Archive for the ‘Food’ Category

Texas & Taco Cabana Sittin’ in a Tree…K-I-S-S-I-N-G…

I put this in the ‘food’ category? Does that count?

Anyway, moving on…

Aaah…Taco Cabana. One of the many little pleasures that my life has gained since moving to Dallas. Those tasty tortillas and queso have held me over for many a near-penniless evening.

Marcie and I hopped into the Taco Cabana north of Greenville and Southwestern last night for some good eats and a beer. One friggin’ beer. LUPITA: GENERAL MANAGER was there to greet us and take our orders. My order included a bottle of Tecate. I handed Lupita my Florida Drivers License (I’m originally from Florida) and she inform me that she needed a valid Texas ID from me. OMGWTFBBQ?! I don’t have a Texas ID…I’m from Florida. I haven’t lived in Dallas a very long time. I still have my Florida ID. Lupita informed me that “It’s State Law.”

“What? Why? This is the only time I’ve ever had this problem. It’s Texas State law that alcohol can only be served to legal Texans?”
“Yes…”
“What about tourists? They don’t get any alcohol? You can still run it. It’s a valid ID. It works everywhere else that runs it.”
“We can’t run an out of state ID.”
“It’s the same machine. Just try it.”
“No. We can’t.”
“OMYGOSH. It’s the SAME machine. Are your machines only for Texas?”
“Yes.”
“You’re the only one that has them! Did the State of Texas make special ID things especially and only for Taco Cabana so they cannot check out-of-state IDs?”
“….Yes.”
“Seriously? Texas made them JUST FOR Taco Cabana?”
“Yes.”

I never got my beer. I was so irked. I’d really been looking forward to it. I hate you, Lupita.

So riddle me this: What is the Texas State law as far as drinking goes? It doesn’t make any sense to not allow out-of-state IDs because that would be really awful for the tourism industry here. Is there a factory where the state makes special Taco Cabana ID Nazi machines? I’m really unfamiliar as to how the laws here work ’cause they don’t make any sense. Help me out.

Penzeys Spices

I just read in the new catalog for Penzeys Spices that they will be opening a new store in the Preston Valley Shopping Center before Labor Day. I’ve purchased their spices for myself and as gifts for years now and have visited their store in Houston (Heights), so we’ll be in for a real treat when they move here. There’s at least one more reason for me to go north of LBJ once in a while.

UPDATE: Maybe not even that – I’ve been told the shopping center is at the southwest corner of Preston and LBJ – even better!

There’s No Such Thing As A Free Lunch

But if you work downtown, near the West End, there is a damn cheap lunch for just $3.95.

It’s called the Record Grill at 605 Elm Street, that’s Elm and Market Streets.

Now this joint comes with a bunch of caveats: It’s a dive. The health inspector doesn’t know it exists. The owners can’t spell ambiance. The cooks don’t know what Atkins or South Beach are. Your best bet is taking it to go. And if you just love nearby Corner Bakery or Chipotle, don’t bother giving it a test drive.

If however, you want a good, home cooked, down and dirty, daily lunch special or a decadent diner breakfast to go, this is the place. Daily lunch specials are usually broiled chicken, green beans and salad. Or meatloaf, mashed potatos and carrots. Or chicken fried steak, fries and greens. And it’s always just $3.95 including tax.

It’s not for everyone and you certainly can’t do it every day. But it’s the best lunch at the cheapest prices within blocks. And lastly, it’s so nice to eat in Dallas at someplace that isn’t a chain.

Trader Vic’s Will Return!

maitai.jpg
Ahhh. The venerable Trader Vic’s will make its triumphant return to Dallas next year, at the new Hotel Palomar at Mockingbird and Central. Trader Vic’s, the home of the original mai tai, was at the same location for years, back when the old Hilton was in its heyday and Bob Hope had a penthouse suite there. So now, the only questions left are: what sort of food will Trader Vic’s have and will it be worth the hassle of getting there after this intersection gets even more clogged with traffic?

On your way home Thursday night, April 7th

If you are anywhere in the vicinity, stop by Tin Star at the Quadrangle on Thursday evening April 7th. Two cent margaritas with food purchase. They’re either two cents or twenty five cents, I forget. Like it matters!

Need more enticement?

Denton musician, Brian Houser, also known as “Beer Man” will be playing from 6 to 9 p.m. He is a terrific and refreshing (jeez that sounds bad) country guitar songwriter and singer; this is your chance to hear and see him in a non-smokey venue.

I’ve got two of his CDs. Original material. Nice guy. And a good show.

Stop by after work, bring the family and have dinner, drag the office over. Whatever.

Good music, good place, good food, good to see you there.

Roti Grill – Yum Bloody Yum

I used to live in a former taxi garage next to King’s Cross station in London. It was a very iffy neighborhood. Often we would come downstairs to find ladies of the night plying their trade on a car’s hood. I could lay in bed and hear the station platform announcements and once when a very high window was broken I lay in bed watching snow flakes fall around me.

I cherish memories of that area because of the unpretentious and delicious food served by two local nosheries. One was the greasy spoon that served the best breakfasts complete with mushrooms & kidneys and a fried slice. The other was an Indian take-away. Many a cold evening I would make the 200 yard dash to the Indian and order their lamb vindaloo and Basmati rice – sometimes I’d add a piping hot keema naan. I would race home and sit silently enjoying the complex, warm, buttery, nutty, spicy food. I ate there at least twice a week finding it the perfect cure for hangover or broken heart. I doubt if I ever spent more than $2.50.

Although the number of Indian restaurants in the Metroplex has grown in the last twenty years from 1 or 2 to dozens there are no bargain take-aways in the British tradition. The Roti Grill on McKinney Avenue near Knox is by no means a bargain but I swear the lamb vindaloo and rice I ate there recently was almost as good as my old favourite in London N1.

I ordered the lamb Texas size offering which was $11.50 – for this you get your curry, rice and a bread. If it had been of marginal quality it would have not been worth it but I found it most delicious and plenty to fill a to-go container for the next day. A couple could share it with a side dish and be quite full.

You pick from vegetables, paneer (home made cheese), chicken, lamb or shrimp as the ‘protein’ part of your dish. Then you select the sauces from eight options. One of these, Balti, I do not see often in Dallas, the same with Jalferezi a super tomato melange which would be superb with chicken or lamb. The Korma, Masala and Saag would all be excellent with vegetables or shrimp or chicken. VIndaloo is a very hot spicy sauce best reserved for a lamb or beef in my opinion.

There are many other items on the menu. You order at the counter, take a number and your food is brought to you. The space is bright and sunny with casual, pleasant furnishings. Music was ethnic but not irritating. At sunday lunch there was a mixed crowd.

They are at 4438 McKinney Ave. South of Knox and also at 6509 W. Park Blvd. NE Corner of Park & Midway. They are owned by India Palace restaurant. The plano location has a lunch buffet every day and they are BYOB. The Dallas location serves beer & wine. Hours 11:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m.

Recently Closed and Where To Go

Well, I just read that EZ

Oak Cliff Restaurant Owner Killed In Botched Ransom Attempt

I’ve mentioned before La Calle Doce and their great octopus and other seafood dishes. I was shocked to hear of the murder of Oscar Sanchez whose family owns and runs La Calle Doce and El Ranchito, another great N. Oak Cliff restaurant. He was killed in a failed kidnap/ransom attempt supposedly carried out by a former employee.

What’s Your Starbuck’s Density?

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Looks like I’ve got 32 Starbucks within a 5 mile radius of my house. That’s nothing compared to folks who live at 45th and Madison in Manhattan. They’ve got 169 Starbucks within 5 miles.

Go to the Starbucks locator, enter your address, and see what your Starbucks density is. (Note: to find the number of stores, scroll to the bottom of the search listings and find the “(Showing 1-20 of xxx Stores)” text.)

Leave a comment if you can beat my 32.

Thanks kottke.org

Love To The Green Pepper Noodle House and Grill

Last night, Les and I went with a couple of friends to the Mac for the Gummelt retrospective and then cruised over to The Green Pepper for dinner. We were surprised to find the place packed, but the food was worth the wait. We discovered Green Pepper when we decided to go to La Duni and had the worst service experience ever. So, we left and headed down to the Green Pepper where we found excellent Thai and Chinese food, as well as charming and attentive service. It’s just a hole in the wall…but it’s goooood.

The Green Pepper Noodle House and Grill, 4246 Oaklawn.

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