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Tuesday, February 26, 2013


Since I was out of town on a ski trip on Valentines Day, we celebrated our Vday this past Saturday. I had given a few restaurant options to my bf and he made a reservation at Oak. I've been wanting to go there forever!!! I've heard nothing but rave reviews about it. I was SUPER excited! 

1628 Oak Lawn Avenue 
Dallas, TX 75207 
(214) 712-9700 
Price: $$$-$$$$$ 

Jason Maddy is the Executive Chef at Oak and I recently read that he is one of the 2013 James Beard Award Semifinalists!! Congrats to him! It's a very prestigious title to receive in the food industry. It maked me even more excited to be there. 

It's located in the Design District. An area in Dallas I don't frequent much but would like to... There's some cool places there! One thing I really liked was that they had a pretty big parking lot. hehe. It's always frustrating to try and find parking downtown. 

Walking around the building... I really liked the architecture of the building. They had big open windows and made the place look very welcoming. Upon entering, we were warmly greeted by the host. I was immediately impressed by the place. The decor was awesome. It was classy, sophisticated, yet warm and welcoming. The furniture was eclectic but yet everything fit together beautifully. We got a nice big booth for just the 2 of us. It was very comfortable and well lit! I don't like it when it's so dark for "mood lighting" that you can't even see your food!! 

Our waiter was very nice and took our drink orders. We each got a cocktail. Designer's Touch (veev, strawberry, basil, sesame oil) on the left. The Antoinette (tito's vodka, prosecco, cointreau, blackberry puree, lemon) on the right. 
We each tried both of them. He liked The Antoinette and I liked Designer's Touch better! Haha! It all works out. :P If you like blackberries you would like The Antoinette. But I particularly liked Designer's Touch because of how interesting it is. It has sesame oil in it!! I could smell and taste the sesame oil which was super fragrant, but totally works with the strawberry and basil. Definitely surprised me a little. It had a hint of savory, but with the sugar rimmed glass was still a sweet drink. The flavors all worked and balanced together. YUM! 

We were given their Winter 2013 menu. If you look at their website, some of the items have changed on the current menu. Everything sounded awesome. 

After we ordered we were given some bread. Raisin Bread and French? bread with cinnamon butter. Both were great with the cinnamon butter. So far so good! 

I already knew one of the appetizers I wanted to get. Moroccan Octopus & Pork Jowls (aji panca, radish, cilantro) $16~ 
Anything with crispy pork is good by me! The plate was beautifully presented. It was so colorful and clean and delicate. It was AMAZING!!!! The pork had just the right amount of fat and crisped to perfection. The octopus had great texture, although the pieces were quite small. There were also small dices of apple with the cilantro oil which added a light sweetness. The entire dish had so many complex flavors and everything worked together so well. I wanted 2 more plates of this! Did NOT disappoint! I'd say it rivals the octopus and pork belly dish at Spoon. Although the octopus at Spoon was better and the pork at Oak was better. hehe. 

Kabocha Squash Ravioli (winter squash, fennel pollen, sage butter) $15~
I absolutely love Kabocha squash. It almost reminds me of pumpkin. When the plate came we were a little disappointed in the portion size. There were only 4 small pieces of ravioli... Although presented beautifully as well. Again, very delicate and clean. Soooooo good! I really wish there was more! The pasta on the ravioli was cooked perfectly al dente. You get the sweetness of the kabocha filling with the creaminess of the sage butter. All the additional elements just made each bite better. It's really just too small! haha. I need MORE!! 

Scottish Salmon (rapini, hedgehog mushrooms, sauce choron) $29~ 
For the entree we shared the salmon. The waiter offered to have the dish split for us with no charge. The half size (shown in the picture) was so cute and small. haha. Very nicely presented on the plate. I liked how they offered to split it and was still beautifully presented. The salmon had a great crispy skin on it. It was a tad overcooked for me since I like my salmon a bit pink in the middle but it was still really good. Underneath the salmon there were actually small dices of radish (I think) and smoked salmon along with the rapini. I had to google this.. Sauce Choron is basically a variation of Bearnaise with the addition of tomato paste, hence the orangey color. It was perfect with the salmon and mushrooms. The plate was like a work of art, as was the other dishes we've had so far. This is one of the reasons why I started taking pictures of food years ago. I love seeing food presentation. It's an artform on it's own. :) 

Brussels Sprouts (panko bread crunch, garlic) $7~ 
As you know, I'm obsessed with brussels sprouts... one of my favorite vegetables in the past few years. I had to get this. And it was definitely the right choice. It was sooo good. I can just get 2 orders of this alone and have it for my meal! It was nicely charred and had so much flavor and texture from the garlic and panko topping. My bf said it might even be better than the appetizers we had earlier! 

We cleaned every single one of our plates. And surprisingly, we were quite full! Initially seeing the portion sizes, we were worried there wasn't enough food, but turned out to be perfect. But of course, I had to see the dessert menu. hahaha. I've waited too long to come here without having a complete meal experience!! 

Peanut Butter Cheesecake (chocolate, banana, macaron) $8~ 
We shared this. Surprisinly the portion of the dessert was pretty decent! haha. It was so pretty once again. I've been impressed with all the presentation during this meal. The cheesecake was creamy and peanut buttery. The base of it was almost like a chocolate brownie. I loved the crunch of the tuile that surrounded the cheesecake. The bruleed banana had a nice crunchy sugar shell. There was also a banana puree under the macaron and bruleed banana. The macaron was chocolate with peanut butter filling. It was amazing. But we didn't force ourselves to finish it. We took half of it to go (which made a nice late night snack later!!) 

This has been an awesome experience. I had high hopes for this place and it blew it out of the water. From the decor to ambiance to food to service, everything was spot on! Our waiter was great. He was friendly and attentive enough without being intrusive. He joked with us but didn't get too chummy. Everything was presented in a timely manner and explained. It's been one of the best meals I've had in Dallas in a while. I think the last time I had a great meal like this was Chef John Tesar's Spoon. And I prefer the ambiance at Oak more. But the food at both places are spectacular. I'm so glad I got to go. It had been a great day and couldn't have been a better ending. I look forward to going back to Oak in the future. I definitely recommend it for foodies and special occasions. I'm still drooling as I'm writing about all the food!! :D 

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Edo Japan - Rockwall

I went to Edo Japan this past weekend. It's my bf's favorite place for sushi so he really wanted me to try it. 

EDO Japan Steakhouse, Sushi, & Bakery 
1067 Interstate 30 
Rockwall, Texas 75087 
(972) 722-2555 
Price (for sushi): $$ 

Walking up to the restaurant, it's pretty unassuming since it was just in a strip mall. But once we entered, it was bigger than I expected. The decor was really nice and modern. Red, white and black were the dominant colors in the sushi bar area. And there's hibachi on the other side of the restaurant. 

Our waitress warmly welcomed us and brought us our drinks. The cocktail my bf wanted wasn't on the menu anymore, but they still made it for him. I got hot tea since I was a little sick. I liked the little teapot. 

I let him order since there were specific things he wanted me to try. I love pretty much any kind of sushi so I'm totaly up for trying whatever. 

We started with the Stuffed Pepper Shrimp (crab, shrimp, jalapeno, cream cheese; tempura battered and fried) $12?? I'm not too sure how much it was... $12-15 probably. 
It was presented beautifully. All the different layers of colors and textures in the peppers over a bed of spring mix lettuce. It was delicious but very rich. It could totally be a meal on its own. The cream cheese was the source of the richness and brought everything together. The addition of the jalapeno was nice. It gave it that bit of spice... wasn't actually spicy though. The tempura batter added crunch, another layer of texture. I really liked it, but I don't think I can eat more than 2 pieces. haha. Definitely a must try! But share! :P 

Scallop Volcano Roll (California roll, scallop on top, eel sauce) $13~ 
I love volcano roll with either crawfish or scallops. This was pretty good, but not the best I've had. There wasn't much scallops but definitely a lot of crab. The rolls were made well. I didn't care for the eel sauce though. It was different than any eel sauce I've had anywhere else. The flavor wasn't as robust as I'm used to and it wasn't as dark in color either... It was still good though. 

Rockwall Roll (tuna, salmon, whitefish, asparagus, avocado, panko deep fried, eel sauce) $11.95~ 
I normally don't prefer fried sushi because they get a little too greasy. This one wasn't. I really liked the panko batter which made it crispier and lighter. 

Edo Special Cucumber Roll (tuna, salmon, white fish, yellowtail, crabmeat, asparagus, cucumber) $12.95~ 
I picked this one. It didn't have any rice in it. I thought it would something different to try. The colors were beautiful. And it was very refreshing. I liked that it was carb free after the other rolls with rice. The cucumber added a nice crunch to it. The fish were all very fresh as well. I liked it a lot. 

I also got a ginger salad (sorry no picture). The portion size was pretty good and the ginger dressing was nicely done. They brought it out a little late and the waitress immediately said they were going to comp it. How nice! :)

We were stuffed, surprisingly... Normally I can eat a lot of sushi, but I wasn't too hungry to begin with. Plus the appetizer was VERY filling! I really wanted to try their desserts since "bakery" is in the restaurant name. But I figured I'd be back again in the near future so I opted not to. Supposedly their cheesecake is really good! Until next time... 

Our waitress was fantastic. She was super cheerful and checked on us frequently. It made the dining experience even better. We had a good time. I'll definitely be back! :) 

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Sunday, February 17, 2013

DaLat - Vietnamese Comfort Food

It's been a while since I've been back to DaLat!! Time to go see what my friend Khanh has come up with now!

2537 N Fitzhugh Ave.
Dallas, TX 75204
(214) 827-3200
Price: $-$$

We started with some appetizers. They are all new to me! I love trying new foods.

Spam Musubi (Fried Spam with sticky rice in rice paper) $5~
This was my favorite appetizer out of the bunch. I'm not a fan of regular Spam musubi when I was in Hawaii. I thought the texture and flavor were all meh. I loved this rendition of the musubi with the sticky rice! The sticky rice added a different texture to the spam and the rice paper around it all made it easier to pick up and eat. I would totally get this again next time.

Du Du Bo Kho (green papaya salad and spicy beef jerky) $5.50~
This was pretty light in flavor but was also refreshing. I liked the spicy beef jerky on top to add complexity in texture. I wish it was a bit spicier though.

Dorito-Viche (Vietnamese cabbage salad over Doritos) $5~
This was an interesting creation. I think I like the different elements on its own, but together, I felt the flavor of the Doritos overpowered the cabbage salad. Wasn't my favorite... Some of my friends really liked it though. hehe.

Chicken Soup for the Soul (pork meatballs and chicken over rice) $8~
This was awesome for late night/after drinking. It is so warm and comforting and I always love the pork meatballs. That night they also made a batch with beef and pork meatballs (which is what I got).
Sooooo much food, but really good. Go get you some on a cold day or long night of partying! haha.

Pho Bo (Beef Noodle Soup) $8~ As always, I like their broth.

Been a Rough Day Shots (Jameson, Grand Marnier, Baileys; taken in succession) $14~
One of DaLat's crazy creations. You take these one after another... I didn't dare to try it! My bf did though... He actually only heard Baileys so was pretty shocked when Khanh brought out 3 shots! HA! But he said it was actually much better than he thought it would be. I think ending with the Baileys really helped round out the experience. haha.

Cheesecake $5~ Not made in house, pretty standard.

DaLat is always a nice change to the standard IHOP or Buzzbrews or something. Plus I get to visit my friend, Khanh. I like how he keeps creating things so I can always try something new.

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Maple & Motor

Oh man... it's been so long since my last post. I apologize!! But things have been super hectic lately with work and school. :( 

In the past month I got to go check out Maple & Motor. I've been wanting to try it for a while since a lot of people have told me that their burgers are pretty awesome. I've also heard that it's a small place and gets super crowded so my friend and I decided to go at 4pm one random weekday. 

Maple & Motor
4810 Maple Ave 
Dallas, TX 75219
(214) 522-4400
Price: $

The place was actually bigger than I expected after hearing about it. haha. I thought it was going to be one of those standing room only places. It's a very casual place, lots of funny sayings and signs up on the walls. You order at the counter and they bring the food out to you. 

My friend was the one that decided to go so I was just tagging along. I didn't really order anything for myself. He got a Burger (half-pound ground American beef flat grilled; dressed in traditional Texas fashion with mustard, lettuce, red onion, tomato, dill pickle; served on a toasted bun) $5.85~ 
It's a pretty good burger. The ingredients were fresh but quite messy. The bottom bun didn't hold up very well and it fell apart after a while. Eh.. I've had better for sure. 

French Fries $1.95~ 
I loved the fries. It was a bit oversalted, but who doesn't love salty fries?!? haha. They fried it perfectly. It was really hard not to eat all of it... 

Gobs (homemade whipped buttercream stuffed between chocolatey cakes of goodness) $1.50~ 
This was totally an impulse buy since it was next to the register. Looked like their riff on a whoopie pie...sounded delicious. It was ok. I prefer the regular whoopie pies. The cake part was a bit dry. 

I'm glad I finally got to check this out for myself, but wasn't impressed at all. It's pretty average all around. Definitely not worth driving out of my way to get it. But if you are in the area, it's not bad. 

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