Friday Food Round-Up for July 10

Menus
Virtual cooking class

Nick Badovinus’ perennial faves Neighborhood Services and Town Hearth have just released to-go menus of guest favorites for each venue.  From Neighborhood Services you can order the Butcher’s Meatballs, the Crispy Chicken Sandwich, ’London Broil’ Steak Frites and Mac & Cheese Casserole among other things. They are also selling select wines by the bottle.  You can find the full menu here

Town Hearth’s to-go menu will feature best-sellers such as the Tot Poutine, Wagyu Cheeseburger and Prime Steaks—as well as bottled cocktails made by Town Hearth mixologists. Bottled cocktail options include an Aperol Spritz, the Life Gives You Lemons with Ambhar Platinum Tequila, lemon, Lillet and Cointreau, and the Phinney Blvd., made of Savage & Cooke Second Glance whiskey. Select wines by the bottle are also available for purchase. Full menu is available online here.  Both restaurants offer curbside pickup and will not charge any service, packaging or curbside fees.

Openings

Ritas & Queso, the pivoting pandemic pop up, has become a permanent place perfect for party people.  Oh my gosh, did I really just do that? Yes, I did.  Anyway, the always brilliant Julian Barsotti has partnered up with HP-native, marketing executive and fellow Jayhawk, Glen Collins to make Ritas & Queso’s take-away kits available daily for pick up or delivery.  So far, two kit options are available: the Standard Kit which includes a half-gallon Jug-O-Ritas offered frozen or rocks, 16-ounce queso, 8-ounce oven roasted salsa, chips and plate ware for $55; and the Family Meal Kit which includes everything in the Standard Kit plus stacked Classic Tex-Mex Enchiladas (Feeds 5-6) including corn tortillas, Bar N Ranch brisket and chuck Chile con carne with an Oaxaca, jalapeno jack and queso cheese blend delivered in a disposable baking dish for $75. Stay plugged into Ritas & Queso’s social media for updates on family meal options.  Ritas & Queso currently delivers to Park Cities, Preston Hollow, North Dallas, Uptown and Oak Lawn / Turtle Creek, Lakewood and Oak Cliff neighborhoods with plans for future expansion.

Encina, a new concept by Chef/Owner Matt Balke is slated to open late summer, early fall in the former Bolsa space in Oak Cliff.  Balke knows the space well, as he was the Executive Chef of the much-loved Bolsa prior to its closing in January. The New American restaurant will have Texas, Californian and Southern influences.  The new restaurant will be run by Front-of-House expert Corey McCombs who perfected flawless operations while at Stephen Pyles, Flora Street and FT33.  These are two restaurant veterans will create something really special and I applaud their optimism. 

Events

First the bad news, the State Fair of Texas is canceled this year as you’ve heard. It’s very sad for the entrepreneurs and culinary wizards who work on research and development for the food fare.  Last year’s winners had some wackiness going on, remember? The good news is that Fletcher’s Corny Dogs are partnering with several venues to bring their Corny Dogs to the faithful with pop up events, which you can find here.

Asian Mint’s Nikky Phinyawatana is hosting a virtual cooking class Saturday, July 25. For several years, Nikky has hosted a series of successful cooking classes in her restaurants, but as the dining rooms remain closed, she realizes the show much go on, online. Participants can purchase tickets and a meal kit for one online, then pick up at Asian Mint’s Forest Lane location. The live cooking class will be Saturday, July 25 from 10:30 – Noon via Zoom. Home chefs will make Asian Mint’s Eggrolls and Pad Kee Mow, two top-selling menu items.  Tickets are $40 per person and can be purchased here.

Reddy Vineyards Virtual Wine Tasting

Reddy Vineyards is offering virtual wine tasting of their award-winning Texas wines in a series slated to kick off Thursday, July 16 at 5 p.m. The tasting will be led by Reddy Vineyards COO and Sommelier Eric Sigmund and will focus on understanding how age, acid and alcohol affect white wines.  Participants can purchase the featured wines, 2017 Marsanne and 2019 Sauvignon Blanc, here and the Zoom invite will be sent via email along with information for the tasting.  Follow Reddy Vineyards on IG @reddyvineyards for future tasting schedules.

Other News

Al Biernat’s has installed a fancy a new air purification system in both locations. Called ActivePure, the system is high-end technology and they feel that it is essential during this time of uncertainty to help protect both staff and customers. While traditional purification systems can help improve air quality to a degree, they do not reduce surface contamination at all and do not adequately reduce airborne contaminants. ActivePure technology, which is derived from NASA technology as used on the International Space Station, actively targets contaminants in the air and on surfaces, eliminating them on contact. In addition, Al Biernat’s used ActiveClean and ActiveShield as advanced surface treatments. ActiveClean is an EPA approved disinfectant that neutralizes any lingering microbial contaminant. ActiveShield is a powerful semi-permanent antimicrobial barrier that was sprayed on most of the hard and soft surfaces of the restaurants, including the floors.

If you’re wondering about whether or not your favorite restaurant has workers diagnosed with COVID-19 or not, follow them on their social media.  Some restaurants have been very forthcoming about their employees testing positive and some, not so much. Ask the restaurant directly and try to avoid speculation and rumor-mongering.  These restaurants are struggling badly. Frankly, many of my friends in this industry are becoming hopeless about their future.  Please continue to support them with your take-out and delivery orders and be a good, responsible, and respectful guest when you dine in. 

Kersten Rettig

Kersten Rettig is an eater, drinker, cooker, writer and former restaurant owner with a deep affection for all things food and beverage related. The Park Cities resident has a food blog and Instagram called The Kickshaw Papers. Follow her @KickshawPapers.

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