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A Year of Deliciousness : Leslie Brenner’s Top 10 Dishes of 2014 — Dallas Morning News

Araucana Custard, FT33

The other most impressive dinner of the delectable year was a 9-course tasting at FT33 in late October. A number of Matt McCallister’s dishes were stunningly good, and it’s hard to choose the best. None can beat the smoked custard he fashioned from Aracana eggs and served in a lovely, pale blue-green Aracana eggshell, with caramelized onion tucked in the bottom. Just fabulous.

by LESLIE BRENNER

::: original article

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The 10 Dishes That Made My Career — First We Feast

As McCallister wraps up year two of the restaurant, he says he’s finally found his groove, providing patrons with a comprehensive experience—from a barrel-aged Last Word at the bar, to autumnal butternut-squash ricotta gnocchi in ham brodo. “It’s going as smoothly as possible,” he says. “After a while, when you’re not cooking under people, your true style emerges and you just keep going.”

These days, McCallister is indeed charging ahead—on his own terms. From uni devoured fresh off the boat in Tasmania, to the simple chicken and dumplings mom made when he had a fever, here are 10 of the dishes that inspired McCallister to forge his own creative path in the kitchen.

by ALIA AKKAM

::: original article

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Dallas’ Best Cocktails of 2014 — Dallas Observer

The Final Say, FT33

As one of the city’s most forward-thinking restaurants, FT33 jumped onto the barrel-aged cocktail trend earlier this year. Barrel-aged drinks have since been cropping up across Dallas, but the best is FT33’s The Final Say. A cheeky play on the Prohibition-era cocktail The Last Word, this drink is mixed with a barrel-aged Ford’s gin, velvet falernum, and barrel-aged green Chartreuse. Beware, though — one or two will do you. These cocktails are all booze, and will have you drunk in short order.

by AMY McCARTHY

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Ultimate Compliment — Beverage Media

Our most useful tools are a big smile; a few probing questions to get an idea of a guest’s general preferences for spirit, cocktails or wine; and strong product knowledge that allows us to make several useful recommendations we hope will excite them and provide an experience that compliments the amazing cuisine they are here to enjoy.

by ALIA AKKAM

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The Cut : The Best Chefs in D-FW — The Dallas Morning News

The 2013 Chef of the Year shows no sign of letting up; his Modern American cooking is every bit as exciting as it has been since his restaurant earned five stars a year ago. Matt McCallister’s daring a la carte menu changes constantly; if you’re unsure what to order, ask for the off-menu five-course tasting ($75 per person) and let the chef choose for you. Or for even more of an adventure, reserve on a Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday and request the nine-course tasting menu ($95 per person) when you book. Recently it was a brilliant study of in-the-moment seasonality. Highlights included roasted delicata squash filled with bone marrow custard and dressed up with toasted delicata seeds, aged balsamico and purple endive, and 120-day dry-aged, grass-fed beef accompanied by a wildly good choron — béarnaise sauce boosted with tomato. McCallister used fermented tomato, which gave it a crazy funk that worked beautifully with the beef, and he aerated it, for a mousse-like texture that made it almost counter intuitively elegant. It transcended its status as a sauce.

by LESLIE BRENNER

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Cask-aged cocktails at FT33 impart delicious wit — Examiner

It’s easy to spot the Balcones casks upon entering the bright, airy space. They’re parked right up against the window where they can be spotted from outside. There’s nothing like a barrel of booze to draw in curious would-be imbibers from off the street, but FT33 needs hardly sidewalk marketing: the accolades have piled on since opening in 2012.

Seated at the comfortable marble bar, General Manager and Wine Director Jeff Gregory shares the background of the barrel-aged cocktail program, which began in August, and has proven popular. An industry veteran, there’s no point untouched in Gregory’s background spiel—there’s passion apparent here as there would be with any curated art—and no question that can stump. The barrels are 20 liters of New American Oak, which have been used twice for other spirits, for a stint of 12 months per spirit. He knows which spirits are aged in each particular cask, and points out that Balcones original notes and markings remain on the bottom of each barrel so they can be selected for their qualities.

by SCOTT LAIRD

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Moveable Feasts — Wall Street Journal

Our green chili cheesy potatoes are the most amazing thing in the world, and they’re made from all canned and frozen items. Yet I’m most looking forward to the stuffing. My mom taught me how to make stuffing when I was five, and I’ve made it the same ever since. It starts by breaking up fresh sourdough, mixed-grain bread and baguettes and leaving them to air-dry for a week. Then we make a stock with the turkey’s neck innards and wing tips, plus a chicken stock. We sauté a mirepoix and mash all these components together with eggs and herbs. Then you clean, salt, butter and stuff the bird before throwing it in the oven. I’m a little more technical now, but I try to carry on the tradition the best I can.

by WALL STREET JOURNAL

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Barrel-Aged Cocktails Are Taking Dallas Bars By Storm — Eater Dallas

FT33 ages their cocktails in whiskey barrels from Texas distillery Balcones, each of which have twice held other spirits. Using barrels that have already been “seasoned” helps soften the aggressive flavors of the oak, creating a smooth cocktail that is entirely drinkable, but also has a more complex flavor profile. One of the bar’s current standouts is their take on a Last Word, cleverly called The Final Say. Made with the aforementioned barrel-aged Ford’s Gin and green Chartreuse, the bartenders sub velvet falernum in for the typical maraschino, resulting in a deeper-flavored, more deliciously nuanced take on the classic cocktail.

by AMY MCCARTHY

::: original article

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FT33 Launches a Barrel-Aged Cocktail Program — D Magazine

I’m sitting at the bar at FT33 with two wine glasses in front of me. In one there’s a familiar, grassy-colored splash of green Chartreuse, in the other a foreign yellow spirit. While technically also green Chartreuse, this liquor is the color of honey and smells sweet, like vanilla. Bartenders Tristan Price and Scott Augat watch in anticipation as I put the glass to my lips. The flavor is as sweet as the aroma, the sharp bitterness of the herbs are dulled by the oak barrel it was aged in. “This is delicious!” I blurt out while secretly wishing it was later in the day so I could order a proper, full-size cocktail.

by CATHERINE DOWNES

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FT33’s Marigold Mint Julep is a Boozy Bouquet in a Glass — Eater Dallas

Floral cocktails as a trend are nothing new, but the cocktail wizards at Design District gem FT33 are hardly just muddling some flowers up in a highball. In addition to the veritable garden of herb and flower garnishes you’ll find lining the bar top on any given evening, the dynamic bar duo of Tristan Price and Scott Augat are utilizing some high-tech equipment that just as likely to be found in a science lab as behind a bar. Much like Matt McCallister’s cuisine, the cocktail selection is constantly rotating based on what’s fresh and in season; but right now, drinkers can find a tasty concoction called the Marigold Mint Julep, made with the vivid gold flowers that are more often spotted in a flower bed than a cocktail glass.

by WHITNEY FILLOON

::: original article

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