All posts by Rachel P

The Grill On the Alley- New Menu Offerings, New Look

I love a classic steakhouse, as any decent Texan (or honorary Texan, thankyouverymuch) should. That said, feasting on a 22oz ribeye … in a suit a tie … with the smokiest, oldest scotch on the menu … in a dimly lit cave of masculinity isn’t for everyone. The Grill on the Alley at Galleria Dallas realizes this; enter their decision to introduce some fresh, new menu items that extend beyond the requisite Porterhouse and baked potato. (Not that there’s anything wrong with that … it’s a thing of beauty, really.) Also in the works: a new, more contemporary look and feel. (The first thing to go will be the white table cloths.)

New seafood starters with a decidedly exotic flair have been added to the lineup. The Crab & Hamachi Roll (avocado, mango, tobiko, lime, $17) and Ahi Tuna Poke (onion shoyu, tobiko, avocado, wonton, $18) are fresh, light and delicious. Looking for something a bit more indulgent? (OK, absurdly more indulgent.) Check out the  Nueske’s Slab Bacon ($15) with a maple bourbon glaze. Holy meat candy, Batman.

Other lovely options that have been added to the lineup include a beautiful Sea Scallop entree served pan-seared with a smoked carrot puree ($36) and a bone-in Pork Tomahawk Chop ($35) with apple compound butter … and at 14oz this bad boy chop is well-suited for sharing. (Or, not. Being selfish is cool, too.) If The Grill’s new offerings have you wondering, “Where’s the beef?”, fear not. A 14oz Prime New York Strip ($49) has been added to the menu, too. All praise the god of red meat.

You won’t want to miss out on The Grill’s side dishes, with offerings like Roasted Vegetables (sweet potatoes and brussels sprout leaves are the star performers, $11) and Lobster Mash Potatoes ($25).

And by all means, save room for dessert. Stacked 6 layers high, The Grill’s Coconut Cake is glorious, if also a bit intimidating.

The Grill On the Alley offers Happy Hour Sunday through Friday, 4-7pm, and Sunday from 11am-7pm, with special prices on cocktails, beer, wine, and bites. See details here.

The Grill On the Alley- Galleria Dallas
3270 Dallas Parkway, Dallas, TX 75240
(214)459-1601

GM / Executive Chef: Robert Hall

Hours:
Mon-Sat: 11am-10pm
Sun: 11am-9pm

True Food Kitchen Opens at Legacy West

The eagerly anticipated Legacy West is springing to life before us suburbanites’ eyes. One of the latest establishments to join the Plano development’s impressive lineup of shops and restaurants is True Food Kitchen. Arguably the healthiest dining option amidst the array of Legacy West eateries, True Food Kitchen offers health-driven, seasonal menus featuring fresh ingredients and dishes that, while healthy, are still incredibly flavorful.

The concept was developed in collaboration with best-selling wellness author Dr. Andrew Weil, with an emphasis  on incorporating dishes with anti-inflammatory properties. TFK also offers menu options for just about any diet imaginable, including gluten-free, organic, vegetarian, and vegan options.

But, perhaps most importantly, they also have delicious cocktails. My favorite is their Blueberry Royale (organic vodka, lemon, prosseco, mint) because it’s light and refreshing; just perfect for summer. Other notable offerings include a Thai Grapefruit Martini (organic vodka, Thai basil, grapefruit), The Peacemaker (bourbon, amaro, lemon, clover honey), and a Ginger Margarita  (añejo tequila, elderflower liqueur, ginger honey, lemon).

 

True Food Kitchen’s seasonal menu features a lineup of creative and unique starters, like the Edamame Dumplings, made with dashi, white truffle oil, asian herbs, and my favorite, the vegan Kale Guacamole (pink grapefruit, cilantro, roasted poblano, sunflower seeds and served with pita chips). Trust me: I was skeptical at first about anything vegan (because so many of us are under the false impression that vegan = tasteless), but it totally works.

It’s easy to develop a serious case of menu FOMO at your table because their expansive menu offers so many diverse options–pizzas, grain-based bowls, salads, sandwiches, and protein or veggie based entree options. The pizzas at TFK have a cult following of sorts, and the House-Made Chicken Sausage Pizza (organic tomato, roasted fennel, scamorza) is the crown jewel of the current menu lineup. The Inside-Out Quinoa Burger (hummus, tzatziki, tomato, cucumber, red onion, avocado, feta) is a perennial favorite of TFK devotees. If a meat-free entree sounds like a day without sunshine, fear not: the Grass-fed Steak Tacos may be just what the Dr. (Weil) ordered (You can also get ’em with grilled fish). I ordered the Seasonal Salad (asparagus, broccolini, roasted cauliflower, chickpea, pistachio, raisin, manchego, sicilian vinaigrette) on my recent visit, and it made my taste buds sing.

Bonus: I still had room for dessert. Speaking of dessert, I highly recommend the Flourless Chocolate Cake, served with caramel, vanilla ice cream, cocoa nibs. You’ll probably want to share this one. It’s rich. They also offer a gluten-free and vegan Key Lime Pie … because that’s what they do.

Picture courtesy of True Food Kitchen

True Food Kitchen
7601 Windrose Avenue, Suite F100 (Plano)
Located in the Legacy West
214.291.9591

Mon – Thur: 11am – 9pm
Fri: 11am – 10pm
Sat: 10am – 10pm
Sun: 10am – 9pm
Brunch: Sat & Sun | 10am – 4pm

Heritage Pizza and Taproom

Upon moving to Texas ten years ago, my only reference point for “The Colony” was the occasional appearance on a Doppler Radar map while watching Delkus prognosticate various “weather events”. I must confess: I always thought it sounded like a creepy place, probably not too dissimilar from the town in Shirley Jackson’s The Lottery. Fast forward to present day, and The Colony has actually evolved into a bustling hub for buying home furnishings and appliances (thanks, Nebraska Furniture Mart) … and slowly but surely, a place to grab a delicious bite to eat (often after a strenuous morning of test driving sofas).

The latest addition to The Colony’s growing collection of restaurants and watering holes is Heritage Pizza and Taproom. Located on Plano Parkway (practically in the shadows of Nebraska Furniture Mart). The bright and airy taproom and pizza kitchen is the newest offering from {33} Restaurant Group who also brought us Taverna Rossa, and Cadillac Pizza Pub.

While it’s obvious HPT is a pizza kitchen, we’ll get to that little detail in just a minute. First, let’s chat about the “Taproom” part … booze first, as Susie requires.

HPT offers 40 carefully curated craft beers on tap with a heavy emphasis on local/Texas brews; think Bitter Sisters, Revolver, Martin House, and Noble Rey, to name a few. Bring your growler along for the ride, and Heritage will fill it up with your favorite beer. Better yet, join the Heritage Growler Program, and earn a free pizza with every 10th growler fill.

But, what’s a guy or gal to do if you are ordering a pizza because you don’t actually plan on leaving the comfort of your (*Nebraska Furniture Mart*) sofa? Heritage Pizza will deliver beer (5% ABV or under) right to your door. What a time to be alive.

Now … pie time. Heritage Pizza’s menu incorporates fresh ingredients and ware from local artisans, including Hamm’s Meat Market and Henry’s Ice Cream. Their ingredients are fresh and flavorful, making some really fantastic pies. HPT features a collection of twelve signature pizzas, including the namesake Heritage pie (classic red sauce, cheese, chicken, baby spinach, artichoke hearts, tomato, feta, garlic, and olive oil). Additional pizza selections include some surprising ingredients such as the Mama’s Meatloaf (classic red sauce, homemade meatloaf, sharp cheddar, green onion) and the Santa Fe (avocado campfire ranch, garlic, roasted corn, black beans, cilantro, green chile, diced tomato, jalapeño). If you’re feeling less adventurous (or even more creative), you can simply opt to build your own pizza, choosing from a list of over 40 ingredients. Pizzas are constructed on a crispy, cracker-thin crust (a gluten-free crust baked in an off-site facility is also available). 

They also feature a variety of delicious appetizers–the Pretzels and Beer Cheese Fonduta and the Stuffed Mushrooms with sausage and goat cheese are not to be missed. Things like baked pasta, hot sandwiches, and fresh salads are also available.

Heritage Pizza and Taproom is open for business, but they will host a grand opening celebration with a full day of festivities TODAY, Friday, April 21. The first 100 guests to arrive for lunch (11 AM) will receive a free t-shirt, koozie, and a free pizza (voucher for a future visit). From 3-7 PM, The Ticket 96.7 FM Hardline hosts Corby Davidson and Mike Rhyner will be in the house, broadcasting live. After 6 PM, the first 100 people to partake in the Martin House Pint Night by buying a pint of their featured brew will keep the signature glass and receive a free Heritage Pizza Crowler.

Heritage Pizza and Taproom
heritagepizza.com
Facebook
3750 Plano Parkway, #600 (The Colony)
(214) 396-7333

Hours:
Mon-Thurs 11:00 AM-10:00 PM
Fri-Sat 11:00 AM-11:00 PM
Sun 11:00 AM-9:00 PM

Shake Shack Plano is here!

Shake Shack Plano is now open for business! Blazing the trail for a lineup of pretty amazing restaurants planned for the new Legacy West development, the Plano Shack marks the second DFW location for the NYC chain; the first was in Uptown.

ShackBurger, Link Burger, and Fries

In addition to Shake Shack’s classic lineup of juicy burgers, crinkle cut cheese fries and frosty shakes, the Plano location features a special selection of locally inspired menu items. Sink your teeth into a Link Burger, topped with a Pecan Lodge jalapeño cheddar sausage link, and wash it down with something cold and local from Four Corners Brewing Co. or Deep Ellum Brewing.

Brat Burger

Oh, and by all means, save room for dessert. Locally inspired offerings at the Plano shack include a tempting lineup of custard concretes: the West Slide (vanilla custard, Sugar Ray’s old fashioned strawberry cupcake, and strawberry puree), the Top Twirl (chocolate custard, Top Knot banana chocolate cake and miso caramel) and the Pie Oh My (vanilla custard and slice of Emporium Pies seasonal pie).

PRO TIP: If you’re running by during your lunch hour, use the app to preorder and skip the line!

SHAKE SHACK PLANO
shakeshack.com
7401 Windrose Avenue, Plano (in Legacy West)

Opening Hours:
11 a.m. – 10 p.m., Sunday – Thursday
11 a.m. – 11 p.m., Friday & Saturday

 

Tre Wilcox Cooking Concepts

The holidays have come and gone, and that means the one gift you agonized over has been given. So … what can your go-to gift for the year be?  You know … for the person who has everything. Do your friends like to cook? Or as a minimum … do they like to eat? I have the perfect (read: delicious) solution for you: give the gift of a culinary education, with a little help from Chef Tre Wilcox and American Kitchen Cookware.

At the end of 2016, Julia Pearl‘s Chef Tre Wilcox (you may also recognize him from Bravo’s “Top Chef”, or impressively taking down Iron Chef Bobby Flay on “Iron Chef America”) opened Tre Wilcox Cooking Concepts: a beautiful event venue in Plano, featuring a state of the art demonstration kitchen with four cooking stations. Cooking Concepts offers everything from themed cooking classes, to team building events, to catering services. Cooking Concepts’ partnership with American Kitchen Cookware is a match made in culinary heaven, giving would-be Wolfgangs and Giadas the opportunity to experiment with some beautiful cookware that is actually affordable.

I had the opportunity to participate in a cooking class with Chef Tre and his crew, and here are a few things I can share:

  1. This is not one of those “cooking classes” where you sit back and watch someone else do all of the heavy lifting while you half-watch amidst socializing with your friends and sipping mediocre wine from a plastic cup. Oh, no. I have very few pictures from this event, and this is because I was constantly chopping, stirring, sautéing, or pan-searing something. You are going to earn your dang dinner.
  2. That said … you will not be thrown to the wolves. Each of the four demo stations were staffed with one of Chef Tre’s kitchen minions, who were A) extremely talented, B) extremely helpful, and C) REALLY INTO FOOD … kind of like that Central Market deep voice guy but remarkably less annoying.
  3. You may learn that you’re doing everything wrong in the kitchen. Just accept this heading into the experience. There can’t really be a “wrong” way to chop an onion, right? Oh, on the contrary. There is, and it’s the way you’ve been doing it all along. Get ready to make some adjustments, and you will learn some time saving (and injury saving and perhaps even watery eye saving … ) hacks you will want to use at home.
  4. You can cook a delicious, impressive, restaurant quality meal. Ok, so maybe it’s under the watchful eye of someone who is slightly more well versed in the kitchen than you are, but that’s a technicality.   Shrimp and grits … pan seared scallops … Thai coconut salmon … yeah, I created all of these dishes. (Me, the UberEats Queen.)
Picture courtesy of American Kitchen Cookware

Here is a list of upcoming cooking classes, with themes running the gamut from sushi, to Southern cooking, to knife safety.  Note: Cooking Concepts is offering a couples’ cooking class for Valentine’s Day, which is coming up quickly. So, make your plans! Online registration is available. Classes are small, and will fill up quickly!

If you’re going to surprise the aspiring chef in your life with a Tre Wilcox cooking class, you may as well give them the right tools to be successful once the class is in the books. Check out American Kitchen Cookware to peruse some of the cookware Chef Tre uses in his demo kitchen. You’ll want to take some home with you.

Tre Wilcox Cooking Concepts
trewilcox.com
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8200 Preston Road, Suite 135 (Plano)
(214) 296-2168

A great, big “thank you” to Chef Tre Wilcox and American Kitchen Cookware for inviting me out to get schooled … and fed! It was so much fun!

Now Open: Smashburger in The Colony

Smashburger, the quality-obsessed, Colorado-based, “better burger” chain, is spreading like wildfire. In November, they opened their most recent Dallas-Fort Worth location in The Colony on State Hwy 121, just east of Josey Lane.

If you’ve never experienced Smashburger before, you’re not doing it right. Smashburger’s commitment to building a “better burger” starts out with high-quality ingredients. Fresh, never frozen, natural Certified Angus beef is “smashed” for exactly ten seconds on a 385º buttered grill top. The burger perfectionists at Smashburger have the “smashing” down to a science; this time and temperature has proven to be the secret to locking in that juicy goodness, while crisping the bottom of the burger to a crispy, caramelized shell. Hungry yet? Your burger is then nestled between a soft, buttery artisan bun, and topped with fresh, high-quality ingredients.

What kind of ingredients, you might ask? Well, that’s up to you. With burger offerings that include spinach & goat cheese, spicy jalapeño Baja, and buffalo blue cheese, the sky is (more or less) the limit. Feeling inventive? Take your shot at BYOB (that’s building your own burger), instead.

If burgers aren’t your thing, Smashburger also offers delicious chicken (grilled or crispy) sandwiches, as well as a black bean burger in their lineup. If you’re inclined to ditch the bun altogether, try indulging in one of Smashbruger’s fresh, plentiful salads. If you’re looking for a little something on the side, four equally tempting varieties of fries are available: Traditional French Fries, Smash Fries (seasoned with olive oil, rosemary, and garlic- my personal recommendation), Spicy Buffalo Fries, and Sweet Potato Fries. Also available: Onion Rings and Fried Pickles. If you’re looking for something a little lighter, try the Veggie Frites- a flash-fried side of green beans and carrot strips.

If you do opt to demonstrate remarkable discipline and choose the Veggie Frites for your side, I think it’s only fair to reward your responsible decision with a delicious hand-spun milkshake. (That’s how this works, right?) Smashburger handcrafts all of their shakes with Häagen-Dazs ice cream, in a range of irresistible flavors like Nutterbutter, Salted Caramel, and Chocolate Oreo. I highly recommend stopping in for their seasonal shake offering, the Belgian Cookie Crumble- sweet cookies blended with vanilla ice cream and notes of cinnamon and caramel, topped with cookie crumbs and whipped cream. Holy yum.

Smashburger serves a variety of rotating local craft beers from the likes of Deep Ellum Brewing and Rahr and Sons, to name a few. You will want to keep this in mind, come warmer weather. Conveniently located just a stone’s throw from Lake Lewisville, I’m hard-pressed to think of a better way to conclude a day on the water than indulging in a juicy Smashburger, a piping hot stack of Smashfries, and an ice cold local craft beer on Smashburger’s new patio. Note to self: This is happening.

SMASHBURGER – The Colony
smashburger.com
214-618-0880
-multiple locations- & 4940 State Highway 121, Suite 125 (The Colony)

Open  daily 10:00 AM- 10:00 PM

 

Studio Movie Grill: New Menu Items

Studio Movie Grill continues to think outside the (popcorn) box with their ever-expanding, evolving menu offerings.  With a lineup of seven new menu items to choose from, now is as good a time as any to liberate yourself from that $9 Coke and $11 box of stale Raisinettes.

Thirsty? Studio Movie Grill has added two new adult beverage options to the lineup:

You’re an adult, so you’ve clearly earned the right to enjoy dessert before dinner. That said, this frozen cocktail tastes like it’s straight out of Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory. The Bailey’s Cookie Butter features Kahlua, Monin Cookie Butter, Bailey’s, and Pepsi ($9). Yes, you can taste the Pepsi … and I assure you, it totally works.

The Fiery Apple is here just in time for chillier weather; this combination of Angry Orchard and Fireball ($9) will warm you up inside quicker than this season’s biggest Rom Com.

Studio Movie Grill’s five new edible offerings are sure to rival what’s on the big screen as the “Feature Presentation”:

Their Seared Ahi Tuna is mixed ruby greens, edamame, roasted peppers, avocados with wasabi lime drizzle. Surprisingly fresh and delicious, you can’t go wrong here. Unless you’re watching “Finding Dory” … then, you might try, ya know, not fish. ($12)

The Blackened Chicken Flatbread Pizza (Southwestern cheeses, roasted chiles, onions, cilantro) was delightfully spicy and seemed downright healthy. ($11.50)

Their Scratch Tempura Onion Rings are served with a zesty Creole dipping sauce which gives these hot, crispy, and dangerously addictive rings a nice zing. ($6.95)

While it’s a bit of a departure from traditional spaghetti and meatballs, even the Corleones would have to admit that the Blackened Chicken Pasta is pretty delicious; Blackened Chicken, cavatappi pasta, bacon, green and red onions, tossed in a Southwestern cream sauce. ($13)

I can’t really think of a cheesy movie-related joke to make about their Roasted Pepper and Garlic Hummus that’s served with fresh cucumbers, carrots, bell peppers, and toasted flatbread. If you’re a hummus enthusiast, you may be interested to learn that there is an actual movie devoted to the topic of hummus that is purportedly sweeping the nation as we speak. Seriously, this is a real thing. ($8.25)

Studio Movie Grill Daily Specials: 

MONDAY: $5 House Margaritas, $5 Regular Popcorn
TUESDAY: Ask Your Server About Our $5 Food + Beverage Specials!
WEDNESDAY: $5 Big Beer Cans, Endless Pizza (One Topping, No Sharing)
THURSDAY: $5 Deep Eddy Handmade Vodka You-Call-Its, $5 Desserts
FRIDAY + SATURDAY: $5 Off Margarita Pitchers, $5 Betty’s Blend & SMG Cellars (Glass)
SUNDAY: $5 Betty’s Blend & SMG Cellars (Glass), $5 Ice Cream Sundae

STUDIO MOVIE GRILL
studiomoviegrill.com
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Click for Texas locations

A great, big “thank you” to Studio Movie Grill for having me out to try the tasty new menu lineup, and for creating a situation in which I was able to manipulate my 40 year old husband into watching Moana with me, which I’m pretty sure he secretly enjoyed. 

The Second Floor Fall Offerings

The culinary team at The Second Floor by Scott Gottlich always manages to keep things fresh and interesting–and most importantly, delicious. With new addition Chef Ryan Barnett (formerly of Stephen Pyles) at the helm, this certainly continues to be the case. I recently had the opportunity to pay a visit to Second Floor to check out a French-inspired “Classics” prix-fixe menu that ran for a limited time. From the first bite of French Onion Soup down to the last taste of Cambozola en Croute, each dish was flawless and exceeded my expectations. Other highlights of the evening included a beautifully seared Steak Diane, as well as a masterfully executed Rack of Lamb. Thoughtfully curated wine pairings were available for each course. Chef Barnett informed me plans for future prix-fixe menus are on the horizon, so keep on eye The Second Floor’s website for a peek at what’s to come.

In the meantime, The Second Floor has debuted a new lineup of fall menu offerings that you won’t want to miss. Among them, the Texas Gold Shrimp & Grits with an anchiote tequila cream sauce ($14/$25), an Orecchiette Pork Ragu with slow-braised pork jowl ($15/$24), and a Lobster Risotto with roasted butternut squash ($14/$36). And, consider drinking your dessert; The Second Floor’s featured fall cocktail (created by Gina Gottlich) the Caramel Appleton, is made with Ciroc Apple, Bailey salted caramel, butterscotch, cranberry, cream and garnished with a caramel rim ($13). If whiskey is closer to your speed, check out the Cinnamon Whiskey Sour (Makers 46, cinnamon, cranberry, citrus, rocks–$13). See the full fall menu here.

The Second Floor Happy Hour:

  • Speciality cocktail of the day (changes daily) $5
  • Domestic Beer $4
  • “The Best Wine in the City”, Honoro Vera, Garnacha, Spain, or Les Costieres de Pomerols, Picpoul de Pinet, $5
  • Various Snacks and Small Bites $2-5

The Second Floor by Scott Gottlich
13340 Dallas Parkway (inside Galleria Dallas, Level 2)
(972) 450-2978