Monthly Archives: July 2011

Another weak attempt at Another Broken Egg

Many restaurants have a wait on Saturday mornings for breakfast. When I was able to park my car directly in front of the door to Another Broken Egg and have my two-person party be immediately directed to a six-person table last Saturday, I had a feeling my meal might not be a five-star breakfast.

Biscuit beignets at Another Broken Egg.

My anxiety changed when the waiter seemed sincere in wishing us good morning, bringing us coffee and convincing us to get the “famous” biscuit beignets before we even opened our menus. The honey-marmalade combo in the cup next to the petit beignes was a little too bitter for the morning, but I’ll choose any jelly before opening up a marmalade. I asked for honey, dipped my mini-scone-looking pastry in the smooth sweetness and took a bite. I didn’t mind the flavor, actually, I just felt like I was at Uncle Julio’s. The fact that I was eating biscuit beignets, though, made for a dense sopapilla gone bad.

Because I wasn’t giving up because of an appetizer and I still hadn’t surpassed the limit of sugar for the morning, I gave the French toast a try.

French toast with bacon and eggs at Another Broken Egg.

I’m a big French toast fan, and I really don’t set the bar terribly high for grilled, soak bread. I’m wowed by few places, and Another Broken Egg proved to serve an “acceptable” breakfast. The presentation was an odd one, with the pieces placed in a spiral, the grilled batter flowing off the edge of the bread. The plate was full of pieces with good flavor, but a flavor resting in a grilled bread that never quite met that awesome crispness that keeps in heat and holds up syrup.

As you may have guessed, this wasn’t my first breakfast here. Months ago, I had gone to this restaurant, waited on the benches with numerous other people to get a coveted table and tried this chain restaurant that had just opened on Upper Greenville. I decided to give the brand new restaurant a chance, ignoring the aloof waitress, the flavorless, heatless eggs and the spider that joined us for breakfast that day. Seems my recent meal there wasn’t so bad.

This restaurant wasn’t a total failure, by any means. With the plethora breakfast options in town, though, it’s probably going on my “don’t-go-to” list of restaurants.

Another Broken Egg
Location: 5500 Greenville Ave., Ste. 1300, Dallas, 214-782-9927
Hours: Monday through Friday, 7 a.m. to 2 p.m.  Saturday and Sunday, 7 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Price: $
Service: Friendly.
Ambiance: The brightly colored wood paneling and wooden stools at the bar (yes, bar) makee you feel like your in an East Coast establishment.
Attire: Casual
Payment Information: Major credit cards accepted
Alcohol: Beer, wine, various versions of a bloody Mary, mimosa and coffe with liqueur drinks

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Filed under American, Breakfast

Pho is for Lovers adds some delicious culture to Upper Greenville

I’m no expert on Vietnamese food, but I can say that I found some that serves up a delicious lunch for $6. In my recent article for neighborsgo, I wrote on Pho is for Lovers and its owner Diana Tang, who’s lucky enough to have her mom leading the cooking in the back.

Grilled pork banh mi at Pho is for Lovers. Photo: Taylor Adams

I had the grilled pork banh mi sandwich for a recent lunch. Tang relates this to a french baguette, which is probably valid with the soft roll of bread. It veers from French with the fillings, though. The pork was crisp on the outside with a surprising burst of flavor when you bite in. This sandwich is really worth dissecting and having the meat to itself, but the vegetables complement it quite perfectly. Cucumber, pickled carrots and daikon, cilantro and some weak jalapenos may make you keep the sandwich in tact.

Beef pho at Pho is for Lovers./Photo: Taylor Adams

Rusty Fenton, owner of Rusty Taco, tells me the Vietnamese iced coffee with condensed milk is a must-try; but various teas and a Vietnamese jelly drink also grace the beverage list and Tang says bubble tea may come later on. The menu is fairly simple, says Tang, who might incorporate different dishes as weekend specials later on. For now, the banh mi sandwiches and pho are big sellers.

The menu at Pho is for Lovers was created to be simple and easy for anyone to order, according to owner Diana Tang.

Diana Tang with her mother, Ha Le, at the restaurant./Photo: Taylor Adams

Pho is for Lovers
Location: 5521 Greenville Ave., Ste. 105, Dallas, 972-708-1028
Hours: Monday through Thursday, 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Friday and Saturday, 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Sunday, 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.
Price: $
Service: Friendly. Walk-up order, to-go orders available.
Ambiance: Clean, modern feel.
Attire: Casual
Payment Information: Major credit cards accepted
Alcohol: None served
Seating: Indoor

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Filed under Sandwiches, Vietnamese

Uptown in a slice and a glass: Coal Vines

In my recent trip to New Jersey–the one where I tasted a life-changing cannoli–we tried a number of pizzas to find the one that would change our perception of cheese-covered bread. While most of it was fine, nothing made us think, “what will I do without this at home?” In fact, when we tried one recent place after we got back, we were  quite glad to be in Dallas.

White special pizza with basil at Coal Vines.

Coal Vines is consistent in serving up a fine duo of wine and pizza. The white special is our favorite, a thicker, doughy crust topped with mozzarella, ricotta, parmesan, sliced tomatoes and garlic, though it’s always better with added basil. The ingredients, on this one or any other pie, are simple but combined to make a pizza better than many others in this city (and in Marlton, New Jersey).

Zucchini chips at Coal Vines.

Before you have a chance to choose your wine, you’re brought zucchini chips–little bites of a salty and slightly greasy vegetable that you’ll quickly find addicting. The caesar salad is usually  a safe order for an appetizer, though this last time we got it, the copious amount of anchovy was too much to bear–so much that we actually sent it back…

The wine list is always great to peruse; and while we debate going crazy to get a Cakebread or Silver Oak, there are always a couple of bottles on special for the evening. If it’s below 105 degrees, the patio is a nice spot, overlooking the intersection of Cedar Springs and Maple, but busy with uptown socialites and pizza lovers alike.

Wherever you sit, skip over the entrees on your first visit and go for a pie. The dough on this pizza is a perfect medium for carrying toppings covered in cheese. This doughy crust makes some pick up the silverware, or make others do the pizza fold. Available toppings are fairly traditional (and, unfortunately, lacking truffle oil) and the set pizzas are all good starting points. The marinara and white pizzas are good basics, or try the bolognese to upgrade your American pie.

Do go for the entrees eventually–after you try three kinds of pizzas, the lemon sole piccata is worth a shot.

Coal Vines
Location: 2404 Cedar Springs Road, Dallas, 214-855-4999
Hours: Monday through Wednesday, 11 a.m to 12 a.m. Thursday and Friday, 11 a.m. to 1 a.m. Saturday 11 a.m. to 1 a.m. Sunday, 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. (Brunch is available Saturday and Sunday, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.)
Price: $$
Service: Prompt, though not terribly friendly
Ambiance: Uptown hangout
Attire: Business casual
Payment Information: Major credit cards accepted
Alcohol: Beer and wine served
Seating: Indoor and patio

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Mecca Restaurant: Worth the trip for a cinnamon roll, not much else

Cinnamon, icing and butter always make a good combination, especially when topping a hearty, hot dough. I’ve recently heard the best place to go to get this creation is at Mecca Restaurant; so I made the pilgrimage to Harry Hines to indulge in the dessert breakfast.

Cinnamon roll at Mecca Restaurant./Photo: Taylor Adams

That’s not a salad plate holding that roll–that’s a full size plate that could fit a stack of pancakes. Worthy of splitting among six people, this cinnamon roll is over zealous for a table of two, but we went for it any way. It’s not often I order a cinnamon roll, because it would either have to take the place of my pancake order or come before it, neither of which are ideal. However, when I do, it’s too often that it arrives with a heap of butter melting from the cinnamon center down to the sides.

This one succeeds in all of your cinnamon roll expectations: soft dough covered with a sweet icing, a butter-filled taste with every break of the spiral and an intensifying cinnamon taste as you finally near the center. It is up to par with any excellent cinnamon roll, but it’s really known for its size–one that is truly unnecessarily large.

This was our “appetizer” (if it’s really appropriate to have a two-course breakfast) and also the high point. Our waitress was less-than friendly and attentive. The restaurant has a dirty feel about it, but with seats packed with locals and area school flags hanging from the walls, you’re assured the food’s delicious.

Aside from the cinnamon role are plenty of acceptable options on the breakfast menu, offered all day. Frances’ favorite seemed like a good choice to experience everything–the bacon and eggs were acceptable, nothing special. The pancakes (which I insisted on including bananas) were actually impressive, better than the Bisquick look-alikes I’ve found in some places lately.

Across from my table, however, sat an odd-colored omelette with biscuits and gravy. I’m not an omelette person, but Michael did let me try his biscuits and gravy. Whenever I don’t like something, I’ll taste it until I figure out exactly why. It was simply impossible to do with these. The gravy was fine, but perhaps I needed more gravy than biscuit with the bite to make it worthy of a second bite. The restaurant would have been better off with Bisquick for this one.

The only thing truly delicious here was the cinnamon roll, but with a decadent carmel pecan roll at Bread Winners, and so many other breakfast joints in this area, I won’t be making my journey to Mecca Restaurant again any time soon.

Mecca Restaurant
Location: 10422 Harry Hines Blvd., Dallas, 214-352-0051
Hours: Monday through Saturday, 6 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Sunday, 8 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.
Price: $
Service: Adequate, not terribly friendly
Ambiance: Feels like a local diner (if Dallas had those)
Attire: Casual
Payment Information: Major credit cards accepted
Alcohol: None served
Seating: Indoor

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Filed under American, Breakfast

A cannoli that’s worth it (in Dallas!)

I’m writing from New Jersey today, but last night inspired me to write about a small spot in Dallas. We went into Philadelphia yesterday, where I had one of the best Italian meals I’ve ever had in the U.S. after stopping by a small bakery near the Italian market that had an assortment of Italian sweets, and of course, an amazing cannoli.

Turns out our restaurant, Villa Di Roma, gets their cannois from this bakery, known as Isgro Pasticceria. So lucky me, I got to have two amazing cannolis in one day. The pastry was flaky, but dense and crisp enough to encase the fluffy, rich ricotta filling. It doesn’t exactly cheer me up, knowing that I’ll soon be over 1,000 miles from this Italian delicacy.

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A muffuletta and cannoli to go from Jimmy’s Food Store/Photo: Michael Danser

Fortunately, Jimmy’s has proven to be an acceptable go-to for my cravings of Italian market goods, sandwiches, and even desserts in Dallas. The muffuletta is massive and delicious, just as it should be, with fresh cut cheese and deli meat with olives that try to overwhelm each bite.

More importantly, this is the only place in Dallas where I bite into a cannoli and think, “yes,” rather than, “why is there a Texan messing up a Sicilian dessert?” The traditional ricotta filling is smooth and on the verge of being dense. The pastry is crisp with a few small air bubbles. The cannoli isn’t a sweet dessert, which is why places offer it with chocolate chips or pistachios. Get a traditional or chocolate (for 75 cents more), but really you shouldn’t bother choosing; just split both with a friend to make sure you don’t miss out.

This Italian food store also has isles of Italian wine, some of which have been praised by local publications, along with fresh, uncooked pasta to go, olives and other necessities that may go with your Italian cooking. I still need to go back to try the meatball sandwich, but for now, I can’t walk in without getting a cannoli.

Jimmy’s Food Store
Location: 4901 Bryan St., Dallas, 214-823-6180
Hours: Monday through Saturday, 9 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. Closed Sunday.
Price:
$$
Service: They’re friendly when you order quickly
Ambiance: The market has a few small tables, each a perfect spot for an afternoon sandwich (or cannoli)
Attire: Casual
Payment Information: All major credit cards accepted
Alcohol: Wine (If you buy a bottle and eat lunch there, they’ll open the bottle for you.)
Seating: Indoor and outdoor (sidewalk in front of the market)

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Filed under Italian, Sandwiches