The State Fair of Texas – Only 10 More Days!

There’s only 10 days left for The State Fair of Texas!  If you haven’t been it’s not too late to go this year, the fair’s last day is October 21, 2018!  If you’ve never been – don’t miss out on one of the country’s best and most highly attended state fairs.  You’ve been before – go make some new memories with your family like my family did every year while my sons were growing up!

 My sons riding one of their favorite rides at the Fair 16 years ago! I think the smiles say it all!

It’s an old and slightly blurry photo but it’s one of my favorite photos of my sons, Jack and Jared.  The fun they were having over a decade ago is timeless and are memories that I treasure.  Going to the State Fair was a family tradition that we did every year with our guys and a day that we all looked forward to.  From the creative and crazy food concoctions that you can only get at the State Fair (like Bacon Brittle) to riding one of the biggest Ferris Wheels in the country or trying your luck on the Midway, there is something for everyone at The State Fair of Texas!

The Fair’s Midway

Guide Live’s Number 1 Pick:  Arroz con leche  What the heck is it? Two sweet fried rice balls dusted with cinnamon and served with vanilla ice cream

 

Time Line and Fun Facts about The State Fair of Texas!

The State Fair of Texas is an annual state fair held in Dallas at historic Fair Park. The fair has taken place every year since 1886 except for varying periods during World War I and World War II.  It usually begins the last Friday in September and ends 24 days later.

  • The State Fair of Texas opened its gates for the first time on October 26, 1886. Approximately 14,000 people attend the opening day.
  • On November 7, 1886, the fair closes and attracted over 100,000 people for the very first year.
  • In 1913, the fair introduces the first Automobile building which was filled with 175 vehicles for fair goers to see.
  • The fair was canceled in 1918 due to the US Army taking control of Fair Park to establish an aviation boot camp known as Camp Dick.
  • In 1921, Boston College beats Baylor at the first game ever played between teams from the southwest and northeast.
  • In 1921, Texas and Vanderbilt start a series which is played here every year from 1921 to 1928 with the exception of 1924.
  • In 1923, the fair hosted Ku Klux Klan day. Thousands of new Klan members were sworn in at the fairgrounds. More than 150,000 people were at the fair that day
  • In 1925, the first State Fair Classics played.
  • In 1929, TX-OU play their Red River Rivalry here for the first time.
  • In 1930, construction of a new Fair Park Stadium (now known as the Cotton Bowl) begins.
  • In 1932, TX-OU play their Red River Rivalry for the first time at the new Fair Park Stadium.
  • In 1937, the first Cotton Bowl Classic is played in Fair Park.
  • Big Tex makes his first appearance in 1952.
  • In 1956 the Trailblazer monorail began operation at Fair Park from 1956 to 1964. It was the first commercially operated monorail system in the United States]
  • Elvis Presley performs in the Cotton Bowl during the fair in 1956.
  • In 1960, the Dallas Texans (AFL) and the Dallas Cowboys (NFL) play their first season in the Cotton Bowl.
  • In 1964 the monorail closed and was replaced by the Swiss Sky Ride, a 64 car aerial ride that traveled over a 3,800 foot path (the longest ever built).
  • In 1985 the Texas Star opens as the largest Ferris Wheel in North America.
  • In 1989, The Comet Roller Coaster, a Fair Park landmark since 1947, is torn down.
  • Following the 2001 September 11 attacksDallas police and State Fair officials announce the implementation of new security measures during the annual event.
  • In 2005, the Fried Peanut Butter, Jelly and Banana Sandwich is introduced to the fair.
  • In 2007 the Texas Skyway aerial ride opens in Fair Park.
  • In 2010, the 8000 ft Greenhouse on the Midway is built to house 1000 hanging baskets, beehives, and Farmer Mike the Pumpkin Carver.
  • Fair goers spent more than $37 million in 2010 which broke the fair’s record.
  • On October 19, 2012, Big Tex caught on fire, burning it down to the skeletal frame, with only the right arm remaining.
  • In 2013, The State Fair opened a brand new attraction – a 500-foot observation tower called “Top o’ Texas Tower” – as part of a renovation of part of the Midway called “Summer Adventures at Fair Park. The “Tower” now operates only 24 days a year, despite a construction cost of over $11,000,000.
  • The State Fair also operated Summer Adventures in Fair Park, a beach-themed amusement park from May to August 2013.
  • Despite a $30,000,000 investment in Summer Adventures, the event was shuttered after just one season.
  • Jim Schutze of the Dallas Observer wrote, “The sudden collapse of a $30 million venture has to be some kind of red flag, some indication that it’s time to re-examine the whole thing.
  • A new Big Tex statue was unveiled the day before the fair opened
  • In May 2015, the Park and Recreation Board voted unanimously to recommend and approve the Mayor’s Task Force Plan and recommended that underground parking structures be built rather than as initially recommended by the Task Force.

Now go and have fun and don’t eat too much!

Source:  Wikipedia

111 Forks – The Crown Jewel of American Dining Celebrates 20 Years!

This renowned restaurant may have just turned 20 years old but they also have at least 20 different worlds with multiple dining rooms available in their 25,000 square feet.   You may already know that 111 Forks serves some of the finest USDA Prime steaks in the country,  the best ocean fresh seafood and has outstanding service.   What I didn’t know was how flexible the restaurant was until we were given a tour of their facility.

Entryway

My husband and I recently attended a wine pairing event at 111 Forks in Dallas to help them celebrate their 20th Anniversary.   The delectable food from Chef Chris Vogeli’s kitchen and wine from Oregon made it a delicious night and an informative one as well!  They have everything from your very own private jazz club with a stage upstairs to a New Orleans style courtyard downstairs.  They actually have over 16 fine dining rooms to choose from!  Large corporate boardroom style dining rooms are available for business meetings and there are smaller rooms for family and intimate social gatherings.   The focus of the restaurant of course is the unforgettable large dining room with an oversize fireplace, huge antler chandeliers and a ceiling mural depicting Dallas’ early history of trading posts and cowboys and Indians.

Upstairs/Promenade

Courtyard

I love that the dining rooms are named after notable Texas heroes who fought for Texas Independence.  It reinforces that eating at 111 Forks is more than just a dining experience it’s a true Texas  experience as will.   Add the live piano music, and their incredible wine selection and you have a dining experience that you will want to return to time and time again.

 Lafayette Room

Captain’s Room

Bonham and Lamar Room

 

111 Forks – Dallas is located at:

17776 Dallas Parkway

Dallas, TX 75287

Phone (972) 267-1776

www.3forks.com

 

 

Taste Addison – This Weekend May 18th – 20th!

Taste Addison is a three day festival of fun for the whole family and features some of the best food and music around!  If you’ve never gone before make this year the year!  Taste Addison delivers many of Addison’s favorite restaurants with great music at Addison Circle Park. Known for 180+ restaurants in less than 4.4 miles and its nationally recognized special events, Addison serves up a good time no matter the craving. Headlining the festival on Saturday night, May 19, is the Academy of Country Music award-winning group, Eli Young Band with opening act Cory Morrow. On Sunday, May 20, take your family on a trip down memory lane with classic hits from great tribute bands. Get ready to taste the food, taste the ambiance, taste the destination…Taste Addison! Here’s everything you need to know before you go:

Music Entertainment

Friday:

Whiskey Myers 7:30 – 9 p.m.

Casey Donahew 9:30 – 11 p.m.

Saturday:

Rachel Stacy 12:30 – 1:30 p.m.

Shotgun Rider 2 – 3 p.m.

Breaking Southwest 3:30 – 5 p.m.

Jonathan Tyler and 5:30 – 7 p.m.

The Northern Lights

Cory Morrow 7:30 – 9 p.m.

Eli Young Band 9:30 – 11 p.m.

Sunday:

Fin City 12:30 – 2 p.m.

Escape 2:30 – 4 p.m.

La Freak 4:30 – 6 p.m.

 

 

 

Wine Garden

In our exclusive wine garden, you will get a chance to experience fantastic wines from varied and vast appellations! If you have an affinity for bubbly Prosecco from Italy or a zeal for the zing of Sauvignon Blanc from Sonoma, your taste buds will dance with delight as you tour the garden. Whether it’s a refreshing rinse of Rosé or a mouthful of California Chardonnay, enjoy your relaxing weekend with a glass of one of our exceptional wines! Available for sampling: Sauvignon Blanc & Merlot (Ava Grace Vineyards), Chardonnay & Rose (Chloe Wine Collection), Moscato D’Asti & Prosecco (Cupcake Vineyards). 21 & UP ONLY.

5/18, Friday: 7pm-10pm

5/19, Saturday: 2pm-7pm

5/20, Sunday: 1pm-5pm

**VIP tickets have 30 minutes early access for all 3 days.  Must be 21.

Craft Beer Hall

Presented by Anheuser-Busch

From Chicago’s award-winning Goose Island IPA to Seattle’s Space Dust IPA from Elysian Brewing Co., experience a wide array of craft beers from across the country. Enjoy Colorado’s refreshingly crisp Mango Mosaic American Pale Ale from Breckenridge Brewery and Houston’s Karbach Love Street kolsch-style blond to the seasonal Karbach’s Tasty Waves Summer Ale. Finish it off with a gluten-free Spiked Seltzer – perfectly refreshing natural fruit flavors. There’s a taste for every beer lover. 21 & UP ONLY.

5/18, Friday: 7pm-10pm

5/19, Saturday: 2pm-7pm

5/20, Sunday: 1pm-5pm

**VIP tickets have 30 minutes early access for all 3 days.  Must be 21.

Albertsons Tom Thumb Cooking Stage

Several of Addison’s most popular chefs will show you how to recreate your Taste Addison experience at home. See the shows and stay for the samples! All cooking demos take place on the Albertsons Tom Thumb Cooking Stage located inside the Addison Conference Centre. The demos are included with a Taste Addison admission ticket.

Cooking Demo Schedule:

Saturday, 5/19:

2:30 p.m.: Francesco Secchi – Ferrari’s Italian Villa & Chop House

4 p.m.: Jake Magruder – On the Border

5:30 p.m.: Joe Chow – May Dragon

7 p.m.: Mike McRae – Table 13

Sunday, 5/20:

1:30 p.m.: Rambo Saucedo – Cantina Laredo

3 p.m.: Lee Hunzinger – Zoli’s NY Pizza

Entertainment for the whole family

Enjoy free face painting, activities and games for the whole family on the Family Fun Lawn located near the Addison Conference Centre and the Stone Cottage, or visit the Talley Carnival for rides and midways games. Kids 11 and younger get in FREE all weekend.

Face Painting Hours:

Saturday: 2 p.m. to 7 p.m.

Sunday: Noon to 6 p.m.

Enjoy a step-by-step painting session with experienced and professional local artists. You’ll leave with a one-of-a-kind creation and a newfound talent you’ll want to explore. Located in the Addison Conference Centre. Suitable for ages 12 & up and accompanied by an adult.

*Every Hour on the Hour*

Saturday, May 19, 2pm – 6pm

Sunday, May 20, Noon – 5pm

On Sunday, join the Japan-American Society for Origami, the art of folding paper and Kirigami, the art of folding and cutting paper on the Conference Centre patio from Noon – 4pm.

Taste Addison Carnival

Whether you enjoy zero gravity or if the monkey maze is more your pace, the Taste Addison carnival has a ride that’s just your speed. Ride prices start at $3 and go up. All rides have minimum height requirements, so make sure to check out the posted signs. The Carnival will accept Tasty Bucks only. One ticket equals $1.

Pinot’s Palette

Enjoy a step-by-step painting session with experienced and professional local artists. You’ll leave with a one-of-a-kind creation and a newfound talent you’ll want to explore. Located in the Addison Conference Centre. Suitable for ages 12 & up and accompanied by an adult.

Saturday, 5/19: 2 p.m. – 6 p.m., every hour on the hour

Sunday, 5/20: Noon – 5 p.m., every hour on the hour

Hours: Friday: 6 p.m. – Midnight

Saturday: Noon – Midnight

Sunday: Noon – 6 p.m.

Location: Addison Circle Park, 4970 Addison Circle Drive, Addison, Texas 75001

Tickets:

 Early Saver Tickets (Now – May 13): $15/person, ages 12 and up – online only

 General Admission (May 14 – May 19): $20/person, ages 12 and up – online and at the gate

 General Admission (May 20): $10/person, ages 12 and up – online and at the gate

 NEW VIP WEEKEND PACKAGE (online only/limited quantities/ages 21 and up only):

o Three-day adult general admission

o Three VIP beverage coupons and VIP bar access

o Three Taste Bite coupons

o Premium concert viewing area

o Private restrooms

o Early access to the Craft Beer Hall and Wine Garden

 Children 11 and under are FREE every day

Sponsors: Budweiser, Albertsons Tom Thumb, 107.5 Fierro-HD2, Ava Grace Vineyards, 99.5 The Wolf,

New Country 96.3 KSCS, Coca-Cola, Dallas Morning News and Guide Live

Visit www.TasteAddisonTexas.com or connect on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram at @VisitAddison and #TasteAddison.

 

 

 

 

New Spring Menu at Lazy Dog Restaurant!

Spring is here and so is Lazy Dog Restaurant’s new Spring menu!  The laid back lodge inspired restaurant has introduced a new, seasonally inspired and handcrafted menu that is infused with a variety of fresh and inspired ingredients.   Lazy Dog’s co-founder Gabe Caliendo, has created a new menu that offers something for everyone and will satisfy foodies everywhere.  He has hand crafted several very unique and flavorful dishes that will delight you with its freshness and authenticity. The menu includes 11 new menu items and five new beverages including some meatless, vegan, or gluten free options. 

The new Lazy Dog spring Menu includes:

 

Street Corn Wheels – A twist on street corn which includes fresh corn, char grilled with lime, garlic, queso blanco, cilantro and Tajin. These are very tasty and invoke summer memories of corn on the backyard gill.

 

Burrata + Roasted Beet Salad – Bright field greens, creamy burrata cheese, candied walnuts, heirloom tomatoes, crushed sweet peaches, and sea salt.  The freshness and sweetness that fills this salad will be calling me back to Lazy Dog. 

 

Burrata + Heirloom Tomato Crisp – Pomodoro sauce, pesto, creamy burrata cheese, parmesan, romano, balsamic reduction, chili oil, fresh basil.  Loved the combination of the pesto and Pomodoro sauce and the crust was crispy and flavorful.  

 

Housemade Veggie Burger Bowl – Tasty grilled salmon, served with housemade aioli, fresh tomato, a peanut sesame slaw, red onions, on  a brioche-style bun.  I’d never heard of a veggie burger bowl before but this is good stuff people!! 

 

Housemade BBQ Veggie Burger – A mouth-watering meatless option – made from scratch patty with black beans, ancient grains, beets and vegetables, topped with roasted garlic, housemade BBQ sauce, jack cheese, fried onions, pickle, and tomato.  I thought it was delicious and my meat loving husband said he would never have guessed it wasn’t meat – high praise! 

Grilled Lemon Chicken – Marinated and grilled chicken breast, cauliflower mash, sautéed green beans, and heirloom tomatoes with almond walnut crumble, and tahini.  I love everything included in this dish so this is a perfect choice for me.  The chicken was tasty and the cauliflower mash tasted just like mashed potatoes.  Mix in all the other fresh ingredients and this is a healthy food option.   

 Here come the new desserts:

 

Peach Raspberry Hand Pie –Made from scratch raspberry puree, sweet peaches, cinnamon and sugar, salted caramel sauce, served warm with a scoop of vanilla bean ice cream.  There’s nothing here not to like. 

 

Triple Layer Lemon Cake – For those who are gluten sensitive – lemon buttercream, almond flour vanilla cake, huckleberry sauce, lemon curd, and housemade whipped cream.  Light and delicious!

New Libations from the Bar Menu:  They’re all unique, fresh AND delicious!

 

Watermelon Margarita – Made with lunazul resposado tequila, watermelon, salted rim.  A perfect summer drink!

Honey Thyme Old Fashioned – Made with Buffalo Trace bourbon, Cointreau, Amaro Montenegro, honey, fresh thyme, garnished with an orange peel.

 Tincup Whiskey Sour – Made with Tincup Mountain whiskey, housemade sweet and sour, yuzu bitters, fresh rosemary, and meyer lemon foam.

 Huckberry Mule – made with born and bred American craft vodka, Acacia rose, grapefruit juice, cranberry juice, sugar cane, St. Germaine, and elderflower foam. 

 Non-alcoholic, lower calorie options are also available such as Ginger-Lime Sparkling Soda and Tropical-Orange Sparkling Soda.

Here’s the Lazy Dog Story:

While Lazy Dog’s founder Chris Simms was growing up, he and his family would vacation in the breathtaking Rocky Mountains of Jackson Hole, Wyoming. Whether it was skiing in the winter or fishing in the summer, Chris will tell you that even today it is the place he goes when he wants to get away and relax. When you are in any one of the Lazy Dog restaurants, you will see how Chris has tried to capture and recreate the feeling he gets when in Jackson Hole. He wants you to feel like you are walking into a place that is the perfect balance of warm and comfortable, yet full of excitement and positive energy. For Chris, the lodge represents vacations with family and friends.

Where did the Lazy Dog get its unique name? One snowy afternoon, walking back into the lodge after a long morning on the slopes, Chris noticed a dog lying by the toasty fireplace. Commenting to his buddies on how much he loved his time hanging out there, he told them he wished everyone could enjoy life as much as that “lazy dog’ by the fire and a concept was born!

 

Something that’s not changed is the warm, cozy, and rustic setting and the friendly service that we’ve always gotten at Lazy Dog.  And don’t forget about the awesome dog friendly patio (they have a dog menu too) and the best fire pit in town. Even if the weather hasn’t quite settled into spring (in Texas at least) Lazy Dog’s new spring menu will put you in the mood for longer and lazier warm summer days filled with fresh and homemade food just like your mother made but much much better!

 

I visited the Addison Lazy Dog which is located in Village at the Parkway, 5100 Belt Line Rd. but there are 25 locations throughout Texas, California, Colorado, Nevada.  For other locations and for more information go to:  www.lazydogrestaurants.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

3 Stacks Smoke and Tap House Brings Full Service to BBQ

My husband and I recently visited 3 Stacks Smoke & Tap House to experience their new menu and walked away extremely impressed and extremely full.  If you’ve haven’t visited the restaurant before , 3 Stacks Smoke & Tap House, is a great BBQ restaurant located in Frisco, Texas.    3 stacks has now taken it to another level by becoming a full service restaurant (they’ve gotten rid of the buffet line) and has combined their already terrific BBQ with a full menu that includes several new and creative selections of meats, appetizers, sides, and desserts.

Let’s start with the BBQ.  Even though 3 Stacks is stepping up their game with their new and creative menu their Pit Master Bryan Shanahan combines old school BBQ skills but leverages high quality smoking equipment to produce consistent and delicious  BBQ.   He oversees the three large smokers  himself and produces a competition level BBQ  that is as tasty as you can get. The USDA prime hickory smoked beef brisket is very moist and tender and has a great cap and smoke ring.

The St. Louis ribs were succulent and tender with a sweet finish.  They are some of the best I’ve had.  3 Stacks also prepares their sausage in house in their new sausage production viewing room.  That’s a unique approach,  restaurants usually don’t do that.

Most BBQ joints build their reputation based on their meats but they don’t try too hard on their sides or alternative BBQ choices.  For the most part they all have the same old tired and boring potato salad and beans but 3 Stacks has added some creative sides, appetizers, and desserts.  Chef Pete Rukes has taken southern staples and has infused them with a modern twist and added several new items to the menu.  I highly recommend the White Cheddar Mac and Cheese, and the “to die for” roasted garlic mashed potatoes.  We started the meal with fried green tomatoes with charred corn salsa and chipotle dressing (bet you never had them served this way) and buttermilk and bacon hushpuppies (yes I said bacon – yum).  The smokehouse flatbread is very unique and delicious.  It has a great combination of smoked meat flavors that you wouldn’t expect in a pizza.    Other new items to the menu include jalapeno-cheddar sausage corn dogs, Texas poutine with brisket chili, and a BLT with house cured pork belly (I will go back just to have this again).

Now let’s talk desserts.    Who doesn’t love the banana pudding that most BBQ places have?  Well Chef Rukes has gone one step further and has combined the banana flavor with my favorite dessert ever – Crème Brulee and has produced a new favorite, “Caramelized Banana Crème Brulee”.  He’s also taken another old dessert staple, bread pudding and has created a new decadent dessert called “Warm Doughnut and Maple Bread Pudding”.  Everything is made in house and it’s obvious in the quality and taste.

3 Stacks offers a wide array of craft beers if that’s your thing.  My vote for best cocktail goes to “Smoke Show”.  This is their version of a margarita and it is amazing!  It includes tequila, Cointreau, lime, agave and smoke (of course) sea salt!  Also of note is “The Ol’Barrel” which is a Manhattan style cocktail.  Not only is the whisky barrel-aged but the drink itself is aged in a barrel on site for an extra smooth cocktail.

3 Stacks gets it’s name from the three smoke stacks that greet you at the door to the restaurant and introduces you to what this restaurant is really all about – smoking BBQ.   Inside, the restaurant  has a large open floor plan with exposed brick walls which gives it a modern rustic ambiance.  This puts the restaurant a step above most other BBQ restaurants.  It also has several TV’s throughout the restaurant which makes it a great gathering place for game watching and family events.

My BBQ loving husband gave it two thumbs up and so did I!  I love BBQ but I also love that there are delicious non BBQ items to choose from too.  That alone makes this restaurant something special.  Anyone who loves BBQ and is ready for something different needs to put this restaurant at the top of their list!!

3 Stacks Smoke & Tap House is located at 4226 Preston Road in Frisco, Texas .  It’s open Sunday through Thursday from 11 am to 9 pm and Friday and Saturday from 11 am to 10 pm.

For more information, please visit:  www.3stacksbbq.com.

 

 

 

 

 

America’s Best Coffee Shops #nationalcoffeeday

Let’s be honest with ourselves. Many of us cannot start our day without the wonderful warm cup of coffee in the morning, so it’s not like we really need a “national holiday” reminding us to celebrate our favorite caffeinated beverage. But, hey, any excuse to make a trip to a coffee shop, or what I call my third home, right? (Note: my second home is at my coworking space, where I work.)

Today is National Coffee Day! And, instead of sharing drink specials at the popular coffee chains, I wanted to share our suggestions for where to go for your espresso needs around the United States. Oh, and yes, I always google “best coffee” when I visit cities for business or pleasure trips because like I said before, there is no better way to start the day then with a GOOD GREAT cup of coffee. Enjoy!

Victrola Cafe and Roastery, Seattle, WA
I remember walking into this magical place when I visited Seattle for a #FoodieChats event, and it did not disappoint. From the characters who drink their coffee hear to the music playing the background to the delicious cup put before me, Victrola is my go-to place when I visit Seattle. All three Victrola locations focus on single-origin coffee, but offer blends as well. Founded in 2000, Victrola hosts free cuppings, or coffee tastings, open to the public every Wednesday at 11 a.m.

Either/Or, Portland, OR
Either/Or is an intelligent coffee shop, located in the city of coffee. Start with any of the signature drink offering, as they change frequently. Try the beverage flight, which includes a shot of espresso, a cappuccino or macchiato and a tiny food pairing. Their spicy Tanglewood chai is fantastic, and coffee sodas are an ideal caffeinated spritzer on warm days.

Wrecking Ball Coffee Roasters, San Francisco, CA
Wrecking Ball is now offering their award-winning coffee in a full-service shop, after operating as a pop-up for several years. The originators of the term “third-wave coffee,” the shop does not disappoint, offering precise and technologically advanced pour-overs and espresso drinks.

The ELK, New York, NY
Located in West Village, the ELK is a destination for a fine cortado and a single-origin pour-over. Enjoy the wall of well-curated artisanal products or get some work done in the bright, cheery space.

Dinosaur Coffee, Los Angeles, CA
An expansive, gorgeously laid out coffee bar with plenty of space for laptop warriors, this shop offers the best of LA: quality Four Barrel espresso, friendly baristas and an airy room perfect for conversation (or mobile work).

Communal Coffee, San Diego, CA
Communal brews the acclaimed Sightglass Coffee with the beautiful monochromatic background. It is a nice place to sip coffee in “America’s Finest City.”

Sawada, Chicago, IL
There’s more to Sawada than just a “military latte,” a posh coffee drink that’s looks like camouflage. It’s roasty from espresso, slightly bitter from the green tea and warmed with gentle notes of white chocolate. Sawada also offers straightforward espresso drinks and iced coffee. Grab a seat at the ping pong table or on a counter seat.

Copper Door Coffee, Denver, CO
Copper Door is the first female-only-owned roasting company in Denver offering beans to-go and some of the best & most creative drinks in town.

Crema Cafe, Cambridge, MA
Located at Harvard Square, Crema stays busy year-round churning out espresso beverages, tea lattes and plenty of iced beverages when it is hot outside.

Colada Shop, Washington, D.C.
Colada Shop offers unusual coffee drinks like its Cafe Cubano (a shot of coffee, sweetened with whipped sugar) or Cafe Bon Bon (espresso and sweetened condensed milk). Don’t stop there! Grab some delicious Cuban food while you enjoy this colorful space in Washington, D.C.

La Colombe, Philadelphia, PA
Of course, there are a number of La Colombe cafes around the US and hundreds more brewing their beans. While I have only been to their Rittenhouse Square coffee shop, I have heard amazing things about the charms of the massive flagship in Fishtown. There’s good food and so much space (no WiFi, though), so not a place to work remotely. Next trip to Philly will definitely include this coffee shop with my girlfriends.

Dogwood Coffee Co., Minneapolis, MN
Dogwood Coffee Co. is a coffee shop focused on roasting quality over quantity. It takes great pride in finding the right farmers to buy beans from, learning about and crafting its roasting process and sharing its delicious cups coffee with everyone. Dogwood offers coffees and espressos by the cup, or whole bags of beans to-go, so you can enjoy the roasts in the comfort of your own home.

Caffé Medici, Austin, TX
This longtime Austin coffee shop has five branches around town, including the Congress walk-up window with sidewalk cafe. I stop here every time that I am in Austin because it has a warm and homey vibe, and the elegant downtown space boasts a massive espresso bar. Like Seattle and Portland, there are a lot of amazing coffee shops in Austin, but this place always feels like home.

📷: Frank Gruber

PublicUs, Las Vegas, NV
PublicUs features coffee selections and pastries. Thanks, Frank Gruber of Tech.co, for introducing us to this delicious cup of coffee. What a great gift to bring to Spark.Me! While you are PublicUs, try their farm-to-table sandwiches & pastries. Also, consider trying the Green Panda matcha latte.

The Wired Goat Cafe, Columbia, SC
Highly recommended by Spa Travel Gal Ava Roxanne Stritt, the Wired Goat Cafe has a funky interior with vintage furniture and local art. Their freshly baked bread and lattes are always a hit and their staff is extremely friendly.

What do you think? Is this list missing any coffee shop that you love?

Please comment below and share where!

Provost, Y’all! Chamberlain POPS UP at Addison Oktoberfest

One of the most authentic parts of Addison Oktoberfest is the amazing Chamberlain’s Brauhaus, which allows guests to enjoy the same type of VIP seating one might have in the brewery tents at the famed Munich festival. Richard Chamberlain has created a DELECTABLE menu – buy your tickets for the limited seating TODAY!Chamberlain’s Brauhaus is really an exceptional bargain – for only $55, guests get complimentary admission to the event, three-course meal paired with pairing, reserved seating with a view of the dance floor, a commemorative Paulaner stein, PLUS a $25 promotional gift card to either Chamberlain’s restaurant!

Starters
* Locally-made Pretzel with Reisling Honey Mustard Sauce
* House Made Bavarian Ham, Leek, Potato and Vegetable Soup

Entrées (Guests will receive both)
* Paulaner Hefeweizen Beer Braised Pork with Horseradish Mustard and Roasted Onion Potatoes
* Bratwurst, Grobe and Weisswurst Sausages and Local Kobe Bacon-Braised Red Cabbage

Dessert
Warm Bavarian Cherry Strudel with Port Wine Cherry Compote

Seatings are limited and are available the following times:
* Thursday, September 14 – 7 p.m.
* Friday, September 15 – 6:30 & 8:30 p.m.
* Saturday, September 16 – 5:00 & 7:30 p.m.

Make your reservations for Chamberlain’s Brauhaus here: www.chamberlainssteakhouse.com/ticketsAddison Oktoberfest information and other packages are available at AddisonOktoberfest.com.

Cannot wait for Oktoberfest to come mid-September?! Then, we have the recipe for you from Richard Chamberlain. This comfort food will get you ready and sustain you throughout the fall season. 🙂

Chamberlain’s Brauhaus Roasted Onion Mashed Potatoes

Ingredients
3 Tbsp olive oil
2 large yellow onions, thinly sliced
12 Yukon gold potatoes, peeled and quartered
1/2 cup butter, soft
1/2 cup sour cream
1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/3 cup heavy cream
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper

Instructions
1. In a large skillet over medium-low heat, sauté the onions in 3 tablespoons of olive oil, stirring occasionally, for 25-30 minutes, or until golden brown.
2. Transfer to a blender and process until blended; set aside.
3. Place potatoes in a large pot and cover with water. Bring to a boil over high heat. Once at a rapid boil, reduce heat to medium-low and cook for 15 minutes, or until tender enough to pierce with a fork. Drain the potatoes well.
4. Place potatoes in a mixer and add in the roasted garlic cloves, butter, sour cream, cheese, heavy cream, salt, pepper and onion mix. Beat potatoes until light and fluffy. Taste and adjust salt and pepper as needed. Serve warm.

The Summer Menu at Jasper’s Gourmet Backyard Cuisine Will Make You Want Summer to Stay

There truly is something for everyone at Jasper’s!  Jasper’s is known for their gourmet backyard cuisine and their use of the finest quality seasonal ingredients.  They feature gourmet twists on popular dishes and enhance them with fresh and premium ingredients.  To make things even better they have added some really wonderful new summer menu items.  Think fresh heirloom tomatoes and Texas peaches used in the most unexpected and delicious ways.

 

My husband and I recently visited Jasper’s at their Shops of Legacy location which is a trendy and happening area of Plano.  I love the restaurant’s interior – it’s contemporary with pops of wood which makes it feel elegant and upscale but warm and cozy at the same time.   The restaurant did not disappoint.  We had an amazing dinner from the creative appetizers to the delicious desserts.

 

To start off, I picked one of the summer appetizers Smoked Texas Peach Bruschetta.  The description sounded intriguing and it was.  It’s made with goat cheese with a honey and balsamic drizzle topped with peaches!  It has that delicious mix of tangy, sweet, and salty which I absolutely love.

My husband picked the Pulled Pork Empanadas (because he loves empanadas) which is a standard menu item at Jasper’s.  He’s now a huge fan.  The empanadas are made with a delicious chimichurri sauce and cotija cheese and the pastry is baked to perfection.  I have to say it’s now a favorite of mine too.

Next up we tried the restaurant’s very popular and award winning Caesar Salad.  It truly is one of the best I’ve ever had.  It was very fresh and light (not like a lot of Caesars which are “over” dressed) with grated Grana Padano and crispy focaccia croutons.  I’ll order it again when I go back for sure.

 

For my entrée I picked one of their summer offerings, the Shiner Bock Honey BBQ Rotisserie Chicken over apple wood smoked bacon and cheddar grits (yes you heard me bacon and cheese grits).  This dish has everything going for it – Shiner, Honey, BBQ, and Grits so it was a big win-win for me.

My husband tried the award winning  Slow Smoked Baby Back ribs with Creamy Baked Potato Salad and Ancho BBQ.   The ribs made Bon Appetit Magazine’s top 3 choices for America’s Best Ribs.  They loved them and so did my husband (he’s still talking about them).  They were fall off the bone tender and are served with a delightfully surprising rendition of potato salad and topped with fried onions – delicious!  For sides we chose the asparagus prepared with gremolata butter and the crispy, smoky brussell sprouts.  Both were delicious as well.

Now let’s talk about desserts.  Oh my gosh do they have desserts.  I’m not sure how we had room but let’s say we managed.    Our very helpful waiter, William, suggested we have the trio which included the Bundt cake which actually melts in your mouth like butter (highly recommend), the Strawberry Tart (it has the cobbler crust that you dream of), and the Cherry Limeade (think key lime pie with a cherry on top)!  Triple Yum is all I can say!

Jasper’s has backyard fresh roots and they seem to be committed to delivering it.  Everything is made from scratch here and is thoughtfully prepared.  I believe it  puts them in a class above a lot of other restaurants.   Jasper’s also has a great wine selection and their cocktails were perfect (I did not have to explain my signature cocktail more than once) and the service was excellent.  Everything was perfectly timed and more than lived up to our expectations.  We will be back.  And you should definitely go before summer is over to try their new summer menu.  It’s available for both lunch and dinner!

 

Jasper’s has several locations at Plano, Richardson, and The Woodlands in Houston.  For their menu and more information go to:

Jasper’s Plano Home

Jasper’s Richardson Home

http://jasperswoodlands.com

Don’t Miss Dallas’ Newest Addition – District 30 Craft Bar and Kitchen!

There’s a new hip restaurant in Dallas called District 30 Craft Bar and Kitchen and it’s officially open and ready to delight you with their unique cuisine.  This new “gastropub” features American, Italian, and combines Tex Mex with comfort food in the most surprising ways.  There is something for everyone here – from standard fare such as burgers, crab cakes, pizza, and salads to unique and creative recipes.

My husband and I recently went for a dinner preview and we had a wonderful experience from start to finish.  The staff was friendly and welcoming and the atmosphere of the restaurant is warm and inviting with wood paneling and décor and big comfy booths.  This will be the place to go this fall to watch the big games because they have lots of TV’s throughout the restaurant.

Everything we were served was delicious and thoughtfully prepared.  For appetizers our favorites included the unique ahi tuna mini crisps that are served with wasabi spiced avocado and pickled  ginger (my husband’s favorite), tasty tempura asparagus sticks, and the stuffed Portobello mushroom caps filled with garlic, spinach, and cream cheese (my favorite).

Next up we were absolutely delighted to sample the restaurant’s incredible Chicken and Jalapeno Dumplings.  This is where Tex Mex meets comfort food at District 30.  The dish features pan roasted chicken breast with jalapeno dumplings cooked in a creamy cilantro sauce.  My husband and I agreed that this was one of our new favorite dishes and we will absolutely be going back just for this fabulous creation.

For the main course we sampled District 30’s signature dish which is the braised beef short ribs.  The short ribs are slow cooked in a red wine sauce over mashed Yukon gold potatoes with green beans.  The ribs were incredibly tender and the wine sauce is rich and to die for and the pairing with mashed potatoes is perfect.  The spring lamb lollipops are pan seared with a cashew and mini pesto crust and are interesting and favorable.  They are served with roasted fingerling potatoes and vegetables.  Also of note were the grilled mahi mahi served with a pineapple pico de gallo and the seared scallops with sautéed spinach, Portobello mushrooms with a really yummy roasted corn and vanilla bean cream sauce.

We followed up with desserts which included a great chocolate nut brownie and a different twist on bread pudding – don’t miss this dessert when you go!  It’s made with orange juice and is much denser than a lot of bread pudding.  And yes I finished the whole thing and part of my husband’s.

 

If craft beer is your thing they have a great selection and they also have some pretty creative cocktails with names like Ginger and Mary Ann – love it!

 

Here’s a little background:  District 30’s kitchen is directed by the gifted Chef Mike Smith who has worked as sous chef at The Green Room and in the kitchens of Arcodoro/Pomodoro, Restaurant 2900. and The Common Table to name a few.  He also created the healthy menu at Utopia Food and Fitness.  There’s a lot of talent in the kitchen at District 30 and you will reap the benefits when you go.

 

District 30 has a perfect location – right on the corner of Oak Lawn and Hall Street.  It has a great patio with a view of what’s happening in this popular area.  And did I mention that the menu is reasonably priced?  Final Conclusion?  This is a great happy hour spot which just happens to have some really wonderful food.  You can’t go wrong here and I’m betting that this place will be a hit.

 

If you want more information before you go here it is:

https://www.district30dallas.com/ or go to Facebook: www.facebook.com/district30dallas/

 

 

Peace, Love, and Free Frozen Yogurt February 6th!

Yogurtland (3)

Free Yogurt for Froyo Lovers Everywhere!

Yogurtland “Raises a Spoon” to the First-Ever International Frozen Yogurt Day Celebration

February 6, 2017 from 4:00 pm – 7:00 pm

Yes, you heard me – FREE YOGURT!  Celebrate International Frozen Yogurt Day on February 6, 2017 from 4:00 pm – 7:00 pm at Yogurtland!  The self-serve frozen yogurt pioneer, Yogurtland will offer guests around the world Free Frozen Yogurt and Toppings!  That’s right – at all locations!

 Each guest will also receive a Limited-Edition Hershey’s® Collectible Spoon for joining Yogurtland in its tasty mission to celebrate peace, love and frozen yogurt.  To help sweeten a delicious day, Yogurtland will feature a new Peanut Butter Cup frozen yogurt flavor made with Reese’s® and Hershey’s® ingredients, and the popular Chocolate Milkshake made with Hershey® flavor, also made with real, creamy California Milk.  These two chocolatey flavors will continue to be served at Yogurtland locations throughout the month of February.

Don’t miss out on this great opportunity to taste the new flavors and some old favorites!  

International Frozen Yogurt Day is sponsored by Yogurtland and The Hershey Company.

Find a location go tohttps://www.yogurt-land.com/locations  For more information visit http://www.yogurt-land.com    #YogurtlandIFYD   

Yogurtland Story

The Yogurtland Difference

Yogurtland today leads the industry with the best-tasting handcrafted flavors made from real ingredients. Separating Yogurtland from competitors is the company’s team of flavorologists who develop the proprietary recipes for the brand’s more than 100 different and customized flavors. Whether traditional or exotic, each flavor uses real ingredients sourced from their original locations. By controlling the entire frozen yogurt making process, Yogurtland has raised the standards for flavors and quality to new heights and much to the delight of millions of fans.

Naturally occurring calcium makes Yogurtland yogurt a healthful, refreshing treat. Fruit flavors are also fortified with Vitamin C. All of Yogurtland’s flavors meet the National Yogurt Association Criteria for “live and active culture frozen yogurt” and are produced in a kosher-certified facility. Yogurtland features non- and low-fat yogurt flavors as well as non-dairy and no sugar added choices.

Presently there are 320 locations across the U.S., Australia, Dubai, Singapore, Thailand and Venezuela