Some photos while walking around the city of Dallas.
I did a personal exercise where I took a interesting non-food photo every day. Interesting what we can see when we try!
I have many a fond memory of the fall. It’s always a relief when the hot Texas summer days begin to wind down a bit and its enjoyable to take a morning stroll around the neighborhood without facing the dangers of dehydration. Yes Fall!
One of the vegetables I do love to see appearing in the markets and supermarkets are Brussel sprouts. Yes, I am fully aware the half of the people out there are excited to see this petit cabbage looking vegetable and that the other half wonder whey one would eat such a thing. The latter half have undoubtable been scarred by the Brussel sprout during childhood. I too suffered the mental trauma of forcing down over cooked boiled Brussel sprouts. There were not enough mashed potatoes in the world to cover up that flavor. These were dark times. Don’t be afraid though. Face your fears and take another look at this nutritional and dare I say …delicious vegetable!
The Brussel sprout is a nutritional bomb. Packing a good amount of vitamin c, vitamin k and folic acid. They are high in fiber, low on the glycemic index, provide some minerals and there is even some research out there that they may have some anticancer properties. This is a vegetable you must take another look at.
Brussels were very popular in Europe for several centuries and are in many areas synonymous with Christmas Dinner. I am no genius but I suspect they were quite popular in Brussels. Wikepedia tells us that they were brought to the United States by French settlers which I think is quite possible. Again, I am no genius but the French Master Chef, Escoffier, in his Guide Culinaire lists several preparations for this “Choux de Bruxelles”. Why not bring some along to the new digs?
Brussel sprouts are best when they are younger and have a firm feel and tight leaves. They can be eaten raw and are good when thinly shaved and tossed with olive oil, salt and lemon juice. In the old days, it was common to boil them, but I find sautéing and then a quick braise where the liquid reduces and glazes the sprouts is the way to go!
In the recipe below I do a hard sauté of the sprouts in my wok. There is no reason you need to use a wok, a sauté pan will work just fine, especially a good cast iron. Preferably one passed down as a family heirloom! I just happen to have a personal attachment to my wok, nothing to be concerned about, I brought it back from Hong Kong with me and the years of use have given it a beautiful patina…. and it’s fun to use.
I use two types of oil. A neutral oil for cooking and a high-quality finishing oil for finishing. Be careful though a bitter olive oil is not a good friend to Brussel sprouts.
Brussel Sprouts with olive oil and lemon
1 pound of Brussel sprouts
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 ½ cups stock (vegetable or chicken)
1 teaspoon garlic
Juice of 1 lemon
Zest of 1 lemon
1 tablespoon of good finishing olive oil
1 tablespoon of olive oil or blended oil for cooking.
A Quick Shoot in Owners Box
These images were taken in preparation for a Octoberfest menu in the Owners Box at the Omni Dallas Hotel. We are working with the good folks at Andrews Distributing, Shiner, Rahr & Sons, Lakewood and Revolver Brewing. Always great to have good partners and friends! Chef Alex Ayala did a great job on the sliders and I tried to do them justice with my Canon 6d and a 100mm Macro lens.
Thyme to have some fun
Bratwurst Slider, Beer Cheese Fondue, Caramelized Onions, Spice Mustard
Ruben Slider, Beer Sauerkraut, Caraway Aioli
Chicken Schnitzel, Warm German Potato Salad, Spicy Mustard
Lakewood Punkel (pumpkin pie spiced dunkel)
Pork Schnitzel Slider, Mushroom Ragout, Lemon AIoli
Revolver Red Shift (red ale with ginger and other spices)
If you have not tried the spirits from the Trinity River Distillery here in Dallas you really should make a point to treat your self! They are really high quality locally made products and I must say they are some really nice people too!
Texas Spice at the Omni Dallas recently did a dinner with them as part of their Artisan Dining Series. If you did not make it … well at very least you can look at some photos and wish you did!
Chef Donald Chalko, Chef Jan Loov and Chef Kristina Kent did a great job putting the dinner together. General Manager Megan Heald and team crafted some great cocktails.
Check out Trinity River Distillery! https://www.trinityriverdistillery.com/
If you happen to be at Texas Spice at the Omni Dallas Hotel be sure to ask about there current “off the menu” special. Chef Kristina Kent’s Banana Split with Marshmallow Ice Cream, House Made Marshmallows, Chocolate, Caramel and Cookie Butter.
Cookie butter you say? Yes indeed. The famous Texas Spice Chocolate Chip Cookie is, in a effort to never run out, occasionally overproduced. While having the integrity to never serve a day old cookie what is a pastry chef to do wihth the extras? Well . . . I guess you blend them with butter to make a buttery cookie spread. Genius!
Thyme for Dessert,
Texas Spice restaurant at the Omni Dallas Hotel recently hosted a intimate Gin Dinner featuring the local artisan gin from the New Artisan Sprits company called Roxor. Roxor is a deliciously food friendly gin complete with hints of citrus and light juniper. In the sprit of civic pride I am happy to say its a Dallas produced gin which is the brainchild of the legendary chef Robert Del Grande. Chef Robert is one of the “founders of southwest cuisine” along with Chef Dean Fearing and Chef Stephen Pyles. Good company to be sure!
Chef Donald Chalko of the Omni Dallas put together a four course menu and each course was pared with a refreshing gin friendly cocktail. A good time was had by all and another of the Texas Spice Artisan Dinner Series went off with a bang. The two founders of New Artisan Sprits Chef Robert Del Grande and Don Short were in attendance to talk about the gin.
Thanks for all involved!
The last dinner in the French Room as we know it was on June 11, 2016. They have shuttered for remodeling. I had the great honor to be the Chef there for 5 years . . one of the best times of my professional life I must say. I was there from 2004 to 2009. It was a special restaurant with a crew that really bonded. I made some great friends and learned a lot. We had an amazing team of culinarians, awesome servers, and a real thirst to do some cool food. Always trying to do something better, challenge ourselves, and raise the bar. We had two great reviews in the Dallas Morning News, both 5 star. We also had the amazing surprise of being named Zagats number one hotel restaurant in the country, earning a score of 29-29-29 three years in a row!
I can’t help but wonder if the changes being made will destroy the magic of the place. . . and yes there was some real magic in the room – glittering chandeliers, high vaulted ceilings, great wine service, caring servers and captains, and a culinary team that was really pushing themselves to be better every day.
I was lured off to Las Vegas to open the Mandarin Oriental Hotel on the strip. To be honest, at that time in my life I still had a little wanderlust I guess. I knew I was leaving something special behind but the promise of what is next can be very alluring. As it turns out, opening the Mandarin was a great experience. But, I will never forget my time at the legendary French Room. I hope the long time members of the French Room team (not everyone suffers from wanderlust) land on there feet, get to return if they want to, and hold there heads high for all they accomplished through the years.
Some photos from the “Old Days”
Rest in Peace Tom and Drew.
It took us quite some time to travel from Casa Silva to Lapaostolle, but the journey was certainly worth it. Lapaostolle the most opulent of the vineyards we visited, the family that owns Lapaostolle also owns Grand Marnier so I would imagine funds are not a issue! We were fortunate to experience so much hospitality here. Not only did we get to tour the family’s private cellar but even finished up with a wonderful dinner prepared by the chef. Lapaostolle is definitely channeling France in the heart of Chile.
Entrance to the “Private Cellar”
After having wine for lunch, snack and dinner for several days the thought of doing this again is rough. Not! Actually it’s awesome. This lifestyle works well for me! I have a renewed vigor to win the lottery or invent a nutritive cereal varnish that will cure obesity, get rich and travel the wineries of the world.
Casa Silva winery was a bit of a journey for us. At the foothills of the Andes this was one of the more stunning vineyards. It felt different than some of the others and I think the reason is the owner and his family live down the road and still work here every day. There are vines here more than 100 years old! This is a business for them, but also a lifestyle. They eat lunch here in the restaurant every day. . . with a view of the polo field and the mountains. Not too bad!
The restaurant had just changed the menu and we were fortunate to be able to take part!
Empanadas, tuna ceviche, grouper, steak, quinoa pudding, creamed corn, and mango cheesecake is not even a complete list of the menu!
Be sure to look out for the Casa Silva Altura and the Casa Silva Micro Terroir Carmenere. You will be glad you did!
First stop today was a beautiful winery called Undurraga. Opened at the end of the last century this beautiful winery was designed by a renowned designer of the tines, whose name I was told and promptly forgot. The tour of the vineyard reviled a beautiful campus whose design was certainly kept true to the original. There are several aspects of the winery, including a museum, which paid homage to the natives of the area, the Mapuche.
We did a wine tasting in two parts with the master wine maker for the winery. First we tried the TH label, TH standing for Terroir Hunter! A fitting description for these wines which do show so much about where they were grown. They are also a great representation of the fruit. The second tasting was on their Volcanus Line. All grapes grown in the area where the soil was volcanic, which they have a lot of here in Chile. They also have the feel of the soil and are very distinctive. If you can find a TH Carmenere or a TH Syrah you should snag them up, throw something on the grill, preferably meat, and enjoy!
Lunch here was a beautiful mix of grilled meats and salads. The stand out of which was an open air fire roasted lamb. The slow fire roasting gave the lamb a delicious crispy grilled outer crust, but it was moist and delicious.
Next post will be about dinner at Borago, one of the 50 best restaurants in the world.