Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Mesa

Hello again Dallas restaurant goers!

Last week, Meal of Food Friday was at Mesa, a Mexican restaurant in Oak Cliff. I originally thought that we would be heading to the Bishop Arts district, but Mesa is actually a bit hidden in Oak Cliff a little way off of IH 35. The restaurant is small, but has a large bar with stools and a big enclosed patio, which is where we sat. You can tell that the place is fairly new, and the decor is modern and tasteful.

Unlike most places in DFW, Mesa is a Mexican restaurant rather than a Tex-Mex place. That means that they use more traditional ingredients and shy away from more Americanized dishes. I personally like both traditional Mexican and Tex-Mex food, and the more traditional fare was a nice change of pace!

I tried the Mesa Rita, which is essentially a skinny margarita. It's made with fresh lime juice, agave nectar, and tequilla. It was very tasty and pretty strong! One was plenty for me.

Mesa Rita
There is no better summer drink thank a margarita on the rocks with salt.
We had the guacamole as a starter, and I have to tell you, it was some of the best guacamole that I've ever eaten. It was creamy and delicious! The chips were good too - they are thicker than regular tortilla chips, so they did not break off in the guac.

Mesa Guacamole
I could have just eaten this for dinner and been perfectly content.
Because it is still Lent, I decided to order the Enchiladas Vegetarianas. As you can probably guess, this was veggie enchiladas. They came carrots, mushrooms, onions, and other veggies in two tortillas covered in mole (pronounce mo-lay) sauce. If you aren't familiar, mole is a type of Mexican sauce made from chili peppers, spices, and a little bit of chocolate. I like mole sauce.....but a little bit goes a long way as far as I'm concerned. I liked my dinner well enough, but probably would not order it again. There was a pork dish and a carne asada option that both looked really good. If we ever go back I will give one of them a try!

Mesa Enchiladas Vegetarianas

The drinks and guacamole were hands down the best part of the meal. If you ever go, I strongly encourage you to try them!

I liked this restaurant, but I felt that the entrees were a little pricey. The cheapest entree (which is the one that I ordered because it was one of the only meat free options) was $15.95. The drinks and appetizers seem pretty on par with other places around town. I'm cheap (or maybe I should say frugal? does that sound better or worse?) and this just seemed a little expensive for veggies wrapped in tortillas. I don't know that we will go back, but I'm glad that we tried it!

Mesa on Urbanspoon

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Truck Yard and Easy Slider

Once again, life has gotten in the way of Meal of Food Friday and the blog! No more, hopefully.

This past week, we enjoyed the unseasonable nice weather at The Truck Yard, and outdoor bar on lower Greenville. We were not the only ones who had this idea, and we fought lines to get a drink at the bar, but the casual atmosphere and perfect temperature made up for the wait!


The Truck Yard has a small indoor bar area, but it's mostly an outdoor venue decorated with recycled tires, records, license plates, etc. The name comes from the collection of food trucks that assemble in the yard area, along side the outdoor and a small live music stage. The indoor bar featured a wall of craft beers on tap, including my favorite Franconia Wheat! Set up wise, it reminded me of Chicken Scratch, which I reviewed a while back.

The food trucks in attendance vary, and Truck Yard has a google calendar of what trucks will be there on what day. We had sliders from Easy Slider.  our order got mixed up with another customer's, so we ended up with a "Sweet and Lowdown" (burger patty, bacon, goat cheese, and strawberry jam), a "Nutty Pig" (burger patty, peanut butter, lettuce, tomato, onions, and bacon), and two "Roadsides" (bacon, bbq sauce, jalapenos, cheese, french fried onion, on aburger patty) with a couple bags of Zapp's potato chips. I was surprised how much I liked the Sweet and Lowdown - I think the goat cheese really helped. So that one was a happy accident. I did not care for the Nutty Pig. The peanut butter with the burger was not good for me. The Roadside was good, but not my favorite. Our fellow diners tried the Classic Cheeseburger and liked it a lot. Overall, I would recommend trying Easy Slider.

Easy Slider Sweet and Lowdown and Nutty Pig burgers
Feast your eyes on the Sweet and Lowdown and the Nutty Pig!
I wish that I had taken some photos of the bar itself. It was definitely a great place to be on a night with nice weather! It was open air and lots of people brought their dogs. Had I known, I probably would have dragged Robin Sparkles along. She usually behaves pretty well at places like that....

This is from another patio that we brought her to a while back. I know I'm biased, but how cute is she?!
I will most certainly go back to the truck yard to try out another food truck option. My only advice is to be ready to wait for food and drinks, and possibly a seat. This is not an eat in a hurry type place - it's a hang out and have a few beers place! Luckily, there is a good amount of shade, so even in summer, this would be a fun place to try!

Truck Yard on Urbanspoon

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Caribbean Cafe

It's a new year! That means it's time to get back to this whole blogging thing! I was off work for a couple of wonderful weeks over the holidays and I got out of all of my good blogging habits :(

But things are back to normal now, Meal of Food Friday included. Last Friday, we tried a hidden gem called Caribbean Cafe. It's an authentic Cuban restaurant in Carrollton. It's in a small strip shopping center, and you might not notice it much from the street, but it's nice on the inside. It's actually right around the corner from Coconut Thai, which we tried a while back. The restaurant is pretty small, but we were able to get a table for 8 without a reservation. I'm not suggesting that you shouldn't call ahead, but we lucked out and didn't have to wait.

Caribbean Cafe logo
Photo credit: http://caribbeancafecuba.com/home.html
Ryan and I started out with beef empanadas, which were very tasty. Empanadas are basically pastry filled with seasoned meat, fruit, or other filling. We had a similar dish at Casa Vieja, a Colombian restaurant also in Carrollton.
Caribbean Cafe Empanadas
who can say no to a flaky, buttery pastry?

I tried the Vaca Frita, which is fried shredded beef with onions, served with white rice and red or black beans. Ryan went for the Chicken Cordon Blue - Cuban Style! It had seasoned chicken and ham with swiss cheese and came with rice and fried plantains. We both enjoyed our meals a lot. I like Caribbean/South American/ Latin American food because the flavors are strong and interesting. They use quite a bit of onions, peppers, citrus, etc.

Caribbean Cafe Vaca Frita
The Vaca Frita with double order of rice (hold the beans). I used the complementary bread to make a sandwich of sorts. Very yummy!
Caribbean Cafe Cordon Blue
Ryan's Chicken Cordon Blue.
I liked this restaurant a lot. It doesn't look like much from the outside, but it's cozy and welcoming on the inside. The prices are reasonable - entrees run from $12 - $15 (my entree was enough for two meals) and sandwiches run around $8. Our waitress was friendly and attentive, and they had a great selection of food and drinks. Finding these great, authentic, off-the-beaten-path restaurants is one of my favorite parts of MoFF.

Caribbean Cafe on Urbanspoon

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Tillman's Roadhouse

Last week, we ventured to the Bishop Arts district for a birthday celebration! Courtney picked Tillman's Roadhouse for her birthday MoFF, which has been named among the top ten restaurants in Dallas by D magazine. This was actually the third time that MoFF went to Tillman's, but it was my first time to visit. Tillman's offers an upscale take on classic dishes, including their signature chicken fried steak, along with a large selection of cocktails. It's a somewhat small restaurant with lush and modern decor. We got to sit in the peacock room, which was very fancy!

This was one of many birds that watched over our meal.

Dinner started with complementary seasoned popcorn, which I think I ate an entire bowl of. I love popcorn!


We ordered the truffle goat cheese tater tots, french fry trio, and lobster tamales to start. The tater tots were amazing. They were the best thing that I ate all evening. I liked the fries as well. I stayed away from the tamales, but the fellow diners report that they were tasty. I had a hard time deciding what to order as I'm a bit particular about what I eat. I decided to try the Shiner Short Rib and subbed mac and cheese for the grits.


The food was good. The meat was very tender, and well flavored. I wasn't terribly impressed with the mac and cheese. It was good, but not the best.

For dessert we tried Tillman's special - the tableside s'mores. It comes with flavored marshmallos that you toast at your table. They were fun and tasty! I had the maple flavored marshmallow, which was a little weird, but the cinnamon sugar graham crackers were really good. The other options were mint and root beer.

Cutest little indoor campfire that you ever saw!
I can understand why people like Tillman's. It modern and cool, and they offer interesting food combinations. It is a very "foodie" type of place. I am not a foodie, and most of the appeal was a little lost on me. My opinion comes down to the fact that Ryan and I spend over $100 on our meal on a typical night out. We chipped in for appetizers and dessert, ordered two entrees, and we each had one beer. Sure it was good, and the s'mores were fun, but it just wasn't $100 good. Sadly, that seems typical of the Bishop Arts area. I'm glad that I got to try Tillman's, but I'm in no rush to go back.

Tillman's Roadhouse on Urbanspoon

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Terra Mediterranean Grill

Last week we had a nice double date for MoFF at Terra Mediterranean Grill (formerly Ali Baba's) in Irving. I was thrilled because I love Greek food.

Photo credit: http://www.terramedgrill.com/
Terra Mediterranean has a nice semi-casual atmosphere - nice, but not too fancy. Most entrees are around $12 - $14, and you get a pretty large portion. And, my beer came in a longhorn glass!



I had the Gyro entree, which was amazing. The gyro meat was tender and delicious and the ziziki sauce was so good! I used the pita bread appetizer to make myself a couple of gyro sandwiches. Maybe not the best mannered move, but it was super delicious. I liked the saffron rice on the side as well. I planned to take half home, but I was hungry and it was too delicious. So I ate it all. :)

Terra Mediterranean Grill Gyro Entree
Come on, how good does that look?!
I will happily go to Terra Mediterranean again!

Terra Mediterranean Grill on Urbanspoon

Babe's Chicken Dinner House

Last Friday, we celebrated Ryan's birthday at Babe's Chicken Dinner House in downtown Carrollton, TX. It's family style and serves delicious fried chicken. This is my favorite kind of place because it's fun, casual, BYOB, and serves amazing food. It's not healthy, but it's great!


You basically have the option of fried chicken, chicken fried steak, chicken fingers, fried catfish, or smoked chicken. Everyone at the table shares sides: green beans, creamed corn, mashed potatoes, and biscuits. You also get salad at the start of the meal. However, the salad is pretty much iceberg lettuce with a heavy dose of suggary dressing. I'm not a fan of creamed corn in general, but all of the rest of the food was amazing. I think I had three helpings of mashed potatoes. They aren't quite as good as the potatoes at Celebration, but they are tasty.

Babe's chicken fingers
Delicious chicken tenders, mashed potatoes, and green beans!

Babe's chicken fried steak
Stack of Chicken Fried Steaks

Babe's Fried Chicken
Mountain of Fried Chicken

Bucket of Beer topped with biscuits!

We had a great time! This is three years in a row for fried chicken on Ryan's birthday (last two years we went to Kel's) and I hope we keep the tradition going. Who doesn't love fried chicken and mashed potatoes?

Babe's Chicken Dinner House on Urbanspoon

Friday, November 15, 2013

Howard Wang's China Grill

My crazy life has really gotten in the way of blogging! I'm so behind on posts, but I am trying to catch back up before the holidays start!

Last week, we tried Howard Wang's China Grill in the Preston Hollow area of Dallas. It's a cute little place, hidden in a shopping center. It's a pretty small restaurant, but we had a small group this week, so getting a table wasn't an issue. They have a huge menu with a variety of Chinese dishes and other Asian cuisine.

I'm a rather picky eater. I realize that this sounds funny from someone who writes a blog about trying new restaurants, but the truth is that I'm not very adventurous when it comes to trying new dishes. I don't care for fish or for spicy food, so Asian food tends to be tricky for me. Plus because of my diabetes, I'm sometimes wary of trying things that I'm unfamiliar with, as I'm not always sure how they will affect me. So the result of this is that I eat the same stuff at a lot of different places. :)

We started with the Crispy Crap Wontons. The others liked them better than I did, but I tried it! I liked it well enough, but it wasn't my favorite. The cream cheese covered the fishy taste of the crab.

Howard Wang's Crispy Crab Wontons

For dinner, I ordered the tamest dish on the menu - Chicken Fried Rice. It was very good! You get a generous portion, with lots of chicken and veggies. It was enough food for me to take leftovers home. The nice thing about eating the same stuff at every restaurant is that it's easy to compare. I would say that I preferred Howard Wang's fried rice to Coconut Thai's, although I liked both.


I will say that Howard Wang's was a nice change of pace for MoFF. This would be a fun place to go with a date or a small group.

Howard Wang's China Grill on Urbanspoon