Monday, November 21, 2011

FIVE SIXTY By Wolfgang Puck, Atop Dallas' Reunion Tower..... A Review

Wow! That's the only way to begin describing Wolfgang's Dallas, Texas venture, FIVE SIXTY. Forget the fact that you receive a 360 degree view of the Dallas Metroplex within an hour of dining. That's just a perk. The real star is the the food and then, the service.

Of course, one must prepare to call two months ahead of time to secure a reservation at a decent hour. What can I say? The place is sizzling hot at the moment and has been for the last year or so.

Sadly, we only called a month ahead of time and could only get a reservation for 6:30 PM. At that time, I'm still normally doing the day's *unwind* and not yet ready to dine. But, dine we did, and it actually turned out to be the perfect time. We were afforded a spectacular view as well as the sunset, then the city at night. It turned out to be a total event and we loved it.

We live in West Texas so we mostly have chain restaurants, with a few select eateries (locally owned), in which to find superb dining. In other words, it's slim pickings in these parts. So, when we travel to visit our daughter (who is in law school @ SMU), or to any large city, we focus our trips around our daughter and/or divine cuisine. We've had our share of hits-and-misses as well as some delightful surprises. FIVE SIXTY was one of those special surprises.

We began our meal with little miso cones filled with tuna tartare, which was incredibly good. Next, the kitchen sent out a plate of fried green beans (for free), which were to die for. For our third appetizer we had little pork belly filled dumplings that we had to fight over. They were that good.

Mr. Snooty ordered the lobster special (which looked divine), our daughter had the wok fried whole sea bass, and I had the beef filet mignon "au poivre". Let me just say that there were no leftovers after this dinner. We were so satisfied that we didn't even order dessert.

Five Sixty is a restaurant you go to for a *dining experience*, which is far more than just eating a meal. The wait staff were wonderful and all were very well trained. The views were magnificent and we can't wait to back the next time we trek up to Dallas to see our daughter.......

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Deliciously Messy Shredded Barbecued Pork Sliders With Trimmings....

I was totally buzzed by this idea while we were dining at a downtown Dallas dining establishment whose name I can't remember. Luckily, it's not exactly a patented or novel idea and I'm pretty sure I didn't just give birth to this recipe, as it's been made and re-made over decades of time. Research it if you don't believe me. 

Now, most people are accustomed to having PULLED PORK sandwiches, but we find the pork to be overcooked to the point that it's already got one foot in the grave. 

We like to use leftover pork tenderloin instead, since it's cooked to our liking. So, whenever I make a tenderloin for the two of us, we use the  leftover pork for these lovely little sliders, and usually get a day or two of lunch sliders as well.

You can serve these messy food orgasms with any assortment of breads, pita pockets, tortillas, or whatever floats your boat. Yes, they are that incredible. We prefer the wheat slider buns, coleslaw, mustard, red onions, and pickles. Perhaps you'll find another way you like them best. But, that's what these are all about. You can do whatever you want and so can everyone else. So, let's get to it, shall we?

Shredded Barbecue Pork Sliders With All The Trimmings:


1 pork tenderloin, cooked to taste and shredded with a fork

1 cup (approximately) of your favorite Barbecue Sauce

1 package of wheat slider buns

1 package of coleslaw (without the dressing), or just chop your own cabbage

1 cup pickle slices, chopped

1 cup red onion, chopped

mustard, whatever type you prefer


1. Heat the sauce over a medium flame, adding the pork several minutes before serving. This will give the pork ample time to warm up and yet, won't overcook it.

2. I usually just put each ingredient in its own bowl with a serving utensil and let everyone build their own.

3. You can even change up the ingredients with whatever you like. Be creative and enjoy!

4. I will usually serve these with either the healthy chips (that you see pictured), oven sweet potato fries, oven fries, black-eyed peas,  or Cowpoke Pinto Beans.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Thinly Sliced Beef Tenderloin Atop A Bed Of Pasta Primavera.... Perfect Simplicity

Last week I realized that I hadn't made Pasta Primavera in quite some time, so I got with it. If you're trying to get in the recommended 5-7 servings of fruits and/or veggies, this is your vehicle to success. Make enough and you have at least one more night's dinner and several lunches as well. It's a total *win win* deal.

I had leftover beef tenderloin as well as leftover buffalo steaks, so I simply used them instead of having to cook fresh steaks. I also wanted them cold and sliced as thinly as possible. Hello.

Normally, I would make dressing from scratch but we've been having pipes replaced in the midst of our current kitchen plumbing problems. Oy me! So, I simply used a store-bought Balsamic Vinaigrette, which substituted quite well under the circumstances. Here's how I worked it:

Thinly Sliced Beef Tenderloin Atop A Bed Of Pasta Primavera:


2 cups Rotini pasta, plain & cooked al dente
2 cups Rotini pasta, mixed & cooked al dente
fresh broccoli, steamed to personal preference

fresh asparagus, steamed to personal preference (however I used leftover sauteed asparagus), chopped
1/2 fresh green bell pepper, chopped

1/2 red bell pepper, chopped

1/2 yellow bell pepper, chopped

1-1/2 cups of cherry tomatoes, chopped (or the equivalent with medium tomatoes)

1 bunch of green onions, thinly sliced

1/2 medium red onion, sliced and chopped

2 stalks of celery, chopped

1 handful fresh parsley, finely chopped

1 - 4 ounce container of Gorgonzola or Blue Cheese, crumbled


1. Cook pasta according to directions, al dente. Set aside to cool.

2. Chop all veggies or use a food processor to hurry it along. Add to cooled pasta

3. Mix or toss well.

4. Add Blue Cheese. Toss again.

5. Add dressing, toss again, and cover with plastic wrap. Place in fridge for at least 2 hours.

6. Slice beef tenderloin as thinly as possible.

7. Place pasta pleasingly on the plate then add the sliced beef as much like an accordion as possible.

8. Add additional dressing to the top of the beef.


Monday, July 18, 2011

Perry's Steakhouse & Grille, Dallas, Texas.... A Review

During the last trip we took to Dallas to visit our daughter in law school at SMU, we made reservations one night at Perry's and we were so glad we did! Located in the Deep Ellum area of Dallas, Perry's was just a short drive from our hotel, so we were pleased we didn't have to drive a whole lot in Dallas traffic, which makes me crazy anyway.

Upon arrival at Perry's we were greeted and promptly seated at our table, which was located just below the mezzanine where a smooth jazz band played throughout the evening. I. Was. Happy.

We ordered drinks ( I loved my martini) and appetizers, starting out with Escargot in garlic butter and Tuna Tartare. Both dishes were so excellent that I forgot to take a picture!

We decided to skip salads and went on to order our entrees and wine. They have an extensive wine list that is sure to please even the most discerning vintner.

My hubby had the Sea Bass, which he really liked, although he wasn't too crazy about the sticky rice served with it.

I ordered the Grilled Salmon with capers and served with spinach. It was perfection.

Our daughter ordered the Filet Perry and it must have been good because she didn't offer to share even a bite.

Our daughter's roommate ordered their fried shrimp and loved it.

We also ordered two family size sides of Au Gratin Potatoes and Broccolini. There was nothing left of either side.

The food was all cooked to perfection and the wait staff was very attentive, even though they were at times, too attentive.

All in all, it's a fantastic Dallas dining experience that I highly recommend, especially if you like good jazz and tasty cuisine.......

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Char Grilled Buffalo Cheeseburgers With Oven Sweet Potato Fries

Hold onto your breeches because this perfect pairing is very healthy and doesn't taste like it! Admittedly, you could make the burger even healthier by using veggie burgers but those would not go over well with Mr. Snoots, so this is about as healthy as it gets for us.

I remember eating buffalo meat as a child and hating it because it was like eating an old shoe. Those days are long gone and today's buffalo is excellent in flavor and variety of cuts.

Now, the sweet potato fries can be tricky and will probably take several *tries* before you get them like you want them, adjusting size, thickness, oven temperature, and time, to suit your needs. On the other hand, the burgers are pretty much a no-brainer, even for the most inexperienced home cooks.

Char Grilled Buffalo Burgers With Cheese:


Serves 2

1 lb. ground buffalo meat

2 sesame seed buns

mayonnaise & mustard

sliced tomatoes, pickles, and onions

slices of American cheese


1. Divide the ground buffalo into 2 servings and proceed to shape them into patties, being sure to really pack them (so as to avoid the meat being uneven around the edges or eventually falling apart).

2. When coals are ready on the grill, cook the burger patties to desired doneness.

3. If the buns are fresh, I just enclose them in foil and toss on the fire with the burgers. If not that fresh, I lightly butter both sides of each bun and lightly toast them under the oven broiler.

4. Assemble, add sweet potato fries, and serve.

Oven Sweet Potato Fries:


 1 medium - large sweet potato

olive oil (I use garlic infused extra-light olive oil

Lawry's Lite Seasoned Salt (or sea salt), to taste


1. Peel sweet potatoes and cut into whatever size you desire. I usually cut them about 1/4' thick and 4-5" in length.

2. Place them in an accommodating dish and pour about 2 tablespoons of the olive oil over them and toss until entirely coated. They can stand until ready to bake.

3. Preheat oven to anywhere between 375 degrees F and 425 degrees F. The bigger the cuts, the higher the temperature.

4. Allow the oiled fries to drain in a colander for a few minutes. Add to cookie sheet (covered in aluminum foil or parchment paper that has been sprayed with a vegetable spray.

5. Lightly sprinkle seasoned salt (or sea salt) evenly over the cut fries.

6. Place in preheated oven for 15 to 20 minutes. Remove the tray, turn the fries, and return to oven for an additional 15 to 20 minutes. The first few times you try them, you'll learn to adjust to what you need.

7. Remove from oven, allowing to cool for a minute before serving. If you'd like to serve with a more festive presentation, line short glasses with napkins or paper towels, with the back points sticking up and the front point folded down.


Saturday, April 23, 2011

Dining In Dallas... Eddie V's Prime Seafood

While recently visiting our daughter in Dallas (where she's in law school), I had the daunting task of finding places for us to have dinner. The reason I mention that it was daunting is because there are so many amazingly good restaurants in Dallas, to choose from.

Having been to other locations of Eddie V's, we were fairly certain the Oak Lawn location in Dallas would be equally as good. Frankly, it was even better. The bar scene is extremely fun and vibrant so we decided to have our cocktails and appetizers in the bar. It's a great place for people watching. So, we started out with martinis and market oyster on the half shell served on ice with lemon and mignonette sauce. Perfection in every way.


Next, we were seated at our table and sipped cocktails as we decided what each of us would order. First, we shared an Heirloom Tomato Salad which was much like a Caprese Salad, with Bufala Mozzarella, basil, EV olive oil, and balsamic vinegar. I could not have made it better myself. Unfortunately, I didn't get a picture of it because we'd eaten it all before I could remember.


For an entree my hubby ordered the Carpet Bag Filet Mignon which is stuffed with fresh batterfried oysters and Bernaise sauce. He loved it and made it soon disappear. Our daughter ordered the Parmesan Crusted North Altlantic Lemon Sole served with tomato and herbs, served with garlic butter, which said was divine. I ordered the Filet Mignon stuffed with fried oysters and no sauce and it was to swoon for, trust me. We also ordered side dishes of grilled asparagus and twice stuffed potatoes, which are large enough to share with four people. All were perfect.

I'd also like to add that the service was impeccable from the greeters to the busboys. Our waiter didn't hover too much but was always there when we needed him. Nothing to complain about here except that we were all too full for dessert......

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Lazy Lobster Rolls With Lightly Salted Baked Sweet Potato Chips

Every time we have lobster tails we seem to have a lot left, so I'm always looking for recipes. The new Bon Appetit has a wonderful recipe for Lobster Rolls, although I followed a slightly less complicated recipe path since I didn't want to go to the store. In lieu of that, we both agreed that no matter what, it's definitely our new favorite for *Sandwich Night*. So, here is my slightly lazy version of Lobster Rolls served with lightly salted baked Sweet Potato Chips:



2 split Kaiser rolls (hot dog buns can be used by slicing a thin piece off the outside of each bun)

1 tablespoon butter, softened

2 large lettuce leaves (to fit)

1-1/2 cups of leftover (or freshly cooked) lobster meat, chopped

4-5 heaping tablespoons of mayonnaise

1 teaspoon fresh squeezed lime juice

2-3 dashes of Tabasco sauce (or to taste)

2 green onions chopped (I used yellow onions I had on hand)

1-2 stalks of celery, chopped

salt and pepper, to taste

1 pinch of dried basil, parsley, or tarragon (I prefer tarragon)


1. Lightly butter the buns and saute in a pan, turning when browned to liking. Remove from pan to plates.

2. Line one side of sandwich with lettuce.

3. Mix all other ingredients together in a bowl.

4. Pile onto each sandwich, add baked sweet potato chips and ENJOY!

Approximately 650 calories for the entire meal.....

Monday, February 21, 2011

What I Learned In Italy About Food...

Honestly, every region of Italy has its own style of cooking, but I'll stick with what I experienced. Rome (Roma). Florence (Firenze). Two cities where you can get some of the best cuisine in the world, often for a song and dance. However, that wasn't the case with us. We spent our Euros with fervor and I'd do it all again with no regrets.

The main thing I learned was to eat, drink, and do plenty of walking. It's the main reason Italian women look so fabulous. They eat normally (in other words, they eat anything they like) and walk everywhere, thus the reason there are no obese people (aside from tourists) in Italy. It's a concept that Americans might want to try, considering our fat statistics. All women in Rome eat Gelato and remain slender because they walk. And let me just say that I was in better shape than I've ever been on this trip. Sadly, I lost 3 additional pounds in Italy but I've gained 5 pounds since I returned. Uh-Huh. Now, what was I saying? Oh yes. Walk a lot. Eat a lot. Play a lot. Life as a thin person is really just that easy.

Anyhoo, we rented a flat in Rome, which meant we did a lot of walking, then taxi rides when our feet were too swollen to move any further. Still, the food was just one of many of the highlights of the trip. Unfortunately, I was often too consumed with said food or wine to take pictures, much less remember the names of the places. Luckily, our downstairs neighbor Gino invited us to dinner at his flat 3 times and took us out sightseeing one night. 

It was a magical trip, really. Gino (who is somewhere between 75 and 80 years old and Sicilian) is a marvelous chef and made us some of the best meals we had in Rome. He also made his own Limoncello, which I couldn't seem to get enough of. Gino was once a very famous journalist working out of Rome, but limits himself to family and politics now. We did not even attempt to discuss politics. I don't even like discussing politics with people I know, much less with someone I have a language barrier with. Instead, we spoke about our children and our spouses, as we struggled to communicate with our broken versions of one another's languages.

Oddly enough, one our best meals was at the Villa Borghese, where they have a lovely little bistro. Unfortunately, we weren't allowed to take cameras in, so I can't show what we had, but it was the most delightful thin pizza ever. Thankfully, we were able to take pictures of the Villa Borghese Gallery grounds. There were herbs and fruits growing everywhere. I mean, check out the size of those limettas (limes).

Another very memorable meal was in Florence at a bistro called Acqua Al 2 (Due). Florence actually has some of the finest beef in the world and we had *life changing steaks* that night that were served with a balsamic reduction sauce that was truly to live for.

From our rooftop terrace, we could see all of South Rome and we had fresh herbs for cooking, which was such a treat! We had an adorable little kitchen and were only 2 blocks from the Supermercato, where they had everything we could ever possibly need. Also, I hit the corner cafe every morning for my much needed espresso. It was really interesting staying away from the tourist traps. We were able to much better experience the real life Romans live.

After some minor adjustments to our surroundings, my friend and I began to settle in within a couple of days. We found that our terrace was the most delightful place of all to be, listening to the radio as they cranked out the tunes each night. After long days of sightseeing, we were most content to retire to our little rooftop veranda. Then, we'd retire to the 2 sofas with our feet above our heads. Yes, the stumps were truly that swollen. Neither of us ever slept in the bedroom because we needed elevation. Go. Figure.

We both fell in love with the Bufala (Water Buffalo) Mozzarella, with its rich, creamy texture and mild flavor. It made for dynamite Bruschetta. I fell totally head-over-heels for the Gelato. Ice cream always just kills my teeth, but not Gelato. I could eat gallons of it and it's around every corner everywhere in Italy! Then, there's my whole obsession with homemade Limoncello. If I drank it all the time I'd weigh at 250 pounds and/or my teeth would all fall out. Never in my life have I eaten so much or so well. So, basically, you could say I learned that good food cannot and should not be rushed. La dolce vita! I can hardly wait to return....

Friday, February 11, 2011

My Best Decadent Dessert... Chocolate Truffle Tarts With Raspberry Sauce And Fresh Berries

Since I've always been on a diet as far back as I can remember, I've never been a big fan of making or eating desserts. I'm sure my children would tell you the only desserts we ever had here were fruit or Flan. Sometimes Jell-O or the occasional batch of chocolate chip cookies. Those days are history. Now that I'm 57 I've decided that I'm going to enjoy everything I possibly can, including desserts. I'm just going to have to go without other things sometimes and exercise more. Maybe. Or not.

So, as Valentine's Day draws near I look at dessert recipes for weeks before finally deciding what to make for Mr. Snooty on Valentine's Day. This year was my turn to do dinner and I really wanted to make him drool this year. Mission accomplished. Let me just say that I hit the proverbial jackpot with this recipe. Every bite was like a sexual personal orgasm. Neither of us could do more than make Mmmmm sounds the entire time we were finishing our dessert.

This was originally a Tyler Florence recipe only he didn't serve it with fresh whipped cream and/or a raspberry sauce. However, dues must be paid for this fabulous dessert. Otherwise, I'd never have come up with all this on my own. Tyler Florence totally rocked my world with this delicacy! 

Luckily, the recipe makes enough for 6, so we were able to do it all over again last night and tonight. Sometimes I truly amaze myself. I couldn't wait to share this with you, so I'm posting it on my cooking blog as well as here on my regular blog. If I can make this masterpiece, then anyone can, trust me. I changed the recipe up a little and the result was sheer perfection. This is seriously the best dessert I've ever made.

Chocolate Raspberry Truffle Tarts Adapted From Tyler Florence:

Ingredients For Shells:

1 -1/2 cups of finely crushed chocolate wafer crumbs (just use Oreos without the center if you can't find wafers)
6 tablespoons of butter, melted

Ingredients For Chocolate Truffle Mix:

3/4 cup heavy cream

8 ounces of good-quality (70%) semi-sweet chocolate, finely chopped

1 teaspoon of pure vanilla extract (I used rum extract and it was even better than vanilla)

1/4 cup cocoa powder, for dusting

Ingredients For Topping:

1 cup whipping cream

2 -3 teaspoons granulated sugar

1 teaspoon pure vanilla

1 small container of fresh raspberries, rinsed and dried


1. Use fork to combine melted butter and crushed chocolate wafers.

2. Spray the inside of six (6) cups of a muffin pan with vegetable cooking spray
3. Line each of the six cups with a large square of either parchment paper or wax paper. (I tried both and they both worked perfectly. Press the liners with a small (like a juice) glass to press them into place. Make sure there is enough overhang on each one to lift out when they are ready.

4. Fill each of the 6 muffin cups with the crushed wafer and butter mixture and use small juice glass to press into shape. The mixture should go up the sides about 1-1/2", but not all of mine did and they were just fine.

5. Place muffin tin in refrigerator until the chocolate truffle recipe is prepared.

6. Heat cream over medium low heat until it comes to a simmer. Place finely chopped chocolate in a small bowl and pour heated cream over chocolate. Allow to stand for 10 minutes.

7. When time is up, whip the cream and chocolate with a whisk until blended. Let stand at room temperature for one hour. When hour is up beat the mixture as fast as you can or use medium setting on a hand mixer until mixture thickens and lightens in color. I suggest a hand mixer.

8. Remove muffin tin from refrigerator. Place one raspberry in the bottom center of each cup.

9. Fill a pastry bag with chocolate truffle mixture (or you can use a plastic baggie with the corner snipped off) and fill each of the 6 cups with the mixture. Be sure to lick or suck out the rest of the mixture. You won't want to waste it, trust me.

10. Place muffin tin back into fridge for at least one hour.

11. Meanwhile, you can make the raspberry sauce (recipe follows) and then the whipped cream.

Raspberry Sauce:


1 - 12 ounce package of frozen raspberries, thawed

1/4 cup sugar

3/4 teaspoon cornstarch

2 tablespoons water


1. Place thawed raspberries in a strainer (or sieve) over bowl and press lightly to extract juice. (If you press too hard the seeds will come through and you'll have to strain it again with cheesecloth in a strainer).

2. Transfer juice to a small saucepan; add sugar and cook over medium high heat until hot, about 3 minutes.

3. Meanwhile, mix water and cornstarch until combined.

4. When raspberry mixture is hot, slowly whisk in cornstarch. Bring to a boil and cook 2 minutes or until thickened. Allow to stand at room temperature until ready to use.

Final Assembly:

1. Pour 2 to 3 tablespoons of raspberry sauce over one half side of the dessert plate.

2. Carefully remove the chocolate truffle filled cups by the paper overhang, removing paper and place on top of raspberry sauce.

3. Drop 2 to 3 large dollops of whipped cream on top and one side, adding a few fresh raspberries.

4. Using a small strainer, dust lightly with the cocoa powder, which I completely forgot to do before taking the pictures.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Comfort Food: Hearty Buffalo Chili, Texas Style

In this house we love beef chili, but we now love buffalo chili even more. Although we only have it in the winter, Chili is one of the best dishes for warming up your body when you have a chill. (Lord knows the summer months in menopause are bad enough.) It's also a well used leftover when poured over the top of the tamales my housekeeper makes for us as well as on hot dogs and in Frito Pie. So, there is no possibility of throwing out the leftovers, unless you're the wasteful type. There are many other uses for it too.

Actually, this recipe is all about conforming it to your own taste and/or preferences. Have fun with it and try different things.

So, here I offer you my version of Chili con Carne:


1 lb. of ground bison (buffalo), ground sirloin, or beef tips, whichever you prefer

1 large yellow onion, diced 

4-5 cloves of garlic, pulverized

1 can Rotel chiles and tomatoes

1 12-ounce can tomatoes, diced

1 12-ounce can tomato sauce

1/4 cup chili powder

1 tablespoon ground cumino

1/4 teaspoon paprika

1/2 teaspoon red cayenne pepper (or to taste)

1/2 to 1 teaspoon salt (adjust to taste)

1/2 cup beef broth

1/2 cup of red wine


1. Brown beef or buffalo in a dutch oven until just done. While there is still some fat left in pan, add onion and brown. Just before onions are cooked, add the garlic & cook a couple more minutes

2.  Add Rotel, diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, chili powder, ground cumino, paprika, cayenne, salt, and beef broth.

3. Simmer for at least 2 hours.

4. Add wine 10 minutes prior to serving.
5. If you must add beans, please do it separately.

6. Serve in bowls sprinkled with onions and cheese, with cornbread or saltine crackers.

7. If chili is too thin add some flour mixed with hot water. If too thick, add more beef broth.

8. All throughout cooking, be sure to taste, taste, taste!
9. Serve in bowls topped with chopped onions and grated cheese. Poof! Your chill is now gone.

Bon Appetit Pardner!