Posts Tagged ‘Cocktails’

Halloween thrills with The Diva and CultureMap!

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I’m pleased as pumpkin pie to announce that the fun and freaky folks at Mockingbird Station have asked me to co-host a Halloween party at one of my FAVORITE bars, The People’s Last Stand!

On Oct. 30 at 8 p.m., moi and CultureMap Dallas nightlife editor Jonathon Rienstra will welcome ghouls and goblins of the night of sips, snacks and supreme scares! There’ll be prizes for the best costumes, so whip out your best gear and dress to impress! Too, we’ll be handing out two drink tickets for all guests, and complimentary bites will be available — so far, this is win-win territory, chickadees.

The screens behind the bar will be showing horror flicks AND DJ Blake Ward will be in the house spinning up a musical storm. The bestest part? All this is free and open to the public (21 and up, of course)! I really, truly hope to see you there — do stop by and say hi. Not sure what costume I’ll be going for, but I always love the flapper look. Oooh, or perhaps I’ll get dolled up like Joan on Mad Men. Hmmmm, so much to choose from. You’d do well to choose fabulously to contend for one of the prizes. Whatever you decide, I hope to see you on Oct. 30! Make sure to RSVP at the event’s Facebook page here.

Get your buns to Sissy’s brunch

Sissy's sardue

For those Saturdays when you’re looking to rise ‘n’ shine in the most Southern way possible, head on over to Henderson — Sissy’s Southern Kitchen just launched its new brunch menu, and it is dredge-me-in-flour-and-fry-me-up GOOD! I wouldn’t fib about the most important meal of the day, y’all …

Sissy's drinks

Once you’ve teased your tongue with some tantalizing beverages (above — I firmly recommend the Passion Peach Bellini!), make your way over to the heart of the menu. Among some of the standouts were this creamy, dreamy, hearty Chicken & Dumplings (below), with wickedly tender shreds of Sissy’s chicken, veggies and cornmeal-chive dumplings. Jaw-droppingly good stuff folks — I loved the way the dumplings just melted in your mouth, and the freshness of the veg assortment. The accompanying cornbread was exquisite.

Sissy's soup

Another high point on the menu was the NOLA-inspired Eggs Sardou — you know I love most anything New Orleans. Wink! The poached eggs over spinach and artichoke hearts (top) was surprisingly pleasing — surprising because I’m generally not a fan of whole artichokes, and this one was fine as could be under velvety hollandaise and alongside a generous potato hash.

But no visit to Sissy’s brunch (or the Southern U.S., for that matter) would be complete without Chicken & Waffles!

sissy's chicken

Two hot-out-the-fryer pieces of Sissy’s famous fried chicken come atop a crisp, mildly sweet buttermilk waffle with a big, ol’ pat of honey butter. My sampler dish came with a side of Steen’s cane syrup, but if that Dixie delicacy isn’t your thing, I say order up some of the organic maple variety. The cane syrup was a tad too reminiscent of molasses for me, but it didn’t keep me from wolfing down the waffle and the juicy, perfectly seasoned drumstick. I’m dreaming of devouring it again very soon. Oh, Sissy’s, may your Southern-fried culinary stylings never change! And, YOU, my chickadee, get thee to the East Dallas restaurant for Saturday brunch with haste. The restaurant hopes to expand to Sunday, but until then, clear out your Saturday and prepare to wait — it is certainly worth it.

Plano scores primo pizza with Taverna Rossa

Plano's Taverna Rossa rules | TheDallasDiva.com

Last week, I had the immense pleasure of sampling some sweet pizza pie love at Plano’s newest pizza spot, Taverna Rossa. What a cute spot! The interior’s all rustic-feeling, with tons of wood furniture and accents, lovely strung-up lights and even antler adornments, all of which give the place a relaxed feel. Too, there’s a stage where Taverna Rossa hosts local music acts.

Taverna Rossa, Plano | TheDallasDiva.com

I moseyed up to the bar and sampled the Rossa Mule, their take on a Moscow Mule, except with fruit-infused bourbon instead of vodka. It was brilliant — quite spicy, thanks to the potent ginger beer. I’ll have another, bartender! And I did! My friend Dr. Lucy thoroughly enjoyed a Mule and later the Thyme’s Up, an herb-tinged cocktail brimming with tart grapefruit and berry flavors.

Taverna Rossa, Plano | TheDallasDiva.com

But it’s the pies you want to know about, right? Taverna Rossa keeps them thin-crust and crispy, with delightfully crusty edges. I sampled a number of exotic house varieties, including the Kona Fire Pie starring jalapenos, pineapple nuggets and cashews (!!!). Not quite my speed, but tasty, with some textural pizzazz from the nuts and heat from the peppers. Aloha! Really, my absolute favorite pie was the All-American, with pepperoni, Luscher’s sausage, turkey canadian bacon, bacon, fontina cheese and a house-blend mozzarella. Simple yet stupendous, it was a saucy, juicy, cheesy pie — everything I love in a pizza. Between the welcoming vibe and decor, the tasty cocktails and the hearty pizza, Taverna Rossa brings a cool new Italian-flavored hub to the northern ‘burbs.

Chefs for Farmers cocktail king crowned

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This past Sunday, the annual farm-to-fork foodie extravaganza Chefs for Farmers christened the crafter of what will be this year’s event’s signature cocktail.

At the Cocktail Mix-Off at Uptown watering hole The Standard Pour, seven of the city’s finest drinks slingers were invited to concoct an amazing drink using Maker’s Mark bourbon. Among the restos represented were FT33, Boulevardier and The Standard Pour itself. I sipped all kinds of heady, fresh, very inventive beverages ranging from tart and summery to spicy and seasonal.

The mixologists raise a glass ...

The mixologists raise a glass …

Coming out ahead of the pack, however, was the very seasonal apple-heavy Steep Buzz by Boulevardier’s Eddie Eakin, also containing Earl Grey tea-infused honey syrup, Domaine de Canton ginger liqueur, apple bitters and lemon juice — complex, delish, and very comforting, thanks to the apple. And the bourbon, I won’t lie. Wink!

Eddie cheers his triumph.

Eddie cheers his triumph.

The win means Eddie’s drink will be the featured bev at Chefs for Farmers: Down & Dirty on the Boulevard, taking place Nov. 3 in Lee Park. As always, it will be a union of purveyors, ranchers and growers and the 40+ chefs who love and will cook up their products for foodie guests. Get your ticket here, and quickly — this event, in its fourth year, has a pesky tendency to sell out. It’s not to be missed if you love great, fresh food.

Spike your week with crafts and whisky

balvenie craft

Starting tomorrow, The Balvenie whisky label is offering you, Dallas, a chance to immerse yourself in a world of artisan crafts and fine spirit at The Balvenie Rare Craft Collection, a special exhibition.

The Hickory Street Annex will be home for the next two days to the best that the country’s most creative craftspeople have to offer. We’re talking furniture (such as the gorgeous chair above, by Danny Kamerath), instruments, even bikes and Ping-Pong tables, all curated for the collection by noted fashion designer Todd Snyder. While you’re taking in the splendid array of handcrafted creations in the gallery-like presentation, you can sip outstanding whisky and nibble on hors d’oeuvres — fabulous! Meantime, a lucky few registrants can get schooled on spirits in Scotch Whisky Master Classes taking place both nights of the exhibition.

The Balvenie Rare Craft Collection and the Master Classes are this Tuesday and Wednesday (the 10th and 11th) between 6 to 10 p.m., and while it’s open to the public, you have to RSVP to attend them, and the Classes have limited seating! Click here to learn more and RSVP. The collection and the fete altogether sound like an abundantly creative and illuminating experience — hope to see you there!

NOLA: Cafe Adelaide and farewell …

pool-collab

Within mere minutes of the above scenario going down (ahhhh!), my cohorts and I were sauntering through the French Quarter on our way to the lavish Loews New Orleans. You’ll recall it was the sizzling-hot hotel I stayed at on my last NOLA visit, in March. I also was treated then to a spectacular lunch at the hotel’s Cafe Adelaide, which is where us three were headed for Saturday brunch this fine day.

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Toasting Ruth’s Chris roots

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Greetings, chickadees! Just wanted to share the luscious food porn I collected at last week’s quite excellent Hand-crafted Cocktail Dinner celebrating Ruth Chris Steak House‘s New Orleans roots.

Overall, the food was even more glorious than my mouth expected, and that’s saying a lot, because knowing Ruth’s Chris, I set my bar pretty high. The incredible, French Quarter-inspired cocktails were paired so thoughtfully and featured spirits ranging from Hudson Baby Bourbon Whiskey out of upstate New York to Reyka Vodka from Iceland. Guests were greeted in a private dining space by Ruth’s Chris’ Fort Worth bar manager Brian Garrett and by William Grant and Sons National Brand Ambassador Charlotte Voisey, who spoke about each food and bev pairing via video. Soon the meal and the heady pleasures began!

Here, take a look at what we feasted on and let your envy taste buds take you over …

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Watching Charlotte Voisey discuss the pairings. My mouth was watering at the delicious prospects ahead!

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The ahi tuna stack opener had a nice kick from wasabi creme fraiche, and went beautifully with the refreshing French Quarter 75 with Hendrick's Gin.

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A summer melon salad brimming with crispy prosciutto bits was paired with a grapefruit and basil martini starring Reyka Vodka.

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Now it's on to the meat! Seared scallops Rockefeller was *such* the NOLA reminder for me, and fabulous with its blackberry sidecar featuring Remy Martin VSOP.

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A hearty filet and pepper-flecked crab cake arrive on a sizzling platter and came with an apricot sour -- classic stuff, courtesy of Hudson Baby Bourbon.

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I didn't think I'd have room for this decadent pina colada bread pudding sitting in a raspberry creme anglaise, but I ate most of it! The accompanying rum iced coffee was my least fave, however, but that's mostly because I'm not a java fan!

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Watching Charlotte Voisey discuss the pairings. My mouth was watering at the delicious prospects ahead!The ahi tuna stack opener had a nice kick from wasabi creme fraiche, and went beautifully with the refreshing French Quarter 75 with Hendrick's Gin.A summer melon salad brimming with crispy prosciutto bits was paired with a grapefruit and basil martini starring Reyka Vodka.Now it's on to the meat! Seared scallops Rockefeller was *such* the NOLA reminder for me, and fabulous with its blackberry sidecar featuring Remy Martin VSOP.A hearty filet and pepper-flecked crab cake arrive on a sizzling platter and came with an apricot sour -- classic stuff, courtesy of Hudson Baby Bourbon.I didn't think I'd have room for this decadent pina colada bread pudding sitting in a raspberry creme anglaise, but I ate most of it! The accompanying rum iced coffee was my least fave, however, but that's mostly because I'm not a java fan!P1030880

Hope your eyes loved it as much as my mouth did! Kudos to Ruth’s Chris Fort Worth!

Studio Movie Grill ups its menu game

SMG grub

In the last month, local eat-while-you-watch theater chain Studio Movie Grill has updated its menu with items and specials that aim to appease tummies. I was asked to pop in to check them out recently. My movie selection, by the by, was R-rated comedy We’re The Millers, which I super-highly recommend … laughs for days, and such a fun little trifle. But on to the food!

Thanks to the rugrats next to me and my guest (YES, there were kiddos at this strong R-rated show) ordering them and killing us with the aroma, we started with the classic buffalo wings. Mmmmm times 2! Satisfied that jones and got me my fix of SMG’s strangely addictive ranch dressing. What is IN that stuff??

Along with our wings, we requested a couple of the new adult shakes — I went for the Kahlua Mudslide, with Kahlua, Bailey’s Irish Cream, Absolut Vodka and vanilla ice cream, while my friend “Dr. Lucy” went with the vodka and orange liqueur-starring Orange Dreamsicle. I took a sip of mine and freakin’ loved it, then I took a sip of hers and didn’t want to give it back — that Dreamsicle was like my fondest childhood memory of the ice cream truck, with a hit of vodka. Love! Dr. Lucy reports, “OMG, the Orange Dreamsicle was ridiculously good!! I would have had another if I wasn’t driving.” Way to stay safe, doc! :)

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I was strongly recommended to sample the Steak & Gravy sandwich (above), and as a Texan, I think this dish needs a new name — I envisioned a chicken-fried steak on a roll with cream gravy! This was more like a French dip situation, with slices of tenderloin steak, Swiss cheese all good and melty and caramelized onions on a sub roll and a Cabernet dipping sauce on the side. Talk about hearty! The roll itself was super-delicious and had just enough give to not overwhelm the steak-y star of the show. The steak was tender and nicely seasoned, and the dipping sauce a savory sensation. I actually craved a glass of wine with this …

Another new dish we sampled was the tenderloin tips and mushroom pasta. Talk about hearty, part 2! It’s a dish I imagine would warm my insides come late fall/winter. Flavorwise, it was pretty darn good — rigatoni, hefty portobellos, steak chunks tossed in a creamy garlic-Cabernet sauce and served up with buttered and griddled bread. Quite tasty, and a dish I’d share with a movie mate! Dr. Lucy said, “the beef tips were actually very tender and well seasoned with the mushrooms but not overly so.”

A featured chicken parmesan sandwich was part of SMG’s new Chefs for Children program, where 5% of proceeds from featured menu items go toward Children’s Medical Center Variety The Children’s Charity. We didn’t order it during the film due to a miscommunication, but general manager Matt sent us with a serving to go. What little I tasted of it (I was stuffed to bursting at this point!) was delish, and Dr. Lucy said she loved it.

SouthWestSalad_RET

Among other menu additions at SMG are ceviche wraps and a yummy-sounding blackened chicken salad (above) that I may have to make mine next visit, slathered in the aforementioned addictive ranch dressing. Glad to have some new options besides my standby (and original and forever love!!), SMG’s chicken tenders. Also new is a 2-for-$25 meal special that’s perfect for duos or dates. Keep up the tastiness!

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