Ft. Worth’s Best BBQ: Woodshed Smokehouse

20130317_123941Chef Tim Love is revolutionizing what Texans think about barbecue at his Woodshed Smokehouse by incorporating flavors and techniques from all over the world. While you can indulge in traditional BBQ dishes like smoked pork ribs, Love also incorporates Asian and Latin flavors in items like bulgogi beef tacos, pulled pork ramen and wild-game smoked tamales with spicy tomatilla crema. He uses a variety of different smoking woods, making each dish distinctive in taste.


Hilton Anatole Offers 1-Mile Art Walk and Art-Dine Around

Love going to art museums? Trying to live a healthy lifestyle? The famed Hilton Anatole has announced a new “1-Mile Art Walk” for guests wishing to stay healthy and enjoy the hotel’s renowned art collection at the same time.

The 1-mile art walk, which begins and ends at the hotel’s iconic carved elephants in the foyer of the Chantilly Ballroom, winds both inside and outside of the historic property. The art collection at the Anatole, comprised mainly of Asian works along with other examples from around the globe, has long been considered the most acclaimed collection of any hotel in the country.

You can either listen to audio on AnatoleArt.com while enjoying your tour or pick up a printed guide from the concierge desk and tour through the property. Well known art pieces on the walk include “Nebula”, a large, undulating crystal sculpture suspended from the atrium ceiling; “The Gossips” sculpture by noted Danish artist Bjorn Wiinblad; and “The Right Light” bronze sculpture by Seward Johnson.

The “1-Mile Art Walk” is free of charge and available to anyone visiting the storied Dallas landmark. Afterwards, take the elevator up to SĒR Steak + Spirits and enjoy a delectable meal while looking over Dallas.

To create the group culinary experience, the hotel has created “Anatole Art-Dine Around,” pairings with each piece with several delicacies and beverages from its country of origin. With the assistance of an Anatole docent, the group would progressively visit each of the art pieces during the course of the event, sampling food and beverage selections from each locale.  Groups visiting the Carved Wooden Elephants (hand-crafted in Thailand in 1980) would select from dishes like Pad Thai with Chicken, Coconut Shrimp Soup “Shooters” or Mango Sticky Rice, along with a Thai Coffee Station. A visit to the hotel’s section of the Berlin Wall would feature Mini Bratwurst and Kraut, Warm German Potato Salad, or Boysenberry Strudel in addition to a Bitburger Beer Tasting.  The Texas-made bronze sculpture of Will Rogers features Bacon-Wrapped Quail stuffed with Jalapeños, Corn Bread Croutons with Barbecue Brisket, or Mini Pecan Chocolate Pie Tarts, served with Frozen Margaritas.

Dress 4 Yellow

Park Place Motorcars Dallas presents the 2nd annual  Dress 4 Yellow luncheon & fashion show on Thursday, March 28, 2013 at the historic Adolphus Hotel in downtown Dallas! This unique fashion show will include original designs inspired by LIVESTRONG‘s mission to eradicate cancer and a “Yellow Brick Road” auction that includes yellow accessories donated by celebrities. The “Yellow Brick Road” silent auction will include packages, all with yellow features, from Cole Haan, TOM’S, Falke, Thakoon, Laundry, Marc Jacobs, Kendra Scott, Bobbi Brown, David Aubrey, Vera Bradley, Mizzen + Main and more.

The theme of this year’s show is “INVintage – Yellow Through the Years” and will be produced, for the second year in a row, by Bret McKinney of Stanley Korshak.  Vintage looks from a multitude of premier designer collections can be expected to walk down the runway.  This year’s keynote speaker will be Dhani Jones, former NFL player and Chairman of BowTie Cause. Dress 4 Yellow is globally benefiting the LIVESTRONG Foundation and locally benefiting Cook Children’s Cancer Center. Click here to make a donation if you are unable to attend.

FASHION TIP: The gorgeous canary yellow can be worn on every skin tone with equally as gorgeous results, even varying person style (from masculine chic to femme fetal dresses) can incorporate this bright, bold color.

My gal pal Hilary Kennedy of D Living TV shows you how to be bold!

For a classic look team the bold color with neutrals like beige, tan and nude or jump on the color-block trend with a hint of turquoise.

Allison & Courtney Edwards of Where Wear in the City and I
show the variety of yellows with turquoise earrings.


Dallas’ Best Restaurant off the Beaten Path: The LOT

One of the thing I love about eating at restaurant in East Dallas is that they all have character. They aren’t pretentious or redundant. They are unique, and the newest addition to the East Dallas restaurants, The LOT, is just that, and it really surprised me when I parked for a media lunch. I mean where can you go where you children can spend hours in a sandbox, your husband can watch his favorite sports on a big screen and you can sipping fresh pressed juice (like what you get at your local juice bar) on the patio while watching your kids have the time of their life?!

Your kids will love house-ground cashew butter and honey on grain. You can also enjoy this sandwich and take it up a notch by adding banana or bacon to it. Yes, I said BACON!

Culinary consultant Chef Sharon Hage also adds to The LOT menu items that stand out, such as the Texas Wagyu Beef Tongue sandwich with melted Swiss and sautéed red onion on rye (which my husband swears is the best tongue he has ever eaten), Turkey Meatloaf Sandwich with white cheddar, peppered bacon on sourdough and Sheffie’s Sweet Skillet Cakes that are baked to order with flavors like salted caramel pecan, chocolate brownie or cinnamon apple with the creme-de-la creme Carnival Barker’s ice cream on top.

The LOT is open Sunday through Thursday from 5PM to midnight (kitchen open until 10PM), and Friday and Saturday from 5PM to 2AM (kitchen open until 11 p.m.). Lunch service is slated to begin on Monday, March 25, 2013.

The city of Dallas has granted permission for a bridge to be built that will allow access from the Santa Fe Trail directly to the restaurant. “The ball is rolling,” confirms The LOT Owner John McBride. Imagine taking a walk or ride your bike around White Rock Lake and going down the Santa Fe Trail for food and drinks at The LOT.

7530 E. Grand Ave.
Dallas, Texas

Best Easter Brunches in DFW

Our family doesn’t do Easter baskets. To us, too many holidays revolved around sweets and treats, and the holiday itself can lose its meaning. Our Easter tradition is to go to early church service on Easter, and then we head to an amazing brunch, where we talk, laugh and eat ourselves to the point that a nap is required. Here’s a list of Easter brunches in DFW that you should make reservations and have fun with your family and friends:

Café On The Green – MY PICK
Irving | Steak
Enjoy a buffet, kids buffet and Easter Bunny for adults at $71 and for children at $31 (ages 6-12), free for children five and under.
Addison | Seafood
Enjoy a fabulous 3 course menu specially prepared by Chef Chamberlain for $38.50 per person.
North Dallas | Steak
Enjoy a fabulous 3 course menu specially prepared by Chef Chamberlain for $38.50 per person.
North Dallas | Steakhouse
Celebrate Easter at Del Frisco’s featuring a lavish buffet including a variety of popular brunch & dinner items for $49. Children’s menu is available for $12.
Fort Worth Downtown | Steakhouse
Celebrate Easter with our 3-course menu featuring a variety of popular brunch items & dinner menu items for $39. Children’s menu is available for $10.
Grapevine | Steak
Get dressed up in your Easter best for the 2013 Easter Buffet because Kodak will be on hand to photograph your family. You won’t have to hunt for eggs this year; they will be handed out as you walk in the door for adults at $71 and for children at $29 (ages 4-12), free for children three and under.
Grain – Hilton Park Cities
Dallas Uptown | Steak
Come join Executive Chef James Music & his culinary team to celebrate Easter Brunch in our Beverly Ballroom for adults at $55 and for children at $27.50.
Kenny’s Wood Fired Grill
Addison | Contemporary American
Join them on Easter Sunday!
Mignon – MY PICK
Plano | Steakhouse
Join us for a beautiful three course Easter Sunday Brunch for $44.95 per person.
Dallas Downtown | Steak
Celebrate Easter Sunday at SER Steak + Spirits where chef Anthony Van Camp has prepared a delicious brunch for adults at $49 and a children’s menu for those under 12 at $19.

Dallas’ Best Sushi: Shinsei

What’s the fastest way to get to Japan from Dallas? This is how I felt when I walked through the door of Shinsei Restaurant for a media lunch. The fish is flown in fresh. Then, sushi chef Shuji “Elvis” Sugawara goes to work on it, from head to tail. Maybe it’s a big eye tuna, so shimmeringly fresh it looks as though it was just pulled into the boat. Maybe it’s albacore tuna or unagi. Or maybe yellowtail, shrimp or sea urchin. The first thing that came to mind when I order sashimi is the Hawaiian sashimi. Shinsei’s refreshing Hawaiian Sashimi is made with hiramasa, maui onion and hibiscus vinegar. The spicy tuna roll is a classic here. Add some wasabi and clear your sinuses. 😉 Looking for something a little more fanciful?
Consider one of Shinsei’s Regulars “off the menu” favorites, such as Ashby Roll, with spicy tuna roll topped with baked jumbo lump crab in habanero mayo, or the lovely Katina Crispy Rice, with spicy tuna on crispy rice topped with siracha and jalapeños. Shinsei means “rebirth” in Japanese. This is where you will find most divine sushi in Dallas.

Take a Break This Spring in San Antonio

San Antonio is the perfect destination for families looking for a Spring Break getaway that won’t break the bank. Experience thrilling theme parks, delectable flavors and outdoor adventures in San Antonio through the SAVE (San Antonio Vacation Experience) program. With SAVE, you can bring the whole family to San Antonio to create long-lasting memories!

SeaWorld San Antonio celebrates its 25th operating season this year with bigger and better shows, animal interactions and more. In its second year, SeaWorld’s water park, Aquatica, is where the South Seas meets South Texas in a whimsical, one-of-a-kind, 18-acre waterpark only SeaWorld could create. Aquatica blends up-close animal experiences, waters from serene to extreme, high-speed thrills and more than 42,000 square feet of sandy, white beaches. SAVE discounts include deals on family-four packs, $12 off admission and more.

At Six Flags Fiesta Texas, there are more than 50 rides and attractions for all ages and thrill-seeking levels. This spring, the park will unveil its new hybrid coaster, Iron Rattler, which combines a wooden support structure with modern track and rails. The result: a staggering 171-foot drop with an 81-degree drop angle, a 70 mph top speed and four over-banked turns – more than any other hybrid coaster, and the first of its kind to feature a completely inverted barrel roll. SAVE discounts include adults pay kid’s price, next day free and more.

Schlitterbahn Waterpark Resort recently introduced The Falls, “the world’s longest waterpark ride.” The Falls features raging rapids, careening waterfalls and giant waves. The continuously rushing 3,600-foot whitewater river features a ride up the park’s first AquaVeyer, a conveyor belt lift hill, providing an endless float. SAVE discount provides $2 off admission.

At Natural Bridge Caverns, visitors can discover incredible underground chambers filled with spectacular formations on a family-friendly guided tour along paved, lighted walkways. For the more adventurous, there are more challenging exploration tours as well as the Canopy Challenge & Zip Lines, a 60-foot, four-tier adventure course with 47 obstacles that test agility, balance and strength. And for the little ones, the Canopy Kids Course provides rope course fun on a smaller scale. SAVE discounts provide $1 – $2 off Discovery Tours.

San Antonio Zoo is ranked as one of the best zoos in the nation exhibiting over 3,500 animals of 600 species. Some of the newest additions include a sun bear named “Baubles,” a clouded leopard named “Indira,” and a warthog piglet named “Zuko.”They also have the posh boy’s favorite, Linne’s two-toed sloth. SAVE discount provides $2 off admission.

Start planning their spring break trip here and SAVE! Also, follow @SAVEinSA on Twitter for offers throughout the year. 🙂

A Day of Relaxation and Fun in Scottsdale

Disclosure: This post is part of a compensated project by the Scottsdale Convention & Visitors Bureau. I was asked to share some of my favorite places. This post was not reviewed by a 3rd party. All opinions are mine and may not reflect those of the company. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising. All photos are mine and subject to copyright.

Scottsdale’s Sonoran Desert is a great place to spend the day to relax and rejuvenate the mind, body and soul. The desert’s curative climate, medicinal plants and therapeutic herbs create soothing teas, balms and poultices. For this reason, Scottsdale’s award-winning spas are rare gems that everyone should experience at least once a year or at least once in a lifetime. This past Saturday, I discovered the world of Scottsdale through one of their spas and fun dining.

The perfect day must start out with coffee. After a couple recommendation, my girlfriend and I headed to Cartel Coffee Lab in 5th Avenue in the heart of Scottsdale, where she ordered the creamy chai latte and I a rich, nutty espresso. Baristas at Cartel roast their coffee beans on site, which means everything is fresh. What a perfect place to start your retreat. We also enjoyed a delicious breakfast sandwich.

Big Ben Sandwich

Needing some time of reflection, balance and harmony, I chose Spa Avania at Hyatt Regency Scottsdale Resort & Spa at Gainey Ranch to awaken my senses with a beautiful backdrop of the Arizona’s Sonoran Desert. The spa’s treatments and regimens center around a “time-of-day” philosophy and how the body prepares to Awaken (morning), Balance (midday) and Renew (evening). I chose the Herbal Poultice Massage. The masseuse uses heat and herbs mixed with ginger and lemongrass to reduce aches and soothe muscle tension, and I have never felt sooo relaxed afterwards. The staff reserved a table for me to enjoy a guilt-free cuisine that will completed the whole relaxation experience.

Grilled Salmon Southwestern Salad

Spa Avania also features an outdoor French Celtic mineral pool and lotus pond, relaxation areas, steam and sauna, hot and cold plunges.

After having a relaxing day at the spa, it is time for some fun! Of course, my curious peaked when I discovered a restaurant called Posh. As a culinary explorer, its “improvisational cuisine” made me more excited to try this place out. Instead of a traditional menu, customers get a personal checklist to fill out. You indicate how many courses you want. There’s a rundown of the day’s featured meats and seafood, so you can mark whether you would like or not. You can also note how you like your meat cooked, whether you’ll eat raw meat or fish, whether you want an all-vegetarian meal, etc. Even though you can specify your cravings, you won’t know exactly what dishes you’re getting until they arrive at the table as part of a multi-course tasting menu. Posh was well-prepared, seasonally fresh, and served in a series of small plates.

My girlfriend and I completed the fun day at an exclusive lounge called Citizen’s R+D. You walk through an alley and come to a staircase, where you find posted rules on the outside of the building.

To paraphrase: no approaching women, no off-menu orders or substitutions, no yelling, no unsupervised entry, and charmingly, “No firearms. The Wild West era is over, let’s keep it that way.”You call the number at the bottom of the rule list. A man will come down and get you, if there is room, and will escort you. Once inside, the first thing you notice is that the place smells of burning sugar, which is like caramel, candy and all things wonderful to drink. The room is outfitted with black modern couches and dark-wood tables. A fireplace adds warmth and the art added style. It was the perfect way to end a relaxing and fun day in Scottsdale.

How to Spa

Spa Avania in Scottsdale, AZ

I think EVERYONE should go to a spa resort once in their life. Here’s how to get the most out of a spa experience. When you book your spa appointment, make sure you arrive at least an hour before your scheduled appointment for a couple of reasons. First, the spa will give you a tour of the facilities and all its amenities. This gives you an idea of how you may spend your day. Next, I highly recommend relaxing before your treatment by slipping into their steam room to get your mind and body ready.

Don’t worry about what you will be wearing at the spa, as you will be provided with a locker, a robe and slippers. The only thing I recommend bringing is your swimsuit and possibly workout clothes. This gives you more options to take advantage of all the amenities.

After you have spent some time in the sauna, go to the waiting room (sometimes called a relaxation room) 5-10 minutes before your treatment is scheduled to start. Grab a glass of water and take a few deep breaths. The therapist will come and pick you up and escort you to the treatment room. In the room, the therapist will discuss the treatment. This is perfect time to ask questions if you have any and also let them know if you have any allergies. He or she will instruct you in how to get on the table – face up or face down – and leave the room. If you’re getting a massage, you will take off your robe, hang it on a hook, and get underneath the towel or sheets. The therapist will knock before reentering.

At the end of the treatment the therapist will leave the room while you put your robe back on and wait outside for you to emerge. Grab another glass fo water to help your body hydrate itself after the treatment. You can return to the relaxation lounge to rest, proceed to your next treatment or you can enjoy the other amenities that the spa offers such as a dip in the pool or a light meal on the patio.

Raiser Grazer’s Dames Go Local

Les Dames d’Escoffier International’s Dallas chapter will host its annual Raiser Grazer Sunday, March 3, 2013 from 5PM to 8PM at Union Station in Dallas. This year’s theme is “Dames Go Local,”  showcasing the many local purveyors of fruits, vegetables, meat, cheese and other artisanal dairy products. Raiser Grazer raises money for educational scholarships for area women seeking careers in the culinary arts. Tickets are only $65.

Raiser Grazer will feature more than 25 chef-hosted kiosks serving everything from local beef to desserts made with local dairy products. Also, be sure to check out almost 100 items and experiences up for grabs in their silent auction, which you can start browsing at biddingforgood.com.

Participating chefs include:

  • Dame Liz Baron, chef/owner, Blue Mesa Grill – Salad of Tassione Farms Greens, Mozzarella Company cheese and olive oil, pecans and grapefruit from Texas.
  • Dame Dunia Borga, chef/owner – La Duni – Arequipe (aka Dulce de leche) with 3 Happy Cows Dairy Cream and Texas Pecans
  • Dame Tiffany Derry – chef – Pan Seared Scallops with Texas Ruby Red Grapefruit Beurre Blanc
  • Dame Sharon Hage and Dame Wendy Taggart – Chef and Owner of Burgundy Pasture Beef – Burgundy Pastures Beef Keftah with 3 Happy Cows Tzaziki Sauce
  • Dame Lisa Perini – Owner, Perini Ranch Steakhouse – Mesquite Smoked Peppered Tenderloin