Archives for the month of: July, 2015

Who doesn’t like pizza?  I mean, it’s hot, melted, stringy cheese, with whatever toppings you can think of and as many as your heart desires…placed ever so beautifully and strategically on top of crunchy, chewy, doughy crust.  Is your mouth watering?! Mine is.  The picture above, does no justice to how good each and every slice of that pizza was.  That pizza is the deliciousness from Urban Crust.  Word of mouth was how I found out about this unique place.  My parents couldn’t stop talking about it, they had been a couple of times.  Clearly they enjoyed themselves.  I think it’s the location that makes it even better, because it’s kind of unexpected.  It’s like a hidden jewel.  You definitely, well I mean I definitely, wouldn’t have expected for a place like this to be located here.

Historic Downtown Plano, which has grown so much since the 1900s, located on the East side of North Central Expressway, surrounding 15th St., where the streets are paved with cobblestone.  You’ve got little boutiques everywhere, the huge old courthouse, urbanized with new retail shops, restaurants and housing.  It’s definitely the newest place to eat, play, shop, live and just have a good time.

Now, walking into Urban Crust, you wouldn’t even know that it’s three stories high.  I surely didn’t.  Each level is pretty slim, close quarters, stairs leading up to each floor.  The old, industrial building, which used to be a harness and saddle establishment, has a new look to it.  A hip, modern concept.  Oh, but wait!  What really makes it the “Place to Be” is the 30 ft. long, 32 degree, frozen rooftop bar.  Coolest thing ever.  Literally.  I absolutely loved it.  Not only is the bar cool, no pun intended, but the bartenders are even cooler.  Good people!  Our bartender, I hate that his name has escaped my mind, but he kept us entertained all night, created great drinks for us and kept the vibe and the ambience going all night.

Wait though…I’m supposed to be talking about the pizza right?! All off subject.  If, no when you go, get some kind of pizza. Any kind.  You must.  Judging from Yelp photos, the Black & Blue seems to be a popular choice.  I went with a friend and I wanted one type of pizza, she wanted another, so we did the whole half and half thing.  We ordered the Margherita Pizza, but one half was topped with pepperoni.  Two great choices.  Of course, my favorite thing was the crust, the bread. The carb.  I also liked the pepperoni though, because they were mini pepperonis.  Just the right amount of spice and bite.

So, if anything, take a ride on over to Downtown Plano, there’s really a lot to do, but a lot of people haven’t caught on yet.  It’s a lot of landmarks, you can park and walk, the sidewalks and streets are always busy.  Even if you just want to chill, walk on into Urban Crust, head to the top floor, get a refreshing drink and overlook all of Plano from their rooftop.  It’s absolutely beautiful!

I remember when I was a little girl, my grandmother and I would get all dressed up, in our finest dresses of course, hair done, fresh curls, pearls galore wrapped around our necks and wrist.  She would take me to a really nice hotel, one of the fanciest and finest and we would eat finger sandwiches, cookies, petit fours, sip tea and she would teach me about etiquette, how to be a lady at the table and anywhere else of course.

Hattie’s Restaurant, located in the heart of artsy Oak Cliff, Bishop Arts District, reminds me of those nostalgic times with my Grammy.  Everything reminds me of a Southern tea room where girls gossip and can just be…girly girls.  There’s white everywhere, old, polished hardwood floors, rustic wood chests and placed on each table is a single white vase and inside, a single white lily.  Simple and elegant.

Cocktails are always a must in my book.  They make the experience that much better.  Every drink described, sounded irresistible.  My choice to sip on, the South Beach Martini.  A concoction of vanilla vodka, sour apple liqueur and pineapple juice.  I loved it.  I really loved that they didn’t go light on the alcohol.  I’m usually not a fan of anything sour apple, but this I enjoyed.  The vanilla vodka helped to downplay the sour apple flavor.

South Beach Martini

South Beach Martini

At a restaurant like this, where you know everything is made with either a lot of butter, cream, fried, sweet and/or savory, like in the South, it’s kinda hard to choose what to stab your fork into.  Of course I glanced at the menu before my visit, the popular choices were Chicken & Waffles, Shrimp & Grits and the Macaroni & Cheese, but I wanted to be different, I tried another route.  I mixed things up and got the Chicken & Cornmeal Griddlecakes.  I could’ve eaten the whole stack, but I just couldn’t.  I tried, trust me.  The syrup soaked into each cake, every forkful reminded me of my mom’s cornbread, so sweet, it could be cake.  The chicken, huge breast, friend to perfection, crispy on the outside, juicy and hot on the inside, but the piece of chicken itself, wasn’t seasoned at all.  Neither was the breading.  That was a disappointment to me, but I promise it didn’t ruin my experience.

I do know that on my next visit, yes there will be another visit,  I already know what I’m going to get that will make my experience even better.  I’ve heard the Slow Roasted Pulled Pork, which comes with grits and greens, is fantastic.  Word of mouth, means a lot to me and I mean, you can’t ever go wrong with pork, grits and greens.  Great combination!

Chicken & Corn Griddlecakes

Chicken & Corn Griddlecakes

I have a new love for Macaroons.  French Macaroons to be exact.  What are they you ask?  They’re pretty much the best French dessert ever.  In my opinion.  Aside from almond croissants, madeleines and beignets.  I have a sweet tooth, JEEZ! Don’t judge me!  Macaroons are these oh-so-pretty, light, sweet, airy meringue cookies that sandwich sweet, flavorful buttercream mousseline.  The best thing is the flavors that are created.  I would like to thank my girl Ms. Meagan Ball for introducing me to them at one of the best dessert shops I’ve ever been to…Sucré.  It’s like if Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory & Candyland had a baby.  Sounds awesome right?!  Well it is!

You walk in and immediately you smell all kinds of sweetness.  Chocolate, ice cream, sherbet, cake, fondant, buttercream, marshmallows, cookies, candied pecans…it’s almost like they made a Bath & Body Works Wallflower called Sucré, which is all the scents above, and plugged them in all over the place.  Sugar overload.  Nothing wrong with that.

(L-R Salted Caramel, Hazelnut, Blackberry Lemon, Apple Pie)

I would like to give honorable mention to one flavor that absolutely blew my mind.  The Apple Pie Macaroon.  The first bite, right away, it’s like taking a forkful of a fresh piece of hot-out-of-the-oven, apple pie.  The notes of cinnamon and apple are unbelievably strong in the most pleasant way ever.  I was taken back.  I literally closed my eyes as I chewed.  Nostalgic flavor for sure.

Sucré is located on Magazine St., so not only can you take your cup of ice cream (try Key Lime Pie) out on the street while strolling during a beautiful day, but there are tons of little boutique shops and restaurants to window shop and get a quick bite to eat.  It’s very hippy-ish on Magazine St., like a little town of it’s own.  Unfortunately, the last time I went, it was on 4th of July, so I didn’t get to do a lot of shopping, well any at that.

Anyways, when in The Big Easy, go to Sucré.  Treat yourself. To A lot. Try all of it.  I think on my last visit, I spent a good $30…but it was well worth it.  I mean, there’s so many options, you don’t want to leave without trying…well ALL of it!

When you see powdered sugar in the air, you know you’re close.  You know you’re close to the “promise land” that is Cafe Du Monde.  Right in the middle of Jackson Square, in the French Market on Decatur St., you can’t miss it.  First you’ll see the green & white striped covering and 9 times out of 10, you’ll see a line wrapped around the building or up and down the sidewalk.  On a good, busy day, every table is taken and anxious people with wide eyes are waiting and looking to get the next seat that comes available.

So, what are they waiting to dig their teeth into?  This…

IMG_6676

BEIGNETS.  Soft, hot, fried dough fritters, covered with lots of powdered sugar and served in orders of three.  You can definitely share or eat them all by yourself, but let’s be real, I prefer to eat all three all by myself.  Yup.  I’m greedy.  Cafe Du Monde stays open 24 hours, seven days a week, closed only on Christmas Day and occasionally if a hurricane passes a little too close to New Orleans, which is very understanding.  What I love about it staying open all day and all night is, you can satisfy that sweet tooth late at night after the club with a cold glass of chocolate milk OR treat yourself early in the morning to an order with Coffee Au Lait (mixed half and half with hot milk).  Both ways are good.  You can’t go wrong with either.  I wish we had one here in Dallas, but because we don’t, I must stop by, no matter how long the line, no matter how hot, and it gets HOT, to get my fresh order of three. Once you try them, you’ll nod your head in exact agreement and understand what I’m talking about.  Just watch!

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