Saturday, May 21, 2016

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. We must try it again. And are we glad we did!

Food: Self-described as "Rustic Comfort Food", that seems as good as any definition I could come up with. Rural Italian perhaps would be another? A very unique concept (for America anyway), where you order up at the counter, sit, and wait until your meal is actually prepared and cooked. And then delivered to your table. Chef driven quick service restaurant? Yep, pretty much! The food quality reminds me of what we would get in Italy itself. All made with fresh ingredients, and unique recipes. Our first experience was a meatball sandwich, which wasn't distinctive enough for us to recommend. Something wasn't right, and the meatball seemed bland to me. On this visit, I tried the chicken parmesan lunch meal and it was absolutely delicious. Finally, someone understands the concept of crispy breading! The pasta was definition al dente, cooked to perfection. The sauce is a bit more chunky than I prefer, but it was delicious all the same with fresh basil, tomatoes, onions, and spices. And it was served hot! Mrs. RJG enjoyed a Devivo's Omelette, which is basically a vegetarian omelette with potatoes, and she stated it was excellent, though she would have preferred a bit more cheese. While not cheap, the prices are fair considering what you get. We just settled on water to drink, and so our total bill was under $20. And they show the courtesy of not expecting a tip, when indeed it is counter service. So we have every intention of going back and trying multiple things on the menu, as there are many tantalizing looking items. And yes, Zomato is right, they do have a bakery. But it's far more than that! They serve breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

Drink: It's BYOB, so yet another chance to save. Since we were there for lunch, we didn't partake early (not that we haven't done it before...).  Otherwise the usual assortment of fountain drinks, etc...

Location: Anchors the first of the endless row of strip centers fronting the railroad, south of downtown Keller (and south of Bear Creek), on the west side of US 377. The restaurant is very pleasant, airy, and bright. White dominates with black color enhancements. Ordering at the counter seems a bit awkward at first, since it doesn't look like a place to order. But they'll guide you through if you appear lost (which I often do...).

Notes: You can read all about the actual DeVivo brothers here. Solid, hard working duo. They've also expanded to Southlake and operate a Latin Fusion restaurant that we'll need to try. In addition to that, they also have a mobile fire truck (yes, a real fire truck) known as the Hook and Ladder Pizza Company, that provides catering. These guys are clearly on the upward trajectory. Bravo to them!

Rating: 4.0 We anticipate this will go up to 4.5. But we need more visits to confirm.

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DeVivo Bros. Eatery Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Jack Mac's Swill and Grill ~ Dallas, Texas

Originally published July 4, 2013 and updated with a recent visit.

Interesting that I've met with The Garland Troublemaker for the last two straight weeks. Especially considering I may see him two times a year these days. This visit was from last week, and Jack Mac's is just as great as it always has been. I'll leave the review below pretty much intact, with a few edits and formatting changes. Jack Mac's is incredibly consistent. And one reason for that is Jack is usually there and cooking for us! Great guy too.
 
Original 2013 Notes / Food / Drink: It all started with some research on Ratebeer about some local beers that folks were rating. I asked myself "Where are these guys getting this stuff?" In the reviews I would commonly see "on tap at Jac Mac's (sic)" . What the heck is Jac Mac's I ask? So I look it up on Urbanspoon, and then went to their website. Wow! This place has my name all over it! All local to Texas craft beers and a very interesting looking menu. So I suggested to The Garland Troublemaker that we meet at Jack Mac's Swill & Grill rather than Flying Saucer next time for our next quarterly "executive briefing".

And so it transpired. And I'm happy to say: We have a new meeting place. We love The Flying Saucer, but Jack Mac's is even better for what I'm looking for. They only have 14 taps. But those 14 constantly rotate - with many hard to find / obscure beers - all from Texas. Anything from established micro's such as Rahr, Saint Arnold, Ranger Creek, and Franconia, onto up and comers like Firewheel (Rowlett) and Community (Dallas), to just-out-of-the-womb 903 Brewery (Sherman). And to think next time we go, they will all be different (2016 update: And that has remained true to form). Maybe not different breweries of course, but different beers from those breweries (or others). That's exciting. As they state on their website: "All 14 of our handles are Texas craft beer and to keep it interesting, we’re constantly rotating brews.  So stop in to see what we’re featuring this week."

But as I often say, even if you only drink iced tea, Jack Mac's will satisfy on a strictly culinary level. They have an ambitious menu, that goes far beyond sandwiches, chips, pizza, and burgers. They have all those things (even standard variations), plus much more. On this visit they were featuring llama burgers. I wasn't quite ready for that adventure, and stuck to a standard meat filled pizza - which was excellent, and featured some homemade chorizo (May 2016 update - I also really enjoy their Cubano Sandwich!). TGT went with The Mexican Burger which is, get this, two cheese enchiladas between a bun. Ooo, that sounds awfully heavy doesn't it? Anyway, their menu is filled with dozens of interesting looking items, that we will be certain to try on subsequent visits. This is the first place I've listed as a gastropub in the RJG (ed: Don't like that name anymore - going with Craft Tavern now!). The offerings are just too imaginative to call it strictly pub food. About a year ago, I dined at the Magnolia Brewery in San Francisco that was advertised as a Gastropub. Their offerings weren't any different in spirit than what is at Jack Mac's - just less of it.

Jack Mac's is exactly the type of place I wish we had in NE Tarrant. Certainly we've grown up in the last couple of years ourselves, and even have a Ginger Man now (May 2016 update - and more than that now... more to come on the RJG!). But Jack Mac's is in a different league altogether.

Fans of Hopdoddy in Dallas, that we featured awhile ago, should also give Jack Mac's a try!

Location: Anchors a strip mall on Preston Rd in far north Dallas, south of the Bush Turnpike, and north of Frankford. Nice airy place, with a fine area to sit around the bar. Also darts in the back room!

Rating: 4.5. Love this place!

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Jack Mac's Swill & Grill Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Casa Milagro ~ Richardson, Texas

Originally published July 9, 2012 and updated with a recent visit.
 
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 Banana Leaf review a few years ago. This could very well be the last one too. The end of an era. Why? Well, our Monster Corporation X sold our business unit to Monster Corporation Y at the end of last year, but managed to leave out our group. An unfortunate oversight, but hard to untangle now. These are Fortune 10 companies, and Twilight Zone activity commences often (think Dilbert). SoCal Gal (below) left us late last year for New Company on the Rise, at our encouragement. The Salt Lake City gentleman has been gone since 2014. In any case, the 3 of us (and others left in our group) have an uncertain future. It is our hope we can stay at Monster Corporation X (which we all think is better than Y anyway). We'll see where fate takes us. Well enough about me...

As for Casa Milagro, everything is exactly as I remembered it. Absolutely brilliant. I do have one key update (made below) regarding a menu change. But otherwise, I won't have too many edits other than a bit of formatting.

Original 2012 Notes / Food / Drink: In a very short period of time, Casa Milagro has become our favorite Mexican restaurant in DFW. Wow! I didn't see that coming. We first visited in April while conducting one of our training sessions with a gentleman from Salt Lake City who has a similar job to ours. My co-worker, The Garland Troublemaker, suggested Casa Milagro, as it is one of his favorite restaurants. And since he knows the area far better than myself, who was I to argue?

Oh... Oh.... this is really good. No, no. It's exceptional. From the beginning, when the smallish glass filled with the adult slurpee known as a frozen margarita hit my lips, I knew it was going to be a good night. Small glass, powerful punch. Two of those is plenty. The chips taste like real corn, and the table salsa is very good. But wait... do you guys have a hotter one? The waiter's eyes lit up. He had a chicken in the coup. Sucker. You can't handle our hot one, said his eyes. Try me I said back silently. Out comes this scary looking yellow habanero concoction that would scare off war veterans. In goes the chip. Boom goes my tongue. Lift off. What a great flavor! And the hottest sauce I've ever had at a Mexican restaurant. Ever. There's one place in Santa Fe called Horseman's Haven that has a much hotter green chile to smother a burrito in, but I can't recall any table sauce this spicy. Oh, and before you get all high and mighty with the "it's so hot you can't taste it" argument, just know that IMO the flavors become even more distinct and pronounced. I do agree, though, that building up tolerance is key. Training your palate as it were. Anyway, I lapped up a bowl of that and asked for another. I thought the waiter's eyes were going to bulge out of his head. The Garland Troublemaker took a couple of bites, but just sat silently for a few minutes afterward. It appeared he wasn't sure if he would make it through the night. Our co-worker from SLC saw the events unfold and decided to sit out the experience entirely. And to think we haven't even tried a dish yet! With my palate all set, the dish that just floors me is Camarones a la Chef* which they describe as "Five jumbo bacon wrapped shrimp, grilled to perfection, stuffed with Monterrey jack cheese and fresh jalapenos. Served with rice and Latin stir-fry vegetables." Of course, that was only one visit, but I wanted to go back and soon! *May 2016 update: They took it off the menu! Ack! But they did make it for me anyway, and it was just as great as I remembered. So hat's off to them for that.

So... a couple of weeks later, we hired a new gal who I'd worked with at software-company-most-people-have-heard-of (and she needed rescuing after 17 years there) to take on some parts of the organization that the Troublemaker and myself were holding down, but didn't have time for. So she flew in from Southern California for a week long round of training with us. First night we're back at Casa Milagro. On this visit I tried their shrimp tacos, which were also delicious. The Troublemaker gave another go to the "Yellow Beast", but was defeated again. I lapped it up with much glee. So. Cal Gal stated that super hot food wasn't in the cards for her. However, she commented, how incredible the taste of the food was. Best Mexican she'd had! That's high praise indeed from someone who likes to dine out quite a bit and lives in Orange County. So I think we're onto something here.

OK then, final test. Mrs. RJG! I had of course told her about my new dining find. She was insanely jealous, stated that it didn't sound like I was "working" at all, and was enjoying myself all too much. So, she suggested, you're taking me there. And so the perfect opportunity was around Memorial Day. My dad, grandparents, and great-grandparents are buried in nearby Restland cemetery, in one of the military Veteran plots. I'm not much a grave watcher (nor was my dad when alive), but it had been many years since I last went, and it was high time I got over there. A new tradition was born. Memorial Day...Cemetery...Casa Milagro. Let's just hope The Yellow Beast doesn't make it Casa Milagro...Cemetery. Anyway... Mrs. RJG can handle a hot sauce with the best of them. She enjoyed a few bites, and her mouth was a blazing on fire. Her test dish is shrimp enchiladas, and her favorite is at Anamia's. Casa Milagro wins again! Incredible she stated. Oh, and I haven't mentioned it yet, but their rice is exquisite. As is their charro beans.

Anamia's remains our favorite in NE Tarrant, but Casa Milagro - in very short order - is now our favorite Mexican restaurant in DFW. Give it a try and report back.

Location: In a strip center northeast of Plano Rd and Campbell. Very pleasant surroundings. Comfortably dark, with a nice bar area. On one wall they play old black and white silent Mexican movies across a series of TVs. Get a few margs in you, and they start to make sense!

Rating: 5.0. Seriously, the best Mexican around DFW that we've tried.

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Casa Milagro Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

El Paseo ~ Keller, Texas

Originally published July 5, 2008 and updated with a recent visit.

Well here's another old favorite that we've been frequenting since we moved to the area in 2003. I would say we go on average about 4 to 5 times a year. But since we just visited over the weekend, it's timing is fortuitous. And we haven't updated the post with our new format, so... 

Original 2008 Notes / Food: When the RJG first started discovering Mexican restaurants in the 1980's, one of the logical axioms was that the more fancy the place seemed to be, the more bland the food proved to be. I felt this to be 100% true until deep into the 1990s, and suddenly one would find themselves in restaurants you would feel comfortable taking anyone to, and also would come out completely satiated. Such were my thoughts when I entered and exited El Paseo for the first time in 2003. And ever since...

As mentioned in prior posts, one can usually get a quick read on a Mexican restaurant based on the quality of their chips and salsa. Here the chips are excellent, very crisp, with a strong taste of corn (and lots of chili powder - see comment section as well!) while the salsa has more of a kick than expected. It's a tomato based sauce with garlic and chiles, reminding me most of the Herrera's chain in Dallas, though not quite that fiery. El Paseo seem to excel in the basics, and we here at the Regular Joe's Guide always admire that. Tacos, enchiladas, tamales, and fajitas are all excellent, though not exceptional. They claim a wide variety of spicy dishes, but none so far have proven to be that hot, though still good. Over the years, we've dug through the menu, and lately the RJG has become quite fond of the Pollo Ranchera. It's a large chicken breast, smothered in a smooth ranchero sauce, and comes on a sizzling fajita like plate, with excellent rice and beans. Mrs RJG speaks highly of their Flautas de Pollo as well.

Drink: We love their margaritas. Mrs. for on the rocks, and me for the frozen. It's a sweeter blend, with an appealing bit of carbonation. And generally contains a nice tequila kick. But not always... They also have a full set of Mexican lagers, and the usual non alcoholic drinks.

Location: With multiple large rooms, a Spanish courtyard, a full bar area, and windows overlooking a city pond with views to Keller City Hall and the Art House, it would seem that El Paseo will be an anchor of the community of Keller for some time. Hard to miss the rather opulent structure while driving on Keller Parkway. It's on the south side of the road, just east of Keller Smithfield and slightly past (or before) the Tom Thumb shopping center.

Notes: Like many such nice Mexican restaurants, El Paseo possesses a heritage that is far more modest. In fact, the Keller location seems to be the pinnacle of achievement for the local chain, that also has locations in west Fort Worth, Azle, and Mineral Wells.  I haven't been to any of the other locales, but have driven by the Fort Worth one on Jacksboro Highway, and the outside appearance seems night and day. I believe they started in Azle in 1986, but details are scant. They have not expanded since the Keller restaurant opened.

Rating: 4.0. Closer to 4.5. For whatever reason, this El Paseo has never scored well on Urbanspoon/Zomato, though it ranks #11 out of #104 (for Keller) on TripAdvisor. Clearly a split vote, though we agree with TripAdvisor on this one!

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El Paseo Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Sea Siam ~ Keller, Texas


Originally published April 30, 2008 and updated with a recent visit.

I just realized I never reformatted Sea Siam in last year's flurry of activity. So much has changed since we wrote this review just over 8 years ago. Sea Siam was just starting out, and so was the RJG. In fact, Sea Siam was the first Thai restaurant we reviewed for the blog, so we had to introduce where we were coming from in regards to the cuisine. Today, Sea Siam is one of the most popular restaurants in NE Tarrant County, and deservedly so. And for our part, we have remained loyal customers for the entire time. With that prelude, I'm going to leave our original notes as stated, even though many of my comments you no doubt have already figured out if you've peeked on this site before. But for those new to the blog, it does provide some context. And if for some reason you haven't been to Sea Siam, or it's been a long time, be sure to visit. They have only gotten better with age!

Original 2008 Notes / Food: Want to know the RJG's favorite food destination? Thai food. Why? Because that's Mrs. RJG's favorite food - and pretty close to my favorite as well. And we've been to every, or just about every, Thai restaurant in NE Tarrant (with multiple ventures into Ft. Worth and Arlington as well).

Before I get started here on Sea Siam, I want to tell a little story. A couple of years ago, I walked into a Southlake based pizza joint (that is now closed), and mentioned to the owner that I was glad he was still here, and the food is great. His response to my magnanimous comment? "Yea, well no thanks to YOU". He didn't say it rudely, but matter of factly, with a slight smile. I was a bit taken a back by his comment, paid up, grabbed my pizza and got out as fast as possible. On the way home I realized he had been right. Truthfully, as someone who tries as many restaurants as possible, I'm not what you would call a reliable customer. If the business counted on folks like me to make a living, they'd all be broke quickly!

The two paragraphs above are there to set the stage for this important statement: We go to Sea Siam every single week. Almost without exception. If that doesn't underscore how great this place is, then I'm not sure anything else I say will.

For me, the battle I have at Thai restaurants is getting the heat level to where I need it - scorching hot. See, I'm a fair skinned blond, with blue eyes. Naturally, Mrs. RJG is dark haired with brown eyes, so usually on first visits she gets the hotter plate, even though I ask for it spicier than her. Preconceived notions? You bet your sweet biscuits on it! Perhaps it's because Jam ran a restaurant in southern California, but right away when I asked for it hot, I got it HOT. Thai hot - and I don't mean the menu Thai Hot, but what the locals consider as such. It doesn't take long for Mr. RJG to hear that the only other person who eats it as hot as he, is the cook himself. Yes, it makes me proud! And Mrs. RJG is no wimp either, as she's right behind me on the heat scale, maybe one or 2 notches less.

Thai basil chicken is my standard fare. It's a core Thai dish, and I could eat it every night. I prefer ground chicken, to really accentuate the Thai authenticity, but most Thai places don't have it. Sea Siam doesn't either, but they always cut the chicken very fine (on my request), thus allowing the spices to penetrate the meat better. Mrs. RJG loves her vegetables with her chicken, and her dishes are loaded with the greens. The other barometer is the rice, which many local Thai restaurants think should be mushy. Wrong! Mrs. RJG will quit going to a Thai place on the spot if they offer mushy rice. Sea Siam always has firm and fluffy rice!

We've tried many of their appetizers and they're all uniformly great. Mrs. RJG has had the Pad Thai on many occasion, and she says it's the best she's had. Prices are insanely cheap (not to mention the extra savings with it being BYOB), and the ambiance is perfect for the setting. Best of all, maybe, is that Jam and Eddie are great folks, who have a lot of fun. It reminds me of the good old days when customer service was authentic and an essential part of the business.

If you live anywhere in the DFW area, and love Thai food, make a beeline to Sea Siam. You won't regret the trip I assure you.

----------

With a few edits, that more or less was the original review. And now to fill in the other buckets...

Drink: As mentioned above, it's BYOB, so a great opportunity to save there. They provide chilled glasses for wine, and an opener if you need it (we always bring our own - it's easier!). If for whatever reason you forgot to bring your own bottle or cans of beer, you can always go to the Kroger next door and load up! For you non borrachos, there's the usual Thai coffees and teas, as well as "fizzy drinks" as the Brits like to say.

Location: Sea Siam sits peacefully in a strip center location anchored by a Kroger grocery store at the southwest corner of Keller Parkway and Rufe Snow. The decor is cordial. It's not a big restaurant, and it fills up quickly - especially on Friday and Saturday! (they are closed Sunday). They took over a former home cooking place (that came and went so fast, we never tried it). Prior to that there was a Wings-N-Things, that was pretty good actually!

Notes: Jam and Eddie are veterans of the restaurant industry. For years they had a similarly named restaurant in Huntington Beach, California (and, would you believe it, Mrs. RJG and I tried it while there in May of 2008! It clearly wasn't as good as our Sea Siam). Relocating to the Keller area, they brought their expertise in Thai cooking right here to Northeast Tarrant, and I think the local denizens have benefited ever since from that decision. In addition to the restaurant, Sea Siam now have their own line of product that you can buy at the grocery store! They started with their famous Peanut Sauce, and I believe they have introduced (or will soon) their Green Curry sauce. These are distributed at Central Markets in both the DFW and Houston areas!

Rating: 5.0. The best Thai in DFW? It's in the conversation at least.

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Sea Siam Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Tolbert's ~ Grapevine, Texas



Originally published July 3, 2008 and updated with a recent visit.

Have family from out of town, and not sure where to take them? Start right here with Tolbert's! You'll be known as the family know-it-all who has the "in" on all the good places in town.

Food: Simply put, Tolbert's is our favorite place to bring out of town guests who are looking for something uniquely "Texan". The food, naturally enough, has a traditional Texas focus with chili, Tex-Mex, chicken fried steak, beef steak, and hamburgers dominating the menu. I like to start with a bowl of red, and ask for it 5 alarm. In the old days, they use to serve it straight-up spicy. Nowadays, they provide the mix for you to add to your heat tolerance - apparently they received too many complaints about it being too hot. Obviously, the RJG dumps the whole thing in! Mrs. RJG prefers the North of the Border, which basically adds beans to the mix. In addition, we like to get the Henderson County burger with fries as our main meal. Mrs. RJG will tell you that Tolbert's has the best burgers in town, and while I might not go that far, it does underscore how good it can be. We've brought friends and work colleagues alike, and they all go home happy. Some swear by the chicken fried steak.

Drink: When Tolbert's started out, the craft beer movement hadn't yet taken hold here in Texas. So we always took advantage of their $1 Lone Star longnecks. That deal is over, but in its place is a very healthy craft beer selection. They have 32 micros on tap, and half of those are from Texas! None are real obscure, but it's just cool they have a good selection of beers on tap from Real Ale, Saint Arnold, Franconia, Rahr, Revolver, Spoetzl, and more. And their selection of out-of-state micros is also well researched. In fact, they give full descriptions of everything they serve. In addition, they carry Texas made wines and hard liquor as well.

Location: The setting simply could not be more perfect. The restaurant is set as the cornerstone of one of the many old buildings lining the old town, this one from 1911. Tolbert's sits in a large space, with a fireplace, full bar, multiple open rooms, and now a concert stage (though I personally preferred the old closed room, which presumably was for rehearsal dinners, conference gatherings, and the like - guessing business for this wasn't brisk). The music can be a distraction if you come here for conversation, so file that away for the appropriate audience. In any case, one imagines riding in on horseback, roping the steed to the hitchin' post, slamming through the saloon doors, and demanding some chili and a beer. Extra points if you go in looking like Clint Eastwood circa 1967.

Notes: Tolbert's was originally started by Frank X. Tolbert, the legendary journalist who co-founded the Terlingua Chili Cookoff. In 1976, Tolbert opened a chili-themed restaurant in Dallas that eventually closed down. Fast forward a few years later, and his daughter and her husband reopened the restaurant, but in a far more appropriate locale: Downtown old Grapevine.

Rating: 4.5 A long time favorite of the RJG!

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Tolbert's Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Monday, May 16, 2016

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, and one we always had front and center in the update column. They recently closed down, and now a Mexican take out is there (really? Is that we need - another one?). Maybe we'll try it anyway. The other is Apeizza e Vino, which was one of many Italian styled pizza joints to have sprouted up in these parts. We did like it, but only managed to get over there a couple of times. I suspect they had too many customers like us, and hence they are no longer here. They too became a Mexican restaurant (Un Rincon de Mexico) and we did try it and were nonplussed. So if you see our Closed Places tab on the right, 46 restaurants we've written about have now closed (including outside DFW). And that's just the ones we know about. It's been a rough industry for the last decade that's for sure. And I just recalled that the Freebirds on Tarrant closed as well. I'll probably just update that post with another location.

On the plus side, we have continued to see the development of the craft beer fueled restaurants, and so that can only be considered something to celebrate. More to come on that.

Concerning social media, it appears Zomato was hapless. The one bright spot was Alyssa, who may or may not still be there (and I have since found out she is no longer there - can't blame her!). In any case, she was unable to have executed any of the changes I suggested (like restaurant openings, closings, etc...). And as predicted, the site has fallen into disrepair. The readership is almost nonexistent. With Urbanspoon, some of the RJG reviews reached into the 1000's of page views, as it added up over time. Those days are long gone. We're lucky to get 100 anymore. Not very inspiring. Facebook is the ultimate ADD tool, and while we might get hits on the first day, there is no sense of history or reference checking via that channel. It definitely serves a purpose, and we'll stick with it. If we were more aggressive, we'd be all over it with constant postings, but that's not our nature.

Word on the street says more and more people are heading over to TripAdvisor for restaurants. That's interesting to me. I have hotel reviews on there going back to 2001 (!!), but under a different alias of course. But we never considered them seriously for restaurants, but there does seem to be more activity. So we plan on investigating further.

Back soon!