Archives for category: Savory

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!


If you’ve ever been to Houston, TX and driven by the corner of Travis St. & Alabama St., you’ll more than likely see a line about 50 or more people deep, wrapped around an open parking lot.  You’ll see kids playing and running around, men and women from all walks of life, young and old, conversing, laughing, waiting patiently to do what? Feed their faces at the breakfast klub!

Pretty much every time I visit Houston, it’s a must that I stand in that line, an hour, maybe more and feed my inner foodie.  It’s really a treat and always well worth the wait.  Mr. Marcus Davis, a Houston native himself, the MAN behind the breakfast klub, is a genius, pure genius.  Since it’s opening in September 2001, the breakfast klub has gotten recognized all over the the nation.  Named “best breakfast restaurants in the nation” by Good Morning America, USA Today, Esquire and Forbes. Sounds like a “winner, winner, chicken dinner to me”!

Now, if you ask anyone standing in line, I’m sure they’ll say they’re there for two famous signature items on the menu: wings & waffles OR katfish & grits.  I’ve had both and I don’t think I’ve EVER gotten up from the table without cleaning my plate.

wings & waffles…wouldn’t you clean YOUR plate?!

I’ll tell you one thing, that wait, an hour or more, I can not stress to you enough that every sweet & savory bite is worth it.  The wings, cooked and seasoned perfectly, the waffle, crunchy on the outside, sweet & soft on the inside and sprinkled with just the right amount of powdered sugar.   Everything comes to your table, hot, fresh and ready to devour.  I mean really, look at that plate above.  It’s perfection.  What I wouldn’t give to have that at my dinner table tonight SMH.  Back to the subject at hand as I snap out of my culinary daydream…listen, if you happen to visit Houston, or if you’re just passing through, trust me.  Trust Ms. Chay.  Wait in that line, I promise you will thank me forever.

***the breakfast klub

3711 Travis at Alabama

Houston, TX  77002


I look forward to Sunday Fundays!  What makes them even better is when it’s a beautiful day outside, great weather, not too hot, not too chilly and food, friends, family and drinks are in the equation.  Downtown Dallas, Klyde Warren Park is the place to be when the sun is shining and the birds are chirping.  It was my first time going and I had heard nothing but good things about it: nice dog park, huge grass fields, FOOD TRUCKS, walking trails, kiddie playgrounds, just a great, positive environment to really spend all day having a plain ol’ good time…

Of course, I went on an empty stomach, anticipating the casual, culinary choices.  The food trucks were lined up on the side of the street, open for business, some of them their lines 20-30 people long.  One of them stuck out to me.  The Nammi Food Truck.  I remembered bookmarking it on Yelp* and looking at the pictures as well.  All the food looked so fresh and full of flavor!  The line wasn’t too long either, so that was a plus as well.

Walking up, you see a variety of Asian chips, snacks and drinks to grab & go, but I wasn’t worried about all that…I wanted the REAL DEAL, the GOOD STUFF!  To the left of me, I see the menu.  Pretty simple and straight forward, not a huge list of confusing options, having you say to yourself, “What is that?!”  So, first you choose your meat.  I chose the Lemongrass Chicken. Then you choose your meal.  I went with the Bánh Mì, which is a Vietnamese sandwich on a 12″ baguette served with garlic mayo, cucumber, pickled daikon and carrots, jalapeños and cilantro as well as the meat that you chose.  I knew I would need something to wash all of this yummy goodness down and the Fresh Basil Mint Lemonade seemed perfect for just that.

The sandwich was huge! Piled high and made fresh to order.  The baguette was crispy on the outside, chewy yet soft in the middle, the mayonnaise spread really helped with that. Now, if anyone knows me, they KNOW I’m not a huge fan of cilantro at all.  It’s just too pungent and overpowering for me and the sandwich was finished off with it. To my surprise, it satisfied my taste buds combined with the sweet pickled carrots and radishes. I really liked it!

One of my favorite things about the Bánh Mì is the crunch of all of the veggies….the fresh cucumbers, the pickled veggies, even the fresh jalapeño which added just the right amount of kick. Even with all of the veggies and the mayo spread, the lemongrass chicken, which was seasoned perfectly, very juicy, I could taste it in every bite.  The taste was ever overpowered.  All ingredients meshed.  Like a perfect love story.  THEN, to wash it down with the fresh, bright, sweet & sour taste of the lemonade, not too sweet. Everything was DELICIOUS!

Now, I do plan on trying every last one of the food trucks at Klyde Warren Park.  I think my next one will be Ruthie’s Rolling Cafe.  Their specialty: GRILLED CHEESE.  I’m getting off track just thinking about my next foodie adventure SMH.  Wanna try Nammi?  You surely can.  They have a schedule of when and where they’ll be Monday-Sunday, BUT I suggest you do like I did and try it in a great, chill, relaxed, “Happy Sunday Funday” atmosphere like at Klyde Warren Park.  Sit in the sun, on a blanket, wind blowing and feed your face.  It doesn’t get any better than that.

I’m starting this new thing with my food posts.  I’m all about finding a new place to feed my face, and when I say new, I mean a place that I’ve never been to personally.  FOODIE FIND.  Sounds good to me!

So it’s a Saturday night.  My mom and I had a long day of running errands, we’re hungry for something, but not sure of what really.  Something quick and easy, for sure, no long waits, nothing fancy, just good food, ready to be devoured.  Mexican food, nothing hard at all…tortillas, meat, cheese, salsa, tortilla chips, sounds good right?! RIGHT!  Rusty Taco.  We pass it on our way home all the time, it’s always packed, so I mean, something MUST be good about it.

When you walk in, you can tell right away, it’s a very casual eatery.  The kitchen is open, you can see your food being prepared, the chairs and tables are steel-like picnic tables…the building kind of reminds me of an old garage.  When it comes to ordering, it’s simple as pie.  One big menu on the wall, includes all tacos even breakfast, sides (chips and salsa) and beverages.  Nothing fancy, straight to the point, order as much or as little as you want, have a seat and wait for your name to be called to pick up your order.


While waiting, the manager, I didn’t get his name, but he seemed like the one running the place.  He was so nice, greeted everyone, walked around to make sure everyone was doing ok and he brought us our house made, frozen margaritas.  Not knowing how big they were, we definitely could have shared; by the time we left, between my mom’s drink and my drink, we drank the equivalent of one.  As far as the alcohol level, the buzz, we felt relaxed, but I mean, I’ve had way stronger i.e. Mi Cocina, Gloria’s, Aw Shuck’s.  The chips and salsa. The chips, they were served hot and crunchy, but I’ve had a lot better.  I did like the salsa.

After about 5-7 minutes, our names were called and I was so excited. Like really.

(from r-l) #2, #10, #5 & #7

Seeing as though I’m on Weight Watchers, I tried to be smart when ordering my tacos.  I didn’t want to order anything really creamy, fried or covered in some sort of fattening sauce.  So, I ordered the #2 Roasted Pork Taco and the #7 Fish Taco, both on a corn tortilla.  My mom had the #5 Brisket Taco and the #10 Fried Chicken Taco, both on flour tortillas and it took everything in me to not ask my mom for a bite of that #10.  My tacos were good.  The queso fresco really hit the spot.  Gave the #2 a fresh kick.  I did order two of the more healthier options, which they still had a lot of flavor, but next time I go, I think I’ll splurge and treat myself to maybe, the #8, Baja Shrimp Taco. I love fried shrimp.  That’s the Creole in me LoL.  I’ll tell you what…that little styrofoam container, sitting oh so pretty on the tray, was a star player in my eyes.  It’s the Jalapeño Ranch Dressing.  It as supposed to go on the #10, but my mom asked for it on the side.  BIG mistake.  I guess she thought the spice from the jalapeño would be something she couldn’t handle.  That dressing was good on EVERYTHING.  I even started dipping my tortilla chips in it.  YES, it was that serious.

Well, enough of the small talk, I think I’ve made myself clear.  Rusty Taco was pretty good, I will be visiting again.  Of course I’ll be changing up my order just a bit.  Simple, clean, lots of flavor, in and out, casual, friendly and delicious.  That’s about how I would sum up Rusty Taco.

Dallas' Chicken Scratch

Dallas’ Chicken Scratch

YES I had ANOTHER Chay Day birthday celebration, this time it was a birthday lunch…a little foodie present from my little brother.  If you haven’t noticed, my birthday celebrations last longer than the day or week of my birthday lol…I can’t help it, I’m a loved person!

My brother. Yeah he’s just as big a foodie as I am.  He’ll try anything once, most of the time he’ll end up liking it, just like me…and my dad, we’re the eclectic ones in the family.  So, we stepped outside of the box for this event here, I mean it was my birthday present from him, so we HAD to change it up a bit.  D Magazine came out with their much anticipated The Best of Big D 2013  issue and it was like a kid picking out all the Christmas presents they wanted in THE BIG Toys R Us book, it was THAT serious!  So after visiting multiple websites, searching through restaurant galleries, YES we’re visual people, we love details, we decided on Chicken Scratch.  This was probably one of the best culinary decisions we’d ever made, no really.  So, Chicken Scratch is located in the heart of Dallas, Oak Cliff, right near Downtown, in between a trailer park and an old abandoned hotel.  From the street though, you can’t miss it.  It’s literally a chicken coop.  Parking spots under a tin roof, metal posts holding it up, gravel, concrete pavement, very rugged look, nothing fancy, but the ambience was pretty cool.  We went on a Saturday, early around like 2/2:30 and it wasn’t crowded at all.  It was hot that day, and when I say hot, that’s an understatement.  We’re in Dallas, Texas.  Summers here are NO JOKE and it was the middle of the day in August.  All those factors equal HELL ON EARTH LoL.  To help with the smoldering heat, above the umbrella-covered picnic benches and booths outside, there were fans spraying a cool mist.  We tried to sit outside for a minute, handle the heat like true Texans…yeah that was an epic fail. So inside we went, with the quickness, where huge fans blew hot air, which honestly was ten times better than trying to sit outside and feed your face with the sun beaming down on you, with no sympathy for you.

On to the good stuff.  The food.  One thing that stuck out to all of us as soon as we walked in, the food in the pick-up window.  RIght away, we saw the main feature…the Knife & Fork Biscuit Sandwich.  It was HUGE!  I kept describing it to everyone as Chick Fil A chicken biscuits, times ten. They were THAT BIG!  After focusing, getting back to the matter at hand, we decided to order.  The colorful menu described every biscuit in detail, what each ingredient was.  It included the hefty, homemade sides as well as individual fried chicken options.  Everything looked SO GOOD, but we focused in on the ginormous biscuit sandwiches.  That was what we came for.

It was definitely hard to choose, everything looked so freakin’ good.  I got the Smothered.  This monstrous things consisted of a plump, juicy, tender piece of chicken, boneless & fried to perfection, topped with gravy fries, and melted cheese.  The one thing that bugged me was that the cheese, it was American cheese, not a huge fan of it, too mild for me and it wasn’t melted.  My brother got the Buffalo.  It was topped with buffalo sauce, pickled celery, ranch & blue cheese crumbles.  My next visit, I’ll be ordering this once.  There’s something about the perfect spice of buffalo sauce with the cooling ranch AND blue cheese, it just goes perfectly.  As far as sides, I got the cabbage & jicama vinegar slaw and my brother got the green chile & hominy mac n cheese.  I loved the crunch & freshness of the slaw.  It could’ve used a little bit more taste, a little bit more seasoning.  The one bite I took of my brother’s mac n cheese, that I had to risk my life to get from him, it was creamy goodness.  That will be ordered on my next visit as well.  I loved the plating.  Simple & to the point, nothing fancy.  Just big, tin plates, to hold their big, delicious sandwiches.

This picture, it does justice…but at the same time, it doesn’t.  I didn’t even attempt to pick this thing up and take a bite.  It was a guaranteed mess in hands.  The title of Knife & Fork Biscuit Sandwiches fits perfectly.  My plate, yup I cleaned it.  I washed everything down with their house made sodas, which I must say, we couldn’t get enough of.  Flavors like grape, lemon-lime, strawberry, root beer, even lemonade, they just had a better taste than say a Coke or Pepsi product.  We got a good three or four refills each.  Don’t judge us.  Another item that tickled our taste buds, the sweet & salty fries.  They had the perfect amount of seasonings, not too much sweet, not to much salt, cooked perfectly, crunchy on the ends, I mean just plain’ ol’ good.

Hands down, I give this place, a good two thumbs up…when it cools down here in Dallas, I will be making another visit and enjoying the cool Fall weather outside, comfortably.  You should too!  As a matter of fact, just go.  Rain, sleet, snow, whatever.  Feed that foodie in you!

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