Friday, December 30, 2005

Pokey O's

You have ice cream shops and you have cookie stores. Somewhere in there is a high concept. Put em together! and you get an ice cream sandwich store: Pokey O’s, where you build yr own w/ 12 kinds of cookie + 10 flavors of ice cream. Go crazy - use 2 kindsa cookies. The concept isn't totally new: There's an ice cream sandwichery in L.A. called Diddy Riese which pioneered the idea in the ‘80s. But those folks are content 2B a single store (and charge $1 vs. $2 here); Pokey O’s is the seed of a chain, w/ more branches TK in the DFW area.

3034 Mockingbird Lane, near Horchow Finale, 214-987-1200 opening Jan 06

Thursday, December 29, 2005

Buzzbrews Kitchen

One thing that makes a town feel like a real city: places that stay open 24 hrs (other than Denny’s which is quintessentially suburban). So zankyouverymuch to Buzzbrews Kitchen, a snappy new 24-hr diner on Central (@ Fitzhugh) serving breakfast, burgers, salads, & a couplo entrees. Owner Omar Zuniga was a mgr at Café Brazil for 15 yrs; you can spot the proof in Buzzbrews’ coffee fixation (incl a serv-yourself bottomless-cup setup) & profoundly laid-back vibe. But the restaurant also feels urban, maybe cuz it overlooks a bizzy corner, where it sits in what usedta be the old Pitt Grill, the extra-greasy spoon whose layers of grime took Zuniga a full month to scrape off the walls. Buzzbrews also duz espresso drinks and makes a latte that’s A++

4154 N. Central Epwy 214-826-7100

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Il Mulino $45 deal

Becuz it is Xmas week and who has the energy to track down a new place (but also becuz the restaurant in question has been in the news recently), today's item comes almost straight from a publicist's pen - namely that Il Mulino New York is doing a preset 4-course $45 menu, starting today & running thru '06. They'll give you a choice of 1. caprese vs caesar, 2. porcini ravioli vs eggplant seafood rolatini, 3. sea bass, chick, or veal, and 4. dessert sampler. It'll change monthly

2408 Cedar Springs. 214-855-5511

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Zea Woodfire Grill

What might otherwise be the simple tale of yet-another chain acquires extra drama cuz this one - Zea WoodFire Grill – is HQ’d in NOLA & got derailed by Katrina. But Zea's a go for Jan 06. Described as eclectic, the menu’s a kitchen-sink deal w/ Medit hummus, chick quesadillas, & Thai ribs. Salads, sammies, & entrees "contain ingredients prepared on the rotisserie." (In other words, chicken?) Previous branches are in LA, AL, NM, & FL. It started out as Zea’s Rotisserie Grill; maybe that sounded too limiting (or else people didn’t know wotta rotisserie was?) Tsk, the new name is borderline illiterate; i.e., when they say woodfire, spose they mean wood-fireD?

8100 Dallas Parkway, Plano (121 & the tollway)

Tuesday, December 20, 2005


Snow is a new-ish carbonated mint bev impossible not to love. For who doesn’t find the concept of white powder refreshing? (Look, if they’re gonna name it Snow…) The minty soda water was created in Manhattan by an ex-Wall-Streeter whose vision was for "a clear & natural carbonated beverage that tastes like snow melting on your tongue". It’s lightly sweetened w/ cane sugar and has 75 cals per serv, a little less than some competitors. They recommend using it as a mixer but doesn't it seem better straight from a straw

Sold at only the most hipster-esque places: Central Market, Market Street, Pogo’s, select Centennials, Tei Tei, Lush, Che, and the hottest new spot that's not-yet-open, Kitchen 1924

Monday, December 19, 2005

Pillsbury Mini Bites

Pillsbury Sweet Rolls Cinnamon Mini Bites take an existing product & repackage it in another format: little squares rather than big circles. Before you go underestimating the accomplishment here, keep in mind how the regular Sweet Cinnamon Rolls W/ Icing can seem too like too much roll and not enough Sweet, Cinnamon, or Icing. These new mini bites solve that prob by offering a better surface area to volume ratio. Like so many of Pillsbury’s rolls-in-a-can, they’re yucky but strangely irresistible

Friday, December 16, 2005

Cool Whip French Vanilla

Cool Whip French Vanilla appears to have been intro’d in 2003 but it’s new to NYCE so here’s an item. Whaddya spose is the diff between regular cool whip & French vanilla? Wiki sez FV = "strong vanilla aroma" + "originates from the French style of making ice cream w/ egg yolks". The odd thing izzat this is limited to fall & winter only. Duzzn’t that seem odd, that a ahem shelf-stable-type prod such as cool whip (imitation whipped cream containing no milk prods, intro’d in 1965) would have a ltd ed? And what izzit about French vanilla that makes it a winter flavor

*sorry about the generic foto; kraft website duzzn't have any prod shots at all

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Tic Tac silvers

It’s silly to single out one product as the dumbest. But Tic Tac Silvers surely gets a spot on the list. Itzza "specially formulated candy mint", individ wrapped in shiny foil, w/ a "sweet outer coating & a minty center". In other words, a Tic Tac in a fancy wrapper. They’re described as "perfect for entertaining and sharing w/ your guests". What, opening a container of Tic Tacs and shaking them out onto your guests’ palms isn’t enough? One of their selling points: they’re "perfect for decorating your home in a beautiful & tasteful manner". Cuz nothing says good taste like bits of foil on a tabletop. They come in 2 flavors: pepp & orange.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Chocolate Chex Mix

Chex Mix has to be one of the dumbest products in the world. Who can’t buy a box of Life and add peanuts? But General Mills sez it’s the #1 warehouse snack (whatever that means) at conv stores (tho the shelf space required to house its 12 flavors - cheddar, party blend, hot n spicy etc - may have something to do w/ that ranking). Annnyway, a new flavor is sufficiently notable to merit a blog item cuz it combos salty + sweet - specifically chocolate (which beats out more generic sweet flavors such as honey), in its new Chocolate Chex Mix, in two varieties, turtle & peanut butter. btw, the choc is "candy coated milk choc pieces" (and you know what those are); for anyone who’s bought trail mix, this ain’t news.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Mrs. May's Snacks

Can’t get enough of these nut snack things. It might be one of those things where you can’t fathom how good they are until you’ve actually had them. It’s definitely one of those things where you need to like nuts. But everyone sez that nuts are a healthy snack. And these in particular, from a cali co called Mrs. May’s, are pretty much all nut (nut + rice malt + cane juice, which forms a very subtle brittle-y crust) like a payday, but nuttier. Mrs. May’s R avail at wholesale stores, at WF, and at SuperT (methinks they’re also doing SuperT’s private-label Archer Farms’ brand cuz they look identical). They come in a buncha flavors; the pumpkin's awesome.

Friday, December 09, 2005

Kitchen 1924

If you judge a new restaurant by the dynamic energy, the sheer charisma, of its owner, then Kitchen 1924 is gonna be a hoppin joint. Owner Shawn Horne has racked up time at Star Canyon, Aquaknox, Abacus, Green Room, York Street, & Ferre, wears avant-garde glasses, and has an enunciating style so clear, he comes off as sharp as a tack. Kitchen 1924 is in the Lakewood space vacated by La Dolce Vita, and the food will be um "eclectic seasonal comfort food". No sign of a menu yet, but the chef is Edward Mendoza, who was at lola & nana. The remodel includes a room devoted to communal dining, but Horne knew enough to leave La Dolce Vita’s A+ pizza oven right where it was.

1924 Abrams, 214-821-1924. Opening early January 06

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Coca Cola Blak

Coke’s new bev, finally coming in Jan, is big-big news: Coca-Cola Blak, a soda combining cola + coffee. Coffee soda rocks cuz it's 1. fizzy 2. coffee-themed 3. not yet quite mainstream. in the 90s, Starbucks did Mazagran, an awesome coff soda tragically ahead of its time; Pepsi’s Kona also failed. But Ernest Borgnine’s daughter Nancy makes an intense coff soda (ltd avail), & Green Mountain Coffee just intro’d Double-Bean Elixirs, a line of coff sodas in 5 syrupy flavors. Most of those are pure coffee; but coffee-plus cola? Blak represents Coke’s latest attempt to gnaw off a piece of the Red Bull & Frappuccino mkt. Like those bevs, the 8-oz Blak is smaller than the usual 12-oz soda & said to have a "coffee-like" froth when poured.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005


More wine 4 dummies, but how bout this catchy handle: Wine’tastic! (the excl point's part of the name.) Half retail, half wine bar, Wine’tastic! mimics best cellars' emphasis on "value". But it pushes its rep as a place where you can taste before you buy (tho it appears that you can taste not EVERYTHING, just 50-or-so bottles, which is still good). It has what it calls a "Tuscan-style" lounge area w/ high-def TV where you can siddown & drink what you bought (or take it home). They also have food -- cheez, fruit, bread, desserts. Look for the fancy equipment that dispenses wine w/ an espresso-machine steam wand gizmo.

4140 Lemmon Ave., Suite 130 next to Gloria's Mexican Restaurant 214-252-9494

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Sonic gingerbread blast

Sonic = Okla-spawned chain with 3K+ branches and outdoor carhop-style service.
Blast = thick shake made with soft-serve ice cream, not unlike DQ's Blizzard (which btw has not just a slew of flavors but also a monthly flavor, this month’s being Merry Mint Chip.) (hey, it’s a 2-for-1 blog item.)
And it's on to today’s theme: Sonic’s gingerbread blast. The description duzzn't sound that hot (crumbled-up gingerbread cookies blended into vanilla i.c.), but the drink merits a nod becuz 1. it’s new and 2. it’s gingerbread, which seems 2B trending up as THE holiday flavor, perhaps even toppling the previously-established MINT.

Monday, December 05, 2005

Hershey's PB kiss

Surely you can see why Hershey’s was driven to intro a peanut-butter kiss. I mean, so far, they only have the milk choc, the milk choc w almonds, the rich dark choc, the filled w caramel, the nut-laden Hugs, the filled w dulce de leche, & the ltd-editions cherry cordial & mint choc. That’s only like 8 flavors. They’re missing out on a major category of customer. Namely, the Reese’s fan sick of reese’s inside out, reese’s white choc, reese’s big nut, reese’s big nut w peanuts, reese’s extra choc, reese’s extra PB, & the new reese’s pb cup w/ caramel (hey, 2-for-1 blog item!). Given all that, a pb kiss seems almost a no brainer. And that’s not even getting into the old-time cookie recipe w/ a pb cookie & kiss on top.

Friday, December 02, 2005

Cameo Rose Tea Room

Pinkies up, it’s a tea place: Cameo Rose Tea Room which sits in a classic TX town square specifically in Lancaster, where its nabes include a couplo antique stores & the shell of an old dept store which got decimated in the tornado of ’94. Chef Lisa Yearout, a Lancaster native, does blue-plate specials such as mealoaf w/ green beans & garlic mashed, and claims the cheeseburger is to die for. They use butter not margarine and everything’s from scratch. Since it’s a tea-room, the emphasis is on teas, not coffee (sigh), but they offer a nice house tea w/ blackberry, lemon & rose. They’re open for lunch & afternoon tea, but they stay open til 9 pm on Fridays.

133 Historic Town Square, Lancaster. 972 218 7737

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Sahale nut snax

In 2003, the FDA decreed that nuts could reduce the risk of heart disease. So people started feeling ++ about nuts, and the nut folk started mktg them as snacks w/ flavored glazes sold in foil pouches. Basically an upscale Poppycocks: 1. boutique: Sahale, started by a couplo Seattle outdoor types, is at the yummy high end, using pistachios, figs, pumpkin seeds, mango, papaya, dates, flax seed, balsamic vinegar, etc. Dallas angle: Danielle Custer, who usedta chef at Laurels at the Sheraton Hotel before moving to the NW, consulted on Sahale’s flavor combos. 2. corporation: Emerald, a new snack div. of Diamond, has a line of glazed walnuts w/ semi-funky flavors such as choc-brownie.