Archive for November, 2009

The Dallas Lone Star Classic is this Weekend

November 25, 2009

This is from the the founders of the Lone Star Classic:

Get ready to kick off this the 2nd Annual Dallas Lone Star Classic Weekend November 27-29th, as the University Of Arkansas At Pine Bluff Golden Lions take on the Texas Southern University Tigers at the historic Cotton Bowl Stadium in Dallas, TX on November 28th. Kickoff time is 1:00pm!

Be in the crowd and watch the bands as they rock the stadum at halftime! The Arkansas-Pine Bluff “Marching Musical machine of the mid-south” will go up against Texas Southern’s “Ocean of Soul”!
Tickets are on sale now at Concord Church, Two Podners, Catfish Floyd’s and all Ticketmaster locations.
We are calling out all Black College Football fans, HBCU alumni, fraternities, and sororities to come out and enjoy this fun-filled weekend at the Dallas Lone Star Classic and kick it with  family and friends and celebrate the black college experience
For more info visit www.dallaslonestarclassic.com!

Smashburger: One of the Best

November 17, 2009
It has been known for some time that Smashburger is coming to Dallas. Everybody that knows me knows that I search high and low for the best burgers in Dallas. With that in mind, I got an invite to the pre-opening for Smashburger.
Leonard Davis and Marc Columbo of the Dallas Cowboys are among the investors. That alone gave me high hopes, because offensive lineman know about good food.
Ever since my beloved Chips on Cole Avenue closed (the building is STILL empty, by the way) I have been on a mission to find the best burgers in Dallas. To me, the best doesn’t mean it has to cost more than $15 and claim it’s gourmet.
(full disclosure per this new rule: I ate for free…and ate WELL for free)
Most places claim to have great burgers, and fail to live up to the hype. Other places have great burgers and terrible fries or vice versa. However, Smashburger has done a good job with all aspects.
Keep in mind that the burger is not expensive; the 1/3 lb ranges from $4.99-5.99, and the ½ lb goes for $5.99-6.99. A full meal will run about $10-12, which is not bad for fast-casual.
The restaurant’s name comes from the way they cook their beef, according to their website:

We start with 100% Angus Beef, smashed, seared and seasoned on the grill, placed on a butter-toasted artisan bun and topped with the highest-quality cheeses, freshest produce and condiments.

I would agree. I got the BBQ, bacon, and cheese smashburger with smashfries (tossed with rosemary, garlic, and olive oil). The fries are excellent, on par with the truffle fries at AMPM restaurant downtown (one of my faves for fries).
After my initial meal was served (you take a number like at Village Burger and they bring it to the table), they showed much love to yours truly by bringing two milkshakes: one vanilla and one lime (yes, lime).  The lime one was interesting; almost like key lime pie but not as overpowering as to go well with the food.  There were also fried pickles and chili cheese fries topped with jalapenos.   I found out they also have chicken sandwiches too. I’ll save that for a future trip (maybe – I’ll most likely try another burger).
Here’s their menu. I say it’s worth the trip, although word is they will open multiple franchises in DFW. For what I consider real burger prices, Smashburger ranks among the best in Dallas.

location (map):
4980 Belt Line
Addison, TX 75254

Farewell to the Chief

November 13, 2009

After five years, Chief Kunkle is stepping down as Dallas Police Chief.  This is a time of mixed feelings for me.  When somebody does a great job, you hate to see them go. However, you have to be happy when a person gets to leave on their own terms.  In my interactions with him, I have found him to be honest, straightforward, and accountable.

Some Police Chiefs previously in Dallas and across the country are often not in their blues, have drivers, and seem to enjoy the notoriety of being Chief more than actually doing the job. Not our Chief; I’ve never seen him out of uniform. 

He was responsive to the community and to city leaders.  Chief Kunkle didn’t put his finger in the air to check the temperature before he commented or made decisions on officer-related incidents or other issues.

I also don’t believe that he upset the entire rank and file with some of his decisions. One of the toughest jobs of a Chief is to discipline your own officers, and like any work situation not everyone will be happy with such an action.  Banning the chokehold and ending high-speed police chases has saved lives.  It’s a fact.

I do think there should be a search for a position such as Police Chief, Fire Chief, City Manager, and other high-ranking positions.  That being said, there are several candidates within the department that are immediately part of the discussion to be the next Chief should they decide to apply. 

The measure of a good boss, or Chief in this instance, is often shown in the people he has promoted in other positions of leadership.  Chief Kunkle leaves the department in great hands.  Promoting Chief David Brown to First Assistant Chief after he did a stellar job leading the Northeast Division, Deputy Chief Sherryl Scott as the leader of the South Central Division (formed under Kunkle’s watch), and having great people like Lt. Craig Miller as the head of homicide are just a few instances of Chief Kunkle having an eye for leadership.

I don’t believe anyone was being intentionally slighted with respect to his announcement.  It doesn’t change the fact that Chief Kunkle is retiring, and it’s not about focusing attention on yourself.  This was the Chief’s moment, and I’m sure that everyone was notified within the proper timeframe. The last thing that I would want to see is this hiring decision being politicized in some way.

Chief Kunkle often showed up at places you wouldn’t expect like city budget meetings and other functions, and would engage citizens even when it wasn’t required of him. While he has a reputation for always being serious, he has a great sense of humor if you ever get to talk to him.

The last time I saw him was at a restaurant near downtown. I was with a buddy that wanted to meet him, and even thought he was in the middle of his lunch he took a few minutes to talk with my friend.  I bet that’s the part he’ll love best: to be able to sit down and do the simple things in life without interruptions.

I can’t see him retired for long.  But for the five years he was in Dallas I was glad to call him Chief; he earned the title in every way.

Sign Blight Ordinance is Needed

November 12, 2009
This week  has brought news that the City of Dallas is being sued to fight the sign blight ordinance that was enacted last year. Apparently the plaintiffs feel that their free speech is being violated, when the reality is that the city is trying to clean up its neighborhoods.  Corporations like 7/11 have their own store rules and do not permit excessive covering of windows, and it would be nice if all stores would follow suit and clean up a bit.
When you go downtown to Neiman Marcus, they don’t have 10 signs papering the windows. You know what Neiman’s is offering inside. Well, the same theory should apply to stores and businesses throughout the city. Sharon Grigsby of the DMN states need need for such an ordinance here.
I know that the City Attorney’s office is confident that this case can be defended. This ordinance took quite a long time to be presented to City Council to make sure it would stand against the inevitable lawsuits by various groups.
Dallas’ ordinance leaves ample opportunity for businesses to promote at their location. I’m glad the city is deciding to fight. For neighborhoods like Oak Cliff, South Dallas, and others, such an ordinance is needed.