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Thursday, November 26, 2015

Dough Pizzeria Napoletana

Last month, I had dinner with a friend. He was headed to Asia for several weeks so we met up before he left. We decided to try Dough, on Preston and Forest, since I would be in that area after work. I see this place all the time but had never been. I've heard good things about it though.

Dough Pizzeria Napoletana
11909 Preston Rd, Ste 1444
Dallas, TX 75230
(972) 788-4600
Price: $$-$$$

This place was more casual in decor than I expected. But I'm not sure why I always had the impression that it was fancier? haha. There wasn't too many people there on a Wednesday night, but it wasn't that empty either. They specialize in Neapolitan style pizza which is cooked at a very high temp for a very short period of time. The crust is usually pretty thin.

Sausage & Pistachio Pizza (fresh Panna, house-made sausage, bloomed onion, pistachios, Parmigiano Reggiano) $13~ To get some greens in the meal, we added fresh arugula on top. 
Neither of us has had pistachio on a pizza before so it sounded really interesting. OMG. It's like the most awesome topping on pizza ever! (well not really... but it's pretty dang tasty. haha) The pistachios added a nuttiness that perfumed every bite. LOVED IT!! The sausage were in small pieces so they were crisped up like it was bacon. And the arugula on top was a nice touch... added some freshness and just the right amount of bitterness to balance out the cheese and meat. Normally I like thicker crusts on pizza since I like the doughiness. The crust on this was great. It wasn't super thin so it still had that chewiness. But the crust was thin enough so you don't feel as heavy eating all the carbs. We decided to only get 1 pizza and share since we wanted to get dessert. hehe. It was just the right amount. I'd totally get this pizza again. In fact, I wanna add pistachios to all my pizzas from now on. haha.

Pumpkin Polenta Cake (with torched marshmallow cream) 
I don't remember how much this cake was, but it was totally worth it. Maybe $8? Super interesting and yummy. The texture was fantastic... you get the slight graininess from the polenta but it was still super moist. The outside had a really nice crisp crust. My friend and I both absolutely loved it. The marshmallow cream was not only a visually stunning pairing, but also tasted great. I think they normally offer a polenta cake, but the pumpkin addition might be seasonal. So better go check it out before the holiday season is over! I'll have to go again to try the regular polenta cake.

Really great meal. I'm glad we tried this place. And always a fun time catching up with friends. Dough is close to my work too... so maybe I'll take my co-workers there for lunch some time.

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Florida Trip 2015: Wild Sea Oyster Bar and Grille

When in Florida, eat seafood, right? My friends really wanted to get some seafood during the trip. We ventured into Las Olas Saturday night by the water taxi, that was a pretty cool experience. Sailed by all the super rich people's mansions.

We strolled around Las Olas and came upon Wild Sea. There wasn't that many other seafood options so we decided to give this place a try.

Wild Sea Oyster Bar and Grille
620 E. Las Olas Blvd.
Fort Lauderdale, FL 33301
(954) 467-2555
Price: $$$$

We got some Foccacia to start... it was so freaking good!


Some of my friends wanted oysters... they were pretty expensive but we're on vacation! haha. East Coast Oysters (served with cocktail sauce, Florida citrus, red wine mignonette) $3~ each. We got 18 pieces first round. 2nd Round was 2 dozen (24 pieces). Wow... that's a lot of oysters. They all really enjoyed them.

Wild Sea Lobster Bisque (lobster meat, saffron oil) $10~ Poured table side... I always like that presentation for soups.

Grilled Octopus (garlic aioli, blueberry coulis, slab bacon) $13~ 
I wasn't super hungry, so I went with an appetizer and a side. The waiter told me this was just one tentacle... I didn't expect such a big tentacle. hahaha. Really fantastic. The octopus was super tender and the flavors with the aioli, blueberry and bacon complemented each other really well. And it was super filling. Loved it!

Cauliflower Mac N' Cheese $7~ 
This was my side dish. It was also bigger than I expected. The pasta turned out to be orzo... which I wasn't a huge fan of. Prepared as mac n cheese, the orzo was overcooked and got lost in the cheese. There wasn't enough cauliflower in my opinion. Was an ok dish... if they had used a different pasta, this could've been great.

Atlantic Monkfish Loin (stone ground grits, smoked gouda, sweet corn succotash) $29~ Everyone loved the grits. The fish itself was kind of meh. I mean, it was a good piece of fish, but got shadowed by the grits.

Grilled Ahi Tuna (spicy broccolini, shiitake mushrooms, caramelized shallot-mirin soy reduction) $34~ Gorgeous color on the ahi tuna. My friend enjoyed it.

I forgot what this is... special of the day. But it's a seared fish, skin on. With squash and eggplant and frisee. I loved the plating of this. A pretty tower of food. The squash blend in whatever sauce that was, was bomb!!

We enjoyed this meal... so much food!! haha. And everyone got their seafood fix. :) Service was good, and the decor was nice. I'd recommend it if you are in Las Olas.

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Thursday, November 5, 2015

Florida Trip 2015: Hyde Beach Kitchen + Cocktails

Continuation of my Florida trip...

We found this place across the street from our hotel. It's freaking awesome and the food is amazing. It's right on the beach, they have a section in the sand with lounge chairs, hammocks, and games... like a day club. Too expensive for us to partake, but we managed to have dinner, lunch, AND breakfast there over the course of the weekend. And yes, in that order.

Hyde Beach Kitchen + Cocktails
111 South Surf Rd.
Hallandale Beach, FL 33009
(954) 699-0901
Price (for dinner): $$$

We had actually had dinner already and was just going for drinks... But there were a few items on the menu I just had to try, since there was a big chance we won't be back again for dinner.

Some of my friends did get drinks. hehe. They tried several but I only took a picture of the Hibiscus Punch (bacardi 8 year rum, freshly pressed lime juice, wild hibiscus syrup, licor 43, orange flower water, splash soda water, muddled fresh strawberries, muddled lime wedge) $14~ It was pretty cool looking.

Pumpkin Butter Rolls (maple butter, rosemary, salt) $7~ 
This just sounds amazing. I had to get it. We were all pretty full but I got another friend to agree to help me eat. It was better than I expected.. the texture was like a Hawaiian roll, but better! Slight crispy top and soooooooo warm and fluffy in the middle. It was dark, but looking at the picture I realized how orange it was. I loved the sprinkling of salt on the top, paired with the sweetness of the maple butter. FANTASTIC!!! I can eat this all day!

Oxtail Bucatini (red wine braised oxtail ragout, garlic bread crumbs) $16~ 
I wanted to try this as well. I love oxtail, you don't see it often, and I love Bucatini... also not a common pasta. It's basically like a thick spaghetti, but hollow. The texture of the pasta was on point! And I expected them to just have a ragout where the meat was pretty much blended in the sauce, but no! There were large chunks of super tender oxtail in the dish. And the cherry on top was the garlic bread crumbs. Such bold flavor and added an awesome crunchy texture to everything. Every element was perfection. I was so full but couldn't stop eating. Another friend tried a bite. She's usually not a fan of pasta and was already super full, but she couldn't stop eating either. hahaha. I have to say this is one of the best dishes I've had in a long time.

Sooooo freaking delicious. I really wish we had time to go back for an actual dinner, but we didn't have time. :(

Saturday Lunch:
Price (for lunch): $$
The sun finally came out on Saturday!!! It had been raining since we landed. So we went to the beach!! Yeah!!!! Gettin' my tan on!

We decided to walk over for lunch. For breakfast and lunch, they only allow seating outside, and on the first floor. The second floor is opened up just for dinner. It was a beautiful day so sitting outside was perfect. I shall continue my much needed tan.

Ceviche (corvina, leche de tigre, tortilla chips) $9~ Pretty small portion but pretty. My friend didn't like it though... it was way too sour. And I agree.

Fish & Chips (cod, tartar sauce, malt vinegar; fries) $11~ Deeeeelicious. The fish was super moist and tender and fried well. The fries were awesome. And I loved their tartar sauce. I really wanted to finish all the fries but it was a little heavy while sitting outside in the sun.

8oz. Prime Burger (aged cheddar, lettuce, tomato, mustard, onions, dill pickles; fries) $11~ Pretty good burger, needed more seasoning. Although the natural flavor of the beef patty was nice. 

Rock Shrimp Taco (guacamole, pico de gallo, chicarrones) $7~ Really pretty tacos and fully loaded. Yum.

Mini Lobster Roll (butter brioche bun, home made chips) $9~ Truly a "mini" lobster roll. It was so cute! haha. Not the best I've ever had, but was good.

Two of my friends got cocktails. Ginger Mojito $14~ and Strawberry Mojito $13~ They came in these plastic cups and were pretty small. Same price as dinner cocktails but smaller, not a very good deal.

Sunday Breakfast:
Price (for breakfast): $$

Our last day there, a few of us really wanted breakfast/brunchy food. So we got up early and hit up Hyde Beach for breakfast. Check out our spread!!!

Pumpkin Maple Sticky Bun $7~ 
I'm obsessed with pumpkin and since their pumpkin rolls were so good, I had to try these. Also delicious, but the rolls were better. I wish the top with the syrup was more caramelized with a crunch. Other than that it was yummy.

Mushroom Toast (sauteed mushrooms, sunny side up, greens) $7~ I also got a savory dish. Love, love, loved this. All different types of mushrooms, sauteed in this sauce. It was so flavorful!

Very Berry French Toast (brioche, mixed berries, mascarpone whipped cream, side of maple syrup) $11~ Plus side of Egg +$4~ The $4 egg was pretty ridiculous. haha. But the french toast was good. Nice sized portion, lots of fresh berries.

Green Eggs & Ham Benedict (french ham, basil hollandaise, English muffin, spinach) $12~ The basil hollandaise was delicious. The eggs were poached well, but I guess they didn't drain it well enough cuz there was excess water. But other than that, my friend loved it. It was just what she was craving for.

I absolutely loved this place. The food is fantastic. The setting is awesome being beach-side and all. The service was also great. I wish I could go there everyday!!

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Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Florida Trip 2015: Piola

Two weekends ago I went on a trip with some friends to Ft. Lauderdale. We had been talking about doing a trip forever. And all of us wanted to go to the beach. Just lay back, relax and veg out! Cancun was our first choice but we missing the window and the prices went up up up... :( Luckily, I found a pretty great flight deal to go to Ft. Lauderdale. None of us have ever been there. And we thought it would be quieter than Miami, since we just wanted to unwind. The trip couldn't come soon enough, and finally we were on the plane!!

We arrived late on a Thursday night. After we checked into our hotel, we asked the front desk where we can go eat. We didn't rent a car so we just walked around. Most places were already closing at this point but we found a hip little pizza place that is open late. The place was packed! Apparently Thursday night is ladies night and ladies get free wine with the purchase of an entree. Nice! We actually had to wait a while to get a table for our party of 5.

1703 E. Hallandale Beach Blvd.
Hallandale Beach, FL 33009
(954) 457-9394
Price: $$

Finally, we were seated. Our waiter was pretty cool. Brought us some waters and took our drink orders. My friend and I both got a glass of wine. I don't drink wine but I gave it to another friend. hahaha.

Another friend ordered the Sgroppino Al Limone (lemon gelato and Vodka) $6~ It was definitely not what we expected. All of us thought it would be more like a slushy, but it was creamy. Very thick and rich. It was interesting for sure.

After we ordered , the waiter gave us some Complimentary bread. With olive oil and balsamic vinegar.

It was pretty late, so we got a few things to share.

D'Annunzio Salad (mixed greens, tomatoes, sweet corn, fresh bean sprouts, hearts of palm, mozzarella fior di latte, avocado, boiled eggs, dijon mustard dressing) Regular size $10.95~ 
This was a pretty big salad. Interesting too, with the bean sprouts. I think this is the first time I've had bean sprouts in a Western style salad. It was really good. Everything was fresh. The avocado added a creaminess. And I loved the dijon mustard dressing. It was the perfect size for the 5 of us.

Moderna Pizza (topped with fresh arugula, dice tomatoes, and shaved grana padano cheese) $11.95~ We added prosciutto on top +$3.50~ This was pretty good. But after eating the other pizza, this was pretty normal. haha.

Rio De Janeiro (oven baked pulled chicken breast, catupiry cheese, a dash of parsley) $13.95~ 
We decided on this because of the catupiry cheese. I had never heard of it. The waiter explained it was a Brazilian cheese that's like a mix betweem cream cheese and butter? Sounded super decadent and awesome! I took a knife and spread the catupiry all of the pizza. It was just as he described...super rich, super creamy, and super delicious. I loved the flavor with the pulled chicken. Love love loved this pizza. However, it was really heavy, so a slice and half in, I was stuffed! It's always cool to learn a new food. :)

It was a great first meal on our vacation. If I lived there, I'd go back. Service was great and food was delicious. And it had a good vibe.

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Sooo... walking there, we noticed that there's a Ben & Jerry's just a couple stores down and it opens til midnight!!! It's a sign. We're on vacation right? We're allowed to eat ice cream at 11PM. haha.

I always have a hard time choosing a flavor here cuz everything is so good. I ended up with Save Our Swirled (raspberry ice cream with marshmallow and raspberry swirls, white and dark fudge ice cream cones). Oh man... I was so full after this! haha.