Monthly Archives: June 2012

Sweet, green ending further improves meal at Asian Mint

There aren’t a ton of places to get fabulous Chinese food in town. If you go north of Dallas, your chances increase. But in the city limits, there are places that serve decent dishes–one of them being Asian Mint.
The food here is fine. The menu has the popular Asian-fusion approach. My one visit there had me ordering the Mongolian beef stir-fry, which was well-seasoned and made for a desirable bite when mixed with rice. The overall meal was savory, but the cheap-tasting meat kept it from being near perfect. But for a meal that came out in less than 10 minutes, it definitely has me wanting to return.
What inspired this blog post wasn’t the one acceptable meal I had, but the part that followed.

The green tea ice cream cake at Asian Mint simply tastes better than it looks. (Photo by TAYLOR ADAMS)

The green tea ice cream cake doesn’t sound as appetizing as it really is. In fact, when the green block is placed on the table, your hesitation might continue. Starting at the top of the tower, your fork goes through a tangy whipped cream, followed by a layer of dense cake, green tea ice cream and more cake. Bite after you bite, you start to like it. The whipped cream and ice cream are cool and refreshing, lightening the dense sponge cake that seems to have been soaked in tea.
One out of the four at our table tried his best to down it and failed. The rest of us started to dig in after getting used to it in three bites. The dessert is simply something different, something that is much needed in breaking up the cycle of frozen yogurt places we all can get into.
Hours: Monday through Thursday, 11 a.m. to 10 p.m., Friday, 11 a.m. to 10:30 p.m., Saturday, 11:30 a.m. to 10:30 p.m., Sunday, 11:30 a.m. to 9:30 p.m.
Price: $$
Ambiance: Modern, white, clean decor–the evening can get packed and noisy
Attire: Casual
Payment information: Major credit cards accepted
Alcohol: Full bar

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Filed under Asian, Dessert

A big slice of sweetness found at Cretia’s

When’s the last time you had a big slice of cake? That slice that when it’s cut, you say, “Oh, wait, no, that’s way too big,” but you take the plate bearing the heavy piece anyway.

A slice of the white cake at Cretia’s. (Photo by TAYLOR ADAMS)

You can get a delicate, or decadent, cupcake in many places in Dallas, but to get a good slice of a homemade cake, you have to go to Oak Cliff to Cretia’s. You can easily make a good day of it: Lockhart Smokehouse is on the same block as the local bakery.

The blackberry pie at Cretia’s. (Photo by TAYLOR ADAMS)

The glass cases still have plenty for the cupcake fans, but they welcome more baked good lovers with pies and cakes. Before the store moved across Bishop Street to its current location, I tried out a slice of blackberry pie. A moist and flakeless crust surrounded a dense slice, stiff with blackberry preserves and jelly. The tart, seedy bites proved to be a perfect dessert to a summer night. But the slices of cake were calling, too.

The frosting of the cakes are soft and sweet, providing an indulgent protection for the moist cake inside of it. While acceptable, the red velvet is nothing better than most options. The wedding cake is one of the best slices–not overwhelming with flavor of course, but giving you a bite of smooth, white cake marrying its sweet, white frosting. A chocolate cake with white frosting may be tempting: It’s beautiful and fine, but not worth your dollars or its calories compared to others.

Strawberry cake, while not at the top of most people’s minds, is worth getting every time–in a cake slice or cupcake. Similar to the others, the smooth, moist frosting gives you a bite you know is worth whatever amount of butter is in it. And the strawberry taste is incredible without the fulfilling frosting. Resist your urge to scrape it off, and you have a meal all to itself in the dessert.

The cases have plates of large cupcakes, too. (Photo by TAYLOR ADAMS)

Cookies are also in the cases here, and you can easily take them to go if you made the wise choice to have cake already (or if you had a beef rib at Lockhart’s prior to your visit).

Your experience of the staff can vary depending on the person behind your counter, with some being perfection and others displaying their unfamiliarity with the food. Some people working there know their information on Cretia’s cake. They start telling you what kind of cake it is before your arm fully extends to point to it; they tell you why exactly the wedding cake is just barely a better option than the chocolate cake; they know the exact timing to pull a slice from the cake onto your plate in one piece. Others there try with smiles on their faces, but don’t succeed as well. They can’t tell you if the red velvet cake’s frosting has cream cheese or not; they can’t say, without a long pause, what their favorite cakes are; your “slice” of cake comes out in a lump with a dollop of scooped up, leftover frosting on top of it.

No matter which service you get on a day, it will still be from a friendly face, and at the very least, and, more importantly, your slice of cake is decadent and more enjoyable than the selections at a particularly famous cupcake shop.

A slice from the chocolate cake with white frosting at Cretia’s. (Photo by TAYLOR ADAMS)

Cretia’s
Location: 500 N. Bishop Ave., 75208, 214-941-0082
Hours: Monday and Tuesday, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., Wednesday, 11 a.m. to 8 p.m., Thursday, 11 a.m. to 9 p.m., Friday and Saturday, 11 a.m. to 10 p.m., Sunday, noon to 4 p.m.
Price: $
Ambiance:  Small space–enough for a big line to order dessert, not a lot for people to stay and eat
Attire: Casual
Payment Information: Major credit cards accepted
Alcohol: None served

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Filed under Dessert

Piggie Pies raises the bar in delivery pizza for Upper Greenville

Consider yourself lucky if you live within delivery distance of an acceptable pizza place. Pizza Hut doesn’t count and Papa Johns isn’t quite good enough. Piggie Pies, however, is.

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A small pizza with pepperoni, olives, onions and cheese from Piggie Pies Pizza and Pasta. (Photo by TAYLOR ADAMS)

Having just moved within the three-mile radius of Piggie Pies’ delivery area, I’m fortunate to have a cheese-covered pie at such a convenience.

While the mozzarella cheese coats whatever toppings the pizza has for the night, the sauce doesn’t have a chance of being hidden. Boasting garlic and oregano in every red bite, the flavor overtakes whatever taste the bread might have.

Lacking in originality, the restaurant’s website is proud of its “fresh toppings,” but nothing that has made its way on a pie has proven that the words are a lie. Veggies are crisp and meats are flavorful–the pepperoni is soft with a kick and the sausage is authentic enough when covered with cheese.

The menu also has a list of pasta that’s dense enough to find something worthy, with the cream-based sauces proving to be the best. The red sauce is acceptable and the meatballs aren’t the worst for delivery options.

The chicken Alfredo has a sauce thick and deserving of its name, unlike the runny, savorless imitations around Dallas. The carbonara can fill one up after a few bites: the Alfredo in this is overpowered with salt by the bacon and ham that’s tossed with sautéed onion, tomato and pasta.

This isn’t the best pizza I’ve tasted in Dallas. If I lived closer to Fireside Pies, I might opt for take-out over delivery. As that’s not the case, delivery will do; and with Piggie Pies, it will do just fine.

Piggie Pies Pizza and Pasta
Location: 5315 Greenville Ave., Suite 120B, 75206, 214-821-6465
Hours: Sunday through Thursday, 11 a.m. to 12 a.m., Friday and Saturday, 11 a.m. to 1 a.m.
Price: $
Ambiance:  Small dining space with few tables and, usually, a line of customers to take their pizzas to-go
Attire: Casual
Payment Information: Major credit cards accepted
Alcohol: None served

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June 2, 2012 · 10:58 am