Archives for the month of: June, 2015

For as LONG as I can remember, I’ve NEVER liked this oh so popular herb.  It just never quite worked for me.  Ever.  The crazy thing is, i’ll try anything, eat almost anything, like almost everything, but that green stuff…it disgusts me.

***fast forward to 2:17 mark***

Now, in certain foods my taste buds don’t or can’t even register that it’s in the dish.  For instance, Chipotle’s cilantro rice.  I could eat that stuff all day.  Maybe because when I consume it, it’s at the bottom of heaps of black beans, chicken, grilled veggies, sour cream, guacamole and cheese.  Yeah, that’s probably it.  I love Mexican food too. Love, love, love it!  Cilantro is one of the main ingredients and garnishes in Mexican food.  Vietnamese food.  Could eat that anytime.  Just had a Lemongrass Chicken Vermicelli bowl the other day from The Nammi Truck.  It was sprinkled with more than enough cilantro, but because other ingredients were incorporated, I wasn’t bothered.

You know what I think it is?  I think it’s from past experiences and past meals that I’ve had, where I bit down solely on a piece of cilantro.  That piece of cilantro and nothing else.  It’s so overbearing, so strong, so…yuck.  I can’t even explain what it tastes like to me.  It’s almost like a strong, perfumey, fragrant, cleansing, soapy, ugh.  That’s it. Ugh.  I mean that’s the only word that comes out of my mouth when I taste it.  People think I’m crazy, but it’s a true story.  I mean, Julia Child said, “Cilantro and arugula I don’t like at all.  They’re both green herbs, they have kind of a dead taste to me.”  Gotta love Julia, she spoke nothing but the truth!

Everbody else, more power to you.  You enjoy.  Garnish away.  Just stay away from my plate.  Thaaaaaanks!

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It’s safe to say that I’m pretty much addicted to this place.  I’m ok with admitting that too!  In the past three weeks, I’ve eaten at this establishment three times and two of those occasions were back to back.  You’ll understand why once I get to the nitty gritty of it all.

I like everything about Yard House.  The wait staff, the layout, the menu, food and drinks, the location, the ambience, everything.  My first time coming here was for their late night happy hour, which is right up my alley.  I’m always down for a happy hour, especially after the club.  Our waiter, so much fun, that always makes things even better.  He was so silly, we even ended up singing along with him on a couple of the songs that were playing in the restaurant.  Not a dull moment.

So. Happy Hour.  The selection is pretty much anything that’s on the full menu appetizer list, prices ranging from $5-$8.  Winning.  They even have another section of Snack items, small plates going for about $4-$7.  Still winning. I’m just going to get to it.  My favorites, the Crispy Brussels Sprouts & Ripped Potatoes, Deviled Eggs and the Garlic Noodles.  I could eat all of these, over and over, all day.  They’re honestly that good.

Each one of these dishes had something so unique and delicious, a special addition, I mean I couldn’t get enough.  First the Brussels sprouts and potatoes.  Crispy, yet tender, both of them, I would have never though of that combination, but it’s that malt vinegar aioli layered on the bottom that set it off.  It’s the sour, savory, creamy, goodness that you want with every bite.  It all just…goes!  The Deviled Eggs, definitely not the ones your mom or grandmother made for a family BBQ.  I’ve had a thing for deviled eggs lately.  Any time they’re on the menu, that’s what I go for.  These had a little sweet and savory kick to them.  The eggs were drizzled with this sweet, sort of chunky, tomato sauce and placed in the middle was a thick piece of candied bacon.  Give me a bowl of those and I wouldn’t have left the restaurant.  All of the textures, smooth, chewy, creamy, they went perfect together!  Now, this last dish, definitely far from the least, it was a meal pretty much.  To call it an appetizer, when it was placed in front of me, I believe the only thing I could say was, “WOW.”  What made this dish, was the sauce.  It was of Asian influence, sweet like teriyaki, but salty like soy sauce.  Coated the noodles evenly and it was the perfect amount.  Not too dry, not too wet.  Each forkful was full of noodles, an abundance.  The huge amount of parmesan and garlic, it made me happy.  Carbs.  Gotta love ’em.

Now, can you tell how much I love this place?  I mean just reading what I experienced, wouldn’t you too?!  Go there. Soon. Now. Today!

I was born and raised in Dallas, TX and it’s crazy that I never even knew that this quaint, quiet, little restaurant was even located in The Westin Galleria…on the 2nd floor!  My best friend and I hadn’t had a Bestie Date in a while, so she picked this place.  I looked up the reviews on Yelp, of course, and the review ratings that I saw, were pretty good, four and five star ratings.  Looking at the pictures, which is my favorite thing, enticed me as well…very fancy.

We arrived around 7:00, took our seats at the bar, found out that happy hour ended at 6:00, darn it.  Our server, as well as the bartender, was very nice, very welcoming.  He told us all of the specials, what’s good, what’s popular.  The place wasn’t crowded at all, so we pretty much got his undivided attention.  I wanted a drink, but nothing too heavy, nothing too strong.  They had a great selection, everything sounded so pretty.  My drink, the Cucumber Sip, wasn’t too strong, really wasn’t that strong at all, but it was refreshing.

Cucumber Sip

Cucumber Sip

I’m always happy with starting with an appetizer.  It sets the mood.  The Deviled Eggs caught my eye.  I’ve noticed that’s the “thing” to order, the “it” starter to go with lately in a lot of restaurants, and most of the time, they’re really good.  Everyone has their own twist.  The best part to me, in this case, was the juicy lobster placed ever so beautifully on top.  The filling was seasoned perfectly and so creamy.  I think I ate three.  There were five to split between my best friend and I. Don’t judge me.

Deviled Eggs...Lobster. YUM!

Deviled Eggs…Lobster. YUM!

Now comes the, “Uh Oh” moment.  Our main entrees.  I ordered the Steak & Fries.  My best friend ordered the shrimp and grits.  when they came out, my plate was piled high with fries, thick pieces of steak.  Not juicy though.  I ordered medium well, it was well done.  A bit on the tough, rubbery side.  Since then I’ve learned that in restaurants, if it’s not a real steakhouse, order medium and it’ll be perfect.  Most cooks, when told medium well, they usually go past that mark on the grill and it comes out well done.  Failure.  The fries, I mean, they were good.  You can’t really mess up fries.  Good amount of salt on them, hot, honestly that was the best thing on my plate.  Now, to my best friend.  When her plate came out, the prawns, huge prawns, stole the show.  I tasted one and they were perfect.  As we examined the plate, we noticed pickled carrots on top, which is odd for a shrimp and grits dish.  The first bite was taken and immediately something wasn’t right.  I read it all over my girl’s face.  Turns out, the “grits” which was really cauliflower grits, were mixed with carrot puree.  Huh?!  Now listen, I’m from the South, both of us are.  I’ve lived in Dallas all my life, my family is from Baton Rouge, Louisiana, went to school there as well, so I know, we know, down home, authentic Southern cooking.  These cauliflower grits, were not the deal, at all.  When people think of grits, they think of hot, creamy, buttery, thick grits, that could possibly clog your arteries and you’ll be ok with it.  Then this carrot puree was just wrong in all ways.  So, I’m sure you can guess what happened after that…it was sent back.  Quickly.

To try and keep this experience on a slightly positive note, together we looked over the menu again and selected another entrée for her to go with.  Mac & Cheese.  Fingers were crossed that it was like home cooking, but in the back of our heads, we kinda knew it wasn’t going to be on that level.  So it comes out.  Bland in color. Really soupy, but piping hot.  Judging commences.  The first bite was taken and surprisingly it was really good!  Great flavor, reminded us a lot of Kraft Deluxe Mac & Cheese.  We started off eating it with a fork, don’t ask why, but when we traded out for a spoon it seemed to taste even better.  Also, as it cooled off, it got thicker, so it started to remind us a little more of homemade, but still the boxed look.  We cleaned the bowl, all of it.  Honestly, if I went back, I’d order that and the deviled eggs and be a happy woman.

Overall, The 2nd floor would be great for an after five, after work cocktail at the bar.  I wouldn’t come back for dinner.  Don’t get me wrong, there were good parts, but the not so good outweighed everything.  Date night, meetings, drinks with the girls, the ambiance is perfect for all that.  I believe in trying most things more than once, this place is definitely on the list for “let’s try it again”.

I don’t know one person that doesn’t like happy hour…really!  I mean, I believe it’s called that because during those hours, of cheap prices, good food and strong drinks…you’re HAPPY lol

Kona Grill definitely knows how to keep a smile on their customer’s faces and I can testify to that.  Their most popular location, for most Dallas, TX natives was the Northpark location, but the newest Plano location is the place to be nowadays.  The vibe is just so much better.  The Northpark location, it’s very drab.  Not much light, very dim and I guess, romantic in some ways, for some people, but not me.  When I think of happy hours, I think HAPPY, excitement, fun, loud talking, big, bright atmosphere.  This new Plano location gives you all that AND some.  Any meet-ups I plan with friends and family, this is one of my favorite Go-To spots.  The layout is so social, so modern, so fly.  The patio circles the restaurant, it’s very spacious, lots of tables, lots of chairs, you can enjoy the fire outside, even on a hot Texas day, very intimate.  I also love that the bar opens up to the patio, so you can enjoy the ambience of the outside AND the inside.  The lighting is perfect, bright and energetic.  For the sports fans, there are TVs everywhere, on ESPN of course…you can’t go wrong with that!

Chicken Satay & Beef Bulgogi Tacos

Honestly, I don’t think I’ve ever been to any Kona location for anything outside of the Happy Hour.  I mean you can’t beat it with a stick!  Monday through Friday 3pm-7pm, REVERSE Happy Hour (Club Kona lol) from 9pm-11pm, Saturdays as well and then ALL DAY Sunday.  And now here comes the good part, the eats and the drinks.  You get everything from sushi, to tacos to different types of flatbreads, all delicious.  Some of my faves include the chicken satay, which comes with this amazing coleslaw, the BBQ chicken flatbread, the bulgogi tacos and their potstickers.  Can you tell I’ve been there A LOT?!  Then, you can wash it all down with one of their refreshing, yet quite strong happy hour margaritas, regular, strawberry or mango.  I tend to mix strawberry and mango, get the best of both Worlds.  The best thing about ALL of this, everything on the menu is under $10!  More of a reason that I call this place one of my FAVES!  GO KONA!

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