Category Archives: Contributor

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
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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)

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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
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2408 Preston Road (Plano)
972-975-9033

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

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
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1114 S Elm St #100 (Carrollton, Texas)
469-892-6429

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

Deep Ellum Welcomes a Boozy Oyster Bar

There’s a new bar in town, it’s right at the edge of Deep Ellum where Elm meets Malcom X Blvd. Formerly Idle Rye, it’s now called Bitter End.

I experienced all of this for myself when I went to Bitter End for the first time last month. The first thing I noticed was that there is a solid patio which is where they hosted Puppies on the Patio every Sunday in April where they welcome your four-legged companion and kept free pupsicles in stock. But don’t worry … the patio is always pup-friendly and there’s a chance they will bring back Pups on the Patio for an encore. (Crossing my fingers!)

Inside, you can find vibrant art of famous rock legends along the wall which ties into the cleverly named cocktails—Walk the Line, The Madonna, and The Selena, to name a few.  You’ll also find a raw bar full of oysters on ice from all over. Bitter End will always carry Gulf and Blue Point Oysters, but there are other types on rotation like Sweet Jesus oysters. (Seriously.)

If raw oysters aren’t your thing, I recommend the charbroiled oysters or clams. They are wood-grilled with garlic herb butter and Parmesan and served with a toasted baguette that is excellent dipped in the leftover herb butter! The menu isn’t all oysters—they also have burgers, Nashville hot chicken sliders, salads, lobster rolls (on pretzel buns!), and other delicious pub food.

As far as cocktails go, you’re going to want to try them all! I am somewhat obsessed with the Ziggy Stardust (rum, maraschino liqueur, grapefruit and lime). They use a mini clothespin to fasten the garnish to the glass and it’s adorable (and very insta-worthy).  If you want something a little less sweet, I would suggest you Walk the Line (bourbon, spiced pear, lemon and egg white). It sounds like a weird combo, but go with it! I also discovered my new go-to coffee cocktail—I still love you, Twilight Lounge—called the Madonna (frozen coffee liqueur, espresso vodka topped with whipped cream). It’s going to be perfect for Dallas’s hot weather and late night patio season.

Now let’s talk about their events…
Mondays and Tuesdays, ALL DAY: $5 champagne and $1.50 oysters
Every day, 5-7pm: $5 wells, wine and beer
7 days a week, 10pm-2am: reverse oyster happy hour with $1.50 oysters

There are more than 20 TVs, so it’s also a perfect spot to watch your favorite sports team and there will be various specials for select games. Now would be a great time to check out Bitter End while cheering on your favorite Dallas team …


BITTER END DALLAS
bitterenddallas.com
2826 Elm St, Dallas, TX 75226
(214) 792-9888

PRODUCT REVIEW: Schofferhofer Hefeweizen Pomegranate

It’s starting to warm up, and when this time of year rolls around, I’m personally always looking for low calorie beverages that won’t leave me feeling put out (bloated, tired, tipsy … you name it). So, with summer right around the corner, Schofferhofer Hefeweizen Pomegranate should be on your list of fruit-forward bevs to try … and drink beside a pool, on the lake, at the beach or whatever your plans my be!

Schofferhofer Grapefruit was created back in 2007 and was super successful when it was introduced at Epcot’s Food & Wine Festival at Walt Disney World back in 2012, so they’ve been working on some new options. Now their newest edition to their fam is the pomegranate flavor!

This beer doesn’t taste like beer, and I can appreciate that for my people out there who don’t like it. (But y’all are #crazy.) I’m talkin’ like, lighter than a shandy. That being said, it’s super unique in that it’s 50% pomegranate juice, 50% hefeweizen and that’s exactly the order in which you’ll taste it too. Sweet like juice up front, mild wheat beer taste on the finish that’s not overpowering. So if you like beer that doesn’t taste like beer, this could totally be your jam.

If you do like beer, this might also be for you in the following instances:
– You want something fruity to mix it up and stay “hydrated” since it’s already 50% juice.
– You want to use it as a mixer with a seltzer water to stay even more “hydrated”.
– You want to make a punch with it by adding some gin or vodka.

You can add this beer to your cart at these DFW retailers: Total Wine, Specs, Goody Goody, Whole Foods, Kroger, Market Street, Winco Foods, Central Market, Sprouts, some other spots, and even Bed, Bath & Beyond!

So really it comes down to would I recommend it, sure, if you are in the mood for a light, fruity drink.

STATS
Special ingredients: pomegranate juice
ABV: 2.5%


Schofferhofer Hefeweizen Bier
schofferhofer.usx

Facebook: /SchofferhoferUS
Twitter: @schofferhoferus
Instagram: @schofferhoferus

Jon Bon Jovi’s Rosé Can and Should Be Enjoyed Everywhere

There’s a new rosé in town and you’re going to want to grab yourself a bottle before it heats up in Texas! Like, really … we’ll wait while you run down the street for a bottle.

 

You back? Cool … I’ll continue. [Open the bottle and drink along with me.]

This isn’t just any ol’ rosé—it’s Jon Bon Jovi’s rosé that he created with his son, Jesse Bongiovi and former Notre Dame hockey player, Ali Thomas. It’s called Hampton Water, and it dove into the Dallas scene last month with an epic party at the Joule hotel in a kickoff event for KAABOO Texas (the killer music festival featuring The Killers coming in May).

The intimate event called “The First Sip” featured plenty of Hampton Water Rosé and an acoustic set by Jon Bon Jovi himself—no big deal, right?? The event was at the heated rooftop pool deck at the hotel and the second that I stepped out of the elevator, it was clear what a big deal this rosé was at least trying to be. … and it was.

 

All of Dallas’s elite came out to enjoy a glass of rosé from Dallas athletes like Jason Witten and Dirk himself (bless that man)and alumni from The Bachelor to bloggers, media reps and businessmen. It was a huge turnout and the room was buzzing with excitement for both the performance and the launch of KAABOO and Hampton Water. (Just so much to celebrate.)

Have you already poured yourself a glass?

Now let’s talk about why the Wine Spectator featured it as one of the top 100 wines of 2018: The blend comes from wine makers in the South of France and is made from the perfect blend of Syrah, Grenache, Cinsault and Mourvèdre grapes. It has a nice clean taste with hints of fruity flavors like cherry and watermelon. It has a really balanced, crisp finish which makes it perfect for pretty much any occasion where wine is involved (which should be all the time, right?). Once patio season hits, I have a feeling we will be seeing it all over Dallas. (Hence our aforementioned note to HURRY.)

Also coming to Dallas is the three-day music festival called KAABOO on May 10-12 which will be headlined by Sting, The Killers, Kid Rock, and Lynyrd Skynyrd. KAABOO describes itself as “People against dirty” and “The perfect weekend escape, described in a word that comes from whatever the hell we feel like yelling when we’re high on life and having fun.” It’s taking place at the AT&T Stadium, and you can be sure here will be lots of cocktails available (including Hampton Water Rosé, obviously) along with craft beers, cabanas, six stages and even a Vegas-y pool club!

As I was sipping my glass of rosé and googling how much KABOO tickets are—which are very affordable as far as music-festivals go btw—the crowd starts hustling towards the stage for Jon Bon Jovi’s private set when he played through his well known hits like “American Pie,” “It’s My Life” and “Livin’ On A Prayer.” I now officially have about 179 Jon Bon Jovi recordings on my phone … and I’m only exaggerating a tiny bit there.

Tasting Notes
Grape Varietals: Syrah, Grenache, Cinsault, Mourvèdre
Color: light peach
Aroma: bright fruits
Palate: hints of fruity flavors like cherry, strawberry, and watermelon with just a slight minerality
Finish: long, dry
Region: France — Languedoc-Roussillon
ABV: 13%


Hampton Water
hamptonwaterwine.com
In Dallas, you can find the rosé at Central Market, Pogo’s Wine & Spirits, Nick & Sam’s, Hotel ZaZa, Imoto, Tei-An and Uchi
Retail: ~$18

KAABOO Texas
kaabootexas.com