From the Bike to the Mat: Getting a good stretch at Reef Point Yoga

I have some new neighbors moving in down the street, quite a few new neighbors actually. As a part of the State Farm mega complex that's just about finished, it's like a whole city is emerging at the 75/George Bush corridor. And since that's basically in my backyard, there are lots of new shops, restaurants and services opening up for me to try out — and the one I am most excited to go visit is Reef Point Yoga.

Reef Point is a brand-new yoga studio that is set to open in mid-April. Before the studio gets to full swing, they have partnered with City Line DFW to host yoga in the Plaza on Saturday mornings. Check out their web site to keep an eye on when the studio will open, class schedules and more: reefpointyoga.com ... they are also active on Instagram @ReefPointYoga

My lower back is often really tight from hours on the bike and yoga is a great way for me to loosen up that area. As a part of an overall conditioning, doing yoga is a great way for me to stay limber and in a whole lot less pain throughout the race seasons.

Many of you in the Dallas area have probably driven right by City Line DFW a time or two and gazed upon the giant State Farm towers on the southeast side of 75 and the George Bush. Even if you don't see "Jake" from State Farm, the area is worth a visit. City Line has a little bit of everything from multiple dining options to a Whole Foods, from Massage Envy to my new favorite, Reef Point Yoga.

This past Saturday, I opted to set the cycling shoes and helmet aside (for a few hours) and go join in on the Saturday morning class. When I arrived, I met up with Ariel, Kathi and Ellen Beth from the studio. I couldn't have felt more welcome. What a great way to start the day as the sun came over the buildings to warm our faces as we started the hour. I have been neglecting my stretching and yoga for quite some time and I am certain this will get me back on the right path and help me stay a bit more comfortable and loose on the bike.

Next time you need to get your Namaste on, be sure to pay them a visit on a Saturday morning or any day in a few weeks when they get the studio open! I plan on making it out to the classes regularly, so hit me up if you'd like to join me for a class or two.

Yogis finding spots for mats despite an early morning chill in the air.

Yogis finding spots for mats despite an early morning chill in the air.

A beautiful sunrise over recently completed apartments at City Line DFW.

A beautiful sunrise over recently completed apartments at City Line DFW.

The view from the yoga mat looking up at one of the State Farm Towers.

The view from the yoga mat looking up at one of the State Farm Towers.

It was an eggs-cellent morning complete with small gifts from the local business.

It was an eggs-cellent morning complete with small gifts from the local business.

Plank competition for a $130 credit to Reef Point (and I can't wait to try Good Union BBQ).

Plank competition for a $130 credit to Reef Point (and I can't wait to try Good Union BBQ).

Taylor was solid in the plank contest, coming in 4th.

Taylor was solid in the plank contest, coming in 4th.

Manager Ariel, owner Kathi, and instructor Ellen Beth look forward to seeing you soon! Tell them I sent you — not sure what it will get you, but ...

Manager Ariel, owner Kathi, and instructor Ellen Beth look forward to seeing you soon! Tell them I sent you — not sure what it will get you, but ...

Dinner Lab // Dallas

The “pop-up” kitchen idea is not entirely new idea but one that has been gaining momentum in recent years. As I was scrolling through one of the social media channels a few weeks ago, I came across one called Dinner Lab. As it turns out, there was one just a few nights later and already sold out, but as I scrolled through one in the near future caught my eye – Still Notes featuring Chef Markus Carter and one of my favorites, Woodford Reserve. Yes, I’ll take four tickets please.

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Here is how Dinner Lab works. You can join Dinner Lab as a member for free. When the next chef and menu are announced, the member has the option to buy tickets for the dinner. During the night of the event no money exchanges hand; the food, beverages, and gratuities are all taken care of. Then just sit and wait until about 36 hours until the dinner for the location to be revealed. As the day drew near for our event we found out it was to be held at WELD Collaborative Work and Studio Space in the Dallas Design District.

A few quick facts pulled right from the Dinner Lab website. The first Dinner Lab was hosted in August of 2011 in New Orleans serving 18 people. Then just one year later, the first membership was sold. That was quickly followed by expansion to Austin, Texas. According to my count, I see that Dinner Lab is active in 31 cities all across the country. Following them on various social media platforms events are almost occurring nightly.

Ah, Woodford — a favorite. Here's a peek at one of the best dishes of the night: Arctic Potato Salad featuring cured arctic char. A real showstopper.

Ah, Woodford — a favorite. Here's a peek at one of the best dishes of the night: Arctic Potato Salad featuring cured arctic char. A real showstopper.

As my guests — friends Travis, Paula and Annie — and I arrived at WELD, we found ourselves warmly greeted and welcomed to the facility. Wine was being passed as we checked in and as we made our way in to the space to be used as the dining room the kitchen and service staff were already in full flight, plating up the first course, Artic Potato Salad. Not to be outshined by that amazing looking starter was the Thoroughbred mixed drink, featuring Woodford Reserve and Goslings Ginger Beer. Even though it was a bit gloomy and misty last Friday night, this cocktail will definitely be added to the summer playlist.

One of many, many trips to the open bar with Mirage teammate Travis Pope.

One of many, many trips to the open bar with Mirage teammate Travis Pope.

We mingled and made small talk while other guests made their way in. In one corner of the room, a hostess from Woodford was offering an educational tasting wheel, giving guest the opportunity to explore the nuances of the Bourbon after tasting five distinct and different flavors on the palate. These ranged from small pieces of orange to maple syrup. I didn’t get a chance to participate, but I think this will make for a great night at home with friends. Anyone up for it?  

Woodford Reserve tasting bar — and a guide for doing an at-home tasting with friends: anyone interested in joining me?

Woodford Reserve tasting bar — and a guide for doing an at-home tasting with friends: anyone interested in joining me?

As we were seated, we were introduced to Chef Carter (in the red ballcap) who began to walk us through the evening’s menu. Chef carefully, and with great detail, described all five courses to us including a featured drink to be paired with the entrée. He also made mention of the fact all of the recipes were those of his recently passed father, just made bigger. It is truly wonderful the bond that is shared over the generations as they pass recipes down.

On to the opening salvo. The Artic Salad featured an impressive helping of cured arctic char. I have not dined on char in years and I have never had it smoked. If you like smoked salmon, you will love cured arctic char. The smoked flavor was subdued and not overwhelming while the char sat atop a smashed herbed potato. To tie it all together an aioli lined the bottom of the plate, giving the dish that potato salad feel.

The second course was Shrimp and Leeks. Normally I would be willing to bet the shrimp to be the star of the show, and by no means am I taking anything away from the pickled shrimp, but the grilled leaks were out of this world. Reminded me a bit of a grilled artichoke, but 10 times better. Very simple too, from what I could tell just grilled with olive oil, salt and pepper. And not that it was an afterthought, but there was a grape confit nestled under the shrimp, that had “been cooking for days” according to Chef Carter. If it wasn’t for the main, this course would have been the highlight of the night.

Sorrel soup, could've just used a little something more, maybe salt?

Sorrel soup, could've just used a little something more, maybe salt?

For the third course, we were to be served Sorrel Soup. Self admittedly I am not familiar with sorrel so I pulled out the phone to reference the Google machine. Sorrel is a green, not native to North America, and pictures of it look like something between spinach and a weed. I do not recall the procedure to prepare the soup, but it was probably along the lines of wilted and then pureed with heavy cream and seasonings added along the way. Perhaps the most unique part of this course was the Rye Chip served alongside. Almost a soft and chewy lavash cracker to enjoy with the soup, intriguing to say the least.

The pork rib itself was fall-off-the-bone perfection and seasoned just right.
I'm from Kansas City, so I know barbeque. And this pork rib was magnificent.

I'm from Kansas City, so I know barbeque. And this pork rib was magnificent.

And now for the star of the show, sage salsa. Sage salsa you ask? Indeed I say. The fourth and main course, if you will, was a Pork Rib served with honey cornbread crumble, a hint of serrano chile, and sage salsa. The pork rib itself was fall-off-the-bone perfection and seasoned just right. Then the slightest dabs of sage salsa adorned the ribs. A vibrant shade of green and tasting much like a chimichurri, it really set off those pork ribs perfectly. So much so that I will be carefully cultivating the sage I planted a few weeks ago in hopes of replicating the deliciousness.

Oh yes, a Burnt Orange Old Fashioned accompanied the pork ribs for those of you keeping score at home. Made with Woodford Reserve, of course.

We closed out the dining with Woodford and Raisin Shortcake. Once again, if you feature Woodford, how can you go wrong? This delightful and moist shortcake was served with icy cold rhubarb ice cream and candied pecans. Rhubarb is in season and made for a wonderful pairing with the shortcake. A fantastic way to close out the evening’s experience.

Making notes for feedback and rating the foods and the evening: let's just say, I have pretty high marks!

Making notes for feedback and rating the foods and the evening: let's just say, I have pretty high marks!

We were given “scorecards,” if you will, to offer feedback on the various dishes. As we recounted our experiences with the different courses it was quite apparent we were all pleased and had truly enjoyed ourselves and will defiantly be attending another Dinner Lab soon. You should do the same — and if you do, reach out to me for a special code that will get us both a little something extra!

Some serious discussion took place with Travis and Paula — about food, bicycle racing and busted collarbones ... and track sacks. Travis also heard many stories about #pintsizedpaula and the infamous #sisterwives.

Some serious discussion took place with Travis and Paula — about food, bicycle racing and busted collarbones ... and track sacks. Travis also heard many stories about #pintsizedpaula and the infamous #sisterwives.

#dinnerlab #woodfordreserve