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!