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Leading Off (9/19/14)

Police-Fire Pension Fund Losses Total Almost $200M. The board that oversees the retirement money of Dallas cops and firefighters got details of the bad news in a report on Thursday. In venturing into speculative real estate investment, the fund lost $196 million in recent years. That figure includes $90 million on tracts in Arizona and Idaho, $46 million on Napa Valley resorts, and $60 million on luxury homes in Hawaii and elsewhere. Even as real estate values plummeted and the losses mounted, in 2012, fund administrator Richard Tettamant received $78,300 in incentive pay and a $25,000 bonus on top of his $270,000 salary. One consulting company on the failed Napa projects has also been paid $3.6 million. Tettamant, you might remember, was removed from his gig earlier this year.

Man Trapped Beneath DART Train. He fell onto the tracks just as the train was pulling into the station. Fortunately emergency workers were able to free him from where he was pinned, and he’d suffered only a broken arm and some cuts. It could’ve been much worse.

Report Places Blame For Firefighter’s Death. The widow of Stanley Wilson, the firefighter who perished in a six-alarm blaze last year, released the findings of the investigation into the incident. The state report faulted commanders’ assessment of the fire before sending several men, including Wilson, back into the collapsing condominium building.

Madison High Basketball Coach Officially Fired. Roderick Johnson was one of 15 coaches and administrators dismissed in June by Dallas ISD Superintendent Mike Miles following a recruiting scandal that caused the school to be stripped of its state championship. On Thursday, a hearing confirmed the termination. Meanwhile some of the others who lost their jobs have instead been given the option of resigning.

The Governors Rick Dine at Mi Cocina. Texas Gov. Perry and Gov. Rick Scott of Florida on Thursday both attended a fundraiser at the Highland Park Village offices of Republican Party national finance chairman Ray Washburne and then sauntered across the parking lot for some Tex-Mex.

Commie Logo Removed From Vietnamese Restaurant. Not sure how nobody at Yum! Brands wondered whether a big red star was the ideal symbol to feature on their new Banh Shop concept.

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Leading Off (8/14/14)

Wild About Harry’s Tribute Today. You probably heard that Harry Coley died yesterday. Well, today from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m., folks are invited to drop by the Knox Street custard store and pay their respects.

Yu Darvish Put on Disabled List. When I see the printed version of the newspaper when I get to work, the “Yu, Too” headline had best have the comma in it. I’m serious about this. Anyway, more bad news for the Rangers.

Upscale Keller Neighborhood Has Problem With Beavers. Offered without comment.

Irving Kid Nearly Drowns. Just read the story. Notice how it is told. I wish the Morning News would let its reporters take more chances like this. Well done.

AT&T Launches GigaBit Today. The fastest AT&T internet connection will initially only be available in the Park Cities. Though other parts of North Texas will get upgraded speeds. Here’s the ad for the service.

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A Less Than Complete Recap of Last Night’s ‘Best of Big D’ Party That Includes an Appearance by Pat Green

A good time was had by all, I believe, at last night’s Best of Big D party at the Rustic. DJ Sober and Sam Lao were great. The drinks flowed freely. Much food went into many mouths. And so on and so forth. But I will tell you this: before the front moved through, it was a little steamy. The meteorological conditions occasioned my favorite moment of the night:

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10 Reasons You Should Attend Best of Big D Live

1. You’ll get a sneak peek at some of this year’s winners in our annual Best of Big D issue.

2. Guests will enjoy complimentary beer, wine, cocktails, and same menu items from some of the best bars and restaurants in town.

3. DJ Sober and singer Sam Lao will perform.

4. The Rustic is a swell place to spend an evening eating and imbibing outdoors.

5. There’s a Jackopierce concert right after the party.

6. You can get 20% off an UBER ride to and from the event with the promo code ‘BOBDAL.’

7. Tickets are only $50

8. Tickets are only $65 if you want to attend the Jackopierce show too.

9. It’s an opportunity to swear at Tim Rogers to his face. (NOTE: Offer not valid after the Jackopierce show has begun.)

10. You know you don’t have any better plans for 6-9 p.m. Wednesday, July 23.

So get your ticket now. While they’re still available.

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Tango Frogs Return to Lower Greenville

Have you heard of the Dallas family of frogs that survived a city ordinance threatening their home, and then narrowly escaped a deadly fire and hurricane-strong winds knocking them down to an almost certain death? And in the midst of it all, they were split apart, an emotional heartbreak leaving three in Nashville and three in Hillsboro?

Well, even if you haven’t, thanks to a few kind-hearted Texans, the Dallas half of these amphibious creatures will have happier days ahead of them. And if you drive by Taco Cabana on Lower Greenville today, you can see them, returned to their original home, nearly 30 years later.

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How Twin Peaks Is Winning the Breastaurant Wars

When I had breakfast with Randy DeWitt, the CEO of Front Burner Restaurants (no relation to this blog), several years back, he used a wine industry metaphor to explain the competitive advantage he believed his Twin Peaks restaurants had over the big dog in the “breastaurant” space, Hooters. Twin Peaks is like the  Kendall Jackson label to Hooters’ Turning Leaf. In other words, Twin Peaks is a cut above.

The New Republic writes this week about the other advantages the DeWitt’s chain has over its wheezing Florida-based rival and its garish orange shorts:

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D Magazine’s 40 Greatest Stories: Gene Street in Vietnam

By his own account — writing in D Magazine in 2010 — Gene Street only ever had one great idea. He rode the chicken-fried steak and the casual dining pioneer it spawned (The Black-Eyed Pea) to making a fortune with a restaurant empire (Consolidated Restaurant Operations, owners of Cantina Laredo, Good Eats, and III Forks, among others).

So of course it makes sense that when he trekked to Vietnam years later he’d barge into kitchens in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City, frying whatever meat he found. The chicken-fried monkey was OK. The dog came out better.

Street wrote about his Asian adventures in the November 2002 issue of D. It’s one of the 40 greatest we’ve ever published.

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Help Wanted: Online Assistant Dining Editor

It’s a sad day for SideDish. Our Carol Shih will soon be abandoning us to move to the San Francisco Bay area. She plans to prospect gold or develop an app that points you to the location of the closest freely available snack or something.

Anyway, her departure — a true loss for us — opens up an opportunity. See the details below, and start spreading the news.

D Magazine.com seeks an editor to keep our online food and dining content the best in Dallas. Responsibilities include continual management and enhancement of the thousands of listings in our restaurant directory, keeping up with the latest openings and closings, and ensuring that the information we provide our readers is the most accurate and helpful in the city. This editor should be the sort of person who would wake up in night sweats realizing that he or she accidentally marked a restaurant’s closing time on Thursdays as 10 p.m. when it should have been 11 p.m. Also required of the position are regular contributions to our SideDish blog, including first looks at new restaurants before any other outlets in town, and voicing opinions to spur a lively daily discussion of the Dallas dining scene. We don’t want one-sided rewrites of press releases. This editor must have a competitive nature that causes him or her to become extremely irritated at, and to swear revenge upon, any blog or publication that might beat us to reporting an important piece of local industry news. But the job isn’t all eating and writing. The editor must be comfortable working with an online CMS and not break into hives when confronted with a massive spreadsheet full of data that must be manually entered (like typing a phonebook), often for hours at a stretch. If you’re interested, please don’t apply merely by emphasizing your “passion” for the subject matter. Tell us instead about the knowledge and skills that make you the absolute best fit for our needs. To do so, email a cover letter and resume to jason.heid@dmagazine.com.

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Inside D Magazine’s April 2014 Issue

When Zac Crain set out to profile Dallas ISD Superintendent Mike Miles, the goal was to humanize the man with what could be the hardest job in Dallas. We’d seen his very public flops and read about the troubled district over and over and, yes, over again. But Miles was a bit of a mystery. Who is he? And why is he here while his family is back in Colorado? Oh, and does he have a shot at doing anything productive with DISD? Frankly, a cursory glance of local media, including D Magazine, would have you believe Miles was a lost cause. That disdain, in fact, has already surfaced in the comments of “Who’s Out to Get Mike Miles?

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D Magazine’s 40 Greatest Stories: Tall Tales of a Legendary (By His Own Account) Newspaperman

I find myself craving chili and rice, specifically the chili and rice served by Shanghai Jimmy, who ran a hole-in-the-wall restaurant on Live Oak Street downtown in the 1950s and ’60s. It was an era when men were men and reporters were unashamed of making up the news if they couldn’t find any, if a fellow named Jack Proctor is to be believed. Which, based on Blackie Sherrod’s October 1975 D Magazine article (one of our 40 greatest stories ever), he almost certainly is not.

Sherrod writes with great affection for Proctor, his fellow newspaperman, press box regular, and chili-and-rice aficionado. Proctor invented his own vocabulary — a tattoo was a “too-tat,” a jail was a “gowhoose” — and sometimes interviews. Sherrod writes of the time in the 1930s that Proctor wanted to visit a girlfriend down in San Antonio and so he convinced his editor he’d landed an exclusive with Clyde Barrow. Trouble is, at the time Proctor was supposedly meeting with Barrow, the notorious criminal was positively identified having shot a highway patrolman (a “highway petroleum” in Proctor’s parlance). And so the reporter was asked to move on to some other newsroom to find employment, which he did.

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Angie Harmon Introduces Conan O’Brien to Mi Cocina’s Mambo Taxis

As we’ve mentioned, Conan O’Brien is coming to Dallas at the end of this month to tape a week’s worth of his TBS talk show ahead of the Final Four being played at Cowboys Stadium.

Last night Angie Harmon was among his guests at his usual studio in Burbank, Calif. The actress and Highland Park native offered O’Brien her advice on the first thing he needs to do upon arriving in Dallas: head to Mi Cocina at Highland Park Village for a Mambo Taxi.

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Leading Off (1/17/13)

Harold Simmons’ Secret Will. The widow of the recently deceased Dallas billionaire/evil genius has asked that all documents related to his probate case be sealed. Presumably this is because his heir is a journeyman minor-league ballplayer who’ll have 30 days to spend $30 million before he can inherit the bulk of the fortune. So everybody plan to vote “None of the Above” in this year’s gubernatorial election.

Judge in Munoz Case Recuses Herself. State district judge Melody Wilkinson didn’t explain why she doesn’t believe she should hear the case of the family who have filed suit against JPS Health Network for the right to take pregnant and brain-dead Marlise Muñoz off life support.

Cupcake ATM Gets an Upgrade. The ability to buy a cupcake 24 hours a day wasn’t, apparently, good enough for the people of Dallas. Sprinkles’ new technology will better meet our insatiable appetites, dispensing up to four cupcakes in a single transaction.

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