36 Hours of Eating in New Orleans

Life’s been catching up to me, so I’ve been neglecting this blog, but now it’s time for me catch up. Exactly a week ago, I was driving my car from Virginia to Dallas. I have no idea why I thought that was a good idea, considering how much I hate road trips, but honestly, it was not bad at all. Thanks to my awesome boyfriend who helped me drive half the time. And thanks to Girl on the Train, which kept us entertained and awake the whole time. For this trip, we made pit stops in Atlanta and New Orleans. I’ve never been to New Orleans nor Atlanta, but I was more excited about New Orleans because of two words: cajun. food.

We had more time in New Orleans and you guessed it, all we did was eat, eat and eat. It was a marathon. I was on a serious mission to try as many restaurants as possible in the city. To be honest, I was pretty disappointed at some of the restaurants we’ve tried. I guess this means we have to go back and eat more. Anyways, here’s a list of restaurants we tried:

1. Felix’s Restaurant Oyster & Bar (4/5) — Located right across the famous Acme Oyster House, Felix’s is another restaurant people frequent for oysters, in particular the chargrilled oysters. Felix’s is also the restaurant people go to when Acme’s line gets too long and supposedly serves oysters that are just as good. Now I’ve never had chargrilled oysters, but after trying them here, I am in LOVE. These are so good, they’re nothing like raw oysters. They are half oysters chargrilled with cheese, garlic and butter and are served with french bread.

chargrilled oyste

2. Erin Rose (3/5) — Stopped here after Felix’s to give our stomachs a break. Got the famous frozen Irish Coffee, which tastes like a frappuccino (so nothing too great). Given how much Yelpers are raving about this drink, I expected more. My boyfriend got the bloody mary, which is not good — it’s too watered down and lacking the savory tomato flavor.

3. Oceana Grill (3/5) — I saw how highly this restaurant is rated on TripAdvisor, so decided to eat here for some classic Cajun food. I got the gumbo, and my boyfriend got the alligator sausage po’ boy. Sadly, everything was disappointing. The gumbo isn’t as flavorful as I’d like — it was lacking that cajun kick! The alligator po’ boy just looked sad, it needed more meat, salad and umpth. The bread was also stale and hard to eat. Not really sure what the hype is about.

4. Cafe Du Monde (4.5/5) — Finally, a restaurant a that lives up to its hype! Came here at 10 p.m. and did not have to wait at all. While these beignets are the bomb-dot-com, they are not worth waiting more than 15 minutes for. Considering that it’s open 24 hours, I recommend going off hours.

a New Orleans classic

a New Orleans classic

5. Stanley (4/5) — A famous brunch spot located in the heart of the French Quarter. Expect a long wait, but if you have time, just put your name and # down, and they’ll call you when a table is ready. For drinks, my boyfriend got the bloody mary. I don’t even like bloody marys, but I actually like this one. It’s savory and flavorful, but does not taste like tomato soup. I got the blood orange italian soda, which does not taste like blood orange. For entrees, I got the famous Beaux Bridge Benedict, and my boyfriend got the Eggs Stanley with fried oysters. The Beaux Bridge Benedict has a layer of some kind of mashed potatoes that looks like pulled pork, but tastes great with the poached egg. Also, instead of english muffins, they use a Texas-style toast bread for the dish! Unfortunately, my eggs were slightly overcooked; however, my boyfriend’s eggs were perfectly poached! Also, the breading used for the fried oysters are nicely crisp and tasty.

how brunch should look like

how brunch should look like

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Meddlesome Moth – Great Food, Better Beer

With so many restaurants to try in Dallas, I often don’t repeat — and this is not intentional. I don’t eat out often, so when I do, I like to try a new place. However, Meddlesome Moth is one of the few restaurants that I find myself coming back to, and it’s mainly due to the beer selection.

meddle beer

Meddlesome Moth is an American gastropub with over 100 beers. They also have a brunch menu that I have yet to try. I’ve tried their chicken salad, a risotto special, mussels with the thai sauce, steak tartare and duck wings — and all have delivered, except for the steak tartare that was too mushy. Additionally, I like how next to each item on their menu, there is a beer pairing suggestion. Unfortunately, I have not followed their guidelines — I know, I know…as a beer enthusiast, I should be more aware of my food + beer pairings; however, Meddlesome Moth often rotates their beer so there’s always a new beer I really want to try, and it gets tough to coordinate my beer and meal. If you’re a beer geek like me, I suggest following Meddlesome Moth on FB to stay updated on their tap list and beer events. And if you’re a wine drinker, Meddlesome Moth also has a great wine selection.

meddlesome moth

No matter what day you go to Meddlesome Moth, it is bustling. There are some people dining and others gathered at the bar for a drink after work. There is a happy hour special where selected beers are $1 off.

Overall, Meddlesome Moth is one of my favorite restaurants in Dallas — great food selection with an even better beer selection.

Cafe Momentum: Eat, Drink, Change Lives

Yes, come here, dine and you’ll help the restaurant change lives (well, it isn’t as serious as it sounds). Café Momentum is a non-profit, upscale American bistro located in downtown Dallas. Not only is Café Momentum a restaurant, but it also serves as a culinary training facilitating providing mentorship and support to at-risk youths. Their mission is to provide these teenagers with a unique opportunity that provides them guidance and teaches them valuable life and professional skills. So yes, the kitchen staff is made up of these ‘students’ who will be serving you — but don’t worry, the service is up to par with the scene and quality of its food. With such a unique concept and great mission, I could not resist and make my boyfriend take me here to dinner last week. It’s always nice to support local businesses who are doing what they can to give back to its community. If you are interested in learning more about their program and mission, I recommend going on their site here.

table

Not only does the restaurant pride itself in its mission, but it also prides itself in its food (which is the most important aspect of any restaurant). Each month the restaurant features a Pop-In local, national or global chef whose specials will be featured on the monthly and seasonal menus. According to Yelp reviewers, the dessert (in particular, the s’mores) is one not to be missed and is crafted by a local pastry chef. Unfortunately, I was too full by the end of my meal.

octopus tiradito

octopus tiradito

For appetizers, my boyfriend and I started off with the octopus tiradito, which is thinly sliced octopus drizzled with a aji amarillo sauce — this was my favorite dish. And unfortunately, not enough per serving. For our entrees, we got the beef barciole and the market fish, which was salmon that night. The beef barciole has a prominent curry flavor to it and the meat is tender with a hint of pink — it reminded me of an Indian curry dish or a stew. The salmon is nicely seared where the skin is crisp yet the meat is flaky. Overall, both are solid choices. I don’t think you can go wrong here!

market fish - salmon

market fish – salmon

While the pricing is on the higher end, it is not bad at all for the quality of food you’re getting. The average is about $30-50 per person depending on what you get, of course.

Good Food. Reasonable Pricing. Great Cause. Need I say more? If you haven’t been, you need to go now and check out this restaurant for yourself.

I came, I waited, I conquered: My Experience Waiting for Franklin BBQ

My boyfriend and I love Austin, so we always try to find an excuse to visit Austin — and all we do is eat, eat and eat. So it’s no surprise that we spent this past weekend eating our way through Austin. And we decided that we would do it – that we would embark on the whole ‘Franklin’ experience. Honestly, I’m impatient and am not the kind to wait more than an hour (more like 30 min.) for food, but somehow I convinced myself to wait five hours for BBQ — and I did it. I came. I waited. I conquered. It’s because I keep hearing locals and Yelp reviewers rave about the brisket and how no other place compares that I decided to devote half of my day to Franklin. Also, I haven’t heard a single person said that “it wasn’t worth it.” And I would be dishonoring my title as a ‘foodie’ if I never try such a famous and highly regarded restaurant. Overall, the experience can be broken down into three parts:

1. Before – The Arrival & Waiting Game

oh you know, just chilling and waiting 5 hours for BBQ - no big deal

oh you know, just chilling and waiting 5 hours for BBQ – no big deal

you think you're almost there, but you're not.

you think you’re almost there, but you’re not.

We got there on Sunday around 8:45 AM, laid down our tarp and we brought some snacks, books and music – we were prepared, but so was everyone else. If you don’t have a lawn chair, don’t fret — Franklin has lawn chairs you can borrow. However, do bring entertainment and snacks, but not too much cause you don’t want to ruin your appetite. We even befriended our neighbors behind us, which made the time fly by. Waiting is definitely part of the “experience” so make sure to make the most of it — entertain yourself, study, nap or befriend your neighbors.

Also, note that you can buy beer while waiting in line or you can bring your own, which I recommend. Furthermore, someone will go down the line and provide clear instructions on how Franklin works. There will also be another person who will ask you what you plan to order to make sure that there is enough. This is great, because this prevents you from waiting in line for hours only to be left starving and disappointed. They’ll also tell you when you’ll tentatively be eating – they are pros at this so believe them when they’ll say you’ll be eating 5 hours later.

2. During – The MOMENT(s)

So close yet so far

So close yet so far

That moment when you’re inside and waiting for your turn to order is quite exciting even though you’re still in line. However, once you see everyone eating trays of that brisket, sausage and pulled pork, you’ll begin to salivate and your heart will begin to race. Once you see that there’s only ONE guy cutting up the meat, you’ll wonder why the heck haven’t they hired one more person, but you’ll soon forget that thought when it’s your turn to order.

      fbbq food

The moment I took the first bite of that brisket was one of the most rewarding feelings ever — I have never waited so long for food. We got 1/2 lb fatty brisket and 1/2 lb lean brisket. The fatty brisket melts in your mouth like butter and falls off your fork easily and nicely. The lean brisket is tasty as well, but nothing as good as the fatty parts. There are several BBQ rubs you can choose for your meats. As weird as it may sound, the espresso rub went well with the brisket. The roasty notes paired well with the smokiness of the brisket. We also got the sausage and pulled pork, and all were as good as you expect it to be. The sausage – plump and smoky. The pulled pork – moist, but a little bland (but that’s what the sauces are for).

FBBQ food 2

3. After – The Food Coma

Of course, we were ambitious and ordered more than we can eat, but we were not going to wait 5 hours to order a small amount of food. The leftovers heated up in the microwave fine and made a great lunch the next day. Best. Leftovers. Ever. (besides Chipotle – lol). We had plans to drive straight back to Dallas right after, but did not make it more than 8 miles, because we were so tired. Consequently, we pulled into a neighborhood, found some shade, parked our car and napped with the windows down. So if you ever plan to embark on this adventure, just remember it’s a whole day kind of ordeal.

And you’re probably wondering was it worth it? Yes. But will I ever wait 5 hours again? No, probably not. With all that being said, it is definitely a fun experience and something worth doing once — and only once.

A Taste of Chicago’s Deep Dish Pizza

Over this past weekend, I ate out for almost every single meal and discovered some great cheap eats around the area — so it was pretty hard for me to pick one to write about. However, considering that I LOVE pizza, and it was my first time trying a true ‘Chicago-style’ deep dish pizza, I have to share it with you.

On our way to Ikea, my boyfriend and I decided to eat lunch at Taste of Chicago in Addison, a pizzeria that also has salads, wings, pastas, thin crust pizzas — but is famous (at least on Yelp it is) for their deep dish pizzas. The setup is casual and reminds me of a Pizza Hut restaurant, minus the salad the bar.

That crust....Being the noob that we were, my boyfriend and I did not call ahead — and no, it’s not because it’s super busy, but because their deep dish pizza takes 40 MIN to bake. That’s a long waiting period, especially when you are suffering from hunger pains. So learn from our mistake and order before you arrive. Yes, we could have ordered appetizers, but knowing how filling the pizza is, we decided it was better not to.

However, when that 4-inch deep pie full of cheesy deliciousness arrives at your table, it is the best thing ever. You get to customize your toppings so we got sausage, pepperoni and onions — and it was AMAZING. The crust is crispy and the cheese is gooey. The marinara sauce is nicely sweet as well. The pizza is layered with your choice of toppings, mozzarella cheese and marinara sauce. It’s definitely one of those dishes where you need a bib, fork and knife. Although I’ve never had deep dish pizza from its motherland, I can confidently say that Chicago’s deep dish pizza will not disappoint. Given how massive it is, expect to have leftovers (which taste just as good as if they’re freshly baked) and to be in a food coma immediately after consumption. Also please note, that my pictures don’t do the pizza justice.

A 4-inch deep, 5-pound pie full of cheese, regrets and amazingness

Mr Max: A True Hidden Gem

Mr. Max is a quaint Japanese restaurant that’s deceivingly tucked away in a grungy shopping center in Irving, TX. Located right behind a donut shop and right next to a sketchy hair salon, Mr Max matches the low-key attitude of the plaza with its plain sign and exterior. However, as you walk into the restaurant, you’ll be greeted by friendly workers from the host stand to the kitchen.

Mr. Max is set up to resemble an izakaya (an informal, casual Japanese restaurant), and  there are only two seating options: bar seats or Japanese-style floor seats (a fun option for larger parties). The Japanese floor tables and quaintness of the restaurant gives Mr. Max a comforting and homey feeling.

If you read Yelp reviews, many claim Mr. Max as an “authentic” Japanese restaurant, and I couldn’t agree more. Even though I haven’t been to Japan nor have any credentials to claim Mr. Max’s authenticity, I can tell by the menu selection, the prices, the ambience, the service and the quality of the food that Mr. Max is a restaurant aimed to stay true to its Japanese roots. Additionally, Mr. Max (who recently passed away) is claimed by many as a lovely man who was passionate and putted a lot of love into his food. After his death, the restaurant closed down temporarily, but is now being operated by a Japanese restaurant group. The new Mr. Max made changes to the menu, but supposedly kept some of the original menu items. Although I’ve never been to the original Mr. Max, I was still pleasantly surprised by the new Mr. Max — and will be definitely coming back again.

The menu offers a variety of Japanese dishes that are not commonly found at sushi or teppenyaki restaurants. Mr. Max reminds me of a Japanese tapas style restaurant. There are a lot of small dishes to choose from as well as sashimi, ramen and udon noodles. Overall, great menu selection with so many delicious options to choose from! However, my boyfriend and I decided on a half-order of the tonkatsu ramen, karasge (Japanese fried chicken), homemade curry and grilled squid.

half an order of tonkatsu ramen

half an order of tonkatsu ramen

karasge with a side of mayo

karasge with a side of mayo

grilled squid

grilled squid

  • Tonkatsu Ramen – The half bowl is perfect for someone like me — big appetite, small stomach. The ramen was delicious — the broth was flavorful and the noodles had a nice bite to it.
  • Karasge – Crispy and tender. Mainly dark meat so it got a little too greasy for me.
  • Homemade curry – Like the name suggests, it tastes homemade as in it’s simple yet delicious. The curry tastes like a green curry with ground beef, garnished with some kind or relish and served with rice.
  • Grilled squid – For about $5 you get a whole entire grilled squid that is fresh and delicious — you can’t beat that.

The best part is that all of this only costed my bf and I $24 (without tip)! In addition to the good food, the service was great. Everyone was attentive and kept checking-in and refilling our waters.

Additionally,  our dinner from the moment we entered and left was only 35 minutes long — and we were taking our time! This is evident of their fast and wonderful service. Tip: If you want to order a few of their smaller dishes, I would suggest order a couple first and the rest later; all of the food comes out fast and all at once.

Rodeo Goat Comes to Dallas

Rodeo Goat opened up in Dallas a few weeks ago, and I haven’t had the chance to check it out until this past weekend. If you do come here during peak times (i.e. weekends), expect to park across the street and/or wait in line for 30+ minutes. In addition to waiting 30 minutes for our seats, my bf and I had to wait a pretty long time for our food, which was frustrating (#hangerpains). I feel as if Rodeo Goat’s kitchen & staff are unable to accommodate their capacity. However, they do have a nice, open seating area, including an outside patio. Given that we spent 80 percent of our time waiting, we probably won’t come back during peak hours, and I advise you to do the same. There are endless burger options in the area *cough* hopdoddy *cough*.

However, let’s move on to the food. I got The Mike Rawlings Burger and the surprise fries. The Mike Rawlings Burger was slightly overcooked, but pretty good. My favorite part is obviously the candied bacon. The surprise fries is LOADED with brisket (albeit it’s more like ground beef) cheese and jalapeños. These fries are HUGE — enough to feed eight people and enough to give you a heart attack. I thought the fries are OK. There’s just too much going on in one dish. Additionally, the heavy toppings made the fries soggy.

heart attack on a platter

heart attack on a platter

Rodeo Goat Burger

THE Mike Rawlings Burger

Overall, Rodeo Goat is moderately priced, and has a great, fun selection of burgers, drinks (both cocktails and draft beer) and appetizers.