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Thursday, January 17, 2013

Mian Cuisine

I had told my family about Mian Cuisine after I went a few weeks ago. My sister has gone once since and said it was pretty good. So we decided to have our family lunch there this past weekend. 

Mian Cuisine 
121 West Spring Creek Parkway 
Plano, TX 75023 
(972) 517-1688 
Price: $ 

We arrived at 1:30PM on Sunday and the place was pretty packed. Luckily we got a big table in the back. As most of our family meals go... we order a lot of food (usually too much). haha. We did everything family style of course because we want to sample everything. 

Spicy Hotpot (pork intestine, tofu, duck blood, pickled greens) $10.59~ 
My sister really wanted to try this. We all love this dish in general, and tend to get it if it's on the menu anywhere. It's definitely not for the unadventurous eater! haha. This was my favorite dish of the meal. It had bold flavors, was actually spicy, and had lots of ingredients in the hot pot. Everything was cooked well and tasty. 

Stir Fried Rice Cake & Vegetable (with pork) $6.99~ 
They have pretty big portions here. The rice cake was cooked well but overall the flavors were very mild. I didn't mind that, it's better than overly salty in my opinion. This dish was ok, not one of my favorites... 

Soup (with ginger and goji berries). We also got 2 free soups, I'm not sure which dishes it came with though. I'm not a fan of these soups but my sister is, and she finished one on her own. 

Chili Beef Noodle Soup $6.99~ 
I've had this before and I liked it. My family didn't think it was spicy enough, which I agree, but at least you can still taste the spiciness. And I love the texture of their noodles. 

Fried Bean Sauce Noodle (Zha Jian Mian) $6.99~ 
This was the main thing I wanted to try. It's one of my favorite Taiwanese style noodles of all time. I was disappointed here. The noodles were great, but there was not enough sauce, I had to ask for extra. And again, it was quite bland. I actually put some of the sauce from the hot pot and mixed it in there. Wasn't half bad! haha. I wouldn't order this here again though. 

Basil Crispy Chicken Rice $6.59~ 
This came in a bento box with a lot of stuff. I wanted the try their rice with minced pork on top since I didn't get to try it last time. I did not like it at all!! Yuck! The meat texture was weird and flavors were not right. I didn't eat anymore. Bleh.. :( The crispy chicken was ok. I prefer the one at Genroku more. 

Handmade Scallion Pancake $3.50~ 
I liked this the first time I had it. It's not as fluffy as it should be but I did like the crispiness on the outside. It was good dipping into the spicy sauce of the hot pot. hehe. 

Chives Box (fried chives dumpling, 2pcs) $4.99~ 
I'm not a fan so I didn't try. My dad says the flavors were pretty good, but it wasn't a good deal. You only get 2 and it's quite expensive! Go to JengChi Bakery for dumplings... 

All in all, it was a good meal. We still stuffed our faces as usual. The food is decent as far as Dallas standards go and the location is definitely closer to me than Chinatown in Richardson. I'll be back again. There are still other menu items I'd like to try. 

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Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Pancake Day!

This past Saturday turned out to be "Pancake Day". haha. It was unintentional but just happened that way. :P I love pancakes...any kind. I prefer them over French Toast and waffles too! 

The day started with a late brunch at 5th Street Patio Cafe in downtown Frisco. It's a cute little house turned restaurant. The food is home-cooked and yummy. I sooo wanted to be good and get a salad or something, but the pancakes just kept jumping out at me. 

5th Street Patio Cafe
8621 5th Street 
Frisco, TX 75034 
(972) 377-3483 
Price: $ 

Blueberry Buttermilk Pancakes
My friend subbed her toast for a pancake, but I didn't think 1 was enough so I asked if they could add another one. I think that was a mistake. The pancakes are huge! haha. And neither of us were really that hungry. But guess what... I killed it. of course..  -__-  It was yummy and full of fresh blueberries. :) 

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For dinner, I ended up at Coffee House Cafe. I like this place... the service is hit or miss but their food is pretty good. Luckily our waiter this time was pretty awesome. 

Coffee House Cafe 
6150 Frankford Road 
Dallas, TX 75252 
(469) 248-0554 
Price: $-$$ 

Again, I wasn't too hungry and had every intention to eat well, but the waiter was telling us about their pancakes and how awesome they are so he talked my friend into ordering one. 

Buckwheat Granola Pancakes (with berries on top) 3 per order $8.25~ 
We added berries to it as recommended by the waiter. It was a good rec! The pancakes were also very large...and yummy. I loved the granola in it. So nutty and added nice texture. You almost don't need syrup! ...almost... haha. I always have to have syrup on my pancakes! :P But I did order a side salad!! So I was still able to get my veggies in for the day. hahaha. 

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It was a good day of indulgence. I'd recommend both of these places for pancakes or just any type of brunchy foods! 


Mockingbird Taproom

Last weekend I went to go check out the happy hour at the new Mockingbird Tap Room (the old Vapiano space in Mockingbird Station). It's the same owners as Townhouse in Galleria and Park Tavern in The Shops at Park Lane. 

Mockingbird Taproom 
5319 E. Mockingbird Lane 
Dallas, TX 75206 
(469) 334-0751
Price: $-$$ 

They have happy hour on Mon-Fri 3-7PM and reverse happy hour on Mon-Thu 10PM-close, and all day Sunday. I don't really care about the drink specials but all starters are half price!! We just got a bunch of stuff to share... 

Suicide Fries (queso, giardiniera, chopped brisket, green onions, fried egg) $9~ 
This looked pretty epic. We all liked it, but it had wayy too much queso, the fries were drowning in it. But there's a ton of brisket on top and everything's better with a fried egg. haha. It needed a punch of flavor though which I fixed with Tabasco. haha. 

Fried Chicken Sliders (buttermilk biscuits, chorizo gravy, maple spread, fried onions) $9~ Three pretty good sized sliders. The chicken kind of got lost in the sauces but it was ok. Nothing spectacular. 

Pulled Pork Sliders (bourbon-molasses sauce, green apple slaw, fried onions) $8~ I like the pretzel rolls but it lacked flavor overall, wasn't too impressed with this. But for $4 hh... pretty good deal still. 

Green Machine (chopped iceberg and spinach, tomato, red onion, cucumber, bacon, hard-boiled egg, blue cheese) $7~
My sister and I wanted some veggies so we got a salad. This wasn't included in hh. It was ok. Pretty fresh, but I've realized I really don't like chopped lettuce like that. It was a good sized salad though for the price. 

Piggy Back Mac (pulled pork, bacon, jalapeno, pork rind topping) $13~ 
This wasn't part of hh specials but sounded so good. I really liked it but others thought it was just ok. The pasta was a bit chewy which I like and I liked the crispy pork rind topping. My sister didn't. I wish there were more jalapenos in there, but again, Tabasco solved that problem. haha. I'd say this was my favorite out of the bunch... 

So the food was decent and we ordered wayyyy too much! Definitely a great deal with the happy hour special. Our waiter was a bit slow but the place was pretty full and he was super nice so it wasn't a big deal. I like the space and decor, reminds me of Park Tavern. The only complaint is that it was really dark, and at some point during our meal, they dimmed the lights even more.. :( I'd like to see my food at least a little bit! haha. I'd go back for hh again, for sure! 

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Friday, January 11, 2013

Caffe Bene

Finally got around to checking out the new Caffe Bene over by H-Mart in Carrollton. I was pretty excited when it opened. I actually went to one of the Caffe Bene's in Korea

Caffe Bene 
1016 W Trinity Mills Rd. 
Carrollton, TX 75006 
(212) 586-2010 
Price: $ 

Walking in, it was like going into one in Korea... the decor is very consistent with what I saw in Seoul. And I really like their decor...wood furniture, mocha/brown color scheme. It's very cozy and warm. They had a display case by the register with all their waffles and honey toast options. Looks so good! You order at the counter and they give you a buzzer. When the buzzer goes off you go pick up your order at the counter. 

I love Asian thick toast desserts so I got a Banana & Walnut Honey Bread $7.45~ 
It was one of their new offerings. Kinda pricey! But it was huge! Very impressive and yummy looking. The bread had a nice crusty outside and soft on the inside. The bananas and walnuts were great on top. The only thing I wanted was more of that caramel drizzle on top. It was surprisingly not too sweet. I actually still prefer the thick toasts at Taiwanese cafes (the ones with peanut butter or other types of spreads on top) better, but this was pretty good too. 

I also got the Misugaru Latte (Homemade Multigrain drink: black sesame seed, black bean, black rice, brown rice, barley) 12oz. $3.95~ 
I've heard about this drink and it sounded really interesting. I loved it! Never had anything like this... It was creamy and frothy and earthy with all the types of rice and grains and seeds. It's hard to describe the flavor but you can definitely taste the black sesame which I love. I would totally get this again. I got a hot latte this time but next time I might try the frappe version or something! :) 

It's a cool place to hang out and chill with friends. I'll have to try one of their waffles next time too. 

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Thursday, January 10, 2013

Perla's Kitchen - Rockwall

My co-worker that lives in Rockwall has been raving about Perla's Kitchen and it's cakes for awhile now. She is a baker herself and says their red velvet cake is the best she's ever had. Now that just totally peaks my interest! 

Perla's Kitchen 
2455 Ridge Road, Suite 149 
Rockwall, TX 75087 
Price: $-$$ 

Now... Rockwall is pretty far from me (about an hour drive. yikes!) So I had some free time over the weekend and decided to pay my co-worker a visit. It's located in a small strip mall, very unassuming. The place isn't very big and not much decor inside. Walking in, I immediately see the display case full of cakes! Excited!! haha. 

I got the Soup and Salad Combo (chicken and mushroom soup, Caesar salad) $7.99~ 
I had a cold so I thought some soup would be good. Plus I wanted something lighter so I can save room for dessert! But it was a huge plate. haha. The soup of the day was chicken/cream of mushroom. It was topped with big croutons and some cheese. Not a light soup. haha. It was yummy though. I love creamy soups and it warmed me up. Large slices of mushrooms and chicken in that little cup. I wish there was more soup than salad actually. I had asked for the Caesar salad to be lightly dressed. But it came drenched. :( I managed to eat some of it but I don't like too much dressing. 

My friend got the Ahi Tuna Steak Sandwich (Italian loaf with aioli, tomatoes, red onions, baby greens, white balsamic vinaigrette; side green salad) $9.99~ It looked really good and I was told it was delicious. 

We were actually quite full after the meal so we had a few bites of the cake and got the rest to go. 
Lemon Cake with Strawberry Filling $4.29~ 
This was also a recommendation by another friend that lives in Rockwall. I had expected their slices to be bigger... I wonder if we hadn't gotten it to-go if it would've. :-/ But, it was really moist and I really liked the lemon flavor of the cake with the strawberry in the middle. The icing was a bit dense and quite sugary. Luckily the cake was pretty light so was able to balance it. It was pretty tasty. 

Red Velvet Cake $4.29~ 
Of course we had to get this. Super moist like she said. I was surprised to see it more pink than red like in most other restaurants, but I guess that's good because they might've used less food coloring? The cream cheese frosting was dense and really rich...good but soooo bad for you. hahaha. I liked it a lot, but it wasn't the best red velvet I've ever had. 

It was a good lunch. I'm glad I got to try it. Was it worth the hour drive just for the cakes? I can't say it is. But if I'm craving desserts in the Rockwall area, I'd probably go back and try some of their other stuff. The blueberry cream cake and bread pudding sounds yummy! 

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Thursday, January 3, 2013

Mi Piaci

I had a big holiday get together with a group of friends before the new year. We try to get together once a quarter, but with jobs and babies and life, it's longgg over due! I chose Mi Piaci because one of my friends mentioned to me a few months ago that they had squid ink pasta. Sold! I had to go try it. hehe. 

Mi Piaci 
14854 Montfort Drive 
Dallas, TX 75254 
(972) 934-8424 
Price: $$$-$$$$

We had a party of 10 for Saturday night around 7PM. We were immediately seated and they put us in the private room with a giant round table. Felt so grand... definitely like a family holiday dinner or something. hehe. At one point we even closed the curtains so it was completely closed off to the main dining area. 

I was pretty hungry, so I attacked the bread plate when they served it. I think it was herbed Foccacia, garlic Foccacia and bread sticks. The bread was awesome. I loved the pillowy texture and lots of flavor. I had to refrain myself from eating it all. haha. 

We got started with some appetizers and salads. 

One couple got the Calamari Fritti (pan-fried with red chili sauce & cilantro oil) $9~ (in the background...)
I got to try one. It was awesome. The calamari was cooked beautifully and each piece was huge. It was like calamari steak fries. haha. The sauce complimented it well. 

I had the Insalata di Cesare (heart of romaine salad with classic Caesar dressing, garlic croutons, spiced pumpkin seeds) $8~ My favorite part was the pumpkin seeds, gave it that crunch it needed. It was a good salad, nothing fancy. 

A few people got the House Salad. They said it was really good. 

Zuppa Aragosta (Adriatic style lobster bisque topped with house made lobster fritter) $9~ This looked really good. I didn't get to taste it though. But those who ordered it cleaned their bowls. 

On to the entrees... They hand make all their pastas and even have a window into the kitchen where you can see the guy making it. I thought that was pretty cool. 

Spaghettini Neri (house made black spaghetti with butter poached blue crab and chili butter) $24~ 
All the pastas sounded great but I was here for this. You can definitely tell the pasta was handmade and had good texture. The chunks of crab were big and cooked well. I felt there was a bit too much pasta vs sauce though, but wasn't a big deal since I don't like too much sauce anyways. I liked the sprinkle of bread crumbs on top to add some texture. I liked it but I still like the one at Spoon better... It was a pretty big portion too. I took half of it to go. 

I also got a side of Broccolini Fritti di Peperoncino (flash fried fresh broccolini with red chili flake) $7~ I think they prepared it another way because it didn't seem flash fried nor did it have chili flakes on it. Oh well...still good veggies. 
Fettuccine al Prosciutto (wide, flat noodles in a light parmesan cream sauce with prosciutto and peas) $18~ 
I was able to have some of this. It's like a alfredo/carbonara... super creamy and decadent. I really liked it. The peas were cooked perfectly and the sweetness paired well with the salty prosciutto. Not for those watching their waistlines that's for sure. haha. 

I didn't get to try anything else, but it all looked yummy. 
Penne All' Arrabiata (hand rolled quill shaped pasta with spicy tomato sauce, pancetta, vodka, basil and pecorino cheese) $18~ 

Pesce Branzino (tamarind glazed Chilean sea bass with lemon basil risotto, radish sprout, with spicy sweet portabella mushroom sauce) $30~ 

Maiale al Forno (spice-rubbed pork tenderloin with parmesan polenta and blackberry demi glace) $25~ 

Osso Bucco alla Milanese (braised veal shank with traditional sweet pea and saffron risotto) $38~ 

Funghi al Forno (oven roasted wild Italian mushrooms) $9~ 

So our main waiter wasn't that great. But the waiter that served our entrees was super cool. haha. I mean the main guy wasn't rude or anything but after they cleared the entrees, the waiter came with the check. We were all chatting so no one realized that we weren't asked if we wanted any dessert or coffee, etc... at first. We thought it was weird so we called him back and said we at least wanted to see the dessert menu. I think he knew he made a mistake so when he brought the dessert menus he gave us some excuse saying he overheard some people talking about cake earlier and thought we had dessert already... Whatever. Even if we had cake earlier, that doesn't mean we don't want the option of getting more dessert!! Right?! There can never be too much dessert! 

And we DID get dessert. I love how all my friends love to eat. hehehe. 

Gelati o Sorbetti (assortment of gelato and sorbet made fresh daily) $6~ 

Torta di Limone (pistachio encrusted lemon tart with fresh berries) $6~ 

Crema Italiana (maple-flavored custard with fresh berries) $7~ 

I got Tiramisu (the Italian classic with espresso and mascarpone) $7~ It was pretty good. Nice and light since I was already pretty full. But pretty standard, not the best I've had. 

Also, just FYI, they don't do split checks but they can take multiple credit cards so I took it upon myself to list out all the totals for each card. Took a while, but I'm used to it. But it would be nice for restaurants to be able to do split checks. Just my thought. Thanks. :P 

It was a good time. The food was yummy and portions were pretty big. I probably wouldn't request the private table again though unless the group is bigger. It was hard to shout across the table. haha. I'd recommend this place for a special occasion. 

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