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Saturday, October 8, 2016

Sneak Peek: Standard Service opens Monday, 10/10!

One of the most anticipated restaurant openings in Rockwall... My friend first tipped me off that HG Sply Co was going to open something in our neck of the woods months and months ago. For the longest time I thought it was going to be a second location but never really heard anything about it. Last week, I realized it was going to be a different name, Standard Service. I've actually seen the name on Facebook at some point a while back but the name didn't jump out at me. So the opening kinda snuck up on us! Do you have any idea HOW exciting it is to get a new restaurant in Rockwall? There's not many great places to choose from and something with the caliber of HG Sply Co and Remedy is huge! hehe.

Standard Service
760 W. Ralph Hall Pkwy
Rockwall, TX 75032
(469) 651-1100
Price: $$$+

Once I found out Standard Service is the new restaurant name, I followed it's opening closely. Unfortunately they pushed back their opening date a few times since I started checking on it. We (a group of us) had been talking about going yesterday, then we found out the opening day got pushed to Monday, 10/10. Booo... Well, me being me, I decided to do a drive by with a friend Friday afternoon just to see maybeeeee they're doing a soft opening?! It's super close to my house anyways. As I drove by, I saw a lot of people inside. So I decided to park and go inside. They were doing training still so all the staff was there. I confirmed with them the opening date. MONDAY! And then they told me I'm welcome to sit at the bar and get a drink. Ooooo. So I casually asked if they are serving food as well. They said food service started at 6PM and it would be on them since they are still doing training. What?!? They're serving food AND it's free?? I immediately texted my husband and said change of evening plans and we're going to Standard Service! haha. I met back at the restaurant with my friend and her hubby at 6:30PM. The hostesses were super nice and said we can totally sit at the bar to eat and drink. Turns out they were having their friends and family night with mock services to practice. We felt so special that we were still allowed in since we're neither friends nor family. Although after the meal we felt like friends. :P

The space is super cool. High ceilings, lots of wood, the bar has a large window that opens up to their big patio. There's a ping pong table in the patio too. Definitely a cool place to hang out now that the weather is cooler.

We were given a smaller menu for their mock service night but the entire drink menu was available. We were so excited we didn't know whether to order food or drinks or just keep looking around the restaurant. Our bartender (who also took our food orders) was Jessica. She was super friendly and gave a lot of suggestions. You can tell she was very excited about the restaurant opening and their offerings. And... they have Moscow Mule and Old Fashioned cocktails on draft! What what!?! That's pretty freaking awesome. And they were good too. We tried both.

*I'm including the prices of all the menu items but the meal was on the house since it was a mock service. Sooo freaking awesome!!! :D

HG Moscow Mule (42 Below Vodka, Lime, Ginger Holy Kombucha, Agave) $10~ Very refreshing and definitely strong (for a lightweight like me) haha.

Right Grain Old Fashioned (Old Grand-Dad Bonded Bourbon, House-Mashed Barley Syrup, bitters) $10~ My friend really likes Old Fashioned and she said this one was really good.

Bison Chili Frito Pie (South Dakota bison, kidney, pinto, black beans, fritos, shredded cheddar, lime crema, guacamole, green onions) $9~ 
This was their only appetizer option of the evening so we go it first while still trying to decide what entrees to get. This was a pretty damn big portion imo. And it was definitely the prettiest frito pie I've ever seen. hahaha. Delicious!!! All the ingredients were super fresh and the flavors all complimented each other well. There wasn't too much of one thing or another. And it had the slightest little spicy kick to it. Yum. This could easily be a meal too.

The B-Webb (The Last Word: High Born Gin, Maraschino, Chartreause, Lime) $12~ 
Partial proceeds go to St. Jude Children's Hospital. They told us that they feature 5 different cocktails (the line up changes every so often) and each one has proceeds that go to a different charity. That's really awesome. Drink for charity, amiright? My friend got this. It was a pretty drink. It has a bitterness to it but is very smooth. Another winner.

Chicken Salad Wrap (chopped chicken breast, celery, green grapes in green goddess dressing, marinated tomatoes, cucumber, parsley, green onion, lemon, extra virgin olive oil, crispy brown rice; with side of potato salad) $13.50~ 
My husband chose this as his entree. I really liked the potato salad. You can also choose potato chips as your side. He liked the wrap... I thought it was ok. The flavor was fine but it was too saucy for me.

The Standard Stack (herbed smashbrowns with caramelized onion and jalapeno, green goddess dressing, marinated tx tomato and arugula; with choice of protein). Kansas City Kobe Beef Burger $15~ My friend's husband got this. He said it was good.

The Standard Stack (herbed smashbrowns with caramelized onion and jalapeno, green goddess dressing, marinated tx tomato and arugula; with choice of protein). Scottish Salmon $18~ 
I got the stack as well but with salmon. I shared it with my friend since we wanted to try everything. She said this was better than her husbands kobe beef burger stack. I ordered the salmon pink in the middle and it came PERFECTLY cooked. I mean.. just on point. And those smashbrowns... so good. Nice and crispy and flavorful. The whole thing was delicious and very well rounded. It didn't feel heavy at all. And at first the portion looked small to me, but its quite filling. Highly recommend this.

My friend got the Chicken Fried Chicken (sour cream and chive mashed potatoes, green beans, chicken gravy) $16~ 
We also shared this one. Jessica (our bartender) recommended this one. They use chicken thighs instead of breast so the meat was extra juicy and tender. The color on the batter looked dark but it wasn't overcooked. I really enjoyed the crunch on the batter. The mashed potatoes were fluffy and the gravy wasn't too heavy. I think the chicken was my favorite thing of the night. Then the salmon and smashbrowns were a close close second.

We were having such a great time and the restaurant had completely filled up. The noise level is a little high but it's energetic not overbearing. We chatted with Jessica a lot throughout the night. It was very cool sitting at the bar watching them make all the drinks too. Since it's still their training, it's like we got a behind the scenes look at the restaurant. For their first night of food service, we thought everything went really well. The service was fast, attentive, and friendly. The food was spot on, no major snafus on anything. I'd say they're ready to open!

Finally we decided to ask if they were serving dessert even though it's not on the limited menu and they said yes. They only have 2 dessert options. One is a coconut blondie, called The Lucy. The other was The Ricky (dark chocolate brownie topped with vanilla ice cream, peanut butter and chocolate sauces, chopped peanuts, whipped cream) $11~ 
Such cute names! You can guess which one we got. hehe. It was pretty freaking awesome. I was on a no sugar diet, but I cheated and had 2 bites. The brownie was super fudgy and they gave enough ice cream to brownie ratio (this is important!) We killed it pretty quickly.

What a fabulous night! I saw the executive chef, Danyele McPherson, walking around the dining room later in the night but didn't get to meet her. She seems really nice. I saw her when she competed on Top Chef and have kinda been following her movement since. She used the be the chef de cuisine at The Grape then moved to Remedy and HG Sply Co sometime in 2014. I freaking love Remedy... especially their burger. I'm very pleased to see that the burger is going to be on the menu at Standard Service.

If you haven't noticed my excitement for this new opening... I'm telling you now... They open on MONDAY! Lunch & Dinner - 7 days a week! What a great addition to Rockwall. Go check them out. :) And say hi to Jessica for me!

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Monday, September 19, 2016

Hypnotic Emporium

Our 2nd dessert stop was Hypnotic Emporium. I've been dying to go here forever! I'm finally close enough to stop by. It's a cute shop right next to their donut shop by White Rock Lake. The front of the store is a old school candy shop with all different types of treats you may not find in a typical store. I went straight to the back tho, to where the ice cream/soda shop is. They don't have much seating, just FYI.

Hypnotic Emporium
9005 Garland Rd #150
Dallas, TX 75218
(214) 354-3414
Price: $

They use ice creams from Beth Marie's which is a shop in Denton that makes some amazing flavors. Their ice cream is classified as "premium quality" which means more butterfat (14% to be exact), which makes it more rich and creamy. They have some interesting flavors such as Jack & Coke, and Bee's Knees which is honey lavender.

I'm here for only one reason. Well... two. 1) to treat the birthday boy to a dessert of his choice, 2) to try their donut ice cream sandwiches. No one wanted to share, so I had to get my own. I was pretty full already but since I'm here, I gotta get it.

Dream (Donut Ice Cream Sandwich) $6~
After sampling a ton of flavors, I decided on half Lemon Drop, half Banana Cream Pie
The Banana Cream Pie was everyone's favorite flavor. One friend got 2 scoops of it in a waffle cone. And the bday boy got it too. It was so good I got a pint to go before we left to take home to my husband. The donut sandwich was yummy. Too bad I was so full, I couldn't finish. :( I can't eat like I used to. Damn you, low metabolism!! The donut is unglazed and warmed when served. I really liked it. The donut was fluffy and I liked it unglazed. Glazed would've been too sweet and just a mess to eat. This way I could pick it up with my hands and not be too sticky. I was a little confused when they gave me the sandwich tho, they never asked me if I wanted toppings. So I assumed they were extra... but when I got one for the bday boy, they asked him what he wanted. Oh well, this time around, I probably couldn't have taken any additional food anyways. haha.

The bday boy got the same thing. Dream $6~ (All Banana Cream Pie ice cream and loaded with all the toppings: whipped cream, chocolate sauce, caramel sauce, strawberry sauce, peanuts, pecans, sprinkles, waffle cone crumble topped with a marachino cherry). 
Damns! You couldn't even tell what was under there after they put all the toppings on. You definitely can't pick that up with your hands! haha. It was a big ol' mess to eat, but he ate it all. He also ate the 2nd scoop and waffle cone from my other friend. This boy can put down the sugar for sure.

A little pricey but it is more of a novelty and they use really good quality ice cream. And I think I like donut ice cream sandwiches better than cookie ice cream sandwiches. It's a little less sweet and much easier to eat! I'll go back next time when I have someone to share with!

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Friday, September 16, 2016

Cow Tipping Creamery

They now have donut cones!! Whoa. I've gotta go check it out some time. If you've already tried it, I'd love to hear your feedback! :)
Photo cred: Cow Tipping Creamery
I've been wanting to go check out Cow Tipping Creamery since they opened. I've seen a million pictures of their epic soft serve stacks on Instagram and people telling me how awesome it was. It just so happens that it was next to our dinner spot one night. (20 Feet Seafood joint was bomb btw!) It might've played a big role on the final decision on the dinner location. haha.

Cow Tipping Creamery
1146 Peavy Rd.
Dallas, TX 75218
(512) 538-4039
Price: $

We were going to 2 different dessert locations that night. Cow Tipping Creamery was first. It's inside the same shop as Good 2 Go Taco, so look for that. I can see how some people said the seating is limited since they share a space, but Good 2 Go Taco closes by 3PM so the seating opens up for the afternoon/night customers. I like their chalkboard menu.

They're most known for their Stackers. Which is just soft serve flavor of your choice layered with different toppings and sauces so you get something in every bite. Why other people don't understand this concept of layering is beyond me. I remember once asking a girl at Red Mango to layer my toppings with my froyo and she gave me a confused look. Who wants to only eat toppings and then run out when you hit the actual ice cream/soft serve/froyo?!?!

They feature 3 different flavors each day and it changes, I'm not sure how often. That night the flavors were Triple Vanilla Bean, Milky Chocolate, and Peanut Butter. You can pick one of their suggested Stacker combos or make your own.

I needed to pace myself since we have another location to go to. So I just ate off some of my other friends' orders. A few bites here and there.

The birthday boy chose Gimme S'more (soft serve of choice, hand-toasted marshmallows, semi-sweet mini-chocolate chips, molasses graham crumb, dark chocolate sauce) 8oz. $6~
He chose the Milk Chocolate soft serve since he absolutely loves chocolate. Their Stackers definitely are pretty epic looking. It's basically double the height of the cups they're in. They melt pretty quickly too, so eat fast or it'll be all over the table, or you! haha. This was pretty good. He doesn't really like marshmallows so I ate all of them. I felt like most of them weren't really toasted tho. There was a ton of chocolate chips. I feel like that's all we were eating towards the end. Overall it was good, but wasn't anything spectacular.

CTC Banana Split (soft serve of choice, caramelized bananas, macerated strawberries, honey dusted pecans, rummy caramel, brown sugar hot fudge) 8oz. $6~ 
They chose the Triple Vanilla Bean soft serve. A few people ordered this together. They really liked it. I thought it was good, but never got the banana in any of my bites. My favorite part was the honey dusted pecans because it added texture. This one wasn't overly sweet so that was good. I still prefer ice cream over soft serve. I think if all of these were done with ice cream, I'd love it more. haha.

A friend did the Make Your Own - You start with 1 soft serve, 1 sauce, 2 toppings and any additional is extra cost I guess.
Peanut Butter Soft Serve (with nutella sauce, caramelized bananas, toasted almonds, and triple fudge brownie chunks) 8oz. 
I liked his best. I think cuz the peanut butter soft serve was delicious. Although... I would've preferred fresh banana slices over the caramelized ones.. I think it's a texture thing. The peanut butter soft serve was my favorite flavor of the night. It wasn't super sweet and was really nutty. It actually reminded me of peanut butter flavors from Asia, where it just tastes like the actual nut (less sugar taste). His was falling over! Gotta eat fast. haha.

Everyone enjoyed it. I liked it well enough but probably won't go out of my way to get it. I rarely go to this area. I do, however, want to try their Earl Grey soft serve flavor. So whenever they have that next, I'll have to venture out there. And my favorite part about their concept is the layering. All other soft serve/ice cream shops... take note!

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Tuesday, September 6, 2016

20 Feet Seafood Joint

I met up with some friends one Friday for dinner and desserts. One of my friends celebrated his birthday the previous weekend but I missed it, so this was like a make up bday dinner. I offered up several suggestions but no one really made a decision so I put my foot down and chose 20 Feet Seafood Joint. It's been on my radar for a long time but I'm just never in that area. But since the dessert place(s) we were going to were nearby, I get to try it finally! Yay!

20 Feet Seafood Joint
1160 Peavy Rd.
Dallas, TX 75218
(972) 707-7442
Price: $$-$$$

The place is super casual. You order at the counter and then look for a table. They bring the food out to you. I snagged a table as I was waiting for my friends to show up. The place was about 50% full when I got there and continued to fill up. I'm glad I grabbed a table. Once everyone arrived we lined up to order. Everyone at the restaurant is really nice, from my interaction with them before I got the table to ordering, and they came by to check on us during our meal.

I had a few choices in mind but opted for the Grilled Bay of Fundy Salmon (udon noodle salad, baby spinach, peanut sauce) $16~ 
I wanted the Shrimp & Grits... but wasn't very hungry and thought the grits would be a little too heavy. I loved this dish. I asked them to make my salmon medium and it was perfect! I have to say I don't get salmon this well cooked at some fancier seafood places! So tender and flavorful. I loved the combo with the peanut sauce and udon. It was very interesting and satisfying. Just FYI, this is a cold dish. The fish is warm but everything else is cold... basically a noodle salad. I thought it was interesting that they had lots of Asian influences at a seafood joint.

Pork Ramen Noodles $12~ 
Speaking of Asian influences... they straight up had a ramen dish. What??? Ramen? At a seafood restaurant? Why not. haha. 2 of my friends got it. They both really enjoyed it. The egg and pork belly were ON POINT. That thick cut pork belly was delicious. My friend said their noodles and broth needed a little work. I tried the noodles and they were just a tad over cooked. Didn't have that chewiness that ramen noodles needed. I didn't try the broth though.

Lobster Roll $19~ 
The bday boy wanted to try the lobster roll. It came loaded with large chunks of lobster so that was good. And the lobster was fresh and cooked well. But the entire thing was pretty the length of a hot dog bun. I've never been a huge fan of lobster rolls and find them insanely expensive. But he enjoyed it, so that's all that matters. But then he also had to order another dish to fill him up..

Fried Bluepoint Oyster Po-Boy $10~ 
2 people got this, including the bday boy. I tried a bite of the fried oyster. It was really good. And I'm not an oyster fan. I liked the flavor better than the lobster roll.

Fish & Chips $14~ 
I love me some fish and chips. This was really good. The fish was tender and flaky and thick. The batter was also great. Just the right amount of fry. And the fries are amazing.

20 Feet French Fries $4~ 
Their fries... OMG, their fries. Sooooo freaking good. It was just fried perfectly. AND seasoned perfectly. I love the addition of the rosemary. I would go back just for the fries... no joke.

It was a great dinner. Everyone loved it and thanked me for the recommendation. None of us had ever been there before. Hopefully we'll go back soon. We were all full and satisfied. And now it's time to hit up some dessert spots! :P

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Monday, August 22, 2016

Flower Crown Workshop @ Summerfield at Tate Farms

Back in March, I attended an amazing Flower Crown Workshop produced by Three Twelve Company, a flourishing new business that curates special/customized events, workshops, and collaborations.

I don't usually write about events, but this one included food! The whole event featured a flower crown workshop by the talented Lauren from The Backyard Bouquet, who also did my flowers for my wedding. Yay! She is super awesome and uses very unique flowers and plants in her creations. It also included a waffle brunch prepared by Lauren, the founder of Three Twelve Co. (She did some of my wedding cakes!) Yes, they're both Laurens. :P Other activities include: braid bar by Revel Workshop, makeup by Love Dose Beauty, craft cocktails by Austin Cocktails, mobile photo booth by Photo-Wagon, shopping with Shop Haute Wheels, and amazing photos taken throughout the day by Beckley & Co. (See vendor list at the end of the post.)

Event Details:
Saturday, March 5, 2016
11:00AM - 3:00PM

Summerfield at Tate Farms
13502 FM548
Rockwall, TX 75032

I had gone early to help them set up. The venue was in Rockwall... super close to me! Which was a plus. My friend who was attending the event rode with me and went to lend a hand as well. When we got there the space was pretty bare with some long tables set up. Within the hour, we had unloaded all the flowers, set them up on a long table in the front of the room. Laid out place settings, name cards, flower supplies, tools, etc. on all the tables. Everyone worked hard and well together. The place was looking great once all the guests started arriving.

Snacks were placed on two tables at the front. People were getting some munchies, getting their hair braided, getting their makeup done, or just visiting with other guests as we waited for the workshop to begin. And don't forget there are cocktails!

The flower crown workshop was super fun. Lauren showed us how to get started on the crown and we got to pick our own flowers from the bundles and bundles she brought. She locally forages most of her flowers and uses a lot of different textures, which I love. Everyone had something different because we had so many flower options to choose from. During the workshop time, some girls went off to get their hair braided, or make up done. As I looked around the room, everyone's crowns all turned out so great! Some were big and rustic, packed with flowers and leaves, and some were prim and demure. Everyone was having a great time!

As we waited for the food to be served. People were exploring the farm, taking a million photos (it was a beautiful day), more braids, and just enjoying themselves. So much pretty that day. :)

When the food came out, OMG, these beautiful plates of waffles were lined up on a long table. Love!! There were several choices of toppings/flavors and also a gluten free option (from Double Dose Bakery - @doubledosebakery).
The Oak Lawn (kiwi, banana, strawberries, blueberries, cinnamon, maple syrup)
The Oak Cliff (chocolate, banana, peanut butter, salted dulce de leche)
The Uptown (strawberries, toasted almonds, coconut flakes, maple syrup)
The Deep Ellum (avocado, local honey, pinch of cayenne)

I got The Oak Lawn with gluten free waffle. I was technically on a diet all of March to prep for the wedding so this was my cheat day. haha. I still got the fruit option to try and be good. It was loaded with fruits and so pretty and colorful. Wasn't too sweet. Yum!

My friend got The Oak Cliff, which I really actually wanted. So I got to try some. Soooooo good!

Beautiful and tasty food, surrounded by more beautiful flowers and people who are just having the greatest time. It could not have been a better day. AND... all the guest were gifted with a stunning (and yummy!) rose flavored macaron by We the Birds Macarons, a sister-duo team that makes the prettiest custom macarons! @we.the.birds

What a wonderful event. It was the nicest day and people were creating beautiful things. I'm glad I got to be a part of it. Keep you eye out for Three Twelve Company... she holds different events monthly. You can stay up to date by following her Instagram: @threetwelveco.

All the lovely ladies and their businesses can be found on Instagram.
The Backyard Bouquet - @thebackyardbouquet
Revel Workshop - @revelworkshop
Shout out to Shelley from @hairbyshelleyxo who also came to help out with the braids. And she did mine. :)
Love Dose Beauty - @lovedosebeauty
Austin Cocktails - @austincocktails
Photo-Wagon - @photowagontx
Shop Haute Wheels - @shophautewheels
Beckley & Co. - @beckleyco - You can find the professional pictures from the event on their website under "Petal Party".
And thanks to Summerfield at Tate Farms for hosting the event!

Three Twelve Company has another Flower Crown Workshop + Brunch coming up THIS Saturday, August 27th, from 11AM-2PM. With rosé, and a acai bowl bar! :) There are still spots available!! Click here to grab your ticket!**