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Savor the Flavor with Jim White, “The Wining and Dining Guy” June 29, 2010

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Goodbye to Aurora

The email came today from Celeste and Avner Samuel.  “After 7 wonderful years and the impending renewal of our lease… we’ve decided that AURORA had a fabulous run but it’s time for a change.  July 31st will be our last hurrah!”  Sad news for what has been described as Dallas’ only Michelin 3-Star worthy restaurant (If Michelin rated Dallas restaurants).  Through the years Avner has remained one of our most accomplished chefs.  The classically trained chef from Israel burst onto the scene as executive chef of the Mansion on Turtle Creek in the 80’s.  His collaborations with Stephan Pyles, Dean Fearing, Robert Del Grande and Anne McCann (Anne Lindsay Greer in those days), were the “shot heard ’round the world” that created the Southwestern Cuisine movement and paved the way for many a young chef who followed in their footsteps to flourish in an upscale Texas dining environment with a mission:  showing the unique flavors of Texas cuisine and the unmistakable influences on them of fine Mexican cuisine.  Samuel is a force of nature in the kitchen.  A true artisan.  A perfectionist who does not suffer fools lightly (inside the kitchen or out).  We’re on notice to sample the ambiance and elegance of Aurora one last time (or maybe a couple) before the end of July.  The email provides some welcome Dickens-like foreshadowing by mentioning that “info on future plans” will follow. Merci, chef!


4216 Oak Lawn Avenue,

Dallas, Texas 75219


Fireworks and food.  Is this a great country or what?

The best place in town to have a cool, comfortable, 5-star meal and watch Fourth of July fireworks is at Nana in the Hilton Anatole Hotel in Dallas.  Voted by Zagat as “Best Restaurant with a View,” Nana opens for dinner on Sunday, July 4th , and Monday, July 5th , from 6:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. to celebrate Independence Day. In addition to its regular menu, the restaurant will offer the popular “Chef Tony’s Summer Savings Menu”, a delectable three-course prix-fixe dinner for $45. Sip on a chilled summer cocktail like a Mango Martini or signature Nana’s Perfect Rita, relax in air conditioning, and enjoy the cuisine and view from the 27th floor of the award-winning Nana. The Hilton Anatole is offering special room rates for Nana guests from July 1st thru July 5th based on availability. Please contact the restaurant at 214-761-7470 for more information and reservations.

If you’re more into the fireworks than the food, the best place in town to see the pyrotechnics is Addison’s “Kaboom Town”. The 25th anniversary of the Star Spangled Banner festivities takes place on SATURDAY July 3rd from 5 p.m. until midnight.  Activities leading up to the fireworks climax include live music and food.  The Dallas Wind Symphony (and others) provides the music.  The Cavanaugh Flight Museum presents an “Historic Warbird Flyover” from 7:15 til 8:15.  The big bang, that is “Kaboom!” starts at 9:35.  For information on hotel and food specials, plus additional information, visit this link to Town of Addison

Have a safe and happy Independence Day!

Wine of the Week: Ricossa Moscato d’Asti 2009 June 28, 2010

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A Moscato d’Asti tends to be low in alcohol and semi-sparkling (effervescent) with about half of the carbonation found in a typical sparkling wine (i.e. Asti Spumante.) They also tend to be highly aromatic and seductive with lusciously sweet overtones of tropical fruits counterbalanced with natural vibrant acidity. All Moscato d’Asti are produced from within the Piedmont region of Italy utilizing the Moscato Bianco grape. This summertime favorite achieved DOCG status in 1995 and has quickly become a local favorite over the last 2-3 years.

photos.com picts 069.jpgThe grapes used to produce the Ricossa Moscato d’Asti are grown in the foothills of the Italian Alps and only the best grapes are selected to produce this semi-sweet frisante styled wine. The enticing aromas of intense ripe peaches and mango coulis are only surpassed by its explosive flavors of honey-laced peaches, concentrated nectarines, and creamy mango coulis with an additional note of lemon zest on the finish. This power-packed flavor combination will leave you asking for more!


Special Offering:Ricossa Moscato d’Asti 2009
Available at Almost All Centennial Store Locations
Sale Price $14.99.  Retail $16.99. Save $2.00

Dinner Club with Jim White-Warwick Melrose Highlights! June 24, 2010

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What an incredible evening of food, wine and fun at our June event for “The Dinner Club with Jim White” at the beautiful Warwick Melrose Landmark Restaurant.  5 great course from Executive Chef Mike Pacheco (who even brought vegetables from his own garden to use with the dinner), paired with a sensational sampling of bubbly, from our good friends at Centennial Fine Wine and Spirits, made for a “Summer Sparkler Spectacular”!  See highlights of the food, wine, and friends who joined us below.  Our next “Dinner Club” event is July 27th.  Save the date and stand by for all the details.  Cheers!

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Interview: Kathryn Hall of Hall Napa Valley Wines June 22, 2010

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Savor the Flavor with Jim White, “The Wining and Dining Guy” June 21, 2010

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Summertime and the living is easy (wining and dining is pretty good, too!)

Taking a chronological tour of some upcoming wine events you might enjoy—

TONIGHT (June 20th) enjoy great wine and food with Chef Tre Wilcox at Loft 610.  He’s hosting a six-course dinner featuring Domaine Chandon and Newton Wines.  Check out Tre’s menu:

First Course

Seared Shimp and Diver Sea Scallop, Watermelon, Cilantro, Olive Oil

Etoile, Brut, NV

Second Course

Flash Seared Hawaiian Kampachi, Black Truffle Risotto, English Peas, Brown Butter

Newton, Unfiltered Chardonnay, 2006

Third Course

Grilled Wild King Salmon, Chipotle Jack Cheese Grits

Domaine Chandon, Pinot Meunier, 2007

Fourth Course

Crispy Maple Leaf Duck Breast, Ginger Parsnip Puree, Mushroom Soy Glaze

Newton, Unfiltered Merlot, 2005

Fifth Course

Pan Roasted Ostrich Filet, Grilled Artichokes, Gold Beets, Black Currant Sauce

Newton, Le Puzzle, Cabernet Blend, 2005

Dessert Course

Vanilla Bean Chiboust with Roasted Apricots and a Brown Butter

Etoile, Rose, NV

$125 per person plus gratuity

Please Call (972)377-2500 to Reserve your spot.

Love the fine dining, but would rather stay at home?

Here’s one if you’re feeling flush and have some friends who deserve to be treated well.

Nicola’s Ristorante Italiano and Culinary Connection at the Shops of Legacy have come together to create the 10-Karat Decadent Dinner Party ringing up at $10,000!  That’s right.  Read on.  This meal comes complete with a gourmet four-course meal prepared on-site by Nicola’s Chef Sascia Marchesi, wine pairings, servers and table settings for 12. After finishing off the delicious meal, the hosts keep the place settings, which include beautiful tableware made in Tuscany by VEITRI and accent pieces by Dallas designer Jan Barboglio. The staff will even load the dishwasher before they leave making this an effortless affair and a perfect gift for the person who has everything.  For more details, or to book a 10-Karat Decadent Dinner Party, please call Nicola’s Ristorante Italiano at (972) 608-4455 or the Culinary Connection at (972) 398-9009.  Enjoy!

Bonnell’s Fine Texas Cuisine in Fort Worth is presenting “Wine 101” next month, July 20th and 22nd with Chef Jon Bonnell.

Taste twenty-six different types of wine, everything from the inexpensive to the rare “cult” wines, while exploring the basics of wine tasting. Heavy appetizers will also be provided as Chef Bonnell shares the basics of wine and food pairings. Class will focus on the fundamentals of white wines on Tuesday, July 20th and then transition to red varietals on Thursday, July 22nd.


For Reservations, please call: (817) 738-5489

Bonnell’s Fine Texas Cuisine

4259 Bryant Irvin Road

Fort Worth, Texas 76109

TIME: 6pm to 8pm

PRICE: $120 (credit card number will be required when making reservations)

Wine of the Week: Delatour Chardonnay 2007 June 21, 2010

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The Delatour Chardonnay is classified as a Vin de Pays d’Oc (pronounced as van-do-pay doc) This form of French wine classification allows individual winemakers to identify their wines with larger grape growing appellations within France. This form of classification is also subject to testing, analysis, evaluation and approval by an INAO tasting committee (a branch of the French Ministry of Agriculture.) All wines identified as Vin de Pays d’Oc are specifically sourced from the Languedoc-Roussillon area in Mediterranean France and tend to offer excellent quality wines for everyday consumption.

Grosset.jpgThis light and refreshing unoaked Chardonnay offers delightful aromas of Casaba melon, blanched almonds and papaya. On the palate, the flavor profile exudes even richer characteristics of dried yellow apples, fresh ripe pears and an additional note of honeydew melon with a twist of lemon zest. This wine is certainly enjoyable on its own and suits almost any occasion, but it also serves as a perfect companion for picnics and light appetizers.  Unfortunately, there are only forty cases of this wine still available….if you are planning on an exciting and fun-filled summer this year, you may want to consider purchasing a case of this wine before everyone else does!
Special Offering:

Delatour Chardonnay 2007
Available at Almost All Centennial Store Locations
Sale Price $8.99.  Retail $10.99. Save $2.00

Interview: Erwan Faiveley of Domaine Faiveley June 18, 2010

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“The Dinner Club with Jim White” Special Event June 23rd June 16, 2010

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Join us for a “Summer Sparkler Spectacular” at the beautiful Warwick Melrose Hotel NEXT Wednesday!

It’ll be a great evening of wining and dining in the storied Landmark Restaurant for our friends in the “Dinner Club with Jim White”.  Executive chef Mike Pacheco has prepared five delicious courses-each paired with delightful bubbly.  See the complete menu below.  And, find out more about how Chef Mike went from pro baseball player to chef in our exclusive “Savor Wine and Food” interview here.  Bring your friends and celebrate the beginning of summer with some great food and wine at this special event from “The Dinner Club with Jim White” presented by Centennial Fine Wine and Spirits.  Seating is limited so please call today:  214-521-5151. Also, please remember to ask for the special “Dinner Club” room rate the Melrose is offering for those who would like to “take the elevator home” after dinner.  See details below.   Bon appétit! And, cheers!

The Special Dinner Club Menu

Seared Day Boat Scallops
With House Made Chorizo and Vanilla Oil
Scharffenberger Brut
Artisan Greens and Baby Spinach
With Mandarin Oranges and Citrus Vinaigrette
Mirabelle Brut
Poached Striped Bass
Fava Bean Salad, Fennel Dusted Gnocchi
Cave de Lugny Crèmant de Bourgogne
Trilogy of Chocolate
Rocca Cerrina Brachetto, N/V
Sampling of Specialty Cheeses
Ricossa Moscato d’Asti

For Dinner Reservations, please call 214-224-3152
For Room Reservations; please call the hotel at 214-521-5151
and mention the Dinner Club room rate.

This fantastic event will be held Wednesday June 23rd,in the Landmark
Restaurant at the Warwick Melrose Hotel from 7-9:30PM.    Space limited
to 40 seats. $75 per person (Plus Tax and Gratuity)

Warwick Melrose Hotel
3015 Oak Lawn Avenue
Dallas, Texas. 75219

Join us at the Warwick Melrose Hotel for this exciting event and enjoy
the warm, soothing and luxurious atmosphere of the Landmark
Restaurant.  The Landmark Restaurant has been honored with the AAA
Four Diamond award, the prestigious DiRoNA award and the Wine
Spectator award.  The Landmark Restaurant is the perfect venue for
this wine dinner event.  The Warwick Melrose Hotel is also offering a
special Dinner Club room rate of $60 for the evening in one of their
lavishly restored rooms, for those who would like to extend their time
at this beautiful hotel.   This is sure to be an exceptional event!

INTERVIEW w/Mike Pacheco of Warwick Melrose Hotel June 14, 2010

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Savor the Flavor with Jim White, The Wining and Dining Guy June 14, 2010

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“Any man can be a father.  It takes someone special to be a Dad.”

Not sure to whom goes attribution on that salient message. It hits home, though, no matter who first said the words.  Father’s Day, June 20th, is getting first-class treatment in some top establishments. Here is an interesting, but by no means definitive listing.  We’ll add more as we receive them.

Charlie Palmer at the Joule is doing some tasty sounding pairings made with and paired with beer.  What could be better than a beer and a Brat (as in Bratwurst)?  Bratwurst and braised white beans highlights the appetizers section on the full Dad’s Day menu offered below:

Appetizer Specials





Entree Specials





Dessert Specials



Featured beer: Estrella Damm 750 L

Charlie Palmer at The Joule
1530 Main Street
Dallas, TX 75201, Tel: 214.261.4600

Rafain Brazilian Steakhouse is offering a “Dad deserves more than one steak” promotion.  Of course, their menu features the multitude of great Churrascaria style meats, as well as pork and chicken treats and the salad bar that goes on for days.  They are featuring a lunch special for $35 and a dinner special on the sumptuous spread for $32 (not valid with gift certificates or other offers).  Limited seating, so call for reservations: 972-733-1110.

Rafain Brazilian Steakhouse
18010 N. Dallas Parkway
Dallas, TX 75287

Similar treatment, and equally tasty Churrascaria, is available in Grapevine at Boi Na Braza for $37.99 on Father’s Day.

Boi Na Braza

4025 William D. Tate

Grapevine, Texas 76051, 817-251-9881

Master Chef Morris Salerno knows how to make fancy cookin’ taste down home and dazzling all at the same time.  His ever popular The Grotto Restaurant in Highland Village is offering a prime peppered New York Strip with a brandy cream sauce served with asparagus and cottage fries that is making my mouth water just thinking about it!  It’s $22.50 and just one of the Father’s Day specials at the restaurant.

The Grotto

2300 Highland Village Road, Suite 500

Highland Village, TX 75077

Call 972-318-0515

Or, if dad is into Italian, take him to family style Salerno’s in Flower Mound.  One of their Father’s Day specials is a 10 ounce tenderloin with sauteed mushrooms in a Burgundy sauce with veggies and a baked potato for $28.95.

Salerno’s Italian Restaurant
3407 Long Prairie Road
Flower Mound, TX  75077

Regular menu available at both locations on Father’s Day.

If Dad is a “Beef! It’s what’s for dinner!” at home kinda guy…

Then, the godfather of Texas Cowboy Cookin’, Tom Perini, from Perini Ranch in Buffalo Gap has a solution:  his enormously popular mesquite smoked peppered beef tenderloin.  They’ll deliver dinner to dad’s doorstep.  All you have to do is supply the fixin’s and his beverage of choice.  This product won the Fancy Foods “best of show” category about 15 years ago in New York and put Perini’s on the map.  People all over the world order this tenderloin like it’s going out of style (it isn’t, thankfully).   Tom was chuckwagon choice for the Bush W. White House.  His cookbook “Texas Cowboy Cooking” (with forward by Robert Duvall) is a perennial best seller.  He’s been honored at “Savor Dallas” with the Lone Star “Culinary Award” in 2006.  All the accolades aside, it’s damn good beef.  Check it out online or by phone at the link above, or for the real deal in person:  Visit Perini Ranch Steakhouse in Buffalo Gap.   Named one of America’s “Best Rural Restaurants” by Gourmet Magazine in 2004.  The popular establishment is only about 3 hours west of DFW outside of Abilene.  They’ll bring you all the good peppered tenderloin you want, plus a full menu of steaks and other great entrées.   Plus great country side dishes like Green Chile Hominy, Cowboy Potatoes and Zucchini Perini.  Dine on a working cattle ranch and enjoy a taste of the real West at Perini Ranch.  They even throw a big city style wine and food event every April called the Buffalo Gap Wine and Food Summit. Big names in the industry and lots of hungry, thirsty folks make the annual trek.  We’ve been a few times ourselves.  It’s the best way to have oak with your wine, as the late, great Fess Parker used to say.  Outside under the stars sippin’ wine under the Live Oaks at Perini Ranch.

Side note about Buffalo Gap:  Had it not been for a little railroad re-routing way back when, it would have been the big city in the Big Country and Abilene would have been an afterthought. Buffalo Gap is an interesting historical slice of Texas and offers features some great local artists, in addition to some pretty darn good dining.
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