Sunday, November 14, 2010

Square Burger (aka popping my burger cherry!)

Square Burger-not for squares
Square burger refers not to the shape of the burger, as they are most definitely round, but to the location on McKinney Square.
True we are way up in the burbs here and this was not my usual Friday night debauchery but I had yet to try a burger....and I mean ever!!!
I started eating red meat just a few months ago and had yet to venture into burger land.
I sure as hell wasn't going to pop my burger cherry at McDonalds, so hearing Square Burger had seven varieties made from grass-fed, hormone-free meat made from McKinney's Genesis Beef.
I headed North in search of Burgertopia
For the record, they also have lamb, turkey and salmon but this time I was out for MEAT

Downtown Mckinney is cute and the glass walled windows at Square burger are inviting (though there is no real sign on the outside just a small etched burger insignia on the door).

The neon lit bar is inviting and with 30 beers on tap as well as all the usual alcohol libations this place is worth the drive
The waitresses (and waiters) are gorgeous and friendly, and the interior looks more like a nightclub but its certainly family oriented with parents, kids, oldies and teens all gathered at tables and booths

As this was my first burger, I steered away from the more creative variations and went for the stadium burger which had onions and a great spicy mustard aioli
When you have never eaten a burger before, its hard to write a review and compare but...Man oh man was it good. Tender and well cooked with rich meaty flavours. The fried pickle was a nice touch too

Stadium Burger
Hubby had the "high society Burger" (but of course) With layers of Prosciutto and field greens

High society Burger
We both got the sweet potato fries and the thin spicy onion rings. Despite the reviews on the potato fries they didn't blow me away though they did have good flavour to where they almost felt like dessert
Sweet potato fries and onion rings
This is not a fast food joint and at $9 - $11 per burger this is certainly not cheapeats. However,  the burgers were huge, satisfying and well worth the $$.
I have been reading up on small farms, organic farming and grass fed cattle. I would prefer to support these methods of farming in my newly carnivorous life and Square burger fits that bill
Square Burger on Urbanspoon

Davids Dining

Now for something different

My friend David Tittle has had no chef training, yet for years now we have been telling him how wonderful his cooking is. He is thinking about creating his own "mobile chef" company (where he travels to peoples home and cooks for them).
How lucky that we got to act as Guinea pigs while he practices...

Tonight's theme was Asian night



David preparing his Ahi Tower

Ingredients courtesy of Super H-Mart Asian store

Ahi Tower

Skewers (Beef, Chicken and liver)

Kampai..here's to a great dinner


Dessert-white chocolate seashell (made with a homemade silicone mold) and key lime puree
Im sure you will see more from David Tittle in the near future. Watch this space.....

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Toulouse Je t'aime!

A while ago I posted a question on Facebook asking people for their top 5 restaurants in Dallas and a friend posted Toulouse!
Of course, I instantly had their WEBSITE up and was salivating. I didn't get much further than reading about the award winning mussels and I know I had to get down there pronto.
TOULOUSE
During my travels in France, and more particularly Belgium I fell in love with the dish Moules Frites (Mussels and french fries) and since the sad closing of Jeroboam I have yet to find anything that is quite as delicious.
Toulouse had quite big boots to fill .
Located on Knox Street, Toulouse gave great first impressions. The patio was lively during this Saturday lunch time visit and inside I felt transported back to St Catherine's area of Brussels with the casual bistro decor. Golden yellow walls, hardwood floors and quirky French art posters and murals adorning the walls.
Some of the online reviews weren't too favourable about the food there so I kept my order simple Mussels and Pomme Frites (fries), escargot (snails) and a glass of wine..
I couldn't have been more happy. The Escargot Toulouse ($9.95) were already removed from their shells (as is common in the USA) and soaking in little baths of delicious garlic/butter sauce. A couple of my companions turned their noses up at my appetizer choice but when I persuaded (OK, forced) them to try it they soon changed their tune.
"Kinda like garlic mushrooms" said one.

Escargot

A+ so far and I waited with baited breath for the Mussels
They had five flavours to choose from and you could order then as an appetizer for ($13) or as an entree with Pomme Frites for ($19.95) I had chosen the traditional Mariniere- Garlic, White Wine, Butter & Shallots and they arrived in a steaming bowl with the Pomme frites alongside in their own freestanding iron dish with a side of their own mayo

Mussels Mariniere
The mussels were FAT and very tasty, the sauce had amazing flavour but subtle enough to not be overpowering. Perfect!
I thought the pomme frites could have done with having a little more "crisp" to the outside (as it traditional in the Belgium Fritkot) but that's just me trying to find any fault- which was hard to do!
Pomme Frites

Hubby ordered the Proven├žale version- Tomatoes, Kalamata Olives, White Wine, Garlic & Herbs. My other lunch companion got the
Thai ones- Coconut Milk, Yellow Curry, Tomatoes, Lemongrass, Ginger, Cilantro & Lime! Both also got a huge thumbs up but my preference was definitely for my own which had the most delicate flavour.
I'm adventurous with food, but I will have a hard time (on my most definite return) straying too far down the menu with these available
 for my comsumption

Merci Beaucoup. Toulouse, je t'aime!
Cafe Toulouse and Bar on Urbanspoon

Parigi

We were in Oak lawn strolling round on a blissfully mild fall day when I saw PARIGI tucked away off the pavement. I could have easily missed it, except on this warm afternoon the patio was full of pretty people looking relaxed and happy. Hungry? I was now

I had actually read about this bistro months earlier and was impressed with its claim for using sustainable foods and its partnership with local farmers, so i was intrigued.
Their website is actually very impressive with photos from various travels and farmers markets as well as personal notes about the Parigi owners and chefs.

The decor was rather plain which didn't matter too much as their waiters/waitresses were all gorgeous (so many pretty people down Oaklawn).
On first glance this restaurant feels like it has a personality disorder.  Parigi (which is actually the Italian word for Paris) says it models itself on the "bistros of Paris, with a New York feel" HUH?
I didn't really get the feel of either of these locations from the decor (or the food) and thought Parigi would be better homing in more on its farm friendly side.

Anyway, we ordered from the Fall Friendly lunch menu.


Roasted and stuffed Acorn Squash

Hubby got the Roasted Acorn Squash stuffed with quinoa, peas,carrots, parsnips,spinich and Asiago cheese for $12

Presentation was stunning and it was true fall comfort food stuffed full of veggies and cheese! Hubby thought the cheese was too much but I thought it was great and such a simple idea executed so well





De constructed Cali roll
 
I ordered the Deconstructed Cali roll with sweet lump gulf crab, cucumber, avocado, nori rice, ginger soy and wasabi for $13            

Again, the presentation was wonderful and I felt like I was tucking into art! Actually this dish looked more like an ahi tower than anything else

First taste and I wasn't impressed. The lump crab meat was lovely but flavourless. I began destroying the artwork of the dish by squishing it altogether, much they would in a sushi restaurant (the waitress had not suggested this) and suddenly the taste was transformed from blah to bammmmmm!
It was instantly a wonderful array of flavours all at once, creamy and spicy

So despite the confusing genre of this restaurant it still gets my seal of approval and I look forward to returning for more seasonal samples in the near future

Parigi on Urbanspoon