In Praise of Ascension's Kyoto Brew, Dallas' Most Powerful Cup of Coffee

Categories: Coffee

Nick Rallo
That's a Kyoto iced coffee, not a whiskey and coke.
There is no day on your future schedule, none whatsover, in which you will get more work done then the day you sipped a Kyoto Brew from Ascension. You know that level of caffenination when you find yourself saying words at ten times the normal volume, and your laughs burst out like overblown microphones? When you say "YES ABSOLUTELY!" in work meetings so loud the person next to you goes to plug their ears? That's the iced coffee at Starbucks. The Kyoto Brew is something else entirely. On the caffeination scale, the Kyoto Brew is: Your Eyes are Headlights on a Truck.

It comes in a short glass, loaded with ice like a whiskey and coke. Its color is somewhere in between chocolate and mahogany. It's simple -- just a little single of the concentrated, cold brew with some crystal clear ice chips -- and it will immediately turn your brain into a Christmas tree. There is no day in the past five years wherein I've gotten more done than after the morning I downed a Kyoto Brew for the first time.

Recently, I saddled up to the Ascension bar to sip another small glass of Dallas' most powerful coffee. Here's a breakdown of where my brain went in the minutes after drinking the Kyoto:

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Six Awesome Food and Booze Events in Dallas This Weekend, November 20 - 22

Categories: Events, Food News

Grapevine Craft Brewery
via Facebook
Grapevine Craft Brewery is celebrating one blissfully hoppy year of craft brewing. It's a civic affair, this celebration, or so the guest list would imply. Grapevine's mayor is expected to be in attendance, as are lots of other people who can't be identified in a crowd. Ten beers -- including two special casks -- will be on tap. So join the Mayor for a pint, for Grapevine, for America. But mostly for a pint.

What it be: Grapevine Craft Brewery First Anniversary Party

When it do: Thursday, November 20 from 6 - 10 p.m.

Where dat is: Chill Bar Grapevine 814 S Main St, Grapevine, Texas 76051

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Sərj, the New Coffee Shop-Bookstore-Soupstraunt in Downtown Dallas, Has Big Plans

Categories: Food News

There's more than coffee at the latest coffee shop to show up downtown.
"How do you get a hot dog to stand up?" I'd just walked into sərj, the new coffee shop downtown, and co-owner John Walsh had asked me if I'd like to hear the joke of the day. It's not exactly the sort of question you can comfortably say no to.

"You pull the chair out from under it," he answered, finally. This is your welcome to this part coffee shop, part bookstore, part soupsteraunt, park joke factory that opened recently in downtown Dallas.

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Dallas Is Finally Trying to Address the Vast Fresh-Food Desert in Southern Dallas

Categories: Food News

courtesy of the garden
Soon, there could be more of these in South Dallas.
It's no secret that people living in parts of Dallas that lie south of the Trinity River struggle for access to fresh, healthy food. Whole Foods and Central Markets and farmers markets are abundant in wealthier parts of Dallas, but people in poorer neighborhoods often rely, necessarily, on convenience stores and fast food restaurants to put food on their tables. Now, though, city leaders appear ready to address the fact that vast swaths of Dallas lack a quality grocery store.

As NBC 5 reported yesterday, the Dallas Office of Environmental Quality sent a proposal to the city's Economic Development Committee that would expand Dallas' sustainable food supply initiatives in underserved neighborhoods by making it easier for community gardens and local farms to provide healthy food to their neighbors.

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Noble Rey Brewery Is Headed to the Design District, Which Has Become Dallas' Beer District

Categories: Beer

The folks behind your next beer buzz.
The Design District is on its way to becoming known for its beer culture as much as it is high end furniture and art galleries. The folks behind Noble Ray Brewery have announced they'll be setting up shop as the fourth beer maker in the neighborhood. Meddlesome Moth's seemingly endless run of beer taps only adds to a part of Dallas that's practically floating in frothy suds.

The decision to move came after an extended effort to shoehorn the brewery into an Oak Cliff address. Partners Chris Rigoulot and Justin Krey had their sights set on a 1930s building near the Tom Landry Freeway, but the old construction proved to be an issue. A filled fermentation tank can weigh as much as 10,000 pounds, and breweries need lots of tanks. The ability of the floors to support the load was in question.

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Henry's Majestic Chef Roe DiLeo Wants to Avoid Her No. 1 Dallas-Dining Pet Peeve: Inconsistency

Categories: Interviews

via Roe DiLeo
Chef Roe DiLeo, badass bar chef.

It used to be that you could only find "good food," the fancy kind made with quality ingredients, in restaurants that required both a jacket and half the average person's weekly salary for dinner. Now, though, times are different. Fine dining restaurants are struggling to adapt to diners who are demanding a more casual dining experience. As a result, gastropubs have exploded across the city.

Long before the gastropub explosion, though, Roe DiLeo was one of the few chefs in Dallas that was dedicated to cranking out top-quality food in a casual bar atmosphere. After years of winning awards and the hearts of Lower Greenville's dinersat The Libertine, DiLeo is still doing what she's always done at her new spot in Uptown, Henry's Majestic. I sat down to talk with DiLeo about her experience on Gordon Ramsay's Hell's Kitchen, fake-ass celebrity chefs, and what it takes to make excellent "bar food."

Recent chef interviews:
- An Interview with Lucia's David Uygur, Chef-Owner of Dallas' Toughest Reservation
- Josh Yingling & Matt Tobin: Beer Guys and Empire Builders

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How East Dallas' Cultivar Coffee Came to Be, and Where It's Headed in 2015

Categories: Coffee, Interviews

Mark Graham
All week, we're bringing you stories from Dallas' burgeoning roasting community. Monday we introduced you to the guy behind Oak Cliff Coffee Roasters, and yesterday the guys behind Tweed.

Jonathan Meadows was 18 when he started working at White Rock Coffee and fell in love with coffee culture. "A big piece of it was the culture of the coffee shop," says Meadows, who owns Cultivar Coffee, the Dallas-based roaster, with business partner Nathan Shelton. "You spend time with the same people day after day and eventually it starts to feel like home." He also loved the satisfaction of working with his hands and getting to see the direct result of his work. It was there that he also met Shelton.

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Dunston's: Dallas' Awesomely Old-School Steakhouse

Kathy Tran
The bone-in ribeye. No credit check required.
There are many steakhouses in Dallas -- places where you can order a thick cut of beef with potatoes gratin and spinach as a side, and places that serve plenty of overpriced bottles of red wine. You can treat yourself to a cold shrimp cocktail or freshly shucked oysters to start at scores of steakhouses in Dallas, and choose from plenty of decadent sweets to glaze yourself with long after you should have called it quits. There are plenty of steakhouses that boast a valet service, too. But the ones that tout a self-service salad bar complete with bacon bits and wooden bowls -- those are firmly in the margin. The dark, beautiful, smoke-stained margin.

Walking through the front door of Dunston's on Lovers Lane is like stepping through a tear in the yellowed fabric of time. Outside, Pathfinders, Civics and other modern cars fill the parking lot, pointing at something close to present day happenings. But just paces away, walnut-stained wood paneling and drop ceiling tiles frame a restaurant that hasn't been updated since the Ford Pinto was America's best selling ride. Nixon was president the last time this dining room with burgundy patterned carpet got a facelift, and if you're wearing a burgundy jacket you can blend in perfectly with the tufted pleather booths in the main dining room.

Recent restaurant reviews:
- TJ's Seafood Shop Has Grown into a Full-Fledged Restaurant, and a Good One
- Proof + Pantry Conjures Something Unique From a Tired Space

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Mesero Miguel Closes for Rebranding, a Rare Misstep for Dallas' Tex-Mex Emperor

Categories: Food News

Thumbnail image for Mesero-miguel-nachos.jpg
Catherine Downes
Nachos from the recently (but temporarily) shuttered Mesero Miguel
Shows what I know. Of all of the Mico Rodriguez restaurants, Mesero Miguel, on Henderson Avenue, was my favorite. But apparently the restaurant is in trouble.

See also: Mico Rodriguez and His Growing Tex-Mex Empire Are Putting Mi Cocina to Shame

The sign has been taken down for a rebranding effort, and the doors will remain locked through the end of the week. Apparently the newest Rodriguez restaurant, Mesero, is doing so well on Lovers Lane that the owner wants to copy the concept at his Mesero Miguel location. In other words: Mesero may be Rodriguez's new Mi Cocina.

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A Fancy French Bistro Called Cépage Is Opening in ... Deep Ellum?

Categories: Food News

Terry Shuck/Flickr
Deep Ellum is back, but is it ready for a French bistro?
If you haven't made it to Deep Ellum in the last year, you may not realize that it's currently undergoing a massive facelift. Segments of the streets and sidewalks are missing, all in the name of renovating the old neighborhood with a uniquely grungy reputation. Now, it looks as if that process could ultimately end up in a Deep Ellum with an entirely different character.

Yesterday, CultureMap reported that longtime Dallas restaurant scene figure Jean-Michel Sakhoui will open a French bistro and wine bar called Cépage in the space formerly occupied by the short-lived EZ Dude BBQ. Sakhoui told CultureMap that the menu would focus both on classic French dishes, including French onion soup and croque madames, and a well-cultivated list of wines.

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