Archive for March, 2005

Blue Angels

The Blue Angels will be performing this weekend at this year’s airshow. Admittedly the website promoting the event is dodgy – but the Blue Angels are pretty cool to watch.

It’s free for the family. But if you take your kids they really need earplugs – it’s loud during take-off.

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.

Strong Stuff

Whether you’re a Citizen For a Strong Mayor, a citizen against the strong mayor, or a whole freakin’ coalition against the strong mayor proposal in Dallas, one thing’s for sure: from now until May 7th, you’ll be really tired of hearing about it by then.

A Hidden Gem

Up until a month or so ago, I had not been to The Shops at Willow Bend mall in Plano. Judging by the number of shoppers in this mall, apparently I’m not the only one.

It was almost eerie at how few people there were roaming this place on a Saturday afternoon. The busiest store, by far, was the Apple Store, and even that one was semi-maneuverable. Even though Lord and Taylor will soon be closing, there’s still a Foley’s, Neiman’s, Saks and Dillard’s to round out the big department stores. The specialty shops lean more to women’s clothing, so if that’s your thing, you’d feel right at home.

On the down side, the food court is nothing to write home about. Todai Seafood Buffet is there, and looked to be the best place to try out for me next time. The rest is standard mall fare: Sbarro’s, Chick-fil-A, Sonic, a cheesesteak place, plus a Mexican grill and a few others, along with a Cinnabon (mmmm).

I’m just curious, though. Is this mall going to survive? Is it popular during the holidays? It’s been open for over three years now, and judging from what I’ve seen on two trips there, it can’t last for long at this rate.

I guess we better enjoy the hassle-free shopping while we can, huh? Check them out and post your thoughts in the comments. The mall is located on Park just west of the tollway in Plano.

Welcome Chase

When Chase Bank bought BankOne my first thought was maybe Chase could figure out how to put deposit envelopes at the ATMs. I don’t know if it’s all BankOne locations, or just the Irving ones – but BankOne is positively stingy with envelopes.

Whenever I need to make a deposit, I start cruising ATMs looking to score an envelope. I’ve long since given up on the BankOne machines, I usually drive over to Bank of America on Macarthur and hijack one of their envelopes. BankOne obviously knows people do this, since their ATM is flooded with BOA deposit envelopes. Apparently Bank of America has it figured out too. This weekend there was a note on the Bank of America ATM machine that said: “BankOne customers, wouldn’t it be easier to do your banking here.”

Chase Bank, welcome to the neighborhood. Please bring envelopes.

Dallas Hearts Doggies

From Frontburner:

About 8:15 a.m. this morning, I’m driving westbound on I-30 between Fair Park and downtown. Suddenly, cars in all four lanes begin slowing. This is happening about seven or eight cars ahead of me. Then the lead cars in each lane begin driving erratically — criss-crossing lanes, speeding up then slowing down, turning around and heading TOWARD traffic, then circling back. After a few minutes of confusion, I catch a glimpse of a dog — looked like a white-and-black mutt, about the size of a border collie — running full speed in the middle of the highway, also westbound, like he’d just escaped from the Shawshank Pound and has decided he won’t be taken alive. So what follows is an incredibly intricate, mile-long, multi-car dog roundup. Cars whisking by each other to aggressively form a far-west barrior while the cars behind form a moving blockade. Meanwhile, a few trucks — the herders — operate between these barriors and try to direct the dog to the side of the road. A few times, a man in a white truck (his dog, perhaps?) gets out of the truck to grab him then jumps back in as the dog, who by now I’ve dubbed “Andy Dufresne,” escapes through the rolling blockade.

This goes on for a good 10 minutes. A gaggle of kids on a short bus a few cars ahead of me have their heads out the window, cheering Andy on toward I-45 and his boat in Zihuatanejo. Shockingly (or, perhaps, not), NO ONE is honking. Everyone seems content to roll along slowly, watch the rescue operation, and pray for poor Andy.

Finally, Andy begins to slow. Like a scene out of C*O*P*S, five cars swerve to the side of the road, forming a tight circle. People jump out, corner Andy, and the man in the white truck scoops him up. Even though we can get by now, all the cars are stopped, waiting for the outcome. The guy, dog in hand, smiles, everyone gives him the high sign, and I-30 begins to move again.

During this, I of course called Tim, because I know this sort of stuff drives him INSANE. And, in Tim’s defense, I know that if that had been a homeless person running in the middle of the street, 74 percent of those same people would have pulled a Strong Mayor and run him over before heading to Starbucks. That said, it was still kinda cool to see.

Recently Closed and Where To Go

Well, I just read that EZ

Environmentally minded? No, marketing genius!

This really should be posted on one of the west coast blogs, or better still, the Austin site. But has anyone seen new Tide

Super-Sized Feud


A Big Howdy

Hey, everybody! Just a quick introduction from me for now

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