Showing posts from March, 2013

Habanero's Fresh Mex Cantina ~ Fort Worth, Texas

Long time readers of the RJG may recall we covered Habanero's long ago. There have been so many changes to the restaurant since we last visited 4 years ago that the former review has been rendered useless. I'll be removing its contents in favor of this review (but leaving the post up as there are 6 comments attached to it). Urbanspoon offers a feature for us bloggers that allows us to update former entries, so this will be my first opportunity to try that.

First off, Habanero's is now a full service restaurant rather than an order-up counter service place. In this way, Habanero's is similar to the Don Taco restaurant in Roanoke that we recently covered. Despite all the changes, one thing about Habanero's has remained the same: That the overall experience is mixed. Some great, some not so great. Let's cover the pros and cons:

Pros: 1) Habanero salsa. It's probably the mildest habanero I've ever had, but it still retains the excellent flavor. For those o…

Duff's Famous Wings ~ Southlake, Texas

The other day we wrote about Rusty Taco, and how they had taken a Texan chain and then chose Minneapolis as their first step outside our borders. Duff's did the reverse: Took a western New York / Ontario chain and brought them here to Texas. So Southlake was chosen as the first step in what would appear to be a large expansion strategy. If omens are to be the barometer, Duff's has an uphill climb. This same location has already claimed 3 victims, all national, or wannabee national, chains: Cheeburger Cheeburger, San Francisco Oven, and Qdoba. Personally I miss the last one, though they are still here in DFW - just a lot further.

Tangent: One of the RJG's life goals was to visit every city that has an NFL franchise. I achieved that milestone by visiting Buffalo in the summer of 2008 (and was covered in these very pages). Not surprisingly, I also wanted to visit each MLB and NBA city, and I accomplished that precisely one day later with a visit to Toronto. So these two citi…

Twisted Root Burger Company ~ Roanoke, Texas

According to my database, Mrs. RJG and I first went to Twisted Root in January of 2010, not longer after they opened their Roanoke locale. Three years later, I triumphantly return. Mrs. RJG didn't think much of the place on the first visit, and passed on this opportunity.

Twisted Root is a festive place, with a cavernous dining area, and fun little gimmicks like assigning you a name for your order like "Popeye" or "Donald Duck". There are games outside for everyone to enjoy as well. You order at the counter, and at first there appears to be a dizzying array of choices, all handwritten on a chalkboard that isn't particularly easy to read. But they're all variations on the hamburger/fries theme. I stuck with the basics on this visit, going for a cheeseburger and a vanilla milkshake. The milkshake was my personal trade off against the fries.

When I arrived there was no wait, and a few folks sitting down. So I was quite surprised that I waited exactly 20 m…

Grimaldi's Coal Brick-Oven Pizzeria ~ Grapevine, Texas

Last visit: February 2018
Last update: June 28, 2015

Both Mr. and Mrs. RJG consider Grimaldi's the best pizza in DFW (as of Feb 2018!). That's no small claim, especially considering worthy challengers such as INZO, Coal Vines, Taverna Rossa, Spin, and Cavalli.

Basically, Grimaldi's has perfected the coal oven baked pizza formula. Apparently they use a special coal imported from Pennsylvania, that burns hotter and cleaner than traditional coal. Grimaldi's, of course, insists that all of their outlets use this coal. We've been many times over the years, and the pizza is perfect every single time. The ingredients are out of this world, and most are homemade. The sauce is delicious and the mozzarella is clearly made from local produce. I'm not even sure you can make a pizza better than this. As Dan Patrick is fond of saying: "You can't stop them, you can only hope to contain them". And we haven't even started on their delicious salads, which Mrs. R…

Cristina's Fine Mexican ~ North Richland Hills, Texas

RJG's primary page for Cristina's

Back on home soil again, let's cover off on the newest Cristina's location. We've already written about Cristina's before, primarily their Southlake and Trophy Club locations. As such, please follow the link above to read more about the chain, and their other locations.

The newest Cristina's has already hit the Top 10 of hottest restaurants in DFW according to Urbanspoon (Talk of the Town). And given that this is the chain's 12th location, that says something about the power of the Cristina's brand.

Cristina's did the smart thing here, and took over a fully loaded former Mexican restaurant, that had been recently redesigned. Therefore that limited the amount of decor overhaul that is normally required to reopen a restaurant. The former tenant, Anejo's House of Tequila, was an elegant place, with a superior bar that suits the moniker "house of tequila". We went once a couple of years ago, and while …

Campisi's ~ Dallas, Texas

Continuing on with our annual meeting, Campisi's was selected as our next lunch. The Garland Troublemaker (TGT) and I consider Campisi's the perfect local institution to take out of towner's, but in a casual QSR type setting. Thus not ideal for clients and vendors, but perfect for internal lunch meetings. Ideally we'd be able to dine at the original Egyptian, but of course the distance isn't practical. But their other 8 outlet shops are ideal for a quick lunch. And, I should highlight, at a great price.

I'd actually covered Campisi's before in this blog, way back in the summer of 2008. It was the downtown location, and I had just met a former co-worker there. But inexplicably I never linked it to Urbanspoon. As such, I'm going to wipe the record clean, and start fresh here. And for my most astute observers, you may recall we took our new employee SoCalGal here at the Richardson/Far North Dallas location for a lunch last year.

For any old timer from Dal…

Silver Fox Steakhouse ~ Richardson, Texas

About 7 years ago, Mrs. RJG took me to the Silver Fox in Grapevine for my birthday. And it was a total fiasco. They couldn't manage to get the steak cooked right for her (after 4 tries), and subsequently her mood turned sour and the evening was a total disaster. To their credit, they comp'd most of the meal. And I did enjoy my steak. But needless to say, Silver Fox was not on our "top destinations" list. We're not big steak eaters anyway, and when we do get in the mood, Mr. RJG will grill one of his famous habanero seasoned steaks for the two of us.

The tide turned in favor of Silver Fox last year, when The Garland Troublemaker (TGT) and I met with one of our vendors who flew in to see us (and a few other customers no doubt). TGT suggested Silver Fox, and I relayed my story, but we both decided let's give this location a shot, since it's close to our office. And the vendor brought a contingent of three, so it would be  a good cross section of folks. The …

Los Molcajetes ~ Roanoke, Texas

May 2013 update: Unbeknownst to me until now, Don Taco was a concept from the same people behind Los Molcajetes and Mi Pueblo, but I think due to brand confusion, they renamed it Los Molcajetes. As stated below, Don Taco is counter service (in Ft. Worth) and Los Molcajetes is a full service restaurant (like this one).So I'm leaving it here, and just changing the name. Everything is the same otherwise (phone number, etc...) . Though they did change the menu to the same as Los Molcajetes. This now explains to me why the margaritas are so good.... We have also been to Los Molcajetes' Ft. Worth (Western Center) location within the last year.

Original review

A few years ago I first visited the Ft. Worth location, and was somewhat underwhelmed to be honest. But as I was reviewing Urbanspoon, Don Taco continued to be at the top of the list for most recommended places to eat. So last December I was in the area for a little Christmas shopping, and stopped by for another chance. On this …

***CLOSED*** Fogata's Cocina Mexicana ~ Haltom City, Texas

Final visit: March 2013

We first visited Fogata's last summer for a weekend lunch, had a wonderful experience and...... never went back. Yea, I don't know how that happens either. Too many good places, and more convenient (for us) locations I suppose. But that's not a good excuse. Fogata's fell through the cracks, and so we made up for it recently with this dinner visit.

The first positive aspect I'd like to call out about Fogata's is their margarita's. Lately the RJG has been having a hard time finding a good frozen adult slurpee. They're either too sweet, too sour, not enough alcohol, not frozen, not... ad infinitum. But on our two visits here, they've been absolutely delicious. First class margaritas that remind me of Mi Pueblo, Anamia's, or Casa Milagro. Mrs. RJG had one on the rocks and she too was enjoying every second of it. Plus I like that their default is the large size. I'm tired of wimpy margarita's honestly. That's not a…

Snooty Pig Cafe ~ Keller, Texas

According to my database, the RJG hasn't been to the Snooty Pig since August of 2005, when they were in the location that now houses Tacos y Mas (and you can read more on that post about the history of these locations). The main reason we haven't been in nearly 8 years is, as I've mentioned in a couple of other blog posts, the RJG isn't much of a breakfast eater. Truth be told, from a health perspective, I should be more of one. Not to mention that breakfast is typically easier on the wallet than the other meals of the day.

But even if I were to suddenly be all about breakfast, the Snooty Pig is probably not the place that's going to motivate me thus. In fact, as I was ogling over their menu, I realized that I should try their extensive lunch options instead. But on this morning, I wasn't feeling particularly great, and so Mrs. RJG and I decided on a rare breakfast. And so we went about ordering a somewhat typical breakfast. It should be noted that Snooty Pig…

***CLOSED*** Fred's Downtown Philly ~ Grapevine, Texas

Last visit: March 2013

December 30, 2017 update: Fred's has 2 Northeast Tarrant locations - 1 in Hurst and 1 in Bedford. A couple of years back, I tried to go to the one in Hurst and they couldn't be bothered to be opened on time. And when they did get there, they were grumpy and rude. Left a bad taste in my mouth about the chain. But sometimes you just can't control your workers. So I should get back there. I will update this entry at that time.

June 20, 2016 update: Fred's has just recently closed in Grapevine. Not the best location honestly - from a logistics perspective.

Going to the Burger and Philly Shack the other day, and a recent visit to Billadelphia's, reminded me that I never wrote about Fred's Downtown Philly. One of the RJG's favorite beer stores is Grapevine Beer and Wine (craft beer aficionados should make a beeline here if you haven't already). And Fred's is conveniently in the same strip center, so what a perfect excuse to drive on o…

I Fratelli Pizza ~ Keller, Texas

We've previously written about the i Fratelli restaurant over in Irving / Las Colinas, and it's a favorite of the RJG household, as well as my business partners. But I haven't discussed the pizza outlets yet, which are exclusively take-out. I'd been to the Southlake location a few times since they opened, but I think the last visit was before I had this blog - or close to it. Now they have one in Keller in the same shopping center with Funky Baja's (next door actually) and Mo'Fish. In fact, I think this was a Little Caeser's prior that didn't make the grade. Anyway, that's good news for the RJG since his official Mom lives in some apartments nearby and she's somewhat of a pizza fanatic. So we did something the other night that I imagine will be habit forming: Show up to Mom's with a i Fratelli large pizza in hand! Works for me.

I would describe i Fratelli's pizza as "Dallas Style". It has its roots in the type of pizza served…