Showing posts from May, 2008

Michael's Italian Kitchen ~ Irving, Texas

I first ran into Michael's while working at Big Software Company You've Actually Heard Of, as it was relatively close, and a few of us decided to try all the restaurants in the area (gee, I wonder who the ringleader of that initiative was?). Today, Michael's is still a place I drop by once in awhile, as it's conveniently located halfway between NE Tarrant and the Northern Dallas suburbs. On this occasion, I met a new business contact coming in from Frisco. Michael's is perfect for that: Small, not overly crowded, relatively quiet to carry a conversation, and nicely decorated.

And, of course, the food is quite good. They focus on the basics, and all of your favorite pastas, veal, chicken and seafood dishes are represented as well as subs and pizza. Their red sauce is light and flavorful. I would also recommend their Italian sausage, which seems to be homemade (I don't know for sure). Another favorite, chicken parmigiana, is also recommended. I've taken Mrs. …

Humperdink's ~ Dallas, Texas

I first ran into Humperdink's at their Addison location in the early 1990s. They're still in Addison, but they've since moved to the south side of Belt Line. It wasn't far from where I worked in those days, and it became somewhat of a "guys at work hangout". We'd have lunch, or draft players for fantasy football or baseball there - that kind of thing. At that time, Humperdink's called itself a sports bar, and they still very much have that look and feel. But during the time that we lived in Colorado, they made a key switch to calling themselves a brewery as well. Mr. RJG thinks that's a great move, as local breweries appeals to me greatly. Perhaps I got spoiled in Colorado, as brewpubs are far more active there than here in DFW (2013 note - and we're finally starting to catch up!).

Humperdink's is a local chain and they currently have 4 locations, 3 in Dallas county and one in Tarrant (Arlington). The one reviewed here is their NW Highway…

Jersey Mike's ~ Southlake, Texas

New review for the Keller location

The RJG first ran into the name Jersey Mike's from an obscure lonely Dallas location not far from where I grew up in Northwest Dallas, in the Tom Thumb shopping center on Forest Lane near Marsh. It was a favorite place to have lunch with Dad. In those days lunch with Dad meant we had a choice of going to a sub sandwich place - or - going to a sub sandwich place. "I have an idea, Dad - let's go to sub place!", "OK - either Great Outdoors or Jersey Mike's" he'd generously offer as my two choices. And so we did just that on a regular basis. I'm pretty sure it was in the 1987-1989 timeframe, as Mr. RJG was just getting his career started. They closed not long after they opened and I never heard the name again for many years. In fact, I thought they were a little independent at the time. They didn't have locations in Colorado through 2002 (they do now), and I didn't hear the name again until we moved back in…

In-N-Out Burger ~ Prescott, Arizona

DFW area In-N-Out review here

In both the Editorial Chains thread and the Johnny B's blurb, I mentioned In-N-Out Burger (INOB) as a favorite place to go when traveling to the left coast.

For the Memorial Day weekend, Mrs. RJG and I visited some of her relatives in Arizona. Given that it was a family visit, the majority of our meals were centered around family cookouts, and we were treated royally at that! But we did get away for one afternoon, and settled on INOB for our lunch. Naturally it's always fun to try other places while traveling, but it wasn't in the cards for this trip. This particular visit was to their Prescott store. We also visited one in Anaheim, CA about two months ago (and I still need to get some of the other restaurants up from that visit).

There's not much to add from what I've already stated in the Editorial Chains section. But I'll copy here for convenience: Regional chains are cool. They typically represent an area's culture via a un…

Chapps Cafe ~ Keller, Texas

Last visit: February 2017
Last update: September 21, 2015

Chapps is another place we probably take for granted. We've been coming here since we first moved to NE Tarrant in early 2003. I suspect they had opened not long before us arriving. In any case, we still love their hamburgers!

We feel that Chapps has the perfect recipe for burgers. Excellent seasoning, on the salty side, with plenty of fresh ingredients as toppings (which you can choose from). I tend to break from the norm, and ask for raw onions over grilled, but otherwise I stick to the usual cheese, lettuce, pickles, and mustard. The fresh baked buns are also quite good. A single cheeseburger is more than enough, and I don't even think they offer a double (believe me, that would be way too much). They have a smaller burger called a Baby Chapps, and naturally Mrs. RJG goes for that, plus the Baby Chapps comes with fries as part of the price (otherwise it's extra). I usually eschew fries in general, and eat …

Avila's ~ Dallas, Texas

Last visit: July 2016
Last update: December 29, 2017

Avila's has become all the rage since Guy Fiori featured the little place on Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives - a favorite show of the RJG as well. This lead to a lot of business for Avila's, and thus they made some changes to the restaurant itself. The good: They opened the fence next door which allows for much more, and easier, parking. They also now have some outdoor patio seating (nothing more than a couple of park benches, but it's still cool). On the down side, they changed the dark red painting to a lighter blue shade. It doesn't feel as intimate as before. And, as with any place that gains notoriety, the neighborhood feel of the place has deteriorated somewhat. There's more of a wannabee yuppie thing going on. "Slumming on Maple with the Wilson's" just ain't for the RJG. I felt the food quality held serve (and on this night the salsa with the chips was really kickin'!), but Mrs. RJG said it…

***CLOSED*** Novrozsky's ~ Keller, Texas

December 30, 2017 update: Novrozsky's is still alive and well with 8 restaurants in SE Texas and nearby Louisiana. If we ever go again, we'll be sure to update this post and move forward.

Novrozsky's is a classic example of a Regional chain that feels like a Corporate chain. Based in Beaumont, TX, they have 10 locations. 7 are in southeast Texas and another couple in southwest Louisiana. The odd store out is the one here in NE Tarrant, located in Keller. One look at their website tells me that this Keller location is the beginning of a grander ambition. Many of the original stores look local and regional. So much so, that I feel I should visit one separate to this review.

Though I've designated Novrozsky's as a hamburger place, as does the chain itself, it really fits the "eclectic" category better. And that's one of the problems I have with it: They really don't have a distinctive or specialty menu at all. It tries to be all things to all people,…

Mi Pueblo ~ North Richland Hills, Texas

Last visit: January 2018
Last update: January 2018 

This was our very first post for a Mexican restaurant. As is often the case, it was just a timing issue, more than a preference. We have been regular visitors to this location since they first opened back in 2004. Some of that is just convenience, but the food does hold up. And in fact, we've raised their rating to 4.5!

There are a couple of distinctive characteristics of Mi Pueblo, that make it a recommendation for those that don't live in the area. One is the margaritas. I'm always dubious when someone recommends a restaurant based on their alcoholic drink selection. The RJG has found that the restaurant that serves the most alcohol content per drink, is generally referred to as "the best". At which point the half-in-the-bag claimant will also mention they have "the BEST food". Hmm-mmm. Well, I'm here to say that Mi Pueblo does indeed have a great frozen margarita - something that when we t…

***CLOSED*** Little Joe's Pizza ~ Keller, Texas

December 30, 2017 update: Little Joe's still thrives in the South Chicago suburbs with 3 locations. If we ever visit one, we'll update this post and move forward.

One of Mr. RJG's favorite places to travel on business is Chicago. Especially if I'm able to get into the city or "inner ring" suburbs. I was fortunate to work for a company who had an office in Westchester. Though it was a modern office, most of Westchester is a classic inner ring suburb (in this case, the "ring" is I-294). Not to mention the towns that border it to the east and north like Hillside, Bellwood, Cicero and Broadview. It is not uncommon to drive by places with colorfully painted windows that say "Beef" or "Italian meat sandwiches".

I bring up these small details, because it helps distinguish the pretenders "Chicago style" from the real deal. Just driving up to Little Joe's and you know instantly it's the "real deal". I haven'…

***CLOSED*** C&A Italian Family Deli ~ Roanoke, Texas

It appears they've put their resources entirely to the Tirelli's Deli in Keller (also now closed), and have closed the Roanoke location.

Occasionally my neighbor, Mr. SS, will join me on a weekday afternoon for a local restaurant lunch jaunt. Last week, we decided to venture on up to Roanoke. Now Roanoke is "jus' 'cross the counny liine", a short ways north of the NE Tarrant area, and into Denton County. It features a quaint old town area , and has a fair share of independent restaurants, most notable and popular being Babe's Chicken Dinner House. Roanoke is barely detached from the DFW Metroplex, and it won't be long before it's just another suburb in the sprawling mass that we call "home".

Though the old town is a slight detour off the main highway, US 377 also has a few enjoyable places to dine. And one of those is C&A Italian Family deli, sitting peacefully in a vintage 1980s depressing strip center, certain to meet a bulldozer w…

Taco Casa ~ Keller, Texas

Last visit: November 2017
Last update: October 2, 2015 

Still a favorite when talking fast food crispy tacos!

Mr. RJG likes his tacos. We mentioned in other posts that while Italian and Thai probably constitute my favorite restaurant experiences, taco places represent my favorite fast food excursion. And I'll boldly admit that it isn't even the authentic Mexican taco / taqueria stand that has been in vogue these last 25 years (though we like those too!). No, I like the good old fashioned American styled, crunchy taco. Taco Bell may be its iconic image, but it's hardly the best representative. Most taco chains are of the regional variety. And I've been to many of them! I've liked tacos since I was a little kid. There are few pleasures in life better than walking off with a sack of tacos, knowing the great taste sensation that comes with the meeting of spiced mush meat, lettuce, cheese, crispy shell and taco sauce (for some reason, I don't like tomatoes in my taco…