Friday, April 30, 2010

Weekend Edition - Where's Amy?

Yeah, it looks a little tired, raising the question will it ever re-open as another taqueria?  Same rules, first to correctly answer the name of the former taqueria in this spot, either on TDCB or on Facebook (Amy Severson) wins a jar of Jim "Sevy" Severson's Truly Authentic Caesar Salad Dressing made by Canyon Specialty Foods of Dallas.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

What I Could Be Eating Now

If I were in Canton at First Monday Trade Days today.  It's a Fried Egg BLT, or for ordering purposes at the World Famous Dairy Palace, it's a Bacon and Egg Breakfast Sandwich (no cheese) add lettuce, tomato and mayo.

Maybe tomorrow.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

13 Years Ago This April

May 7th marks the 13th birthday of our "baby" (more like triplets some days) Sevy's Grill, but in April I always remember the anniversary of another, less happy occurrence.

It was during one of those epic Dallas rainstorms on the afternoon of April 25, 1997 when Steven Ridge was driving in his truck with 10-year-old Shamanic Johnson and 6-year-old Steven Ridge [Jr.] who had just been picked up from school.  He'd been drinking Crown Royal, testimony at the trial later revealed, but that wasn't a surprise to the police and medical personnel who attended him that day. He blew a 1.6 on the breathalizer administered at the accident site, and in the hospital his blood-alcohol level tested at 1.2.

On Samuell Boulevard, just across from the cemetary, his car crossed the center line, sliding an entire football field length in the hard rain and coming full force against the front of a 1 ton crew cab being driven by Ken Demko of Demko Construction. Ken was our general contractor, he and his team had been working furiously for several months to get our restaurant open by the date of May 7th.  In a moment of time, that became unimportant as Ken ended up in the hospital with a broken sternum, broken leg, broken knee, broken ankle, face ripped apart by his teeth when they went through his skin - he traveled by wheelchair for the next month and a half.

But Ken considered himself lucky. His truck had been hit with so much force that the motor ended up almost entirely in the cab; conscious but broken he was aware of all the events as they unfolded. The other driver was ejected with enough power to blow him out the window and practically into Ken's truck, but he was able to walk, stand and talk to a neighbor who was passing the accident scene. The two kids, unbuckled and unlucky, were killed from the trauma they sustained.

Steven Ridge was charged with one case of intoxication manslaughter, and got off scott-free. Family members told Ken that he had no remorse in the deaths of these children, his attitude was that they were his - to do with whatever he decided. His wife took him back into their marriage. And the trial failed to convict him.

According to Ken, the breathalizer test administered at the accident site was thrown out as improperly administered. The test in the hospital was thrown out because Mr. Ridge wasn't properly read his rights. The rain storm made it difficult to pin the loss of control of his truck on the fact that he had been drinking. The emergency room doctor who was (allegedly) struck by the (allegedly) drunken Mr. Ridge was never called on to testify, nor were any of the other medical personnel who attended him. There was testimony about the consumption of a quantity of Crown Royal prior to the accident, but that was not sufficient to satisfy the requirements of a guilty verdict.

Now all that may have been not enough to send that man to prison, and in some cases this might be rightly so. But it doesn't change the facts that two kids were dead, and that alcohol and driving were involved. Every year in April I remember the deaths of those children, just as their families do, just as Ken (and his family) does - he keeps a green notebook in his office with the details of what happened. And I hope everyone else who reads this will remember them as well.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Second Clue - Location 3

Did I mention the boss is out of town for a few days?  Doing a little hunting and fishing.  He just told me he shot a wild turkey.  I just told him I haven't gotten any work done since he left.

Let's see if this clue helps with the others posted earlier.  First to answer correctly the names of any of the restaurants that have been in this location wins a jar of Jim "Sevy" Severson's Sweet Ancho Chile Relish made by Canyon Specialty Foods of Dallas.

UPDATE:  Rob Banes over on Facebook (Amy Severson) answered correctly, "Ciudad" was one of many restaurants in the 30 + years this development has been around.  Connection to Il Sorrento - Il Sorrento was on Turtle Creek Blvd., Ciudad was in Turtle Creek Village.

RAKS Test - Math Portion

Restaurateurs Assessment of Knowledge and Skills - hey, it's TAKS week in public schools.  For those contemplating the food business, perhaps you should first pass Chef William Koval's (now Executive Chef of Lakewood Country Club) math for the kitchen.

Where's Amy - Location 3

This beautiful fountain has a lonely seat on the patio of this closed eatery.  The location has housed many places over the last 30 years, whoever can give me any of the correct names of restaurants that have been in this location will win a jar of Jim "Sevy" Severson's Sweet Ancho Chile Relish from the Star Chef Collection by Canyon Specialty Foods.

UPDATE (Additional Clue):  Two guesses for Il Sorrento are not correct - I think that old building has been torn down and replaced by apartments.   However, Il Sorrento's location shares something in common with this location........

UPDATED UPDATE:  And my research tells me that up until the 1960's this was formerly the site of Holy Trinity College (later Jesuit High School).

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Acceptance Speech - First Draft

You love me, you really, really love me (sobs).   I won Staff Favorite!

I owe this recipe to the lessons learned long, long ago at the euchre tables of mid-Michigan - when you have a winning ace, play the damn card don't hold it in your hand.   I have very few aces in my repertoire of food, most you'll find posted on TDCB don't involve cooking as much as they involve "making".   So when it  occurred to me to somehow transform my horseradish-garlic-peppercorn-dill-jalapeno infused Bloody Mary vodka into a salad dressing, I thought "Ace!".

I've learned another thing that helped with the development of my dressing, and it's about vodka - it's not just for drinking anymore.  Now before anyone accuses me of getting the judges at North Haven Gardens drunk thereby unfairly winning, let me say I submitted a virgin version for their perusal.  The spiked version I tried at home, and I liked it even better than the purely untouched batch.   But you never know which judge is going through Recovery, so I thought it best to leave as an optional add-on to the home recipe instead.   Maybe I should have spiked it in hindsight, and hoped for knocking one of them off-the-wagon.

So try my recipe, see if you don't agree, it's even better with a little vodka added in.

Makes 4 cups

½ c. pickle juice
juice of 3 limes
3 cloves garlic
8 whole black peppercorns
3 T. horseradish (pre-processed or peeled whole root)
3 T. tomato paste
1 can (11.5 oz) V-8 (low sodium)
2 T. Lea & Perrins Thick Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp. celery salt
1 tsp. fresh dill, fine chop
1 ½ c. olive oil
Absolut Citron vodka

Place garlic, peppercorns, horseradish, worcestershire sauce, celery salt and lime juice in food processor. Run until all chopped. Add pickle juice, tomato paste, V-8, process. While food processor is running, slowly add olive oil from the top until all is combined. Pour into container and stir in fresh dill, refrigerate overnight.  Right before serving, add Absolut to taste - just remember with vodka, usually less is more.

NOTE:  I purchased horseradish root, peeled it, cut it into 1" segments and soaked it in (Kosher garlic) pickle juice for over 2 weeks and used both the juice and the root in my recipe.  While the horseradish flavor was still strong, the bite didn't overpower the overall flavor of the dressing.

PS.  I could not have done this without the love and support of my husband, even though I stubbornly refused his help to keep everything fair he was still very supportive of my endeavor.  As the real saying goes in euchre - if you have a winning Ace, play the damn card - just don't trump your partner.

Friday, April 23, 2010

I've Got A Secret Weapon For Tomorrow's Contest

No, I'm not using the professional chef I love - that wouldn't be fair.  I'm making my own recipe for tomorrows Herb Salad Dressing Contest over at North Haven Gardens.  I've been soaking something for weeks to include in the recipe, hope it works.  Because so far this thing is in my head, never made it as a dressing, per se.   We'll see what the judges say tomorrow.

There is no pre-entry required for competing in this fun neighborhood event.  Just drop off 1 cup of your dressing before noon tomorrow, include the recipe and contact information, and cross your fingers.  There are prizes for first, second and third.  Personally, I think they need to include a prize for my category: Mind-Bending Delicious Alternative to Traditional Dressings.  If they had this category, I think I would have won their salsa contest last year.

More information is here.

New Location - Where's Amy?

Fridays should be fun, so here's another empty Dallas restaurant location for your puzzling enjoyment, I hope.  Can you guess the original restaurant that was in this space?    It was nice, steaks, seafood, a lyrical theme that was kind of jazzy.  

First to answer correctly wins a jar of Chef Jim "Sevy" Severson's Caramelized Onions from Canyon Foods Star Chef Collection.

And family members, you are not eligible to win.  Sorry.

UPDATE:  Answered correctly by Rosari Piccola Birmingham (most wonderful of mixed-age teachers over at Kramer Elementary, DISD) over on FaceBook (Amy Severson) - Gershwins!

Spring Update on Dallas ZooTube

I doubt the very nice folks at the Dallas Zoo realized the more international meaning of ZooTube, it took a few hundred Google search hits on TDCB for me to figure out all the traffic looking for "zootube".   So with that in mind, I've reviewed the attached video they sent and it is completely G-rated.  Good news for some, not so good for others.

Camel rides, $5?  I'm in.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Second Clue - Where's Amy?

Again, first to guess correctly the name of the original restaurant in this empty location, either on this blog or on Facebook (Amy Severson) wins a bottle of Sevy's Caesar Salad Dressing by Canyon Foods of Dallas.  No family members allowed to guess, sorry.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Kids + Farmers Market = Fun, Volunteers Needed

Are you looking for a one-time, food-related, fun volunteer gig?   The Dallas/Ft. Worth Chapter of the AIWF is looking for a few good persons who want to volunteer for the annual Days of Taste down at Dallas' Farmers Market.  I'm signing up, not because I have a 4th grader, but because it's one of my favorite bring-a-smile-to-your-face things to do in Dallas.   You don't have to be a foodie, you just have to want to see some smiling faces as kids (some of whom have not eaten many vegetables in their natural state, ever) make an awesome veggie and pasta salad, which they eat for lunch.

I did it for my kids way back when they were younger, in 2008 I helped with two schools and wrote about it on The Dallas Cookbook.  Read about my voluntary experiences with Hexter Elementary and Kramer Elementary (both DISD) and about how much more was received than given.


How do we teach kids today to eat healthy?
It's not a question of if you are wealthy.
High sugar, sat-fat, too much sodium too,
often the choice of kids through fifty-two.

Days of Taste is a program that helps youngsters see
fresh and healthy options. It certainly must be
considered as tasty and easy to fix
for kids to agree to a McDonald's nix.

Support this great program, help it grow through Big D
by sponsoring schools in this fun opportunity.
Contact your neighborhood school and request,
a Days of Taste sponsorship, bring them the best!

Contact Robin Plotkin to sign up for your date today.  Close your eyes, take a step, make the call, smile, it's that easy to do something new.

Let's Play! Where's Amy?

Been having fun on my lunch hours with my camera and my car, for the hell of it, why not? 

Can you guess the original restaurant that was in this space?  First to answer correctly wins a bottle of Chef Jim "Sevy" Severson's Truly Authentic Caesar Dressing from Canyon Foods Star Chef Collection.

Family member not eligible to win - we ate at this place too many times together.

Sevy's Grill April Wine & Food Dinner

Join us on Monday, April 26th at 6:30 p.m.
for our monthly food and wine dinner. This month we are pleased to feature

Delicious Wines from DeLoach Vineyards

Four courses plus a sparkling reception of some of their finest varieties, paired with uniquely created dishes designed to compliment the flavors of each wine.

Seating is limited, reservations required, please contact Jimmy, Stefaan or Amy M. at (214) 265-7389, or to save your seats!

$59.95 per person, plus tax and gratuity.

Peppered Bay of Fundy Salmon on Potato Crisp
Cristalino Sparkling

Jumbo Gulf Shrimp “Scampi Style” with Angel Hair Pasta and Golden Tomato Butter
DeLoach Chardonnay, California, 2008

Pan Roasted Hill Country Quail with Corn-Red Onion Pudding and Blackberry-Thyme SauceDeLoach Pinot Noir, Central Coast, 2008

Beef Tenderloin on Horseradish Mashed New Potatoes with Green Bean-Swiss Chard Saute and Mushroom-Leek Sauce
DeLoach Zinfandel, Russian River Valley, 2008

Triple Chocolate Cupcake with Iced Chocolate Drink
DeLoach Merlot, Russian River Valley, 2006

8201 Preston Road * Dallas * 75225
(214) 265-7389 * *

Did you know you can now get Sevy's Grill updates on Facebook? Become a fan today!

Everybody's on Facebook These Days

Write a check on a closed account?  That's a felony, dude, you owe us $160 for that bad check.  Nobody at the restaurant seems to know you, but moi, recently turned ON to Facebook figures you're there somewhere.  And I was right, and so I feel lucky it was only $160, someone is obviously pissed off about the $12,000+ you scammed.

Stephen Michael Luedders, you've been a very, very bad boy.  Shame on you.

Would Everyone Please Stop Chewing On Unicard?

Many people who hear the word "Unicard" think the whole alcohol sales/club membership issue revolves around having a gold (well mine is anyhow) Unicard in their wallet or purse.  It has nothing to do with this at all.   State law mandates that people who drink in a non-wet area join a club formed by the restaurant, Unicard provides a record-keeping service to these neighborhood spots that want to serve a frozen margarita or glass of wine, respectably and legally.  The Unicard facilitates the transfer of information - in other words it substitutes for your drivers' license, keeping your information private from the server.  In fact, the costs for a restaurant to utilize Unicard to maintain it's membership records is much, much less than doing the recordkeeping in-house.  It's other things that the current law cost the restaurant, guests and taxpayers much more money that gets me cooking.

When we opened Sevy's Grill almost 13 years ago, we utilized pre-lawyer Janet Ivy to assist in filing the voluminous amounts of paperwork needed for the application for a license to serve alcohol.  Her father, David Ivy Sr, sat in his office with Sevy and I to go over the services that Unicard offered and how it could keep us in compliance.  He founded and owned this very large service corporation, yet had the time to sit with us and explain things - people don't forget that kind of attention.   I can't speak to how well other services compare, we've never considered switching to anyone else.

But let's face it, the time of requiring people to sign up to drink in a spot has become too costly to maintain in a state that's seen a drastic change in it's demographics since it's Alcoholic Beverage Code was written over 60 years ago.   More and more clubs means more and more records that the TABC sends agents to review, we have to decide if our tax resources are better spent keeping habitual drunk drivers off of the road.  As long as the law mandates membership, the TABC agents are hired, devoted to the task of verification.  Because it is the law.   They even go out and do undercover "stings" to see if clubs are following the membership laws - fines are very, very high for failure to do so.

A much higher cost, born by the restaurant and it's guests, is the restriction from "clubs" being able to purchase their alcohol from a wholesale seller.  Because it must pass through an additional seller, the cost of product is significantly higher for a business located in a dry part of town.  The consumer, unknowing of this restriction is left with the perception that the business is more expensive, when they may be only trying to cover their higher costs. 

The most salient reason for changing current law is because our suburban neighbors have already done so.  It has not brought havoc or destruction to their neighborhoods, in fact it may have been partially the reason for a bar to close down in Plano.   But if Dallas fails to do so, there will be "pockets" of successful restaurant areas, downtown, bordering the Park Cities, along the Golden Corridor, Bishop Arts District, but the majority of development will economically be driven to the areas that cost an entrepreneur the least while generating the most revenue.  And the suburbs have that mix of homes and offices now, they don't need to come to Greenville Avenue or Addison to have a fun evening.  But much of Dallas must still travel to these areas, in some cases giving our neighbors sales tax revenue our city could desperately use right now.

This whole vote on wet/dry (I have no doubt the signatures will be obtained, the question is whether the state and county will allow it to be voted on, two years ago it was stopped) will change how many businesses will operate.  Retailers who currently sell to clubs will see a loss of those who switch to wholesale sellers.  Landlords in traditional "wet" areas will have property highly desireable for bars (where a food-to-liquor sales requirements are much lower), but will have to be more competive for restaurants looking to move to a more "domestic" neighborhood.  And from what I'm reading, Unicard will change to service restaurants and bars in other requirements of following the Texas Alcohol Beverage Code.

So to recap, "Dry" doesn't mean you can't drink - you just need a membership.  "Dry" is something that our neighbors have given up (and most major cities in Texas don't even have).  "Dry" means we taxpayers pay for agents to look through boxes and boxes of little signed pieces of paper instead of stopping wrong way drunk drivers on the tollway.  "Dry" means we have fewer small neighborhood spots, it's unaffordable unless they have volume.  "Dry" means some of us have to travel miles to purchase our beer and wine - and give the sales tax revenue to other municipalities.  "Dry" means guests of restaurants licensed as clubs pay a surcharge for choosing to have a cocktail in their neighborhood.

And Unicard, Unicard is a good company and good people doing a good service.

Monday, April 12, 2010

New Place In An Old Spot

Was driving around today and noticed a pair of signs hanging in the front windows of the old Houston's building on Walnut Hill.  Of course I had to pull over and check it out.  Apparently it will be called Glen Lakes Grill, the applicant on the Certificate of Occupancy says Rick Sheen.  Ooh, and they're applying for a Late Hours Permit too, might be more of a club than a restaurant?  I don't think they'll get too much objection from the neighborhood, many, many of the apartments have been torn down in recent years.  One thing they've got going, they're located in the shade of the DART line.

I worked at this place for nine months when it was a Houston's back in 1990.  It had severe sewer line problems, we would have to walk back to the kitchen on upside down glass crates.  I'm sure they're fixing that though.

Bring It On Down To Restaurantville!

Why does visiting the Texas Restaurant Association website make me think of this?

Friday, April 9, 2010

Who Can Blog On A Day Like This?

Get outside, enjoy the day.  We're planting blueberries and black raspberries in our new raised garden beds.