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Friday, February 23, 2018

City Hall Bistro - Blog and Brunch Edition

If you haven't noticed that I'm obsessed with City Hall Bistro, then you haven't been paying attention. haha. So when I got invited to the January Blog and Brunch, I responded pretty much instantly, and then counted down the days! So excited!

City Hall Bistro - Brunch
1321 Commerce St.
Dallas, TX 75202
(214) 651-3686
Price: $$-$$$

Love the space. Duh. :P But a tip for foodies who wanna take photos... request tables in the back, where the windows are. Instant lighting! You're welcome.

We had a big group that day... 20 people or so? Biggest Blog and Brunch I've been to. And you know what that means?! MORE food! :P We had a feast that was to die for. Keep scrolling for all the pics. Also... follow @blogandbrunchdfw on Instagram! :)

Breakfast Bread (muffin, daily bread, croissant, pain au chocolate) $5~ I didn't know where to start first! 
I wanted one of everything! But I had my eye on those chocolate croissants. Probably one of the best chocolate croissants I've ever had. Mainly because it was completely filled with chocolate. Most places have that sad little dab of chocolate in the middle. At City Hall Bistro, they're not stingy. The dark chocolate was awesome, and the croissants themselves were flaky and buttery. 
Another favorite was the carrot (and maybe banana or zucchini?) bread. I normally get turned off by anything carrot, but the way they crisped the edges of each slice... it was bomb. Texture was so good. I won't be mad if I get my vegetables that way. :P

Cheese (fruit jam, honeycomb, raisin pecan toast) $12~ I skipped this one because I'm not one for cheese boards. Need more stomach room for all the other foods!

Papas Bravas (crispy potato, garlic aioli, smoked paprika) $5~ Freaking love these potatoes. They are packed with flavor. Highly recommend!

Greek Yogurt (pomegranate, blueberry, caramelized honey, basil, blueberry meringue crisp) $10~ 
This was surprisingly one of my favorites for the day. I NEVER order yogurt at restaurants because... why? haha. But this was SO good. I actually went back 2 weeks later and got it. By myself. I mean... it's healthy! The yogurt is swirled with vanilla bean. The best thing on there is the blueberry meringue crisp. Adds a light and crispy texture to the creamy yogurt. It's not too tart, not too sweet. Just perfect. Just a note: most of the stuff we got were for sharing so they were bigger portions. Like the yogurt, the actual portion is individual sized... see photo with spoon. It's still quite filling though, just not great for sharing.

Hazelnut Waffle (nutella, banana, pure maple syrup) $12~ Always a good choice. I've already had this before. It's a solid dish if you want sweet for breakfast.

Frittata (roasted mushroom, leek, arugula, cheddar, tomato chutney) $15~ Um. Probably one of the best frittatas I've ever tasted. I don't even know how they packed so many flavors into this little slice of egg.

Mushroom Tartine (tarragon mascarpone, pickled beech mushroom, mustard seed, soft poached egg) $13~ Prettiest dish you ever did see. They were topped with edible flowers, so it's literally a garden on a piece of bread. Check out the perfectly poached egg p0rn. :P

Shakshuka (farm egg, roasted pepper, spicy tomato, ciabatta toast) $16~ I think this is my first shakshuka. It's basically poached eggs in tomato sauce and spices. Not sure if it's "authentic" but it was quite delicious. I really liked the flavor of the spicy tomato sauce.

Creme Brulee Toast (kumquat, vanilla custard, mint) $14~ I was very excited about this dish as I love french toast. However, I think it was one of the weaker dishes. The presentation is clean and pretty, but I like a fluffier french toast. It was more compact and flat...

Cauliflower (golden raisin, smoked paprika aioli) $10~ I love their cauliflower dish. Especially when served on the wood board. The addition of the golden raisins elevates the dish imo. And just a tip... you can get this during their Happy Hour for $5. :)

What a fantastic spread. My favorites still tend to favor the sweet stuff. hehe. Thank you, City Hall Bistro and Blog and Brunch, for having me. I'm ready for their new menu items now. hehe. In case you didn't know.. they change up their menu items from time to time. So most of the dishes I've had the first time I went are already not available. T_T So you better make reservations soon, if you want to try any of these!

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

Quality of Food: 



Value: (comped)

Overall Experience: 


Monday, February 19, 2018

Dog Haus Biergarten

So... I need to preface this post by saying I've never been a huge fan of hot dogs. Not saying I don't eat them... but I don't crave them, if there are other options I usually choose the other, and the whole "mystery meat" thing just kinda makes me nervous. HOWEVER, once I tried Dog Haus, my life has been changed! I'm so glad I took the invite to go check them out. They're right across the street from my work too. I just never felt the need to go... Kinda slapping myself for that now. Check out my epic visit below!

Dog Haus Biergarten
744 S. Central Expressway
Richardson, TX 75080
(214) 935-9121
Price: $-$$

First of all, this place is a cool place to chill. They've got a great, casual set up, and a pretty impressive outside/patio area. Too bad the night we went was cold and pouring rain. Definitely a great place to hang out once spring hits though.

We met the owner, Ron, who was super nice and gave us all sorts of great info on the business. For example, all the meat they use for the hot dogs and sausages are closely monitored and they use the best meats. Definitely NO mystery meats here! The meats are all hormone and antibiotic free. Cool tip: they are also King's Hawaiian's largest commercial customer. He also told us about the collaboration he's doing this year with some big name chefs to benefit No Kid Hungry. $1 per item sold from this special menu is donated. 
I kind of squealed a little when I saw the flyer because I recognized most of the names on the list. HEAVY HITTERS! Several of these chefs have competed on Top Chef (one of my favorite cooking competitions/shows) and have WON their season. The chefs change every 2 months so you gotta keep going back to see what's new. I cannot wait for March.. Stephanie Izard is also one of my all time favorite Top Chef contestants. (She won her season AND was the first female chef to win Top Chef, btw, no big. haha!)

Currently on the collab list is the Salty Malty (salty caramel shake with salted caramel swirl, malt, dulce crispearls).
Created by Chef Brooke Williamson, an amazing chef... one of my favorites in her season on Top Chef. She was runner up that season. And she's currently back on Top Chef again! Y'all, this shake is amazeBALLS. You see, cuz it's got crunchy balls in there. haha. :P No, it's legit good. I especially like the crunchy dulce crispearls in there, adds a nice texture. The combo of sweet and savory is on point. AND you can get it gluten free by removing the malt and crispearls. :)

Dutch Chocolate Shake (made with Fosselman's soft serve) $4.99~ We also tried the chocolate shake. Almost reminds me of a Frosty, less thick, but just as delicious. The chocolate wasn't overwhelmingly sweet, but still decadent. Desserts before dinner, eh? On to the food!

Ron just told us he was sending out some stuff. I didn't realize we were getting half the menu! haha. There were only 3 of us. Needless to say, we all had a TON of leftovers to go.

HausSausages - hormone and antibiotic free sausages served on King's Hawaiian rolls - $7.49~ each

Porchetta 'Bout It (pork belly sausage with rosemary, fennel, garlic and lemon zest; topped with garlic aioli, giardiniera and chicharron; served on grilled King's Hawaiian rolls). 
Created by Chef Bruce Kalman. This is also one of the collaborations for Jan-Feb. Chef Kalman is no stranger to food shows either, having been on Top Chef and Chopped. I've definitely heard of his restaurant, UNION, in LA. This sounded awesome, especially with those chicharrons on top. Just look at the griddle marks on those rolls! We all loved that they use Hawaiian rolls for everything. For one, it made for easy sharing, just cut along the lines! :P Plus that bit of sweetness with the savory hot dogs and sausages really elevated everything. The chicharrons added great texture. You got less than 2 more weeks to try this!

The Big "D" (smoked jalapeno cheddarwurst, chili pepper relish, chipotle aioli, cotija cheese). Tons of flavor. The sausage had a great snap to it. I thought it had a bit too much sauce so the flavors were a bit muddled though.

Reservoir Hog (polish kielbasa, haus chili, haus slaw, yellow mustard). Loved the slaw, not a fan of yellow mustard in general. Still good though.

The Love Boat (fries, haus chili, haus slaw) $3.99~ The fries were good. Again, I loved the slaw. It added some freshness to the fried potatoes.

HausBurgers - hormone and antibiotic free beef, served on King's Hawaiian rolls - $7.99~ each

Little Mule (fried egg, avocado, pickled jalapenos, chipotle aioli, cotija cheese, white american cheese). 
Who knew a place that specializes in hot dogs would be amazing at burgers. But OMG. I think this is one of my top 5 burgers now. I freaking loved this!! It was most definitely my favorite of the night. Using Hawaiian rolls as the buns just made it even better. Super fluffy and slightly sweet. The meat patty was juicy but not greasy and I loved every single element in this burger. I've been thinking about this ever since that night. I need to go back soon!

For ROUND 2, we got The Mensch (pastrami, 1000 Island, haus slaw, white american cheese, pickles). Also great, but I liked the Little Mule better. The pastrami was a tad salty for me when paired with the patty. Also at this point we were getting full so our opinions may have been a bit skewed.

HausDogs - hormone and antibiotic free, all beef dogs, served on King's Hawaiian rolls - $6.49~ each

Sooo Cali (wild arugula, crispy onions, spicy basil aioli, avocado, tomato). We were getting ready to tap out, but then I found my favorite hot dog. If I had more room, I would've killed this. I discovered that I like their HausDogs better than the HausSausages. I just liked the flavor better for whatever reason. And the pairings with the toppings on this one was unique and delicious. Loved the texture from the crispy onions. Who would've thought to put arugula in a hot dog?! Loved it! I liked that it incorporated some veggies. I took most of this to go and had it the next night. Toasted it in the oven, and it was just as good!

Scott Baioli (top) (smoked bacon wrapped dog, caramelized onions, garlic aioli, cheddar cheese sauce). Thought this one was also a little too saucy. The flavors all melded together so I couldn't really get the distinction of the bacon around the dog. Again, I'm not a standard hot dog lover so my opinions will be quite different. I liked the arugula in the hot dog, haha. So the ones that are more standard weren't my favorites.

Cowboy (middle) (smoked bacon wrapped dog, bbq sauce, cheddar cheese sauce, crispy onions). Same on this one. Crispy onions were a nice touch though!

ROUND 2.5:

As if we hadn't had enough food... here are all the extras!

Cheeseburger Sliders (angus beef, mayo, white american cheese; served on King's Hawaiian rolls) $1.99~ Cute little sliders to snack on and share. The beef patty is just as good as the ones in the regular sized burgers.

Corn Dog Sliders (all beef mini dog dipped in haus made root beer batter) $4.49~ I only took one bite. Couldn't eat anymore. haha. But the batter was slightly sweet... from the root beer. I liked that. 
Onion Rings $3.49~ Massive! And fried well. Great to share with your friends!

Chili Cheese Tots $4.99~ I personally like super crispy tots, so I would not order them loaded with any sort of sauce or topping. I ate the edges. haha. Definitely nice and crispy. I think I liked their fries just a little more though.

I never thought in my life that I would crave a hot dog. But it's happened. haha. I pretty much think about the Sooo Cali hot dog and the Little Mule burger at least once a day. Good thing those are on the regular menu so I can go back whenever. Hopefully soon! But I cannot wait to see what Chef Stephanie Izard has in store for us in March. In the mean time, y'all gotta get in there for that Salty Malty!!!!!!

Thank you so much, Dog Haus, for having us (and changing my thoughts on hotdogs, hehe). The quality of ingredients show through, and I love the originality of the menu items as well as their names. :P

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

Quality of Food: 



Value: (comped)

Overall Experience: 


Wednesday, January 31, 2018

LOCAL Celebrates 15 Years!

I feel so special to have been included in LOCAL's media peek for their 15th Anniversary. 15 years, y'all. Just think about that. It's an enormous feat to have lasted so long in the ever changing Dallas food scene. It was my first time there (I dunno why I never went... kicking myself for that). But those who have been dining there for many many years says it's just as good as ever. Apparently LOCAL was among the very few to do locally sourced ingredients back in the day.

LOCAL's 15th Anniversary promotions will kick off February 1st and last the whole month. Perfect for Valentine's Day, y'all! *hint*hint*
"Guests dining at LOCAL in the month of February can toast to the restaurant’s decade and a half of success with a complimentary champagne cocktail, available to anyone who dines at LOCAL between February 1st and February 28th.
Additionally, Chef Tracy Miller will offer a special anniversary tasting menu all month, featuring remarkable French wine pairings. Adding in a complimentary course to her standard seven-course tasting menu, the eight-course tasting menu will be available for $75, with optional wine pairings for an additional $35." 

Scroll to the bottom of the post to see what's in store for the 8 course tasting menu.* :) This is such a steal! Most chef tastings of this caliber generally costs well over $100. Jump on it!

LOCAL - Deep Ellum
2936 Elm Street
Dallas, TX 75226
(214) 752-7500
Price: $$$$+

If your interest hasn't been peaked yet, just you wait. There's a feast heading your way! We had an EPIC dinner... we didn't know what or how many courses we were having, the chef just kept bringing stuff out! I kind of overdid it right off the bat... was struggling at the end, but I made sure to taste EVERYTHING!

Champagne Cocktail (with grapefruit rosemary sorbet). Their flavors change from time to time. And as the sorbet melts in the champagne the flavor changes as well. Very cool! I don't really drink so I just tried the sorbet. So refreshing and the rosemary really takes it to another level. Herbacious and fragrant. Yum!

Roasted Butternut Squash Soup (with sweet potato crisp). These are the cutest little cups for a soup taster. I'm so glad she did tasting portions cuz I would've had the whole bowl given the opportunity. It was sooooo good. I loved the contrast in texture with the crisp.

Our Fried Green Beans (thyme scented dipping sauce) $14~ I think these are a staple at LOCAL. Those who have dined there were already anticipating it. These are like crack, y'all. So freaking crispy and delicious. I just kept eating... and telling myself they're vegetables.. so... yea. :P

Cheese & Crackers (LOCAL's evolving cheese collection, apple savoy cabbage slaw, fruit conserve, crostini, warm baguette) $22~ If you love cheese boards... theirs is ever changing! 

Pan Seared Maine Lobster Cake (crispy baby beet, carrot & frisee slaw, meyer lemon dill cream) $17~ One of the most beautiful dishes of the night, imo. And freaking delicious. The lobster cake was delicate, yet crispy on the outside. I love the brightness from the frisee.

Honey Nut Squash & Chevre Ravioli (delicata broth, young spinach, crispy prosciutto, snowing parm) $17~ I love a good pasta. The ravioli was cooked perfectly, not too soft. It's got goat cheese in it, which I normally cannot stand. But it was mild, and I didn't mind it. Gasp!

Charred Radicchio & Torn Lacinato Kale Caesar (roasted yellow teardrops, pecorino shaved, toasted crumbs, white anchovy dressing) $16~ My new favorite salad! I love a good warm salad cuz it makes you feel less like you're eating rabbit food. haha. The charred radicchio had SO much flavor. It was soft from the cook and paired well with the sturdy kale. I can have this for a meal any day.

Tomato Soup with Grilled Cheese. Another mini soup! So cute! The grilled cheese was buttery and rich. It paired so well with the soup by dunking it in there. This is just a tasting version... their normal portion is a bowl of soup with 2 grilled cheeses I think. Great for the winter!

Cornflake Panko Crusted Seabass (creamy parmesan reggiano risotto, herb beurre blanc, haricot vert) $36~ This was one of my favorites. Seabass is one of my favorite fish... next to cod. They're both so flaky! The crust on this was perfect. You can even see it from the photo. It balanced so well with the tender flaky fish. The risotto was the star though... so creamy, but not mushy.

Anson Mills Grit Cakes (fennel tomato relish) $9~ So pretty. I love all the plating she's done with her dishes. All so clean and simple, yet lots of contrasting textures. The fry on this was nice. It's a good side to have with fish or meat.

Pinot Noir Glazed King Salmon (parsnip whip, flash fried spinach, green apple pinot finish) $31~ I love salmon, but I underestimated this. I thought... oh salmon is salmon. But nooo... one of the most tender salmon I've ever had. The cook was spot on and that glaze made it slightly sweet. It was a lot of people's favorite. The parsnip whip was also really great. The only thing I would change is to cook the spinach a bit more. I know it was flash fried but I think I would've preferred mine sauteed.

Panko Crusted Tator Tots (house ketchup) $9~ Really fancy fries basically. I thought they were mozzarella sticks at first because they were the size of them! Perfectly crispy.

Are you keeping count btw?? Cuz at this point most of us were about to tap out. So full! But we can't stop!

Roasted Root Vegetables. I only had a small bite, but it was so good. Super tender. And whatever glaze was on those things... yum!

Herb Marinated Seared Scallops (yukon gold acorn squash risotto, citrus glaze) $32~ Oh man... I can't pass up a good scallop. These were seared well and so big and plump! I loved the potato and squash risotto underneath. So delicate against the buttery scallops. Another one of my favorites of the night.

Grilled All Natural Tenderloin (grilled stone ground polenta, brussels sprouts, roasted garlic butter). This is only on their normal tasting menu. They really did save the best for last. Not only was it plated beautifully. I love it when foods are stacked. The beef was super tender. I freaking LOVED the polenta cakes. And you KNOW Brussels Sprouts are my jam! It's a pretty perfect dish. I just wished I had more stomach room to eat more!

And of course there's dessert! Everyone got their own sampler plate... I have to say, I didn't finish. I'm so sad.

Deep Ellum Honey Cake
Cardamom Scented Donut Holes
Fresh Fig & Port Ice Cream

Chocolate Milkshakes. I found out that they make their ice cream in house too. Wow!

*Special 15th Anniversary 8 Course Tasting Menu*

"Also, throughout the month of February, LOCAL will collect socks as part of the Socks For Sandwich initiative, a non-profit that collects socks for those in need. Additionally, for every bottle of Lord Sandwich Red Table Wine sold, a new pair of socks is given to someone in need. Keep an eye on LOCAL’s social media pages for more details on this initiative."

Thank you, LOCAL, for having me. It was such a phenomenal dinner and I'm so grateful to have been a part of your 15th Anniversary celebration. Here's to 15 more! :)

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

Quality of Food: 



Value: (comped)

Overall Experience: