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

Thursday, August 30, 2007


I finally made it next door to Dallas Fish Market. I probably mentioned that I had been there for a pre-opening event. While the event was nice, the nibbles circulating that evening were far from seafood and even further away from the level of excellence the restaurant was projecting from its hefty renovation and recruitment of some top notch talent.

I'm happy to report that DFM is excellent.

The bartendress who introduced me to the very delicious pear martini at the opening was there again last night. She whipped up another for me, which to my surprise she had been perfecting. In addition to the Pear Grey Goose, she added the smallest amount of Midori (mostly for color) and a hefty squeze of lemon. Dammit to hell, now I will have to go out and buy Midori.

The renovation of the space was not complete at the opening party, but it is now. I liked it. Its kind of that 1980's LA stark white theme mixed up with some modern espresso wood and funky Pablo lighting. Casual but still sophisticated without trying too hard to be trendy.

Having been to the more scaled down restaurant offering, Go Fish, from the same parent company I was not sure what to expect from the menu. Well, its a relatively small menu by Dallas standards, which I liked. There are several apps, several fish selections, several meat selections and some obligatory but delicious sounding desserts.

I wanted to get a good feel for their level of expertise so I sampled. Everything is excellent. My recommendation in the app department is the Fried Chili Oysters. Dont attempt to eat this all alone, its almost a meal. A thick southern style batter spiked with roasted chili meets 7 large oysters, all which are fried to greaseless prefection and served over a mixture of julliened bell peppers, cabbage and onion slightly seasoned with a light hoisin. Next time, I will just get two orders of these and call it a night.

I can't resist diver scallops, so I didn't. Incredible. Although I wanted more scallops, the few that were there were served over a roasted poblano coulis and a round of polenta that I swear tasted like rotiserrie chicken.

DFM is a little pricey ($50 person) but I think it can hold its own in that price range. Judging by the quality of the fare, the attentive but non intrusive service and the crowd they seem to be drawing, I would say my new neighbors have a great chance of anchoring the newly emerging Main Street.

Dallas Fish Market
1501 Main Street
Dallas, Texas 75201

(214) 744-3474

Labels: ,

Monday, August 27, 2007


Not quite a week lag, but almost.

Developer #2 started last week and things are rolling along at work. Now development has started, which makes my life both harder and easier. The flood of questions and requests for resolution will now supercede my design and planning tasks. Its neither good nor bad, just different. But still enjoyable.

The New Yorker was in town. The New Yorker is a friend I met while he was living in Dallas. He escaped to NYC about 5 years ago. There are residents of NYC and then there are New Yorkers, the difference is huge and unmistakable. If you can absorb the non-stop activity, the intensity, the constant bombardment of the senses, the minimal lack of privacy, the extreme expense, pick only one of the 10,000 things to do on a random Tuesday evening and still know who you are and still love NYC, then you are a New Yorker. He is. Mistakenly plopped in Texas at birth, he is now home. And happy.

It was fun to show the New Yorker around downtown Dallas, where he used to live. So much has changed that it is now a notably different city to him. We sipped at a few places, nibbled at others. While not the same energy of Manhattan, even the New Yorker thought downtown Dallas might now have a chance to flourish.

My old sofa and chairs were finally delivered after their two month overhaul at the upholstery shop. Wow, I should have had them redone years ago, beautimous (pictures soon).

I went to a bar on Cedar Springs with friends and was bored, no surprise there. At least I stayed longer this time, a whole 30 minutes, lol.

Last but not least HEU Tara and I went to see a movie. Before you judge me, see it for youself. I loved this movie. I laughed that kind of deep-down, gasping for air laugh that can only come from inappropriate and immature high school level humor. I will add this one to the collection when it emerges on DVD.



Sunday, August 26, 2007

Pina Colada Jello Shot

1 envelope Knox unflavored gelatin
1 cup Pineapple Juice
1/2 cup Malibu Coconut Rum
1/2 cup Mailbu Pineapple Rum
Coco Lopez

Boil pineapple juice the pour over Knox gelatin, stir to dissolve. When mixture cools a bit add both rums. Pour into Solo Jello Shot Cups and cool to room temp. Drizzle about 1/2t of Coco Lopez on top then cool in the fridge for 4 hours.

These were great, just dont go overboard with the Coco Lopez!

Labels: ,

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Fuzzy Navel Jello Shot

  • 1 package Orange Jello
  • 1 package Peach Jello
  • 1 cup Orange Vodka
  • 1 cup Peach Vodka
  • 2 cups Water
  • Mandarin Orange slices

Boil the water then divide equally in 2 Pyrex bowls. Dissolve peach jello in one bowl and orange jello in the other. Cool a bit so the alcohol won't burn off, then stir the peach vodka into the peach jello and the orange vodka into the orange jello. Put a mandarin orange slice in the bottom of each Solo Jello Shot cup ( we got these at Party City) then cover with the orange jello mixture. Cool in the freezer for 30 minutes or until set. Top with the peach jello mixture then let set in the fridge for 4 hours or overnight.

Labels: ,

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Busy Week

Two friends visiting from out of town.
Developer #1 started at work yesterday.
Another restauranting (hopefully they pay their staff).
More house projects.

It will be a busy week but I will get the recipe for HEU Tara's favorite Jello shot out by week's end. Its a Pina Colada shot, you will want to make this one :)


Thursday, August 16, 2007

Goodbye Luqa

Its Restaurant Week this week in Dallas. In case you didnt know, its a huge week considering eating out is a competitive sport, almost a contact sport in this city. During this week restaurants offer scaled-down 3-course meals for a fixed price, normally $35. It's a great way for the newer restaurants to gain some exposure in this city with more dining establishments per capita than any other city in the US.

Its good exposure, until something goes wrong, then it isn't good exposure.

Take for example last night. Eleven of us were looking forward to trying Luqa, the new pseudo-contemporary in the Rooftop Gardens building downtown. I, personally, was excited to try this place, if only because it is 2 blocks away from where I live.

But you just know there is going to be trouble when you walk up to a restaurant and the entire cook staff is sitting on the sidewalk in their little chef pants. Hanging out. Smoking. Looking whipped.


We went in anyway. The lady who runs the art gallery on the first floor was now on the second floor pretending to be Luqa's hostess. Her little puppy is locked up in the art gallery by himself. She is not a hostess. She does not know how to look up reservations. Its hot inside, like the AC has not quite been turned on. There are no other patrons.


Faux-hostess explains that there have been some "issues" with the kitchen and she will not be able to seat us. When I press her about why, she smiles and plays dumb.


We leave, obviously.

Back out on Main St. I ask the cook staff why they are outside. I'm thinking it because the AC is broken and its 130 degrees inside. Nope. It more that the cook staff has not been paid. Not been paid in a month. Oh, and this is not the first time.


Lets review: Luqa is a new place with no history. Luqa just pissed off 100 people who made reservations for Restaurant Week. Luqa apparently does not pay their employees. The AC at Luqa does not seem to work (or perhaps it was shut off due to non-payment). Luqa is in Dallas, a city that is phenomenally harsh on restaurants.

Conclusion: Goodbye Luqa.

Labels: ,

Sunday, August 12, 2007


HEU Tara and I are going to a white trash wake. Its actually a birthday party for my friend Kendra's husband, he's turning 40. I already got my costume, its pretty cool, I think I might wear it for Halloween too! Lets just say when I give the eulogy I will saying "Dear lord baby Jesus. Tiny, tiny, little 8 pound 6 ounce baby Jesus".

HEU Tara has been looking for the right tube top to take a bedazzler to but alas no tube top has been procured.

Over the wekeend HEU Tara and I experimented with all things Jello so we could pick the perfect dessert for the white trash wake. I figured we could really doctor up a Jello mold to be completely repulsive. And we did. Jello shots and jello molds are stuffed into every cranny of my fridge right now but I think these two are the winners for dessert.

Now I like Jello, really I do. But blue Jello? Oh, hell no. There is something very wrong with any food that is cobalt blue that tastes like it was manufactured by ExxonMobil. But what could possibly make it worse? Yes, that's right - canned fruit cocktail. But not any canned fruit cocktail, it must be very cherry canned fruit cocktail.

Now I know what your going to ask. But Jim, is there anything worse than that? Why yes there is. Just add mini- marshmallows and viola! But keep in mind they must be multi-colored pastel mini-marshmallows and you must add them when the jello is warm to get that foamy opaque look that I have achieved.

I think we are ready - Shake and Bake! :)


Saturday, August 11, 2007

מלחמת יום הכיפורים‎

Yom Kippur is one of, if not the holiest Jewish holiday. From what I hear, in Israel, the whole country shuts down - no retail, no public transportation, no television broadcasts, noone drives, noone flies. I've seen temple attendance quadruple here in the states as the secular Jews swarm in for the all important day of attonement.

Given that, the Yom Kippur War, the war in which Syria and Egypt picked Yom Kippur as the day to launch an offensive against Israel, was particularly low and disgusting. But not at all surprising.

I was curious about the Yom Kippur War because I knew little of it and my family who lived through it don't talk about it. So I rented Kippur for that reason, thinking the Amos Gitai-led and all-Israeli production would give a realistic protrayal. I'm not sure that I got that but I still enjoyed the film.

I think Kippur is a misunderstood film. There is relatively little action, relatively little dialogue and the plot is not elaborate. Basically, for two hours, we follow two medics who drive straight up to the front lines in a Fiat, pick a few soldiers up, then come home. There are no Hollywood heroics, no dramatic rescues and death is kept at a commonplace activity, right along side brushing your teeth.

This seems to be the message Amos Gitai was sending. War is not glamorous; there is no slick soundtrack and often dramatic rescues and narrow escapes exist only at the box office. He seemed to point a finger or two and the mechanical nature of war, its predictability, its ultimate uselessness and how despite it's recurrence, it still garners no more respect today than it did 1000's of years ago.

I see Gitai's point. And even if I don't agree with it entirely, I can certainly respect his ability to get his point across in a constructive way.

Now, if someone could explain the opening/closing sequences of love making in paint, I would really appreciate it! :)


Labels: ,

Thursday, August 09, 2007

3's A Charm

Apparently practice makes perfect, at least in this case it does. There have been two others but this one, the third one, is IMHO the best. Great acting from everyone, interesting story lines that blended plot elements of the previous two, wicked action and editing that almost defies logic and technology. I loved the filming style; the superimposing memory flashbacks in a faded, jagged, almost super-8 quality style on top of an already frantic reporting-on-the-run style in the present. Definitely catch it on the big screen, I think the FX will be lost on video.

I hear that Damon doesn't want to make the remaining 2 Bourne books into films, that he doesn't want to be "branded" as Jason Bourne, that it might hurt his acting future. Right, I guess that whole "007" thing was really damaging to Sean Connery's career.

Bourne Ultimatum

Labels: ,

Monday, August 06, 2007

Drift. Redeem.

Ok, the plot for this movie is completely craptastic. The acting is ass. The direction is sloppy. The music is almost an annoying combination of hip-hop-industrio-cutesy-Japanese-covers all glazed in Hello Kitty saccharin. But, and its a big ol' but, it will be entertaining if you are a car freak or if you haven't seen the neon-ness of Tokyo.

The reason I watched it was Lucas Black. You probably remember him as the kid in Sling Blade. Or maybe you remember him from Cold Mountain or Jarhead. He's got talent. He's kind of appealing with his I'm-every-20-something look, but the what makes him unique is his chicken-fried-and-smothered-in-cream-gravy accent. Not that you would expect that from a small-town Alabama boy :)

Lucas Black

The cars were cool, the "drifting" was technically amazing, Tokyo is an interesting and frenetic city, Lucas is easy to watch for 2 hours, other than that there is no reason to pick this one up.

Tokyo Drift

Even though I love Christina Ricci and Samuel Jackson, I never made it to the theatre to see this one. And then it took me a couple of months to rent it. But I'm glad I did, the Ricci/Jackson team did not disappoint.

By looking at the stills and trailers from this film it's difficult to get any feel for what its about. Most people think its about a white trash girl with a thing for black men. There might be a little of that but on a higher level this is a film about two people struggling hard for redemption. Each finds their own version of it through a plot that is steamier and thicker than an August night in Memphis.

The acting is phenomenal from Ricci/Jackson. You can feel the internal conflict from each one, particularly Ricci. I really liked the constrast between the hard-boiled Ricci and the over-easy Jackson. I'd like to throw Justin Timberlake into the good actor pile but I can't. Not that he was bad, he just faded out against the others. This is the danger in keeping stellar company.

The music made me want the soundtrack; great smoky Jazz and Blues that I became familiar with when my sister lived in Memphis. Just think Etta James and Sarah Vaughn feeding off each other in a vocal competition to see whos life had been the roughest. And in case you didnt know, Black Snake Moan, is just the name of a song. Whatever else you make it mean is completely up to you :)

Fair warning, this one is not for the delicate.

Christina Ricci

Black Snake Moan

Labels: , ,

Saturday, August 04, 2007

Homeless Guy

Every downtown area seems to have its issues with homeless people, downtown Dallas is certainly no execption. They ask for money, sometimes they are aggressive at doing so but they are harmless in my experience.

A few days ago I was walking to the grocery and the same homeless man on Main St. hit me up for money. Instead of walking away with my reflex response, "sorry, no cash", I stopped and asked him what he would do with the money. He told me he was hungry. And he seriously looked hungry, not to mention he looked uncomfortably hot in a big wool jacket in downtown Dallas in the middle of summer. I told homeless guy to wait right there and I would be back with some food. He had the strangest look on his face as I continued to the grocery, as if noone had ever asked him the question before.

Taking note that homeless guy had no teeth, I picked some bananas, water and crackers. Grand total - $3.00. On the way home I delivered his groceries. Homeless guy thanked me but all the while he wore this look of disbelief. $3.00 doesnt mean to much to me, considering I just spent more than that on the cup of coffee I'm drinking while typing, but it might have bought him another day. Who knows.

I told a friend about this little transaction and she ripped me a new one, lecturing me up and down about how I shouldn't do anything to help the homeless. That they should help themselves. That they have services for people like that. That it only enourages them to hang around. I could go on but you get the point.

I was kind of surprised by her reaction but I wonder if its the majority thought? Regardless, I will still bring homeless guy his crackers, bananas and water, it feels like the right thing to do.