Sunday, November 22, 2009

A Thankful Week

I'm feeling Thankful today, the prospects of a home full of family, cooking  and talking, and maybe even some card games has me ready for the holidays to begin.  The Boy arrived home Friday night, in time to catch Sister's performance as a napkin, then off to visit friends at UT Austin for a few days.  We have more family coming down with three appetizer-sized dogs, we'll see how the dynamics of that work with our three 80 pounders.

So this is a long winded way of saying I'm taking the week off, but wanted to leave you with some things to read.  Here are links to some of my favorite Thankful posts I've written on this blog.

The Things We Gift Away - A garden, Alice Waters and a cook book.
How To Cook For Kids - A baseball recipe for East Dallas children.
Cooking In the Eruv - Orthodox Judaism is alive and well in North Dallas.
How To Cook An Eagle  and The Eagle Prepares to Fly -  Not the bird, but a boy named "Mijo".
Friday Night Tailgating - It's A Doozie - Because googling the Doozie Sandwich has sent almost as many people to this blog as Golumpki Soup.
Order In! 70 Smiles - To Go - You can't help but smile when kids eat their veggies.
Dallas ISD - You've Been Served - Kids in the court serve us some delicious results.

Have a happy, safe and Thankful holiday.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Sevy's Scotch Event #4 - The Macallan

Tasting #4 - The Macallan
Join us on Monday, November 30, 2009 from 5:00 - 7:00 pm for our monthly scotch tasting, five pairings with specially created dishes to compliment each scotch. $44.95 per person (plus gratuity and tax), reservations are required as seating is limited for this event. Contact Jimmy, Stefaan or Amy M. at (214)265-7389 or

Crispy Goat Cheese and Risotto Cakes with Wild Mushroom Sauce
The Macallan 10 Year

Mini Venison Sausage “Dogs” with Whole Grain Mustard Sauce and Caramelized Onions
The Macallan 12 Year

Smoked Salmon salad with Cucumber, Red Onion, Dill and Pumpernickel “Spoons”
The Macallan 15 Year

Grilled Beef Tenderloin, The Macallan Peppercorn Sauce and Crispy Fingerling Potatoes
The Macallan 18 Year

Dark Chocolate and Mascarpone Turnovers with Raspberry Puree
Grahams “Six Grapes” Reserve Porto

Sevy's Grill and Catering
8201 Preston Road, Dallas, TX 75225

Note:  Sevy's will be Closed Thanksgiving day, but open regular hours for the rest of the holiday weekend.  Have a happy and safe Thanksgiving and may God bless you all.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Cooking For Beauty

Yeah, the Beast was great too, but tonight's performance of Hillcrest High School's Beauty and the Beast was all about Belle. 

For those who follow Dallas theater, come and see Lilly Stafford in the starring role - nobody, nobody could believe this girl is a freshman!  One day (when this girl wins a Tony) you'll be able to say you saw her at her high school premier - and I'm not kidding.  

Pipes and poise, wow.

Lilly "Belle" Stafford with Ruby "Chip" Loman

Also a big thank you and standing ovation to Music Director Gary Okeson (Woodrow grad), cellist David Witherspoon, Paul Dutka and Woody Rowand on reeds, Eric Brewer trumpeteer, Nancy Jarrett on Horn, Michael Plotkin percussionist, Scott Eckert synthesizer, and last but most delicious, Hillcrest Band teacher Brian Smith, playing three different instruments!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Hubby Says "Yum", I Say "Can I Blog That?"

I've mentioned before that Sevy has developed products with Canyon Specialty Foods, their Star Chefs line as well as their Dean Fearing's line are sold at HEB/Central Market stores throughout Texas.   Last week an out-of-town group came into the restaurant, they wanted to see these sauces, dressings and dips used in actual dishes to get an idea of their ease of usage and quality.   And hubby came home saying that one dressing in particular was absolutely delicious, and a creative twist on old favorites - I'd call it Dallas Food for sure.  The Dean Fearing's BBQ Thousand Island Dressing bottle has only lasted in our fridge this long (1 week) because we've been traveling, it is truly tasty.

Now you may have grown up learning how to make homemade Thousand Island Dressing with Miracle Whip (ok, so maybe in Texas they use mayonnaise), catsup and sweet pickle relish.  "So", you think, "how much harder could it be to make my own and switch barbecue sauce for catsup?"  Well all I can say is good luck.  Because the delicacy of the flavors is incredibly complex, this is not made with just these three ingredients, it also includes capers, tamarind, lime juice, molasses, anchovy and ginger puree. 

And yum, lots of yum. 

How To Cook Disclosure

I walk a fine line with what I will and won't post on this site, it's become part creative writing experiment, part food business information and yes, part marketing for the business - not unlike cookbooks that are published by food producers, equipment makers, retailers and in olden days, radio shows.  I have a few in the Collection:  a S. S. Kresge book of 50 recipes for marshmallows ("Marshamallows are delicious, appetizing and unusually wholesome"), a Jell-O recipe book by Jack Benny and Mary Livingstone, whose Jell-O Radio Hour was sponsored by the food producer back in 1937.  There are many more examples, currently the Williams Sonoma cook books are sold in several stores, and are respected and purchased by many home cooks.

My hope is that readers find this blog credible enough to return here to read more, which requires keeping an eye on the quality of what is posted.  Likewise, hopefully it creates an interest in what we offer at the restaurant, and Hubby knows that requires keeping an eye on the quality of the guest's experience.  And while I try to tell it like it is, I work within the confines of my "food life" of friendships, business relationships and information that can't or won't be disclosed, which is why you won't find restaurant reviews here or information overheard at events.  Not only would it be disingenuous for me to tattle or downgrade a competitor, it is also perhaps disingenuous not to include this information, either way it impacts the credibility of what you might read here. 

But I think there is an interest in how people in the hospitality industry really conduct their lives, because in some ways it's a been glamorized, dramatized and self-aggrandized to the extent that people are beginning to recognize that artificial flavoring has been added.   This isn't the real lives most of us live, we see each other at charity events and occasionally at each others places of business, a few of us have worked together before and have formed close family ties.  And sometimes we even get to take awesome work-vacations together.   Even though we are competitors daily, we also enjoy tasting each others successes, so I choose to leave the bad stuff out of my blog, and revel in the good news (as she throws those 3rd quarter state tax receipt reports in the trash).

It's more of a life than I ever thought I'd enjoy, and I'm thankful every day that I have this opportunity.  If by not challenging or disclosing negative information makes this less of a news source and more of a marketing source, so be it.  It was never intended to be either, really.  And so in the interest of full disclosure, I should probably warn anyone who continues to read this blog:

I'm trying to sell you something good.

Monday, November 16, 2009

November Food and Wine Dinner at Sevy's

Join us on Monday, November 23rd at 6:30 pm to enjoy a special four course (plus sparkling reception) menu featuring
Flavors of Autumn
Seating is limited and reservations required (no OpenTable reservations please), $59.95 per person (plus tax and gratuity). Contact Jimmy, Stefaan or Amy M. at or (214)265-7389.

Duck Confit on Corn Cake
Cristalino, Sparkling

Crab-stuffed Jumbo Shrimp, Smoked Bacon and Jalapeno Grits with Leek Butter
Domaine de la Becassonne, 2008, Cotes du Rhone Blanc

Roasted Butternut Squash Soup with Blue Cheese Fritters
Miner, 2008, Viognier "Simpson"

Peppercorn-crusted Beef Tenderloin on Parsnip Whipped Potatoes with Pomegranate Glaze, Green Beans with Roasted Shallots
Domaine Fondreche, 2007, Cotes du Ventoux "Persia"

Milk Chocolate Mousse with Cranberry-Candied Orange Chutney
Elio Perrone, 2008, Bigaro

SEVY'S GRILL AND CATERING, 8201 Preston Road, Dallas  75225

Saturday, November 14, 2009

An Evening On Me, For Free

Check your calendars, November 19, 20, 21st, 7:00 pm, Hillcrest High School Theatre Arts Department presents Beauty and the Beast.  Because if you have one of those evenings free and are looking for something fun to do......
 I am giving away two free tickets each to the first 3 people

who email me at  Your choice on which evenings performance, and if you happen to miss the free offer tickets are $10 ($12 for reserved, $5 for students) and available here.

Be my guest! Be my guest!
Take a load off, let it rest.
Let us say, for a play
That you may enjoy Hillcrest's.
Parents worked, students toiled
Can we find a used gargoyle?
Brand new paint and carpet too
All just there to welcome you.........
One by one, scene by scene
Transformed, we hope you've been -
This is "local" artists efforts none-the-less.
C'mon down to Hillcrest
We'll do our best to impress,
Be our guest, be our guest,
Please, be my guest.

Lanie Simonton Hayslip, Director; Gary Okeson, Music Director; and Hillcrest junior Madeleine Sherrington, Choreographer.  Hope to see you there. 

Disclosure:  These tickets were not received as comps, no, no, no, no, the money flows the other way in supporting student activities - Sister is in the chorus.  And family, you are not eligible for this freebie but I have a turkey with ya'lls name on it.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Home Cooking - Mom Fairies, How Am I Doing?

So a month or so ago I read this post by Dave Fairies over at City of Ate, and I thought I'd made a food discovery roughly on par with a Dallas Morning News writer finding something amiss at DISD.   Gooey. Butter. Cake.  yum.  And the entire post was a kind of checklist of how to be a good Missouri Mom, did I mention that we have one child up at Mizzou?  Don't worry, he's not studying journalism.

But seriously I read this post and got too excited, because I knew I could do this!  Cardinals fan?  No problem, they are my favorite bird - and red happens to be my best color.  Everyone up at Hillcrest High School knows I can talk through an entire 7 innings of baseball, what's two more?  But wait - there was no recipe included, and not personally knowing Dave's mom, this was a game stopper - like a rain out or a dugout-emptying-fight.

Of course the real challenge for me is the cooking throwdown.  And I confess I was hesitant to take it even though Dave's references to the ingredients included my favorite three:  eggs, butter, sugar.  So I thought about it for a few days as I sat in the kitchen entering accounts payable on QuickBooks.  Thought about it as I waited for my daughter to finish theater practice, thought about it as I waited for my husband to come home from a double shift.

I decide to take an inventory of the recipes on and what is in the pantry, hmm, got this, and this, not that.  What was really needed, I determined, was to forge a way to a new Gooey Butter Cake concoction - because that is what Dallas food is, taking other foods and making our own mark on them (and besides I only had Carrot Cake mix on hand).   After all, what is more tasty than Carrot Cake and sweet cream cheese at the holidays?

Well "perfect" took four tries, a few of the recipes were total failures and my desire to have a round shaped cake required purchasing a 10" spring form pan when the 8" attempt was still too gooey after two hours in the oven.  But I think I got it, the Dallas version that is, and it is a delicious and easy option as either dessert or coffee cake for company or as a gift.

1 package Duncan Hines Decadent Carrot Cake
1 cup hot water
2 eggs
1/2 cup butter, melted
1/2 cup chopped pecans (optional)
1 lb. confectioners sugar
8 oz. cream cheese, softened
2 eggs

Preheat oven to 350 degrees (for dark or glass pans, 325 degrees).  In small bowl, mix packet of carrots and raisins with hot water and let sit for 5 minutes.  Drain all water thoroughly.  In medium bowl, add (cooled) butter, 2 eggs, cake mix, when well mixed add carrot/raisin mixture and pecans and stir.  Pour into ungreased 10" springform pan (or 9" x 13" pan), gently pushing batter up sides slightly.  Reserve 2 tablespoons of confectioners sugar, pour the rest in a bowl with 2 eggs and cream cheese, mixing until pretty smooth.  Pour into center of springform pan, allowing it to spread to edges naturally.  Bake for 20 minutes, sprinkle top with reserved confectioners sugar.  Continue baking for 70 minutes.

Have insulin ready.

How To Cook - Dallas Food

"What is Dallas food?" is a question that has been knocking around my head for quite some time, and certainly it means different things to different people.  Perhaps it is a favorite dish from a restaurant, or a recipe that typifies a specific era.  Maybe it's a dish your Bubbie cooked every year for the holidays, or one you taught yourself while growing up in Dallas. 

In Dallas Is Cooking, by Renie Steves, Caroline Rose Hunt's foreword lists the restaurants she remembers from the 1930's and 1940's
"To be assured of fresh fish, we went to Vincent's Seafood Restaurant, which was established in 1898 at 101 S. Poydras Street.  They brought their fish packed in ice by truck from the Gulf of Mexico; there was no plane service in those days.  Their cole slaw was wonderful.  I wish I had the recipe."
 as well as what was occurring in the current restaurant scene (1992):
"many different ethnic groups have settled in Dallas bringing their distinctive types of food and the peoples to appreciate them.  Dallas is famous not only for the diversity of its cuisine, but also for the creativity and quality."
I grew up outside, in DamYankee territory on the 1947 map of Dallas, and after moving here in the early 1980's tasted my first Red Velvet cake, Tex-Mex, and Pimento cheese spread.  I remember going to dinner at Stephen Pyle's Routh Street Cafe right before my (then) boyfriend was leaving for a year of culinary school and having the Tornedoes of Beef, each twin tenderloin dressed with a puree of either red or yellow peppers.  Or having business lunches at the former Agnew's up on the tollway when Dean Fearing was between Mansion gigs, at the beginning of Southwest cuisine's explosive popularity.

But several of us "DamYankees" have moved here in the last half century, and part of us has influenced what Dallas food has become, from relaxing liquor licensing in the 1970's to allow for more individual restaurants, to adding beans to chili, to helping the metroplex expand to it's multi-suburb neighborhoods.  And this movement of people to Dallas has over the years combined with other food influences to become the historical crust of Dallas' food pie.

My hobby of collecting historical cook books has taken a life of it's own, because I'm searching for the answer to "what is Dallas food?" and I know part of the answer must lie within.  We can't change history, we can only choose to ignore it, and in ignoring our past aren't we permitting the future to forget our todays as well?

So in the spirit of the holidays, I ask you to share.  What does Dallas food mean to you?

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Friday, November 6, 2009

Helping Save Babies

Food Parade from last nights March of Dimes feast fundraiser at the Fairmont Hotel.

Del Frisco's David Holben prepared Beef Tenderloin on Buttermilk Bleu Cheese Bread Pudding with Pepper Bacon Demi Glace.

Sevy's Sevy served Sugar Cane Skewered Jumbo Shrimp with Mango Black Bean Relish and Citrus Butter.

Stephan Pyles was right next to us, his restaurant made a beautiful Ancho-Orange Duck Breast with Butternut Squash Polenta, Smoked Cracklings and Kumquat Marmalade.

And Anthony "Tony" Bombaci made a Mint-Lime Lemonade with Ahi Tuna, Coconut and Thai Chiles.

From Suze, hunky Gilbert Garza prepared Sweet Gulf Shrimp and Shellfish Portuguese with Basil Essence and Creamy Organic Brown Rice.

Abraham Salum of Salum might just make the mothers of my Jewish friends a little green with envy.  His Ropa Vieja (shredded brisket) with Onions, Tomato, Avocado, served on Fried Plantains was to-die-for good.  I sent everyone over to taste this one.

Friend Lisa C. was helping her husband at the Chamberlain's booth serving Apple Cured Duck with Spicy Sweet Potatoes and Cherry Pecan Sauce.

Chef Elvis was in the building, from Shinsei that is along with TJ Lengnick, serving a beautiful selection of various sushi rolls.

And "the kid" is back, and it makes me very, very happy.  I met Aaron Staudenmaier about 12 years ago (at the opening of Citizen) and he was literally, a kid.  He's back in Dallas again at Abacus, Jasper's and Rathbun's, and making great food like this Slow Braised Pork Belly, which was very tender.

Chef Jamie Samford of Winn Meat Company made a Imperial Wagyu Beef Roasted Tri Tip with Red Curry/White Soy Glaze on a Celery Root Puree and Sweet Mandarin Almond Salad.

Bringing the pot pie to new heights was Scott Gottlich's Duck Confit Pie, which I would visit Bijoux to have again.

And J. Chastain (and he goes by "J", I asked) of The Second Floor made the most beautiful Crab Ravioli with Aspargus, Wild Mushrooms and Tomatoes.

My pitifully poor camera and picture taking does not do justice to what these chefs created last night.  But best of all they created an environment where people wanted to help give money to help others.  And that's good cooking.

Thursday, November 5, 2009


Old definition:  An island of east-central Philippines in the Visayan Islands northeast of Leyte in the Samar Sea, an arm of the Pacific Ocean. The island was the first in the archipelago to be discovered by the Spaniards (1521).

New definition:  An island within downtown Dallas, part of the chain of Stephen Pyles Islands on Ross, an arm of the Dallas Arts Center.  The island offers tapas from three regions:  Spain, the Middle East (various countries), and India and you'll want to taste them all.

Luckily we were with two couples who have traveled extensively and have tasted the "real deal", which they fully endorsed as authentically flavored.  My impression?  You can have a wonderful meal and not have to mortgage the house, the setting beautiful and soothing.  Each plate was enough for two to have a full taste of the dish (but they are small, tapas sized helpings)  and in general the wine prices were really affordable.

Of course I don't review restaurants - and truthfully he sent our group out the entire selection of desserts, gratis.    But even if he hadn't, I'd still recommend giving it a try.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

You Want How Much For That Bottle?

Louis Louis, oh no you gotta go.
Aye-yi-yi-yi, I said
Louis Louis, oh baby
You gotta go.

Thirteen years of great tasting brew
Has Sevy's not been good to you?
At nineteen hundred it's too much to spend
I guess our relationship now must end.


Second bottle's gone, but now I see
A six-year return is too long for me.
There's many a cognac waiting to sip,
Satisfying guests in an economic dip.


OK Let's give 'em something else!

Guitar solo

See Dallas is mostly dry to the bone
As restaurants go, Sevy's ain't alone.
Too bad on E-bay we cannot deal
At eight hundred thirty it's an absolute steal!


Let's take it on out of here now
Let's go!

* UPDATE:  With 21 hours left in the Ebay auction the .75 liter bottle of Louis XIII is now at $1,025, still a significant discount (over 40%!) from retail for those looking to schmooze the boss at the holidays this year!
UPDATE UPDATE:  Auction closed at $1,125 (COUGH, COUGH) I would have paid more if allowed to sell it through my business.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

November's News

Well there's that big food holiday, of course, as well as today being Chef Kevin Garvin's birthday. But there's some other fun things going on around Dallas in November, some in-town, some just outside. First, today is voting day, go vote. OK, here are some of the other fun things you can do this month:

November 2-5th and 9-12th (This week and next) - AIWF's "Days of Taste" program is what we need in all schools to help kids get over their "vegetables are yucky" phobia. Chefs, growers and the Dallas Farmers' Market combine with volunteers to help kids learn about good food. You can't miss them, they are all over the market in groups right before lunchtime picking out their veggies for the pasta salad they'll make back at the Resource Center. If you see them, slip them a few strawberries for dessert.

November 5th (Wednesday) - March of Dime's annual "Signature Chef" fundraiser is down at the Fairmont Hotel and Chef Kent has lassoed 20 restaurants, each plating small dishes of tasty treats. Tickets for the event are here, and the price includes helping kids who are born with some serious life-threatening illnesses.

November 8th (Sunday) - Help fund a cooking scholarship and dine on some "world-class" cuisine at Stephan Pyles Restaurant for "A Decade of Dining", a fitting name for 10 years of sending fiscally challenged students to top culinary schools. Chef Stephan has called in a fun group of Celebrity Chefs, each cooking a course. Last years winner is sous and there is a live wine auction for more fun.

November 14th (Saturday) - Chef Florine of Florine Bowman Homemade Quality Pastries will be the lead judge at this year's North Haven Gardens Fall Harvest Pie Contest. Chef Sevy probably doesn't realize yet that the first prize winner gets at $50 gift certificate to Sevy's Grill (I'll tell him later) as well as a $100 gift card to North Haven Gardens ($75 NHG gift card for 2nd, $50 NHG gift card for 3rd). And at 1:00 they have a wonderful fruit tree (FREE) seminar, it's worth every penny.

November 14th (Saturday) - Sunnyvale Chamber of Commerce is holding the First Annual Pecan Harvest Festival, featuring the "Nut Ball Hop" (a dance, I swear), vintage cars, vendors selling food and stuff, and pecans. Chef Andre Bedouret, instructor at Milestone Culinary Arts Center and El Centro Community College will be judging the Pecan Cooking contests for cake, pie, candy and cookies - all leftovers to be consumed at the Nut Ball Hop (no kidding). No word on whether it will be a wet or dry event, and I'm not talking about rain.

November 14th (Saturday) - PR person extraordinaire Karol Wilson chairs the annual Fur Ball, "Paws in Paradise" for the Dallas SPCA, which is food-related because (not Chef) Claire Heymann is the Honorary Chair. They will be auctioning off one-of-a-kind specially made dog and cat food bowls. Not made by chefs, but I'm going to make that suggestion for next years event.

So that's it for todays edition, plan accordingly.

Monday, November 2, 2009