Food, drink, film and other random thoughts from The Lone Star State.

Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Boy Bullets, Salidas

Yes, I'm still alive. I think I'm glad Spring Break is coming ... I need the time to do those silly things like sleep and buy groceries :)

Where was I? Yes, the boy update.

The Extrovert

Done. I actually liked The Extrovert, despite his goofy, over-enthusiastic personality. What I didnt like about him were his friends. I wont go into those details but you know when you dont like the friends its time to move on. The Extrovert wants to remain friends but since we met through mutual friends its an obligatory gesture that consists of a couple of months of benign 'how you doin's" and then he's vapor.

Round Up Guy
No, I didnt meet him at the Round Up, its was at Krogers. He picked one of the Morning Star Farms Mushroom Burgers out of my basket then threw it back in with a 'Hey, why dont you try eating some real meat!'. You know I love good banter since I inherited several copies of the smartass gene. So I picked one the Marie Calendars frozen dinners out of his basket and said 'Maybe you should install a home defibrillator'.

Naturally he took this as a come on.

I went out with RU Guy because he had Marlboro Man good looks. Yes, I do know that is not enough, thanks :) So the coffee date was going well until I started to noticed that about all he had to talk about was he and his friends going out at the Round Up. For those of you who dont know, this is Dallas gay C&W bar. We got on the conversation of how often I went there. I answered, occasionally. He said he went occasionally too. My occassionally was twice in 8 years, his was 4 times a week. Seeing the discrepancy?

I don't care if someone goes out, really, just as long as I don't have to. This is where things went wrong. He started accusing me of not showing community support because I dont go out often. Then I had to explain that bar hopping is a low priority event and we, here in adult land, have to make decisions based on resource constraints (read time, money and interest) so that was something I cut out. Believe it or not he got very combative and embarassingly loud over this issue, which personally I consider trivial. So, I politely excused myself faking homework deadlines.

Moron. Thanks RU Guy, you can pick up your consolation prize backstage with the other underacheivers who didn't pass the elementary life prerequistites :)

So those are the salidas (exits), next the entradas (entries).

¡Hasta luego!

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

I Know

Its another butt-busting busy week. I started a boy-update post last Sunday but I wont be able to work on it again until this Sunday :( Maybe things will change between now and Sunday :)

Thursday, February 16, 2006


Leslie is one of my best friends, we have known each other for 21 years. About 6 years ago she relocated from SFO to Austin. Its terribly coincendental that I may soon be moving to Austin myself.

Part of my trip was to visit with Leslie and catch up, another part was to scope out the real estate scene. I'm a downtown kinda guy so I started with downtown. Apparently there is a feeding frenzy for downtown Austin real estate so there was not much on the market, and what was on the market was dreadfully expensive. I did really like this loft on 5th street. One block from the 6th street entertainment distrcit and within walking distance of a Whole Foods. The Hilton and Marriott were both right across the street. 2 blocks from I-35, 5 minutes from UT Austin. Nice!

Leslie & Trey the realtor @ 5th st Loft, Austin

Its shaped like a big J; long and narrow entry curving to the bedroom space and around again to the bathroom/closet area. Look at ALL of those windows :)

Kitchen - 5th st Loft, Austin

This kitchen is SO huge compared to the one I operate within now!

The bedroom space

Right off the bedroom space is a small terrace looking over 5th street. Its a mesh bottom floor allowing you to see 3 floors straight down to the street. I love that!

Bathroom space with shower for 6 (oh and me :)

Austin has distinct advantages. It is a very outdoor and health conscious population. Unlike Dallas, they actually have a functional residential downtown (with services and interesting places to go). It is more centrally located to other TX cities. Austin is the only liberally minded city in Texas. Austin is the only hilly and scenic region in Texas.

When I'm in Austin I very much feel as though I'm in Northern California.

Monday, February 13, 2006

Me, Me, Me

Here are some shots of me for those people who complained requested :)

7am before packing for the Austin trip

8am, packed, dressed and ready to speed like hell

More about Austin and yet another picture of me, later, I have to go back to pretending to work :)

Friday, February 10, 2006

Dueling Asianistas

3102 Oak Lawn
Dallas, TX 75219
Phone: 214-219-9908

3102 Oak Lawn
Dallas, TX 75219
Phone: 214-219-6880

Asianista - a restaurant that has mastered the art of trendy Asian-inspired food. My favorite Asianista, Citizen, has been gone for a while now but luckily there are two very good subs in the Centrum building - Steel and Drailon.

As the story goes, the owner of Drailon used to be partners and co-owner of Steel, then something went terribly wrong and one left to start Drailon. Not that he had to go too far since he opened right next door to Steel. A little friendly in-your-face competition never hurt anyone.

These two are basically the same place although Drailon is a bit more polished sit-down and Steel is a bit more urban funk. Both have incredible sushi and other Asian offerings. Now that they have been open for more than a year, the Dallas sheep people who involuntarily flock to their self-appointed hip places have moved on so its safe to visit them again.

Lauren and Big Mike @ Drailon

I took this picture after Lauren's discussion of how Depeche Mode songs remind her of sex. Isn't that interesting. Big Mike was responding with his own memory-triggered comments about what reminds him of sex, it wasn't Depeche Mode however :) Lauren is enjoying this conversation a little too much, no?

Tara's pink shoe, Galina, Noeha, Big Mike and Lauren @ Steel

Why is everyone winking in this shot?

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Whos Who

Who's Who Burgers
69 Highland Park Village
Dallas, TX 75205
Phone: 214-522-1980

Wow, its been a week since we tried this. I guess I am having a super busy week.

Who's Who is in Highland Park. For those not familiar with the Dallas area, Highland Park is one of those affluent city within a city places; its surrounded by Dallas but independent. People affectionately refer to Highland Park as 'The Bubble', due, in part, to the theory that Highland Park residents never get out of Highland Park and have no clue what goes on in the city that surrounds them. Sadly, I have found this to be true.

So, its fun to invade their territory. More fun to watch Prada-clad, ladies who lunch cram down some big greasy burgers and fries. Oooh, very chic of you Tiffany and I think you dribbled some beef fat on your chin implant. :)

Who's Who has a backyard tree-house feel, its built on 3 small levels and has small windows and doors that lead out to patios.

Lisa, Paula, Lauren, Noeha & Galina @ Who's Who

The Plate
Kobe beef burgers, regular beef burgers, turkey cran burgers, chicken burgers, hot dogs and a portabello veggie burger. Those are the options. I tried the Turkey Cran and frankly it tasted just like beef. I liked the tartness of the real cranberry sauce (not the stuff that goes plop in a bowl and looks like a big cylinder of red goop) against the saltiness of the turkey burger. Nice that they used a whole wheat bun for the turkey burger, since those that choose turkey over beef are more likely to want whole wheat.

Fries are dangerously good here; they are of the batter dipped and twice fried spicy version.

Order and pick up at the counter. Our order for 6 was done in 10 minutes even during peek hours.

Under $10, even for the Kobe beef burger (as long as you don't go bananas with toppings).

Highland Park Village. A convenient stop if you are movie-going at the Regent. The only thing I don't like about Who's Who is the hours of operation, they close at 8pm.

Sunday, February 05, 2006

Chili Echo

The start of every semester I cook like mad to fill my freezer because I know 4 weeks in I won't have time to do much of anything. This time around I had one amazing dish, White Chili. I don't know why they call it that since it isnt white. Anyway here it is.

My official taste tester, friend and neighbor, Blair (Hi Blair!), also made a version of White Chili and brought over a sample. Amazing!

White Chili

2 lbs chicken breasts / tofu / swordfish or other firm fish
3 1/2 C chicken stock
2 14 oz can white northern beans
1 14 oz can red kidney beans
1 14 oz can black beans
2 4 oz can chopped green chilies
1 red onion, chopped
1 yellow onion, chopped
8 cloves garlic, chopped
3 t cumin
2 t oregano
1 t ancho chili
1 t regular chili
1/2 t chipotle chili
2 T cilantro, chopped
Juice of 1 lime
2 T olive oil
12 dash garlic tobasco

1 Bake the chicken breasts at 350 degrees 30 minutes (tofu or fish bake for 12 minutes). Let cool and cut or tear into bite size pieces.

2 Combine chicken broth, white northern beans, kidney beans, black beans, cumin, oregano, chili, ancho, chipotle, lime and hot sauce in a 6 quart stock pot. Add the chicken or fish to chicken stock mixture.

3 Sauté garlic and onions in olive oil over medium heat until tender. Add green chilies and sauté 2 more minutes. Kill the heat and stir in the cilantro. Add this mixture to the other ingredients.

4 Cook the lot for an hour and serve with shredded pepper jack.

Thursday, February 02, 2006

FI Thursday

Its Thursday so its the day I get on the scale then eat like a pig for the rest of the day. This morning - 155 - that would be 12 pounds. Cool, its gone and it was fairly painless to get rid of it!

Tonight - Who's Who Burgers :)

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Educating Noeha Part 4

After the fried fish feast at Top Cat we went downtown to see what was going on at ...

1512 Commerce St
Dallas, TX 75201
Phone: 214-742-3873

I liked Fuse but I'm about to rip it a new one.

Lets all take a deep breath and get over this opium-den style of decorating where we do everything in a LA-stark, wood-and-concrete minimalism then place big gold Buddha's in a salad spinner and see where they land. I understand your menu is Asian inspired, now find a more creative way to tell me that without looking like Pier One vomited all over the place. Thanks.

Other than that, Fuse is a nice space. It's downtown near the Neiman Marcus epicenter of rebirth. Multileveled to an extreme, creating nookish, semi-private dining and drinking spaces while still open enough to see everyone.

The dining area is crammed with tables and very modern and uncomforatble chairs. The upstairs main bar area is much more comfortable, having cushy oversized lowboy chairs spread out in a more relaxed configuration. Beyond the main bar area is the uber-big patio bar which I loved. The big white Japanese laterns with the blue lights gave a psycho Tokyo-lounge feeling. The bed in the middle of the patio bar was cheesy and that has been done to death since BED opened in NYC.

The Drink

Galina & Noeha on the bed @ Fuse

The drink menu was full of specialty drinks and sakes, lots and lots of sakes. I tried the Texas Harmony. Very nice! A blend of Peach Vodka, Sake and fresh lime. Tasty, not incomprehensibly sweet and very refreshing.

The girls had drinks that were more like desserts, yak!

The Plate
We were still full from Top Cat but we tried one of their sushi rolls, The Fuse Special Roll. It was good but not worth $15. Crab (mixed with mayo, ick), Salmon, a parboiled carrot and avocado rolled in thin strips of cucumber. I liked the contrast between the firm carrot crunch and the soft remainder.

The menu at Fuse looks fascinating, its a fusion of typical Texas fare with Asian overlays. Yeah, that has been done before, and it can be almost destructive, but Fuse has interesting combinations that might work. One that looked good was the Roasted Chicken in a LemonGrass broth. I'll go back to try this one.

Everyone threw us attitude from the moment we walked through the door. Then Noeha pulled out her Ritz trump card and the free champagne came out along with the smiles and the "is there anything else we can do for you"'s. Typical Dallas. Our server forgot soy sauce and chopsticks when she brought out the sushi, but it was her first night and she was quick about returning.

Drink prices are reasonable with speciality drinks in the $7-9 range. Food prices are getting to the special occassion level; apps from $8-15 and meals $20-30.

Downtown near the Neimans epicenter. There is a car park next door for a buck, use it, don't even think about parking on the street.

I'll probably try Fuse again for food but I doubt it will become a integral part of my life, maybe this is where I will take the out-of-towners.

Anyway, moving on, we walked over to ...

1602 Main St.
Dallas, TX 75201
Phone: 214-747-6227

Isn't this just Nikita but downtown? Why is everyone getting so enthusiastic over another underground concrete bar? I dont get it. Its a very nice space but I'm not seeing the novelty others have told me about. The super-enlarged photos of red blood cells on the back bar were cool but this alone doesn't make for a good evening out. There were 10 people inside at 10p on a Friday. PAR TAY.

After our 5 minute tour we exited just in time to see a Chicken Fried Blonde girl having her Hummer valet parked. Doesn't she know she can park it herself next door or is it more that she can't manuever that obscenely large, eco-destroying hunk of 2-years-ago statement into a car park for normal sized vehicles? Maybe she was too distracted by the weight of her Bluetooth earpiece, which she proudly displayed by pulling her hair behind the ear on that side.

Goofy. Hopefully she is not representative of the typical O-Bar patron.