Tag Archives: tasty

Almeh…

21 Feb

Triston Simon’s New Digs Are A-OK – And That’s About It

Alma

Almost...

Perhaps it was the prolonged opening, pushed back again and again by torrential winds, ice and snow.  Perhaps it was the excitement that I let build too high.  Perhaps it was the legacy that sits before the Simon restaurant name that ended up leading to a let down.  Either way, our experience at Alma (the old Cuba Libre spot) was just Ok.

The Drinks

It wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t great.  We started off with some signature cocktails: hmm, interesting selection but nothing stood out.  I was expecting sangrias and margaritas, but instead we saw odd tequila based punches and brandy meets milk.  I really felt this was mixology gone sour.

Sopes

The Brandied Horchata and Tasty Sopes

The Apps

The queso fundido, featuring Chihuahua cheese and touted by the select few who enjoyed the pre-opening private dining event, was greasy and the cheese almost seemed to curdle.  A crony at the table brought up a good point: you must be careful when mixing oily and greasy together.  Chorizo is a very oily sausage, and when mixed in a mini crock with melted cheese you’ll need multiple napkins and some hand sanitizer to feel clean.  The sopes? TO DIE FOR!  They were great!  Perfect mix of veggie, crunch and flavor!

Enchilada Rojo

Just Alright: Enchilada Rojo

The Mains

Everyone on our four-top ended up ordering something different with a few sides!  This is a prime opportunity to showcase how well rounded your menu is.  I opted for the signature pork dish, the cochinita pibil (anchiote-marinated pork shank).  It was tasty, and I thoroughly enjoyed the side of mole sauce the waiter brought me; sadly, the latter was the best part of the meal.  The main component was just OK.  The enchilada rojo, featuring braised short rib, left MUCH to be desired.

Street Corn

It's the Small Things That Count: Side of Street Corn & Mole Sauce

The enchilada de pollo verde was very good!  The flavors were definitely there, and the Chihuahua cheese fit in wonderfully with this mix.  However, keep in mind  you are still pay $16 for chicken enchiladas.  The breadwinner was Michael who actually ordered the tacos de carnitas (pork jowel – you heard me) but received the tacos de carne asada.  He definitely had no complaints as this was the best entre of the night.  The meat was very well seasoned, came with an array of sauces that were delightful but not even needed, and the house made tortillas were soft and delicate.  The sides and sauces really made the meal.  The favorite of the night was the “street corn,” scoops of grilled sweet corn mixed with queso fresco and chili mayonnaise served in mini husks.  Talk about delicious!

The group was too full for dessert, but the menu didn’t even provide many tempting options. Once again, nothing stood out and no one was “WOWED” instantly.  So, it was easy to pass.

To sum up, the overall experience was fun.  The ambiance was great.  I really love what they did with the decorating, especially upstairs.  They added a fireplace which was a nice touch to a fun lounge area where patrons enjoyed pre dinner cocktails and apps.  The service was friendly – but almost too friendly.  There’s something to be said about a waiter who knows his boundaries and when to leave the table alone.  I left feeling like I wouldn’t really go out of my way to come back to Alma.  With anchors like Hibiscus and Victor Tango right across the street and at similar prices, that’s a no-brainer.  Plus, I have a problem picking out my courses at those restaurants because everything sounds SO good!  At Alma, nothing was exciting or really jumped out.

Cafe San Miguel

Try the Pomerita!

For the price, I just really was not impressed.  As before mentioned, it wasn’t the best, but it wasn’t the worst either.  Just a tip for those who want to be in the know: Cafe San Miguel is right down the street if you want regional Mexican cuisine; they are the self proclaimed inventor of the pomerita (pomegranate marg) and have a FABULOUS queso fundido, sans the grease-o.

Tomato Bisque Bliss

10 Feb Tomato Basil and Grilled Mozarrella
Tomato Basil Bisque and Grilled Mozarrella

Tomato Basil Bisque and Grilled Mozarrella

I am still in a soup coma after Tuesday night’s creativity session in the kitchen.  Inspired by a near and dear friend, Katie McKinley, along with Dallas Snowpocalypse Part II, I decided I wanted to make a warm and comforting soup with plenty of leftovers to last throughout the bitter cold remainder of the week.  You say potato, I say tomato.

Legs like spaghetti after Monday night’s spin class with Cindy, there was NO way I was headed back to the gym Tuesday night.  So, I hurried off to the Walmart grocery in Uptown to grab a few delectables for a soup concoction.  Go ahead and check off all materials except the basil for my tomato basil bisque.  Hmm… that won’t do.  Albertson’s? Same story!  Was everyone having the same epiphany on Tuesday night?  Evidently basil sales spiked at 4pm on 2/8/2011.

New flats rubbing my toes wrong told me it was time to head home.  I knew it was time to call in reinforcements.  Coaxing Andy with a free meal, I asked him to help out and swing by Newflower on the way over.  An hour later, poor Andy showed up with cold hands, basil, a ball of the best Mozarrella Company mozarrella (duh?) and a loaf of fresh French bread.  Oh, the plot thickens with extra ingredients, but what’s with the delay?  He had to stop by not only Newflower, but also Whole Foods AND Tom Thumb to actually locate any basil.  Wow – stock up, Dallas.

Tomato Basil and Grilled Mozarrella

Gooey, Melty Mozarrella Grilled Cheese Sandwiches

So, stealing tips from Miss McKinley’s recipe while adding my own love, I created what was possibly the most flavorful and comforting tomato basil bisque.  Andy made tasty mozarrella grilled cheese sandwiches to accompany.  Another revolutionary food movement!  The leftovers might be just as good, too.  MMmMmmmMMMm…

Quick side note: FINALLY heading out to Alma tonight!  Due to the two rounds of aforementioned Snowpocalypse, the opening of Alma had been pushed back.  However, it looks like we will still be enjoying a first taste as they are just now quietly opening to the public.  Sit tight for a review to come!

NOSH > NOM

10 Feb AuroraClosed

Move over, Aurora!  Avner Samuel, you made a very wise choice in reinventing your little restaurant on Oaklawn.  The buoyant atmosphere and constant crowd at the bar is a strong indicator of the successful revamp.  Not to mention, the food speaks for itself.

Nosh

The New Aurora

Not a stranger to the location (across the street from Al Biernat’s and down the strip from La Duni) and having heard acclamations from plenty of my fellow foodies, I had been dying to try Nosh.  It has been open for six months, maybe, but I just had not taken the opportunity to stop by.  A partner in crime, Jodie, texted with an open invite to her reservations on Super Bowl weekend – I couldn’t possibly pass up!

The arctic blast coursing Dallas’ every vein tried to foil our plans.  My ride showed up a few minutes late due to the treacherous road conditions, and THEN his car got stuck in my driveway (which might as well have served as an ideal sledding hill).  Having averted a real crisis of sliding the Bimmer into trash cans, trees and a few pipes, the poor car was at a standstill, tires whirling in place on a sheet of solid ice with no snow shovel in sight (we live in Texas, people).  What to do? Pass on the reservations and settle for a cozy night in by the fire?  Of course not…

Twelve pitchers of steaming hot salt water later, the sheet of ice was ready to be picked at and broken up by a dust pan.  Free at last, free at last – we finally showed up to meet the group almost an hour late.  Whoops!  Oh well, TOTALLY worth it!

On the menu for our table –

  • Starters: humus with hand crafted pita, the life changing Egyptian falafel, and creamy parsnip soup with truffle shavings
  • Entrés: lamb chops for Jodie (if you think I passed up an opportunity to share, you are sick), the flat iron steak “au poivre,” roasted pork shoulder, the Kobe burger (simple, but one of the best burgers I’ve ever tasted), and the fish special – a comforting breaded and pan seared fluke; OH, can’t forget the side of mac & cheese with truffle oil and shavings (the latter we actually didn’t ask for – HUGE pet peeve when waiters assume you want an addition, but it was TASTY).
  • Dessert: what?
Port

Port = Much More Elegant Than This

Several bottles of fabulous wine (Silver Oak at wholesale, thankyouverymuch) lead to and even more fabulous decision to end the night with port wine.  Content and completely full.  Thank you, Jodie Fagan.

Insignificant notes from the night: we were stationed at a table by the entrance to the back room where Jennifer Aniston and her entourage were dining.  Two diners whose attention spans were not as consumed by the food were escorted out of the restaurant after making fools of themselves while trying to catch Jenn’s attention.  Upon heading out, we passed a vibrant Chelsea Handler at the bar.  The camera does actually add a couple of pounds; she is TINY in real life.  Glad she was getting ready to eat a full meal of fabulousness.

Having a Moment: Linda Richmond Would Be Proud

27 Jan

Sharing Sentiment w/ Morgan, Mussels & My Old Friend, Pinot Noir

That’s right – I had a life changing experience last night.  It all started over a Benny’s Bad Day recovery plan, Dancing Bull and some juicy gossip.

Urbano

An Absolute Must

My friend Morgan called me with news that employment with her current company was finally over, and she was moving on to much better things.  Celebrating the new job was immanent! BYOB + Urbano Cafe was a must; I had the wine (so I thought) and I live super close.  Reality check: my wine stash had drastically depleted since arriving home from work – what happened???  A quick text from Morgan affirmed everything was alright; a bottle of La Crema and a bottle of Dancing Bull were on the way.  Stress release – it would indeed be a good night!

I had been to Urbano for lunch before, but never dinner.  What a fabulous experience!  The venue is intimate (as you very well know if you have ever been there), but there is an adjoining bar studio next door for overflow and first taste libations.   Pop goes the La Crema.  Perched at the bar counter, we mingled with some of the staff and learned about a wonderful online community for artisans and craftsman called Etsy.com (touted as the world’s most vibrant handmade marketplace for all things vintage, artsy and, well, handmade).

On the way back to the main cafe, we passed a long, family style picnic table where appetizers were abundant – particularly a mussel dish that looked bright with color.  I thought to myself, “We will revisit this.”  Then a quick aside – when have I ever considered ordering mussels???

Good conversation, appetite evaluation and consumption of another glass of Pinot finally lead to menu selection.  Everything we tasted was amazing.  The mussels put everything to shame in comparison.  They not only melted in  your mouth immediately upon contact, but the soupy tomato sauce the mussels were served in acted as a grade-a dish in it’s own.  You order extra bread to lap up goodness such as this!  The pork poppers, salads (we tried the 1410 and shaved fennel) and chicken Saltimboca were all spectacular; I knew they would be.  We kept eating – and eating – and eating.  But I digress; let me get back to the mussels. A-MAZING.

Having a Moment

Still Having a Moment

I fear that I set too high a precedent with my first mussel eating experience.  I might never recover or find anything close to its equal in a similar dish.  Maybe I simply discovered a new favorite food?  Either way, I highly recommend them!

Last taste of the night: completely stuffed and satisfied, we rolled our way back to my house to see what Dancing Bull had to offer – NOT MUCH.  I do not recommend…