Fireside Pies is a Dallas native pizza joint with five locations in DFW … and it’s growing. (The newest location is opening very soon in Lake Highlands!) Their food is made fresh in-house daily with high quality ingredients to make some really fantastic pies that pizza fanatics crave.
As it should, my meal here started with a stiff, well-balanced cocktail. My go-to cocktail at Fireside Pies is their traditional old fashioned. They make it with Old Forrester Signature Bourbon, Maraska Maraschino Cherry Liqueur, and bitters.
After our cocktail arrived, we began to peruse the menu. We had a large meal coming, but we were advised that the perfect starter to prepare for the main event (aka … the pies) was the Caesar salad and their mouthwatering burrata mozzarella crostini. The crostini is a new must-have for me at Fireside Pies. Bread and cheese—name a better combo. Tomato, EVVO, balsamic drizzle and you have yourself a wonderful beginning to an Italian food adventure. This Caesar is next level! And the addition of chicken on the salad is optional but highly recommend as it was seasoned and cooked to perfection.
And then … it was time to enjoy what Fireside Pies does best … the pizza pies. We tried three pizzas—all different and de.lic.ious. When you have a vegetarian at the table, you kind of have to be a nice person and accommodate them. The Garlic and Sage White Pie was hands-down the winner for best pie of the night … and it won the title without a hint of meat! The flavors were deep and complex, the dough was light and crispy, and the toppings were nothing short of perfect. You can taste the pride that Fireside Pies takes in making its authentic food with each and every bite.
Find the Fireside Pies location closest to you to enjoy some of the best pizza in DFW made with the freshest ingredients. Make sure and check out their website for the latest news on the newest location opening very soon in Lake Highlands!
FIRESIDE PIES firesidepies.com Locations in Dallas, Fort Worth, Grapevine, Plano, and Lake Highlands (coming soon)
The Local Yocal was the perfect addition to downtown McKinney. They originally started as a meat market, which still operates across the street, and recently opened as a full restaurant and bar. To be totally transparent, I’ve been to this establishment when it first opened and it was damn delicious so walking in again, it had a pretty big reputation to live up to, and man did it deliver. So now let’s get to the things we ate and drank on this visit!
Pro-tip: if you haven’t been to their class that the market hosts, Steak 101, I highly recommend it—for yourself OR as a gifts—to as many friends and family as possible … just speaking from experience.
We had the Local Yocal Cask Reserve, Kill Bees Knees, and Flypside off the regular cocktail menu and Hard Start off their secret menu. Be sure to ask for it if you want something a little more adventurous! All of the drinks were exquisite. If you’re dining or just drinking at the bar, get to know your bartender as they can help guide you to something unexpected. The flavors in the cocktails we had were sophisticated, strong, and balanced. Our bartender Matt has really honed his craft and was so knowledgeable about their liquor selection.
For food we indulged in the BBQ sampler and mac & cheese! Every bite of the BBQ sampler kept me looking forward to the next. It’s hard to pick a favorite … but the brisket was astoundingly delicious with its smoky flavor and perfect crust. The cole slaw it came with was properly seasoned and well dressed with sauce. The mac & cheese was creamy, rich and not to be missed. The noodles were cooked just past al dente, and came smothered, but not overly so, with cheese. I did not mind one bit having these as leftovers the next day!
The dining room was filled with spirited conversation, and the space was given a chic, rustic charm thanks to a bit of mood lighting and comfortable, lush furniture. A very relaxing way to start or end an evening out!
There is always a good reason to come here—everything from special occasion to a random Tuesday night. Their menu is classic with an elevated flare. If you haven’t been yet, I highly recommend it as we head into the holiday season. My next stop will be their brunch for sure!
Just outside of Austin, Texas, you’ll find a small town that was up for title of “state capital” against Waterloo (now known as Austin). The kind residents of this wonderful town are endlessly glad that they didn’t get the bid because it has allowed their town to become what it is today—a small city with a ton of history and some of the most generous people you’ll find this side of the Mississippi.
COPPER SHOT DISTILLERY Stop into this modern-yet-rustic watering hole to sample their many moonshines, liquors, and liqueurs made just steps from the bar by owner Stephen Todee with local ingredients and rainwater collected on-site. Since they opened in 2016, Todee found new ways to give his whiskey the characteristics of age until his barrel-aged whiskey was ready. Stop in for a flight of moonshine and enjoy live music (Friday and Saturday evenings). 809 Main Street | coppershotdistillery.com
602 BREWING COMPANY This casual brew pub and bar, complete with a beer garden, offers local beers and eats. Their food is surprisingly fantastic—and don’t miss the artichoke chili dip. Look for them to be brewing their own beers starting Fall 2019! 919 Main Street | 602brewing.com
COLORADO RIVER WINERY Stop in for a glass of wine or a flight and enjoy a chin wag with owners, Brad and Sylvia Cook. After a glass or two, peruse their retail items which include a pink plastic wine opener fashioned like a pistol. 707 Chestnut Street | coloradoriverwinery.com
NEIGHBOR’S KITCHEN Enjoy a meal on the patio of this restaurant and enjoy a great view of the Colorado River as you enjoy a fire-roasted pizza. Down a craft beer in their bar while you watch your favorite team, or make a game of your own in the yard with washers. Make sure to check their daily specials such as Sippin’ Sundays! 601 Chestnut Street | neighborstx.com
SOUTHSIDE MARKET & BBQ This BBQ shop names itself as “the oldest BBQ establishment in the state of Texas”, starting in Elgin, Texas. Visit for some serious BBQ action, and don’t miss their house-made sides, and especially not their cobbler topped with Blue Bell Ice Cream! 534 Highway 71 West | southsidemarket.com
GET CAFFEINATED Stop into Maxine’s or Coffee Dog for a quick caffeine fix. Prices at both are extremely reasonable and the coffee roasted perfectly.
HIKE BASTROP STATE PARK Stop in for a quick hike to start the day in this 2,000-acre park that has was established in 1938. Explore the Lost Pines of Texas, play a round of golf on the course that meanders through the woods, or bird watch for some unique avian entertainment. 100 Park Road 1A | tpwd.texas.gov
SHOP AROUND BASTROP If you’re looking for some local goodies, visit shops like The Texas Boot Company, Sera Sera Boutique, and Spoiled Sisters Boutique. If you’re after art, stop into the many galleries littering downtown that represent local artists. Dip into Berdoll Pecan Candy & Gift Co. for local candied pecans or Silver Spur Pure Bath for organic toiletries on the way out of town for gifts for the folks back home!
DEEP IN THE HEART ART FOUNDRY This nationally-known foundry casts sculptures with help from local and visiting artists. Visitors are welcome and tours are by appointment only. Watch their website to see when they’ll be pouring casts for the public to see! 405 S. Jackson Street | deepintheheart.net
BARTON HILL FARM PUMPKIN PATCH Fall brings a certain nip to the air and pumpkin everything, so why not visit a pumpkin patch to enjoy a fall festival and pick out your very own pumpkin!? Don’t miss the frozen wine and kettle corn! 1115 FM 969 | bartonhillfarms.com
PECAN STREET INN There will always be a place in my heart for a charming BnB, and this one has reserved its own spot. Run by husband and wife team, Bill and Shawn, they offer four clean, spacious rooms, each with a private bath available. Bill will be there to whip you up a delicious breakfast at the time of your choosing and will entertain with tales of the town and of his own, rich and intriguing life. 1010 Pecan Street | 512-321-3315 | pecanstreetinn.com
THE RESERVE AT GREENLEAF Just outside of downtown, this yurt village opened in October 2019 offers four units, an event space complete with a catering kitchen, a high end hot tub, and 10 miles of hiking trails blazed by the owners. These lodgings are the epitome of glamping thanks to each unit’s high-end beauty amenities, rain showers, plush linens, effective AC units, and fully stocked fridge. Look for goodies like Kind Bars, custom blended teas, and Oui yogurt, all included in your yurt’s price. 408 Laura Lane | thereserveatgreenleaf.com
HYATT REGENCY LOST PINES RESORT AND SPA Set deep in the Lost Pines on the banks of the Colorado River, this high-end resort offers cushy guest rooms, multiple pools circled with a lazy river, 300,000 square feet of event space, a gorgeous spa, full golf course, and outdoor activities such as kayaking, horseback riding, and hiking. 575 Hyatt Lost Pines Road | hyatt.com
FOR MORE TIPS AND ACTIVITIES AT THIS DESTINATION, TAKE A GANDER AT visitbastrop.com.
I greatly appreciated the chance to visit Bastrop, Texas courtesy of Visit Bastrop.
Howdy, folks! The State Fair of Texas is in full swing and I got the low down on what you should eat, including some classic fan favorites and some fried bites that are new to the scene this year.
While the meteorologists are telling us a cold front is giving us a respite from the heat, the temps are still pretty high, so I definitely suggest starting at what the Fair calls a “soft space”—an area where people can sit and relax in the shade, maybe with some water-mister action going on. Try the Magnolia Beer Garden, located just southeast of Big Tex himself. Here you can delight in a Deep Fried Cuban Roll or a a full Cuban sandwich, which is packed with loads of juicy meat. My favorite from this spot is the Cowboy Corn Crunch (fried balls of corn casserole stuffed with bacon and cream cheese). Don’t forget to dip it all into the mojo sauce for an extra kick. And with what should you wash it all down, you ask? The Best Maid Sour Pickle Beer by one of our friendly Fort Worth breweries Martin House Brewing.
Moving from one cool location to the next, the food court is a stop you never want to miss at TSFOT. Here you can find countless stands with food of all varieties conveniently placed under the same roof with some really strong AC. From the “It’s All Greek to Me” stand with some of the best salad and gyros in Dallas to the classic Cinnamon Roll stand that will top your roll with extra icing … if you ask very politely. But there’s one stand that has been around for so long, you might not even think to consider spending your coupons there. Under a red awning that reads Ruth’s Tamale House, you’ll find some of the best tamales in Dallas as well as some delicious Thanksgiving Stuffing Egg Rolls that will blow your mind. But that’s not what we’re here for this year—2019 is a special year for Ruth because she won the Fair’s food competition for Best Tasting in the Savory category with her Stuffed Fried Taco Cone. If Ruth’s sweet smile doesn’t warm your heart, her prize winning taco cone surely will!
New to the scene this year is Smokey John’s Stuffed Turkey Leg. The turkey leg is topped with dirty rice, Cajun cream sauce, grilled shrimp, and loads of parmesan … be sure to bring your appetite for this one! A food stand that is new to me (for some odd reason) but has actually been there since 2013 is Chef Cassy’s stand, which features her famous Fried Collard Greens. These delicious pieces of culinary artwork come with or without ham and have just the right amount of seasoning to keep you wanting more. I will be making a stop at her stand every year from now on just for those!
Last but certainly not least is the timeless classic Fletcher’s Corny Dogs that has been a mainstay of the Fair since 1942. Everyone knows how good their original corn dog is, but they have some other options that not everyone might be aware of. These include the Bird Dog (a turkey-filled corn dog), the Cheesy Dog (a (you guessed it!) cheese-filled corn dog), a Veggie Dog and a Jalapeño Dog. So no matter what your corn dog preferences are, Fletcher’s is sure to have one for you. Just know that they firmly believe the only true condiment for a corn dog is mustard.
No matter what you eat at TSFOT, it’s bound to be deliciously fried and leave you looking forward to next year’s creative creations. Just be sure to wear comfortable shoes so you can walk it all off and make some room for one last bite before it closes for the year on October 20th.
Susie’s note: If you’re after “cheap beer”, seek out Icehouse on the Midway, the home of the cheapest beer since 2014!
With three DFW locations, Mí Día scratch kitchen has something very unique to offer … it doesn’t just focus on the traditional.
The menu is well designed and carefully crafted with a fresh mentality. I dined in and enjoyed a few items off their catering menu (which are also on their regular menu), and was surprised by the excellent quality that usually isn’t found in cooking intended for large production and was pleased by the bold flavors I enjoyed. Their largest catering order was for 4,000 people, so should you be on the market for a catering option, I think your needs will be met with weddings, birthdays, holiday gatherings and more!
I normally go with my gut (pun intended) on food choice, but I stepped outside my comfort zone and let my waitress dictate my experience! She recommended the Fig and Berry and Cloud 9. The first is their current signature drink with blackberries, figs, house-made cinnamon agave, THREE liquors, and a cinnamon sugar rim. It may be a new favorite. The second was a LTO cocktail that gained enough fans that it made its way on to their cocktail menu. It’s made with 1530 Blanco Rosa, Cointreau Noir, lemon, lime, vanilla agave, and hibiscus air (ummmm basically the adult cotton candy). I’m not sure if calories are involved with air, but I’m here for it either way.
Now, on to the food! Tamales are one of my favorite traditional items—kinda like when I go to an Italian joint and judge them on their chicken parmesan. Theirs definitely passed the “Taylor test” … the masa tastes crazy fresh, the ratio of masa to protein was spot on, and both proteins (pork and chicken stuffed with New Mexico red and green Chile sauces) have a spicy, but not overwhelming kick to them. Who doesn’t love a good taco, right? Especially when you get to build it yourself! The Cochinita Pibil were pork tacos served with picked onions that offer a bright acidity that really livens up the dish. The meat was moist, well seasoned, and comes tied up in a banana leaf! You can’t go wrong here!
On to dessert … holy churros, (Chalupa) Batman! If you like chocolate, cajeta (Mexican carmel), and fried dough, YOU MUST try this. Y’all know I have 28 sweet teeth and this did not disappoint. The crunchy outside with a creamy cajeta inside, lightly drizzled with chocolate and side of cappuccino ice cream was the best way to end this dinner.
Every dish that passed our table made us want to extend the meal—the presentation was nicely crafted and polished. Believe it or not, you eat with your eyes first, folks … and I was pigging out.
If you’re dining in, their happy hour is Monday thru Friday, 3-6PM; $2 off multiple menu items and $5 house margaritas. Seeing as we are coming up on patio season here in Texas, theirs has oscillating fans and is fenced-in by wire trellis covered with greenery. It has a relaxing, laid back vibe … just what we all need to unwind from the day.
I can’t wait to come back and try more of their food and drink offerings … though I’m not sure I’ll be able to be enticed to try something other than what I’ve already had since everything was perfect. I guess I’ll just have to go for lunch, enjoy a couple HH drinks, and stay for dinner!
MÍ DÍA FROM SCRATCH Grapevine: 1295 S Main Street | 817.421.4747
Plano: 3310 Dallas Parkway, Ste 105 | 972.403.7474
Flower Mound: 2601 West Windsor | 972-874-4747
Mi Cocina in Highland Park Village is back and officially open after a quick beauty refresh that will have you ooh-ing and ahh-ing in between sips of your Mambo Taxi.
While well loved in the Park Cities, Mi Cocina in Highland Park Village was once a dark, outdated dining room, but after 8 weeks of intense renovation, it’s now a clean and crisp vision reminiscent of a Mexican villa. The walls are now a bright white and the ceiling a dark wood. The seating has been reupholstered, and the balcony is now curved.
But the main update has been to the upstairs bar, known to locals as Monkey Bar due to the large painting of monkeys that used to adorn the walls. Previously only known by hyper locals, they’re making the once small space filled to capacity almost nightly a more welcoming space with additional seating. The bar now has an outdoor patio with umbrellas for shade and misters to keep cool even on the hottest of Dallas days. Monkey Bar is accessible from both Mi Cocina’s interior through a back staircase and the stairs across from Bistro 31. (Just keep climbing.)
The inside of the bar was also given a face-lift with new upholstery and brass accents. The Monkey portraits may be gone, but the theme is not lost: we’re still excited to monkey around up there. While sitting out on the patio you may even hear some jungle sounds over the speakers to set the beach-in-Mexico mood. We’re not mad about it.
Monkey Bar offers a great selection of appetizers from $8-$16, like Nachos Al Carbon and Quesadilla Morita con Huevo. Margaritas range from $12-$16 … but really we’re all there for that Mambo Taxi.
Stop in to see our favorite MiCo face lift. The food remains the same, but now the dining room’s a whole lot better to look at.
MI COCINA micocina.com
Newly renovated location: 77 Highland Park Village (Highland Park)
Bellagreen may have multiple locations, but its inspired menu makes it feel like anything but a “chain”. The menu encompasses hand-crafted, American bistro favorites in a fast-casual environment. It offers traditional dishes with a twist, but they certainly take pride in modifying all menu items to align with a wide range of dietary needs like gluten-free, dairy-free, vegan, keto, paleo, or Whole 30!
Their mission to source certain organic products, certified “Best Agricultural Practices” seafood, leveraging water-saving devices, alternative power sources and giving back to the community are just a few non-food related reasons I’m crushing on BellaGreen.
Now let’s get to the food, shall we?! For an appetizer we had the high-protein hempenadas, which were flavor bombs with raisins stealing the show … trust me on this. For the main course we had the blackened shrimp salad and paleo spaghetti squash bolognese. The mound of salad was perfectly dressed, seeing as I normally ask for my dressing on the side, super colorful and had tons of texture with perfectly cooked protein. The flavor of the bolognese was so rich and deep that it tasted like they had been cooking it for hours.
For dessert we indulged in the carrot cake, and they nearly found the perfect frosting to cake ratio.
The drink menu was very diverse with a good emphasis on local. I had a rose since that pairs nicely with shrimp and the Texas heat, and my husband had a Revolver Blood & Honey.
The esthetic of the restaurant feels light, airy, and fun. There is plenty of outdoor and indoor space to kick back and enjoy. All times would be a great time to enjoy this restaurant but my favorites might be: girls’ night, girls’ night with the kiddos, fast-casual lunch with friends/coworkers, fast-casual dinner on my way home if I don’t feel the desire to cook. They also serve brunch … so the next time I go you can guarantee it’ll be for that!
If you have kids, sit outside and let them play cornhole or play in the small, grassy area while you continue to sip on an adult beverage and enjoy the evening.
They cater! So, if you want to impress at the next office lunch, or dinner party they can customize to your heart’s desire.