January 2010

Just another night at Tei-An, Dallas

More shenanigans at my favorite hang:

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^ A little snack: Ankimo in Creme Pancetta, Black Truffles.



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I dropped by to see Jay Liddell, brand ambassador for The Macallan. He bribed some of us with Mac 18 (and the Perfect Serve ice balls) to try out this new marketing technology – qyoo.

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It uses an iPhone app to read a symbol that brings up info and media about a product – nifty. Let's have more Mac and head upstairs!

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'Teach' and I hop in the private elevator in the Tei-An bar and take the party upstairs to the newly opened Rooftop Patio and Bar.

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Come spring – this is gonna be pretty choice.

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Meanwhile, downstairs, the cast and crew of August: Osage County were celebrating their opening night at the Winspear with Teiichi's incredible nibbles.

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Soon we were chatting up the play's star: here is 'Teach' with Oscar winner Estelle Parsons. Just another night at Tei-An. 

Oh, and here are some random snaps of some stuff I've been eating here:

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… worth a thousand words.

Tei An on Urbanspoon

Sampling Bruno Davaillon’s Tasting Menu – The Mansion, Dallas

I met my friend LK at The Mansion bar the other night. She was in the mood to celebrate and I owed her dinner – so off we went to enjoy Chef Bruno Davallion’s current Tasting Menu in the Library at The Rosewood Mansion on Turtle Creek. The dim, golden light of the room is gorgeous – but a challenge for my ‘in-the-moment’ snaps – I provide these photos to pique your interest and whet your appetite. I will soon cover the prep of a tasting menu from the kitchen – as I am like to do.

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^ The menu; and the amuse-bouche – a Shrimp & Cashew Skewer with Tamarind Sauce.

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^ We love this dish: Dungeness Crab Salad, Tomato-Jalapeño Gelee, Bloody Mary Sorbet.

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They kindly accommodated our request to mix up the menu a bit.

^L - Potato Gnocchi, Artichoke Ragout, Pancetta and Basil. 

^R – Crispy Pork Belly, Caramelized Cabbage, Daikon Radish, Black Truffles.

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^L - Nantucket Bay Scallops, Clam Chowder Sauce, Brandade Ravioli, Potato Chips.

^R – Roasted Wild Striped Bass, Littleneck Clams, Baby Bok Choy, Smoked Tomato Sauce.

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^L - Colorado Rack of Lamb, Crispy Lamb Shoulder, White Grits Gratin and Braised Texas Kale. The Lamb shoulder was in, like, a little taquito – great dish.

^R - Spiced Duck Breast, Chile-glazed Daikon, Roasted Baby Deets and Turnips.

Then came the Eggnog Martini Foam… that went quick – no pics. Then dessert:

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^L - Bruno’s Black Forest Tart, Kirsch Cream and Cherry Ice Cream.

^R – David Collier’s “Our Cheescake.”

Bruno – also an accomplished pastry chef – came back out to chat during dessert.  As the effects of Michael Flynn’s wonderful wine pairings took hold, I found myself telling Bruno how the firm cake of his delicious Black Forrest Tart was a formidable match for my spoon. He just kinda looked at me with a quizzical grin and encouraged: “It’s like a cookie, just get in there!” That kirsch cream is insane. 

Mansion Pastry Chef David Collier describes the tart: “Its all the elements of the classic Austrian Black Forest Cake (chocolate, cherries, kirsch and cream) but translated to tart form. The chocolate is represented with the tart dough as well and the 70% Guanaja ganache, the cherries are placed inside the ganache (we use griottines) then its topped with a kirsch crème légère (pastry cream, whipped cream, crème fraîche and kirsch). In the ice cream we find more kirsch infused cherries. Its garnished with a chocolate streusel for added texture, a chocolate disk and a bit of gold leaf.”

Next came Collier’s first major addition to the new dessert menu – The Mansion’s “Our Cheescake,” a deconstructed version of the classic. Collier: “The dessert started from Bruno suggesting we do something cheesecake themed but in a glass. I made the ice cream and berry portion and served them to him like a coupe. He changed his mind and said we could do something larger and more complex. I was happy to oblige and came up with this. I wanted something with alot of contrast that the guest could “play with”. He liked it, suggested I add citrus to the fried roll and strawberries to the compote. The roll filling is cream cheese, sugar, citrus zest and egg yolk rolled in fillo. I made the ice cream in the same way I made the brûlée 2.0 ice cream. I baked a standard vanilla cheesecake, packed it into a PacoJet container, froze it then spun it. Liquid graham recipe came from the old Chef’s Room S’mores dessert I did when Tesar was chef.” It’s fun, we dug it.

This is good stuff, kids! More to come… 

Mansion on Turtle Creek on Urbanspoon

Domino’s Pizza Builds a Better Pie

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No, you're not seeing things – this is a post about Domino's Pizza! I recently saw an excellent TV spot featuring Domino's President Patrick Doyle basically saying that he knew his pizza sucked, and that they had done something about it. Locally, I am a big fan of Olivella's Avera Pizza Napoletana across Hillcrest from SMU… but after a night of Chivas at Zen, the impulse to research this post was strong.

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"The primary changes include: a garlic seasoned crust with parsley baked to a golden brown; sweeter, bolder tomato sauce with a medley of herbs and a red pepper kick; shredded cheese made with 100% real mozzarella and flavored with just a hint of provolone."

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So? Yep, it's better – considerably, I think… but then again, I was at a bit of a deficit…

Never fear – next post is The Mansion.

FLASH! Chef Tiffany Derry of Go Fish, Dallas to be a contestant on Top Chef 7 in L.A.

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This just in from an informed little birdie: Looks like Tiffany of Go Fish got the nod and will represent Dallas in the next season of the Bravo series. Good luck with all that, chef!

Samar by Stephan Pyles, Dallas: The Menu in Pics

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I’ve been trying to write this post for over two months. Holidays and weekly major accolades for Samar by Stephan Pyles have conspired to steal my thunder. No matter. Here then, finally, is a look at many of Samar’s delicious small plates “inspired” by the cuisines of Spain, the Eastern Mediterranean and India. 

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^Stephan Pyles (L) and Exec. Chef Vijay Sadhu (R).

From Spain:

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^L – Fabes con Almejas - Asturian Beans and Clam Stew w/ Chorizo Foam. ^R – Arroz Negro con Calamares Fritos – Black Rice w/ Fried Squid and Preserved Lemon Aioli.

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^ Patatas Y Chorizo con Huevo Organico – Potatoes and Chorizo w/ Fried Motley Farm Organic Egg and Hudson Valley Foie Gras. (Shown here before and after.)

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^ The now famous Tres Vasos, the de-facto Samar signature dish. It is a stunner. Very complex in texture and execution – an exceptional offering. (L) Spiced Shrimp w/ Pumpkin Flan and Orange. (C) Foie Gras Brûlée w/ Pedro Ximenez Figs and Crispy Jamon Serrano. (R) Ruby Red Grapefruit w/ Feta Foam and Lemongrass-Ginger Gelée.

Stephan explains, “Tres Vasos was inspired by a visit to a down and dirty but forward thinking tapas bar in San Sebastion last summer called A Fuego Negro. They served a variety of crazy multi-layered vasos with such ingredients as mussels in basil jelly with apple crema and pork cracklings. My combinations are tame by comparison yet have been construed by some in the local media as “over-wrought” and a “jumble of weird tastes and textures”.” 

Well, I dig it – I’m trying to get him to make me that mussels/apple/cracklins version one of these days.

From the Eastern Mediterranean:

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^L – Haloumi bil Zahrat Laateen – Haloumi Stuffed Squash Blossoms w/ Green Olive-Pomegranate Salad. ^R – Kofte Addas Ahmar – Minted Crunchy Red Lentil Kofte w/ Rose Vinegar Pickled Pearl Onions.

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^ Caramelizing oranges for Salata Hundba maa Shumar – Endive-Orange Salad w/ Fennel Pecan Labne and Sumac.

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^L – Djaj Maklee bil Bahrat al Farisyieh – Persian Spiced Fried Chicken w/ Fenugreek Mashed Potatoes. ^R – Ajill Tagine maa Couscous – Veal Tagine w/ Medjool Dates and tri-color Almond Couscous.

From India:

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^ L – Lentils in Chapati Cones. ^ R – the gorgeous Tandorri Gobi ka Phool – Saffron and Cumin infused tri-colored Cauliflower w/ crunchy Amchur Salad.

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^ L - Murgh Makhani – Tandoori Chicken Butter Masala w/ Tomatoes and Fenugreek. ^ R – Meen Avail – South Indian Coconut Fish Curry w/ Jasmine Rice.

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^ Vijay Sadhu and Stephan Pyles in their vibrant, energetic, popular space.

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“Design-wise, I wanted to take advantage of the open spaces and views of the arts district while incorporating the exotic colors and textures of India and the Middle East. Most of the chandeliers and artifacts were purchased in the bazaar in Damascus,” notes Pyles.

Sweets from All Over:

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^ A selection of the killer desserts, including the Labine Pudding w/ Apricot Glaze and Candied Marcona Almonds; and the Turkish Coffee Pots de Crème.

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^ L – Saffron-Coconut Rice Pudding and Cardamom. ^ R – Chocolate Samosa w/ Candied Rose Petal Sauce.

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^ L – Caramelized Apple Empanada w/ Cinnamon Ice Cream. ^ R – Pistachio, Rose and Gum Mastic Ice Cream Cone (yumm).

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^ Stephan finishes the beautiful and decadent Crema Catalana w/ Candied Motley Farm Ground Cherries.

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We’ve been back a few times, and there have been additions to the menu since these photos were taken… I’ll have to do an update – and post it this time!

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^ The Hooka Patio during warmer days.

Saha wa’afiab!

Samar by Stephan Pyles on Urbanspoon

Cowboys / Eagles Playoff snack.

My stress over the game sent me to the fridge in the first quarter. As my open kitchen has a view of two HDTVs, my man-cred was safe as I started the hollandaise…

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I came up with this: Seared Scallop on Mustard Hollandaise, Sage Brown Butter, Pimentón picante.

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Suck it, nacho-heads. Now I think I'll walk to the bar and watch the rest of the game. Go Cowboys!