When in Dallas………

Amy at Dali Wine Bar

Just a few notes from a recent voyage to Dallas from Carlita…

I’d like to say I just stumbled upon Dali Wine Bar which borders the Dallas Arts District, but first of all no one stumbles, or even strolls through Dallas. It’s too darned hot most of the year and besides, the former cow town is now truly a car town.  Secondly, I’d just read about Dali on the plane ride over (in Food and Wine’s April issue).  Nonetheless, it was a welcome oasis in a horseshoe shaped steel and glass complex next to a highway overpass on the edge of the arts district.

I was joined by part of my Texas clan – my two nieces, Christine and Amy and Amy’s boyfriend Chris.  It seems that my nieces have gone from Keds to Christian Laboutin’s overnight.  Even the youngest is old enough to drink — yikes, thank goodness for retinol products!

I assume the name Dali comes from the surrealist artist (every teenager’s first fine art crush.  Ok, I didn’t have a Persistence of Memory poster in my teen bedroom but I did have an earlier work with lots of angels and clouds….).  The interior, at any rate, could have been designed with a Dali painting in mind: natural colors, an organically shaped room, dramatic lighting.

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We opted to sit outside where there was live music and a smoke filled sky from the wildfires outside of the city.  The menu was filled with traditional wine bar fare with Texas twists.  For some local flavor try the feuille wrapped brie cheese with sea-salt roasted Texas pecans with a lemon verbena honey or the braised short rib panini with spinach, gruyere and piquillo pepper jam. The wine list focused on a combination of old world and new world wines.  I ordered a glass of Nicolas Joly Les Clos Sacres, Savennieres.  This was a rare find by the glass! Nicolas Joly is considered the modern disciple of Rudolph Steiner’s Biodynamic philosophy, or bee-oh-die-na-mee, as Nicolas would say. The wine was a 2006 and he seems to be moving toward a more oxidized style than in the past. His wines continue to open up for several days and Dali seemed to know how to serve them as the wine had been decanted and served at the proper temperature.  The servers were attentive and knowledgeable, and I will definitely be back on my next visit.

Crow Collection of Asian ArtNasher Sculpture Gardens

James Turell Earth Room

Dali Wine Bar is in perfect proximity to the museums and concert hall.  The Dallas Art Museum, Nasher Sculpture Gardens and the Crow Collection of Asian Art are all within a one block radius.  The Nasher has a great collection of modern sculpture. Don’t miss the James Turell Earth Room in the very back of the outdoor space.  The cafe run by Wolfgang Puck’s restaurant group is a great place to eat, relax and enjoy the view of the outdoor gardens.  The Crow Collection of Asian Art had an incredible show of Japenese Contemporary Quilts. Look out Gee’s Bend, you have some fierce competition!Carlita and Christine embraced by a Richard Serra

A little further north is an interesting area for foodies on Knox street in the uptown area.  I love strolling through  Sur La Table and drooling over the ovens at the Viking show room and cooking school.  I picked up some Gruet Blanc de Noirs for Easter dinner at Crush Wine shop which has a great eclectic selection and a small wine bar with cheese and charcuterie.  They serve many of the Mozzarella Company Cheeses, artisinal cheeses by Paula Lambert, a Texas native who studied cheesemaking in Italy.  Her Mozzarella and goat cheese have a Texas accent with Scamorza smoked over pecan shells and fresh goat cheese wrapped in hoja santa leaves.

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Easter Table

Easter Sunday we had a fantastic dinner at my sister’s house in Plano.  The menu: Beef tenderloin with portabello mushroom sauce, fingerling potatoes roasted with sage and garlic and pencil thin asparagus.  For dessert a lemon raspberry tiramisu and tiny lemon white chocolate tartlets.  A concert from Uncle Wayne on his new old French Horn, and a ‘no politics at the table’ policy.

With this dispatch of some food, wine, and art highlights from Dallas…….I’m off to the airport. Adios Texas, see you next time………Carlita

For info on wine and food events  in the Texas area check out Dan Redman’s blog from Mosaic Wine Group.

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