Monday, December 21, 2009

The 35 biggest moments in Big D. Were you there? And New Years Eve offerings.

I call your attention to what may be the coolest edition of D Magazine I have ever seen.

Their 35th Anniversary issue is on newsstands now. It selects the 35 biggest moments in modern Dallas History. That would be the beginning of "D Magazine time" in 1974. Of course, the foodie scene figures prominently in the mix, including: Gene Street and his famous Chicken Fried Steak at Black Eyed Pea, Larry Levine on Chili's serving its first burger, and Chef Stephan Pyles reflecting back on opening Routh Street Café (it changed everything!). The first person narrative is fascinating to read; no reporter filter. D Magazine deserves kudos for pulling this off and for getting these folks to write the articles. Also key business, political, media and social events are chronicled by the people who made the events happen. This is a great, page-turner holiday must read. Get the full story at D Magazine's website.

Revel in the excitement of the new year, as Dallas-Fort Worth's top restaurants regale you with an array of wining and dining options. Here are a select few that have crossed our inbox in the last few days. Happy 2010! Remember: If anybody asks you what you're making for dinner, tell 'em, "RESERVATIONS!" (Especially on New Year's Eve).

Urban Crust

Looking for a place to get delicious food and lively entertainment throughout the night this New Year's Eve? Look no further! Urban Crust is offering their regular menu plus enticing specialty items such as surf and turf, lamb shank and oysters. Celebrate after dinner with a late night party featuring a DJ, dancing, and drinks on all three floors of the restaurant.

New Years Day, they are offering their scrumptous brunch menu from 11am-3pm.

Urban Crust
1006 E 15th St
Plano, TX 75074
(972) 509-1400


Celebrate New Years Eve at Thrive Nightclub, as they host "Viva Las Vegas." The party begins New Years Eve at 9 pm in the new Downtown Dallas Crowne Plaza located at 1015 Elm St. Dallas, TX 75202. When not sipping on cocktails or boogying on the dance floor, guests will have the opportunity to play casino games, such as Poker, Roulette, Craps, and Black Jack. Tickets are $25 in advance or $50 at the door.

Interested in bottle service? Thrive is offering a full booth, seating 18 people, for $800 and a single table, seating 6 people, for $500. If you are looking for a little more privacy, Thrive has a VIP room that holds 20 and runs $2,500. The room comes with four bottles of Ed Hardy vodka, two bottles of Moet Champagne, and two bottles of Dom Perignon Champagne. For more information and reservations, call (214) 742-5678 or visit

Cretia's on Mckinney

This New Year's Eve, the party is at Cretia's!
For only $60, you get all the well drinks and domestics you can handle! Plus, enjoy live music, DJ's Ben Brown and Greenspan, a champagne toast, black-eyed peas, and party favors. Advanced tickets are $60 and tickets at the door are $80. Tickets can be purchased at the restaurant or by calling 214-780-0200.

Cretia's on Mckinney
4900 Mckinney Ave
Dallas, TX 75205

Patry's Bistro

If an exquisite meal is what you want for New Years Eve, Patry's is where you need to be. Chef Hamid Kalantar will be preparing an exceptional New Year's Four Course meal and Champagne special. Specialty Entrees include Pan Roasted Veal Chop Chasseur with mushroom ragout and thyme sauce for $69, Pan Seared Halibut with Shrimp Scampi served over rice pilaf for $69 and Broiled Australian Lobster Tail (1 lb) with Garlic Buerre Blanc for $79. All entrees are served with your choice of any appetizer, soup and salad, and dessert off the regular menu.

The regular menu will also be available.

Please call for reservations at 214-352-2489.

Patry's Bistro
4601 West Lovers Ln
Dallas, TX 75209

Bistro Louise in Fort Worth has multi-choice, four course New Year's eve menu and a "2010 New Years Day Down Home Cooking Brunch.
Visit their website for full details and reservations:

There's a New Year's Eve celebration at the Warwick Ballroom and Oak Lawn Terrace in Dallas, featuring entertainment from Aubree-Anna. Lots of food, fun, music, and drinks. Price: $299 inclusive per couple w/ accommodations or $85 per person inclusive no accommodations. Contact: Jacqueline Hickey will be taking all reservations* 214.224.3109,

Chef Morris Salerno has a special evening planned at The Grotto in Highland Village: a four-course dinner for $119.50 per couple. Make reservations by calling 972-318-0515 or email

Ring in the New Year at Pappas Bros. in Dallas. $89.95 per person (excluding alcohol, tax, tip). Call 214-366-2000.

Bring in the New Year with a view at Wolfgang Puck's Five Sixty. Multiple seatings, buffet and dinner menus offered. Call 214-571-5710 for details and reservations, or email

Lanny's Alta Cocina Mexicana is offering a four-course celebration dinner for $95 per person. Get reservations at

Bonnell's in Fort Worth invites you to enjoy a four-course feast for $90 per person. 817-738-5489 is the number for reservations or visit

Margaux's in Dallas offers a festive menu and a New Year's Day Brunch. Call 214-740-1985 or email Kay Agnew,

Need a ride home? "Occifer, I've only had tee martoonis, and I'm not as drunk as some thinkle peep I am", is only a bad old vaudeville line. Instead, call someone like...

Cowboy Cab

Scott Tinkham at Driven DFW

Be transported in the comfort of your own vehicle by a professionally trained driver.

Limo George
Limo for the Rockstars!!!

For intrepid, and loyal readers who have made it this far into the article I offer a reward: you are among the first to know about our next big event for "The Dinner Club with Jim White". We are going to have a great fine wine dinner with Randy Wooldridge and Quintessa Wine Estates at The Grill on the Alley in the Galleria on Thursday January 28th. This special, limited seating event from Centennial Fine Wine and Spirits is priced at a remarkable $50 per person, so it will sell out fast! I urge you to make your reservations quickly by calling 214-459-1601. If you are a procrastinator---NOW is the time for a New Year's resolution!

Cheers! And, have a safe New Year! Festively yours, Jim

Monday, December 14, 2009

Bubbly memories and a great wining and dining gift deal.

Bubbly and friends for the holidays!

Thanks to all who attended our wonderful Veuve Clicquot tasting at Centennial Fine Wine and Spirits in Addison. The taste treats were divine and we made lots of new friends. We have another wonderful wine dinner in the works with our friends from Centennial coming up in January. Stay tuned for details in this very place.

Virginia, Santa would rather have a great glass of wine and chef cuisine instead of milk and cookies!

The great value of the holiday gift giving season for the person on your list who loves food and wine is the special advance purchase ticket prices offered for Savor Dallas. (OK, let's call it a discount, but I prefer to think of it as a reward for prompt behavior in getting those tickets early and getting Savor Dallas down on your schedule--March 5-7). The deal is only in effect through New Year's Eve. When the ball drops on Times Square it starts the 60 minute countdown in the Central Time Zone before those ticket prices go up to their regular price. Let me put that in perspective for you, though: You can buy a weekend, all-access pass to Savor Dallas for $425 (after January 1--it's $375 now). Tickets to the Aspen Food and Wine Classic in June top $1000 per person! The Festival has no night-time events, and almost no food is offered (other than some cheese, bread, and other munchies at their Grand Tasting--in a tent). You also have the big travel expense and even bigger resort lodging expense for the honor of being in Aspen. By comparison, Savor Dallas offers an early evening and a nighttime event (Arts District Wine Stroll on Friday, and International Grand Tasting on Saturday), featuring great signature cuisine samples from over 60 of Dallas-Fort Worth's top chefs, and a dazzling array of premium wines, spirits and beers from around the world offered in beautiful settings in the Dallas Arts District and the fabulous "new" Sheraton Dallas Hotel (recently renovated to the tune of nearly $100 million). Travel to DFW is easy--thanks to American Airlines--and relatively cheap by comparison to Aspen. There's even FREE transportation if you take the "Savor Dallas Shuttle" to the International Grand Tasting. And, the Sheraton Dallas is offering an exceptional $89 per night Savor Dallas room rate (that's the double occupancy price and the new rooms are beautiful and spacious). Even if your schedule only permits one night of wining and dining, the Savor Dallas International Grand Tasting ticket is only $125 per person ($100 now until January 1). Aspen's grand tasting, as best I can recall, is priced at about $200 per person for the 2 hour event in the afternoon. Did I mention it's in a tent? And, it's often muddy? And, there's barely any food? The beautiful Lone Star Ballroom at the Sheraton Dallas Hotel is the site of next year's Savor Dallas International Grand Tasting. Dress up and join us for a good time. Wonderful wine and lots of good food for half the price. OK, I admit, we have no mountains. But you can make a down payment on the Rockies with the money you save attending Savor Dallas.

Congratulations to Marcus Cascio, new GM of Wolfgang Puck's Five Sixty Restaurant. He's been the General Manager of the Mansion on Turtle Creek for the last two years. Other notable establishments on his résumé include the Delano Hotel and the Astor Hotel in Miami, and White Face Lodge in White Plains New York. The restaurant is about to hit its one year anniversary atop Reunion Tower (described today to someone in Colorado as "God's golfball or the biggest dandelion you've ever seen). Congratulations to Executive Chef Sara Johannes who is planning big things with a view at Five Sixty. Get all the details when you visit or call 214.741.5560.

Scott Romano at Charlie Palmer at the Joule Hotel has the holiday spirit. He's offering Christmas Day Brunch from 11 until 3 for $55 per person (children under 12 dine for $35) and a Christmas Day Dinner from 5 until 9 for $75 ($35 for kids). Get details on their website.

The Catalina on Lemmon Avenue is offering a cool Christmas special: "The Ultimate Christmas Light Tours". They've setup a deal with a limo company where you view the Christmas lights and then dine with them at the Catalina. Very civilized. Very merry. Get details and reservations by calling 214-742-5466. Ask for Alex.

Happy Christmas and Merry New Year! Jim

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Holiday wining and dining ideas

This week we've got dinner specials, artisanal food offerings and wine ideas for your holiday entertaining. Or, to loosely quote Steve Martin, "Waiter! Bring us some of your NEW wine! Not that old, dusty junk you've been trying to pawn off on her!"

The holidays are a wonderful time for dining out.

If you're looking for something on Christmas eve, Tre Amici is offering a four course dinner and 25% off all wines by the bottle. Plus, a 5 to 7 p.m. Happy Hour in the bar. 18020 North Dallas Parkway. 972-250-4400.

Kenny's Wood Fired Grill in Addison is offering special fixed price holiday menus for lunch or dinner for groups. Call 972-392-9663 for details.

Superstar chef Charlie Palmer is offering tips on his favorites from the "Regional New American Holiday Gift Guide". We're please to see a great Texas product makes his list:

Boerne, Texas: Pickle-licious
Made from an old family recipe, Fickle Pickles are probably the best pickles in the world. In the words of the original “Pickle Lady” Billie Shaw, they start out sweet and finish spicy.
Ask them about it when you stop by Charlie Palmer at the Joule at 1530 Main Street in Downtown Dallas.

Coast Global Seafood has some great daily specials going on right now that help make your holiday dining brighter.

Mondays - half price bottles of wine up to $100, including favorites such as Hall Cabernet Sauvignon, Cakebread Cellars Chardonnay, Layer Cake Shiraz and more.
Wednesdays - Legacy Happy Hour with free appetizers such as calamari, oysters on the half shell and spicy rock shrimp from 4 to 7 p.m.
Thursdays - Cocktail Cruise with $5 house martinis and cosmos, as well as happy hour drink prices and $5 appetizers all night long.
Thursdays through Saturdays - live music from 8 p.m. until close from favorite local jazz duets and trios. Guest can enjoy the great music while taking in a spectacular view of the "dancing fountains" located just outside the COAST patio area.

COAST is located at 7501 Lone Star Drive, Suite B150 in Plano, Texas. For more information or reservations please call (972) 265-4722 or visit

Paula Lambert and the Mozzarella Company are offering their holiday favorite Christmas Cheese.

As Paula explains, "It's a once-a-year treat that we make only from Thanksgiving through New Year's. It's a crumbly, spreadable round of cheese festively flavored with a combination of chiles. It's a pretty cheese...a vibrant red round topped with a swirl of green jalapenos strips. Some might call it a Mexican cheese, but you'll just call it "good" when you taste it! It pairs nicely with beer, wine, and mixed drinks. Just one bite won't be sufficient.

It all began many years ago as a mistake. Something happened to one batch of our cheese. It just did't turn out exactly as it should have ... it wasn't a bad cheese, it just wasn't the kind of cheese it was supposed to be! So, we decided to convert our mistake into something new. Because Christmas was coming, we wanted to create something good for the holidays. We decided to add a variety of red chiles to make it spicy. We molded it into small discs that would be perfect for serving when guests stop by. We decorated the top with a star made of green chiles. And voila...Christmas Cheese!

Now our mistake has become a Mozzarella Company annual tradition, and many of our loyal customers have made Christmas Cheese part of their family holiday traditions. They flock to our cheese factory for our special, little, handmade cheese. Many buy 10 to 20 cheeses because they make perfect gifts for neighbors, teachers, and friends. And they are great to have on hand for quick, last-minute hors d'oeuvres and hostess gifts. Wheels of Christmas Cheese weigh a little over a half pound each and cost $12. They are great for snacking as well as for melting. They stay fresh for a month or longer...but they won't last that long at your house!
You can order online or call 214-741-4072.

How about some wine with that cheese? (Only at my house that phrase is usually "How 'bout some whine with that cheese!") Wine Guy Darryl Beeson explains the secrets of life and mysteries of the universe when it comes to Beaujolais. (Here's the only new wine you want that snooty waiter referred to in the headline to bring you!)

Beau-jest of fine wine

by Darryl Beeson

Most people that enjoy wine know about Beaujolais Nouveau, a fresh and fun red wine made with the gamay grape. It is youthful but maybe simple. For very little money, one may bump up to a cru Beaujolais of which there are ten. Compared to the wines of more central Burgundy, these wines offer bang for the buck. The finest producers would lead with Georges Duboeuf and Louis Jadot.

Brouilly is the largest cru area in Beaujolais. It covers about 20% of the Beaujolais wine region. Brouilly and Cote de Brouilly are two different crus (crus meaning specific growing regions). Cotes de Brouilly is grown on the slopes of the hill. Brouilly is grown at the bottom. Brouilly wine is packed with flavor. Some say that Cote de Brouilly is both aggressive and elegant. The wine is more rich because the grapes get more sun exposure than the ones at the bottom of the hill. Brouilly is better when consumed young while Cote de Brouilly should mature 4 or 5 years before tasting.

Another is Fleurie, meaning "flowery". Duboeuf captures these flowers on their lables and are easy to spot in a wine shop. Fleurie is a fruit-forward wine. Some call it the Queen of Beaujolais. Moulin à Vent would be the counter-point King. In total the ten crus Beaujolais and offer great wine value for an interesting red wine. Most are under twenty dollars.

The name Beaujolais comes from the house of Beaujeu, a name which first appears in the mid-900s. This region became famous in the 19th century for the textile industry rather than wine. The wines are now overlooked by many consumers.

On the subject of Beaujolais Nouveau, it used to be sold as "Beaujolais Primeur." The late Alexis Lichine observed in his first book on French wines that these wines did not merit even a mention. "It was a young, fruity wine sold in barrels and served in carafes in restaurants in Lyon and in specialized bistros in Paris--strictly the cheap places. In the early 1950s, this vin nouveau never saw the inside of a bottle or traveled overseas." Things changed big time. It is now very chic to enjoy this wine of the same vintage of the current year, harvested a few weeks before. It is officially released on the third Thursday of November each year. North Texas has the largest Nouveau Beaujolais festival in the world.

(Note: November 20th was the date this year for the Nouveau Beaujolais celebration in Dallas. The party was a smashing success at the Hotel Intercontinental, thanks to the hard work or Isabelle DeWulf and the French American Chamber of Commerce.)

Our friends with Centennial Fine Wine and Spirits are giving away a great trip for two to Napa Valley! Now, that's the holiday spirit! All you have to do is go to their Facebook registration page.

This is a 6 day, 5 night Napa Valley get-a-way (Monday-Friday) at the Vintage Inn with round-trip airline tickets for two. The Vintage Inn is a AAA Four-Diamond Award-winning elegant French country-style inn located in the heart of Yountville featuring breathtaking gardens and a central watercourse. Stay includes Champagne breakfast buffet. The deadline for entries is December 31st, and the trip has to be used in 2010. Good luck.

Be sure to join us at Centennial Fine Wine in Addison on Inwood for a free holiday tasting of Veuve Clicquot Champ
agne, Thursday December 10th from 4 until 7. Cheers!

How about leaving the driving to us? If you're attending the Savor Dallas International Grand Tasting on March 6th at the beautiful Sheraton Dallas Hotel downtown, consider the "Savor Dallas Shuttle"--Ride FREE, clean and green! We'll pick you up and take you to the biggest wining and dining event of the year, and then make sure you get back to your car safely. You'll save on parking, gas, and stress. Check out our website for the Shuttle location nearest you:

The Savor Dallas Shuttle is presented by Centennial Fine Wine and Spirits--promoting responsible consumption and eco-friendly alternatives.

Happy holidays. Jim

Thursday, December 3, 2009

A toast for the holidays!

Delicious holiday bubbly from Veuve Clicquot brings the Savor Wine and Food faithful (and you know who you are), another fun, free event at Centennial Fine Wine and Spirits on December 10th. Come raise a glass or two with us!

Savor Wine and Food—invites you to get you into the spirit of the holiday with a bit of the bubbly—In fact, some of the finest Champagne on Earth: Veuve Clicquot will be featured on Thursday December 10th at the beautiful Centennial Fine Wine and Spirits location on Inwood Road in Addison. Veuve Clicquot’s Cyndi Mendez and I will be on hand from 4 until 7 p.m. to preview three delicious Champagne varietals. Taste them all, and get all your questions answered about pairing Veuve Clicquot with your favorite holiday meals and for entertaining. Centennial will offer special pricing, too. Come join the fun. We’ll see you Thursday December 10th, from 4 til 7 p.m. at Centennial in Addison. While you’re there, be sure to register for some great prizes, including tickets to Savor Dallas---so purchase necessary. Veuve Clicquot Champagne—a special free event for you. Holiday bubbly is waiting for you. We look forward to raising a glass of cheer with you.

More on the way. Doing the "holi-daze" dervish. How 'bout you?