Addison’s Fork & Cork Festival to debut in May

Posted by    |    April 8th, 2014 at 10:07 am

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Written by: Lauryn Bodden

Move over, Taste of Addison, and make way for the Fork & Cork Festival to debut this May. Not only will this event be more intimate and support local organization Café Momentum, but it’s more centered on wine and other boozy items. (Now that’s my kind of shindig!)

This past week, I had the opportunity to preview the all-new culinary event, and it well exceeded my expectations. Stepping through the archways of foodie heaven, guests were greeted with a Ginger Basil Gimlet, music by local artist Kelsey Lewis, scents of food to come, and a picturesque dining scene. The gimlet had me hooked right away with its strong notes of ginger and artistic blend of gin. Those that aren’t very fond of ginger may have struggled with the drink, but it was right up my alley. I couldn’t imagine things getting much better, but then there was the open wine bar, signature Old Fashioned cocktails, and mixology lessons from Eddie “Lucky” Campbell. So yeah, it got better.

At dinnertime, the party settled down at a long, rustic farm table, which bolstered a communal, chatty atmosphere. Guests can look forward to this same ambience at the upcoming festival. It was a great feeling to have Addison Mayor, Todd Meier, thank us for our attendance when really it is all my pleasure. (I did have a date with Netflix that night, but if the city of Addison needs me to stuff my face with risotto balls, wood roasted mussels, grilled Texas Kobe skirt steak, sweet potato grits, wood fired pizza, and countless other delights, then I will gladly reschedule to lend a hand.)

Like I mentioned before, Fork & Cork is designed more to feature craft breweries, wineries, and spirit makers, so let’s get to the dranks. The highlight of the night was by far the presentation of a perfect Old Fashion by “Lucky,” who helped curate the drink menu at the new Vagabond restaurant on Greenville. Between his fiery personality and natural ease with the crowd, I felt like I was kickin’ it with one of the bros. His tips to a well-balanced drink make even someone like me feel like I could whip up a fine dining cocktail. (I am a connoisseur of cocktails and liquor, but ask me to make a drink and you may lose all faith in me.) Apparently, dilution can make the biggest difference in the flavor and strength of a cocktail. Don’t skimp on the ice or stirring because you are only selling your drink short. Another lesson is to use the freshest ingredients because it’s hard to go wrong when you have fresh flavors to work with.

Fork & Cork will take Addison back to its culinary roots May 16 and 17 with interactive cooking classes, bites from some of the best restaurants in the DFW area, cocktail tastings, wine and craft beer seminars, a cooking demo by Marcus Samuelsson (James Beard Award winning chef and current judge on ABC’s The Taste), and music from Texas legend Pat Green.

A portion of the proceeds from Friday night will benefit Café Momentum, a non-profit organization that teaches critical skills that allow youth to apply what they have been taught in re-release programs in a safe, real-world environment of nurturing accountability. Or, in Chad Houser’s own words, “Café Momentum helps teach kids to play with knives and fire…and the town of Addison approves.”   

Buy your Fork & Cork Festival tickets here. 

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Below you can find “Lucky’s” Old Fashioned recipe:

2 oz Buffalo Trace bourbon

1 Sugar Cube

3 Dashes Angostura Bitters

1 Orange Peel (Squeezed)

Vanilla Mist

In a mixing glass:

Add sugar cube, Angostura, squeezed orange peel, and water. Smash ingredients with a muddle to break sugar cube. Add Buffalo Trace Bourbon and ice. Stir 56 times (or until sugar is dissolved). Strain over large ice cube in an Old Fashioned glass. Squeeze a new orange peel over the surface, wipe around rim of glass, and place in cocktail. Spray vanilla mist over the surface of the Old Fashioned.

Mount Gay Rum Dinner at Sissy’s Souther Kitchen & Bar

Posted by    |    April 7th, 2014 at 8:35 pm

Written by Enrico DeLeon III

Not a big rum fan? I can understand where you come from… From my earlier drinking days in high school…er… college, rum has always seemed like this girly liquor that was infused with fruity flavors like pineapple then mixed with even sweeter mixers and topped off with a paper umbrella. (Really?!) I am here to help change this bad rep rum has received from said rum experiences we’ve all had.

Mount Gay Rum recently invited me in for an evening of gorgeous cocktails and delicious food at Sissy’s Southern Kitchen & Bar. Having gone to the event with an open mind about rum, I was more than enthused to be persuaded to join rum’s team. After receiving the first delicious cocktail from Sissy’s amazing bar staff using Mount Gay Black Barrel Rum, fresh herb-infused ice, veggies and juices (shown being made in the video above), I was sold! It was extremely refreshing to enjoy rum without the excess amount of sweet or sour flavors.

Throughout the evening, I was honored to try more cocktails of various styles paired with some amazing dishes. I was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed Mount Gay Black Barrel Rum, so much so, Sissy’s offered to make an old fashioned-inspired cocktail using it! And yes, it was pretty amazing.

Next time you’re in the market for a new beverage, have your bartender whip something up using Mount Gay Black Barrel Rum. You have this bourbon-lover’s word that you won’t be sorry!

Market-Fresh Mixology

Posted by    |    March 31st, 2014 at 12:25 am

I was SUPER stoked when I got a copy of Market-Fresh Mixology in my mailbox.  (Aren’t surprises the best?!)  Award-winning mixologists Bridget Albert and Mary Barranco rounded up some of the best seasonal cocktail recipes in a paperback (perfectly-sized to keep on the bar) with gorgeous photography by James Beard Award-winner Tim Turner.  

The recipes call for fresh, local ingredients, which is all the rage right now, no?  Best yet, they’re arranged by season.  Want to know what drinks you can whip up with in-season fruits, veggies (yup), herbs, and more?  These ladies have you covered with easy to understand recipes with a quick guide for which glass to use and the tools you’ll need.

For Spring, they have everything from the Carrot Chic to the Spiced Beet Cocktail.  They sound odd, but really, they’re delicious.  I tried out a few with some friends this weekend, and they were the simplest recipes to follow and didn’t call for anything too extremely outrageous.  (Like, seriously, who keeps some of the crazy s**t they put in some recipes around the house?  Three kinds of bitters for one drink?  Get real … I’m a person, not a bar.)

My favorite that we tried was the Cucumber Caipiroska, made with simple syrup, cucumber, lime, and pear vodka.  I’m really looking to toting this one down to the pool this summer (in a plastic container, of course).

Another awesome part of the book is the Home Bar Essentials section, which went through the various glasses, bartending tools, and even had syrup and sour recipes.  Best of all?  There are toasts for each season.  One of the spring toasts is “May we be happy and our enemies know it.”  Cheers to that!

Order yourself Market-Fresh Mixology for just around $12 and try some of the recipes out for yourself!

AgatePublishing.com
Amazon.com

Toast to Spring with a Crabbie’s Spiced Orange

Posted by    |    March 24th, 2014 at 7:31 pm

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Written by Lauryn Bodden

The Dallas beer scene is poppin’ right now, and Crabbie’s Ginger Beer is about to make a big splash with the start of warmer spring weather. (Pun kind of intended.)

There is no doubt that Texas loves its beer. You have your local craft man that totes his personalized growler everywhere he goes. There’s the Bud Light guy that bleeds red, white, and blue for his country. Next up, are the cider sippers that know the location of every city beer garden (even if cider isn’t technically a beer … we let them get away with it). The list goes on, but what about the people throwing back a couple of hard ginger beers? (Who are these guys and what’s a hard ginger beer?) That’s what I found myself wondering this past week before I was introduced to the magical wonders of Crabbie’s.

Long ago in the land of Edinburgh, Scotland, merchant-explorer John Crabbie set sail for the best drink ingredients, including ginger and exotic spices. Once selected, the goods were transported by elephants from the markets to the ships, which then set sail for the port of Leith. Over 200 years later, the Crabbie’s adventure is making its way across American soil. Its elephant logo reflects this search for the drink’s four secret fruits and spices, which are steeped with ginger for up to eight weeks. Last year, Crabbie’s debuted its original recipe in Texas and received high praise for its smooth, refreshing finish. (You can read Susie’s thoughts about the original recipe Crabbie’s on her review!) A cross between a hard cider and ginger soda, the drink is the perfect combination of spice and sweet.

Back for round two, Crabbie’s teamed up with The Ginger Man to roll out their newest flavor profile, Spiced Orange. During their debut event, Crabbie’s Spiced Orange was served chilled over ice with a slice of citrus. This is the perfect drink to double-fist poolside or even drink casually out with friends. The flavor profile is similar to the original, but offers a lighter ginger kick and zests things up with a tangy orange twist.

The Ginger Man teamed up with its neighbor Crushcraft Thai Street Eats to offer guests the ultimate experience of drinks and sweet dough pretzel bites, served with two Thai-inspired dipping sauces curated by Chef Paul Singhapong to pair with the Spiced Orange. The grub mixed the open patio of long picnic tables made for a prime social drinking atmosphere. The Ginger Man is a team of great minds because there are very few things better than (ginger) beer and pretzels.

That is unless you tried one of the Crabbie’s floaters. Imagine a large scoop of Vanilla Hagen Daaz combined with the zesty powers of Crabbie’s, and you have yourself an adult version of an Orange Julius.

If the floater doesn’t get you (who the hell are you?), try blending the beverage into a variety of ginger beer cocktails, such as a Dark and Crabbie or a Moscow Mule. 

But let’s be for real … Crabbie’s has been killin’ it the past two centuries, so why mess with perfection?  Crabbie’s offers something for every kind of drinker. Give it a try and it’ll be hard to stay away.

Crabbie’s is currently available in Dallas, Ft. Worth, Austin and Waco where it is distributed by Favorite Brands.  For more information on Crabbie’s, please visit them on Facebook or follow them on Twitter and Instagram (@CrabbiesUSA) #icewithaslice. 

I am lucky to have some friends who can pinch hit when my day…

Posted by    |    March 14th, 2014 at 9:41 pm

I am lucky to have some friends who can pinch hit when my day job heats up.  Thanks to Rachael Kohler for stepping in! (She’s also a legit sommelier, so her notes are going to be better than mine ever could be anyway!)  

La Marca Happy Hour at Times Ten Cellar

written by Rachael Evans Kohler

Times Ten Cellar hosted the event, and was as rustic yet elegant as ever.
I was lucky enough to grab a minute with Carmen J. Castorina, Director of Communications for E&J Gallo Winery, and wine maker of La Marca, Fabrizio Gatto.  Both gentlemen were extremely charming and very enthusiastic on America’s perception of prosecco, and particularly the big interest from Texans! 
I had the good luck to sit next to Meredith Steele, a food blogger/freelance food writer.  Her perception of the wine was interesting because she instantly commented on how friendly the wine was to the charcuterie we were enjoying. Not all wines are pleasant around cured meats, aged cheeses, and spiced sauces! 
  • La Marca is now a DOC* and produces 35% of all prosecco in it’s designated region- biggest producer
  • They only produce this sparkling wine using the Charmat method, basically fermenting the juice in large tanks rather than inside the bottles as they do in Champagne.  This keeps it very light, fruity, and fresh.
  • They are not  trying to make a serious, intense, yeasty champagne-style wine, but rather a fan-pleasing style that goes with anyone, any food, and any time.
  • They’ve come a long way in the last 8 years, from two guys driving across the US trying to sell this unknown wine, to flying around the country to meet the demands of interested buyers.
  • The blue label and packaging are extremely close to “Tiffany Blue”- a point they swear is just coincidence … but one that works in their favor!
For the hour that I was there, I thoroughly enjoyed myself.  La Marca accomplished its intensions by opening up conversations, turning strangers into friends, and the demise of a delicious appetizer by everyone at the table.
*DOC means ”controlled designation of origin”.  Basically it is a classification of where a product came from. Read more.

TGI Fridays World Bartender Championship

Posted by    |    March 10th, 2014 at 11:23 pm

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Written by Lauryn Bodden

What’s better than tasty drinks, fried cheese, and good music? Watching someone juggle my liquor before I down it.

Taking the flair of bartending to a whole new level, TGI Fridays hosted the World Bartender Championship and it was nothing less than a party. They’ve been hosting this international event since 1987, and each year the competition only gets better. But it’s not just about how high or how many bottles of liquor one can juggle … it takes personality, memorization, and time management, as each finalist must put on a show, while preparing all 5 judges’ drinks within 8 minutes.

Upon arrival, we were ushered to our front-and-center table (NBD), glistening with giant posters of each contestant’s head. Trying to stay unbiased, we gladly raised our glasses to each finalist as they came on. Each one had their own style, which made the event even harder to judge.  My personal favorites included Plano local Katie Livezey, Russel Ward of the U.K, Genrev Paul Bacasno of the Phillipines, and Andy Hool from Canton, Michigan. I’m all about American pride, but who can resist a man who not only gives you alcohol, but does it while speaking with an accent? (I’m only human, after all.)

Katie showed pure personality as she got to know each guest on a personal level. Russel was all about the jokes. Genrey actually Skyped his manager back in the Phillipines while tossing drinks. But Andy Hool had it all from precision, flawless mixology, speed, engaging service, and style, which secured him the crowning title of World’s Greatest Bartender. (And let’s just say, his bartending skills weren’t the only thing that was strong. Read: he makes a serious drink.)

What’s even better is that the House of Blues hosted this shindig. This venue provided the perfect space for staging the mock bar scenes, spectators screaming for their favorite contestant, and everyone fist-pumping with fellow imbibers for the entirety of the 4-hour event. You better believe heads were bobbin’ to the music at an accelerated pace after throwing back a couple of TGI Fridays’ signature cocktails, the BFM (Best Fridays Margarita) and The Blackberry Long Island Tea.

The BFM was smooth combination of Patron Silver Tequila, Grand Marnier, lime and lemon juice, agave nectar, and fresh-squeezed lime. Nothing too fancy here, but as a self-proclaimed connoisseur of margaritas, I would say this was a great classic version. The tartness of the BFM was a perfect partner in crime to the Blackberry Long Island Tea, a mixture of Smirnoff Vodka, Bacardi Rum, Bombay Gun, Chambord, Triple Sec, blackberries, lime juice, cane sugar, Sprite, and fresh lemon. You know those annoying people that have to slurp down every last drop of their drinks? Well yeah … that was EVERYONE holding this dangerous cocktail and I was the worst offender. #sorrynotsorry. The fresh-muddled blackberries were a delightful treat and reflected the quality of TGI Friday’s drinks, which could have easily just been subpar when it came to the open bar event. 

As if I didn’t have reason enough to mark next year’s event on my calendar, TGI Fridays donated all proceeds from local, regional, and division bartender competitions to Feeding America, the nation’s leading domestic hunger-relief charity.

If you wanted an excuse to get rowdy, tipsy, and wowed by great talent, then that should pretty much do it. TGI Fridays you did me good. I’ll be back next year and everyone else should be, too!

2014’s Bar-cademy Awards (The Doscars)

Posted by    |    March 2nd, 2014 at 4:38 pm

Me and a couple of my cronies, Oh Hey Dallas and Foodbitch, decided to put a list of our favorite items/restaurants/venues in honor of tonight’s Academy Awards.

And the winners are …

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Best International Food: Lucia

Best Southern Charm: Sissy’s

Best Vegetarian Fare: Spiral diner

Best Local Hero: TIE | Scardello, TJ’s Fish Market

Best Romance: sharing the Nutty D’Angelo at Perry’s Steakhouse

Best Drama: Chef John Tesar

Best Newcomer: TIE | True Foods Kitchen, CBD provisions

Best Bar Newcomer: The Blind Butcher

Best Costume Design: Crushcraft

Best Visual Effects: Savor

Best Taco: the Sam Diego from SoCal Tacos

Best American Classic: the Fruity Pebbles Shake from Village Kitchen

Best Pizza: Cane Rosso

Best Burger in a Supporting Role: Chicken Fried Burger from Liberty Burger

Best Burger in a Leading Role: the Classic Cheeseburger from The Grape

Best Cocktail: the belle femme at Boulevardier

Best Hangover Cure: the Bob Armstrong Dip at Matt’s Rancho Martinez

Best Mixing: Tate’s

Best Day Mixing:  F**k Brunch at Anvil Pub

Best Dive Bar:  Double Wide

Best Editing: Parigi

Best Adapted Restaurant: BARTER

Best Sound Mixing: The Rustic

Best Hidden Gem: MESA

Breakout Chef of 2013: Omar Flores (James Beard Nominee) for his work at Casa Rubia 

Best (Re)Directing: Stephan Pyles

Lifetime Achievement Award: Dean Fearing 

It was a big year for turnover in Dallas’s service industry.  We’ve compiled the biggest closings for 2013.  Au revoir … you will be missed.