RESTAURANT REVIEW: MI DIA

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

midiafromscratch.com
FacebookTwitterInstagram

Mi Cocina HP Village Is Back

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)

Facebook | Twitter | Instagram
214.521.6426

BELLAGREEN RESTAURANT REVIEW

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!

PRO TIPS

  • 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.

BELLAGREEN
bellagreen.com
Facebook| Twitter| Instagram
2408 Preston Road (Plano)
972-975-9033

National Tequila Day Cocktails

LOVE AND LUST
1.5 oz Patrón Silver
2 oz Fresh watermelon juice
.15 oz Fresh lime
4 Fresh basil leaves
Fresh black pepper drops
Watermelon slice for garnish
Simple syrup to taste

Combine ingredients in a cocktail shaker and shake with ice to chill. Strain onto fresh ice in a double old fashioned glass. Garnish with a watermelon slice. 

IT’S SUMMER
1 oz Patrón Silver
1.5 oz MARTINI Prosecco
.85 oz St-Germain Elderflower Liqueur
.85 oz Lemon juice
.35 oz Agave syrup
2 Raspberries
2 Blackberries
Mint sprig for garnish

Add all the ingredients, except the MARTINI Prosecco, in a shaker. Pour into a highball glass. Top with MARTINI Prosecco. Garnish with a mint sprig, blackberries and raspberries.

Picture courtesy of Patron Spirits

HERITAGE MARGARITA
2 oz Patrón Estate Release
.75 oz Patrón Citronge Orange
.5 oz Persian lime juice
.25 oz Simple syrup
Key lime wheel for garnish

Combine ingredients in a cocktail shaker and shake with ice to chill. Strain into a chilled cocktail coupe. Garnish with a key lime wheel.


Header Image: Patrón Heritage Margarita shown with the Patrón Estate Release Tequila – courtesy of Patrón Spirits

The Henry: Chic new spot for cocktails and caffeine

The Henry just opened by Victory Plaza and I’m calling it now: It’s going to be THE place to be when the weather is nice or before and after concerts/sporting events or when you need a caffeine fix or when you just want to go somewhere for killer food and cocktails (and an amazing view) … ok, so, like, anytime.

I had the opportunity to go to the grand opening of The Henry and since doing so, I’ve told at least 12 different people that they must go ASAP and that I would be happy to go with them. (No shame here.) It’s an impressive 15,000 SQ FT space in the Union Dallas (think right where Uptown and Victory Park come together) and comes from the Fox Restaurant Group we love for giving us other great concepts like North Italia and Flower Child.

This spot isn’t just limiting itself to dinner and drinks.; they have a super cute coffee bar, a delicious brunch menu with a tableside bloody mary and mimosa cart on Saturdays and Sundays, and a happy hour with the aforementioned views that features $6 cocktails like their amazing mint cucumber mule, $6 wine on tap and $4 draft beer.

We worked our way upstairs where they have an indoor bar that opens to their outdoor rooftop lounge area. The night of the event was a chilly night in Dallas, but they had heaters going in full-force along with fire pits all around the edge of the lounge area, so it was comfortable to hang out and sip on their delicious cocktails and admire the views. In the summer, they have fans that will regulate the temperature accordingly! Thank GOD!

For the grand opening, they were passing around appetizers and I honestly don’t know if I can pick a favorite. The sliders were honestly some of the best sliders that I’ve ever eaten. I feel like it’s super easy for a slider to be a little overcooked and slightly dry, but these sliders were perfect with a little bit of pink in the middle and tons of flavor. The other stand-out was the Short Rib Potstickers with toasted sesame and yuzo ponzu. I grabbed the last one off of a tray and literally stalked the staff to hunt down more so that my husband could experience the joy that I just did … and obviously so I could have a second one. 💁🏼‍♀️ I’ll admit that I have been back a couple times already to satisfy my craving for them.

As far as cocktails go, you really can’t go wrong. The mint cucumber mule was my favorite, and I’ll definitely be back for more of their specialty cocktails like the Go North (espresso, cocoa and cream. shaken and served neat). I’m also dying to try their Italian Mezcal Sour made with Banhez Mezcal, anejo tequila, spiced Curaçao, lemon, lime and a splash of Lambrusco. GUYYYYYYYS.

So no matter what time of day it is, it’s a good time to go check out the newest neighborhood restaurant in Dallas. Henry will be your new best friend … just wait.


THE HENRY
2301 Akard Street, Dallas (Uptown/Victory Park)
thehenryrestaurant.com

The HERO Victory Plaza Needed

Victory Plaza has seen many restaurant and bar concepts come and go, but none seemed to succeed. They were convenient, but not worth braving the crowds during events one wasn’t attending to patronize. …….. until a new HERO came to save the day.

The newest concept from Matt Ragan and 8020 Concepts, the people behind HG Sply Co., Gung Ho, and more, give us all something to love. Sports fans have giant televisions to watch their events with fellow fans and proximity to AAC. Foodies have a thoughtful menu with scratch items just like Mom used to make. And the boozehounds have a menu of unexpectedly thoughtful cocktails—some takes on classics and some originals.

Bottom line: it’s a huge place.
With a capacity of 1,100 and 610 seats with six bars and up to 20 bartenders working at a time, you’d expect a churn-and-burn, high volume restaurant/bar cutting corners and cutting costs—but that’s not so with HERO. Ragan and his team have ensured that everything is done quickly and efficiently but without lowering quality … at all. Think scratch food, fresh and local ingredients when possible, zero additives, and juices squeezed fresh daily.

The staff in HERO is stacked with all-stars. You’ll see familiar faces from concepts past and others that you thought gave up the stick. One of my favorites you’ll see is our favorite bartender past from Vickery Park, Chris Young, running around making sure everything is done right behind the six bars, but always with a smile.

While the popularity of this new spot has made it a destination and caused a bit of a wait from time to time, there’s plenty of space to go around. They host a full dining room, the aforementioned SIX BARS, a large patio, and even more standing room for watching games on their GINORMOUS SCREEN … and a small 90s-themed arcade.

The dedication to making everything just that much better extends event to the simplest parts of their cocktails. Ragan’s goal was to give is bartenders the ability to make a craft cocktail in under 45 seconds, and he sure as shit did it. He standardized four cocktail bases and put them on draft, cutting prep time and the opportunity for inconsistency, and ultimately price for both HERO and the guest, all while maintaining the integrity of his menu and the ingredients used. They employ one employee whose entire job is to prepare the fruit and juices for their cocktails. 

A perfect example of Ragan’s desire for consistency and quality is their house-made tonic. And if you know anything about making tonic, then you know it can be a dangerous game. It’s made with cinchona bark, which can help medicinally, if used responsibly, and it can do damage if not. He wanted to ensure it was done right, so he did it.

Their frozen drinks are even made with the most care and consideration of ingredients. Their Miami Vice, a strawberry daiquiri and piña colada swirl, happens to be a new favorite cocktail in Dallas … because 100º days are real and it’s f**king delicious. What makes it so good? They make their own coconut rum, strawberry cordial, AND coconut cream. The coconut cream in itself is culinary science at its best—they use Ticaloid 210 S, a natural stabilizer made from seaweed, to keep it emulsified. Why this? Why no shortcuts? Because they don’t do that. Ragan needed to find something that would emulsify fat in alcohol (coconut is a “fat”), but also work in cold temperatures and with alcohol, and the T210s is the only element that does all three. See? NO SHORTCUTS.

As with many of Dallas’s restaurants, the menu can be slightly daunting. So, I asked Matt what his “Go-To” items were, and he didn’t disappoint. He gave us his ideal days—both “healthy” and “cheat”. So here we go:

HEALTHY
– Salty Dawg ($11, vodka, Aperol, grapefruit juice, simple, lemon, candied citrus salt rim) & Cucumber Collins ($11, vodka, cucumber, lime mint cordial, soda)
– Smoky Carrot Hummus ($14, fresh veggies & grilled pita bread) & roasted Chicken Wings ($14, tossed in chimichurri, pecorino, fresno chiles)

CHEAT
– 14oz Miami Vice ($14, strawberry daiquiri + piña colada swirl)
– Calamari Lettuce Wraps
($14, pickled ginger, herbs, bibb lettuce), Crab Rangoon Dip ($14, served with wonton chips), & Parmesan Kale Dip

Here’s the bottom line: don’t write this place off. Yes, it’s huge and crowded when there’s a game, but it’s WORTH IT. It’s even more worth the effort of braving Victory Park when there’s not a game or concert. It’s the HERO we wanted, and really, it’s the one we all needed. 


HERO
herobyhg.com
3090 Olive Street, #b110 (Victory Park)
469-300-4199

Su-Th: 11am to midnight
F: 11am to LATE
Sa: 11am to LATE

EL RINCON: The Gem on the Corner

This joint is a gem!

What makes it different than any other Tex Mex spot in Texas? The uniqueness comes from the owners, Rick and Susan. They’ve added touches here and there to give the space a modern yet comfortable feel.

The bar is absolutely gorgeous with eye-catching tiling and a large selection of alcohol displayed beautifully on open shelves. The best of the bottles, though, is theirs. The owners went to Mexico and bought a barrel and had their own tequila produced. (Because that’s a normal thing to do right?) A single barrel which only produces around  240 bottles to use, so, pro tip: get there ASAP to try theirs before it’s gone! Their goal was to have vanilla and citrus notes come through their tequila, and upon first sip of their blend, those notes rang true.

To start our meal … as with any Tex Mex joint worth its (tequila and) salt, their chips and salsa hit the table right when you sit down. They’re made fresh daily and the salsa has a bright charred flavor. Not to start off too strong, but my husband claims this is his favorite salsa … looks like we will be going back soon … ya know … for quality control purposes!

For an appetizer we indulged in the Brisket Empanadas that were filled with juicy meat and had a soft yet crunchy flaky crust. For the entrees we had Brisket Tacos and Seafood Ancho Relleno. Both dishes were stuffed with a generous portion of protein and really hit the spot. You can taste the freshness of the ingredients in the crunch of the vegetables.

To top off the meal we had the sopapillas. Did anyone else grow up “rais[ing] the flag”? No? Just me? Ok, well this dessert was the stuff dreams are made of. Show me a pastry covered in sugary goodness and you have my full attention (after I eat it  … because I’m not focusing on anything but that until it’s gone.) The whipped cream it came with had a subtle kick of heat, which was a delightful surprise.

The environment was light and airy. The bar filled up before the restaurant, obvi, and it had an energetic feel without being too loud to enjoy your dining companions. If you hit this place up, I recommend that you head to happy hour first and let the night go from there!

Just a couple of last tips:
– It gets busy right around 6pm, so get there early to get a good seat and start sipping a delicious marg.
– Their Carrollton location is super convenient but if this isn’t close enough to Highway 75 for you, they will be building a location in Frisco very soon!
– If you sit in the bar, be sure to chat with Danny! He’s pretty awesome!


EL RINCON
elrincontx.com
Facebook | Instagram
1114 S Elm St #100 (Carrollton, Texas)
469-892-6429

Header and queso pictures courtesy of El Rincon, all others taken by Taylor Sutton.

Save Lives with Me on June 30

Hello, friends! I have been a blood donor for many years and am proud to be hosting a drive with Carter BloodCare at Texas Live on June 30!

Every two seconds, someone needs blood, and there’s no substitute for it. Each donation could save three lives, so I’d be honored if you’d join me to #giveforlife!!

Anyone who donates during this event will be thanked with:
– a complimentary slider from Lockhart Smokehouse Arlington
– goodies from Balcones Distillery
– an entry into a raffle for a “Day at Balcones with SusieDrinks”
– a “Cheers to Life” mason jar from Carter BloodCare
– a Rangers t-shirt and a BOGO Rangers ticket voucher

Make an appointment now to #GiveforLife. Call or text CBC at 800-366-2834 or visit http://bit.ly/31qv1BY.

Susie knows all things boozy …