Clucking Around in Lewisville, TX: Prohibition Chicken

Prohibition Chicken is the collaboration of Josh Babb and Sean Clavir (formerly of Musume, The Chop Shop and Chop Shop Live) and Chef Roger Kaplan (Restaurant Innovations). In addition to its great location, they chose Lewisville for the restaurant’s site because it lends itself to the old country vibe they were seeking.

Prohibition Chicken
201 W. Church Street, Lewisville, TX 75057
www.prohibitionchicken.com

The dining room is wonderfully rustic yet chic. The walls are covered in wood and the comfy booths are covered in flour sacks.

Rustic interior with natural lighting. Check out the phone booth door leading to the speakeasy.

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Il Vecchio in Pacific Grove, CA

Our first stop after unpacking in our rental was for dinner at Il Vecchio. Il vecchio is Italian for “the old”. This place screams old, but not in a bad way. It screams old world…Rome to be exact. The decor, the people and the food all have a familiar and comforting feel to them…like an old tradition.

Il Vecchio
110 Central Ave, Pacific Grove, CA 93950
http://www.ilvecchiorestaurant.com/

pane e olio

For a starter, I ordered the pane e olio (bread and oil). It arrived at the table on a wooden cutting board branded with the restaurant’s name. The ciabatta was fresh and perfectly complemented the balsamic vinegar, extra virgin olive oil and the sweet roasted peppers. The key here was the vinegar and oil; both were the best quality. The vinegar was aged and thick. The oil green with a rotund flavor.
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Garden to Table Dinner: Independence Gardens Hosts Dinner For a Good Cause

I love eating food, but when all that noshing is for a good cause, it tastes even better. That is exactly what happened last weekend at the Garden To Table Dinner hosted by Independence Gardens. Sarah Allen is a first grade teacher at a school with a high percentage of economically disadvantaged students. The students live in an area referred to as the “food desert” because of the lack of grocery stores within walking distance from their homes. The need for access to healthy foods and the knowledge of nutrition is heartbreakingly real. When she heard about Independence Gardens and their mission she knew she had found the perfect partner. I am a first grade teacher as well. I have seen first hand the effect lack of nutrition can have on children. I was beyond excited to receive an invitation from Chonnie Richey, Founder of Independence Gardens, to attend the event.

The six course menu was inspired by the fruits and vegetables growing in the community schools gardens and each course was cooked by a different local chef. It was an absolutely beautiful night to eat outside and the entertainment put on by the students was stellar.

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Desserts After Dark: Fort Worth Food + Wine Festival

Desserts After Dark
Fort Worth Food + Wine Festival
Panther Island Pavilion
395 Purcey Street
Fort Worth, TX 76102
http://fortworthfoodandwinefestival.com/events/desserts-after-dark/

The Fort Worth Food + Wine Festival is a three-day food spectacular including a BBQ Showdown, Main Event, Desserts After Dark, Rise +Dine and Burgers, Brews and Blues. The events are held at different venues in the Fort Worth area. I can’t think of a better way to end the week than by devouring a ton of sugar-laden delights. I headed over to Cowton for the festival’s “Desserts After Dark,” presented by the Fort Worth Food + Wine Foundation… time to enjoy something sweet and listen to some music!  Here are some of the lovelies. (My apologies for the grainy photos but it was desserts after dark.)

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cherry pie, pi day

Pi Day or Pie Day?

cherry pie, pi dayHappy Pie Day! Okay, so today is Pi Day, not Pie Day. I am using a little poetic license to make the most of it by eating some pie. I love pie and will pretty much eat any kind of pie: apple pie, pecan pie, pumpkin pie, bumbleberry pie, mincemeat pie, shepard’s pie. I am an equal opportunity pie eater. You know the best thing to put into a pie? Your teeth.  In honor of Pi Day I am sinking my teeth into a couple of my favorites: cherry and coconut cream.

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onion rings, Texas Hill Country, Harper, Longhorn Cafe

A Tale of Two Texan Onion Rings

On a recent trip to the Texas Hill Country I chowed down on some amazing onion rings. “Onion rings?! Big deal!” Well, they are a big deal; especially in Texas. Not all onion rings are created equal and there is more than one kind of onion ring. Fill up the car with some gas because you will be wanting to hit the road soon to try these two.

Longhorn Cafe
23624 W. US 290
Harper, TX 78631
http://www.longhorncafeharper.com/

onion rings, Texas Hill Country, Harper, Longhorn Cafe
Harper, Texas is home to the Longhorn Cafe. They are known for their good food. Look at those onion rings. I’ll wait…..They look delish don’t they? They were. The sweet onions were dipped in a cornmeal-based batter. The batter here is substantial and the onion slices have to be big enough to handle the batter. There is nothing worse than biting into an onion ring and having all the crispy batter crumble to bits or worse yet, bite into the onion rings and have the hot onion slide out of the crust and burn your chin. No worries here. Each bite of these onion rings left me with a perfect ratio of batter to onion. No crumbles. No burnt chin. Don’t forget the ranch for dipping. Yep, we have a winner here.

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The Morning After, A Dallas Observer Brunch Event

The Morning After
A Dallas Observer Brunch Event
http://www.dobrunchthemorningafter.com/

morning after brunch, Dallas ObserverIt was a picture perfect day here in Dallas for the inaugural Morning After, a Dallas Observer Brunch Event hosted by Whole Foods Market.  I am here to tell you these people know how to put on a food festival. This venue was the best. The brunch was held at the Dallas Farmers Market. The shade from the open-air shed was needed on this unseasonably warm and sunny February Saturday. More than 20 of Dallas’ shining brunch stars were out cooking up free samples to chow down on. Oh, did I mention free drinks and music too.

Here are just a few of my faves…in no particular order!

Lucky’s Cafe: Chicken and Waffles with a side of gravy AND syrup. This boneless chicken needed nothing. What was in that crust?

Jonathon’s Oak Cliff: Peppered biscuits, peppered gravy and kabob of smoked sausage, ham and bacon glazed in coffee. GLAZED IN COFFEE. Am I in heaven?

Asian Mint: Fried rice for breakfast? Well, of course! Especially if it is loaded with bacon, eggs and a little sriracha sauce.

Full Circle Tavern: Biscuit with sausage gravy and candied peppered bacon. A perfect bite.

Hypnotic Donuts: The Canadian Healthcare will put you in the hospital it is so good. This maple-glazed donut is topped with…wait for it…BACON. 

Ida Claire: First up, mini blueberry pancakes, blueberry-cardamom compote, butter and yogurt whipped cream. Followed up with superseed granola, honey greek yogurt, seasonal fruit and basil. Neither with bacon…they were sublime without it.

Amazing food, amazing venue. Can’t wait until next year. I might not eat until then!

Oysters for People Who Hate Oysters: Fish City Grill in Dallas

Fish City Grill
18149 N. Dallas Tollway, Dallas, TX 75287
http://fishcitygrill.com/

Confession time: I don’t like oysters. I have tried them raw, fried, smoked and all the other ways imaginable. Really! I just can’t stomach them. Well, that has all changed since I chowed down on the Oyster Nachos at Fish City Grill. These babies are exquisite.

First, the fresh oysters are coated with a cornmeal batter and fried crispy. Then the little babies are nestled on a dollop of chipotle tartar sauce on a tortilla chip and sprinkled with with fresh pico de gallo. The perfect bite: crispy, savory, smoky and sweet. I know these are an appetizer, but I find it really hard to share these. Fish City thinks these nachos are so good they are guaranteed: “Love ’em, or we’ll buy ’em.” I doubt they have ever had to buy them!

I like to split the nachos with a friend and finish up with Raphael’s Mexican Shrimp Cocktail. Picture a shrimp cocktail on vacation at a resort in Cancun, Mexico. Loaded with shrimp, avocado, jicama, tomatoes and onions in a spicy cocktail sauce. So spicy, so buttery, so peppery. Sabroso!

Moral of this story: Forget what you know about oysters and head over to Fish City Grill for a new interpretation. You can thank me later.

Fish and Chips Over the Pond

On a recent trip to London I had the opportunity to eat…a lot. One dish I HAD to try while I was there were the fish and chips. Though it is served everywhere, it isn’t edible everywhere. So I stalked researched all the recommendations and ate more than my fair share but one stood above the rest. Drum roll please….

Golden Hind
73 Marylebone, London, UK W1U 2PN
http://thegoldenhind.com/

The restaurant had a diner feel with a comfy, no-frills atmosphere. The menu was what you would expect: fish and chips. What I wasn’t expecting were the choices. You could order cod or haddock and have it fried or steamed. They also offered cod fishcakes, salmon, plaice and skate.
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artichoke; parmesan; olive oil; florence; cantinetta antinori

A Feeding Frenzy in Florence

I had the pleasure of spending Christmas in Florence, Italy. There is truly no place else in the world like it. The sights, the people, and THE FOOD. When I sat down to write this article, I said to myself, “Boy, you are in trouble!” To whittle down all those wonderful bites to five almost became a mission impossible. In my many trips to Florence, I can honestly say I’ve only had three subpar meals. On the other hand, I have had many, many meals that are imprinted on my taste buds as if branded. BUT I am tenacious and accepted the challenge…so here are my top five bites. Enjoy!

Numero Cinque:
Arà: è Sud
Via della Vigna Vecchia 4r,
Florence, Italy 50122
http://www.araristorante.it/home/

cannoli; florence; dolci; foodie; travel; europe; italy

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puffy tacos

A San Antonio #TacoTuesday

Las Carretas Restaurant
4054 Naco Perrin, San Antonio, TX 78217
https://www.facebook.com/pages/Las-Carretas-Mexican-Restaurant/116019481753408

For this installment of Taco Tuesday I sunk my teeth into some amazing puffy tacos. After devouring all that turkey and dressing I needed to cleanse my palate. The puffy taco was invented by Henry Lopez. The puffy taco has been a San Antonio staple since then. Puffy tacos are made with a dough called masa. Fresh masa dough is available at most mexican specialty stores. The dough is then pressed into discs and fried in oil. The water in the dough puffs up when fried. The shell the perfect combination of soft and crispy. Picture a little pillow for meat! The great thing about puffy tacos is that they can be filled with anything!

The first taco was filled with amazing and savory picadillo. Picadillo is a savory meat filling including beef, potatoes, bell pepper, onion, garlic and cumin. Some recipes for picadillo include raisins. Don’t judge. It is amazing.  img_8849

Second up on the taco train was a chicken puffy taco. This taco was filled with shredded chicken. The chicken was moist and seasoned with garlic, cumin, tomatoes and peppers. 
img_8850

These tacos were just what the doctor ordered…my turkey coma is cured.

Dawn Does Tacolandia in Dallas

Tacolandia
City Hall Plaza
1500 Marilla Street, Dallas, TX 75201
http://microapp.dallasobserver.com/tacolandia/2016/

tacolandiaMan, I love some tacos! I was so excited to attend the 2nd Annual Tacolandia hosted by The Dallas Observer and Tabasco, held at City Hall Plaza. It was a great spot with plenty of room to move around and flow through 40 taquerias serving up some amazing tacos. Here are my top picks from the festival.

Numero Cinco: Fuzzy’s Taco Shop – A corn tortilla topped with spicy  pork then topped with lettuce, tomato, cilantro and feta cheese. A good, solid taco and the feta was a nice twist.
fuzzys

Numero Cuatro: Taqueria La Ventana – This calabacitas taco was the only veggie option I came across. It was seasoned well and substantial. A nice change of pace from all the meat offerings!ventana

Numero Tres: Gas Monkey – I don’t think of  Gas Monkey when I think of tacos, but they delivered. The wagyu beef taco was tender and juicy. It was topped with queso fresco, pickled onions and cilantro. One note of caution: the salsa was HOT. Have a libation on hand to chase it down.wagyu-beef

Numero Dos: El Padrino –  Man, this taco was good. This was your classic barbacoa—juicy and tender with all the flavor that comes from cooking in its juices. All that served up on a corn tortilla with cilantro, onion, green salsa, and a little lime. barbacoa

Numero Uno: Digg’s – Winner, winner taco dinner. This taco was spot on! It was aptly named the Smokey Porkinson. The taco was filled with savory pork and laid on a pillow of a flour tortilla. Then it was topped with slaw, cilantro and salsa. The squeeze of lime added just the right amount of acidity.  This taco got my vote for the day. diggs-smokey-porkinson

Already marking my calendar for next year!gates