Archive for February, 2011

Artful Steel

Posted by    |    February 28th, 2011 at 2:01 pm

Sign at entrance to Steel

Sushi chefs create fresh plates at elegant contemporary counter

Steel, the Oak Lawn area Vietnamese/Japanese Sushi restaurant is already 10 years old, yet we had never been. So, when Dennis Jones, lighting designer for Steve’s architectural firm, received a prestigious national award for his lighting of this restaurant, my husband and I thought it was time for a dining field trip. We went with Dennis and his wife, Kathy, Saturday night. Andrew Wilt, the General Manager, recognized Dennis and came to our table to greet us. I don’t know if this had anything to do with our service, but it was extraordinary. Not fawning at all, just casually warm and friendly, as though we were guests in his home. (more…)

Coal Vines: great pizza. epic sandwich.

Posted by    |    February 24th, 2011 at 12:29 pm

From the same owners of Nick & Sam’s, Joseph Palladino and Phil Romano, Coal Vines serves delicious food in a cool environment. Mostly known for their classic thin crust pizzas, they also throw in some other mouth-watering surprises.

Upon arriving to the Uptown location, the friendly hostess let us choose whether we wanted to sit outside on the enclosed patio or inside. We chose inside, where we sat towards the back. The atmosphere was young and hip—but the lights were a little too dim and the noise was pretty high. But that’s what you get in a smallish restaurant in Uptown.

The service was good, but the food was even better. It was tough to decide which appetizer we wanted—would it be the bruschetta with oven-roasted tomatoes and goat cheese? Or the homemade mozzarella sticks stuffed with prosciutto? We went with the latter. The mozzarella sticks were yummy, but lacked prosciutto. In fact, I’m not sure I ever tasted any prosciutto at all. Deceiving. Oh well.

(more…)

Jump Jive and Wail in the Lone Star

Posted by    |    February 23rd, 2011 at 3:25 pm

The Blandelles

You know you've arrived, when you see this sign

I’m revising my thinking about the Groucho Marx quote, “I don’t want to belong to any club that will accept me as a member.” My husband and I like to dance so much that we WILL belong to the Lone Star Café and Club, as long as they will tolerate our jump jiving. We grew up in an era where spinning 45 records in the garage was our Saturday night. Girls could get teenage boys to dance, if we put out big bowls of potato chips and grilled hamburgers in the backyard. This was a long time ago, I know, and the worst trouble we could stir up was a game called, “Spin the Bottle.” If we were really bad, the bottle was a beer bottle that one of us had emptied out of the sight of chaperones. (more…)

Volare to Jimmy’s Food Store

Posted by    |    February 19th, 2011 at 4:43 pm

Mike DiCarlo is always at the front, ready to greet his customers

Just like the Dean Martin song, Volare, that is playing as we enter the store, “we fly away from the maddening crowds…and sing in the glow of a star that we know…where lovers enjoy peace of mind and leave the confusion and disillusion behind.” This is Jimmy’s Food Store at Bryan and Fitzhugh, where the brothers DiCarlo concentrate on doing what they do best: serve up the finest that Italy has to offer with friendly smiles, in a quaint multi-ethnic neighborhood. (more…)

The world’s first enchiladeria: BEE

Posted by    |    February 17th, 2011 at 12:00 pm

(Photo by Andrea Grimes/Dallas Observer)

After closing shop at Ciudad in 2007, a taqueria located in downtown Dallas, customers constantly complained that they missed Monica’s delicious food. When asked what they missed about Ciudad, the answer was always “you had the best enchiladas ever!”

Restaurateur and Mexican food entrepreneur, Monica Greene, has been in the restaurant business in Dallas for 37 years. With the opening of Ciudad in 2000 came several awards, unique enchiladas and customers begging for more. Originally from Mexico City, Greene came to Dallas and began to make a distinctive footprint in the Mexican restaurant world. She opened up a few taquerias, and most notably, Monica’s Aca y Alla in Deep Ellum.

(more…)

The Grape: Be My Valentine

Posted by    |    February 14th, 2011 at 1:46 pm

Texas Monthly's "Best Burger in Texas" (Photo: Stephanie Chambers)

We are at the point in our marriage where the small gestures count more than extravagance. Brewing coffee on Saturday morning, reading the paper together in our comfy kitchen chairs, pointing out the stories that mean something to us, and occasionally reading them to each other. Dancing in the living room to a favorite song on iTunes. Sharing a hamburger on the day before Valentine’s at a restaurant that never fails to make us happy. These are all comfortable and simple things. (more…)

I Heart Chocolate Lava Cakes

Posted by    |    February 9th, 2011 at 3:08 pm

I Heart Chocolate Lava Cakes
Go out to your favorite restaurant for a Valentine Dinner.  And then, for unbridled romance, share a chocolate dessert at home. Nothing beats this homemade after-dinner chocolate dessert. Anyone can prepare this with ease for a sweetheart, be he or she the love of one day or 50 years. Chances are, it will become your Valentine tradition.

Chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten, born in Alsace, France,  claims to have invented molten chocolate cake in the city of New York in 1987. Others have laid claim to it, but after tasting and adapting this recipe, I am a believer that Jean-Georges’ lava cakes are the best, whether he invented them or not.  These adaptions are for appearance and for health.  The addition of a higher percentage cacao chocolate and Omega-3 + Vitamin E eggs add to the heart healthy benefit of chocolate and this dessert.  While this dessert needs attention at the last minute, it’s easy to make and the stunning results make it worth the effort.  Merci, Jean-Georges, pour le sante de chocolat! (more…)