Dallas has few diversions other than eating, drinking and shopping.....and shopping does not interest us.
So we spend our time hopping from restaurant to restaurant and to every pub that we can find in search of the perfect meal and the perfect beer.

We randomly review restaurants and bars, dishes and beers at whim and give our brutally honest opinions of our findings. And while we concentrate on Dallas, we travel far and wide to sample cuisine from all regions of the country and beyond.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Beer Review - (512) One.2

(512) One.2 - ABV 8%

The (512) (the area code of Austin, clever, eh?) Brewery in Austin, Texas is a microbrewery that emodies the very essence of what Austin is......and that essence is that of a hippy.  Archaic term I know, but Austin is a throwback kind of town.  You don't believe me?  Then just take a walk down Guadaloupe Street and count the number of hippies that hit you up for cash.  Fewer that Haight Street in San Francisco but just as annoying.  But I digress.
Kevin Brand, owner and brewer uses "as many local, domestic and organic ingredients as possible" to create some fine craft brews (and some not so fine, i.e. the Pecan Porter).
One (another clever use of numbers) is their first anniversary Belgian style strong ale and is a superbly drinkable ale.  The clear, dark amber ale has a coppery colored, lacy head and smells a every bit like a belgian style ale should...earthy, sweet, floral.  (512) uses organic grains, Forbidden Fruit yeast, domestic hops and even slips in some local honey to create a spicy, earthy, sweet ale that is amazingly drinkable and quite smooth.  This is a 'sit down with your beer snob friends and relax' ale and not a 'look at me, I am drinking Stella' poser ale.  Very Austin hippy.
Be sure to try this one while you is a winner.

(512) Brewing Company

407 Radam, F200
Austin, Texas 78745
Phone: 512.707.2337


Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Pub Review - Barcadia


It really is an ingenious a restaurant...stock a decent selection of beers....then add in a butt load of video games from the golden age of video games...and they will come.  "Who will come?" you ask.  Well, apparently every freak in Dallas, that's who.
Our intent was to have dinner, play some games and drink a few beers while enjoying a nice evening on the extensive patio.  Unfortunately (or fortunately) I went to the restroom first and saw the sorry state that it was in and changed my mind about the meal.  If the bathroom is that gross can the kitchen be any better?  So after a delcious, albiet overpriced pizza at Louie's (two doors down to the east) we returned to Barcadia to continue with our plans.  Defender, Qbert, PacMan, Frogger, Spy Hunter, my goodness, where to start?  Well, the sounds of crashing..something..and laughter from the patio led us out to begin where we intended to end, enjoying some brews on the patio.  The beer selection was rather nice, with 24 beers on tap ranging from Maredsous, to Old Speckled Hen, to Franziskaner to Ciders and an extensive array on choices in bottles.  Unfortunately they had Stella Artois on tap, too, which brings them down in my estimation.  But to be fair I did see a couple of dipshits wearing Ed Hardy(esque) shirts and they need something to drink, too.
On the patio are several stacks of sized 2 x 4's which are to be used as a redneck version of Jenga...which was hugely popular and the source of the crashing sounds and laughter.  Low tech trumps high tech, I'll be damned.
But the best thing about Barcadia comes from a source that I am sure was not planned by the ownership and that is the freak show of humanity walking past on the sidewalks, or drinking on the patio, or driving by in their  Included were pregnant girls walking past drinking and smoking with their "so what if my kids are tards" attitude.  The 70 year old white businessman with the 20 year old black hooker was less interesting than the limo dropping off their load of strippers (from the Spearmint Rhino the doorman assured me) with outfits that barely covered their unmentionables.  The gang of sweaty, shirtless Mexican kids looking for trouble, the toothless bag lady, the meat heads straight from the gym......on and on goes the parade and their we sit, drinking it in as we drink our beers, stunned into silence.  Damn, we never did get to the video games, well, maybe next time.
Skip the food, enjoy the beer and feel good about yourself as you sit gawking at the dregs of humanity passing by Barcadia. 

Barcadia Dallas
1917 N. Henderson Ave
Dallas, TX 75206

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Beer Review - Avery 17

Avery 17 - 8.7% abv.

Avery began their tradition of releasing limited edition anniversary beers that began with their 10th anniversary ale.  These anniversary beers show off the skills of the brewers and can range from Weissbiers to Belgian style to...well....Black Lagers.
Though classified as a black lager, this monster has more flavor and kick than most stouts and is only considered a lager due to the fact that they used lager yeast in the production.  17 is quite dark and slightly reddish with a light brown head, the smell is light, almost chocolate which misleads you into believing that the beer will be lighter as well.  From the very second that the brew touches your tongue you realize that this is a powerfull beer.  Slightly sweet at the first then transitioning to a wonderful dry hopped bitterness as the lightly carbonated brew slides easily down your throat.  The full flavor also hides the fact that there is quite a lot of alcolhol included.  This sneaky devil is an easy drink that will kick your ass quickly and completely so be careful.  Help Avery celebrate its 17 years of brewing fine beers and enjoy it while you can.

Avery Brewing Company
5763 Arapahoe Avenue
Boulder, CO 80303

Friday, June 4, 2010

Restaurant Review - El Ranchito

El Ranchito

A good friend of Mexican descent offered to help me in my eternal search for the perfect Mexican Restaurant.  She suggested a small restaurant on Jefferson in 'the Cliff' where she grew up and has been her favorite for many years.  Yes, yes, hello, yes! 
The clientel ranged from suits to families with screaming kids to grandparents.  Multi-generational and a broad cross-section of cultures means broad appeal, good so let's eat.
To be sure, Ranchito serves Mexican food, not Mexican cuisine.  Do not expect a fine presentation on fine flatware.  Do expect basic, tasty food.  The service was OK, too.
To the average gringo, Mexican food is tacos...and tacos are more or less the same all over, right?  Wrong Bolillo, even a dish as simple as Carne Asado will have regional differences that can range from subtle to extreme.  So in order to compare quality of Mexican restaurants I use Guacamole as my base, which varies only slightly from region to region.  The Guacamole at El Ranchito is served in a lovely (sarcasm, please) plastic bowl filled with lettuce and let me assure you that the small portion really is small and fine for one person.  It also harbors very little other than avacado and lettuce, lots of lettuce. 
When the menu says that the rib-eye in the Bistec con Chili Chipotle comes smothered in Chipotle they do mean smothered.  They could have served a shoe in this heavy and slightly over salted sauce and it would have tasted wonderful.  The shoe may have less fat and gristle than the steak, however.  Rice and refried beans are served with the steak and are fairly standard.  I wish that I had requested the Charo beans instead but, oh well.
The Asado de Puerco is pork smothered in an adobo sauce which is every bit as heavy, but delicious as the chipotle served on the steak, just different.  The pork was so tender that it was difficult to spear with the fork.  But then served with hand made tortillas made it a sinfully good dish and again served with refried beans and rice.
Diabetic?  High cholesterol?  You should probably skip this place.  But if you would like decent northern Mexican comfort food and damn the doctors orders it is worth a trip.
Oh, yes, they don't serve Stella Artois....bonus.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Restaurant Review - Meddlesome Moth

Meddlesome Moth

The Dallas restauraunt scene dictates that if your restaruant serves great food then you must serve crappy beer.   Inversely, the restaurants that serve great beers serve, at best, mediocre food. 
The Meddlesome Moth is an attempt by Shannon Wynne, 'Captain' Keith Schlabs and Larry Richardson to marry fine food to fine beers in one venue; a formula that has been used worldwide with great success. 

The owners have done a fine job of choosing the beers served with nary a Bud Light or a PBR in sight.  The tap beers reflect local microbrews, German wiessbiers, English ales and a smattering of Belgians....the pinnacle of beerdom.  Our waitress introduced herself and boasted that the staff had been extensively trained in beer lore and could answer any questions concerning any beer on the menu.  Quite a brazen statement to make to beer snobs.  As her claim demanded we of course went for her throat and asked a question that had her running for Keith immediatley.  Those not-quite-ready for beer snobbery can try samples of the beers or order a flight, with small samples of several types of beer. 

The food menu is a hybrid tapas concept with shared dishes combined with the option of ordering a meal all to your selfish self and also suggests which beer would be best with each dish.  The plates are delivered to your table as they are finished by the kitchen which can be frustrating if you all ordered personal meals.  The polite patron always waits for all of the food to arrive before beginning, but should you wait at the Moth you may be eating a cold burger with congealed grease.  The kitchen is lucky enough to have been supplied superior ingredients to be used in the preparation and most of the dishes reflect this quality. On seperate visits we tried dishes as a group and then as soloists.
The shared plates provide enough scarfage for 2-4 people so if you have a larger group you may wish to order more of one dish.  The prices are high enough and the serving are small enough to startle you at first, but once you taste and realize the quality of the ingredients you will be mollified.  On our group outing the Moth Balls were the star of the show.  Breaded and baked balls of Ricotta cheese about the size of....well....a moth ball and is that sage I taste?  The Hummus plate was served with feta cheese and tomatoes and was adequate for the vegetarian in our group.  The downside is that there are very few 'lite' selections and the menu is quite masculine.
The soloist (their term) night was a bit more successful but with hits and misses.  Again, the standout was the quality of the ingredients.  The P.C. Cobb Stadium salad was a bit short on lettuce and a bit long on blue cheese, but delicious nontheless.  The Slice Beefsteak Salad was basically a good Caprese Salad with *gasp* tomatoes that actually tasted like tomatoes!  The only failure of the evening was the Fish and Chips, both of which were so greasy as to be inedible.

We hope that the 'Beautiful People' that have invaded the Moth, modeling their newest fashions, fade away soon and allow for a more relaxed atmosphere.  We will grudginly accept the forced valet parking, but we will not accept twits ordering wine and Stella Artois in a pub, or even a gastropub.

Meddlesom Moth is located at:
1621 Oak Lawn
Dallas, TX 75207
Phone:  214.628.7900