With Lower Greenville Flourishing, the Libertine Bar Is Upping its Game and Punching Back

Categories: Food News

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For a long time now, the bar menu at The Libertine Bar has been pretty stagnant -- a salty bowl of jalapeƱo soup, some hog wings, a passable burger, a massive and economical cheese board. The food was good enough that you'd place an order if you were there, maybe before hitting a show at the Granada, or because the fiscal prudence associated with half-price food night was an overwhelming draw. The Libertine Bar was not by any means a dining destination; it was a place to drink and, if you needed it, to refuel.

Over the past few months, however, the kitchen has gotten a significant overhaul. First Josh Black, best known for his time alongside Matt McCallister at dearly departed Campo, was hired as a temporary chef, and promptly reworked most of the menu. Black then hired his replacement and current chef Richard Sipovic, who says he's made a few changes to how the kitchen runs but has otherwise kept Black's menu intact.

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The Original TJ's Fish Market Is Moving to Preston Hollow, and Expanding

Categories: Food News

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Food Bitch
Plates like these are headed to Preston Hollow this fall.
There was a big buzz when the second location of TJ's Seafood Market opened in Highland Park in 2012. For years TJ's had been a place to pick up a side of salmon, and maybe a few dozen oysters to shuck at home. But when owner Jon Alexis moved into a strip mall alongside Carbone's, suddenly table service was an option, with dishes like salmon lox with all the fixings and ultra buttery lobster rolls.

The plan worked sufficiently well that Alexis plans on duplicating it. He's scrapping the original location and moving it to Preston Royal into a spot that used to house The Purple Cow, a small, local burger chain. Once the grease stains are off the walls, Alexis plans on a pretty significant renovation.

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Been Waiting for Bigger, Better Crawfish? Your Time Could Soon Be Here.

Categories: Food News

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It's go time.
If you thought the whole "head-sucking" thing with crawfish had too much innuendo, wait until a girl holds her two index fingers parallel about a few inches apart and tells you she's seen much bigger. That was the image captured in an article published in the Washington Post last week about how the Louisiana shellfish are running a bit inadequate this year.

The Houston Press told a similar "tail" earlier this spring. Stephen Minvielle, director at the Louisiana Crawfish Research & Promotion Board, noted ice storms and cold weather were keeping mudbug catches at unprecedented lows. He feared the weather might affect the entire season. Thankfully, though, things are starting to look up.

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This Spring, Trinity Groves' Restaurants Are Really Blossoming

Categories: Food News

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Despite cold weather, LUCK and other Trinity Groves restaurants were doing steady business.
Last night the sky above Dallas was draped with thick, dark clouds and the air was cool if not cold. It didn't rain, but it looked like it might at any second. In short, the weather wasn't exactly inspiring for an evening of dinner and drinks, though you'd never know that if you visited Trinity Groves.

At least two nights this week, the majority of the restaurants at the new West Dallas development were packed despite lackluster weather, hinting that the coming warmer weather will cause the place to be absolutely mobbed.

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Off-Site Kitchen In the Trinity Groves Could Open this Fall With Very Extended Hours

Categories: Food News

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Catherine Downes
Off-Site Kitchen opened in its first tiny home on Irving Boulevard on Valentine's Day in 2012, and only then did we know that Cupid was real and his cute girth was because he loves smashed cheeseburgers. With a renewed belief in angelic archers, we dove into this new relationship fearlessly. Two years later, we still love owner Nick Badovinus' burgers. A lot.

See Also: Proving Off-Site Kitchen Is Amazing with Actual Real (Sort of) Science

Recently while researching the smashed burger science that explains why OSK keeps calling us back, I found myself with an insane need for a stock cheeseburger. But that wasn't happening anytime soon because at the time I couldn't make the lunch-only hours. The pain. I realize love hurts, but cruelty is unnecessary.

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Club Schmitz Is Dead

Categories: Food News

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So long, farewell, and what a bummer.
The Scoop Blog reported moments ago that Club Schmitz, the beloved Dallas dive bar located on Old Denton Road, will close its doors forever on the last day of May. The news will undoubtedly sadden countless barflies and Dallas-style-burger fanatics.

Of course, news of the closing does not come as a surprise. One month ago today news broke that the neighboring RaceTrac gas station had its eye on the land where Club Schmitz has stood for the past 68 years. At that time the RaceTrac folks were conducting a feasibility study and only planned on making an offer for the land if the numbers came out right. Apparently, the numbers came out right, so it's goodbye dive bar and hello extra parking and gasoline pumps.


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Making Music With Sichuan Peppercorns

Categories: Food News

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Buzzzzz...
It's been almost three years since I brought a bag of Sichuan peppercorns into the office, and doled them out to an unsuspecting editorial staff. As everyone let the papery husks sit on their tongue they experienced a citrusy electric sensation -- almost a buzzing. "That's disturbing," said one writer, likely because Sichuan peppercorns produce touch perceptions as much as they do taste. It's very unique.

We've known for a long time that compounds called sanshools present in the peppercorns cause the numbing, tingling sensation that electrify the mouth. What's been unknown until recently is how those sanshools work, and NPR has a story about the scientist who discovered just that.

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Stock and Barrel Inches Closer to Late Spring Opening

Categories: Food News

I'm obsessed with this series of YouTube videos titled Build It With Bruce. They feature Bruce Russo, whose design company B.Russo Designs is charged with the build out of Jon Steven's anticipated Bishop Arts restaurant Stock and Barrel.

The last time we checked in, Russo was walking us through the process they used to raise the roof a few feet to open up the space. He also mentioned they were saving as much lumber from the old glass building as possible, but he didn't say much about how they'd use it. This latest video shows what they're up to.

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Gemma Serves Some of the Best Desserts and Tea You Can Find

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The pine nut tart with tea service at Gemma.
Photos by Catherine Downes
In Happy Endings, food critic Scott Reitz travels part of the globe that says "Dallas" in search of great desserts and great places to eat them. This is the sixth in an occasional series.

In a few of these Happy Ending columns, I've talked about restaurants whose sweet offerings are so good they are worthy of dessert destination status -- places you'd visit for their confections alone, regardless of whether you've planned on having dinner. Gemma, without a doubt, is worth visiting just for a sugary nightcap. The Henderson Avenue restaurant opened late last year, and if you're interested in learning about the rest of their dinner service you should check out this week's review, but first focus on that pine nut tart pictured above.

See also: Gemma Is Making Beautiful Food, from Sea to Briny Sea

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Bocce the Restaurant to Open in Oak Cliff; Bocce the Sport to Take Over Dallas

Categories: Food News

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Bocce ball in Klyde Warren Park
I think it was about a year ago that I played some bocce ball in Klyde Warren Park, setting off a wave of nostalgia for what I think is the greatest drinking sport known to man. In another life, in another city, I was involved in a league and regularly drank myself into a stupor while lobbing heavy resin balls at my friends. I wondered why there weren't more bocce happenings here in Dallas. I even briefly toyed with the idea of starting my own league here, before I realized I had absolutely no time to devote to the effort. Little did I know a league was just getting started in Oak Cliff.

Bocce is taking off, not just in leagues but in the restaurants that host the sport. When the Vagabond recently opened its doors, it offered a bocce court out back. Bryan Street Tavern and Outpost host regular league play, and when Stephan Pyles' San Salavaje opens later this year, it will be flanked by a bocce court. If that's not enough, a new restaurant is opening in Oak Cliff very soon, and it's even named after the sport.

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