Food for Dudes
Cookbooks for manly-men, with testosterone-fueled titles, are hitting bookstore shelves faster than you can say “Father’s Day,” aiming to teach everything from how to stock a pantry for after-hours noshing to making breakfast for the entire family. This season’s standout tomes include The Eat Like a Man Guide to Feeding a Crowd from Esquire (Chronicle Books, $30), which breaks down recipes by time of day best served (late morning to late night) and level of difficulty (“easy,” “reasonable” and “worth the effort”). Southern Living’s A Southern Gentleman’s Kitchen (Oxmoor House, $32) is penned by Matt Moore, whose bestselling cookbook debut, Have Her Over for Dinner, helped conquer the culinary fears of many single men who’d never opened an oven. Man Food, by food blogger and photographer Billy Law (Hardie Grant Books, $30), teases the taste buds of male readers with its glistening bacon weave cover but encourages men to try new things, like making Asian steamed buns or lasagna from scratch. Most guys we know love to play with fire and eat with their hands, making Law’s lip-smacking Maple Chipotle BBQ Sticky Pork Ribs, shared here, a surefire summer hit.
Having established a loyal following inside Hulen Mall since 1998, Alan Asadian decided to open a brick-and-mortar outlet of his longtime food court favorite, Opah Greek Flavor. Dubbed Opa! Mediterranean Cafe, the West Seventh Street location fills the vacant Vine Greek Taverna space and offers comfortable, quiet seating — something hard to find at the mall. “Food courts get busy and loud,” Asadian says. “I had numerous requests from people who wanted to sit down somewhere cozy and not too noisy.” Falafel, highly-spiced ground chickpeas rolled into balls and deep-fried, are one of Asadian’s favorite menu items, along with gyro sandwiches, tabbouleh and the Greek chicken salad with house-made dressing. The hummus and yogurt are made from scratch, too. Look for Opa! to add beer and wine to the menu later this summer. 2708 W. Seventh St., Fort Worth, 817-334-0888.
Spears Is Back in the Saddle
After a lengthy Fort Worth hiatus, chicken-fried steak king Grady Spears returns this month to open Horseshoe Hill Cafe in the Stockyards. “I was raised down here when I used to work at the cattle company,” says Spears, whose most recent local venture was Grady’s Line Camp in Tolar. “This will be a simple cowboy cafe. I’m going to go back and do the things I’ve done forever.” Gargantuan chicken-fried steaks will come with choice of gravies, including poblano or cracked pepper, and possibly queso or even enchiladas, as inspired by Spears’ friend Matt Martinez of Tex-Mex restaurant fame. The small blackboard menu will also feature chiles rellenos and a limited number of dry-aged rib-eye steaks. Spears says when the West Exchange Street space — which will seat about 70 and includes a back patio — became available, he couldn’t pass up the opportunity to be on the “outlaw end” of the Stockyards. Expect lunch and dinner hours along with sidewalk service via a sliding-glass window, where Spears will sell beer and calf fries to go. Also look for the tall Texan to start catering at The Bull Ring, a former Stockyards underground gambling parlor-turned-private event space. 204 W. Exchange St., Fort Worth, 817-882-6405, http://horseshoehillcafe.com (note the website is still a work in progress).
Mash’d, a modern restaurant and bar dedicated to an age-old spirit, opens this month in the West Seventh development. Founding partner David Kazarian says Fort Worth was the natural choice for the second location of his Frisco-based concept because the city represents Mash’d’s “rebellious American” mantra. Like the Frisco outlet, about 30 moonshines from around the country will be offered, some with creative infusions like fresh watermelon and kosher salt, vanilla bean and pineapple, and organic Maine blueberries. “What’s special about moonshine, beside its historical relevance as the archetype of American spirits, is that it takes on way more personality than vodka when it’s mixed with things,” says Kazarian, who’s also behind TruFire Kitchen & Bar. Menu items will offer “familiar dishes with inventive twists,” he says, like mussels with house-infused garlic and jalapeño moonshine, bulgogi tacos and shepherd’s pie with puff pastry. Look for a mid- to late-June opening. 2948 Crockett St., Fort Worth, www.mashd.com.
Rodak’s gets Saucy
Call Marvin Rodak Fort Worth’s backyard grilling guru. The former auto technician turned master griller owns Rodak’s Coffee & BBQ Grills and sources premium charcoal wood chunks, exotic spices and rubs, grilling supplies and coffee beans from around the world (roasted on-site while you watch, if desired) for his discriminating clientele. Rodak was even featured on a May 31 episode of The Cooking Channel’s Big Bad BBQ Battle, on which he made a custom coffee blend for a competing chef’s brisket marinade. His latest culinary must-haves are premium Thai-inspired chili sauces ($6) in worldly flavors such as coconut harissa, pumpkin panang and the mouth-searing ghost pepper vindaloo from Apinya Thai Food Co. Rodak is Texas’ first and only purveyor of the product, which adds a piquant kick to everything from pizza and wings to grilled vegetables and burgers. Also new at Rodak’s is the Pyro Tubo, a Costa Rican charcoal lighter chimney that safely preps charcoal for larger grills and doubles as a portable grill for camping, boating or tailgating ($39.95). “It has a sleek teak wood handle, is made from stainless steel, and can also work as a heater in the winter,” says Rodak. 2520 W. Pafford St., Fort Worth, 817-924-6821, www.rodakscoffeeandgrills.com.
French for “the black cat,” Le Chat Noir is now open on West Magnolia Avenue, but it’s not a modern version of the storied Parisian cabaret. Patti Kirkey’s “cupcake bordello” offers sultry sweets of the sophisticated variety, such as authentic French macarons and pastries with toasted meringue and ruffled icing. “I wanted something that wasn’t so nostalgic or that your grandmother made, and not centric toward kids,” says the self-taught baker, who got her culinary start selling cake slices at Avoca Coffee. Customers can purchase from the pastry case or place custom orders in advance. Popular selections include Kirkey’s “Natural Redhead” red velvet cupcakes, made without artificial coloring; lemon curd-filled cupcakes with toasted meringue; and her traditional French macarons — a must-try, she says. “I pride myself on the fact that I make them the hard way, because it’s the right way.” 1208 W. Magnolia Ave., Fort Worth, 817-393-1733.
Chef Dena’s New Direction
Dena Peterson, who emphasized seasonal, locally sourced ingredients during her
11 1/2 years at the helm of Café Modern, is now the owner of Southlake-based Bravo Catering and Event Planning. She takes the reins from tenured caterer Sally Bolick-Strong. The move will allow for more time with family, including her 2-year-old daughter, Peterson says. “I want to bring Frankie into the kitchen with me whenever I can,” she says. Expect Peterson to add her touch to Bravo’s event menus with the incorporation of fresh ingredients and some of the global influences she became known for at The Modern. “It’s going to be a pretty seamless transition. Her clientele is very much already my clientele,” says Peterson, who says she’ll eventually offer personal chef services, too. 817-310-1000, www.cateringbybravo.com.
Gourmet, To Go
Former Dallas caterer Katie Schma, who has cooked in Napa Valley and Monterey, Calif., has her sights set on bringing gourmet takeout to Fort Worth. The Carmel native will open Local Foods Kitchen, offering breakfast, salads, soups, sandwiches, entrees and desserts to go, late this month in Fort Worth’s Tanglewood neighborhood. “I’m very much a purist when I cook. I don’t add a lot of things,” Schma says. “I have connections with farmers in the state of Texas. I really want to showcase them.” While Schma’s clipboard menu will change monthly based on seasonal ingredients, offerings might include chunky gazpacho, cream of tomato soup, lemony white bean dip with veggies, guajillo chicken tortas and albacore tuna salad. Schma says she has been looking for “the right spot” to open her scratch kitchen for three years and plans to offer catering. 4548 Hartwood Drive, Fort Worth, www.localfoodskitchen.com.
True Bleu in Keller
Chef Erin Miller’s long-awaited Texas Bleu Steakhouse is set to open this month in Old Town Keller, but with a surprise return from a familiar face. Cef Zambrano, who closed his eponymous downtown Fort Worth wine bar in November, will serve as the restaurant’s sommelier. “I’m lucky to have him,” says Miller, a Le Cordon Bleu culinary school graduate and fourth-generation chef who previously worked as sous-chef at The Classic at Roanoke. The Houston native already has outlined a menu of filets, rib-eyes, seafood and poultry entrees, each to be prepared with her choice of sides and accompaniments. “If I am preparing an entree, I want to prepare it exactly how I want, from the meat to the vegetables to the sauce — the way I think it would be the best,” Miller says, adding that she also wanted to cater to women who might not care for the typical steakhouse starches. The 8-ounce filet mignon will come with steamed broccoli and lemon-asparagus sauce, and the chicken cordon bleu is an adaptation of her grandmother’s recipe served with grilled asparagus (above). “I’ve learned there are a lot of health-conscious people in Keller,” Miller says. But dessert-lovers shouldn’t fret. Taking another cue from her grandmother, who once prepared pastries for the Ritz-Carlton, Miller will make all desserts in house. Texas Bleu will be open for lunch and dinner and possibly Sunday brunch down the road, she says. 124 Main St., Keller, http://texasbleu
Central Market’s sixth annual Beer Fest will take place June 10-23 and feature more than 45 visiting brewmasters and brewery owners at its stores. Featured cooking classes include “A Texas Meal paired with Revolver Brewing Beers,” 6:30 p.m. June 12 ($55) in Fort Worth, and a rare beer-tasting at the Southlake store with the lead brewer at Saint Arnold Brewing Co., 6:30 p.m. June 12 ($30). Just in time, the Southlake store recently launched a growler program, featuring 12 taps of American craft brews with an emphasis on Texas brewers. All stores will host a beer stroll 5-8 p.m. June 18 ($10) to sample beers with food pairings. Each participant will receive a souvenir glass, bottle opener, beer guide, koozie and coaster (while supplies last). www.centralmarket.com.
Velvet Taco, the West Seventh Street taco shop known for its globally inspired ingredients and rotisserie chicken served from a street-side window, has updated its menu. New tacos include Israelis couscous made with parsley-mint pesto, tzatziki, roasted portobello and grilled halumi cheese tucked in a lettuce wrap; the shrimp and grits taco with creole mayo, blackened shrimp and pepper jack cheese grits; and cornmeal fried oysters with remoulade, Napa cabbage slaw, roasted corn pico de gallo and chili butter. The Dallas-based diner has also added a brunch menu of frittata tacos. 2700 W. Seventh St., Fort Worth, 817-887-9810, www.velvettaco.com.
Cadillac Wines will host a Riedel seminar and wine-tasting showcasing varietal-specific luxury crystal stemware, 7 p.m. June 16. A red wine-tasting of pinot noir, syrah and cabernet along with chocolate pairings is included. $75, 3500 W. Loop 820 S., Fort Worth, 817-989-4435, www.cadillacwines.com.
Fearing’s will host a special three-course Father’s Day brunch featuring barbecue by the renowned Cooper family, 11 a.m.-3 p.m. June 21. The meal will include favorites such as hickory-smoked Wagyu brisket, Snake River pork and St. Louis ribs prepared by the father-son duo of Marshall and Mark Cooper, plus relishes and a dessert trio. $75 for adults, $30 for children 12 and younger. Inside the Ritz-Carlton Hotel, 2121 McKinney Ave., Dallas, 214-922-4848, http://fearingsrestaurant.com.
Grace will offer dinner for two for $99, including choice of soup or salad, entree and dessert for the table, until Labor Day. Chef Blaine Staniford’s summer-inspired special menu includes white asparagus soup with rock shrimp and an entree of petite filet with Maine diver scallop. 777 Main St., Fort Worth, 817-877-3388, www.gracefortworth.com.
Maple Chipotle BBQ Sticky Pork Ribs
• 4 pounds 6 ounces U.S.-style pork spareribs
Dry rub spice mix:
• 1/2 cup (firmly packed) soft brown sugar
• 1/4 cup paprika
• 1 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper
• 1 tablespoon salt
• 1 tablespoon chili powder
• 1 tablespoon garlic powder
• 1 tablespoon onion powder
• 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
• 2 chipotle peppers, coarsely chopped
• 1 cup American barbecue sauce, such as
Sweet Baby Ray’s
• 1/3 cup maple syrup
• 3 garlic cloves, crushed
• 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
• Pinch of sea salt
1. First, remove the membrane on the back of the ribs. Insert a butter knife between the membrane on the back of the ribs. Work your fingers around under it to loosen the membrane. Once you can get a good grip on it, without ripping it, gently pull the membrane off and discard. Trim any excess fat on the sides and tidy up the ribs.
2. To make the dry rub mix, combine all of the ingredients. Rub the ribs with the spice mix and marinate in the refrigerator for at least an hour but no more than 3 hours.
3. Heat the oven at 300 degrees. Place the ribs in a single layer in a large roasting tin. Cover the tin with two layers of foil and make sure it is fully sealed. Cook for 1 1/2 hours.
4. Meanwhile, to make the barbecue sauce, soak the chipotle peppers in 2 cups of hot water for 30 minutes until softened. Put the peppers together with 1/4 cup of water in a food processor and blend to a puree. Mix the remaining barbecue sauce ingredients in a jug. Set 1/2 cup of the sauce aside and pour the remaining sauce over the ribs. Cover and return to the oven for a further 1 1/2 hours or until the ribs are fall-off-the-bone tender, turning once at the halfway interval. Transfer to a tray and pour any pan juices into the jug of sauce set aside earlier, then mix well.
5. Heat a barbecue grill to high, place the ribs on the hot grill, brush a thick coat of sauce on each side of the ribs and grill until well caramelized all over. Let them rest for 5 minutes then serve with the reserved barbecue sauce on the side.
— Man Food by Billy Law