Showing posts from 2016

Baja Cantina ~ North Richland Hills, Texas

Baja Cantina is the latest entry for the loosely knit local Baja chain that is slowly proliferating throughout NE Tarrant County. We recently updated the Funky Baja's entry, and if you search further into the blog, you'll find entries for Peace Burger and Dive Bar in Grapevine, as well as Baja Mex Grill in Watauga, both of which need updating. We've also been to Baja's Bar and Grill in Southlake, but that was many years ago, and we never reported back on it. Let's see how the new place stacks up.

Food: If you've been to any of the Baja's elsewhere, then you'll find Baja Cantina is right in line with the others. We've always enjoyed their version of Tex Mex, and we were quite pleased with our first foray here. The chips were good, light and crisp, but not quite as corn tasting as I recall from the other establishments. The default red sauce they bring out is excellent, with a nice kick, filled with garlic, pureed tomatoes, and chilies. We asked for a…

Cane Rosso ~ Fort Worth, Texas

Last visit: January 2018

Since we've last been it appears Cane Rosso has taken the additional step to be certified. We made a bit of fun about Campania when they did that (and subsequently lost it - and now are closed). Anyway, it's one way to draw patrons to your business, so whatever works...
As our waiter stated right off, this is "knife and fork pizza". I may have mentioned this before, but while still in my 20s in the late 80s through the mid 90s, the RJG was an avid European backpacker, taking a full month off nearly every year to explore the continent, both west and east. Those were heady days, as the Fall of the Wall spurred on a most exciting environment everywhere. When it came to lunch or dinner, one of the more satisfying meals, on a backpackers budget mind you, was that of the Italian pizza. They were uniformly excellent, and cheap (usually in the vicinity of $5 back then). They were knife and fork pizzas, and whether you were in Norway or the Ukraine, r…

Los Jimadores ~ North Richland Hills, Texas

We've driven by Los Jimadores a number of times, curious what had taken over the old Antonio's spot, that at one time we enjoyed immensely. When my wife first pronounced it to me, I thought she said something along the lines of "Humidor".  I thought it was some sort of vape place! Or an extension of the cigar bar next door at the very least. Well, apparently not. So finally the day arrived for us to try it. Let's venture in and see what we find...

Food: Can I start with a pet peeve? You know we don't talk about service at the RJG much, because we realize that workers in this industry tend to be transient, and on "any given day" you might get great service or terrible. But what drives us nuts are these waiters who don't write the order down. What is the problem? Are they lazy? Are they trying to be some sort of 5 star restaurant waiter? Are they working on their memory skills? Write it down for crying out loud! Inevitably, as the waiter purposely…

Main Street Cafe ~ Keller, Texas

We've been a few times over to Main Street Cafe, including very recently. A consistently good place, though the non-distinctive name and location keeps it out of the memory bank when thinking about places to dine. Of course, it tries to replicates the main street town diners of old, but that's hard to do without a grill that's been cooked on for 70 years...

Food: Breakfast is the main draw, but they also serve lunch and dinner every day (except dinner on Sunday and Monday). We would categorize their breakfast as a "cut above" the ordinary places such as Denny's or IHOP. In the past, the RJG frequently questioned the variation for breakfast, as eggs and pancakes are often too similar to differentiate. But with the advent of skillets, creative omelettes, and artisan breads/meats, breakfast has become much more interesting in modern times. While we've yet to discover a standout dish, we've been more than satisfied with their breakfast offerings to date (…

Wise Guys Pizza ~ Grapevine, Texas

THIS... this is what I've been talking about in regards to artisan pizza and craft beers. The craze that is taking hold in America is reflected quite well here at Wise Guys. Though the pizza isn't really in the same category as Grimaldi's or Spin!, it's still a fine blend of well made pizzas and a superb local beer selection. Mrs. RJG and I had visited two weeks ago, and when Mr. Music and I planned a day of food, drink, and tunes, I decided this would be the perfect lunch location. Following that, I would enter it here into the blog.

Food: Pizza is the main draw,  but they also have a fine selection of pastas, sandwiches, salads, and soups. We've only sampled the pizza so far, but based on the sauce that comes with the baked pizza dough balls (served pre-meal like chips at a Mexican restaurant), I am most excited to try their pasta. Mrs. RJG and I tried one of their Neapolitan pies with Italian sausage and fresh basil. The crust is a bit thicker than Grimaldi'…

Meat U Anywhere ~ Trophy Club, Texas

Last visit: February 2018
Last update: February 17, 2018

We haven't been to Meat U Anywhere for a couple of years, even though we were - and are - praising. I can't really give a good explanation as to why, but this time we dragged along a one Mr. Music. And a good time was had by all... LOL. Notes from our first visit continue on below. Not too much to add other than we keep trying different meats to our liking.

After receiving our lunch, it didn't take long for Mrs. RJG to proclaim "this is the best barbecue I've ever had!". We don't claim BBQ aficionado status (not by a long shot), but we've had our share over the years, so it was a bold statement. And to be honest, I was inclined to agree with her. Pound for pound, meat by meat - no - we have a long way to go to prove that. But for what we ordered, we were mightily impressed right from the get go. I had a pulled pork sandwich, which was more of a mixture, similar to how chopped beef is normally pre…

Alvarado's ~ North Richland Hills, Texas

Last visit: August 2017

Now here's one we have a long history with, in terms of timeline. According to my personal database, I visited Alvarado's way back in July of 2004, not long after they opened. I didn't have a positive experience, and basically never thought about them much again. Mrs. RJG used to work nearby there in the 2006/07 time frame, and stated they would go about once a week and have a burrito. She said it was good, but didn't think it was worthy of us going together. Year after year, the small old taco building seemed to thrive (despite an awful location), as we drove past it towards the Northeast Mall or to Richland Hills/Haltom City. They had to be doing something right! So we finally broke down and revisited late last year, and were mightily impressed with their street tacos. And we've been somewhat regulars ever since. Either they improved or our tastes have changed. Probably a bit of both, as is often the case. The reason for the delay into the…

Maria Cuca's ~ Keller, Texas

Last visit: January 2017

Maria Cuca's opened up a couple of years ago in Keller, and we've been infrequent visitors ever since (~6 to 7 times). To summarize, this is a place we so bad want to love... and we don't. We'll still go on occasion of course, but I'm afraid the food just doesn't measure up to others in the area, at least for our tastes.

Up until the main course, Maria Cuca's is absolutely spot on. The chips are great. The salsas are great (they have more than just the table sauce, be sure to ask). Their famous homemade corn tortillas are great. And while we hardly ever talk about service, we have to say it's been uniformly excellent throughout, including the owner. And then comes the most important part: The entree. Sigh. We'll give Maria Cuca's this: They are entirely unique, and will not remind you of the other Mexican restaurants. That is definitely a plus, and something for you all to consider when reading this review. It's just…

Spin! ~ Southlake, Texas

Spin! represents the latest fad sweeping America: Artisan Pizza meets Craft Beer. Something akin to Grimaldi's, but with more focus paid to locally made beers. In fact, we tried two such places while in West Virginia last week: Backyard Pizza and Raw Bar in Huntington and Pies and Pints in Charleston. It's the latter that is most like Spin! in that it's both a small(ish) chain, and that their menu offerings are similar.

Food: If you've read these pages long enough, you'll know that Mrs. RJG isn't the biggest pizza fan you'll encounter. But she likes these kind of pizzas. The Napoletana style, that we first spoke about long ago at the now closed Campania, just a few blocks away. For our two visits so far, we tried the Italian Sausage and Onion 12 inch pizza. It was just the right texture and crispiness, while the pizza sauce is slightly sweet, cheese appropriately gooey, and the ingredients a higher grade that what one would find at the laughable Pie Five fo…

Lou Viney's Restaurant & Pub ~ Sulphur Springs, Texas

Mrs. RJG and I just returned from a week long road trip through the southeast, culminating in West Virginia, before heading back through Kentucky, Tennessee, and Arkansas. It's tempting to write about all the places we ate, as all of them were uniformly excellent - and all very much "local". But I fear readership would be small, and not of much use for most of you. Perhaps I'll pen a few notes on Trip Advisor for each of them.

But I didn't want to exclude Lou Viney's, since Sulphur Springs is in the vicinity of DFW, and it's definitely worthy of a destination drive. I think we've been to Sulphur Springs once, and I remember little about it. But times have changed, and the downtown area is revitalized, and quaint, with many restaurants, shops, etc... throughout. It's nice to see small town America have that same sense of relevancy as you would find in Europe for example. I wish our country would have competitions for "most pretty village"…

Magic Springroll ~ Watauga, Texas

Last visit: February 2018

We had mentioned in the Casa Milagro update that their timing had been fortuitous in regards to this blog. Magic Springroll had a similar fate, but in reverse. Magic Springroll was originally one of our "rotation" Thai restaurants, not long after we moved to NE Tarrant. Not necessarily a weekly, or even monthly destination, but one we frequented often. According to my personal database, in early March of 2008 we had a poor experience, and decided to drop the restaurant from our regular routine. Later that month, I started this blog, and never revisited again.... until late last year, not long after we stopped (again) writing. We saw that the reviews were very positive, and Mrs. RJG and I said we must go back. So we did and what we learned is that there had been a change of ownership since we last had been. In fact, not long after our not-too-positive experience. So, as we like to state, timing is everything. And since that visit in late 2015, we'…

Kumar's ~ Plano, Texas

A small delay, as I had a couple of other projects to attend to. In the meantime, Mr. Music sent this one in recently. It looks like a restaurant nearby to our Indian Godfather. I'll have to ask him if he's been!

Kumar’s South Indian Village in Plano is a unique experience. They are located in an OLD strip mall on Custer Rd in Plano. They serve home cooking and offer all you can eat on weekends. It’s not really a buffet, it’s much more fun than that! I went there with my friend on Saturday. We had to make reservations because it is very small (12-15 tables) and gets very crowded quickly. Our table was set with a tray covered in a banana leaf for each of us. We sat down at our table and I noticed in the middle of the room were these giant receptacles filled with fresh cooked basmati rice. The staff brings a big bowl of it over, and shovels a mountain of it in the middle of our tray. Then, servers come by with buckets of curries and other goodies. Depending on what you fancy,…

DeVivo Bros. Eatery ~ Keller, Texas

I promised some new entries, so time to get crackin' on that. As mentioned, we do tend to enjoy our favorites, and have moved away from trying new places. Not only is that routine beginning to change (again) but there are some restaurants we've added to our favorites that we have yet to write about here. DeVivo Bros isn't quite in the latter category yet, but it's moving towards it.

We actually had intended on writing about DeVivo Bros. back in 2014, not long after it opened, and was receiving rave reviews even then, while racking up some local awards. We had a visit in October of that year, and unfortunately we weren't impressed, and decided to wait it out. Today, DeVivo Bros. is considered the #1 restaurant in Keller for both TripAdvisor and Yelp, and #10 in Zomato (where they list it simply as a "bakery"). But we all know that the latter is completely broken these days (we really do miss Urbanspoon). In any case, all these people can't be wrong. W…

Quick update from the RJG

Hello everyone! Back again, after a long silence. After a nice bit of restaurant going last summer and early fall, Mrs. RJG and I fell back into the habit of eating at home, with a few dinner excursions, mostly to our standby's that we've already written about here, and dutifully updated. Seems the Santa Fe trip wore us out! LOL. I have to say it's been a somewhat permanent status for us. It's certainly a lot healthier this way!

In any case, we do have a few exciting new restaurants to review, as well as continuing our update program. My original plan was to update an existing entry every three years, and that's still my intention. There are some long time favorites, and even those we only frequent occasionally, that need a good thorough scrubbing. So we'll be pushing those forward to keep them relevant and up to date.

In the meantime, we lost two more RJG restaurants to closures. One is Billadelphia's, a favorite of ours since the beginning of this blog, …

Taste of the Islands ~ Plano, Texas

I've been sitting on this review from Mr. Music for over 2 months. Need to blow the cobwebs off this machine, and see what we can do here. In any event, Taste of the Islands brings us back alive. And this is our first Caribbean entry - and we've been going at this for 8 years!

Today Mr. Music found himself in Plano at Taste of the Islands with some friends. This is a Caribbean restaurant / bakery / grocery store that has a small quaint room for lunch time and a larger room with a stage for reggae music on the weekends. On Thursdays and Fridays they have a buffet which is a great opportunity to try different things if you’ve never had Caribbean food! They change things up from day to day, but today they had steamed rice dotted with pigeon peas (a bit like black beans) or plain steamed rice. They served yellow curry potatoes, seasoned spinach, spicy cole slaw and seasoned green beans for veggies. There were several meat choices including my favorite, goat curry as well as curr…