Drawing Dallas

Texas native Zjon Roberts returns to his home state — hot (Van) Damme!

MARK STOKES  | Illustrator
mark@markdrawsfunny.com

Name and age: Zjon Roberts, 19

Spotted at: Buli

Virginia slim: With his sparkling eyes, lithe frame, and smooth gait, it’s hard to miss gorgeous Virgo, Zjon Roberts. Born in Fort Hood, Texas, Zjon spent most of his formative years in Virginia Beach, Va. A few months ago he followed some friends to Dallas and is now settling in and making Big D his new home.

This quiet, unassuming, brown-eyed beauty hails from a large family; his mother named him Zjon after her favorite actor, Jean-Claude Van Damme. His hobbies include music, dining (vegetarian dishes are a favorite), socializing and when the mood strikes, dancing (he can stop a room when he gyrates).

He enjoys an active social life here in his new hometown; and you may occasionally spot him at the Drama Room, and occasionally at the Tin Room. Wherever he goes you can be sure he won’t blend in with the crowd!

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition August 26, 2011.

—  Michael Stephens

One last look at Honey Shack

When someone had the brilliant idea of opening a Hooters-like breastaurant in the gayborhood, they probably never imagined their cute sign would end up here. Ladies in short shorts and body hugging tops with sports on TV is a fine concept, but way too straight for the area. Needless to say, the Honey Shack didn’t make a lasting impression on the ‘hood. Nor myself. Or so I thought.

The restaurant is having the last laugh. On my commute from the south of Dallas, I pass this unnamed building on Wintergreen Road that is apparently a graveyard for restaurant signs. The Razzoo’s one has been there a while (did those all close?), but I noticed an additional sign a few days ago. Maybe longer, who knows? Life out in the stix (yes, with an “x”) is a blur sometimes.

I went to Honey Shack with colleague John Wright on a whim once. At lunch hour, the place was pretty dead. The nachos I ordered were akin to a salt lick and I never got a tea refill, so I never went back. OK, so I’m kicking a horse while it’s down, but since I never did an official review of the place, I had to get it out of me.

The spot is now home to Lolita’s Mexican Cuisine.

—  Rich Lopez

Get into the season with free pumpkin yogurt

Thanksgiving is more than a month away, but you can whet your appetite for pumpkin pie with a trip to Pinkberry today. From 4 to 7 p.m., Dallas area stores are introducing the new pumpkin frozen yogurt  flavor by giving away “mini” tastings for free. A good way to start the weekend, I must say.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

'Top Chef Masters' goes into final without a gay chef

AnitaLo

The final six celebrichefs who competed for the title of “Top Chef Masters” contained two gay cooks: Oprah’s chef Art Smith (who I interviewed about five years ago — sweet guy) and Advocate magazine food contributor Anita Lo. Last week, Smith got booted based on his abortive vegan ice cream dish… and Lo barely hung on. This week, Lo teamed with Jamie, a lesbian contestant from last season’s “Top Chef” (until she had to cut her in one of those inane twists), but ultimately got bested by hot-headed Michael Chiarello.

The finale is next week, as is the season premiere of “Top Chef.” It has long looked like a two-man duel between Rick Bayless and Hubert Keller.

Favorite line from the episode: the faboo Italian hottie Fabio, who used the idiom, “I’m sweating like a mountain goat at the beach.” I have no idea what it means, but he’s so adorable, I don’t care.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

And the winner of "The Next Food Network Star" is…

As you probably know by now, Lisa Garza of Dallas’ Suze restaurant was in the final three of the Food Network competition series. So did she win?

Nope.

Aaron won. Bad choice, but oh well! At least you read it here first… unless you logged onto the Food Network’s Web site last week and found out early. 

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

Easy come, easy go

I’ve really enjoyed Scene, the restaurant in Downtown’s Mosaic loft building from chef Blaine Staniford. At least I did until it closed suddenly two weeks ago. Now comes word from Staniford that his and partner Michael Bratcher have also left their other Downtown eatery, the wonderful Fuse (which has often hosted gay happy hours). Fuse will remain open — without Blaine, who assures me the duo are working on new concepts.

Until then, there are two new restaurants open in One Arts Plaza: Scott Jones’s Screen Door and Paul Pinnell’s Dali Wine Bar. You can read my reviews this week here.

And Stephan Pyles is helping to redo the menu at 1717, the luncheon spot inside the DMA. I’m checking it out next week and will have a report in a future issue.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

Does Oak Lawn need an official cocktail?

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Louisiana recently recognized the Sazerac — a mix of rye whiskey, bitters, absinthe and lemon — as the official cocktail of the City of New Orleans. Hearing this got me thinking: What makes a particular drink the beverage of an area? (Notably not the official drink of the Big Easy: The hurricane.)

So I’m gonna put it out there: What would be the ideal cocktail for Oak Lawn/Cedar Springs/Uptown? It can be preexisting or you can make it up. What about it? What cocktail identifies us best?

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

When will Dallas' foodie cred reach the coasts?

In the latest Forbes magazine, Dallas is listed as the fourth most billionaire-populous city in the U.S., and ninth overall in the world. Makes sense: Dallas is a high-tech mecca, an oilman’s paradise (Houston didn’t make the top 10) and is home to the highest high-end retailer on the planet (Neiman Marcus). Our real estate market, famously, has not tanked like other cities. There’s money here, no doubt.

So what accounts for this backward jibe: “Where do Dallas’ wealthiest dine? World-class chefs like Top Chef’s Tom Colicchio and sushi maestro Nobu Matsuhisa have set up lavish outposts in this unlikely gourmet destination.” (Italics mine.)

What is so unlikely about Dallas as a gourmet destination? Does Forbes’ editor not read Esquire, which has twice in a row named Dallas restaurants the best in the country? Does his idea of Southwestern cuisine begin and end with pale imitator Bobby Flay, instead of with Stephan Pyles, Avner Samuel and Dean Fearing (two of whom were owners of the top Esquire restaurants, not by accident)? How many four-star hotel restaurants does one city need before it’s considered a likely destination? It’s not all barbecue and enchiladas down here, guys; we’ve even been known to drink white wine.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

Big news in food: Aurora goes more affordable

Avner Samuel, the temperamental genius behind Oak Lawn’s most elegant — and perhaps priciest — restaurant, Aurora, has announced a change that might seem negligible to some, but trust us: It’s a big deal.

Aurora, which specializes in French-style cuisine in small but satisfying portions, has apparently felt the economic pinch the rest of us have. In a press release from his rep, Samuel will be changing his menu “to reflect the new times.” That means more sustainable (read: locally-grown and organic) ingredients and lower prices than before. No details yet, but for those who get culinary sticker-shock and have avoided it until now, it might make Aurora worth a look. 

—  Arnold Wayne Jones