Cowboy Up at Landmark
With its sprawling wooden deck anchored by an island bar (and kitschy mechanical bull arena) and a spacious interior mood-lit by the neon light of a wall-sized American flag, Landmark Bar & Kitchen, new near West 7th, feels like a joint where the Urban Cowboy himself could comfortably kick up his boots. Folks will visit out of curiosity but will stay for the food and drinks, just as we did after trying the bar’s cilantro-jalapeño hummus with fried pita chips, the red-hot crispy chicken sandwich cooled with carrot slaw, and the cobwebby dough of the Landmark supreme pizza. Next time we’ll save room for the soft pretzels with Revolver fondue and the meatball sandwich. Landmark also boasts Texas-sized cocktails, including 16-ounce carafes of mojitos infused with elderflower liqueur and a breakfast-inspired beverage made with cereal milk and Patron XO Café, rimmed with crushed corn flakes. A Sunday brunch menu is coming soon. 3008 Bledsoe St., Fort Worth, 817-984-1166, www.landmarkfw.com.
Mölli’s Taste of Mexico
Mexico City natives and current Lakewood residents Leticia and Rodrigo Salas launched their line of Mexican cooking sauces and marinades last year after friends kept asking the couple how to create authentic south-of-the-border flavors at home. Now Central Market stores across Texas have picked up Mölli, the Dallasites’ jarred sauces they create in Fort Worth’s Elixir Kitchen Space. Cooking sauces include Veracruz, ideal for fish and made with morita chile peppers and green olives, and Morelos, named for one of the country’s smallest states and made with tomatillos, tomatoes and smoky chipotle peppers. We like the ruddy Oaxaca marinade, with its citrus-soaked pasilla chile peppers, for pork dishes. Find more than 90 recipe ideas, including layered chicken enchiladas and spicy avocado soup, through Mölli’s Pinterest page link, found at http://mollisauces.com.
Summer at Sera
When we tasted Sera Dining & Wine’s refreshing “ajo blanco” — chilled almond soup with olive oil-poached shrimp, cucumbers and green grapes — last month, we couldn’t help but wonder what else was new on the Spanish restaurant’s summer menu. Turns out locally grown summer vegetables are the star at Sera right now, served grilled, blistered and grated. Find squash and potato skewers presented with mojo verde and romesco sauces, roasted peppers tossed with lemon juice and sea salt, and grape tomatoes shredded atop garlic-smeared bread from neighboring Black Rooster Bakery. Owner John Marsh is also adding a new rosé every week or so to the wine list and hosting a rosé wine dinner with celebrated sommelier Ryan Tedder on July 16. 2418 Forest Park Blvd., Fort Worth, 817-927-7372, http://seradiningandwine.com.
’Tis the Season at Olenjack’s
Texas Rangers fans who wish to avoid ballpark fare and the chain eats scene that surrounds Globe Life Park should remember Olenjack’s Grille as a game-day dining alternative. A visit before or after a game for the strawberry shortcake — marinated strawberries and whipped cream between sweet shortcakes and served with tart lemon creme anglaise — is worth a trip alone. The summer dessert is new to owner and chef Brian Olenjack’s seasonal menu, which has just been updated to include tequila-spiked caramel corn with smoked bacon, Spanish peanuts and cashews (can we have a bag to go?), and an ahi tuna sandwich layered with creamy ginger scallion aioli, spinach, tomatoes and sweet red onion marmalade. Hungrier diners will appreciate the flat-iron steak with Parmesan potatoes and glazed carrots and the grilled Duroc pork T-bone with apple-bourbon demi-glace. For more bourbon fun, don’t miss pastry chef Paige Lawrence’s banana pudding cheesecake with bourbon-soaked wafers. 770 Road to Six Flags E., Arlington, 817-226-2600, www.olenjacksgrille.com.
Rahr Can Do
The stigma associated with canned beer is quickly diminishing as reputable craft breweries continue to bypass the bottle. Locally, the team at Martin House Brewing Company chose tallboy cans for its craft beer to coincide with an active lifestyle, as glass containers are commonly prohibited outside. Now Fritz Rahr, Fort Worth’s pioneer in local craft brewing, has launched a beer available exclusively in cans nearly 10 years after opening Rahr & Sons Brewery. Pride of Texas Pale Ale, easy-drinking, citrusy and lightly-hopped, is now in stores, as is the canned version of longtime favorite summer sipper Rahr’s Blonde, which just won a silver medal at the Los Angeles International Commercial Beer Competition. The cans already are popping up at area outdoor events; they’ll make you want to update your koozie collection. http://rahrbrewing.com.
GO TEXAN Prix-fixe Fun
Dozens of Texas restaurants, from small-town cafes to fine-dining establishments, will showcase their best Lone Star tastes July 21-27 during the 2014 GO TEXAN Restaurant Round-Up. Participating venues will offer prix-fixe menus benefiting food banks across the state. Local participants include Rough Creek Lodge & Resort in Glen Rose, and, in Fort Worth, Cousin’s Bar-B-Q, Little Red Wasp and Grace, where executive chef Blaine Staniford will offer a four-course menu paired with Texas wines; proceeds will be donated to the Tarrant Area Food Bank. Dishes include tomato water served with a McPherson Cellars rosé, a Texas fresh bean salad with Flat Creek Estate pinot grigio and an entree choice of squash blossom risotto with a roussanne from the Texas High Plains or 44 Farms flank steak with a syrah blend from Cathedral Mountain Vineyard. Dessert includes Texas blueberry panna cotta with buttered popcorn ice cream offered with a Hill Country muscat canelli. $69 with wine pairings, 777 Main St., Fort Worth, 817-877-3388, www.gracefortworth.com, www.gotexanrestaurantroundup.com.
Whole Foods Happiness
It’ll be two years before Whole Foods opens its Fort Worth location, but the Austin-based organic foods purveyor opens its Colleyville outlet July 8 with a bread-breaking ceremony at 7:30 a.m. The 40,000-square-foot store is the anchor tenant in the Colleyville Downs shopping center, formerly called Village Park. New shoppers should note the environmentally-conscious grocer offers more than 2,600 natural and organic products under store-brand names and supports the nonprofit Non-GMO Project (items in the store that meet the organization’s standards are prominently marked “non-GMO verified”). Organic produce will have an emphasis on local vendors. 4801 Colleyville Blvd., Colleyville, 817-918-3821, www.wholefoodsmarket.com.
Using Their Noodles
Hanabi Ramen & Izakaya, Fort Worth’s first ramen restaurant, is now open near Museum Place and comes from the owners of Hanabi Hibachi and Sushi in north Fort Worth. Chef Ito Takao, who ran a ramen restaurant in Tokyo before he was recruited to run the kitchen at Hanabi, is opening the eyes of diners whose experience with ramen entails the individually-wrapped, brittle bricks of noodles prepared in the microwave. The savory Japanese soup dish, made with rich and luscious broth that’s simmered for hours, is offered seven ways at the elegant eatery, which features a full bar and intimate lighting. Intended to mimic Japanese izakayas, or casual places for after-work drinking, the restaurant also offers several small plates and an extensive sake list. (Note that the izakaya small plate menu is only offered at dinner.) On our visit, the miso ramen, slightly spicy with small silvers of pork belly and vegetables, was a hit, as was the “tsukemen” dipping ramen, meaning two bowls were served — one for noodles and one for the broth to dip them in. All versions come with ladles intended for noodle-dipping and sipping. 3204 Camp Bowie Blvd., Fort Worth, 817-420-6703.
Southlake Gets Juiced
Raw and healthful cold-pressed juices have found their way to Southlake thanks to Nékter, an Orange County, Calif.-based juice bar chain that offers vegan juices, cleanses, smoothies and açaí berry bowls. The Southlake outlet, only the second in Texas, is the first juice bar in the area to offer highly coveted cold-pressed juices, which come packed with pounds of produce squeezed into liquid via high-pressure processing. (The procedure is cumbersome, hence the hefty price tag that can climb as a high as $11 for a 16-ounce bottle at some venues.) The chain’s most popular offerings include the Toxin Flush juice, made with parsley, spinach, apples, lemon and ginger, and Popeye’s Açaí smoothie, blended with spinach and vanilla bean cashew milk. Nékter’s product line soon will grow to include raw food items and cold-pressed coffees. 410 Southlake Blvd., Southlake, 800-385-1650, www.nekterjuicebar.com.
Good news for a summer road trip: Comfort food eatery Dinner Bell Cafe has taken over the Wildcatter Steakhouse kitchen at Wildcatter Ranch in Graham, serving homestyle favorites like chicken-fried steak, chicken and dressing and pot roast. The original Dinner Bell Cafe location at 1429 Fourth St. in Graham, about 90 miles northwest of Fort Worth, will remain open for its usual breakfast and lunch hours Monday through Friday. Dinner will be served Tuesday through Saturday at the Wildcatter Ranch, with brunch Saturday and Sunday until 2 p.m. 6062 Texas 16 South, Graham, 940-549-3500, www.wildcatterranch.com.
Clay Pigeon Food and Drink will partner with Amici Cellars (cabernet sauvignon pictured) for a wine dinner at 6:30 p.m. July 8. The winery is recognized for its cabernets, which come from renowned Rutherford Bench grapes. Chef Marcus Paslay will pair the wines with a four-course meal. $100 (includes tax and gratuity), 2731 White Settlement Road, Fort Worth, 817-882-8065, www.claypigeonfd.com.
Grace will host its first-ever clam bake at 6:30 p.m. July 12 on the restaurant’s terrace. Guests will partake in a selection of smoked canapes, East and West Coast oysters, New England Clam Chowder and the clam bake main course featuring little neck, manila and chowder clams along with Maine lobster, diver scallops, prawns, mussels and more. Dessert includes roasted banana pudding with banana ice cream. Dress code is “clam bake casual.” $95 with wines or $75 with beers (tax and gratuity not included), 777 Main St., Fort Worth, 817-877-3388, www.gracefortworth.com.
Café Modern will host a craft beer dinner featuring brews from Fort Worth’s Martin House Brewing Company at 6:30 p.m. July 24. The three-course meal will include the brewery’s River House Texas Saison paired with a smoked scallop, watermelon and heirloom tomato salad, Day Break paired with bierock (a savory European beef and cabbage-filled pastry) and Pretzel Stout with a beer-infused, salted caramel brownie sundae with crushed pretzels. $59 (members), $69 (nonmembers), tax and gratuity not included, 3200 Darnell St., Fort Worth, 817-840-2157, www.themodern.org.