Sinatra Lives Again at Table 13

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Table 13 in Addison, Texas, is named after the original Rat Pack! Bogart would approve.

Table 13 in Addison, Texas, is named after the original Rat Pack! Bogart would approve.

I kept looking for Count Basie to show up with his band. Alas, it was not to be, however the ambiance at Table 13 in Addison, Texas would have made the legendary piano player feel right at home. This fine dining restaurant, located in a northern suburb of Dallas, did a fine job of keeping the bland, chain restaurant-filled strip mall atmosphere outside its doors. When we walked through the front portal, we were transported back a few decades to a time when service was great and the food even better.

Courtesy of a friend’s Facebook post, I had seen Executive Chef T. William Reemtsma, CEC, CCE on a YouTube video. A few weeks later I found myself in Dallas so it was only natural to try dinner on the chef’s home turf, Table 13. This decision did not disappoint. Chef Ted, as he is locally known, produced a fine meal; and his staff served with subtle panache. Let me show you:

The appetizer tells all. A good one creates anticipation of excellent cuisine to come; a bad one portends a trip to the pharmacy for something to smooth the stomach. Table 13’s seared scallops were perfectly cooked. Light in texture and delicate in flavor, I could have eaten four servings and called it a day. The garnish was a treat as well, with Texas red grapefruit slices adding a little sweet acidity and bits of red onion giving some bite. A few avocado slices cooled things off, presenting a nice creamy texture. The first course was delicious on all counts.

Seared Scallops at Table 13.

Seared Scallops at Table 13.

Table 13 offers many types of entrees, from seafood to steak (Chateaubriand for two, anyone?) My dining partner opted for the grilled salmon meuniere; I ordered the mushroom bucatini. For a side dish we chose the green bean amandine. For lagniappe (an unexpected extra) our server brought out fresh bread and a plate of pimiento cheese. Chef Ted later explained he actually makes the farmer’s cheese himself before concocting his luxurious pimiento spread. Yes, the meal was off to a great start!

A picture is worth a thousand words, so let me finish this review by tempting you with candid photos of our dining experience, taken using my iPhone. (Ansel Adams’ reputation has nothing to worry about with these shots, but you will get the idea. Enjoy!)

Pimiento Cheese, finely crafted by Chef Ted at Table 13.

Pimiento Cheese, finely crafted by Chef Ted at Table 13.

 

Green Bean Amandine, almost a meal unto itself!

Green Bean Amandine, almost a meal unto itself!

Grilled Salmon at Table 13 in Addison, Texas

Grilled Salmon at Table 13 in Addison, Texas

 

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Mushroom Bucatini, with soba-style noodles. Intense depth of flavours this one possesses.

And last but certainly not least, the best Bananas Foster I have ever had. The bananas were warmed thoroughly yet retained their firm texture. The rum sauce, flaming as it arrived of course, gave the dessert an elegance not often found in restaurants these days. And for you vegans, Chef Ted is working on an almond milk and/or rice milk version of the ice cream. Huzzah!

Bananas Foster! Of course, the flame went out just as the photo was being taken.

Bananas Foster! Of course, the flame went out just as the photo was being taken.

There are many restaurants to choose from in the Dallas area. Next time I visit? I am going right back to Table 13. Chef Ted’s cuisine, and his gregarious personality, will make for a truly fine dining experience to remember. And here’s a prediction: one day, we will see Chef Ted on either the Food Network or the Cooking Channel. With his own show.

I can’t wait!

Chef Ted and yours truly.

Chef Ted and yours truly.

Table 13 on Urbanspoon

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Celebrate Våffeldagen Every Day!

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For most of my readers, today is not March 25th, the traditional day to celebrate Våffeldagen, or Waffle Day, in Sweden.

What? You have not heard of this feast? Perhaps you are not Swedish. Regardless, the Swedes are on to something tasty because few foods are so versatile as the waffle. Many people simply drizzle some melted butter on top, then pour maple syrup across the toasty little squares. You can’t go wrong with this combination. Others, typically considered a Southern US tradition, take it one step further by adding fried chicken on top of the butter and syrup. A savory version of the waffle might include bacon and cheese. For a real treat, an ice cream sandwich made with fresh baked waffles can’t be beat.

Cholesterol be damned. Full speed ahead!

Another popular variation found in America is the Belgian waffle, which ironically is not found anywhere in Belgium.  The Brusselois have their own unique style of waffles and in the next few weeks, I will try my hand at making them. Stay tuned; stay hungry. However, that said, the “Belgian Waffle” that is king here in the States is found at the Texas State Fair.

My wife and I were recently in the city of Dallas, Texas (home of the Fair) and whilst relaxing at the La Quinta Hotel, a reporter for the local newspaper, The Dallas Morning News, somehow found me and asked about a post I had written a few years ago concerning the State Fair waffles. Published yesterday, Dallas friends have sent me a link to the article. Some great history here. The bottom line is that the State Fair waffles traditionally have a layer of fresh strawberries on top, and the entire waffle, circular in shape, is ringed with whipped cream. Yes!

You can’t go the Texas State Fair without trying them.  You just can’t.  I think it’s a law, actually.

Now that we are back in Virginia, I must settle for pleasant memories. And I must defer my Våffeldagen-fest for a week or two due to other cooking projects. But – to show you how the waffle and Texas have been so intertwined, here is a picture of the waffle iron at my hotel.

 (For those not familiar, the waffle is shaped like the state of Texas)?????????????

Had I found the coffee first, perhaps the “Texas Panhandle” at the top would have had more batter. I should have made another, but one was enough that day.

Thanks for stopping by and reading. Come back soon for more food trivia, recipes, news about Våffeldagen-fest and the dribs and drabs that describe my culinary travels through life.

 

 

Musicians and good food – never far apart.

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So I went to my high school reunion a little while back (the 31st, if anyone is counting) and noticed that one of my former band chums is now a chef at a very nice steak house in Dallas. I did not have time to eat there, and that was a grand error on my part.

Ted, being a Facebook friend of course, posts pictures of the dishes he prepares. They always seemed to be of some exotic game, you know buffalo, antelope, that sort of thing. So I finally asked him to send me the link to his restaurant.

Check it out! If you ever find yourself in Big D, stop by the YO Steak house. Aside from the awesome food (just read the who’s who of reviews) it is very cool to note that they raise their own stock on their own 48,000 acre ranch. Yes, the YO Ranch is fairly well known in Texas. Now they have a restaurant that goes with it. That’s pretty extreme if you ask me.

So while I gather ingredients for this week’s venture, turkey chili, and ponder what is in the green mason jar (both to be featured in a post very soon) I will just have to imagine that I am dining on Buffalo Carpaccio and Arugula Salad dressed Maple Pecan Vinaigrette and Deep Ellum Bleu Cheese. Here’s the link – check it out: http://yoranchsteakhouse.com/