Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Bologna Cake and Grits? Not On the Same Plate, Please.

When thinking about my two favorite blog postings over our first 100 posts, it was hard to narrow down my favorites. Of course, the CVS Challenge was about the most fun I’ve ever had in the kitchen, and all of C&S’s wine posts always make me drool. But I wanted to pick just two—one from C&S and one from me that I thought best-defined our blog.

From C&S, I chose her masterpiece article about the wonders of Bologna Cake. I’m sure those of you who have been reading our blog since the beginning knew immediately what I was talking about. This recipe (or guidebook, as the case may be), being both completely accessible and adorably wacky, is completely reflective of C&S’s personality both in and out of the kitchen. It made me smile then, and it makes me smile now. Although for the record, I still will not eat it if made with real bologna. Now, made with Genoa Salami from behind the meat counter? Hell yes.

My favorite blog from myself (I feel like a tool even writing that), is the one that I most enjoyed posting. Those of you who know me well know how much I love grits. I will use any excuse to make them—my husband and I have instated a “brisket and grits” Christmas Day tradition at our house, for crying out loud. To me, grits are just so distinctively comforting and warming, I think when I serve them to people, I am not only sharing food, but sharing a little love. I was so happy to post my favorite grits recipes, from basic to fancy, and I hope that a few people were inspired to warm some tummies of their own.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Mind if I Rant?

I'm known here at DallasEats as Classy&Sassy, and for the most part my class keeps the sass in line.  Sometimes though, even this cool cupcake gets her frosting in a froth.  

Case in point:  Over the past few days, I've eaten out more than in.  It was a restaurant-intensive weekend, even by this dedicated diner's standards.  And while each experience was largely positive (great food, great company), I was reminded on several occasions of one or more of my top service pet peeves.  

You'll see in a moment why these are not matters which can be discussed with a manager or easily remedied once they've occurred.  These peeves are subtle, yet often hair-raisingly annoying.  So, if you'll pardon the phrase, do you mind if I vent?  I sure hope not.  And I'd love to hear some of your own pet peeves as well - letting off a little steam is always better than boiling over.

Peeve #1:  "Still workin' on that?"

This phrase never fails to bring a trickle of sweat down the back of my neck as I try with all my might to restrain myself from shouting a Julia Sugarbaker-style Southern slap-down speech in which I remind my sweet server that I was not, in fact, taking a pop quiz in American History class or filling out the Previous Diseases/Current Symptoms questionnaire at my internist's office.  It's not work - it's a meal.  And if the consumption of my plate of food is ever likened to the 9-to-5 grind again, you can bet that I will reply, "Yes, and what a pile of work it was!  Next time you should pay *me* to eat here."

Peeve #2:  The premature drop.

I enjoyed a meal the other day on a shady patio with one of my dearest friends.  It was a day of the week known for leisurely dining, and we were totally into taking it easy.  You can imagine my irk, then, when not three minutes after delivering the food, our server returned with the check, which he propped smack between us (mid-sentence I might add), standing upright like a book on display at Borders.  

So as not to derail the conversation, I simply slided the offending sleeve out of sight.  But inside, I was seething.  Nothing casts a pall on a good meal like the premature check drop.  It's expected and understood at peak times and at certain places, but it seems to be happening more often the rest of the time as well.  And so, my official position:  Checks should come at the end of the meal.  Save the time crunch lunch service for those diners who request it.

Peeve #3:  Going once, going twice...

I'm not sure what the rest of the world calls this practice, but when I was a server it was called "plate auctioning" - and it was a big no-no.  I'm referring to the uncomfortable cattle-call that occurs when a waiter has failed to retain or make written note of the entree each of his diners ordered, and instead calls aloud the name of each dish ("Southwest Cobb - extra beans!") as he lifts it from the tray, waiting with food poised mid-air until signaled by a girl or guy (sheepishly) raising a hand at the table.  Now, I understand that in some restaurants this is part of the charm - say, a roadside diner or that bar in the movie Cocktail - but short of that, let's leave the auctions to Ebay.

*Phew*  Well, thanks for listening.  I certainly feel much better now!

Friday, September 26, 2008

Tiki Torch Song

Trader Vic's is a ticket to paradise, minus the jet lag

(especially after a Mai Tai or two in the pre-flight lounge)

With a few moments to spare before my dinner dates arrived, I perched on a woven leather stool at the bar inside Trader Vic's and assessed my exotic surroundings. Tables ringed with lowslung seats in glossy rattan sported glowing candles and Aloha-print cushions. A glance above my head revealed a corrugated roof covered in newsprint, faded sepia with age, which added an air of seaside shanty to the look of the lounge. Bamboo accents and all manner of skowling tikis were scattered throughout, from tabletop tchotchkes to sturdy, room-dividing joists that stood sentry between the bar and dining room.

These tropical accents and warm, sunset-style lighting worked their time and travel magic, leaving me feeling as though I'd been wandering aimlessly around a mid-century Pacific resort (Is that Lana Turner in the canary-yellow turban?), and happened upon a group of three other restless travelers, all of us deciding on the spur of the moment to make an evening of it together.

Once we were all accounted for - three boys, one girl and four Mai Tais - we clinked a toast and quickly sipped our spicy, herbal libations while talking a mile a minute about everything and nothing at all. It's true what they say: the Trader can really Tai one on, and they're not as pricey as you may have presumed ($7). We nibbled on skewers of pineapple and cherry floating in our boat drinks and soon it came time for another. Some of us castaways switched over to Zombies, a more potent concoction that nonetheless sips like nursery juice. In all, four pages are required to run down the full menu of tropical tipples at Trader Vic's.

Our second round brought us even more cheer (as expected), and each story was taller, more fascinating, more riotous than the last. Even though I'd never set painted toe in this tiki temple before, the company and conversation had me feeling right at home. When it came time to migrate into the dining room, we trailed like ducklings after a well-suited server who ensconced us in a generous palm-green banquette.

Pondering the menu with one eye, we simultaneously ogled yet more layers of island imagery in this second half of the restaurant. Rope and paper lanterns hanging high above might be the same style spotted at the Robinsons' tree-warming party, but crisp white tablecloths definitely spoke to the fine-tuned treatments of classic Continental and Asian dishes offered on the menu. Tidbits and Pupus tempted (Spare Ribs and Skewers and Crispy Prawns - oh, my!), but we dove right into the big kids' pool and were soon presented with plates of high-tone Chow Mein, succulent Steamed Sea Bass and one honkin' bone-in Hawaiian Chop that would have had Fred Flintstone blinking back a tear. Every entree was executed with care - my fish melted to moist firm flakes with the flick of a fork - but I'd be remiss not to mention that this is the arena in which prices float upward from "townie" to "tourist".

Our conversation continued to flow throughout the meal (full mouths be damned), and in the end, not a morsel remained. Not even one sip of candy-colored concoction was left to languish in the bottom of a frosted tumbler. We new friends squeezed every last drop out of our one-night vacay, and while padding back toward the door across printed pomegranate carpet (Simply red? Not on this island!), we hugged and shook and promised to do it again soon. And why shouldn't we? This island oasis is right up the road - no passport required.

Trader Vic's
5330 East Mockingbird Lane, Dallas

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

100 Posts--DallasEats Is Getting Some Miles on Her Tires, but She Still Looks Good.

Ladies and gentleman, it’s hard to believe, but this is officially DallasEats’ 101st posting. There have been highs and there have been lows, but there has always been plenty to eat and drink. Sometimes a little too much.

Tell us…if you had to pick a favorite DallasEats’ post from the past 100, what would it be? Tried any of the recipes, restaurants or wines we have recommended and loved them? Did we inspire you to make an entire meal with ingredients from CVS? Did you think our fried chicken assessments were total bunk? Whatever it is, we want to hear about it!

Over the next week, C&S and I will be revealing a few of our favorites as well, but we’d love to hear what you think too. We hope that you enjoy reading our blog half as much as we enjoy working on it!

Monday, September 22, 2008

Wine(ry) of the Week

Wasn't Sunday beautiful?  Between the sunshine and the cool(ish) breeze, one couldn't have asked for anything more in the way of a perfect day.  

Except wine.  Wine is always good.  ...And maybe music, too.

We made the most of our gorgeous Sunday by adding the aforementioned items to the mix, along with a mouthwatering tray of cheeses, toast, fruit and olives, and enjoyed them all under a big red umbrella on the patio at Lightcatcher Winery in Fort Worth.  

This boutique winery throws a stylish soiree on the first and third Sundays of the month.  On these Jazz Sundays, you'll find a shiny, happy crowd gathered on the winery's wide, shaded patio, listening to great music, nibbling some grade-A munchies and, of course, sipping owner and winemaker 
Caris Turpen's handcrafted creations.

A crowd of well over 100 enjoyed the awe-inspiring work of Rhett Butler and his band this time around - he made a special stop at the winery on his way to Bass Hall next week.  And while Mr. Butler charmed his audience, servers weaved around and through tables bearing trays of wine and delectable plates from the wonderful Bistro Lightcatcher menu.  Our group enjoyed the Wine Country Cheese Platter, an eye-catching assortment that paired well with our sips:  Lightcatcher Chardonnay and Texas Roads Remuda Red.  This little wine girl is also head over heels for the Lightcatcher 2004 Cabernet Sauvignon, 
made from renowned Newsom Vineyards fruit.

As October approaches, bringing with it cooler temps and a whole month
 dedicated to celebrating Texas wine, what better time to take a little trip westward?  Lightcatcher Winery is the epitome of casual style, and Caris' wines are exceptional. 

Lightcatcher Winery
Fort Worth, TX

Danny's Damsels in Distress

So, blog friends, I'm curious - anyone seen Rescue Chef with Danny Boome?  

I don't TiVo it or anything, but I've caught the show a few times, and while I was watching with a friend yesterday, it dawned on me that every episode I've seen has featured the adorable Chef Boome helping a very particular type of culinarily-challenged individual.  Specifically, each time I've tuned in, he is instructing a drop-dead gorgeous young woman.  Yesterday's lassie was Heather, a pretty brunette with a mega-watt smile who learned how to finesse a lamb stew under the Chef's attentive tutelage.  Last weekend, Boome brunched with an equally beautiful babe.

Now, I don't see anything wrong with this, per se - it's just a little curious (and may necessitate a change of title if it keeps up - may I suggest my headline above?).  Have you noticed it too?  Or did I just miss the episodes where he's paired with women older than 25 or, say, someone's grandpa or a couple of fraternity brothers?

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Consider the Lobster

As some of you may know, last week, a well-known writer that I personally repected very much, David Foster Wallace, committed suicide. This has troubled me very much, because in the essays of his that I have read, I have always enjoyed his sensitive and introspective approach to his material.

This is a link to one of his most famous essays, Consider the Lobster, which first appeared in Gourmet Magazine in 2003.

As a word of warning, this essay may make you think very hard about your feelings about not only the practice of preparing and eating lobsters, but also about eating meat in general. It is written in a way that is both personal and logical, and it reminds me a lot of the same issues that Lisa has struggled with here on the blog.

Now, I have a hard time thinking that I will ever want to go completely vegetarian (frankly, meat is just too delicious), but I often think about how the meat on my plate got there. When I do, it doesn't taste nearly as good.

La Madeleine: Back to New, Tout de Suite!

La Madeleine on Lemmon Avenue has seen better days.  

July's unfortunate Corvette crash-up left the neighborhood mainstay with an unplanned breezeway in the patio area, in plain view of passersby.  Since then, a plywood patch has been employed to keep out the elements.  Tres gauche!  In addition, that bedraggled sign, baring its innards for all to see, seems more rust-addled by the day.  I was beginning to wonder when, oh when, the bistro would be returning to its cute little self.  I'll bet you were, too.

Well, good news:  Manager Wes just told me over the phone that repairs to the patio will commence "very soon" and that a new sign has been ordered and is currently in production.  Oh, happy day!  Thanks, La Mad - can't wait to see you get back to chic!

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Wine 1, 2, 3: Let's take it from the top

Does wine shopping make you feel like a fish out of water?

When I stand before the wall of wine at my local liquor store, I'm dazzled and delighted and my eyes dance with the possibilities that lay before me.  It's like I'm seven again and I've coasted up to the candy counter at the skating rink after an All-Skate to the tune of my favorite song ("Karma Chameleon"), and now my only care in the world is whether I will choose a Bit-o-Honey or a Charleston Chew.

I am sympathetic to the fact, however, that it is *so* not like this for many other folks.  In fact, stories I hear tend to run along the lines of  "Final round on Let's Make a Deal, trembling in fear of the goat."  In other words, most people find shopping for wine a far cry from my idyllic regression therapy.

So here's what I propose:  On a regular basis, I will present three common wine-related questions and their answers and/or explanations.  We'll start small, and work our way up.  I'll do the research, you reap the rewards.  Soon, you too will be able relax and hum a little Culture Club while you shop for a bottle or two.

Below, are the first three questions.  I'd love to hear your thoughts on topics we've explored or ideas for the future!

1.  Red, White or Pink?

This is the first question we usually ask when shopping for wine.  The answer is simple:  which do you like to match your mood or food today?  No shade is more sophisticated than the others and none will send a color-coded message to wine snobs that reads "Watch out for this one - she probably still listens to Milli Vanilli."  

There are, of course, those who swear off one or another in the trio for some reason - but I promise you, each color has a place in a well-balanced, well-informed wine diet.  To ensure you are getting a quality selection, grab a salesman and put on a smile.  Any helper would be delighted to hear the words, "I'm looking for an affordable rose' for my patio party this weekend."  Really!

Bottom line:  Good taste is colorblind.

2.  Should I Super-Size?

We are all on a budget these days.  If price were no object, choosing wine wouldn't be a challenge - we'd just send our personal assistant out for another case of Dom whenever we got to running low.  Here on earth, however, we're often looking for bargains, and in the world of wine, there are a lot to be had.  

But beware!  Sometimes a deal is too good to be true, and you'll wake up with a wicked case of buyer's remorse the next morning.  For today, it comes down to the matter of size.  Here are two easy tips to keep in mind:  If the if the bottle is as big as your head and has its own little built-in handle, it's a "no".  Ditto those double-sized bottles of your favorite brand.  The wine inside might be okay, and volume might equal savings, but will you really finish it before it turns?  If not, you're pouring money down the drain.

Bottom line:  Size does matter.

3.  How long does it last?

This is a tricky one, and I'm inclined to recommend erring on the safe side rather than pushing your luck.  Wine is always best and brightest shortly after it's uncorked (we're not going to get into decanting right now).  Reds can be kept on the counter, in a cool place out of the sun, for one or (maybe) two days.  Wines to be served chilled can live for a comparable amount of time in the fridge.  

I fear the half-empty bottle kept for company, cork dried and brittle, label smudged from countless fingerprints over gawd-knows-how-long - It's just not any good anymore, people!  As my mother quipped during a discussion of this issue, "If you're looking for a bottle of something to keep in the cabinet and work on for a few weeks, what you want is gin."  Well said.  On a related note, I've read many reviews of gadgets meant to preserve wine and they all seem to be expensive and hit-or-miss.  Also related is the fact that fortified and dessert wines (port, sherry and the like) will often keep much longer than their table-going cousins.

Bottom line:  After 2-3 days, the honeymoon's over.

Next up:  More questions, answered!

Monday, September 15, 2008

Scardello Artisan Cheese - Coming Soon!

Those of you who know Mr. C&S know that he's the kind of guy who asks for cheese for his birthday - that's right, *cheese* - so you can only imagine the twitter he went into upon seeing a new banner across an empty storefront at Oak Lawn and Lemmon this past Saturday.  It proclaimed the imminent arrival of our very own neighborhood artisan cheese shop, and I couldn't get to the computer fast enough to find out more about it. 

Scardello Artisan Cheese, slated to open in mid-October, is Rich Rogers' baby.  An email I received from Rich today illustrated just how passionate he is about cheese, family and the new store:

"Scardello is an artisan cheese shop focused on handcrafted cheese and tasty accompaniments.  We plan to have a large selection ... from Texas and the US as well as European cheeses.  Everything will be available to taste and cut to order. 

The shop is named after my grandfather, Pete Scardello, who taught me a love for great food and sharing with friends and family.  Growing up in a small Texas town, cooking was not something a lot of men did.  My grandfather was the exception.  

After spending 15 years in video production telling the stories of our clients, I now get to focus that storytelling energy on all of the fantastic cheese we will carry and the artisans who make them."

Rich sounds like an awesome guy, and we can't wait for Scardello's grand opening!

Scardello Artisan Cheese
Coming soon to 3511 Oak Lawn Avenue

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Wine of the Week: Menage a Trois

Folie a Deux
2007 Menage a Trois Red

"Menage a Trois examines what happens when you put three attractive, single young grapes in one exquisite bottle."

Well ...my.  As this passage from Folie a Deux's website suggests, their Menage a Trois is quite a fun-loving wine.  

The three swingin' Californians in question are Zinfandel, Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon.  One sip and you'll agree that the introduction of these three reds creates one charming triple threat.  Luscious Zin, all ripe red fruit and jam, is the star of the show, while the remaining two members of the trio bring structure and balance to the party.  

There's no doubt this American-style blend with a flirty French name will bring smiles to lips while breaking the ice at your next soiree.

Widely available at grocery and liquor stores.  
hint:  Stock up now for the holidays!

Friday, September 12, 2008

Oliver's Eatery: A Mini-Review

Oliver’s Eatery
4727 Frankford Rd. #373
Dallas, TX 75287

I’m not going to do a full-blown review of this little neighborhood spot in West Plano, but it is a place I find myself lunching at fairly often, and I thought it deserved a shout-out. Oliver’s is located about a ¼ mile East of the Tollway on Frankford, and runs on order-at-the-counter-style service, making it a convenient lunch place for anyone working in the Plano area.

I have eaten at Oliver’s many times over the past few years, but there are a few dishes that I always find myself wanting to order. The first is their Sweet Maple Salad, which combines grapes, sliced apples, mandarin oranges, candied walnuts and feta cheese on top of mixed field greens. The salad is dressed with their homemade sweet maple vinaigrette. The sweetness of the apples, grapes and walnuts contrasts nicely with the slight bite of the oranges and the saltiness of the Feta, making this salad a sweet-and-salty lover’s dream. I’m also a sucker for salads with fruit, so this one had me anyway.

If I’m not feeling as virtuous, their pizza is also very good. My favorite is the Vegetarian Pizza with roasted tomatoes, olives, spinach, garlic, mushrooms and feta (hmmm, I’m sensing a feta theme here). The veggies are fresh and flavorful, and the crust is thin and neither soggy nor burnt-tasting, my two biggest crust pet peeves. It’s just crisp enough while still giving you a satisfying chew. The individual size pizzas are very generous, and if you pair it with a side salad, you can easily bag half and take it home for a late-night bite or an easy lunch.

My last favorite is definitely a bit of an indulgence, but on a day where you are in need of some comfort food, it definitely hits the spot – the Sun-dried Tomato Penne. This slightly al dente penne is tossed in a rich, creamy mushroom sauce with a nice kick of sun-dried tomato flavor. The pasta also has sun-dried tomatoes and wild mushrooms thrown in for extra flavor and texture. Topped with shredded parmesan cheese, this rich pasta definitely satisfies the ailing soul.

If you’re ever in the area—yes, we are aware that people occasionally venture or even live north of 635—I definitely recommend that you give Oliver’s a shot.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Noteworthy Culinary News Items

This is just a quickie on two items of note in the world of Dallas dining today:

1.  Doughmonkey, Snyder Plaza's answer to Heaven on Earth, is closing its doors for good.  

I read this yesterday afternoon on the Guidelive Eats blog not minutes after having a conversation with a friend about the next time we'd be heading over that way for some of Rhonda's amazing chocolate chip cookies and jewel-like gems of handcrafted artisan chocolate.  I could go on and on about the proliferation of status-shops pushing $5 boulders in cupcake wrappers and wonder aloud about why a place like Doughmonkey can't seem to stay afloat.  But I won't.

2.  Check out the awesome review of the Landmark Restaurant in the Guide today!

I had the unique pleasure of dining at the Landmark recently with a dear friend on a 4-course menu prepared by Chef Jeff himself.  I can attest to the review's accuracy - the food was awesome, and Chef Jeff is definitely a rising star.  Really nice guy, too.  Big Congrats!

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Guess Who's Swimming with Alice Waters?

File this under "Hmmm...Wow"

So I was flipping through the September issue of Everyday with Rachael Ray and no sooner had I made it past the masthead when I encountered the first feature-ette.  On Alice Waters.  No joke.  Page 19 sports a photo of the Berkeley, California High Priestess of Panisse, along with a blurb and recipe from her Edible Schoolyard project for students.

I have been in awe of Ms. Waters since I-don't-know-when, but to see her here... well, Quelle Surprise, know what I mean?  Everyday just moved up a few notches in my book, from "Guilty pleasure" to "Maybe I won't hide it under my back issues of Saveur on the coffee table anymore.  Maybe."

Of course, I just totally outed myself anyway :)

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Wine(ry) of the Week

I'll bet you're wondering why Lucy has a little 5 o'clock shadow.  
We'll get to that in a minute.

This weekend was Red Caboose Winery's annual Grape Stomp event, and I just couldn't resist heading down to Meridian to check in on one of my favorite boutique wineries.  I was there in March when the vines had just put out the most adorable little fuzzy green buds, so it made a special kind of sense for my return visit to include stomping the ever-lovin' crap out of 'em 5 months later.  Just kidding :)

Actually, when Gary McKibben, eco-architect and owner of Red Caboose, called with an invitation to this annual event, the idea of a day in the country full of wine, music and good cheer seemed like just what the doctor ordered to chase away those "end of summer" blues.  Mr. C&S and the 'rents and I headed down on Saturday afternoon and a wonderful time was had by all.  My favorite part was, obviously, the wine (served in gi-nor-mous 18.5-oz. commemorative goblets), but a close second was meeting my new friend Richard.  He was the most colorful contender in this year's Red Caboose Lucy Look-a-like Contest, and a funny guy to boot.  I asked Richard if he was a wine buff.  "I'm not necessarily a wine person," he replied.  "I'm a party person."  Right on.  Richard and his wife (and wardrobe stylist), recent transplants from Southern California, seemed to be having a blast.  It just goes to show that my mother was right all along:  a fresh coat of lip gloss and a nice peasant blouse can do wonders for one's disposition.

Red Caboose hosts events throughout the year.  It's a small, family-run place with a cozy little tasting room and a 360 view of rolling, tree-covered hills.  Try the award-winning Viognier or the Syrah-Merlot blend.  Orange wig optional.

Red Caboose Winery
Meridian, TX

Friday, September 5, 2008

We've Had a Little Work Done

Oh, calm down - everyone's doing it these days. And it's not like we wound up with a trout pout or anything ...we just wanted to look refreshed.

All it took was a little snip-snip, and a little tuck-tuck and what do you know? DallasEats 2.0! Have a look to your left to see what we've enhanced and augmented: Wine of the Week, Featured Reader and a handy-dandy gadget that allows you to subscribe to DallasEats!

See there? We knew you'd like it. And there weren't any needles or staples involved.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

That Must Have Been Some Sandwich

Iowa man accused of offering bribe with sandwich

Iowa City police said a man who was driving drunk tried to bribe a police officer — with a sandwich. Police said a 25-year-old man was charged with drunken driving early Sunday morning after an officer saw him driving with his headlights off and pulled him over.

Police said the man was riding with a police officer in a squad car when he offered the officer free sub sandwiches if he could go home.
The officer declined.

In case you don't believe me, here's a link to the AP article:

So, my question is...what kind of sub was it?

If we're talking baloney sub with American cheese, I would never accept that bribe. But what if we were talking a Potbelly Wreck Sub (Turkey, Roast Beef, Ham and Salami) with those yummy spicy pickled vegetables they put on their sandwiches? I'm not sure I would have been able to resist.

Are there any sandwiches that could sucessfully bribe you?

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Buzz

Ever since BuzzBrews opened in the former Pitt Grill spot at Fitzhugh and 75, I can't seem to keep from drooling every time I head north on the highway.  But being the lazy little thing that I am (Three exits?!  Might as well be three hours!), and being not particularly disposed to my local outpost of Cafe Brazil (I explained why here), I often found myself wishing and praying and hoping against all hope that one day this 24/7 great food/great coffee joint would grace me with a presence nearer to the Oak Lawn area.

Well, lo and behold, my prayers were answered.  When I heard what was going into the hard-luck space at Lemmon and Herschel, I could barely contain my excitement.  A real live BuzzBrews right in my own back yard!

Crowds of shiny, happy people have packed the new spot since it opened just a few days ago, feasting on bountiful breakfasts, lip-smackin' lunches and all manner of other delicious dishes in the wide-open dining area overlooking (wait for it) the Radio Shack parking lot.  Oh, well, maybe my new Brews doesn't have a view, but it's got some righteous coffee, friendly service and someone in the kitchen who may very well be my new culinary best bud (sorry, FP).

Take the Griddle Toast, for instance.  Think French Toast's rich uncle.  Soaked in a silken egg custard and grilled golden brown, it's oh, so much more decadent than the average pain perdu.  And that's before it's topped with Vermont AA Maple Syrup and a sprinkling of nuts.  Add two eggs and two slices of bacon, and you've got the Pitt Grill Griddle Toast breakfast.  It's an homage of which the dive of my high school days would be proud.  

Other clucking delightful egg dishes sampled included the Popeye (spinach, tomato, onion and feta cheese wrapped in a fluffy omelet) and the Californication (you'll have to look that up yourself), both of which can also be served as crepes.  Alongside you'll receive buttery, brioche-type toast and BuzzBrews' "garlic marbles" -  seasoned potatoes that were were, unfortunately, underdone when sampled on a recent visit. 

I took the misstep in stride, however, considering the crowd that morning and the exceptional quality of everything else on the plates.  To prolong my pleasure, I carried home an 8 oz. bundle of joy:  my very own bag of Buzz Brew, ground to my own particular specifications, which has awakened me with the appropriate combination of strength and encouragement every morning this week.  (For me, coffee is all about tough love.)

I can't wait to get in for dinner, and once I do, you'll hear all about it.  For now, however, I think you know where you're headed for that 2 a.m. post-party fix.  Or for brunch on Sunday.  Or both.

New location:  4334 Lemmon Avenue, Dallas