Category Archives: American

TGI Friday’s Releases Its New Fire-Grilled Meats and Two New Cocktails

With their competition reinventing their menus with less items, there’s a new fire under TGIF’s behind. Their answer: do what they do, just better and for less cost to the consumer.

Friday’s is overhauling their entire menu, meaning new apps, entrees, sides, drinks, and more. TGI Friday’s new Choose Two menu dropped today and it’s all about fire-grilled meats … and good ones, at that. There are 15 different combinations for you to try, each for just $14.99.

First up: Philly Cheesesteak Egg Rolls and the Philly Cheesesteak Burger. We have yet to find someone who doesn’t love egg rolls (we held a poll in the tasting to prove ourselves right), so it only makes sense to American-ize them into a Philly Cheese-take (pun intended) appetizer.  The burger’s patty is juicy and topped with a cheesy pepper concoction that you’ll fork off the plate after it falls off the burger. Don’t worry – if you order the burger, you get an egg roll on top. (Because burgers are better with an appetizer on top.)

As for the new Grilled Meats menu … all of Friday’s meats are grilled fresh on the fire and never frozen, and they’re moving to higher quality cuts that give the guest a nicer amount of meat with less effort cutting around the less desirable bits. We won’t go through all the different meat and side combinations you can get—they’re all pretty damn good, so just pick your favorite(s). We will, however, tell you about all the juicy, fire-grilled meats you can now get …

Premium Center Cut Sirloin: 6oz seasoned with hickory smoked sea salt, topped with parmesan butter.
Dragon Glazed Salmon: Atlantic salmon fillet brushed with sweet and spicy Korean BBQ sauce, topped with mango pico de gallo.
Big Ribs: 30% meatier, bolder, tastier premium pork back ribs, cooked low and slow in house. (The new ribs launched in October and have been a hit.)
Parmesan Crusted Chicken: topped with a white poblano queso and toasted with crispy parmesan bread crumbs.
Bacon-Wrapped Grilled Shrimp: two skewers of three large jumbo shrimp, wrapped in hardwood smoked bacon and brushed with parmesan butter sauce.
14-ounce Bone-In New York Strip: this cut is ridiculously juicy and flavorful … not to be missed. It’ll give some steakhouses a run for their money.

New sides were also recently introduced to accompany these delicious meats—crispy Brussel sprouts, baked mac & cheese and giant onion rings. All of which were equally “souped-up” recently. Their standard mashed potatoes aren’t anything to shy away from, though … they fold in cheese to make them rich and they’re nearly impossible to hold yourself back from eating the whole pile.

The important thing to remember here is your eyes may be hungrier than your stomach, but that’s okay because they have to-go boxes for you to take things home.

Along with the new entree options, they’ve released two new cocktails, the Magic Lemon Drop Martini and their take on a Hurricane. They’ve been making efforts to move their bar to a “clean bar” concept—no fake colors or ingredients, just good, clean, quality ingredients.

The Magic Lemon Drop is cool on many fronts—visually, because of it’s greatly contrasting purple and yellow colors; experientially, because you get to be your own mixologist with the garnish by dropping it in and watching the color change; and Boomerang-worthy, because they use butterfly pea tea extract. The BPT extract is a new, trendy cocktail ingredient that makes a cocktail blue, and then changes color when some ingredients are added—purple with acidic ingredients, pink with a high pH ingredient. Less new, but still a stunner, their take on the traditional hurricane is fresh and delicious, made so partly because of the fresh passion fruit puree they use.

TGIF’s is stepping up it’s game again, y’all.


TGI FRIDAY’S
tgifridays.com
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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

 

 

Pinstack Las Colinas

Adult children, rejoice! Pinstack has a new location off of 635 in Las Colinas.

For those of you who haven’t been to their Plano location yet, Pinstack is the modern version of a bowling alley, arcade, and restaurant, all poured into one. This new location is 53,000 sqf of fun with three main areas—the restaurant and bar, the bowling alleys, and the arcade area. Just beyond the restaurant is a 4,000 sqf patio with half of it climate controlled and the other half outside with various giant-sized lawn games. The arcade area also offers a two-level laser tag arena, a rock climbing wall, a high-ropes course, and hundreds of the newest video games and simulator technology.

For those of you who would rather watch than do, the restaurant and bar have much to offer you. I would highly recommend starting with the Mac & Cheese Pops (fried mac & cheese balls), served with a tomato bisque sauce. They’re entirely too easy to eat.

From there, you can’t go wrong with the Blackened Mahi Mahi served over jasmine rice with pineapple pico and sweet chili sauce, or the Simply Grilled Chicken served with sautéed heirloom cherry tomatoes and asparagus, baby arugula, balsamic reduction, and parmesan cheese.

This wouldn’t be a complete review on this site without some cocktail info, so be sure to give their signature Paloma a go. This classic cocktail is refreshing and delectable … really, it’s a perfect way to cool down after a heated game of laser tag. They also offer domestic and craft pints (quite a few of them on draft), house wines, and margaritas

Happy hour is Monday through Friday, 4-7pm, and features specialty pricing on cocktails, beer, and wine! They are also offering specials on Mondays and Wednesdays: their Monday night special, dubbed Bowl & Bite, offers $3 draft beers and 1/2 price appetizers. They also have Wine Down Wednesday with 1/2 off bottles wine!

This particular Pinstack location can accommodate up to 1,800 guests with an inviting layout for private parties and events.

PINSTACK LAS COLINAS
Pinstack Las Colinas
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2750 West I-635 (Irving)
214.765.2695

Hours:
Sunday-Thursday: 11am-Midnight
Friday: 11am-2am
Saturday: 10am-2am

Chelsea Corner

Chelsea Corner is BACK!

The McKinney Avenue and Monticello corner spot from the 70s is back in it’s old stomping grounds, and it has just the right mix of nostalgia and shiny new offerings. The owners wanted to bring it back to its former glory but also provide customers with food for today.

We were curious what we’d see when Corner Bar shut its doors last year, and they’ve made some really fantastic improvements to the once dingy space. First, everything has been completely overhauled. It’s clean, and aside from the general layout, there’s no sign of the previous dive bar to be found. (Thank goodness.)

The bar has individual rooms to give a “house party” feel with video DJs playing oldies videos on all 17 TV screens around the restaurant and bar. The vibe of the whole place is laid back during the day, but can get wild in the evenings. You’ll see anyone from college students to empty nesters to business men stopping in for a drink (and a quick glance at some PYTs) after work. You might see one guy popping a bottle right next to another guy popping a bottle … of milk for his kid.

Overall, the new Chelsea Corner is a neighborhood bar that’s all about the neighborhood with environments to pay love to the area … with a bit of a naughty side at night.

May 19th marks the opening of their new 3500 square foot dog-friendly patio that seats 90 people with a back entrance off of Monticello. It will be perfect for day drinking with friends and pets.

The menu features classic Chelsea Corner bites such as giant pretzels, pizza, and burgers. A few personal favorites:

  • Big Daddy’s White Pizza – fresh ricotta cheese and oven dried roma tomatoes
  • Twisted Fried Chicken Sandwich – crunchy fried chicken breast, swiss cheese, lettuce, tomato, and house-made honey mustard
  • Best Darn Steak Sandwich – beef tenderloin, chelsea brandy butter, caramelized onion, and manchego or blue cheese (pictured below)

Brunch is served Saturdays and Sundays from 10:30am to 3pm (beignets are a must), and on Tuesdays they have live jazz and 1/2 price bottles of wine and champagne.

Don’t even think about leaving without ordering the warm chocolate chip cookies. You can thank me later …


CHELSEA CORNER
www.chelseacornerdallas.com
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4830 McKinney Avenue (Knox/Henderson)
(469) 726-2211

Mon    4p – 12a
Tue     4p – 2a
Wed   4p – 2a
Thu    4p – 2a
Fri       11a – 2a
Sat      10:30a – 2a
Sun     10:30a – 12a
**brunch sat & sun 10:30a-3p

Chicken In The Front, Party In The Back

If you’re a fan of the Truck Yard atmosphere and grandma’s quality southern fare, then you’re in luck.

Quincy’s Chicken Shack is the newest family style, neighborhood picnic-esque restaurant to pop up in Coppell. Now, all you Dallas folk are thinking, “Coppell? That’s way too far just for some chicken…” but I assure you, it is well worth the drive. This fresh, family-friendly place will have you fed and on the way to your fried chicken coma in just 11 minutes. 

First, let’s talk atmosphere. Located right near Coppell Old Town Pavillion, the restaurant features an outdoor patio that’ll make your heart sing. Full bar, truck-turned-stage for live music, and string lights to make all your pictures Instagram gold. 

Speaking of the bar, Quincy has come up with some outstanding cocktails to go with your meal, and the southern theme is strong. Our favorites in our group were:

Mint Julep: bourbon, home grown mint syrup, soda water

Grandma’s Secret (personal favorite): sweet tea vodka, taverna, lemon, black tea

Shoofly Punch: Enchanted Rock peach vodka, peach puree, ginger liqueur, lemon, champagne, topped with a peach ring! This one is a southern spin on the French 75

Backyard Party: frozen lemonade spiked with your choice of citrus vodka/blueberry vodka/sweet tea vodka/ whiskey with mint

Dee’s Lunchbox: beer cocktail with white rum, orgeat, lemon, topped with IPA

Bottled Manhattan: a perfect manhattan made with Herman Marshall whiskey, vermouth, bitters, luxardo cherry

Tequila Mockingbird: Blanco Tequila, lemon, triple sec, watermelon juice

Now, let’s get to the food. The restaurant serves its offerings family style, so come prepared to share … or prepared for a fork fight.

First up is some black-eyed pea hummus to keep things light and fun. Then you have a choice of a fried chicken or a rotisserie chicken dinner basket for the table. Each one comes with cornbread, rotisserie potatoes and loaded potato dip, southern beans, and a seasonal side. What makes this chicken so darn good is that all of it’s cooked in the rotisserie, and then either served like that or flash fried for 3 and half minutes. 

Luckily, their lunch options aren’t all family style. Some lunch options they offer are a BBQ Chicken Sandwich, which is pulled chicken with Quincy’s root beer BBQ sauce, coleslaw, and rotisserie potatoes, and the Fried Chicken Sandwich, which is fried chicken tenders (available regular or Nashville Spicy) with garlic aioli, bread & butter pickles, coleslaw, and rotisserie potatoes. They also have a lunch salad, which features pulled rotisserie chicken on mixed greens topped with cowboy vinaigrette, green apple, corn, black-eyed pea hummus, and cornbread croutons. Lunch options will be available starting today, March 11th. 

If you’re still hungry after all that, they’ve got you covered. Desert is a bowl full of egg-free cookie dough (not today, salmonella!) and a seasonal handpie served with vanilla bean ice cream. 

Quincy’s Chicken Shack
QuincysChickenShack.com
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505 Houston Street (Coppell)
(469) 251-9080

  • Tues– Sat: Dinner only ; Sun & Mon: Closed
  • Tues – Thurs: 5pm–9pm, Bar open at 4
  • Fri – Sat: 5pm–10pm, Bar open at 4

Super Chix in North Dallas

Move over, Chick-fil-A, there’s a new chick in town!

Super Chix is bringing flavor back to the traditional chicken sandwich. With the idea that simple is better, Super Chix marinates and hand-breads their chicken in-house daily. With locations in Dallas and Richardson (and soon to be Frisco location!), there’s no excuse to eat a sub-par chicken sandwich ever again. (Not that Chick-fil-A is sub-par … just in case the powers that be see this.  You NEVER want to piss off the CFA wizards.) 

The Super Chix menu features standard fried or grilled chicken sandwiches, as well as some new-to-the-scene, more creative plates … and yes, even salads.  Not to be missed is their extensive sauce selection. You can choose from six sauces–Mississippi Comeback, Alabama White, Nashville Hot, Cucumber Dill Ranch, Signature, and Honey Mustard … all delicious, 

Cordon Bleu Sandwich: swiss cheese, honey mustard, ham, and fried chicken. Served on a buttered potato roll.

Crispy Avocado Sandwich: Avocado half stuffed with Gouda cheese, breaded and fried, then topped with seasoning, garlic mayonnaise, lettuce leaf, and tomato. Served on a buttered potato roll. 

Blackened Cajun Chicken Sandwich: grilled chicken filet tossed in blackened seasoning, topped with garlic mayo, bacon, lettuce lead, tomato, and fried pickles. Served on a buttered potato roll. 

Fear not health-nuts, they also have delicious salads, such as the Southwest Chicken Salad, which features lettuce, tomato, avocado, grilled chicken, and tortilla strips.

As for drinks and desert? Well not only do they offer a bunch of craft sodas on tap, they also have a full custard bar with rotating weekly custard flavors. Find their custard menu here.

Super Chix
superchix.com
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Dallas Location: 14999 Preston Road, Suite 226 | 972-788-0660
Richardson Location: 1551 East Renner Road, Suite 830 | 469-466-1500

Open 11am to 10pm daily

State Fair Treats & Walmart: a Marriage Only Texans Would Understand

The State Fair of Texas ends today, … didn’t get a chance to make it out there this year? (Or, you just simply weren’t in the mood to navigate a sweaty sea of humanity in the sweltering heat, intermittently pausing to open up your wallet and shake it until it’s empty?) Well, I have good news for you and your taste buds … but, bad news for your cholesterol count. A variety of deep-fried, State Fair favorites are now available, indefinitely, at none other than … Walmart. Yep, you read that correctly. It’s such a delightfully perfect pairing (and I do not think I need to elaborate as to why that is). State Fair Treats has opened up shop inside of the Coit Rd. location in Plano.

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Isaac Rousso, three-time winner of the Big Tex Choice Award for “Most Creative” deep-fried offerings, is the mastermind behind this amazing marriage of commerce and culinary delights. (You can thank Rousso for the imagining of past delicacies including the Fried Pop-tart, Smoky Bacon Margarita, and Deep-Fried Cuban Rolls.) State Fair Treats features a 45 snacks and treats from the requisites like corn dogs and nachos to indulgent sweet treats like Funnel Cake Fries, Fried Oreos, and the Texas Bluebonnet (a cream cheese-stuffed, deep-fried blueberry muffin topped with whipped cream and more blueberries). I may have had one two, and it was admittedly delicious. Rousso’s award-winning Cookie Fries will join the lineup of goodies this week.

While you won’t find any livestock or midway games at State Fair Treats, it’s definitely worth stopping in for an indulgent goodie or two … and bonus: you’ll still have enough cash left to buy whatever a goodie from Walmart on the way out.

State Fair Treats
StateFairTreats.com
Facebook
425 Coit Road., Plano (Located inside Walmart)
(972) 612-9637

Hours: daily, 7am (yes, they have breakfast) – 9pm

***Thanks to State Fair Treats for inviting us in to check out the fried goodness!***

California Pizza Kitchen: the Next Chapter

Once upon a time, when I was  starving college student, I worked at the mall. Upon clocking out for my 30 minute lunch break, my M.O. was to pick my sad granola bar from my purse or maybe grab a kids meal from Chik-fil-a (in my defense, it did come with a fun toy), because we all know $128 text books don’t pay for themselves. But once a month or so, when I was feeling particularly saucy, I would splurge and spring for a BBQ Chicken Chopped Salad from California Pizza Kitchen. I’m pretty sure in some instances that salad was the highlight of my month.

Admittedly, I haven’t visited California Pizza Kitchen much since my mall days ended. No real reason; I guess I just sort of forgot about it. Fast forward double-digit years: I recently revisited California Pizza Kitchen at their Willow Bend location to check out their new “Next Chapter” menu. I was excited to revisit an old favorite (but also anxious to see if they still served my coveted salad), and to see what their new menu was all about. I won’t make you wait in suspense: CPK did indeed still have my beloved salad along with several other familiar salad selections. The pasta and pizza selection also appeared relatively unchanged, with classic offerings like the Original BBQ Chicken Pizza and Thai Chicken pizza still gracing the menu.

So, that said, what’s in CPK’s “Next Chapter?” California Pizza Kitchen has recently updated its menu to focus on high quality, fresh and seasonal ingredients, and *most importantly* (OK, maybe that’s a matter of opinion, but barely) hand-crafted cocktails, and locally brewed beers.

Speaking of those craft cocktails; I’m going to go ahead and admit I was pleasantly surprised (if somewhat skeptical) when I looked at the new menu, which billed CPK’s cocktails as “unique and spirited”. The new cocktail collection features premium spirits paired with fresh fruit purées and herbs, with an extra surprise of unexpected ingredients. One such cocktail I sampled was the California Roots, (fresh avocado, shaken smooth with Svedka vodka, mint and lime, garnished with a fennel salt rim, $10.29). While I wouldn’t characterize the avocado flavor as identifiable in this imaginative cocktail, it definitely gave my drink a pleasantly rich and smooth consistency. I loved the zippy lime and mint, and the fennel salt rim was an awesome touch.

We also tried the  Blueberry Ginger Smash (fresh blueberries, lime and cranberry with Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Whiskey and Domaine de Canton Ginger, $10.89). This one was packed with berry flavor, and about as summery as a whiskey drink can get. Most notably, the cocktails we sampled packed a rather surprising punch. I have tried my fair share of “fancy dranks” that look pretty and taste good but seem to be characterized by a relative lack of booze, but rest assured, this was not a problem we encountered. (I’ll note that it’s a dangerous thing to get mall-drunk … drunk shopping is real, y’all.)

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Picture courtesy of California Pizza Kitchen

 

CPK has also added a stellar sangria flight to their lineup. It includes Orchard Sangria (white wine, St. Germain Elderflower, Monin Stone Fruit, orange and cranberry juices), Red-Berry Sangria (red wine, Rémy VSOP, Monin Blackberry, raspberry purée, cranberry juice, lemonade), and the seasonal Harvest Sangria (Bacardi Superior Rum, St. Germain Elderflower, Kendall-Jackson Chardonnay with muddled grapes, basil & fresh agave sour), all three for $10. In additional to being a pretty amazing value, all three varieties were very nicely balanced. Additionally, CPK has a variety of wines available in 6oz or 9oz pours as well as by the bottle. And they offer a “Wine Adventure Guarantee”, encouraging patrons to be adventurous and try a new wine … and if it doesn’t thrill you, they will replace it with your regular favorite.

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Their craft beer selection is also slowly expanding with offerings from the likes of Chimay, Rogue, and Goose Island gracing the menu. Additionally, CPK has added a selection of local favorites, currently including Lakewood Hop Trapp, Lakewood Temptress (yum), and Nine Band Pale Ale.

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After sampling so many drinks, it was a good thing CPK invited us to try several of their new menu items, too. They have a new collection of small plates and flatbreads, ranging from Crispy Mac ’n’ Cheese to White Corn Guacamole. We sampled the new Bianco Flatbread (whipped truffle cream, Gorgonzola, Mozzarella and fresh sage, $6.99), and the truffle cream was approximately as outstanding as it sounds, and the fresh sage was dee-lish.

CPK has added a variety of new entree options to their menu, emphasizing “globally inspired” seasonal ingredients. We sampled the Hearth-Roasted Halibut (wild caught from Alaska and roasted on a cedar plank with butternut squash farro, grilled asparagus and baby kale, $19.49) that was incredibly flaky and tender, and the butternut squash farrow was one of those dishes that just warms the soul. Even my husband, who tends to be somewhat of a “fish snob”, gave this dish two thumbs up. We also tried the Roasted Garlic Chicken with Seasonal Vegetables (a crispy-skin chicken breast in lemon-garlic sauce, with a medley of the seasonal vegetables) that was amazingly decadent and moist, bursting with buttery lemon garlic flavor. CPK is also featuring a new Fire-Grilled Ribeye (house-made pinot noir sea salt, topped with creamy bleu cheese butter and served with roasted fingerling potatoes and lemon-garlic wild arugula salad, $25.99).

Overall, I was quite impressed with California Pizza Kitchen’s “New Chapter”, and I think this may be a “New Chapter” for CPK and I, as well (mall job not included).

California Pizza Kitchen – Willow Bend
CPK.com
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6121 W. Park Blvd., Sp.D-126, Plano (South Side of Mall, Next to Crate and Barrel)
469-366-0060

 To view menus or find other locations, visit cpk.com 
Our team was invited in for a meal on the house.