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Wining and Dining with Jim White March 31, 2011

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Wine Me, Dine Me, Wake Me, Chef

Nana at the Hilton Anatole presents a “Friday Night Flight” starting tomorrow evening (April 1st).  Executive Chef Anthony Bombaci is featuring Crab and Scallop Rice Pudding, Duck Breast and Grilled Sirloin “Ceviche” for the food portion of the tasting.  Wine Steward Russell Burkett compliments each small dish with an expertly paired choice wine.  The full menu can be viewed at Nana’s website.   The wine and food flight happens between 6:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m. and costs $20 per person (excluding tax and gratuity).  Reservations are highly recommended by calling 214.761.7470  or visit the website for complete details. Nana is located on the 27th floor of the Hilton Anatole Hotel at 2201 Stemmons Freeway, Dallas, TX  75207.

Friday, April 8th is Opening Day for the Luna Family’s first restaurant!

Restaurante Luna’s Brookhollow is located at 8424 Harry Hines Blvd., right next door to Luna’s Tortilla Factory. They will be serving breakfast, lunch and dinner.

And, Happy 87th Anniversary to Luna’s Tortillas. The very gracious Luna Family joined us at Savor Dallas this year. The tamales were amazing. If you haven’t stopped by, here’s all the information. Wish them Happy Anniversary when you go by.

Luna’s Tortillas, 8524 Harry Hines Blvd., Dallas, TX 75235, Tel: 214/747-2661 Fax: 214/747-5862

Cafe Express has introduced some tasty sounding new breakfast items at all locations:

Four new sandwiches

o Breakfast BLT – Butter toasted brioche, crisp bacon, lettuce, roma tomatoes, mayo, scrambled eggs & cheddar cheese

o Cafe Croissant – Butter toasted croissant, roasted tomatoes, basil, goat cheese & scrambled eggs

o Sausage Daybreak – Butter toasted ciabatta, savory turkey breakfast sausage, scrambled eggs & creamy cheddar cheese

o Morning Club — Butter toasted brioche, smoked turkey, crisp bacon, scrambled eggs & jack cheese

Two new platters

o South of the Border — Scrambled eggs, creamy queso with cilantro and tortilla strips, side of black beans topped with sour cream, served with our house salsa and flour tortillas

o Sausage Classic — Scrambled eggs, savory turkey sausage, butter toasted Ciabatta bread & your choice of fruit or skillet potatoes

MacMurray Ranch Wine Tasting March 29, 2011

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Centennial Fine Wine and Spirits Wine Education

Watch as Fine Wine Consultant Susanna Griffith from Centennial Number 24 at Walnut Hill and Central 75 takes us on a tour and tasting of California’s Central Coast and Sonoma, with great Pinot Gris and Pinot Noir from MacMurray Ranch.  Another in a series of ongoing complimentary tastings from Centennial.

Wining and Dining with Jim White March 27, 2011

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Lakewood, the Wait for Watel’s Bistro is Over

It’s funny what a late night gas run can reveal.  My wife and I stopped to re-fuel at the Lakewood Texaco last night, and what did our wondering eyes perceive?  Just across the street, the “coming soon” signs were gone, and the bright neon shone the happy realization that Watel’s Bistro is now open for business in the venerated site of the former York Street.  There was much gnashing of teeth and tearing of cloth when Sharon Hage hung up her toque and closed her wildly popular restaurant about six months ago.

Rene Peeters

In short order, the word was out that Rene Peeters, chef and owner for the legendary Watel’s planned to open an upscale casual bistro in the location.  Foodies have been watching the progress for the last couple of months at 6047 Lewis Street.  Tucked in the glamorous setting between the aforementioned convenience store and the Skillman Zuhdi Texaco Garage next door.  This location of Skillman Avenue and Lewis has been Mecca for food lovers for a decade.  It will be interesting to see how Rene’s interesting menu mix of Mediterranean cuisine with a touch of the Middle East and Belgium thrown in for good measure will be received.  The hour was late, and we had no time to dine, so I just popped into Watel’s Bistro to congratulate Rene.  He informed me they had just opened, and told no one.  This takes “soft opening” to a new level.  Although just a couple of diners were enjoying the subtle comfort of the comfortably redesigned dining room when we stopped by, I believe word of mouth in the neighborhood will reverberate until the new restaurant is soon bustling just as York Street was.  It is open for dinner Tuesday through Saturday.  Reservations are available at 214-720-0323.  The menu changes daily with chalkboard specials supplementing the staples.  Rene gave us a copy of the current menu.  Upon review I wished that we had accepted his dinner invitation.  Main dish highlights include Mahi in mild curry and coconut milk, beef kabobs with Mediterranean herbs and couscous, pan roasted scallops, Cuban style pork in onion with orange plantains, a duck breast Tagine, beef hanger steak and bouillabaise.  Starters include Moroccan Chicken, Veal kidneys, and salmon Roesti.  The jewel box of a restaurant only has about 12 tables, and a tiny kitchen.  Ah, but there is magic at this postage stamp sized establishment, and we will definitely be back dining with him often.   We wish Rene well in his new venture.  It’s a welcome addition to the neighborhood.  Here’s a bonus:  if you come for an early dinner, you might be able to get your car inspected or oil changed at the Zuhdi Garage!  Parking is tricky in the neighborhood.  Just a thought.

Wining and Dining with Jim White March 25, 2011

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You Gotta Have Heart

And thanks to a venerable and wonderful wine and food event, Côtes du Coeur, lots of folks have a much healthier heart.  The 20th Anniversary Celebration of the gala event benefiting the Dallas Chapter of the American Heart Association returns April 9th to the Hilton Anatole.  This event features a stellar lineup of chefs, a fabulous array of wines to pair with the chef treats, and an amazing live and silent auction with outstanding trips, wines, and much more.  The proceeds from the event (totaling in the millions through the years) all stay here and help the great work of the Heart Association.  Join chefs Richard Chamberlain, Dean Fearing, Kent Rathbun, Jim Severson, Bruno Davillon, Blythe Beck and many more for this incredible event.  Get more details about the event on Facebook.

Livin’ la vida Duni March 23, 2011

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They say, “Life is uncertain.  Have dessert first.”

La Duni is the place we would head first to fulfill this mission.  If given a choice, Cuatro Leches Cake might be our selection for last bite on Earth.  La Duni founder and namesake Dunia Borga and Espartaco (Taco), her husband and co-conspirator in their delightful pursuit of culinary expression and hospitality, have built a group of outstanding restaurants in the Dallas-Fort Worth area over the last several years.  Each with its own personality and appeal.  Each extending their menu well beyond the aforementioned sweet treats that have become Duni’s signature.

The original restaurant, la Duni Latin Cafe at 4620 McKinney Ave, set the stage for the success of their concept, and introduced Dallas diners to a whole new world of Latin delicacies beyond the prevalent Tex-Mex offerings in the area.  See what the New York Times has to say about the food and flair at La Duni in this recent review.

Next came the expanded la Duni Latin Kitchen and Baking Studio at 4264 Oak Lawn Avenue, where the team began to showcase empanadas and other South American taste treats that showed off the savory side of Duni’s considerable baking expertise and passion.

La Duni Latin Kitchen and Coffee Studio followed in NorthPark Dallas.  Here, one could while away the hours sipping aromatic coffees, noshing on artisan desserts and other Latin specialties, while tracking email and holding court with friends.  Or, slip in for a quick bite before heading off to the movies upstairs. Look for an offshoot of this wonderful concept coming to the Village of Fairview this summer.  For now, la Duni is delighting taste buds in the Allen/Fairview area with the new concept called Dulce, featuring cupcakes, confections, shaved ice (raspas), Latin Beignets (bunuelos), Latin paninis (grillados), coffee, mojitos, cocktails, wine, and much more.

If you’re concerned that there isn’t a la Duni close to you.  Fret no more.  La Duni is now part of a new, innovative concept called Artizone.com, that allows you to order great artisan products online and have them delivered to you within hours.  Ah, livin’ la vida Duni!

A quote from la Duni’s website sums up their philosophy:  “At la Duni, as in all Latin America, family is the foundation of life. However, we don’t just consider family our blood relatives, but anyone who sits at our table and shares our meal. Whether servant, neighbor, friend or stranger, during those precious moments, they all become family.”

Kitchen operations are directed with loving care by Executive Chef Julia Lopez.

Feast your eyes on some of the delicious treats and sights you’ll discover at la Duni with this special slide show.

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Spirit of the Week: Maker’s Mark Bourbon 90º March 22, 2011

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“We’re pretty easygoing about things down here at Maker’s Mark.  But when it comes to our recipe, that’s one thing you’ll see us get passionate about.  Sorry for the harsh language there.  Maker’s Mark is one of the few brands to credit Mother Nature for such a unique bourbon taste.  That’s because we use pure, iron-free limestone spring water exclusively.  Not city, well or river water.  Our source is a 10-acre limestone spring-fed lake at the distillery.  At Maker’s Mark we embrace a rich tradition of bourbon-making that spans six generations.  In fact, we’re so proud of our family heritage we’ve developed a heritage team to travel the world educating folks on the finer points of Maker’s Mark Bourbon and bourbon in general.”  Excerpt from makersmark.com

This Special Sale Is Available Through April 2nd, 2011
Available at all Centennial and Big Daddy’s Liquor Store Locations

Maker’s Mark Bourbon 90º  1.75 L Save $5.00 Sale $47.99

Wine of the Week: Castello di Monsanto March 21, 2011

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Castello di Monsanto is one of the most respected estates in Tuscany and one of the top producers of traditional Chianti Classico Riserva. Located midway between Florence & Siena, the estate lies on the westernmost edge of the Chianti Classico zone, one of the best areas for Chianti. The estate itself is a landmark, with its distinctive hilltop castle.  The name “Monsanto” itself was taken from the name of the village where the cellars are located.  Fabrizio Bianchi – a successful Milanese manufacturer – purchased the Monsanto estate in 1961.  Captivated by Tuscany’s beauty and convinced of the property’s winemaking potential, Bianchi undertook a complete restoration of the vineyards, winery and villa.”  Excerpt from mhusa.com

“Being ahead of the times has always been a prerogative of Castello di Monsanto, from the very first challenge, the creation of a Chianti Classico cru, to the elimination of white grapes from the Chianti Classico mixture dating back to 1968. In 1986, the new barrique cellar was started.  A 250-metre (820 feet) tunnel was excavated.  It linked the new winery with the original cellars dating back to 1740.  Then, In 2001 Laura and Fabrizio Bianchi decided to cooperate with an oenologist.  Andrea Giovannini is the name of the winemaker who, besides having an extensive experience in this field, also shares with Fabrizio and Laura the same philosophy both for what concerns the vineyard and the wine.”  Excerpt from castellodimonsanto.it

Click Here For a Video Tour of Castello di Monsanto

Special Offering:
Monsanto Monrosso Chianti, 750ml “The Chianti Monrosso is the youngest wine in all the production. Very fruity, fresh with medium body is produced in the vineyards that the Bianchi Family has in the area of Chianti Colli Senesi, After a 12 day maceration of the grape skins, the wine ismatured in Slavonian oak barrels for about 6 months.” Excerpt from castellodimonsanto.it Sale Price $13.99.  Save $1.00

Monsanto Chianti Classico Riserva, 750ml. “Monsanto Chianti Classico Riserva is a 90% Sangiovese and 10% Canaiolo and Colorino blend aged for 24 months in oak plus 6 months in bottle creating a medium ruby color. It has a sweet scent with ripe, warm cherries and notes of dry earth and tobacco, and an elegant palate full of bright cherry and berry fruit, dry, ripe tannins and great acidity making it a perfect wine for food!” Excerpt from mhusa.comSale Price $19.99.  Save $5.00

Wining and Dining with Jim White March 20, 2011

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Rhone on the Range

What could be better than lunch with Jacques Pépin, Dinner with Stephan Pyles and “Cowboys, Cuisine and Cabernet”? Sounds like a job for the 7th Annual Buffalo Gap Wine and Food Summit April 15-17, in beautiful Buffalo Gap, Texas right outside Abilene.

The event was founded by Cowboy Chef Tom Perini (former Savor Dallas “Lone Star Award” Winner) the late Fess Parker of Fess Parker Winery & Vineyards, and Dr. Richard Becker of Becker Vineyards as a non-profit organization to cultivate the appreciation of fine wine and food through education and industry discussion.

It’s a fun event.  Imagine great food and wine, outside under the live oaks and a big ol’ starry West Texas night sky as the backdrop, and you’ve got the picture of the setting for Buffalo Gap Wine and Food Summit, hosted on the ground of Perini

Jacques Pépin

Ranch Steakhouse.

Very special guest Celebrity Chef Jacques Pepin will host a special cooking demonstration. Looks like the popular Stephan Pyles dinner is sold out, but you never know Lisa Perini might make more room for you. Ol’ Tom justs need to bust out a few fence posts and add another table or two. Visit the website for complete details on the event.  Please call for tickets: 1-800-367-1721 or 325-572-3339. Monday-Friday 8:30am – 5:00pm

Taste Bridlewood Estate Winery at Centennial March 18, 2011

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Meet Winemaker David Hopkins

Miles’ quest for the perfect Pinot Noir in the 2004 film starring Paul Giamatti brought national attention to the appellation’s Pinot Noir, but Chardonnay claims the most Central Coast acreage. At the southern end of the AVA, Bordeaux and Rhône varietals reign on south-facing hillsides and high benchlands. It is here that Bridlewood Winemaker David Hopkins finds the incredible grapes to make his complex wines.  You’ll have a chance to taste some of David’s kaleidoscope of flavors in a special tasting of Bridlewood Chardonnay, Arabesque (a Rhône blend), and yes, Pinot Noir, at selected Centennial Fine Wine and Spirits locations this Friday from 5 until 7 p.m. and Saturday from 2 until 4.   David will make a special appearance at Centennial’s C-17 Location at Greenville and Ross Avenue in Dallas on Saturday March 19th, from noon til 2 p.m.

Centennial Fine Wine and Spirits
1704 Greenville Avenue
Dallas, Texas. 75206
214-515-0683

Read on for a complete list of locations where the complimentary tastings will be take place this weekend.  Cheers!

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Wining and Dining with Jim White March 17, 2011

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Savor Dallas Helpful Hints and FAQ’s

The 7th Annual Savor Dallas, celebrating wine, food, spirits and the arts is in full swing Friday and Saturday.  It’s a diverse event, with lots of locations.  We hope you can join us.   Through the years we have encountered just about every question imaginable about the event.  So, for your wining and dining pleasure (in case you are joining us), we have prepared a handy guide with answers to our most frequently asked questions about Savor Dallas.   This should make your  experience more enjoyable, and quite selfishly, mean that I will be able to answer fewer emails, texts, and phone calls this weekend.  Read on and see if your question about Savor Dallas makes the top 10. BTW, tickets for most events are available at the door.  Please visit the website.

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