Archive for May, 2014

Veg Out at Mellow Mushroom

Posted by    |    May 29th, 2014 at 2:25 pm

Written by Amanda Barton

There’s a holiday for everything. Pizza lovers, mark your future calendars for May 15th, National Pizza Party Day. I went to one of my favorite pizza restaurants in Fort Worth to celebrate, Mellow Mushroom. My usual drink of choice is beer, but this time I decided to let summer come early and try a specialty mixed drink. All of the Mellow Mushroom drinks make you feel like you are relaxing on a beach (without the hassle of sand in your crack and sunscreen streaked across your face).  

They told me that their most popular speciality drink is the Shroom Tea (vodka, gin, rum, Triple Sec, Razzmatazz, Blue Curacao, sweet n’ sour, and Sprite); it’s their version of a Long Island iced tea. Not only is this a great deal at $4.00, but it was deeeeelicious and it reminded me of an adult cherry limeade.  

My next two drinks were very similar. The first, was named the Head Bitch in Charge and the Pearl Jam.  HBIC is Myers Rum, Captain Morgan’s Parrot Bay Coconut, Apricot Brandy, orange and pineapple juice. It was a very frothy, orange juice cocktail with a coconut aftertaste. My favorite drink of the night was the Pearl Jam.  This is a mix of Smirnoff Orange and Vanilla Vodka, club soda, and orange juice.  A dreamsicle in a glass with some oomph!

Stop by Mellow for some pizza (obvi) and choose from their bottled, draft, or canned beers ($4-6), wine list, or specialty drinks ($4-7) while enjoying their laid-back atmosphere.  Great music and staff made this an awesome visit that I would highly recommend a visit.  

Mellow Mushroom
3455 Bluebonnet Circle, Fort Worth, Texas 76109 | 817-207-9677
OTHER LOCATIONS

Current Happy Hour Specials:

  • Sunday-Friday (4-7pm) $2 Well Liquor and House Margaritas
  • Texas Sundays- $1 off Texas Beers all day (excludes High Gravity and Seasonal Beers)
  • Margarita Monday- $2 Margaritas
  • Trivia Tuesdays- Extended Happy Hour until 9pm
  • Wino Wednesdays- $2 House Wines from 4-7pm
  • Thrifty Thursdays- $2 off Pitchers (excluding seasonals) from 4-7pm

It’s a sad day for Dallas … The Loon is closing after 22 years…

Posted by    |    May 25th, 2014 at 1:22 pm

It’s a sad day for Dallas … The Loon is closing after 22 years of incredibly successful business in Uptown.

The crowd today is huge, with Loon owner, Cliff’s, regulars to young’s with the goal of getting drunk and no idea why today is important. Cliff, of course, is holding court at his regular table.

I have the only remaining Loon gear sitting in front of me as some food items are sold out. Who thought we’d ever see the day?

Introducing my Fort Worth contributor, Amanda Barton! Amanda is…

Posted by    |    May 23rd, 2014 at 1:47 pm

Introducing my Fort Worth contributor, Amanda Barton!

Amanda is a Texas native and a proud TCU horned frog.  She has a love for craft beers and visiting breweries.  Recently, while in Colorado, she explored Avery and New Belgium breweries. When she’s not sampling beers, she is relaxing with her two dogs, Lily and Baron. Last, but not least, those who know Amanda can tell you she never leaves home without her nails painted and an arm full of bracelets.

 

Don’t Be a Square, Check out Full Circle TavernWritten by Laura…

Posted by    |    May 20th, 2014 at 1:26 pm

Don’t Be a Square, Check out Full Circle Tavern
Written by Laura Healy Iuliucci

Last night I attended Full Circle Tavern’s cleverly named “360° One-Year Anniversary” party down in the Cedars area. Owners and winners of Food Network’s “Food Court Wars”, Lara Whittington and Jennifer Bonner, celebrated with an 80s cover band, prize giveaways and 360° drink and food specials, including $3.60 Stoli drinks, $3.60 Brooklyn Lager beers and $3.60 Full Circle sliders.

I arrived right after 5pm when the festivities were scheduled to kick off. They were still setting up the band and I couldn’t really tell if the event had started yet. Nevertheless, I grabbed a seat outside on their patio, which was very pleasant on a beautiful spring day. 

I had a great server, Tamara, who was friendly and attentive. Even though I don’t normally drink vodka before sundown, I ordered one of my favorite vodka cocktails—Stoli Blueberry with soda and a splash of cranberry. I also ordered the Cheese Curds, a first for me. While I waited, Tamara brought me a bowl of their homemade chips, which was a nice touch. My cocktail was nice and strong and was delivered quickly, which was appreciated as I was parched. The cheese curds were, as promised, very tasty but I’m not a huge fried foodie, so I only had few. I was intrigued by their menu, which is pretty extensive and includes several gluten-free substitutions/options, (which I greatly appreciate since my husband has a gluten allergy).

In my opinion, Full Circle Tavern just makes sense. It’s located in South Side/the Cedars in the same complex as Bill’s Records and is next door to the NYLO hotel and down the street from Gilley’s.

Full Circle Tavern is comfortable, friendly neighborhood spot with what I found to be great people watching. It seems like a perfect spot for NYLO guests and South Side on Lamar or The Beat residents to kick back and enjoy happy hour or a lazy Sunday. Since it’s not close to my neighborhood, I might not necessarily go out of my way to return unless I have something going on down in that area, but when I do, what better place to grab a cocktail and fill up on some carbs before a concert than Full Circle Tavern?

Full Circle Tavern
1319 South Lamar Street
Dallas, Texas 75215 

Happy Hours (as of 5/20/14)

  • Tuesday – Thursday (11:00 am – 10:00 pm)
  • Friday – Saturday (11:00 am – 12:00 am)
  • Sundays (11:00 am – 4:00 pm)

Kitchen closes 1 hour prior to closing times 

Last Monday, the bf and I made the trek to Allen to visit every…

Posted by    |    May 19th, 2014 at 12:32 am

Last Monday, the bf and I made the trek to Allen to visit every hunter’s Mecca (Cabela’s, of course), and were faced with the nearly unsurmountable decision of deciding where to eat on the way back.  We agreed on TGI Friday’s on 75 at Park, bedded down at the bar, and ordered a couple of drinks.

TGI Friday’s debuted a new menu on May 14. Some new food items (of course), but some great new cocktail offerings make new menu.  I had the chance to try the new offerings at Little Fridays during my brand immersion last month, and there some good stuff there. 

I started with the Grey Goose Cooler (Grey Goose Vodka, St. Germain Elderflower Liqueur, lime juice, lemon juice, cane sugar, peach purée, fresh basil, lime, and Sprite), and it was the perfect drink to enjoy on a balmy summer night.  I’ll be using the recipe myself if I can only summon the energy to put as much effort into it as the TGIF bartenders!  For the most part, their drinks aren’t too strong, but they are well balanced and the ingredients really shine.

We ordered a couple appetizers and dinner (yes, we left full and with plenty of leftovers), which had to include their newly revamped Broccoli Cheese Soup.  I had the Spice Craft Beer-Cheese Burger, which was pretty damn delicious, from the perfect pink center to the drippy beer-cheese sauce and fried jalapeños.

My second drink (that, quite honestly, packed enough punch that it was my last) was the Peach Honey Smash (Jack Daniel’s Whiskey, Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Honey, fresh mint, peach purée, citrus juices, and a peach slice).  It’s on the new menu, and teeeeechnically wasn’t available yet, but I convinced our bartender, Nick, to make it for me.  It was … delicious.  I do love my bourbon, and this was delightfully full of it.  They serve some of their drinks over pellet ice, which any Texan simply calls “Sonic Ice”, and I kind of love that.

We were treated to a few of Nick’s bottle tricks (aka “flair”), which weren’t too shabby.  (Stay tuned for a peek at my tricks soon!)  If you want to see some serious bartending skills, TGI Friday’s holds the World Bartending Championship competition each year around February, which starts on the store level.  Check your local TGIF to see when theirs will be held.  (The store at Park & 75’s event is on June 12.)

***This is a sponsored post and part of my TGI Fridays Embassadors program.****

Blogger WalkAround at The Shops at Park Lane

Posted by    |    May 9th, 2014 at 6:58 pm

Written by Laura Healy Iuliucci

I attended a great event last Wednesday called the Blogger WalkAround at The Shops at Park Lane. The event gave Park Lane businesses the opportunity to feature a service or experience to a select group of bloggers. There activities ranged from a fashion show at Bloomingdale’s The Outlet to juice tasting at Elixir Juice Bar. The event’s format allowed you to pick your favorite activities out of several options, so that you could spend some quality time at each activity. (We won’t confirm anything … but they may have said that it’ll be a public event offered later this year…)

After grabbing my gift bag filled with goodies and coupons from many of the Park Lane shops and restaurants, I headed to my first activity: a blowout at the Aveda Institute of Dallas. Students do the services, and their instructor evaluates every service to make sure it’s to your satisfaction, so you know you will leave happy. A blowout includes a consultation, shoulder and neck massage, a hand massage while at the wash station, and of course, the blow out. Before you leave, they give you a “Purescriptions” sheet, so you know exactly what products they used. Do be sure to carve out a little more time than usual for a blow out, since they are still students it may take a few minutes longer. However, the result is on par of a salon, and at the Aveda Salon a blow out (with all the bells and whistles) is only $18, which beats the pants off those blow dry salons cost-wise. (Ahem, $35 + tip? Puhlease.)

Next I headed to Gordon Biersch for beer tasting, where I enjoyed a beer sampler of all of their own signature beers.

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I’m half-Belgian, so beer should be in my blood … but it’s not really something I get too hopped up about (see what I did there?); but, I actually enjoyed all of their beers, even as we moved up the scale to the scary dark and hoppy beers. In fact, I would gladly order a full beer of any of their beers, which is a bold (and surprising statement coming from me), but true. My favorites were Hefeweizen, which is similar to Blue Moon, but finishes with a banana clove taste, which sounds strange but is delicious. I also enjoyed their Brewers Black beer, which is similar to Guinness, but a little lighter and honestly easier to drink. Finally, I tried their in-house brewer’s choice, which was a Rye IPA, and that was very flavorful and strong and dare I say, delicious!

So that we didn’t fall over after our generous beer sampler, we got to try two flatbreads, Bruschetta and the California Cobb, as well as a delicious turkey burger and their filet sliders with Havarti cheese. Next time I go shopping at Park Lane with my husband, I plan to drop him off here early on, and once my feet start barkin’ and I need a break from shopping (it happens!), I’ll definitely be throwing back a cold beer here to get my second wind.

After Gordon Biersch, I met up with everyone else at Bowl & Barrel to finish the evening with some snacks, cocktails, and bowling.Bowl & Barrel (B&B) is a fun and relaxed upscale bowling alley and more. The bowl stands for, you guessed it, bowling, and the barrel stands for their extensive selections of beer, wine and booze made in-house in barrels. (More on this later.) 

Friendly, delicious and classy are not normally adjectives one uses to describe a bowling alley, amirite?

There have been many “high-end” bowling concepts over the past few years, but they are all a little ‘unce unce unce’ clubby for me, but B&B is right up my alley (promise that’s the last pun). It’s like a mixology bar, cigar lounge and gastro pub hybrid with a fun group activity thrown in for good measure.

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B&B is an impressive space to bowl with great indie tunes playing and the décor is old saloon with a little restoration hardware feel. My favorite décor element is the use of wooden coffee tables instead of Formica benches at each of the lanes. Most importantly, the place is clean and smells great, a far cry from the many bowling alleys I’ve frequented in the past.

While you bowl you can enjoy table service and order drinks and food. I highly recommend the Hot Pretzel and their beer cheese sauce for dipping (wow). But their menu is far more extensive than that, and includes what you would expect of a gastro pub, including a variety of snacks, ranging from fries to oysters, and also a selection of yummy salads, sandwiches and burgers.

But let’s focus on the most important thing: the drinks!The most unique thing about B&B is their barrels, which they offer in addition to their full bar. Susie let me have a sip of her Old Fashioned (made by, of course, Billy), which she thinks is the best in Dallas … and now I agree! I also tried their barrel blonde beer and barrel Pinot Noir. The bar manager, Jose and head bartender, Billy, very generously let all of us taste some of their barrel crafted liquors. I tried “Kingston” which is a rum and bitters infusion, yummy, rich and warming. I also tried “In Like Flynn” which is a gin infusion. For those of you who hate gin, I swear this tastes nothing like what you think gin tastes like, i.e. pine trees and Lysol. In Like Flynn incorporated Campari, Cointreau and vermouth, so it takes the gin flavors to a different spectrum and makes it more fruity and refreshing. Both Kingston and In like Flynn can be incorporated into cocktails, but they are truly tasty enough to drink neat or on the rocks.

I was so impressed with their bar and cocktail choices, I would go to B&B just to sit at the bar and try out the drinks and chat with Jose and Billy, who were so warm and friendly and patiently answered my endless questions about liquor infusions. I was warned that it does get pretty busy on weekends, so the best nights for intimate date night setting would be Sunday or Monday. They also do private parties. I like going out to bars, but it’s even more fun when there is actually an activity besides drinking, so Bowl & Barrel is high on my list of places to revisit.

Thank you to The Shops at Park Lane for a wonderful evening … I’ll be seeing you again real soon!

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***This evening was free for attendees.***

Saint Arnold Brewery Beer Dinner at Cook Hall

Posted by    |    May 6th, 2014 at 12:18 pm

Written by: Lauryn Bodden

Each month, Cook Hall teams up with a regional brewery to create a menu pairing of intense flavors that highlight the buzz-worthy notes of select beers. The dinner encourages community members to come together like an intimate gathering of friends and learn about the craft behind some of the best brews in town. For the month of April, Cook Hall joined forces with Saint Arnold Brewery to create a menu pairing of five courses that appealed to individuals of all palates and cravings.

Upon arrival, guests were greeted with the Weedwacker, a Bavarian Hefeweizen. This light beer has notes of spicy clove and banana esters that come from different yeasts. Saint Arnold’s only unfiltered year-round yeast, Weedwacker embodies a pale malt barley with a dash of malted wheat. Accompanied by a frisee salad with pickled peaches, this course was a light start to our indulgent meal.

Next, came the Elissa IPA, an authentic version of traditional Indian Pale Ale. The huge hop additions in the kettle give the beer a bitterness that is then dry-hopped in the fermenter to create a floral, hoppy nose. The maltiness comes from British Maris Otter malt. The citrusy flavor of the brew goes perfectly with any seafood, which made its pairing of Grilled Swordfish and Orange Vinaigrette an obvious choice.

Course three included the Icon Brown Porter with Kalbi Beef Short Rib Tacos.  The Brown Porter is a dark, medium bodied ale with rich chocolate malt notes and an aroma mix of chocolate, nuttiness, and coffee. The tacos were a hit across the restaurant, as many platters were wiped clean before the course presentation was even done. Add a dash of Cook Hall’s special hot sauce and this meaty treat washed down easy with the Brown Porter.

At this point, individuals began unbuttoning their top buttons, shifting in their seats, and doing whatever possible to make room for the two remaining courses…amateurs.

My stomach waited the entire night and was fully prepared for the moment the Rack of Lamb and Divine Reserve #13 graced our table. This Belgium brew has a relatively simple malt bill with caramel and chocolate malts. A large amount of Belgian Extra Dark Candi Syrup is added during fermentation, which gives it a dark fruit-like flavor and boosted alcohol level (WIN!).  All tableside manners were tossed at this point as I traded off between going at the lamb like a chicken wing and guzzling down the rich Divine Reserve.

Lamb is hard to beat in my book, but the grand finale was no letdown. Each guest received a plate of Warm Sticky Date Toffee Pudding with Coconut Sorbet and the Bishop Barrel #5, Bourbon Barrel Scotch Ale. The Bishop Barrel begins as the Divine Reserve No. 4, gold medal winner at the 2008 World Beer Cup in Strong Scotch Ale category, which include tasting notes of caramel, toffee, dried figs and cocoa. Aged in a bourbon barrel, the base mixes with flavors of vanilla, cinnamon and a touch of pipe tobacco to create a rich creaminess. Directions for this course are as follow: take a heaping scoop of sorbet with equal parts of toffee pudding, shovel in your mouth, and immediately guzzle gulps of the Bishop Barrel. The result is perfection.

Bennette Frugé of the Saint Arnold’s brew crew led us through the tale of each selected beer and menu pairing. Known to many as Flappy for his ever-flapping lips and ability to talk for hours about his love of beer, Bennette lived up to his nickname. Between jokes and jeers with the crowd, Bennette highlighted many interesting facts for beer connoisseurs and newbies alike. My favorite fact may just be that if he could be an animal, he would be a pterodactyl.

Saint Arnold Brewing Company, located in Houston, is Texas’ oldest craft brewery (and is reportedly haunted). Founded by Brock Wagner and Kevin Bartol, the first keg was shipped on June 9, 1994. Brock, a longtime home brewer, always considered opening a brewery as far back as college, but didn’t go through with the idea until seven years after graduating. Enlisting Kevin, the two chose Houston because it was the largest city in the country without a microbrewery. The small crew brews, filters, kegs, bottles, sells, and drinks each beer to ensure the best quality. Brews are distributed and enjoyed throughout Texas, Louisiana and Colorado.

Cook Hall’s next beer dinner features Harpoon Brewery on May 23 for $55 a seat (and a certain drink blogger whose name rhymes with boozy will be in attendance). Grab your friends or go alone; either way you will take part in good food, good brews, and good company.

To make a reservation for the Harpoon Brewery dinner, call (214)397-4111.

To view the Harpoon Dinner Menu, please click here.

Fork & Cork, May 16-17

Posted by    |    May 5th, 2014 at 12:54 am

Fork & Cork, May 16-17:

So there’s something big happening in Dallas … errr, in Addison: Fork & Cork.  (You may have read Lauryn’s recap of the Fork & Cork kickoff event last month.)

The highlights of this two-day shindig and food(ie) fest?

Pat FREAKING Green is headlining

Celebrity Chef Marcus Samuelsson | ya know, the James Beard Award-winning chef … yeah he’ll be on the main stage doing cooking demonstrations and other badass things.

– the whole thing benefits DFW’s nonprofit, Café Momentum

wine.

– more than 30 featured restaurants will be dishing out some of their best stuff

– the 5K Tasty Run on May 17 (because you have to work out a bit so you can eat whatever you want, right?)

 

Ticket prices are as follows:

  • Kick-off Party, Friday, May 16: $65
  • VIP Experience, Saturday, May 17: $100
  • Festival Admission, Saturday, May 17: $35

Buy tickets and come party with Pat Green and me and get 20% off with the code BLOGGER4!

I’d like to introduce Lauryn Bodden, my second…

Posted by    |    May 2nd, 2014 at 12:02 pm

I’d like to introduce Lauryn Bodden, my second contributor!
Florida born with a knack for whiskey and rum, she never truly realized her love of Mexican cuisine and margaritas until making my her to Dallas in 2010. Her constant hunger and passion for patio drinking has taken her on a journey to find the best eats and drinks across the city.
Her personal motto: Living life one bite and cocktail at a time.