Tasting notes

Posted on 07 Dec 2006 at 6:17pm
By Arnold Wayne Jones Staff Writer

Dallas the Source of beverage trial; eateries prepare for the holidays



Desserts like this raspberry mousse cake are available for holiday shipment from Doughmonkey.

This is the season for friends, family and food. No one can give you the first two, but area restaurants can help on the third.

The already-essential new fine dining establishment Bijoux hosts an elegant truffle wine dinner on Dec. 8 and 9. Wines from France, Australia and Napa will be paired with courses accented with truffles. The cost is $200. For reservations, call 214-350-6100.

Oceanaire readies for 2007 with a special New Year’s Eve three-course menu, plus sides and dessert. The cost is $75 per person. Call 972-759-2277 for reservations. La Duni celebrates with a four-course dinner at both Uptown locations. The cost is $49.50.

Ron Guest’s popular Henderson Street Mexican kitchen Caf? San Miguel is selling gift cards for the holidays. They are available in $20 increments and discounts are offered for multiple purchases of at least 10.

Veuve, chef Tony Gardizi’s new restaurant and club in Addison, holds its official grand opening tonight at 7:30 p.m. Can’t make it today? Consider the four-course absinthe dinner on Dec. 22, where the notorious potable will make an appearance in all five courses. The cost is $100. Call 972-788-1928 for reservations.

Little Katana near Travis Walk offers two-for-one sushi during lunch during the week. Through the end of the year, it’s also featuring the lychee saketini, which combines lychee liqueur with sake.

Dallasite may get to set the tastes for the nation in the coming weeks. Smirnoff is test-marketing a new malt beverage, Smirnoff Source, in the DFW area. A clear version of its Smirnoff Ice, Source comes lightly flavored with citrus and contains about as much alcohol as a beer. It’s available at retailers and at clubs.

As if it weren’t already hip enough, South Side on Lamar has another purveyor of alternative foodstuffs. Texas Caribbean Foods offers a variety of Jamaican-style cuisine, like smoked jerk turkey and chicken, coco bread and bread pudding with butter rum-raisin sauce.

Restaurants are doing their part to get into the holiday spirit. Metro Grill continues a canned food drive for the North Texas Food Bank through Dec. 18. Dropped off some canned goods to help the needy during the holidays and be entered in a drawing for a free catered lunch. And through Dec. 18, area middle and high school choirs will perform at branches of La Madeleine across the Metroplex.

Hotel Crescent Court hosts its annual “Breakfast with Santa” for the next three Saturdays at 9 a.m. Kids can bring their wish lists and dine with St. Nick.

Rhonda Ruckman, chef at Doughmonkey in Snider Plaza, has packaged her cookies, cakes and scones in ready-to-bake containers. You can ship your favorite melted-chocolate center cakes and snickerdoodles cookies to your favorite relative or just keep some in your freezer for last-minute holiday treats. Prices range from $13 to $55. Visit Doughmonkey.com for details.

Tutto is no more, but in its place is Temptations, which serves Indian cuisine. Another Indian favorite, Clay Pit, celebrates four years on Belt Line Road by launching a new menu with items like crab cakes in mango cream sauce and a masala ribeye steak.

Gay chef Chris Svalesen’s Cedar Springs restaurant is no more. Sage, which opened on Mother’s Day, never gained traction, in part because of its location and partly due to the failure to secure a liquor license until three months after opening.

GermanDeli.com has a collection of Bavarian “rumtopfs,” decorative porcelain pots with rum used for fermenting fruit in liquor for a delicious holiday treat. They are available on the Web site or at 2890 Market Loop in Southlake. Also in Southlake: Central Market opened its newest store this week.



NEXT UP: BREAKFAST AT TIFFANY’S

During to holidays, people joke that they shop ’til they drop, but that’s only because they’re not eating well. Here are some ideas for maintaining blood sugar and energy during those marathons at the mall.

Mermaid Bar at Neiman Marcus NorthPark, pictured. Nothing seems like Dallas quite so definitively as lunch at the granddaddy of all department stores. The first-floor cafe (not to be confused with the terrific but higher-end Zodiac Room on the top floor) serves the signature tortilla soup, great pies and those notoriously good cookies (and no, they will not charge your credit card $250 for the recipe, so relax).

Bistro N at Nordstrom. Everyone cooed about the retail side of Nordstrom when it opened late last year, but its in-house restaurant may be the nicest surprise. Reasonably-priced lunches, including a delectable four-cheese pizza, provides an oasis from the hubbub of the sales floor.

Taco Diner in the West Village. Still one of the best places in town to get fish tacos, this reliable taqueria provides delicious but not heavy lunch options and great salsas.

Crossroads Market and Cafe on Cedar Springs. Sometimes, all it takes is a muffin and cuppa joe to tide you over, and Crossroads offers some yummy options every day, plus some sandwiches for bigger shopping days.

A.W.J.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition, October 20, 2006.

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