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Friday, February 17, 2017

Pok the Raw Bar

**FYI. Their Grand Opening is tomorrow (2/18/17). From 11:30AM-10PM. Complimentary Matcha. Specialty Sake Shots. Raw Bar Teaser.** 

I have a new obsession you guys... My favorite new place of 2017. Pok the Raw Bar in West Village. Since discovering it at the end of January, I've been there 4 times in the last 3 weeks. And living in Rockwall and working close to Richardson... this is not a neighborhood that's remotely close to me. However! On the weekends I sometimes go workout in the Highland Park area. I've been taking advantage of that whenever I can! And since I'm working out, I deserve a treat, right? 

Pok The Raw Bar 
3699 McKinney Ave #306 
Dallas, TX 75204 
(214) 484-1139 
Price: $$ 

This place just makes me happy. From the bright and modern decor to the quality of the food and drinks. They are super busy all the time though, so you gotta be patient. But trust me, it's worth it. 

They have a very specific focus: poké bowls and matcha, so they can get the best ingredients and deliver the best quality. Their ingredients are sources from local farmers and the fish is flown in daily. I can taste the freshness in every bowl I've had so far. Their sushi chef is Chef Jimmy Park, originally from Nobu. 

They have a small menu... which is good for people like me who can't have too many choices. I would want to try everything! But they also have a BYOB (build your own bowl) option, so you can pick exactly what you want. I've always built my own bowl. I'm slowly working through all the different sauces. Oh btw,everything here is gluten free. :) 

First Visit: I got my order to go because I told my husband I would bring some back for him. 

While waiting for the food, I started chatting with the bartender, Emilio, and he was giving me info on the restaurant and the matcha. It's sourced directly from Uji, a city in the outskirts of Kyoto, Japan. They actually know the people in the village so they get the matcha powder directly. How much more authentic can you get?!? I also met one of the owners, Francois, who was just super nice! I've seen both of them on every visit so far and it's awesome that they recognize me and I'm able to chat with them. It makes the waiting so much more enjoyable. :) 

I got 2 drinks because I wanted to try different things. I had every intention to give one to my husband but I started drinking both while waiting for my food. :P I liked both of them. 

The Ceremony (pure whisked matcha) - iced $4~ I don't think I know anywhere else that does pure ceremonial matcha. It's literally water and whisked matcha. I get it unsweetened because I absolutely love the natural flavor of matcha. But if you want some sweetness they add raw honey so it's still super healthy. 

Matcha X Coco (coconut milk) - iced $5~ Emilio was telling me that they make their coconut milk and almond milk in house. I got it just barely sweetened so it was still really pure. I loved the light hint of coconut with the matcha. Plus the layers of color were aesthetically pleasing. hehe. Did you know that dairy (cow's milk) negates all the benefits of matcha? I did some research and found out that other milks don't... (soy, almond, coconut, etc.) so I wonder if that's the reason why Pok doesn't offer dairy as an option. Most people think they're getting all sorts of nutritional benefits when they get a typical matcha latte... buuuut it's really just green milk and sugar... XP 

Small BYOB $8.95~ 
Base: Bamboo Rice 
Top: Salmon 
Sauce: Spicy Aioli 
Add Ons: chopped kale, seaweed salad, pickled ginger, micro greens 

Large BYOB $12.95~ 
Base: Bamboo Rice 
Top: Tuna 
Sauce: Classic Sauce 
Add Ons: edamame, seaweed salad, cucumber, pickled ginger 

These bowls are absolutely gorgeous! Packed with bright colors and really fresh ingredients. I totally love their bamboo rice which they explained is rice grown in bamboo so it is fortified with extra vitamins and minerals like chlorophyll. And it's green, which makes the bowl even prettier. I fell in love as soon as I dug in. You can taste all the individual ingredients and the quality of it all. I thought the small bowl was quite small but it was surprisingly filling. My husband loved it as well. 

Second Visit: I went on a weekday, after a noon workout. I realized it wasn't the best idea since it was super packed and I had to wait quite a while to order and then wait for my food. Oh well, that just means I'll get back to work a little later. haha. But if you are looking for a quick lunch, this isn't it. 

This time I got the Matcha X Macadamia (macadamia nut milk) - iced $5.50~ This is the only milk they don't make. But they use the Unsweetened macadamia nut milk from Milkadamia... which comes from free-range trees in Australia and is free of dairy, soy, GMO's and gluten. This was my favorite milk with the matcha so far. It's creamier than the other two and just feels a little more like an indulgence. It also has a light natural sweetness. So no additional sweetness needed for me. 

Small BYOB $8.95 
Base: Bamboo Rice 
Top: Salmon 
Sauce: Spicy Yuzu (a mix between Spicy Ponzu & Sweet Yuzu) 
Premium: Avocado +$1~ 
I added avocado this time. It's in the premium add on section which is $1 more. It also adds more substance so I was happily full after I finished eating. I also tried the Spicy Yuzu sauce... which for some reason is only in their Signature Poké Bowls section but not under BYOB. But I requested it. I found out it's basically their Spicy Ponzu plus the Sweet Yuzu sauce. I love yuzu, and you can definitely taste the citrus tang. It just gives it an extra zing to the flavors. Love! 

Third Visit: I actually dined in this time. It was a Sunday, I brought a book, and just took my time. I'm glad I wasn't in a rush because they were soooo busy. It took about 20 minutes before I got my food. 

I got The Ceremony (pure whisked matcha) - iced $4~ Emilio gave me a double shot of matcha. :D It was amazing. That extra matcha flavor was perfection.

Small BYOB $8.95 
Base: Bamboo Rice 
Top: Salmon 
Sauce: Spicy Ponzu 
Add Ons: chopped kale, seaweed salad, pickled ginger, lotus chips 
Premium: Avocado +$1~ 
I went with just the Spicy Ponzu this time and added lotus chips. The chips made for pretty toppings. I also like the additional crispy texture. I really should venture out and try some of the other bases: cauliflower rice, citrus kale, or kelp zucchini slaw, but I just love their bamboo rice so much! 

Fourth Visit: I didn't have time to wait for food this time as it was a weekday... but I was in the area so I just stopped by to get a drink. I also found out that for every matcha drink purchased on a Monday in Feb, you get a free class to SoulCycle which is just 2 stores down. Free workout? Heck yea! I went with the Matcha X Coco (housemade coconut milk) - iced $5~ The drinks are soooo pretty!!

I'm counting the days until I can go back. I can't remember the last time I was obsessed with one restaurant. Yes, it's a little pricey. But for the quality of food, I'll just shut up and throw all my monies at them. hahaha. Plus it's healthy! So that's something right? 

If raw fish is your thing... definitely go check them out. And if you love matcha... then you really have to go. This place is legit. And I hope they stick around for a really really long time! :D 

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Friday, January 27, 2017

The Eberhard - Now serving lunch on Fridays!

The Eberhard on Henderson... typically known as a cool bar scene. They have chandeliers, leather sofas, high ceilings, and a gigantic wall of bottles. However, did you know they also have good food? I went to check out their brunch sometime last year and was pleasantly surprised by all the options and food quality. And now they've opened up lunch on Fridays only. It used to be only dinners and weekend brunch. I believe lunch runs from 11AM-4PM every Friday now. The crew at @bestfooddallas were invited to go check out the new lunch menu. They said we could go at any time, so I went last Saturday night with my husband.

I've always loved the decor here. Especially the chandeliers. Just makes you feel fancy! :P

The Eberhard
2107 N. Henderson Ave.
Dallas, TX 75206
(214) 821-1100
Price (for lunch): $-$$$

We had an early dinner at 6PM. The place was still pretty empty. There was only one other table dining and a few people at the bar. We were immediately seated and our waitress, Barbara, came to greet us. She was super nice. Knew what we were in for and we were definitely well taken care of.

We started with some drinks.

My husband got the Knox Your Typical Old Fashion (Crown Royal, blackberry basil) $10~ He's normally super picky on drinks but he really liked this one. He actually finished it!

I normally don't drink. But I remembered a while back one of the @bestfooddallas Community Leaders went and featured a frozen cocktail with a popsicle in it. I asked if that was still available and she said yes. It's normally on the brunch menu, but I'm sure you can request it at other dining times.
Frozen Stoli Crush (Stoli orange, white wine, peach puree, tropical Red Bull, mimosa popsicle) $10~ She told me the popsicle flavor changes, but the frozen cocktail only comes in one mix. It is so cute!! And soooo delicious! I'm so glad I got it. Tasted like a peach slushie. And fresh peaches too... not just peach flavored syrup. The popsicle made it so much fun and kept it cold for a really long time. The mimosa popsicle on its own was great too. For once, I didn't need other people's help on finishing it. haha.

Our appetizers came out soon after our drinks. All of their lunch appetizers and flatbreads are $5 during lunch btw. Such a great deal.

Chef's Fancy Mac & Cheese $5~ I think Barbara said there's 5 different cheeses in here or something? It was really good. And definitely cheesy. We told ourselves not to finish it so we can have room for the other food but we ate it all... ha.

Avocado Toast (Toasted French baguette, avocado spread, roasted corn salsa, shaved asparagus, fresh radish) $5~ 
I always love avocado toast. I liked that this had a DIY element to it. You can top your toast with the corn salsa, asparagus, and/or radish. All the toppings were fresh and refreshing. I also liked that the bread wasn't super hard/crunchy. Most of the time baguettes are just too hard imo. Again... we weren't able to save any of it. haha.

For the entrees I chose the Duck Confit (confit of duck breast, savory bread pudding, butternut squash) $19~ 
My husband wanted this too but let me get it so we can try something else. (He ended up getting the better dish though. haha.) The plate was pretty. I was excited about all the elements. The portion of the duck was a little small but it's also the lunch menu. I was almost full anyways from all the appetizers. haha. The flavors were all very good, but the duck could've been seared a little more. The skin was not crispy at all. And the meat itself was a little dry, but still very tender... I also wished the bread pudding had some crispy parts. It would add a variation in texture. Overall the flavors were great but lacking in texture. I probably wouldn't order it again.

Corned Beef & Cabbage (confit of corned beef, steamed cabbage, potatoes in demi-glace) $14~ 
My husband chose this as his 2nd option. OMG. It was amazing. First of all, huge portion. And you can see the marbling in the corned beef. It was basically like thick slabs of brisket. The dish had so much flavor. I'm not sure what was on those potatoes, but they were yummy. The corned beef is made in-house and it was fork tender. Then I realized I've never actually had corned beef on its own. It's always in a sandwich or hash of some sort... But they just let the meat shine, and it was glorious! I would eat this any day. We ended up taking half of it to go because we were both full. (I made fried rice with it the next day... it was magical.)

We were stuffed! But of course... when you're checking out a new menu, you have to get dessert too. Fudge Brownie (a la mode). 
They were out of our first choice... an Oreo Brownie Bar or something. The dessert was actually the least remarkable of the whole meal. I expected the brownie to be thicker when I hear "fudge" brownie. But I did like the cookie-like crust on the bottom. That added a nice texture. It was ok. I think also we were just way too full. But I would rather get another Frozen Stoli Crush as my dessert next time. hehe.

Now... I know what you may be thinking... $19 is a bit steep for lunch. And it is... but we both ordered from the "entrees" section. They also have a "sandwich" section that has sandwiches, burgers, and wraps... all $10, which is very affordable for the quality.

My husband and I really enjoyed ourselves. It was like a little date night. And we both liked our drinks! That's a miracle in itself. haha. Get the Corned Beef. Seriously. Do it. Barbara was great. She answered all my questions, checked on us often without being too aggressive. I think the manager came around a few times too. He was in a blazer so I'm guessing he's the manager. Also super nice and made sure we're having a good time. Throughout our dinner, people started coming in. Most of them went to the side with the sofas though. Only 2 other tables were actually eating there. They have good food, people! Go eat there, but still get a drink. hehe. :)

**This was a comped meal, but all opinions are my own.**

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Thursday, January 19, 2017

Beto & Son

First post of 2017, y'all! I'm really going to try hard and do consistent posts this year. #newyearsresolution :P

I had the pleasure of dining at Beto & Son this past weekend with another food blogger friend of mine. I was invited through @bestfooddallas. :) The restaurant knew we were coming and we were supposed to meet with Chef Julian. Chef Beto and his son Julian opened their new restaurant in Trinity Groves just 2 short months ago. The place was packed when we arrived! They call their concept "next generation Mexican food", everything's from scratch, locally sourced, and had a "chef-to-table experience".

Beto & Son
3011 Gulden Ln #108
Dallas, TX 75212
(469) 249-8590
Price: $$-$$$

We were warmly greeted by the hostess when we walked in. I gave them my name and that I was supposed to meet with Chef Julian. The hostess seated us quickly and sent over our waitress, Bree (sp?). She was super nice, got us our drinks and menus and gave us some info on the restaurant concept while we waited. Chef Julian showed up soon after. He was super friendly as well. We didn't really know what to expect from this visit... I was just thinking we each order and entree or something but he told us he would just send out some stuff so we can get a variety and feel of the food. And if we wanted anything else, we can just ask. He also brought out the dinner menu, which had more items so we can try everything. (We went for lunch.) The only thing we requested was one of their noodle bowls. We've both been perusing the pictures on Yelp and both wanted to try that. He mentioned the dinner menu has a Salmon Noodle Bowl and we were sold!

So we just kinda sat back and waited to see what surprised they were going to bring out! :)

We got started with some Housemade Tortilla Chips (with salsa and bean hummus). 
This is complimentary for every table. Everything is made in-house. The chips were fantastic. They were super thin and light and crispy. Chef Julian says the idea is to keep things light so people don't fill themselves up on just chips. That bean hummus though.... OMG. It was awesome and interesting. The texture reminded me of the black bean dip from Glorias which is amazing. I think I can slather this bean hummus on everything.

Chef Julian brought out 3 appetizers. He personally served every course by the way. It made us feel so special! And he explained every dish, their ideas behind it, what the elements were, and how they were made. I always love the background info on what chefs are thinking when they create something. You can definitely tell he takes pride in all their food.

Mexican Poutine (scratch crafted masa fries, chicken tinga, queso blanco, tomatillo sauce, queso fresco, pico, fried egg) $11.99~ 
Sooooooo good!!!!!!!!!! Definitely one of my favorite dishes of the meal (I had lots of favorites...haha). Totally loved the potato/masa blend of the fries. I think it created a better texture than just pure masa. So many different flavors but all blended so well. That perfectly runny egg was just the cherry on top. Yolk porn, y'all! I can totally order this as my entree.

Gulf of Mexico Ceviche Tower (shrimp, slaw, avocado, pico, mexican cocktail sauce) $14.99~ 
A play on the sushi towers you find at every Japanese restaurant. Any food in stacked form is cool I think. This was very refreshing and the Mexican cocktail sauce added just a hint of heat. The slaw was crunchy, avocado was creamy, and the shrimp was cooked well. It was a nice contrast to the Poutine which was heavier. It went really well with the tortilla chips.

Street Elote (charred shaved corn, garlic aioli, chile de arbol, queso fresco, crema cilantro) $6.99~ 
Yesss!!!! I love me some elotes. This is their take on it. Loved the charred corn with a hint of smoky flavor. The aioli and crema added the creaminess. An explosion of flavor! Another favorite!

We had to fight the urge to keep eating it all. Since we only just got started! We asked them to pack most of the appetizers away so we wouldn't be tempted. haha.

Before the entrees came, our waitress told us another table had ordered the Liquid Nitrogen Mango Margarita. It is made table-side and it's pretty freaking cool! They use liquid nitrogen to make the frozen margarita. So much smoke!! Definitely a fun thing to do when you're out with friends. :)

Time for the entrees!

Sour Cream Chicken Tinga Enchiladas (shredded chicken tinga, sour cream sauce, melted cheese, avocado, pickled slaw; served with achiote rice and charro beans) $11.99~ 
They decided to do an open faced enchilada. What a great idea because you get so much more tortilla real estate to put stuff on! They use white wine in their sour cream sauce to add a different flavor and also make it less heavy. The addition of the pickled onions and watermelon radish brightens up the entire dish and adds vibrant colors. I don't like corn tortillas so I never really order enchiladas. I liked the idea of it being stacked and I think if they did it with their bomb flour tortillas, it would be that much better!

Fajita Skillet (caramelized peppers and onions, chimichurri, calabacitas, fried onions, chile de arbol glaze; served with fresh tortillas, achiote rice, and charro beans) Chicken $15.99~ or Fajita Steak $19.99~ 
The skillet came out sizzling and the smell filled the room. Ahhhhhh. We got a combination so we can try both meats. Both the chicken and steak were tender and flavorful. The fried onions are coated with a Mexican seasoning. It is reminiscent of cajun... tons of flavor and complimented the meats well! Their housemade flour tortillas were magnificent. It just about stole the show! So light and soft but doesn't tear, however much you fill with goodies! When our meal was over, Chef Julian said he would give us each some tortillas to go. Yay! If he hadn't offered, we would've asked anyways. hehe.

Tropical Salmon Noodle Bowl (roasted fideo pasta, seared salmon, calabacitas, chipotle cream, pickled onions, avocado) $17.99~ 
Dinner menu only. This was the one thing I really wanted to try... the noodle bowls. I didn't realize they had a salmon version until Chef Julian mentioned the dinner menu. I'm so glad we got this one. The pasta is toasted first then cooked in the same stock they use to make their tortilla soup so it already has a bunch of flavor. The toasting process makes it a little nutty. And that salmon...oh the salmon. I KNEW it was going to be amazing before I even cut into it. It was cooked PERFECTLY. Pink on the inside, fork tender, and so moist it just flaked right off. One of the best pieces of salmon I've eaten to date. Not just recently, but my whole life. And I've had a lot of salmon, y'all. Highly highly recommend this dish!

What an amazing meal. I loved all the variety their menu offers. I never get Mexican food because I find it to be the same thing most of the time. Here... you have a ton of choices. I challenge you to pick just one!

Of course the meal can't end without dessert. I was hoping he would bring out the flan and he did. I love flan!
Luna de Noche Flan (chocolate cake, flan, whipped cream, cajeta) $7.99~ 
The presentation was great. I normally don't care for the half cake half flan thing. Since the flan is always so much more moist than the cake, it makes the cake feel even drier. Not the case here. The cake was just the right thickness, it melded into the flan. And that cajeta (caramel sauce)... oh man. A dessert lover's dream! The flan is a good size too, totally shareable. But if you don't, I won't judge. hahaha.

Thanks to Beto & Son for having us out. It was more than what I expected for sure. Chef Julian showed us a great time. His choices of dishes gave us a really good range of their menu. And that salmon.... ahhhhhhh! Like butter! The place has a fun vibe, but the lighting wasn't great for food photos (hence the rating). But I'll be back for sure. Food trumps lighting! haha. :P And you should definitely check it out!

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Monday, December 12, 2016

Barley & Board's Fall Menu Preview

I had the pleasure of trying Barley & Board's Fall Menu Preview at the end of November. As some of you know, Barley & Board is my new favorite restaurant since I discovered it earlier this year. It's all the way out in Denton though, so every visit is special. This was no exception. We feasted on their new additions until we can no longer move!

I was there with my fellow food bloggers and writers. I knew like 60% of the guests that night so it was pretty awesome. Just one big party!

Barley & Board
100 W. Oak St.
Denton, TX 76201
(940) 566-3900
Price: $$-$$$

The evening started off with an introduction by Chef Chad Kelley. He talked about the inspirations and ideas behind their menu and new items. He also introduced all the dishes as they came out of the kitchen. I cannot wait to see what all they have in store for us!

Some of my friends ordered cocktails. The liquor was certainly flowing that night! hehe.
Bitter Little Pe'ach (deep eddy lemon & peach vodka, lemonade, mint) $8.50~ Pe'ach is pronounced like "biatch". hahaha. I heard the waitress say it and thought it was hilarious! This seemed to have been the favorite. I kept seeing people reorder this.

Camaraderie (vodka, lemon, blackberries, champagne) $8~ Pretty!
Clara Lou (tequila, hibiscus syrup, lime, grapefruit) $10~ This was the pink ones in the martini glasses.
Sam Bass Bullet (bacon infused rye, maple syrup, bitters) $9~ My friend said he could actually taste the bacon in this. He enjoyed it a lot.

We started off with the appetizers.

Buratta Cheese (beet salad, chives, crushed walnuts) $12~ 
I would've ordered this myself if it wasn't part of the tasting. The buratta was like butter...basically melted in your mouth. And the combination with the raw beet salad was very interesting. I loved everything about it. It had a great combination of flavors as well as textures.

Roasted Cauliflower Flatbread (garam masala ricotta, lemon, pickled onion, capers) $13~ 
YUM! The garam masala added this nutmeg-y flavor. Very interesting, and oh-so-good! The lemon on the greens brightened up every bite. And if it had meat on top, I can totally make this my entree.

Second round were the sandwiches.

Harvest Turkey Sandwich (sourdough, smoked bacon, cranberry mostarda, arugula, havarti; served with house chips) $13~ 
Thanksgiving in a bite is what this is. Not only were the colors vibrant and festive, that tart cranberry mostarda wakes you up a little. I loved that the turkey was thick cut... none of that thin, deli sliced type of meat. And their chips... wow. Superbly crispy without being too greasy. They also reheated very well in the oven since I got one of the sandwiches to go. :P

The House Reuben (russian dressing, sauerkraut, gruyere; served with house chips) $13~ 
I normally don't care for reubens because I find the corned beef too salty. But the chef explained that they decided to use large chunks of beef instead of the typical thin slices. And by making the chunks bigger, they were able to use less salt while curing the meat. So the salt level was perfect. Also, the ratio of sauerkraut was just enough where it didn't overpower the rest of the ingredients. And the pickles were the perfect pairing to the meat. Loved it! I got one to-go to take home to my husband since he loves Reubens. :)

Now for the entrees! And I'm loving some of their item names. They're fun. :P

Soba-dass Noodles (yellow curry, coconut, bok choy, chickpea, acorn squash, cashew) $15~ 
This is a completely vegan dish so they're covering all the bases now. It had a ton of different ingredients and textures. I loved the subtle flavors... even the curry flavor was very light but still prominent. The more bites you take, the more flavors you discover. I loved the addition of the chickpeas.

Mr. Shankly (braised lamb shank, warm barley salad, jus) $25~ 
This dish made me wish I liked lamb. This was more than fork tender. Someone picked up the bone, and the whole thing just slid off. Knife definitely not needed! Served on a bed of barley, on top of a board... their namesake, hehe. Smart move there! I enjoyed the barley salad a lot. It was a light compliment to the heavier meat.

Scottish Salmon (horseradish crust, celeriac puree, brussels sprouts, golden raisings, dill brown butter) $22~ 
One of my favorite dishes of the night. That plating was gorgeous with that perfect horseradish crust on top. At first bite, the horseradish knocks the wind out of you. In a good way! But you'd have to like horseradish to like this dish. The salmon was perfectly pink and sooo tender. I loved the compliment of the brussels sprouts and puree.

We were told at the beginning of dinner that we were welcome to order anything else off the menu. So we're getting the burger! Duh!! One of the best burgers in Dallas, imo! There hasn't been a visit to Barley & Board where I haven't had the burger. :)
B&B Burger (sweet onion, b&b pickle, house sauce, american cheese; side of matchstick fries) $12~ It's just so amazing. Everything melds together so well. I can't believe I had half a burger after everything else we just ate. haha.

A friend of mine got the Mother Board (selection of artisanal cheeses, cured meats, pickles) $28~ I guess it's chef's choice since we didn't really know what all was on the board.

What a fantastic meal. As always... I was so honored to have been invited to be a part of this. It made my long drive to and from (on a week night, I might add) totally worth it. I didn't get home until 11:30PM but was still on a food high when I got home. haha. I also had a blast with my food blogger friends. And our waitress, Chelsea, was amazing! A big shout out to the PR team, particularly Narciso who always takes the best care of us. :) I highly recommend you to go check out their new menu as it is seasonal and may not be around forever. They also have some new additions to their brunch menu, I heard. I gotta make it out there to try that at some point. Looking through these pictures is making me hungry again. haha. I better go find me a snack!

*The meal was comped but all opinions are always honest and my own.

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