Monday, September 27, 2010

Looking for a Long-Lost Recipe?

I've been thinking about this for some time and often get requests for old, forgotten recipes, or recipes from long-closed restaurants, and I usually have pretty good luck tracking them down. So, if there's a dish from an old favorite restaurant that you're longing for, or perhaps your Grandmother used to make something that you've been craving, or maybe you had a traditional menu item from family get-togethers of your youth that you'd love to be able to make. I have an uncanny knack (and a few resources) for locating just such recipes and would love to help you find them. If you'd like to shoot me an email, I'd be happy to try and help you locate these recipes, or simply answer any other culinary questions that you might have. Now, I'm not promising results on every question, but I'll certainly give it good a shot. I look forward to hearing from you.


Wednesday, September 22, 2010

If You Think the Cowboys are Lame, One of These Bars has Got Your Game…

It's time for another of my article from the upcoming issue of Lit Monthly. This time I tackle the football issue of where to watch non-Dallas Cowboy NFL football games in Dallas. A lofty task at best! But here goes...

If You Think the Cowboys are Lame, One of These Bars has Got Your Game…
By Greg Holman

How do you keep the Dallas Cowboys out of your yard? Put up a goal post. What’s the difference between a dollar bill and the Dallas Cowboys? You can still get four full quarters out of a dollar. What do the Cowboys and a possum have in common? Both play dead at home and get killed on the road. OK, so not everyone is a Dallas Cowboys fan, but football season is upon us and the promise of autumn looms large on the horizon. The scent of grilled brats and burgers waft from backyard grills and stadium parking lots, and it’s time to pull out those old jersey’s to gear up for some tailgating, chips and queso, and copious quantities beer.

Pre-season talk of the Cowboys making it to the Superbowl, which will be hosted at “Jerry World” in Arlington this year, seems a little far-fetched, given the effectiveness of our offensive line and Romo’s lack of trust in his receivers this season, but I root for the Boys anyway. And since Dallas is a football town and the home of “America’s Team” (five-time Superbowl champs), it would stand to reason that if you live in Dallas, then you’re a Cowboy’s fan, right? Well, that’s not always the case.

Dallas, being an international business hub, is home to many transplanted football fans from other parts of the country that are still loyal to their old hometown teams, so I thought that I would offer up a list of Dallas-area bars that cater to the athletic supporters of NFL teams, other than “Da Boys.”

A few of the divisions (the AFC South, NFC South, and NFC West) aren’t well represented here in Big D, and I’m not sure if that’s because we don’t get as many people moving to Dallas from those particular cities, or just because these teams suck and their fans could care less about watching them. But whether you’re a Cheesehead, a Pat, or you just want to know “Who dat?” there’s a place for you to root your home team on to victory, and feel right at home, here in the Metroplex. Below is a list of teams and their corresponding supportive bars…

AFC North:

Cincinnati BengalsMcKinney Avenue Tavern - 2822 McKinney Ave., Dallas, TX 75204 Phone: (214) 969-1984

and Buffalo Wild Wings – 5000 Belt Line Rd. #100, Addison, TX 75001 Phone: (972) 701-9464

Pittsburgh SteelersMalarkey’s Tavern - 4460 Trinity Mills Rd., Dallas, TX 75287 Phone: (972) 931-7300

AFC East:

Buffalo BillsStadium Café - 4872 Belt Line Rd., Addison, TX 75254 Phone: (972) 701-0030

New England PatriotsMcSwiggan’s Irish Pub - 6910 Windhaven Pkwy. #105, The Colony, TX 75056 Phone: (972) 820-0688

AFC West:

Denver BroncosSharky’s - 17453 Preston Rd., Dallas, TX 75252 Phone: (972) 713-0201

and Bronco’s Sports Bar and Grill (the owner is Ron Faurot, a former NY Jet) - 900 Airport Fwy. #166, Hurst, TX 76054 Phone: (817) 498-0600

Kansas City ChiefsCape Buffalo - 17727 Addison Rd., Dallas, TX 75287 Phone: (972) 381-9796

Oakland Raiders - Hat Tricks Sports Bar & Grill - 101 E Corporate Dr. # 300, Lewisville, TX 75067 Phone: (972) 315-8406

NFC North:

Chicago BearsFrankie’s Sports Bar and Grill - 3227 McKinney Ave., Dallas, TX 75204 Phone: (214) 736-1608

and TNT Sports Page - 14902 Preston Rd. #716, Dallas, TX 75254Phone: (972) 661-1130

Detroit LionsCape Buffalo - 17727 Addison Rd., Dallas, TX 75287 Phone: (972) 381-9796

Green Bay packersVernon’s Bar and Grill - 5290 Belt Line Rd. #142, Dallas, TX 75254 Phone: (972) 661-3707

Minnesota VikingsTNT Sports Page - 14902 Preston Rd. #716, Dallas, TX 75254Phone: (972) 661-1130

NFC South:

New Orleans SaintsThe Quarter - 15201 Addison Rd. Addison, TX 75001 Phone: (972) 788-1919

NFC East:

Philadelphia EaglesAustin Avenue Sports Bar and Grill - 935 W. Parker Rd., Plano, Texas 75023 Phone: (972) 422-8003

Washington Redskins - Austin Avenue Sports Bar and Grill - 935 W. Parker Rd., Plano, Texas 75023 Phone: (972) 422-8003

While a good number of these establishments show non-Dallas games every week, be sure to call in advance of your visit to ensure that the game you want to see will be shown. Some of the teams with smaller Dallas fan bases move their watching parties around. A good place to locate other non-Dallas-team-friendly-bars is on that particular team’s website, in their fan forums.

So, don’t let the fact that you live in Dallas, and insist on rooting for an inferior team, keep you from showing your teams colors. You and at least two or three of your like-minded friends (if you still have any) can make one of these local bars your home-bar-away-from-home and holler to your heart’s content. It’s OK; we won’t hear you over the cheers of all of the Cowboy fans.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

In Trivial Pursuit of Pub Trivia

In Trivial Pursuit of Pub Trivia
By Greg Holman

A Nebuchadnezzar of wine holds the equivalent of how many bottles? From what fruit is the French cordial syrup of grenadine made? What is a crapulous person full of?

If you think that these seem like “trivial” questions, you’d be right. Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary defines trivia as “unimportant matters: trivial facts or details”. It also offers “a quizzing game involving obscure facts” as an alternate definition, and this is the one that we’re looking for. America’s clubs and pubs have embraced trivia with open arms and any respectable pub will at least have a book of sports facts or a copy of Uncle John’s Bathroom Reader lying around. I mean, after all, isn’t it better to think while you drink, rather than to just sit, staring and drooling?

Trivia’s popularity as a game began in the early 1960s, at Columbia University, when students Ed Goodgold and Dan Carlinsky staged inter-collegiate quiz bowls that tested culturally significant, yet relatively unimportant facts. They dubbed these matches "trivia contests" and a mental sport was born. Merv Griffin caught wind of the popularity of the Ivy League craze and in 1964 created the TV game show Jeopardy, furthering America’s appetite for trivia.

Britain soon embraced the trivia fervor as well, and during the early 1970s, the “Pub Quiz” swept the UK, and to date, there are more than 22,000 regular pub quizzes held every week in England!

In 1979 Scott Abbott, a sports editor for the Canadian Press, and Chris Haney, a photo editor for Montreal's The Gazette, created a board game called Trivial Pursuit and brought trivia into millions of homes worldwide. The game proved to be so popular that in 1984 alone, more than 20 million copies of the game were sold.

As the trivia boom swept the nation, a company named Alroy Industries began working on an interactive, broadcast trivia game, for use in bars and restaurants. Dubbed “NTN Buzztime” in 1983, this new game system allowed bars and chains such as Damon’s, TGIFriday’s, Applebee’s, and Buffalo Wild Wings the option of several different trivia and game platforms. Players compete against one another and other “NTN” clubs in the U.S., Canada, and the Caribbean, using wireless “game boxes” to answer random or topic-related questions. The winning clubs and player’s scores are then tabulated and compared against all other clubs and players across North America. The game is as popular as ever and is now available in more than 4,000 bars and restaurants. It gives patrons a chance to expand their minds while destroying them at the same time!

Another popular form of bar trivia is the Pub Quiz, also called “Live Trivia,” where teams of up to six to ten players challenge the other teams in the bar, to answer questions submitted by a “Quizmaster.” Answers are discussed among the group, written on paper, and submitted for tallying. The winning team typically receives a cash prize or bar credit.

Fortunately for trivial-minded Dallasites, there is an ample choice of both NTN and Live Trivia venues to vex and perplex in the Metroplex. Below I’ve listed a sampling of both.

Top Dallas-Area NTN Clubs:

Austin Avenue Grill - 935 W. Parker Suite #410, Plano, TX 75023 (972) 422-8003

Buffalo Joe's - 3636 Frankford Rd. Suite #390, Dallas, TX 75287 (214) 483-5225

Knox Street Pub - 4447 McKinney Ave., Dallas, TX 75205 (214) 528-5100

Lone Star Cafe - 11277 E. NW Highway Suite #124, Dallas, TX 75238 (214) 341-3538

Nick’s Sports Grill - 5110 Paige Rd. Suite #110, The Colony, TX 75056 (972) 625-0936

Parks Place Bar - 2121 NW Highway Suite #110, Garland, TX 75041 (214) 227-5552

Stadium Cafe - 4872 Belt Line Rd., Addison, TX 75254 (972) 701-0030

Vernon’s Grill - 5290 Beltline Rd. Suite #142, Dallas, TX 75240 (972) 661-3707

Wild Turkey - 2470 Walnut Hill Ln., Dallas, TX 75229 (214) 351-5383

Wizards Sports Café - 747 S. Central Expressway, Richardson, TX 75080 (972) 235-0371

Live Trivia Clubs:

Amsterdam Bar - 831 Exposition Ave., Dallas, TX 75226 (214) 827-3433

Dyre Street Bar - 5539 Dyer St., Dallas, TX 75206 (214) 987-4800

Flying Saucer - 14999 Montfort Dr., Addison, TX 75254 (972) 991-7093

Ginger Man - 2718 Boll St., Dallas, TX 75204 (214) 754-8771

Holy Grail Pub - 8240 Preston Rd. Suite #150, Plano, TX 75024 (972) 377-6633

Plucker’s Wings - 5500 Greenville Ave. Suite #406, Dallas, TX 75206 (214) 363-9464

Trinity Hall - 5321 E. Mockingbird Ln., Dallas, TX 75206 (214) 887-3600

Trinity Hall - 305 N. Central Expressway, Allen, TX 75013 (469) 854-6810

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

NTN pretty much runs 24/7, but if you want to experience out some Live Trivia, be sure to call in advance to check days and times, as live games are typically hosted only one or two days a week. Let’s drink a toast to those Ivy Leaguers who brought trivia into the public eye, and give a nod to all who sail the seas of knowledge in search of insignificant tidbits of wisdom. Are there any questions? I’ll take Trivia for $1,000 Alex!

* Answers to the three questions at the top of the article: 1) 20 bottles, 2) Pomegranate, 3) Alcohol.