Back to the classics: Chef Scott Gottlich revives some favorites for a limited time

Posted on 20 Oct 2016 at 4:01pm
A reimagined version of steak Diane

A reimagined version of steak Diane

When I was a kid, my mom would sometimes treat us to a delicacy called baked Alaska. The way mom made it, it was little more than a thin brownie with deep-frozen ice cream on top, covered in meringue and caramelized with flambeed creme de menthe, but to me, it was the height of foodie elegance.

But baked Alaska fell out of favor for a long stretch, even in nice restaurants. That’s the way culinary traditions are — something groundbreaking (molten lava cake!) becomes cliche and even evidence of stodginess.

But classics can always make comebacks, which is what chef Scott Gottlich is doing at his Second Floor concept in the Galleria. Gottlich first captured my attention when he opened Cafe Toulouse, complete with savory French bistro fare, and then at his phenomenal Bijoux in the Inwood Village, which turned high-end French-style cuisine into a local event. He enjoys playing with classics for new audiences — which he’s doing, with his new chef de cuisine Ryan Barnett, just through the weekend at The Second Floor.

Not my mom's baked Alaska — better

Not my mom’s baked Alaska — better

The very-reasonable three-course prix fixe ($55) tasting there includes his take on baked Alaska (honestly, way better than my mom’s), as well as familiar items like French onion soup in traditional preparation (rich, with a hearty beef-and-sherry broth, baguette crostini and drippy Swiss cheese), but also modern takes on old standbys. The oysters Rockefeller aren’t overgrow with thick dollops of spinach, but are instead vibrantly finished with a kelly-green puree and aromatic parmesan. Like baked Alaska, steak Diane is one of those dishes everyone ordered in the 1950s and no one has since the 1980s. Gottlich’s vision, though, is a thick-cut filet tip ensconced in a country mustard peppercorn sauce; my dining companion, an experienced foodie, declared it one of the best-cooked steaks he’s ever had. I’m already a big fan of lamb, and the delicate rack here has an intoxicating gaminess (get it medium rare; the medium cook was a little too much).

In addition to the baked Alaska, the cambanzola en croute is a savory baked cheese in phyllo pastry.  And there is, of course, creme brulee  — one of those over-seen classics of the aughts that we can’t get away from. But why would you want to get away from any of this? Good ideas endure, especially when the execution is as thoughtful as here.

(At The Second Floor, through Oct. 23. Also available with optional wine pairings, or enjoy one of the signature cocktails like a grilled margarita or Kentucky mule.)


Cafe Brazil will move and double in size

Posted on 20 Oct 2016 at 2:29pm

cafe-brazilCafe Brazil on Cedar Springs Road will double in size when it moves two doors down to the old Liquid Zoo space.

The current Cafe Brazil has been in its current spot since 1999. Before that, Steak ‘n Egg Kitchen was a 24-hour breakfast spot that stood there for at least 30 years.

Cafe Brazil’s new location originally was U-shaped with an open courtyard. The main door was toward the back of the courtyard and off the street, so when a card store, the first LGBT business in the spot, opened in the early 1980s, it was called Off the Street. That store moved several times before closing about 15 years ago.

The courtyard was enclosed in the 1990s before it became Mickey’s.

The current Cafe Brazil building will be torn down to become part of the Melrose Hotel expansion project. The hotel is trying to put together as much of the block as possible for its expansion project, but has no firm plans to begin construction.


CD review: ‘Complete Trio Collection’

Posted on 20 Oct 2016 at 1:32pm

hmo091916trioThe Complete Trio Collection, Dolly Parton, Emmylou Harris and Linda Ronstadt. Nowhere in the backstory notes to the The Complete Trio Collection does it say that when Dolly Parton, Emmylou Harris and Linda Ronstadt finally found time to unify their voices in perfect harmony that lives were healed and Jesus wept. If you’ve heard even pieces of this landmark collaboration, though, you know this to be only a slight exaggeration. After all, we are talking about three singing supremes working their magic on 21 songs across two glorious albums. And now — in addition to both 1987’s Trio and 1999s Trio II — Rhino Records has collected an additional 20 songs from the ladies’ Grammy-winning sessions, some unreleased, some alternate takes of already-released Trio tunes. Among them: “Wildflowers,” Parton’s autobiographical outsider anthem split equally among the three singers, with Parton on the first verse, Harris on the second, and, finally, Ronstadt on the third (Dolly takes lead on the original, included here on the first Trio disc).

“Calling My Children Home” is transcendent, as their voices unite in splendid harmony for a rich vocal experience on this previously unreleased a cappella track, a gut-wrenching song by bluegrass band The Country Gentlemen. Top to bottom, The Complete Trio Collection is a body of staggering beauty. Ronstadt will break your heart as her voice glides through “The Blue Train.” Emmy’s breathtaking lead on “When We’re Gone, Long Gone” will lighten your load. All their voices in collective grace on the stunning “Farther Along” will have you feeling thankful that this project, despite the years it took to get these gals together, has finally seen the light of day.

— Chris Azzopardi




Cathedral of Hope participates in Fall Recycling Roundup

Posted on 20 Oct 2016 at 12:44pm

fall-roundup-flyer_final1Two Dallas locations — including Cathedral of Hope — will be collecting items such as scrap metal, used cooking oil, tires and packing foam for recycling on Oct. 22 from 9 a.m.-3 p.m.

They’ll also be collecting food donations, toys, furniture and bicycles.

See the complete list above.


SCOTUS, LGBT rights make the final presidential debate

Posted on 20 Oct 2016 at 11:08am


Clinton, Trump — not surprisingly — take different stances on who should be appointed to the Supreme Court

Lisa Keen | Keen News Service

In the first few minutes of the third and final presidential debate of 2016, Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton reiterated she would appoint justices that would preserve marriage equality. And Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump reiterated his promise to nominate conservative justices, but he did not specify, as he has in the past, that his nominees would be in the mold of Antonin Scalia.

U.S. Supreme Court appointments was the first of several issues raised by Fox News moderator Chris Wallace Wednesday night, Cot. 19, at the nationally televised debate in Las Vegas. Among the other topics addressed, sometimes brought up by the candidates themselves, were the attack on Pulse, the LGBT nightclub in Orlando, and the acceptance of donations by the Clinton Foundation from countries where gays are executed.

Democratic activist Richard Socarides said the contrast between the two candidates on the Supreme Court is paramount.

“Now we know, we must elect Hillary Clinton to protect a Supreme Court majority for civil rights, but also to protect our very democracy,” Socarides said. “The choice could not be more clear.”

Log Cabin Republicans national president Gregory Angelo said the most poignant moment was when Trump challenged Clinton to return donations to the Clinton Foundation that have come from countries that persecute gays.

“Trump directly confronted Hillary Clinton on her hypocrisy in being in favor of LGBT equality but accepting money from countries with horrendous records on LGBT equality,” Angelo said. “Hillary Clinton never answered that question. She never said whether she would return those monies.”

The Clinton Foundation issue came up when Wallace asked Clinton whether, as secretary of state, she gave “special access” to donors to the foundation. Clinton answered, “Everything I did as secretary of state was in furtherance of our country’s interests and our values.”

She praised the Clinton Foundation for making it possible “for 11 million people around the world with HIV/AIDS to afford treatment.”

Trump called the Clinton Foundation a “criminal enterprise” and said it had taken money from donors in countries “that push gays off buildings.”

“These are people that kill women and treat women horribly. And yet you take their money,” said Trump. “So I’d like to ask you right now: Why don’t you give back the money that you have taken from certain countries that treat certain groups of people so horribly? Why don’t you give back the money?”

Clinton responded that she would be “happy to compare what we do with the Trump Foundation, which took money from other people and bought a six-foot portrait of Donald.” She noted that 90 percent of the Clinton Foundation’s money was spent on providing HIV treatments around the world.

Socarides called Trump’s challenge a “ludicrous idea.”

“Would he like to try to get the HIV drugs back?” Socarides demanded.

On the first question of the evening, about the Supreme Court, both Clinton and Trump responded with positions they have already fairly well established.

Clinton said, “We need a Supreme Court that will stand up on behalf of women’s rights, on behalf of the rights of the LGBT community, that will stand up and say no to Citizens United, a decision that has undermined the election system in the country because of the way it permits dark, unaccountable money to come into our electoral system.”

“I have major disagreements with my opponent about these issues and others that will be before the Supreme Court,” Clinton continued, “but I feel that, at this point in our country’s history, it is important that we not reverse marriage equality, that we not reverse Roe v. Wade, that we stand up against Citizens United, we stand up for the rights of people in the workplace, that we stand up and basically say the Supreme Court should represent all of us.

“That’s how I see the court,” she said. “And the kind of people that I would be looking to nominate to the court would be in the great tradition of standing up to the powerful, standing up on behalf of our rights as Americans, and I look forward to having that opportunity.

“I would hope that the Senate would do its job and confirm the nominee that President Obama has sent to them,” Clinton concluded. “That’s the way the Constitution fundamentally should operate. The president nominates and then the Senate advises and consents or not. But they go forward with the process.”

Trump agreed it is “so imperative that we have the right justices” but disagreed on just the right justices might be.

“Something happened recently where Justice Ginsburg made some very inappropriate statements toward me and toward a tremendous number of people, many, many millions of people that I represent, and she was forced to apologize and apologize she did. But these were statements that should never ever have been made,” said Trump.

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, appointed to the Supreme Court by President Bill Clinton, said in an interview in July that she “can’t imagine” what the court or the country would be like under a President Trump. She speculated that, if her late husband were alive, he would want to move to New Zealand if Trump became president.

Ginsberg later expressed regret for making those remarks, adding, “Judges should avoid commenting on a candidate for public office. In the future I will be more circumspect.”

Trump added that the country needs a Supreme Court that “is going to uphold the Second Amendment and all amendments, but the Second Amendment, which is under absolute siege.

“I feel that the justices that I am going to appoint — and I’ve named 20 of them — the justices that I’m going to appoint will be pro-life, they will have a conservative bent, they will be protecting the Second Amendment, they are great scholars in all cases, and they’re people of tremendous respect,” said Trump.

“They will interpret the Constitution the way the founders wanted it interpreted,” he continued. “And I believe that’s very, very important. I don’t think we should have justices appointed that decide what they want to hear. It’s all about the Constitution of — and so important, the Constitution the way it was meant to be and those are the people that I will appoint.”

In defending her idea for a no-fly zone in Syria, Clinton said she thinks the plan would save lives of Syrians. She then referred to Trump’s earlier remarks that stopping Syrian refugees from entering the U.S. would “stop radical Islamic terrorism in this country. .. The killer of the dozens of people at the nightclub in Orlando, the Pulse nightclub, was born in Queens, the same place Donald was born,” she noted.

In one of the most memorable moments of the 90-minute event, Wallace pointedly asked Trump about statements he has been making during the past two weeks, claiming the election is “rigged” against him.

“I want to ask you here on this stage tonight,” Wallace said, “… will you absolutely accept the result of this election?”

Trump balked: “I will look at it at the time. I’m not looking at anything now. I will look at it at the time.”

Wallace pressed again: “Sir, there is a tradition in this country … the peaceful transition of power. And that no matter how hard fought a campaign is, that at the end of the campaign, the loser concedes to the winner. Not saying that you’re necessarily going to be the loser or the winner, but the loser concedes to the winner and the country comes together in part for the good of the country. Are you saying you’re not prepared now to commit to that principle?”

“What I’m saying is I’ll tell you at the time,” Trump answered. “I’ll keep you in suspense, okay?”

Former Log Cabin President Rich Tafel said he thought Trump’s comment that he may not accept the results of the election is “a threat to our democracy,” adding, “I’m hoping Trump loses badly.”

A CNN instant poll following the debate settled some suspense Wednesday night: 52 percent said Clinton “won” the debate, while 39 percent said Trump did.

© 2016 by Keen News Service




Why I haven’t commented on Watermark Church

Posted on 19 Oct 2016 at 4:27pm

Taffet,DavidSo why haven’t I commented on the gay man who was thrown out of Watermark Church after he stopped attending their reparative therapy class?

When a church encourages a parent to kick out a minor child who is gay, that’s child abuse and the parents should be sued for child support. When a church encourages a parent to send a child to reparative therapy, that’s child abuse and practicing therapy without a license.

When a church gets an adult to believe there’s something wrong with them and attend that same reparative therapy class? Here’s where I draw the line.

As long as what a church teaches doesn’t hurt anyone outside the church or anyone who can’t defend themselves, I really don’t care what they’re doing inside the church. As long it infringes only on the rights of adults who consent to have their rights infringed upon, preach all the stupid, narrow-minded, insidious crap you want.

Adults have the right and responsibility to walk away if they do not consent.

If you’re gay and going to a church that preaches that you’re going to hell, well, there’s nothing anyone else can do about it. Why are you going to that church?

I spoke to someone this week who said that when a relative of hers who attends Watermark was getting divorced, the church told her she couldn’t. That person then had a choice: Obey her church and not get divorced, or find a different church. You know, I never did ask which one she chose, because I really don’t care.

We have lots of churches in Dallas that welcome LGBT people. Not just Cathedral of Hope — although if you’re so damaged that you thought you needed to be controlled by people who hate you, Cathedral might be the best place for you to start. They have the most experience working with people who’ve been damaged by religion.

We also have at least half a dozen Methodist churches in the DFW area that welcome you for whom you are. Episcopal churches, Presbyterian churches, Lutheran churches, even Baptist churches that welcome you just the way you are. One person in our office regularly attends a Catholic church that’s happy to see him each week.

When a church has a policy of rejecting gay people and then they reject you because you’re gay, that’s not news. Don’t come to me and expect a whole lot of sympathy. What the hell do you think we’ve been fighting all these years?

Quite frankly, it’s shocked me how much sympathy you’ve gotten from other media. After all, what Watermark did was nothing new.

I’m not telling Watermark what to believe or what to preach, because I don’t want Watermark telling my synagogue what to believe.

So, to the gay guy that was thrown out of Watermark: I doubt you learned anything from the letter you received other than that the people at Watermark really do hate you. While I’d like you to try a church that will welcome you, you’ll probably end up at some place just as bad, like First Baptist Church whose pastor is a screaming homophobic queen. But he’ll welcome your money … I mean you … with open arms.


Stand with Standing Rock — in Dallas

Posted on 19 Oct 2016 at 1:44pm

This photo by Andrew Cullen of Reuters showed the scene from Standing Rock on Sept. 9.

Have you been wanting to join the protesters in North Dakota to block construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline, but couldn’t get up there to Stand With Standing Rock? Well here’s your chance: The protest comes to Dallas Friday, Oct. 21.


Kelcy Warren, ETP’s CEO

While most people have, by now, heard about the hundreds of people joining protestors the site to stop construction of the pipeline — and of the way the company and local law enforcement have used a variety of means to break up the protests, from pepper spray and attack dogs to arresting journalists and strip-searching protestors. But maybe you don’t know that the man heading up the company behind the pipeline lives right here in Dallas.

The Dakota Access Pipeline is a project of Dakota Access LLP, and that is a fully-owned subsidiary of Energy Transfer Partners. Kelcy Warren, who lives in Preston Hollow, is chairman and chief executive officer of ETP. You can read about him and his background here.

Warren is also the man who donated enough money to get naming rights to the city of Dallas’ Klyde Warren Park (he named it after his son), built over Woodall Rogers Freeway. And on Friday, he’s having a big party at the park.

According to a press release we received here at Dallas Voice, “In solidarity with the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, the Native American community of Texas and supporters, including Arthur Redcloud of the Academy Award-winning film The Revenent, plan to protest the pipeline outside a lavish “Dinner & Dancing Under the Stars” fundraiser at Klyde Warren Park.” The purpose, according to the press release, is to “dramatically illlustrate the disparity between [Kelcy Warren] and the Native American community that is being tormented by his company, Energy Transfer Partners.”

Demonstrators will gather on the public sidewalk on the northeast side of Klyde Warren Park, near the covered stage area, from 6:30-10 p.m. to “call on ETP to cease all construction on the pipeline in North Dakota, as well as Trans-Pecos Pipeline in the Big Bend area of Texas. Both projects are evidence of a ‘profit before people and planet’ agenda,” organizers say.

Yolanda Bluehorse of the Rosebud Sioux Tribe, said of Warren, “He named a park after his son, so he must understand the value of heritage for succeeding generations. However, that understanding must not extend past his own family, and certainly not to indigenous people, because he has shown no regard for our heritage or our sacred lands.”





UPDATE: Venterra COO notes ilume deal still pending; promises support for LGBT community

Posted on 19 Oct 2016 at 12:25pm

ilume Park

Venterra Realty’s Chief Operating Office Richard Roos said Wednesday that Houston-based Venterra Realty is “well aware of the GBLT community” in Oak Lawn, adding that while Venterra’s purchase of the two ilume properties on Cedar Springs Road goes through, the company will strive to be “inclusive and supportive” of the community.

Venterra is in the process of purchasing ilume and ilume Park, both of which were built by Luke Crosland’s The Crosland Group, and both of which have worked hard to be good partners to the LGBT community in Oak Lawn. Residents of the two properties received notices this week that Venterra intends to purchase the properties by the end of October, and that plans are already in motion to complete some physical updates and improvements right away.

Residents at ilume can expect new carpeting and painting in the hallways, restriping and power washing in the parking lot, a new bike storage area and “exterior metalwork repairs and paint. At ilume Park, the company will make enhancements to the dog park area.

Improvements at both properties will include new fitness equipment, new and improved tanning beds, remodeling in the offices and clubhouses including color and decor changes, new landscaping and ground cover, new pool furniture and outdoor sitting area furnishings, and updated Mac computers in the business centers.

Improvements such as these, Roos said, are part of Venterra’s focus on “quality of living and great customer service.” Venterra, he added, has “a lot of exciting things lined up” for ilume and ilume Park. He said that initial changes will be focused on the physical facilities and management and staff transitions and converting operations to Venterra’s management system.

(Dallas Voice has heard from numerous sources that most if not all of the ilume and ilume Park staff have received termination notices, but we have not confirmed that.)

Roos said that while Venterra is aware of the LGBT community’s prominence in Oak Lawn, “We don’t really understand all the nuances of the community” and its previous relationship with the ilume properties and management. He said he is aware that the North Texas GLBT Chamber of Commerce is housed in offices at ilume at a reduced rate for rent, but that his company has not yet explored that situation and how it might continue.

“Our first priority will be to take care of those first level things [like the facilities improvements and management changes]. There are a number of second- and third-level things that will come later, and understanding how we can best work with the GBLT community is part of those second- and third-level things,” Roos said.

ilume opened in the summer of 2009, and ilume Park opened in 2013.


Venterra Realty purchasing ilume, ilume Park

Posted on 18 Oct 2016 at 1:01pm


A company called Venterra Realty is purchasing both the ilume and ilume Park retail/residential properties in Oak Lawn, and will be taking over the properties by the end of October, according to a notice sent out to residents and shared today with Dallas Voice.

According to the Venterra Realty jobs website, “Venterra Realty manages apartment communities in Texas, Georgia, Florida, North Carolina, and Tennessee, encompassing more than 14,000 units.” The notice sent to residents indicates that Venterra owns “six other communities in the Dallas/Fort Worth area.”

The notice also tells residents that “shortly after acquisition” Venterra will be making a number of improvements to the properties. Residents at ilume can expect new carpeting and painting in the hallways, restriping and power washing in the parking lot, a new bike storage area and “exterior metalwork repairs and paint. At ilume Park, the company will make enhancements to the dog park area.

Improvements at both properties will include new fitness equipment, new and improved tanning beds, remodeling in the offices and clubhouses including color and decor changes, new landscaping and ground cover, new pool furniture and outdoor sitting area furnishings, and updated Mac computers in the business centers.

Dallas Voice has reached out to Venterra Realty for comment and will update this post as soon as we talk to them.


Stonewall rallies in Belton, McLennan Co. rejects protections

Posted on 18 Oct 2016 at 12:59pm

stonewallBell County

Stonewall Democrats of Central Texas gathered on the Bell County Courthouse over the weekend steps to celebrate National Coming Out Day, according to KXXV. Irene Andrews was the organizer.

Carmen Saenz from InterWaco, an LGBT group from Waco, attended to remind people to get out and vote.

Protesters demonstrated against the group.

McLennan County

According to the Waco Tribune, Amanda Talbert, McLennan County’s new human resources director, who was hired for her progressive thinking, planned to add sexual orientation and gender identity into the county’s updated employee handbook under employment nondiscrimination.

County commissioners balked. Each commissioner talked to her privately, according to the newspaper. Talbert claimed she was threatened that adding those phrases would be reflected in her performance review. Commissioners seem to have forgotten the threat when approached by reporters about it.

Commissioners only wanted what was required by law to be included.

Here’s the reasoning on commissioner gave the Waco Trib:

Commissioner Kelly Snell asked if the county starts adding protection clauses to the nondiscrimination policy, when would they draw the line and stop? Snell said someone could then want to include purple and white zebras in the county’s nondiscrimination policy.

Apparently the commissioner doesn’t know the difference between animals and people.