Thursday, December 10, 2009

Back from the Dead… The Resurrection of Forgotten Haunts

Here is my latest article, for the December issue of Lit Monthly. It was rather verbose and had to be considerably trimmed to fit onto two pages in the mag, so here it is in its unedited glory...

Back from the Dead… The Resurrection of Forgotten Haunts by Greg Holman

With the last U.S. census showing over 7,200 drinking establishments in Dallas city limits alone, it’s easy to see why so many bars come and go, especially with the volatile economics of the times. And alas, some of the clubs that leave us are inevitably ones that have been patronized by us. So when one of the old haunts arises from the dead, changes ownership, or gets a face-lift, it’s certainly noteworthy.

Recently there’s been a resurgence in once popular imbiberies having life’s breath restored to them. With the recent financial downturn, and a movement towards drinking at home or better yet, at a friend’s home (rather than spending $4.00 a piece for longnecks), this bar business slump means that old night clubs are often available at bargain prices, allowing for at least modest remodeling budgets and upgrades, in most cases. These renovations have not been limited to any particular part of town and are happening everywhere from Oak Cliff - The old Kessler Theatre is being renovated into a “Caravan of Dreams”-type live music venue, to Lake Dallas, where the Flying Pig Roadhouse has moved to new digs at 5008 S. Stemmons Freeway.

Here are a few “back from the dead“ spots to keep in mind, next time you’re vexed about where to see some live music, relive an old memory, or just get your drink on.

Trees – 2709 Elm St. Dallas, TX 75226 (214) 651-0773Once the cornerstone of Deep Ellum’s live music scene, Trees’ stage has been honored with performances by such artists as Marilyn Manson, Nirvana, Stiff Little Fingers, Stray Cats, The Buzzcocks, Toots and the Maytals, Motorhead, Cindy Lauper, Iggy Pop, Soundgarden, Steve Vai, The Go-Go’s, Pearl Jam, and Green Day, just to name a few! But times have not been kind to Deep Ellum. Many of the most popular clubs in the area eventually succumbed to a drop in patronage, due to a rash of late night violence, and more recently, the financial woes of the time. But earlier this year, Clint Barlow, former drummer for Vanilla Ice and more recently the booking agent and manager of Firewater, bought the club and ponied up $750,000 for a serious remodel which included upgrades to the bathrooms (‘cause if the ladies ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy) and an ass-kickin’ sound sytem. A boon to the struggling, but slowly reviving Deep Ellum scene, the re-opening of Trees is a sight for these sore old eyes. Drop by and give them some love.

Sharky's – 7402 Greenville Ave. Suite #320 Dallas, TX 75231 (214) 361-5436Old pool halls never die! A while back some friends took the place over and did an extensive remodel, unfortunately, the cost of the rennovations was more than the new owners could handle, and after 27 years of continuous operation (the longest run of any bar on Greenvillle) Sharky's closed their doors. It's always been the kind of place "where everybody knows your name" and we have made some very good friends there. I've been going to Sharky's since 1986 and they've been one of the premiere dart bars in the Metroplex for decades. Last year some other friends and former patrons of "The Tank" (as we affectionately call it), Hiedi and Shane, puchased the place took on the momentous task of bringing the old girl up to code (daunting at best). They have done a great job just getting it back open and are putting in a full kitchen to boot! They expect to have the chef driven bar food menu available in early June. They currently have six dartboards, four pool tables, and several video games. They still pour a good strong drink and have 7-8 tap beers. Shane has been a drummer for various groups in and around Dallas for years, and is bringing in local original bands on the weekends. They're also trying some karaoke on Wednesday nights. Come by and see the "new" old place and have a beer and re-partonize a long-time staple of upper Greenville. "Norm!"

Trader Vic's – 5330 E. Mockingbird Ln. Dallas, TX 75206 (214) 823-0600
I fondly remember going to this Trader Vic’s with my parents for special occasions, back in the mid-‘70s and was rather dismayed when it closed in the Spring of 1989. For years this island haven of the Dallas jet-set and visiting celebrities (Frank Sinatra, Bob Hope, and Elvis have all gotten sloshed here) sat, unused and forgotten, with its giant, monolithic, Easter Island-like tiki slowly decomposing by the front door. This image haunted me for years. In 1993 the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, founder of Transcendental Meditation, bought the place, but didn’t feel that a tiki bar fit into his grand scheme for the faith based hotel, and the bar was sealed. It sat unused for decades. In 2006, the San Francisco based boutique hotel firm Kimpton Hotels and Restaurants Group Inc. purchased the building, and that’s when investors Jim Sibert (State Bar and Double Wide) and Angus Wynne (Wynne Entertainment) saw an opportunity to reopen the Dallas landmark and embarked on an epic remodel of the vintage tiki bar to the tune of two million dollars, which included a new kitchen. After the opening of the Palomar Hotel, Sibert and Wynne were bought out by Palomar Hospitality, who now runs the place. Most of the trappings are the original, vintage décor from 1967. Chef Michael Owens, formerly of Star Canyon, Morton’s of Chicago, and the Oceanaire, is now running the kitchen. Get a blast from the tiki past and hula on up to the bar for a pupu platter and a six-straw drink, or a Mai-Tai (Trader Vic’s invented them) and set your butt on a bar stool that Elvis’ pelvis may have graced.

Tradewinds – 2843 W. Davis St. Dallas, TX 75211 (214) 337-9075This is my local hangout. I can literally walk home from here (and have had to on occasion). Back in September, “winds” ownership changed hands and Phillip Jester, once a co-owner of Lee Harvey’s, and his partner Ken Arkwell have taken hold of the reigns. “I define a “dive” as really a neighborhood bar” said Jester of his new project, and he intends to keep it just that. They’ve put on a new coat of paint, added some cool vintage lighting, and a parachute-covered ceiling over the dance floor, and have incorporated a cozy conversation pit. Several new beer and liquor selections have been added as well, and they’re in consultation with a chef on a tasty menu. The Double D’s (David and Dorothy) do a fantastic job running karaoke every other Saturday (Phil is trying to get them in every Saturday) and the patronage is extremely diverse. The industry crowd has begun to discover Tradewinds and late night business is certainly picking up. Stop by for one of the daily happy hours or some karaoke and shoot some pool, throw some darts, or play a rousing game of shuffleboard. Phil, Ken, Shooter, and Melissa will be very happy to see you.

The following venues are a couple of once well-known Dallas clubs that have been newly renovated and have also had a name change in the process.

Bandera – 1924 Greenville Ave. Dallas, TX 75206 (214) 823-8496
Anyone remember Stout on Greenville? Well, that’s what this “red dirt” music club used to be. The new owners, Anthony West (a former rodeo star) and Jim Baugh, bought the defunct location last year and have put former Zymology manager, Ben Verdooren in charge. The two had always wanted to own a bar (like, who hasn’t) and thought that true Texas “red dirt” music (Eleven Hundred Springs, Cross Canadian Ragweed, J.J. Cale, etc.), “not country” would fill a gap in the Dallas music scene. They’ve kept the old stone bar from Stout, but have added a patio, a new stage, and lots of “woody” décor. They’ve also recently put in a coffee shop (which the area sorely needed), that’s open during the day. Don’t worry though, not too many cowboy hats in here so you’ll not be a goat among goat ropers.

Stone Elephant – 6750 Abrams Rd. Suite #105 Dallas, TX 75231 (214) 342-9200
Formerly known as Big Fat Mike’s pool hall, this location sat dormant for years until Timm Zbylut, former manager at Lee Harvey’s, and his partner Michael Kobelt decided to resuscitate the venue and man, did they do a number on it. It’s really been finished out nicely, with rough-hewn edge stone tables, a leather-clad conversation pit, an elevated stage, and a very nice kitchen. You can shoot some pool or play on one of the video games and they are now hosting live trivia on Thursdays. The chef (former of Charlie Palmer’s) hails from the northeast and wanted to bring classic deli sandwiches to Dallas, which so desperately needs a good artery-clogging meat-fest of a sandwich, like they serve at the Carnegie Deli in Manhattan. Bands play on the weekends and the menu is starting to come to fruition. There is also a nice patio that wraps two sides of the club. Check the place out and you’ll be amazed by the transformation.

Renovation and re-use of old spaces takes many different forms. Sometimes it’s just a coat of paint and a few new lights, other times it’s a total makeover, but however extensive the remodel is, these places were our haunts and carry our ghosts and memories, both good and bad, with them always. Revisiting the old hang-outs gives us at least a chance to remember, if not relive those unique and special times in our lives. Embrace your past and go visit one of these classic old bars that have given so much pleasure (and pain!) to so many.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Go Ahead and Sing Your #%@& Off - Karaoke in Dallas

Here is article #3 for Lit Monthly (November, 2009 issue)...

Go Ahead and Sing Your #%@& Off - Karaoke in Dallas

Do you have the testicular fortitude to stand up in front of a crowd of complete strangers, family, and friends and belt out a version of “Close to You” by the Carpenters? No? Well then have another drink or two and you soon will. Ah, karaoke; it allows us to accrue a few of our fifteen minutes of fame (or shame) and get that adrenaline rush of a live performance. In the comfort of our favorite bar, we’re able to sing and join in on the cheers and jeers of our contemporaries, who usually feel that they could’ve done a better job on that last tune, which was so deftly sent through the abattoir.

Karaoke (amateurs singing along to recorded music through a PA system, with the assistance of scrolling lyrics that are being displayed on a video screen) has been around since the early 1970s. The true origin of this phenom is speculative, but most agree that it can be traced back to Japanese musician Daisuke Inoue, who created a karaoke-type machine back in 1971. Totally embraced by the Japanese, the popularity of the “Big K” quickly spread to East and Southeast Asia during the 1980s, and by the 1990s it was in full swing in the US and remains a popular form of entertainment today. In fact, the movie Duets, starring Gwyneth Paltrow and Huey Lewis, centers on the life of a U.S. karaoke hustler.

Karaoke is really all about having a good time, whether you sing well or not. The medium has become so popular that even famous recording artists often use it as a crutch, on stage, relying on a video monitor of scrolling lyrics to keep from looking like a jackass, should they forget a line. Heck, even Elvis “the pelvis” used to use cue cards during live performances. And speaking of live performances, there is a form of karaoke called “Rock Star” karaoke, where a real band, with a list of up to several hundred songs, actually backs you up. You really get to be a rock star for a night!

As the majority of us have a hard enough time just mustering enough courage to vocalize to any crowd, there are a few rules of etiquette that should be followed when performing (or watching) karaoke. Here are a couple of lists that will help make the evening more enjoyable (or at least less painful) for everyone involved.

Some Karaoke Rules of Etiquette

1. Always applaud for every singer, no matter how bad they are. It’s always possible that you’ll suck even worse than them, when your time comes.
2. Conversely, making fun of someone on stage is a big NO-NO. No hissing, booing or derogatory comments from the peanut gallery, please. Unless of course it’s one of your siblings or best friends, and they are actually better than you.
3. Do not, under any circumstances, get up and sing backup or a duet with anyone unless you are specifically asked to! It’s hard enough sounding like crap on my own.
4. While there are tons of songs to choose from, there’s always a chance that someone will request the same song as you, before you. Don’t whine about it. They turned their slip in first and get to sing the song first. Just pick another tune and move on.
5. Always be respectful of the microphone. Don’t swing it around by the cord like Roger Daltry, and certainly don’t lick it, suck it, stick it in your mouth, or in any other bodily orifice. It’s a highly specialized, expensive piece of equipment, and when I sing on that mic, I’m singing with everyone else that that mic has been with.

Follow these simple rules and you’ll feel all warm and fuzzy inside and will probably be invited back to regale the adoring throngs with your smooth vocal stylings. Fail to heed them and the karaoke police may come knocking on your door in the wee hours of the morning, and force you to listen to 37 different renditions of “Feelings.” That being said, here is a short list of “don’t be that guy” songs that you should never inflict upon any karaoke crowd…

1. Songs that are too lengthy – i.e. “Bohemian Rhapsody,” “American Pie,” “Paradise by the Dashboard Lights,” “Freebird,” and “Stairway to Heaven.” Why? Life’s just too damn short!
2. Songs that are overly weak, wimpy, or watered down – such as “I Got You Babe,” “The Rose,” or “The Wind Beneath My Wings” (Both by Bette Midler, sorry Bette!), “Delta Dawn,” “Copacabana,” anything by Air Supply, the Carpenters, Neil Diamond, or the like. – No explanation needed here, is there?
3. Tunes by musicians that are not in your vocal range – Journey, Rush, Mariah Carey, Whitney Houston, Celine Dion, and Minnie Ripperton to name just a few. - Is there a freakin’ Screech Owl in here?
4. Songs that have just been way too overdone – like most anything from the Grease soundtrack, “Ice, Ice, Baby,” “New York, New York,” “My Way,” “Freebird” (again), “Brown-Eyed Girl,” “Strokin’,” “Friends in Low Places,” “Baby Got Back,” “Margaritaville,” “Hotel California” etc. – No, Not Again!! Please!!!
5. Songs that nobody else knows. – You’re going to sing that? Really!?
6. And last but certainly not least… sad, depressing, or breakup songs. – You may have just been through a tough breakup, but my life already sucks and I don’t need to be reminded. Keep your personal issues to yourself!

Now that we’ve covered the basics, here are a few of my favorite places in the Metroplex to stretch my vocal chords:

1. The Maple Point – 5415 Maple Ave. Dallas, TX (214) 688-5515 (Thurs.)
2. Lone Star Café – 11277 E. NW Highway Suite #124 Dallas, TX (214) 341-3538 (Tues. and Thurs.)
3. Tradewinds – 2843 W. Davis St. Dallas, TX (214) 337-9075 (Sat.)
4. The Stone Elephant – 6750 Abrams Rd. Dallas, TX (214) 342-9200 (Thurs.)
5. Ernie’s of North Dallas – 5100 Belt Line Rd. Suite #502 Dallas, TX (972) 233-8855 (Mon.)
6. The Goat (aka Lota’s Goat) – 7248 Gaston Ave. Dallas, TX (214) 327-8119 (Wed. and Sun.)
7. Knox Street Pub – 4447 McKinney Ave. Dallas, TX (214) 528-5100 (Thurs.)
8. Winedale Tavern – 2110 Greenville Ave. Dallas, TX (214) 823-5018 (Thurs.)

You can find Rock Star Karaoke at:

1. Scooter’s – 3427 Trinity Mills Rd. Suite #700 Carrollton, TX (972) 662-9170 (Thurs.)
2. Sherlock’s Pub – 9100 N. Central Expressway Dallas, TX (214)692-1111 (Tues.)

There are tons of places to sing karaoke in Dallas, from little hole-in-the-wall dives to places like Family Karaoke, where you can rent your own private room with a karaoke machine, sing as horribly as you want, and order food and drinks, away from the judging eyes and ears of others. For more DFW karaoke hot spots, check out the website It’s a phenomenal resource for finding places to sing, on any night of the week. They were also very helpful in writing this article. Now get out there and sing your #%@& off! “Feelings, wo-o-o feelings…”

Friday, October 16, 2009

Stairway to Freebird: An Homage to DFW Tribute Bands and Clubs

Here is the second article that I've written for Lit Monthly. It was written for the October issue. I also penned a little one-page blurb for one of the advertisers, Reno's Grill, in Deep Ellum.

Stairway to Freebird: An Homage to DFW Tribute Bands and Clubs

Led Zeppelin, Van Halen, Rush, The Allman Brothers, The Beatles, and Pink Floyd, performing live for only $5 each? You bet! When we can’t see the original band for one reason or another, a tribute to our favorite and sometimes defunct bands fits the bill just fine, and Dallas is at the forefront when it comes to the tribute band scene.

With concert ticket prices reaching the $150 range and old rockers dropping like flies, sometimes a tribute is the only and certainly most cost-effective way of recapturing the youthful rocking that we were once able to experience for under $10. I mean, I remember seeing bands like Boston, Queen and Thin Lizzy at the Dallas Convention Center for only $8.00 each!!!

Webster’s English Dictionary defines “tribute” as: a gift or service showing respect, gratitude, or affection and Wikipedia defines a “tribute act” as a music group, singer, or group of musicians who specifically plays the music of a well-known music act.

The first tributes to emerge appeared in the early to mid-60s and were primarily Elvis and Beatles impersonators, including an early Fab Four-inspired band called the Buggs, from Omaha, Nebraska. Marshall Crenshaw, in fact, got his first big break in 1977, playing for the touring Beatles tribute Beatlemania. A few tributes have even made it to the big time in their own right; Australian Pink Floyd and Dread Zeppelin come to mind. The Oasis tribute, No Way Sis, was once actually asked to play for a sellout crowd in Paris, which the holier-than-thou Oasis had just cancelled. As the tribute genre has grown in stature and quality, a number of big name acts have acquired replacement musicians, from tributes that have emulated their own sound, such as Journey, who found Arnel Pineda on You Tube, singing for a Philippine Journey tribute called “The Zoo,” or Tim “Ripper” Owens, the one-time singer for Judas Priest, who was found fronting a band in 1996 called British Steel, a Priest homage. Incidentally, Owens’ story was the inspiration for the film Rock Star.

Dallas has certainly had its share of tributes and the locals have always shown enough interest to keep them playing at live venues virtually every weekend, for the last decade. Some of the earliest bands to show up on the DFW scene are still in action, including Hard Night’s Day, the Beatles trib who just won the Observer’s 2009 best tribute band and Naked Lunch, the Steely Dan clone (one of my personal faves), recently named the best “Dan” tribute in America. The DFW tribute band tapestry is woven from a tight group of musicians, many of whom play in multiple bands, and fortunately, the quality of musicianship is relatively high with these guys (and gals). So, you can almost always find a really great show somewhere in DFW, on any given weekend.

Here’s a list of a few top local tribute bands and some of the venues in which they can be seen. Please check out each band’s or club’s website for more info and upcoming gigs.

Alcohollica - Metallica
The Almost Brothers -Allman Brothers
Anthem - Rush
Back In Black - AC/DC
Bebe Le Strange - Heart
Blaze of Glory - Bon Jovi
Boys Named Sue - Johnny Cash
Briefcase Blues - Blues Brothers
Child O’ Mine - Guns N’ Roses
Destroyer - KISS
Escape - ourney
Fast Lane - Eagles
Hard Nights Day - Beatles
Holy Diver - Van Halen
Judas Rising - Judas Priest
Lizard Larceny - The Doors
Lone Star Floyd - Pink Floyd
Naked Lunch - Steely Dan
Oliver’s Army - Elvis Costello
The One Percent Band - Lynard Skynard
Petty Theft - Tom Petty
Queen for a Day - Queen
Swan Song Led Zeppelin
The Thin White Dukes - David Bowie
Voodoo Blue - Stevie Ray Vaughn

DFW Tribute Band Venues
Bronco’s Sports Bar - 900 Airport Fwy - Hurst, TX 76054 Phone: (817) 498-0600
The Cavern - 914 Lower Greenville Ave - Dallas, TX 75206 Phone: (214) 828-1914
Dan’s Silverleaf - 103 Industrial St - Denton, TX 76201 Phone: (940) 320-2000
Dino’s Bar and Grill - 2707 Race St - Fort Worth, TX 76111 Phone: (817) 222-2608
Flying Pig Roadhouse - 531 S Denton Dr - Lake Dallas, TX 75065 Phone: (940) 497-3240
House of Blues – 2200 N Lamar St – Dallas TX 75202 Phone: (214) 978-2583
Lakewood Bar and Grill – 6340 Gaston Ave – Dallas, TX 75214 Phone: (214) 826-3888
Lee Harvey’s – 1807 Gould St – Dallas, TX 75215 Phone: (214) 428-1555
Lone Star Café and Club – 11277 E Northwest Hwy – Dallas, TX 75238 Phone: (214) 341-3538
O’Riley’s Billiards, Food & Bar – 8989 Forest Ln – Dallas, TX 75243 Phone: (972) 235-2781
The Pour House - 209 W 5th St - Fort Worth, TX 76102 Phone: (817) 335-2575
Sambuca – 2120 McKinney Ave – Dallas, TX 75201 Phone: (214) 744-0820
Skillman Street Pub – 9220 Skillman St #115 – Dallas, TX 75243 Phone: (214) 341-4022
Tolbert’s Restaurant – 423 S Main St – Grapevine, TX 76051 Phone: (817) 421-4888

DFW tribute bands offer a wide variety of musical stylings to suit just about any taste, and can be a buttload of fun to watch and sing along with. So dig out your old concert t-shirts, grab a lighter and some buds (either kind) and go support the next best thing to your favorite old (or not-quite-so-old) band. They’re most likely playing in town, this weekend. Rock on!

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

“Park” Your Bocce Balls Right Here

Sorry it's been so long since my last post, but I've been performing with Lone Star Floyd and as many of you know, I am now the Bar and Night Club columnist for Lit Monthly Magazine, writing at least one article a month for them. I'll post each article here, for those of you who can't get the mag in you area. Here is article numero uno...

Hi, my name is Greg Holman and while this column is not about me, I feel that a short introduction is necessary for you to understand why Mr. Mark Beneventi has graciously seen fit to inflict my knowledge of Dallas-area bars, night clubs, and restaurants upon you all.

I’ve lived in Dallas since 1974, and have lived in North Oak Cliff for the past fifteen years. I’m a bartender, DFW foodie, award winning cook and local musician. As a Dallas area musician, I’ve played a wide variety of venues ranging from the old Hot Club, Theatre Gallery, and O’Riley’s, to the Across the Street Bar, Memphis (in Addison), and Starplex (that’s right, I still call it Starplex!). In the early 80s my father was involved with the creation of the Starck Club and I consequently spent a lot of time “Starck Raving” and schlepping at other hot spots of the time like Nostromo, Zubar and Tangos.

I like all styles of music and will be visiting new and forgotten honky-tonks, blues bars, dance clubs, spots where the elite meet and greet, and all places in-between. I’ll be looking at good cheap drinks, cool patios, great bar food and DFW events where drinking, eating and partying is a requirement.

I love patios! Drinking and dining Al Fresco has a certain Je ne sais quoi. Food tastes better, wine is sweeter and vibes are cooler, so to start off the column I thought that I would hit Marc Cassel’s new collision-fusion, bocce ball bastion, “Park” on Henderson, which had its semi-grand opening on July 21st. Before the opening, I was intrigued by the first descriptions that I’d read of their lush patio and couldn’t wait to check it out. I’ve stuck primarily to the bar, patio and drinks for this article.

You may know Marc from his previous stints at Dragonfly in the Hotel Zaza and the always awesome Green Room in Deep Ellum. He’s also worked at the Mansion, Baby Ruth, and Star Canyon. Donald Chick, of La Condesa Comida y Tequila fame, holds the purse strings to this Breck Wolsey-designed, Eames House-inspired urban oasis on Henderson. In addition to the Wolsey interior, there is plenty of eye candy to be seen here, for both boys and girls. This includes the staff (a good looking bunch)! To get the groove going, they have DJs on Fridays and Saturdays and Dallas icon Jeff Liles has been spotted, spinning tunes on occasion. Girls wear everything from jeans and colorful tops to short slinky dresses with heels. Guys are wearing jeans or slacks with collared shirts, but all appear to be dressing to impress.

After getting past the valets and entering the big twin red doors, we were greeted by a jazzy soundtrack playing at a talkable volume and nice ambient lighting from George Nelson bubble lamps. Beverly Hills Hotel inspired banana leaf wallpaper and landscaping by Jason Pautz added a comfortable feel. Marc was very visible, expediting food from the kitchen and assuring that it was up to his specs.

The restaurant/bar is broken up into five different sections that easily flow from one to the other. And despite what you may have read, the bocce ball courts are outdoors and set to open on the third or fourth week of September, as is the new back-room bar which will be available for private parties.

The horseshoe shaped bar is spacious and accommodating and our bartenders Scott and Kevin were very helpful with questions about the menu and restaurant and genuinely seemed to be happy to be there, as did the rest of the staff. Fresh ingredients such as citrus and herbs are stored decoratively throughout the restaurant and fresh garnishes of fruits, herbs and berries fill drinking glasses at the bartender’s stations. The mixologists show a bit of flair while pouring the ‘60s themed specialty drinks ($8.00) with names like Voodoo Child, the Easy Rider, Jagger’s Lips and Pineapple Garcia. There are also twenty draft beers available, ranging from $4 to $6 a pint. They offer a house sangria ($5 a glass, $16 a carafe) that we thought was refreshing, if not a little bland, compared with the likes of Bolsa’s or Gloria’s and wines average $25 to $50, with a few higher-end bottles available, and several are served by the glass.

Park is pretty much as “green” as a Dallas restaurant can be. The kitchen uses sustainable, local and organic ingredients when viable and the interior is constructed with reclaimed wood. Tables, bars and benches are made from local rough-hewn cottonwood trees. They produce their own in-house bottled water, compost all of their biodegradable waste, support an herb garden and bee hives on the roof and have landscaped with hearty indigenous plants. A three trunk Live Oak, transplanted from Wilmer is the centerpiece of the patio, which also sports Japanese maples, and bamboo. Smoking is allowed on the patio.

Being one of the newest additions to one of Dallas’ hottest areas for food and drink, the crowds on the weekends can be a bit daunting, but during the week there seems to be no problem with seating. The drinks are well made and everyone seems to be enjoying themselves. I could certainly be happy sitting and sipping on the patio, spending a relaxing evening in the Park.

Park is located at 1921 Henderson Ave. Dallas, TX 75206 Phone: 214.824.3343. The bar opens at 5:00 pm Tuesday through Thursday and at 4:00 pm Friday through Sunday. The Kitchen opens at 6:00. They are closed on Mondays. They will take reservations for parties of 6 or more. They can be found online at

You can read more of Greg Holman’s incoherent ramblings at

Monday, June 1, 2009

Buffalo Wings Make Our Hearts Soar (Sore?)...

Buffalo wings, aka hot wings have won over the hearts and stomachs of most of America and the rest of the World, for that matter. We enjoy them with a childlike fervor, as we tear into the messy wings with our fingers, pulling the tender meat from the bone with our teeth and slathering the spicy, vinegary sauce around our mouths. The endorphins fly as an almost euphoric burning sensation, from the capsaicin in cayenne pepper sauce, hits our lips. I therefore think that it's only fitting that I give a nod, a high five, and a wipe of the brow to these little fiery nuggets of aviary goodness and their origins. At the end of this article I have posted the original Anchor Bar Buffalo Wing recipe that was first published in Ladies Home Journal, August, 1991.

Buffalo, NY is the undisputed king, err... queen of the wing and all four stories of the origination of the hot, tender morsels are from "The Queen City," however, the general consensus is that Teressa Bellisimo of the Anchor Bar created the chicken phenom in 1964. The first story says that Teressa and Frank Bellisimo owned the Anchor Bar in Buffalo, NY and one Friday night her son Dominic and his friends came into the bar looking for a snack. Preparing to make a batch of stock from some chicken wings, "Mother Teressa" stuck some of the wings under the broiler and then covered them with a sauce that she had thrown together, using a base of butter and Frank's Hot Sauce. She took some celery sticks from one of the antipasto plates, put some of the house dressing, which happened to be blue cheese, in a small bowl, and served them up to the hungry boys and history was made. Later the anchor bar would start frying the wings instead of broiling them. Well, that's the first story...

Teressa and Frank are no longer with us, but Dominic, who took over the restaurant, says that Buffalo wings were actually created one Friday night when his mostly Catholic patrons were consuming copius quantities of beverage. Dominic wanted to do something nice for his regulars, and as they would be able to eat meat again at midnight, had mom throw something together. Either way, Teressa seems to be the one that we owe our undying thanks to.

Yet a third story, told by "Father Frank," says that there was a mis-delivery of wings that were supposed to be backs and necks for the restaurant's spaghetti sauce. With an overload of wings, Frank asked Teressa to "do something with them" and man did she ever do something!

The Anchor Bar has been host to many celebrities from actor John Candy, to musicians Kenny Rogers, Bob Seger, Spyro Gyra, Glen Miller's Band member Dick Gerhart, and a huge number of sports figures. It's also a favorite spot of Fred Smerlas and Alexander Mogilny.

A fourth origin story was reported in 1980, by New Yorker magazine contributor Calvin Trillin, who wrote that a man named John Young, in the early to mid-60s had developed a special "mambo" wing sauce that he cooked on his wings, at his Buffalo, NY restaurant Wings n' Things. Unlike the Anchor Bar, Young's wings were whole, rather than split and tipped, and were breaded, with the sauce covering them, rather than being tossed in the sauce. These wings were his signature dish. Young registered the name of his restaurant, John Young's Wings 'n Things, with the county in 1970. He said that "If the Anchor Bar was selling chicken wings, nobody in Buffalo knew about it then." Local poultry distributor records indicate that both the Bellissimos and Young were purchasing large quantities of wings during this time, but no actual sales records could ever be located. Well into the 1980s they were still serving the "Mambo" wings the original way, at Wings 'n Things and at Young's brother's restaurant, Bird Land.

A Short Timeline of the Hot Wing:
1964: Hot wings are created in Buffalo, NY and slowly spread to the surrounding area. Not much happens on the wing front and virtually no mentions of wings in print until 1975.

1975: Florida snow bird Edmund J. Hauck, originally of Buffalo, starts a restaurant called Wings N' Curls which becomes the first chain to specialize in hot wings. By 1992 the company had grown to 18 restaurants in Florida, Indiana, and California. Their wings were offered with several different sauces although the Buffalo wings were certainly the favorite. Mr. Hauck later sold the chain and only the original location still carries the name.

1983: By this time a good portion of the country had at least heard of Buffalo or hot wings and the time was right for the plucking and the little sports bar that would become the corporate monster Hooters opened it's doors on an unsuspecting public. The first Hooters Restaurant opened in Clearwater, Florida and in 1984 the concept was licensed to Hooters of America.

Late 1980s: An article in Family Circle states that "Buffalo wings have quickly become a favorite across the US." The 1980s was obviously a time of discovery and growth for the wing.

1992: The national pizza chain Domino's introduces the Buffalo wing as an option in their Buffalo, NY locations.

1994: Domino's goes nationwide with their wing promotion and commits to $32 million in advertising during National Football League games on NBC that season.

1995: Pizza Hut follows suit and begins national distribution of wings. Domino's reports that 1/3 of it's customers are ordering wings. Little Caesar's begins selling wings in 200 of it's locations. Wings become a $400 million a year part of the restaurant industry.

Some Wings Facts:
- Opposing athletic teams that come to Buffalo visit the Anchor Bar the night before their game.

- Vice President Mondale had chicken wings delivered to his plane on a visit to Buffalo, as did the former First Lady, Hillary Clinton.

- In 1977, Buffalo Mayor Stan Makowski, proclaimed July 29th as Official Chicken Wing Day.

- Wings cost $.05/lb, in 1964, the year that Buffalo wings were invented.

- One of the largest eating contests in the U.S. is the Wing Bowl. It has been held annually in Philadelphia since 1993.

- Joey Chestnut is the reigning three-time champion and in 2008, set a record by eating 241 wings during the contest.

- True original Buffalo wings are never breaded or battered; they are deep fried, naked, as nature intended.

Where can I get good wings in Dallas?
Here are a few good places to get your burn on. Let me know of any that I have been remiss in listing!

1. Angry Dog (Great wings, only two sauces, regular and burn-your-ass-off, and one of the best burgers in town!)
2726 Commerce St.
Dallas, TX 75226
(214) 741-4406

2. Plucker’s Wing Factory & Grill
5500 Greenville Ave.
Dallas, TX 75206
(214) 363-9464

3. McKinney Ave. Tavern
2822 McKinney Ave.
Dallas, TX 75204
(214) 969-1984‎

4. Frankie’s Sports Bar
3227 Mckinney Ave. # 102
Dallas, TX 75204
(214) 999-8932

5. City Tavern (they have a good Ruben too!)
1402 Main St.
Dallas, TX 75202
(214) 745-1402‎

6. Lone Star Wings (five locations in Dallas, and one in New York!)

AND NOW... (drum roll please)

Anchor Bar Buffalo Wings (The Original Recipe!!!)
Source: Ladies Home Journal - August 1991

The Sauce:
6 tablespoons Frank's Louisiana Hot Sauce
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) margarine - not butter
1 tablespoon white vinegar
1/8 teaspoon celery seed
1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/8 teaspoon garlic salt
Dash of black pepper
1/4 teaspoon Worcestershire Sauce
1 to 2 teaspoons Tabasco sauce
Carrot and celery sticks to garnish
Marie's Bleu Cheese Dressing

This makes enough for about 30 "wingettes."
Mix all the ingredients in a small sauce pan and heat on low until the margarine is completely melted, stirring occasionally.

The Wings:
Fry the wings in a deep fryer set at 375 degrees using vegetable or peanut oil. Fry 15 wings at a time for 12 to 15 minutes. Drain the wings for a few minutes then put them in a bowl.

After all the wings have been fried, pour the sauce over them, cover the bowl, and shake to completely coat the wings.

They can be eaten now, or you can put them on a baking sheet and bake them for a few minutes to get an extra-crispy coating.

Serve with carrot and celery sticks and Marie's Bleu Cheese Dressing and cold beer (Genesee Cream Ale is traditional).

Feel the burn!!!

Monday, May 11, 2009

Where to Get a Good Burger in Texas

When traveling the massive state of Texas, my home, finding a good burger can be a daunting challenge, so after considerable research I've compiled a list of Texas burger joints. By no means have I been to all of these burger havens (over 250 of them), but I have relied on reviews and the recommendations of friends and burger enthusiasts from all over, to help assemble this list. I've tried to list a burger joint for every city with a population over 50,000. This is not to say that I don't have any small town spots listed. If a joint merits a nod, regardless of city population or price, I've added them to the list as well.

As this site is primarily for the Dallas area, and for brevity, I am only listing the DFW Metroplex burger joints here. For a complete "State of Texas" list, please visit my new sister site, The Burger Hunter:

Do your research and check out the websites. Some of the burgers can get a bit pricey. I certainly look forward to your input on places that I've missed and recommendations or negative comments on the joints that are listed. If I receive several negative comments on one restaurant, I will pull them from the list. Enjoy eating your way across Texas!


P.S. I have received a number of comments on why I haven't included Twisted Root on this list. I feel that Twisted Root is probably the most over-hyped burger joint in the Metroplex. For more info, see my review at

The List:


Burger House (6 locations)
14248 Marsh Ln.
Addison, TX 75001
Phone (972) 241-1611

Jake’s (5 locations)
5505 Beltline Rd.
Addison, TX 75254
Phone (972) 503-5253

Shuck-N- Jive (on the Addison Belt Line Strip. Order the mini-burgers, which may not be on the menu)
5000 Belt Line Rd.
Dallas, TX 75254
Phone (972) 386-5151

Snuffer’s (8 locations)
14910 Midway Rd.
Addison, TX 75001
Phone (972) 991-8811


Scotty P’s (7 locations)
109 Central Expy. Suite #501
Allen, TX 75213
Phone (214) 547-9010


Airways Hamburgers
1106 N. Collins St.
Arlington, TX 76011
Phone (817) 461-1601

1001 N.E. Green Oaks Blvd. Suite #103
Arlington, TX 76006
Phone (817) 275-8918

Buck N’ Loon's
3517 S. Cooper St.
Arlington, TX 76015
Phone (817) 466-2825

Burger Box
2501 S. Cooper St.
Arlington, TX 76015
Phone (817) 460-8121

Jackson’s Grocery
1821 S. Fielder Rd.
Arlington, TX 76013
Phone (817) 275-8201


Burger Island
1208 E. Belt Line Rd. Suite #108
Carrollton, TX 75006
Phone (972) 245-4621

Krystal (yes, the chain)
2670 Midway Rd.
Carrollton, TX 75006
Phone (972) 931-5566


Coppell Deli
449 W. Bethel Rd.
Coppell, TX 75019
Phone (972) 462-0101


2624 Commerce St.
Dallas, TX 75226
Phone (214) 939-9900

Angry Dog
2726 Commerce St.
Dallas, TX 75226
Phone (214) 741-4406

Ball’s Hamburgers (3 locations)
3404 Rankin St.
Dallas, TX 75205
Phone (214) 373-1717

Burger House (4 Dallas locations, 2 others)
6913 Hillcrest Ave. (original location)
Dallas, Texas 75205
Phone (214) 361-0370

Cactus Jack's (a member of the Keller's family)
4341 Lemmon Ave.
Dallas, TX 75219
Phone (214) 559-0607

4530 Lovers Ln.
Dallas, TX 75225
Phone (214) 691-2447

Club Schmitz
9661 Denton Dr.
Dallas, TX 75220
Phone (214) 350-3607

Country Burger (6 locations?)
401 S. Hampton Rd.
Dallas, TX 75208
Phone (214) 330-4743


‎2951 S. Westmoreland Rd.
Dallas, TX 75211
Phone (214) 331-8378‎

9785 Ferguson Rd.
Dallas, TX 75228
Phone (214) 327-9983

JG's Hamburgers
12101 Greenville Ave.
Dallas, TX 75243
Phone (214) 644-8628

The Grape
2808 Greenville Ave.
Dallas, TX 75206
Phone (214) 828-1981

Hole In The Wall
11654 Harry Hines Blvd.
Dallas, TX 75229
Phone (972) 247-2253

Houston's (32 locations nationwide)
8300 Preston Rd. Suite A
Dallas, TX 75225
Phone (214) 691-8991

Jake's (5 locations)
6606 Skillman Rd. (original location)
Dallas, TX‎ 75231
Phone (214) 349-1422‎

Keller's Drive Inn (2 Dallas locations)
6537 E. Northwest Hwy. (my favorite location)
Dallas, TX 75231
Phone (214) 368-1209‎


10554 Harry Hines Blvd.
Dallas, TX 75220
Phone (214) 357-3572‎

Lakewood Landing
5818 Live Oak St.
Dallas, TX 75214
Phone (214) 823-2410

The Loon
3531 McKinney Ave.
Dallas, TX 75204
Phone (214) 559-3059

Maple and Motor Burgers and Beer
4810 Maple Ave. Dallas, TX 75219
Phone (214) 522-4400

Midway Point
12801 Midway Rd. Suite #306
Dallas, TX 75244
Phone (972) 484-3470

Northwest Point
2053 W. Northwest Hwy. Suite #100
Dallas, TX 75220
Phone (972) 869-2477

Pappy's Old Fashioned Hamburger
1475 W. Mockingbird Ln.
Dallas, TX 75235
Phone (214) 678-0760

The Porch
2916 N. Henderson Ave.
Dallas, TX 75206
Phone (214) 828-2916

Scotty P’s (7 locations)
11661 Preston Rd. Suite #131
Dallas, TX 75230
Phone (972) 398-6767, Ext. 6

Snuffer’s Restaurant and Bar (2 Dallas locations, 6 others)
3526 Greenville Ave. (original location)
Dallas, TX 75206
Phone (214) 826-6850

Uptown Bar and Grill
2523 McKinney Ave. Suite A
Dallas, TX 75201
Phone (214) 969-9433

Village Burger Bar
3699 McKinney Ave. Suite #325
Dallas, TX 75204
Phone (214) 443-9998

Wingfield's Breakfast and Burger (it’s best to call in your order first, no sit down dining)
2615 S. Beckley Ave.
Dallas, TX 75224
Phone (214) 943-5214


Denton County Independent Hamburger Company
113 W. Hickory St.
Denton, TX 76201
Phone (940) 383-1022

Katz's Hamburgers
901 Ave. C Suite A
Denton, TX 76201
Phone (940) 442-6200

Flower Mound:

Burgers and Brats
6100 Long Prairie Rd. Suite #300
Flower Mound, TX 75028
Phone (972) 539-9110‎

2709 Flower Mound Rd.
Flower Mound, TX 75022
Phone (972) 355-3787

Ft. Worth:

Dutch's Burgers and Beer
3009 S. University Dr.
Fort Worth, TX 76109
Phone (817) 927-5522

915 Currie St.
Ft. Worth, TX 76107
Phone (817) 332-0083

Jake’s (5 locations)
515 Main St.
Fort Worth, TX 76102
Phone (817) 332-5253

Kincaid's (2 locations)
4901 Camp Bowie Blvd.
Fort Worth, TX 76107
Phone (817) 732-2881

Love Shack
110 E. Exchange
Fort Worth, TX 76164
Phone (817) 740-8812

SoDo Grill
911 Houston St.
Ft. Worth, TX 76102
Phone (817) 877-3939


Scotty P’s (2 Frisco locations, 5 others)
4710 Preston Rd. Suite #300
Frisco, TX 75034
Phone (972) 712-6556


West Frisco location
5100 Eldorado Pkwy. Suite #300
Frisco, Texas 75034


Burger Island
1250 Northwest Hwy. Suite C
Garland, TX 75041
Phone (972) 686-8880

Scotty P’s (7 locations)
4280 Lavon Dr. Suite #200
Garland, TX 75040
Phone (972) 398-6767, Ext. 5


Peace Burger
1208 William D. Tate Ave.
Grapevine, TX 76051
Phone (817) 410-4074‎

Highland Village:

Snuffer’s (8 locations)
4050 Barton Creek Suite #100
Highland Village, TX 75077
Phone (972) 317-9111


Burger Island (3 locations)
2500 N. Story Rd.
Irving, TX 75062
Phone (972) 255-0154

Griff's Burger Bar
718 E. Irving Blvd.
Irving, TX 75060
Phone (972) 579-7651


400 N. Main St.
Jacksboro, TX 76458
(They have no phone!)

Lake Worth:

Bullfrog Grill
6700 Azle Ave.
Lake Worth, TX 76135
Phone (817) 237-9111


Texas Hamburger Factory
1301 Justin Rd.
Lewisville, TX 75077
Phone (972) 317-3603‎


Baker’s Drive-In
1001 S. McDonald St.
McKinney, TX 75069
Phone (972) 542-4050

Herby's Soda Fountain
210 N. Tennessee St.
McKinney, TX 75069
Phone (972) 548-7632

Market Street
6100 Eldorado Pkwy.
McKinney, TX 75070
Phone (972) 548-5140

Pride Burger
103 W. University Dr.
McKinney, TX 75069
Phone (972) 542-6732

Scotty P’s (7 locations)
2950 Craig Dr.
McKinney, TX 75070
Phone (972) 529-9499

Snuffer’s (8 locations)
3270 S. Central Expy.
McKinney, TX 75070
Phone (214) 592-9911


Burger Style Café
1200 E. Davis St. Suite #116
Mesquite, TX 75149
Phone (972) 329-6000‎

Country Burger (6 locations?)
308 S. Galloway Ave.
Mesquite, TX 75149
Phone (972) 216-9997

Jucy's (4 locations)
2103 N. Town East Blvd.
Mesquite, TX 75150
Phone (972) 270-9300


Country Burger (6 locations?)
1700 14th St.
Plano, TX 75074
Phone (972) 423-2210


3115 W. Parker Rd. Suite #500
Plano, TX 75023
Phone (972) 422-5092‎


2108 W. 15th St.
Plano, TX 75075
Phone (972) 422-5092‎

701 W. Parker
Plano, TX 75023
Phone (972) 398-9900

7161 Bishop Rd. Suite G1
Plano, TX 75024
Phone (469) 229-9111

J C's Burger House
8612 Preston Rd.
Plano, TX 75024
Phone (972) 384-1940

Scotty P’s (7 locations)
2929 Custer Rd. Suite #300
Plano, TX 75075
Phone (972) 398-9595

Snuffer’s (8 locations)
2408 Preston Rd. Suite #704 A
Plano, TX 75093
Phone (469) 467-9911


Burger Island (3 locations)
525 W. Arapaho Rd.
Richardson, TX 75080
Phone (972) 235-8960

Del's Charcoal Burgers
110 S. McKinney St.
Richardson, TX 75081
Phone (972) 235-9191


Snuffer’s (8 locations)
2901 Village Dr.
Rockwall, TX 75087
Phone (972) 722-9811


Burger Island (3 locations)
5848 Hwy. 78 Suite #116
Sachse, TX 75048
Phone (972) 530-6318‎


Five Guys Burgers and Fries (large east coast chain)
242 State St.
Southlake, TX 76092
Phone (817) 416-9726

Johnny B's Burgers and Shakes
2704 E. Southlake Blvd.
Southlake, TX 76092
Phone (817) 749-0000

Kincaid’s (2 locations)
100 N Kimball Ave.
Southlake, TX 76092
Phone (817) 416-2573

Peace Burger (2 locations)
2750 E. Southlake Blvd. Suite #140
Southlake, TX 76092
Phone (817) 410-4074

Snuffer’s (8 locations)
431 Grand Ave. Suite E
Southlake, TX 76092
Phone (817) 410-9811


Tex’s Star Grill
6101 Rufe Snow Dr.
Watauga, TX 76148
Phone (817) 427-8397


I've gotten one unfavorable review of the Burger Island in Mesquite, on Town East Blvd. for...
1. Cleanliness
2. Dry, overcooked patty
3. Bun stale and much bigger than the patty
4. But the fries were good

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

No Soup For You! (Just the Recipe)…

One of the most memorable characters from Jerry Seinfeld’s sit-com was the infamous Soup Nazi, who sold the best soup in New York, but whose clearly posted ordering rules were so strict, that if you did not precisely abide by them, there would be “no soup for you!” even though you could well have been waiting in line for over two hours.

Portrayed so well on the small screen by actor Larry Thomas, that he was nominated for a 1996 Emmy for the role, the character was based on Al Yeganeh, an actual New York restauranteur. The long lines and his short fuse, at his midtown Manhattan “Soup Kitchen International,” located at 259A West 55th Street, near 8th Avenue, have made him an area institution. The place would close during the summer, with a sign posted outside that simply said that the chef was in "Argentina for the summer." The original location is now closed and Mr. Yeganeh has a 1,000 store franchise is in the works.

If the soups are worthy of the amount of abuse endured by patrons of the Soup Kitchen, then they certainly deserve to be shared with the world. Here are a couple of his coveted recipes…

Soup Nazi Crab Bisque (as deciphered by Todd Wilbur of Top Secret Recipes)

This is the soup that Jerry orders in the show and it’s the most requested Soup Nazi recipe.

4 pounds snow crab clusters (legs)
4 quarts water (16 cups)
1 small onion, chopped
1 1/2 stalks celery, chopped
2 cloves garlic, quartered
2 potatoes, peeled and chopped
1/4 cup fresh chopped Italian parsley
2 teaspoons mustard seed
1 tablespoon chopped pimento
1/2 teaspoon coarse ground pepper
2 bay leaves
1/3 cup tomato sauce
2 tablespoons half and half
1/4 cup unsalted butter
1/4 teaspoon thyme
1/8 teaspoon basil
1/8 teaspoon marjoram

1. Remove all the crab meat from the shells and set it aside.

2. Put half of the shells into a large pot with 4 quarts of water over high heat. Add the onion, 1 stalk of chopped celery, and the garlic, then bring the mixture to a boil. Continue to boil for 1 hour, stirring occasionally (The white part of the shells will start to become transparent), then strain the stock. Discard the shells, onion, celery and garlic, keeping only the stock.

3. Measure 3 quarts (12 cups) of the stock into a large sauce pan or cooking pot. If you don't have enough stock, add enough water to make 3 quarts.

4. Add the potatoes and bring the mixture to a boil, then add 1/2 of the crab and the remaining ingredients to the pot and bring it back to boiling. Reduce the heat and simmer uncovered for 4 hours, until it reduces by about half and starts to thicken. Add the remaining crab and simmer for another hour until the soup is very thick.

Makes 4-6 servings.

Soup Nazi Cream of Sweet Potato Soup

4 sweet potatoes (about 1 pound each)
8 cups chicken stock
1/3 cup butter
1/2 cup tomato sauce
2 tablespoons half and half
2 teaspoons salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper
dash thyme
1 cup cashews (split in half)

1. Preheat your oven to 375 degrees. Bake the sweet potatoes for 45 minutes or until they are soft. Cool the potatoes until they can be handled.

2. Peel away the skin, then put the potatoes into a large bowl. Mash for 15-20 seconds, but don't mash them until they are entirely smooth.

3. Spoon the mashed sweet potatoes into a large saucepan over medium/high heat, add the remaining ingredients, and stir to combine.

4. When the soup begins to boil, reduce the heat and simmer for 50-60 minutes. The cashews should be soft. Serve hot and garnish with more cashews, more half and half or sour cream and chives, cilantro, or parsley.

Makes 6-8 servings.

Now, move to the EXTREME left!

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Long Time No Write!

Hi all,

So sorry for my absence from the blog the last month or so. I have been dealing with some health issues. Nothing too serious. As many of you know, I had heart surgery a little over four years ago and was diagnosed with Hypertension and Atherosclerosis at the time. These have been well under control and I've been doing great, with some small adjustments in my diet, but a couple of weeks ago I was also told that I have Hypertrigliceridemia. Simply put, my body is not processing carbohydrates and sugars as well as most peoples do. Consequently, a more aggressive diet is in order. Once I get the "trigs" under control, I'll still be able to do my regular reviews and such. In the meantime I am finding new ways to keep my taste buds satiated, with some interesting limitations to my normal diet. I am basically restricted to Phase Three of the South Beach diet from her on out, meaning little or no sugar, potatoes, white bread, white pasta, ketchup, and non-light BEER, among others. Try that for a week!

I am assured that I can still have an occasional pizza and hamburger, within reason, which is good news, as I am in the research stage of writing a book on the history on the hamburger from Genghis Khan to present day! I'll be asking some of you for input on this project as it moves forward, so please send me any photos or good burger images that you come across (who knows, you might get a "shout out" in the book!). I am hoping to have it published by Christmas 2010, so keep your eyes open for it.

I will be posting notes on my trials and tribulations with the "South Beach" process and some of my favorite "Heart-Healthy" recipes, as I develop them, in my effort to create diet specific dishes that would be palatable to the general public.

Think of me any time you're eating a burger, nachos, or a pizza and I'll keep you in mind when I am eating spinach, low fat cottage cheese, and whole grain bread!

Bon appetit!