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WHITE ROCK LAKE 100TH ANNIVERSARY June 27, 2011

Posted by jwdineline in Events, Savor The Flavor with Jim White.
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Funny, you don’t look a day over 99!

Happy 100th birthday to White Rock Lake.

Thanks to Brian C. Luscher and all the great chefs who put together one fantastic “Chef’s Picnic” to help celebrate White Rock Lake’s 100th birthday.  The big party culminated with tons of activities on Sunday June 26th.  None more savory than the picnic held at The Bath House Cultural Center.  It was a picnic in June so one would expect heat.  How hot was it, you ask?  Well, let’s just it could have been named the “Hotternhell Picnic” and it wouldn’t have been an understatement.  Oh, I know you can’t jump in the water for fear you’ll scrape your shin, or contract some dreadful bacterial condition, but oh I wanted to splash in the water anyway.  Well, thank goodness there was shade, and plenty of cool beverages.  The food was amazing and very local!  Thanks to Brian C. Luscher of The Grape, Janice Provost from Parigi, Marc Cassel from Peavy Road (coming soon), Graham Dodds from Bolsa, Jeff Harris of Redfork, Nathan Tate and Randall Copeland from Restaurant AvaDiane and Justin Fourton from Pecan Lodge, and personal chef Holly Dorethy.  The tickets benefited the American Red Cross and White Rock Lake.  See some photo highlights here.  Hope you made it out this weekend.  It’s a long time until the bi-Centennial!  Cheers! Or, I guess I should say, splash!

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LAKEWOOD WHOLE FOODS OPENS BEER AND WINE BAR June 24, 2011

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Eco and Growler Friendly “Lakewood On Tap” Now Open

I spend more time at Whole Foods in Lakewood than I do at the gym.  Of course, the ratio should be reversed, but ever since the store opened just a couple blocks from my house, I’ve been shopping the European way.  I usually go in and buy just what I need for dinner that evening and carry my fresh, delicious bounty home in the handy (and eco-friendly) cloth bag (supplied by Whole Foods, of course).  Since the store is so close, I further reduce my carbon footprint by walking to the store.  How could you not want to join the efforts of the country’s first LEED certified grocery store to help save the planet?  Kudos to Whole Foods in Lakewood by the way for that distinction.  Now they have added another enticing element to the already user-friendly gourmet environs called “Lakewood On Tap”, a new beer and wine bar located in the heart of the store.  You can sit and sip, or get a glass to sip and shop.  Here’s the other cool thing:  Lakewood On Tap bar is the first retailer in North Texas to offer “growlers.” These 32-or 64-ounce sealed, refillable jugs can be purchased, to take home fresh beer straight from the tap. The growler can be returned to the store, sanitized and used for the next beer purchase. This concept is very popular with beer aficionados.  The store is located at 2118 Abrams Rd at Gaston in East Dallas.

Whole Foods is opening a second wine and beer bar at the Highland Park Store called “Bar Alto”.  They’ll have all sorts of free fun going on for the grand opening on Saturday June 25h from noon til 4 p.m.  Enjoy tastings of wine and beer, food pairings, and live music.  It’s located at 4100 Lomo Alto.

Read on for all more ways that “Growlers” and the “On Tap” concepts from Whole Foods are good for the environment.  I love it when enjoying wine, food, and beer can be responsible behavior:  Think Globally—Drink Locally!  Is this a great country or what?

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FATHER’S DAY DINING IN DALLAS June 10, 2011

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Thanks, Dad

No!  Bringing home a slab of beef for Dad to grill is not acceptable for Father’s Day!  Take Dad to the slab instead.  Treat Dad to a special meal on June 19th, to show him you appreciate all the love, guidance, allowance, education, clothes, oh, and overlooking that fender-bender when you drove his car, and some of the other youthful indiscretions you surely foisted on him along the way.

Great meals abound for Dad.  So, let your conscious, your budget and your geography be your guide.  I’ll just do a stream of consciousness now on some of my favorite beef emporiums in the area.  Let your fingers do the walking through OpenTable.com and setup something (right away) to make a reservation:

  • Pappas Bros. Steak House
  • Stephan Pyles (that 21 oz Cowboy bone-in ribeye is a show stopper)
  • Chamberlain’s Steak and Chop House
  • Charlie Palmer at the Joule
  • Del Frisco’s Double Eagle Steakhouse
  • Perry’s
  • The Place at Perry’s
  • III Forks
  • Morton’s
  • Al Biernat’s
  • Bob’s
  • Kirby’s in Southlake
  • Ranchman’s Cafe in Ponder is always a favorite.  The steak is free.  You pay for the baked potato.  At least that’s the way the story used to go.  The pies are outstanding, too.
  • Dunston’s

Just a thought starter.  Now, if Dad is intent on staying-in and cooking-out and wants something besides beef, remember it’s Copper River Salmon season.  This is some of the yummiest wild salmon anywhere, and it’s only around for about a month.  The flavor is outstanding this year, and the price is pretty good.  Averaging around $23 a pound.  That may sound expensive, but it’s about half the price as it was when the season started last year, and it easily serves two.  If you follow the federal dietary guidelines four people could each have 4 ounces.  You’d pay upwards of $30 for a 5 or 6 oz portion in a restaurant.  So, be the hunter gatherer and bring home some of this great Alaskan salmon for Dad, splurge on a nice bottle of wine to go with it.  I suggest a Carneros or Santa Barbara Pinot Noir.  Other thoughts on this delicacy:

  • Make sure your fishmonger removes the bones–they are tiny but not very savory
  • Leave the skin on!  It helps keep the fish moist and pulls off easier than plastic wrap on a dish once the salmon is cooked
  • Leave the fish in one piece (one pound, two pounds, whatever).  It also helps keep it moist and prevents the fish from falling apart on the grill.
  • Don’t cook it too long.  This is personal preference, but for a one pound fillet I (about an inch thick), I never cook it for more than 8 minutes, or about 4 minutes per side.  Of course, remember the chefly quarter turns about every two minutes to produce those cool grill marks on the flesh.  Cook the skin side first.
  • I use a great fish seasoning from Hawaii that my wife and I love.  It’s an organic seasoning and rub from Aloha Spice Company.  You can order it online and have it here in time for Father’s Day.  It also comes for chicken and pork, and for beef and lamb (just in case Dad is intent on cooking his steak for Father’s Day).  Maui Wowie notwithstanding, a very simple seasoning for this (or any fish) is to oil as mentioned above, and then sprinkle Kosher Salt and fresh ground pepper on the fish.  Then, add a healthy dose of tarragon on the skin free side and pat it down.  After it’s grilled I add a lemon-butter and caper sauce.  If you’ve got particularly briney capers, use less Kosher salt, or your fish will be too salty.  Delectable.

Here’s a grilling tip that Chef Chris Ward taught me:  mix 2/3 cup of canola or other high heat oil (I use grapeseed oil) with1/3 cup olive oil and then toss in your favorite herbs, spices, and garlic cloves.  Brush the mixture on whatever you’re cooking before it goes on the fire, and continue to baste the product every time you turn it.  This keeps it moist, tender and delicious.  Try it.  One word of caution, this can cause flareups when you turn the meat or fish, so be ready to spritz the flames or move the protein to another part of the fire so your prized entree doesn’t scorch.  Also, be sure to keep the oil refrigerated between uses.  It should be OK for at least a month, but I use it so quickly in the summer, it never has a chance to turn rancid.

Grilled peaches for dessert-Go Texan!

Now, since it’s peach season, be sure to get some Parker County peaches and try this while the grill is fired up.  Cut the peaches in half; as many of them as you’d like to have.  They’re small.  Have at least one whole peach per person.  Spray the peach surfaces with a little non-stick cooking spray (canola, etc.) and grill for about 3 minutes per side (skin side first).  But first, reduce about a quarter cup of balsamic vinegar and add some Texas honey to it (couple of tablespoons is fine).  Then, baste the peaches lightly as you grill them, and then drizzle the remaining mixture over the peaches when you serve them.  I like to add some fresh Texas blueberries to the plate to add additional flair and taste.  Oh, and the sauce is larrapin, so you will need to adjust the amounts mentioned above if you are grilling more than about 4-6 peaches.  You can add your favorite vanilla ice cream, but believe me the peaches and the sauce are sweet and delightful on their own.  Even better if  you get some peach balsamic vinegar from Texas Hill Country Olive Oil Company.  By the by, the Parker County Peach Festival is July 9th.  Enjoy!

TASTE OF THE NATION FROM STEPHAN PYLES June 3, 2011

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Super Dinner-Super Cause

The Annual “Taste of the Nation” fundraiser is back June 12th at Stephan Pyles‘ Arts District Restaurant.  This gastronomical good cause event supports “Share Our Strength”, whose mission is “No Kid Hungry”.  Stephan is the Honorary Chef Chair, and he’s invited fourteen of the city’s finest chefs for an intimate, seated event to end childhood hunger. Each table of ten will be treated to a four course dinner with wine pairings exclusively prepared for their table by one of the featured chefs. Bid on exceptional silent and live auction items featuring one-of-a-kind trips, wine, culinary experiences and more!  Click here for information and to buy tickets.

One of our favorite wine writers, Natalie MacLean has just revamped her website and added lots of cool, interactive stuff, apps and more.  She has tons of wine and food recommendations.  Check it out here.  Cheers!

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