Sunday, March 21, 2010

Yummy Easter Specials Galore!

Here comes Peter Cotton Tail, hoppin' down the bunny trail. Waiter, would you ask that rabbit to refill our tea, please?

In honor of one of the most important family dining times of year, here is a sampling of some restaurants featuring Easter specials. Add to this in the comments section if you are a restaurateur and would like to have our readers know about your Easter specials. Thanks.

Chef Doug Brown (Dish), is offering an Easter Jazz Brunch at the Orion Ballroom

in Oak Cliff, five minutes from downtown at 400 South Zang Street, 15th Floor, from 10 until 3. This is the Bank of America Building. The Orion Ballroom sits atop it. Chef Brown is featuring a lavish array of salads, fresh fruits and vegetables, smoked salmon, carving stations with ham and steamship of beef, an omelet station, pasta and fajita station, plus a temping array of cakes, pies and desserts. The price is $24.95 for adults and $12.95 for kids under 12. Make reservations by calling 214-942-1661 or email

Lavendou Bistro Provençal Owner Pascal Cayet and Executive Chef Francois Soyez are offering something for almost everyone at their Easter Brunch.
First Course: Soupe Froide de Concombre (Cold Cucumber Soup); Prosciutto et Melon Sauce Sangria (Prosciutto and Melon with a Sangria Sauce); Salade César (Traditional Caesar Salad); or Vol au Vent de Fruits de Mer (Mixed Seafood served in a pastry shell).

Second Course: Oeufs Poché Norvegienne (Poached Eggs on an English Muffin with Smoked Salmon and Spinach); Filet de Sole au Crabe et Champagne (Filet of Sole with Crab Meat and Champagne Cream Sauce with Basmati Rice); Gigot d'Agneau Provençal (Roasted Leg of Lamb with Gratin Dauphinois); or Poitrine de Volaille Chasseur (Breast of Chicken with Mushroom, Tomatoes and Demi-Glace Sauce with Fettucini).

Dessert: La Tarte au Citron Meringuée (Lemon Tart with Meringue); Profiteroles au Chocolat (Ice Cream Filled Pastry Puffs with Chocolate Sauce); Feuillantine aux Fruit Rouges (Mixed Berries in a puff pastry with Chantilly cream); or Gâteau au Fromage (White Chocolate Cheesecake with raspberry coulis).

Easter Sunday, April 4 from 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., Lavendou's Easter Brunch is $29.95 per guest, plus beverage, tax & gratuity.

Lavendou is located at 19009 Preston Road, Suite 200, in Dallas (75252). Make reservations by phone (972-248-1911), fax (972-248-1660), by e-mail to or through their web site,

The Capital Grille is offering Easter Brunch from 1030 until 230 and suggesting you might want to try a dry aged steak or some fresh seafood along with one of their 350 wines. This is starting to sound like a celebration. Brunch is $35 per person (the wine is extra). Call 214-303-0500 for reservations. Or go to this reservation site.

Chef David Bull welcomes you to Easter brunch at Bolla in the Stoneleigh Hotel from 11 a.m. until 2:30 p.m. He is offering a special three-course prix fix menu for $36 ($48 with Champagne and Mimosas) and $18 for children. Call 214-871-7111 for reservations. Or email See details of Easter Brunch and other special events at the Stoneleigh here.

Boi Na Braza in Grapevine has an Easter special, offering their full course meal, huge salad bar and desserts for $47.50 per person. This is the place to go if you're hungry and want meat and more meat. They'll be open special hours on Easter from noon until their last seating at 8:45 p.m. Call 817-329-5514 or 81-251-9881. Or email Located at Highway 121 at Hall-Johnson.

Cadot Restaurant is offering a three-course Easter Brunch for $29.95 person from 11 a.m. until 2:30 p.m. Call 972-267-5700 for reservations. Here's the menu:

Duck Terrine With Pistachios And Truffles
Tropical Gazpacho
Poached Eggs In Mediterranean Quinoa Salad with Smoked Salmon Hollandaise Sauce
Warm Goat Cheese Salad With Baby Mixed Greens And Balsamic Vinaigrette

Crusted Almond Tilapia on a Bed of Risotto, Served with Champagne Sauce
Lamb Chops with French Fries and Green Beans Served with Curcumin Sauce
Short Ribs with Horseradish, Mashed Potatoes and Celery Root Puree, Topped with Baby Arugula

Chocolate Heart with Mixed Berries and White Chocolate Sabayon
Cherry Clafouti Ginger Confit
Floating Island with Caramel Sauce

Chef Avner Samuel and Aurora offer a Kamen Estate Wine dinner on Tuesday April 6th.

It's a six course affair featuring Kamen Cabernet and Syrah with special guest Robert Kamen, winery owner and screenwriter. Whose projects include The Karate Kid series (including the new film), the Transporter Sereis, and his ode to Napa Valley winemaking "A Walk in the Clouds" starring Keanu Reeves. The dinner is $150 per person. Call or email for a reservation, 214-528-9400, or No slipping any "blockbuster screenplay" ideas to Mr. Kamen.

Happy Easter! Cheers! Jim

Monday, March 15, 2010

Dining is Divine at "The Dinner Club with Jim White"

We are so excited to be hosting our next great "Dinner Club with Jim White" special event at Tre Amici, along with our good friends from Centennial Fine Wine and Spirits. The four-course dinner and wine pairing takes place on Wednesday March 31st beginning at 6:30. If you haven't been to Tre Amici you will find that prime steaks are their claim to fame. One of the items featured for our dinner that evening just happens to be a succulent prime beef filet mignon. This hand selected, center cut steak is wet-aged for over 40 days before it is traditionally prepared. We'll be enjoying that along with Italian Sausage Risotto paired with a a Windy Lane Rutherford Cabernet Sauvignon 2005. The menu also features Smoked Salmon Bruschetta with Amici Napa Valley Sauvignon Blanc 2007; Beef Carpaccio paired with Angels Landing Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir 2008; Lobster Bisque with Windy Land Napa Valley Merlot 2005; and for dessert, Chocolate Truffle Cake served with Rocca Cerrina Brachetto, N/V. Should be a delicious evening. Please join us by calling Tre Amici and making your reservation: 972-250-4400.

In case you missed it along the way, the best restaurant deal we have heard of is still going on. While, there may not be a "free lunch". There IS a FREE dinner. At least every Monday at Trece and Villa-O. What's the deal, you ask? It's an email promotion for fans who are on the email list of the two restaurants. They offer a free two-course Mexican or Italian dinner every Monday night. If you're not on the mailing list, call the restaurant of your choice and ask them to put you on the list. In fact, the email I get every week just says "call the restaurant and make a reservation". For Trece phone 214-780-1900. For Villa-O phone 214-780-1880. Don't see any strings attached to this. Just the restaurants' way of attracting customers in a still down economy on a typically slow night. Also a very smart marketing ploy by owner Robert Colombo. Now, I ask you, if you're going for a free dinner, aren't you going to order a couple glasses of wine, likely have dessert and tip your server appropriately? Yep. Me, too. And, that's exactly what they're counting on. Oh, and that you might want to come back in on a Wednesday or a Saturday, of course. Bon appétit!

The folks at Dali Wine Bar and Restaurant in One Arts Plaza have a very special evening coming up on March 24th. In case you missed Chef Joel Harloff's sensational offering at Savor Dallas, you get to try his great food in a four-course, four star pairing with sensational Krupp Brothers, Stagecoach Vineyard from Napa Valley (also at Savor Dallas in case you weren't). The evening starts with a Champagne reception and then the evening progresses through some great vintages from Krupp Brothers. Proprietor Paul Pinnell has put a humdinger together here. It's $100 plus plus. And seating is limited for this (because the restaurant is so delightfully small). Call in a hurry: 469-385-9360 or visit the website for more details on Dali.

If you have a child who is an adventurous diner, then you may want to take advantage of a new promotion from Hibashi Teppan Grill and Sushi Bar. Throughout April, one child per family dines free at Hibashi. Here's the fine print from the restaurant: "one child up to the age of 12 per family of four eats free". They can sample foods from either the Teppan grill or the Sushi bar. The Kids Eat Free promotion does not include gratuity. To make your plans, phone 972-620-3474 or e-mail

Headed to New York? Here's an item we picked up from "Zagat Buzz" about the one the coolest places in Manhattan and one of the world's top chefs. Enjoy.
Everything is slightly magical at ABC Kitchen, Jean-Georges Vongerichten’s organic farm-to-table concept opening tonight on the first floor of the ABC Carpet & Home building in NYC. From the salvaged entry doors covered with distressed mirrors to the antique chandeliers to the bar that contains a little diorama filled with mini crystals, small sprigs and a tiny Ganesh statue – it all feels like a fairy tale come to life. The whimsical boho style is an extension of ABC-founder Paulette Cole’s vision. Read more here.

Cheers! Jim

Monday, March 8, 2010

Another "Dinner Club with Jim White" event is coming

We have been pretty good at getting around town for our "Dinner Club with Jim White" special events. From Oak Lawn to Oak Cliff; from downtown and Turtle Creek to North Dallas. Now, we venture farther north on the Tollway for a wonderful event at Tre Amici Prime Steakhouse and Seafood. Watch this space for the exact date coming in just a few days. We know our friends at Centennial Fine Wine and Spirits will have some incredible wines to pair with the cuisine at Tre Amici. We are really looking forward to seeing you again. Get more details at our website. Bon appétit!

Savor Dallas turned out to be another great wine and food weekend. And the weather really cooperated! I love hitting that window of sunny and warm weather in between cool, rainy events that have become pretty prevalent this winter. If you attended this weekend, THANK YOU! Please let us know how we can create a better event for you next year. We also want to take a minute to thank the great chef community for their support of the International Grand Tasting on Saturday March 6. Also, a special thanks to Seventeen Seventeen Restaurant, Culinaire International, Wolfgang Puck Catering for their support of the Arts District Wine Stroll on Friday March 5th. A big thanks to the fabulous restaurants of One Arts Plaza for participating in three venues with signature cuisine samples. I heard great comments about how well the taste treats paired with the wines. Here's a special toast of thanks to Chef David McMillan at Screen Door, Chef Joel Harloff at Dali Wine Bar and Restaurant, and the culinary teams at Jorge's, Tei-An and Fedora Restaurant and Lounge for their participation.

Some folks have noted that the time allotted for the Arts District Wine Stroll-5 until 7 p.m.-is not enough time to get around to all of the five Wine Stroll locations in a "leisurely manner". Due to performances in the Meyerson Symphony Center and the Winspear Opera House beginning at 8, we can't extend the tasting time beyond 7 (they Wyly Theatre didn't have a performance that evening, but likely will in future years on when the Wine Stroll is staged). We will look for ways to work around this timing issue in 2011 so that folks don't feel "rushed". We know many of the guests loved the ambiance at the Nasher Sculpture Center so much and the wide array of tasting available at the Meyerson that they only went to those locations instead of getting around to all five (Dallas Museum of Art, Nasher, Meyerson, Winspear and Wyly Theatre). We appreciate your feedback, and are always working to make the Savor Dallas experience better and better.

More news you can use about wining and dining coming up, and stay tuned for some exciting improvements and innovations on our "Dinner Club with Jim White" website.


Sunday, February 28, 2010

48 Nights to taste and help

Our guests enjoyed a completely outstanding dinner at Smoke for the most recent "The Dinner Club with Jim White" special event.

Owner Christopher Jeffers and manager Ray Evans were great hosts. Thanks to our friends from Centennial Fine Wine and Spirits for bringing such great wines. It was a global affair, with wines from Italy, France, Spain, Argentina, and California, paired with Chef Tim Byres incredible down-home southern cooking. It is smokin'!

Chris, Tim, and their partner Chris Zielke (who holds down the fort at sister Oak Cliff Restaurant Bolsa) have started a very cool project called "48 Nights" to raise money for charity. The premise is fun. A "pop up restaurant" in an old taqueria on Sylvan Avenue (near Smoke) where guest chefs prepare a great dinner every week, and proceeds are donated to the Mass Care Task Force, which helps provide relief to victims in case of disaster. The goal is to donate $1000 from each of the 48 nights. Interested diners pay $75 per person for one of two seatings on a Monday or Tuesday night. Reservations can be booked at But here's the fun part: You don't know who the chef will be! Marc Cassel from Park just hosted a dinner. Stephan Pyles, Bruno Davaillon from the Mansion on Turtle Creek and Sharon Hage from York Street have all signed up to do dinners. And, several other big name chefs are being approached. There's great wine, great food and a great cause to help. What are you waiting for? This may be the most fun wining and dining concept to ever hit Dallas. Kudos to the Smoke and Bolsa brain trust for coming up with this.

Savor Dallas is on the way Friday and Saturday, with an expanded Arts District Wine Stroll, and another over the top International Grand Tasting. This year all the events on Saturday take place at the newly renovated Sheraton Dallas Hotel. The place is great and dedicated wine and food lovers will love the setting for the walk around tasting. Of course, the Riedel Stemware is back for all tasting events at Savor Dallas--including the Arts District Wine Stroll and special wine seminars. And, the very popular commemorative Savor Dallas stem will be handed out Saturday night at the International Grand Tasting for folks to take home with them. This will be the sixth in a series of collectible Reidel glasses that Savor Dallas has presented to its guest. Some people have the complete set. Also this year, the spokes-Gnome will be on-hand to have his picture snapped with you both Friday and Saturday. Go to the Savor Dallas Facebook page to register to win a special prize including two tickets to the International Grand Tasting and a chance to "Take Home the Gnome" for a week. He's a great house-guest. He has been spending time with my wife Vicki and me, cooling his heels in between travel engagements, getting ready for the party and fun at Savor Dallas. BTW, he is a vegetarian. Get tickets to Savor Dallas online at Tickets for all events will be available at the door both days.

Tre Wilcox is conducting cooking classes at Loft 610. His next class is on Southwestern Cooking, Sunday March 21, from 1 til 5 p.m. The whole culinary team is involved including Executive Sous Chef Jermaine Brown, Sous Chef Jason Skinner, and Pastry Chef Kara Blair. The cost is $350 per person to secure a spot contact Call 972-377-250 for more info.

55 Degrees in Plano has some new events starting this month. On March 23rd they'll be presenting "A Tale of Tuscany" at 7 pm. The evening will focus on 6 wines from Tuscany and features a cheese and meat flight to pair with the wines. The cost is $25 per person, plus tax and tip. You can book your space for this limited seating event by going to their website

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Smokin' Good Time Coming up at Smoke

Big time wining and dining with Chef Tim Byres

Just ask anyone who has been to the hip and happening Belmont Hotel and you'll likely hear from a fan of Smoke. Tim Byres--formerly executive chef at Stephan Pyles, executive sous chef at the Mansion, and his own restaurant Standard--
certainly knows his way around the kitchen and loves to make great things happen with hardwood and smoke. You have an opportunity to get first-hand experience and a great wine dinner to boot if you join me on Thursday February 25th for the next "Dinner Club with Jim White" special event at Smoke.

Look at this great menu that chef has put together with a selection of outstanding wines from around the world that our friends at Centennial Fine Wine and Spirits has provided:

Cheese Croquette with Grilled Romaine and Tejano Chili Sauce
Villa Rogole Prosecco, N/V
Beet Carpaccio with Watercress and Smoked Ricotta Cheese
La Croisade Pinot Noir 2007
Pit Smoked Ham with Fresh Honeycomb and Mustard
Cacho Tempranillo 2006
Mesquite Grilled Fish, Sweet and Smoky Collards and Leeks
Pit Roasted Cabritto with Masa and Tamarind Goats Milk Cejeta
Los Cowboys Malbec 2008
Coffee Cured Brisket, Pit Roasted Rib and Smoked Paprika Link
Angels Landing Cabernet Sauvignon 2007
Warm Sour Cherry Buckle, Lemon Curd and White Chocolate

I'm getting hungry just thinking about it. Join us if you can. Just call Smoke for a reservation, 214-393-4141, but hurry! Seating is limited. Only 40 seats available and the price is great--just $60 per person (plus tax and gratuity. SMOKE is located in the Belmont Hotel Dallas at 901 Fort Worth Avenue. Dallas, Texas. 75208 (my hometown of Oak Cliff--go Bisons!) just about 3 minutes from downtown Dallas. This will be a great dinner.

A GREAT new seminar has been added to Savor Dallas on March 6th. Savor Dallas and NOKA Chocolate present an indulgent journey into the world of NOKA Chocolate paired with a top flight array of premium wines. Wines to be tasted include Newton Unfiltered Chardonnay, MacMurray Ranch Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir, and Louis M. Martini Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon. This intensive tasting experience will focus on the delights of world famous NOKA Chocolate, including single-estate dark chocolate truffles and chocolate, and reveal the magic of pairing wines with these different tastes. Saturday March 6, 3 p.m. at Sheraton Dallas Hotel. Tickets are $40. Get them at or call 214.366.0555.

Of course, this is just part of the Saturday morning and afternoon series of wine tasting seminars offered by Savor Dallas. There's a great wine panel that kicks off the day at 11 a.m. featuring premium wines and insights from Dr. Richard Becker, Becker Vineyards, Seth Box, Moët Hennessy USA, Jim Collins, Frei Brothers Winery, John Concannon, Concannon Vineyards, and Bart O'Brien, O'Brien Estate. You'll learn about a wines from Texas, Sonoma, Napa, Livermore, and more. Michael Flynn, Director of Wine and Beverages for the world-famous Rosewood Mansion on Turtle Creek moderates the panel.

At 1:30, you can be "a winemaker for a day" (or at least an hour), if you participate in the wildly popular "Puzzle" Blending Seminar" conducted by Newton Vineyard senior brand ambassador Deborah Dean. The Newton Blending Seminar is a study in the selections that may influence a blending of "The Puzzle"; Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot. A unique opportunity to understand the philosophy behind this Icon wine.

These seminars are limited to 50 seats and usually fill up quickly. Go to the Savor Dallas website,, for more information and click on Tasting Seminars.

Cheers! Jim

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Wining and dining during the "Great Blizzard of '10"

Mostly indoors in our Case!

Fortunately, our power was only out for a few hours--unlike others who are still in the dark, as we speak, several days after Mother Nature dumped 12.5" of snow on the Metroplex. We had a great lunch at Bolsa on Wednesday before the weather turned, and then a wine lunch with importer Chuck Weintraub and his client Stephan Asseo owner of L'Aventure in Paso Robles at Salum as the blizzard ensued, but otherwise it was meals at home. Fortunately we had a few things in the pantry, because our wonderful Lakewood Whole Foods was without power and closed! Eerie! But only for a few hours until they got a generator truck in place. Our friend above, is the happiest, hippest snowman ever. He makes up in style what he lacks in size. He was gearing up for Savor Dallas, March 5-6, as the snow started to melt. He doesn't sweat the dress code when it comes to his favorite wining and dining experience. Depending on the event, the weekend attire is casual to cocktail. (Think of it as dressing to go out for dinner at a nice restaurant with a friend or with some friends to go to a party.) Nor, is Mr. Frosty concerned about tasting from the proper stemware at the Arts District Wine Stroll, the Reserve Tasting, or the International Grand Tasting. Riedel Crystal stemware is featured at all tasting events throughout the weekend at Savor Dallas. Get tickets and the complete weekend schedule at After you party at Savor Dallas, plan to stay at the beautiful Sheraton Dallas Hotel. Just ask for the special "Savor Dallas" room rate of just $89 per night, available both Friday March 5th and Friday March 6th. Nothing like enjoying some great wine and food and then riding the elevator home! Talk about responsible consumption!

Our next big "Dinner Club with Jim White" event is coming up February 25th at the very cool Smoke in Oak Cliff. Chef Tim Byres has put together a fabulous four-course meal to show off his love of, well, smoke! Give him some hardwood and he is certainly going to put it to its best use. That would be creating and serving some delectable taste treats like he has planned for our February 25th outing. Highlights of his southern smokehouse menu include Pit Smoked Ham with Fresh Honeycomb and Mustard; Mesquite Grilled Fish with sweet and smoky collards and leeks; Pit Roasted Cabrito with Masa and Tamarind Goats Milk Cejeta; Coffee Cured Brisket, Pit Roasted Rib and Smoked Paprika Link. For dessert, how about some Warm Sour Cherry Buckle with Lemon Curd and White Chocolate? Yummy! Our good friends at Centennial Fine Wine And Spirits are providing some great wines to pair with Tim's menu, including: 2007 La Croisade Pinot Noir, 2006 Cacho Tempranillo, 2008 Los Cowboys Malbec, and 2007 Angels Landing Cabernet Sauvignon. Great pairings with Chef Byres' Smoke! Reservations will go quickly for this limited attendance dinner--only 40 seats available, at the remarkable price of just $60 person. Join us at the beautiful Belmont Hotel--just 3 minutes from downtown Dallas on Thursday February 25th. Call 214-393-4141 for reservations. This one is SMOKIN'!!!!!

Cheers! Jim

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Touring Savor Dallas

Annual wine and food party is labor of love
Savor Dallas
turns March 5-6

Over the years, so many people have asked me to describe Savor Dallas. It's a thrill that people care enough to ask. Vicki Briley-White (my lovely wife and co-founder of Savor Dallas) and I have discussed it ad naseum over many glasses of fine, decanted wine. For us, it's homage to the great, and hard working, chefs and restaurateurs of the Dallas-Fort Worth area. We put it together to help showcase them. We know, too, that we want it to be a collection of the top wines and spirits in the world. That's why Vicki works fastidiously to keep the entry point for wines poured at Savor Dallas over $15 retail. You'd be surprised how many wine events around the country don't control this. We prefer quality over quantity. Our friends tell us Savor Dallas is the best wine and food event they've ever been to. But you know friends. Thankfully, we've heard that from media types and from a number of the "new friends" we've made through the years who keep coming back, and bringing their friends to our event. Mostly, it's a great way to get together, have some fun and introduce people to the beautiful cultural facilities in the Arts District, and to raise the bar on wine and food appreciation. We work hard to make the event smooth and enjoyable for all who attend. We love Savor Dallas, because it gives us a chance to do a little bit of good in the community and be around so many like-minded lovers of wine and food. Maybe the best thing for me to do is take you on a quick tour of Savor Dallas 2010; invite you to come join us; and ask you to give us some feedback on your experience. That way, I can add your viewpoint to the mix, in case anybody asks me next year to describe Savor Dallas. Since the big party is cranking up in New Orleans, if I may, I would like to introduce our tour with the legendary phrase (and our wish for you at Savor Dallas):
Laissez Les Bon Temps Roulez (Let the good times roll!)

Big fun and big flavor return to Big D with the Sixth Annual Savor Dallas weekend, March 5th and 6th. The "International Experience of Wine, Food, Spirits and the Arts" features star chefs and great wines in beautiful locations throughout the Dallas Arts District (the largest contiguous urban arts district in America). Overall, more than 65 top chefs and artisanal food producers, and over 400 premium wines, spirits and imported beers from around the world are featured throughout the weekend.

Savor Dallas kicks off on Friday March 5th, with the popular "Arts District Wine Stroll", which allows people to "drink-in" the arts, while enjoying great wines inside the cultural jewels of Dallas, including the Dallas Museum of Art in Seventeen Seventeen Restaurant, The Nasher Sculpture Center, the Morton H. Meyerson Symphony Center, the Winspear Opera House and the Wyly Theatre from 5 until 7 p.m.

An exciting array of premium wine tasting seminars start the Savor Dallas activities at the beautifully renovated Sheraton Dallas Hotel on Saturday March 6th, beginning at 11 a.m. You'll have a chance to meet winemakers attending Savor Dallas, become a "winemaker" yourself (for a day) with the "Puzzle blending seminar", or take home beautiful hand-blown Riedel Crystal stemware from the "Riedel and Noka Chocolate Seminar".

Beginning at 5, the limited attendance "Reserve Tasting" features über premium wines, Champagnes and spirits for discriminating tastes only! The celebrated "International Grand Tasting" from 7 until 10 p.m. is a tasters' paradise. Many of the top Dallas-Fort Worth restaurants and chefs serve samples of their signature cuisine. Each guest is provided a commemorative Savor Dallas Riedel stem for tasting and to take home. It's the perfect way to enjoy and appreciate the exciting array of wines and spirits offered.

"The Savor Dallas Shuttle" will be running again to the "International Grand Tasting" from restaurant locations in Plano, Allen, North Dallas, Grapevine and Arlington. This FREE service from Savor Dallas (with purchase of ticket to "International Grand Tasting") provides a luxury ride downtown and back, and helps promote responsible consumption and eco-alternatives. Something that's important to us and our Shuttle sponsor Centennial Fine Wine and Spirits. Get all the details on the "Savor Dallas Shuttle" here. (

The "International Grand Tasting" also features a silent auction offering a 3 liter bottle of Chateau Latour worth over $2500, and a six liter of bottle of Cakebread Cabernet Sauvignon just to name a few of the exciting rare wine items up for grabs. In addition, great wine escapes to Sonoma and exciting trips to the Caribbean are offered. All proceeds from the auction benefit the North Texas Food Bank.

Be on the lookout for the Gnome who will be making an appearance at Savor Dallas both days. You'll have a chance to have your picture made with the handsome star. Say fromage!

Tickets are available for individual events or an "All Access Weekend Pass" is offered. Get details and tickets at A special "Savor Dallas room rate" is available for the weekend at the Sheraton Dallas. This is a great deal, just $89 per night, and it's offered for both Friday and Saturday night of Savor Dallas. The Sheraton Dallas has just completed a ninety-one million dollar renovation, including all the guest rooms. It's a beautiful showcase. Get details on the room specials and book your rooms for Savor Dallas here. (

Come see us! à votre santé! Cheers!

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Remembering Darryl Beeson "The Wine Guy"

Cheers, old friend! Here's to you.

Darryl Beeson,
54, passed away Friday. Almost everyone in the restaurant business in Dallas, and the wine business in general, knew Darryl. He was a wine educator, writer, former sommelier and cellar master. We worked together very closely for several years. We were also friends. He had a knack for that. People liked Darryl. I'd like to share a few recollections .
(Darryl with Ravenswood founder Joel Peterson)

Mr. Beeson's Class--and a class act
by Jim White

The first time I ever met Darryl Beeson he seemed very professorial. Maybe it was his tweed jacket, vest, bow tie, horn rimmed glasses and Adolphe Menjou mustache. Or, perhaps it was his thorough awareness of "things" and his tendency to conduct "mini-seminars" on them. He could talk about everything from sports and current events to broadcasting or social-scene gossip. But it was his encyclopedic knowledge of wine that impressed me as I got to know him. He was producing Jody Dean's midday talk show in the winter of 1994 when I returned to Dallas to become KRLD's morning news anchor. I was also charged with developing a "Restaurant Show". Something operations director Michael Spears had been quite keen on while we were still in Chicago plotting our return to Big D. Darryl was to be my producer for the program, slated to start in the spring of 1995. I was quite intimidated by the prospect of hosting a program devoted to cooking and wine. I did very little of the former, although I could hold my own with the latter. But since Spears knew I had a love of these things and travel, cultivated by radio stints in San Francisco, numerous forays to Europe, and about a year of being in the dining circle of a Chicago restaurant critic, he insisted I could do it. It was Darryl who helped smooth what seemed like a rocky road ahead to me. And a damn steep learning curve--it was a daunting assignment just getting to know who the players were in the Dallas and Texas restaurant biz after several years out of town.

Darryl was the sommelier at the beautiful French Room in the Adolphus Hotel at the time and was moonlighting part-time at "Newsradio 1080". He seemed to know everyone in town. And, boy did he do a great job of making a fine wine program come alive. He was a service master and had a natural talent for regaling his wine customers with stories and anecdotes about the widest range of wines, vineyards and winery personalities I have ever heard. Always upbeat. Always entertaining. He was a showman with a tastevin. When he moved his "act" to the Mansion on Turtle Creek--kind of a Jay Leno moves to prime time, but with better results transition--he also became increasingly adept at keeping the staff on their toes about VIP customers who were joining them in the storied dining room. After checking the guest list one evening and seeing "Francis Ford requests special wine". He asked a fresh-faced hostess, "Do you mean Francis Ford Coppola?"

Darryl's job on the "KRLD Restaurant Show with Jim White" was producer and "Wine Guy". He handled both roles with panache. More "absent minded professor" as a producer--sometimes keeping program rundowns and guest phone numbers on crumpled notebook paper, the backs of napkins, or matchbook covers. He still managed to get outstanding guests like Julia Child and Wolfgang Puck booked and on the air. When wine royalty like Robert Mondavi and his wife Margrit were in-studio the proverbial red carpet was always apparent. He catered lunch for Fess Parker's appearance with us and made sure we had the theme from Davy Crockett to play during the show. He loved his time to shine on the air during his "Wine Guy" segments, which often featured luminaries like Robert Parker, Hugh Johnson, or Clive Coates. His efforts helped us get a nomination for a James Beard Award in 1999 as "Best Radio Show on Food".

In almost nine years of working together on the radio show and online projects, Darryl introduced me to so many wonderful and talented people (many of whom became friends): wine legend Tony LaBarba, favorite son restaurateur Matt Martinez, Jr., cheese maker extraordinaire Paula Lambert, Gus Katsigris, who founded the El Centro culinary program, culinarian Renie Steves, a chef you may have heard of, Dean Fearing, and the list goes on. Darryl even helped me orchestrate a most unorthodox proposal to my dearly beloved Vicki at the French Room with a cigar band for a ring and a bottle of Thunderbird for the toast. It worked! (But I had to deliver the real goods before any vows were exchanged).

Through ups and downs, "technical difficulties", and road shows from divergent destinations like the State Fair of Texas, a cruise ship in Alaska and Dijon, France, trusted producer and friend Darryl was always there to hold down the fort, and keep those guests coming. He often told me he was content to play the "second banana" role on the program (in the spirit of Johnny Carson and Ed McMahon). Somehow he turned it into Bananas Foster (or Beeson).

For the last several years Darryl taught a rigorously academic wine program, and I'm told, before his untimely departure, he was ready to return to teaching these classes and a weekly commute between Dallas and Houston to conduct them. Always the professor. Always the people person. A gentle soul and a gifted spirit. The wine service in Heaven is now 5 star. Look out, Mr. LaBarba and Mr. Mondavi. Darryl's coming with a bottle of '59 Lafite and a joke he wants to tell you.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Join us for an impromptu FREE wine tasting

Taste more of the "Great Wines of Savor Dallas" this weekend.

The delightfully food friendly wines from Sonoma's MacMurray Ranch are the stars of the show this weekend as we continue our great showcase of some of the best wines (and soon spirits too) coming to Savor Dallas March 5th and 6th.

Our good friends at Centennial Fine Wine and Spirits are hosting complimentary tastings of three delicious MacMurray Ranch wines today and tomorrow. I'll be stopping by several of the locations, so I hope I get to see you and say hello--and taste with you! Here's the deal:

On Friday, January 29th from 5-7 PM and Saturday, January 30th from 2-4 PM the following stores will be hosting a special complimentary tasting featuring wine from the MacMurray Ranch portfolio. Items to be tasted include: MacMurray Ranch Sonoma Coast Pinot Gris, MacMurray Ranch Central Coast Pinot Noir and the MacMurray Ranch Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir. MacMurray Ranch was purchased from the Porter family by famed actor Fred MacMurray in 1941. Fred raised his family on the ranch, and for 50 years the MacMurray Ranch was nurtured under his hand. MacMurray Ranch is quickly becoming known for producing world-class Pinot Noir. Whether from the Russian River Valley or Sonoma Coast appellations their Pinot Noirs express the legacy of the land from which they are produced. The hillside and valley vineyards of MacMurray Ranch offer a rich diversity of soil providing a unique expression of terroir. Susan Doyle, the winemaker, has learned to coax the character from land and vine. "You have to wait for the flavor," she says of the famously finicky Pinot Noir grape.

In-store Tasting locations at the fine Centennial locations:

•6312 La Vista Drive, Dallas.................

•1613 W. Northwest Highway, Dallas... 972-506-8193

•6805 W. Northwest Highway, Dallas... 214-368-4162

•8123 Preston Road, Dallas.................. 214-361-6697

•8007 Walnut Hill Lane, Dallas............. 214-361-0929

•5709 W. Lovers Lane, Dallas.............. 214-352-4161

•15055 Inwood Road, Addison............ 972-239-5891

Thanks to the intrepid souls who braved the monsoon and stopped by to taste Quintessa Estate with us last night at The Grill on the Alley. Randy Wooldridge with Quintessa conducted a fascinating tasting of Quintessa barrel samples from 2008 along side the 2005 and 2006 Quintessa Estate wines. Outstanding! Thanks for Executive Chef Daniel Winans for the great food, and to GM James Shull, sommelier Paul Doherty and the great service staff for a great job. A special "Dinner Club with Jim White" event happens every month thanks to our partnership with KRLD 1080 and Centennial Fine Wine and Spirits. Stay tuned for more details and your invitation to join us for a GREAT wine dinner in February.

Savor Dallas and Centennial Fine Wine and Spirits promote responsible consumption by bringing back the popular "Savor Dallas Shuttle" to the International Grand Tasting on Saturday March 6th. This FREE transportation (with purchase of ticket to the International Grand Tasting) gives you the chance to ride downtown in style and back to your car safely. Or, if you want your commute to be "up the elevator to your room", Savor Dallas' official host hotel, the Sheraton Dallas Hotel (site of the wine tasting seminars, Reserve Tasting and International Grand Tasting on March 6th) is offering fabulous room rates for both Friday and Saturday during the wine and food lovers' weekend. Get all the details at the Savor Dallas website and be sure to ask for the "Savor Dallas special" if you call the Sheraton Dallas for reservations.

Happy trails. Cheers! Jim

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Sample great wines from Savor Dallas

Friends of Savor Dallas
Can enjoy great complimentary wine tastings every week!

Taste some of the great "Wines of Savor Dallas" during the upcoming weeks at selected Centennial Fine Wine and Spirits locations. You're invited to stop by for these FREE tastings--no reservations needed. This week, on Friday, January 22nd from 5-7 PM and Saturday, January 23rd from 2-4 PM the following Centennial stores will be hosting a special complimentary tasting featuring wine from the Louis M. Martini portfolio. Items to be tasted include: Louis M. Martini Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon, Louis M. Martini Sonoma Valley Cabernet Sauvignon and the Louis M. Martini Napa Valley Chardonnay. Mike Martini, the winemaker of Louis M. Martini, believes that these wines express the best characteristics of Cabernet and Chardonnay by highlighting the personality of the special places where the grapes are grown. He believes that great winemaking begins with great vineyards and he wants the land to speak through the wines to produce balanced, engaging, and memorable wines. Stop by any of these Centennial Fine Wine and Spirits locations in Dallas:

In-store Tasting locations:

·6312 La Vista Drive, Dallas...................214-821-6294

·1613 W. Northwest Highway, Dallas......972-506-8193

·6805 W. Northwest Highway, Dallas......214-368-4162

·8123 Preston Road, Dallas.....................214-361-6697

·8007 Walnut Hill Lane, Dallas.................214-361-0929

·5709 W. Lovers Lane, Dallas..................214-352-4161

·15055 Inwood Road, Addison.................972-239-5891

Savor Dallas March 5-6 Get tickets now at

Wining and dining "news you can use"---

The Capital Grille presents a special "Comfort Foods with a Gourmet Twist" four-course menu for only $49 per person now through February 28th. Get details and reservations online or phone 214-303-0500.

Canary Mediterranean Steak and Seafood presents a three-course dinner paired with three wines on Monday January 25th. $59 plus tax and gratuity. Call 972-503-7080 for reservations.

Pappas Bros Steakhouse offers four-courses and Plumpjack Winery on Friday January 29th. Winemaker Tony Biagi is featured. $175 per person, plus tax and gratuity. Call 214-366-2000 for reservations.

Nana in the Hilton Anatole presents a Chivas Regal Scotch Tasting on Friday, January 29th, from 6 until 8 pm. $50 per person includes a sampling of Chivas 12, 18 and 25 year old Scotch Whiskies paired with "cuisine bites" from Chef Anthony Bombaci. Limited to 40 guests. Call 214-761-7470 for reservations.

Chef Avner Samuel has another Aurora cooking class and lunch coming up January 30th. Four-course and wine pairing are $95 per person. Call 214-528-9400.

Take a trip with Tre! Chef Tre Wilcox from Loft 610 (and "Top Chef" fame) invites you to join him "on vacation" March 8 through 10 in Marble Falls, Texas at beautiful Villas of the Hills. This is your chance to get to know Tre and cook with him. He'll be preparing sumptuous five-course dinners with wines both nights. It's a short vacation, but he's a busy guy. Check it out online ( or call 512-755-5412.

Happy wining and dining! Cheers! Jim

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Learn how a winemaker tastes wine during an exclusive component tasting

Here comes an amazing opportunity for lovers of great Cabernet Sauvignon.
Join "The KRLD Dinner Club with Jim White" on Thursday January 28th at Grill on the Alley in Dallas, when Quintessa Vineyards conducts a special guided component tasting. You'll have a chance to sample three individual Cabernet Sauvignon vineyard block samples from the Quintessa Estate, along with two vintages of the finished wine. This gives you the "before" and "after" perspective on the wines and allows you to update your palate from barrel sample to finished product along the winemaker's journey. Randy Wooldridge from Quintessa will conduct the one hour tasting. Grill on the Alley executive chef Daniel Winans makes sure you don't go hungry during this "strenuous" business of wine appreciation and education. Daniel has a handcrafted a "carte du jour" of delicious heavy appetizer to pair with this exceptional tasting. This limited attendance event can only accommodate 29 tasters. So, hurry please, and make your reservation now by calling Grill on the Alley at 214-459-1601 to assure your place at the table. The tasting starts at 6 p.m. Thanks to our good friends at Centennial Fine Wine and Spirits for staging this incredible wining and dining experience. Oh, it's free to be a member of the "KRLD Dinner Club with Jim White". Just register for the tasting and you're a member. Or, go to the website to sign-up "officially". You'll be the first to hear about all the great events we have coming up--even before the events are announced on the air.

The wine and food extravaganza that is Savor Dallas returns March 5th through 7th.
Popular events return including the "Arts District Wine Stroll" and the incredible "International Grand Tasting" featuring over 60 great chefs from the Dallas-Fort Worth Area and more than 400 premium wines, spirits and beers from around the world from which to sample. In the interest of responsible consumption, Savor Dallas has created a nifty shuttle service to provide roundtrip transportation to the International Grand Tasting, which will be held at the Sheraton Dallas Hotel. FREE shuttle service is available right now for the Saturday March 6th tasting experience from 5 conveniently located areas around the Metroplex:

  • Watters Creek in Allen, from Crú a Wine Bar--serving the US 75/Central Expressway Corridor (McKinney, Allen, etc)
  • The Shops at Legacy in Plano, from Crú a Wine Bar, serving the North Dallas Tollway Corridor (Frisco, Plano, etc.)
  • Village on the Green in Dallas, from Go Fish Ocean Club, Serving North Dallas
  • Lincoln Square in Arlington, from Olenjack's Grille at Collins and the Road to Six Flags, serving Arlington and the mid-Cities
  • Ferrari's Villa in Grapevine on Main Street at Highway 114

(Get complete location details at

Just go to the Savor Dallas website and select the shuttle location that is most convenient for you on the "Buy Tickets" page. Transportation on the "Savor Dallas Shuttle" is free when you buy a ticket to the International Grand Tasting. Your transaction will automatically reserve your seat on one of the comfortable shuttle buses provided by ALT Limos (they provide transportation for the Cowboys and the Mavericks). Savor Dallas will have volunteers on the shuttles who will check you in for the tasting downtown and give you your special Riedel Crystal tasting glass and Savor Dallas program. This means that when the shuttle arrives downtown at the beautiful Sheraton Dallas Hotel, you can walk right into the Lone Star Ballroom and start enjoying the evening; no waiting in line to check-in at the door! Also, you'll save the parking fee at the Sheraton. The "Savor Dallas Shuttle" is a great deal. No driving worries to and from downtown from your pickup point. You save gasoline. No parking fees. And, the transportation is FREE! All part of your ticket to the International Grand Tasting. This community service is sponsored by Centennial Fine Wine and Spirits in the interest of promoting responsible consumption and eco-friendly alternatives. Visit for all the details and to reserve your spot on the Savor Dallas Shuttle.
Ride FREE, CLEAN and GREEN to the Savor Dallas International Grand Tasting!


Monday, January 4, 2010

A wining and dining view of Paris from the Seine

Those huddled masses yearning to see Gaugin. Or, how I spent my Christmas holiday in Paris.

In a word, Paris is CROWDED. The most popular tourist destination in the world is busy year-round, but the holiday period seems to be a particularly crazy time. It is, after all, "The City of Light". And it more than lives up to its reputation this time of year--glittering and glistening glamorously in all its historic splendor. There in nothing in the world like seeing the Champs-Elysées on New Year's Eve! Perhaps a million revelers and many more lights!

Everywhere we went there were lines--LONG lines to see the top attractions. Even with a Paris Museum Pass (a MUST!!! the usually manageable lines for those WITH tickets (avec billets) were lengthy. The poor schlubs who haven't read Rick Steves' "Paris Guide" were standing in line for hours just to buy a ticket and then in another line to enter the exhibits. This story repeated itself again and again. From the Louvre to Musée d'Orsay to Sainte-Chapelle, lines often snaked around the block! At one point, we witnessed people lined at least twelve deep around holding stanchions and THEN around the block at Orsay in a line that would make Disneyland (or airport security) look like clear sailing.

Even with a "reserved" time to tour the Eiffel Tower (available online at, we waited 45 minutes in the freezing cold to get inside and up to the second level. Here you have the opportunity to wait in another line for the privilege of traveling to the top of the monument. I don't know about you, but lines are not my favorite activity. Especially in the cold. Did I mention that it's cold, and usually rainy, this time of year in Paris? The best photos are from level two anyway, and that vertigo thing usually kicks in for me at altitudes higher than my roof. So, I was just fine viewing beautiful Paris from 377 feet above ground level.

Now what, you may ask, does any of this have to do with food or wine? Well, of course, Parisian restaurants, cafes and brasseries are the hallmark of this great city, and we had our share of dining out (which I will highlight shortly). We also had a rare opportunity to experience Paris from a completely different perspective: in the city's pleasure boat harbor, Port de Plaisance de Paris Arsenal. Our "hotel" for the week was a beautiful 65 foot yacht docked near the River Seine. A dear friend invited us to use his boat as our base for our visit. What an incredible time. We were docked near the historic Bastille (only a monument now), with immediate access to one the city's oldest and most exciting neighborhoods, The Marais district. We had the best of both worlds: the heart of Paris at our fingertips, and a place to escape the crowds and "go home" on our boat. Our special accommodations allowed us to prepare numerous meals in the comfort of our own galley and to spend a lot of time shopping in the various markets, boulangeries, and pâttisseries that make Paris so much fun.

One foodie district that all seasoned visitors to Paris recommend, and we concur, is the famous Rue Cler near the Champ de Mars (the Eiffel Tower neighborhood). Here you'll find a fabulous assortment of shops and cafes, including some of the most delightful fromageries in the city. When we weren't having home-cooked meals on the boat, or waiting in line for Van Gogh, we did manage to scoot away on The Metro (the most wonderful public transportation system in the world) for some outstanding lunches and dinners.

Our most memorable experience was at Michel Rostang's incredible Dessirier. This may be the ultimate Paris restaurant for fresh fish (poisson). Our dining companions (both Parisian natives) call it the best in the city for fresh seafood. Our meal proved them correct. Smoked salmon appetizers (Le Saumon marine "Gravelaks" from Norway) were the most flavorful I have ever tasted. Succulent roasted turbot and seabass main courses were perfectly prepared. The wine list is outstanding. Desserts are the perfect closing compliment. This is polished dining at its best. And, well worth the price.
9, Place du Marechal-Juin, Paris 75017 (17th arrondisement) 01 42 27 82 14, or

A lively experience that gives Paris café dining a good name can be found in the 7th in the heart of the bustling Place de l'Ecole Militare: La Terrasse du 7ème. Tables outside give you access to the entertaining people parade on the street. Inside, comfortable banquettes and cozy tables offer a great setting to enjoy the simple brasserie menu. Steaks are recommended (l'entrecote). The tenderloin I had came with the tastiest pepper sauce I have ever had. I know it's rude to sop it up with the bread, but the combination was irresistible and unbeatable. Crêpes are succulent. The wine list is brief and inexpensive. The service is brisk, but friendly. English is well spoken, and your attempt to speak French is embraced. 2 Place de l'Ecole Militaire, Paris 75007, 01 45 55 94 67.

After escaping the long lines at Notre Dame, we ducked into a little spot nearby in Ile de la Cité called Les Deux Palais, a great place for a sandwich--see the giant Croque Monsieur here that dazzled the Japanese tourists sitting next to us ("It's so big!")-- or a slice of quiche, a beer, coffee (avoid Café Américain) or glass of wine (verre de vin).
3 Boulevard du Pal
ais, Paris 75004, 01 43 54 20 86.

A double treat is touring the Rodin Museum and then stopping for a quick lunch at the museum's cafeteria in the beautiful gardens. It's quick and inexpensive, and the setting provides a beautiful backdrop for your meal. Musée Rodin, 79 rue de Varenne, Paris 75007.

An upscale museum meal that is well worth trying is the delightful restaurant at Musée d'Orsay. Located on the upper level of the museum, Restaurant du Musée d'Orsay's décor is a work of art in and of itself. Your meal is set among beautiful Louis XIV frescoes and objects d'art, with a beautiful view of the Seine. Look for a full-range lunch menu and beverages (boissons) until 3 p.m., and lighter plates and tea service (thé) until closing at 6 p.m. We found the service to be very friendly despite a reputation to the contrary. 1, rue de la Légion d'honneur, Paris 7e, 01 45 49 42 33,

A very interesting spot in our Marais neighborhood is an Algerian restaurant called Chez Léon (its name paying homage, we think, to the nearby Gare de Lyon). The sign on the door simply says "Cous Cous Restaurant". We found a fascinating menu of skillfully prepared and tasty tangine dishes featuring lamb and chicken. The cous cous was light, airy and delicious. This simple restaurant is a prime example of the joy of Paris dining. If you're willing to experiment and be slightly adventurous it usually pays off. 25, rue de Lyon, Paris 75012. 01 43 43 60 22.

Of course, there are about two dozen more restaurants we wanted to try and did not have time to visit. Notable among them is La Fontaine de Mars. This is a favorite of President Barack Obama. Our good friend Troy Dungan recommends it, too. We haven't had a chance to ask the president, but Troy and his wife Janet love it. Located at 129 Rue St. Dominique, 01 47 05 46 44.

Another restaurant that comes with high recommendations from Paula Lambert and Patrick Esquerre is l'Entrecote just off Boulevard Saint Germain and Rue Bonaparte just behind the world famous Café Flore. This is supposed to be one of the best steak restaurants in Paris and very inexpensive.

Alas, both of these fine restaurants were closed when we were nearby. Too early, I fear, for proper dining in Paris. Ah, so little time to try the great restaurants. That is why Vicki and I join the throngs who say, "We'll always have Paris" and so many reasons to return. Now, THAT'S a nice crowd to be in! Bon appétit!

(breakfast on the boat-petit déjeuner)

a bientot!