My Favorite Things: Houston’s

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If you have read my other posts, I think you know I am not really a fan of national chain restaurants.  The menu may be designed by chefs but on any given night, they do not have the freedom to create.  But there is one exception to my “national” chain rule and they have lots of options due to having many different restaurants in various parts of the country.  Houston’s is the exception.  I love that anytime I visit Houston’s, both the service and the food are consistently fantastic. I have my favorites when I visit, it just depends on the mood I am in.  Crab Cakes, the Ahi Tuna(either the entrée or the salad), the ribs, the grilled artichoke…….I could go on.  And my husband loves their food and he’s happy to sit at the bar and have a small bite at the end of a night if we are not ready to go home.  It’s even kid-friendly.

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I think to a recent visit for my husband’s birthday.  They brought out the apple dessert with one candle.  No singing(my husband is not a fan), no big group of people, just a candle and a quick Happy Birthday and we were left to enjoy.  I don’t think I have ever left this restaurant disappointed.  Now if only I could get a peek of their spinach dip recipe, I would be the happiest lady in town!

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Brunch on Mother’s Day 2015 in Dallas

I have something to share with you. I love Mother’s Day!  For me, there is no pressure to decorate the house, no need to plan for presents, and it can be as lazy or as active as we want.  Plus my daughter is usually on her best behavior since it is Mommy’s special day.  Instead of doing a big dinner out, we love to “brunch”! nasher2Over the years we have spent Mother’s Day at a lot of great restaurants in Dallas.  I remember a quiet meal at the Dallas Fish Market with my newborn daughter, a more casual meal with the whole family at The Grape, a southern meal at Hattie’s in Oak Cliff, and my absolute favorite, a special brunch at the Nasher Sculpture Center(brunch by Wolfgang Puck with special family activities and performances) that my husband reserved for the three of us as a surprise. Of course, as a mom, I always ask friends for recommendations on where they spend Mother’s day, whether it be brunch or dinner.  A few of their favorites:  brunch at Café on the Green at the Four Seasons in Irving(very family friendly), Al Biernats (for brunch or dinner) and Nick and Sam’s Grill(very energetic). This year I want to try something that is “new to me” but a place that I would be happy to go to on any given Sunday(with the hope that someone else is doing the food shopping and running errands while I am “brunching”).  I went to my two trusted “foodie” sources and not too many posts about Mother’s Day yet.  Then I pulled up OpenTable and started looking for the best brunch spots in North Dallas and their page specific for Mother’s Day brunch spots.  This is the EASIEST way to make reservations and it all syncs with my calendar!  So where might you find me on Mother’s Day?

  • SMOKE Plano – I have been to Smoke down in Oak Cliff and enjoyed both brunch and dinner. I think it is time to visit them again for some thick cut pork belly bacon!   Unfortunately, you cannot make reservations for brunch.
  • DISH Preston Hollow – I used to live near DISH on Cedar Springs and unfortunately never made it there for lunch, dinner or brunch. Now that there is one closer to me and they serve Fried Chicken and Waffles, this is definitely on my list.
  • Mexican Sugar – There is something for everyone here – Benedictos Rancheros, Chilaquiles or Egg White Migas. Plus I can spend some time shopping at Legacy after we eat!
  • Knife Dallas – The Short Rib Benedict and Pork Belly Hash are calling my name.  We have been for dinner and it may be time to visit for brunch!
  • Ivy Kitchen – I visited Ivy Kitchen right after it opened for a girls’ night out and enjoyed my meal. I have heard some mixed reviews but I have not been for brunch.  Depending on the weather, brunch and a movie may be a great way to spend the day!  I know my husband would be thrilled!

 Happy Mother’s Day!!!

 

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At Home In Dallas Dining Review: Neighborhood Services in Addison

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The experience started out rough. I was dining alone, there were no seats at the bar, and no WiFi. Let me repeat- no WiFi for someone dining alone is the worst. You have to make sure you have synced your kindle app or have the latest version of USA Today or The NY Times to read. Or you have to play games through dinner.

But the manager helped me get a seat and after the crowds slowed my bartender was most helpful. She made lots of recommendations and I decide to go with the deviled eggs with bacon jam, the chicken pot pie and a side of Brussels sprouts.  I sat with my iPad playing solitaire and listening to Neil Diamond before dinner was served(they do play good music).

The deviled eggs- a bit heavy on the yolk but the bacon jam brought a great sweetness. A good start to the meal.

Next was the Chicken Fricassee Pot Pie. Very good, not too heavy and great flavors. I skipped the side salad with it and enjoyed the Brussels sprouts, a little pepper mixed with sweet. I think my husband may need to try these!

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Take this advice: find a date or bring a MiFi and come eat at Neighborhood Services in Addison.

 

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At Home in Dallas Dining Review: Mangiamo Italian Restaurant

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I love Italian food.  I grew up in the Northeast and the hardest decision was where to go to eat and then what to order.  The food was amazing.  Now that I live in Texas, we have great restaurants here but I struggle finding a great dish of pasta and the perfect parmigiana.  Imagine my surprise when my father-in-law told me he found a new spot that was pretty good(and FYI, he grew up in NY).

Mangiamo.  It’s in the shopping center on the southwest corner of 635 and Preston Road. The menu is pretty straightforward and the night we dined, they had a few specials.  Plus they do half orders of pasta for kids which is the perfect option for us.

They do not have a liquor license so I think they encourage you to BYOB.  They started us with a toasted bread and then we made some choices.  I ordered the eggplant florentine, my husband ordered the baked ziti with meat sauce, my father-in-law had the veal parmigiana and my daughter had the tortellini.  No room for dessert as the portions were a good size but I think they had cannoli, something I cannot find very often in Dallas.

IMG_9735 IMG_9737 IMG_9740I I enjoyed my meal.  And I will be back again….plus I was happy to see that on the night we went, it was packed with people waiting.  I guess others have found it to be good too!  But if you have a favorite spot, PLEASE SHARE IT WITH ME!

 

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