I just wanted to post something really quick before I left for Hawaii. I’m leaving bright and early in the morning for my cousin’s wedding (which will be located precisely where the photo was taken–this is my boyfriend Ryan and me back in 2008 I believe). I will have lots of fun food posts coming hopefully while I’m in Hawaii. Stay tuned!
Where: Bistro B (Dallas)
What: Authentic Asian food
When my good friend Danny Le invited me on trip to get some phở (pronounced “fuh”), my interest was piqued, as I’ve never tried the supposedly delicious traditional Vietnamese dish before. He drove us all the way to Richardson to Bistro B–being Vietnamese himself, this place had to be authentic. And it was. He suggested we order the #36, “Tai Bo Vien”, which came with thinly sliced steak and “beef ball” which I assume is similar to meatball. A large bowl of soup as you can see in the photo can be doctored up with all of the side toppings: bean sprouts, basil, lime and jalapeno.
The soup had a chicken broth flavoring and the bottom of the bowl was filled with vermicelli noodles. Yummm! It was a bit difficult to eat, but the perfect bite included broth with a hint of lime, sprouts, and a heaping amount of noodles.
We also tried the Thai tea with boba which made for an interesting, almost creamy taste along with the little tapioca balls you suck up through the wide straws.
The restaurant, located in north Dallas, is great for large groups and is open late (until midnight Sundays-Thursdays and 2 a.m. on the weekends). When we first walked in, we noticed it was mainly Asians dining there–thank goodness we had Danny and Harry with us to educate us on what to order. I wouldn’t have been brave enough to order myself! Other items on the menu include pork, chicken, beef, fish and noodle dishes, as well as stir fry dishes and fried rice. So, if you feel like truly exiting your comfort zone and trying something new–Bistro B is the place to do it.
Stay tuned for the next featured foodie product as well as a great Italian dish I cooked…
Sorry it has taken me a while to post. I’ve been relaxing at home:
I promise I will be much better about posting when June rolls around.
Ok, so being a “foodie girl”, I figured it was time to try something crazy and completely out of my comfort zone. With the help of my friend Katherine Bell, the adventurous eater (who you will be hearing a lot more from come June–she will be my partner in crime during our hunt for the best food in NYC), we tried an off-the-menu item at Uchiko.
The baby octopus sunomono. When Katherine asked for something very different, that’s what we got. I got the close up shot so you could see the tentacles (which ended up making a not-so-pleasant texture. But, it’s personal preference I guess. There was a very odd flavoring, a slightly chewy texture and a little spicy bite at the end. Thanks to one of our servers, I can tell you what consists of the baby octopus sunomono. The base is made up of thinly shaved cucumber topped with a cucumber gel, shaved hearts of palm, akatosaka seaweed, charred octopus, topped with a sesame vinaigrette and red pepper. That’s a mouth full (no pun intended).
Along with the octopus, we got to try several dishes at Uchiko including my favorite, the “yokai berry.” If you get there between 5pm and 6:30, it’s on their happy hour menu for $6 rather than the full $18. It’s an Atlantic salmon sashimi with dinosaur kale, Asian pear and yuzu sauce. I was a bit hesistant with such thick pieces of raw salmon, but with the delicious yuzu sauce paired with the crunchy and salty kale, it was incredible. So incredible that we ordered another. If you get the chance to go here, order the yokai berry.
Afterwards, we decided to treat ourselves with a dessert at Sno Beach.
The one on the left is mine–pineapple and cherry sour. Mmmm, I think that was my best flavor combo yet. And Katherine’s is orange and leche quemada. A different flavor…”tastes like drinking a cosmo in a smoky Jazz bar,” is how she described it. Thank goodness she chooses all of the funky items on the menu. Makes for some interesting blog posts!
And finally, my father’s new obsession: his brand new coffee/cappuccino/latte machine complete with a little cappuccino cup warmer and a milk frother. Here’s my espresso I got to enjoy this morning:
Stay posted for my upcoming posts preparing for my trip to Hawaii!
So, I will be traveling back to my hometown soon– Austin, Texas, to be home for a little and have some quality family time. Since Austin is packed with delicious restaurants and food trucks, I thought I’d make a list of some of my favorites that I miss while living in Dallas. I definitely plan on hitting up each one of these awesome spots.
Does this photo not get your mouth drooling? If you’re not from Austin, but you’ve gone to Austin City Limits, you may recognize the cone in the middle. The hot and crunchy chicken cone that began its debut at a stand at ACL, now has its own food truck in South Austin. Priced at $4.95, these suckers are made with sesame seeds, almonds, arbol chili flakes, sea salt, sugar and cornflakes. Inside the “cone” is a tortilla stuffed with the lightly fried chicken, a cole slaw and a delicious creamy and slightly spicy sauce. From the same owners and chefs of Hudson’s on the Bend, Mighty Cone is the answer to a foodie on a budget. Not to mention there are other food trucks around if you’re still hungry for dessert, and cute picnic tables for a fun lunch date.
Although I couldn’t tell you what this dish is in the photo, everything I’ve ever tasted at Uchi has been mind- blowing. From their hot rock with thinly slided wagyu beef that just melts in your mouth to my personal favorite, the shag roll, I find myself inventing celebrations in order to make it over to Uchi for a delicious meal.
Although their venue is pretty small, they just opened up a new sushi restaurant called Uchiko under the genre “Japanese farmhouse dining & sushi restaurant,” that’s fun for special occasions and includes many of the same sushi rolls.
When I’m home, I’m usually met by my two brothers who currently live in Los Angeles, California. Because of the lack of Tex Mex in Southern Cali, we usually rush over to Maudie’s right when their plane lands. And now, when I’m back from Dallas, I find myself heading over for their one of a kind queso and their yummy margaritas. The ambiance is fun and hip, the service fast and it’s always a cozy experience. Their newest location in Bee Cave happens to be relatively close to my house in Austin, and includes a big patio that would be fun just to meet friends for a margarita.
4. Whole Foods
This building you are looking at is located in downtown Austin, and is also the Whole Foods world headquarters. Living in Austin, we pride ourselves on the fact that Whole Foods started in Austin, and we now house a gigantic Whole Foods store. The reason I include this as a restaurant in the list of my favorites is because I love to go here for lunch. Their build your own sandwich station is extensive to say the least (I make mine with pesto, goat cheese spread, oven roasted chicken, sundried tomatoes and avocado), they have a great taco bar, salad bar and much much more. Although it can be overwhelming at times, there’s so many choices here and I’m always pleased with my decision.
5. Sno Beach
When you think of snow cones, you may think of a childhood memory drinking sugary syrup with mostly crunchy ice, sometimes chunks of ice you had to spit out. Well, Sno Beach completely changes that. The “ice” is more like snow–the consistency always perfection, and there are millions of flavors to choose from. My favorites are tiger’s blood (don’t ask), pineapple and raspberry. Whatever flavor you may choose, it’s always fun to stop by the Sno Beach truck after a swim at Barton Springs. Can’t wait to have my first Sno Beach of the summer!
Checking off #2 on my list of restaurants I want to try, we hit up The Commissary in One Arts Plaza last night.
The Commissary (kom-ih-sehr-ee), which opened up in mid-April, is an upscale burger bar complete with snacks, salads and other main dishes like hand rolled penne pasta or even seared scallops.
When we got there, we were seated almost immediately. The inside is pretty small, mostly taken up by booths and a large rounded bar. There’s a small patio in the front and back, so if you’re graced with lovely Dallas weather (which we were not), you can enjoy a burger and a beverage al fresco.
The service was excellent (thank you Mackenzie!) as our waitress was very accommodating when another friend came to join halfway through the dinner. Although we did have to wait a bit for our food, it was well worth the wait.
I ordered a glass of their pinot noir on tap (they have three different wines on tap), which came in a sleek wine glass with “The Commissary” printed on it. A nice touch. They also offered many different beers and a sangria of the day—watermelon sangria.
For my main course, I decided to order the West Coast burger, which came with lettuce, tomato, avocado, jack cheese, bacon and a “special sauce” on a sesame seed bun. The meat was super tender and juicy, the “special sauce” was delicious and it was an all around great meal. It came with a side of skinny fries, which were mostly gone before I took my first few bites of the burger.
Other burgers they’re known for are the Magic burger and the Farmer burger, which comes with a fried duck egg on top. They also had a Tandoori burger–lamb burger with Tandoori spice, tzatziki sauce in a grilled pita. If you’re not into meat, they also have a crab cake burger that comes with a basil scallion dip.
Not a burger fan at all? They have plenty of options—from parmesan popcorn (which I really regret not trying) to a roasted organic chicken dish. I haven’t tried any of those, but I will say the Paula Lambert salad (basically a caprese salad) lacked flavor, and the chicken vegetable soup was alright, but mostly strange.
Overall a great place for a burger and a drink. I’d definitely recommend trying out this new Dallas eatery. And ask for Mackenzie for your waitress!
My latest favorite food product would have to be Justin’s Nut Butter. Because almond butter is so much healthier than peanut butter, I tend to buy almond, rather than peanut butter. Justin’s comes in jars and little 2 Tbsp packs–I choose the packs for the convenience. I just cut up an apple, throw a pack of chocolate almond butter in the bag, and I’ve got a delicious snack for during work or anywhere on the go. Since I’m a chocolate lover, the chocolate almond butter is my favorite. It’s so rich and delicious, I actually like to have a spoonful as a dessert replacement (oops!). But if you’re not into almond butter, he also makes classic, chocolate and honey peanut butter. For almond butter, there’s chocolate, maple, honey and classic.
Other ideas for what to do with Justin’s? Spread it on a piece of bread, add sliced banana, and you’ve got a healthier alternative to a Nutella sandwich. For me, I like to cut up fruit, whether it be bananas or apples, and spread the nut butter on. You can also add them to healthy milkshakes or even bake with it. Whatever you choose to do with it, it’s a great product!
On top of Justin’s overall yummy factor, they stick to their mission of being green and making the smallest carbon footprint they can. They use recycled paper for cardboard, their headquarters is solar powered, the products themselves are sourced locally and sustainably and they’re working towards a compostable squeeze pack!
Something else I learned–Justin’s makes peanut butter cups! Reese’s fans REJOICE! I haven’t seen them with my own eyes yet, but I will definitely be on the lookout.
Hope you enjoyed this month’s Featured Foodie product!
Although my Cinco de Mayo has been celebrated by studying for my Spanish final that I have tomorrow (fitting, I know), I’ve been thinking about where I’d like to be tonight.
I’m always on the search for the best frozen margarita, queso and all around Tex Mex. Here in Dallas, it’s not too hard. Not to mention, the frozen margarita was INVENTED in Dallas–believe it or not.
So, here I am, waiting to finish off my junior year of college. While others are out celebrating “Cinco de Drinko” (which is kind of stupid in my opinion) I am studying for my Spanish final. Regardless, here’s my list of the top Tex Mex joints in Dallas and their reasons behind it. (Please excuse photos–none of them are mine but provided for viewing pleasure)
1. Gloria’s Restaurant & Bar
-Best part: their frozen margaritas are a perfectly tart, perfectly get you in an awesome mood at first sip.
-Worst part: if you come in with a big group, you can expect to wait a really long time. (but this just means more margaritas and socializing!)
2. Mi Cocina
-Best part: their mojitos come with a stalk of sugar cane. so fresh and delicious! I love the Latin stir fry…mmmm
-Worst part: $$$$$ way too expensive for Tex Mex! But then again, you’re paying for the atmosphere here in Dallas.
3. Blue Mesa Grill
-Best part: a great place for a party or large group
-Worst part: some of the dishes can be quite greasy, but still good nonetheless
4. Blue Goose
-Best part: yummy authentic greasy Tex Mex food (they make their own tortillas in house) in a super casual environment. and it’s cheap!
-Worst part: no atmosphere, but then again you’re going here for their awesome food.
-Best part: awesome frozen margaritas, awesome fajitas.
-Worst part: location.
6. Urban Taco
-Best part: atmosphere! If you dine at the McKinney location, it’s a place to be seen–and a place to go before you hit the bars.
-Worst part: the tacos are tiny and way overpriced
7. Hacienda on Henderson
-Best part: the patio and the $2 margs on Tuesdays
-Worst part: parking was difficult in the Henderson area
To begin, I went to the LA area with my family for Easter and to celebrate my little sister’s birthday a few weekends ago. For my family and me, we’re always wondering where we’re going to eat our next meal. In such a vibrant city, we had millions of options sure to please any foodie. So here we begin:
Like I’ve said before, I’m not the burger connoisseur, but I know an awesome burger when I taste one. Although this may seem bold, I’d go as far as to say my Umami burger was the best burger I’ve had in all my 21 years of life. Located inside a Fred Segal in Santa Monica, it’s small, cozy, and the waitstaff is super friendly. We had to wait outside for about 20 minutes before being seated, but with a nice beer to choose from their list, great weather, we couldn’t care less. Not to mention the burgers were worth waiting a lot longer for.
So what’s Umami? The fifth taste after sweet, bitter, sour and salty. Umami means “pleasant savory taste” in Japanese, and it became recognized as one of the five official tastes by Japanese scientist Kikunae Ikeda in Hawaii in 1985. But if you haven’t noticed all the tv ads displaying umami and what it is–the Western world has really started to adapt to the flavor.
Anyway, the picture at the top (which, these photos weren’t taken by me…should’ve thought to take some while I was there, but I was way too hungry and involved with my food to stop) is of the homemade cheesy tater tots. DELICIOUS. They were quite large and umami (ha) so I shared them with the rest of the family. Although they weren’t on the menu, I found it on the “secret menu” on Four Square and simply asked for them… You’re welcome for the secret menu item! On the side is the garlic aioli dipping sauce which was so yummy and perfect for dipping fries and/or tater tots.
This is the official Umami Burger. All of the burgers are cooked to perfection and have a nice juiciness to them, not to mention the slightly browned bun–all cooked into a wonderfully sized burger (not too small, not too big). I can’t remember everything that comes with the Umami Burger, but they say “Umami x6″ on the menu, so there’s 6 indulgent items including the parmesan crisp you can see in the photo.
I ordered the truffle burger, which came with housemade truffle cheese and a truffle glaze. I’m a huuuge truffle fan. I think it really gives food a sort of value unlike any other ingredient. So, if you like truffle, this burger is so good, I find myself dreaming about it.
And finally, the sweet potato fries were really good, nothing too too special, but goes great with any of the burgers.
At the beginning of the trip, we stopped by The Grove to do some shopping and to grab lunch. I had never been before and when we entered the Farmer’s Market, it was unlike any other farmer’s market I’ve ever been to. On top of the fresh produce and millions of boutiques and stands selling everything from trinkets to hats and scarves, there were BILLION restaurants/food booths. And a lot of them were Zagat rated! What was I supposed to do? Everything looked so good and I walked up and down the football field sized area packed with delicious little eateries, so stressed out not knowing what to eat. I finally decided on The French Crepe Co. As you can see in the photo, I ordered a savory crepe called La Normandie. It was stuffed with melt in your mouth roasted chicken, button mushrooms, carrots, green beans in a creamy white dijon sauce. It was really good, but there was no way I could finish it.
(Photos by Natalie Blankenship)
And what Easter is really Easter without mimosas? The whole family enjoyed brunch at Fraiche in Santa Monica for a great Easter brunch. The atmosphere was nice and open with wood tables, candles and lots of natural sunlight. I ordered the veggie hash which had a poached egg, grilled veggies and a balsamic glaze. It was really yummy and light.
My favorite part of the meal: the Chocolate Purse. It was super rich, with a candied hazelnut, chocolatey almost fudge-like texture, wrapped in what we think was filo. On the side is a vanilla gelato. Mmmmm.
Until next time!