The Brad at The French Laundry

As The French Laundry chef de cuisine Timothy Hollingsworth prepares to hand over the reigns to his executive sous chef David Breeden, we popped in for a blowout.

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Here’s what went down (and nicely, I might add):

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^L: Amuse.
“Sabayon” of Pearl Tapioca with Island Creek Oysters and White Sturgeon Caviar.

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^L: “OEUFS EN GELEE” Royal Ossetra Caviar. Brioche “Soldiers.” Lobster “Salpicon” and Scaliion Salad.
^R: Beurre

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^L: SALAD OF FRENCH LAUNDRY GARDEN FENNEL Tokyo Turnips. Sour Michigan Cherries. Sicilian Pistachios and Mache.
^R: “KOULIBIAC” OF COLUMBIA RIVER STURGEON “Pomme Puree,” Nantes Carrots and Tarragon Jus.

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^R: SWEET BUTTER-POACHED MAINE LOBSTER “FRICASSEE” Caraway Melba. Heirloom Beets. Melted Cabbage and Horseradish Creme Fraiche.

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^L: RUSSET POTATO GNOCCHI with Shaved Black Winter Truffles.
^R: Some old bottle of wine…

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^L: SALMON CREEK FARMS PORK BELLY “EN FEUILLE DE BRICK” Gamet Yam.. Brussels Sprouts. Pearson Farm Pecans. Noble Maple Syrup and Black Truffle.
^R: HERB-ROASTED ELYSIAN FIELDS FARM LAMB SADDLE Pearl Barley. Creamed Mushrooms. Petite Onions. Mizuna and Sauce “Soubise.”

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^R: “BREBIS DES PYRENEES” Moroccan Olive. Piquillo Pepper Marmalade. Pine Nuts. Eggplant and Olive Oil Jam.

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^L: POMEGRANATE “SODA” Jasmine Ice Cream and “Fleur de Sel” Shortbread.
^R: PASSION FRUIT “SWISS ROLL” Valrhona Chocolate Cremeux, Caramel Mousse and Banana Ice Cream.

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^R: “Coffee and Doughnuts>”

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What’s not to like? A wonderful experience.
On a side note: It’s nice to realize after a meal like this just what talent we have here in Dallas. Bruno Davaillon’s tasting menu at The Rosewood Mansion on Turtle Creek is equally superb. An omakase meal from Teiichi Sakurai at Tei-An is equally sublime. Enjoy!

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The French Laundry on Urbanspoon

Luisa Rocca drops by Veritas Wine Room – Dallas

So last Wednesday I headed over to a favorite hangout, Veritas Wine Room, to sample some Rocca wines.


The lovely Luisa Rocca was on hand with some nice selections.

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Though a nice number of bottles were sold to a couple Veritas regulars, we were disappointed that everyone stayed in as the weather threatened.

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^ So we busted out the good stuff and headed to the parking lot to enjoy the show. It was a treat to have Luisa tell the story of the special and excellent Rocca Maria Adelaide Barbaresco – the 2006 Rabajà was also well received! We packed up shop and headed for Hibiscus down the street. See next post.

20th Annual Cotes du Coeur Gala – 2011, Dallas


Welcome to the 20th Anniversary Côtes du Coeur International Fine Wine & Celebrity Chef Dinner. One of my favorite events of the year, the black-tie affair (benefiting the American Heart Association) includes a fine wine auction and a tasting of plates from 16 of Dallas’ finest chefs paired with two wines each from some exceptional winemakers. The event has raised well over $12 million over the last two decades.

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^ As soon as we walk in, Dean Fearing of Fearing’s Restaurant at The Ritz-Carlton presents his Apricot Barbecue Glazed Quail with Iceberg Wedge & Blue Cheese Dressing; paired with 2007 Martinelli Bondi Home Ranch Pinot Noir and 2008 Bookwalter Foreshadow Merlot Columbia Valley.

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^ 2006 Amizetta Cabernet Sauvignon and 2008 Justin ISOSCELES; with The Adolphus chef Marcus Strietzel’s Pan Seared Tenderloin of Buffalo, Creamy Polenta with Fresh Coriander & Goat Cheese, Chimichurri Sauce.

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^ David Holben of Del Frisco’s Double Eagle Steak House offers Orange Sea Salt Crusted Beef Tenderloin with Grilled Endive & Charred Bell Red Pepper Vinaigrette; with 2006 Revana Cabernet Sauvignon and 2006 Hill Family Estate Cabernet Sauvignon. 

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^ 2007 Karl Lawrence Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon and 2007 Terra Valentine Spring Mountain District Cabernet Sauvignon; with Scott Romano, of Charlie Palmer at the Joule‘s Braised Lamb Ravioli with Spring Peas & Chanterelle Mushrooms.

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Rosewood Mansion on Turtle Creek Executive Chef Bruno Davaillon and Executive Sous Chef Eric Brandt; and Paul Blanck wines “ambassador” Tom Wesner.

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^ Bruno’s Day Boat Scallop Carpaccio, Bouillabaisse Gelee, Green Olive Crostini; with 2008 Iron Horse Vineyards UnOaked Chardonnay and 2007 Domaine Paul Blanck Grand Cru Schlossberg Riesling

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^ 2007 Ehlers Estate One Twenty Over Eighty and 2006 Jordan Cabernet Sauvignon; with Blythe Beck of Central 214‘s Slow Braised Kobe Short Rib on an Exotic Mushroom Bread Pudding & a Carmalized Onion Demi Glace.

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Nubu-Dallas Executive Sushi Chef Mutsuhiro Eguchi’s Trio of Tuna – Tuna Tataki, Spicy Tuna roll, Traditional Nigiri; paired with 2008 Torii Mor “Deux Verres” Reserve Pinot Noir and 2008 King Estate Domaine Pinot Gris.

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^ 2008 Benovia Bella Una and 2007 Panther Creek Freedom Hill Pinot Noir; with Bijoux chef Scott Gottlich’s Smoked Pheasant Terrine with Cherry Jam.

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eatZi’s Market & Bakery chef Jay Valley’s House-made Veal Sausage & Peppers on Grilled Ciabatta Bread; with 2006 Peju Cabernet Sauvignon and 2009 Colby Red Cabernet.

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^ Graham’s Six Grapes Reserve Porto; and a selection of Cheeses from Central Market.

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^ Brad Albers of Eddie V’s offers Jonah Crab Pot Stickers; with 2009 B.R. Cohn Chardonnay and 2008 Coquerel Wine Estates Terroir Sauvignon Blanc.

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^ 2008 J. Lohr Tower Road Petite Sirah and 2006 Cain Concept – The Benchland; with Gerard Thompson of Rough Creek Lodge & Resort‘s Pancetta Wrapped Elk Loin, Anson Mills Farro Salad, Baby Arugula & Rhubarb.

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^ Kevin Garvin & Anita Hirsch, Neiman Marcus Restaurants: Lobster Grilled Cheese & Tomato Soup with Truffled Potato Chips; paired with 2008 Ceja Napa Carneros Chardonnay and 2008 Dutton-Goldfield Dutton Ranch Chardonnay.

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^ 2007 William Cole Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon Cuvée Claire and Realm Cabernet Bordeaux Blend; with Kent Rathbun’s (Abacus, Jasper’s, Rathbun’s Blue Plate Kitchen) Braised Short Rib with Marsala Herb Demi & Roasted Carnival Cauliflower, Pearl Couscous.

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^ Scott Murray rallies the crowd; Chamberlain’s goods.

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^ Richard Chamberlain (Chamberlain’s Steak & Chop House, Chamberlain’s Fish Market Grill) offers 40 day aged Ribeye, Parsnip Potato Puree, Smoked Garlic Sauce; with 2006 Alexander Valley CYRUS and 2006 Egelhoff Cabernet Sauvignon.

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^ Regina Martinelli of Martinelli Vineyards; and the Severson’s.

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Sevy’s Truffled Duck Confit, Melted Leeks & Blackberry Thyme Sauce; with 2008 Merry Edwards Pinot Noir Sonoma Coast and Santa Helena Pinot Noir Selección del Directorio Pinot Noir.


^ Our group (Regina Martinelli, Tom Wesner, Philippe Blanck, Bruno Davaillon, Eric Brandt) planning to hit the event bar in the lobby:


…where Roederer Champagne was served in dramatic fashion. The event was a tremendous success!

Check out the previous night’s shenanigans at the Grand Tasting here

Cotes du Coeur Grand Tasting 2011 (and Afterparty at Kent Rathbun’s) Dallas


This year, the Côtes du Coeur Grand Tasting (where the participating wineries pour a select reserve of their wine for Côtes’ top level patrons and sponsors) was held at Cityplace’s 24th Floor Atrium.

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^ I started out with my pals at the Paul Blanck table.

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^ Happy wine lovers; Scardello Artisan Cheese.

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^ Amelia Ceja of Ceja Vineyards; D’Lynn Proctor with Dr. Madaiah Revana of Revana Family Vineyard.

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^ a selection of nib chocolates.

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^ My pals Regina Martinelli & Philippe Blanck; we check out Master Somellier Joseph Spellman and the Justin ISOSCELES.

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^ Lisa Chamberlain chatting with Daryl Groom, who happens to have made the 1990 Penfolds Grange recently enjoyed with some buds at Veritas Wine Room.


As evening falls, we head over to Kent and Tracy Rathbun’s penthouse pad at The Heights at Park Lane.

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^ Wine types chow down on Kent’s grub:

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Great time! Next up – the main event: the Côtes du Coeur 20th Anniversary Gala.

Savor Dallas 2011 & AIWF: Wine and Cheese Pairing Event at The Mansion

Between Savor Dallas’ heavily attended Arts District Wine Stroll on Friday and the Grand Tasting the following evening, discerning American Institute of Wine and Food members enjoyed Savor’s civilized wine and cheese pairing event at the Rosewood Mansion on Turtle Creek. Well, somewhat civilized – things got rowdy in the Sheppard King suite about halfway through the eight wines. Of course, that’s part of the fun!


The delightful Paula Lambert brought along a lovely selection of her excellent Mozzarella Company cheeses, and The Mansion’s  wonderful sommelier, Michael Flynn, offered inspired and clever wine pairings for each.

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Michael Flynn is passionate about education, as devotees of his unpretentious and casual weekly Thursday Wine Chats, can attest. One lesson, that is always fun to explore, reveals that most cheeses actually pair much better with white wines – the results often sublime. The first four cheeses were paired with whites:

#1 Crescenza  ~ “Singing” Gruner Veltliner, Laurenz V, Austria 2009

#2 Hoja Santa Goat ~ Terroir Coquerel, Sauvignon Blanc, Napa 2007 (Paula’s Hoja Sante wrapped Goat Cheese is a real treat.)

#3 Herbed Goat Log ~ Riesling Muhlheimer Sonnenlay, Dr. Richter, Mosel 2007

#4 Smoked Scamorza Cow ~ Folie à  Deux Chardonnay, Napa 2009

#5 Montasio Festivo ~ Barbera Tre Vigne, Vietti, Piedmont, Italy 2007

#6 Black Pepper Caciotta ~ Alto Las Homigas Malbec Reserva, Mendoza, Argentina 2008

#7 Blanca Bianca ~ Moscatel Seleccion Especial, Jorge Ordoñez, Málaga, Spain 2007

#8 Deep Ellum Blue ~ Ferreira 20-year-old Tawny Port.

– some really amazing results.

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Go visit Paula at her shop in Deep Ellum, and be sure to check out the fun at Michael Flynn’s Wine Chat at The Mansion, every Thursday at 6:15 sharp – it’s only 25 bucks, Michael won’t divulge the theme or selections before the event, and it”s the best deal in town!


What’s Cookin’ with Chef Bruno at The Mansion?

…some really delicious and masterfully executed seasonal fare – that’s what.

But first, Michael Flynn’s fun and informative “Sparklers not from Champagne” edition of Wine Chat.

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Afterward, I grabbed my corner stool at the Mansion Bar. Chef Bruno Davaillon obliged with some tastes from the current regular and tasting menus:

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^ Dayboat Scallops – Oyster, Roe; and ^ a kind of Frog Leg Lollipop Fritter thingy!

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^ An amazing Pheasant Consommé – Foie Gras Ravioli, Black Trumpet, Alba Truffles; and ^ Seared Scallops – Pomegranate, Caramelized Cauliflower, Curry Oil – very nice.

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^ Roasted Texas Venison – Sunchoke, Red Cabbage Compote, Pear in White Wine, Bacon Jam …just killer. This dish tastes like December, and exemplifies the new Mansion Restaurant for me… excellent Texas protien, elegant balance of flavor, exceptional execution. Bravo; ^and a Jack Daniel’s Eggnog Martini for good measure!

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^ Afterward bartender Birk Baumgartner hit me with a “Calda”: Laurenz “Singing” Gruner Veltliner, Honey & Rosemary-Infused Syrup – (and a shot of Macallan by request). Like velvet Ambien.

Get over to the Restaurant at the Rosewood Mansion on Turtle Creek for a truly special holiday meal, tout de suite!

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

Here it is: 


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. 


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."


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:


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.

How to do Restaurant Week – The Mansion on Turtle Creek

What is that line about opinions…? Well everybody has one about Restaurant Week. Mine is generally of the "skip it" camp, but I give it a go once in a blue moon. Such an event occurred last Thursday, quite organically.

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I was attending Mansion sommelier Michael Flynn's weekly Wine Chat (every Thursday at 6:15 sharp). My buddy, former Mansion mixologist – now bad-ass spirits ambassador Michael Martensen, brought along another spirits guy and his friend to check out the venerable Mansion Bar.

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I ducked in to say hi to Chef Bruno and check out how RW was going. After a quick glance at the enticing offerings, the boys and I scored a table in the Salon (for the record I had a suit on – rabble…)

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^ The Mansion's Restaurant Week menu. "We'll do the Flynn's wine pairings as well."



^ Vichyssoise amuse. Martensen and I wanted the boys to have a taste of the regular menu as well – so we ordered some starters for a pre-course:

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^A kindly split order of the Shrimp Cocktail, Horseradish Panna Cotta, Tomato Syrup; ^and my fave, the Asparagus and Wild Mushroom Risotto, Meyer Lemon Dust. Mike had the brilliant King Crab Soup with Potato Capelletti (not shown). 

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^Michael Flynn's gracious table-side manner. Now to the RW menu: ^House-Made Salmon Gravlax with Shaved Fennel Salad.

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^Watermelon Salad with Local Feta Cheese, Crispy Prosciutto and Pink Peppercorn Vinaigrette.

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^Braised Veal Breast, Roasted Eggplant and Natural Jus; ^Sweet Corn Ravioli with Shrimp Bolognese Sauce. Nice.

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^ I took Bruno's advice and ordered the chicken: Crawfish-Stuffed Texas Chicken, Roasted Potato and Baby Spinach and Shellfish Reduction. Fantastic – beautiful and delicious.

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^Chocolate Caramel Tart: Soft Caramel, Chocolate Ganache, Vanilla Ice Cream; ^Peach Sundae: Vanilla Panna Cotta, Poached Peach, Almond Crumble, Peach Ice Cream.


I am a big fan of Chef Bruno Davaillon and The Mansion, and eat here as often as I can. This meal was cleverly conceived – and executed with the same skill and nuance as any other I've enjoyed here. Nicely done.

Deep Ellum’s Green Room Reopens with Chef Joel Harloff at the Helm, Dallas


The only thing cooler than the return of Deep Ellum’s Green Room – Dallas’ one-time Rock and Roll fine dining favorite – is that Chef Joel Harloff and his “modern American cuisine” have found a new home. When last we left Joel – I was off to buy him a beer at Tei-An after the heartbreaking closure of Dali Wine Bar. He spoke of opportunities… it didn’t take long – he was announced as Green Room executive chef, like, two days later.


I was pleased to get an invite from Chef Joel to attend the ‘friends and family’ test run at Green Room last Saturday.

The room is reminiscent of the original, but I do miss the darker, sexier feel. “If it ain’t baroque, don’t fix it,” or something like that. They are still tweaking some lighting and decor details, so we shall see how that evolves. The food, however, is good to go. I’m a fan of Joel’s food and was not disappointed.

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^Pan Seared Georges Bank Scallops – Pickled Radish and Sweet Red Onion, Two Potato Galette and a Bing Cherry Beurre Blanc; ^Grilled Texas Quail – Scamorza and Fresh Herb Potato Gratin, Purple Hull Peas and Wild Oregon Mushrooms and a Fresh Thyme Quail Demi Glace.

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^Nova Scotia Halibut – Maine Lobster, Roasted Sweet Corn and Yukon Gold Potato Succotash, Buttered Sugar Snap Peas and a Meyer Lemon Beurre Blanc; ^Grilled NY Strip – Sea Salt & Champagne Vinegar Potato Wedges, Texas “Caprese” Salad, Fresh Herb Demi Glace.

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^Grilled Texas Peaches – Texas Peaches Lightly Grilled and Served Warm with DuIce de Leche Ice Cream and Mixed Nut Struesel Topping; ^Assorted Sorbets and Ice Creams.


A little H2O was nice after indulging in the BYOB option that will be in place for the next couple weeks (or you can enjoy complimentary wine selections with dinner while they wait on the liquor license).

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^My somm’ buddy Scott Barber joined and brought a bag of goodies; ^Chef Harloff after service with his favorite vintage.


The much lauded “Feed Me, Wine Me” dinners are back as well, which should be a real treat – a nice match with Chef Joel’s style and enthusiasm.

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There will also be a special menu for the awesome rooftop patio – can’t wait for fall. Green Room, once again, goes in the “Regular Hang” column. They are booking up already – see you there!

Green Room on Urbanspoon

Dali Wine Bar and Cellar has Closed, Dallas.

Heartbroken. Dali Wine Bar & Cellar was one of my faves.


Here are just a few moments from countless hours spent at this establishment that I was so happy to passionately champion during it's far too short run.











For much more, check out my Dali Wine Bar & Cellar category.


Paul Pinnell is with family, I wish him well – and look forward to the next. Meanwhile I'm gonna grab chef Joel Harloff and buy him a drink at Tei-An. Bummer. Of course, in this business – who knows…?