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Film Review: Creed

creed movie review

Starring: Michael B. Jordan, Sylvester Stallone, Tessa Thompson and Phylicia Rashad

Production: M-G-M, Warner Bros., New Line Cinema, Chartoff Winkler Productions

Rated: PG-13 (for violence, language and some sensuality)

Opens: November 25, 2015

Spinoffs beware because this one might actually live up to its name. As in, not just another extension of a movie that had good box office numbers the first time around or in the “Rocky” franchise case a few times around. It has been almost 10 years since Rocky Balboa’s last chapter, in this one he isn’t fighting, but we see there is still a lot of fight left in him.

When Apollo Creed’s illegitimate son Adonis Johnson played by Michael B. Jordan shows up in Philadelphia to ask Rocky to help learn to fight it’s a tough sale, but predictable he does come around. Adonis didn’t know his famous father who was a world heavy weight champion, but the son certainly got the fathers inkling to kick some butt. He does it well and in the final match of the movie he fights a world champion for his last fight. Everyone thinks it is a predictable lose for Adonis, except for Rocky and Adonis. While he doesn’t win he does prove himself and we know the rest is history.

Director/Co-writer Ryan Coogler of “Fruitvale Station” notoriety is at the helm here and this is the first Rocky film not to have been written by Stallone, but Coogler keeps to the winning formula. Another shout out to the film’s music score, which hits high notes and is a variety of music that does not have the Rocky theme written on it at all except in just one case, very subtly. Those famous Philly steps that won Rocky his place in history also make an appearance in “Creed,” but we had to be reminded and it was worth it.

Hard Rock Cafe Dallas Brings The Heat

burger and beer pairing

Hard Rock Cafe Dallas Brings The Heat With New Burger And Beer Pairing

Hard Rock Cafe Dallas is honoring New Orleans’ classic flair with its latest burger and beer pairing, the Modelo Especial duet (see attached photo). To create an authentic pairing that celebrates the city’s larger-than-life culture, Hard Rock joined forces with New Orleans native, Chef Aaron Burgau, to craft the Modelo Especial Bacon Cheeseburger. The limited-time burger will be paired with Modelo Especial, the number two imported beer in the U.S., produced by Constellation Brands, and it will be available at cafes around the nation through Sunday, January 3, 2016.

Hard Rock Cafe’s Modelo Especial Bacon Cheeseburger features a Certified Angus Beef® patty drizzled with Modelo Especial-infused beer cheese and topped with Applewood-smoked bacon, grilled poblanos, garlic aioli, lettuce and a tomato slice served on a brioche bun.

The burger will be served with Hard Rock’s seasoned fries and a side of Modelo Especial-infused beer cheese, allowing guests to enjoy the beer’s clean, crisp flavor in every bite.

“We enlisted Louisiana native, Chef Aaron Burgau, to create a unique burger to perfectly match Modelo Especial, and draw on Chef Aaron’s deep Louisiana culinary influences for the pairing,” said Darryl Mickler, Senior Director of Research and Development at Hard Rock International. “The moderate hop notes of Modelo Especial complement the richness of the Modelo Especial-infused beer cheese and light heat of the grilled poblano.”

The new Modelo Especial duet marks the fourth of Hard Rock’s year-long line of burger and beer pairings, including the Rebel Legendary™ Burger, Goose Island Tropical Bacon Burger and Samuel Adams OctoberFest Schnitzel Burger.

Each limited-edition burger was created with a specific beer in mind, taking the culinary beer trend to the next level by infusing beer into the burger recipe.

“Hard Rock is famous for its legendary burgers and unique culinary flair, and we are proud to partner with the brand and Chef Aaron Burgau in order to create a burger and beer pairing that allows our Modelo Especial beer to shine,” said Raul Ruiz, senior brand manager, brand marketing for Constellation Brands Beer Division.

“There’s no better place to highlight this partnership and new pairing than the legendary city of New Orleans, with its vibrant food and drink scene and historic atmosphere.”

Hard Rock’s Modelo Especial burger and beer pairing is available at cafe locations nationwide through January 3, 2016. Guests can stop by Hard Rock Cafe to try out the latest items or visit www.hardrock.com for more information.

Nourish Bakery Produces Grain Free Foods

Nourish Bakery

Nourish Bakery, the first of its kind bakery produces grain-free foods for people with special dietary requirements, or those who just want to live a healthier lifestyle. Based in Madison, Alabama in an antique, refurbished church, the bakery is now selling their food nationwide.

Founder Stacey Schlaman says she was inspired to start the business through her own trial and error experiences in trying to provide grain-free meals to her daughter, who had symptoms of auto-immune diseases. Ms. Schlaman was an advocate of healthy eating and exercise as a personal trainer and yoga instructor. She saw that her clients following lower carbohydrate diets seemed to have the most improvement in strength, endurance, weight loss, and general health.

“My hope is that I can provide a convenient option for those with special dietary requirements,” said Schlaman. “This market is so vastly underserved and so many want and need the types of food we create. I hope we are able to make life a little bit easier, for people that all too often carry a heavier burden than most.”

Her company, Nourish Bakery, is committed to the production of sweet and savory foods that go “Beyond Paleo.” Their products range from breads to condiments, and breakfast treats to crackers, buns, pizza crusts, and desserts. Ms. Schlaman and her all-female team now work with large specialty retailers who represent their brands along with some of the world’s largest food companies to make Nourish Bakery’s products accessible to a national audience.

Nourish Bakery is housed in a 100% grain and gluten free facility, and their products eliminate most starches, using only pure honey, fruit or vanilla for sweetener. Low lactose cheeses help provide flavor for some of the products and no artificial colors or preservatives are used.

I was really interested in finding out more about Nourish Bakery since my daughter has been on a Gluten-free diet for several years now, and she is one of the healthiest people I know. We ordered a box of products from the bakery, and after sampling their almond bread, cinnamon rolls, pasta sauce, and other products, it is clear Nourish Bakery is on the right track. Their products are not only delicious but make you feel very righteous, even after eating a rich, yummy baked treat.

For more information about Nourish Bakery or to view all product offerings, please visit www.NourishBakery.com.


This Shopping Season Consider Going Local

small business saturday
Jessica Hahn, owner of Jessica’s Flowers and Gifts discusses plant care. Both Cedar Hill based business owners are looking forward to greeting customers on Small Business Saturday. Photos by Wendy Lee/ Focus Daily News

DUNCANVILLE—When the last down of the Cowboys game has been played and the carcass of the Thanksgiving bird has been discarded, the minds of millions across the country will turn the official start of the holiday shopping season.

While some larger conglomerates are literally opening on Thanksgiving as early as 8:00 p.m., other stores are opening at the crack of dawn at 6:00 a.m. on Black Friday.

However, while these megastores might be going crazy to attract customers, its also important to keep those local “mom and pop” businesses in mind when shopping this year for the holidays.

Small Business Saturday is an American shopping holiday held on the Saturday after Thanksgiving during one of the busiest shopping periods of the year. First celebrated on November 27, 2010, it is a counterpart to Black Friday and Cyber Monday, which feature big box retail and e-commerce stores respectively. By contrast, Small Business Saturday encourages holiday shoppers to patronize brick and mortar businesses that are small and local.

Steve Martin, President/CEO of the Duncanville Chamber of Commerce says “Basically, I just encourage folks to shop locally from our own city. Small local businesses are the largest employers nationally. The money that we spend closer to home with small businesses is magnified because they in turn spend money with other local businesses and service providers.”

In 2010 the holiday was conceived and promoted by American Express via a nationwide radio and television advertising campaign. That year Amex bought advertising inventory on Facebook, which it in turn gave to its small merchant account holders and also gave rebates to new customers to promote the event.

American Express publicized the initiative using social media, advertising, and public relations. At least 41 local politicians and many small business groups in the United States issued proclamations concerning the campaign, which generated more than one million Facebook “like” registrations and nearly 30,000 tweets under the Twitter hashtags #smallbusinesssaturday (which had existed since early 2010) and #smallbizsaturday.

Cinda Baxter, founder of The 3/50 Project, was national spokesperson for Small Business Saturday its first year.

The 3/50 Project encourages consumers to commit to spending $50 of their current monthly budgets with independently owned small businesses they care about.

Either way, the small businesses in the cities throughout the Best Southwest are looking to record black ink for their businesses this year too.

“When we look at Mom and Pop stores we see two clear trends,” says Steve Brazill, Associate Professor, Division Chair, Management/Marketing at Northwood University-Texas Campus.

“Moms and Pops have continued to create a large number of retail jobs, even through the downturn while larger stores were laying people off–and in that sense, they serve as a community safety net.”

Brazill also notes however, that he sees the “Mom and Pop” stores are in decline. “As important as they are to the economic health of our communities, they are among the first to be hurt when the business climate–a slowing economy with growing red tape–turns bad.”

So with the holiday season Martin concludes “Local businesses are owned by people who live in this community and are more concerned with the community’s welfare and future and they donate more to civic groups and local charities.”

In other small business news, Monte Anderson and Options Real Estate have produced, and released, a short documentary about Main Street Duncanville and their work in creating a sustainable Duncanville.

The piece highlight the tenants of Main Station, both residential and business, businesses along Main Street, and the newest development at 111 E. Davis.

Monte Anderson also highlights other businesses in town that Options Real Estate has had a hand in bringing to Duncanville, especially those that directly impacts Main Street Duncanville.

In May 2012 the Texas Public Works Association (TPWA) has named the City of Duncanville the winner of this year’s Public Works Project of the Year Award, for the under $2 million category, for excellence in management and administration of the City’s N. Main Street Project.

Spotlight Movie Review: A Riveting Drama

Spotlight movie review

Spotlight Movie Review: Based On A True Story

Open Road Films’ “Spotlight” opened Friday, Nov. 13 in limited release in area theaters including the Angelika Dallas and NorthPark. A suspenseful drama written by Tom McCarthy and Josh Singer and directed by McCarthy, the film is rated R and runs 2 hours 7 minutes.

This film, covering the Boston Globe’s Pulitzer Prize-winning team of reporters and editors who uncovered numerous cases of child abuse by priests in 2001, is the best film I’ve seen this year. In spite of a high level cover-up, the Spotlight team from the Globe refused to back down from doggedly pursuing this important story that had been virtually ignored by the Catholic Church.

This story is all the more riveting because it’s true. Even though we know the outcome, the suspense escalates to an almost unbearable crescendo as this horror story unfolds. What was initially thought to be a few “rotten apple” priests turns out to be closer to 100, and that’s just in their neighborhood. It’s not just the church and its leadership that kept this outrage buried, but high-ranking legal and government officials were also involved in the cover-up.

“Spotlight” stars a terrific ensemble cast led by Michael Keaton as editor Robby Robinson, with his Spotlight investigative team featuring Mark Ruffalo as Michael Rezendes, Rachel McAdams as Sacha Pfeiffer, Brian D’arcy James as Matt Carroll, and John Slattery as Deputy Editor Ben Bradlee, Jr., who oversaw the Spotlight team. Liv Schreiber plays the new Executive Editor, Marty Baron, who started the ball rolling on the story.

Other standouts in the film include Stanley Tucci as Mitchell Garabedian, an independent attorney who’s fought tremendous odds for years in trying to win settlements or a day in court for the victims and their families; Billy Crudup and Jamey Sheridan are also attorneys who were involved in the investigation. Neal Huff is also compelling as a victim who started an organization called SNAP for other victims of abuse, while kindly Len Cariou (best known for his ongoing role as the Senior Reagan in “Blue Bloods”) aptly demonstrates the benevolent influence enjoyed by Cardinal Law.

The film doesn’t give its reporters super powers, but instead shows how hard work and plain, old-fashioned knocking on doors—and listening to people–can slowly unravel even the most intricate web. Far from being a glamorous job, their investigative reporting was tedious and time-consuming, taking a toll on them as well as their families.

Amazingly, once the Globe broke the story early in 2002 it quickly became evident this was only the tip of the iceberg. Incidents of child abuse and resulting cover-ups came to light all over the world. In the Boston area alone, there were over 1,000 victims who came forward following the story.

“Spotlight” shines a light on what journalists—or any of us who want to help make the world a better place–can accomplish when they refuse to be intimidated by an abuse of power.

Room Film Review, An Unforgettable Movie

room film review

Room Film Review

Room is a suspenseful drama written by Emma Donoghue, directed by Lenny Abrahamson, produced by Element Pictures.Donoghue adapted the script from her best-selling novel “Room”. The film has a limited opening in Dallas Oct. 16. Runs 1 hour 53 minutes, rated R for language

This film is the most mesmerizing, unforgettable film I’ve seen this year. It’s the story of Jack, a 5-year-old boy (Jacob Tremblay) and his beloved Ma (Brie Larson). Jack has never known a world except for that of his imagination or the one seen on the TV set that allows him to experience Dora the Explorer and other kid-friendly shows.

While he has infectious high spirits, Jack seems content to be always surrounded by four walls. Every morning when he wakes he sings hello to the wardrobe, sink, toilet, and other fixtures. As long as Ma is there, and he can soar with his imagination wherever he likes, Jack is happy.

Larson gives an amazing portrayal as the 24-year-old woman who was kidnapped at 17 and kept secluded in a windowless, 10 by 10 foot garden shed by a predator/captor (sadly reminiscent of real documented cases) she calls Old Nick (Sean Bridgers). Following the birth of her son, Ma finds a reason to live in protecting and nurturing Jack through stories, games and creative activities including pretend track meets.

Nail Biting Suspense

Room turns from claustrophobic to nail-biting suspense as we are introduced to more characters, including their captor. Ma has kept her son from meeting Old Nick by putting Jack to sleep in the wardrobe/closet before the man’s nocturnal visits. When the boy’s curiosity compels him to venture out to examine the man while he sleeps, Ma realizes it’s time to act.

Now that he’s five, she is determined to find a way out for her beloved son, if not herself.

Also featured in the film are veteran actors Joan Allen and William H. Macy as Jack’s grandparents (now divorced) and Tom McCamus as Leo, an old family friend who’s now Allen’s significant other. While everyone in the film is very good, the two stars are quite simply incredible as Ma and Jack. The unbreakable bond and love between the two of them is a thing of real beauty. Larson should be nominated for an Academy Award, while young Mr. Tremblay is assured of a successful, and long celluloid future as well.

Food Meets Decor With Hot Wedding Trends

hot wedding trends

When it comes to weddings (or pretty much any party), unique is the new traditional, and no event should be created alike.

One of the most buzzed-about trends for the big day is to have fun with food by creating edible displays that are anything but expected. Guests will fall in love with a deliciously entertaining menu that doubles as memorable wedding decor.

Spanning every course, from appetizers to wedding cake, these arrangements take dishes from dull to distinctive and will keep guests talking about the wedding to remember.

Traditional dairy products – cheese, ice cream, butter and milk – can serve as simple staples to any impressive consumable creation.

The expert party and event styling pros at The TomKat Studio offer the following how-to guide for creating a standout wedding reception and dining experience. These unique ideas all feature dairy foods, with a special focus on another timely wedding trend: the rustic theme.
Replace Traditional Wedding Cake with Tiered Cheese Wheels
Add savory to traditional sweets by layering wheels of various Real California cheeses.Style Tip: Display layered cheese cake with paper flags describing the type of cheese for each layer. Follow these steps to make the cake picture perfect:

•Keep textures and colors in mind. Neutral-colored rinds offer a rustic look while waxy exteriors boasting yellow or other hues are best for colorful celebrations.

•Cater to different tastes by choosing an array of cheese profiles. For example, pairing salty manchego, buttery Camembert and nutty Swiss-Italian cheeses offer an interesting contrast of flavors.

•For lower tiers, select a hard or semi-hard cheese for a solid foundation. Soft and semi-soft cheese can be used for upper tiers.

•Stacking the wheels works perfectly. Or add complementary preserve spreads or honey as “icing” to adhere the layers. When using crumbly cheeses, add parchment between layers.

•To add edible and non-edible decorations between tiers, place a shallow bowl between the tiers to prop up wheels. Then, decorations can be placed around bowl, camouflaging this structural element between cake layers. Edible items can include nuts, chocolate, fresh fruit and produce, while flowers and foliage work best for non-edibles.•Raise a Toast to Cookies and Milk
“Cheers” takes a unique form when warm chocolate chip cookies are wrapped around cold Real California Milk.Style Tip: Utilize servers to pass out shots for a toast – a real crowd-pleaser for guests of all ages.

Serve Deconstructed Cheesecake
Switch out the traditional cheesecake. Instead, pair delicate squares of cheese with complementary flavors, such as delicious slices of fruits, veggies, spreads and finely sliced meat cuts. Place each bite-sized morsel on upright forks that are lined up within shallow, wooden boxes that are adorned with labels marking each dessert option.

Style Tip: Place a Styrofoam layer in boxes and top with salt to hide the foam and to give a clean, white appearance while anchoring forks within each box.

Create a Cool Ice Cream Destination
Put a creamy twist on the traditional lemonade stand. Scoop Real California ice cream at a wooden ice cream stand, serving the bride’s and groom’s favorite ice cream flavors and toppings.

Style Tip: Create custom signage for the mini structure using the newlywed’s names and drill wood planks to serve as cone holders that are displayed on stand while guests wait for their orders.

Send Guests Off with a Midnight Snack Box
Keep guests talking about the fun, memorable evening with a takeaway box filled with a selection of cheese, chocolate and individual milk bottles or champagne splits for guests to enjoy post-wedding.

Style Tip: Place contents in reusable wooden, wire or paper box wrapped in wedding colors and customized with the couple’s names and wedding date.

For more dairy recipes and tips, visit realcaliforniamilk.com.

Barware Basics For Your Wedding Registry


Building a registry is one of the big items on the wedding checklist and it can often seem like an overwhelming task, given the number of categories to consider. From bedding and bath to kitchen, furniture and so much more, the perfect wedding registry will include all of the things that you’ll want to have as you start this next chapter as a married couple.

One area to focus on is selecting great barware. You may be entertaining friends and family even more as newlyweds, so having the right glassware and tools that fit your entertaining style is important. To help with the process, Clinton Kelly, “Wedding’s Best Man” for Macy’s, shares his tips for building a well-stocked bar, as well as recipes to impress any guest.

Decide on a Style
Whether it’s frilly and fluted or heavy and masculine, determine a style that best suits your taste. The traditional route is to get a suite of cut crystal, but these days, casual glassware is just as welcome on the table, as well as mixing different styles.

Know Thy Beverage
Technically, just about every drink has an optimal glass silhouette. But unless you have unlimited storage space, consider what you like to drink and how you entertain. If your typical Saturday night involves eight-course dinners with wine pairings, register for a glass for each grape. For everyone else, consider eight to 12 each of the three or four glasses you’re most likely to use, Kelly adds.

Shape it Up
Most people go for red and white wine glasses, plus champagne flutes or ones for fortified wines. When it comes to cocktails, start with highball glasses which you can also use for water, and then pick specialty silhouettes based on your favorite beverages: martini glasses, margarita glasses, Irish coffee mugs and more. If you’re a beer drinker, load up on steins or pilsner glasses instead.

The Right Tool for Every Drink
Fill out your registry with plenty of accessories and tools: corkscrew, decanter, shaker, ice bucket and more. And while you’re at it, why not a bar cart to hold it all?

It’s 5 O-Clock Somewhere

Master these drink recipe ideas from Kelly and you’ll impress all your friends.

  • Martini: Add 2 ounces of gin and a splash of vermouth to a shaker filled with ice. Shake it, then strain into a chilled glass and garnish with two olives or a twist of lemon. Substitute pearl onions to make it a Gibson.
  • Margarita: Add one part each tequila, triple sec, lime juice and simple syrup (you can use brown sugar for a caramel flavor) to a shaker filled with ice. Mix and strain into a salt-rimmed glass filled with ice. Sub in spicy salt or jalapeno-infused tequila for some kick.
  • French 75: Mix an ounce of gin, a little simple syrup and lemon juice in a shaker. Then strain it into a champagne flute and top with champagne.


Celebrity Chef Gabrielle McBay Joins DeSoto Living!

Gabrielle Mcbay

The DeSoto Chamber is proud to announce that DeSoto ISD graduate, Chef Gabrielle McBay (from ABC’s “Job or No Job”), will be doing a live cooking demonstration during the DeSoto Living event. According to Chamber President Laura Terhune, “Gabrielle McBay (affectionately known as, ‘Chef Elle’) turned her love for pastries into a business in high school at the age of 14. Her creative aspirations propelled her into pursuing a culinary career.” Terhune continued, “McBay honed those skills at Texas Christian University, and soon after transformed her pastry business into Ellements Cuisine. We are thrilled that she will demonstrate her skills on the DeSoto Civic Center Stage.”

DeSoto Living! is an event designed to highlight and celebrate life and living in the DeSoto and Best Southwest. Local and area businesses and food vendors will be doing demonstrations, giving away goodies, brochures and samples and offering valuable discounts on goods and services. The Food Court will offer burgers and hot dogs from the DeSoto High School Culinary Arts Program. Costco will serve their delicious white and chocolate cake. Other food vendors will be announced in the coming days.

The event will be Thursday, September 24, from 4:00 – 8:00 PM. Admission is $10 for adults, $5 for students and children under 10 are FREE. Admission from 4 to 5 pm is $5 for senior citizens. VIP passes are available for $25 and include two beer or wine tickets, chair massages and hors d’oeuvres. (Must be 21 to purchase VIP tickets.)

Vendor spaces are available for $100, includes table, chairs and draping. Call the Chamber for registration information at 972-224-3565 or email Rachel Hill at [email protected]

A Great Burger in Dallas

Dugg Burger

Seeking The Perfect Burger in Dallas- Dugg Burger

If you are looking for a simple burger with a simple menu, but not a simple taste check out Dugg Burger in Dallas’ Lakewood area. These guys have created the perfect burger concept. The juicy style burger, complete with organic meat, is served inside a tasty bun. Even better, you get to choose your own fixings while the burger master digs out the bun and replaces it with your chosen ingredients.

Turning the world of burgers upside down, Dugg Burger opened earlier this year. It was founded by Jeff Braunstein, Martin Hennessy, Scott Spence and Jeremy Samson. These four burger-loving restaurant industry veterans collectively boast over 70 years of experience.

A revolutionary burger concept indeed, Dugg Burger combines simplicity with innovation. The name appropriately comes from the unique process of digging out the top portion of the bun so as to reverse the burger-building process.

“Dallas is a burger town. People aren’t even going to walk in the door if you don’t have a great burger,” says Braunstein. “Guests have been loving our burger because our dug out bun lets them taste more of the meat and toppings. This process also allows us to provide a high quality, customized burger — done quickly. We believe that was something missing here in Dallas.”

For toppings – well that is simple since you can choose from the “Dugg Dozen” toppings. Feeling adventurous? Take a chance on the day’s rotating Lucky 13 topping, a surprise every day.

What’s not surprising is the Dugg Burger philosophy, which emphasizes guest customization while keeping pace with a faster moving style of foodie.

Located in the hip area of Dallas in the Northeast corner of the Casa Linda Shopping Center. Dugg Burger is casual, but expect to be impressed.


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