Showing posts from 2012

Cavalli Pizza ~ Irving, Texas

The RJG has been on an artisan pizza craze of late. We've written about some of them like the declining Campania, the always excellent Coal Vines, and the super INZO. We have a couple of others to talk about, but since we're on the RJG Restaurant week, here was our next lunch, with Mrs. RJG back in the fold after a day of deliberatin'.

Cavalli's is proud to claim that they are the first pizza place in DFW to be certified by the Verace Pizza Napoletana association. Campania also once held that designation, but have since fallen off this most sacred of pizza organizations. The RJG suspects they didn't want to pay the annual fees rather than being removed due to close inspection and a failed audit. All the same, Cavalli feels it's important to be certified by the VPN, and so we'll leave it at that. For what it's worth, the only other DFW pizzeria to obtain this certification is Il Cane Rosso in the Deep Ellum section of Dallas. We haven't been, but Mr…

Rodeo Goat Ice House ~ Fort Worth-TX

Continuing on with the RJG Restaurant week, today's post concerns a one Rodeo Goat. Mrs. RJG had her monthly Grand Jury duty to serve, so I was on my own for lunch on this mid-week day. In an act of solidarity, I felt that maybe I too should also venture down towards central Ft. Worth for the afternoon. A perfect scenario to try Rodeo Goat, a place that offers two of my favorite intake items: Burgers and Brew!

Rodeo Goat is the newest venture from some of the fine folks at Flying Saucer Draught Emporium and the Meddlesome Moth. From that, you probably already guessed that craft beer is going to play a major role in the Rodeo Goat concept. And indeed it does, with a specific focus on the burgeoning DFW microbrewery scene. They offer at least one beer from the following up and coming breweries: Four Corners (Dallas), Revolver (Granbury), Lakewood (Garland), Deep Ellum (Dallas) and Peticolas (Dallas), along with already established Texas brews from Rahr (local Ft. Worth), Real Ale, …

Don Mario's ~ Arlington, Texas

December 2013 update: Don Mario's has moved to another location in Arlington. They are now at Randol Mill and Fielding near a Thai restaurant we used to frequent called Sukhothai. We didn't get a chance to go there this year, but maybe in 2014 we'll wander over for a revisit. You can follow their move via their Facebook page.

Back to the mythical RJG Restaurant week. I'm sure I'll be done reporting on it by, I dunno, 2014 or so? Maybe.

One of the official RJG grandmothers, a colorful lady who lived a full life (87 years young) and was once a Vaudeville star, was born (1902) and raised in Palestine and got hitched in Arlington in 1918 to a 35 year old dapper from Rhode Island, also a Vaudevillian star (times were 'a different then) - who I would have called grandpa... if I ever met him that is. So I guess in a way, I was destined to go to an Arlington based restaurant with a past in Palestine. Who knew?

But the real magnet for the RJG was the mere mention in a B…

Il Calabrese (fka Patrizio Osteria) ~ Southlake, Texas

December 2014 update: Il Calabrese is no longer part of Patrizio's in Dallas.

OK, where were we? I thought I was going to have a slow week at work, but I should have known better. Now I think it's going to slow down. So let's get back to that RJG Restaurant Week, shall we?

In my European backpacking days 20+ years ago, I quickly learned that Osteria is Italian for "beyond my budget". I find it interesting to read that the term obviously has evolved, since technically it should be just the opposite: A small place with locally grown ingredients carefully cooked to order. And apparently Highland Park based Patrizio agrees with my personal assessment. In fact, this place could be called Patrizio's Ostentation.

For anyone who commutes up and down 114 in these parts of NE Tarrant, you no doubt saw the palatial villa going up near the Southlake Town Square. There was a tremendous amount of buzz surrounding its opening, and the restaurant frequently suffers from long…

***CLOSED*** Tacos y Mas ~ Keller, Texas

Last visit: February 2016
Last update: December 30, 2017

Looks like the Keller location has closed. However they remain open in Dallas and Richardson (5 total locations). If we ever manage to try one, we'll revitalize this post at that time and move forward.

Tacos y Mas is one of our go-to spots in the local area when in the mood for a few street tacos.

As Mr. Music once noted, Tacos y Mas sort of fits a middle ground between the hardcore barrio lengua and sesos taqueria and the high end frozen margarita fueled fancy tacos that have penetrated the more affluent areas within the last couple of years. There are no margaritas here and the meats do not feature tongue and brains. After sampling a few of their tacos, I have to say the "senorita" is an absolute must. Wonderful tinga styled chicken that is quite spicy, and doesn't require any sauce. As for the $2 street tacos, definitely try the grilled chicken, steak, carnitas, or al pastor. All the meats are well cooked, lo…

The RJG is back (again)

Hi everyone! Hope some of you are still out there?

I have a whole new batch of restaurants to report from Tarrant County. A couple of them are (gasp) actually new places that are all-the-rage. So let's blow the dust off this thing and get rolling. I plan to get started tomorrow.

To celebrate the new start, I redesigned the blog. I hope you enjoy it!

DFW Roundup - Chains edition

And the final of our promised guides. This post revolves around national or regional chains that have either recently popped into the Metroplex or ones I've just not spoken of prior. As mentioned years ago, the RJG really appreciates regional chains, and becomes a bit less interested when they have a national presence. But even the larger corporations are doing a better job of "localizing" their franchises. As long as they stay out of the Public Markets, they generally can do anything they want, and that flexibility helps them tremendously.

So the big news in chain food is the arrival of...

.... not what you're thinking.....

Taco Villa. Benbrook (July) Review moved here

Freebirds World Burrito. Grapevine (July). The wife and I first tried Freebirds when they arrived to the DFW market with their store on Greenville Avenue in Dallas (2004 time frame). I was pretty impressed with their wide selection of tortillas, rice, beans, meats, and sauces. It was like Chipotle on st…

DFW Roundup (Mar-Jul 2012)

As promised yesterday, here's our feature on the rest of DFW outside of NE Tarrant. I spent much more time on the other side of the Great Divide (DFW airport) than usual in recent months. At telecom-company-everyone-has-heard-of, we have an office in Richardson that required my presence for a couple of weeks. Mainly to conduct training sessions and onboard new employees. I also had a rare opportunity to spend two different Saturday's with none other than Mr. Music, who lives up in the Corinth area. Like yesterday, we'll start with the most recent and work backwards. These are all places we have never written about in The RJG prior. Most are new to me. Month listed is last time visited.

RG Burgers & Grill. Denton (June). Any place that has a condiment sauce that includes Ghost chiles (naga bhut jolokia), sign me up! Though, as Mr. Music says "they never put enough on it". We're talking about the Ka-Ching burger, and I couldn't imagine ordering anything …

Casa Milagro ~ Richardson, Texas

Last visit: November 2016
Last update: December 28, 2017

The entire Company X and Y story below (from May of 2016) ended up with me being let go outright by Company X (in Nov 2016 - we went here to celebrate my new job!). The Garland Troublemaker was retained as a contractor by Company Y (and he left soon after), and The Indian Godfather becoming an employee of Company Y. He has since left as well. And we've all landed much better jobs for ourselves. Wow.

Timing really is everything. The last time the RJG visited Casa Milagro was in May of 2013. In fact, I believe that's the last time I was in Richardson altogether. The RJG's work changed at that point, and the need to go to Richardson subsided. And yet exactly 3 years later, in waltzes the RJG just as the blog is rolling again. And for this visit, The Garland Troublemaker who graces the article below, has rejoined me. And we also had the Indian Godfather on hand. It was time for a meet. We talked about this prior in our Ba…

Northeast Tarrant Roundup (Jan-Jul 2012)

So here's the first of the guides. All of these are places that we have not written about previously. Some were entirely new to us, while others were restaurants we may have first tried before we created the blog, and it was our first trip back in many years.

As always, we adopt Roanoke into the NE Tarrant scene, even though technically it's in southern Denton county. The month listed in parenthesis represents our last visit.

Bite the Weenie. North Richland Hills (July). I was recently in Chicago on business and was bemoaning the fact that DFW, at least on the FW side of the house, had a dearth of fine hot dog establishments. Only a couple of weeks later, here comes Bite the Weenie, sure enough started by a former denizen of the Windy City. And since it's only about 10-15 minutes from our house, I think we'll be regular visitors! Their menu is based on the various regional style of hot dogs. I tried the Coney, which the owners correctly attribute to Detroit (rather than…

After seemingly lost, the RJG is back

Hello everyone!

Long time since we last spoke. I knew back in February that the avalanche was coming, I was just in denial. But the cavalry finally arrived at work to save me from 70 to 90 hour work weeks (including travel), and my schedule went back to normal sometime in May. On top of this insanity, in early April, we sold our summer townhome in Denver (in only 3 days!), making us drop everything at once, adding to the chaos of that most crazy month of my life. So we're back here full time in DFW once again, with one or two planned summer excursions per year to escape the oppressive heat. This year will be a 3 week journey to Oregon and Washington starting later this month.

As always, I find myself debating internally how I want to report about the restaurant scene in DFW, and in particular NE Tarrant. At least for the time being, I plan to give periodic roundups. Maybe I'll flesh some of these out later, but for now they'll be bite size reports. My main goal has always …

INZO Italian Kitchen (fka Brix Pizza & Wine Bar) ~ Roanoke, Texas

Last visit: March 2018
Last update: January 28, 2017

For years we've been going to INZO for pizza at lunch. This time we went for dinner and Italian. We've been missing out! Now we have a new Italian favorite!

On this visit, we started by ordering a bottle of Cabernet. At $20, it's too cheap to pass up (yes, of course we know we can get it cheaper at the grocery store, but that's not the point). This was accompanied by fresh baked artisan bread that was served with an olive oil/black pepper mix, red wine vinegar, and fresh soft butter. We weren't hungry enough for an appetizer, but there were plenty of attractive choices. Straight to the menu we went, and both us were in a Secondi mood. I went for my staple dish - Chicken Parm, and Mrs RJG went with one of her standby's Chicken Cacciatore. Both of us settled on a Caesar Salad for starters. We both liked their version, which featured a light, not too powerful dressing, and fresh romaine lettuce with shaved parmes…

The Ranch at Las Colinas ~ Irving, Texas

The one exception to the home dining routine as mentioned yesterday was a business dinner earlier in the week. We had some of our company's sales folks in town, so that sounds to me like an expense account! My counterpart in crime, resident of Garland, suggested we meet at The Ranch at Las Colinas. And a good choice it was.

I should be able to keep this review pretty short. Basically The Ranch is a direct cross between Love and War in Texas and Cool River Cafe, both places we've reported on recently. From Love and War, they borrow the regionalized food-of-Texas concept. From Cool River, they bring the high quality steaks, upscale Hill Country atmosphere, and the bar scene.

So after having a couple of drinks at the bar with the Garland troublemaker, the rest of the party arrived and we sat down and got right into the menu (OK, maybe there were a couple of more drinks involved first...). We passed on appetizers (hey - none of us are under 45 - got to watch the calories here!) a…

La Choza ~ Azle, Texas

Finding a restaurant in DFW that serves New Mexican food has proven to be quite the challenge. There was Anthony's Place over by Meacham Field, but they've since transformed to a special events and catering only business (though no surprise - as you will find out later - Anthony is the same owner as our restaurant featured today). Mi Dia From Scratch, a new place in Grapevine owned by the same folks behind Bob's Steakhouse, has a very limited "Santa Fe" portion to their menu (and only for dinner), and it's mostly items that use similar ingredients to Tex-Mex (just cooked differently) . We haven't been, but it certainly seems more like a high-end ($$$) Mexican restaurant than New Mexican to me (feel free to write in if you are of a different opinion). Chencho's seems to have a few NM type items of interest, and I'll be trying those soon. Don't even mention Blue Mesa to me. Please... don't. And, well...... that's about it? Even in Colora…

Outlaw Burgers ~ Roanoke, Texas

Since we're on a burger kick here, I thought I'd pick up where we left off from last week. According to the Star-Telegram, Bronson's Burgers is now open for lunch as of this week. So we'll be certain to try it soon, and finish our Keller-goes-bar-and-burgers series.

In the meantime, I took a right turn on US-377 from 1709 and headed north to Roanoke, which now has tagged itself as the "Unique Dining Capital of Texas". These are truly modern times when official city boosters see fit to call out their restaurant scene as their main asset. In any case, it is here that we find Outlaw Burgers.

In the very early days of the RJG, we spoke of a restaurant called C&A Italian Family Deli (which is now Tirelli's and has moved to Keller). Outlaw Burgers is now in that location. Though funny enough, the shopping center billboard has both Outlaw Burgers AND Italian Family Deli on it. Maybe they didn't notice they left three years ago! "Vern, dident wee…

***CLOSED*** Bad Azz Burrito ~ Watauga, Texas

Last update: December 30, 2017. The Saginaw location continues to motor on. If we ever get over there to try it, we'll update this post and move forward.

The burrito craze started back in the 1990s, and the city of Denver (where we lived full time back then) was ground zero for this food movement. So at times it seems I've almost grown up with the concept. Both Chipotle and Qdoba started in Denver and still represent the major brands in this market . The formula was simple, yet effective. The assembly line method was used. First they'd steam your tortilla, then you'd get the cilantro lime rice, followed by black or pinto beans, and finally a meat. Then you choose your salsa and other toppings, pick up a drink cup and off you go. Just about every burrito copycat place from then on used this formula with minor variations.

It was inevitable, but what if you wanted more options? Enter stage left Freebirds, and a whole new slew of parameters were introduced to the process. …

Keller Tavern ~ Keller, Texas

And here's the third installment of the Keller-goes-bar-and-burgers. Of the three establishments so far, Keller Tavern is definitely the most bar of the lot. I truly love the interior of this place. A simple A-frame low roof, architected in the German or Swiss style, with a dark wood interior. Honestly I felt like I was in the upper Midwest as soon as I entered the building. Like I suddenly stumbled into a tavern in Green Bay or Michigan's Upper Peninsula. Even though it was 65 degrees outside, I imagined it was more like 20, and was grateful to be cuddled up in the warmth of the tavern. And a nice beer...

Since I'm on a burger kick, and that's the comparison point for these 3 places, I went for their Tavern Bacon Burger. Unlike the last two restaurants, Keller Tavern is strictly menu driven, and doesn't offer a dizzying array of choices for your burger. And that's because the Keller Tavern isn't really a burger joint and they offer what I'd call "…

Bottlecap Alley Icehouse Grill ~ Keller, Texas

Here's the second in our series of Keller-goes-bar-and-burgers. Bottlecap Alley originally started in Grapevine, in a former Sonic location (a rare indoor locale, not one of their familiar drive-ins). I like to stock up on microbrews at the World Market store in Grapevine, which is in the same shopping center, so I've passed it many times. But I never did stop by for lunch or dinner. Apparently they've been successful, as they've now opened up a second location in downtown Keller.

The way it works at Bottlecap is once you enter, you are instructed to fill out some paperwork. Remember that term "paperwork"? Who does that anymore right? Everything is online. I bought some Forever stamps a few years ago, and I still have almost all of them. I'm sure the post office will be long out of business before I finish them. That's going to cost me $5.24! Those dirty dogs... Where was I? Ah yes, the worksheet. It's the Mooyah/Which Wich system where yo…

***CLOSED*** Yourway Burgers and Wings ~ Keller, Texas

Maria Cuca's is now in this location.

November 2013: And Sharx Pub is already closed. They lost their core focus. Keller is not a Pool Hall kind of town.

June 2013 update: Apparently on May 13, 2013, Yourway renamed their establishment to Sharx Pub. We haven't been back since the January visit in 2012, so I can't comment on if anything else changed.

Original review

Funny how things work. Just 6 months ago, if you went to Keller and wanted to act like a big boy and get a real hamburger with an adult beverage in a tavern setting, then you were pretty much out of luck. Now in the last 3 months, Keller has not one... not two.... not three.... but FOUR new places of a similar ilk. All on the same road. All on the same side of the road. Three of them are bunched within a quarter mile of each other. Birds of a feather now cook together I guess... For the curious, the 4 places are: Bottlecap Alley Icehouse Grill, Keller Tavern, Bronson's Burgers & Beer and the topic of today…

Saviano's Italian ~ Euless, Texas

I tend to forget about Saviano's when thinking of Italian restaurants in NE Tarrant. I had just mentioned a few days ago about restaurants that we frequent the most, and that we're struggling to settle on a great Italian joint in the area. I don't think Saviano's necessarily solves that dilemma, but they're definitely part of the equation. One potential reason we don't think of them is their location at the far southeastern edge of our primary coverage area. By being situated on Euless Main and 183, Saviano's is further for us than many places in Ft. Worth proper or Arlington even. No matter, as Saviano's has proven to be very popular with the locals and was again packed to the rafters on this particular evening. Incidentally, it was on our way here that we first discovered the Mexican Inn in Bedford had shut down.

Saviano's has recently opened a second location in downtown Ft. Worth, that has also proven to be very popular. And why not really, as S…