallas

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
(214)-397-4111

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
(541)-382-9242

 

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

TGI Fridays World Bartender Championship

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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!

Kidd’s Kids Charity Opportunities

After the unexpected passing of Kidd Kraddick this past weekend, so many Dallas residents who grew up listening to him are mourning the loss. Please find some great options to help his charity, Kidd’s Kids, below.

  • Bread Winners | August 6 (5pm – close) | 15% of sales donated
  • Katydid Collections | August 2-4 | 30% of all sales will be donated to KK (details)
  • Chili’s | August 1 (all day) | 15% of your purchase donated (must print and present THIS EMAIL)
  • Twisted Root | 7/31-8/6 | $1 for each shake sold donated to KK
  • Old Navy at The Shops at Park Lane | August 8-11 | Donate $5 to Kidd’s Kids and get an additional 10% off your purchase
  • KiddsKids.com | donate to KK
  • OverstockArt.com | 20% of your purchase will be donated to KK
  • Mockingbird Station’s Savor the Station | a portion of proceeds will go to Kidd’s Kids
  • Pokey O’s Cookies and Ice Cream | Date TBD | Mention Kidd’s Kids and 20% of your purchase will be donated to KK
  • El Fenix/Meso Maya/La Ventana | TBD
  • More to come …

Concert for Kidd’s Kids (featuring Jonas Brothers, Jason Derulo, Andy Grammer, Cimorelli, Tim Halperin and more TBA!)image

thrilling

How strange to have their logo be a target … but they sure hit the mark.  

Launched this summer, Thrillist brings Dallas the cool places to be, eat, and go along with little tips on anything from Christmas gifts to gadgety electronics that you MUST buy to the place to find a frosty mug of beer.

Sign up for their daily email to hear about the coolest new Dallas trends and hot spots.   Thrillist is what I would call the male answer to Daily Candy (we women can’t have all the fun, right?).  With their witty writers and their punny titles, it makes reading their daily tips a bit of a fun trip.  AND they know their stuff … I mean, they wrote about my little site so they must know what’s up!  

Their launch party at Lemon Bar last night was a great time.  Drinks concocted with Southern Comfort and elven waitresses passing out unlimited Dos Equis made standing in line to get free gifts from under the Thrillist Wonderland Christmas tree from Kid Robot go by quickly.  Everyone was friendly and I even made some new friends thanks to the social lubrication provided by the sponsors.

I got to meet some of the editors and they are a blast and good eggs.  I look forward to working with them in the future!