Category Archives: Restaurant Review

Yolk Media Event

There are people who like breakfast, and then there are people who LIVE for breakfast. I fall into the latter category and have been known to eat breakfast meals at any hour of the day. Eggs, bacon, avocado, fruit, pastries, waffles — I truly believe that you can satisfy any craving with breakfast food.

That said, I’m stoked to share my experience at the newest location of breakfast favorite, YolkThe breakfast and lunch spot’s first-ever Dallas location was right next to Tei-An in the Arts District, but now they have an even more accessible location in Preston Center! This brightly colored, family-friendly, sit down restaurant serves a variety of sweet and savory breakfast plates as well as some standard lunch fare daily until 3pm. 

I know some of you are a may want some suggestions on what to order, so I went ahead and tasted all of their best sellers for you (it’s a rough job, I know). Here’s a quick rundown of some go-to favorites that you can’t go wrong with:

Eggs Benedict: classic, rich, savory. Always a solid choice with an english muffin, Canadian bacon, poached eggs, and a side of potatoes.

Chilaquiles with Chorizo: for your Spanish side. This option comes with house made corn tortilla chips, salsa verde, avocado, jack cheese, red onion, crema, and is topped with two eggs any style. Side note — this plate is also gluten free!

Chicken & Waffles: Oooh boy. As their top selling item, it’s easy to see why people can’t get enough. Bacon waffle topped with crispy fried boneless chicken breast and sausage gravy, served with a side of warm maple syrup. 

Citrus Blast Salad: for those who aren’t always in the breakfast mood. This refreshing salad has a little bit of everything–mixed greens, grilled chicken, apple, avocado, pecan, raisin, mandarin orange, dried cranberries, bleu cheese crumbles, and mango chardonnay vinaigrette.
Heads-up: this option only comes in one, large size, so either come hungry, share, or be prepared to take some home.

Patty Melt: substantial lunch choice. Fill-er-up with this char-broiled burger, gilled onions, American cheese on grilled rye with a side of onion chips.

Stop in for some yummy breakfast and lunch options between the hours of 6am and 3pm.

YOLK
eatyolk.com
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Preston Center: 8315 Westchester Drive, 469-351-0344
One Arts Plaza: 1722 Routh Street, 214-855-YOLK
Sundance Square Fort Worth: 305 Main Street, 817-730-4000
Many locations in Illinois and Indiana, also!

Salsa Limon – Fort Worth Centro

I’m pretty sure most Fort Worthians (I think that’s what we are called) will agree that Salsa Limon turns out some of the best tacos this side of Arlington. That said, I was really excited to hear that they opened a new location in downtown Fort Worth in the Tower building. This isn’t just a typical Salsa Limon … oh no … because this one serves liquor. Now you can get a margarita or a spiked agua fresca while enjoying the yummy tacos. Blessed be the taco gods.

Salsa Limon is trying to honor and preserve true Mexican taquerias–they use only the freshest ingredients. Their best selling taco is the El Capitan, which just happens to be my personal favorite. A buttery, toasted flour tortilla, Oaxaca-Jack cheese, pickled cabbage, onion, cilantro, and whatever filling you want. BRB I have to go wipe my drool real quick. I’ve always gone with my “safe” order of a Chicken El Capitan, but I got to experience some different meats that might have changed my order. I tried the Tripa for the first time last week, and to my surprise, I enjoyed this Mexican delicacy. If you want to just trust me that it’s really good, but not know what part of the animal it comes from … stop reading now. For those of you who are curious: cow intestine.

Now for the salsa. I may or may not be known to ordering large quantities of their amazing salsa and to keep it in my fridge … but let’s not spread that around. So the tomatillo (my favorite) and piquin are traditional taqueria salas, and the jalapeño and habanero are family recipes. Basically, if you haven’t tried all of their salsas, especially the jalapeño, you must. I personally believe that the range from mild to crazy hot goes a little like this: tomatillo > piquin > jalapeño > habanero. Salsa Limon says that piquin is spicer than the jalapeño, but try it at your own risk.

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The difference between this location and the others, as previously mentioned, is that they have booooooze to calm your fired-up taste buds. I would recommend the sour margarita as it’s as pure a margarita as you can get here. All the limes are squeezed by their fun orange juice machine regularly, so it’s fresh fresh fresh. Not into margraitas? You can also add rum, vodka, or gin to their agua frescas. I personally enjoy the hibiscus tea with gin.

 

Bonus- This location is perfect for late night. I have always felt that downtown Fort Worth was lacking in late night eats- problem solved. They are open till 3 am Friday and Saturday nights. Double bonus- they have a pretty great patio that looks onto the streets of downtown.

Salsa Limon- Centro
Website
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550 Throckmorton Street (Fort Worth)
817-615-9760

Hours:
Monday- Thursday: 7am-10pm
Friday- Saturday: 7am-3am
Sunday: 7am-9pm

 

Seaworthy at the Ace Hotel (New Orleans)

I am always saddened by peoples’ dismissal of New Orleans as a party town … I mean, it totally is, but there’s a lot more to it than the partiers who are laissez les bons temps rouler-ing.  I was delighted to get out of the French Quarter bubble on my last trip to visit the new Ace Hotel in the CBD (Central Business District) and dine at Seaworthy, the slightly “hidden” seafood restaurant marked by the eerie glow of a green neon sign.

The space is old school New Orleans, a little hipster and a little southern with elegant touches of brass here and … well, everywhere.  You can choose to sit at the bar by the entrance that is both for booze and oysters–both of which were fresher than expected in many ways–at a table in the dimly lit dining room, or on the patio.   Their patio is just about the closest thing as I’ve found to heaven in New Orleans (without being a tiki bar) thanks to the preservation of the building itself, the minimal (yet unmistakable) nautical decor, and the globe lights adorning every inch of the place.

The drink program here is very well done with bar director Lauren Schell at the helm.  (See what I did there?)  The cocktail list was a mix of classics (think Fishhouse Punch and Sidecars) and more “au courant” options like the Holywater (spiced rum, cognac, Green Chartreuse, almond syrup, grapefruit, lemon, lime, and angostura bitters) and the Good Ships/Wood Ships (the Tales of the Cocktail Daiquiri Seasonal Feature with El Dorado 5yr rum, Genepy des Alpes, pamplemousse liqueur, and lime).  The wine and beer list are respectable with very limited but well selected options in both categories.  (Really … there are only 11 by the glass options for wine making it a snap to choose which to order.)

As the name implies, the food menu is decidedly seafood-slanted.  The oysters on the bar beg to be slurped as much as the drinks, so who were we to deny them the joy of being dinner?  (Just ask for extra crackers if you’re into carb-loading your oysters.)  Also not to be missed is their ceviche (Gulf fish, lime, brunoise of habañero chilies, sweet peppers, herbs) served with unexpectedly delicious grit crisps.  The Gulf fish was surprisingly delicious and tender … and we may have ordered a second bowl of it.

Overall, the restaurant is worth a visit, if not for dinner for at least a happy hour with a couple (five) cocktails and a found of their fresh-as-they-get oysters.


SEAWORTHY at the Ace Hotel

seaworthynola.com
630 Carondelet Street (Central Business District), New Orleans
(504) 930-3071

Oni Ramen

In the wake of losing Kin Kin Urban Thai, the space has taken new life as Oni Ramen–it’s a super casual atmosphere that provides you with super quick service a la other quick serve restaurants at lunch and table-side service at dinner. One of the biggest bonuses Oni provides are its hours–Friday and Saturday night they stay until 4 am. I mean Whataburger is great, but fatty, rich ramen sounds like a way better late night choice to me.

Oni has a few speciality ramen options on their incredibly straightforward and simple menu, as well as their signature miso (my personal favorite). From there, you can build your own if those options aren’t doing it for you. Pick a classic ramen then add extra protein, vegetables, and spice of your choice. Toppings include pork belly, chicken thighs, tempura shrimp, soft or hard-boiled eggs, leafy greens, bean sprouts, corn kernels, and many more. But, choose wisely when picking your spice … this isn’t the time to show off in front of you buddies. If you order it too spicy- you’re SOL because they won’t remake your ramen. The “mild” spice is made with ichimi togarashi pepper, “medium” is made with Aleppo and Thai pepper, “hot” is made with habanero and ghost pepper, “fire” is made with ghost/7-pot and scorpion pepper … and then there’s “demon”–a mix of scorpion X and Carolina reaper pepper. I was scared to go beyond “medium” for my whole bowl, but my spice tolerance isn’t that high. From my experience, there is a huge jump in spice between the “medium” and “hot”.

Tonkotsu: pork belly and light chicken broth seasoned with soy
Tonkotsu: pork belly and light chicken broth seasoned with soy

I tried their signature miso–pork belly, corn, bamboo shoots, and sprouts–that was absolutely delicious. The broth was super flavorful and the pork belly was fall- apart tender. I want to go back to try different things, but I really just want more of this signature miso. Life is hard.

GF? Vegetarian? They are super accommodating to customers’ dietary needs. They have a gluten-free ramen item (salt ramen with shirataki-yam noodles), a vegetarian option (cabbage-soy broth topped with woodear), and all ramen is available low sodium.

Ok, what about the drinks? My favorite thing to order with my piping hot ramen is cold sake. Oni has a Gekkeikan Sake machine that pours delicious, cold sake that can be ordered by the carafe. They also have a handful of other sake available along with cocktails. For cocktails, my favorites were the Gomper-san and the Lychee Mule. Drink prices are great all the time at Oni, but for a really good deal, go during happy hour.

Oni Cocktail Menu
Oni Cocktail Menu

BONUS: Tag #‎MyOniBowl for a chance to be featured at Oni as the Ramen Bowl of the Week where other diners can order, eat & enjoy your ramen customization process.

Oni Ramen
oniramen.com
Facebook | Twitter
Chef Garcia’s Instagram
2801 W 7th Street (Fort Worth)
817-882-6554

Hours: Sunday-Thursday 11am-2:30pm/5pm-10pm
Friday-Saturday 11am-2:30pm/5pm-4am

Grayson Social, Downtown’s Newest Southern Spot

Grayson Social, one of the latest restaurants to appear in Dallas, is Darlene Marcello and Daniel Tarasevich’s brainchild with a southern accept. Located in the old LTV Towers on Elm Street, the social club offers comfort food in setting equally as comforting, all while maintaining a sense of sophistication.

The sumptuous downstairs area has ample dining space as well as an outdoor patio just beyond the impressive bar. Up the lavishly carpeted stairs flanking the hostess stand is a “members only” area, which provides slouch friendly couches and chairs along with a sense of exclusivity. Throughout the restaurant, marble tables are adorned with elegant, old volumes bookmarked by roses and adding to the atmosphere are wall mounted antlers and framed drawings of flowers.

Courtesy of Grayson Social
Courtesy of Grayson Social

The private upstairs area is for members and high spenders only. (Non-members must spend a minimum of $1,000 to feel like they’re a part of the secret club … womp womp.) Currently, the only way to become a member is by knowing someone who is already a member. It’s literally a “who you know” situation. Some of the benefits include:
– 15% discount on full-priced menu items
– Free WiFi (hello, business lunch)
– Exclusive invitations to special events
– A complimentary bottle of champagne and birthday cake for members’ birthdays
– Monthly previews of food and drink before they’re released to the downstairs peasants (don’t worry, we’re down there, too)

Each membership is valid for one year and will be automatically renewed as long as restaurant privileges are used throughout the year. It seems as if the hardest part about being a member is simply becoming one – after that it’s all bourbon and biscuits. 

Courtesy of Grayson Social
Courtesy of Grayson Social

I stopped by Grayson Social for their Bourbon & Biscuits event last night, which was a formal presentation of the restaurant and its offerings. A seemingly millennial crowd filled the posh space, (all of whom seemed like they just came from the office) and mingled with featured bourbon cocktails in-hand. As the event name suggests, bourbon cocktails and their “killer” biscuits were free flowing all evening long. 

The bourbon drink menu consisted of several creative concoctions such as the Bacon Bourbon Manhattan, the Vanilla Old Fashioned, and the Campfire Cocktail. The bourbon of the evening was Yellow Rose Distilled Outlaw Bourbon Whiskey, which is hand made from 100% corn and pot distilled right here in Texas. Many of the drinks included unique ingredients or elements such as house-cured beef jerky, rose essential oils, bacon-infused bourbon, and house made marshmallow syrup. (Can you say “yum”?)

The Campfire Cocktail was a mix of bourbon, whiskey, house made marshmallow syrup, and topped with a toasted marshmallow (my inner child jumped for joy). I fully expected this cocktail to be overbearingly sweet but was pleasantly surprised. The Beef & Bourbon (bourbon (duh), maple syrup, myrrh, cypress, honey, and a side of house-cured beef jerky) was also delicious. I may or may not have chosen these drinks because they came with an edible component … sometimes you need a little bite.

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The appropriately named Killer Biscuits were unreal with flavors ranging from Margherita and pecan bacon to pimento cheese and pineapple coconut. Fear not, they also serve a classic buttermilk biscuit for all those set in their traditional ways that are served with house made jams like raspberry ancho chile, blueberry ginger, and strawberry lime. Also available for our noshing pleasure was a buffet line of fried chicken, a salami and prosciutto bar, and several ice creams.

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Getting to Grayson Social is pretty straightforward. Valet is available if you enter on the Pacific Side, and there is a public parking garage right next door. From what I tasted at this short event, I would highly recommend visiting Grayson Social for brunch, lunch, or dinner so long as you try the biscuits, the fried chicken, and the bourbon. 

Grayson Social
graysonsocial.com 
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1555 Elm Street (Downtown)
(972) 232-1728

Mí Día From Scratch

DFW has some serious options for Mexican food, but we’re so accustomed to the watered down (yet still delicious in its own way) Tex Mex that we forget that there are authentic options out there–Javier’s, Meso Maya, Mí Día, and more.  Mí Día From Scratch recently opened its second location in Plano, and it features the food we’ve come to expect from Chef Gabriel DeLeon that blends authentic Mexican cuisine with tastes of Santa Fe and a bit of Tex Mex.

The food is incredible (and we’ll get to that in time), but the real winner here is those of us who enjoy a drink from time to time.  Their extensive Tequila Tower offers quite a few high end tequilas for their hand crafted drinks, and they’ve even  infused their own tequilas to use in their signature drinks like the Blueberry Habanero Margarita featuring their blueberry-infused Patrón Silver, Cointreau, habanero, lemon, and agave nectar and the Riviera Maya with Strawberry-Infused Dulce Vida Blanco tequila, St. Germain, Coiuntreau, lemon, and agave nectar.  The infusions are flavorful without being overpowering, and the Patron XO infused with dark cocoa and strawberry is not to be missed–rich yet strong and perfect to sip with dessert.

The food has been some of the most unique and authentic seen from a Mexican restaurant in the area since the opening of the original location in Grapevine.  Make sure to call over their fully stocked tableside guacamole cart and start with a giant Molcajete of fresh guac made with your instruction for $15 (enough for 4-6 people)–and don’t forget the bacon.  Their Sopes de Carnitas (corn masa boats with black beans, pork carnitas, queso fresco, pickled onions) were also a nice start to the meal with a nice tang from the roasted tomatillo salsa.

 

Their menu, as mentioned, offers traditional Mexican options along with some Sante Fe and Tex Mex options.  Everything ordered was incredible, but the biggest upset was that our stomachs weren’t large enough to put away more of it.  Standouts were:
Wood Grilled Banana Leaf Wrapped Salmon (rubbed with achiote, citrus, served with morita whipped potatoes, sautéed chayote & mango-lemongrass mojo): the fish was fresh and the citrus gave it a nice brightness.
Duck Carnitas (Maple Leaf Farms duck, pickled onion, roasted poblanos, micro cilantro, chile morita on flour tortillas): these little tacos served flat were delights thanks to the richness of the duck.
Codorniz (pecan-grilled Manchester Farms whole quail served with guajillo rice & charro beans): these little beauties were tender and exquisite … I may upgrade to the three-bird plate next time.

 

While the meal was amazing, I’m pissed I didn’t go for the Quesadillas de Huitlacoche (Sautéed Mexican truffle, queso asadero & roasted veggies between house made blue corn tortillas) because they sound ah-mazing.  Also a huge miss?  Not saving room for dessert.  (I mean … a Deconstructed Mexican Macaron?  How did I miss that?)

… a return trip must be planned.


MÍ DÍA FROM SCRATCH

midiafromscratch.com
PLANO: West Plano Village, 3310 Dallas Pkwy #105, (972)403-7474
GRAPEVINE: 1295 S Main Street, (817)421-4747

Cuellars’ Fajita Ranch

If you’ve ventured up 75 lately, you may have seen a new restaurant sign among the many around Parker for Cuellars’ Fajita Ranch.  The restaurant opened in June and was created by three cousins offers “Ranch-Mex” options, which is exactly what you think it is from the name–the foods you’d eat when hanging out on your family or friend’s ranch, mesquite grilled, and served in healthy portions.

Their drinks are quite Tex-Mex–think plenty of margarita options, both frozen and on the rocks, and in many different flavors.  We tried a few of their flavored margaritas and they were plenty fruity and just enough boozy.

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Appetizers are about as you’d expect with a couple surprises like their Bean Layer Dip and White Wings, which are delicious wings wrapped in bacon.  (Bring it on.)  Just make sure to keep it light with the appetizers because you’ll have plenty of food on its way to you after ordering your entrées.

White Wings
White Wings

For dinner, since it’s in the name, you should probably go for the fajitas.  The best part?  They have a LOT of options for you from the traditional beef and chicken to portobello mushroom and ribeye fajita style.  Just make sure to throw on some extras–think baby back rubs, jalapeño sausage, and fried eggs.  All fajitas are served sizzling and mesquite grilled … and delicious.  But if you can’t make up your mind (or have an army to feed), you can go for their “Combo Corral” options–the Fajitas del Rey feed “two” and the Tailgate Party feeds “four”.  Both are vastly huge portions of meat and come with plenty of sides and other goodies … eat hearty, and make friends to share with.

Other entrée options include steaks and chicken (available grilled or chicken fried), fish, some Tex-Mex favorites like chipotle quesadillas and burritos, and healthy things that I don’t really need to talk about because … fajitas.

Dessert is as it should be–golden, crispy churros served with molten chocolate sauce and delicate sopapillas.

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CUELLARS’ FAJITA RANCH
fajitaranch.com
3310 N Central Expressway (Plano)
(972) 905-5638

Hilton Anatole Staycation

Sometimes you need to just not be home.  (Come on … you can’t tell me you’ve never wanted to tell your friends you’re out of town, turn off your phone, and just disappear.  Ok, I’ve never actually done it, but I’ve thought about it.  Like … hard.)  I had one of those feelings recently, so it was perfect that I was invited to spend a weekend at the Hilton Anatole right here in Dallas’s Design District.

I packed up the car Friday before work and scooted over there from the office after dropping off the pup with Grandma.*  The valets were the perfect welcoming committee and helped me unload my box of birthday gifts without complaint.  (I had a really busy week after my big birthday party, so I thought taking my gifts on my staycation to enjoy opening them slowly would be a blast.)  I was welcomed with goodies, a lovely room, and a great view of Downtown.

The hotel itself is huge, consisting of at least four main buildings that sit on 45 acres in the heart of Dallas.  The complex offers 1,600+ rooms, multiple dining and drinking options, event spaces, a full fitness facility, spa, a VIP lounge offering snack and beverages for select guests, and 1,000+ art pieces thanks to the owners, the Crow family.

One of the restaurant options the Anatole offers is SĒR on the 27th floor.  This is one button I enjoyed pushing entirely too much.  But I pushed it … and I pushed it good.  My friend Tiffany joined me for dinner and we were absolutely blown away by each and every one of the courses presented by Executive Chef Kevin Spencer and the drinks by Colin Silva.

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SĒR offers reimagined versions of some basic options like their Steak Tar Tar that closely resembles a deviled egg, but brings so much more to the table.  The Caesar Salad was such a stand-out that made me visit SĒR again Saturday night for another plate of it.  The culinary and bar teams on the 27th at the Anatole are all top notch and you can expect innovative food and drink options to keep your taste buds disoriented yet delighted.   Check out my whole review of SĒR.

The weekend was incredibly relaxing, yet somehow I kept myself busy the entire time.  I kept my evening plans with friends, but spent the days relaxing in the fitness center, sauna, the VIP Lounge, and walking the grounds.

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As they always do, the Sunday scaries crept in while I was packing to leaves, so to spoil myself a bit more I ordered some room service.  (Because who doesn’t love waffles that you don’t have to make?)  The bacon was perfectly crispy and the coffee was exquisitely brewed.  (If you want snacks or specialty coffee options, they have a coffee bar in the lobby offering little goodies.)

The coolest part of this staycation is that I got a little preview of Jadewater, the $22M pool complex that opened this past Friday, July 22.  This isn’t your run of the mill pool complex.  Expect two water slides, a large children’s play area, a 23 seat swim-up bar (YESSS), new art pieces, private cabanas and daybeds, and, the kicker, a 630ft lazy river.  The pool will be for hotel guests only, but the cool thing is that you can get a couple rooms for the night and have full access for less than a night at Great Wolf Lodge.  That’ll get you howling.

HILTON ANATOLE
www.hilton.com/Dallas
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2201 North Stemmons Freeway (Design District)
(214) 748-1200

*Unfortunately, they aren’t dog friendly … yet.  They do, of course, allow service animals.