The Perfect Midnight Snack: Velvet Taco's Red Velvet Cake

Categories: Happy Endings

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Kellie Reynolds
Mo' velvety than an Elvis painting.
It's midnight on Saturday night and you've been out on the town getting likkered up. You're not ready for the night to end, so where do you go? You could swing by the Taco Bell drive-thru, but you'd probably regret that decision in the morning. Plus, they don't have beer. Or cake.

Velvet Taco, my friend, has both.

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Kiss Your New Year's Resolution Goodbye with Remedy's "Felicia" Ice Cream Sundae

Categories: Happy Endings

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Kellie Reynolds
The toasted walnut brittle is killer.
"I assume this is your first time here, since we just opened yesterday," says the bartender as I score the last seat at Remedy's marble-topped bar. Good guess. I tell her I'm in the mood for dessert, and she gives me a quick run-down of the menu. "We make all of our ice cream in-house," she explains, but she can stop now. She had me at "Felicia."

Yes, it's an ice cream sundae with a human's name, which is a bit awkward, so maybe just point when ordering. A few bites in, you'll be okay with it. In a magical world where cake transforms into ice cream, the specialty sundae consists of a giant scoop of carrot cake ice cream topped with a cream cheese ice cream (see what they did there?), drizzled with a lush rum raisin caramel and flecked with generous chunks of toasted walnut brittle. It's worth ordering for the brittle alone.

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LARK on the Park's Green Apple Sorbet: Even in Winter, a Worthy Outing

Categories: Happy Endings

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Green apple sorbet in winter? Yes, it's that good.
I have a proposal for you, and I know it will sound counterintuitive at best. Bear with me. Here's the plan: I want you to go to a park. I want you to go to a restaurant in a park. Time your visit between lunch and dinner services, and indulge in a holiday treat: sorbet.

Okay, it's not the obvious choice when the air's cold enough to double your face-lotion budget, but the green apple coupe at LARK on the Park will make you want to toss tradition to the wayside. Forget gingerbread and peppermint -- the usual festive, seasonal flavors. What you need is a beautiful layering of green apple sorbet and red prickly pear syrup, dotted with vanilla bean ice cream and bitters. You want the satisfying crunch of crisp, fresh apple tidbits and cayenne-candied walnuts. Get together with someone you like enough to share with, and enjoy the view of Klyde Warren Park afforded by LARK's floor-to-ceiling windows.

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BREAKING MEAT NEWS: Zoli's To Sell Meat Wreaths!!!

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Zoli's Facebook + Alice Laussade
It's so important -- especially these days -- that the focus of our thoughts on Meatmas is Meat.

Do you like wreaths? Of course you do. Do you like meats? OF COURSE YOU DO WOULD YOU LIKE A MEAT WREATH OF COURSE YOU WOULD BUY ELEVENTY!!

"What is a meat wreath?" you ask (for what reason, I don't know. I should have had you at "meat wreath"). According to Zoli's Facebook page, it is not what you call five naked men lying down on the grass in an "O" shape, but is, in fact, a "Christmas stromboli wreath, gloriously stuffed with mozzarella cheese, pepperoni, proscuitto cotto, Genoa salami, and Luscher's sausage."

The Meat Wreath will be available to you on December 24 only, just in time for Meatmas. And it's the perfect Meatmas Eve dinner. You must order no later than 12 p.m. on Wednesday, December 24, for pickup at 5 p.m., by calling 214-942-9654.

Would you like to see Lee Hunzinger, Zoli's badass chef dude, stuffing a meat wreath? The thousand views it already has says to me that you'd probably like to view this (I'm betting only half of those were people searching for naked dude stuff). SO VIEW:

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The Bananas Foster at Oak Is an Impostor. A Really, Really Good Impostor.

Categories: Happy Endings

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Scott Reitz
Bananas Foster at Oak
When the bananas Foster I'd ordered at Oak arrived sans pyrotechnics, I had a hard time consoling myself. (The ice cream helped a little.) The whole reason people order bananas Foster -- the whole reason this post-meal sweet is a kids' favorite alongside cherries jubilee -- is the requisite tableside booze flambé. The waiter is supposed to set the bowl down, strike a match (or pull the trigger on one of those unromantic candle lighters) and set the entire restaurant ablaze.

It's not bananas Foster unless cheeks are rosed over. It's not bananas Foster unless someone loses an eyebrow. This was a fancied-up, Smokey the Bear-approved version of Bananas Foster, and I felt I had been duped.

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Bistro 31 Has an Apple Tarte Tatin That Will Make You Rethink Your Suspect Life Choices

Categories: Happy Endings

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Kellie Reynolds
Look out, Highland Park -- there's a new chef in town. After a stint at Bolsa in Oak Cliff, Andrew Bell has officially taken the helm at Highland Park Village's Bistro 31. It may seem like a bit of a gamble, bringing in a chef from a restaurant with a bohemian vibe to meet the expectations of the see-and-be-seen crowd, but nobody get your Hermes sweater in a twist just yet. He doesn't seem to be rocking many boats.

When I stopped by for dessert recently, I wondered if the menu would have any surprises. Bistro 31's website is clearly in need of an update, given that it still features a spring menu and touts Eric Brandt as the chef. It seemed likely that Bell may have tweaked the dessert menu, perhaps adding something truly memorable, in league with Bolsa's legendary white chocolate rum tile. The server explained that the new chef has made "a few item changes," but the dessert menu is not for the adventurous: standards like crème brulee and strawberry shortcake dominate.

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Whiskey Cake's Whiskey Cake Is a Gut Bomb of Epic Proportions

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Whiskey Cake's whiskey cake boasts what borders on egregious whipped cream application.
Whiskey Cake, the Front Burner Restaurant Group's ode to casual dining in Plano, has been open for almost four years now, and other than two new locations, not much has changed. When Hanna Raskin reviewed the restaurant for the Observer shortly after it opened, she described creative cocktails, mustardy deviled eggs and a menu filled with other satisfying dishes that made the restaurant worth a visit. All of those things still hold true.

The restaurant still serves its namesake dessert, too: a whiskey cake with the texture and appearance of meatloaf, bathed in bourbon Anglaise sauce and crowned with whipped cream, according to Raskin. But I'm left to wonder if Raskin got as much whipped cream as I did.

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This Dessert Alone Is Worth Making a Trip to Stephen Pyles' San Salvaje

Categories: Happy Endings

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Kellie Reynolds
San Salvaje's Peruvian pudding, the lucuma suspiro
With a nationally recognized reputation as the creator of "New Texas" cuisine, 30-plus years of experience honing his craft and numerous awards to his name, Chef Stephen Pyles isn't hurting for credentials. Still, he continues to impress, particularly with the reimagined South American flavors showcased at his newest restaurant, San Salvaje.

This Arts District gem helped to earn Pyles yet another accolade this month: The Dallas Morning News' Chef of the Year. Our own Scott Reitz also recently named Pyles as a game-changer, noting that many beloved Dallas chefs blossomed under Pyles' tutelage. While much of the praise for San Salvaje centers around the unique savory dishes, dessert often seems to be mentioned as an afterthought. Obviously, though, a chef of Stephan Pyles' caliber surrounds himself with a highly skilled team, including pastry chef Keith Cedotal. With this in mind and with lunch out of the way, I headed downtown in search of a dessert that would measure up to all of the recent praise.

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The Blind Butcher's Dessert Poutine Will Make Your Night

Categories: Happy Endings

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Kellie Reynolds
Dessert poutine: not for vegetarians

The Blind Butcher probably isn't the first place you think of when you're craving something sweet. They're a self-proclaimed "Beer + Meat" Mecca, and they've rightfully earned a spot on Scott Reitz's list of "100 favorite dishes" with their pastrami egg rolls. Yet, this is where I found myself on a chilly Thursday night, searching for a place to catch up with friends over a huge mountain of ... wait for it ... bacon caramel corn.

Turns out, the butcher is not only blind -- he's also a tease. There it is, right there on the website: a beautiful pile of mounded-up caramel corn sprinkled with crispy bits of house-smoked bacon. I spend the day hyping it to my friends, and by the time we meet, everyone is worked into a bacon-craving frenzy. With only one seat left at the bar, we set up post at a low table and get our greedy hands on the menu. The coveted caramel corn is conspicuously missing. When I ask our server how this can possibly be, she casually explains that it has just been rotated off the menu.

As if our entire night has not been ruined.

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The Happy Hour at Joyce and Gigi's Is Killer, and So is Dessert

Categories: Happy Endings

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Chocolate cheesecake with a cayenne kick. Pow! Right in the kisser!
It's 9 on Wednesday night when I drag my friend out to Joyce and Gigi's in East Dallas. She's in nursing school and should be writing a paper that's due the next day, but fortunately one of us has her priorities straight: half-priced drinks and dessert to share. The restaurant's two-year anniversary is coming up in December, but this will be our first visit. The South American bistro has garnered high praise for its desserts, so I'm eager to give it a go.

Like a beacon on the otherwise dark and deserted-looking Hall Street, the glow from their windows invites us in. We're greeted warmly and take our places at the bar, resting on two bright-red tractor seat stools. As we peruse the drink menu, the sultry voice of Astrud Gilberto sets the tone for a relaxed night out that feels like a world away from Dallas. I land on the Sour Joyce, a foamy pisco sour laced with papaya juice, and it's everything I want it to be -- bright, tangy, citrus flavors with the added theatrics of the cocktail shaker.

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