September 2010

Fried Food Foray – State Fair of Texas 2010

…and just like – that the 100+° days of summer are behind us, Oktoberfest is waning, and it's time again for the State Fair of Texas.

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I took advantage of the overcast skies and 70°s temperature last Saturday to miss the throngs usually present on day two of the three week event.

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Remember to take this post with a grain of (deep fried) salt. None of this stuff is actually "good," consuming it often results in abdominal pain, and it will probably kill you. But it's fun – so there. I sampled a bite or two of each of this year's "in-competition" fried offerings (save the Fried Chocolate… I couldn't bear another bite).

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L^ Winner of this year's "Most Creative" is the Fried Beer™ – I was surprised by this one – pretzel pockets fried with liquid Guinness beer inside. There was uctually beer in there! It was weird; R^ Texas Fried Caviar - Black-eyed peas are fried and laced with spices blended with Old Bay® Seasoning. I ordered mine Spicy. You can imagine – salty… good with beer.

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L^ Fernie’s Fried Club Salad – Club salad fried in a spinach wrap. This is the half-order with ranch dressing. I liked this, and the fried crouton was good, to boot; R^ Deep Fried S’mores Pop•Tart®  - a chocolate Pop•Tart® with peanut butter s’mores flavor is lightly battered & deep fried, drizzled with chocolate syrup and topped with whipped cream. Uhh… that was pretty good, too.

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L^ Fried Lemonade – Country Time® Lemonade flavored pastry is baked, then fried, glazed with a mix of lemonade, powdered sugar, and lemon zest. Lemon-y decadence; R^ Deep Fried Frozen Margarita – Magarita mix flavored fried funnel cake batter, doused in tequila and served in a salt rimmed glass. Fun and not bad!

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L^ "Best Taste" winner, Texas Fried Frito Pie – Corn chips smeared with Texas chili and sharp cheddar, lightly battered and fried – served with hot sauce and sour cream. The bites that actually had all the components together worked well; R^ …and I had to get me a Fletcher's Corny Dog – a must. I ate all of that one!

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Burger Watch: Koster’s Famous Deli, Prosper, TX

A friend turned me on to this one. Not for those that get nose-bleeds easily – but the Tollway can deliver you to Prosper, TX swiftly and with style.

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Look – it's all wind-swept and stuff. Koster's Famous New York Delicatessen is on 380, about three miles East of the Tollway. They have a website – kind of (navigate with the "Go to…" box at the upper right.)

Inside there is an ice cream parlor, deli counter featuring Boar's Head meats, and grass-fed beef from Koster Cattle Co.'s own Prosper raised and locally processed Wagyu steers.

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I am here for the "Kosters Famous Kobe Burger – Prime Kobe Beef, Leaf Lettuce, Tomato, Red Onion, Choice of Cheese."

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The bun is from La Spiga Bakery in Addison. The meat was delicious – really good. It was fun to trek out there and the burger was worthy of the trip.

Koster's Famous New York Delicatessen on Urbanspoon

The Horne & Dekker Fried Chicken… at Veritas Wine Room, Dallas

Here it is: 

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More on that in a bit. Now that Dali is gone, we have made Brooks Anderson's Veritas Wine Room our new clubhouse. Love the place. 

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Last night sommelier Scott Barber (R) dropped by to feature wines from Josh Peeples' (L-texting) Chateau Boswell Winery:

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Nice stuff, indeed. We enjoyed some "Situational Drinking."

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Later in the evening, another regular brought in some special stuff to share!

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^ All amazing – though the Clos did not show – it happens. NOW it was time for some food. Veritas has brilliantly struck a deal with next-door-neighbor Horne & Dekker to deliver anything from the menu to Veritas. Order from the Veritas staff and H&D servers come right over and attend to you, then bring a separate bill. Seamless and welcome. 

As we were here, I HAD to take Brooks' advice and try the much ballyhooed Horne & Dekker Fried Chicken:

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I added the Handmade Spaetzel with Cheese. Best fried chicken ever? I'm not qualified to answer that one, but it is pretty damn good.

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^Horne & Dekker chef (or kitchen manager?) Corey Smith delivered the goods and had a quick sip before heading back to the kitchen; ^we enjoyed the grub. The chicken is Corey's dish – he was formerly sous-chef at Dish while Shawn Horne was GM. "So Corey, what's the deal with the chicken?"

"Well, I was born and raised in New Orleans so food has always been a huge inspiration to me. It's pretty easy – what I do is… I get whole chickens and I brine 'em… salt water, little bit of honey, fresh thyme – bring that to a boil. Pour it over the chicken (breast side up) then shock it with some cold water. Leave it in there for 24 hours. Then truss it up and roast it in a convection oven for 40 minutes – then pull it out and let it rest. Then double-battered in flour, buttermilk, egg wash - then it fries for just three minutes." There ya go!

I was hard on Horne & Dekker at the beginning. It's time to give them another shot.

Food Adventures in New York City

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I just returned from a whirlwind gastro-tour of NYC – wrapped around my visit to the James Beard House where I joined chef John Tesar in the kitchen for his latest dinner (paired entirely with Champagnes!) at the prestigious address. Stay tuned for some serious Big Apple food-porn mixed in with the local stuff. Cheers!

First Look at Avner Samuel’s Nosh Bistro Bar

Here's a quickie look at Avner & Celeste Samuel, and chef/partner Jon Stevens latest while I bury the lede.

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Well, here we go! Nosh Bistro Bar occupies the former Aurora space (and now the space next door as well).

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I like it.

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This is not you Daddy's Aurora. New is the handsome L-shaped bar. Avner prefers that the TV feature his favorite show – fireworks from the kitchen. Celeste would like to expand the programming – stay tuned.

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Much of the stainless steel is gone from the still gleaming kitchen, but the trademark copper cookware remains. The most striking change is the removal of the art nouveau etched glass panels that separated the impassioned kitchen goings on from the rest of the room. This facilitates Nosh's counter seating option. With tongue planted firmly in cheek Celeste and the chefs allude to this being an "R" rated vantage point from which to experience the all day menu of small plates, sandwiches and main dishes (most priced well under $20). Here are some nibbles passed at the reception Friday evening:

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^ A little Country Pate; ^ and Tartare of Ahi Tuna, Avocado, Jonah Crab and Yuzu.

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^ Crushed Avocado Toasts, Spanish Chorizo, EVOO, Sea Salt. ^ Bites of the Croque Monsieur.

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^ Avner's famous Spiced Beef Cigars with Cucumber Yogurt and Chimichurri; and the Hummus.

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^ I was diggin' the Escargot Fritters and Mandarin Tartar & Parmesan. ^ The three Musketeers. Chef Jon Stevens joins from having  most recently opened two of the Neighborhood Services outposts,

So far so good. I'll tell ya about the regular menu tout de suite.

And the real news? Aurora is not gone. It will be available on request. People already have reservations. More on that later.

Nosh Euro Bistro on Urbanspoon

Burger Watch: YourWay Burgers, Farmers Branch

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Don't mistake this place, located a bit north of 635 on Midway Rd., for a Scandinavian furniture store – or you'll miss out on a pretty decent burger experience.

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^ Fill out your two-sided YourWay Burger order card while waiting in line – it's kinda schtick-y but smart – you are tempted with many options. The combo meal makes for a pretty good deal.

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^ Hand over your card, pay and get a buzzer thingy. When your made-to-order burger is ready, hit the condiment bar – lot's of sauces and fresh produce.

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^ The burgers are presented in this clever and tidy manner. The Onion Rings went fast.

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^ Here's the Chicken Sandwich; and a 1/3 pound Cheeseburger with optional Cheese and Avocado.

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^ Here's mine: 1/2 pound cooked medium rare, just as I requested, with chopped jalapeños added to the hand formed patty before grilling – nice concept. With the "Infused Toppings" option, you can have Chopped Jalapeños, Crushed Red Pepper, Chopped Tomatoes, Chopped Onions, Bell Peppers and/or Chopped Mushrooms mixed right into the meat at no additional charge.

We had lunch there twice this week – so it's in heavy rotation… as I will be if I don't get back to my miso soup lunch trick…

Yourway Burgers on Urbanspoon