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Posts posted by Grovite

  1. Tex-Mex restaurateur Matt Martinez Jr. dies at 63

    05:24 PM CDT on Saturday, March 14, 2009

    By JOE SIMNACHER / The Dallas Morning News

    Matt Martinez Jr., who added his culinary flair to his family’s Tex-Mex legacy, while preserving the work of the four generations, died Friday night of complications from cancer. He was 63.

    Mr. Martinez was best known in Dallas for his Matt’s Rancho Martinez in the Lakewood area of Dallas and the YO Ranch in the West End.

    Mr. Martinez was born in Austin, where his grandparents started the family legacy by selling tamales, pralines and homemade tortillas on the steps of the Texas Capitol. Their initial venture led to the opening of El Original, one of Austin’s first Tex-Mex restaurants in 1925.

    Mr. Martinez’ parents, Matt and Janie Martinez, opened Matt’s El Rancho restaurant on East First Street in Austin in 1952.

    Matt Martinez Jr. started developing his signature culinary style as a boy, while working the kitchen of his father’s restaurant.

    The Martinez restaurants had always attracted a loyal following of political figures that included Texas governors and presidents. One day, former Texas Land Commissioner Bob Armstrong, asked the “Little Matt” to make an appetizer, “something not on the menu,” Mr. Martinez recalled in his 2006 cookbook, MexTex: Traditional Tex-Mex Taste.

    Matt Martinez Jr. — then a teenager assigned to make salads and appetizers -- threw together his first signature dish.

    “I grabbed whatever jumped into my hands,” he wrote. Taco meat, guacamole, sour cream, chile con queso.

    Then he took some time off and went fishing. Meanwhile, back at the El Rancho, customers were requesting “that Bob Armstrong dip that’s not on the menu.”

    Mr. Armstrong had spread the word about the appetizer, which became a staple of Mr. Martinez’ future menus.

    Mr. Martinez was inducted into the Texas Restaurant Hall of Honor in 2000. He and Matt Sr., a 1986 inductee, are the only father and son to receive the honor.

    Matt Martinez Sr. died in 2003.

    Mr. Martinez is survived by his wife, Estella of Dallas; three sons, Matt Martinez III, Joaquin Miguel, Marco Javier, all of Dallas; and daughter, Christine Nicole Lopez of Dallas.

  2. Yeah, I thought the cuisinart mixer looked pretty cool in pictures. In person it looks absolutely ridiculous. So many things to break in so many ways, and a glowing, shimmering aura of cheapness. It really seems to have been designed by a marketing team and a photo stylist. Strange, because I've generally had good experiences with the company's products.

    I'm pretty well sold on KA, as long as I have easy access to their service (anywhere in the U.S., really) and have a chance to do some serious torture testing during the 6 month warranty period of the refurb mixers that I buy.

    I returned one a few weeks before the warranty ended. No catastrophic failure, but it seemed to be missing some kind of internal retaining ring, which led to all kinds of free play and odd noises. They cheerfully replaced it after it had powered through many batches of bread, pizza, cakes, cookies, ice cream, and ground meat. The new one seems like a keeper so far (knock on die-cast aluminum).

    For what it's worth, if a current model KA 6 quart model is failing at something that an old 5 quart was able to do, then there's something wrong with it. Quality control is all over the map; some mixers just run way too hot. If you have one of these, and KA doesn't get that it's a problem unit, hurry up and break it so you can try another one!

    I've noticed that some of the newer batches do run hotter than the models even a couple of years old.

    As far as turning one back in before the warranty runs out, there are several retailers that offer lifetime guarantees with no questions asked. Even if your appliance (or whatever) is way past warranty, they'll still take it back.

  3. Yeah, Alton's been using the new Cuisinart. I love my kitchenaid and i love the way it looks. That Cuisinart thing looks kind of...closed up and ugly. Maybe I'm just Kitchenaid branwashed.

    Actually, it's a Viking, not a Cuisinart. Look at the top housing.

    Essentially, the Cuisinart is a Kenwood Mixer (just like the DeLonghi and Viking) with a few add ons.

    IMHO, the attachments are ridiculous (seriously, a blender and food processor that makes the whole contraption almost three feet tall? That works well on a kitchen counter!) and it's a cop out. Cuisinart has been riding on their name for over the past decade (and their ever decreasing quality proves that) and instead of putting out something original, they copied an existing model and added a digital countdown timer...ooooooohhh.

    Oh yeah, I've already had three returned in the past month because of defects. Sold them a KA, which they should have bought to begin with.

  4. Is the handle on the Vollrath Tribute oven safe?

    Yup, the steel handles have a silicone wrap, so they are oven safe.

    I've never had a problem with mine at home nor in the last restaurant I worked in, which used the Vollrath exclusively.

    Plus, they're American made, right in Sheboygan, Wisconsin.

  5. This thread peaked my interest last year and I decided to give making my own extract a go. It seems that using Vodka or Everclear is the way that most people were doing it so I decided to go the opposite direction: Maker's Mark.

    I ordered some beans from my usual folks on eBay, restocked my Bourbon supply and got to "vanilla-ing".

    Flash forward ten months and I have a Mason jar of dark, vanilla goodness hibernating in the back of my pantry.

    As odd as it sounds, I think I'm going to give Tequila a shot next.

  6. This is going to incur the wrath of a lot of folks here, but Sitram Profiserie is all hat, no cattle. I've had two pieces in the past and after having BOTH pieces loose their handles due to substandard welds, you couldn't pay me enough to use those pieces of garbage ever again.

    Snowangel's right, go to a WS, Sur La Table or whatever local joint you have and actually handle the cookware.

    Last bit of advice: Forget everything and do yourself a favor and get a Vollrath Tribute Saute pan.

  7. I beg to differ on the BB&B as not having "upscale" items. They are the exclusive retailers of several designers as far as china, flatware and service ware. Give their website a once over, or go visit an "A" level store to see what I mean. My fiancée and I have registered there and have a full set of Kate Spade on our list.

    They also fawn all over people who are registering, so give them a shot.

  8. 2 10" Chef

    1 10" slicer

    2 8" Chef

    1 7" Asian Chef

    1 fillet

    1 boning

    1 offset serrated

    1 6" utility

    3 paring

    1 bird's beak

    ceramic "steel"


    Two fish spats, one stainless, one plastic

    2 tongs, 8" & 12"

    offset spats

    2 Chef'n Sili Spats

    3 peelers

    2 melon ballers

    apple corer

    Benriner mandolin

    a couple of tips and bags


    "fish" tweezers

    handful of iced tea spoons

    2 sauce spoons

    wooden spoons

    measuring spoons

    measuring cups

    truffle/chocolate slicer

    needle and thread


    Knives are in a traditional roll, the rest is in an old, red Snap-On tool box.

  9. I'll second Mr. Kilgore's suggestion of the Knox/Henderson area. A lot of great places in a central location (Alcott west to Travis/Monticello south to Armstrong). On top of that, the #21 DART bus runs throughout the Uptown/Park Cities area and stops at Mockingbird Station which has several restaurants.

  10. Down here in the South, we have What-A-Burger...  Their fries are FAR superior to any of the national chains.    I'm sure they are frozen, but they just seem much less "processed" than the other places.

    Every couple of weeks, I cave into my craving for What-A-Burger fries.  I get the What-A-Burger Jr. meal...  a little burger and a smal carton of fries.

    Gotta second the love for Texas' own Whataburger. They're always crisp and hot and they are real (yes frozen, but not the "mutant" fries that McDonalds has been using for years).

    Like onrushpam, I get that Whataburger craving that can only be satisfied with a number one with grilled jalapeños, fries and a Dr. Pepper.

  11. You could actually hop on the DART rail and head to Cityplace station and catch the Uptown trolley there. The Trolley runs up and down McKinney Ave., an area chock full of restaurants. I'm partial to the Idle Rich, but it's by no means a "fine dining" establishment, but it's a great place for a beer. Hit up Breadwinners for breakfast. The food is good and reasonably priced.

    There's also the West End and Victory Park, all accessible via DART rail. West End is pretty "meh", mostly chains, but Victory Park is the home to Craft, N9NE, Nove, Kenichi, etc. The original El Fenix is also nearby if you want some Tex-Mex.

    And Kevin is right, walking to Deep Ellum from Adam's Mark is probably not the best choice, especially at night. Take a cab down there if you want to go.

  12. In my experience, Bamix makes the best and most durable home-use-sized stick blenders, by a healthy margin.


    I'll third the Bamix and add another vote for the Waring. I have both and switch between them on a regular basis.

    Also, I recently received a Viking immersion blender and it has been performing very well

  13. One thing that I have done with plastic containers that hold onto odors is to coat the entire inside surface with a paste made from Bar Keeper's Friend and water. I let it sit for about an hour then fill the container with hot water and let it sit for another hour. At that point, I rinse and then clean the container with a typical dish soap like Ajax or Palmolive.

  14. Their shakes are really good, actual ice cream! And they give you a little cookie on the straw, awww, how cute. Seriously, the shakes are great, like their sandwiches.

    Oh, live music during the days and evenings at the Knox/Henderson location here in Dallas.

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