Friday, August 31, 2007

Drinking Dallas: McKinney Avenue Tavern

I had a happy hour with my former Nortel coworkers at the McKinney Avenue Tavern. Although no one from Nortel showed up. I'll have a discussion with Satre later on whether it's really a Nortel happy hour if no one from Nortel is there.

The MAT, as it calls itself, is your typical generic Dallas bar/pub -- big screen TVs, lot's of the usual suspects on tap, generic bar food. They did have Sierra Nevada on tap, so there was something to drink. But the food is what was the real standout. They managed to be both generic and terrible. The jalapeno poppers had no heat whatsoever. And the artichoke dip had a Love Canal like after taste. And for you kids reading this, that's not a euphemism for vagina.

There's pretty much nothing to recommend this place. The patio was good for people watching the parade of characters marching up and down McKinney, though. And does every fucking bar and restaurant have to have 24 valet these days?? We got there around 6pm. The place was mostly empty. All the parking was being taken by valet. What is the fucking point of this? Shouldn't the closest spots be reserved for customers? The point of valet is that there are no more close spots left and you don't want to walk. I don't want to pay to have my car parked 10 feet.

D -- would have been C, but lost a letter for valet.

2822 McKinney Avenue Dallas, Texas 75057

Eating Las Colinas: Via Real

I met up with Peach for some lunch out in the northern burbs and ended up at Via Real. And this place is the very definition of suburban dining. First off, this place strives to be an upscale-ish Mexican restaurant. And I guess that means there can be no spice anywhere within 500 feet of the plate. And do we really need valet (and thus all the closest spaces blocked of) for lunch???

We started out with some chips and guac. Their guac was good, but creamy instead of chunky. It could have used some extra onion or garlic and, of course, jalapeno. The chips were of the thin pasta flavored typed. The salsa was also good but nothing to write a blog about.

For my meal I had to make a big decision. There is one big rule in Mexican food dining -- never get the seafood. But this was a upscale restaurant, and I figured they would have good seafood. So I got the seafood enchiladas. They weren't bad, but they didn't have much flavor. Worse yet, they came with corn that was clearly out of a can.

For dessert we got this tortilla wrapped cinnamon cheese cake. It too was OK. The tortilla seemed a bit stale, like it had been made many hours ago. It did come with a couple of delicious strawberries. So it get points for that.

C

4020 North MacArthur Boulevard Irving, TX 75038-6413

Thursday, August 30, 2007

New Phone

I finally abandoned Sprint PCS. After 3 1/2 years of dropped calls in my house and unsent text messages I have moved to Verison Wireless. I have been waiting for the new RAZR2. I have it and it's cool. At least to me, but I'm what some might refer to as a cell phone nerd.

Observation at Mockingbird Station

Yeah, this is a little late. I've actually been kinda busy this week.

So reflecting on my trip to Mockingbird Station yesterday (well, by this time two days ago) I had a few observations.

1) It was nice to see the park and ride lot closest to the DART station full. Well, except for I wanted to park there. I guess the increase in gas prices have finally forced Dallasites to ride the DART. For the one month I actually rode the train regularly to work back in 2005, I could easily find a parking spot close to the station. But back then gas was $1 a gallon.

2) I was also surprised at how few people were milling about the Mockingbird Station on a fairly nice Wednesday afternoon. The Urban Taco was mostly full at lunchtime. But it emptied out quickly after I got there. Oh, wow. Maybe it was me. Well the parking garage was nearly empty. So maybe it wasn't me.

Entrepreneurial Seminar

I attended an entrepreneurial seminar Thursday afternoon as apart of my Right Management benefit. Ideally I would like to own my own (redundant?) business. But man there seems to be a lot of work involved. I didn't really enjoy it. The seminar was way too much about asking the class questions. I'm not there to hear what the blowhards taking the seminar have to say. I'm there to hear what the instructor has to say. But on a positive not the Right Management office is right by the Greenhill school. As I was leaving, I saw the girls field hockey team practicing in their plaid skirts. Which was nice.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Movie Review: Sunshine

My next stop at Mockinbird Station, was the Angelika to see Sunshine. This is a movie I wanted to see at the beginning of The Summer of Steve but it fell through the cracks of my life when I went to Jersey and came back and was sick for two weeks. So, while looking for where The King of Kong was showing (to be reviewed Friday) I was delighted to see that Sunshine was still showing.

Sunshine tries to be a better, smarter Armageddon or The Core. Basic plot -- a group of scientists/astronauts race to save the world as they get picked off one by one. In Sunshine, the sun is dimming and our group of heroes must race to the sun and deliver a package that will jump start it.

One of the nice things about Sunshine is that it starts in mid story. One expedition has already been sent, and failed. And we pick up this second expedition midway to the sun. And then we get little moments of the characters' lives as they plummet to sun to their likely demise.

Then, as they're whipping around Mercury, they find the first expedition and decide to go to it. Of course this causes bad things to happen and people start dying. Up to this point the movie was smart and interestingly played with the concepts of long voyage isolation. The plot is largely grounded in science. And then, inexplicably, the movie turns into an Alien-like monster movie. I guess the writers couldn't think of a better way to add drama to the last act. Will our heroes jump start the sun?? Well, we can't just have them do it. We need something for them to overcome. I know! A monster!

While the scenes of the sun are beautiful, I would not describe this as an FX extravaganza. The effects are seemless and, for the most part don't jump up and down out you like some movies about stars and wars.

I really wanted to like this movie and was until about the last 30 minutes.

  • 0 breast
  • 1 beast
  • explosive decompression fu
  • drill to the sternum fu

King Wally says check it out.

B for the first 90 minutes.

D for the last 30.

Eating Dallas: Urban Taco

I thought I had an entrepreneurial seminar today, but it's really tomorrow. So I had the whole day full of nothing and decided to spend it at Mockingbird Station. My first destination was Urban Taco. This is a Mexico City style taco joint. Upon entering, I was not exactly transported to Mexico City. The furniture in this restaurant looked to be from one of those European furniture stores over by the Galleria.

I saddled up to the counter and ordered a 3 taco combo (it comes with 2 sides) and a margarita. They had both mango and passion fruit margaritas. Since I was headed to the Angelika afterwards, I wanted to go full blown AIDS gay, so I went with the passion fruit. It was tart but very tasty. And the pepper flake salt rim was an interesting touch. Oh good christ. Did I really just write that?? I hate when reviewers use the pharse "nice touch" or "interesting touch". I'm just not a touchy person. Handsy, yes. But not touchy.

For my sides I got the roasted corn con lime crema. This was very good. The corn was perfectly roasted and tasted as if it had just been stripped off the cobb. And the dressing was a delicious compliment. I also got the cebollitos -- grilled green onions. I love onions and I love grilled vegetables. But this didn't work for me. I only ate one of the two.

The tacos I got were the chicken tinga which was bland and my least favorite of the three. Second was the garlic mojo red snapper. This was a little better than the chicken. The snapper was a little dry, but had a nice grilled flavor. Finally I had the pork al pastor. Wow was this one good -- full of flavor and tasty porky goodness. I highly recommend them. All three tacos came on very tasty corn tortillas. So even the worst of these tacos will taste good on these tortillas.

I should warn that these tacos are very small -- probably about half the size I was expecting. But the whole meal was filling. And they do have several dessert options. None of which I tried.

B

5331 E Mockingbird Lane Dallas, TX 75206

Texas Becomes More Ultimate Friendly

Someone tell Stu about this article.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

BSG + RC = Crazy Highlarryass

More Dental Torture

I spent the greater part of this morning at the dentist again. This time I had two fillings replaced and a new crown added. Well, it's really a temp. Thankfully there was no root canal or any other wire inserted into me. So I have that going for me. Which is nice.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Resumé

Today I went to my Right Management Resumé course. So I basically had to rewrite my resumé from scratch. In doing so, I was reminded of jobs and places, both literal and spiritual, from over a decade ago. Looking back at those years in Houston and those early years in Dallas was not a lot of fun for me. Stuff like this one:

SPERRY-SUN, Houston, TX 1991 - 1992
Programmer
Designed and implemented a Microsoft Windows based application for simplifying the data input for the worldwide movement of capital equipment and related information. (MS C)

really make me feel like this has all been a waste and I don't want to do it anymore. I'm talking about programming. I'm not getting all Owen Wilson on you.

Two Months

This is the two month mark of The Summer of Steve. Looking back, I feel like I got very little accomplished. Sure, I bought a new car, took down some ugly mirrors, threw a couple of parties, took a vast amount of antibiotics, ate at lot of new restaurants and played blackjack while sipping Dr Pepper. But I should have done better. Well, as soon as my new license plates come in I will commence with my Walkabout. Anyone want a husky for 3 weeks?

Sunday, August 26, 2007

More Pictures of White Rock



I wanted to test how this stuff worked before I went out on my Walkabout. I'll probably do these kinds of gallerys for the larger groups of pix. Oh, and yeah, more egrets.

Brunching Dallas: Bread Winners

Bread Winners is one of those places that I've been wanting to try for years but didn't want to fight through the douchey McKinney Ave crowd. Lucky for me there is a also one in Inwood Village. Here you only have to fight through the post church HP crowd with their stretched faces and big hats.

Since I had yet to show the Lovely Lidia my new Xterra (by the way does everyone know that she was the one that suggested it. Thank you baby jebus for Lidia), going to brunch kills two birds. Three, if you count the pigeon I ran over on Oak Lawn.

This was a first time for both of us and we each started off with an adult beverage. I got a rather mediocre Bloody Mary, she got a raspberry Bellini which was so good but so gay it made me want to blow the next guy I saw. Later, she ordered a peach Bellini, which was not as good.

For our main dish, we each got basically the same thing, scrambled eggs with cheese, chorizo, peppers, onions, salsa and jalapenos. I got mine in taco form, however. We thought we were getting differnt things, but what are you going to do?? We also split an order of banana bread french toast. The eggs were good but I was disappointed by the tortillas. This is basically a bakery. So what's with the packaged tortillas?? The Freedom Toasts was also good. But I should have ordered the plain French Toast -- perhaps on my next visit.

This place is definitely the shiznit for Sunday brunch. Lot's of choices and lots of good stuff. Be sure to try to get there before the religious types get out of Church.

B+

5560 W Lovers Ln, Dallas, TX 75209

Saturday, August 25, 2007

The Hairy Xterra


Just one trip to and from Friday night pickup and my new car looks like this. Luckily this one is a lot easier to clean than the 4Runner.

Drinking Plano: M & S Beer and Wine

Heading home from my trip up north, I stopped by this place to see what tasty Lagunitas offerings they had. And upon seeing The Hairy Eyeball staring back at me I was as giddy as Glenn on the day the new Men's Fitness comes out.

For the uninitiated, The Hairy Eyeball is this country's finest beer. A petulant 22oz barley wine that deftly balances a strong malty sweetness with the bitterness of Oregon's finest hops. Besides the Vicadin Colada, it is the closest thing to a liquid orgasm available over the counter in the US. And I am now the proud owner of three (soon to be two, well probably soon to be none) of them.


This place is basically a gas station, but has a nice selection of beer and wine. But most importantly, it always has something good from Lagunitas.







18131 Coit Rd Dallas, TX 75252

Lidia Wants Everyone to Know

That she suggested the Xterra. So she gets full credit. Hurray for Lidia!!!!

Where are all the Dairy Queens?

My trip to Carl's Jr. was really only a portion of a larger trip through north Texas. I decided to take the Xterra out to the country and do some drivin. On my trip, I noticed a few things. First, Frisco damn near goes all the way to Oklahoma. I remember when I first moved back to Dallas and Frisco was nothing but farmland and whore houses. Ahh sweet memories.

Second, what has happened to the Texas tradition of a DQ in even the smallest of towns? I drove up Preston Rd all the way to Sherman and saw only 1 Dairy Queen building and it had clearly been vacant for a couple of decades. Instead, it seems, every town has a Sonic. So I guess Sonic is the new Dairy Queen. Still, how can you really grow up in a small Texas town without a single Dilly Bar under your belt??

Eating Melissa: (Hot) Carl's Jr.

Yes, that is my most juvenile headline ever. Thank you for noticing.

Back when I was in high school, when dinosaurs roamed the Earth, Carl's Jr was all over the area. And they used to be my favorite fast food place. Back then, they used to top every burger with an onion ring. Now that's class. So, when I found out there was one in Anna (ok, it's really in Anna, but Melissa is a funnier name) I had to make the trek.

This particular Carl's Jr. is located within a truckstop on US 75 in Anna, just north of McKinney. The service here was a bit, uhm, questionable. First, I wasn't even in the queue and was being asked what I wanted as I was gazing heavenward at the colorfor menu board. Then, after asking for the Six Dollar Bacon Cheese Burger (that's what it's called, the Six Dollar Burger, it's Angus -- giggle) the cashier blankly looked at me and asked what number that was. I only mention this since in 4-5 years Anna will be the new Murphy which is the new Allen. And for those planning on moving out there, I am warning that the schools may not be all that good. Just sayin.

The burger was good for a fast food burger. But not quite as good as a Whataburger. The fries were the strange battered type that Burger King has. And I made the cardinal mistake of not telling them to hold the cheese. Even though it was a Six Dollar Burger, the cheese was generic processed American cheese food. Do people really like this shit on their burger?? To me it leeches out the flavor of the burger. Now a nice aged cheddar or provalone or manchego (which I always get on my burger at The Libertine) can make a burger better.

Overall, this is not the Carl's Jr. I remember from my youth. Probably some kind of combination of refined palate, disappearance of the onion ring and countless nights of binge drinking.


C+


1701 US Highway 75 Anna, TX 75409-4431

BJ's Beer Pong

Not a joke. A real site.
Check it out.

Friday, August 24, 2007

Movie Review: Superbad

No one has gotten a handjob wearing cargo shorts since Nam.

Hey. How's this for a opening line to a movie review? "Superbad was SUPER GOOD!!!!" hahahahahahahahaha. Thanks Norm.

This is truly the funniest movie I've seen in many years -- funnier than Borat or 40 Year Old Virgin. I'm not sure if you, my gentle readers, are aware of this, but I'm a bit of what they call a nerd. So maybe there is a great deal of relating to the material going on here. But this is a genuinely sweet and highlarryasslee funny teen movie the likes of which we haven't seen since Fast Times.

There's really not much more to say except "Stop reading this blog and go see this fucking movie. NOW!!!!"

  • 2 breasts
  • countless sketches of penises
  • 1 drunken hobo
  • 1 visiting Aunt Flo
  • drunken fu
  • police car fu

Academy award nomination for best conjugation of the word fellatio.

King Wally says check it out.

A+

Bought Finally!

I spent the better part of Thursday afternoon purchasing my new Nissan Xterra. I believe I now must purchase a Suburu to complete the Japanese auto hat trick. I have had a Mitsubishi Gallant, Mazda Miata, Toyota 4Runner, Honda S2000 and now a Nissa Xterra.

So, here she is:


The back with the hatch up. The ultimate bag already in place.

The vehicle comes with a first aid kit for all the Xtreme activities I'll be doing.

Cool stereo that plays MP3s.

The view from the Captain's seat.

It's hard to tell in this light, but it's not black. It's dark armor. Kind of a dark gray.

Cool Pic of the Day


Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Pick the Caption




Eating Lakewood: The Dixie House

I seriously haven't had chicken fried steak in years. And upon reviewing AllGood yesterday, I wanted to gauge how good the AllGood was. As I stated in my review, one of my favorite CFS places of all time is The Blackeyed Pea. Yeah, it's a chain. So I can't go there. Instead I went to the Pea's half-sister The Dixie House.

The interior does remind one of an old country restaurant. It has that old wood building smell that makes you feel like this place has been there for a long time. And the place was relatively packed for the late lunch time frame I visited.

To properly compare I ordered the same thing CFS with mashed potatoes and green beans. I even forgot to order the gravy on the side again. I'm dumb.

The mashed potatoes were good but not fantastic. While clearly "homemade" they lacked the garlicky goodness of AllGood. And, yes, the green beans were mushy. Also, the meal comes with jalapeno cornbread and yeast rolls. These were a delight. Although the cornbread could have had more jalapenos.

So, how was the CFS? It was good and it was big. Nearly twice as big as the steak at AllGood. But there was way too much coating. And in places it was almost cakey. Where the coating was manageable, the steak was good. However I definitely felt like I had had chicken fried steak once I was finished.

I didn't leave the Dixie House excited to return for it's other offerings. So I may be grading a little more harshly. But it's my blog. If you don't like it get your own fucking blog.

I'm sorry baby. I don't know what got into me. I guess it's all the grease coursing through my growingly clogged arteries. Forgive me?


B-


6400 Gaston Dallas, TX 75214

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Sunset at the Lake


Eating Deep Ellum: AllGood Cafe

After slacking off last week, I decided I needed to get back in the swing of things by going somewhere I've really wanted to eat -- AllGood Cafe. Ever since I read about it, and more importantly its chicken fried steak, in Dallas Food I've wanted to make a lunch visit.

Walking into AllGood you are immediately returned to a time when Deep Ellum was relevant. The walls are strewn with old concert posters for Willie and Wilco and The Old 97s. And the place has that kitschy charm that TGI Shenanigan's can only pretend to manufacture.

I, of course, ordered the chicken fried steak with mashed potatoes and green beans. But I erred in not getting the gravy on the side. Hey, I'm new at this reviewing thing. I fucked up. Stop yelling at me.

The green beans were fresh and delicious. They were not the typical mushy canned variety you normally get. And the potatoes were creamy and garlicky and just plain fantastic. But really, this matters very little. I'm here for CFS. And I must admit I was slightly disappointed. Dallas Food has it as the best in Dallas. It was very good. But the best in Dallas? It's been a while since I've been there (4-5 years I think), but I think Black Eyed Pea has as good if not better. The coating was tasty. But the meat inside was bland although tender. The gravy was OK. I had to add pepper. But that's mostly because I like pepper.

I'm going to be a little generous on the rating. This is a place I would like to return for some of it's other offerings. And it is a place that generic, antiseptic Dallas should cherish.

A-


2934 Main St Dallas, TX 75226

Test Drive: Nissan Xterra


Hopefully by the end of today or tomorrow I'll have myself a new car. After the disappointing FJ Cruiser test drive last week, which I regrettably did not blog about, I'm now strongly leaning towards the Nissan Xterra with this dark gray (Night Armor) exterior. But oh how I hate the dance that is car buying -- all the fake waiting around and such.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Martinipalooza IV: Review

I've already been chastised by the Austin Redhead for not taking enough pictures at Martinipalooza. So let me apologize up front. If anyone has pictures they would like posted, please send. I was way too busy drinking and hob-knobbing. Never have so many knobs been hobbed.

I'm not sure if it was the heat/humidity or the late arrival of a fatigued Jester, but this year's Martinipalooza was very subdued compared to last year. Although it was nice to see the return of Pokemon. Over the past year there's been more and more Jason and less and less Pokemon. The picture above is of him and Peach before he passed out in the beer room.
Random Thoughts cause I can't tie them all together in a unified theme:

  • Is it stranger that someone left their cologne in my kitchen or that there were several packets of Splenda strewn about my kitchen floor?
  • We're all getting old. It took me 15 minutes to clean my house. Come on people. We used to have blood and broken teeth at these parties.
  • If I do buy the Blarney Stone, Scott should bar tend since he seems to have a knack for creating drinks that get chicks drunk. And really, isn't that why we go to bars?
  • If someone has a good picture of Big Dave in his full Blues Brother attire I would like to post it.
  • Thanks to Abel for supplying the tunes. But Garth Brooks at a martini party?

B

Top 3 World’s Most Expensive Beer

This article lists the 3 most expensive beers in the world. I guess these guys never tried to order a Shiner Bock at The Lodge.

The New Black



Always on the leading edge of fashion, Jason came to Martinipalooza sporting the latest in fashion accessories -- a giant moth. It won't be long until we see Paris and Britney with them.


Texas 2 Finger


I had intended to provide an extensive report on Dallas' only Ultimate tournament. But the King enjoys his comforts. And, since he (why am I writing in the third person?) is King, he was offered a luxury skybox from which to view the tossing of Frisbees. Well, really, it was Peach's balcony that looks out onto the Las Colinas Polo Fields from across Royal. And after enjoying several beers, and slices of pizza and chicken wings, it was decreed that Winter League should be enjoyed in a similar fashion.
As for 2Finger, well, the picture above says it all. From the skybox, it looked more like hat games than a full fledged (i'm not sure I've ever written that word before) Ultimate tournament. There is no truth to the rumor that the 2 in 2Finger stands for the number of teams that played. The weather was nice but humid with widely scattered showers.
Traffic and weather on the eights.

Friday, August 17, 2007

Dallas' Only Elvis Impersonator??


I happened to see this guy on the Rangers' broadcast last night. Surely Dallas has more than 1 Elvis impersonator. This is a top 6 market for chrissake.

Preparing for Martinipalooza

I'm sorry the postings this week have been rarer than panties on The Jester's bedroom floor (and I mean women's panties). There's really no excuse. I've had a bit of a blogger's block. I'm not sure what I'm supposed to write about for a disappointing FJ Cruiser test drive or when I have dinner with my mom at Piranha.
But today has been productive. The Wallagio is being cleaned from top to bottom -- with an extra emphasis on bottom (I have no idea what that means). The booze has been purchased -- and quite a bit of booze I must say. I still need to buy some mixers, beer and some food units.
So, hopefully Marinipalooza will provide enough material to make up for my poor performance this week.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

It's Always Sunny In Philadelphia

Season 3 of the funniest live action show on TV starts in a few weeks. But they have a free episode on their MySpace page. Finally MySpace does some good in the world.

Trivia Night at Sherlock's II

With $50 of food and beer at our disposal, The Jester and I felt obliged to defend our second place finish at Sherlock's. Plus, it was just too fucking hot to play Ultimate.

Once again we got the overly minutiaed 10 questions that is the Sherlock's trivia night. Some questions of interest were:
  • Chocolate, lilac and bourbon red are types of what kind of bird? (Turkeys)
  • The maximum speed of the first locomotive was? (5 mph).

There was also a controversial question. What company distributed the first credit card? We both thought Diner's Club. But the "correct" answer was American Express. But upon checking with Wikipedia, Diner's Club is the correct answer.

However, officially we answered 5 out of 10. 1 worse than our score last week. However, this was good enough for a tie for 1st. After the first tie breaker (name the top 5 fruits produced world wide) we were still tied. So, The Jester went Mano-a-Mano with the best of the other team. The questions, "How many square feet in an acre?" was easy pickens for the realtor. So we got yet another $50 second place finish.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Fun with Dental X-Rays


I got the full head panoramic xray at the dentist today and thought the masses would enjoy it. I look like the Alien. So watch it.


And here's one taken during my root canal with the roto-rooters still in. Good times.

And if you live in Lakewood and need a dentist check them out. They just opened a few weeks ago, so there is seldom a wait. And, honestly, my crown has never felt better. Located across from Starbucks and just down the block from the Cock & Bull.

Monday, August 13, 2007

I'm Dumb

I'm in the tedious process of buying a new car. The 4Runner is dead and the S2000 is not practical for a semi-nation wide road trip I have planned. So the last step of buying a car just before you show up to the dealership, is get your trade-in washed.

I took the Honda down to the Mighty Fine on Greenville and Walnut Hill. After perusing the fine scents and automotive accouterments, I noticed my car was getting dowsed with 3 colors of liquids (so you know it's good) and headed over to the cashier. And it is at this point that I realized that I have left my wallet at home.

"Uhm. This is real embarrassing. But I've left my wallet at home. If I leave my phone, can I go get it and then pay when I get back?", I meekishly asked.

The cashier, thankfully, agreed, and I raced home. Well, not really since I didn't want to get pulled over without a license.

Nerdy Self Indulgence

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Eating Donuts for Charity

Late Friday afternoon an urgent plea was sent out for participants in a jelly donut eating contest somehow supporting United Cerebral Palsy. I'm a charitable dude in desperate need for blog content and I like jelly donuts. So, Big Dave, Abel and I (with Angry Jen as our cheering section) made our way to the West Village for the United Cerebral Palsy Elvis Run Jelly Jam.

OK. I need to take a 20 here. So someone at United Cerebral Palsy thought it would be a great idea to put together a fun run commemorating the death of Elvis Presley -- a known avid jogger. And to promote their event, well, nothing says fitness enthusiast more than stuffing your face with a baker's dozen jelly donuts in 3 minutes. Oh, and for good measure, let's hold this outside, so the jelly donuts liquefy in the August heat. And let's make sure there's plenty of hot coffee.

So we're standing around sizing up our competition, the Dallas Fire Department. Then, a coordinator of the event comes up to us and asks "Uhm, so the Dallas Police have showed up and want to challenge the fireman. So if you guys step down, we'll give you each a $50 Brinker gift certificate." To which we replied in unison "Done and Done!".

We were still able to have our fill of donuts. I had 3. For charity I could have probably stuffed 10 into my donut hole.

It feels good to give back to the community like this.

Finally...

One of the ways this has truly been the summer of Steve has been the weather. For much of the summer, it's been really nice. But it's August and the summer weather has finally arrived. So I guess now I won't be complaining about the sun setting so soon (ooooo look at that alliteration). Until it cools down, I will be using that previously hated dusk time for biking.

Friday, August 10, 2007

This Just In....


It is with great sadness that I report that The Blarney Stone has been shut down. The owners defaulted on their lease, causing the property owners to close the long time Ultimate watering hole.

I guess it shouldn't be a surprise. I repeated a trip I have taken often over the last year. I had dinner and beers at The Libertine followed by beer and music listening at Gezellig. Leaving Gezellig, I walked by The Blarney on my way home, and noticed the postings of closure.

Thursday, August 9, 2007

100th Post

Thank you all for your support. But mostly, thank you Nortel for laying me off and allowing me to self indulgently muse instead of atrophying in a lean six sigma seminar.

Eating Dallas: Mac's BBQ

This is probably going to be a quick review as I spent most of my time at Mac's eating and not jotting down notes.

For BBQ, I think I will switch to a more formatted review. So here goes.
  • Brisket -- Tasty, although drier than I anticipated from other reviews. Trent later admitted that the brisket was drier than usual. It was not as smokey as I thought it would be.

  • Sausage -- Very good with a nice peppery flavor. A little bit more fat than at Peggy Sue's. But this is a good thing.
  • Ribs -- Fantastic. I don't know what else to say. I brought the bones home for Alex, to which Trent commented "Why bother? You didn't leave any meat for her".
  • Sauce -- The good news is this BBQ doesn't need sauce. The bad is that the sauce they do have isn't that good. In fact it mostly tasted of A1 Steakesauce to me.
  • Sides -- I had the green beans and potato salad. Both were good but not spectacular. But I'm here for BBQ. So who cares.
  • Atmosphere -- It's exactly what you want for a BBQ dive. An old lady manning the register, fake wood paneling. Absolutely perfect.

It's only open for lunch. Get there early.


A

3933 Main Street, Dallas, Texas 75226

The Bad Boys of Trivia

So why was I at Sherlock's? The Jester suggested it for their Wednesday night trivia. And, since I'm always looking for blog fodder, I jumped at it. Am I starting to repeat myself???

Like much of everything at Sherlock's, trivia was generically implemented. 10 questions were asked 1 each after a couple of songs. The questions were all over the place. From "What is the oldest continuously family owned business in the US?" to "Who wrote The Star-Spangled Banner?". Which begs the question, why don't we you use the word "spangled" anymore? It's in our national anthem. You would think we would use it more.

Once the answers were revealed, I didn't think we did well. I supplied the answer "Maxim Magazine" for "Which magazine outsold Playboy and Penthouse in advertising in 2000." The Jester foolishly thought it was National Geographic. Get it? Jester. Foolish. Anyone??

Glenn provided Oklahoma City for "Where was the first parking meter installed.". The question that cost us a tie for first was "What company invented ice beer". I immediately answered "Molson". And, as the next question was being asked, I mournfully cried "Now watch it be Labatt's." Indeed, it was Labatt's.

But the fun began as the manager/mc announced the winners. "Coming in second. Well, I'm not going to say their team name. But the team members are King Wally and The Jester". High fives abounded. The team next to us, who came in first, asked Glenn "Oh wow, what's your team name?" To which he replied, "Imma Dooshbague".

As Glenn spoke with the winners, the manager, who was a real Mr. Vernon, came over and handed me the $50 gift certificate for booze/food on our next visit to Sherlock's.

"I almost disqualified you guys for that name. Please don't do that again or I will disqualify you next time."

I replied, "Oh, sorry about that. We usually play at Flying Saucer where the dirtier the name the better."

"Right, well don't do it again."


So, since we have $50 burning a hole in our collective pockets, we will be going back. But next time, our name will be: Nicey McNicerstontonson.

Eating Dallas: Sherlock's

Just curious. Why would an English pub have tortas and quesadillas on its menu? Well I skipped right over the abundance of Mexican dishes offered by Sherlock's and headed right to the English Pub staple -- Fish & Chips.

And for this bland soulless pub, the Fish & Chips didn't dissappoint. They were bland and flavorless. The dish came with two pieces of fish and an abundance of generic chain restaurant french fries. Again, why would an English pub put Lowry's seasoning on their freedom fries?

Well the first fish actually wasn't bad. The batter was crisp albeit with little flavor. But the fish was flacky and acceptable. However the second piece was mushy and a bit slimy. And the tartar sauce is cleary from a jar.

If you're getting drunk on your cougar hunt at Sherlock's, the fish and chips are acceptable. But if you crave them, go to The Old Monk.

C+

9100 N Central Expy, Dallas

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Netflix Review: Cashback

"Like an otter's pocket."



I'm taking a break from reviewing dreadful American teen sex comedies and switching to dreadful English college space/time manipulation comedies. Well, that's probably a bad adjective. Cashback isn't dreadful -- just tedious.

Cashback is the story of a art schooler Ben Willis. He breaks up with his long time girlfriend and finds he can no longer sleep. I think we can all relate to that. So, with the extra 8 hours he has every day, he takes an overnight job at a grocery store. It is here that he learns that he can stop time. And here is where the movie is the most believable. Because when he stops time, he disrobes the women shopping at the grocery store and draws their naked forms. If this were a Jim Carrey or Adam Sandler type movie they would use the extra time to work on the big account or do something sweet for their unappreciative wife/gf. But really, if the average 20 year old had this power -- off come the drawers.

Unfortunately this film can't decide if it wants to be The Office in a grocery store or a contemplative commentary on life using the sci-fi motif of time stoppage. And while that sounds like a combo-platter that should be right in my wheel-house, it comes up short. The laughs are few and the time stoppage is used only to get the chicks naked. I guess I'm getting old, because I need more than just that. I need some cuddling too.

  • 19 breasts
  • 2 old guy farts
  • 1 soccer ball to the face
  • 1 life altering naked Swedish exchange student.
  • grocery item fu
  • actual kung fu
King Wally says check it out.


C+

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

TSoS Test Kitchen: Rosemary Chicken


I thought this looked so pretty I had to take a picture. This is really not a The Summer of Steve Test Kitchen Item. I've made rosemary chicken dozens of times. But I have always baked it since, until recently, I didn't have a grill.


Here's the final dish with spinach pasta in a vodka sauce.

For the chicken, mix several cloves of chopped garlic, olive oil, rosemary, lemon zest, ginger and a little lemon juice with 2 whole breasts. Marinate for an hour or so. Grill until done. Pretty simple and pretty good.

The vodka sauce is from the Sept 2007 issue of Food and Wine. Unfortunately it is not available online at this time.

Eating Dallas: Big D Dogs

Man I really wanted to love this place. The idea of a neighborhood hot dog stand makes me happy. But, unfortunately, I may have to stick with the dogs at Burger House.

In order to properly judge the place I ordered two dogs, my usual (onions and mustard only) and one of their specialty dogs -- The Greenville Ave Dog (Shiner chili, onions, tomatoes, jalapenos, cilantro). The first punch in the nuts was that these 2 dogs totaled just shy of $10. That's with no soda, no beer, no fries, no nothing -- just 2 dogs.

I started off with my usual and I knew something was wrong with the very first bite. The dog was mushy. No teeth are necessary to eat this dog. You can just mush it up with your tongue. And the flavor was way too similar to Vienna sausage with little smokey flavor at all. The dog by which I judge all Dogs is the Sabrett . A staple of the dog cart of the NYC, it is the best dog in the world and has a rich smokey flavor..

The Greenville dog was much, much better. The dog itself was the same. But the toppings really made a difference. The chili was flavorful and the fresh jalapenos and cilantro really brightened an already good dish. But I couldn't help but think that this would be just as good on a flavorless poached chicken breast.

They also serve a variety of french fries (garlic, chili, cheese ...) and shakes. Neither of which I tried. However I do plan to give this place another chance and at least try the fries. I really do want to like the place. It's open late on the weekends for the post bar crowd. That might be the time to go for not only the dogs but also the show.

C

3611 A Greenville Ave Dallas, TX75206

Two Buddhist Monks Walk Into A Fry's...

Seriously. I saw this very thing today while I was walking up to the Fry's in Plano. I wish I had had my camera. Although I'm sure if I had taken a picture it would have permanently put me into some kind of karmic limbo. Which just happens to be my favorite Phish album.

The Horror, The Horror



Lucky for me all of womanhood has chosen to keep their vaginas away from me.

My New Hero

I just spent much of the past day reading the Dallas Food website. I don't know who this guy is, but he's clearly my gastronomic soul mate. The bulk of his reviews are BBQ, Mexican and Chicken Fried Steak -- the Holy Trifecta of Texas cuisine. Thanks to him and Trent, I know to go to Mac's BBQ for some of the best in Dallas. And I am so making a trip to both Ozona and The AllGood for CFS.

Monday, August 6, 2007

Junior's Right

The Ticket's Craig "Junior" Miller once declared August the worst month of them all. It is the hottest month. Or at least it is the month when the heat really gets to me. We've had it easy this year. But we should finally see our first 100° day this week.

But what really sucks about August is that it's when the shortening of the days becomes palpable. You see, today was the first time I could tell the days have gotten noticeably shorter. For the last couple of months I can leave my house right after Community Quick Hits (6:52pm) and take a 2 hour bike ride up the White Rock Trail and back and get home with some daylight left. But today, not so much.

Pick the Caption



Chick-Fil-A

What is the deal with Chick-Fil-A? Every time I go there the drive thru line is backed up into the street. And it doesn't matter which Chick-Fil-A I go to or when I go. Is it the waffle-fries? They are the tastiest of all fast food fries. (I get bonus points for alliteration). It's a fine establishment. Don't get me wrong. I'm just curious as to why it's always packed. I suspect some sort of islamofacist money laundering. But I haven't worked it all out what with the Weekly World News shutting down.

Your Next American Idol

Sorry. I won't be able to post much today since I'll be at the American Idol tryouts out at Texas Stadium. I will be performing my rendition of "Wind Beneath my Wings". Wish me luck.

Sunday, August 5, 2007

Netflix Review: Golfballs!

As part of my penance for not working and still getting paid, it seems, I must endure the worst that the American Cinematic community has to offer. Golfballs! is truly at the quintessential nadir of the entirety of film making. But there's lots of tits, so at least it has that going for it. Which is nice.

The movies starts with the dubious concept of a family owned golf course that is 3 months late on its rent. In order to drum up business, strippers are hired to frolic around the course. In absolutely no time at all, a cart-wash is built for slow motion, naked cart washing montages. So, you see, the movie is not without redemption.

Even with the sudden success of the family owned golf course, it still cannot get out from under the tyrannical thumb of the next door (of course) golf course. So the evil golf course owner proposes the obligatory 18 hole winner take all tournament. Guess who wins.

  • 24 breasts (at least)
  • 1 old guy getting racked
  • 2 wacky Hasidim
  • 2 slo-mo cartwash montages
  • 1 cat fight
  • 1 flatulent dog
Available on Netflix's Watch Now. Which is how I watched it.

King Wally says check it out.

D-

Eating Grapevine: The Silver Fox

First off, Happy Birthday Peach!

I didn't know what to expect from The Silver Fox. I had heard their commercials on The Hardline. I had seen that they had multiple locations. This is usually not a good sign. Except for Ruth's Chris, steakhouse chains tend to be on the order of Texas Land and Cattle. However, what I didn't know was this was an offshoot of III Forks -- my all-time favorite steakhouse.

So, simply put, this meal was fantastic!! There are certain things I must order when I go to any fine restaurant/steakhouse. So let's see how The Silver Fox did on Steve's Steakhouse Checklist.
  1. Saphire Martini -- It's hard to screw this up. And they didn't. It was big and tasty.
  2. Crabcakes -- I have to order them wherever I go. And these were the best I've had all year. Better than Truluck's even.
  3. Porterhouse, medium rare -- I always get a porterhouse for the fillet side and the strip side and the bone for Alex. Perfectly cooked with my preferred topping, Oscar -- asparagus, lump crab with Béarnaise.

I was too stuffed for dessert, although I had a bit of the creme brulee. It was OK. I'm not a huge fan of creme brulee, though.

I wish I had more to say. This place is great. Is it the greatest steakhouse ever? Probably not. And I will still go to my preferred Truluck's. But it does the job and serves up a tasty steak and a very nice scallop. And the service was great. Everything you can ask for in a steakhouse.

A

1235 William D. Tate Grapevine, TX

Saturday, August 4, 2007

Netflix Review: Babylon 5: The Lost Tales

* * * N E R D A L E R T ! ! ! * * *

If you are a fan of one of the current crop of serialized sci-fi dramas, Heroes, Lost, Battlestar Galactica, then you can thank Babylon 5 for trailblazing the concept. From its inception, B5 was to be a five year with a predefined beginning, middle and end. The show was a kind of Casablanca in space. However, there was a "Lord of the Rings"-like story going on in the background that eventually became the main story.

So, it's been nearly a decade since the show ended. And, with DVD sales starting to decline, it was time to come out with some new material. And, for the B5 fan, this may be a welcome Netfilx treat (i.e. not necessarily something you would want to buy).

The Lost Tales consists of three half hour short stories taking place on the 10 year anniversary of the end of the series. The first is absolutely dreadful. It's your basic satanic possession in space story. The main problem is that Tracy Scoggin's Colonel Lochley and her manface are ten times scarier than Satan ever could be.

The second and third story kind of meld together. As President Sheridan travels back to Babylon 5, he is first interviewed by an annoying journalist and then presented with the task of having to kill a young prince in order to save New York City in the future. Sure, that sounds silly, and it is. But it is the best of the three stories.

What's Good: Peter Woodward's Galen, a character from B5's short lived spin off Crusade, a beautifully rendered B5 using modern CGI.

What's Bad: Pretty much everything else.

Sometimes you can't go home again. And this is a good example of leaving sleeping universes lie. Unless you're already a fan, avoid at all costs. Get the original show DVDs, fight through the poor acting and production of season 1 and you'll enjoy seasons 2-4. Season 5, well, let's not talk about that.

C
But only if you love Babylon 5.

Eating The UP: Peggy Sue's BBQ

D Magazine rates Peggy Sue's BBQ as a D Best. To which I reply, "Really??" It's not that Peggy Sue's is bad, far from it. It's quite good. It just seems to come up short on the basic element of BBQ -- smoke.

To properly rate this and any BBQ place, one has to order the 3-meat combo, the Holy Trinity of Texas BBQ -- brisket, sausage and ribs. The brisket was a little dry with very little smoke flavor. There was a nice pink smoke ring. So I know it spent some time in the smoker. The ribs too were lacking a strong smoke flavor. Although they were moist and tastey. The winner of the trifecta was the sausage. I got the impression that Peggy Sue's replaces much of the smoke element of their BBQ with pepper. The sausage, very meaty with very little fat, was loaded with pepper. Now I love pepper, so this was a delight. But the sausage too had very little smoke flavor.

Along with the three meats, I had two side dishes -- potato salad and green beans. Both were good. The green beans were especially good with generous dollops of pepper. The onion rings were tastey, but poorly prepared. It as as cook just took an onion, cut it in half, made rings out of one half and then just dump the other half in the batter.


Like I said, this place is good, but I know I've had better. So stay tuned for my upcomming best BBQ in the DFW list. So list your favorites in the comments.

B

6600 Snider Plaza Dallas, Texas 75205