CHOMP! Views

Monday, August 31, 2015

Tom + Chee

2 weeks ago we had a work outing to check out the new grilled cheese restaurant in the new Richardson CityLine. I've been keeping up to date with the opening of this place with a few of my co-workers. We finally planned for a day to go. Hopefully by now the initial rush has died down a little. We had a fairly large group of 9 people. 

Tom + Chee
1251 State St.
Richardson, TX 75082
(972) 677-7482
Price: $

Tom + Chee was originally from Cincinnati and after being picked up on Shark Tank (an ABC show), they expanded rapidly across the nation. They use fresh ingredients, roast their own meats, and makes all the sauces from scratch. They have gluten-free and vegetarian options.

We were all super excited. None of us had been there before. We arrived around 11:45AM on a Tuesday. There was a line, but it wasn't super long and moved fairly fast. The dining area was pretty full but we got lucky and secured a table. I guess most of the people in line were waiting for to-go orders. Worked out for us! Everyone went up to the counter and ordered. They give you a number and bring the food to your table.

Almost everyone got something different so lots of pictures to see! :)

The Tom + Chee (diced tomato, garlic seasoning, mozzarella, cheddar, hardy white) $4.95~ Plus Diced Bacon +$2~ Already sounds great on its own, but bacon makes everything better! She absolutely loved it.

Pesto Turkey (roasted turkey, pesto, mozzarella, hardy white) $5.95~ She subbed ham for the roasted turkey. I tried a bite of this. I think this was my favorite savory sandwich of the day, and I'm usually not a fan of ham. The pesto was awesome. I'd totally get this next time! (But with turkey... hehe.)

Grilled Mac + Chee (mac & cheese, cheddar, hardy white) $5.95~ Plus Potato Chip Crunch +$0.50~ 
They have a "crunch" section on the menu that has different flavored chips in every sandwich, but you can also make any sandwich a "crunch" by adding chips. I felt the chips were necessary in the Grilled Mac + Chee because it adds texture. The mac n cheese itself was very good but I would recommend adding chips and maybe bacon! :P

Ham + Chee (ham, pickle, american, hardy white) $5.95~ Simple, to the point. Tasty.

BBQ + Bacon Crunchy Grilled Cheese (bbq potato chips, bacon, american, hardy white) $6.45~ This thing was LOADED with bacon. I didn't get to try but my boss loved it.

Italian Crunchy Grilled Cheese (salt & vinegar chips, pepperoni, ham, mozzarella, hardy white) $6.45~ Plus Soup Dipper (a small soup to dip your grilled cheese in) +$1~ 
He chose the Classic Tomato soup. This was good, I liked the salt & vinegar chips addition. But I felt the pepperoni and ham combo was a tad too salty for my preference. I did not get to experience the sandwich dipped in soup combo, but my co-worker said the soup was good.

Crunchy Garlic Chicken (roasted chicken, grilled onion, diced tomato, sweet hot mustard, garlic seasoning, parmesan garlic chips, pepper jack, wheat berry) $6.45~ This was my other choice, but I ended up not getting it. It's pretty loaded. Looked awesome. I may try this one too next time. hehe.

Smoked Brisket (hardy white, cheddar, bbq sauce, pickles, red onion) $6.95~ 
This was mine. It was the special for the day. Since it's not always on the menu, I knew I had to try it. The brisket wasn't what I expected... it made me think more of sliced roast beef? But was still moist. A little too much bbq sauce, but then again, I never like much sauce. But overall was really yummy. The bread was nice and crisp but still soft. Mmmmm!! I would order it again and just get a little less sauce. And it wasn't that heavy, surprisingly. I ate half of mine, and then a bite or two of 4 other ones. AND a little bit of dessert. And I wasn't overstuffed!

OF COURSE we had to try their donut grilled cheeses! I think we were there more for the dessert than the other food. haha.

The Fat Elvis Grilled Cheese Donut (fresh banana, peanut butter mascarpone, mozzarella, marshmallow, bacon, donut) $4.95~ 
This was also the special of the day. It's like The King, but with marshmallow and bacon. We shared this among 4 people. It was so goooood! The peanut butter mascarpone was rich and creamy but wasn't super thick like just pb. The bacon added a smokiness, it was awesome. We all loved it.

S'more Grilled Cheese Donut (chocolate pieces, graham cracker, marshmallow mascarpone, donut) $4.95~ Another co-worker got this. I got to try a teeny bite. This donut was grilled to perfection.. you can see the color on it. It was yummy too, but the Fat Elvis won it for me.

We had a great lunch. Everyone raved about the food. The service was great too. You'd think with a "fast-food" type set up there wouldn't be much service. But they were constantly cleaning off tables, came around a few times to make sure we were enjoying everything. Just very friendly and hospitable. I can't wait to go back again. I have so many more things to try!

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Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Ida Claire

I've been anxiously awaiting the opening of Ida Claire. It's the latest addition to Addison by the owners of Whiskey Cake (one of my favs), Mexican Sugar, and The Ranch in Las Colinas (still on my list to visit). It's got a Southern base.. with some other influences. I love me some Southern food!

Ida Claire
5001 Belt Line Rd.
Dallas, TX 75254
(214) 377-8227
Price: $$$-$$$$

Before they even opened, I emailed and made a reservation for a party of 10 for mid August. Instead of going to Restaurant Week this year, I decided to try the many new restaurants in DFW that's on my list. Was anyone else bored by the RW list btw?? They need to add some new places to it... I've already been to most of the ones I wanna go. :-/

We arrived 5 minutes past our reservation. The parking lot was packed so we did the complimentary valet. They got a pretty cool system going too. Instead of giving you a ticket you can lose later, they text you with a link. When you are ready for your car, just follow the directions on the link and the car's waiting for you. No more waiting around the valet stand! Most of our group was already at the bar. And we were seated as soon as we walked in.

The place was packed and very energetic. The decor is very eclectic. Reminded me of Whiskey Cake but even more stuff on the walls, etc. The menu cover looked like a old-style story book. That's cute. It's like Sunday supper at your grandma's. hehe. When you see the food, take notes of some of the plates... very homey and old fashioned.

It took us awhile to chit chat and look through the menu until we finally ordered some appetizers. I was starving!!

Crawfish Corn Fritters (smoked mustard remoulade) $8~ These were yum. Stuffed full of corn and crawfish. The outside was fried nicely. It had a kick to it too... not sure what spice the put in it.

Sweet Potato Chip Duck Confit (goat cheese fondue, duck fat gravy, sunny side up duck egg) $11~ 
Totally NOT a fondue... I think that word was misleading. And you know me... I don't like goat cheese. Luckily, it was just in large chunks so I can eat around it. The sweet potato chips were good, but I didn't think it was a good base for the duck (which was tender and tasty). It would've been better on a bed of sweet potato hash or something. It was like weird nachos... But I still liked everything except the goat cheese.

Southern Tasting Board (turducken terrine, southern sausage, farm ham, pimento cheese, smoked mustard, jam, crackers) $13~ I didn't get to try everything but the turducken terrine was tasty! I also tried the pickled okra which was good.

Pecan Wood Roasted Oysters (french quarter butter, bacon, buttered breadcrumbs, wilted kale) $10~ 
You get 5 to an order. I liked the presentation. I'm normally not an oyster fan, but I do prefer them cooked vs raw. These were fantastic! I'd say the best apps we got. It had so much flavor, and lots of texture from the breadcrumbs and bacon. The kale was a nice touch too. I'll certainly eat 2 dozens of these!

On to the entrees. Mostly everyone got something different so lots of pictures to see!

Chicken in a Biscuit (crispy chicken, peppered bacon gravy, spinach, roasted tomato, sunny egg) $10~ 
This is definitely a "knife & fork biscuit" as stated by the menu. This was mine. Since it's a Southern restaurant I really wanted to try the fried chicken and gravy... and biscuits. hahaha. It was huge!!! The egg on top was nice and runny once I cut into it. It was delicious. 
All the elements were great and the kale salad on the side was a nice refreshing compliment. The biscuit was fluffy (I only made it through the bottom half). The chicken was moist and nicely fried. I wish the gravy had a bit more pepper. But honestly, ever since I had the sausage gravy at Jacob's Pickles in NYC, nothing else has yet to live up to it. XP I got some tabasco and the dish was complete. I thoroughly enjoyed myself.

My fiance got the Tea Braised Pork Shank (whipped celery root mash, brussels sprouts, tomato, lardons, spiced tea gravy) $18~ 
Actually, I told him to get this. hahaha. But he loved it. The shank was huge and suuuuper fork tender. It just slid off the bone. Loved the brussels sprouts, of course. We took almost half of this to go!

BBQ Shrimp (gulf shrimp, Orleans BBQ butter, mirliton slaw, spiced mustard remoulade) $13~ Another knife and fork biscuit. Looked great!

Blackened Shrimp Frisee (gulf shrimp, pickled garlic, asiago, white anchovy, bacon vinaigrette) $13~ I got a bite of this... the vinaigrette was really good!

Bird of Paradise (pecan grilled half chicken, wild mushrooms, kale, cipollinis, local peas, hen jus) $14~ The skin on that bird looked amazing! I loved the color contrast on the plate too. Didn't get to try but was told it's good.

Chicken & Waffles (crispy 1/4 chicken, cornmeal waffle, chicory coffee maple syrup, hot sauce butter, chili dusted watermelon) $12~ The 1/4 chicken seemed a bit small after seeing all the other dishes. haha. My friend said it was really good.

Shrimp & Grits (Texas prawns, lardons, gristmill parmesan grits, sauce piquant) $18~ Apparently recommended by the bartender. My friend loved it. Cleaned his plate. It did look mighty tasty.

Wagyu Sirloin Steak (8 oz. A Bar N Wagyu, cast iron ponzu okra salad, wild mushrooms, shallot, ginger pan jus) $26~ I got a bite of the steak. Cooked well, really tender. Yummy mushrooms too.

Pimento Mac N' Cheese $4~ So. Freaking. Good. The pasta was cooked well. It wasn't smothered in cheese. One of my favorites of the night.

Brussels & Blistered Tomatoes $5~ I didn't eat this since my fiance had brussels sprouts in his dish. I'm assuming they're about the same.

Going in, I knew I had to save room for dessert because I already knew which cake I wanted. haha. But my entree was so good I ate all of it... But still, dessert!

Ida's Vice Cake (stout cake, tobacco simple syrup, coffee buttercream, smoked-candied bacon, ganache) $7~ 
OMG... just look at this. It's beautiful. And I love sweet and savory so I was very excited. First bite, I went for the back side where the bottom was decorated with bacon bits. The cake was moist, the coffee buttercream was smooth and the ganache was oh so good. The bacon? Super smokey... which is good I guess. But it really wasn't doing the cake any flavors. It can do without the bacon actually. It's plenty good on its own, the bacon flavor actually overwhelms it. But luckily the bacon doesn't cover the entire cake. So not completely what I expected but still very good. I'd eat it again.

Bartender's Cake (butter cake, spiced pecans, brown sugar cream cheese frosting) $7~ Good, but the chocolate cake was better. The cream cheese frosting on this though... on point! I can just eat that on its own. haha.

I wish they had a few more dessert options but I guess 2 is good too, so I wouldn't want to order too much. haha. It was a great meal, and lovely time catching up with friends. I will definitely be back. Yummy food, big portions, cool ambiance and good service. I've heard the cocktails are good too... and strong.

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Lekka Cafe & Gifts

I was meeting up with a friend for dinner a couple weeks ago. I suggested Lekka since I've been meaning to go try it. One of my friends told me it's really good and the reviews online were also great. It's where Obzeets used to be, and they've got a pretty awesome patio. Now... we just need cooler weather!

Lekka Cafe & Gifts
17606 Preston Rd.
Dallas, TX 75252
(972) 735-8425
Price: $$

I was meeting my friend at 6:30PM, but I decided to go there early and do some work. I arrived around 4:30PM and decided to get dessert first. :P I've heard amazing things about their cakes and pies as well. The dessert case was pretty sparse that day, but everything they had in there looked good.

I decided to get a slice of the Banana Caramel Pecan Pie $6~ And a cup of hot tea. 
An elderly gentleman at the restaurant was telling me that their desserts are the best and they don't skimp on the portions. Soon after, the waitress brought my pie, and O.M.G... it was like 2 slices of pie as one. O.O WHOA!! This thing was massive and so amazing looking. I think I almost cried! haha. And it sure was tasty! The loads of caramel made it a tad too sweet for me, but pairing it with a hot tea was great. I had to will myself to stop eating since I was still having dinner! :P

Once my friend arrived, we perused the menu. It was still Happy Hour! And she got an appetizer.
Warm Artichoke Dip (blend of cheese, spinach, artichokes; served with tortilla chips and salsa) $5~ It was a lot of food. The dip was cheesy and gooey. Can't say I've had an artichoke dip I haven't liked yet. haha.

She ordered the Veggie Tramezzini (mozzarella, spinach, artichokes, roasted red pepper) $9~ 
A tramezzini is a grilled Stuffed Pita Bread. All tramezzinis are served with side house salad or Ribbon Fries. My friend chose the fries since the waitress recommended it. It was a lot of food. With a huge side of fries. The tramezzini was good and so were the fries. She said it reminded her of Arby's fries. Me? I like pretty much anything fried and these fries were perfectly crispy, and can still taste the potato.

I got the Texan Tramezzini (fiesta blend, pico de gallo, guacamole, grilled chicken; served with salsa for dipping) $10~ With Side House Salad and house vinaigrette. 
This is basically a loaded quesadilla. There was plenty of chicken and cheese. The outside was nice and crisp. Yum! I'd totally get this again.

We had a good time. The food portions were large and quality was good. I had half to go for my lunch the next day. The service was good too and decor is very eclectic. They have a store section where you can buy stuff, and the big, covered patio in the back.

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