FAVORITE FRIDAYS: Dallas’ Sweet Tooth Cravings Satisfiers

When it comes to sweets, I can not get enough. I didn’t realize how much I love sweets until I devoured (more like inhaled) a slice of chocolate cake that my bf saved me earlier this week. Literally, it was the first thing I did when I walked into the apt after work. So for today’s Favorite Friday, I want to share with you the places I daydream of and go to satisfy my random sweet tooth cravings.

1. Steel City Pops

photography by Beau Gustafson

photography by Beau Gustafson

During hot summer days, I prefer to eat popsicles, because ice cream melts too fast and popsicles are more refreshing (and healthier). I love Steel City Pops — they have such a great selection of fruity and creamy flavors. My favorites are blood orange, mango, coffee, passion fruit and guava. I also do not recommend their cookie pops as delicious as it sounds — the brownie gets too gritty, and the texture reminds me of coffee grind.

Fun fact: At the beginning of each month, Steel City Pops releases new flavors! Also, make sure to get yourself a punch card.

2. EatZi’s

I never liked carrot cake until I tried EatZi’s carrot cake. The cream is not too sweet and the cake is moist. Their chocolate toffee cake and tiramisu cake are also delicious. You can buy the whole cake or just get single slices.

3. Nothing Bundt Cakes

taken from Nothing Bundt Cake’s Yelp account

First time, I tried Nothing Bundt Cakes was at work — and now I am o b s e s s e d. I keep wanting to get some, but haven’t had the chance. These cake are like pound cakes, but better and perfectly moist (for lack of a better word). You can also buy single serving bundt cakes (called bundtinis) at their store!

4. Fat Straws

Hands down, my favorite bubble tea place in Dallas. I have yet to try Magic Cup, so I will let you know if that’s better. Great smoothies and teas. Their tropical fruit smoothies are all great, and their taro smoothie is one of my favorites!

5. Haute Sweets Patisserie 

haute sweets

Haute Sweets Patisserie started off as a caterer. However, their macarons got so popular that people would buy the macarons straight from the kitchen. Seriously, these macarons are one of the best I’ve tasted — and I’ve tasted A L O T of macarons. I’ve been to Paris before, and these come really close! These macarons’ have a nice bite to them and the flavors are on point! Due to popular demand, Haute Sweets Patisserie now has a storefront (that I have yet to visit). The location is different from their old location so be sure to check out their website.

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FAVORITE FRIDAYS: COOKIE RECIPES

Last weekend, I decided to up my baking game by deciding to bake macarons — and baking macarons is no easy task. They are delicate cookies that require precision and patience. While I was stressing out at every step of the baking process, I began to appreciate cookies a lot more. They’re low maintenance (in comparison to macarons), make great presents, tasty and who doesn’t love cookies? So for this week’s ‘Favorite Fridays’ I wanted to share my favorite cookie recipes — just in time for Mother’s Day!

1. White Chocolate Cranberry Cookies via The Domestic Rebel

cran cookies

I just discovered this recipe a month ago and baked it for a friend’s birthday — and they were a popular hit! I l o v e white chocolate and cranberry cookies, and I’ve baked them using several recipes before, but this one is my favorite. The texture is the best among the other recipes — it’s perfectly soft & chewy. I also recommend using Ghirardelli white chocolate chips — they’re 10x better than the normal ones! Sometimes its okay to splurge on your ingredients — I’ve always been reluctant to splurge on chocolate chips, but now I’m hooked on Ghirardelli. They’re even good plain! And here’s another tip: refrigerate the dough for at least 24 hours before baking.

2. Jacques Torres’ Chocolate Chip Cookies via Bakerella

via Bakerella

via Bakerella

Jacques Torres is a famous master pastry chef with a few chocolatiers in New York City — and lucky for us, the recipes for his cookies are available online. Sadly, I haven’t gotten a chance to try his cookies firsthand. I’ve been meaning to go every time in the city, but never make it in time. However, this recipe is a solid one and my go-to recipe for regular chocolate chip cookies. I also like to sprinkle some sea salt on top of the cookies for the sweet/salty flavor. 

3. Oreo White Chocolate Pudding Cookies via two peas & their pods

via two peas & their pod

via two peas & their pod

Oreo cookies is one of my guilty pleasures. One bite always leaving me wanting more. I like it with ice cream, shakes, cake, etc. It’s probably one of the most fun and versatile grocery store cookies out there. I’ve also made cookies stuffed Oreo, but I prefer mashing it up into crumbs and mixing it with my dough. This recipe is always a hit and my go-to recipe if I’m baking for a special event. You can have fun with this recipe by using different types of Oreo cookies like birthday Oreo or red velvet!

4. Classic Peanut Butter Cookies via allrecipes.com

Super easy, super simple and delicious.

5. Soft Chocolate Chip Cookies via allrecipes.com

This recipe was the first recipe I used when I started to get into baking. It was always my little secret. This recipe is perfect for those who like their cookies softer and less chewy. The secret is the vanilla pudding mix.

Favorite Fridays: Fast Casual/Fast Food Chains

During the week, I try to cook at home so that I can eat healthier and save money at the same time. However, since I was running out of food this week, I decided to spoil myself with some Chipotle (yes, Chipotle is definitely a treat). Like most people my age, I l o v e Chipotle — it’s cheap, relatively healthy, convenient and tasty. It also makes the best leftovers. So as I was scarfing my Chipotle down as if it was my first meal in days, I came up with this week’s Favorite Fridays topic — fast food. Below you’ll find my most frequented fast food chains. These are the places that are comforting and the ones i’ll miss if i’m ever abroad.

ff fast food

1. Chipotle

Like I said earlier, healthy (relatively), quality ingredients (no more GMO – not that it means much, but woo hoo!), cheap, fast and tasty.

2. Hopdoddy Burger Bar

Not sure if this counts since it’s only available in Austin and Dallas, but I am obsessed with everything at Hopdoddy — the truffle fries, the bread & butter pickles, the shake, the burgers, etc. Hands down, my favorite place to get a burger (with Shake Shack coming a close 2nd).

3. Shake Shack

I remember the first time I had Shake Shack in its original location in New York, I waited 1.5 hours for it. No, definitely worth it, but that’s what New Yorkers do — they just wait in line for everything. However, I love Shack Shack. I like their fries, shake and of course, burgers. Their house brewed beer is also pretty good and goes well with the burger.

4. Popeyes

Honestly, not many fried chicken places compares to the consistency and tastiness of Popeyes. While it’s probably the worst thing for your health on my list, it’s also delicious. I love the breading — so flavorful and crispy! Not only is the fried chicken good, but the cajun fries, the mashed potatoes and biscuit. Just sprinkle some cajun sparkle, and you’re good to go.

5. Chick-Fil-A

Two essentials one must get at Chick-Fil-A: the spicy chicken sandwich and the chick-fil-a sauce. And if you have never tried the Chick-Fil-A sauce, you need to change get off your computer and drive to the closest Chick-Fil-A.

Favorite Fridays: Cheap Eats in Dallas

In my previous post, I mentioned how this past weekend I kept eating out, and because of that I really had to watch my budget. This led me to discovering some new and great cheap eats in the city, so for today’s ‘Favorite Friday’ post, I wanted to share with you my top 5 cheap eats in the city. Besides, who doesn’t love a cheap and delicious meal? These are the places that will give you the most bang for your buck!

1. eatZi’s

eatZi’s is your one-stop shop for everything delicious. Don’t be fool by its size, because you can find almost everything there –pasta, sandwiches, dips, chips, beer, wine, fruits, ice cream, among others. It is the perfect place to grab a quick meal for picnics, breakfast, lunch, dinner and/or dessert. I am pretty obsessed with this place, because everything you get here is great – you can’t go wrong. My favorite? The basil dip, fougasse bread, carrot cake, pasta and sandwiches. So yeah, pretty much everything. Be warned: you’ll walk out spending more than you anticipated — so it’s not that cheap per se, but it can be (if you have self-control).

2. VertsKebap

When I was in Berlin, all I ate was street food, in particular doner kebaps. They are cheap, delicious and healthy — encompassing the 3 most important traits in a meal. So consequently, I became addicted and obsessed with them. And I mean obsessed, as in I couldn’t stop thinking about them until I finally found VertsKebap (a year and half later). After months (more like 14 months) of endlessly searching on Google and Yelp for places that sell doner kebaps (no, not gyros and sure, they’re similar — I was just very particular about getting doner kebaps), I finally found the answers to my prayers: VertsKebap. So you can imagine my excitement when I made plans to travel to Austin, the birth city of VertsKebap. And yes, these doner kebaps taste pretty darn close to the ones I had in Berlin. However, at that time VertsKebap was only in Austin..and it’s only recently that they opened one up in Addison (which is probably the most exciting thing ever!). Also, the owners are from Germany so this is as close as i’ll get to those highly addictive doner kebaps. And one last thing: do NOT get the fries; they are soggy and disappointing.

faces of excitement

3. Mr. Max

I already wrote my review for Mr. Max a few weeks ago, so I won’t go into much detail here. So to sum it up: Mr. Max is a cute, quaint Japanese gastropub that serves tapas-style dishes for cheap!

4. Aloha Hawaiian BBQ

Aloha Hawaiian BBQ is one of the new restaurants I discovered this past weekend — and I am in love! It’s a hole-in-the-wall type of fast-casual restaurant located on Lemmon. There’s also one in El Paso so it’s not a true hole-in-the-wall, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t good. I got the BBQ combo platter with the spam musabi — everything was fresh, flavorful and tasty. The BBQ meats actually reminded me of KBBQ. As much as I hate to admit this, I love Spam, and it was my first time trying spam musabi so that was pretty exciting. Although “Hawaiian,” there are definitely Japanese, Korean and Filipino influences in some of their dishes.

aloha bbq

5. Tacos La Banqueta

Just like Aloha Hawaiian BBQ, Tacos La Banqueta is a hole-in-the-wall type of Mexican restaurant with several locations in Dallas. The tacos here are super cheap (around $1.25). Come here if you want to enjoy tacos that are not like Taco Bell. They come with corn tortilla, a little bit of onion and cilantro and that’s it. Simple, fresh and tasty.

tacos la banqueta

Favorite Fridays: Healthy Recipes

So not only do I love to eat, but I also love to cook and try new recipes. Thanks to Pinterest — finding new, fun recipes is super easy. And for today’s post, I want to feature 5 of my favorite healthy recipes, since eating healthy is all the rage these days. I’m also working on my food photography skills so most of these recipes, but perhaps in the future that will change!

1. Greek Yogurt Chicken Salad from Damn Delicious

I love this recipe, because it’s super easy and delicious. I like to eat this with some croissant or over a bed of spring salad mix topped with roasted pecans, reduced balsamic vinaigrette and olive oil (see picture below). I also like to poach my chicken breast (find instructions here) since it’s healthier, and then I like to keep the stock leftover for other recipes (such as the chicken noodle soup found below).

chicken salad sald

2. Parmesan Baked Chicken Nuggets from Gimme Some Oven

This is a fun, easy and delicious way to make chicken nuggets – so much better (and healthier) than the frozen ones!

3. Chicken Noodle Soup from Budget Byte

I change this recipe up a bit by poaching the chicken for about 14 minutes (same instructions from the chicken salad recipe) then using leftover chicken broth. Sometimes this broth not might be enough, so I add store-bought chicken broth in increments then taste and adjust it to my liking.

4. Creamy Tomato Basil Soup from Joyful Healthy Eats

For this recipe, I had to add a little bit of heavy cream to achieve the creaminess flavor I liked. However, this might be different for you — but, overall, a delicious and easy recipe to make.

tomato basil soup

5. Carrot Sticks from Healy Eats Real

Ever find yourself with leftover carrots in the fridge, and you don’t know what to do it with? Happens to me all the time. I always feel so guilty for throwing away food, so I’ve been pretty good about finding recipes to help me eat all my veggies before they go bad — and these carrots sticks are a great one! You can even use zucchini instead of carrots, and add other seasonings like cayenne red pepper, paprika, etc.