Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Texas Jam House

What do you get when you combine Grandma's home cooking with the talents of a trained chef?

Texas Jam House.

Mesquite Smoked Pork Carnitas
My oh my, I could go on and on about the appetizers here!
This wasn't grandma's recipe, this is someone who truly knew what they were doing. 
The layers of flavor and textures were so perfectly balanced, we couldn't ask for more.

Fried Oysters
These stayed crisp up until we were done with the plate.
And let me tell you, our table was full and this was a deceptively full plate of fried oysters.
Don't be scared of these! If you like calamari, you will 100% like these.

Goat Cheese Stuffed Piquillo Peppers
If you know me, you know I love nothing more than goat cheese.
It can do no wrong.
And this is no exception.
The grilled peppers add a nice smokey flavor to what I consider a take on a bruschetta. 
Just order them, okay?

Wynona's Chicken Fried Steak
Texas BBQ Baby Back Ribs
Time for Grandma's dishes.

These are the plates Grandma served you at Sunday dinner. 
The kind of dishes that put you in a food coma by the time your done eating. 
This is what will bring you back home.

And don't worry. She didn't forget about the occasional breakfast for dinner.

Breakfast Y'all Day
Grab your friends who feel like family 
and get your behind's over to Texas Jam House at Big Beat Dallas!

Learn more about the kitchen that inspired it all, here.

Carrot Cake

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LongHorn Steakhouse

Give a big "YEE-HAW" to Dallas' own LongHorn Steakhouse.

There's a reason people were so excited for the opening of this restaurant. 
Their fresh, never frozen steaks are not only well seasoned, but more than likely that beef was raised in our very own state. That's right, LongHorn is helping support our local farmers AND even our distilleries and breweries. Our location actually houses the largest selection of drinks across all other restaurants. 

Want to get your hands on the local goods? 
These are just some of the items on the menu from local sources:
USDA Prime Delmonico
Texas Brisket Queso
Desert Pear Margarita

My favorites from dinner? 
The Seasoned Steakhouse Wings and the Grilled Chicken and Strawberry Salad.
Call me crazy that it wasn't actually a steak, but that may prove how truly good these dishes were. The wings were seasoned to perfection and no doubt those strawberries had been on the vine just hours earlier. 

LongHorn Steakhouse also likes to give back to it's community by partnering with organizations year-round. They also have a LongHorn Steakhouse Harvest program where they "harvest" wholesome, unused food to donate to the local community. To date, they have donated more that 18.9 MILLION pounds of food!

Check out more at their website.

Find 'em located off of Hwy 75 just North of Parker Road.

**Photos courtesy of LongHorn Steakhouse**
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Monday, April 23, 2018

Checkered Past: The Wine Pub of Dallas

Checkered Past Winery is an urban wine pub located in the heart of Dallas, serving only the highest quality Texas wines, along with others of the same quality from all over the world.

Sandro DiSanto, the mastermind behind Checkered Past, is a true wine connoisseur – first generation American and full-blooded Sicilian, this man was born to school people on wine. His passion for winemaking is truly admirable, and we were lucky enough to learn a thing or two from him.

This place is the perfect spot if you’re into casual hangs with good friends and good wine. There’s tons of great space filled with a modern, artsy interior and plenty of comfy seating. They even host fun events for the public and private events for special occasions. Check out their next event here.

We got started off with McPherson's Albarino – sold solely at Checkered Past – which is a sweet and fruity full-bodied white wine that is perfectly paired with their cheese & charcuterie board and red pepper hummus. The hummus is made in-house and DiSanto takes a lot of pride in it. (Rightfully so.) It has a slight spice to it that creeps up on you but put it on their flatbread wedges and you’ll eat it all without a second thought.

I’m not a huge fan of red wines or salmon, but the next pairing was to die for. Their smoked salmon and herb cream cheese bruschetta raised my eyebrow at first, I’ll be honest. I’m very particular about textures, and seafood tends to displease my taste buds, but this exceeded any expectation I initially had. The salmon was smoked so perfectly, it actually melted in my mouth. No fishy taste or chewy texture whatsoever. All of that paired with their Malbec makes for the perfect fare.

If you’re anything like me, you save room for dessert. Checkered Past’s cheesecake with cherry topping is absolutely heavenly - only a true cuisine genius could’ve created this recipe. We had it along with Checkered Past’s own, 101 Sweet Red, which is truly the perfect red wine (coming from someone who isn’t a big fan).

Checkered Past is huge on finding a wine that fits your taste. So, even if you haven’t tried any of their wines, you’re in great hands.

Wine not your thing? DiSanto also keeps a full stock of locally-brewed beers in the winery, along with a beautifully-executed Porter from Pegasus City – this one served on a nitro tap. Only Checkered Past serves it up like this and it gives the Six Floor Porter a smooth and creamy finish, which is honestly beyond description.

Checkered Past Winery is easily one of our favorite little hidden gems in Dallas. They also have a kick-ass Wine Club in which every other month, Wine Club members pick up two or four bottles – depending on membership level - of exclusive wines all chosen and loved by Sandro. No membership or cancellation fees. For more information on additional benefits, click here.

Huge thank you to Checkered Past for all the hospitality, fantastic conversation, and even better wine!

Go visit DiSanto and his amazing team any day of the week (except Mondays) at their location at South Side on Lamar.

Written by Tory Landers, photos by Erin Wayland
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Thursday, March 29, 2018

Dog Haus

A few weeks ago we got the chance to check out Dog Haus, a California-based gourmet hot dog shop now in Richardson! We were really excited about this place because it’s Texas’ first location and frankly (get it?), there aren’t enough restaurants in the Dallas-Fort Worth area dedicated solely to quality hot dogs.

Dog Haus Biergarten has recently gained national attention for their premier, all-beef hot dogs and sausages, along with their humanely-raised Black Angus burgers, sans antibiotics or hormones - which they heavily take pride in. Each dog, sausage and burger is stuffed inside multiple King’s Hawaiian rolls, grilled to perfection – which gives them all the perfect amount of fluffy bun to meat ratio.

While visiting their sole Texas location, we got the amazing (and overwhelming) opportunity to try nearly every one-of-kind item on their menu; so, we’re here to give you the rundown of our favorites.

Our Favorite Dog: The Cowboy

Not to toot our own horn here, but we love a good Texas-style dog – can you blame us?

This guy is not only covered in barbeque AND cheddar cheese sauce, it’s also sprinkled with crispy onions and wrapped…in…bacon. We highly recommend this option if you don’t want to venture too far from a traditional dog but still want to try something tasty and different.

Our Favorite Sausage: Reservoir Hog

If you’re headed to Dog Haus to try something more diverse – remember just two words: Reservoir Hog.

This one takes a major Polish approach with its kielbasa and “haus-made” slaw and chili, topped with the perfect drizzle of mustard. Along with the slight sweetness of the Hawaiian roll, you get tons of different flavors with every bite.

If you’re ready to switch up your typical dog options, we highly suggest going for this bad boy.

Our Favorite Burger: The Hangover

We know Dog Haus is known for their premium hot dogs and sausages, but don’t sleep on their burgers.

Any burger with a gooey fried egg on it is a favorite in our books, and this one also happens to be slathered with chili, American cheese and smoked bacon.

It’s just the right amount of every ingredient and regardless of the mess – you won’t regret it. (Which may be the only thing you won’t regret after a night of drinking)

So if you had one too many this weekend – don’t wake up with a Pedialyte, get yourself a Hangover burger at the Haus!

Our Favorite Side: The Love Boat Tots

We would marry these tots.

Truthfully, there are very few words to describe the happiness we got from these little fried potato nuggets.

Tots are pretty damn good on their own, but smother them with house-made chili and slaw and you will neglect any type of diet you think you’re on.

Consistency can either make or break a food item and Dog Haus really got it right here. The crunchiness of the slaw along with the meaty chili on these tots makes for a perfect side option!

When it comes to food, we truly appreciate diversity. And Dog Haus definitely has a dog for everyone. Whether you’re in the mood for a light, California-style weenie with avocado or a uniquely-made spicy jalapeƱo-cheddar wurst specifically for Dallas – they’ve got you covered. (They also have vegetarian options available!)

Dog Haus, we LOVE your wieners! Dallas friends, we promise y’all will too! Go grab one, or three, any day of the week from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. at their adorable Richardson location – you’ll have the wurst time.

Written by Tory Landers, photos by Tory Landers & Erin Wayland

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Monday, March 26, 2018

Denton Staycation

Hey friends!

I'm back from my blogging hiatus just in time to tell you about the fantastic staycation I had in Denton a few weekends ago.

First, let me just tell you about the Airbnb we got to stay in.

Y'all, this place was beautiful. With huge entertaining spaces, including an upstairs loft featuring a pool table and arcade game, it's an ideal place to bring the gang for a weekend getaway. Not to forget, the neighbors own some goats that like to spend time in the front yard. The house sleeps about 7 people, and if you count the detached house you can fit 2 more! 

Want to learn more about The Echo Lab House? Click here.

With all this space to entertain, don't forget to bring some fun along with you.
Our choice? We pulled out Cards Against Humanity and had our in-house bartender hook us up with some cocktails. Huge shout-out to Southwest Spirits & Wine for providing the liquor that got our staycation off on the right foot!

After spending some quality time at the house, 
it was time to make our way to the heart of Denton, the square

Paschall's Bar may be one of the coolest places I've seen in Denton. A speakeasy - you likely will miss the door the first time you make a visit. Located up a steep staircase on the east side of the square, this bar offers a plethora of creative cocktails that will cater to any taste. 
If you followed my instastory from this night, you'd have seen the vast array of drinks their bartenders can create. I wish I could have photos to show you here, but the lighting was just so dim the photos did not do it justice. Guess that means you'll have to check it out for yourself!

After Paschall's I spent my first night on Fry Street. This strip of bars is where you'll find all the local students who attend UNT which means one thing - it's a mad house! If you're looking to get some cheap drinks and dance all night, you oughta head out there.
I, on the other hand, got tired quick and was ready to spend some time at Echo House and go to bed. 
Before you judge, it's best I got some quality sleep considering I spent the entire next day eating.

To ease our hangover, we were treated to brunch at Barley & Board.

Mimosa Flight
I've been known to rant and rave about Barley & Board, but truly I'm never disappointed (or hungry) when I leave. On this morning, we started with their Mimosa Flight. I like to say it's a healthy choice since all the syrups/juices are fresh - ha!
Of the flavors available, strawberry mint and hibiscus were my favorites.

Blue Cheese Potato Chips
Truffled Portobello Fries

This is one kick-ass burger, y'all.
A hearty serving of meat and cheese, it's sure to revive you after a long night out on the town. 

Not pictured is Aunt Mary Ellen's Sweet Potato Bread that I'm truly confident should be considered dessert. Promise, that's a compliment. Get it to share for the table or keep it for yourself, this bread is one of a kind and will cure that sweet tooth.

See more of Barley & Board's menu here!

Brazen Two-Faced Quail & Hangtown Frittata
Fresh Cookies & Milk
After our visit at Barley & Board, it was time to pack our things and head home.

Oh, but just you wait, there's more!
On the way home from our Denton takeover, we were treated to some cool local restaurants just outside of Denton, in a town called Argyle.

First stop, Bumbershoot!

No indoor seating here. This is some real deal Texas barbecue. My mouth is watering just thinking about it. Bumbershoot is phenomenal and here's why - when they sell out for the day, that's it, no more. And honestly, I believe that's how it should be. It let's me know that they wont skimp on quality just to serve the masses. They give a hoot about the meat they serve and that's evident in how flavorful and tender every dish was. And when I say every dish...
I think we tried just about every dang thing on the menu.
Plus, what are friends for if not to pick off of each other's plates?

Loaded Tots & Bacon Wrapped Stuffed Jalapenos
To get a better look at Bumbershoot's menu, click here.

 Hello spaghetti-o! 
After stuffing our faces with BBQ we strolled across the street to Earls 377. Founded by Isabella and Earl, this pizza joint features authentic family recipes in what was once an old fire station.
If you know me, these are two of my favorite things (because carbs, duh) and simply - if I like your pizza without cheese, it must be damn good. And just look at that pasta to sauce ratio. Hit their patio and enjoy an afternoon of great food.

Check out more about Earls 377 here!

Moral of this story?
Head outside the Dallas zip code and you will not be disappointed. 

We had a blast exploring Denton, and I can't wait to make a trip back out to see even more!
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