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Showing posts from June, 2015

Baker's Ribs ~ Grapevine, Texas

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Baker's Ribs was next on the stack for this blog last November when the RJG decided to take a break. Bad timing I suppose for them. So here we are a few months later, and ready to report after a very recent visit.

Food: Solid selection of barbecue meats (brisket, chicken, turkey, ham, sausage, ribs) along with a decent mix of sides. On our first visit, Mrs. RJG reminded me that the St. Louis ribs were tough, but the sausage and brisket were delicious, which all rang true with me. So on this trip, in sticking with my chicken-first theme, I tried the baked half chicken special (no sides). And Mrs. RJG went for a Smoked Turkey sandwich plate with mac n' cheese and fried okra. And of course, we went about splitting the order. The results? The turkey was a big hit, absolutely delicious, moist (how many times have we sampled dry turkey!) and wonderfully smoked and seasoned. Mrs. RJG also stated the bread to be excellent, and while not toasted, it held together perfectly and didn'…

Jack Allen's Kitchen ~ Round Rock, Texas

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And here's the final of the latest submissions from Mr. Music. And this one comes highly recommended!

Started with complimentary homemade pimento cheese and flat bread crackers. I’ve never been much of a pimento cheese fan, but since it is homemade, I figured “what the heck”. I’m glad I did because it was very nice! The menu was very interesting and I knew I’d have trouble making a decision! Luckily the waiter came by to tell us about the local craft beers they had on tap. Mrs. Music mentioned they had Live Oak Hefe and I knew my search was over! Mrs. Music decided to check out the Thirsty Goat Amber from Austin’s Thirsty Planet. Neither of us had tried anything from them before; it was nice, but not really my thing. They have about 5 or 6 local craft beers at Jack Allen’s. They source all their food and drink from local sources in Texas. We thought that was pretty cool and decided we’d try a few things. We decided on an appetizer called “Smashed Guacamole” after belaborin…

Thai Spoon ~ Round Rock, Texas

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Another review from Mr. Music!

Thai food is one of my all-time favorite ethnic styles of food. So I go as often as possible! Mrs. Music likes it; she used to love it but sort of lost that love, so we don’t go as often as we used to. Fortunately, music junior and baby music both LOVE Thai food. They love tom kha gai (coconut chicken soup) and pad kee mow (the wide noodles with lots of basil and slightly sweet sauce). There are many Thai restaurants around these days, but I’m all for it! I’m interested in trying each one! We got the chance to try Thai Spoon in Round Rock; rated one of the better Thai places in the area. We didn’t really get to try all the usual items because were weren’t as hungry as usual. Baby music got some dumplings and music junior opted for fried rice with chicken. Both were very good! Mrs. Music and I each ordered a big bowl of Tom Kha Gai and decided to split a salad with ginger dressing. The salad was made with lots of fresh spinach and carrots with cuc…

El Taquito Sabor Mexico ~ Round Rock, Texas

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As mentioned a few weeks back, we have a fresh round of reviews from Mr. Music and family on a recent excursion down to Round Rock. Let's see how they fared! (Note: Mr. Music's reviews/notes going forward will be in blue).

Mr Music is a huge fan of good Al Pastor! Trouble is, I don’t really know where to find great Al Pastor anymore. While down in Round Rock over the weekend with the Music family, I saw that Austin and Round Rock are heavily populated with taco stands! I decided to do a little reading to see if I could find a place. Of course most of the places that were touted as great Al Pastor joints (and there were several!), were all near downtown Austin, East or South. By the time I took up this adventure, we didn’t really have that much more time so I decided to save them for another time and see what I could find on the north end. In comes El Taquito! I read some really mixed reviews about the place, but when I saw that they make Al Pastor using El Trompo, one of th…

Back Forty Smokehouse Barbecue ~ North Richland Hills, Texas

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Last visit: February 2017

Reader Michael had suggested this place on our Riscky's feature, and coincidentally Mrs. RJG had requested to go not long after. So here we are for the first time in nearly a year. We had stopped eating barbecue for awhile, but we're back, and this remains our favorite in NE Tarrant. But we haven't tried them all either. That's a disclaimer meaning... we need to go out and eat more BBQ!

As alluded to above, the barbecue here is excellent, and not a side show for the entertainment. We've tried many cuts of meat here, and almost without exception, we have come away pleased. The favorite remains the smoked chicken, and it is because of here that it became my test dish for barbecue as opposed to the traditional sliced brisket. In past visits we were quite enamored with the jalapeno cheese and German sausages, Carolina pulled pork, sliced brisket, pork ribs, and the country ham. Only the turkey has disappointed us - but again that was two years…

Chuy's Tex-Mex ~ Southlake, Texas

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Some of you may recall my somewhat scathing review of the Arlington location a few years back. It was one of those ridiculous outings where everything that could go wrong - did go wrong. We had a better experience for a business lunch at the Plano location about a year later. But we haven't been back since. Thing is, the RJG wants to like Chuy's. Even though Tex-Mex is prominently featured in their name, it is their fascination with New Mexican food that keeps us wondering if it isn't better than we recalled. There's so few places that serve New Mexican cuisine in DFW, and so we get somewhat desperate I think. We've become such fans of the food type, that Mrs. RJG and I now have gone to Santa Fe for the last two years and spent a week each year there. I work from the hotel and we eat two squares a day, trying different restaurants (or going back to favorites). And we plan on making it again this year. One of my regrets is not featuring Santa Fe on this blog. I rea…

Jersey Mike's Subs ~ Keller, Texas

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Seems like the RJG has been following Jersey Mike's all over town. From their start in the area in the mid/late 1980s in Northwest Dallas (which everyone seems to have forgotten, including the local newspapers) to their 2003 reemergence on Greenville Avenue in Dallas to their Las Colinas location near my office at the time (2005-2006). Since then they've opened two locations on Southlake Blvd, and now a brand new store further west on the same road known as Keller Pkwy. As I joked in the summary post a few days ago, the RJG now has a closer location - by about 3 minutes. Sorry Southlake! Take it up with corporate...

Food: Old fashioned deli styled sandwiches, where they slice the meat right in front of you. They then go on to assemble the sandwich with "Mike's Way", and chips/drink/pay/done. C'ya! The bread is homemade at each location, and I have to say after two visits, the Keller location is better than the Southlake one (Centennial Park). Seriously! I did…

Thai Chili ~ Roanoke, Texas

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When we first moved to NE Tarrant in 2003, the closest Thai restaurant to us was Thai Chili in the Southlake Town Square. With their traditional Thai cooking, pleasant surroundings, and a "Kill Me" option regarding heat level, it quickly became a favorite within the RJG household. But over time, customer service waned, the cooking was inconsistent, and we were tired of paying for the markups on the wine. So we started going to Top Thai in NRH (sadly long closed), Thai Rice (Grapevine - also closed), as well as two favorites of the RJG for years to come: Bangkok Cuisine (Haltom City) and Sweet Basil (Hurst). When Sea Siam came to Keller, that seemed to end our wanderlust for Thai food. We had 3 favorites all within the NE Tarrant. The last time we dined at Thai Chili was in 2006 before the birth of this blog. And now we return. For their part, Thai Chili has recently moved out of their posh digs, and moved NW to Roanoke.

Food: Thai Chili has a full menu of traditional Thai se…

Freddy's Frozen Custard & Steakburgers ~ Keller, Texas

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Last visit: February 2018
Last update: February 4, 2018

In early 2014, Freddy's opened this location in Keller, bringing them that much closer to the RJG's cow pasture. According to my database, we hadn't been since November 2015. Wow, that's too long...

No surprises here, but Freddy's is a burger joint. They have two signature burgers: Freddy's Original and California style. The latter influenced by In-N-Out and has a tomato slice and thousand island dressing (Freddy's sauce). Because we now have INO, there's little reason to go for the imitation, and rather it's best to stick with the Freddy's Original Double. This particularly yummy burger contains cheese, mustard, pickles, and onions - and it's recommended to get two patties since they are so thin. And speaking of those patties, they are burnt to a crisp on the edges, which honestly is delicious. You get all the grease of burgers' past that way! They also have patty melts, hot dogs (t…

***CLOSED*** Vertskebap ~ Southlake, Texas

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Last visit: June 2015

December 2017 update: The Southlake location has closed. If we go to another location, we'll update this post and move forward.

VertsKebap is a new chain from Austin, that opened in NE Tarrant for the first time in 2015. They claim to be born in Bursa (Turkey). Perfected in Berlin (hence the name). And jalapeno'd in Austin (lol).


A new twist on the more familiar kebab concept. Combining the Chipotle styled assembly line for creating your sandwich/wrap/salad, with the rotating skewers of meat, Vertskebap has tapped into a winning formula. All over Europe, enticing rotisseries of meat are on every corner it seems. And sadly absent from our own culture's daily cuisine. Until now that is. I had the Kebap, which is a Turkish flatbread (known locally as Pide), grilled to crispness and then opened up to place in the ingredients. I went traditional with the beef/lamb combo (generally known as gyro meat), and added veggies, feta cheese, and the Spicy Red sauce.…

***CLOSED*** Johnny B's Burgers & Shakes ~ Southlake, Texas

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Last visit: January 2018
Last update: January 25, 2018

After a 3 year absence, we revisited Johnny B's - and 3 days later they closed! So much for that....

Food: Would you believe burgers and shakes? And chili. And the latter is not something the RJG is likely to forget, as it's a favorite item for me. Loaded with hamburger meat and chili powder - and served at a super hot temperature - this remains a side I cannot go without. As for their signature burgers, they remain true to the original recipe: Fresh beef patties (thin), crisp lettuce / onions / tomato, gooey American cheese, and Thousand Island sauce. All of that fits snugly into a sweet Hawaiian type roll, that is toasted and lightly buttered to perfection. It is indeed a formula similar to In-N-Out Burger, but Johnny B's was here long before the California based chain showed up. You can also get the Dragonburger which is a triple with chili and jalapenos. Sounds ideal for any member of the Southlake Carroll football s…

Riscky's Barbeque & Deli ~ North Richland Hills, Texas

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We first visited this location of Riscky's in March of 2007. It was a cold dark evening, and the place was dreary / ready to close. Probably not the best idea to try the BBQ, but we were hungry, and ultimately walked away disappointed. I never felt we gave Riscky's a fair shake, and so I refrained from further comment or rating, until I had a chance to go back and give it a proper tryout. I never intended that to be 8 years later, but finally I made it back. And I'm glad I did.

Food: Well, it's barbecue and all that goes with that. In the past, I would always get a 3 meat platter so I could try as many cuts as possible. And then walk out bloated for the rest of the day... No more doing that! I've taken on a love for smoked chicken, so as I visit various barbecue joints in the area, that will probably be my first test dish. And then I'll move to other meats as I go. With that in mind, I had the smoked chicken basket which comes with fries at the very reasonable …

Urbanspoon, Zomato, Facebook and new beginnings

In the first year of this blog, I tied the fortunes (figuratively speaking) of the RJG to Urbanspoon. I liked Urbanspoon because it was blogger friendly. The content was solely mine but it was linked to Urbanspoon. I quickly became a Prime member, and I personally added an extraordinary amount of content to the website, including many restaurant fixes. It was a mutually beneficial relationship. I had access to the folks who ran the site, and could make suggestions that were actually listened to. Over time, the RJG became the #1 blog for DFW on Urbanspoon, which is a badge I displayed prominently. I was kind of proud of it actually. A small reward for hard work. Nothing financial of course, just pride of ownership.

While I took the last year off, I still frequented Urbanspoon to see what was new in the NE Tarrant area. And I noticed that they were purchased by a company called Zomato. Some of the features I liked started to disappear, but I figured they were tweaking the site to ultima…

Summary of updates from past postings in the RJG

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Starting from the oldest restaurant post to the most recent. A quick status only on the DFW restaurants that we've frequented since January 2014 - or had recent closings/relocations/expansions in that time frame. I won't link to them, as that will be too admin intensive. You can easily find quick notes on each entry by searching by the name in the Google box. I've added Facebook links to each entry where appropriate.

Bellisimo - Italian - Colleyville. Last visit: Dec 2014. It was the first restaurant post in the RJG! Though we are infrequent visitors. Bellisimo is good, not great, and very similar to other Italian restaurants in NE Tarrant.

Palio's - Pizza/Italian - Keller. Oct 2014. Good for what they do. Fast food Neapolitan pizza basically.

Sea Siam - Thai - Keller. May 2015. A restaurant we still go on an almost weekly basis, ever since they first opened!

Taco Casa - Keller. May 2015. A twice a month lunch spot for me. Best fast food crunchy tacos around.

Johnny…