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Monday, July 31, 2017

District Food & Wine

I got to check out District Food & Wine in the Design District last week. I had heard positive things about the restaurant so I was definitely looking forward to it. They're open for lunch M-F, and dinner service is only Th-S, closed on Sundays. I couldn't make it out for dinner so I invited a friend that works downtown for a long lunch. :)

District Food & Wine
921 N Riverfront Blvd. #300
Dallas, TX 75207
(214) 792-9729
Price: $$-$$$

The Design District is a cool place but still has a lot of opportunities for expansion/development. It's quite far out for me from home and work so I rarely go to that area. So I'd consider District Food and Wine to be a hidden gem. I think more people need to know more about this area as well.

Walking in, the restaurant was pretty empty... only a couple tables taken. But the place has floor to ceiling windows on 2 sides of the building so it had a bright and open feeling. And perfect for photos! :) The hostess grabbed the owner for us when we arrived. Jeff is one of the nicest people I've ever met. Just the first handshake and I felt like he was so genuinely happy to have us there. We were seated close to the window for optimal lighting. And Jeff proceeded to take care of us for the entire duration of the lunch.

We started with some Bread (rubbed with garlic; served with butter). It looked simple but it was freshly baked...warm and fluffy on the inside, crispy edges, and the garlic rub perfumed our noses.

Jeff gave us the run down on the menu, as well as their daily specials. 
Then he told us that he is already going to send out some of their Risotto Balls and Meatballs (tomato basil sauce). Normally the Risotto Balls are $7~ 
It was nice to get a little sampler so we're not getting too much food. The risotto balls were super cute and delicate. He explained that they are actually gluten free! They were deliciously airy and light for a fried rice ball. Without the breadcrumbs they were really able to lighten it up. Soooo yummy with the tomato sauce. The meatballs were good too but the risotto balls stole the show.

As we were waiting for our entrees, I saw that more and more people were coming in. And Jeff greeted each table himself. That's really great service and hospitality.

I chose the Grilled Salmon (Scottish salmon, grilled vegetables, jalapeno mustard sauce) $17~ 
I wanted to be a little healthier since 1) I've been eating a whole lotta fried foods last week, and 2) I wanted to get the Mac n Cheese. hahaha. He told me that they typically cook their salmon medium rare, which is perfect. And you know what? They were SPOT on with the cook temp. The fish was beautifully pink on the inside and insanely tender. And that sauce... you can see the whole grain mustard in there and it paired perfectly with the fish. It was a pretty plate. Again, everything's so simple, but extremely well executed. It was refreshing to see a place that just does good food instead of trying to be "epic" or "trendy" or whatever.

My friend got the Rigatoni (with tomato basil vodka sauce; added chicken) $10~ 
He added chicken since the original dish does not have a meat. It was really good. I love vodka sauce. I wish the chicken pieces were a tad bigger, it got lost a little bit in the dish. Other than that, no complaints!

Mac & Cheese (with truffle oil) $7~ 
I HAD to get this. I've been seeing so many posts on social media of this one dish. The truffle was so fragrant and smelled so good. It was still bubbling a little when it was brought to the table. It's not stringy cheesy like a lot of other macs (like the long cheese pull) but it definitely was not lacking any cheese! I freaking loved that crust on top. It was legit, and it definitely lived up to all the hype.

It was a great lunch. And we weren't too stuffed. But then we had to get dessert right? hehe. :P

Jeff highly highly recommended the Lemon Cake (mascarpone frosting, white chocolate curls) $7~ 
And that's the main thing I've been seeing on their Yelp page. I'm not really a huge lemon fan but I was really intrigued. I'm soooooo glad we got it. It is seriously THE BEST lemon cake I've ever had in my life. No joke! It was so light and fluffy. The frosting was made with mascarpone so it was really light as well. But was still somehow luscious. The amount of lemon was spot on. It had just the right amount of tartness... a lot of lemon desserts tend to be too sour for me. Or too sweet because they overuse sugar to cut the citrus. Both my friend and I agreed it was the best lemon dessert either of us have ever had. I wonder if I can order a whole cake for a party or something.... :P

Chocolate Cake (chocolate ganache) $7~ 
We only ordered the lemon cake, but Jeff said he was also sending out the chocolate cake. haha. I love chocolate so I wasn't gonna say no! :P The chocolate cake was also fantastic. The filling was light, and the ganache was rich... the cake was surprisingly not overly sweet. And it was super moist. Normally I would opt for chocolate, but in this case, the lemon cake still won out. Needless to say, we finished the lemon cake. haha. And actually made it through more than half of the chocolate as well.

We had a great time. Jeff was the most wonderful host. And the food was just simply delicious. I want to send everyone I know there... so GO!!! I really hope they stick around for a really long time. Thank you, District Food & Wine, for having us. I hope I will make it back in the near future. :)

*The meal was comped but all opinions are my own.*

Quality of Food: 



Value: (comped)

Overall Experience: 


Monday, July 24, 2017

Gyu-Kaku Japanese BBQ

I'm loving all these Asian restaurants, dessert shops, and bakeries popping up all over DFW. To think, just last year, we didn't have any Japanese BBQ places and now we have TWO! Two really great ones too, each with their own large selection of food items.

I was invited to check out Gyu-Kaku in Addison recently. I've only been there once, in NYC, and I only had their amazing Matcha Mille Crepe cake. So I had to make sure they had them for the media dinner that night! I was so psyched! :D

Gyu-Kaku Japanese BBQ
5290 Belt Line Rd. #115
Dallas, TX 75254
(469) 567-3237
Price: $$$

It was a small group of food bloggers that night (and our +1's) so it was a more intimate event. We had a lot of fun including some sake bombs! (Well, they did, since I don't drink. hehe). Japanese BBQ is a great thing to do with a group of people. You an grill, and chat, and eat, and drink. There's no time limit (I don't think), like at Korean AYCE BBQ places, and you don't smell afterwards because all the grills have these vents on the side that sucks out the smoke. So feel free to take a date there too!

We had a set menu for the night but were told we could order anything else we wanted. I love that they customized each blogger's menu according to the IG account they represented! I'm representing @bestfooddallas! Woot!

Some of the girls got Sake. And you get your own individual ice bucket for the sake bottle. How cool!

Starters: These are all the actual portion size for each order.
Gyu-Kaku Salad $6~ Loved the dressing. And the thin slices of daikon radish on top.

Spicy Tuna Volcano $7~ Crispy, and slightly sticky rice, topped with spicy tuna. They're good! And quite filling.

Miso Chili Wings $7~ I freaking loved these wings. So much flavor!! I can just eat a couple plates of these and be happy. But I only had one that night because I knew how much more food we were getting.

Beef Sukiyaki Bibimbap $7~ 
That stone bowl was seriously sizzling when it was served. It smelled so good! The waitress mixed it all up tableside, and then you let it sit in the bowl to crisp up on the bottom. I love normal Korean Bibimbaps, but the flavor profile for this one is totally different, since they needed to make it Japanese. It was delicious. The thin slices of beef with the caramelized onions perfumed the dish. The rice was plump and had great texture. This is a must!

Garlic Noodles $8~ 
On the menu it said it included chicken. I didn't see any chicken in ours, so maybe they did it differently for us. It was very garlicky which I liked. Probably not the best thing when you're on a date though. hehe. And the noodles were quite overcooked since they were in a stone bowl, so I didn't eat too much of it. I'm a texture person, so I'm pretty picky when it comes to noodles... they need to be al dente!

Mushroom Medley $4~

Garlic Spinach $4~
These veggies come in a foil pack. You put them on the grill and it basically steams them inside. We were told 3-5 minutes each side I think? But the first time we opened them it was still raw veggies. So just keep it on a grill and chat with your friends. hehe. It won't melt or anything.

Prime Kalbi Short Rib $9~ Love me some kalbi. The color on these were so vibrant. The meat was really great. Didn't even need to dip in any of their sauces. Highly recommend.

Toro Beef $5~ This was my favorite meat of the night. Toro beef is beef belly, which basically equals beef bacon. And who doesn't love bacon!! Just look at that fat to meat ratio. It had so much flavor. And it's one of the cheaper cuts of meat, win for me! :P

Harami Miso Skirt Steak $9~
Bistro Hanger Steak $8~
These 2 meats were served together so I forget which is which. They were both good, but one particularly was super tender. I want to say it's the skirt steak? Both had a marinade on it so had lots of flavor. Can't go wrong with either.

So... this was a lot of food so most of us didn't request anything else. But then I asked if they had beef tongue. If it's good, it's really tasty. And it has a unique texture.
Extra: Beef Tongue $9~ (+$1 for Scallion Sauce). 
Most of the girls on my side of the table had never had beef tongue, so I was happy to share this experience with them. And I think they all liked it! The tongue was sliced super thin and it only needs a few seconds on each side. It was really good. Some even had a 2nd piece!

And a tip... everything here is good with BEER! :P

Oh man... we were so stuffed! But it's not over yet cuz we still need to have cake!!

Lady M's Green Tea Mille Crepe Cake (usually served with ice cream) $10~ 
They gave us smaller portions, I think about a third of the normal slice. While my mouth wanted a whole piece, I appreciated them controlling my portions. haha. I freaking love this cake. I'm so happy we have it in Dallas now. It's limited quantity since they need to fly it in, so you just have to take your chances that they have it when you go.

S'mores (2 portions) $2.50~ This was a fun way to end the dinner. We had a blast cooking and eating with everyone!

It was one of the most fun media dinners I've been too. I like the interactive-ness and it was nice that it was a smaller group so we can talk to almost everyone. They have several package specials for 2 people. You can find the menu on their website here. It's a great deal considering all the different dishes you're getting! AND they have Early Happy Hour every day from 11AM-6PM, and Late HH from 9PM-10PM Sun-Thu or 10PM-11PM on Fri and Sat.

Thanks to Gyu-Kaku for having me. They took really great care of us. The wait staff was very attentive... water glasses always refilled! I will definitely be back. I need to bring my husband next time!! :D

Their "Summer BBGYU Festival" just kicked off and goes until 9/4/17. With food and beer discounts, a new kids' menu, and a sweepstakes to win a trip for 2! See their website for more details

*The meal was comped but all opinions are my own.*

Quality of Food: 



Value: (comped)

Overall Experience: 


Thursday, July 20, 2017

Paul Martin's American Grill

I recently got invited to go check out Paul Martin's American Grill. I see it all the time since I go work out at ZYN22 which is in the same shopping center. But it was never on my radar since it's kind of in the corner of the center. However, when I got invited, I scoped out their menu online and wondered why it was never on my radar. haha. Their menu sounded yummy!

I made it a date night with my husband. We went and saw Spiderman Homecoming first, then headed to dinner. Our reservation was at 6PM... upon arriving, the place was already somewhat busy. At least the parking lot was. Not the best set up for self parking and valet in front of the restaurant. But know that there's plenty of parking behind the restaurant as well.

Paul Martin's American Grill
3848 Oak Lawn Ave. Suite 210
Dallas, TX 75219
(214) 521-0116
Price: $$$$+

We were seated immediately. The manager came by to greet us... Jorge was very nice and welcoming. Then our waiter, Aaron, came to take our drink menus and tell us the specials for the day. A very soft spoken man, but he took care of us wonderfully. He was also very detailed when he described the specials, which I appreciated.

Then the manager came back with an Amuse Bouche (watermelon, feta, caviar) from the kitchen. 
I love the contrasting colors of the watermelon and caviar. And Aaron brought us some Bread (with whipped butter, sea salt). What a lifesaver! I was starving!! The bread was soft and pillowy in the middle, and the butter spread so easily. Loved the touch of sea salt on it.

We had 2 different menus to look over. One was for their Happy Hour specials. They have it every day from 3-7PM. Every Day! That's pretty awesome. We ordered 2 appetizers from the HH menu.

Signature Deviled Eggs (cold smoked, crispy La Quercia prosciutto) $6~ I don't think I've ever had a bad deviled egg. I love eggs and I'm not picky on how they're prepped. They came 5 to an order.. for 6 bucks?! That's a great deal.

St. Louis Duroc Pork Ribs (hoisin glaze, green onions) $9~ 
I saw that a friend had gone a couple weeks earlier and ordered looked so amazing I had to have it. O.M.G. Freaking delicious. The meat was super tender. My husband barely got his fork in the meat and it slid right off the bone. It was juicy, flavorful, and had just the right amount of fat to meat ratio. I also loved the glaze and sauce that came with it. It definitely did not disappoint. In fact, with my already high expectations, it easily exceeded it. I would totally go back for HH and just order this. It was by far my favorite thing that night.

My husband ordered a cocktail. Elijah Craig Ginger Punch (12 year bourbon, Domaine de Canton Ginger liqueur, fresh lemon juice, honey, topped with ginger ale) $9~ 
I don't drink, and he's not a big drinker either, but he always wants to try. I had a sip... it was too strong for me. He seemed to have liked it, but then didn't finish. I think he focused on the food once the entrees came and was too full to finish the drink. haha. We do always tend to stuff ourselves silly at a media dinner.

For the main dishes. I went all out. Why not? :P
Prime Bone in Ribeye (22 oz, grass-fed, certified Black Angus; grilled over a live fire) $56~ Side of Chimichurri Sauce. 
Aside from prime rib, ribeye is my favorite cut of steak. And since they only offer prime rib on Sundays, my choice was easy. It was a huge slab of meat. Yaassss! The color on it was great and it came with a cheesy roasted tomato of some sort. I think all their steaks are a la carte, so you'd have to order the sides separately (which we did). I ordered it medium rare but it looked more medium, and some areas even medium well. It was not very pink in the center. Bummer. I know that it's grilled over a live fire, so I wonder if it overcooks easier? If this happens consistently, I would definitely recommend you order your steaks more on the rare side. However, it was still pretty juicy and had enough flavor to stand on its own. I thought the chimichurri sauce was a little bland, but I liked having the herbs with the steak.

My husband got the Special of the Day: Risotto Frutti di Mare (shrimp and mushroom risotto, 8 oz lobster tail, 2 shrimp, crab and crawfish cake, asparagus) $45~ 
This was a very pretty dish. It was hard to capture all the different elements in a photo. I loved the flavor of the risotto. And the crab and crawfish cake was our favorite seafood element on the plate. The lobster was good but he thought the shrimp was overcooked. He liked his dish better between the two. I'd say flavor-wise, I have to agree with him. But I prefer meat over seafood any day. haha.

For the sides we got..
Mac & Cheese (Tillamook 2 year aged white cheddar, La Quercia prosciutto) $7~ I love nontraditional pastas... they used Sfoglini(?) or Trumpet pasta. I love the curly edges. The texture of the pasta was great. But the flavor was a little odd... it took me a while to figure out what it was. I think they were a little heavy handed with nutmeg? It had a spice/warm flavor that was a tad too strong. I'll still eat it though. I love pasta...
Sauteed Brussels Sprouts (bacon vinaigrette) $6~ I was a little surprised that they were roasted/charred, but then I didn't even pay attention to the menu, haha. I just saw brussels sprouts and ordered. It was a change from the typical charred ones (but I love them so). I liked the flavor though. I think it paired well with my steak.

My husband ate his entire plate... so he was pretty much out for the count. But I wanted to try dessert. I mean... I have to right? :P

So he got a Cafe Latte $4~ He said it was very good. They use Mr. Espresso oak wood roasted coffee. It's certified organic and fair trade.

Banana Cream Pie (layers of vanilla bean pastry cream, chocolate, bananas, fresh whipped cream) $10~ 
I couldn't decide on the desserts but ended up choosing the banana cream pie because it's lighter. I was pretty full too! And Aaron told me that it had a layer of chocolate between the crust and the banana filling so it would be enough to satisfy my chocolate craving. It was a nice big slice. I did love the layer of chocolate in the middle. It was just enough to differentiate this banana cream pie from most others. The whipped cream was airy and there was lots of bananas in there. My only complaint is that the crust was a little dry. But pairing it with the whipped cream helped.

It was a good dinner. Although the high point was the appetizer. I will definitely be back for HH to have those ribs again. Aside from their daily HH specials, they also have some other weekly promotions.

Sunday Prime Rib - Texas field green salad, roasted prime rib, mashed potatoes, house-made shortbread cookies and gourmet ice cream. $33~ 3 course meal for a pretty great deal! And I love me some prime rib.

Monday Wine Dinner for 2 for $60~
Texas field green salads, entrees of choice, one bottle of selected wine. This is also a great deal if you're a wine lover. For $60 this is a steal!

Thanks so much to Paul Martin's for having us. It's always nice when I can bring my husband to one of these media outings. :) And the service was great! Thanks Aaron!

*The meal was comped but all opinions are my own.*

Quality of Food: 



Value: (comped)

Overall Experience: