Showing posts from 2018

Lucca ~ Montreal, Quebec

Rude Dante's 3rd review...

(Rue Dante - in middle of same block as Inferno)

This was a compromise selection as I had hopes to find something open on a Monday night. There's not a lot to pick from on Dante, but this little gem gave me a very solid dinner. They also have a limited lunch sitting - noon to 2:30 - so better timing options than many of the other places listed here. 
Menu changes daily at Lucca, in fact they do not print a menu at all (all chalk board). Comfortable setting, focus on fresh ingredients, and a mix of higher-brow fare with traditional red-sauce. It was a cold, nasty day, so I wanted to find something warm to start. Decided to follow that theme throughout dinner.

First course was a butternut squash soup. Very good but not a deal-maker or breaker. It warmed me up to the main course, a mixed seafood grille with linguine and red sauce. Scallops, shrimp, clams and mussels - all piping hot and served with a very stout red sauce & pasta. (I did not inquire …

Bottega Pizzeria ~ Montreal, Quebec

Next on Rude Dante's list

(Rue Saint-Zotique - one block SE of Inferno)
This one will be more brief as I ordered carry-out after working late one night.

Primarily (exclusively?) a pizza joint - one that was started by the friend of one of my 30-something colleagues who studied / trained in Italy. I ordered a Diavolo pizza and a caprese salad to go. Salad was huge - probably could have done with a half size. Pizza was better than I had hoped - and I had high hopes! Very spicy (they cook in the crushed red pepper - more potent than sprinkling on top), excellent sauce, with salami, tomatoes and fresh mozzarella. Crust was good, wood-fired with some flare-spots where the bubbling had caused some extra-crispy cheese. Will go back and have one on-site since the to-go takes a bit of the crunch away. Still one of the better pies I have ever had.

Also, closed Monday.

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Inferno ~ Montreal, Quebec

OK - as promised (later than initially stated), let's get those Rude Dante reviews out there. Rude Dante - take it away!

As a follower and kindred spirit of the RJG, one can only imagine my delight in having a couple weeks in Montreal. At first I had no concept of the place - other than it is a long flight on a little plane to get there. And as my arrival was in April, it is considerably colder than my home in the west. But on to the dining.

There is a remarkably strong Italian community in Montreal (RJG: Having been in 2004, and exploring the area ourselves, we can vouch for this). It's been there forever, but some of it is rather new and actively evolving & redefining itself.

(Rue Dante @ Rue Saint Dominique) Stopped in after having my first visit (quite enjoyable) to the well-known Pizzeria Napoletana further down Rue Dante (more on this place later). Business travel being what it is, I opted for a spot at the bar. I was hungry but not famished, and had the expectation…

The RJG is dead! Long live the RJG!

Just when you thought the RJG had stabilized into a routine – he goes off and…. moves! Well folks, what can I tell you? This has been in the works for some time, but for one reason or another – primarily work/career - we couldn’t leave DFW. As we entered into 2018 it appeared we were going to stay put for at least another year, as I needed to be in Baltimore every 3 to 4 weeks, and the job had become more routine. But then my boss suggested I really only needed to be in Baltimore every 2 months or so. Opportunity struck. We decided to sell our home – and it sold in ONE DAY. Which caught us by surprise naturally enough. We needed a new home! Of course we knew where we wanted to go – it was just a matter of flying there and buying one. It’s a place the RJG lived from the winter of 1993 to the spring of 1995. I had always wanted to stay but job/personal circumstances did not allow for it. It’s a place where we hope to be our final home. And that place is… Colorado Springs. Mrs. RJG and I…

Taco Fiesta ~ Baltimore, Maryland

Last visit: February 2018

Taco Fiesta is my favorite taco place in the country right now. I think that’s an odd thing to say for a Texan working in Baltimore. It just can’t be can it? Well sure it can.

While I have no doubt there is competition here in DFW, of all the taco places I’ve tried, I’ll take Taco Fiesta. Yes, and that includes the much lauded Torchy’s that we’ve written about in these very pages. It’s not a hardcore taqueria like, say, Alvarado’s either. I suppose it tracks closest to Fuzzy’s if looking for the type of environment. It’s a counter service place (honestly not enough of those near where I work), with a full bar setup, and seating on the main level as well as upstairs. As mentioned in the Alexander’s Tavern review, I have to segregate alcohol from non-alcohol, so Taco Fiesta is strictly a to-go place for me. They have a pretty full menu, but I never get past the tacos. In fact, I rarely eat anything but carne asada and pollo (and occasional pork carnitas). All t…

Mi Dia From Scratch ~ Grapevine, Texas

Last visit: January 2018

Regular readers of the RJG (do such people really exist? Questions...) will know we are big fans of New Mexican cuisine, to the point where we travel there at least annually. Presumably just to eat. And, well, that's not far from the truth.

So why have we been so tardy to review Mi Dia From Scratch, since they've been open for over 6 years now? I have to admit I was a bit reluctant originally. They had been advertised as something of a Mexico City interior kind of place, with New Mexican seemingly a "throw in", and their menu lacked any authenticity in this area. But over time, they fine tuned that menu, and we've now been a few times, and it's superb each visit. Mi Dia is one of only a couple of restaurants in DFW that knows that Christmas has another meaning outside of a religious event or a holiday.

Let's get this out of the way first: This isn't a fast casual restaurant, nor a mid priced family dining establishment. Mi Dia…

Ocha FTW Thai ~ North Richland Hills, TX

Last visit: January 2018

There was a time when finding a good Thai restaurant in Northeast Tarrant was quite a challenge. Think back 15 years ago. Back then we liked Thai Chili (Southlake - now in Roanoke), Top Thai (NRH - long closed), Thai Rice (Grapevine - now Thai Riverside), and Bangkok Cuisine (Haltom City - still around, but new owners). And Sweet Basil had yet to get the new owners that transformed them to a 5 star place.

Now it seems all one has to do is go outside... and turn right.

Which brings us to Ocha FTW, the latter appellation added to distinguish itself from a similarly named restaurant in Denton. This isn't our first encounter with the restaurant setting. According to the RJG archives (yes, deep in the labyrinths of the Earth, a virtual time machine), we tried a place called D. Asian almost exactly 6 years ago. It wasn't bad at all, but not enough to get us to add to the rotation.

Ocha FTW is good enough to add to the regular Thai rotation. We were very impr…

Jalapeno's Taqueria ~ Keller, Texas

Last visit: January 2018

A long time ago we mentioned this small taqueria in a post about what we thought might be - or not, never was sure - of a related restaurant. That restaurant later became Las Pinatas in far north Fort Worth and is now gone as well.

According to my personal database, my last visit to Jalapeno's Taqueria was in November of 2009, about a year and a half into this blog. It didn't leave much of a mark, and we forgot about it. Well Mrs. RJG and I were in the mood for some tacos, and it's not that far from where we reside, so we thought we'd try it again.

And now I remember why it didn't leave a mark. It's pretty average fare for a taqueria. It seems to be popular though, and it's a small family run business, so I guess it's just a matter of personal taste. I tried four street tacos: Ground beef, chipotle chicken tinga, al pastor, and carne asada. That's the order I ate them in. The ground beef was just flavorless mush, and I didn&…

Kindred Coffee Co. ~ North Richland Hills, Texas

Last visit: January 2018

Coffee, eh? Well, why not... We've not reported on the coffee places we go to, and that's probably because it never was a focus area for the RJG. That's about to change. And what better place to begin that journey but at Kindred Coffee Co., which is not too far from the RJG stable.

Kindred Coffee offers a full array of pastries, bakery items, salads, wraps, fruit juices, and teas. And of course various types of coffee, espresso's, and frozen concoctions thereof. On this visit I tried the Mocha Frappe, which is their variation of Starbucks' famous Frappuccino. And like any decent coffee house, Kindred blows away the watered down cheap Starbucks variation. It is quite decadent, and packs a caffeine wallop as bits of espresso beans are ground up within (which you can taste), and topped with whipped cram and chocolate. I was climbing the walls at home for 2 hours straight. An organic energy boost that tastes great. Mrs. RJG, who cannot take caf…

Alexander's Tavern ~ Baltimore, Maryland

Last visit: January 2018

So we begin our Baltimore sojourn at Alexander’s Tavern. As apropos as anywhere else the RJG frequents in Baltimore I suppose. As mentioned in the year end update, I started working in Baltimore in November of 2016 and I’m here/there roughly once a month give or take a week. While my job and role have changed immensely in the last one year plus, the places I frequent to dine and drink have not. My current company is decidedly a non-liquid lunch kind of environment (dinner is a different story…). And I couldn’t see how it would be anyway, as I pretty much work non-stop from 5a to 6p (sometimes more), except to pull away for 30 minutes (or maybe an hour) of lunch bliss and an hour in the morning to run the beautiful Inner Harbor/Fells Point, which is quite picturesque at sunrise while running the wooden boardwalk. I state all of this because dinner for me is all about the taverns and brewhouses. I have isolated the non-alcoholic restaurants to lunch and the ones…

Roscoe's Smokehouse ~ Keller, Texas

Last visit: January 2018

Time to ring in the new year. And what better way with some meaty barbecue! As mentioned in the 2017 recap, Roscoe's is a place we visited once earlier in the year, but didn't get any notes down. So it was first on my list to revisit.

Many old time Keller residents will most certainly remember Up-N-Smoke, a very good BBQ place, but sat in a dilapidated old building that was in much need of repair. The original owner decided to retire and the place sat vacant for a short while. Southlake's Feedstore stepped in, spruced it up, but they didn't last too long in that location. It was probably too close to their flagship restaurant, and likely ate into the same client base (so to speak). This was followed by Roscoe's from Burleson - now we're talking a new client base! They expanded even further the original building, adding a full bar area, with flat screens and the whole nine yards. Roscoe's feels like a Texas barbecue place - lots of w…