It was my dear friend Rebecca’s birthday so we had to celebrate! Rebecca is light and peace to all who know her and I am so blessed to call her my friend. We decided to head to one of our group’s favorite lunch spots in Dallas: The Rustic. The Rustic is relatively new to the Dallas scene but has been met with tremendous success. The inside is large and filled with Texas flair, the “back yard (where we prefer to sit)” is huge and a perfect spot for the weekly “backyard” concerts were they raise the large garage door on the side of the restaurant so both insider and outsiders can enjoy the great local and regional musicians who perform. Additionally, outside they are usually burning various flavors of wood in the numerous chimineas creating a great rustic aroma in the air.
The menu is diverse and delicious, featuring many Texas style dishes. Calf fries anyone? They offer an extensive selection of Texas draft beers 36 strong; very interesting and delicious Texas style cocktails and spirits and, I am sad to say a very uninspired wine list, offering only 14 wines by the glass in a style of restaurant that would most likely sell very few bottles of wine. (I asked our waiter if they sell many bottles and he said no.) Though the selection of white wines is a bit eclectic and international, the red list is sadly 13 out of 14 west coast reds with only one Texas red that is by the bottle only. There are no Zinfandels, Syrahs, Grenaches, GSMs, Carmeneres and only 1 Malbec. They feature a “Wines That Rock” list featuring five wines but they are bottle only. They even offer Arizona Stronghold Chardonnay; add their Rhone blend by the glass, it is really good! The menu at the Rustic would thrive with a better selection of red wines and most certainly many more by the glass. Wines from the Barossa Valley in Australia, South America and South Africa would pair very well with the Texas style menu. In fact, The Rustic seems to me to be the perfect environment for wine on tap! They may not pay much attention to the wine list because they don’t sell much wine; so which came first poor list or poor sales? I bet with some investment in creating an eclectic, international wines by the glass or draft list their wine sales would be strong! Thankfully the red wines by the glass are all good (I have tried them all). Please visit The Rustic’s web site to see their great menus and photo gallery. If you live in Dallas I strongly encourage you to visit often and if you don’t come visit and head to The Rustic!
B Side 2011 Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon: This wine poured a deep garnet with dark purple highlights. It opened with smoky aromas of red and black berry compote, spice, tobacco and a hint of chocolate. On the palate this wine opened with flavors of black cherries, blackberry jam, plums, cassis, and tobacco leaves in a cedar cigar box; with a touch of espresso and chocolate that lingers on the palate. It was a well-balanced Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon with round acidity and refined tannins creating a pleasing mouth-feel. This wine was crafted of 90% Cabernet Sauvignon, 6% Petit Verdot and 4% Merlot coming from Calistoga, Oak Knoll and Yountville, creating a deep and luscious wine that will only improve with age. The wine was aged for 14 months in French oak; 80% new, 20% seasoned. I enjoyed the concentrated fruit with the great earthy notes in the wine that were well balanced by good acidity. SRP $31 (a good value for this wine); click here to order this wine from the winery. I recommend this wine.
The B Side Cabs paired very well with our appetizers: Chorizo Empanadas crafted from housemade sausage with ancho chili, Texas tequila and potato served with corn queso for dipping and Cactus Fritters consisting of beer battered and fried cactus slices and served with red buffalo ketchup. Both appetizers were bold and delicious with the B side cab rounding out the flavors.
For my entrée I chose one of my Rustic favorites, the Veggie Burger. I love beef burgers…LOVE! But I will not pass up a good veggie burger and the Rustic has a very good one. It is crafted of hearty quinoa and minted tomato topped with tzatziki sauce! Yum! It does not taste at all like a beef burger; it is not supposed to, it’s just good. Because the veggie burger is hearty and grainy the B Side cab really added additional layers of flavors to the dish and the smokiness added depth. A fantastic lunch from beginning to end! Btw, though I did not take a picture because it was Rebecca’s birthday we had a divine complimentary peanut butter, chocolate pie that was decadent and delicious!
B Side Wines is one of eight wineries owned by Don Sebastiani and Sons. How many times did you buy a 45 record (if you are younger than 35 you likely have no idea what I am talking about!) to own the song you loved on the radio only to find the hidden gem on the “b side” of the record that you played so much it wore out. That is the idea behind B Side Wines. From their web site:
In the early 1950s record companies introduced the two-sided 45. The “A” side played the song the record companies hoped would become a hit. But the “B” side was often the real find, frequently revealing an undiscovered gem.
Inspired by these unheralded classics, B Side wines bring this alternative sensibility to the decidedly A-list world of Napa Valley wine. Hailing from Napa’s “flip” side, B Side reds are crafted with grapes sourced from the slightly-off-the-beaten-track vineyards along the valley’s eastern hillsides. They’re authentic originals: a little experimental and unexpected, crafted and perfected behind-the-scenes for those with a penchant for discovery.
My Song Selection: The song I have chosen to pair with the great lunch filled with laughter and joy with my dear friends celebrating beautiful Rebecca at one of our favorite restaurants, The Rustic, with great food, wine and service is The Sweetest Thing by U2. I selected this song for many reasons: 1) this song was originally released as the B side to “Where the Streets Have no Name,” 2) Bono wrote it as an apology to his wife for spending too much time working on the Joshua Tree and neglecting her on her birthday, 3) this entire group of wonderful friends, especially Rebecca on her birthday, are one of the “sweetest things” in my life, 4) even though I complain about The Rustic’s wine list it is one of my favorite places with much to offer and I will continue to enjoy it for years to come, 5) please don’t over look the B Side Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon, it was very good and I will definitely order it again!
Get your own bottle of B Side Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon and let me know what song you would pair with it. Cheers!