Taco Fiesta ~ Baltimore, Maryland

Last visit: February 2018

Taco Fiesta is my favorite taco place in the country right now. I think that’s an odd thing to say for a Texan working in Baltimore. It just can’t be can it? Well sure it can.

While I have no doubt there is competition here in DFW, of all the taco places I’ve tried, I’ll take Taco Fiesta. Yes, and that includes the much lauded Torchy’s that we’ve written about in these very pages. It’s not a hardcore taqueria like, say, Alvarado’s either. I suppose it tracks closest to Fuzzy’s if looking for the type of environment. It’s a counter service place (honestly not enough of those near where I work), with a full bar setup, and seating on the main level as well as upstairs. As mentioned in the Alexander’s Tavern review, I have to segregate alcohol from non-alcohol, so Taco Fiesta is strictly a to-go place for me. They have a pretty full menu, but I never get past the tacos. In fact, I rarely eat anything but carne asada and pollo (and occasional pork carnitas). All t…

Mi Dia From Scratch ~ Grapevine, Texas

Last visit: January 2018

Regular readers of the RJG (do such people really exist? Questions...) will know we are big fans of New Mexican cuisine, to the point where we travel there at least annually. Presumably just to eat. And, well, that's not far from the truth.

So why have we been so tardy to review Mi Dia From Scratch, since they've been open for over 6 years now? I have to admit I was a bit reluctant originally. They had been advertised as something of a Mexico City interior kind of place, with New Mexican seemingly a "throw in", and their menu lacked any authenticity in this area. But over time, they fine tuned that menu, and we've now been a few times, and it's superb each visit. Mi Dia is one of only a couple of restaurants in DFW that knows that Christmas has another meaning outside of a religious event or a holiday.

Let's get this out of the way first: This isn't a fast casual restaurant, nor a mid priced family dining establishment. Mi Dia…

Ocha FTW Thai ~ North Richland Hills, TX

Last visit: January 2018

There was a time when finding a good Thai restaurant in Northeast Tarrant was quite a challenge. Think back 15 years ago. Back then we liked Thai Chili (Southlake - now in Roanoke), Top Thai (NRH - long closed), Thai Rice (Grapevine - now Thai Riverside), and Bangkok Cuisine (Haltom City - still around, but new owners). And Sweet Basil had yet to get the new owners that transformed them to a 5 star place.

Now it seems all one has to do is go outside... and turn right.

Which brings us to Ocha FTW, the latter appellation added to distinguish itself from a similarly named restaurant in Denton. This isn't our first encounter with the restaurant setting. According to the RJG archives (yes, deep in the labyrinths of the Earth, a virtual time machine), we tried a place called D. Asian almost exactly 6 years ago. It wasn't bad at all, but not enough to get us to add to the rotation.

Ocha FTW is good enough to add to the regular Thai rotation. We were very impr…

Jalapeno's Taqueria ~ Keller, Texas

Last visit: January 2018

A long time ago we mentioned this small taqueria in a post about what we thought might be - or not, never was sure - of a related restaurant. That restaurant later became Las Pinatas in far north Fort Worth and is now gone as well.

According to my personal database, my last visit to Jalapeno's Taqueria was in November of 2009, about a year and a half into this blog. It didn't leave much of a mark, and we forgot about it. Well Mrs. RJG and I were in the mood for some tacos, and it's not that far from where we reside, so we thought we'd try it again.

And now I remember why it didn't leave a mark. It's pretty average fare for a taqueria. It seems to be popular though, and it's a small family run business, so I guess it's just a matter of personal taste. I tried four street tacos: Ground beef, chipotle chicken tinga, al pastor, and carne asada. That's the order I ate them in. The ground beef was just flavorless mush, and I didn&…

Kindred Coffee Co. ~ North Richland Hills, Texas

Last visit: January 2018

Coffee, eh? Well, why not... We've not reported on the coffee places we go to, and that's probably because it never was a focus area for the RJG. That's about to change. And what better place to begin that journey but at Kindred Coffee Co., which is not too far from the RJG stable.

Kindred Coffee offers a full array of pastries, bakery items, salads, wraps, fruit juices, and teas. And of course various types of coffee, espresso's, and frozen concoctions thereof. On this visit I tried the Mocha Frappe, which is their variation of Starbucks' famous Frappuccino. And like any decent coffee house, Kindred blows away the watered down cheap Starbucks variation. It is quite decadent, and packs a caffeine wallop as bits of espresso beans are ground up within (which you can taste), and topped with whipped cram and chocolate. I was climbing the walls at home for 2 hours straight. An organic energy boost that tastes great. Mrs. RJG, who cannot take caf…

Alexander's Tavern ~ Baltimore, Maryland

Last visit: January 2018

So we begin our Baltimore sojourn at Alexander’s Tavern. As apropos as anywhere else the RJG frequents in Baltimore I suppose. As mentioned in the year end update, I started working in Baltimore in November of 2016 and I’m here/there roughly once a month give or take a week. While my job and role have changed immensely in the last one year plus, the places I frequent to dine and drink have not. My current company is decidedly a non-liquid lunch kind of environment (dinner is a different story…). And I couldn’t see how it would be anyway, as I pretty much work non-stop from 5a to 6p (sometimes more), except to pull away for 30 minutes (or maybe an hour) of lunch bliss and an hour in the morning to run the beautiful Inner Harbor/Fells Point, which is quite picturesque at sunrise while running the wooden boardwalk. I state all of this because dinner for me is all about the taverns and brewhouses. I have isolated the non-alcoholic restaurants to lunch and the ones…

Roscoe's Smokehouse ~ Keller, Texas

Last visit: January 2018

Time to ring in the new year. And what better way with some meaty barbecue! As mentioned in the 2017 recap, Roscoe's is a place we visited once earlier in the year, but didn't get any notes down. So it was first on my list to revisit.

Many old time Keller residents will most certainly remember Up-N-Smoke, a very good BBQ place, but sat in a dilapidated old building that was in much need of repair. The original owner decided to retire and the place sat vacant for a short while. Southlake's Feedstore stepped in, spruced it up, but they didn't last too long in that location. It was probably too close to their flagship restaurant, and likely ate into the same client base (so to speak). This was followed by Roscoe's from Burleson - now we're talking a new client base! They expanded even further the original building, adding a full bar area, with flat screens and the whole nine yards. Roscoe's feels like a Texas barbecue place - lots of w…

RJG for 2018

Time for a new start - which comes with a new look! Time to get with 2018 instead of 2012.

The Pages section above is crucial to the purpose of this blog. There are many restaurants buried in these pages that we've reported on, that are still very much worth seeking out. If you're new to the Regular Joe's Guide, then please join us on our journey. I will keep a log of places we visit, and you can check out the link from there. Of course we will start this in 2018. In the meantime, please go to the 2017 section to see where we dined for the last year.

In addition, I've added a News section. Mostly this will be for Northeast Tarrant county, but it's flexible enough to include interesting news from all of DFW.

As you can see, I've decided to add my second city Baltimore. There are so many great Regular Joe's places I visit there, and I'd like to get them some attention as well. I started with my new company back in November 2016, and it doesn't seem th…

Tacusa ~ Keller, Texas

Last visit: December 2017

Originally published September 21, 2015 and moved forward to reflect the new RJG location. The below has been updated accordingly.

We're always on the lookout for high quality street tacos at the RJG, and the Mrs. is a fan of the Salvadoran favorite papusas, so Tacusa came across our radar for a try. This was in 2015, and we were surprised they've recently opened another location closer by. With our local Tacos y Mas now closed up, we thought we'd give Tacusa one more try.

While the front of the menu clearly portrays a Mexican taqueria, it becomes obvious quickly this is truly an El Salvadoran eatery. All the same, I stuck with street tacos and tried their carne asada, pollo, and al pastor. Priced attractively at $1.25 and listening to a sizzling kitchen, I felt I could do no wrong. Tacusa features a salsa bar with 4 different sauces, an onion/cilantro mix, lettuce, and other items. Right away I was disturbed with the lack of a covering at the sals…

RJG 2017 recap

Alrighty then... From the time I dropped the Howdy note until now, I've updated all the places we visited in 2017.

I've created a new feature for each year - see the page above for the RJG's 2017 recommendations. This will my way of tracking all restaurants, and ensuring pages don't go unread.

There were a few places we went for the first time in 2017 that we thoroughly enjoyed, but I didn't put a page up yet. I need to revisit the following:

Roscoe's Smokehouse (Keller)
Lucy's Lot (Grapevine)
Slim Chickens (Keller)
El Pollo Loco (Keller) - well we'd been here plenty of times before, but not in DFW!

Planet Sub - I was excited to tell you about this sandwich place. I had been a frequent visitor to their location in Denver many years ago (which has now closed), and was excited to see them here in DFW. So I went to the one in Irving earlier this year and it was great! And now it's closed too. Argh. They are still open in Fort Worth though.

And, of cour…

R Taco ~ Hurst, Texas

Last visit: June 2017
Originally published March 23, 2013 and moved on December 28, 2017 to reflect new RJG location.

OK, I'm going to move this one forward. The review below was written for their Colony location, that has since closed. It was much more of a dive than our Northeast Tarrant locale, which is actually quite nice in a fast food sort of way. But for whatever reason, it just wasn't as good as I remembered it. Have they changed? I don't know, but I think a revisit is in order for the RJG. Now that I think about it, we didn't have frozen margaritas either. Hmmm maybe it helps with a buzz on? We'll move forward again if our opinion subsequently changes. And in the meantime, they changed their name to the hipster like R Taco. I guess the word rusty and food don't go together well eh? In any case, they've expanded mightily since the below was written. So they must be doing something right. We need to get back over there pronto (and rewrite the below re…

Cardona Cafe ~ Fort Worth, Texas

Last visit: November 2017

As stated in my "Howdy" comeback note, it's somewhat surprising to me how many new "regular" restaurants we've discovered in the last half of 2017. This was not by design either. With that, let me introduce you to Cardona Cafe.

We went here on the strength of their chips. It started with a visit to one of the RJG's favorites this past summer: Tolbert's. The chips were unusually delicious one unsuspecting afternoon. So we asked our waiter where did they come from. Sure enough, Cardona Cafe. They go by the brand name Gloria's, and you can by them in large bags, but they are not to be confused with the Salvadoran restaurant of the same name (somewhere in these pages). So off we went one Sunday morning toward Meacham Field in Fort Worth. In short order, Cardona has become our go-to Sunday breakfast place, when the spirit moves us to have breakfast on a Sunday that is.

Well actually, on that point, the RJG has lunch even tho…

Freebirds World Burrito ~ Lewisville, Texas

Last visit: January 2018

Originally published September 29, 2013 for the Fort Worth (far north) location that has closed; Updated on December 28, 2017 to reflect our new favored location.

The Fort Worth location recently closed and so I needed to determine what was our "go to" Freebirds. Well, as it turns out, they have a location near Total Wine in Lewisville. That's where I usually stock up on craft beers (and they are larger than the new Total Wine in Alliance), so it makes a perfect combination of beer buying and lunch. They also have a restaurant in Hurst by Northeast Mall that is relatively convenient, so I will leave that and the Northeast Tarrant tag in the label section.

BIG is a good word to describe Freebirds' burritos. From our experience, Freebirds was the first burrito chain to offer up more than just a flour tortilla. You can choose between spinach, cayenne, flour, or whole wheat.  And they offer a tremendous amount of toppings to get stuffed in those…

Dallas Craft Co. (fka Drunken Donkey) ~ Keller, Texas

Last visit: December 2017

Originally published June 18, 2016 and updated on December 28, 2017 to reflect the new name change.

Apparently the name "Drunken" didn't appeal to the good clean folks in Keller or Colleyville (as opposed to the dirty folks in Lewisville?), so Dallas Craft was born... Nothing else changed that I can see, except for my final note below. We still recommend it!
On the last updated post from Funky Baja's, we spoke about how Keller is all grown up. The kid is now in college, and with that... we now have Drunken Donkey. We have longed wished for a Flying Saucer type place in Northeast Tarrant. When Ginger Man arrived in Southlake, it seemed our dreams had come true. Except it didn't. Ginger Man's mentality exists from a time when getting German drafts was still a big deal. We want local, and want the beers to rotate often, not just tokenism ("Have you heard of Rahr's?" Really?). And besides, food at the Ginger Man are appetize…

Thai Hut ~ Fort Worth, Texas

Last visit: January 2018
Last update: January 6, 2018

With Bangkok Cuisine under new ownership, we felt we needed a "4th hand" to complete the game. It's been a long time since we found a new Thai restaurant to compete with Sea Siam, Sweet Basil, and Magic Springroll here in Northeast Tarrant County. Oh sure, we've tried some others. Some very good, but not great either. Enter Thai Hut. We have a new challenger to the throne of best Thai in our area!

We've been three times now recently, the first couple with the official Mrs. RJG's mom. She has now flown back to Arizona, and we just enjoyed our first trip together to Thai Hut.

All dinners start with a ginger dressing based salad, which a nice touch, though I'm not overly fond of it. Mrs. RJG loves it and finishes mine. For an appetizer, on that third visit, we tried the chicken satay. Very nice season charbroiled chicken, which comes in varying sizes. It comes with two dipping sauces, one being the traditi…