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Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Hopdoddy Burger Bar - Addison

Ahhhhh... I can't believe I haven't really blogged about Hopdoddy yet. I've done their fries and shakes but not their awesome burgers!

We were running around looking at venues this past Saturday and realized it was time for lunch! I suggested Hopdoddy and my fiance immediately said yes, let's go. We decided to go check out the new one in Addison since it's close to the next venue visit.

Hopdoddy Burger Bar
Village on the Parkway
5100 Belt Line Road #502
Dallas, TX 75254
(972) 387-2337
Price: $$

It's in the same shopping center as the new Whole Foods on Beltline and Montfort but those familiar with that area, also knows that's a pretty freaking huge shopping center. I hadn't been since all the new shops went in so I didn't exactly know where it was. It was a beautiful day so we just parked and started walking around. We walked all the way to Whole Foods and realized it wasn't there so I called the place. She told me they were on the complete opposite end of Whole Foods, by the AMC theater. I had no idea where the theater is either haha. But we just started walking to the other side.

Finally we found it! And there was a line... not really a surprise. But it was almost 2pm by then. The line wasn't too far out the door so we decided to wait. I wasn't hungry when we arrived but was close to starving when we got to the register. haha. It gave me plenty of time to decide what I wanted though. I couldn't decide between 3 options.

You order at the counter, but while in line, someone comes and assigns you a table number. We chose to sit outside cuz it was so nice! The Luther Lane location doesn't have any outdoor seating but the Addison one has lots! :) And then they bring your food to your table. And everyone's so friendly there! From the guy that's directing the line, to the girl at the register, and the guys that bring your food out to you.

I ended up with the Goodnight/Good Cause (Angus Beef, Tillamook Cheddar, Hickory BBQ Sauce, Caramelized Onions, Sliced Jalapenos & Sassy Sauce) $8.25~ 
And it was for a good cause (hence the name!). $1 from each sale is donated to Heroes for Children to help families affected by childhood cancer. Sassy sauce is their house blend of horseradish, mayo, and honey mustard. I really liked it! I asked for the BBQ sauce on the side which was a good move because it didn't really need it. I'm not a huge fan of bbq sauce so I thought I'd be cautious. Their burgers are LEGIT!! So freaking good. The meat was cooked perfectly. I love the slices of jalapenos, although I could've used more. I dipped my burger in sriracha for some added heat. hehe. I love the buns...buttery, soft, with a slight crispy edge. It held up the the meat and sauce inside very well! And their burgers are always so delicious yet not too greasy. I finished the whole thing and didn't feel heavy or stuffed. I wanted MORE!! :P

My fiance already knew what he was going to get. It's his absolute favorite! Ahi Tuna Burger (Sushi-Grade Tuna, Sprouts, Teriyaki, Honey Wasabi, Nori Chips, Pickled Ginger, Mayo) $12.25~ 
I have to say, this is one of the best burgers ever. And it doesn't even have beef!! And everyone I know that's tried it says it's their favorite. Isn't it beautiful? Other than the perfectly seared ahi tuna, my favorite is the nori chips, basically fried seaweed. There's so much flavor and texture in this burger. The ahi tuna is super fresh. He got the mayo on the side, which it doesn't even need mayo... the wasabi was plenty good. Totally worth the wait.

They gave out samples of the Chocolate Stout milkshake to the people in line so we decided to get shakes as well.

He got the Chocolate Stout Shake $5.50~ (left) He's the target market when people give out samples cuz he will buy what he just tried. haha. And this is yummy.

Nutella & Chocolate Pretzel Shake $5.50~ (right) Me, on the other hand, I try a sample of something and then I wanna get something else, so I can try another flavor. hehe. This is my favorite shake here. You got the salty sweet between the pretzel and chocolate. And NUTELLA!! Who doesn't like nutella? There's sooo much crushed pretzels in there, so much crunch. I love it. Use a spoon!! You get more stuff that way. And check out that glop of nutella on the side of my cup there... You know I scooped that up for my first bite! :P

One of my absolute favorite burger places in Dallas. I'm happy they have multiple locations now! Bring one to Rockwall please!! There's always a line, but it moves fairly fast and trust me, it's worth the wait.

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Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Origin Kitchen + Bar

My wedding planning has officially commenced, y'all! Last Saturday was my very first bridal show... I went with a friend of mine who is getting married this fall and some of her bridesmaids. Mine isn't until mid 2016 so I've only just begun. And it's only been a week so far... I'm already stressed! Venues are soooo expensive! XP We'll see what happens, I guess. I just know we gotta have some damn good food!! haha.

Anyways, this is about food, not the planning. The bridal show was in the afternoon so we decided to go for Sunday brunch beforehand. My friend told me that she started a cleanse so she can't have any meat and sugar for several days. So I suggested Origin. I've been wanting to go there for awhile and they seem to have healthier options.

Origin Kitchen + Bar
4438 Mckinney Ave. Ste. 150
Dallas, TX 75205
(214) 484-3970
Price (for brunch): $$

I made a reservation for 6 of us at 11:30AM on Sunday. Good thing I did, cuz the place was pretty packed when we got there and by the time we got our food, the bar was overflowing with people waiting for a table. It's a pretty small space with an open kitchen and bar. I really liked the decor...lots of wood, rustic... that whole farm-to-table feel that became so popular lately. I really like that vibe.

Our waiter was really nice. He gave some suggestions to my friend who was on the strict diet and helped her pick out a dish. Everything sounded so good...we all had a hard time choosing what to order.

I had so many options to choose from but decided on The Diamond Head (blackened salmon, basil pesto, arugula, lemon aioli, toasted ciabatta, choice of side) $15~ For my side I ordered the Brussels Sprouts (normally $5~)
To be honest, having the ability to choose a side to go with my dish helped me make my decision cuz I really wanted the brussels sprouts. haha. And they were delicious. Charred perfectly... I still don't know how restaurants char their brussels sprouts cuz I can never get it to that level. The salmon comes in ciabatta but I saw on Yelp that someone got it in a pita. I asked the waiter and he says they can totally do that. It was so good! The salmon was cooked well, had so much flavor. The pita was warm and soft. The basil pesto and lemon aioli paired so well with everything. I was hoping I could take some to go but I finished everything! It was a good size too cuz I was full but not exploding. When we got the check I did notice there was a $1 extra charge for getting the brussels sprouts. The menu didn't indicate the upcharge and neither did the waiter when we ordered, but he told me later that because the brussels sprouts was a dollar more than the other sides, there's an extra $1 charge. Hmmm.. wish I had known that. But I don't think that would've really changed my order. Still, after tax and tip... I didn't think I'd spend over $20... 

My friend on the cleanse got the Seasonal Hash Bowl (two eggs your way, sweet potato, apple, bacon, toasted sunflower seed, dried currants, golden raisins) $8~ She had them replace the bacon with avocado so she can stay on track. It was a big portion. The sweet potatoes were cooked well. She really enjoyed it.

Man Cakes (Berkshire pork tenderloin, buttermilk pancakes, eggs your way, jalapeno jelly) $15~ This sounded amazing. I think the girl who ordered this was expecting a big portion. I think we all were. I mean... with a name like "Man Cakes" I want it to be a manly portion! It was pretty small. When they brought it to the table we all looked down and kinda laughed. She said it was good though. She finished it all and then ate the rest of her friend's dish. haha.

The King (vanilla French toast, rum spiced caramel, grilled banana, sea salt almond butter mousse, bacon) $15~ This looked awesome. We were all wishing we ordered it when it came. I got to try a bite. Yummmm! I loved the almond butter mousse. The toast was done well too. I'd get this next time I go.

Wake Up Omelette (chorizo, pickled jalapeno, Dallas mozzarella, avocado lime creme, frites) $12~ Looked like a pretty standard omelette... a little small, but my friend said it was tasty. The fries were really good. We couldn't stop eating them.

It was a great meal. I think everyone liked what they ordered. It took a while for the food to come out though, I wonder if that is normal since they were really busy. And most of the dishes came out at the same time except one... But we weren't in a rush so no worries. I'll definitely go back!

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Monday, January 26, 2015

Opa Greek Taverna

My fiance recently told me about a Greek restaurant that was close to Rockwall. We decided to check it out last weekend. It's in Rowlett...only about 15 minutes away from us.

Opa Greek Taverna
3801 Lakeview Parkway, Suite 600
Rowlett, TX 75088
(469) 443-0508
Price: $$

Once we got there, I realized I had driven past this place many times and didn't think anything of it. It's not a big place. We didn't think to call ahead or reserve on a Friday night so when we got there, they were full. Luckily there were 2 seats open at the bar. We asked them to let us know when something opens up.

The bartender greeted us, he was really friendly. My fiance looked at the cocktail menu and decided to try Poseidon's Punch (served in a 32 oz. mason jar; 1 1/4 oz. shots of Bacardi Silver, Bacardi Gold, and Blue Curacao; mixed with orange juice and another shot of Bacardi 151) $9.99~ 
I wasn't really planning on drinking so I didn't really read the description that closely. So when the bartender started making it... I was like "whoa!!!" It was a massive mason jar. My fiance was in shock too. haha. He said he read the "32 oz." but didn't fully realize how much that is. It was a really pretty and colorful drink with a whole lotta booze in it. He liked it but it was too strong for me so I couldn't help much. We only made it through about half of the jar. Definitely for sharing!

As we were getting ready to order at the bar, the hostess told us there was a table open for us. It was an awkwardly placed table right in front of the entrance, I felt like it was out of place. And it was cold... We sat there looking at the menu some more, even though we were ready to order, and no one ever came to greet us. We didn't even have waters yet. So finally we flagged down a waitress. It didn't seem like it was her table but she was very apologetic and went to get some waters for us. Then she came back and took our orders. The serviced picked up from there. She was really friendly. I noticed that a booth opened up and asked if we could move over there. It was much better, no cold breeze when the front door opened and closed.

Falafel (crushed garbanzo beans, parsley, and spices all rolled together, fried, and served with Tzatziki sauce) $5.49~ 
We got this as an appetizer but somehow it was served last. It was nice and hot though so I guess they were making it from scratch? The falafels had a nice crispy crust. I've had better, but we enjoyed it.

I went with the Moussaka (layers of eggplant, potatoes, seasoned ground beef, topped with a creamy Bechamel and tomato sauce) $11.89~ 
It was highly recommended by the bartender when we were at the bar. This is one of the only dishes where I'll eat eggplant. Usually I hate it. It was fantastic. Lots of flavor, tons of meat and eggplant and the sauce was great. Their pita bread on the side was warm and pillowy. Great dish...and I haven't had Greek food in a long time! Hit the spot.

Original Gyros Platter (layers of lamb and beef thinly sliced off the rotisserie; served with pita bread and Tzatziki sauce; with choice of one side: Greek Roasted Potatoes) $11.99~ 
Initially he was gonna get the gyro pita but changed his mind because this had more food. Again, Greek is the only time I'll eat lamb... I love gyro meat. I can't taste the lamby-ness at all. The meat was super tender. It was so good with the pita bread. I also love Greek potatoes. Nice and soft, lots of flavor. Another great dish.

Galaktoboureko (warm custard wrapped in phyllo, baked until golden, smothered in homemade syrup) $5.99~ 
We decided to try this dessert partly because the name was just so hard to pronounce. haha. The description also sounded delicious. It was fresh out of the oven/fryer, whatever they did. Super crispy on the outside, sweet and sticky from the syrup, and soft custard inside. Lots of textures. Yum. And it was big too! We took a third of it to go cuz we got too much food... as usual. :P

What a great find! I absolutely love Greek food and now there's a good one close to us. :) I have a feeling we'll be going back there soon.

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Tuesday, January 6, 2015

NYE Eve @ Roy's

I kinda wrote this out of order... but oh wellz.

For NYE Eve, my fiance and I went to Roy's... our favorite place for special occasions. :) Also because they recently put out a new prix fixe menu which sounded awesome! We already had plans for NYE to eat dinner with my parents, so this was our fancy night out.

Roy's - Plano
2840 Dallas Parkway
Plano, TX 75093
(972) 473-6263
Price: $$$$+

We arrived early for our 6PM reservation... we're old farts.. I know. :P I prefer to eat dinner pretty early. The place was pretty packed when we got there. So he went to the bar and hit up the happy hour while we waited for our table. Their hh goes until 6:30 or 7PM everyday. :)

Soon we got seated. Our waitress was super nice, as usual. We rarely have bad service here. And we already knew what we wanted to order.

We got the normal edamame with shichimi for the table. But they also brought out some compliments from the kitchen: Fried Duck Dumplings
Oooooo! Amuse-bouches are not standard here... although I've had a few since I've been there so much. The plate was so cute! The outside was fried nicely and the inside was creamy and rich. It was a good little bite. :)

We came here to try the new Creative Northeast Asia Prix Fixe menu. The 3 course meal is $36.95~ (not including tax or tip).

We started with the Grilled Filet Mignon Yakitori (shoyu, cucumber, yuzu kosho). 
It was a pretty big appetizer I thought. And although I found the meat to be a little underseasoned, it was sooooo tender. I was about to cut it with a knife, but it was completely unnecessary. Super super tender!!

Pumpkin Seed Crusted Ahi (kabocha squash dumplings, bok choy, citrus emulsion). 
The plating was very pretty and colorful...but not a big portion. The tuna was fresh and I liked the pumpkin seed crust. The kabocha dumplings were pretty good, similar to gnocchi in texture I'd say. But the plate lacked seasoning overall. It was very light in taste. I wish there was more sauce than that little smear in the middle of the plate. However, my fiance had a genius plan. He asked for extra wasabi cream sauce that they use in the Misoyaki Butterfish (which I ordered for myself) and it was awesome. That sauce can go on anything! The manager came over at one point and we got to chatting and he actually said he's put that sauce on mashed potatoes before! Sounds divine!

Apple Tasting (five spice cake, bruleed apples, apple gelee, caramel sauce). 
Since we got a dessert with the prix fixe, we didn't order another one. When the waitress brought it, I was like "whoa!" It's a pretty big cake! And it was very pretty, I loved the different types of apple chips, bruleed apples, and apple skin? on top. She did say the skin was more for decoration... may not be good to eat. We both really liked the bruleed apples with the crunchy layer of burnt sugar on top. I also really liked the gelee and sauce, gave the cake the moisture it desperately needed. I can totally taste the five spice and I liked the flavors overall, but the cake itself was too dry. And there wasn't enough sauce to make it better. I think a bit more caramel sauce, maybe a few dollops of whipped cream would work wonders. Or even better... a scoop of vanilla ice cream. Mmmm. Just a thought. :P

Of course I got the Misoyaki "Butterfish" (Alaskan Black Cod, baby bok choy, furikake rice) $34.60~ It's my absolute favorite, can never go wrong. The fish was melt in your mouth tender. And the sauce is always amaze-balls and the green is gorgeous on the plate. Thumbs wayyy up!

Ohh.. and the cherry on top... the couple in the table next to ours gave us a $25 off coupon as they were leaving. They got 2 in the mail and said one was to give to a "friend". Thanks friends!! It definitely made our night even better. :)

Another great meal. Everyone was so friendly, the food was good.... my butterfish still trumps all! Can't wait to go back again. Maybe I'll try something new next time... haha.

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Monday, January 5, 2015

New Year's Day Brunch @ Savor Gastropub

Happy New Year everyone! Hope you all had an awesome holidays/vacation/staycation/etc...

So we had some crazy cold front come on NYE eh? Kinda sucks but my friends and I stayed in and had a house party. It was a great time. New Year's day was just cold and dreary as ever. I think it's nature telling us all that vacation is over and back to real life we go. Booooo. And perfect weather to stay in and sleep. But I had a friend in town and we planned to meet up for a late brunch. Luckily, the roads didn't freeze and traffic was very light. It didn't take long for us to get to our destination.

Savor Gastropub
2000 Woodall Rodgers Freeway
Dallas, TX 75201
(214) 306-5597
Price (for brunch): $$

I've wanted to try Savor's brunch for awhile now so I suggested it to her. Plus they take reservations. Yay. So we met there at 1PM. Parking there is pretty sparse, plus it was cold and wet, so I opted for valet. It's complimentary, so why not. It was pretty quiet in there. I guess most people decided to stay home. We were seated after everyone arrived. The restaurant was quite cold... since the entire place is glass windows. haha. But once we got some food in us, it was better.

My fiance ordered the Short Rib Tortilla Hash (short rib, fingerling, salsa verde, sunny-side up egg, chipotle hollandaise) $17~ 
I wanted to try that one too. The portion was quite big. He just cut up the egg and mixed everything together. It was yummy. The short rib was super tender. I liked all the flavors. It was a very comforting dish...good for a cold day like New Year's day. The tortilla was already mixed in, so it was pretty soggy. I wish they would've topped it, so it would be crunchy to start with. Other than that, I'd totally have this again.

I decided to keep it lighter. I got the Farro Salad (charred red onions, cherry tomato, pine nuts, basil mint vinaigrette) $13~ 
It was more like a plate of farro, than a salad. There was one big leaf of lettuce under all this. hahaha. But I didn't mind. The farro has incredible chewy texture. The flavors were light but not at all bland. And I loved the basil mint vinaigrette. Not heavy, but a little is enough to add great flavor to everything.

Brussels Sprouts (with bacon) $13~ 
I remembered the first time we came, their Brussels sprouts were really good. I didn't see it on the brunch menu so I asked the waitress if we can still order it. She says usually it's only available for dinner service... but she'll check with the kitchen. And YES! They'll do it!! :) It's considered an appetizer, that's why its $13. But it's a pretty big portion. I'd say about x3 what other places serve as sides. So the price balances out. Delicious!! The bacon gave just enough meat for my meatless farro salad. I'll probably order this every time I go.

Deviled Eggs (pepper relish, spiced pecan brittle) $8~ One friend ordered this to start. It was a very pretty plate. And it was very good. I really liked the spiced pecan brittle on top, added a crunchy texture.

He also got the Chicken Fried Steak (bacon and maple gravy, crispy breakfast potatoes, over-easy eggs) $19~ 
I got a bite of the chicken fried steak. It was pretty good, but in that bite I felt like maybe the meat was a little overcooked? I can't fully remember since there were so many other dishes and flavors going on all at once. He seemed to enjoy it though since he cleaned his plate. hehe.

Lemon Ricotta Stuffed French Toast (brioche, blueberry jam, spiced pecan brittle) $14~ 
Another friend ordered this. It was what I wanted... but opted for a healthier route. The waiter had said it was his favorite on the menu. It was so pretty... and looked AMAZING. And it tasted AMAZING! The whole thing was like a cloud, so fluffy!! The brioche was light and airy, the lemon ricotta filling was fluffy. Nothing was overly sweet, so it wasn't heavy at all! I ended up eating a fourth of her dish. hahaha. :P Oh man... next time I go, I'm totally getting that!!

Fried Chicken Salad (romaine, cheddar, cucumber, avocado, spiced pecans, tomato, honey mustard dressing) $16~ I didn't try any of this. Seems pretty standard... But there are lots of big chunks of fried chicken. :)

Nicoise Salad (coriander seared tuna, saffron aioli, olive tapenade, tomato, deviled egg, mixed greens) $19~ I didn't try this either but it looked really good. My fiance was sad that he didn't see that this had seared tuna in it.. his fav. hehe. My friend said it was good, but the salad part had a bit too much dressing, so he didn't finish that.

It was a wonderful brunch despite the yucky weather outside. I got to see people I haven't seen in over a year! Tried a new place for brunch and loved it! So far 2015 is looking pretty positive. :) And Savor is such a cool looking restaurant, definitely a good place to people-watch when the weather is nice.

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