Wednesday, March 13, 2013

The Wearin' and Drinkin' o' the Green... on Greenville

By Greg Holman, reprinting an updated article...

Faith and Begorrah! St. Patty’s Day is right around the corner and the insanity of the Greenville Ave. Parade looms large on the horizon; so I thought that we’d talk some Irish. No, I don’t mean speaking in a bastardized Irish brogue like Sean Connery in the “Untouchables.” I mean talk about Irish stuff; all things Irish.

So, to this end I’ve put together a list of Irish icons and traditions, and an obvious starting point would be the national pastime… “drinking” (I can say that because I’m half Irish; it’s in my blood… alcohol and being Irish, that is). The Irish have perfected the art of drinking and in fact, Irish adults have achieved one of the highest rates of alcohol consumption and display one of the highest levels of binge drinking in all of Europe, and just what do they drink? Guinness Stout, Harp Lager, Smithwick’s Ale, Bailey’s Irish Cream and of course Irish whiskey (spelled with an ”e”).

Irish whiskey is made using dry malted barley, without the use of peat (decayed vegetation from bogs and moors – Yum!). This allows the natural grain flavors to come through instead of the slightly smoky elements associated with Scotch whisky (no “e”). To earn the name “Irish whiskey” it has to be made entirely from native grains and have been stored in wooden casks for three years or more.

To keep those hangovers at bay you’ll need some sustenance - Irish food, and what goes better with Irish potables than Irish potatoes, in and Irish stew. Other traditional Ire-fare includes boxty (a potato pancake), colcannon (mashed potatoes and kale or cabbage), soda bread, and corned beef and cabbage.

In addition to their culinary contributions, the Irish have born the world a number of famous sons including Kenneth Branagh, Pierce Brosnan, Daniel Day-Lewis, Colin Farrell, Patrick McGoohan (“The Prisoner”), Liam Neeson, Peter O’Toole, Spencer Tracy, Stephen Colbert, Dennis Leary, and Conan O’Brien, to name but a few. Music has also been a part of Irish tradition and bands such as The Commitments, The Corrs, The Cranberries, The Pogues, The Boomtown Rats, Stiff Little Fingers, Thin Lizzy, and of course U2 are all Irish.

Other Irish things… the Blarney Stone, shillelaghs (walking sticks/clubs), jigs and reels, leprechauns, shamrocks, the color green, Setters and Wolf Hounds, Notre Dame (the “Fighting Irish”), “Danny Boy,” Riverdance, harps, Waterford crystal, Celts, red hair and freckles, the substitution of “me” for “my”, "Mac" "Mc" or "O'”, sheep, and white wool sweaters “so thick, even the boniest-fingered nun could poke you in the chest and it wouldn't bother you none!" (a “Family Guy” reference).

Now put all of this together, throw in some green Mardi Gras beads, Jell-O shots, cute girls on cheaply made floats, and throngs (no, not thongs) of party-prone Dallasites, and you’ve got The Greenville Avenue St. Patrick’s Day Parade!

The now infamous event had its meager beginnings back in 1979 and included only a few cars that traveled just a couple of blocks. Today, the parade draws more than 100,000 people from all over the country and is a bastion of Dallas debauchery. The city even kind of waves the open container law (begrudgingly, only on Greenville, and only during the parade)!

If you’re going to join the parade festivities you’ll need to get there early to get a good watching spot. The parade usually starts around 11:00 am and lasts for a couple of hours, so wear comfy shoes. And while the event is a parade, things can get just a bit risqué (think of it as a weak Dallas’ version of Mardi Gras). Bring your own booze and some cash (credit cards can limit your purchase options), and don’t forget “the wearin' o' the green” to prevent “pinched” arm and butt-bruises!

This year the parade is actually being sponsored by the city of Dallas instead if just the Greenville Avenue business owners (and Mark Cuban) and has been retitled “The Dallas St. Patrick’s Day Parade,” which makes gives me a feeling that it might be moving off Greenville soon, and consequently losing some of its charm. So let’s make this a banner year folks!

You'll also not want to miss the afterparty on Lower Greenville (Blue Goose/Terilli's/The Grape area) with headliner Snoop Dogg. It's always insane and with "Snoop Lion" reggae-ing it up, this year's throw-down promises to be a party to remember.

If the Irish immigration to “Green”ville makes the red hair on your freckled neck stand up, here are some area Irish pubs, many of which will be selling green beer and having parking lot parties on Saturday the 16th.

The Old Monk - 2847 N. Henderson Ave. Dallas - Consistently voted one of Dallas' top bars, the Old Monk is a traditional Irish pub with good food and good drinks.

The Idle Rich Pub - 2614 McKinney Ave. Dallas - Owned by three Dublin, Ireland natives, the Idle Rich specializes in the beers and whiskeys of Northern Europe and features a menu full of Irish favorites.

Trinity Hall - 5321 E. Mockingbird Ln. Suite 250 Dallas - This full-service Irish pub feels very authentic and has an ambitious slightly higher-end menu.

Lochrann’s Eatery & Irish Pub - 6195 Main St., Frisco – Lochrann’s is a fun pub with a steady stream of regulars and good service. Live music on the weekends and a nice vibe make it the clear winner, north of town.

The Dubliner - 2818 Greenville Ave. Dallas – Being on Greenville, this place is always packed for St. Patty’s Day. With a limited food menu, drinks are the order of the day here and they are done well. A Irish bar that’s also popular with the biker crowd (in a good way).

The Black Friar - 2621 McKinney Ave. Dallas – With a similar menu, the Friar sits directly across the street from the Idle Rich, which makes for a great pub crawl.

The Capitol Pub - 2401 N Henderson Ave. Dallas – This watering hole has a great patio for dogs, a nice “real” pub atmosphere, good food and service, and sits on a nice corner for car and people weatching.

West End Pub - 1801 N. Lamar St. Suite #100 Dallas – This downtown “neighborhood pub without a neighborhood” feels like home from the minute you walk in. While not quite an Irish Pub, they do throw down for St Patty’s day, and always have a fun-filled calendar of events scheduled.

Malarkey’s - 4460 Trinity Mills Rd. Dallas – A fun bar on the North side of town, with good Irish bar food and drinks at a decent price. Get’s kinda loud and a little rowdy, but isn’t that what you want in an Irish Pub?

And just remember, we are always proper when we wear green, get drunk on green beer, throw Mardi Gras beads, and pinch asses, to celebrate an Irish-Catholic holiday established for a man who chased snakes off of an island! So if anyone tells you you’re too drunk, just remind them that an Irishman is never too drunk as long as he can hold onto one blade of grass, to keep him from falling off the earth! Now “kiss me dammit… I’m Irish!”

Monday, February 18, 2013

EatDallas' Greg Holman to Co-Star in new VH1 series "For What It's Worth" with Gary Dell'Abate (Baba Booey and Producer of the "Howard Stern Show") and John Hein (star of Discovery Channel's "Fast Food Mania")

Well, I finally received word from VH1 that the show that I had worked on last summer will begin airing on Thursday, February 21st at 9:00 pm CST on VH1 Classic.

The show is titled "For What It's Worth" and is kind of like and amped up Rock 'n' Roll/Pop Culture version of "Antiques Roadshow."

Me on the set

Gary and Jon with Collector

I'm one of the panel of Pop Culture experts that evaluates items on the show. We've filmed six episodes up and down the east coast, and at an amazing place in Brooklyn, NY called Film Biz Recycling.

Jon and Gary on the set
Me on the set with Gary and Jon

The stars of the show are Gary Dell'Abate, Howard Stern's Executive Producer (aka Baba Booey), and Pop Culture Guru Jon Hein, founder of and star of Discovery Channel's "Fast Food Mania."

Gary and Jon
Here are a few links to information about the show and a few behind the scenes photos...

Behind the Scenes

Legs, Whisks, and Lights - Oh My!
Gary and Jon with "Mr. T" Collection


Our Film Crew


And here is my very first "solo" press release!
Greg Holman-VH1-For-What-Its-Worth-press-release

The show will air on VH1 Classic every Thursday night through March and while I may not be in every single episode, I should make an appearance in most of them. So, please tune in or set your DVR's for this fun and informative show and hopefully we'll be able to film a second season!

Thanks to everyone involved,

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Mardi Gras Dallas 2013

Well a new year brings big changes! Since my last posting, Lit Monthly Magazine has been sold and I have been picked up as a food and pop culture writer for Blitz Weekly Magazine, one of the larger publications in Dallas! I get to write about more food than in the past where I was relegated to primarily writing about bars. So here is my first article of the year and my first article for Blitz...

Mardi Gras Dallas 2013

This year Mardi Gras comes about as early in the year as it possibly can, and a while back I noted on my blog (EatDallas) that Dallasites can’t seem to wrap their heads around the concept of Mardi Gras. For a number of years Dallas tried in vain to get a Mardi Gras-style parade going. I understand that we get the “drinking” part of it, and I know that everyone likes the beads and “throws” tossed from the floats; that’s painfully obvious by all of the scrambling for the “CHEAP-ASS” tiny beads that the St.Patty’s day floats throw – Yeah, I’m talking to you Greenville Avenue Parade! Get some freakin’ “deluxes” to throw this year! But why can’t we loosen up our tight asses (and tops) and flash and schlog like a tourist on Bourbon Street? After all, it’s the Mardi Gras spirit!

And while we’re talking about the spirit of Mardi Gras, just so you know the rules, there’s no fighting (stop one if you see it starting), no jealousy (your girlfriend’s just showing her boobs, not giving them away, and your boyfriend is just letting it breathe, it’s not detachable… I hope), there’s no crap! It’s just friends partying with friends that may not have met yet. There’s this whole cool and friendly vibe that’s created when like-minded people set out to attend the world’s largest party!

Now I can’t say that all of this naiveté is Dallas’ fault, as Mardi Gras has never been a big tradition here in Big D. The Mardi Gras parade push began in part as a response to the influx of former New Orleans natives into the Dallas area, via the Katrina exodus.

OK, now I’m talking to the NOLA transplants… You’ve brought your wonderful history, traditions, and world class food and recipes with you, but these Dallasites need your guidance when it comes to the ways of Mardi Gras; they need help, they need lagniappe (a little something extra). Lend a friend a hand here! Throw me somethin’ Mista!

Let me help by starting with the basics; the term "Mardi Gras" refers to a Catholic celebration beginning on or after Epiphany and culminating on the day before Ash Wednesday, or Mardi gras (French for “Fat Tuesday”). This refers to the practice of eating rich, fatty foods before fasting for the Lenten (Lent) season, which begins on Ash Wednesday. Many of the Mardi Gras traditions include the wearing of masks and costumes, King Cakes - the yellow/purple/green (the official colors of Mardi Gras) sugar-covered cakes with a small plastic baby baked inside), huge social events, drinking, dancing, concerts, parades, and fancy dress balls held by “Krewes.”

A Krewe (pronounced "crew") is a privately funded organization that puts on a parade or ball for the Carnival (Mardi Gras) season. Krewe members pay fees in order to cover parade and/or ball costs and fees can range from thousands of dollars a year, for the most elaborate Krewes, to as little as $20, for the smaller marching clubs. Some of the more notable Krewes are the Mistick Krewe of Comus, the Krewe of Proteus, Rex, the Zulu Social Aid and Pleasure Club, and the Krewe of Momus. Krewes toss beads and other “throws” such as cups, coins, and the most prized of all throws, hand-decorated coconuts (typically just seen at the Zulu parade).

Flashing (for girls), shlogging (for guys), and passing out (for everyone) are actually a relatively recent developments in the Mardi Gras tradition, brought on largely by the location and reputation of New Orleans’ French Quarter and Bourbon Street, a rather bawdy section of town (pirates used to hang out there), and by the steadily decreasing age of “spring break-ers” that have discovered Mardi Gras. This type of behavior doesn’t occur everywhere in New Orleans, primarily just in the French Quarter. The smaller parish parades are more neighborly and kid-friendly events.

My wife and I have been to N’awlins many times and we attended Dallas’ 2009 “Mystiqal” parade, which wrapped around Victory Park. We also attended the 2010 “Mardi Gras Texas Style” parade that traveled down Main Street and ended up in the West End. The latter seemed to have a looser structure and felt more like a New Orleans event than the first, but that was the end of the Dallas parades! What the hell people? Even Galveston does a better job at Mardi Gras than we do!

Well, at least that’s what I thought until I stumbled upon the Oak Cliff Mardi Gras Parade in 2011. Since Dallas was paradeless that year, my Krewe was looking for something fun to do, without fighting the crowds at some of the more popular bar destinations, and had heard about the OCMGP.

We ventured over to Davis St. to check it out and were very pleasantly surprised. This cool parade invokes the feeling of those local Louisiana parish parades that involve the community, have a sort of small hometown feel, and are a bit more kid and family friendly (just a bit more!). We had such a blast that went again last year and the parade had built up some steam. It was much larger than in previous years, with mini-bike-riding Elvis’, a number of bands (rock and marching), tons of beads (more than you’ll ever catch at a New Orleans parade), more floats (over 50), and this year (the fifth annual) they’re expecting more than 20,000 people in attendance, making it one of the largest Mardi Gras parades in Texas.

This year’s parade will be on Sunday February 10th from 4:00 to 6:00 PM on West Davis St. and will end in the Bishop Arts district, followed by large parties and lots of crawfish eatin’. Check out the website for more info - If you do make it to the parade, my crew, “The Tradewinds Social Aid and Pleasure Club Krewe”, and I will be on the Tradewinds Social Club Float!

If you like your “Party” Gras indoors, just a little naughtier, or are just too scared to venture south of I-30 to the hood (you’ll be missing out on a great street party though!), here are about a dozen other Mardi Gras alternatives for you…

Alligator Café

4416 Live Oak Street Dallas, TX 75204 - Chef Ivan Pugh, a New Orleans transplant has taken over an old fast food chicken restaurant and made it into a homey, funky little gem of a Cajun restaurant, with the best alligator I’ve had in Dallas. The vibe is cool, the live blues is hot, and the beer is freezing! (I actually had ice chips floating in my beer last time I was there! Perfect with my gator and red beans and rice).

The Boudin Ball – Krewe de Roux hosts the traditional Mardi Gras Boudin Ball and brings the tradition and revelry of Louisiana Mardi Gras to Dallas. More than 400 people will attend a formal night of food, open bar, music, and dancing on Saturday night, January 26, at The Old Red Courthouse in Downtown Dallas. Proceeds benefit the North Texas Food Bank. Costumes and masks are invited. The affair is cocktail attire - black tie optional. It’s about $80 per person which includes complimentary drinks, heavy hors d'eourves and live music from the David Whiteman Experience. Tickets are only available at

Dallas Mardi Gras Erotique Art Show at the Velvet Curtain - 1825 S. Good Latimer - February 12th come prepared to party and to be entertained! The evening will include burlesque dancers, a jazz singer, and a DJ. Cocktail hour begins at 8:00 pm and performances begin at 9:00. Buttery Nipples will be the specialty complimentary drink and wine, to whet your appetite, will also be complimentary! Cost: $10 online, $20 at the door. This is a swinger’s club, just so you know…


A few years ago the Greenville Ave. location was your only option, but Dodie’s is thriving and has taken over the old Hurricane Grill spot and they have several other locations in North Texas, serving up authentic Cajun food and some of the best mud-bugs in the DFW area. They’re always having a good time during Mardi Gras!

House of Blues Mardi Gras Celebration – February 8th – 12th – HOB is hosting a week of Mardi Gras events beginning on the 8th with the “Ninjapalooza Party Gras”, starring the Graceland Ninjas and culminating with Cowboy Mouth's “Mardi Gras Extravaganza” with Derek Evans and Back To Blue.

KNON’s 12th Annual Mardi Gras Gumbo Party – Sunday February 10th from 5-9 pm at Poor David's Pub 1313 South Lamar St. A traditional gumbo cook-off with this year's participants including The Alligator Cafe and DJ Louisiana Red, Crawdad's, newcomers David's Seafood Grill, The Free Man Cajun Café, and Jack's Southern Comfort. Each will be doling out samples, and then YOU will decide who has the "Best Gumbo" in Dallas. The tasting goes from 5-7 pm or ‘til the gumbo runs out. Live music by the world renowned Papa LeBeaux's Jazz Gumbo Band. Advance tickets available online and at Bill's Records and Forever Young Records.

Krewe of Barkus – Dress up your pooch and head to historic Downtown McKinney for an afternoon of Mardi Gras fun. Patterned after the legendary Mystic Krewe of Barkus in New Orleans, which helps abused and abandoned dogs. There is a dog parade, a costume contest, canine training, exercise demonstrations and more. Owners and their canine companions dress according to the theme each year (this year it's animated characters). Kids can enter “Animated” floats and join the parade. For more info call the McKinney Main Street Office at 972-547-2660.

Lake Dallas Mardi Gras – This years’ Lake Dallas Mardi Gras celebration is set for Fat Tuesday, February 12th on Main Street from 5 to 9 pm. The parade rolls at 5:30 pm -- it's the Greatest Free Event... in Denton County. The “Nawlin’s Gumbo Kings” will be the headline entertainment with their New Orleans jazz .

Mardi Gras Texas Style – Held on February 16th from noon ‘til midnight in the Automobile building at Fair Park, this country music-themed Mardi Gras Party goes on rain or shine. There are four stages with a huge number of acts throughout the day (28 bands total!). The Randy Rogers and Josh Abbot Bands will end the night. Tickets are $35-40. Their somewhat lame website is

Nate’s Seafood

14951 Midway Rd. Addison, TX 75001 – February 21, 2012 – Nate’s has been one of our Mardi Gras, Fat Tuesday headquarters for many years. It’s crowded, loud, there’s live music, beads, booze, an occasional boob, and it’s a lot like the French Quarter! Get there very early for a seat.

The Quarter

15201 Addison Rd. Addison, TX 75001 – Just North of Belt Line. Mardi Gras party on the 12th. Full menu served until 1:30 am. This is a French Quarter themed bar and restaurant. With a nice patio.

With all of these new MG options popping up, Dallasites should be able to get a hint of the infectious spirit that is Mardi Gras. So get out there and start a Krewe, have some drinks, party with friends and strangers, flash your things, get some beads, stop a fight, get a King Cake, share a slice, and make the one who gets the little plastic baby pay for the drinks! Aieeeeeee! Laissez les bons temps rouler (let the good times roll)!