Sunday, December 14, 2014

18+ Foodie Gift Ideas for 2014

These foodie gift ideas have one thing in common— they really impressed me (and some of you know that’s not easy to do!) I've been offered to sample a lot of food and drink items all year long for a few years now, but only the items I think are really impressive for their category made this list. As a bonus, I'm also including items I discovered on my own long ago, and I already own and love them. The rest, I wish someone would gift to me! So if you have a foodie, wino, beer lover, or home chef on your gift list, there should be at least one item in here that they would be happy to have.

This list features something for every price point, so whether you need a white elephant gift, party host gift, or a really impressive client gift for any time of the year, you can find something fitting. Towards the end of the list I included products made in Dallas. When possible, I included the link to buy the items on Amazon or directly from the manufacturer. If you find the perfect gift, I would appreciate if you'd give a little back to me by simply clicking through my links so that I may earn an affiliate commission for helping you out. Pleas enjoy…

Friday, November 14, 2014

10 Cozy Fireplace Restaurants and Bars in Dallas

Since our weather suddenly got cold, I've been thinking about where I can eat or drink next to a warm fireplace— not a fire pit, fire feature, or heat lamp, but a bonafide fireplace. Nothing beats the warmth and light of a real flame while dining or sipping a beverage. Many of these are even real wood-burning fireplaces, so you get that great crackling sound. Roaring fireplaces also create the perfect ambiance for a romantic winter date night idea.

I went around town in the 30ยบ weather last night taking photos of a few of my favorite fireplaces. I was surprised by how few people were enjoying them, and that one was not even lit! The unlit fireplace still had a crowd of people around it, showing that a stone fireplace is a nice feature to gather around, even without a fire.

This is not a comprehensive list of every fireplace in Dallas; these are the restaurants and bars where I have enjoyed their fireplace atmosphere. I have grouped them by neighborhood. If you have a favorite fireplace restaurant in Dallas that isn't included here, please let me know in the comments, below. Now go get cozy!

On Henderson Ave:


Hibiscus' Fireplace. Photo Credit: EventUp.

A fireplace sits in the front bar/waiting room with a few dimly-lit, intimate tables situated around the stone hearth. This room has the feel of an old mansion's drawing room, where men in suits are drinking Scotch and the only thing missing is cigars.

Friday, October 3, 2014

The Best Comments on DSideDish's Article About a Competitor Food Critic Being Refused

I rarely read the comment section on food news websites because they are normally full of Internet trolls, but there is a wide variety of comment gems in the D SideDish article about their competitor, Dallas Morning News' (DMN), Food Critic, Leslie Brenner, having her money refused by restaurant owners who do not want her to write a review about them. The public news of their refusal puts Leslie in a quandary whereby she can no longer write an "anonymous" review of their restaurant, which is what her position requires, according to the news story/commenters.

The article comments have all the elements of a mini-drama, ranging from LOL-humor, to poetry, to real insight and food for thought (pardon the pun). I cut out the trolls for you…

Someone should frame this last phrase and sell it: 

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

What Qualifies a Person to Critique Food?

In my five years of writing about food online, I have occasionally been asked some variation of the question below, usually in an accusatory tone when someone doesn't like what I wrote, but also by inquisitive people who want to become a food blogger/critic:

Have you ever worked in a restaurant or attended culinary school, so that you are qualified to write about food?

Social media comment boxes are not large enough for me to really answer this question, so I have never fully explained my background or the heart of what I believe qualifies a person to critique food. Here is my answer:

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Pocket Guide to the Best Tasting 2014 State Fair of Texas Fried Foods

If you're going to take the calorie hit to try several fried foods at the State Fair of Texas, you don't want to waste those calories on something that tastes just okay. You want to be wowed! You also don't want to spend a whole fair coupon sheet on food that tastes too funky to finish (anyone remember Fried Beer?)

Lucky for you (and me), I tasted all eight fried food finalists at the Big Tex Choice Awards official judging event. I photographed, reviewed, and ranked them all into this handy, single-image pocket guide, the "2014 Best Tasting Fried Foods at the 2014 State Fair of Texas":