Foodbitch’s 2017 Bucket Lists

It all started when I had the worst enchiladas ever, in Huntsville, Texas.

Why was I eating a plate of enchiladas in Huntsville? It’s a long story, but basically I used Foursquare (what?) to find a place to stop along the highway on the way home from Galveston after a family cruise. It was late and the #foodbabies were hungry and someone on Foursquare said the enchiladas were better than some of the Mexican restaurants in the area. WOW they were wrong. And maybe even a little bit racist. I don’t know anything about Huntsville (except that there’s a prison and a prison museum there), but I know there are better enchiladas to be found. There is no photograph of these enchiladas. I would never glorify them by preserving them in that manner. Let’s just say the rice and beans were nothing to speak of, the ground beef was fine, and it was wrapped in what may have been a decent white corn tortilla, but the whole plate was bathed in what I can only describe as ballpark squirty cheese with a distinct Velveeta flavor. That shit has its place, y’know. On nachos at a baseball game (or in hell, take your pick). But never as “queso” on a plate of enchiladas. It was like a nail in the coffin on a shitty year. And I sat there, thinking to myself, “why are folks proclaiming these the best enchiladas ever, and eating shit everywhere, giving all their money to the walmarts of the restaurant world, while places that I love are struggling and even failing? How much more can I scream from the rooftops when something is great so folks should go eat it?” The answer is, well, complicated. 1) I was in Huntsville, duh. 2) Not everybody listens to me or cares. 3) This is the way the world works in business.

Either way, 2016 can eat a bag of dicks tossed in ballpark cheese.

I’ve been feeling a rant coming on, for quite a while now.

Partially because so much has gone wrong this year socially and politically that I can barely focus long enough on one thing to rant on, but also because I’ve been out of town attempting to go on a vacation with my family, I just haven’t been able to get it all down on virtual paper yet. But I’m going to try. I’m going to make a couple of lists.

First, a Bucket List.

These are places that I resolve to revisit this year because I love them and want to give them my money and attention. I hope that my endorsement helps you choose them when you’re thinking about where to eat. Because the reason I started blogging almost a decade ago was to help folks decide which places were worth their hard-earned money, their sparse time and their nights out. I don’t like to waste a meal and I hope you don’t either.

But I do want to share a little something that’s been itching me a bit about the recent restaurant closures in town. I know it’s a sticky situation when people who aren’t personally invested in a business get all grouchy, angry and up-in-arms about places closing when they don’t know the first thing about the business, the neighborhood or the people who run it. I also think the restaurant business is practically a non-profit. It’s like these people are masochists who love to make people happy and will try endlessly to do so even when all diners do is shit one-star Yelp reviews on them, leave shitty tips and spend most of their money at chain restaurants. Customers can be assholes. But not all of us are. And it’s not the customers’ fault if a business fails. It’s more complicated than that. It’s more than “not enough of you people who said you loved this place didn’t come eat here.” I’ve seen a lot of business owners (who definitely have more than their share of frustrations to deal with, hence the whole masochists thing) make fun of their customers and would-be customers on social media over the last few weeks and it’s putting a bad taste in my mouth. I like to think I speak for the people. Restaurant owners: you actually need customers, so don’t be a dick. And customers: just never be an asshole to someone who serves you. That’s all I’m going to say. Rant: over.

So, these thirty spots are on my Bucket List for 2017. Go here and eat and drink and give them your money because they deserve to stay. These places are our gems. If they were gone I would be sad AF.

Disclaimer: I have no idea how these places are doing financially, so some of them are probably banking and in no need of our extra patronage. Either way. Go.

GET DIRTY WITH THESE THIRTY.

  1. Wabi House (Get the dry garlic ramen and all the apps.)
  2. Rapscallion (Cocktails! And the entire menu.)
  3. Top Knot (Everything. But go for brunch because damn. Also the karaage is amazing. As is everything.)
  4. Sushi Bayashi (I am such a fan of this spot in Trinity Groves. Fresh product and knowledgable staff keeps me coming back.)
  5. Val’s Cheesecakes (Val is a sweetheart and cheesecake in a tiny jar is the perfect small indulgence.)
  6. Chino Chinatown (Uno knows how to make every visit a celebration. Drunken Noodles and chicken lollies forever.)
  7. 18th & Vine (Class up your barbecue eating with this lovely spot that deserves attention.)
  8. TJ’s Fish Market (Jon works hard to provide Dallas with the freshest fish to take home or eat in his restaurants. Show him love.)
  9. Coffee House Cafe (Challah French Toast Sandwich, fair trade, shade grown coffee and a drive through. Live music in North Dallas. C’mon!)
  10. Glazed Donutworks (These are the donuts I’d miss most if all the donuts in the world were gone tomorrow. Yes, it’s because they’re gourmet and I’m a snob. Yes they’re expensive but yes they’re also worth it.)
  11. Stackhouse Burgers (Underrated view plus great burgers and fries. Do it.)
  12. Unleavened (Eat East Dallas at this local healthy spot. Everything is fresh and delicious there. Plus kids eat free every day for dinner.)
  13. Bisous Bisous (Because Cronuts)
  14. Sprezza (The best new Italian hands down. Great service at the bar, too. Don’t sleep on it.)
  15. Gemma (Class act. Great for date night!)
  16. Stock & Barrel (Double date night. Love this place and its home in Oak Cliff.)
  17. Goodfriend Burger (One of the best.)
  18. Malai Kitchen (Try the spicy green curry and talk to the owners because they’re awesome and so knowledgable.)
  19. Lake Highlands Creamery (He makes the stuff from scratch. Like really. Nobody is doing that. The spots you think might be doing that? They’re not. Go try it.)
  20. Madrina (This place has it all. It’s worth going to Highland Park for… )
  21. Pakpao (Best fancy Thai in town)
  22. Off-Site Kitchen (My number one burger, especially important now that my fave burger spots are dropping like flies.)
  23. The Grape (Also a great burger, but seriously just a Dallas CLASSIC for dates, brunch, any meal that needs to be just a little bit more special.)
  24. Whisk Crepes Cafe (We have a crepe place? YES. Go eat there.)
  25. Casa Rubia (Tapas done right. Best patatas bravas I’ve ever had.)
  26. Bangkok at Beltline & at Greenville (My choice when it comes to Thai delivery (Greenville) or dine-in (Beltline).)
  27. Montlake Cut (Fancy? Yes. But an instant classic that you should definitely visit if you haven’t already.)
  28. Resident Taqueria (You can’t see this place from the street very well, but East Dallas/Lake Highlands residents know where to get amazing tacos and it’s at Resident. Don’t wait. Go eat them. Seriously.)
  29. Mudhen Meat & Greens (Healthy stuff that is organic and carefully made is a bit more expensive but it’s also worth it. It’s good for you to eat at Mudhen. Go shop at the damn Farmers Market while you’re at it. That place needs love too.)
  30. Carbone’s (Another quiet Italian type. Get in there.)

 

I’m also going to include a Kick-The-Bucket List.

It’s a wish list, of sorts. Like, I wouldn’t cry if I woke up tomorrow and these restaurants had disappeared forever. If you go to one of these regularly or semi-regularly, I’ll do you a solid and slide you a great spot to swap it out with. Happy New Year! Fix your foodie failures! Yes, this is about to get harsh, but they don’t call me foodnicelady so listen up.

Zuzu’s (Substitute with literally any other Mexican food restaurant that has cleaned its floors within the last twenty years.)

Manny’s (While I am happy for them that they’ve been able to be SO successful in that previously cursed spot at Mockingbird/Abrams, queso that bad cannot be excused.)

Ozona’s (A good patio does not equal awesome. Sorry not sorry. Go eat at Henry’s or The Rustic.)

Nodding Donkey (The ND used to have a banner out at the former SMU location touting: “BEST BRUNCH IN DALLAS” and wow was that a joke. That’s just poking the bear (me). They covered every brunch dish in some sort of kitchen sink-style queso that made everything look like puke. Nope.)

The Eberhard (This bar and restaurant has a beautiful, gorgeous space. But honestly some of the worst food and drinks I can remember having in Dallas in a long time. I sincerely hope they can fix their shit, or that they were having a really off day when I came in. Go eat at Madrina or Filament, and go get drinks somewhere sexy like Midnight Rambler.)

Fuzzy’s Tacos (Seriously WTF. There are so many tacos of strong to quite strong quality to be had in this city. Why must people continue to consume something called Fuzzy? And something soooo mediocre?? Just stop it.)

Taco Diner (Two words: BAD CHIPS. Dallas, we’re better than this. Or are we?)

Baker Brothers (Okay I know this is a chain but honestly I think it’s one of the worst and saddest. Well, it’s a tie with Jason’s Deli. Go get yourself a baked potato at a BBQ spot like Lakewood Smokehouse or Ten 50 BBQ or something. Support local. Don’t spend $10 on a stupid-ass sandwich.)

Al Biernat’s (SO OVER IT. Go eat at Knife or Pappa’s, depending on your steaky styles.)

Primo’s Tex Mex (Now that they’ve moved away from their McKinney Avenue spot where you could hang out with Big Al from KISS FM there’s really no reason to ever eat their shitty food again. Right?!)

Picasso’s Pizza (This spot sprung me into action when it came to finding kid-friendly spots that didn’t suck. Thank goodness because it’s still my most popular post on this blog by FAR. Good pizza is easy to find: see Coal Vines below.)

Tortaco (It’s not working. Wayyy too much smoke, not enough fire. Too many chains and motorcycle shit everywhere. Some of the food is good but it’s been overcomplicated. La Ventana and Meso Maya are far choices with supremely better execution.)

Coal Vines (This place is just not good. There are several better pizza places in town: Cane Rosso, Pie Tap, Fireside Pies, Americano.)

VERTS (I don’t care if you lose the KEBAP or whatever. You are not a good kebab joint. You are the Subway of Mediterranean food, and I’ll bet you can guess whether that’s good or bad. Better options for Mediterranean/Greek/Lebanese food: Ali Baba, Little Greek, Ziziki’s.

Digg’s Taco Shop (See Taco Diner, Primo’s, Manny’s, etc. There’s just no excuse to eat mediocre tacos right now.0

Note: I don’t have a problem with taco places that aren’t “authentic” either. I’m not like a taco snob or something. I like Taco Joint, Good 2 Go Taco, Torchy’s and spots like La Banqueta and Tacos Mariachi. What I don’t tolerate is mediocrity and shittyness.

 

Another note: I have over the years been treated to meals at some of the places on both of these lists. That doesn’t make me any less honest about the way I feel about them. Shape up, or ship out. I don’t want to lose one more place that’s awesome because a place that wasn’t took its business. But by the same token if you’re good, don’t rely on just being good. Be awesome: at marketing, customer service, and not being a dick. Good things will happen.

 

LET’S PUT A BULLET IN 2016, TAKE A DEEP BREATH AND WHO THE F KNOWS?

HAPPY NEW YEAR!

 

Tortaco: a Lot of Smoke, and Also Tacos

Tortaco: Smoke and Tacos, Tacos and Smoke

Downtown on Ross, in a space that used to house two failed (yet delicious) Stephan Pyles restaurants, is Tortaco, a reasonably priced Mexican restaurant that is obsessed with Mezcal.

If you’ve had Mezcal, you know it.

It’s a smoky liquor related to tequila but, well, just super smoky. It’s one of those flavors like truffles; it’s overpowering in its flavor and either you love it or hate it.

Personally, I’m not a fan. Smoke flavor, when we’re not talking barbecue, tends to get overwhelming for me after a while. And while I appreciate that Tortaco is trying to push folks’ tastes forward with their Mezcal-centric cocktail menu, when every single cocktail has Mezcal, whether or not the smoke fits in with the flavor profile of the drink, it’s too much.

The atmosphere of the place is a bit disappointing, honestly. Admittedly I’m not the biker bar type, so the interior with its super dark, heavy metal-colored walls with chains everywhere wasn’t appealing to me. Perhaps in the light of day, it’s not quite so dark and Bad To The Bone-esque.

What is working at Tortaco is the uniqueness of the food. Chef Nico Sanchez has been given a lot of freedom to play after developing successful menus at La Ventana and Meso Maya. The menu offers up a wide variety of flavors, from steakhouse to Asian to Tex-Mex to Southern. I wouldn’t say the menu was particularly cohesive, but it was delicious!

 

mac and cheese at Tortaco
decadent mac and cheese at Tortaco

The Bad To The Bone interior at Tortaco
The Bad To The Bone interior at Tortaco

This dish featured raw fish and almost felt like poké
This dish featured raw fish and almost felt like poké

Cauliflower under a blanket of cheese.
Cauliflower under a blanket of cheese.

A beef torta at Tortaco
A beef torta at Tortaco

Tiniest taco -- but with big delicious flavor.
Tiniest taco — but with big delicious flavor.

Ceviche, with a surprising goat cheese addition, was well-balanced and tasty
Ceviche, with a surprising goat cheese addition, was well-balanced and tasty

Smoke on smoke on smoke with a dash of grapefruit
Smoke on smoke on smoke with a dash of grapefruit

Smoke on smoke on smoke with a dash of pineapple
"Date dessert" was a bit smoky. After all that smoke I was ready for something else. “Date dessert” was a bit smoky. After all that smoke I was ready for something else.
 

Tortaco // 2100 Ross, Suite 100 // tortaco.com

 


 

Disclaimer: I was invited in to sample Tortaco’s menu, and thus our meal was comped. Clearly glowing reviews can’t be bought, as this one was not quite glowing. No matter how a meal goes, I always appreciate the opportunity to experience a restaurant and then to share my experience with you all!

Blind Butcher Does Brunch 

Brunch at the Blind Butcher? Sold.

The Blind Butcher is a bar and restaurant on Greenville Avenue that I’ve spent embarrassingly little time inside. Maybe it’s the fact that I don’t drink a lot or that I don’t eat pork, but every time I think of this place, I think to myself, “Man! I’ve got to get down there.”

Well, if there’s one thing that can reel me in to a restaurant, it’s brunch. So when I heard the Butcher was butchin’ up brunch on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays, I hit up a Friday lunch/brunch with a friend and we had a lovely time. Here’s a visual tour of our meal.

 

The Bar at the Blind Butcher

Toad in the hole at Blind Butcher

The Full English Breakfast at Blind Butcher

The Full English Breakfast at Blind Butcher

Since I don’t dig on swine, the Full English Breakfast was a slight bit lost on me. I got about a 2/3 English Breakfast, though, which was plenty of food and plenty delicious. The beans surprised me most; I assumed I wouldn’t care for that particular breakfast element, but I was wrong. They were a delightful addition to the brunch plate. Things we didn’t order but will definitely consider for next time include:

  • Hungover Poutine
  • Daily quiche option
  • Corned beef hash

Yup. Whether you roll up to the Blind Butcher on a Friday (because when eating brunch on Friday is an option you should obviously do it), or wait for the weekend to head over, I say go for it. The place offers up freshly made, honest plates of good food without an ounce of pretense. That’s awesome.

 

Blind Butcher // 1919 Greenville Avenue // theblindbutcher.com

 


Disclaimer: I was invited in to review the Blind Butcher’s new brunch menu by the folks at the Blind Butcher. But I assure you, as always, my favorable reviews can’t be bought with free eggs-in-toast or anything else. 

It’s Chrismukkah! Make Your Holidays Easy with Eatzi’s #TakeItEatzis #Sponsored

It’s true what people are saying.

The holidays are getting out of hand. Spending-wise, expectations-wise and definitely stress-wise. All you really need to get in the holiday spirit are a few meaningful traditions, some festive atmosphere and the people you care about. Oh, and food. Lots of food. I happen to love cooking and entertaining, but I just did all that for Thanksgiving, big time. So now that the holidays are like, almost here, I jumped at the chance to let the folks at Eatzi’s treat me to a super easy takeaway catered Chrismukkah dinner, from apps to ‘zerts, so I could tell y’all all about it.

chrismukkah tablescape by foodbitch, food by eatzi's

Picking up was super easy.

Just show up, give them your name and they’ll bring you the goods. They’ll even help you to your car because they’re sweet like that. Also included? Directions for warming, because everything comes packed for baking in a 350-degree oven for 5-30 minutes depending on the dish, which made prep super easy. And that way I could set my gilded Chrismukkah tablescape while everything was warming up.

chrismukkah tablescape by foodbitch, food by eatzi's

The food:

Appetizers like fried mac and cheese balls were a huge hit with the kids (and adults). The salad came together perfectly and complemented both the horseradish-crusted salmon and the cajun turkey. They were delicious. Other sides like five spice acorn squash, mashed potatoes and maple sriracha brussels sprouts rounded out our meal nicely.

photo by foodbitch, food by eatzi's

Sweet spot.

I think it’s fair to say Eatzi’s is known for their baked goods, so it’s no surprise that the dessert situation was a good one. Look at this beautiful mocha buche de noel! It was like a mousse-filled, gilded chocolate cloud. The platter of Christmas cookies were each so different I had to try them all (and I might have enjoyed a few more with my coffee this morning). And finally, a chocolate Nutella babka. Seriously. The Jews do love our babka!

photo by foodbitch, food by eatzi's

Thank you, Eatzi’s!

Thanks for making our Chrismukkah dinner so special. If you’re thinking of making your next holiday meal a hell of a lot easier to host, give Eatzi’s a try. Take a look at their Christmas menu here, and note that they’ll have Hanukkah items available on the 24th. And remember what I said: take it easy on yourself this holiday season. 2016 was rough. Sit down sooner, relax more, cook less. Just this once. I won’t tell.

 

Eatzi’s //  several area locations // eatzis.com


DISCLAIMER: Eatzi’s offered me this catered meal so I could share it on foodbitch.me. Approx. value: $225.

 

Fall in Love with Abacus’ New Fall Menu and Happy Hour

First things first:

Abacus is launching a fall happy hour with $12 appetizers and $6 cocktails. This is a stellar deal when you consider we’re talking about Abacus. A Dallas mainstay of high-end dining and the home of the infamous lobster shooters. So on Tuesdays through Fridays from 5:00 to 6:30, I suspect this would be a fab hang.  Here are a few snaps:

The new fall menu items are as follows:

Seared Hudson Valley Foie Gras with Oatmeal Cream Pie Pomegranate Reduction and Orange-Fennel Marmalade

Garam Masala Dusted Maple Leaf Farms Duck Breast with Grilled Leg Confit, Saffron Rice and Tikka Masala Cream

Wood Roasted Bone Marrow with “Notorious O.A.T.” Mustard, Honey Roasted Figs and Shaved Bourbon Smoked Cheddar

Beeman Ranch Akashi Beef Tartare with Kalamata Olive Aioli, Castelvetrano Olives, Sunchoke Chips and Quail Egg

Pan Seared Mediterranean Bronznini with Baby Bok Choy, Snow Peas, Scallions, Purple Sweet Potato and Blood Orange Ama-Zu Ponzu

Wood Fired Cervena Venison with Vanilla-Parsnip Puree, Juniper Smoked Romanesco Cauliflower and Sour Cherry Reduction

New dessert items by Chef Cessy:

Apricot Gyoza: Apricot Compote, Toffee Lace Tuille, Cinnamon Icing, Black Sesame Granola, Lemon Ginger Sorbet

Sacher Torte: Dark Chocolate Cremeux, Chocolate Sacher Cake, Chocolate Paper, Cherry Fluid Gel, Pistachio Fennel Crumble, Cherry Vanilla Ice Cream

 

Image of Chef Chris Patrick via abacus-restaurant.com
Image via abacus-restaurant.com

The new Executive Chef over at Abacus, Chris Patrick, has been part of the team for a while now, but is truly coming into his own with this new menu.

Here’s a little Q&A for you.

Foodbitch: How did your culinary path lead you to where you are?

Chef Patrick: Early in my career I made it a goal to expose myself to as many different cuisines as I could. I think this choice of exposure helped prepare me for my current role at Abacus. As far as how I got to Abacus, my wife actually sent my resume to the company to apply for a position in one of our other properties without telling me that she had. I wasn’t happy where I was working at the time and I guess she was tired of hearing me complain about it. After cooking a tasting for Chef Kent I ended up at Abacus. It all happened very fast and I am thankful every day to be here.

FB: What is it like taking the helm of a Dallas institution like Abacus as such a young executive chef?

CP: My team and I have been writing and executing the menus at Abacus for three years now so I guess I am used to the pressure of our client’s expectations. I am very humbled and honored to be where I am and working with the staff I work with on a daily basis. I get to work with some very talented individuals who inspire me every day.

FB: What inspired the new fall menu? (Besides fall ;)

CP: For me this new fall menu is a chance to start with a clean slate. We are trying some new things that have never been seen at Abacus and I am pleased with the feedback from our guests. Change is always a good thing and it opens the door for new possibilities.

FB: What’s your favorite thing on it?

CP: My favorite item is the Wood Roasted Marrow Bones. I love bone marrow and I am happy that so many of our guest love it as well!

FB: What do you like to make at home when you’re not working?

CP: I am a sucker for anything Tex Mex or Mexican inspired. Having said that, barbacoa is one of my favorite things to cook and eat at home.

FB: If you put together an Abacus Date Night Menu For Two, what would be on it? Please include drinks.

CP: I would keep things light and to share for a date night menu with some craft cocktails by Jordan Gantenbein.

First:
Beeman Ranch Akaushi Beef Tartare, Kalamata Olive Aioli
Castelvetrano, Sunchoke Chips, Quail Egg
Ritz Cocktail: Remy Martin VSOP, Cointreau, Luxardo Maraschino , Lemon, champagne
Second:
Seared Hudson Valley Foie Gras, Oatmeal Cream Pie
Pomegranate Reduction, Orange-Fennel Marmalade
And Everything Nice: Bruchkaddich Islay Barley, Mt. Gay Black Barrel Rum
Lemon, Darjeeling Tea, Sugar, Absinth, Orange Bitters
Third:
Hickory Grilled Cervena Venison, Vanilla-Parsnip Puree
Juniper Spiced Romanesco Cauliflower, Sour Cherry Reduction
Barrel Aged Old Fashioned: Very Old Barton, Orange, Angostura Bitters, Vanilla
Fourth:
Sacher Torte, Dark Chocolate Cremeux, Pistachio-Fennel Crumble
Cherry Vanilla Ice Cream
Graham’s 20 Yr. Tawny
FB: Ooh, I hope my Food Bastard is paying attention because that sounds like a killer date night. Tell me about Chef Cessy and how you guys work together.

CP: Cessy is a rockstar. We hit it off on my first interview with her and I knew she had something going on. We are still getting to know each other but she has a great sense of humor and attitude and is an amazing addition to our team. I look forward to seeing even more great things from her next year!

Us too, chef, from both of you!
Abacus // 4511 McKinney Avenue // kentrathbun.com

Disclaimer: the dishes and cocktails pictured in this post were part of a media tasting featuring the new menu at Abacus. Thus, the food and drinks offered to the media present was comped for the purposes of review and publication.

A Park & Palate 2016 Recap with Pictures

In August we got a sneak preview of this year’s Park & Palate that tempted us with hamachi, sweet desserts by pastry chef Julie Vorce, and plenty of bubbles. Chefs and barmen gathered to let the media know about the annual fundraiser for the park and all it would entail this year.

Fast forward to October 22

Then the real day came and we got to frolic in the park with cocktails in hand and plenty to taste. The decor was gorgeous, the day was warm but not too warm and the people-watching was fab. There was just so much to taste, see and sip!

Oh snap.

Here’s a bunch of photos I took:

Recap: Dallas is serious about its food and its drinks.

Honestly, Park and Palate is just as inventive, fun and delicious as any big food event in another city, whether it be FEAST Portland or Austin Food and Wine. It can truly compete with the best of the best. If you’re into food, you’ll want to get into P&P next year. Plus, it helps support the park, and that’s a cause we can all get behind.

 

 


 

Disclaimer: I was given complimentary media access to the Grand Taste event.

Because Thanksgiving: Give The Power of Pie Through Sunday

screen-shot-2016-11-17-at-3-34-25-pm

Good news! This opportunity has been extended through Sunday!

If you’re like me and you’ve been trying to find things to be thankful for lately, one thing you can be thankful for is your health. That you’re not hungry. And that there are organizations like VNA Texas and Meals on Wheels that take care of people who aren’t as lucky as you and I are.

So, let’s turn that thankful spirit into something special and delicious and celebrate the Power of Pie! Power of Pie is a program where you buy a Pumpkin or Pecan pie for $25, and your $25 is donated to VNA/Meals on Wheels. Win-Win. Pie Power. But that’s not all. These pies are baked by local area celebuchefs, restauranteurs, and all sorts of people who know what they’re doing when it comes to Pumpkin and Pecan pies. These pies are no joke. But they are fun. Because you don’t know who made the pie you’re getting when you get it! So exciting. Put another in the “win” column for fun.

screen-shot-2016-11-17-at-3-34-08-pm

Participating chefs:

Jill Bates of Fearing’s

Gianni Santin of Haute Sweets

Maggie Huff of FT33

Chad Houser at Cafe Momentum

Danyele McPherson at Remedy and HG Supply

Nicolas Blouin at the Rosewood Mansion on Turtle Creek

John Tesar of Knife

Anastacia Quiñones of Oddfellows

And a lil pie spot called Norma’s

I highly recommend you go ahead and take the opportunity to make Power of Pie your gift of choice, or bring these fabulous chef-made pies to friendsgiving, worksgiving or your regular Thanksgiving, or just eat one yourself because pie.

Click here to go buy one right now.

 

Questions? Visit PowerofPie.org.

 

Sneak VIPeek: Uptown Urban Market 

Food halls. They’re a new trend in the restaurant biz and one is finally poised to open in Dallas. The Uptown Urban Market, in the former Sfuzzi space (formerly the NAAN/weird-ass burger space), is almost ready. I happened to drive by at just the right moment to catch Jonathan Tobolosky, one of the partners and a friend of mine, on his way to his car. He offered me a quick tour. I saw the speakeasy-esque bar called the Ill Minster, which is super cool, but wouldn’t really photograph too well, and I got to walk through the kitchen and all around the hall itself. Here’s what I saw inside:

Uptown Urban Market, photo by foodbitch

Uptown Urban Market, photo by foodbitch

Uptown Urban Market, photo by foodbitch

Uptown Urban Market, photo by foodbitch

Uptown Urban Market, photo by foodbitch

Uptown Urban Market, photo by foodbitch

The list of the Uptown Urban Market’s vendors is pretty awesome: Fireside Pies, Sushi by Yama, La Duni, Buda Juice, Tiffany Derry’s Cupboard, The Hot Counter, Bar UP, and Ill Minster. Cool stuff and more on the way, basically.

Fast forward a couple weeks later and after waiting for permits and whatnot, I got word from one Miss Tiffany Derry that she will be opening The Cupboard for business this Wednesday, and that the rest of the Uptown Urban Market will be opening on Friday the 18th.

Until then, you can read more about the Uptown Urban Market on Eater Dallas, y’know, if you wanna.

 

Uptown Urban Market // 2600 Cedar Springs Road  // uptownurbanmarket.com

MEAT FIGHT 2016

The meatiest event of the year has come and gone, but not before lifting our spirits and raising a whopping $175,000 for the National MS Society and Meat Bikes. 

Who won? Our stomachs did. Oh. The like, winners. Here’s the official list:

Brisket: Omar Flores
Sausage: Anastacia Quinones

Pork Ribs: Oliver Sitrin

Beef Ribs: Patton Robertson

People’s Choice: Andrew Dilda

Best Team: Meat Sweats: Tiffany Derry, Jeana Johnson, Patton Robertson, Eric Dreyer

Sideshow:

1st: Bacon Tower: Travis & Emma Heim

2nd: Meatlennium Falcon: Sarah Green and Brian Zenner

3rd: Wagyu Frito Pie: Janice Provost

/////

Personally, I think the wildcard meat, beef ribs, was a stellar choice this year, and my fave was made by chef Danyele  McPherson’s, but I’m no meat judge. That’s why you’ve gotta come taste for yourself, right??

Oh, and if you missed out? Don’t complain of MEAT FOMO, just don’t make that mistake again. There just aren’t that many opportunities to have this much delicious fun while supporting a cause so important. And don’t forget that every single person in attendance pays to be there, and that every dollar of their ticket price (besides the lil fee from prekindle) goes to the cause. Trust me: I am fortunate enough to get to go to a ton of events. This is rare! 

And now let’s take a look back at the deliciousness in photos, shall we?

Sneak #VIPeek: Toasted Coffee + Kitchen

Toasted Coffee + Kitchen is finally ready to open its doors on Lower Greenville, and it’s about to do just that on Monday. Coffee, wine on tap, beer, and of course toast on house-baked breads will be available to all who enter. The whole place is a custom job, design-wise, and it’s pretty cool. There are custom art pieces, inlaid ice buckets in the indoor-outdoor, dog-friendly patio space for mimosas, custom wooden tabletops and metal bases while the human friendly tricked out bar area has a gorgeous live edge wooden bar and a business loft complete with a printer.

Take a look around with me:

Toasted will open Monday, November 7 with a limited menu.

Toasted // 5420 Ross Avenue // toasted.coffee

Cheers for a Cause: The Ultimate Cocktail Experience at Klyde Warren Park Nov. 5

It’s time again for the Ultimate Cocktail Experience.

Though the name itself sounds a bit generic, it’s quite a badass event. First of all, there’s a worthy cause: Trigger’s Toys, a charity that serves children and families of children who require extended medical assistance in DFW. They give these kids care packages and toys, and they provide events and financial assistance to those in need. 

Secondly, if you’ve ever wanted to drink with all of the best bartenders in the city at once? Like 40 different cocktails? Yeah that sounds like fun. Well, here’s your chance. Behold, the teams:

(Oh, and by the way, the bars below are among the best in the state, so next time you’re looking for a watering hole, you know where to click.)

screen-shot-2016-10-20-at-9-26-23-pmAFRICA

Captain: Bryan Dalton- Mexican Sugar

screen-shot-2016-10-20-at-9-26-07-pmASIA

Captain: Kiyoko Kinoshita- Midnight Rambler

screen-shot-2016-10-20-at-9-25-56-pmEUROPE

Captain: Jenny Park- Filament

screen-shot-2016-10-20-at-9-25-40-pmNORTH AMERICA

Captain: Andrew Stofko- Victor Tangos

screen-shot-2016-10-20-at-9-25-27-pmSOUTH AMERICA

Captain: Ravinger Singh- Rapscallion

BATCHING TEAM

Captain: Mati Hartai- HG Supply Co

These guys and gals (about 100 more bartenders spread across the teams) are at the top of their cocktail games, and you can be there to see and taste it, while giving back. It’s a win-win.


The Ultimate Cocktail Experience will happen on November 5 at Klyde Warren Park at 6:30 p.m.

Tickets: http://www.prekindle.com/promo/id/24545708307178770.
More information and donations: triggerstoys.org.

 

Peep the Menu at the NEW Kitchen LTO in Deep Ellum

Kitchen LTO in Deep Ellum (re)opens Tuesday, October 25.

Kitchen LTO, Dallas’ permanent pop-up has restored its permanent status with a new location in Deep Ellum. Here’s what you need to know.

 

Inside the new Kitchen LTO: Gallery LTO
Photo by Kevin Marple

kitchenlto7245Chef: Josh Harmon

Chef Harmon has a lovely resume, y’all. Good names on this thing.
Here’s a little somethin-somethin’ about him, from the good old press release:

“Born in Tennessee, raised in Texas and graduating high school in LA, he was exposed to an array of different cultures that would play a big role in the way he cooks today. Harmon has trained and staged in some of the best kitchens in the states, from David Burkes’ Townhouse, to Buddhakan in the Chelsea Market, Le Cirque in the Bloomberg Tower to Grace in Fort Worth as well as FT33 and Driftwood in Dallas.

When Harmon returned to Texas in 2012, he became Chef de Cuisine at The Milk & Honey Co. where he received multiple accolades. The Star Telegram said, “Its kitchen is turning out some of the area’s more progressive and imaginative nouveau Southern cooking”.  After leaving Milk & Honey in 2013, Harmon went to Grace and worked as Chef de Partie with Chefs Blain Staniford, Victor Villarreal, and Ryan Martin. In 2014, Harmon took the Lead Cook position at Savor in Dallas with Chefs Matt Hanke and Joe Sigliano.

He most recently created the new seasonally driven globally influenced French menu at Main Street Bistro & Bakery in Grapevine.”

melissa-ellis-headshot-copyArtist: Melissa Ellis

Here’s what’s changing about the art. It’s now called “Gallery LTO.”

“More emphasis will be placed on artists than before with Ellie Visconti serving as Art Curator for Gallery LTO. Visconti, a 15-year veteran of the Dallas design and art scene has chosen Melissa Ellis to be the first featured artist. Ellis is a Native Texan and East Dallas resident specializing in abstract and contemporary nature oil paintings.  Her bold use of color is apparent in all of her work, from large-scale heavily textured abstracts, to delicate paintings of flowers, plants and trees.  She uses creative and unique techniques, often using a palette knife, to create motion, texture and depth.”

No more voting.

Now the chefs and artists will be chosen by the experts. Sorry, public and “Fickle 500.” Y’all are fired.

Kitchen LTO Korean Sticky Duck Leg. Photo by Kevin Marple
Photo by Kevin Marple

New menus!

Peep ’em right here! Woohoo!!

lto-dinner-menu lto-brunch-menu

 

New digs!

Kitchen LTO’s new Deep Ellum address is: 2901 Elm Street

Here’s when you can eat there:

Dinner: TuesdayThursday 5pm – 11pm;
Friday & Saturday 5pm – 11pm;

(Lunch: Coming Soon)

Brunch: Saturday 11am – 3pm | Sunday 11am – 5pm (begins immediately)

 


Kitchen LTO // 2901 Elm Street // kitchenlto.com

Chefs for Farmers 2016 Wrapup

I came. I ate (SO MUCH!). I judged.

That’s my Chefs For Farmers 2016 experience in a nutshell. But it’s so much more than that!! I don’t need to retell the story of CFF; you can read that over on their site. But I will show you the main event in pictures, and make sure you know who all the lovely local chefs, out-of-town chefs, food artisans and farmers are who came and gave their all over the fabulous weekend.

In the end, an oyster from Jesse Houston and his team at Saltine Oyster Bar in Jackson, MS won best dish, and Emma and Travis Heim of the famous Heim Barbecue & Catering from Fort Worth, TX stole everyone’s hearts with their bacon burnt ends-topped salad.

But the real winner? My stomach. Take a look at most of what went down.

Chefs for Farmers, foodbitch view:

 

 



Local Chefs:

Jon Alexis | TJ’s Fresh Seafood Market & Grill

Damian Avila | Lockhart Smokehouse

Brian Bell | The blind butcher

Richard Blankenship | CBD Provisions

Junior Borges | The Joule

Kirstyn Brewer | Victor Tangos

Graham Dodds | Wayward Sons

Brandon Drew | Pyramid

Eric Dreyer | Fearing’s Restaurant

Matt Dallman | 18th & Vine Barbeque

David Fingerman | Madrina

Chef Gorgi | Canary by Gorji

Scott Gottlich | The Second Floor by Scott Gottlich

Emma and Travis Heim | Heim Barbecue & Catering

Jeffrey Hobbs | The Slow Bone

Chad Houser | Cafe Momentum

Tim Hutchins | Hutchins BBQ

Dan Landsberg | Dragonfly at Hotel ZaZa

Brian Luscher | Luscher’s Red Hots

Robert Lyford | Patina Green Home and Market

Chef Matt McCallister | FT33 and Filament

Brad Phillips | Asador Restaurant

Janice Provost | Parigi Restaurant

Jeramie Issac Robison | Uchi Dallas

Abraham Salum | Salum Restaurant

Stefano Secchi | Ferrari’s Italian Villa

Andrea Schackelford | Harvest Seasonal Kitchen

Kevin Spencer | SĒR Steak + Spirits

Nathan Tate | Boulevardier and Rapscallion

Chef John Tesar | Knife Dallas

Chef Jon Thompson

Nick Walker | Rosewood Mansion on Turtle Creek

Mark Wootton | Garden Cafe

Sharon Van Meter | 3015 at Trinity Groves

Out-of-Town Chefs include:

Greg Baker | The Refinery and Fodder and Shine in Tampa, FL

David Bancroft | Acre in Auburn, AL

Justin Carlisle | Ardent in Milwaukee, WI

Alex Eaton | The Manship in Jackson, MS

Jodi Elliott | Bribery Bakery in Austin, TX

Jesse Houston | Saltine Oyster Bar in Jackson, MS

Kevin Johnson | The Grocery in Charleston, SC

Jeremiah Langhorne | The Dabney in Washington, DC

Rebecca Masson | Fluff Bake Bar in Houston, TX

Steve McHugh of Cured at Pearl | San Antonio, TX

Sarah Simmons & Aaron Hoskins | Birds & Bubbles and City Grit in New York, NY

Stephen Stryjewski | Cochon in New Orleans, LA

William Wright | Helen Greek Food and Wine in Houston, TX

Food Artisans:

Bisous Bisous Pâtisserie

Empire Baking Company

Jammit Jam

Local Press + Brew

Pachi Pachi Cheese

Pop Star Handcrafted Popsicles

The Mozzarella Company

Noble Coyote Coffee Roasters

Scardello Artisan Cheese

Spice Madam

Wheat & Sour

2016 Participating Farmers:

A Bar N Ranch

Amelia’s Farm

Bonton Farms

Cartermere Farms

Comeback Creek Farm

Coyote Creek Organic Feed Mill and Farm

Dallas Urban Farms

Eden’s Organic Garden Center/CSA Farm

Farmers Assisting Returning Military – FARM

Fruge Seafood

Garden Harvests Farm

Juha Ranch

Rae Lili Farm

South Texas Heritage Pork

Sun E Farm

Texas Honeybee Guild

Texas Olive Ranch

The Good Egg


Disclaimer: I was selected as a judge for this year’s Chefs for Farmers main event, and thus I was gifted VIP access from the CFF team.

Foodbitch Travel Playbook: Feast Portland in pictures

I came, I saw, I FEASTED.

If you’ve been following along (THANKS Y’ALL!), you know was out at FEAST Portland a couple weeks ago. I’m still full.

I wanted to take a bit of time to go back and show you all the delicious beauty I encountered, or at least a pretty good sampling of it.

Things you’ll see here: Bottles of rosé, the results of a bloody good bloody mary bar, Solo Club wine cocktails, a cracked-out chicken biscuit, killer gazpacho, amazeballs brownies, tomato salad that almost made me cry it was so good, gorgeous beet salad, bottles of champagne, charcuterie for days, a chocolate toffee situation, and just all the things.

 

Again, big thanks to the team at FEAST Portland for having me out for my first FEAST. And thanks to all my peeps at home for following along!

xo!

fb

Shake Shack Shacktoberfest Starts Today. Here’s What’s On The Menu:

Here’s how Shake Shack does Oktoberfest:

If you’re not Oktoberfesting, what the heck are you doing?

 

They’ve got a big, big Brooklyn Brewery Oktoberfest beer in a commemorative glass for $10.
A cheddar-stuffed-brat-on-a-burger situation (Brat Burger), complete with beer-fried shallots and Shacksauce ($7.59),
A Shackmeister Brat topped with cheese sauce (the adorable Shake Shack word for/impression of queso) ($5.29),
A toasted soft pretzel with Bavarian spices (available with cheese sauce for a buck) ($3),
A Black Forest Milkshake,
And my favorite, the delicious Apfelstrudel Shake.

 

We got a #VIPeek on Thursday afternoon, during the slight dip in business, which happens around 3pm on weekdays only (HINT-HINT).

Big thanks to Shake Shack for having us out for a taste! Or DANKE as they say in Ze German.

OH and P.S. these special Oktoberfest Shacktoberfest items are only available until October 2. So hurry!


Shake Shack // 2500 N. Pearl Street // shakeshack.com

 

 


Disclaimer: This #VIPeek was by invitation and all food and drink items were comped by the team at Shake Shack for review. This doesn’t change my opinions. I still love the original Shackburger and the Chick n’ Shack best. But that strudel shake… Damn.

Brunch at Top Knot

I don’t know how else to say this, but Top Knot is officially turning out my favorite brunch in town. All others can go ahead and try to convince me otherwise.

Now they’re upping the ante with a concept called Top Knot & Chill, a brunch featuring “Rosè All Day” (half-off all rosè options by the bottle or glass), and $3 glasses and $9 carafes of their Honeydew Bellini  (sparkling wine, fresh juiced honeydew, peach purée, lime) or Mimosa (sparkling wine, fresh squeezed orange juice). A local DJ and Cowboys games will round out the “chill.”

But then there’s the food. Take a look.

Top Knot & Chill brunch is every Sunday from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. in celebration of patio season. No reservations necessary.

Top Knot // 2817 Maple Avenue and above Uchi // topknot.com

NOTE: I was invited in to sample Top Knot’s brunch offerings for the purposes of a review. That fact doesn’t change my opinion, as per usual. I’d absolutely spend my own money at Top Knot any day of the week.

FEAST Portland Here I Come

It’s time to FEAST!

Starting Thursday, I’ll be heading to FEAST Portland. What is it? It’s like the New York Food & Wine Festival of Portland. So, like the more hippie version, I suppose. I’ve been dying to go and this is my first time, but I’m more excited to share my virgin trip to FEAST with all of you. Here’s my little FEAST Portland social guide to help you follow along from home.

foodbitch on instagram storiesInstagram Stories

The best live content from my time at FEAST is going to go down on Instagram Stories. Follow along as I show you the best of the fest from a behind-the-scenes point-of-view.

foodbitch grammin' in PortlandInstagram

Pictures pretty enough to make the cut will end up on Instagram each day. I don’t want to overwhelm y’all, so I’ll TRY to limit myself. It’s going to be REAL hard. I’ll probably end up making some flipagram videos or something, most likely.  Hope you like.

chat my snaps, y'allSnapchat

Prefer to snap? I don’t. But I get that some folks are millenials and love that shit. So I’ll see what I can do, OK?

(Username: askfoodbitch https://www.snapchat.com/add/askfoodbitch)

Like your favorite bitch on the FacebooksFacebook

I’ll be sharing some of what I post to Instagram on Facebook as well, in addition to the aforementioned Flipagrams to sum up my days.

Twitter: the original bitchfestTwitter

Hang out with me on Twitter if you just want to read my general observations about the festival as well as Portland in general. Fair warning: I think I’m funny sometimes. And I’ll probably be drinking more than a little, so things can only go downhill from there.

 

That’s it! I hope you’ll follow along as I eat and drink my way through FEAST Portland. And if you’ll be there too — say hey!

xo,

foodbitch

 


 

NOTE: I’m heading to FEAST Portland on a blogger/media pass, compliments of the festival, so most of the events and samplings, etc. that I am lucky enough to get into and taste will be comped. However, throughout the fest as always, my opinions will be my own.

#SPONSORED // Beer, Brats & Burbs: Experience Oktoberfest in Historic Downtown McKinney

If you’ve never been to Oktoberfest in Downtown McKinney, this should probably be the year you go. There’s so much going on over the three-day festival, with so many opportunities to eat, drink and be merry inside those 14 blocks of beer garden.

Oktoberfest sounds like something worth driving out to the burbs for, and coming from this bitch, that’s saying something.

From brat eating contests to weenie dog races, a giant chicken dance to beer pong games of Olympic proportions, Oktoberfest is fun for all ages. Starting Friday, September 23 and going through Sunday, September 25, the schedule is packed with activities, live music performances and everything Bavarian.

Admission to the festival is free, but food, drinks and some of the activities like the carnival, petting zoo, rock climbing and more, will cost tickets. These are available for purchase at the fest, naturally. Check out more info here in the FAQs.

Want another peek? Here’s a video from our friends at the City of McKinney:

 

Visit the McKinney Oktoberfest Eventbrite page to buy tickets in advance, and enjoy the festival!

 

McKinney Oktoberfest // 111 N. Tennessee, McKinney, TX 75069 // mckinneyoktoberfest.com

 


NOTE: This post was sponsored by the City of McKinney.

foodbitch Travel PlayBook // The Hilton Anatole: Dallas’ Resort Oasis

Let’s Staycation! Dallas’ Hilton Anatole

If our Staycation at The Highland Dallas was a “Steak-cation,” then this one at the Hilton Anatole was an “Resort-cation.”

This is because the best and most recent addition to the Hilton Anatole is its JadeWaters water park, boasting two water slides, a swim up bar, splash pools and other fun water features for kids, deeper spots for adults to relax and a badass 630-ft. long lazy river for everyone. Cabanas and daybeds for rent can kick your stay up a notch and make you feel like a celeb for a day. Well, that along with the plethora of friendly and helpful staff who are there to take extremely good care of you. There’s also a spa at the hotel, if you’re into that sort of thing. And if you’re not, why are you reading my Travel PlayBook anyway?

When friends and followers ask, I describe JadeWaters as just as resort-like as any all-inclusive resort in Mexico, but with far better drinks and better quality food. You’re not going to find fresh watermelon chunks, or even a skinny margarita option, and certainly not a wagyu hot dog, at an all-inclusive. I say, take the cost of that flight you didn’t spend and get a cabana and a few pitchers of margs! Win! Oh, and you won’t hear the same three songs played over and over, with some DJ trying to get everyone to do the Hokey Pokey or something all day either. You’ll realize real quick you’re not at Sandals.

Look up, look down, and drink it all in.

 

JadeWaters at the Hilton Anatole is AHHHHHmazing.

I mean, from the moment you walk past these wooden panels, you’ll feel a bit more Zen. With kiddos or without (we arrived with twin foodbabies in tow), you can relax because there are lifeguards on staff, plenty of towels, beach loungers, tubes for the lazy river and not too much activity. The Hilton folks put some thought into the design of the $20 million dollar park, and it feels peaceful from nearly every angle. You might just forget you’re mere minutes from home.

The ultimate Dallas Staycation

We came. We played. We stayed.

I recommend a staycation at the Hilton Anatole wholeheartedly, because having done the whole 4-day-mini-all-inclusive-vacay thing in Mexico, it’s fun to get away, but if it can be this fun to stay and play right here at home? Save the airfare and add it to the “play” pile!

Keep in mind that at least for now, JadeWaters is only open to hotel guests. However, confirmed guests can purchase additional wristbands (up to 6 total) for additional entry to JadeWaters. These wristbands start at $25 per person. 

 

Hilton Anatole // 2201 N. Stemmons Freeway // hiltonanatolehotel.com

 


NOTE: This staycation was offered to me by the folks at Hilton in exchange for a review. Approx. value: $500.

5 Reasons to Get Excited for #Dallas’ First @ShakeShack, Opening September 1

DALLAS’ FIRST @SHAKESHACK, OPENS TOMORROW, SEPTEMBER 1 AT THE CRESCENT IN UPTOWN!

(above images by Joy Zhang)

Dallas’ First Shake Shack is coming to the Crescent (and not to Frisco, as was first reported, thank sweet Cheeseburger Jesus). I got a little #VIPeek action this afternoon, so here’s what you should be most excited about…

  1. Our own special menu

    Dallas' first Shake Shack opens September 1 -- photo by foodbitch
    Dallas’ first Shake Shack opens September 1

    As is the Shake Shack way, every city gets its own special menu items. It’s cute.
    Pictured above, in between the Chick’n Shack and the ShackBurger, is one of our Dallas specialties, the Link Burger. It features a jalapeño cheese sausage link from Pecan Lodge (which you might have heard of if you’re not dead or something), on top of a cheeseburger. People are raving. But honestly, I’m more excited to taste our Dallas-specific concretes, which feature Dude Sweet Chocolate and Emporium Pies PIE. Because I am a cheeseburger purist and I know ShakeShack’s are the shit. Now it’s time to have a milkshake that brings all the cowboys to the yard. Hell yeah!

  2. THIS chicken sandwich

    Dallas' first Shake Shack sneak peek pics by foodbitch
    Chick’n Shack in typical food blogger configuration

    I mean, you can tell just by looking at it that it’s gonna be good. Buttermilk herb mayo? All of it. Pickles that look like those?? Yes please! And look at that crisped-up chicken breast! Perfection.

  3. THIS flat-top hot dog situation

    Dallas' first Shake Shack sneak peek pics by foodbitch
    Shack-cado dog

    All the fixin’s on a Vienna all-beef dog.

  4. This ShackBurger and double ShackBurger

    Dallas' first Shake Shack sneak peek pics by foodbitch
    double ShackBurger at Dallas’ first Shake Shack

    This type of thing is my first Shake Shack love and I don’t think anything can beat it. The potato bun, Shack sauce, crisp veggies, thick-cut pickle and a double helping of classic cheeseburger awesomeness.

  5. Because it’s gonna be BIG!

    Dallas' first Shake Shack Shake Shack sneak peek pics by foodbitch
    See what I did there?

    Three words: Crinkle. Cut. Fries.

Dallas' first Shake Shack opens September 1 -- photo by foodbitch
Dallas’ first Shake Shack opens September 1

 

See you guys at the Shack. It’s going to be a beautiful thing.


Shake Shack // 2400 North Pearl (at the Crescent) // shakeshack.com

Presenting… The 2016 Big Tex Choice Awards Finalists… in Emojis

It’s the 2016 Big Tex Choice Awards Finalists … In Emojis!

It’s that time of year again. Big Tex himself and the rest of the folks from the State Fair of Texas just announced all the finalists for the most creative, best tasting and … is there a prize yet for who can get the most people to eat the weirdest shit yet? No? Well, there should be. Anyway, everyone is talking about fried Jello and the random stringing together of seemingly unrelated words that people will deep fry and serve in exchange for coupons of unknown exchange rate. THIS IS WHAT WE DO.

What I’m saying is, these finalists are made up of a lot of words. So I thought I’d help everyone decipher all the gobbledygook with a little help from my colorful frenemies, the emojis. Enjoy!

(All descriptions via official State Fair of Texas 2016 Big Tex Choice Awards press release.)

Caribbean Pineapple Corn Corpse
Caribbean Pineapple Corn Corpse

Caribbean Pineapple Korn-a-Copia by Stephen Alade

“Bringing a taste of Caribbean flare to the Fair, this dish stands out among the rest with its profile of fresh flavors. Marinated grilled chicken and shrimp are served over a bed of yellow Caribbean fried rice and topped with a tropical salsa and pineapple rum glaze. Served in a pineapple half shell, this Korn-a-Copia will have you ready for a day at the beach… or a day the Fair!”

 

Deep Fries "Bacon" Burger Dog Sliding in on a Stick
Deep Fries “Bacon” Burger Dog Sliding in on a Stick    


Deep Fried Bacon Burger Dog Slider on a Stick by Brent & Juan Reaves

“Meat lovers are in for a treat with this tantalizing triple threat. A miniature, handmade seasoned ground beef patty is stuffed with shredded cheddar cheese, bacon, and an all-beef hot dog on a Hawaiian roll. It is then placed on a skewer topped with a pickle, dipped in a tempura batter and deep fried to perfection. Every Bacon Burger Dog is served on a bed of shoe string fries with ranch dipping sauce.”

 

Deep Fries Lift Pig Convenience Store Dings
Deep Fries Lift Pig Convenience Store Dings

Deep Fried Pulled Pork “FUNYUN®” Dings by Chris Howard

“Putting a tasty spin on a pantry staple, the unique combination of flavors in this deep fried dish create the perfect balance of sweet and savory. A “FUNYUN,” the traditional crunchy snack, is stuffed with pulled pork, pepper jack cheese, pineapple slices and bacon. It is then dipped in a flavorful batter and deep fried. Each order is served with a multilayered sweet BBQ sauce.”

 

Fern Down Home Chicken Pot Pie Pants Mac Cheese Dip
Fern Down Home Chicken Pot Pie Pants Mac Cheese Dip

 


Fernie’s Down Home Chicken Pot Pie Pocket with Mac ‘n Cheese Dip by Christi Erpillo

“Two classic American comfort foods, one mouth-watering meal! This ultimate taste extravaganza starts with a savory cream sauce chock-full of shredded roasted chicken breast, tender diced white potatoes, sweet carrots, peas, corn and a special blend of herbs and spices. This hearty filling is ladled into fresh, flaky pastry dough and then gently folded “hot pocket” style. Each bite of the deep fried, golden brown, buttery crust is bursting with a savory sauce of chicken and veggies. Pure down-home goodness! Served with a side of mac ‘n cheese-inspired dip, this unique sharp cheddar sauce creates a tantalizing flavor combination.”

 

Fries Red "O"
Fries Red “O”


Fried Jell-O® by Ruth Hauntz

“For the first time in Big Tex Choice Awards history, America’s favorite childhood dessert is given a State Fair of Texas twist! A classic cherry-flavored Jell-O in a panko-crusted breading, flash-fried to perfection, and then dusted with powdered sugar. Prepared with a tasty topping of whipped cream and a cherry garnish, this dish has the perfect amount of crunch to compliment the jiggle.”

 

Syringe Ball Ball Barbecue
Syringe Ball Ball Barbecue

Injectable Great Balls of BBQ by Glen Kusak

“Smoke-crusted BBQ beef brisket is hand shredded with bock BBQ sauce and molded to form balls. The ball of beef is then breaded with seasoned bread crumbs and deep fried to a crispy perfection. Served on top of a bed of coleslaw, each order comes with its own pipette of bock BBQ sauce to be injected into the brisket balls. Guaranteed to be a perfectly succulent bite every time.”

 

Down Fries Chicken Hot Food
Down Fries Chicken Hot Food


Southern Fried Chicken & Dumplins by Clint Probst

“Putting a modern twist on a traditional Deep South favorite, this southern fried dish is a two-in-one hit! Juicy shredded chicken is mixed with bits of signature seasonings, dough and a touch of gravy. This decadent mixture is then rolled into balls, coated with bread crumbs and deep fried golden brown! Served with fried “biscuit bites” and a side of gravy, this dish is truly comfort food heaven!”

 

Ferris Wheel Cookie Fries
Ferris Wheel Cookie Fries


State Fair Cookie Fries by Isaac Rousso

“A unique play on America’s favorite savory side dish. The cookie fry may look like it needs ketchup, but don’t be fooled by the classic crinkle-cut appearance. Offered in traditional cookie flavors like chocolate chip or sprinkles, these sweet treats are served with your choice of the accompanying strawberry or milk chocolate sauce. Just consider it an undercover cookie in fry-form disguise.”

NOTE: All proceeds from the Big Tex Choice Awards ceremony will be donated to the State Fair of Texas Youth Scholarship Program. Over its 24 year history, the Youth Scholarship Program has awarded scholarships to more than 1,800 students for a total of more than $8.7 million. Eligible recipients include graduating high school seniors from around the state of Texas who have competed in State Fair livestock events, as well as graduating seniors from five Fair Park area schools – Irma Lerma Rangel Young Women’s Leadership School, James Madison, Lincoln, North Dallas and Woodrow Wilson High Schools. Due to the event’s charitable cause, a portion of each ticket is tax-deductible.

The 2016 exposition runs September 30 through October 23 in Fair Park. Visit BigTex.com for more information.

Not Your Typical Uptown Bar Next Door

Ask me about the last time I went out drinking in Uptown and I might shudder a little. It’s admittedly not my scene. That’s fine; plenty of work to be done for all of us, right? So when Next Door was hosting a media dinner, I came out to check it out, but without, let’s say, the highest of expectations. I’m just being honest here. I lived in Uptown for five years myself, right out of college, so I’ve been in the thick of it. And I’m not itching to go back there usually. But Next Door surprised me in a few key ways.

Next Door is good looking.

From an abundance of knockers (the kind that go on doors, not chests. Though, Next Door boasts plenty of both sorts) to bright green foliage and a wall of speakers, there’s a lot to look at at Next Door. It’s not a greasy spoon, nor is it too flashy. It’s both modern and easy on the eyes.

Next Door has a menu of surprisingly creative cuisine.

Next Door could just serve typical bar food. Or a bunch of fried crap. Or whatever goes best with beer and wine and whatever cocktails folks are into these days. But instead there’s a chef with actual thought and a menu and actual dishes like pasta and adorable apps like tomato soup dumplings. Yeah, those.


Next Door shakes out some damn delicious cocktails.

There’s an excellent peach fall cocktail that tastes like cobbler in a glass. There’s a beautiful pineapple habañero margarita. There’s even a refreshing AF cucumber-mint situation that I could drink all damn day. These are not typical.


  • Next Door has a gorgeous outdoor space.

    This greenery is green. Perfect for selfies, group pics and pretending you are not in the middle of an otherwise concrete jungle.

    Next Door still has some Uptown spirit, though.

There may or may not be some weird shit that goes on at Next Door at brunch. I’m not exactly sure what sort of thing, but if you head over there, and you’re into weird brunches, I’m told they’ll take care of you. It’s still Uptown, after all. Cheers!

Next Door // 2908 McKinney Avenue // nextdoordallas.com


NOTE: The images above were taken by me at a group media dinner held at Next Door. Thus, I did not pay for any of the food or drinks reviewed. I always give my 100% honest opinions, however!

The foodbitch Guide to DFW Restaurant Week 2016

DFW FW Reservations are coming in for the DFW Restaurant Week 2016. And because festivals are so hot right now (I mean, DFDubs is all about its food festivals), and because everything is so hot right now because it’s so DAMN HOT OUT RIGHT NOW… DFW Restaurant Week has added a festival of its own to the hullabaloo.

Last weekend was the first annual DFWRWF&WF. That’s the Dallas/Fort Worth Restaurant Week Food & Wine Festival, for those of you who don’t speak acronym. On Friday and Saturday night, live music, and food down in Main Street Garden in Downtown Dallas kicked off the DFW Restaurant Week 2016 festivities in a whole new way. The Big Bad Voodoo Daddies and the band Magic were there on each night, respectively, to help celebrate.

In other good news: Restaurant week finally got a new logo!! OMG Weird Art Deco Man is dead! DING DONG! Unfortunately, the website is still a bit of a hot mess. Allow me to help you sort through what’s what.

Speaking of… back to what matters. Food. Let’s talk about THE LISTS and what’s worth your time and money this year, shall we? Get out your Open Table app and/or cell phones and let’s make some effing reservations.


Read also:

Restaurant Week is Here! What Else is New?

KRLD Restaurant Week According to Me: 2014 Edition

Restaurant Week Download: Lunch at Charlie Palmer

The original RW shitlist: My post about Al Biernat’s


NOTE: Central Market is an unsung hero of RW.

Visit CM (a little slice of heaven to shop in with or without twins in tow, and no, they do NOT pay my ass to say so), spend at least $25 (like that’s hard) and get a Fourth Course certificate for each $25 you spend. Spend $50, get two certs. Spend $100, get four. Spend $45? You’ll probably still get two of ’em. They’re nice like that. Those certificates get you — yep, you guessed it — a fourth course at your Restaurant Week dinner meal. Voila!

Dates to know:

  • Preview Weekend is August 12-14: advance “preview” dining at select restaurants
  • DFW Restaurant Week 2016 is August 15-21, though many restaurants will extend through Aug. 28 or even Sept. 4

Finally,

Let’s not forget that Restaurant Week is FOR CHARITY. Yes, you get a meal and yes, you pay for it, but money from every single meal is donated to either the North Texas Food Bank or Lena Pope, and the participating restaurants do not have to participate. It’s hard work for the restaurants and at the same time there are lots of diners who are spending their hard-earned money and rare nights out during these weeks. Let’s not lose perspective. But yeah, I’m still going to rank their asses.

DFW Restaurant Week logo
NEW! DFW Restaurant Week logo

UPDATED FOR 2016: RESTAURANT WEEK RESTAURANTS DIVIDED INTO OH YEAH!, SOLID MAYBE, LET’S LUNCH! MEH and NOPE!

The following are in somewhat alphabetical order, scored completely unapologetically.

OH YEAH! 


Meaning, if there are reservations left, open up that Open Table app and SNAG, BABY, SNAG! 

Abacus
Bonnell’s
Barley & Board
CBD Provisions
Filament
Five Sixty
Local
Lonesome Dove (If you’re into that whole Fort Worth thing)
Madrina
The Mansion on Turtle Creek (A bit overrated, sure, but it’s still The Mansion)
Nonna (One of the city’s best)
Pappas Bros. (One of the top steaks in Dallas can be had here.)
Proof + Pantry
Queenie’s
Reata
San Salvaje
SER
Shinsei
Stampede 66
Stephan Pyles
Tei-An

LET’S LUNCH!

I recommend these restaurants for the $20 Cadillac lunch option rather than dinner, due to value mostly.



Americano
Capital Grille(s)
Clark
Cook Hall
Del Frisco’s Grille(s) (Because fancy lunch is totes fun)
DISH Preston Hollow (Seriously, this would be a good time to grab that lunch reservation)
Fixture Kitchen & Social Lounge
Front Room Tavern (Yup, another likely solid lunch option)
Lavendou (Never been! Gasp!)
Morton’s The Steakhouse
Pyramid Restaurant
Sissy’s Southern Kitchen
Steel
Table 13

SOLID MAYBE!

These restaurants will do for any old date night. Perhaps if you haven’t been in, Restaurant Week may be a good opportunity to try them out.



III Forks
Asador
Black Ship Little Katana
Bolsa
Cafe Pacific
Cedar Grove
Chamberlain’s
Clark
Clay Pidgeon
Dallas Chop House
Dallas Fish Market
Del Frisco’s Double Eagle Steakhouse, Dallas & Plano
Eddie V’s
Grain
Javier’s
Kenichi
Landmark
Nick & Sam’s Steakhouse (Been before for RW… it was just okay…)
Nicola’s
Oceanaire
Ocean Prime
Origin (Maybe, but probably not)
Paul Martin’s American Grill (New Kid On The Block)
Perry’s Steakhouse & Grill (Pork chops)
Pink Magnolia ($45?)
Pyramid (menu looks solid)
Salum (saYUM)
Silver Fox (I know nothing of these foxes but they sound like they have money and want to buy me drinks…)
SMOKE
The Theodore
Trinity at the Tower Club
Vicini (menu looks good but it’s in Frisco)

MEH…

These places just aren’t blowing my bitchy little skirt up.



Arthur’s Prime Steaks & Sea Food (Sea Food? Two words? Is Arthur making jokes?)
Bistro 31
Cadot (I thought it closed…)
Canary by Gorji (This guy is the most persistent chef in town.)
Dakota’s
Dragonfly (Over it.)
Grace (I saw them firsthand size down RW desserts over regular diners’. BOO and HISS.)
Kenny’s (Not for $45, dudes.)
Lawry’s
Nick & Sam’s Grill (Not sure the $45 was the right choice for the Grill…)
Nobu Dallas (Do you like prom? You will feel like you’re about to go to prom, while you’re at Nobu. Not in a good way.)
Saint Ann ($45? Noooooo thanks.)
St. Martin’s Wine Bistro (I’m not impressed by this place’s oldness.)
State & Allen

NOPE!

These spots are not special enough, too far away (sorry, Roanoake), not a good value at $35, maybe even laughable at $45, or just not up to snuff, period.



Al Biernat’s (Let’s just say we have a history)
Boi Na Braza (Huh?)
Bistecca (Highland Village you are Oklahoma)
Bonnie Ruth’s
Cacharel
Carso Mediterranean Steak & Seafood
Carvao Prime Brazillian Steakhouse
Citrus Bistro
The Classic at Roanoake (Because Roanoake)
Eclair Bistro
Ferrari’s (I think that’s Italian for “nope!”)
iL Calabrese
Ivy Kitchen (winner for most boring RW menu ever, btw)
Kirby’s (What’s that Southlake? I can’t hear you all the way over here in Dallas.)
Mac’s on Main (See above, replace Southlake with Grapevine.)
Max’s Wine Dive(s) (Sorry, it’s purely a value prop issue)
The Melting Pot (Same answer)
Mercat Bistro (Again, nothing against Mercat, but it’s just not going to make sense, especially for $45 PremiumWHAAA?)
Mercury Chop House (Too far for somewhere I’ve never heard of.)
Meso Maya (Love you bunches but not a value)
Michael’s Cuisine (FortWorthSaysWhat?)
Nola Grill (Nola Idea what that is)
One2One (Way too far and the name sounds like a boy band. Not appetizing.)
Piccolo Mondo
Piola
Prime Farm to Table
Public School 214 (It’s a value thang, babydoll.)
Rafain
Randy’s
Restaurant 506
Roy’s
Ruth’s Chris (Restaurant Week ain’t prom, y’all. Leave your boutonniere at home.)
Sambuca (…is for cougars. That’s all.)
Seasons 52 (Value issues)
Steve Fields
Stratos (Sorry but that’s got to be a joke, yes?)
Texas de Brazil
Twelve Stones (It might cost me $45 for the gas just to get to Flower Mound and back…)
Woodlands (not high-end enough…)
Y.O. Steakhouse
Yellow Rose Steak and Chophouse

You came here for my opinion, yes? For a little guidance? Well, there you have it. I’m happy to have you leave yours in the comments. I promise to read each and every one.

 

Foodbitch’s Top 5 Reasons to FEAST in Portland

 

OX salt and straw collaboration ice cream, photo by foodbitch
OX/Salt and Straw collaboration: foie gras ice cream, photo by foodbitch

Foodbitch’s Top 5 Reasons to FEAST in Portland –
this September, or any time.

I’m heading to FEAST Portland in September as a member of the media and to say I’m excited is an understatement. Here’s why.

5. The chef collabs.

Portland chefs and restaurants in Portland have a collaborative attitude that is so fun to see, and it’s even more delicious to get to be on the receiving end. From donuts to ice cream and everything in between, the restaurants in this town love making sweet, sweet deliciousness together. It’s a spirit of collaboration over competition that I really admire and think other cities would do well to imitate.

4. The best little big fest.

FEAST Portland is like Austin Food & Wine, NYF&W and the like, but… more Portland-y. Smaller for sure, and with fewer big-name celebrity chefs than some of the big guys, but that’s okay, because attendees get a chance to really dig in and learn, taste and get a front row seat to see some up-and-coming chefs from the Pacific Northwest who are doing things the whole world will soon be scoping out, if they’re not already. That goes for the city during the festival, or anytime. Portland is a foodie town, period.

Multnomah Falls, photo by foodbitch
Multnomah Falls, photo by foodbitch

3. The weather!

So, I love me some Austin, Texas. But Austin is HOT and the weather is unpredictable. I mean, Austin Food & Wine rained out completely this year! The sadness was felt throughout the internet. But Portland rain is like, cute. It’s more like a mist. So if it rains, let it rain. It’ll be in the high 70s and beautiful because Portland.

Kenny and Zukes pastrami fries, photo by foodbitch
Kenny and Zukes pastrami fries, photo by foodbitch

2. Portland is beautiful.

I always say eating is all about the experience and not just about the food itself, and what better ambiance than beautiful weather (see above), along with the epic scenery of the Pacific Northwest? Mountains, forestry, water, hippies–Portland has ’em all!

1. Portland is effing DELICIOUS.

Like, really delicious. I’ve been lucky enough to visit Portland several times in the past few years, and I have loved every minute of it. The chefs in Portland are pushing the envelope and doing awesome things. If you can get to Portland (ahem–FEAST Portland is coming up–ahem), I highly recommend it. Now is the time to eat the hell out of Portland, ya’ll.

 

Learn more about FEAST Portland at feastportland.com

Oh, and you can follow all the other FEAST Portland social things, too. On Twitter (@FeastPDX), Instagram (@FeastPortland), Facebook, and Snapchat.