What's Juicier: The Best Local Beer Debate or The Continued Tesar-Brenner Kerfuffle?
Welcome to The Spread, our weekly feature that aims to share all the area restaurant, food and beverage industry news that's fit to print. Except, this is the Internet, so space isn't a concern. Also: Good thing, because this is Dallas and this town always has breaking restaurant news going down like whoa.
Area restaurant don't always get the opportunity to appear on national television. But when they do, good things tend to come from it.
In the case of LUCK's recent appearance on Spike TV's Frankenfood, the outcome is a new menu addition that's a unique take on a classic dish. The PB & Jellumbo Shrimp Banh Boy won the hearts of judges on the episode that aired this past Sunday — and, in turn, it will remain a featured menu item at the spot every Monday through Thursday until October 30. The dish, a gojujang marinated fried shrimp po'boy made with orange marmalade, peanut sauce and banh mi vegetables, won over the “burghetti” — a burger topped with spaghetti.
“I originally voted for the dish because of the intense flavor,” says LUCK co-owner Jeff Dietzman. “The gochujang chili paste adds a nice heat and earthiness. The jelly adds sweetness to cut the heat. The peanut butter sauce makes for a Pad Thai-like combination. And the pickled banh mi vegetables add acid to cut through the richness.”
The dish fits well within the context of the restaurant's menu of regional American comfort food, representing the large Vietnamese population in North Texas and the familiar satisfaction of a PB&J, Dietzman says. It joins the ranks of other regional-fusion dishes at LUCK, like the spot's pastrami sandwich that combines traditional New York deli-style pastrami with Texas brisket. We recommend you try it with one of LUCK's more than 40 options of locally produced beers, such as Community Beer Co.'s Mosaic, the neighboring Four Corner Brewing Co.'s El Chingon, or perhaps even a brown ale such as Peticolas' Alfred Brown or Rabbit Hole's Rapture.
And, turns out, LUCK wasn't the only area restaurant to get the national TV bump recently. Last week, Deep Ellum pizzeria Il Cane Rosso got yet another bump from the folks at the Food Network this week as owner Jay Jerrier showed Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives host Guy Fieri around his kitchen as part of that show's “Legends of Texas” episode.
Per Jerrier's ever-active Facebook account, the recent spotlight on his spot has translated into dollars: “Goof on Guy Fieri all you want,” Jerrier wrote last week in a post that also included pics of his packed restaurant, “but DDD has rocked our business!”
Catch Jerrier's episode when it re-airs this Friday night at 10 p.m.
Meanwhile, LUCK's neighboring rotating chef concept, Kitchen LTO, is looking for its fourth round of creative visionaries. Chefs looking to apply must do so by August 11. There are no rules behind who can be considered, and finalists will be presented on September 7 during a voting party, with votes cast until the 13th and the winner announcement coming on the 15th. The new concept will run from the first week of October through January 31, 2015. Advance tickets for the voting party are currently on sale here.
Also in Trinity Groves, Kate Weiser Chocolate is set to open on August 19. In the meantime, chocolate fanatics are encouraged to tag their “chocolategrams” with #KWChocolate prior to the opening for a chance to be featured on the Kate Weiser webpage.
Over in Bishop Arts, the C Senor Cuban food stand is officially open in the old El Padrino taco stand on West Davis. The menu is simple, with four different Cuban sandwich options and a burger to choose from, plus espresso and side items like black beans and rice, yucca fries and plantain chips.
Another recent opening is McKinney's The Donut Kitchen, which brings the “extreme” doughnut craze to the suburbs with its Oreo and Cinnamon Toast Crunch-topped offerings.
A little closer to home, when Houndstooth Coffee opens its Henderson Avenue location on August 15, the Austin-based shop says it will have walk-up and bike-up service.
And, thanks to customer demand, Mattito's Tex-Mex has expanded its vegetarian options at all four locations. Menu items include three-cheese and mushroom enchiladas, grilled portobello fajitas, cascabel potato flautas and more. The new menu items came about in order to create a more vegetarian-friendly menu, complementing items in place that already could be made vegetarian.
Over in Uptown, Hopdoddy Burger Bar is partnering with Deep Ellum Brewing Co. for a tapping of Labor of Love on Thursday, August 7, from 4 to 7 p.m. The happy hour event gives people a chance to taste the DEBC's Weizenbock brew for $4, as well as chance to learn about the beer from the Deep Ellum brew experts.
More in brew news: Rabbit Hole Brewing will be releasing its Centennial Pale Ale on Tuesday, August 12. The one-off, 40-barrel batch is the second beer in this year's “Season of Virtue” series. The single-hop beer is made with a blend of American and British malts, and balanced with citrusy and floral notes for a crisp, refreshing taste.
Continuing with the beer theme: In Oak Lawn, Meddlesome Moth is hosting Beer Camp Across America on Saturday, August 9, at 12 p.m. The event, courtesy of Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. will feature 12 beers on draft, such as Allagash, 3 Floyds and Russian River.
But perhaps this week's biggest local beer story — or, at least, the most talked about — involves a piece in the Dallas Observer that criticizes D Magazine's decision to call Grapevine Craft Brewery's Sir Williams Brown Ale the best beer in the region. In response to the Observer's take-down, GCB owner Gary Humble penned an open letter that, in short, asks that the author of that piece to not to be such an asshole.
For what it's worth, our own “On Tap” series of local beer reviews has only to date reviewed a single GCB brew — and we didn't love it. We'll get to the Sir Williams Brown Ale soon enough, although we'll acknowledge now that it's going to have a tough time wrangling the top spot from our three high-scoring local brews — Peticolas' Royal Scandal, Community's Mosaic IPA, and Peticolas' Velvet Hammer.
In happier brew news, the list of Texas Craft Brewers Guild members participating in the Great American Beer Festivalin Denver during the first week of October has been released. Some of the breweries pouring at the event include Denton's Armadillo Ale Works, Deep Ellum, Community, Peticolas, Four Corners and Twin Peaks Brewing Co.. For those not planning on making the trip up to Colorado, each of these breweries will also be participating in the Texas Craft Brewers Festival on Saturday, September 27.
Also worth noting: Tickets to the Brewers Ball during NTX Beer Week are currently on sale. The event takes place on Friday, November 7, from 7 to 10 p.m. Limited tickets are available.
Finally, we close this week with the latest on the John Tesar–Leslie Brenner food feud. Fun as all this week's beer back-and-forth has been, it still doesn't even compare to the recent tension between the Knife and Spoon visionary and the restaurant critic at the Dallas Morning News. The latest turns in the saga include Esquire jumping into the fray with its thoughts and Brenner finally beaking her silence on Tesar's campaign against her. She uses the “Hey, at least we''re finally having a conversation!” defense. Took her long enough to join in on it then, don't you think?
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