Category Archives: Andrew Chalk

Musical Chairs Chef Avner Samuel Now At Sfuzzi

sfuzziby Andrew Chalk

Naan Sushi on Cedar Springs Road in Uptown has closed and the huge, sprawling, multi-roomed space is now Sfuzzi relived. There are two main dining rooms, several small private dining rooms off the main space, and a dark and booming bar in the back. This branch replaces the McKinney Avenue location closed just over a year ago. The executive chef is a little known newcomer to the Dallas dining scene, a Mr. Avner Samuel. I also spotted the talented Vincenzo Pappano in the kitchen.   Continue reading

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Blending In with Raymond Vineyards and Abacus

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by Andrew Chalk

It was a packed house at Abacus in Uptown Dallas this week as Chef Kent Rathbun welcomed Raymond Vineyards Chief Blending Officer Tyson Madden for two important responsibilities. First, Kent Rathbun Concepts’ (Abacus’ parent company) own Director of Operations, Matthew Scott (who oversees wine operations as part of a broader mandate) was one of eight sommeliers selected by Raymond to blend a special wine, the 2012 Sommelier Selection Cabernet Sauvignon, for sale in a limited number of restaurant locations and to the winery’s mailing list. Madden explained how the sommeliers took base wines from Napa, Sonoma and Lake Counties in California’s North Coast and experimented until they came up with a Sommelier’s Blend that was 80% Cabernet Sauvignon, 15% Merlot and a nominal 5% Petit Verdot. We tasted their work and they made an elegant, easy-drinking wine with an unmistakable backbone of Cabernet.   Continue reading

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Eat Me: Snuffer’s Bacon Burger

IMG_20150206_190432by Andrew Chalk

Snuffer’s, the venerable Dallas burger chain, is featuring a different burger each month, starting this month with the Bacon Lovers Burger ($9.49). I checked it out at a media event this week and can report that it is a succulent chuck steak patty cooked the way you want it (medium-rare for me) in a sesame seed bun with American cheese, a scintilla of acidulous pickle, sweet grilled yellow onions, a slice of tomato all topped with two slices of crisp Applewood smoked bacon. It runs through February only.  Continue reading

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Côtes du Coeur 2015 Kicks Off With Big Bottle Party

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by Andrew Chalk

The biggest fundraiser in the Dallas calendar of the American Heart Association (AHA) is the annual Côtes du Coeur International Fine Wine Auction and Celebrity Chef Dinner. In fact, it is the largest fund raising gala in the nation for the AHA and has raised $24m over its 23 year history for heart disease research.

This year takes place at The Hilton Anatole Hotel on April 24th but to prepare for the main event the AHA holds a number of warm up events to encourage networking between Côtes du Coeur contributors. The first of these is the Big Bottle Party which collects large format bottles for ‘Big Bottle Alley’, part of the silent auction during the gala. It took place this week at the north Dallas home of Jana and Mike Brosin.   Continue reading

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Lucky For Some: Thirteen Pies Is a Baker’s Dozen of Good Pizzas (and more…)

ThirteenPiesFortWorth.BurattaMozzarellaby Andrew Chalk

It’s hip, it’s cool, and it’s doing some of the best pizza in town. It is Thirteen Pies and it is only in lucky Fort Worth and Atlanta right now. Bizarrely, Houston, not corporate parent’s home-town Dallas, opens next which makes we wonder if Raised Palate Restaurants (neé Consilient Restaurant Group) didn’t have a non-compete with the purchasers of its Fireside Pies (Chalak Mitra Group, owners of Genghis Grill) not to go back into Dallas with a pizza concept for X years.

Either way, the West 7th development adjacent to Fort Worth’s Cultural District is a natural home for this buzzing, informed concept of pizza (and more). At a recent media event I checked it out. The pizzas are twelve menu regulars plus a rotating thirteenth (hence the restaurant’s name). The chewy, crispy charred thin crust is glorious, but just a vehicle for some of the most creative toppings around. How about fennel salami, smoked provolone, soffritto, castelvetrano olive, yellow tomato and old manchego? It’s “The Iberian” ($15), the first pizza I tried and a candidate for favorite.   Continue reading

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Unusual Wine of The Week and an Inside Tip on One of the Best Wine Tasting Places in Dallas

IMG_20150119_200232by Andrew Chalk

Check out this wine, available at Dallas’ best Italian wine store, Jimmy’s, for $18. The 2013 Tramin Lagrein from Italy’s northernmost wine making region, Alto Adige. It is made from 100% Lagrein, an indigenous Alto Adige grape variety related to Syrah and Pinot Noir. I found the nose to resemble the lactic and cherry aromas of another Italian grape, Dolcetto. The wine’s representative, Josh Naquin of Republic National Distributing Company, said that with its nose of banana, white pepper and spices it reminded him of France’s cru beaujolais, the finest expression of the Gamay grape.  Continue reading

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Texas Wines Win More Medals At Out-Of-State Competitions Than Ever Before

by Andrew Chalk

Congratulations are in order! In 2014 Texas wines gave another telling demonstration of their continued march towards national recognition. They won more medals at major wine competitions than ever before. These competitions pitted Texas wines against the best from California, Washington, Oregon, Europe and Australia/New Zealand and they continued a trend that started as recently as 2011 of winning more contests than in the previous year. Continue reading

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