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Thursday, July 2, 2015

Tillman's Roadhouse

The place we wanted to go for dinner in Ft. Worth ended up being closed for a private party that day. Blahhh. So we decided not to stick around and just head back to Dallas.

I took the opportunity to suggest Bishop Arts District. I love that area, but it's just so dang far to go usually. As we were driving back, I went on and made a reservation at Tillman's Roadhouse. I had only gone once for brunch and once for dessert, so I've never had dinner there.

Tillman's Roadhouse
324 W 7th St.
Dallas, TX 75208
(214) 942-0988
Price: $$$$

We arrived for our reservation by 6PM. The place was only about 30% full. By the time we got our food, it was packed. I'm glad we went early. I always love the decor here... especially the chandeliers. Western/cowboy meets fancy chic. haha. We were seated immediately, in this square table that was wayy too big for us. haha. We got drinks and quickly browsed the menu.

Chicken Fried Steak (buttermilk whippers, bacon braised green beans, charred poblano gravy) $28~ 
One friend ordered this after I described it to her. I've tried it before. Instead of normal, pounded down beef cutlet, Tillman's uses thick cut pieces of steak. The meat is super tender and the outside is nice and crispy. She loved it, and ate IT ALL. I was so impressed. haha.

Charred Baby Back Ribs (bacon mac & cheese, chive, house chipotle barbeque) $26~ 
This looked so yummy. I loved the mac and cheese, good texture and flavor. The ribs... flavor was good, but was quite dry. It definitely needed the bbq sauce.

Flat Iron Steak (char-grilled flat iron steak, wild mushrooms, chimichurri, tobacco fried onions) $28~ 
My fiance got this. The steak was tender. There were different types of mushrooms which he really enjoyed. The chimichurri added a splash of brightness to the dish. Overall very good.

I finally decided on the T Burger (house ground beef, tillamook cheddar, texas farms mixed greens, tomato, fresh mayo, potato bun; side of truffled tater tots) $13~ 
I subbed the tots for Bourbon Sweet Potato Fries (fresh sweet potato fries, bourbon salt, house spiced ketchup). The fries pieces were small and short, didn't look that great, but it was really tasty. Especially loved the housemade ketchup. It was sweet, and the texture was kind of like apple sauce. I slathered that on my burger too, made it better. The burger was great! Definitely not the best I've had, but enough to satisfy my meat craving. I ate it all!

Before we even got to the restaurant, I said we had to get the tableside s'mores. I've heard so much about them but never tried it. Luckily they have a full and half version, cuz two of my friends were too full to help. And neither of them liked marshmallows... what?!?!

Tableside S'mores (marshmallow duo, cinnamon grahams, dark chocolate bark) Half $8~ 

Maple and Strawberry marshmallows. This was a lot of fun. Everything was made in house. The marshmallows were nice and fluffy and you can actually taste the different flavors. We both liked the maple better. I loved the dark chocolate paired with the cinnamon and marshmallows. Yum! Definitely a fun way to end the night.

At some point I'll have tried all the restaurants in Bishop Arts... may take years, but I'm gonna make it happen! haha.

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Hanabi Ramen & Izakaya

Last weekend, a friend and I decided to take a day trip out to Ft. Worth. Neither of us have been there much and just wanted to check out the sights, and of course, food!!

The first place I wanted to hit up was definitely Hanabi. I've heard great things about it and almost everyone who's been there has said they have the best ramen in DFW. God knows we need a good ramen place here!

Hanabi Ramen & Izakaya
3204 Camp Bowie Blvd
Fort Worth, TX
(817) 420-6703
Price: $$

Obviously I've never been, so I always imagined it to be a small place. So I was pleasantly surprised that they took reservations. I made one for 3 people on Saturday at 11:30AM. We arrived on time, and there was maybe 3 other tables there. haha. And the place is wayyy bigger than I thought. I guess the reservation is totally unnecessary. Oh well. Better safe than sorry, eh?

We were seated immediately and the waitress came to take our drink orders. We all got the hot green tea which was really good. A lot of matcha flavor. :)

We got some appetizers to start.
Squid Leg Fry (6 pcs.) $4.50~ 
6 pieces for 5 bucks is a little expensive in my opinion, but at least the pieces were big. It was yummy. It came with a side of Asian mayonnaise to dip. Loved it! The squid was cooked well, the outside was fried nicely. The mayo had a sweetness that paired well with it.

Salmon Onigiri (salmon rice ball; 1 pc.) $3~ 
This was good too, esp with the mayo as well. But these tend to have more rice than filling ratio, and this was no different. There wasn't that much salmon in the middle.

I already knew what I wanted. The dry ramen. If it's an option, I always opt for the dry. The noodles are generally thicker and chewier, which I prefer.
Kara Miso Aemen (pasta style ramen, without soup, with pork belly, egg, cabbage, carrot, chives and green onion) $11~ 
My fiance decided to get the same thing. It was a HUGE bowl. Wow.. I think we could've shared! haha. The sauce is all on the bottom so you have to mix everything together. As soon as I started mixing I realized there was chili oil... this was spicy. The name should've tipped me off "Kara" indicates spicy but I didn't even think of it. And they didn't put "spicy" anywhere on the menu... I think restaurants should indicate that, not everyone can take spice. I mean I love spicy so it's great. But my fiance can't eat spicy. It really upsets his stomach. So the waitress overheard and told him not to mix, and they would remove the bottom part with the sauce for him. I dunno, that seemed like a stupid move on their part but we didn't say anything. She brought a new bowl back with everything that was above the sauce. So basically half the noodles were gone. She told him he can add additional flavor with the soy sauce at the table... Uh... ew? He decided to just go with what he had. He didn't use the soy sauce, but just threw the squid in for extra flavor. haha. I told him he should've sent the whole thing back and gotten something else. And why didn't they offer him the broth from the dipping ramen or something?? Doesn't this ruin the flavor/experience of someone's meal? Needless to say, it was bland bland bland. But he was too nice to complain. :( 
Mine however, was great. The spicy sauce on the bottom had chunks of meat in it. The egg could've been a bit runnier but I didn't mind it. There were plenty of veggies, which I appreciated. And everything was finely chopped so it was easy to pick it all up with the noodles. The noodles were great. Nice chewy texture. Although I think the noodles at Wabi House was even better. Hanabi totally trumped with the flavor. It reminded me a lot of the Chinese Zha Jian Mian, which is one of my absolute favorite noodles in the world. So that was a plus. I tried to finish it all because it was really good, but couldn't. It was wayyy too much.

My friend got the Karami Tonkotsu Ramen (creamy broth made with pork bones; with chashu, egg, bamboo shoot, green onion, takana, nori; spicy) $10~ 
At first bite, she said "this is good!" Better than Wabi. I tried a bite or two. I felt the noodles were a tad overcooked but it was the curly kind so I still liked it better. The broth flavor was good. We both agreed that so far this has been the best in DFW.

I really enjoyed it. My friend did too. My poor fiance... not so much. I think they should've discounted his dish too, but they didn't. To pay $11 for bland noodles is not a great feeling. But he did learn to always verify spicy or not in the future. Other than the poor choice in dumping out his sauce instead of giving him something else, our waitress was very nice and attentive. I do agree with most people that it's the best in DFW. As comparison to the rest of the world tho... it's somewhere in the middle. And it's so far from Dallas still... sigh.

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Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Cali Trip: Kitakata Ramen Ban Nai

Before we headed to the airport that Sunday, we met up with 2 of my sister's friends for lunch. We chose another ramen place we've never been to.

Kitakata Ramen Ban Nai
891 Baker St. B21
Costa Mesa, CA 92626
(714) 557-2947
Price: $$

This is a pretty small place and they don't take reservations. So we made sure we had extra time to wait in line. There were already many other groups waiting outside when we got there. I think we waited about 25-30 minutes total? The weather outside was nice so it wasn't a big deal.

We got some appetizers to start.
Gyoza (pan fried; with yuzu chili pepper paste) $3.80~ Perfectly crispy on the bottom. And it came with Kosho on the side. It's this condiment made with yuzu and chili peppers so it's got a kick to it! Tasty!

Spicy Rice (steamed rice mixed with housemade umami chili) $2~ I saw this on yelp and it just sounded amazing. Umami chili? Uh, yes, please! But it was underwhelming. Not spicy, and not particularly "umami" either.

Juicy Fried Chicken (marinated with house special sauce) $3~ This. Was. Amazing. Beautifully fried, and the meat inside was soooo juicy. It came with this peanuty sauce which was an interesting, and good, compliment. I can eat this chicken forever!!!

I was talking about the different types of ramen to the guys before we ordered... broth ramen, tsukemen (dipping ramen), mazemen (dry ramen), etc... And they were really interested in trying the dipping ramen.

So 3 of us ordered the Tsukemen (Dipping Ramen) with the Cold Noodle (dashi shoyu base, radish shoot, Japanese mustard spinach, bean sprouts, carrots, chashu, lime, grated radish and ginger, ground sesame seeds) $8.50~ 
It was a huge portion! And since this is a different style than we've normally had, I've never tried noodles like these before.

From their website: The noodle of Kitakana ramen is flat, wide, and curly. It contains the highest amount of water among ramen noodles. Noodles are hand crumpled to have distinctive curliness and texture. The soup is light in color yet full of flavor and not oily.
The noodles were fantastic. They certainly did have the crumpled look and it felt homemade. And the broth was light but full of flavor and not in the least bit greasy! I couldn't finish all my noodles cuz the portion was so big. The 2 guys absolutely loved it.

My sister got the Green Chili Shio Ramen (pork broth, shio base, Toro chashu, green chili, nappa, garlic, Asian chives, red onion, green onion) $8.50~ 
OMG. This is sooooo good. Different than any ramen we've ever had before. The broth was light in color but just packed with flavor!! It had a spicy kick to it from the green chili. I was just shocked at the amount of flavor but yet was so light. My sister said she thought this was better than Santouka... And you know what... I almost have to agree! So interesting, and oh so good. I highly highly recommend this if you can take spicy.

So... first time having Kitakana style ramen. Love it!! And the prices were super reasonable. We got more than enough food for everyone. I guarantee we'll be back next time we're in town.

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Cali Trip: Anaheim Packing District

Saturday afternoon, my cousins, who are also huge foodies, recommended that we check out Anaheim Packing District for a late lunch. I've never been, but the way it sounded got me excited.

Anaheim Packing District
440 S. Anaheim Blvd
Anaheim, CA 92805
(714) 533-7225

It's also called Anaheim Packing House apparently. Same thing, so you don't get confused. I love it!! A center full of food vendors and small shops, all flea market-esque. I love these types of places. We walked all the way around to check out all the different food options. OMG. I wanted to eat everything... but finally chose one since they were prepping the meat at the window... drool! But of course it was one of the vendors with the longest line. haha. Everyone else went off in search of other stuff.

The Kroft
Prochetta Sandwich (ciabatta, pork belly/loin, cracklings, salsa verde) $10~ 
Like I said, they had a guy at the window at the front chopping the meat and assembling the sandwiches. Looked freaking fantastic. The sandwich was packed full with pieces of pork. And oh, it was so juicy! The cracklings were amazing. Each bite had so much flavor. Legit! I totally want one right now... I ate half of it and gave the other half to my cousins/aunt/uncle to try. Everyone liked it.

Brussels Sprouts and Bacon $5~ 
I also got this as a side. It was pretty good. A little soggy/greasy but I liked the flavor. It was a bit sweet... I think there was balsamic vinegar on it.

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Here's what other people got.. We had a feast going! Our table was wayyy too small.

Adya: Fresh Indian Flavors

The Chippy: Fish & Grill

I was full, but I had to get some dessert.
Han's Homemade Ice Cream 
There was no line when I walked by so, yes, this is it! They had some interesting flavors. Twinkies being one of them.

Bourbon Peach (in waffle cone) $4~ Deeeelicious. You can totally taste the bourbon without the bite. It wasn't too sweet, and there were chunks of real peach throughout.

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This was by far the most popular vendor. The line was literally out the door the entire time we were there. But my cousin wanted to get some so I went up to the line with her. I wanted one too, but was too full. All their popsicles are made fresh daily with natural ingredients. 

Pistachio Popsicle (dipped in dark chocolate, topped with chopped pistachio and hazelnuts) $5~

Banana Popsicle (dipped in dark chocolate, topped with chopped pistachio and hazelnuts) $5~

They were doing an anniversary special that weekend where the dips and toppings were free, but normally those cost extra. Quite expensive for a popsicle, but they are sure yummy to look at!

It's such a fun place. I wish Dallas had something like this.. I think we may be getting something similar in Plano in the near future?? Fingers crossed!

Overall for the entire center:

Only complaint is not enough seating!