Spring is stunning in Dallas. It’s probably the best time of year to live in our great city. But if you have a little spring fever and you’re looking for a reason to get out of town on a long weekend, here are a few ideas over the coming months that are great excuses to hop on a plane or take a road trip.Full Story
Earlier this week, we went on a black winter truffle hunt with wine company Gonzalez Byass in the northern part of Spain—specifically, the Somontano region—where I was traveling as their guest. After the hunt and a very hot shower in the medieval village of Alquezar, we set off for our truffle feast prepared by chef Carmelo Bosque of the Michelin-starred Lillas Pastia.Full Story
The day we arrive at Secastilla Valley, the base for Secastilla and La Miranda wines, seems perfectly fitting for a truffle hunt. It’s cold and damp with snow flakes starting to fall. We enjoy a hearty lunch among the vines with local cheese, grilled lamb, and piles of traditional Spanish tomato bread; then cozy up to fires made from pruned vine-canes of gnarly, 70-year-old+ Garnacha vines, while sipping concentrated, red fruit-filled, nicely rounded 2009 Secastilla wine. With full bellies and adrenaline for the hunt peaking, we set off, just as heavy snow and sleet starts to fall. Again, it seems only fitting for a proper winter truffle hunt.Full Story
Now First United Methodist Church is getting in on the act. On Thursday, Patrick Kennedy from A New Dallas will lead a panel discussion on “bringing investment to downtown and the surrounding disadvantaged areas.” Translation: tearing down I-345. Other panelists include the Dallas Morning News‘ architecture critic Mark Lamster, CitySquare’s Larry James and Gerald Britt, and BC Workshop’s Mark Lea. The “Let’s Do Lunch!” event runs from 11:30-1. Pompeii and Cup Cakin’ Machine food trucks will be on site, and the conversation will take place in the Fiedler Atrium.Full Story
Traveling over the winding roads of the Mark West passage from Napa Valley to Sonoma requires you to slow down a bit both physically and mentally. Sonoma is just a bit quieter than Napa; a bit more laid back, a bit more relaxing. Yes, the lavish château-like properties that dot Highway 29 have earned their adoration over years of making stunning wines from Napa Valley fruit, but the rustic wineries of Sonoma—some dating back 150 years—pride themselves on a slightly different, casual attitude than some of their friends over the mountain, while still producing stellar wines. I recently had a chance to visit with a few of these owners at their properties dotting Sonoma County, tasting with them as their guest. Here is the first of two installments, where I will uncover some undiscovered, very special wines.Full Story
One of the many great things about working at D Magazine is that Wick closes the office on St. Patrick’s Day. So for us, today, Tuesday, feels like Monday. But make no mistake. Today is, in fact, Tuesday, which is the day that I do Leading Off. Clearly. Ahem. So let’s get to it.
University Park Grandmother Sentenced for Child Porn. You’ll likely recall the case of Erika Susan Perdue. The 43-year-old woman was married to a lawyer and living a seemingly enviable life in the Park Cities — until the feds busted her for trading in child porn, using the online handle “Classybitch.” Well, she got 14 years for her crime. (Side note: we talked about whether this crime would make a good magazine story. I don’t think it would. While there’s plenty of sensational material to work with, at its core, the story is uncomplicated, boring, and depressing. Mentally troubled woman gets hooked on meth and child porn. The end.)
Audio Surfaces of Mayor Mike Rawlings Walking Out of Meeting. Last week, Mayor Rawlings walked out of a meeting with Hispanic leaders about the DISD home-rule effort. Until now, Jim Schutze gave us the best account of what happened. Now the DMN has audio. As impressive as his recent speech was to the paper’s editorial board, this performance was disappointing. Yes, he was taking some fire from the audience. But it was pretty small caliber stuff. He should have been able to shrug it off. Instead, at about the 9:30 mark, you can hear how petulant he sounds as he decamps. I’ll say it again: Allyn Media is working the messaging on this effort. There is quite a bit of room for improvement.
Family Takes to Facebook To Spur Search for Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370. Philip Wood was a 50-year-old IBM employee who was on MH370. His family lives in Keller and thinks he and other passengers might still be alive. They set up a Facebook page last weekend that is called Finding Philip Wood. On it, they wrote: “The passengers of Flight MH370 are still out there. There has been no news to prove otherwise.” Hard to believe. But for their sake, I hope it’s true.Full Story
The name Paul Hobbs is synonymous with greatness in the wine industry. The second child of eleven, raised on a farm in upstate New York, Hobbs grew up from humble means thinking he was going to be a brain surgeon, and attending Notre Dame. However, the wine bug bitFull Story
I can answer that question. The answer is the following: no. No, it is not. But we are one of 20 cities in the running in a readers’ poll being conducted by USA Today. I can also tell you that Indianapolis, which currently has the most votes, is not the best convention city in the country. I say this with confidence, even though I have never been to Indianapolis. Here’s why USA Today says Dallas deserves consideration:Full Story
An alert FrontBurnervian points us to a Craig’s List ad that you just have to read. A guy in North Dallas with a flair with words is selling a 1987 Mercedes 560 SEL. Does he like this car? Yes, he likes this car very much. A taste:
Does the 560 use a bit of gas when you hit the pedal? Does Mayor Rob Ford do heroin?! Of course it does! … But the trade-off for drinking premium gas like an SMU sorority pledge who just lost her promise ring at a keg party, is the acceleration and speed you’ll feel as you leave a carbon footprint the SIZE OF COWBOYS STADIUM! …Full Story
Cristina mentioned in Leading Off that today’s the day that Southwest Airlines would be announcing its new post-Wright Amendment slate of nonstop flights from Love Field. Well, the list of 15 destinations is already out:
Starting October 13 (the day Wright expires):
Washington DC (Reagan National), Orlando, Las Vegas, Chicago (Midway), and Denver
Starting November 2
New York (LaGuardia), Baltimore/Washington, Nashville, Atlanta, Tampa Bay, San Diego, Phoenix, Los Angeles (LAX), Orange County, Fort Lauderdale.
Tickets won’t go on sale until later this year. Which are you most looking forward to?Full Story
I recently made an unexpected trip to Portland, OR, and while there, took the opportunity to visit one of my favorite places just outside the city, Willamette Valley. Just in time for holiday planning I visited a few favorites and a new find, each making wine ideal for your Christmas dinner, especially if holiday ham, pork tenderloin, roast turkey or a “Feast of Seven Fishes” are on your menu. The wineries provided complimentary trade tastings.Full Story
On Friday, we discussed Michael Morris, who is the transportation director of the North Texas Council of Governments. Morris has played the race card, intimating that everyone in support of tearing down I-345 is rich and white and not concerned with poor people. Morris said he attended a meeting about the future of I-345 and noticed the following about those who want to tear it down:
“They were all white, they were very wealthy and I don’t think any of them live in the neighborhood.”
Now Morris, along with another road guy, Bill Hale, TxDOT’s Dallas District Engineer, has offered another argument for why we shouldn’t tear down I-345:Full Story
Of all the delicacies in the world, none excites my palate more than an earthy truffle. They can be white or black, from the Piedmont region of Alba at the foothills of the Alps, the Périgord region in France, or the Spanish hills of Somontano in the shadows of the Pyrenees. The divine, intense aroma […]Full Story
Continuing with some of the great wineries of Sonoma County, here are a few additional ones to try and visit when traveling to the area. Each welcome you like you are part of the family.Full Story
I-345 Tear-Down Debate Continues. The Dallas Morning News ran this I-345 explainer on the front page of the Sunday paper. There’s no new news here, but it does provide a bit of I-345 history, namely that it was built in 1974 as suburbs like Irving took hold. There was also a nice traffic count graphic in the paper, but that didn’t make it online. To refresh, some 200,000 cars travel the 1.4-mile stretch on weekdays. Patrick Kennedy and co. want the 75-45 connector eliminated, but TxDOT is set to spend $100 million to renovate it instead. As is to be expected, and can be demonstrated here, debate persists, some of it well-reasoned, some … not.
Plastic Bag Ban Proposal Up For a Vote Wednesday. Dwaine Caraway has been working on this for a year and is expecting a partial ban, at the very least, to pass when City Council votes Wednesday. There are a number of options up for discussion, including a total citywide ban, a “responsible retailer” option that charges stores for distributing the bags, and an “environmental fee” that has customers paying for bags. Several council members are vehemently opposed to any change.
Bike Share Program a Possibility for Fair Park. The Dallas Park and Recreation Board has approved $125,000 for the project. If City Council passes it, some 15-20 bikes could appear in Fair Park by May. This is an impossibly small (yet expensive) program. For comparison, Fort Worth started with a $1 million grant, 300 bikes and 30 stations.Full Story
Scary Commute. Things got a bit dicey yesterday after a wreck on 635. Some thought the best course of action would be to turn around and try to drive against traffic (a few claimed that police told them to do so). Once everyone turned back around, traffic started to unsnarl.
Feds Announce Results of Online Child Exploitation Investigation. Operation Round Table, as it was called by the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Homeland Security Investigations team, busted a ring that had more than 250 victims and 14 suspects. One suspect is still at large and agents need help identifying the 18- to 20-year-old they believe is in North Texas.
Man Awaits DNA Test to See if He Was Stolen as a Baby. Sam Miller, 50, needs a new kidney as a result of a hereditary disease. He asked family members about the disease. None of them have it. That’s when he realized he was adopted. Then he found out his birth certificate was made up. Then friends came across a story about a baby stolen from its parent’s arms in Chicago around the time Miller was born. So now Miller’s waiting for the results of a DNA test to see if he was stolen as a baby.
Candace and Tony Romo Welcome Second Son. I am so behind. I didn’t even realize Candace Romo was pregnant. She had Rivers Romo yesterday. He’s 8 pounds, 12 ounces.Full Story
Wylie Teens Found “Burying a Body.” Two 16-year-old Wylie East High School students were charged with first-degree murder Sunday in the killing of Ivan Mejia, a fellow Wylie classmate. Mejia was 17. Police claim the two juveniles killed Mejia Saturday and were found near the woods in Garland around 9:30 p.m. When asked what they were doing, they allegedly responded, “burying a body.” Police say the murder was planned, though no motive has been released.
Keller Man on Missing Malaysian Airlines Flight. Philip Wood, an IBM exec who was moving to Kuala Lumpur from Beijing, was one of 239 aboard the flight. He had recently visited family in North Texas. There is still little understanding of what happened to the plane, and according to the New York Times, the mysteries are multiplying.
Grand Prairie Park-and-Ride Lot Under Construction, No Public Transportation Nearby. Soon, Grand Prairie will unveil a $14.7 million facility for … carpoolers. Because, yes, in a city that loves its cars what everyone will want to do is commute together. There’s even talk of developing an app to connect complete strangers who would like to share their ride. That’s often called a bus. Or Lyft. But hey, best of luck!Full Story
D.A. Watkins Speaks Out. Attorney Ted Steinke has accused D.A. Craig Watkins of conflict of interest in the case with his client and State District Judge Carlos Cortez. Steinke’s client accused Cortez of assault in December. Last week, Cortez was cleared of criminal charges. Now, Steinke wants a special prosecutor. Watkins told FOX4: “This is just, just, just evidence of lawyers from the Henry Wade-era who just can’t get with the fact that I’m the District Attorney of Dallas County.”
Take a Tour Bus To Colorado. Not long ago, Michael Mooney took a trip to WinStar World Casino on a tour bus. I think we’ve found his next assignment: a tour bus to Colorado for a “new kind of Rocky Mountain high.” The bus starts running next month. Security is a concern.
Duke Retires. Duke, a German Shepard, started working for the Dallas Police Department in 2008. During his time in the department, Duke has helped seized 1,100 pounds of pot, more than 100 pounds of meth, 34 pounds of cocaine, and $1.3 million. But last fall, he started having seizers and was experiencing confusion. His handler says Duke has the equivalent of Lou Gehrig’s Disease for dogs. While it’s not known how much time he has left, his handler, who bought Duke for $10, assures the rest of Duke’s life will be spent having fun as a pet. Duke reminds me of my good friend Reagan.Full Story
Robert Wilonsky To Work Weather Sources at Both Channel 5 and National Weather Service’s Fort Worth Office. Those who follow weather in Dallas know to follow Fingers of Fury. The guy is so sourced up at the National Weather Service that it wouldn’t surprise me if some of their personnel take family vacations with the Wilonskys. But now that the News has slipped under the sheets with Channel 5, FoF must mention his new partners. It’s fun to watch him juggle two lovers.
DFW Airport Ain’t Afraid of an Unchained Love. Mitchell Schnurman says: “D/FW may be on the cusp of a golden era. A free Love Field, so threatening at one time, looks like a speed bump today.” I live in East Dallas. Here to tell you that I’ll never fly out of DFW Airport again if I can avoid it. You know what, though? Southlake and Colleyville are cool with my decision.
Keller Murder Case Gets Complicated-er. Michele Williams said an intruder shot her husband. Then she said that she was lying, that she’d staged the murder to keep her daughter from knowing that her father had committed suicide. Then, when the medical examiner ruled the death a homicide, Williams accepted a plea deal. Right before sentencing, though, she claimed she is innocent and asked for a jury trial. No magazine writer anywhere is now wondering whether this story is worth 8,000 words.
Vodka! In Fort Worth! As soon as the state and federal licenses are squared away, a guy plans to distill black-eye pea vodka in Fort Worth. Somewhere Gene Street just went insane. Then Lisa Street went a little bit less insane.
Lake Highlands Rapist Pleads Guilty. Put him away.Full Story
A globetrotting FrontBurnervian sends along the following tale:
I’m in Puerto Rico for client event, and one guest lost her ID during a shopping trip in San Juan. She brought all sorts of paperwork (copy of passport, police report from San Juan police, etc.) to the airport in an effort to get on the plane. In security at the airport, they asked her if she had ANYTHING with her name and address printed on it. She pulled out her D Magazine, and they let her through.
If you subscribe, you, too, can breeze through airport security in San Juan. Twelve issues will set you back just $18.Full Story
People Are Scrambling For the Flu Vaccine. The death count is up to 26 in Dallas County, though no one can say whether that’s particularly high because it’s the first year that adult deaths have been recorded (Does anyone else find this odd?). But what medical professionals can note is that flu symptoms are particularly vicious this year. This year’s strand? H1N1, also known as the swine flu. People, who have yet to contract this beast, were frantically hitting up local pharmacies this weekend for the vaccine, but hundreds were turned away. The good news is stock should return to many of said pharmacies and clinics early this week. And take it from me, you don’t want this flu. It’s as terrible as they claim. Get a shot.
Dallas Police: Crime is Down for 10th Consecutive Year. The Dallas Police Department is excited. They even made a sweet video to celebrate. The only issue is that the way crimes are reported has changed considerably, so the statistics they’re touting are rather inflated. Oh, and reported sexual assaults actually increased 13 percent in 2013. But Chief David Brown says that’s positive because that means people are reporting the crimes. Still, overall, people feel safer, according to this Dallas Morning News report. And there has certainly been a turnaround in the city over the past decade. So that’s pretty positive.
Someone Paid $350,000 For the Opportunity to Kill a Black Rhino. The Dallas Safari Club isn’t releasing the name of the person who bought the hunting permit Saturday evening, but the permit has been sold, and for a figure significantly less than the club had predicted. Some said the permit could have gone for as much as $1 million, but negative publicity surrounding the auction and the 40 or so protesters could have hurt that goal. The money raised will go toward conservation efforts of the endangered species.
Neiman’s Got Hacked. It looks like Target wasn’t alone. Over the holiday season, Neiman Marcus also fell victim to a cybersecurity attack, though the luxury retailer has yet to say how many customers and cardholders were affected.
While You Were Watching the Golden Globes, Southwest Airlines Landed a Dallas-Bound Plane at the Wrong Airport. Who knew there were two airports in Branson, Missouri?Full Story
Dallas Still Battling Icepocalypse. Some 14,000 are without power this morning, Dallas ISD is closed for another day, and roads remain dicey. But there’s good news, too. The brief Sunday temperature increase enabled DART to get some trains up and running this morning. These eager runners ran a marathon anyway. And just be happy you’re not on this highway in Parker County. But please be safe out there.
The Chanel Show Must Go On. The valet parker at the Rosewood Crescent Hotel asked me yesterday if I was there for Chanel (I wasn’t), but that must mean folks are starting to appear for Tuesday’s show at Fair Park. And buzz is building in the Twitterverse, as StyleSheet reports. Let’s just hope everyone can catch a flight in. I’d hate for all of these celebs to not see Dallas in its ice-covered glory.
American Airlines and US Airways Set to Merge Today. There was one last effort to block the merger over the weekend, but the Supreme Court rejected the attempt. Now, the two airlines will become one. And not just any one. But the LARGEST AIRLINE IN THE WORLD. The first bit of changes will happen in January as frequent fliers will be able to use miles on both airlines, but other than that, things will look pretty much the same until 2015 when the FAA gives the airline a single operating certificate.
Oh, One More Thing: GO BEARS. Rogers and I still don’t have a wager, but I suspect that will be determined today. Or maybe he’ll forget about it and we can just watch the game separately and in peace. Right.Full Story