The B Sides- Dallas BBQ & Deep Ellum

Pecan Lodge  

A few weeks ago, I had the privilege of joining friends in Texas and taking part in the City of Addison's Fork and Cork Festival. I had a great time checking out all the fun vendors at the festival and learning about Addison's restaurant history. On my down time, a good friend took me to a few places around town. Instead of hitting up the usual tourist destinations, we left the museums behind and  I quickly realized that if the saying "Go big or go home" is a good mantra for Texans.

I spent a lot of my free time in a neighborhood called Deep Ellum,its name coming from a deep southern pronunciation of Deep Elm (Street.) The neighborhood is right up my alley; not necessarily known to be the most popular part of town but a culturally and historically rich neighborhood with a deep connection to the arts. Walking down the streets you see part grit, part Texas, part art, part class. Here are a few places I found in the neighborhood:


The Pecan Lodge: A friend of mine kindly invited me to the Pecan Lodge'spre-opening night Friends and Family celebration and I'm glad I went there straight from the airport. It was the best Texas welcome I could have asked for. This BBQ joint has everything from house made sausage, home cured pickles, beautifully marbled brisket, sweet tea and one of the most  impressive 24 hr BBQ pits I've seen. Justin and his team have put a great deal of work into learning what makes people's mouths water. Go early!

Twisted Root Burger Company:  As a naturalized citizen, I love seeing Americana at its finest. The burgers here are delicious, inventive and bare clever names like The Kevin Bacon (three slices of bacon and Danish bleu cheese) and The Frito Bandito (Texas Chili, guacamole, cheddar and Fritos.)  The real star here is the light-hearted and playful atmosphere. The set up is counter service with a faux attitude and a play on pop-culture. Don't think they are going to call you by an order number- instead they've selected songs, personalities and moments in history to call you when your order is ready and perhaps poke a little fun at you.

Lula B's: One of my favorite parts of traveling across the US is antiquing and vintage shopping.  There are so many regional specific things you find the more you shop, plus the prices are great outside of NYC. Lula B's was no exception to the rule. I could have spent a whole day sifting through the vintage photographs, records and furniture. What great restaurant design inspiration!

Other places to check out in Dallas: Smoke and The Foundry & Chicken Scratch Chef Tim Byres knows what's going on. I first met Tim at Austin Food and Wine so I had to check out his restaurants while I was in town. Smoke is a more traditional sit-down restaurant that as you could have guessed, serves some killer BBQ (and an amazing brunch.) The Foundry and Chicken Scratch are just down the road and serve as a beer garden/outdoor music venue combo with nothing but the coolest Texas flare. Theres comfy couches, picnic tables, a serious beer list and some pretty impressive chicken fingers.

What to Eat and Drink Over Memorial Day Weekend

It's here. The weekend we've all been waiting for...the weekend that tells us Summer is here and it's time to celebrate. Time for extra food, extra drinks, extra sunshine, and an extra day to enjoy it. So if you're planning on cooking, check out these tasty Memorial Day menu options, and if you plan on allowing some one else to do all the cooking, well at least you can get your eyes and stomach ready for what's potentially to come.  If y'all are anything like me, the classics are what you get excited about: hot dogs, hamburgers, baked beans, watermelon and corn on the cob. Just throw it on the grill, give it some succulent smokey flavor, and you're in heaven. However, I realize that others may be growing tired of having the same foods every year. So for those of you who are looking to mix it up, or just want to taste your BBQ favorites in a different way, here are some menu options. Riffs on American favorites, if you will, that add extra flavor and a twist to the familiar.

Lively libations:

Happy Hour: Spiked Sparkling Rhubarb Lemonade

Rhum Clement 'Ti Punch

Strawberry Rhubarb Sangria Recipe

Ole' Grand Dad's Lemonade Recipe

Rooster Punch Popsicles Recipe

Appetizing Appetizers:

Grilled Corn and Mango Guacamole

Herbed Goat Cheese-Stuffed Tomatoes Recipe

Cilantro, Basil, and Mint Yogurt Dip

The main event:

Four Great Ideas for Vegetarian Grilling

Grilled Sausage and Pepper Sandwich Recipe

Sicilian Turkey Burger Recipe

Tropical Fourth of July Burger Recipe

Grilled Trout Burger

BBQ Short Rib Recipe

Spice-filled side dishes:

Haitian Coleslaw

Grilled Treviso with Watercress and Creamy Blue Cheese Recipe

Warm Potato Salad with Arugula and String Beans Recipe

Baked Beans Recipe: The Perfect Summer Side Dish

Street Food Focus: Mexican Street Corn

Watermelon revivals:

Watermelon Basil Salad Recipe

Watermelon and Manchego Stacked with Arugula Pesto

Spiked Watermelon Recipe for Memorial Day BBQ

Twists on the traditional apple pies and crumbles:

Three Ingredient Nectarine Galette

Rhubarb Crumble Recipe

Sour Cherry Pie with Brown Butter Almond Crumble


For more stories by Ashley Beck click here.

Tim Love Talks BBQ With Me and Food Republic

I can't begin to describe how much of a good time I had at this year's inaugural Austin Food & Wine Festival. The awesome food, music, and Texas characters were great to be a part of. One of my favorite aspects was also seeing Food Republic there in their W Austin test kitchen and interview lounge. They caught up with some of my good friends, like Andrew Zimmern and Tim Love.

I even sat down with Tim for an extended talk about BBQ, food cultures, and traditions in our restaurants. Check out the video of our interview below and for more Austin Food & Wine Festival coverage, check out Food Republic here.

The NY Beer, Bourbon and BBQ Festival

Are you into a good pulled pork BBQ sandwich, a good microbrew, and a quality bourbon? Then there is good news for you as Beer, Bourbon and BBQ Festival is back for its 3rd year and kicks off its 2012 tour in New York City on January 28th. Featuring 60 beers, 40 different bourbons and lots of BBQ, they're celebrating BBQ the good 'ol fashioned Southern way! The festival is almost sold out so act quick! From whole hog butchering to tasting seminars with Master Distillers, Brewmasters and Pitmasters, this is the absolute go-to event for those of you with a palate for all things Southern and comforting.

Come and join fellow comrades at your choice of sessions of Bacon Bash or Whole Hog or even both at this years Beer, Bourbon and BBQ. For further details, check out their site here.

Photo: rfduck

For more NYC events, follow me on Twitter (@MarcusCooks)


Labor Day and Street Food

Happy Labor Day everyone!

While a lot of us are home relaxing today, let's not forget those employees that work hard everyday in the food industry. Restaurants always stay open on holidays such as this so that we can eat out and enjoy our days off with our friends and families. So if you happen to eat out today, be sure to thank those that helped serve you today.

One great way I like to eat out on days such as this, beside the usual BBQ with friends, is by trying out new street foods that I haven't had a chance to try out. It's affordable food on the go and it's always exciting trying a new ethnic food in street food form- a great way to experience a new culture. I'm lucky to live in a place like New York City where you can find many different kinds of street food, depending on where you look for it. Each ethnic neighborhood has its own types of food trucks or stands with various street food selections. For instance, I can find Latin street food in Spanish Harlem, great Halal food in practically all parts of the city, and so on. And now with a larger food truck movement commencing in New York and across the nation, street food are about to get more interesting! Soon you'll see street food wherever you go.

That's why I'm excited to bring you Global Street Food starting this week at Alice Tully Hall at Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts. In collaboration with Restaurant Associates and American Airlines, we'll bring you a pop-up street food cafe where we'll feature international comfort food while introducing you to up-and-coming designer Prajje Jean-Baptiste at a style meet-and-greet. From September 8th until September 15th, Global Street Food will feature an eclectic and affordable menu of a wide range of international foods from 10:30am to 11:00pm in Alice Tully Hall at Lincoln Center. You can find more information about this exciting pop-up cafe here.

So be sure to mark your calendars for this Thursday, as we celebrate the kick-off of Global Street Food Pop-up Cafe. For updates and more information about Global Street Food, you can stay tuned to this website and my Twitter feed, @MarcusCooks and look for our hash tag: #StreetFoodPopUP.

Hope you have a great Labor Day and I hope to see you all at my Global Street Food Pop-up!