April 2010

From Tei-An to Dal Dong Nae – The Boys Hit the Town.

Sunday night, Tei-An made good on their rain-delayed Grand Opening party for the Rooftop Patio. The place was packed upstairs and down, and spilled out into One Arts Plaza. Crooner Hunter Sullivan performed on the rooftop and the guests enjoyed Teiichi's hospitality.

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Nobu Dallas exec chef Matt Raso and I caught up and BS'ed as the crowd thinned. Eventually, Tei-An started to feel like it's old self as Teiichi, Hunter, Matt, Suze chef Jeff Hobbs and I commiserated in the bar as Yosuke and Val put the place back together – and kept the Yamazaki flowing. Soon, Nobu manager Yuka Hinoda joined and we took the party on the road:

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^Japanese food types sure know where to get good grub at 3 A.M. Dal Dong Nae Chicken & Hof in "Korea Town."

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^We start with some soju (this type distilled from potato w/ sugar added); ^Teach and Hunter peruse the menu.

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^Banchan (small dishes that typically accompany a traditional Korean meal – the most common banchan is kimchi.)  ^Featured here are some delicious little sausages.

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^ A pork ssam dish, Jokbal (cured pork wrapped in lettuce with condiments).

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^Korean Barbecue!

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^Nobu peeps Yuka (L) and Matt (R) dig in.

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^The famous "Army Soup," Budae Jjigae.

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Crazy good stuff. If you don't eat like this – get out of your box and live a little!

Dal Dong Nae Chicken & Hof on Urbanspoon

Uhhh… Urbano Cafe Rocks. Dallas.

Last night, I joined my friends Tracy, John and Scott for a bite. We are eating our way through town lately – which is great because we are going to places on my list that I never make it to. I'm rather pissed at myself for not having gotten to Mitch and Kristen Kauffman's Urbano Cafe (between Tom Spicer's F.M. 1410 and Jimmy's Food Store).

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You could say my dinner companions and I are generally associated with fine dining, but we simply love good food, prepared with passion and integrity. Urbano is really good. The tight room of 9 tables creates electricity. The space is modest, loud, and a few degrees warmer at the height of the evening. We all agreed – we were in New York, not Dallas, last night.

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^ Exec. Chef K'eo Velasquez in his small, open kitchen; ^ Our bad-ass server.

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^ BYOB makes this place an absolute gem. ^ Caprese S’mores – Melted Buffalo Mozzarella between Toasted Crostini with Tomato and Balsamic Syrup.

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^ Pulled Pork Popper with Guacamole and Lava Sauce; ^ Tempura Shrimp over Papaya Cucumber Salad.

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^ Mussels with White Wine, Garlic, Onion, Basil, Sausage & Marinara – these were excellent; ^ Marinated Pork Tenderloin with Smoked Gouda Grits.

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^ Chicken Saltimbocca – Chicken Breast stuffed with Fresh Smoked Mozzarella, Prosciutto and Sage with Roasted Fingerling Potatoes and Green Beans; ^ Pan Seared Diver Scallops over Lemon Risotto with Dijon Cream.

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^ The Blackboard Special Risotto with Pulled Pork, Tomatoes and Peppers; and a little Tom Spicer from next door.

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^ A big ol' mess of delicious desserts: Lilikoi (Passion Fruit) Mousse with Hazelnut Florentine Lace Cookie; Chocolate Mouse with Raspberry Syrup, Fresh Berries and Striped Chocolate Cigarette; Chocolate Fudge Mousse and Lilikoi Mousse with a Hazel Nut Lace Cookie and Fresh Passion Fruit; Champagne Macerated Strawberry Kiwi Sorbet.

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^ Blackboard Specials; ^ Chef K'eo Velasquez and Owner Mitch Kauffman after service.

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…Yep, we are a tough group – and we dig it.

Urbano Cafe on Urbanspoon

Côtes du Coeur: 2010 International Fine Wine Auction & Celebrity Chef Dinner – Dallas

The 19th Annual Côtes du Coeur International Fine Wine & Celebrity Chef Dinner – benefiting the American Heart Association – was the third of the group’s events that I attended in a day and a half. 18 Dallas chefs and eight of the world’s only 170 Master Sommeliers came together to create an impressive event with some killer food and drink.

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^ A selection of lots for the International Wine Auction.

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^ Some of my favorites: Harlan Estate Red; ^ Montrachet Grand Cru.   

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^ Kevin Garvin and Anita Hirsch, Neiman Marcus Restaurants: Lamb Gyro, Sliced Thin on Warm Flat Bread, Served with an Isreali and Bulgur Feta Salad & Tzatzki Sauce. Paired with 2006 Hill Family Estate Stewart Ranch Pinot Noir & 2006 O’Brien Estate Seduction.

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^ Gerald Thompson, Rough Creek Lodge and Resort: Bourbon-Molasses Glazed “High Plains Bison” with Bosque County Cheese and Gulf Shrimp Grits. Paired with 2005 Egelhoff Cabernet Sauvignon & 2008 Luca Laborde Double Select Syrah.

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^ Jeffrey Hobbs, Suze: Rise e Bisi: Toro Tuna with Risotto Style Bamboo Rice with Edemame and Tassione Farms Sungold Tomatoes. Paired with 2007 Lungarotti Fiamme Rosso dell’Umbria IGT & 2007 Adi Napa Valley Rose of Syrah.

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^ Anthony Bombaci, Nana Restaurant: Grilled Moroccan Flank Steak with Panzanella Salad. Paired with 2006 Karl Lawrence Cabernet Sauvignon & 2007 Terra Valentine Amore.

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^ Bruno Davaillon, Rosewood Mansion on Turtle Creek: Braised Veal Cheeks with Organic White Grits Gratin and Anchovy Condiment. Paired with 2007 J. Bookwalter Foreshadow Cabernet Sauvignon & 2007 Torii Mor Chehalem Mountains Select Pinot Noir.

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^ Marcus Strietzel, The Adolphus Hotel: Bacon and Wasabi Shrimp, Ginger Infused Risotto with Shitake Mushrooms and Black Vinegar Sauce. Paired with 2005 Domaine Paul Blanck Schlossburg Riesling & 2009 Dr. Loosen Riesling. “Dr.”

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^ Chef J Chastain (in for Scott Gottlich), Bijoux & The Second Floor: Slow Braised Shortrib Sandwiches with Profiteroles, Roasted Tomatoes and Watercress. Paired with Cain Cuvée NV6 & 2007 Tuck Beckstoffer 75 Wine Company “The Sum.”

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^ Chris Svalesen, Central Market: Official Cheese Sponsor with Graham’s Six Grapes Port.

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^ Adam Rzeczkowski, Fearing’s at The Ritz-Carlton: Barbequed Texas Bob White Quail on ‘Iceberg Wedge’ with Point Reyes Blue Cheese Dressing, Apple Smoked Bacon & Vine-Ripened Tomatoes. Paired with 2007 Justin ISOSCELES & 2006 Signorello Estate Cabernet Sauvignon.

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^ Jay Valley, eatZi’s: Creamy Lobster Polenta with Parmesan Tails & Spicy Roasted Tomato Sauce. Paired with 2008 Benovia Russian River Valley Chardonnay ‘La Pommeraie’, Sonoma, California & 2008 Morlet Family Vineyards La Proportion Dorée.

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 ^ James Johnson, Pappas Bros. Steakhouse: Seared Dry Aged Strip Loin with Mousseline Potatoes in a Red Wine Sauce. Paired with 2007 Chappellet Signature Cabernet Sauvignon & Robert Mondavi Winery, Pinot Noir Reserve.

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^ From Charlie Palmer at the Joule: some of Chef Richard Blankenship’s wonderful charcuterie.

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^ Blankenship (in for Palmer Exec. Chef Scott Romano) serves Roasted Garlic Pheasant Sausage with Salumi Braised White Beans with Red Wine Reduction. Paired with 2005 Alexander Valley CYRUS & California 2006 Coup de Foudre Napa Cuvee.

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^ Jim Severson, Sevy’s: Seared Jumbo Scallop on a Bed of Creamed Corn with Lemon-Thyme Butter & Crispy Fennel. Paired with 2006 Coquerel Wines Terroir Coquerel & 2008 Morgan Metallico Chardonnay.

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^ Kerry Simon, Simon Restaurant & Lounge at Palms Place: Sheepsmilk Ricotta Gnudi with Lamb Sausage and Locano Kale Ragu & Morel Butter. Paired with 2005 Hidden Ridge Cabernet Sauvignon & 2006 Revana Family Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon.

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^ Event Lead Chef, Richard Chamberlain of Chamberlain’s Steak and Chop House and Chamberlain’s Fish Market Grill offers: Garlic Roast Beef Tenderloin with Truffle Cauliflower Mashers and Organic Watercress.

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^ Chamberlain’s dish paired with 2010 Tête de Cuvée Award Winner Alfred Tesseron’s terrific 2000 Château Pontet-Canet. And 2006 Stewart Cellars Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon.

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^ Kent Rathbun, Abacus, Jasper’s, Rathbun’s Blue Plate Kitchen: Orange Glazed Duck, Kumquat Sweet and Sour Chinese Black Fried Rice. Paired with 2006 Panther Creek Cellars 20th Anniversary Pinot Noir & 2008 Siduri Santa Lucia Highlands Pinot Noir. 

The event was quite excellent. Côtes du Coeur continues to do great work, having raised nearly $12 million for the American Heart Association’s cardiovascular research and heart-healthy education since being founded by Bob Hillert, M.D. in 1992. I look forward to their future events.

Côtes du Coeur: Château Pontet-Canet Luncheon at Dali Wine Bar Honoring Alfred Tesseron – Dallas

This was my first year attending any of the American Heart Association’s annual Côtes du Coeur fundraising events – and I did it up in a big way. Here is the first of three posts featuring events that took place in a 36 hour period. These people are serious!

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First up was a luncheon at Dali Wine Bar and Cellar honoring the 2010 Tête de Cuvée Award Recipient Alfred Tesseron, co-owner of Château Pontet-Canet. His is one of the 61 wineries in the Bordeaux Wine Offical Classification of 1855, and the first to go somewhatbiodynamic.” He is also very cool.



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The exclusive attendees of the lunch dug into their private cellars and donated enough bottles of Pontet-Canet to allow for a vertical tasting of the 1995 and 1996 as well as the 2000 through 2006 vintages. What a treat.

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Dali’s talented chef, Joel Harloff, obliges with some truly wonderful pairings.

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The 2005 decants as we enjoy passed Hors d’œuvre. ^ Veal Sweetbread and Wild Mushroom Tart w/ Veal Demi-Glace.

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^ Roasted Laughing Bird Shrimp (Belize) Skewers. Lunch guest and wine nut Tom Wesner is a patron of the Blanck Pinot Gris and brought along enough for all to enjoy.

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^ As the Bordeaux flows we start with Blueberry & Shiraz Braised Veal Cheeks with Caramelized Shallot Potato Croquette, Oregon Mushroom Ragout and Red Wine Gastrique Veal Sauce.

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^ Pan seared Duo of Duck Breast and Hudson Valley Foie Gras, Wheat Berries, Petite Zucchini Saute and Fresh Thyme Duck Reduction.

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^ Grilled Center Cut Prime NY Strip with Roasted Velvet Piopinni Mushrooms, Humbolt Fog Whipped Potatoes and Red Wine Demi-Glace.

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^ For afters – Marinated Fresh Berry Tart with Chocolate Mousse, Port Berry Sauce and Marble Chocolate Garnish. And a little Sauternes for good measure.

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^ Tesseron loses the jacket and regales us with tales of buying the vineyard’s three new work horses over the internet. ^ Dali proprietor Paul Pinnell and chef Joel Harloff.

Hanging out afterwards, Alfred turned me on to a cool new iPhone app that I wasn’t aware of. Just what you’d expect from a third-generation Bordeaux winemaker.

Below: Joel’s crew. Undeterred by the often packed house, these guys bang out the goods from this tiny kitchen day in and day out. Great job!

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This is the kind of food Joel is making daily at Dali – get over there and check it out! And as far as the wine goes – Paul always has some stash of amazing White Burgundy – and they will open any bottle in the house if you buy two glasses. Nice! (well, almost any bottle…)

Dali Wine Bar & Cellar on Urbanspoon

A Taste & More: Ziziki’s Taverna (formerly Volos), Addison

When Teiichi Sakurai suggested we meet at this new place in Addison Walk (SW corner of Beltline and the Tollway) I was intrigued, to say the least. "Teach" and I don't waste our dinners out.

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Volos Taverna is the latest offering from Mary and Costa Arabatzis (Ziziki’s).

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^Keftedes - country-style Greek meatballs served on a plum tomato sauce; ^Loli-Pop Lamb Chops. (These and other "Mezzes" – or small plates – are only $5 at Happy Hour. 4-6:30.)

The food, atmosphere, and general appeal of the place has already made it a favorite with the peeps here at the office. Much more to come on this welcome addition to Addison's casual comfort food caboodle. Stay Tuned!

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… The rest of the story:

So, what are Teiichi and I doing at Volos in Addison?

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Volos owner Costa Arabatzis and Teiichi Sakurai (Tei-An) go way back.

In fact Costa sold his M Street Bistro space at 2014 Greenville Ave. to "Teach" in 1995 – and Teppo was born. They've remained friends, sharing the trials and tribulations of running numerous restaurants in this crazy town over the years. 

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I had noticed the Volos sign go up on my way to Starbucks one day, but it didn't register as a restaurant from my passing glance (I'm trying to get Costa to add the word "Taverna" to the sign!). Then, last month Teach texted me – "Let's go check out my friends new place – Close to you."

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I really like the walk up and patio bar (open to the restaurant). The finish-out (by Bolsa design team Plan B) is very handsome and so welcoming… I immediately fell for the space. The bar is awesome. Time to eat:

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^Mediterranean Shrimp in Garlic, Lemon and Wine; ^Meat Tiropitas – flaky fillo stuffed with ground meat flavored with garlic.

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^Crespella Taverna – crepes stuffed with ground meat, served on Italian plum tomatoes and baked with béchamel

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^Trio Platter – Artichoke Hummus, Tarama and Eggplant Dip with grilled pita; ^ Tamara - a Mediterranean caviar spread.

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^Mushroom and Arugula Flatbread; ^a BIG bowl of Creamy Avgolemono w/ Meatballs - garlic, thyme, egg and lemon with orzo.

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^Slow-Braised Free-Range Lamb Shank; ^Gigante Beans  baked with plum tomatoes, Feta and pancetta.

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^Cast Iron Potatoes baked with onions, Feta and Pancetta; ^"Baklava" Cheesecake.

This stuff is rich, flavorful, and yes – cheesy. Very satisfying. A few doors down at Kenny's Wood Fired Grill, chef Kenny Bowers has really hit the right note with the local market – offering well done, oversized, big flavor fare. I'd like to see some of that crowd spill over and give Volos a shot, as well. Comfort ain't a bad thing – not at all.

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Volos Mediterranean Taverna on Urbanspoon

Stuff I just ate:

For Leslie, here's a quickie post of some exceptional food I've recently enjoyed:

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@ Tei-An ^ Tobiuo Sashimi (line-caught Flying Fish) with Ume Shiso Ae; ^ and my fave: Ankimo.

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@ The Mansion:^ Bruno tried this "Surf & Turf" dish out on me as I sat in the bar: Crispy Pork Belly & Lobster Claws, Spicy Tamarind/Soy Sauce, Green Asparagus and Fresh Herb Salad. A version of this may show up here this Spring.

Tech Bite: TheBrad on iPad

We got some new toys for our latest venture spark360.tv – so I commandeered one and put it to good use:

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Believe the hype – this thing is sweeeet. I use TypePad – so they will need to do a little work on taking advantage of the extra real estate on the device and create a robust mobile posting interface. Then I'll be one happy blogger.