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.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Beer Review - Rahr Octoberfest

Rahr and Sons Octoberfest - 7.5% ABV

I have been accused recently of having a bias against Texas beers.  The accuser went on to say that most of the Texas beers that I have rated as poor were perfectly fine beers and that I was just being an ass.  Allrightythen.  Let me defend myself for a second.  Every person that enjoys drinking beer has one label that he/she prefers.  It it simply a matter of personal taste.  My personal taste is that I like balanced beers with full flavor and my confronter apparently likes watery, overcarbonated brews.  Neither is correct or incorrect, it just is.

So in order to mollify Bubba, let me tell you about a Texas produced beer that I do enjoy drinking.  Rahr and Sons Octoberfest is described by Rahr as "a traditional Marzen-style Oktobefest lager - dark amber in color, super smooth, medium body with a sweet malty finish. True to tradition, this is a classic Oktoberfest Lager."  For the life of me I did not get Marzen at all from the taste.  A bit sweet, a bit malty, a bit hoppy, but Marzen?  Not really. 

The color, taste and texture all say brown ale to me.  Dark mahogany colored, malty nose, full flavor and a bit too carbonated.  All in all a great session beer that I am happy to drink on any given day and in my opinion, the best beer that they brew.

Rahr and Sons Brewing Company
701 Galveston Avenue
Fort Worth, Texas 76104

Monday, October 24, 2011

Restaurant Review - Baboush

Baboush Restaurant - Market - Bar

I have been visiting this restaurant in uptown for several weeks now, reveling in it's light and delightful offerings and meaning to do a nice write-up.  Imaging my consternation to see reviews published this week in both the Observer AND the Dallas Morning News.  Ego aside, my goal has always been to entice you to try new restaurants and hooray for Baboush that the two aforementioned publications agree with me on something.

Sweet Tomato
The gang has visited Medina, another eatery by the same owners in Victory Park, and quite enjoyed their offerings.  While the dishes there have been somewhat Americanized, the foods are still exotic enough to challenge the palate of a person who has never experience Moroccan cuisine.  Baboush treads this same fine line, but instead of Americanizing their Moroccan dishes, they Moraccanized traditional Mediterranean fare.  "Do what now?" you ask.  Please, let me 'splain Lucy.  Moroccan cuisine is quite unlike any other cuisine.  The flavors that they create are made from incredibly complex spice blends, with no one spice or flavor dominating a dish.  They may use 12 spices to create a flavor, but their goal is to blend the spices so perfectly that you cannot identify one over the others.  I hate to use this phrase, but the experience is sublime, the simple pure flavors of Mediterranean cuisine with the spice blends and pickled condiments of Morocco.

The restaurant fronts the construction site along Blackburn at Central.  You may have difficulty finding the non-descript front, and it may help you to know that it is located right next door to Grimaldi's.  The interior is tastefully done is a pseudo north african motif.  The staff is ...  ah ... still learning, unable to describe the dishes or even name the chef.  Let's hope that they improve considerably in the near future.  The owners describe the menu as being inspired by Moroccan street food.  If that is what street food tastes like in Morocco then I am out of here.  "The airfare is how much?"  Darn, it looks like this is as close as I will get in the near future.

The Hummus, found under the Spreads and Olives section of the menu, is a typical Lebanese blend of chickpeas, fresh garlic and using tahini (a paste made from ground sesame seeds) instead of olive oil.  Not bad, but a bit too much tahini for my tastes.  Instead I heartily recommend the Moroccan Sweet Tomato.  Sweetened tomato, cinnamon, garlic, orange water, sesame seeds and almonds, served with pita.  Jiminy Cricket, this is a flavorful treat.  Next time I am just going to order a glass of it instead of the delicious mint tea.

Chiclen Shawerma
I dearly love Chicken Shawerma.  But the shawerma made by Baboush has made a simple adoration an addiction that I must address at least once a week.  "Pickled cucumber?  But what is the red stuff?  Pickled turnips you say?"  Mother Goose what a wonderful melange of flavors.  I cannot even tell you if there was really chicken in it.  French Fries on the side?  Yes, but again unique with Moroccan spices and lemon zest.  Lemon zest on fries .... I'll be damned.  I never would have thought of that but am sorry as hell that I never have tried it before.

Falafel?  Why yes, I will have some.  Fava beans and chickpeas, mashed together and formed into small patties and then fried to be crispy on the outside and warm and wonderful on the inside, served wrapped in a thin pita.  A lovely version of Fatoosh (tomato and cucumber salad) is seved on the side.

I happily visit Babouch at least once a week and will continue to do so as long as they are open.  I fear that the food is a bit too sophisticated for the $30k millionaires living in the area and hope for the best.

Baboush Restaurant - Market - Bar
3636 Mckinney Ave, Suite 160
Dallas, Texas 75204
(Baboush is located on City Place Blvd)

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Road Trip Dining - Food and Wine Festival

I dearly love festivals based on eating and drinking.  There is one particular festival that Mrs. Snob and I have enjoyed time and time again, but I hesitate to tell you where.  Why you ask?  Because you're gonna laugh.  Not with me, but at me.  OK, here it goes .... we love to go to ..... Disney World.  I hope you didn't choke on your beer there, sorry.

The Epcot Food and Wine Festival is located at the World Showcase part of Epcot (you know, the part that replicates highlights from several countried around the lake) and runs from the first of October  into mid November.  It features traditional dishes from around 25 nations and/or regions in managable tapas sized servings.  Yeah, I know, when you think of fine dining you don't typically think of an amusment park, but try not to think of the mouse shaped pancakes that you get for breakfast, think of chefs from many nations proudly creating for you dishes that you will find when you visit their homelands.  They also will serve you wines or beers that are produced in their native lands in hopes of tempting you into buying some when you return home.

Our strategy is to circle the lake, gorging ourselves on the offerings.  It takes a few hours as that ever so often we have to sit and allow our digestion catch up.  This year we were oh so lucky to get to hear Taylor Dayne as we sat and forced down another funnel cake.  Lucky, lucky us.  THEN after reaching our original starting point, we reverse direction and pummel our livers with the alcoholic offerings from the same countries.  Pure debauchery.  But the time we have completed our second circumnavigation of the lake around which the World Showcase is located, we are obliterated.  We stagger back to our room and pass out, dreaming of being chased by dwarves wearing cupcake costumes.

This is the really a great time of year to visit Disney World as that the kids are in school so the crowds are not so aggravating, the weather is magnificent and the food is, as always, magical.

Epcot Park at Disney World
Orlando, Florida

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Beer Review - Tilburg's Dutch Brown Ale

Bierbrouwerij De Koningshoeven B.V. Dutch Brown Ale - 5% ABV

Inside the Abbey of Koningshoeven in the tiny village of Tilburg in the Netherlands, near the Belgium border, lies a dandy brewery producing some dandy beers.  Bierbrouwerij De Koningshoeven produces the La Trappe line of trappist beers along with the Dutch Brown Ale and a few other liquid delights. 

The Dutch Brown is top fermented ale using an "ancient old recipe" that produces a delicious medium bodied brown ale that is sure to be more popular to the American palate.  The color is dark brown and pours with a thick head that hangs around long enough to be interesting.  The smell is quite subtle with hints of malt and bread.  The beer is quite smooth and the flavors are astounding.  Malts, earth, figs, nuts and a bit of sweetness.  You will find that it is not a sweet as many brown ales and finishes a bit dry and a bit bitter, but not overpowering.  I would happily drink many of these without tiring of it's interesting taste.

Bierbrouwerij De Koningshoeven B.V.
Eindhovenseweg 3
Berkel-Enschot, 5056 RP

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Beer Review - Black Bavarian

Sprecher Brewing Company Black Bavarian - 6% ABV

So you did not take my word for it that the Guinness Black Lager is abysmal and you went and tried it anyway, didn't you?  It sucked, didn't it?  What?  What do you mean you don't know if it sucked?  You don't know how it is supposed to taste?  Damn, I didn't consider that.  Maybe I should describe for you how a black lager, or schwarzbier is supposed to taste?

Schwarzbier is one of the, if not the oldest European beer styles for which we have scientific evidence.  Amphora were found in graves in Kulmbach, Germany dating from 800 b.c. with the residue from the brewing process intact.  This style of lager is still is brewed at K√∂stritzer Brewery and has been since 1543 and you should think of it as being similar to a stout or a porter but using lager processes.  Simply put a schwarzbier is to a lager as a stout is to an ale.

The Sprecher Black Bavarian is as black as a moonless night with very little light passing through, and like most schwarzbiers, has very little nose, but you should be able to get a hint of the malts, baked bread and perhaps a bit of coffee.  The thick, tan head is lasting and leaves a nice lacing on the glass. 

As you take your first drink you expect the brew to be thick and heavy, but you would be wrong because this is, after all, a lager.  The Black Bavarian is light and smooooooth as it dances across your tongue.  You will notice the very complex toasted malts as the flavor maker and though you expect it to be sweet, it is not at all.  You will also notice cocoa, toasted bread, carmel and coffee and then the big finish is a wonderful dry finish provided by the hops.

This, my friends, is what a black lager, or a schwarzbier is supposed to taste like and I highly recommend searching to find this delight.

The beer is not available in Texas (big surprise there, eh?) but is easily located as you travel to the north and east or better yet, go to the brewery in Wisconsin and hang out in their beer garden and drink yourself goofy. 
Sprecher Brewing Company
701 W. Glendale Avenue
Glendale, Wisconsin 53209