Coal Vine’s Pizza and Wine Bar, the chic Uptown eatery rolls out a new brunch menu and extends operations to include both Saturday and Sunday (10:30am-3pm) dining.  In addition to the list of popular appetizers and signature pizzas, the revamped a la carte menu features new offerings including “Build Your Own” pancakes and omelet stations, Coal Vine’s Benedict, Sunday Quiche, Nova Scotia Scrambled, Breakfast Calzone, 3 Egg Fritatta, Joe P Special and more.

Brunch drink specials include $3 Mimosas, Poinsettia’s, Pompelmos and Peach Lemonade Bellini’s.

Developed in 2009 by Joseph Palladino, the casual neighborhood restaurant is reminiscent of his New York upbringing.  Coal Vine’s is a specialty pizzeria complemented by a full menu and wine list synonymous with quality and value.

Coal Vine’s is located at 4404 Cedar Springs Road.  Hours of operation are Sunday 10:30am-10pm; Monday-Thursday 11am-11pm; Friday 11am – midnight and Saturday 10:30am midnight. For more information go to www.coalvines.com or call 214-855-4999.  Complimentary valet parking always provided.

There’s a new destination in Old Town Plano that has people flocking there – even if parking is a problem – Urban Crust and 32 Degrees. Now people living in Collin County won’t have to head south past LBJ for wood fired pizza with fresh Italian ingredients – and don’t forget the homemade mozzarella.

At the opening, we were served the Antipasto Toscano on skewers – great nibble – fresh spicy Italian cold cuts, mozzarella, marinated grape tomatoes, olives and basil – a caprese plus – absolutely divine. The pizza is some of the best in the city – crispy thin crust – with just enough bite. The Black & Blue is great – basil pesto, sirloin steak, baby portobellos, carmelized onion and Maytag blue cheese.

The pizza may be outdone by the incredible rooftop bar – 32 degrees – a three season hit – couches and low tables in the middle with four top tables with bar stools lining the deck – inside is cool blue naturally given the name. It’s the only rooftop bar in Plano. Grey Goose Vodka, Patron Silver Tequila and Jagermeister are served on tap at -5 degrees. Also, the beer department features the usual suspects and Widmer – unfiltered Hefeweizen – a golden wheat beer. Save your head for that trip back down stairs.

So next time you’re in Plano, think pizza and a rooftop – a winning combination.

Urban Crust/32 Degrees
1006 East 15th Street
Plano, TX

My neighborhood isn’t exactly pedestrian-friendly. I don’t think I’m being overly cautious (or unfair) when I say that foot traffic is best kept to a minimum. Despite this fact, last week I decided to hoof it to Bryan Street Tavern, which is located a scant two and a half blocks from my East Dallas apartment. The occasion was a friend’s birthday, and the celebration was in full swing by the time I arrived.

Drinks were in hand, and on one of the tables perched two partially eaten pizzas, seemingly begging me to take a slice. Without even glancing at the drink specials, I ordered a vodka soda and settled in at the table with the wood-fired pies on it. One looked to be the pesto chicken version, topped with pesto sauce, chicken, roasted tomatoes and luscious dollops of ricotta cheese. The other, the Tavern Favorite, was loaded with pepperoni, Jimmy’s Italian sausage, onion and mushrooms. Both were excellent; satisfying but not too heavy. As has become standard practice, though it’s no less laudable, Bryan Street has menu items featuring both Jimmy’s and Dallas Mozzarella Company products. Local synergy at work. You can also get filet mignon on your pizza or salad selection, the thought of which made my oft-neglected inner carnivore salivate. The beers available on tap and in bottles were the run-of-the-mill variety, and there’s a full bar plus four wines for sale by glass or bottle. Daily specials are worth marking your calendar for, as my two well drinks fortuitously cost me just $4. My earlier bravado dampened by vodka, I decided to get a ride instead of make the two-block trek home. By proximity, I have no excuse not to visit my new neighbor again soon. Form of transportation to be determined.

Bryan Street Tavern
4315 Bryan Street (between Peak and Carroll)
Dallas, Texas

Adult birthday parties can be a tricky proposition. In my experience, they usually involve a crowded happy hour or an obligatory dinner where the haphazard check-splitting results in paying an exorbitant amount for a glass of wine and a salad. The birthday party I attended last week for a friend turning 34 was a much more pleasant experience.

pizza2Instead of navigating the hassles of going out in Dallas (though I do love it so), we met at a friend’s house and were charged with bringing fixings to create our own customized pizzas. The hosts would provide the dough, and the guests would bring the rest. I envisioned a protracted trip to Whole Foods or Central Market or Newflower to procure food-snob ingredients such as figs, arugula, goat cheese, truffle oil and the like. Time restrictions forced a change of plans and found me at Tom Thumb, paralyzed with indecision.

I went the Mediterranean route and picked up some hummus as my “sauce” to be topped with a marinated olive mix, artichokes and sundried tomato and basil-flecked feta cheese. Once I got the party, I discovered that the dough was actually from Jimmy’s Food Store in East Dallas. I’ve purchased many a lasagna, homemade pasta, meatball, sausage, vodka sauce and cold cut from Jimmy’s but never realized they had prepared pizza dough for the taking. I halved one of the massive dough balls and rolled out a thin rectangle, which cooked up like a flatbread. It was an ideal base for my unconventional toppings, which came together quite nicely, though the other guests seemed more eager for oozing, melted cheese then cold feta crumbles. Simpletons.

It got me thinking how easy it would be to create a pizza, particularly a margarita version, made with all local ingredients: pizza dough and sauce from Jimmy’s, Mozzarella Company cheese, basil from Tom Spicer, and tomatoes from J.T. Lemley (find him at the Dallas Farmer’s Market). Next time, I’ll have to plan better. Might have to rethink the figs and the truffle oil.

I had mixed feelings about going to the new Penne Pomodoro, which opened May 18 in the space formerly occupied by Kitchen 1924. I was genuinely saddened when the former tenant shuttered last year, and I harbor many fond memories of meals there. Kitchen 1924 owner Shawn Horne has since taken up residence as GM of Wolfgang Puck’s Five Sixty (with no immediate plans to open up another place), and prolific restaurateur Alberto Lombardi now glad-hands the diners at 1924 Abrams Parkway.

peneI’ve been to the Penne in Snider Plaza before (there is another location at Preston and Forest) and was impressed by its family-friendly atmosphere and laid-back staff. The Lakewood incarnation is equally chill. Kiddos get their very own viewfinder, complete with pics of items on the children’s menu (mac and cheese, pasta with marinara and the like). My little one was entertained by this novelty for at least 10 minutes, which gave me time to peruse my menu options. I decided on the Genovese pizza, a marinara-less pie topped with pesto, caramelized onions, grilled chicken and the requisite sprinkling of mozzarella. I paired that with the Baked Ziti al Telefono, which came ladled with a thick meat sauce of sweet Italian sausage dotted with melting fresh mozzarella. The pizza could easily serve as an appetizer rather than a main because of its crispy crust and light hand on the toppings. The ragout on the pasta was a stand-out. I kept using my pizza crust to scoop up the leftovers.

Despite its attributes, Penne faces some stiff local competition. Scalini’s is down the street. Angelo’s is practically walking distance. Lover’s Pizza just opened a few blocks north. And the prices at Penne might give some customers pause. The bowl of pasta, which was delicious, I’ll grant you, set me back $13.50. No salad. No bread. No leftovers. My companion, a die-hard Scalini’s fan, was underwhelmed. Still, Lombardi’s successes far outnumber his failures, and, as the third installment of the Penne concept, it’s doubtful this venture will land in the loss column.

Penne Pomodoro
1924 Abrams Parkway
Dallas, TX 75214

Penne Pomodoro
Preston & Forest
11661 Preston Road, Ste 143
Dallas, Texas 75230

Penne Pomodoro
Snider Plaza
6815 Snider Plaza
University Park, Texas 75205

Good morning, Texas! That picture is the view from my room at 6 a.m. Texas time, as you can see, this morning is cloudy and cold, we’re also expecting rain. Monday is here and today the horrors of the 360 mirror are upon me. In just a few scant hours I’ll be whisked away to have my wardrobe trashed, with great aplomb I’m sure, I’ll be fitted by the Bra Guru, and shall spend my day in a brand new What Not to Wear Studio.

But of, friends, lets talk about yesterday’s little Newark airport adventure, shall we? After landing in lovely Newark, New Jersey, I found my way to baggage claim, snagged my near empty suitcase and found my way outdoors for two pressing reasons:

A.) I needed a cigarette or seven after spending an ungodly flight sitting in front of three women. Women with voices that could only be described as Edith Bunker. Make that Edith with strep throat and a Georgia accent. They felt it was not only important to talk as loudly as they could, they also felt it was their responsibility to describe everything that was happening on the plane. “Oh! That baby is crying. That baby is upset. Can you hear that baby crying?” Other greatest hits included, “Oh! Do you hear that little dog? That little dog is barking! Oh that dog is upset.” which was often followed by, “Oh! The stewardess is coming with drinks! I see the cart. Oh the stewardess is here! Dear, may I have a Blind Mary? I just love Blind Marys.” One can only assume she meant Bloody Mary. Read more

Alfredo’s Pizza, Pasta & Subs

alfredosThough Alfredo’s has been in the Carrollton-Addison area since the mid-1980’s, they’re still going strong because of their great food, handmade pastas, outstanding service and wonderful atmosphere.

I was reminded of this when we grabbed lunch there over the weekend. I went with a simple dish, the chicken fettuccine alfredo. The portion was so big I could only finish half, but I was able to take my doggy bag home and make a second meal out of it. My companion had two servings of the calamari, which I had a share in devouring. So the food is simple, yet excellent. You can have a beer with your pasta, as well, and I always do.

The location on Trinity Mills is convenient to many of the northern suburbs of Dallas and the restaurant has a warm, inviting atmosphere – nothing fancy, but clean and not crowded. If you have a hankering for some great, inexpensive Italian food, you can’t do better than Alfredo’s Pizza and Pasta.

Visit Alfredo’s online or in person today!

Picasso’s Pizza and Grill

When I walked into Picasso’s, I knew I wasn’t in just any pizza joint. The friendly staff, knowledgeable in the wines they offer, paired with outstanding food and a comfortable atmosphere have made Picasso’s Pizza and Grill my new favorite restaurant.

Amongst the more traditional menu items found in a pizzeria menu, was a list of scrumptious specialty items unfamiliar to a typical pizzeria. Lobster ravioli, pan seared sea scallops, Thai pasta; these are only a few of the many tempting dishes I saw on the Picasso’s Pizza and Grill menu. Read more

It was a full house at the Cadillac Pizza Pub on Saturday night.

Cadillac Pizza Pub is a bar & pizza joint in the heart of downtown McKinney and you must try their pizza and nachos!

This place has a night for everyone – Karaoke, Texas Hold ‘em, jam night, and lots of live music. If you’re looking to have a good time, you should pick any night of the week, and head to McKinney for a little pizza, beer and rock and roll at the Cadillac Pizza Pub.


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