All posts by Rachel P

Urban8 Food Court in The Colony

The words “Food Court” don’t usually evoke visions of cocktails, dueling pianos, Cowboys watch parties, and trivia nights. Unless you’ve been to Urban8 Food Court in The Colony.

Sure, Urban8 offers everything you would expect to find in a “typical” food court (but better, and on steroids…) and more. Urban8 features eight chef-driven food and drink options, where guests can discover locally sourced, organic ingredients suitable for an array of dietary needs/preferences—vegetarian, vegan, and gluten-free options included.

Offerings include:

Burger Craft: the ultimate craft-your-own hamburger experience featuring Urban8’s proprietary blend of 100% grass-fed beef. The BC Burger, topped with mild cheddar, caramelized onions and a BC special sauce, is a guest favorite!

Pho Corner: authentic Vietnamese Street Food, including pho, spring rolls, banh mi, fresh smoothies and more

Rustic Flatbreads: flatbread-style pizzas made to order in a rustic brick over; the Fig & Prosciutto is not to be missed

Beyond the Box: a gourmet salad bar, and handcrafted sandwiches. Bonus: enjoy 25% off on Mondays to counteract all of the terrible delicious decisions you made over the weekend!

Taco Cielo: from classic street tacos to carne asada fries (!!!), you won’t want to miss this south-of-the-border road trip for your taste buds. The Paneer Taco is surprising and delicious if you’re in the mood for a departure from the ordinary. Be sure to stop by on Taco Tuesday, when you can enjoy BOGO on all classic street tacos!

Firewheel Coffee: Get your caffeine fix here, where you can enjoy a cold-brew coffee or hand-crafted espresso. Ever had a Floofle? If not, you’re missing out. (It’s a popover-like pastry served with jam and maple syrup or chocolate drizzle, if you’re feeling extra-decadent.) Get one here.

Monster Yogurt: A DIY yogurt station featuring 10 rotating flavors of yogurt and 50 toppings including options like cupcake bites, Texas pecans, and dark chocolate covered espresso beans. Oh, yes.

…and last but certainly not least, in the center of the food court (perhaps signifying its importance?) is STIR.  At STIR (Stories That I Remember), you can sip on a literary-inspired cocktail made with fresh ingredients, or enjoy a craft beer or glass of wine, if that’s more your speed. One of their cocktails, the Romeo and Juliet, features balsamic vinegar, strawberries, tequila, and Naranja with fresh squeezed lime juice. It just might inspire you to write a soliloquy or two of your own. Or not … but either way, it’s delicious.

STIR features Happy Hour from 4-7 PM on weeknights, and 10 AM-7 PM on weekends, with $2 off signature cocktails, $2 off wine by the glass, and $1 off drafts and bottles. Or, visit on Wednesday nights from 5-9 PM to enjoy all you can drink wine paired with a buffet from a select food outlet!

Beyond the plethora of food and beverage offerings  available at Urban8, some form of entertainment is available practically every night of the week. Whether it’s live music, an opportunity to paint while you imbibe,  or a theme trivia night, Urban8 has no shortage of fun activities to answer the age-old question of, “What should we do tonight?” A 12 foot projection screen is available for football, UFC, and watch parties for any number of events. The Urban8 stage in the center of the food court features custom pianos and rotating stage lights, which come to life every weekend with dueling pianos and live music. Check out there calendar of events here to see what’s coming up.

 

*Note: I am envisioning myself participating in all of these activities while consuming a giant bowl of fro-yo swimming in cupcake bites, followed by (ok, possibly accompanied by) a $2 off beer. Is this heaven?


Urban8 Food Court
thecolony.urban8food.com
5265 TX-121, The Colony, TX 75056

Hours:
Monday – Thursday: 7am – midnight
Friday: 7am-2am
Saturday: 9am-2am
Sunday: 9am-12am

Pictures courtesy of Urban8. Rachel was gifted a $25 gift card to use on her visit.

Scout & Cellar: Taking the Headaches Out of Great Wine

Over the years, I’ve had friends attempt to sell me a variety of products—leggings, skin care, oils, makeup, kitchen knick-knacks, nutritional supplements, weird nail stickers, and smelly candles. Sadly, I have never had a friend attempt to sell me anything I actually really want—or need—until I met Erin Gerner. Erin sells wine. Erin Gerner is a consultant for Celina based wine club Scout & Cellar.  Erin would love to help arrange for a box of wine to appear on your doorstep on a monthly basis. Erin is also my new favorite person.

Scout & Cellar was founded by local attorney Sarah Shadonix with a very specific goal in mind: curating an amazing collection of clean-crafted wine. “What is clean-crafted wine?”, you might ask. Clean-crafted wines contain no synthetic pesticides, no added sugar, zero added chemicals, and low sulfites. They are never mass-produced, ensuring quality control. Clean-crafted wines also remove one other thing from the wine drinking experience: the dreaded wine headache. Scout & Cellar, where have you been all of my (21+) life?

The great news is, you can choose to purchase from Scout & Cellar’s Clean-crafted wine collection without any membership, simply by shopping online. However, if you want, or, ahem, *need*  more wine in your life, you definitely want to consider a club membership. How does it work? When you sign up, you get to customize your experience; you decide what kind of wine you’d like to receive, and how often. Whether you want to receive all whites, all reds, or a mixture, and whether you’d prefer to receive shipments monthly, bi-monthly, or quarterly, they’ve got a plan for you. Members receive additional perks as well, like product discounts, and an invitation to visit the winery, which isn’t open to the public. Erin is an amazing consultant, and she will steer you towards wines you will love that you might not have tried on your own. I can personally attest to this, as she brought me two bottles she recommended, which were right up my alley … and as promised, no headache. Swoon.

Speaking of Erin and her wine savvy: she is also available for tastings, and you could be her next host! As a Host, you arrange a Scout & Cellar wine tasting and handle the guest list; Erin handles the rest. You get to earn cool host perks, and you also earn cool points for throwing a “party” your friends actually WANT to attend. (Hint: overpriced eye serum does not a party make.) Also, Erin is sweet as pie; the consummate hostess. A fun evening is all but guaranteed!

Finally, if clean-crafted wine speaks to your soul, definitely reach out to Erin about becoming a consultant. Scout & Cellar consultants spread the good news about clean-crafted wine … all while making money in the process. They host wine parties, they explain the collections, and they manage a team of other Independent Consultants who do the same things.

Thank you Erin, for sharing your fabulous Clean-crafted wines with me!


SCOUT & CELLAR
www.scoutandcellar.com
Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

Erin Gerner, Scout & Cellar Consultant
eringerner@gmail.com
www.scoutandcellar.com/eringerner

 

Dough Bro’s Italian Kitchen

Admittedly, I tend to be a little bit of a pizza snob. I’m from South Florida—the land of New York and New Jersey transplants. In other words, I grew up surrounded by hole in the wall pizzerias owned by guys with names like “Vito,” and “Nicky”. Since moving to Texas over ten years ago, I have been on a tireless quest to find pizza that lives up to my seemingly impossible standards. A few spots have come close, but I hadn’t found “the one” … until now.  Enter Dough Bro’s Italian Kitchen. I never would have guessed that my new favorite pizza spot would be located in The Colony (ok, they have a Dallas location, too). 

I recently visited Dough Bro’s location in The Colony where I had the opportunity to sink my teeth into some of their pies, and they were phenomenal. The crust, made in-house daily (secret ingredient: locally sourced honey!),  is delightfully chewy yet crispy. Dough Bro’s marinara sauce is perfectly balanced with fresh tomatoes, basil, and a hint of sweetness. The mozzarella on our pie was plentiful, and fresh. I was really sad I didn’t have leftover pizza to eat for lunch the next day, because … we ate it all. Oops.

In addition to pizza, Dough Bro’s features a variety of shareable starters, wings, salads, sandwiches, and calzones, as well as a lineup of entrees. The Deconstructed Fresh Lasagna is said to be a favorite of regulars, featuring house-made noodles, a sausage and beef blend, fresh spinach, and mozzarella. If red sauce and cheese isn’t what you’re after, Dough Bro’s offers a variety of “modern classic” entrees, such as a grilled pork tenderloin served with risotto and asparagus, and wild salmon served with zoodles and a whole grain mustard sauce. Be sure to save room for dessert.  The Lemon Butter Cake … ye-um.

Dough Bro’s features an impressive collection of rotating craft beers and microbrews—the beer list is well-curated and offers options locals beyond the “usual suspects”.

Additionally, they also offer an impressive cocktail list featuring seasonal inspirations. On my recent visit, I tried the Basil Gimlet (Bombay Sapphire, fresh squeezed lime, basil, simple syrup) and I am happy to report this is the best version of this cocktail I’ve found since the closure of Hibiscus (RIP). And that’s high praise in my book. We also sampled a Red Pepper Martini (Deep Eddy, fresh squeezed lime, Tabasco, simple syrup, muddled red bell pepper), which was equal parts smoky, spicy, and smooth.

And of course, vino is available, by the glass or the bottle.

Dough Bro’s offers a happy hour Monday-Friday featuring $6 specialty cocktails and $1 off liquors, beer, and wine. Additional drink specials are featured on Tuesdays, with Ziegenbock and Fireball on special for just $2. For additional offerings, specials, and events (including live music!), check out Dough Bro’s Facebook page.

Dough Bro’s Italian Kitchen
doughbro.com

The Colony
2851 Plano Pkwy #270
(469) 353-8182

Addison
5181 Keller Springs Road
(469) 248-0058

A special “Thank you” to Dough Bro’s for a delicious meal! An instant favorite, in our book. 

UP Inspired Kitchen

If you’re looking for a spot in Frisco where  you can grab a brunch that’s guilt-free AND delicious … and somewhere you can linger over a mimosa (or two or five) … UP Inspired Kitchen might by your new sanctuary.

Owners Mike and Rae Luther (a husband and wife team) have paired up with concept chef Todd Duplechan (of Austin’s Lenoir) to create UP’s fast-casual concept, featuring a chef-driven menu comprised of better-for-you breakfast and lunch options prepared with honestly sourced ingredients. In addition to Mike and Rae’s passion for the food they serve, their passion for people is apparent in UP’s friendly, welcoming atmosphere. From the children’s play house located on the open-air patio to the multitude of power outlets available in the cheerful dining room, UP beckons you to come as you are and make yourself at home.

UP’s menu features cravable, familiar favorites, with a healthy twist like the “Biscuits and Groovy” featuring cornbread muffins with a cauliflower gravy. UP offers a lovely assortment of egg dishes, like the delicious Tahoe Wrap I sampled on my recent visit featuring cage-free eggs, turkey, avocado, cheddar, and salsa verde nestled in a whole wheat tortilla ($9.50). A variety of beautiful toasts grace the menu, like the Avocado Toast with edamame, lime, and a fresno chili relish ($8). A collection of fresh salads, as well as an assortment of bowls with health boosting ingredients like the Acai Bowl (Acai, strawberries, bananas, granola, seasonal fruit, Texas honey) ($9.80) represent some additional guilt-free options.

If you’d rather treat-yo-self though, don’t worry; UP has a “Cheat Day” menu with your name on it. With offerings like the Breakfast Burger– Akaushi beef, sausage, fried cage-free egg, pickles, cheddar, red onion, dijon mustard, arugula ($11), and a Short-Rib Grilled Cheese with cheddar and pickled onion on sourdough ($10) , there’s something for everyone. Vegetarian, Paleo, Whole 30, and gluten-free friends- they’ve got you covered, too. Lots of great options! 

UP has partnered with some great companies to round out their coffee and juice menu, including Limitless Coffee, Buda Juice, and Manny’s Cortado. The impressively curated coffee menu offers some unique and interesting options like the Butter Brew Plus made with MCT oil, grass-fed butter, maple syrup, and collagen ($6.80)—trust me, you’ve got to try this one. 

If an adult beverage is what you’re after, UP’s mimosas are equally creative; the Mimosa Sampler comes with a bottle of bubbles, traditional OJ, blueberry-pomegranate juice, and a carafe of Holy Kombucha Hibiscus Sangria. The latter works surprisingly well, I must say. A selection of local craft brews are available on tap.

UP Inspired Kitchen
upinspiredkitchen.com
5285 North Dallas Parkway, Suite 400 (at the Shops at Starwood)

Serving breakfast and lunch daily from 7:00 AM-3:00 PM

 

 

Chicken Moto: Southern Comfort Meets Seoul Food

Fried chicken enthusiasts, listen up: you need to check out Chicken Moto, now open in Richardson.

While there are plenty of spots in Dallas that pride themselves on their renditions of this southern favorite, I can assure you, you’ve never had fried chicken like this before. (Well, unless you’ve been to Bb Bop, in which case, maybe you have.) That’s because Chicken Moto was imagined by the owners of Bb Bop—husband and  wife team Greg & Sandy Bussey, Steve Shin, and Sam Osee. They wanted to open a concept revolving around Bb Bop’s very own “Not Your Mama’s Fried Chicken”.

The building that houses Chicken Moto previously served as an auto repair shop. This, coupled with Sam Osee’s passion for motorcycles, explains the chopper theme. Chicken Moto was designed to “celebrate the collision of cultures and lifestyles”, combining Texas Southern comfort with South Korean Seoul food. Guests get to experience Korean fried chicken and traditional sides with a fresh, unique twist.

Obviously, fried chicken rules the roost at Chicken Moto (pun totally intended), with “Not Your Mama’s Fried Chicken” available as a quarter chicken, half chicken, or whole bird. NYMFC is served with your choice of Soy Ginger (my fave) or Sweet-and-Spicy Chile glaze (or, you can skip the glaze if you aren’t feeling saucy). Gluten-free wings are available as well. Chicken and waffles were another winner—cornbread waffles smothered in GRAVY AND SYRUP. If boneless chicken is your thing, try “The Sandwich”, a boneless chicken thigh topped with cabbage, celery, and green onion slaw, with a sweet and spicy chili sauce served on Texas toast.

 

Chicken Moto offers half a dozen inventive appetizers, including Chicken Cracklin, Elotes with a Korean chile aioli, and Seasoned Fries with Kimchi Queso.

Chicken Moto’s southern influence is evident in many of their side dishes, with options like potato salad, bacon charro beans, and mashed potatoes in the mix.

 

If you’re looking to wash down that Korean spice, a variety of rotating craft beers and wine by the glass are available.


CHICKEN MOTO
chickenmoto.com
2069 N Central Expy #200 (Richardson)
(469) 248-0092

HOURS
Mon – Fri: 11am–3pm, 5-10pm
Sat: 11am–10pm
Sun: 11am–9pm

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