Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Outdoor Eats: Chicken Scratch

We have been wanting to make the trek to Oak Cliff to check out Chicken Scratch and the Foundry for awhile. Weather permitting, we found a perfect night to enjoy a few drinks and fried chicken outside. This seat-yourself establishment is a perfect place for a group of friends to enjoy good food and a few brews while listening to some live music. 

Ordering was quick and easy. We decided to try the rotisserie chicken with jicama-slaw and a fried drumstick, chicken tenders, and a side of the hominy-green chile mac & cheese.

Overall, the food was tasty and definitely better than your typical pub fare. The rotisserie chicken was juicy and tender, and the vinegar based slaw was a nice touch. The fried chicken was good, however the cornmeal batter had a bit of a fish fry taste. The mac & cheese won our favorite dish of the night. Although the chicken wasn't the best we have had in Dallas, the atmosphere and food is definitely worth future trips...especially for some late-night grub. 

Chicken Scratch

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Boulevardier - Best Brunch Adventure!

Boulevardier has been on our list of must-go’s ever since it opened and subsequently made the Top 100 Dallas Restaurants list. We were a little apprehensive about the dinner menu prices since the Taste Buds always strive to keep the pocket book intact, so we opted to try brunch instead.

The two of us, accompanied by some foodie friends, trekked down to Bishop Arts on a lovely Sunday for our foodie adventure. The restaurant space was very warm, cozy and inviting. We were seated at a table for 5 and greeted by a really nice and friendly waiter. We started off by ordering cocktails and Le Petit Déjeuner (a myriad of pastries including: Croissant, House-Made Buttermilk Biscuits, Baguette, Chocolate Croissant, Olive Oil Pound Cake, Local Honey, Butter, and House-Made Jam). The Mimosas were $4 for one and $12 for bottomless which isn’t a bad deal. Four of us opted to just start with one after our waiter said that if we decided we wanted bottomless after our first, he would just change it - no big deal. The Mimosas were really good – not too much OJ which is key. I opted for something a little stronger and got the Corpse Reviver #2. It was really good and very interesting. I would absolutely order it again.

Then we asked our waiter what the best things on the menu were. He told us the Eggs Meurette, Legs and Eggs, and Beef Tongue Hash are by far the best. We made every effort to vary our orders and ended up with the following: Eggs Meurette (Two Poached Eggs, Toasted Baguette, Mushroom, Bacon, Bone Marrow, and Red Wine Sauce), Beef Tongue Hash (Pastrami Cured, Peppadew Peppers, Caramelized Onion, Garlic Confit, Poached Eggs, Hollandaise), French Toast (Biscoff, Cinnamon Toast Brittle, Real Maple Syrup, Grand Marnier, Chantilly), and the Full English Breakfast (Two Eggs Your Way, House Bacon, Maple-Sage Breakfast Sausage, Toulouse Sausage, Baked Beans, Home Fries, Sautéed Mushrooms, Wood Grilled Local Tomato). We also got fries for the table because why not? They were great!

EVERYTHING we had was fantastic. From the breads, butters and jams to the awesome cocktails to the delicious meals. The service was great. The atmosphere was great. We can’t say enough about our experience and definitely have a new favorite brunch spot. Boulevardier is well deserving of the #31 spot on the top 100 list.

Friday, July 26, 2013

Hot Diggity Dog: The Dog Stop

On my numerous drives down Arapaho to get to Richardson, I have eyeballed The Dog Stop way too many times to have not tried it out. So when Sara and I were craving a quick, easy lunch for our latest outing I decided it was the perfect time to swing by. The Dog Stop is a tiny little drive-thru shack that looks more like a snow cone stand than a hot dog joint. We quickly drove through on a Saturday for lunch and enjoyed a couple of dogs on the go.

We were advised that The Dog Stop was cash only so we came prepared, however I did notice credit card stickers on the drive-thru window. They have several options of dogs, and all of them sounded delicious. I ordered the Texas Dog that came with relish, onion, celery salt, mustard, and jalapeños. Sara had the Reuben that came with sauerkraut, cheese, and a big juicy pickle. All of the dogs come on a poppy seed bun and are Vienna beef. 

With our lunch total (with two bottled waters) totaling to just around $8, we quickly ate our dogs in my car before going on our way. Both of the dogs were very good, and it was definitely worth the easy trip and low price. We both agreed that the dogs here are just as good as our previously reviewed, Wild About Harry's. The Dog Stop is quick, easy, and cheap and perfect when you are craving a hot dog on a hot summer day.

Yelp-The Dog Stop

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Low-cal Cupcakes: Too Good to be True?

I heard a rumor about cupcakes at a DFW bakery that were low in calories, sugar, and still delicious. We had to take the trip to Pure Delite in Carrollton to see if this could possibly be true. We went to the small cupcake shop on a Sunday afternoon to find out.

Pure Delite has a variety of flavors and a good selection of gluten free and vegan options. This was very exciting to Sara, who is gluten free. I had the rabbit food cupcake, consisting of carrot cake with cinnamon cream cheese frosting. Sara had the gluten free lemon cupcake. I also managed a sample of the achin' for bacon cupcake. 

The rabbit food cupcake was pretty tasty, although the cake was a bit dry. The lemon cupcake Sara had was also dry in texture. However, the icing on both was creamy and rich. We had to knock off some of the frosting to be able to eat it all. The achin' for bacon sample was the perfect combination of salty and sweet and was nice and moist. The waitress also brought us a sample of a chocolate macaron made from almond flour that was again, a bit dry.

The cupcakes (sans the GF) at Pure Delite are made with whole wheat flour, agave nectar, and other natural and organic ingredients. They clock in around 175-275 calories each, compared to other "competitors" 475. Although we felt guilt-free about indulging in the treats, we both noted that the flavor and moistness of the "competitor" splurge was missed. Overall, the dryness that results from the calorie cut is expected, but we missed the creamy goodness of other cupcakes. However, it was nice to have a treat we didn't have to spend hours at the gym burning off. 

Monday, June 17, 2013

Authentic Lebanese at Afrah Mediterranean Restaurant

Recently craving mediterranean food, Sara and I decided to head to Afrah, which serves up authentic lebanese food and pastries. I first heard about Afrah when it was featured on Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives and since have been told great things about this small Richardson restaurant. We headed to Afrah for dinner and were surprised how packed the place was. The patio was filled with people enjoying hookah, singing birthday songs, and enjoying food and dessert. 

I ordered the chicken kabob "shish tawook" with hummus and baba ghannouj. The marinade of the chicken was delicious and the chicken was super juicy and tender. The kebab also included garlic cloves, which were tasty as well. The hummus was good, but definitely nothing out of the ordinary. The baba ghannouj was definitely one of the better versions I have had in the area.

Sara ordered the schwarma plate, that included both beef and chicken schwarma. Sara ordered a side of hummus and basmati rice as her sides. Unfortunately, for a place famous for their schwarma, Sara received a pretty dry version of the dish. Both meats were a bit bland, and the basmati rice was not a standout. Sara agreed my dish was much better, but maybe it was just an off day for the schwarma.

We ordered pistachio baklava for dessert. The portion was small, but it was very rich. It definitely tasted different than other baklavas that I have tasted, but it was delicious. Overall, there were a few hits and misses in our meal. We enjoyed dinner, but we decided that unless we were nearby we probably wouldn't go out of our way to try it again.

Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives


Sunday, June 2, 2013

Lunch outing to Off-Site Kitchen

We were introduced to Off-Site Kitchen by a co-worker whose husband is from North Carolina and is constantly on the hunt for authentic Carolina BBQ and slaw. We took a lunch outing to Off-Site at about noon on a Thursday and the line was out the door, well into the parking lot. Some might give up at the thought of waiting in line for a simple lunch, but to the Taste Buds, a line just means that the food has to be worth the wait. We overheard a woman in line say that the line is always long, but moves fast and the food comes out quick, which turned out to be exactly right.

Once, we made it in the tiny building, we pulled our glass bottle sodas out of the self-serve coolers and stared in mild disbelief/awe at the self-serve fountain drinks in flavors such as lime Gatorade, tang, purple Kool-Aid and sweet tea. It seems to us that BBQ and burgers mixed with Kool-Aid automatically equals a certain amount of street credit, so that made us a little more excited to taste the food. Haley ordered the Murph-Style Burger with roasted jalapeño and smoked bacon relish, a slice of American cheese and secret sauce and I ordered the Pork Shoulder Roast Sandwich. We split fries since we still had to be productive the rest of the day (can’t risk a complete food coma on a work day).

Haley’s burger was delicious. All the ingredients combined to make a really flavorful, unique and memorable burger, but yet it still felt like a classic and old-school burger. After some careful consideration on Haley’s part, she felt confident enough to say this burger was probably the best burger she has had in Dallas. Granted, we have not tried every “best” burger in Dallas, but out of what we HAVE tried this made the top of the list!

My BBQ pulled pork sandwich with Carolina-style slaw came with onion and pickles – just the way I like it. The BBQ sauce was slightly spicy which was nicely balanced by the slightly sweet slaw. I didn’t eat the bun, but there was enough inside the sandwich to fill me up completely. The fries were also awesome. I think they were some of my favorite plain fries I’ve had. Not too crunchy, not too soft, simply seasoned with salt. They tasted like something out of the 50’s when (in my head) food was simple and tasted like real ingredients.  Also, just to throw this in, my Abita root beer was delicious too!

Haley and I both agreed that if Off-Site was in a more convenient location to our jobs or apartments, we would definitely go weekly. Unfortunately, it’s a bit of a trek for us unless we happened to already be in the area. Fingers crossed for second location!

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Our Best Bites at Iron Fork

Iron Fork Dallas is one of our favorite foodie events each year, with samples of food from various restaurants around the metroplex. This year, the venue changed to the Dallas Contemporary located in the Design District. Although the premise was the same, featuring local beer, wine, and food, we were not fans of the location change. The first thing we noticed this year was how hot and humid the venue was. Not really the ideal atmosphere for standing and trying samples from 20+ restaurants. However, we made the most of it and tried as many places as we could before we could no longer tolerate the heat. Here is a recap of some of our favorite bites.

#1: The jerk chicken from The Island Spot in Carrollton. See our previous post for an in-depth review of this hidden gem. This chicken is quite possibly one of our favorites in the metroplex. It is spicy, moist, and just lick-your-fingers good. Go to Carrollton now and try it out. They have a live reggae band on Fridays and the owner is friendly as can be.

#2: The cheese from Scardello. I don't know much about cheese, but I know what I like. All of the Scardello bites were delicious. I think I tasted some goat cheese and a white cheddar? Either way, everything I have had from this local cheese shop is scrumptious.

(Ate too quickly for photo-op!)

#3: The Kuby's sausage plate from Kuby's sausage. I'm German. There was sauerkraut and a curry bratwurst. THE END.

#4: The guava and cream cheese pastry from International Bakery-Cuban Dulceria in Carrollton. Another previous adventure of ours, see prior blog post, and another hometown favorite. The ladies here seem to make their pastries and sandwiches with love, and we thank them for it.

#5: The nachos from Torchy's Tacos, yet another prior blog post. Where do we begin, Torchy's never disappoints and we still think they should start a food truck.

#6: Nothing Bundt Cakes in every flavor. Moist, creamy, rich, and gives Sprinkles a run for their money.

Overall, we enjoyed Iron Fork as usual, but we demand a return to the prior location or an AC check up before having 300 people in a tiny warehouse. The food was delicious, but let's work on the atmosphere for next year.