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Thursday, October 19, 2017

Thai Style High Tea @ Bangkok on Beltline

I love afternoon tea, high tea, any kind of tea + dessert type events where you can relax, eat, and hang out with your friends. :) I went to a few tea places while I was in Vietnam in August, so it was fresh on my mind. So me and another blogger friend of mine decided to take action and actually plan one. We were searching for some options of places to go when I came across someone's Instagram post on the tea at Bangkok on Beltline. Now this was already on my radar, but I had for some reason forgotten about it. They only have high tea on Saturdays from 2-4PM and it's by reservation only because they have to prep all the goodies. The date we had planned was a Saturday so this worked out perfectly. And to our luck, the PR company for Bangkok saw my comment to that post and reached out. Yay!

Bangkok on Beltline - Thai High Tea
100 S Central Expy #108
Richardson, TX 75080
(469) 930-9755
http://www.bangkokatbeltline.com/
Price: $35 per person

Most of the group were already food bloggers so now we are being hosted! Woohoo!! All of us got half off the regular price. It was great, since we were initially planning this as just a casual outing with friends. Yay. Thank you so much for hosting us, Bangkok on Beltline and Red iD Agency!!

I had seen pictures, but it was even prettier in person. We arrived on Saturday and the table was decked out with three 3 tiered tea trays FILLED with beautiful and colorful creations. I think it took us a full 30 minutes to get all of our photos taken... haha. Food bloggers, amiright? :P

We then met the owner of the restaurant and he proceeded to explain all the different items and the progression of the tea service.

We started with the Bottom Tier and work our way up. It has all the savory items. It is also paired with a Chinese Green Tea. With unlimited refills. I think I had 4 cups of this. I drink a lot of tea.. haha. Especially when I'm eating sweets too. The tea is light and unsweetened. There are sugar cubes for those who wanted sweetness.
Pad Thai Croissant. What a creative combination! East meets West. I wished the pad thai was warm, but I think that's kind of hard to do since the tea trays have to be prepared before the party arrives. Also... we took forever taking pictures. haha. The pad thai had a sweetness to it which I wouldn't have liked if I was eating it for dinner, but since this is mainly pastries and desserts, it worked well with the buttery croissant.
Chicken Satay Sandwich. This was my favorite. It had really great flavor. Almost a curry flavor in there.
Yellow Curry Puffs (filled with potato). This was also really good. The crust was flaky, not dry. The potato had good flavor. I'm assuming this is a vegetarian friendly item.

Middle Tier:
This one is paired with Chrysanthemums Tea, one of my favorite teas of all time. When I go to dim sum, I ALWAYS have to order this. It's a flower, and you can definitely get the florally fragrance when you sip it. I lost count on how many cups I had of this one. haha.
This tier had most of the Asian influenced desserts.
Black Rice Pudding (with coconut milk, palm seed jelly on top). Reminded me of all those Asian desserts I grew up eating. I enjoyed the rice pudding texture and I love coconut milk. Can't say I've had palm seed jelly before though. Yay for trying new things!
Rice Crackers with Caramel Coconut Sauce. The rice crackers were Asian style... so there's basically no sweetness to it. Just the slight nuttiness from the rice. If you are expecting a rice crispies treat, this ain't it. You can spread some of the caramel sauce over the rice crackers. The sauce itself was quite interesting. It was almost more savory than sweet... reminded me a bit like peanut sauce in Vietnamese/Thai cuisine.
Sticky Rice (with Thai Coconut Custard). I still don't fully know what all is in this. But the sticky rice was inside a layer of pastry or something. I liked this a lot, especially the coconut custard.

Top Tier:
Unsweet Thai Tea was served with this tier. I was curious to try it because I've never had Thai tea without the condensed milk or sugar... I really liked it. It almost tasted sweet on its own without adding sugar. It went really well with this tier. Actually all of the teas were paired really well with their respective tiers. I was quite impressed!
Pistachio and Raspberry Macarons. Beautifully made macarons. The colors were so pretty with the Matcha Tiramisu. The textures of both macarons were both really good. I especially loved the pistachio's flavor.
Green Tea Tiramisu (with red bean). This was the favorite of the group. Not only was it beautiful, it was delicious. The matcha cream had a rich matcha taste. I was surprised to find a layer of red bean in there, which added an interesting texture. Again, this is where the Asian influences play into a typical dessert. Definitely one of the best desserts in the display. I wished I could've taken some home... but it was in a glass so I couldn't.

We also got some of their signature Flower Sesame Cookies. These are light and crispy and really cool looking!

We were all stuffed! Some people couldn't even finish all of the different items. A few of the girls came in and scoffed at the amount of food saying they were still gonna be hungry after. They ate their words. It was a lot. I would recommend eating a very light lunch or none at all before you go to high tea in general. You'd be surprised how much little sandwiches and cakes can fill you up! Plus you're drinking a ton of tea. Well, at least I was. I had to go to the bathroom twice!! haha. I think I drank well over 10 cups total.

We had SO MUCH FUN! It was a super unique experience with the Thai inspired flavors. I've definitely never had a tea experience like this before. For the price point, this is a great value in Dallas for high tea. Most other places I know are at least $50+ a person. I highly recommend you try this. Great for a girls' day out, or a bridal shower. I'd even do this for a birthday party! :)

Thanks again for hosting us!! :)

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~~ CHOMP CHOMP ~~

Monday, October 9, 2017

City Hall Bistro at The Adolphus Hotel

I was super psyched about my visit to City Hall Bistro. Like counting down the days excited! I had seen pictures from other bloggers of the interior as well as the food and both looked amazing. I didn't even realize The Adolphus Hotel had done such an extensive renovation recently. I can't say I remember what it used to look like since the last time I was there was at least 8 years ago to dine at The French Room (which JUST reopened on 10/4, btw.) But the newly updated hotel is beautiful! Lots of deep, bold colors, and velvet. According to my friend velvet is back in? This is why I'm a food blogger, not fashion or design. haha. Anyways... I'm rambling. We arrived for dinner on a Monday night at 6PM. The restaurant was still quite empty. But oh it's so pretty! This way I was able to get interior pictures without a lot of people in it.
hotel interior


restaurant interior

City Hall Bistro - The Adolphus Hotel
1321 Commerce St.
Dallas, TX 75202
(214) 651-3686
http://www.cityhallbistro.com/
Price: $$$

We were seated in a big booth right across from the kitchen. I cannot get over how pretty this place is! Our waiter was Jared and he was great. Super nice and was so accommodating. He took our drink orders. My friend got the Juice of the Day (pineapple, lemon, watermelon) $6~ She really liked it. Watermelon is not my thing but it was very fresh. I stuck with water since all of the cocktails sounded too strong for me to handle. hehe.

Jared came to the table and explained the concept and menu for us. The cuisine is Southern European-Mediterranean. Yum. Seriously everything looked delicious on the menu. He also asked if there were any specific dishes we wanted to try. He said the chef will also send out anything else they thought we should try. We told him 4 dishes... and he said they were all great choices. We only got 1 dish that was not on our list. So I guess we're good at picking the best stuff, eh? :P

We started with the Atayef (savory lebanese pancake, duck confit, pear, black garlic aioli) $15~ 
Can't go wrong with duck confit... plus the savory Lebanese pancake sounded so interesting. This was my favorite dish of the night. I tried a bite of the pancake on its own. It's not often that I have a savory pancake! The flavor by itself was delicious. I could've just had a short stack of this on its own. I still think on a daily basis to drive back there, and just order this dish. haha. The duck had great flavor and the aioli added a richness and moisture to the whole bite. I need more of this!!!

Spanish Octopus (bell pepper, pine nut, harissa vinaigrette) $10~ 
I love octopus and they cooked theirs really well. No chewiness. It was tender and flavorful. You have to get a bit of every element into each bite. The frisee provides a freshness, the nuttiness and crunch from the pine nuts, and the vinaigrette was just enough, not overly dressed. I feel like the edges of the octopus could've been a little crispier, but I'm just nitpicking.

Snapper Crudo (baby heirloom tomato, pickled shishito pepper, citron salt) $11~ 
This was the one dish we didn't select. It was very pretty. Upon first bite, it was quite tart for me. But as I ate more, all the flavors came together. The snapper was super tender. I loved the different tomato slices and the pickled shishito pepper added a pow! to each bite.

Much Like Provence (genever, lemon, lavender sugar, club soda) $12~ 
My friend decided to get a cocktail half way through. It was very pretty... a subtle and simple kind of pretty just like their decor. I don't think my pictures captured it very well. It definitely tasted of lavender, but it wasn't sweet enough for her. (She likes super sweet though.) And I was right, it was quite strong.

Squid Ink Pasta (marinated squid, cilantro, garlic aioli) $17~ 
This was the dish we were both most excited about. I love anything squid ink. And wow oh wow... this packed so much squid ink flavor that it PUNCHES you in the face. In a good way, of course. But damn! The boldest and most potent squid ink dish I've ever had. A little goes a long way. Eating it straight was almost too much at one point, so I started mixing it with the paella... and you know what? winning combo! :D

Chef's Paella (oyster, octopus flavor, escalivada, babaganush, allepo pepper, grilled kale, dehydrated apples, shallot and mustard seed marmalade, micro cilantro and flowers) $26~ 
They also have a more traditional paella. This one changes daily. Jared said we should order this one. So we took his rec. And it was awwwwesome! Btw... Escalivada = onions, bell pepper, eggplant "salsa". This was a huge portion size. I think it will easily feed 4 people. I loved the crispy crust on the top of the rice. The flavors were amazing. But the most genius element was the shallot and mustard seed marmalade. You MUST mix a little of the marmalade in each bite. It makes a big difference. It was freaking fantastic. Needless to say, we could not finish this... we took more than half to-go.

We were so full. But I was told I must get the churros. So we did. Spanish Churros (saffron gelato, olive oil caramel ) $8~ 
It was a pretty big dessert since you get 5 churros... FIVE!! But they're light and fluffy so it didn't weigh you down. The churros were fried nicely and lightly drizzled with the caramel and some more on the side for dipping. The caramel was great, but I wish it was dipped in more cinnamon sugar.. that's how I normally like my churros. The saffron gelato was interesting. You can really taste the saffron. I wished there was another flavor mixed in though... maybe pistachio? The saffron was overpowering for me. However, we also asked for some of the Sweet Basil Ice Cream and it was delicious. So unique with the herbiness of the basil. Very refreshing and fragrant.

My friend got some Coffee (featuring Oak Cliff Coffee Roasters) $3~ For $3 that's a whole lot of coffee. Nice!

I found the price point here to be extremely reasonable for the quality of food you are getting. And I've had several things and flavor combinations that I haven't experienced before, so this place is a total gem. I highly recommend it. I actually already have a brunch reservation to go back in two weeks. Counting down!! Thank you so much, City Hall Bistro, for having us. It was a wonderful meal. Service was top notch and we enjoyed it tremendously. I cannot wait for brunch! :)

*The meal was comped but all opinions are my own. Plus, always tip your wait staff even if you get a free meal!*

Quality of Food: 




Service: 




Ambiance: 




Value: (comped)

Overall Experience: 





~~ CHOMP CHOMP ~~

Friday, September 29, 2017

Dallas Chop House - Menu Tasting

After rescheduling over and over again, we finally made it to Dallas Chop House for a media visit! I would get so excited each time it was happening and then we'd have to reschedule. haha. But finally we were there! I had been there once before, years ago, for Restaurant Week. Loved it. Excited to see what was in store for the night. And just a tip: you can park for free in the Comerica Bank Tower garage, the restaurant validates your parking! Woot!

Dallas Chop House
1717 Main St., Suite 100
Dallas, TX 75201
(214) 736-7300
www.dallaschophouse.com
Price: $$$$+

We arrived on a Saturday at 6PM. The dining room was still pretty empty. It filled by 7PM or so. We were seated in a nice booth, which was great because not only did I have a background for all my photos, I wouldn't be bothering other diners with my flashes and lights.

Our waiter, Michael, who was fantastic the entire night btw, came by to talk about drinks. They have their wines and cocktails on an iPad and you can scroll through and see the descriptions and information on that drink.

My husband got the Hot Headed Colonel (bourbon barrel aged for 30 days, Benadictine floated with Peychaud's bitters, fresh lemon oil and mint) $12~ Such a pretty color. My husband loved it. He was bracing himself for the alcohol bite, but it never came. It was super smooth.

I got the Meadow Mule (Bombay Sapphire, St. Germain, apple juice, fresh cucumber, ginger beer) $12~ He also wanted to try this so I ordered it. It was also very good. Light, refreshing, and you can taste the cucumber and ginger. I didn't get much apple, but I guess it more so sweetened the drink.

We met the chef, Chef Triptow, soon after arrival. He's the brains behind DCH and the Dallas Fish Market menus, which we had a fantastic dinner at earlier this year. We're excited to see what he's got planned for us tonight.

We were also served an Amuse: Tomato, pesto, goat cheese mousse, balsamic reduction. And some bubbly. :P The bite was yummy. I especially loved the pesto.

Then we were brought some Popovers (with honey rosemary butter). I always though popovers are fun. Don't you think so? That honey rosemary butter is amazing.

So Michael informed us that the chef was just going to send out a tasting of what he wanted us to try. Sounds good! I love surprises. :)

Steak Tartare (black truffle, green onion, cornichons, capers, quail egg) $18~ What an amazing starter. 
First of all, it's gorgeous! The contrasting colors between the steak and the bright green onions and quail egg. I like the presentation on the wood board. The tartare was fresh, flavorful, and paired perfectly with the slightly salted housemade chips. One of my favorite dishes of the night.

Lump Crab Cake (oyster mayo, cilantro pesto, fennel-jalapeno marmalade) $18~ 
Also delicious. The crab cake was filled with lump crab. The oyster mayo was interesting, you can definitely taste the brininess of the oyster but wasn't overwhelming. The winning touch was that fennel jalapeno marmalade on top. It MADE the dish. A little spicy, a little sweet, it was perfect with the crab.

New England Clam Chowder (little neck clams, smoked bacon, Yukon potatoes) $11~ 
This was round 2, I hadn't expected this round, I thought we were moving to entrees. Because we ate ALL of the first 2 dishes, I was already getting full! haha. We had a similar, if not same, chowder at the Dallas Fish Market, and this is just as good. I like the consistency... a real chowder. And it was not lacking any substance either. Lots of clams, bacon and potatoes throughout.

DCH Wedge (blue cheese, crumbled bacon, marinated cherry tomato, TX pecans) $12~ 
My husband was just saying he wanted the wedge, so they totally read his mind. Two wedges, one for each of us. Doesn't look like a lot but it was really filling me up! But gotta eat your veggies, right?

Intermezzo: Blueberry Ginger Sorbet (with fruity pebbles). 
We had a little break before entrees. The waiter brought this with no explanations so we were trying to guess what was in it. It was sublime. My husband guessed raspberries because it was a little tart. And I guessed anise was in it... and maybe cayenne, cuz it had a nice bite of heat to it. But alas, we were both wrong. The heat was from ginger, and it was blueberry. The pairing with the crunchy fruity pebbles was quite genius. All the flavors and textures worked so well together.

Seared Southwest Salmon (spanish chorizo, roasted corn, poblano peppers, marble potatoes, jalapeno butter) $28~ They split the salmon for us so we had mini platings for each of us. The salmon was perfectly pink in the middle. And the blend of the chorizo, corn, and peppers together was great. A little too much potatoes imo, but they were cooked well.

Himalayan Salt Dry Aged Reserve Steak - Ribeye (18 oz, dry aged 21 days) $50~ 
Yes!!! The steak was what I was waiting for! It IS the "Chop House" after all. I was a little surprised they didn't ask us what temp we wanted it cooked. So what we got was more of a med well... I usually prefer med rare. But... I have to say that because it was dry aged so well with the Himalayan salt, it was still very tender. AND I loved the edge crust from the dry aging... slightly crisp. The ribeye was simply seasoned because the meat itself had so much flavor. You can taste the quality of the steak. I think if it had been med rare it would've been that much more delicious.



Crawfish Maque Choux (crawfish, sauteed corn, red bell peppers, roasted poblano, garlic, cream) $12~ This thing packs a punch! Between the spices and poblano and cream, it's got so much flavor, and definitely some heat. I didn't really see it pairing with the steak though. The flavors overwhelmed the steak a little. I think a bowl of rice would've been perfect with this. hehe.

Loaded Twice Baked Potato (TX sharp cheddar, smoked bacon, green onion, crisp potato threads) $10~ Now this was a perfect pairing with the steak. The potato was nice and creamy with the melted cheese on top. The crispy potato threads added a nice crunch.

We were stuffed! We had to take some of the entrees to go. (And you know what... I used the leftover crawfish to make fried rice the next day. Superb!! :P) But we were told there's still dessert. Of course. Luckily it was only one item. haha.

Chocolate Hazelnut Tart
Beautiful! Loved the flow of the chocolate swipe on the dish. I kept thinking of that song "I whip my hair back and forth", hahahha. Do you see it? :P The chocolate mousse? cream? ganache? filling was my favorite part. Rich, dark, and smooth. I wish the crust was thinner so we'd have more of the filling. Which is crazy cuz the crust is usually my favorite part of a pie or tart. A great end to an amazing meal.

Thank you, Dallas Chop House and Chef Triptow for a wonderful dinner. Also thanks to Michael, our waiter, and Demetrius, the manager (who actually served us too) for the fantastic service. We felt so welcomed to be there. And hopefully we'll be back soon. :) 

I do have to note that we weren't aware we had to pay for our alcohol. Usually at media visits, everything is on the house. I have no problem paying for the alcohol though... it would just be nice to have a heads up that it was going to be a charge up front. Cuz for someone like me, who can barely get through half a cocktail, I wouldn't have ordered it just to try it in this instance. 

They do have Social Hour M-Sat from 3-7PM which is pretty awesome. Who has happy hour on the weekends anymore, right?

*The meal was comped but all opinions are my own. Plus, always tip your wait staff even if you get a free meal!*

Quality of Food: 




Service: 




Ambiance: 




Value: (comped; except for cocktails)

Overall Experience: 




~~ CHOMP CHOMP ~~