Mar 26, 2014

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Get discounted tickets to Iron Fork


Iron Fork, the annual food festival and head-to-head chef competition, is back and slated for a May 7 run at party venue 333 First Avenue.

As in years past, attendees will get to stroll from table to table sampling bites from some of the best restaurants around, as well as sips of wine, beer and spirits/cocktails. All the while, the strains of live music will provide the soundtrack to the evening, which will culminate in the chef competition. Two chefs are each provided with a basket of foodie goodies, including one mystery ingredient, with which they must whip up a delicious plate of food. While they’re crafting the perfect dish, celebrity chef Kent Rathbun moderates the proceedings, always adding his usual color and humor to the affair. It’s yet to be announced who will go up against last year’s winner, Matt McCallister, but they sure will have their work cut out for them!

Presale tickets are now on sale for the 7 to 10 p.m. event, and — lucky for you, my chickadees — I have a handy promo code for you to use to snag a discount! Enter dallasdiva into the promo code space, and you’ll snag $30 general admission and $60 VIP tickets (which includes entry an hour before GA and valet parking). For now, that’s a savings of $5 off early bird tix, but considering that day-of entry is $55 for GA and $90 for VIP, if they’re even available, I say it’s best to get on the good foot and snag your tickets now! The presale period ends this Saturday, March 30, so get to it.

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Mar 19, 2014

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Meet my Bloody Mary ‘Mirror,’ courtesy of Stoli and SER!


When Stoli challenged me to come up with a Bloody Mary “mirror” – a cocktail that reflected me, moi, myself – I was flattered. The premium vodka label made it clear the drink could either look like me physically (tres impossible, methinks, because have you seen me?! Wink!) or highlight a component(s) of my personality.

Well, being a foodie and knowing that there are all kinds of crazy garnishes for Bloody Marys, I decided to have my Bloody Mary Mirror highlight my epicurean side. To that end, the first thought that came to mind were tater tots – never seen those on a Bloody Mary! And when I think tater tots, I think of the wonderful, delicately fried housemade lovelies served at SER, the steakhouse atop the Hilton Anatole. These babies are my fave – lightly crisp on the outside with tender shreds of potato inside. Mmmm!

Happily, SER also has a slate of Stoli flavors on hand, and at the bar, Nina fixed up a beautiful Bloody Mary just the way I (have come to) like it: spicy, not too thick, with a beefy Worcestershire sauce undertone and a salt-free rim. I liked how the squeeze of lime she added came through subtly, too – very nice! She asked for my choice of skewer to show off the taters and rested it gently on the glass – voila!


In case you’re wanting to try this at home, get your tots ready and whip this up:

4 oz. Tomato Juice
2 oz. Stoli Vodka
2 dashes of Worchestershire sauce
2 dashes of Tabasco
Sriracha to taste (we likes it spicy!)
A squeeze of lime
2 or 3 baked or fried tator tots

Add tomato juice, Stoli, Worcestershire, Tabasco, sriracha and squeeze of lime into a glass and pour back and forth between another glass. Serve with a lime wedge and tater tots on a skewer.

This Bloody Mary perfectly reflects me because it’s got a luxe component (Stoli), the food component, and it’s spicy, hearty and a little bit tart. Poyfect!

Meantime, snag some components for a sublime Bloody Mary at the next stops of Stoli’s #SearchForMary mobile trucks. Tomorrow and Friday they’ll be the Sigel’s at 5757 Greenville Ave. from 1 to 8 p.m.; Saturday, they’ll be at The Foundry in Oak Cliff from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.; and Sunday, they’ll pull a double-header, at East Dallas’ Vickery Park from 11 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. and then at Lower Greenville’s The Dubliner from 4 to 7:30 p.m. You can grab cocktail fixins from the truck then mosey on into the bars for the actual drink. Just don’t try to hail the Stoli #SearchForMary trucks like I almost did the other day when I spotted it at a gas station – this ain’t a cab ;)

[Disclosure: This post is sponsored by Stoli, with whom I’m partnering on the Search for Mary for paid reimbursement. I wouldn’t work with a brand I didn’t love, though, and I heart Stoli so! Savor Stoli Responsibly. STOLICHNAYA® Premium Vodka. 40% Alc/Vol. Distilled from grain. William Grant &Sons, Inc. New York, NY. © 2013 Spirits International, B.V.]

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Mar 13, 2014

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On my search for Dallas’ signature Bloody Mary

search for mary

So this week, I’ve been on the hunt for something peculiar, considering my experience with it.

Stoli, the premium vodka, has asked me to find a Bloody Mary that best represents this fair city’s local flavor. I LOVE Stoli, and am totally flattered and super-jazzed to work with them, buuuuut … I don’t exactly love Bloody Marys. Argh!

To me, the classic brunch cocktail has always tasted like spiked, thinned-out gazpacho … or I wish it would! I like gazpacho, but I’ve never understood the appeal of tinny-tasting tomato juice loaded with liquor and all manner of tart garnishes. That said, I *have* had one very delicious Bloody Mary once, made with house-squeezed tomato juice and so spicy it brought tears to my eyes. I loved it, so for Stoli’s so-named Search for Mary, I made my challenge to not only find a “local flavor” version but also a Bloody Mary that’d make a convert out of a non-fan like me a convert. Game on!

With a guiding hand from Stoli’s Dallas-based Brand Ambassador (and all-around diva) Liz Scobee, I popped into some of Dallas finest watering holes face-first, sipping the famed red cocktail everywhere I landed. Soon I landed upon a Bloody Mary that not only made me swoon but, to me (as a foodie), epitomizes one of the enduring favorite foods that Dallas is famed for.


The lovely Miranda at Henderson Avenue’s Capitol Pub crafted for me a supremely satisfying Bloody Mary that had not only a hit of spice that any Dallasite worth their salt would love (thanks to sriracha!), but also had a terrifically round meaty flavor, thanks to a healthy dose of Worcestershire sauce – it was such a nice, beefy kick that it made me want a plate of fries or hash browns to go along with it! Not to mention, the Worcestershire brought to my mind (and tummy) a big, juicy steak, the kind that Dallas still loves so much – health kicks be damned – and is famous for. Her usual garnish during the Saturday and Sunday brunch during which her Bloody Mary is popular is an olive, a pickled pepper and a pickled green bean, though she was out of the latter on my visit. No worries – I adored her straightforward, peppy and not-too-thick/soupy cocktail just as it was, and I can’t recommend it enough as a terrific example of our local flavor!

Now, if you’re ready to get your hands on a Bloody Mary, of course stop by Capitol Pub when you can. But also keep in mind that Stoli’s got some drinks on wheels that you can track down this weekend and next!

Stoli’s Bloody Mary Mobile Trucks are crisscrossing Dallas, offering samples of drinkies starting at Sigel’s liquor store in Addison today until 8 p.m.; it’ll also be there tomorrow from 1 to 8 p.m. The food truck-like vehicle will then land at Dish on Cedar Springs from 11 to 7 on Saturday, then hang out from 11 to 7 at Capitol Pub on Sunday. If you find it, pop in for a sip of some stuff and definitely tweet out your find, using the hashtag #SearchForMary.

[Disclosure: This post is sponsored by Stoli, with whom I’m partnering on the Search for Mary for paid reimbursement. I wouldn’t work with a brand I didn’t love, though, and I heart Stoli so! Savor Stoli Responsibly. STOLICHNAYA® Premium Vodka. 40% Alc/Vol. Distilled from grain. William Grant &Sons, Inc. New York, NY. © 2013 Spirits International, B.V.]

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Mar 8, 2014

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Join Shape Magazine’s Diva Dash!

diva dash cover

On March 22, you’re invited to get your run on at SHAPE magazine’s ladies-only 5K called the Diva Dash. I’ll be there!

“What’s a ladies-only run?” you may ask yourself. In the case of the Diva Dash, it’s scads of women participating in an obstacle-dotted course, most of them running in teams and tons of them TRULY getting into the spirit with fun and funky costumes and team uniforms. We’re talking tutus and camo, arm bands and matching tights! It’s meant to be an empowering bonding event with a healthy serving of fitness. SHAPE Diva Dash logo Horiz

I’m in training mode so that I can get my jog on at least for part of the 5K — I mean, as a Diva, I gotta make a halfway decent showing, wouldn’t you say? Interested in trying your hand at the 12-obstacle path? I can help! If you register here with the promo code AXBLOG, you’ll save $10 of the $65 entry fee. Need even more motivation to join? Every registered runner is entered to a five-night stay in Aruba at Blue Residences Aruba!

The Diva Dash takes place from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, March 22 at the Santa Fe Trestle Trail at 2295 S. Riverfront Blvd. Get to the registration website quick to pick your start time (waves take off between 9 and 10:45, with the 9 a.m. one being the competitive wave with medals for top finishers), as a few waves are already sold out. Hope to see you dashing, diva!

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Feb 26, 2014

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Much Adu about art and black history at the Angelika

Unsung Changemakers Flyer

Tomorrow night, my friend, gifted visual artist Justin Adu, is hosting what promises to be a memorable mingling of the arts in celebration of under-the-radar heroes of black history.

“Unsung Changemakers” is an art and film exhibition at the Angelika Dallas that Justin has brainstormed that’ll not only feature his art (under the name Adu) but also musical performances by QMoore Music and DJ Wild In The Street, a raffle of apparel from Cantoinette Studios. Complimentary heavy hors d’oeuvres and happy hour drinks will precede a special premiere showing of “Unsung Changemakers,” a short film directed by Adu that spotlights the road to greater freedoms paved by brave black leaders of decades past.

Eats, drinks, music and a healthy taste of important cultural history? Sounds like the makings of a fabulous night — and it’s all free! RSVP for the 5:30 p.m. event here, and make sure to arrive early — the first 50 people to land get a free Nelson Mandela tribute print! And if you see me mixing and mingling in the crowd, pop over to say hey!

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Dec 8, 2013

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Centurion Lounge provides prime airport pampering

DFW Airport's new Centurion Lounge |

I was recently invited to explore and partake of the luxurious goodness in every corner of American Express’ new Centurion Lounge at DFW Airport, and let me tell you, chickadees, it was Ahh-MAY-zing!! From landing to leaving, this Diva was immersed in head-to-toe relaxation.

Centurion Lounge is a sprawling space in its own second-floor corner of Terminal D. After being picked up by hired driver and delivered to the airport, we were whisked (and thankfully not frisked!) through security up to the Centurion Lounge. I walked in, and all was light, bright, airy … with a view!


Those of us gathered to check out the space got the rundown: For $50, AmEx members (entry is complimentary for Centurion and Platinum cardholders!) gain access to plenty of room to work, relax, eat and drink. Included in that entry rate is a sprawling buffet of chef-crafted food from Dean Fearing …

Centurion Lounge at DFW Airport |

… complimentary body treatments from a phenomenal staff at an in-lounge Exhale Spa. YES, child …


… a full bar featuring a wondrous cocktail program by NYC star mixologist Jim Meehan …


… a make-your-own espresso bar …

Centurion Lounge at DFW Airport |

… even a shower!


There’s also a kiddie play room, cozy chairs for lounging such as this one …

Centurion Lounge at DFW Airport |

… as well as luggage lockers, plenty of outlets for hooking up devices AND front-desk reps who are there to cater to extra special services you may need. Let me tell you, if I were stuck at DFW during this Icepocalypse, I’d whip out my AmEx card in a heartbeat and chill out at the Centurion Lounge for sure. Heck, even on a regular day, the wealth of services available make it totally worth it to arrive a few hours early to soak in the pampering at the Lounge. If you’re gonna travel, I say kick off your trip in style. But remember — membership has its privileges at the Centurion Lounge, and only AmEx cardholders are allowed!

After an evening of spa treatments (ask for Kathy if you’re ever at the Lounge’s Exhale Spa OR at the Hotel Palomar’s!), noshing on Chef Fearing’s cuisine and sipping on fantastic beverages, my hired car came to whisk me back to reality. I can’t wait to visit the Centurion Lounge again!

Centurion Lounge at DFW Airport |

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Nov 7, 2013

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The Fashionistas present Fashion Fridays


The Fashionistas and CultureMap Dallas are presenting an evening packed with festivity and elegant looks from two rising Dallas designers. The creations of Lucy Dang and Danh Ta will be on display at tomorrow night’s Fashion Friday at Fedora in the One Arts Plaza, 8 to 10 p.m. RSVP at, and raise a glass to high style!

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