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Tuesday, April 22, 2014

True Food Kitchen

Last Friday was Good Friday and it was a work holiday! Holla! So I planned to go check out True Food Kitchen with 2 of my friends for lunch. Due to some last minute schedule conflicts/cancellations, I was all of a sudden on my own. Booo. I've never really dined out by myself, so I was a bit nervous.

Walking to the restaurant, I saw there were groups waiting outside. AND people waiting inside. It's already 1:30PM! I told the hostess it was for 1 and she said there's open seating at the bar, whereas a table was a 30 minute wait. So I guess being by myself worked out! The place was very bright and energetic. The bar area was nice and open and you can see into the kitchen. I sat down and was immediately greeted and brought a water. So far I'm liking it.

True Food Kitchen
The Plaza at Preston Center
8383 Preston Center Plaza Drive
Dallas, Texas 75225
(214) 377-3333
http://www.truefoodkitchen.com/
Price: $$-$$$

*FYI, the location on Yelp is wrong. It's in the same shopping center as Sprinkles Cupcakes on Preston and NW HWY. I almost drove to the wrong place!*

I've been wanting to try this place for awhile. It was my initial choice for my birthday dinner but it didn't work out. Looking at the layout, it probably wouldn't have worked with a group of 30 people anyways. It's quite loud in there since it's just one open space.

They got some interesting drinks so I wanted to try some.

Hangover Rx (coconut water, pineapple, vanilla, orange juice) $5~ I was able to get a sample of this since they pre-made it. It was delicious. I don't really like coconut water, so the first sip I was a little weary, but the more I drank the more I liked it. Very refreshing!

Green Arnie (matcha green tea, honey lemonade) $5~ 
I ended up ordering this since I love matcha. It was so green! I liked it, but not as much as the Hangover Rx actually. I felt like the honey lemonade overpowered the matcha. I really didn't get much of the tea flavor. And the honey was too strong. I'm not a huge fan of honey.. I'm slowly trying to get more used to it. But if you love honey and lemonade, this is a good choice for you.

I already knew what I wanted to order. The "Inside Out" Quinoa Burger (hummus, tzatziki, tomato, cucumber, red onion, avocado, feta) $12~ With side of kale salad and sweet potato hash. 
The food came out really fast. I was soon stuffing my face with yummy quinoa. I guess it's good I got to sit at the bar, and get my food so quickly. I was starving! I pretty much loved everything about this dish. The quinoa patties were crispy on the outside. Loved it! I've never had crispy quinoa before, it adds amazing texture. The hummus with the veggies was fantastic and the kale salad added more texture. My favorite though, was the hash. The sweet potato pieces were still slightly crunchy, which I normally don't like sweet potato to be, but it had so much flavor. And the way it was diced made it ok that it still had a crunch. I think I can eat a large bowl just of this. But everything worked well together. It was gluten free AND vegetarian! It filled me up without pushing me over the edge. Although I think a fried egg on top of the burger might just be even more awesome. haha. Again, loved it, will totally order it again.

I got a drink to go for my bf. Cucumber Refresher (cucumber, honey lemonade) $5~ He totally loved it. Super refreshing. Again, heavy on the honey for me, but still pretty good.

I enjoyed lunch very much, even if it was by myself. My waiter at the bar was super nice and didn't make me feel self-conscious about sitting by myself for the first time. I know it's no big deal, but just something different for me. I can't wait to go back in the near future. But I'll make sure to make a reservation!

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~~ CHOMP CHOMP ~~

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Downtown Frisco StrEATS Festival

I got to go to my first ever soccer game this past Saturday at the Toyota Stadium in Frisco. And it just so happens that The Downtown Frisco StrEATS festival was the same day! Woot! So we headed over there in the afternoon to get some food before the game.

This would be my 3rd year going to this food truck festival. Seems like they got the set up pretty much down now. It was basically structured just like last year. There were quite a few trucks there. Most of which I've either tried already or didn't care to try.

There were 1 or 2 that I've never seen before and one was The Guava Tree truck. It is a Cuban American truck. I love Cuban food and wanted to try something new so here I am. Plus they didn't really have a line which was also quite enticing. haha.
They only had 3 choices so I got the Cuban Sandwich (sliced ham, slow roasted pork, swiss cheese, sliced pickles; drizzled with guava mustard on freshly pressed Cuban bread) $9~ 
 
It sounded pretty awesome. I have to say I was disappointed when I saw it. The bread was supposed to be pressed! Where was the crispy part on the bread? And for $9 it wasn't very big. It was really tasty though. And the bottom bread was crispy which I really liked. The ingredients had good flavor, although I didn't get any "guava" from the mustard. I would totally get this again, IF it was $3 cheaper. They had these guava and cream cheese filled mini donuts that looked yummy but I resisted because I wanted ice cream. Ha! :P

Overall Experience:




My bf went to the Nammi truck. He got the Rice Bowl (Honey ginger pork, Jasmine rice, red cabbage sautee, cucumbers, pickled daikons and carrots, cilantro) $9~ 
I've only had their Banh Mi, so the rice bowl was also something new. I really really liked the red cabbage sautee. He loved it. The whole thing was pretty filling and not greasy or heavy. The fresh and pickled veggies added a lot of freshness with the meat and rice. I thought the meat could've been more tender but it was good enough. He liked it over the rice bowls at Ssahm from last year's festival.

Overall Experience: 




I mainly wanted ice cream and was disappointed that Coolhaus wasn't there. But no fear! What's Da Scoop was there! And I know their ice cream is good! :)The bad thing about a nice day is that everyone wants ice cream. We spent the majority of our time at the festival standing in line. But I gotta have my ice cream!!!!

He got the Bourbon Street Sundae (Bourbon Cherry Compote, Vanilla Ice Cream, Crushed Graham Cracker & Pecans) $6.50~ He opted for no pecans. It was delicious, but this for $6.50? A bit steep if you ask me. Oh well, how often do we go to one of these food truck festivals. Yum!

I had my eyes set on the Cherry Amaretto Fudge (amaretto ice cream with cherry fudge and black cherries) Single Scoop $3.25~ Plus waffle cone +$1~ (the scoop was bigger than the picture, it was melting so I had to eat some!)
Of course I had to get a cone. That's one of the best parts of having ice cream. The ice cream was amazing. Creamy, smooth, with lots of chocolate fudge swirls and large chunks of juicy cherries. My bf regretted not getting the same flavor. haha. But of course I shared! :P Really really really good, I was craving it again the next day! I hope they have this flavor again next time I see them.

Overall Experience:




I'd say our trip to the festival was a success! With the ice cream being the ultimate winner. Got to try all new things and everything tasted good. If only I can just get more of the cherry amaretto ice cream!!

~~ CHOMP CHOMP ~~

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

My 30th Birthday at Blue Plate Kitchen!

Today is my 30th birthday. Man do I feel old! XP But in honor of today, the post will be about my bday dinner this past Saturday! And just so happens to also be my 450th post since CHOMP! started. :)

I wanted to have a big dinner with a bunch of friends. I had a guest list of over 30 people, and now I must find a venue!! Trust me, it's not easy finding a place to eat for a party over 20 people. But I called up one of my favorite restaurants in Dallas, Blue Plate Kitchen, and they immediately said they would love to take care of my group. Sweeeet! It's not hard to see why I love this place so much.

Rathbun's Blue Plate Kitchen
6130 Luther Lane
Dallas, TX 75225
(214) 890-1103
http://www.kentrathbun.com/blueplate/dallas
Price: $$$-$$$$

I spoke with one of the managers, Melissa, a week prior to the dinner and went over seating and menu options. I chose to just have everyone order a la carte from the full menu since everyone has their own preferences. I had the option to do a set menu though, that might be fun sometimes. She was super nice and accommodating and I was sure everything would be great. We had agreed on one long table and 2 smaller side tables since the group was so big. But when we got there on Saturday, they were able to fit everyone into the long table, and it wasn't cramped or anything! I was very happy with that.

We were warmly greeted as we walked in. A few people were already there and at the bar. With a group that size, you are bound to have late comers, but the restaurant never rushed us. We hung around at the bar for awhile and finally when most of the group arrived, we sat down. We had a waiter and waitress taking care of us. I found out our waitress had the same birthday as me! So happy birthday to her today as well. :)
They had just changed from the winter to spring menu earlier in the week. Just FYI.

You know the best thing about eating with a big group of people? The variety of dishes, which means LOTS OF PICTURES!! I went down the table and told everyone not to eat until I got a picture of every different dish. Bwahahaha! It's my birthday, I can do whatever I want right?? :P hehe. Fortunately, they served one side of the table earlier than the other, so no one was really sitting around for too long before I got a picture. You ready to drooool??

I always love their bread baskets. Homemade mini biscuits and cornbread madeleines. Comes with whipped cinnamon butter and housemade jam. Warm and buttery and soft, and we can get refills!! :P

There were quite a bit of cocktails floating around but this is one of ones we got. Deep Eddy (sweet tea vodka). If you like sweet tea, this is a good cocktail for you!

Appetizers:

Polenta Crusted Fried Green Tomatoes (thyme goat cheese, Round Rock ancho honey) $9~ 
I got to try a bite. I really liked the breading on the tomatoes. But I do not like goat cheese and definitely tasted some. If you like goat cheese, this will be a good app for you. My friends enjoyed it.

Crispy Calamari (sweet peppers, okra, black garlic aioli) $12~ 
Really good. Thick cut calamari so you can actually get the texture of the squid instead of just batter. It was fried nicely and I liked the pairing with the sweet peppers and aioli.

Wood Roasted Duck Confit Flatbread (orange marmalade, brie cheese, red grapes) $14~ 
We got this and it was delicious. I usually love their flatbreads. I'm surprised they took the cheesy bread off the menu actually. Everyone's always loved that. But the duck was tender, you can taste the brie and the sweetness with the duck was a great combo. I especially loved the arugula on top which added that pepperyness that contrasted the other flavors. The texture of the flatbread was also spot on. I'd totally eat this again.

Quinoa-Kale Salad (walnuts, THC blueberry balsamic) $14~ This is a half portion because they split the order for my 2 friends.

On to the Entrees:

Wood Roasted Texas Quail (cornbread waffle, fried Brussels, citrus syrup) $19~ 
My bf and I shared this because we also got a couple side dishes. It was really good. The quail was pretty small, but that's pretty standard. Our favorite was the fried Brussels sprouts. And with the citrus syrup it was sweet and savory and delicious. The waffle was nice and crisp on the outside and paired well with everything. The quail was actually my least favorite part about the dish but it was still very good. The meat was tender and the body was stuffed with something. That took me by surprise, but it was a good surprise!

Hickory Grilled Wagyu Burger (sharp white cheddar, crispy shallots, Madeira aioli) $15~ 
 
Several people in the group ordered this. It looked mighty impressive! However, I heard mixed reviews on this. One friend said it was cold, another few others said it was very heavy, and one said it was under seasoned. :( Guess it was just a bad day for the burger.

Herb Roasted Airline Chicken Breast (wilted spinach, roasted carrots, apricot glaze) $18~ 
This looked like a really healthy dish. But was tasty too from what I heard. The apricot glaze was a nice touch apparently. They had messed up a friend's order of this, but I thought the restaurant handled it really well. They ended up giving a few other dishes to my friends and comped their entire meal. With a huge group like this, mistakes are inevitable, but I was impressed with the way they fixed things. :)

Beeman Ranch Chicken Fried Steak (green beans, carrot puree, jalapeno gravy) $23~ This looked yummy. And everyone who had it said it was good.

Gramma Minnie's Fried Chicken (cream cheese roasted garlic mashers, maple gravy) $24~
This was the one dish I was highly recommending to everyone. I've never had a bad version of this. The chicken is always super juicy and fried to perfection. I'd say it was the most ordered item on the menu and everyone loved it!! It's a lot of food too! I got to try the mashers this time and it is addicting!! The maple gravy was sinful, I can drink it... haha. I kept eating it off of my friend's plate. :P LOL!

Niman Ranch Pork Chop (white hominy grits, root beer demi) $26~ I think I've had this in the past? Not sure, but my friend said it was really good.

Chef's Seasonal Fish (stir fried veggies, Jasmine rice, ginger-soy butter) $26~? The fish was Mahi Mahi and the veggies were cauliflower. This looked really good and healthy too. Those who ordered it said they really liked it.

Five Spiced Big Eye Tuna (bamboo rice, fried avocado, wasabi cream) $29~ 
This was my other choice, but we didn't get it. I did get to try a bite of the rice from a friend's. It was slightly green and infused with wasabi!!! Now I really wish I had ordered this. I LOVE wasabi. haha. One friend really loved it too, another didn't know the wasabi was going to be in the rice and that was a bit much for her. They also both said they wanted more of the wasabi cream sauce.

Pan Seared Diver Scallops (house pork jowl, English pea risotto) $31~ Really beautiful dish. The colors of the risotto against the red/orange sauce was very pretty. Looked yummy too!

Ribeye 10oz. Center Cut Bone-In (grilled asparagus, pink peppercorn butter) $38~ 
My sister got this. She's not a fan of sweet and savory so her options were pretty limited since almost every dish had a sweet element to it. However, there was a balsamic reduction on the steak which was sweet so she was kind of disappointed. She said they should note that on the menu. I tried a bite of the steak though and it was cooked well.

Shrimp & Grits. This was the Blue Plate Special of the day. I think it was either $26 or $30. Very pretty colors!

Sides:

House Bacon-Balsamic Brussels Sprouts $8~ 
Gotta order Brussels sprouts anytime they're on the menu! Yum! Tender, flavorful, and lots of chunks of bacon. Although my bf and I both liked the fried Brussels sprouts on the quail dish even better.

Sauteed Baby Bok Choy $8~ We also got this. I really liked it. It had a lot of flavor.(This was half eaten btw... I forgot to take a pic at the beginning...)

Parmesan White Truffle Fries $8~ Didn't try it this time, but I've had it before.

Crab & English Pea Mac n' Cheese $10~ 
My friend got this, and I loved it. I couldn't stop eating it. And just so happens it was the same friend who had the mashers I was taking too. hahaha. I think I ate half the mac n' cheese myself. It was cheesy yet not saucy. I'm not a fan of the "wet" mac n' cheese that swim in cheese sauce. This was perfect for me. Al dente pasta, a little bit of veggies, that nice char on the top. MMmmmmm! :)

Dessert:

Most people were too full after dinner so only a handful of us got dessert.

They gave me a dessert on the house for my birthday. Yay! I chose Chef's Bread Pudding (warm rum sauce, Henry's ice cream) $8~ 
It was chocolate banana-bread bread pudding. I was already leaning towards this but as soon as I heard it was made from banana bread? Sold!! It was a big size too, sitting in a pool of rum sauce. So delicious. The bread pudding was warm and soft, but not overly mushy. You can definitely taste the bananas. I just wanted more ice cream! hehe. Definitely a recommendation.

Chocolate Lava Cake (cinnamon sugar churros, house made ice cream) $8~ Didn't see any lava, but the cake itself was smooth and rich, very very good. The churros were playful and fried well.
 

BPK's Banana Split (strawberry panna cotta, peanut butter crumble, bruleed banana) $8~ This was interesting. I would've never thought panna cotta in banana split form. haha. Very pretty dessert.

Creme Brulee (seasonal berries) $8~ Biggest creme brulee ever! Compare that to the one we got at Roy's the day before... it's over twice the size!

We had a fantastic time. I know I always enjoy my visits to Blue Plate Kitchen. And I'm so happy that people enjoyed the food (for the most part). More importantly, they all enjoyed the dishes I recommended! hehe. The waiter and waitress did a great job, they were attentive and split the checks for everyone without problems. We were the last group to leave the restaurant and yet they didn't ever make us feel like we needed to rush out of there. I always feel so welcomed and comfortable here. I'm glad they helped me celebrate this special occasion. Special thanks to the managers Dennis and Melissa, our two waiters, and everyone else that took care of us throughout the night. I will definitely be back and will continue to recommend Blue Plate Kitchen to others. And thanks to all my friends who came out to hang out with me! I feel loved. :D

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~~ CHOMP CHOMP ~~