Texas®

While Europe has long been considered the home of “Major League Football” and South America has often hosted teams that were nothing short of Futbol dynasties, The Great 48 has been picking up steam when up it comes to not only the quality of play we can display here, but in the enthusiasm of the supporters (aka “fans” for the uninitiated) that loyally follow the clubs they often will to victory.

In recent years, Texas has been the home to two of the MLS’s best teams. The Dynamo of Houstonhave been perennial contenders that took home the MLS Cup as the league’s champion in both 2006 and 2007 (after entering the league in 2005, which makes the back-to-back titles even more impressive). As for the Frisco-based FC Dallas (formerly the Dallas Burn), they were a sad, “own-goal” away from being crowned champions this past season when they lost a heart-breaker to the Colorado Rapids.

Perhaps even more impressive than the on-field credentials that each team has built is the devotion and organization of the folks that support each team for each home-game (not to mention many road-games). Whether it’s the Texian Army in support of The Dynamo, or The Inferno in support of FC Dallas, each group makes clear their intentions to any who may wonder: To fully and vocally encourage their team at all times throughout the 90 minutes of each game.

By organizing pre-game tailgate parties that often end with a coordinated group “march to the match,” these fans are showing all others what it’s like to really be a supporter in far more than name only.

Chants? Check. Group Songs? Check. Coordinated color clothing? Check.

Such details are common-place in Europe and other soccer hotbeds, but here in the states, outside of a few college football-crazy spots, such obvious fanaticism has withered away from our professional sports landscape as many of the prices to attend events have made it so that the average fan is unable to attend regularly. With both Houston and Dallas, strides are made to include fans of all tax-brackets. Cheap to free parking, regular ticket-discounting programs and even drink specials make it easier for people to come equipped and ready to support their favorite squad.

For information on both the teams and the official supporter groups, see below:

Houston Dynamo:

FC Dallas:

Family owned and operated, Frisco’s One 2 One Restaurant and Bar opened its doors on August 15th, but it wasn’t until just last week that I was able to have a chat with co-owner and marketing guru, Amy Cole.

After months of design and building, literally from the ground up, and preparation, the Cole family realized the restaurant of their dreams: An upscale-chic dining venue that accommodated Frisco’s diverse demographic of families, the single set and the recently retired. No small feat that! The end result was a warm, inviting restaurant and lounge which is divided by a private dining room and wine room – both of which sport spectacular views into the open, wood burning oven adorned kitchen.

And while the foundation was there, the Amy and her husband, Alex, knew that the heart of any great restaurant is its chef. After a determined search, the Coles found Chef Jeff Moschetti. Moschetti’s resume reads like a Who’s Who of culinary genius. With stints under his belt as Executive Chef at the four diamond rated Warwick Melrose Hotel, Stephan Pyles and Hotel ZaZa’s Dragonfly, Jeff also found time to act as corporate chef with Restaurant Works, launching the concepts and menus for Cru Wine Bar, Ferre, Victory Tavern and Steel. If that isn’t impressive enough, Moschetti has also been featured in in The New York Times and Gourmet and Bon Appetit magazines!

With Chef in place, One 2 One Restaurant features a lunch and dinner menu that satisfies your gourmand’s appetite while considering your pocketbook or wallet. Boasting locally sourced greens and meats, lunch may find you snacking on small bites such as Wild Game Sausages ($10) or Ginger Beef Spring Rolls ($11) or a hearty dish of organic Orrechetti Primavera ($10) or a 12-inch, wood oven fired Smoked Rock Shrimp Pizza ($17). Daintier appetites can also indulge on Beau Nash Smoked Chicken and Corn Soup ($5) and a delectable Crusted Ahi Tuna salad with organic greens, fennel and citrus vinaigrette ($19). A full lunch menu, including ‘hand-helds’ such as sandwiches and burgers, can be found here.

Dinner, which we enjoyed on Friday, was phenomenal. Service was swift, friendly and attentive. We never felt rushed and we found ourselves quite impressed with our server’s knowledge of wines.

After a great debate over the menu…so many choices…The husband and I started with Vincenzo’s Crust, a heavenly combo of gorgonzola, roasted  elephant garlic and quince jam served with housemade flatbread. The husband opted for the slow cooked pork ($24) which was artfully plated with tender, wilted chard and cannellini bean and butternut squash ragout. While I wasn’t shoveling sneaked forkfuls of my beleaguered dining companion’s pork, I was hoarding all to myself the lobster carbonara served over fresh black pepper linguine ($22). With dinner, we shared a bottle of Mendozan malbec for just $35.

Great for a romantic dinner for two, One 2 One is also pretty darn kid friendly to boot.  Entrees are just 7 bucks a pop and range from ribs and cheeseburgers to pasta and tried and true chicken tenders. Kids are also encouraged to be creative with One 2 One’s build-your-own cupcakes!

After dinner, we decided to check out the lounge and bar and found a different experience altogether! As we sipped our port in the lively atmosphere, we enjoyed live music, noting that many of the casually dressed patrons had chosen to dine in the lounge. The lounge offers greats happy hour deals on Flyin’ Hawaiians and Texas Tinis and we also saw that Thursday nights are Ladies Night.

Sometimes it can be quite taxing to find a great meal north of Dallas…One 2 One is definitely a great find for us and the meal we had was spectacular. At first glance you can tell that a lot of thought went into the restaurant’s design and at first bite? A whole lot of love.

And just because Amy is super awesome and genrous, Best of Texas readers can enjoy a FREE Appetizer when they visit One 2 One! Just click and print the coupon at the bottom of the post…

One 2 One Restaurant and Bar
1339 Legacy Dr
Frisco, TX

Long ago I decided that there were two types of artists in the world, those who create because they’re compelled to and those that create for recognition. Being an avid collector of local art, I also began to understand that there are two types of art collectors, those who purchase pieces solely because the art speaks to them – be it a $50 outsider piece or a $500 screenprint – and those they collect for investment or for societal recognition. The chasm between these two types, at times, seems rather deep.

So imagine my delight when I recently had the pleasure of chatting with Jim Holloway, the owner of the new Painting With a Twist in Frisco. Not only is Jim passionate about creating art, he has the drive to encourage and coax out the creative side in oft times the most inhibited folks. From children and elderly folks, to the guy who has begrudgingly agreed to go on a painting date and a wild bunch of vino-fueled gals on a girl’s night out, everyone who attends a Painting With a Twist class leaves more confident in their painting abilities and with an original piece of art they can proudly hang upon the walls of their home.

Jim Holloway has always been a seeker, a ‘creative’ ever in search of an outlet. From construction to design, he’s always had hands that needed to create. So taking a leap of faith along with his wife, Jim opening Painting With a Twist in Frisco back in January of this year. Though still in its infancy, business is spectacular. So, I grabbed a gal pal and headed north to see for myself. Well, that’s not completely true, I begged and wheedled my gal pal until she agreed to go north of 635 and promised her wine and snacks…

Here’s how it worked for us:

We snagged some Pinot, pranced into Painting With a Twist and got ready to paint that day’s subject matter: Field of Bluebonnets. For 35 bucks, we were provided a completely awesome instructor and all the materials needed to make our painting that night. The ENTIRE ride out to Frisco my friend, we’ll call her ‘Sal’, complained, “I don’t know how to paint, I’m not creative like you. I’m gonna suck at this. My painting is going to look like an expletive that rhymes with glass.” Whine, wine, whine. However, after a bit of liquid courage and being promised she wasn’t going to be ‘evaluated’, she became more comfortable with the step-by-step instructions and finally picked up her brush and began work. Lots of laughs and hilarity ensued and we ultimately had a great time. Two hours later, my painting looked a little Drunken Monet and Sal described hers as looking a little Bob ‘Happy Little Trees’ Ross.

The subject matter always varies by class, I’m eyeballing tonight’s poppies subject, and you can also schedule a private party at Painting With a Twist – think birthday’s , etc – and once a month the place offers a non-profit night in which the proceeds from that day’s class goes to a variety of charities. This month’s charity is Frisco Cares and next month is a Morgan Watson fundraiser. And in honor of our military, May 31st’s subject is a salute to our troops!

Check out their full schedule and learn more today!

P.S. Mention Best of Texas when you go or make a class reservation and you’ll get $5 off!

If the lady or gent in your life craves something along the lines of devilishly good treats, how about a Valentine’s Day dozen of  The Cupcakery’s Southern Belles - delicious red velvet cupcakes topped high with smooth cream cheese frosting. Chocolate more his or her thing? Go for the  Oh, My Gosh-Ganache – magnificent vanilla cake with a silky chocolate truffle center, topped with vanilla and chocolate buttercreams.

Nom!

Personalize your treats for your sweet and top your delectable dozen with little trinkets or write words of love upon blank cupcake toppers found in any party supply store.

The Cupcakery in Dallas
2222 McKinney Ave. Suite 230
Dallas, TX

The Cupcakery in Frisco
6975 Lebanon Road, Ste. 306
Frisco, TX

  

Frisco Square announced yesterday that it will partner with Operation Once in a Lifetime to collect linens and other basic items for soldiers returning to Ft. Hood during February. At present, barracks rooms are furnished only with a mattress, desk, chair, closet and a small refrigerator.  Dr. Pepper recently began providing drinks for the refrigerators.

“When we learned from Sgt. Sowers that service men and women returning to Ft. Hood had to purchase toiletries and linens to furnish their barracks rooms at Ft. Hood from their own funds, we saw an opportunity to help”, said Cathy Sweeney, a Managing Partner at Frisco Square. “Our partner, IESI will provide a secure container so that everyone can drop off their contributions anytime during February. We’ll have the container in a convenient location and decorate it with a military theme. Another frequent partner of ours, TrendMaker Signs, will make it easy to find. We know the generosity of Frisco people and we’re confident that this story is one that will move everyone to join us in this effort.”

Things that returning soldiers need include: Shower curtains and rings; Twin sheet sets; Pillows and pillow cases; Blankets; Feminine hygiene products;Toiletries: shampoo, conditioner, soap, deodorant, tooth brushes, tooth paste, razors, shaving cream and after shave or cologne. Other items that are great to give are restaurant coupons and snacks.

“More details and an announcement about when the donation box is ready will come later in January. We want to make this announcement now so that individuals, schools, scout troops, HOA’s and clubs…everyone can make a plan in January and make a contribution in February”, Sweeney added.

Frisco Square is a pedestrian-friendly, urban experience that blends shopping, dining, office space, apartment living, parks as well as Frisco’s city hall and library.  Evoking a European village, Frisco Square is located in the heart of Frisco at the southeast corner of the Dallas North Tollway and Main Street, directly across from Pizza Hut Park.

Additional information about Frisco Square and this event is available at www.friscosquare.com or through the Frisco Square information center at 469-633-1721. See Frisco Square on FaceBook, too.

At work, I tend to be kind of a shut-in. I would prefer to either work out (ugh, am I that girl?) or partake in the ample offerings of the cafeteria downstairs. However, in an effort to be social and to expand my palate beyond the build-your-own sandwich bar, I occasionally go out to lunch with my co-workers. I haven’t risen high enough in the hierarchy to actually choose where we eat, so I have been at their culinary mercy. Of late, we’ve visited Zea WoodFire Grill, Bonnie Ruth’s Café and Angelina’s, all of which had their high points.

Zea was populated with business-casualed men noshing on the restaurant’s touted roasted meats. I ordered a salad, whose roasted pecans, sun-dried tomatoes and blue cheese crumbles were oohed and aahed by my carnivorous companions. The following week we dined on the patio at Bonnie Ruth’s Café Trottoir et Patisserie in Frisco. As the name suggests, it did feel somewhat like a Paris bistro, but more of the Epcot persuasion than Left Bank. My pasta salad was decent—meatless, but still substantial, with a thankfully light hand on the olives and feta. Still, regardless of the pleasantness of our experience, the meal was overshadowed by the restaurant’s proximity to The Cupcakery. Sorry, cupcakes trump pasta salad et al every time. Our most recent lunch destination, Angelina’s in The Colony, gets the award for best ambience. We sat on the patio, overlooking Lake Lewisville, almost forgetting that we had to pile into the car after polishing off our enchilada platters and head back to work to sit like veal for the rest of the day. Moving on, my spinach enchiladas were delicious, consisting of two plump corn tortillas stuffed with steamed spinach (no cheese!) and slathered in tasty ranchero sauce. The dish could merit a repeat. If my turn to choose restaurants ever comes up.

Wow. That’s pretty much all I can say. What started as a Season Ticket holder’s appreciation night, replete with a meet & greet with players, free food for noshing and an all-star game between FC Dallas and a bevy of Costa Rican First Division Club players, turned into an all-points bulletin to DUCK & FREAKIN’ COVER on Wednesday night.

Within a matter of minutes hubby, father-in-law and yours truly – along with a couple, maybe few, hundred others – found ourselves rapidly and expertly herded into the underground tunnels of Pizza Hut Park.

Spirits remained high as we hunkered down well below ground during torrential rain and wind gusts of 80 to 100 m.p.h. That aside, I can only tell you what I experienced myself. I did see debris in the air, mostly branches, vinyl placards and one piece of plywood. In one case, we did witness tables and small platforms being blown across the ground. Once we finally emerged, we saw that the camera stand for FC Dallas had been blown into the stands, small and medium sized trees were blown down, a few flags were missing and it was pretty much lights out from Main Street to Preston.

Best part? Being treated to an amazing sunset.

Before I get to the pictures, I want to give HUGE props to not only the staff, police and fire, but an EXTRA HUGE HIGH FIVE to Pizza Hut Park’s sound guy. His/her playlist’s first songs once we were allowed back out:

Tay Zonday’s ‘Chocolate Rain’
The Beatles’ ‘Rain’
Garth Brooks’ ‘The Thunder Rolls’
Jimmy Cliff’s ‘I Can See Clearly Now’

Overall, everyone from the fans to the staff, kept their sense of humor. The game was a nasty one, three red cards within the first 20 minutes. Check out the storm pics below:

Mattito’s Tex-Mex Cocina

After watching FC Dallas beat The Galaxy 4 to zip on a HOT, 104 degree Sunday night, I wanted an ice cold margarita, so we headed over to check out Mattito’s.

Mattito’s is a festive and happening place with two great locations- The new Mattito’s is located in Frisco, next to Lochrann’s Pub, and the original location is in Uptown on Routh Street. If you haven’t tried it yet, go and be ready for excellent food, hoo-ya potent margaritas, and a fun atmosphere for any occasion.

 

 

 

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