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Tuesday, February 25, 2014


Last year we celebrated Valentine's Day a week late because we were both out of town the weekend of Vday. We decided that we would do it again this year so we're not fighting the crowds on Vday weekend.

The dinner location was a surprise. I let him handle the reservations and stuff. (Although I did give him a list of restaurants I wanted to try, to choose from.) hehehe. :P

We had a super early reservation since this place is pretty new and books up really fast. I kinda figured it out but I was still really excited because it was at the top of my list. I've been hearing nothing but good things about them! We ate a fairly light lunch so I was totally ready for our early dinner!

2323 N Henderson Ave, #109
Dallas, TX. 75206
(214) 370-9426
Price: $$$$

We pulled up to the restaurant and you pretty much have to valet. The self parking is 1 hour only. That sucks. But they do validate your valet so it's complimentary.

The outside is really cute. They have a small outdoor seating area. The front of the space is bright and simple. I really like their logo of the "G" from a rose. We were warmly greeted by the host as we walked in. I loved the decor. Kind of rustic, beachy, but yet sophisticated. A lot of nautical accents. We were actually 20 minutes early to our 5:30 reservation. There was only maybe 2 other tables filled so far so we got seated immediately. The space is pretty small but cozy. I liked the large mirrors on the walls which make the place look bigger.

After we sat down, a waitress came and greeted us and got us some water. We took a look at the cocktail menu and each got a drink.

On the left is the Fennel Rickey (Fords Gin, Meyer lemon, lime, Yellow Chartreuse, fennel fronds) $12~ Fresh and bright and just sweet enough for me. Really enjoyed this. Strong too!

On the right, Jade Goddess (Oolong tea infused Vodka, Meyer lemon, honey) $12~ It was sweet but had a bitter aftertaste, not sure from what. And the flavor of honey was pretty strong which I don't particularly like. But was still good enough to finish. hehe.
I couldn't decide between the 2, but the waitress highly recommended the Jade Goddess so I got that. She said it was sweeter, which I like. So my bf ordered the other so I can try it too. I ended up liking the Rickey better. I think I just like gin better.

We had a different waiter for dinner service. He was super nice. He gave us the specials of the day and told us that they typically take all your orders so they know how to time everything coming out. I like that. It means they pay attention to the timing of your dining experience. We also asked him to take a picture for us. And by "a picture" I mean like 4 or 5 cuz I wanted to redo them. hahaha. He obliged with no complaints and told us that he just wants the customers to have a great time. :) That's the spirit!

We were given some bread to start. I think it was a slice of rye and a Gouda & Fig Scone.
The scone was DIVINE! I have never had a better savory scone. I'd call it more of a biscuit because of it's flaky buttery-ness. The outside was just crispy enough and the inside was warm and buttery with a hint of sweetness from the fig and saltiness from the Gouda. Sublime. I could've been happy just eating that for the rest of the night!

For dinner, we went straight to the entrees.

He got the Duck Breast and Confit Leg (barley "fried rice", scallion, pickled daikon, carrot) $29.50~ 
That was one of my choices too. I'm so glad we have the same preferences for food for the most part cuz we always like what each other gets! The duck was great. The breast had a lot of flavor, but the star was the leg. It was fork tender and awesome. I really enjoyed the barley fried rice too. I like anything with texture and barley had just enough chewiness against the tender confit leg. The pickled veggies on top was a nice splash of brightness against the heavier meat. Plus it was also a pretty plate!

I got the Braised Veal Cheeks (Tokyo turnips, baby carrots, cippolini onions, bacon, black pepper spatzle) $31.50~ 
Can't say I've had many veal cheeks in my life, but I do know that the cheek of anything tends to be the most tender meat. It was like buttah! Totally didn't need a knife and almost didn't even need to chew it. So freaking tender! 
And I totally loved the spatzle. The texture was great, and it soaked up all the flavors from the veal and veggies. I did wish there was some sort of fresh veggies or herb salad on top though. It was a heavy dish and a tad greasy so some brightness would've been perfect.

Roasted Brussels Sprouts (with bacon) $7.25~ 
Gotta get Brussels sprouts whenever I see it! These were yummy. Not as great as Village Kitchen but still good. There were large chunks of bacon in there. The bacon was a tad salty on its own but paired well with the sprouts.

Roasted Acorn Squash (garlic, lemon thyme) $6.25~ 
A nice compliment to all our dishes. It was tender and slightly sweet. Helped balanced out all the savory elements of everything else. It was especially good when I paired it with the spatzle.

We wanted to save room for dessert so we actually took some of the food to go. My bf mentioned to the waiter that we absolutely loved the scones and asked if he could get one for me to go. The waiter smiled and said he'll see what he can do to get us 2!! YAY!! :D GIMME GIMME GIMME! hahaha.

Can't end a meal without trying dessert! We were pretty full so we just got one. Although I would've been perfectly ok if we got two! :P
Chocolate Caramel Pine Nut Tart (toasted marshmallows, vanilla bean ice cream) $10.50~
It was such a gorgeous plate. Everything looked so elegant and perfect. The tart was amazing. Usually my bf doesn't like dark chocolate but with the addition of the caramel on the inside, he loved it. The pine nuts were inside the tart and you can really taste them with the chocolate and caramel. The ice cream had a really great consistency and the marshmallows were so cute. Every flavor paired well together and there was a lot of different textures. The creaminess from the caramel, ganache and ice cream to the gooeyness of the marshmallow and then the crunch from the crust and also some sort of chocolate crumbs under the ice cream. Fantastic.

It was another great Valentine's Day dinner. I had really high expectations for Gemma and it definitely lived up to it. The service from the host to the waiters were so welcoming and spot on. Our water glasses were always filled, our waiter was just attentive enough without being overbearing and everyone was so friendly. The food of course was fantastic. The portion size were good too! Not those teeny tiny portions in some other fancy restaurants. We thoroughly enjoyed it. I definitely recommend Gemma for a nice dinner out or special occasion but just make sure you give plenty of time for reservations! They were completely filled up for the night and I hope business continues to stay that way. :)

**Just a side note. I ate the scone yesterday for dinner. Warmed it up in the toaster oven for a bit and it was still amazing!!! I want MORE!!!!!!!**

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Monday, February 24, 2014

East Hampton Sandwich Co. - Shops at Legacy

Last week I met up with a friend from out of town for dinner. I suggested East Hampton Sandwich Co. in Shops at Legacy since I've been wanting to go there since they opened! I've wanted to go check out the other location in North Dallas but never got the chance. Now it's so close to where I live, I really don't have any excuse why I still haven't been yet!! XD

It was a Wednesday night, the place was pretty dead. I really hope they have more business during the day and weekends or something. Hate to see that spot be replaced again...

East Hampton Sandwich Co.
7300 Lone Star Dr. Ste C128
Plano, TX 75024
(469) 467-1810
Price: $$

I liked their decor. It's bright and clean with the feel of being in the Hamptons (hence the name.. duh!) haha. It's casual but still nice.

I was waiting for my friend so I asked if I could get a sample of their Spicy Corn Chowder. It was pretty tasty and has a kick to it too! But I wanted something else so I'll have to get the corn chowder next time.

You order at the counter and they bring the food out to your table. It's also get your own drinks and silverware style restaurant too. Very casual.

I got the Lobster Roll (knuckle and claw meat, chives, split lobster tail, microgreens, butter drizzle; served with homemade potato chips) $16~ 
There's not that many places to get lobster rolls in Dallas, I don't think. But whenever I do hear about it, EHS is always mentioned. I've heard it's fantastic. That means I've got to try it for myself. A little pricey fora casual weeknight dinner, but this is pretty normal price for a lobster roll. I asked to sub the homemade chips for slaw. But they messed up and gave me chips anyways. Oh well! :P The lobster roll was pretty and looked so yummy. There were plenty of lobster meat on a perfectly soft and buttery roll. I liked it a lot. It wasn't heavy either. I liked that they put the butter drizzle on the side. You don't even need it. The flavors were light so you can actually taste the freshness in the lobster. It was very good. Rivals the one I had in NYC last year and beats the one I had in Boston a few years back. I'm glad I got the chips too cuz they were so addicting. Neither one of cuz could stop eating it. They were thick cut so had a really nice crunch. Good job EHS, you've lived up to the hype!

Hampton Style Slaw (cabbage blend,lemon vinaigrette, sea salt, pepper) $3~ The slaw was normal. It wasn't doused in mayo which was nice, felt healthy.

My friend started with the Golden Pear + Pancetta (spring mix, roasted pear, chopped pancetta, basil, bleu cheese crumble, champagne vinaigrette) $9~ 
It was a decently sized salad. And there were tons of chunky pancetta on top. However, the pancetta was too hard and very salty. It was ok eaten with the greens though. Just a normal salad, nothing to write home about.

She also got the Fried Chicken + Jack (Southern fried chicken, pepper jack, greens, cured bacon, avocado mash, jalapeno cream sauce; served with homemade potato chips) $10~ 
Other than the lobster roll, this was probably the most reviewed item here. It looked really good and I'm glad I got a few bites. TWO layers of fried chicken. TWO! Nice! They were well fried and had good flavor. I loved the avocado mash that brought everything together. It was a rich and delicious sandwich. Will definitely fill you up! I think overall I liked this better than the lobster roll! I'm a sucker for fried foods... The texture of the bread was also very good. Crispy chicken, creamy avocado, and soft bread. Mmmmm Mmmmm goooood!

Delicious food and good quality too. I can say it's pricey, but the quality backs it up. Will definitely go back in the future. And everyone should go so they get more business!!

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Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Glazed Donut Works

This past Saturday we went downtown to the Dallas Burlesque Festival at the House of Blues. I was pretty excited. I've never been to a burlesque show! They said doors open at 8PM and show starts at 9. Since we had standing room only tickets we got there right before 8. Obviously I don't go to events like these often because apparently it's normal to wait around for a longg time. We didn't even get into the venue until about 8:45PM. And the show definitely did NOT start at 9. Finally the show starts and there were some good acts but overall disappointing (very amateur dancing/routines imo). And standing around in 3 inch heels for 2+ hours in a room full of people and bright lights didn't do me any favors. I got really nauseous and dizzy all of a sudden... could barely make it to the side of the room before falling over. Yikes! So my bf took me to get some air and ultimately decided to leave. I felt bad leaving our friends at the show but they seemed to be having a good time.

So what's the best cure for lightheaded-ness and nausea? SUGAR!! haha. I felt like I needed to eat something sweet so we finally got the chance to go check out Glazed in Deep Ellum! I love donuts but I try not to eat them too much for the sake of my diet. But this is a sugar emergency! :P

Glazed Donut Works
2644 Elm St.
Dallas, TX 75226
(214) 741-2275
Price: $

I've been dying to try their donuts since they opened but their hours and location never mesh with my schedule. :( They're usually open in the mornings and have late night window on Friday and Saturday nights. I checked their Facebook page to double check and turns out it was their 6 month anniversary! Now I really must go! :P

So we drove by the shop to see if there was a line and there wasn't! But as most of you know, the parking situation in Deep Ellum sux ballz. So my bf just dropped me off and circled around. I went straight up to the window. It's a to-go window so there's no place to sit and eat. They had some donuts on display and they all looked amazing. Which ones will I ever choose?!?

I already knew I wanted this one... Strawberry Mascarpone $3.50~ 
I actually wanted their normal blueberry mascarpone but they said they changed to strawberry for Valentine's day. So pretty. It was delicious! The flavor of the glaze with the strawberry filling and the dollop of mascarpone cream on top just all worked together so well. The donut was soft and fluffy but yet still had a denseness to it that I really liked. Sometimes I feel like eating donuts is like eating calorie-laden air. This had substance! I sooooo wanna try the blueberry one now!

Banana Pudding (banana and cream inside, topped with nilla wafer crumbles and toasted meringue) $3.50~ 
My bf requested this one. And if he didn't, I would've gotten it anyways. haha. I think this was his favorite out of the bunch, and a very very close second for me. It had a ton of banana flavor. I like the added texture of the nilla wafer crumbles on top. And I think it was a dollop of toasted meringue on top. (Don't quote me on it, it could've been marshmallow fluff??) Anyways, amazeballs. And it was also very pretty!

Creme Brulee (filled with vanilla custard and bruleed sugar coating) $3.50~ 
I almost didn't get this until I heard the lady describe the components. Bruleed sugar coating on top! SOunds awesome. This was my favorite but that's by splitting hairs. The top was crunchy just like breaking the sugar crust on a creme brulee. The vanilla custard inside was smooth and creamy and paired so well with the texture of the dough. Just then, I had a brilliant idea. They should take the bananas and cream filling from the Banana Pudding donut and put it inside the Creme Brulee donut!! Then it would be the best of both worlds! Please do this!!!! :P

Chocolate Cherry Stout (uses Deep Ellum Brewing Co.'s Cherry Chocolate Double Brown Stout) $3.50~ 
I wanted to try a chocolate one but they didn't have many options that night. She told me they used the local beer for this so I thought it sounded interesting. This is more of a cake donut so slightly denser than the others. I liked it because you can taste the chocolate but it wasn't too sweet and the glaze just gave it the right amount of sweetness on top. My bf didn't care for it. He normally doesn't like stouts plus he likes LOTS of sugar. haha. Maybe it wasn't sweet enough for him. Probably the least favorite out of the bunch but I still liked it.

The lady at the window was super nice. Big smile the whole time! I congratulated them on their anniversary. :) Also, I asked about their donut truck.. she says they might be out and about by March. I said maybe they should think about coming to Plano! *hint*hint* hehe.

I had high hopes for Glazed, but they blew my mind! This was the perfect cure for my nausea and beats boobies with tassels any day! LOL! At $3.50 a pop, I'd have to say the quality and size is pretty good. And for specialty donuts in Dallas, I think they trump Hypnotic Donuts (sorry to say, Hypnotic is still good tho). I can't wait until the next time I have another chance to go visit them. Keep up the good work, Glazed! And consider Plano or Richardson for your next location!!!!! :D

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Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Village Kitchen

Last weekend we went glassblowing with my sister and her bf. It was freaking cool! My sister had bought a Groupon months ago, and we finally got to go. It's worth trying at least once. I don't usually post anything not food related. But go check them out, it's a lot of fun!

Anyways, on the way to glassblowing, we decided we should go check out Village Kitchen since it was on the way. Village Kitchen took over the old Marquee Grill spot by Highland Park Theater. The same chef, Andre Natera, from Marquee Grill is heading up VK. They basically revamped the decor and menu to move away from fine dining to more comfort food.

Village Kitchen
33 Highland Park Village
Dallas, TX 75205
(214) 522-6035
Price: $$-$$$

We actually got there before dinner service started (which is at 5:30PM) so we had wait a while. But once they opened up the dining room we were seated immediately. Our waiter was very friendly and took our drink orders.

Bf thought this sounded interesting... VK Housemade Soda: Mint Ginger Beer $3~ 
So we asked for a little sample. I didn't see the menu item at first so I thought it was actually beer. It's not, it's just soda. And it was delicious!! Not too sweet and super refreshing. You can taste the ginger and the mint and both balanced well with nothing overwhelming the overall flavor. My bf had a slight stomach ache and this actually helped soothe it some too. Ginger is good for digestion! :)

We got a few things to share.

Pecan Lodge Smoked Brisket (burrata cheese, pickled vegetables, BBQ sauce) $13~ 
Since I don't know when we'll ever get a chance to go to Pecan Lodge, we can at least have a sampling of it on their flatbread. It was really good. I thought the portion size was great for the price. The brisket was definitely smokey and tender. I loved the melted burrata cheese on top. The pickled vegetables added a nice acidity with the rich meat and cheese. And I also liked the crust. Sometimes I don't like flatbreads because they make it too thin and crispy. This was more like a thin crust pizza, with just the right amount of chewiness in the dough but still thin.

Crispy Brussels Sprouts $7~ 
This is what we actually came for. haha. We remembered having it when it was still Marquee Grill and we both agreed that it was one of the best Brussels sprouts we've had. I'm soooo glad they kept it on the menu. It was still delicious. I don't know how they get the char on there and what all the flavors are but it's fantastic. I can eat like 3 of these. haha. We never actually understood why they closed down Marquee Grill. It was one of the best food we've had in Dallas. :( But at least they kept this dish in Village Kitchen! I'm happy. hehe.

Arctic Char (bok choy, mushrooms, miso butter sauce) $28~ 
The waiter informed us that this was the special fish of the day. As soon as we heard bok choy, my bf wanted to get it. For me, it was "miso butter". haha. So we got one to share. I love arctic char. It looks like salmon but it's not. I really enjoyed the crispy sear on the skin but I felt like the fish was just a smidgen overcooked than my preference. Still good though. The miso butter was delicious. But my favorite part was actually the mushrooms with the sauce. It had so much flavor! My bf was disappointed in the amount of bok choy. haha. I had a feeling it was just going to be more like a garnish but he had his hopes up. Overall a good dish, but not sure if I'd pay $28 to have it again... wasn't anything special.

For dessert we got a Fruity Pebbles Milkshake $5~ to share. 
My bf said we had to get it cuz he loves Fruity Pebbles. I like it enough, I'd rather some Cocoa Pebbles though. hehe. It was cute served in the jar. And I liked the garnish on top making it super colorful. It was good, I wish it was thicker. But it was like drinking cereal milk, which is pretty much what I expected. My bf wasn't blown away by it either but I think it's worth a try at least.

It was a delicious meal. I got my Brussels sprouts so I was happy. I think the 2nd thing I really liked was actually the mint ginger beer soda! haha. But the service was good, our waiter was very attentive. I will definitely go back to try more things. :)

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Friday, February 14, 2014

1 Year Anniversary at Roy's

We had our 1 year anniversary at the beginning of February!:) He took me to Roy's where we've done several special occasions... so it's definitely got sentimental value.

Roy's Hawaiian Fusion
2840 Dallas Pkwy.
Plano, TX 75093
(972) 473-6263 
Price: $$$-$$$$

We had to wait a little for our table which made him a little antsy but once we were seated, they've decorated it with confetti and a personalized sign with our names on it. Roy's always does a good job for special occasions. From the hostess to the waiters/waitresses all know it's a special occasion and congratulate you.

He had gotten a Mai Tai at the bar which was yummy. I decided to wait until we're seated to get a drink. I decided to try the Coconut Frappe (Don Q Coco Rum with coconut milk and coconut water) 
Sounded good and it's under 150 calories! It was pretty. I liked the sprinkle of spice on the top of the white foam. It was delicious. Just sweet enough, kind of pina colada-ish but better! He liked it too so he got one later.

Our waiter was super awesome. Very knowledgeable and friendly. We actually had several conversations about their menu and other food related topics.

We started with some Sugar Snap Peas (togarashi, miso, bonito) $6.95~ Love sugar snap peas. These were cooked well. Still had the bright crisp crunch and the bonito on top added the umami factor to the dish.

My bf had called ahead for this. Misoyaki Butterfish (with wasabi ginger cream sauce) $33.95~ 
Since they changed the recipe over 6 months ago, you have to order at least 24 hours in advance for this version so they can acquire the proper ingredients. Why they changed it? We still don't understand. Our waiter didn't either since it was their top selling dish. But my bf called numerous times during the week to make sure we were going to get it since it's one of my favorite dishes of all time. How sweet! :) And it was perfect. The fish was melt in your mouth buttery. The miso glaze with the wasabi ginger cream sauce was sublime. I can just drink that sauce or eat it with a tub of rice and be happy. Haha. The butterfish is always good. But that sauce is what makes it a magical dish. Anyone who's had it will tell you that I'm not exaggerating!

My bf ordered the Winter Prix Fixe Menu $36.95~ Everything on it sounded delicious.
We started with the Spicy Lobster Bisque (Thai aromatics, coconut milk and Maine lobster; poured tableside). 
I always like it when they pour the soup at the table. Makes it more special! :P It had a ton of flavor with a kick of spice. There was also a plump lobster claw at the bottom of the bowl. A good start to the prix fixe!

Pork Osso Bucco (crispy kimchee brussels sprouts, fingerling potatoes, orange macadamia nuts). Braised pork? Sounds awesome! It was fork tender and moist. And surprisingly wasn't too heavy of a dish. I wished there was more Brussels sprouts since I love them!

Butterscotch and Miso Budino (black sesame cake, macadamia nuts, sweet and sour pineapple). 
Such an interesting dessert! I'd say it is one of the best "non-chocolate souffle" desserts at Roy's that I've liked. I liked the presentation in the jar. It has so many flavors. You get the saltiness from the caramel and you can definitely taste the miso. But then the caramel is also sweet along with the budino, which is basically like a thick pudding. The consistency was luscious and creamy. It had every possible flavor. The pineapple on top added the tartness. The black sesame cake was my favorite part. I love black sesame but I rarely find black sesame desserts here that reminds me of what I've had in Asia. This was full of black sesame flavor! Well done!

Of course I got the Melting Hot Chocolate Souffle (with vanilla ice cream and raspberry sauce). 
Awww.. they wrote Happy Anniversary on the plate. :) They've changed it up a little. They now serve it in a little ramekin instead of taking it out of the mold. I asked the waiter why and he said that they come out more consistently this way and it's also bigger! Sold! Bigger, for the same price? Hells yea! It was hot and molten-y (yes, that's a word), and a perfect ending to a spectacular evening. 

My bf double checked and triple checked to make sure everything at the restaurant would be good. The waiter was super nice and helpful. We had a great anniversary thanks to the people at Roy's. Be sure to consider them for your next special occasion. And don't forget to order the butterfish ahead of time!!!

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