Troy Gardner has been a cook since childhood, experimenting with food and watching cooking shows on PBS. He started his own catering company at the age of 28, serving the employees of upscale retailers and salons, and later their clients. In 2002, he opened a restaurant behind Zu Bar, later moving on to open Exposition Park Café, popular in the artistic and creative circles. Just last year, he embarked on his most recent endeavor on Oak Lawn Avenue, Samson’s Gourmet Hot Dogs.
Samson’s Gourmet Hot Dogs
2615 Oak Lawn Ave.
Dallas, TX 75219
Visit Troy at his restaurant, Samson’s Hot Dogs in Uptown or order online to experiment with tasty classic treats served up in a variety of new ways. Samson’s also offers cane sugar drinks, sweet potato chips made fresh and other familiar sides with his own new twist. With all his years in the industry, Gardner has developed the skills to bring flavor to the table. Here are a few of Troy’s top picks for hot drinks just in time for the holidays.
Spiced Hot Toddy
The Spiced Hot Toddy is a classically delicious treat, perfect to cure winter chills. Combining honey, lemon, tea, brandy, cinnamon and cloves, this delightful concoction is warm, soothing and surprisingly easy to make on your own. Try substituting rum or whiskey for brandy to add some variety to this seasonal staple. Perfect for holiday parties, after a Spiced Hot Toddy, who would ever request egg nog again?
Texas Hot Cocoa
Who isn’t a fan of hot cocoa in the cold months of the year? There is always room for improvement on even the most well-loved recipes. If you have not tried Texas Hot Cocoa, you may be missing out, according to Gardner. The recipe starts out with chocolate and milk and cream, with the option of adding extra sugar to taste and cinnamon. Later a mixture of eggs and vanilla will thicken the mix. Finally add chocolate liqueur or peppermint Schnapps for a refreshing retake on this tantalizing treat.
If there are two things in the world of deliciousness that are considered blessings it would be Nutella and coffee. In this case, we can enjoy the two at the same time. First brew your coffee, adding the milk of your preference. Then improve by adding vanilla and Nutella. Add ice if you wish and enjoy perfection in your cup. For an added twist, change up the coffee you are dousing in Nutella with something different. Forget instant coffee, this recipe calls for high-quality, aromatic goodness to be at its best.
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Wine can warm a cold heart with ease. Yet in the winter months, few of us are looking for anything chilly to drink. Mulled wine can be one of the greatest tasty drinks of the winter, and when served warm, keep you in great holiday spirits. The first step is combining the main ingredients of wine, brandy, orange, nutmeg, lemon and sugar. Throw in some spice to fulfill your adventurous side. Boil it in a saucepan and let it marinate. Serve warm and smile wide. Several wines would work with this flavorful beverage, however, a Merlot seems to be the standard choice for Mulled Wine varieties. Feel free to experiment and find your own perfect combination to serve to family and friends.
Hot Buttered Rum
This yummy drink is heavy on the brown sugar and put together almost sounds like a meal rather than a drink. Blending brown sugar, unsalted butter, honey, vanilla, nutmeg, allspice, cinnamon and rum extract, Hot Buttered Rum can be stored and enjoyed throughout the long, cold winter. Heat it up, relax, sit back and sip on greatness, applauding whomever first created this fantastic recipe. Taste is the best gift of all.
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Kena Sosa is a freelance writer in Dallas. Her work can be found at Examiner.com.