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Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Father's Day at Perry's Steakhouse & Grille

For Father's Day, my sister and I treated my parents to dinner at Perry's Steakhouse. My dad has been asking us to take them downtown somewhere for awhile and I thought this was the perfect opportunity. I love Perry's and have been trying to go back. Also, they had a Father's Day special 3 course deal that was too good to pass up!

Perry's Steakhouse & Grille
2000 McKinney Ave, Suite 100
Dallas, TX 75201
(214) 855-5151
Price: $$$$+

Our reservation was at 6PM and we arrived on the dot. We were immediately seated so I texted my sister that we were there. She responded that my parents haven't even gotten to their house yet! (they were carpooling). Uh-oh! Apparently my parents thought the reservation was at 6:30. I informed our waiter, Demetrius, and he was so cool with it. "I'm not worried," he smiled and shrugged. Whew, I feel better. :P

So what to do for the next 20 minutes while we wait for them to arrive? Drink!! haha. I wasn't planning on drinking that night since I had some cocktails the day before but they had some yummy sounding drinks and we had some time to kill.

Glenmorangie Ginger Blossom (Glenmorangie 10 year old (scotch), lemon juice, honey water, fresh ginger; shaken and served with a lemon twist) $12~ This was pretty strong. Scotch is not my thing, but it was still quite tasty.

Blackberry Basil Smash (blackberries, fresh basil and pineapple muddled with Cinco vodka, Dekuyper Amaretto, and lemon juice; shaken and served over ice) $12~ This was soooo delicious. Also strong enough for me, plus on an empty stomach it hit pretty quickly. But so good, I could've had 2 more! My bf and I fought over this one. hehe :P

Our waiter brought us some Bread (with whipped butter) before our cocktails came. It's probably a good idea to eat something before drinking. haha. The bread was warm and fluffy. And I think all butters should be served whipped. It definitely helped ease the waiting since I was starving!

Finally everyone arrived. More drink orders were taken and Demetrius told us all the specials. I was already very happy with our waiter, very friendly and just made us feel so welcomed. He was very knowledgeable of the specials too.. and there were a lot of them. We decided to get an appetizer.

Appetizer of the Day: Seafood Stuffed Mushrooms (breadcrumbs, Chilean Sea bass, crab, (and some other fish), in a creamy tomato sauce) $10.95~ 
It comes 5 to an order. I asked Demetrius if we can get an extra one since there are 6 of us. He said he would try and ask the kitchen. Unfortunately the kitchen couldn't accommodate but they did pick out the 5 bigger mushrooms for us. Yay. I appreciate his effort! The mushrooms were super stuffed. 
None of us really tasted any of the seafood though, mostly just breadcrumbs, but the flavors were good. I liked the browned crumbs on top. And especially loved the cream sauce on the bottom. I scraped it up with a fork. haha. And even dipped some bread in it. I asked Demetrius what was in the sauce and he said Alfredo and marinara. So easy... I should make it at home. hehe.

So the deal for Father's Day turned out to be their regular Pork Chop Sunday (your choice of salad, Perry's Famous Pork Chop, and dessert trio) $24.95~ I didn't know it was offered every Sunday! I think for Father's Day they had it available all day whereas normal Sundays it's only from 4-9PM. Man.. we need to come on Sundays more! I absolutely LOVE their pork chops. (I included the normal a la carte price on each item, so you can see what an amazing deal this is...)

5 of us ordered the pork chop special. We each got a salad. All the salads are pretty big. I was almost full after I finished mine! haha

Warm Spinach & Bacon Vinaigrette Salad (normally $9.95~) 
My dad's choice. It was really flavorful from the bacon vinaigrette. The only thing about using bacon grease as a dressing base is that it is quite heavy. But sooooooo good. haha. I'd say it's worth having every once in a while even though the salad is technically not that healthy anymore. :P

Chopped Salad with Applewood-Smoked Bacon (normally $8.95~) Nice crisp lettuce with crispy bacon. Came with the house vinaigrette which was awesome.

Field Green, Pear & Candied Pecan Salad (normally $9.95~) 
I got this. Also came with the house vinaigrette. It was really fresh. I loved the sweetness and brightness from the pear and mandarin oranges. The candied pecans added a crunch. I think this was my favorite out of the 3 salads.

Perry's Famous Pork Chop (hand selected in the Midwest specifically for Perry's Steakhouse, this prime chop is cured, roasted, slow-smoked and caramelized; served with homemade applesauce) (normally $35.95~) 
This dish is to die for. Especially if you are a pork lover like me. Pork is my favorite kind of meat. I've had it once before, 3 years ago I think? And I've been dreaming to have it again. It is a 3 bone-in.. yes THREE.. pork chop, and they carve it for you table side. Love the presentation. Table side service always adds some drama! The thing is like 5 inches thick. And the carving knife slices through it like butter. The meat is so tender and juicy! Once carved and served the waiter explained to us the different sections. The small piece topped with lime wedge is called the "eyelash". It is the most flavorful cut and has a nice layer of fat on it. Followed by the ribs, which is my personal favorite section. The slab of meat on top of the ribs is so juicy. The last, and biggest piece is called the "eye". It has a lean section, which is normally known as the tenderloin, and the other half has layers of fat in it. The applesauce that came with the dish is mainly for the "eye". It smelled and looked amazing. Since I was the only one that had been to Perry's before, they were all staring with their mouths open. I had tried to prepare them for it, but I guess it exceeded their imaginations. haha. My bf said he was so glad he got this (he was debating between the ahi tuna, which is his favorite thing). It was everything I remembered it to be. I started with the "eyelash" but took bites out of every single section. The chunk of meat on top of the ribs is my absolute favorite. The rub was so flavorful and I love the combo with the sweet apple sauce. Only complaint? There were no veggies on the side to cut the heaviness of the dish. I had thought about ordering a side dish, but decided it was too much food. In hindsight, I still should've. I love meat and all but I need something else to balance it out. However, I still made a good dent in it... got through about half! I'm so proud. haha. None of us was able to finish, but Demetrius told us that no one really finishes this dish, even linebackers. haha. The pork chop has defeated us, but you know what, we've got delicious leftovers for the next 2 days so it's still a win! :P We were talking about what to do with the leftovers. Demetrius suggested we slice the "eye", put some pickles, cheese and mustard on it and make a killer Cubano. I was thinking the same thing! This guy is awesome. haha. Oh yea, I had the rest of my pork chop pieces for lunch yesterday and today. Still amazing after being heated up in microwave. I want MORE!!

My sister got the Seafood Symphony Kabob (a hanging presentation of blackened tuna, seared scallops, grilled shrimp, smoked salmon, and pan roasted sea bass; accompanied by a creamy ginger sauce for dipping) $39.95~ 
Available for a limited time. We thought at least 1 person should get something different. This was one of the specials Demetrius told us about. When he was describing it, we were all drooling. Sounded amazing and the presentation was so cool! It was a hanging kabob. (I apologize for the blurry pictures, it was swinging and my camera apparently didn't focus! XP) Another waiter came and removed all the pieces from the skewer. 
I only tried a bite of the sea bass. So freaking tender, it melted in my mouth. The ginger sauce was slightly sweet and tangy, a good pairing for the seafood. My bf got to try a bite of the ahi tuna, he loved it. My sister (with help from her bf) finished the entire plate. Impressive! Since she normally doesn't eat very much. Overall she said it was good but not spectacular. I guess I just got to try the best part!

Dessert Trio (vanilla bean creme brulee, Grand Marnier chocolate truffle, praline cheesecake) (normally $9~) 
This came with the pork chop deal. Cute little trio. I only ate the creme brulee because it was harder to take it home. It was really good. I typically don't order creme brulees but I'd recommend this one. You can see the specs of the vanilla bean throughout. The bruleed sugar shell on top was crunchy and added nice texture to it. My bf LOVED the creme brulee... he ate his, part of mine, and the rest of my parents' too. hahaha. He scraped those plates clean! We took the other 2 desserts to go. I had the praline cheesecake yesterday. It was super rich and decadent, that small bite was plenty for me. It was very cheesy! Almost had a hint of savoriness with how cheesy it was. Me likey. I always like some savory with my sweet! 
I just had the truffle today. It's a solid piece of dark chocolate. Really rich and so sinful. You can really taste the Grand Marnier too. A touch of citrus in the rich chocolate.

Rocky Road Bread Pudding (butterscotch bread pudding with chocolate chips in a caramel sauce, topped with candied walnuts and toasted homemade marshmallow) $9~ 
This is the reason why we took the rest of our desserts to go. I had seen a picture of this on Perry's facebook page earlier in the week and I sent it to my bf. We both said WE MUST GET IT! haha. We were pretty full but how often do we get to go to Perry's? So we said why not. :P Such an impressive looking dessert. The bread pudding was soft and gooey and full of chocolate chunks. My sister and her bf both said they normally don't like bread puddings but he kept going back for more. haha. I guess he just never had a good one! Even my mom, who normally doesn't like sweets said it was really good. My dad, my bf and I totally loved it (we are the 3 with the biggest sweet tooth.) hehe. I did wish the marshmallow was toasted even more so it had that crisp shell on the outside. Delicious and soooo photo worthy! :P We thought we'd be taking the majority home with us but actually we made it through about 3/4 of it.

What a fantastic dinner! The food was spot on. We were all stuffed! And best of all, it was one of the best service I've had in a long time. Demetrius was the perfect waiter. And he made my top 3 best service in Dallas. Ever! :) When I go back in the future I will be sure to request him if I can. Great service can make a dining experience even better even when the food is already really good.

Oh.. just a side note. Demetrius told us that the Sunday pork chop special is sharable! What?! That just makes the deal even better!! We'll definitely be back in the future.

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Monday, June 16, 2014

Victor Tangos

The birthday celebration continues! This past Saturday was my bf's bday dinner with his friends. I suggested Victor Tangos because from my experience in the past, they have an interesting menu and a pretty good bar. Also, they take reservations for large parties!

Victor Tangos
3001 N Henderson Ave.
Dallas, TX 75206
(214) 252-8595
Price: $$-$$$

FYI. Parking on Henderson is pretty much nonexistent. But they offer complimentary valet. Trust me, just do the valet. haha.

We had a party of 17 people for 7PM. Most of us arrived early and they were able to seat us earlier. When arrived, there wasn't that many other people in the restaurant. I specifically made an earlier reservation because I knew VT gets super packed. And I was right. By 7:30 the entire bar was full and the dining room was getting there. And I was surprised for a restaurant that's not that big, there were 4+ groups of more than 12 people. One group had almost 30? The place gets pretty "energetic" so it's a little hard to hear when talking across the table. But I think it's the vibe at VT that draws a lot of people in.

Some people already got drinks at the bar. After we sat down, the waitress came by for more drink orders.

(Sorry for the grainy pictures... it was really low lighting in there.)

My bf got the Pepper Smash (gin, red bell pepper, local mint, lemon, clover honey) $10~ It was quite good! Sweet, so both of us liked it. You can taste the bell pepper but it just added a fresh sweetness to it. He really liked it.

I got the Passionfruit Gimlet (vodka, fresh thyme, passion fruit, freshly squeezed lime juice, extracted pineapple) $10~ I asked them to use gin instead of vodka. It was also really good. Definitely sweet enough for me but still strong. I enjoyed it very much. But it was time we got some food in our stomachs. haha.

We later got the Peach Blossom (gin, white peaches, Japanese basil, lemon, honey) $10~ (was too busy eating so I didn't take a picture, sorry. haha) But this was my favorite out of the 3 cocktails. Peachy and refreshing. Yum.

As we were looking through the menu, I noticed there were many changes from their online menu. I hate it when that happens! Cuz usually the dish that I want is the one that's not available anymore.. Same case this time. I wanted a pork belly dish that was no longer there... Same for one of the desserts. :( So it took me awhile to finally make up my mind. Most things sounded ok, but nothing really stood out.

Ahi Tuna Nachos $15~ 
Multiple people ordered this. My bf got one too. The dishes at VT are kind of made for sharing but I wouldn't say it's tapas style or anything. The nachos were good. Crispy chips with fresh bits of tuna. I really liked the chili cream sauce and the jalapenos on top. You know I like my spicy! Seemed to be a popular dish all around. I thought it was good, but I've had better.

I ordered the Summer Vegetable "Fried" Rice (green curry, poached egg) $11~ 
The waitress told me the rice was puffed rice. It sounded so interesting! It was delicious. The presentation was nice. The contrasting colors between the white puffed rice and green curry. She instructed me to mix it all together then eat. So I broke the perfectly poached egg and mixed it all up. 
Really enjoyed it. Although the puffed rice got soft pretty quickly, the first few bites where it was still crunchy was fantastic. Lots of textures and flavors and wasn't too heavy.

I also got the Roasted Mushrooms (leeks, black garlic and pea greens) $12~ 
I didn't mean to get 2 vegetable dishes, just happened that way. But I loved both of them. This was my favorite of the night. Different types of mushrooms gave it different textures. The black garlic sealed the deal. It had such bold flavors. I even scraped up the bits of garlic and sauce and ate it with the fried rice. Mmmmmm! So good. I wish the portion size was bigger!

Here are things other people ordered...

Jar of Pickled Baby Vegetables $4~ The sourness hits you like a truck, but then slightly mellows out. Had some sweetness to it. Not my thing, but I'm not a huge fan of sour stuff in general.

Mini Crispy Carnitas Tacos $10~ 
Also a popular item at our table. And probably the most bang for your buck! It was massive. Our friends said there was like 6 tacos or something, all loaded to the brim. And they said it had lots of flavor. I think at VT you take a chance with the portion size, some things are quite filling, and some are not. But they all taste good.

Tempura Asparagus with Olive Aioli $10~ Didn't get to try but looked good.

Sweet Tea Marinated Short Ribs (with Spring garlic and cucumber salad) $24~ 
Loved the presentation on the wood platter. The bright vegetables peeking out from the charred meat. It was tasty. You can't taste the sweet tea marinade though.

Whole Market Fish (crushed lemony potatoes, crispy capers, pimenton aioli). 
This was an impressive dish. Also served on a wood platter for some added drama. hehe. It was a big piece of fish! I think I overheard someone saying it was a branzino. Normally the whole branzinos I've seen in other places are 2/3rds of this size. The fish was cooked well and had lots of flavor. Only downside.. a lot of bones. But that can also make it a fun challenge to eat! hehe.

Green Bean Panzanella (avocado green goddess, smoked trout roe) $11~ 
Pretty dish, quite small. I got to try part of the egg topped with the trout roe with the green beans. Very good. All the elements worked together well. My friend said that if you don't eat all the elements together though, it didn't really work.

Warm Sticky Toffee Cake (with mascarpone cream) $9~ 
I ordered this when I ordered the entrees and asked them to bring it out later with a candle. Holy crap! This thing is massive! I saw pictures online and knew it was big but it was at least another 30% bigger than I imagined. It was literally the size of my face! (And believe me... I got a pretty big face. hahaha.) The cake was warm and the mascarpone cream was essential to it. The bites without the cream was a bit dry. But overall a good dessert. Doesn't compare to the whiskey cake at Whiskey Cake in Plano, but was still a success with the group. We passed it around and everyone was able to take a big bite or more!

It was a good dinner. I think everyone enjoyed themselves. Some people did say they were still hungry though since some of the portions were smaller. But overall everyone said the food was tasty. The service was good too. The waitress had no problems dealing with the big group. The food came quickly and she was always around when we needed something. The water glasses were always filled. And the checks were split with no issues.

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Thursday, June 12, 2014

Bin 303 Brunch

Bin 303 only does brunch on the 2nd and last Sunday of each month so we usually miss it. But this past weekend, my bf's parents happened to be here and it was the 2nd Sunday! We jumped at the opportunity to take them to brunch. :)

Bin 303
105 Olive Street
Rockwall, Texas 75087
(972) 771-5303
Price (for brunch): $$

We arrived around 11:30AM and there were only a couple other tables taken. It was a unusually quiet day. But that's fine, that just means we get the place to ourselves! :P

Everything I've had there in the past were good but I wanted to try something else. So I got the Texan Style Bin Benedict with Hollandaise (Nueske smoked bacon, avocado, tomato, english muffin, poached egg) $13~ 
I love eggs benedict, mainly because of the hollandaise sauce, and it did not disappoint. Every part of this dish was good. Starting with the two perfectly poached eggs on top. It was glorious as I cut into it and the yolk runs out. 
I liked this twist on eggs benedict... the addition of avocado and tomato was nice. I like both of those. The avocado added another layer of richness to the dish. And the tomatoes provided freshness, I did wish there was a little bit more tomatoes. I also really liked that they cubed the English muffins so I didn't really have to cut anything. It was already bite sized! And the yolk and hollandaise soaking into the bread was delightful. It would get partially softened by the yolk and sauce but still have parts that are crunchy and toasted. Different textures, that's my thing! The roasted potatoes had that lightly burnt/crispy edges which I like. They had lots of flavor too. Went well with the eggs and English muffin. My bf really liked this too, said I had the best dish of the day.

He got Kammer's Choice of Quiche (with mixed greens and balsamic dressing) $9~ 
The quiche of the day was spinach, bell pepper and goat cheese. I'm not a fan of goat cheese so it wasn't even up for consideration for me. haha. I did try a bite though. Despite the goat cheese, which I still didn't like, the quiche texture was great. The eggy center was fluffy and the crust was buttery. The salad was good too, I liked the dressing and wasn't overpowering. He ended up trading half his plate with his mom and she cleaned the plate!

Both his parents opted for the Breakfast Quesadilla with Seasonal Fresh Fruit (eggs, cheese, bacon, potato, red pepper, onion, house roasted salsa) $10~ 
Biggest quesadillas ever. They were really loaded up with eggs, potato and bacon. I tried a few bites and it's delicious. I love any kind of breakfast burritos/tacos/quesadillas and this was good! The salsa was a nice compliment too.

It was a nice quiet brunch on a lazy Sunday. 

They certainly don't skimp on the portions here. Haven't had a bad dish at brunch yet! If you haven't been, I suggest you go. :)

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