Tag Archives: victory park

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.*

Rock and Roll

So … we all remember the old Hard Rock Cafe on McKinney Avenue.  Whether it was for a work party or a frat party, we all have a memory (albeit a blurry one) of the glory days.  You can either visit the cracked stars that remain on McKinney’s sidewalk and stare at the empty lot, or you can get your happy ass  to Victory Park to relive some of those memories (without the Sharpie Xs on your hands) at the new location.  The Hard Rock is alive and kicking … and it’s kicking hard.  From a refreshed food menu (28 of their items were modified and 30 new ones added) to creative cocktails, they’ve revamped some things (and not just on the menu).

Lest you think the life of a blogger is easy, I’ll tell you that we were served samples of 4 appetizers, 8 entrees, 3 desserts, and 7 different drinks.  (Yeah … life is tough.  Try finding an outfit that allows for the gluttony.)  We were given some of their revamped offerings, from steaks to salads, and then some old standards like nachos and (ermegerd) spicy hot wings.

Obviously, I was most concerned with the (ahem, 7) drinks we were given.  (Can you believe that?)  They all have interesting names, from the Big Kablue-na to the Air Mexico and the Magical Mystery Tour.  Most names are rock-and-roll colloquialisms, but then there’s the hurricane … oh, the hurricane.  Their flavors are just about as rock-and-roll as the names.  (Let’s just say that they make a rock concert in your mouth.)  Most were quite sweet, and I would have loved more whiskey all up in there, but of the ones we tried, here were my favorites:

– Magical Mystery Tour | this is a delicious gin situation which will be the first I order upon my return

– Twist and Shout | three words: ice cream, alcohol, bacon.  Need I say more?

– Air Mexico | I really don’t like margaritas, but I enjoyed that I was able to pick from six flavors of margaritas, including blueberry, pomegranate, and watermelon, and that they serve it with a little snack of chips and salsa.  (Because I don’t know what it is, but alcohol has something in it that makes me want to eat all the things.)

The cafe offers a full bar, 12 draft beers (including Franconia & St. Arnold), and wines by the glass and bottle.  Drinks are surprisingly well priced with some of the 24oz signature drinks ringing in at just $14.99 (including souvenir cup).  They offer live music on Wednesdays, along with monthly themed drag brunches (you read that right).

HARD ROCK CAFE
www.hardrock.com/cafes/dallas/
t/i: @hardrockdallas | facebook.com/hardrockcafedallas | #thisishardrock
2211 N Houston St. (Victory Park) | (469) 341-7625

Happy Hour Specials: Monday through Friday, 3-7pm

***I was invited in to try some of their refreshed offerings.***

NEO

Just like in the Matrix, Neo was “The One” (well, maybe it’s “The Three” in this case). Neo in Victory Park, the sister restaurant to Olivella’s by SMU, has been on my “To Try” list since it opened. Finally, I made it in and luckily caught their all-night happy hour (or at least the barkeep told me it was).

When I walked in, I was greeted by the bartender (Jake?) and chose a table. I enjoyed a snappily-poured $2 vodka sprite while waiting for my party as the place began to fill up (well, past the 12 people that were there when I walked in). My drink was just strong enough to give me a slight buzz which wasn’t hard due to my completely empty stomach. Once my party arrived we quickly realized that the bartender was not only the bartender, but also the host and waiter.

Overall, our boy, Jake, was quick but not quick enough to serve the 30-or-so patrons all at once; we waited quite a while for him to take our order. While it wasn’t his fault, management may need to revisit their staff schedule.

The drinks aren’t so strong, but they are quick to be made and you can always go with one of their wine or beer selections (both of which have some Italian and American options). I didn’t get to try the frozen lemonade but it looked delicious … just what I’d want on a 102° day.

The pizza is great; as I said, my third favorite in Dallas third only to Coal Vines, the one restaurant in Dallas about which I won’t listen to you talk smack, and Il Cane Rosso. I figured it must be good because their pies were voted “Best Pizza in Dallas” by “The Observer”. The pizzas are cooked in a wood-burning stove and are $13-23 (the regular/metro will feed 1-2/2-3 people, respectively). They don’t limit their menu to just pizza, they have sandwiches, salad wraps, pasta, and desserts. Skip the focaccia bread.

Their decor is rustic with a modern twist – large, black banquettes, pretty cheeky old-school-looking light bulbs, and some exposed brick. They don’t seem to have much lightning and we wondered what happened after the sun went down — apparently they just go with tall jar candles on each table to give it a bit of a romantic Italian vibe.

Bottom line: I’d go back if a friend wanted to go, but I wouldn’t volunteer it again unless I know there will be at least two people on staff for the night … but it’s tough to beat a $2 drink.

Drink strength: 2.5
Overall: 3.5

NEO
www.neopizzeria.com | @neo_pizza
2340 Victory Park Lane | (214) 522-9898

Specials:
Monday-Friday | 2-7 p.m. (ends at 5 p.m. on AAC event days) | $2 wells, domestics, and frozen lemonade

Wednesday | 1/2 price bottles of wine after 7pm

NEO

Just like in the Matrix, Neo was “The One” (well, maybe it’s “The Three” in this case). Neo in Victory Park, the sister restaurant to Olivella’s by SMU, has been on my “To Try” list since it opened. Finally, I made it in and luckily caught their all-night happy hour (or at least the barkeep told me it was).

When I walked in, I was greeted by the bartender (Jake?) and chose a table. I enjoyed a snappily-poured $2 vodka sprite while waiting for my party as the place began to fill up (well, past the 12 people that were there when I walked in). My drink was just strong enough to give me a slight buzz which wasn’t hard due to my completely empty stomach. Once my party arrived we quickly realized that the bartender was not only the bartender, but also the host and waiter.

Overall, our boy, Jake, was quick but not quick enough to serve the 30-or-so patrons all at once; we waited quite a while for him to take our order. While it wasn’t his fault, management may need to revisit their staff schedule.

The drinks aren’t so strong, but they are quick to be made and you can always go with one of their wine or beer selections (both of which have some Italian and American options). I didn’t get to try the frozen lemonade but it looked delicious … just what I’d want on a 102° day.

The pizza is great; as I said, my third favorite in Dallas third only to Coal Vines, the one restaurant in Dallas about which I won’t listen to you talk smack, and Il Cane Rosso. I figured it must be good because their pies were voted “Best Pizza in Dallas” by “The Observer”. The pizzas are cooked in a wood-burning stove and are $13-23 (the regular/metro will feed 1-2/2-3 people, respectively). They don’t limit their menu to just pizza, they have sandwiches, salad wraps, pasta, and desserts. Skip the focaccia bread.

Their decor is rustic with a modern twist – large, black banquettes, pretty cheeky old-school-looking light bulbs, and some exposed brick. They don’t seem to have much lightning and we wondered what happened after the sun went down — apparently they just go with tall jar candles on each table to give it a bit of a romantic Italian vibe.

Bottom line: I’d go back if a friend wanted to go, but I wouldn’t volunteer it again unless I know there will be at least two people on staff for the night … but it’s tough to beat a $2 drink.

Drink strength: 2.5
Overall: 3.5

NEO
www.neopizzeria.com | @neo_pizza
2340 Victory Park Lane | (214) 522-9898

Specials:
Monday-Friday | 2-7 p.m. (ends at 5 p.m. on AAC event days) | $2 wells, domestics, and frozen lemonade

Wednesday | 1/2 price bottles of wine after 7pm

the “crappiest” hour

Well, at least they don’t call it something it’s not.  Dick’s Last Resort’s “crappy hour” (their words, not mine) is exactly that.  This place has always intrigued me because I can’t understand why anyone would pay to be treated badly.

The wait staff is just as irreverent as you’ve heard and it begins at the front door (no, really, it does!)  The front door says “push” when you’re meant to pull – and the hostess laughs at you for pushing.  The regulars here aren’t even really regulars so much as “irregulars”, there are bras on the bar, and it’s very loud.

The drinks are really weak and it takes forever to get another.  At one point, I had to actually yell at my waiter to get him back to our table.  When he brought my drink I asked for a water and got the response, “You should have asked my black ass for a water when you ordered your other drink!”

Positives:  The food is cheap, even without the weekly special, and they portions are huge – try the gator bites and the onion rings.  The bathrooms are extremely clean.  The restaurant is quite large and there is plenty of seating, a patio, and a smoking patio.

I’m not going to rate this one because it’s not the kind of place I’d choose to spend my time, but if a purposefully rude staff is what you’re into … it’s great to grab a bite and a drink (heck, get 7!) here before a game at the AA center so you only have to pay for parking twice.

Drink stength:  1

Overall:  ??

Dick’s Last Resort
www.dickslastresort.com
2211 North Lamar Street
(214) 747-0001

Specials:
Monday-Friday | 4-7 p.m. | 1/2 price apps, $3 wells, $2.50 domestic pints, $3.75 margaritas, $4 wine