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Savor the Flavor with Jim White, “The Wining and Dining Guy” July 6, 2010

Posted by jwdineline in Home, Savor The Flavor with Jim White.
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Follow the bouncing ball (or musical chef chairs)

Whew!  Whadda weekend!  There were fireworks galore–both inside and outside. Especially in Dallas restaurant kitchens.   While you were off having a grand Fourth of July celebration (I certainly hope so), here’s what was happening with the fates and fortunes of some of our favorite culinary types (chefs).

In the interest of time, let’s see if I can condense all this for you:  Dali is gone.  Aurora soon will be.  Paul and Avner are tired.  Dallas Chop House is sans executive chef.  Kenny is tired of John.  New chefs for The Green Room and Villa-O; Joel and Kenny have new gigs (yea!).  Whoa! This is too condensed. Even for the attention-span challenged (and you know who you are).  Here’s what we know today:

There is good news, in the wake of the sad news over the weekend that Paul Pinnell is closing Dali in One Arts Plaza.  Dali executive chef Joel Harloff is going to The Green Room as executive chef!  This is doubly good news, because the CIA trained chef, who has worked in some of the top kitchens in Dallas (Melrose Landmark, Nana, Mi Piaci), will help speed up the renaissance of the cool Deep Ellum restaurant.   The restaurant is located at 2715 Elm Street, Dallas, Texas 75226. For more information, please call 214.744.ROOM.

Now, as for Dali proprietor Paul Pinnell.  The press release sent out to announce the closing of Dali was a very positive spin, but short on specifics.  He noted that after taking a break he would return “to work in Dallas’ vibrant restaurant scene with plans of future innovation.”  According to Nancy Nichols on her D Magazine blog, she spoke with David McMillan (from Screen Door across the Plaza) who says Dali is closing “temporarily”.  We’ll keep you posted on this one.

As we continue making lemonade and chicken salad out of the restaurant news.  Word came just before the holiday that Dallas Chop House chef Kenny Mills had left the restaurant.  It turns out there was friction in the kitchen with John Tesar (culinary director for Dallas Restaurant Group).  See details below.  Kenny is bouncing to Villa-O as of today to start his new job as Executive Chef!  His and John’s comments on the situation (again courtesy of Nancy):

“I put in my notice two weeks ago,” says Mills. “They [DRG] fired my sous chef and put in one of Tesar’s guys. I came in on June 1 and there was a whole new crew in my kitchen.”

“Tesar wouldn’t let me run my kitchen. He told me I was an over-the-hill no talent cook. Life is just too short to work with people I don’t like.”

John Tesar commented, “This is just as big a shock to me as it is to you. I had no idea.”

We’ll be getting more news on future concepts from DRG and hearing about Kenny’s plans at Villa-O, but don’t expect too many more details on the breakup.  Sometimes best to just move on.

We reported last week that Avner Samuel has decided to close Aurora at the end of July.  The stress of the economy and the rigors of running a small, upscale restaurant have caused him to rethink his priorities.  Avner says he is emotionally and physically drained and needs time off to recharge.  Look for the lion of the kitchen to come roaring back with another concept after his respite. Again, we wish God speed to Chef Samuel and his wife Celeste who have poured their heart and soul into the fine dining concept.

We also have good news that Chef Jeff Moschetti (formerly with the Warwick Melrose Landmark, Stephan Pyles, and Beau Nash at the Crescent Court) is the executive chef of a new restaurant opening in Frisco called One2One.  It’s at Legacy and Highway 121, so geographic inspiration is at work here for the name.  Check out their website for more information.  1339 Legacy Drive, Frisco; 214-618-2221.

Stay tuned!

Stop by our FREE winetasting on Friday at Big Daddy’s April 15, 2010

Posted by jwdineline in Home, Savor The Flavor with Jim White.
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Savor Wine and Food

with Jim White

We look forward to seeing you on Friday (today, if you’re reading this on April 16th!) from 4 until 7 p.m. at Big Daddy’s on Northwest Highway and Luna Road in Northwest Dallas.  It’s the perfect way to go easy on your pocketbook after tax day!  It’s another free event from “The Dinner Club with Jim White”, presented by Centennial Fine Wine and Spirits.  In addition to the free tasting, Big Daddy’s is offering special pricing on the wines we’ll be sampling:

20 Gauge Chardonnay from California
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Pikes “The Red Mullet” Australian Red
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Chateau Potensac Medoc Bordeaux 2002
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Ricossa Moscato d’Asti

We’ll also be giving away some free, fun prizes and offering you a chance to sign-up for a free membership in the “Dinner Club with Jim White”.  We’ve got another great wine dinner coming up in May, and you’ll be among the first to know about it.  When you join the “Dinner Club” you receive advance eBlasts before the announcements ever go on the air about our events.  We hope to see you Friday (today) between 4 and 7 p.m.  Big Daddy’s is affiliated with Centennial Fine Wine and Spirits. Click here for a map to our location.

Great new place to savor springtime wining and dining!

The patio at Dallas Chop House is the place to be on these great spring evenings!  If you haven’t been yet, you are in for a treat.  The downtown restaurant has been open about 4 months and Chef Kenny Mills and GM Steve Ochipinti have gotten the food and service fine-tuned.  We’re talking great steaks and seafood and a very appealing lunch menu featuring those and some tasty soups, salads, sandwiches.  And, popovers to live for! (think Neiman-Marcus Zodiac Room). Now that the weather is outdoor perfect, it’s a great time to take advantage of the beautiful space they have created just off the snazzy bar at Dallas Chop House.  It’s like an oasis at the bustling downtown corner of St. Paul and Main Street.  Enjoy lunch, dinner, or drinks and appetizers with friends under the pergola.  I have a feeling they will keep the place cool in the summertime!  Dallas Chop House is the latest venture from Dallas Restaurant Group, which also owns Dallas Fish Market and Go Fish Ocean ClubJohn Tesar, formerly with the Mansion on Turtle Creek, has joined them as culinary coordinator.  Look for new concepts to be rolled out by the group in the coming months.

Watch this space for Mother’s Day recommendations. 

As we get information on special brunches planned for the May 9th celebration of Mom they will be posted here.  Craft Dallas has planned a special menu from 11 a.m. until 2:30 p.m. featuring:

First Course (For the Table)

Assortment of Pastry, Fresh Fruit & House Made Preserve

Main Course (Choice of One)

Bacon & Caramelized Onion Quiche with Mixed Baby Lettuces
Jumbo Lump Crab, Leek & Country Ham Frittata
Roasted Sirloin, Texas Asparagus & Sauce Bordelaise
Farm Chicken, White Cheddar Grits & Spring Peas
Corned Beef Hash, Shishito Pepper & Poached Egg
Halibut, Littleneck Clams & Baby Artichokes
Ricotta Ravioli & Spring Vegetables

Sides (For the Table)

Homefries & Balsamic
Applewood Bacon

Dessert (For the Table)

Mocha Pound Cake, Chocolate Mousse & Fresh Raspberries
Beignets, Lemon Curd & Strawberry Rhubarb Jam
Ice Cream & Sorbet

Craft Dallas is located in the W Hotel in Victory Park, at 2440 Victory Park Lane Dallas, TX 75219.  For reservations: 214 397 4111 or visit Open Table.  Click here to visit the Craft Dallas website.

More to come!  Cheers!

Jim

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