Blanking the Slate
Over the past several years people often wrote in urging us to dine on organ meats, find a cocktail we couldn't stomach or sit down to haggis and scotch. This week's topic, we thought, would finally give us the opportunity to amend our impish raconteur persona and describe a typically modest Burning Question crew weekend.
You know, our sundry charitable activities, hours spent in contemplative discussions with moral and political leaders, black tie galas, Snoop Dogg calling at all hours, romantic evenings with, oh, Mattie Roberts or...or...we just lost our train of thought.
That sort of typical weekend, anyway.
Unfortunately, our editor abides by this thing called "accuracy," which he says means "factual." We looked up "factual" and, well, clearly he hasn't listened to Dick Cheney. Nonetheless, our editor threatened to slash our six-figure--OK, OK, four-figure--salary if we strayed the slightest bit from a straightforward accounting of last weekend's activities.
So here goes.
The Burning Question crew began our weekend at pretty much the same time as everyone else: happy hour on Wednesday. This week we gathered at Blue Mesa in Addison, even though reaching the place on time required a plausible excuse (forgot to set TiVo) to bail out of work early. We blame an apparent chugging competition later in the evening at Cuba Libre for a set of indecipherable interview notes.
What, for instance, was chef Nick Badovinus thinking when he said, "Its whyifou bald bg baro"?
We ended the weekend very early on Monday morning, stumbling from "Naked Sunday" at Nikita. That's about it--although later on that morning we found a woman's business card in our notebook. Couldn't remember her face or any fragment of our conversation except the bit about her gymnastics career and...shit! We walked away from a gymnast! What the...? Oh, the evils of alcohol.
Wouldn't much matter, we suppose. Most people with some expertise in Dallas nightlife define the women of this city as pretentious, at best. We've always viewed such casual classification with a bit of skepticism. People in every city try to appease a specific god, whether it be Neiman Marcus or Sears. Residents of Seattle, say, may stigmatize the trappings we worship here, but they in turn may value things considered gauche by Uptown types. Doesn't make one more pretentious than the other. Still, the image persists. Ask Christina, waitress at Nikita and Seven, if women in this city are shallow, as we did, and the response is unequivocal.
"Dallas women? Abso-fucking-lutely," she says. "They're always saying, 'So, whatcha do? So, whatcha drive?'"
An aside: We first bumped into Christina a couple of years ago and, learning she emigrated from Ukraine, tried out a few Russian phrases we had picked up over the years.
Turns out those weren't traditional greetings, after all.
Besides, as often as we condemn alcohol for the little tricks it plays, our interpretation of natural selection confirms the beneficial effects of overindulgence. In a pack of gazelles, one animal always lags behind--old, sickly or wounded. That animal ends up falling to predators, which actually makes the herd stronger.
"So it is with alcohol," says Matthew, poet laureate of Dallas nightlife and doorman at Lush, agreeing with the parable. "It kills brain cells, but it kills the weak, making the whole that much stronger."
Between Wednesday and Sunday, we dropped by a number of places in a mind-building frenzy. One crew member used the occasion of Seven's grand re-opening to "christen" the bathroom, which we hope means what we think it means but fear it means something entirely different. Friday night at Sense, a crew member's comment ("It would be nice if some girl let me touch her inappropriately") prompted bartender Phil Natale to define our presence as "a mixed blessing." Over at Candle Room a guy walked up and blurted "I'm gay" while two young women scribbled things in our notebook.
"Ifir wat to panty," to be specific.
Yeah, we managed to fit in some work, discussing reservation policies at Cuba Libre, participating in a speed-dating event in one of Blue Mesa's back rooms, learning the financial value when strippers belly-up to the...no, that's not right...when strippers plop them on the bar, from the staff at Seven. "You put one or two girls right here," says bartender Adam Salazar, gesturing across the counter, "and there won't be any guys elsewhere in the bar." Of course, we weren't really working on a stripper-related story, but the subject fascinates us. Well, the male crew members, anyway.
"You give me four or five strippers in a bar," Salazar continues, "the bar is full."
Which reminds us: We actually dropped by Seven hoping to bump into (yes, literally) our favorite professional dancer, Raven. The simple fact that a goodly number of Seven's bartenders--Eddie Germann, Jose Del Corral--also work at establishments such as The Men's Club and Silver City increases the odds.
So that's pretty much it. From the time we wake up early in the afternoon until the moment we collapse from fatigue, long after the bars close, the Burning Question crew pursues answers with great diligence. Whether our research takes us to the Old Monk to argue politics over a few Irish whiskeys or to Cretia's because they sell alcohol, we adhere to a disciplined work ethic.
Can't get much more accurate than that. Things tend to get fuzzy after a while.
Get the Food & Drink Newsletter
Our weekly guide to Dallas dining includes food news and reviews, as well as dining events and interviews with chefs and restaurant owners.