Monday, March 22, 2010

My little blog is all grown up.

Well kids, it was time for me to move on to greener and larger pastures.  I haven't been posting, because I've spent the last 2 weekends moving my blog to a WordPress format, getting it hosted at my new domain, and making numerous tweaks and changes.  The Food*Sparks blog can now be found at:

So, come join me there for my trials and tribulations that revolve around food, friends, home decorating, my dog Frankie, etc.  You can follow my RSS feed now, follow me on Twitter, or e-mail me at if you've got questions/suggestions.  It's all there on the site.

Oh, and I should mention that I'm now a columnist for Modern Dallas, and will be writing a regular column about 'food+design'.  The whole idea is to talk about the branding and concept that went into the design of a restaurant, the creative process behind the design, and well, a few snippets about the food, of course!

I have to thank my architect friend, Bob Borson (, who helped me so much with the technical side of wrangling all of this.  Not sure I would have made it thru without his advice and guidance - thanks Bob!

Monday, March 1, 2010

A Review: The Porch, Dallas, TX

In tinkering around the city this weekend (more antique shops for cake pedestals and other things I can't live without), I found myself hungry while over in the Knox/Henderson area.

I'd just come out of a store, glanced across the street, and there was The Porch.  I'd heard a lot about this place, that is was down home comfort food w/ a laid back atmosphere.  And that it was.  I loved how their space was laid out, about 3 rows of booths, some the popular combo of 1/2 booth, 1/2 table w/ chairs, red, cushy, roomy booths.  Love that.  Their bar lined the entire back wall, and the kitchen serving window made up the majority of the adjacent wall, below a large black board of specials, simply called "The Big Black Board." 

On this day, I decided on a cocktail, because they were offering their version of an Arnold Palmer, which they called an Arnold Collins.  There is a huge trend in Dallas right now, and maybe everywhere, to offer this sweet tea flavored vodka 7 ways from Sunday.  I've found that I only like it mixed with lemonade - it's sure to become my new summer drink in a few months.  :)  The Arnold Collins was perfectly tasty.

After persusing the menu, I was conflicted between the BBQ Brisket Sliders or the Garlic Chicken and Avocado BLT.  I went for the BLT because, well, isn't everyone doing a brisket slider these days (hello Jack's Backyard)?  I chose the pasta salad as a side, after I found out it was actually orzo with feta cheese, minced purple onion, and red pepper.

When the plate arrived, I knew I had made the right choice.  First of all, just look at the crusty exterior of the bread...totally slathered in butter and grilled for a bit.  Tastebuds were watering at this point. 

At first bite, the garlic was subtle, but it was there, and not too overpowering.  The avocado schmear, combined w/ the tomatoes, provided just the right amount of moisture - not to mention the chicken was perfectly moist.  Imagine that, a chicken sandwich that wasn't dry for once!  The arugula as the lettuce was a nice touch.  But there was something about the applewood smoked was chewy, almost like jerky.  At first this threw me off, thinking maybe it was overdone, but if that were the case, it would have been crunchy.  I picked a piece off and shredded it lengthways, it was most certainly like jerky, more 'shreddy' than chewy.  I decided I liked the texture.

The pasta salad was a nice touch as well, just needed a little S&P.  Another little detail I liked, they use commercial bar mop towels as their napkins!  I'm diggin' that.  Completely unpretentious, and adds to the branding of the whole place at the same time.

Another chair.

Okay, this is becoming ridiculous, either that, or someone's trying to give me a sign.

Saw this lil' number in Century Modern in Deep Ellum on Sunday. 

It was marked $95, and I barely glanced at it and the shop owner said he'd make me a really great deal on it, and offered $50.  I'm not really in the market for a chair, I just bought this chair last weekend during a thrift store dive.

Now, like my friend Ben said: "One chair is a converstaion piece, something decorative.  But if you buy and refinish more than that, you're gonna' have to do something with them!"

lol  Well said my friend, touché, touché.

So, that got me to thinking, and I mentioned to him that I've been wanting to paint my dining room table a flat/satin black, then rough up the corners and legs a bit w/ some 1,000 grit sandpaper.  And since 4 of the 6 chairs that came with it are kinda' wonky (oh, and plain, and I'm so over them), what if I started collecting these 'farmhouse meets modern' styled chairs?  Chairs from the 40s-60s, I'd be okay with that.

Then that idea morphed into me saying to Ben, "But I had envisioned parsons style chairs for that table...something covered and skirted, but clean lines."  To which he replied, "Well, then, why don't you buy 4 chairs like you want, and use the one you bought last weekend - and go buy this one - for captains chairs?"

Again, brilliant my friend.  I think I like it!

Now I have gone from having one chair refinish project, to giving myself 3: strip, stain, and refinish 2 chairs, and paint my dining room table!  Now, I just have to go back and get that chair...I think I'll offer the guy $40 for it.  Y'all know me!  lol