More than 325 bottles of international wine fill Zambrano Wine Cellar’s shelves and its climate-controlled wine cellar, arranged by chef, wine enthusiast, and owner Cef Zambrano. When not hobnobbing with celebrities such as Harrison Ford, Nolan Ryan, and Katie Couric, Zambrano coordinates a menu of bistro fare to harmonize with his library of wine selections, which received the Wine Spectator Award of Excellence in 2009. Zambrano presents updated takes on Mediterranean favorites, crafting small plates of escargot broiled in garlic butter and shallots, as well as four types of bruschetta topped with tomato, chicken, duck, or fillet tips. Diners can dive into shared nibbles with custom plates of international meats and cheeses or pizzas topped margherita-style or with signature spanish ham.
Zambrano’s prized glass wine cellar sits behind a smooth stone bar, inlaid with variegated amethyst that glows as it catches the light better than an outfielder with a magnifying glass. While perched at its high-backed leather banquettes, diners can sip from the 50-plus list of wines by the glass while gazing at a flat-screen TV in the corner or admiring the custom art on the dining room’s exposed-brick walls. In the front of the dining room, gauzy orange curtains frame sheets of sunlight that illuminate simple wooden tables, each adorned with a single flower that provides color and an amuse-bouche for hungrier guests. A sidewalk patio offers al fresco dining and bustling sights of Sundance Square.
At YourWay Burgers & Wings, ordering your meal is an exercise in free will—the burger order form that greets guests can yield more than 340,000 combinations of patty, bun, and toppings. The range of choices is more appetizing than intimidating, though, and begins with five types of filling: certified Angus beef, chicken, salmon, turkey, or vegetarian. From there, patrons decide on a bun, cheese, and infused toppings, which chefs hand-pack into the meat before grilling it. The result distributes bits of chopped onion or tomato within each bite of patty and imbues the surrounding meat with a rarely experienced depth of flavor.
Even outside of its countless burger formulas, the menu embraces customization. In addition to signature twister tornado fries, manager Victor Nguyen spoke to Pegasus News about YourWay’s other french-fry and seasoning variants, listing off his creations like a father proudly reciting his children’s potato-themed nicknames: “shoe string, Tater Tots, curly, and battered, which are regular fries with a thin coat of batter that makes it crunchy. And five seasonings: salt-pepper-lemon, garlic Parmesan, Cajun, chili, and cheese." Visitors can also order chicken wings slathered in mango-barbecue or spicy-ranch sauce amid a sophisticated and sports-ready ambiance, with several HD televisions and cushioned booths flanking the full bar.
The Benson and Brozgold families founded Ol’ South Pancake House in 1962 and have stacked mountains of the same griddle-kissed pancakes from the same menu ever since, sticking to original recipes with the addition of Southern diner favorites. Cooks pour fluffy disks of buttermilk-, buckwheat-, or corn-cake batter to forge the rich foundation for strata of sweet or fruity toppings, including spiced apples, peanut-butter chips, and strawberries. Like off-duty senators nestled safe for the night in the congressional warehouse, pancakes pile into short or tall stacks, or in a behemoth pile of eight for the diner’s Take the Pancake Challenge. Any intrepid eater capable of packing away the entire monument to fluffiness in 60 minutes gets the meal free.
In addition to pancakes, the menu features a familiar spread of hearty entrees and sides served all day long. The cooks hand-batter pieces of chicken-fried steak before glazing them with a layer of country-style gravy, or sear catfish and half-pound burger patties on the grill. For internationally inspired flavors, they can also whisk together huevos rancheros, griddle fresh crêpes, or prepare the german pancake filled with fresh lemon, powdered sugar, and whipped butter served with a side of maple syrup.
Gene Estes suspects that growing up in the 'dry' precinct of Abilene, Texas may have inspired his alcohol-based ingenuity; he crafted his first batch of wine from Concord grape juice when he was just 23. Years later, after holding various pharmaceutical jobs and putting to use his Masters in Microbiology, Estes' interest in wine re-emerged with a full and passionate force. Today, as the president and vintner of Lost Oak Winery, Gene works alongside resident winemaker Jim Evans to craft a host of award-winning wines. Among them is the 2012 Viognier, which scored a double gold in the renowned San Francisco Chronicle International Wine competition—meaning all five judges awarded the varietal with top scores before gilding the bottle twice in molten gold.
The winery itself offers both guided and self-guided tours, offering visitors a glimpse into the wine-making process complete with samples straight from oak barrels. Additionally, special events draw guests to the lush grounds for live music, wine club events, and the pre-Christmas holiday open house, where they can place preemptive wine orders with Santa.
The culinary artists at Boopa's Bagel Deli achieve the alluring flavors of their New York-style water bagels through a unique daily process. The shop’s artisans first dip fresh, housemade dough in malt water to imbue it with a subtle sweetness and absolute fearlessness of sharks. They then festoon the dough with various ingredients to create bagels in a score of sweet and savory flavors, including the Boopa's Sweet Everything, studded with cinnamon, raisins, and nuts. 14 traditional cream cheeses serenade tasters with a peppering of scallions, sun-dried tomato, and apricot, while light cream cheese varieties pack in as much decadence and silky mouthfeel as their heavier counterparts.
Boopa's team also demonstrates inventiveness in their culinary repertoire with their original sausage rolls, which encase ground meat in a shell of bagel dough. The shop is so proud of its creation, that they host a birthday day party each year on the date of the sausage roll’s invention. Guests stopping in around the shop's 5:30 a.m. weekday opening time can catch the sunrise from a handful of patio tables, or admire the local artwork hanging on Boopa’s buttercream walls.
An eclectic mix of ingredients, such as chipotle peppers, coconut shrimp, crawfish tail, and crunchy duck, gets stuffed inside the more than 40 signature rolls at Wild Sushi. Chefs swaddle shrimp tempura, cream cheese, and jalapeños inside the Red Rock roll and top the creation with spicy tuna, crabstick, and “exploding” sauces. “This roll was a behemoth, a massive construction standing at least 8 inches tall on the plate,” wrote Teresa Gubbins of DFW.com, who highlighted the roll in a review of the eatery. Towering rolls aren't the only surprises up the chefs’ sleeves. They also hide unexpected sweet touches inside their creations in the form of strawberries and honey walnuts. In addition, chefs stoke fires to heat up a variety of Japanese entrees, such as salmon steaks served with an apple-miso sauce or tilapia sautéed in a spicy coconut-curry sauce.
Guests settle into sleek wooden chairs at tables covered with squares of brown butcher paper to draw caricatures of sushi rolls playing tennis. Large teardrop lanterns fill the simple, modern dining room with light and illuminate a sushi bar backed with a wall of soothing waves.