Archives for category: Foodie

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!

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!

I celebrated my BIG Dirty 30 this year…August 16th to be exact and I knew exactly where I wanted to celebrate with eight of my closest girlfriends: M-I-A-M-I!  It was amazing, not one boring moment, fun all day and all night, treated like the Queens that we are and by no surprise, we ate GOOD!

Let me start by saying, I’m in LOVE with Cuban food.  No REALLY!  Just thinking about it while writing this blog, my mouth is watering and I’m thinking to myself, “Where is a good Cuban restaurant in the DFW area?!”  So I’m sure you’re wondering, what magical place had put me under this Cuban culinary spell…I blame it on Havana 1957 Cuban Cuisine AND the smartest cab driver ever who recommended it to us.  It was fate that we happened upon the location at Lincoln Rd. because we sat at another restaurant first, the menu wasn’t exactly what we wanted.  Havana 1957 had outside seating, the sun was beaming down on us, it was so hot, OMG!  Huge umbrellas for a bit of shade, the waitresses were dressed in all white traditional Cuban attire, they were very pretty I might add.  As far as their attitudes and their personalities, they weren’t the best, not much conversation, but we didn’t let them ruin our good time.  

First order of business: a MOJITO!  I mean we’re in Miami, it was only right.  I’m not a huge fan of the drink, BUT it’s pretty much the specialty drink at ALL restaurants in Miami, so it was a must to try one.  BOY am I happy I did!  This was probably the best mojito, mango mojito, I had ever had.  So refreshing, not an overwhelming minty taste,  the fresh sugar cane was awesome, loved that!  I had never had that before, so it was pretty cool to me.  

Now to the best part, the FOOD!  The menu was a little overwhelming, a lot of options, so I had to narrow my options down somehow.  Where did I go? YELP!  Always my go to and a Side Note: Pretty much all of my decisions that I made for my birthday trip in Miami, Yelp! was my tour guide.  I decided to go with the Churrasco a la Cubana, which was tender charbroiled flank steak topped with grilled onions and served with *drumroll* white rice and black beans.  Let’s pause and talk about the black beans and rice.  If I could eat them EVERYDAY…I would.  Seasoned perfectly, the rice cooked perfectly, I mean I don’t think I took one breath while eating them, well INHALING them lol…one of the best dishes I’ve EVER had, hands down.

I was so happy after that, “Welcome to Miami” lunch…I couldn’t stop talking about it pretty much the whole trip.  So, we fast-forward to my birthday dinner, that night, it was so special, I wanted everything to be perfect.  I chose this restaurant on Ocean Dr. called A Fish Called Avalon.  What stuck out to me was the romantic seating outside, the ambience was so “Miami night life”, it was all that I was looking for, PLUS I saw a picture of their Orzo Paella on Yelp, I’ve ALWAYS wanted to try paella, and it looked REALLY good! Upon getting seated, right at the corner of Ocean Dr. which I loved, we got our drinks and my girl Ashley & I decided before hand that we would split the paella, because it was A LOT of food and that’s an understatement.  When the dish got to our table, I was in complete shock, in the best way EVER.  It was a foodie’s dream how much seafood was on our plate.  So much goodness!  The orzo wasn’t overcook, the shrimp was huge, the lobster tail on top was sweet and fresh, the saffron-roasted tomato broth I LOVED with the sautéed spinach, I’m telling you there was not ONE THING wrong with this dinner.

Last but certainly not least, our last night in Miami *sad face* and this was going to be just as special as the first night, I made sure.  My girls actually made the reservations and put everything together for me, which I love them so much for.  Our selection for the night was Larios on the Beach, it’s actually Gloria Estefan’s restaurant, so that alone is a pretty big deal.  I really loved it visually, the white everywhere and the accents of deep sea blue, it was a very intimate setting.  So, the restaurant featured a 3-course meal for a set price, which a lot of my girls got, including myself.  It was the best way to go.  I MUST speak on my appetizer, which made the best impression on me.  The Stuffed Green Plantain Cups…stuffed with Shrimp Criollo (shrimp Creole), Ropa Vieja (shredded beef) and Cubana Criollo Minced Beef (seasoned, minced beef w/ green olives).  The plantains, I loved the texture, a savory baked banana.  My FAVORITE combination was the Cubana Criollo because I LOVED the flavor that the olives gave the beef.  I hated to finish it, but I LOVED to clean my plate.

Overall, my time in Miami was AMAZING, my tummy was very happy and the combination of eclectic flavors, I’ve never had such amazing tastes.  Thank you Miami!

Got another pretty little package from Klout today…as a matter of fact it was the World’s Most Beautiful gift box!  How did I receive such a thing you ask?! I told y’all, join Klout!  It’s probably one of the coolest sites.  Really!  I mean all you have to do is Tweet, post to Instagram & Facebook, be the social media whore pretty much all of the World already is, and you can start getting pretty little packages in the mail too!

Now, as far as I’M concerned, because I’m such a well-respected Klout influencer, I was chosen to experience People’s new V.I.P. subscription.  Not only did I get the beautiful box, BUT I got three months of PEOPLE magazine in print and digital and access to PEOPLE Premium.  Pretty cool huh?

Let’s get back to the really good stuff though, this perfect, pretty pink box…

 

Wanna see what’s inside?! I’m sure you do!  Now, these aren’t just any old giveaway products, but these are PEOPLE’s Editors’ Picks, World’s Most Beautiful

  • Hungry Girl: Chew the Right Thing recipe cards.  Lisa Lillien put together 50 easy-to-follow recipe cards of guilt-free versions of your favorite foods.  Low calorie versions of EVERYTHING, just in time for swimsuit season, Summer is RIGHT around the corner!
  • Zoya Nail Polish in Rue So, the “thing” these days is natural, simple, soft manicures, nothing fancy.  Zoya, a brand known for it’s durability and great colors, brings us Rue, a shade perfect for all skin tones and any occasion.
  • Professional Hair Detangler It’s part hairbrush, part miracle worker, so I’m reading.  The bristle lengths vary, so it makes for a pain-free experience on wet OR dry hair.  I’m three years natural, I have thick, curly, long hair.  I’ll definitely find out if this works miracles on detangling MY hair.
  • Delicate Spring Bracelet Worn alone OR layered with other pieces, great with casual outfits or formal…it’s fun, pretty and the gold-accents really stand out all around with the cool blue in-style color.
  • Chevron Beauty Set Chevron is THE pattern to be seen in and with this season.  This set is perfect for the purse OR the suitcase, for lipsticks or the whole makeup bag.  You pick.

I’m excited for ALL these goodies in this beautiful box.  The bracelet I KNOW will be worn this weekend.  Sunday Funday maybe?! We shall see.

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