Sunday, June 4, 2017

The Rustic

What better way to celebrate a birthday than Saturday brunch and The Rustic in Dallas provided a great venue.  First, a little about the venue. The Rustic has a huge outdoor area, known as Pat's Backyard.  Filled with fire pits, Adirondack chairs and picnic tables, the plentiful oak trees make it a great place to hang out.  If it gets too hot, just ask for a table umbrella to cool things down.  There's also a stage that opens to both the outside and the inside for the live music that is common here.  In the five hours we were there, we heard two different groups performing.  I really liked that set up. We were able to sit inside and avoid the sun and impending rain, but still enjoy the live music.

Now let's talk about brunch.  I'm still trying to decide how I feel about The Rustic Brunch.  In a way, it's quite genius, especially for a girl who has trouble making food decisions. The only way to get brunch is family style. For $16.95, you get a sampling of everything -


  • CHEESE AND FRUIT - local cheeses, honeycomb, fresh fruit, and assorted breads
  • COUNTRY BAKED EGGS - sharp white cheddar, chives, and organic baby spinach
  • BUTCHERSHOP SKILLET - bacon and sausage from Rudolph’s Market
  • HOT CHICKEN - Nashville-style spicy fried chicken and dill pickles
  • BABY FRIED TOAST - hand-cut challah, soaked in vanilla custard and topped with house-made rosemary syrup
  • SMOKED CHEDDAR GRITS - creamy polenta cakes with roasted poblanos and smokey cheddar on sausage gravy
  • DAILY DONUTS - small batch donuts baked just for you


As you can see, it's great because you get to try a little bit of everything. But you're also locked into the one thing.  So it's no choice with choice, I guess.  Which if you know what you're getting in to, it's not a big deal.  I just hadn't done my research. 


Everything was good, but a few things did stand out to me.  The bacon and sausage was crazy good.  The bacon was thick cut and full of flavor.  I would have loved a full skillet of that.  Luckily, the sausage was really good as well.  Also in the skillet was that Hot Chicken.  Even though I'm not a fan of hot and spicy foods, I liked it.  I think it helped that the spice was not too much;  rather it gave the chicken a good, strong flavor.   The chicken itself was tender and moist and the crust was that perfect medium.  Not overly crunchy, but just enough to add another later of flavor and texture.



Baby Fried Toast and Country Basked Eggs with Greens
The country backed eggs were good, but not spectacular.  I ate them when I was transitioning from one food to another, almost like cleansing my palate. The smoked cheddar grits fell into this category, too.  It wasn't a neutral palate cleanser because of the roasted poblanos, but for me they were just good.  Setting it in the gravy did add another layer of complexity to the flavors.  That was definitely a good move.

My favorite was probably the Baby Fried Toast.  Thick challah bread doused in rosemary syrup and vanilla custard.  I could not get enough of it!   The rosemary syrup helped cut the sweetness so that it wasn't overwhelming. I love french toast, but often I won't order it because it calls for a big nap immediately afterwards.  So the few bites I did get were really quite perfect.  Just the right amount.

The cheese and fruit tray was a heavenly way to finish off the meal.  I wasn't too sure abut the different cheeses, but whatever they were, delish!  Also on the tray was a twist on the traditional bruschetta.  No tomatoes, but an avocado mixture sprinkled with a bit of cheese sprinkled on top. I would have loved to have more than one of those.





This brunch comes with these precious little baby doughnuts. Somehow we didn't get
them with everything else but when we did get them, oh yumminess!  A small sweet way to end the meal.  I tried the coconut one and then a sugar coated cake doughnut.  I'm kind of glad they forgot to bring us the doughnuts right way. We got a couple of extras and they were warm.



It's not brunch without mimosas.  At The Rustic, you can choose rose or champagne, orange juice or grapefruit juice.  We went with the traditional OJ and champagne. According to the menu, we should have also received Brazos Valley marmalade and mixed berry preserves, but those never appeared.

After brunch in the backyard, we moved inside to just hang out and celebrate Jessica.  It was a fun day spent with friends.  Here's what you need to keep in mind about The Rustic. It is a great place to spend the afternoon.  It's designed for hanging out.  The live music and the many craft beers on tap are what makes this place such a popular destination for friends who just want to spend time together.  While the food is good, that's not why you go to The Rustic.  And be warned, the service is a bit lacking.  We were there five hours, so over two shifts, and we sat both outside and inside.  No matter the shift, the service was less than stellar. Friendly, just not efficient.  Keep that in mind when you visit.

Happy birthday, Jessica!





Friday, May 19, 2017

Mash'd

A couple of weeks ago, Frisco hosted Off the Rails, a two day country music concert.  So brunch just made sense.  Especially when a place like Mash'd is nearby.

Chicken and biscuits is the perfect meal when you're going to be listening to the Charlie Daniels Band, Dierks Bently, and Jason Aldean in just a few short hours.  The chicken tenders were just that - super tender and twice battered.  The chicken sat atop a chorizo cheddar biscuit and was covered in "chuck norris"  gravy.  I'm not sure what chick norris gravy is other than delicious.  I also don't know why it's not capitalized on the menu, but I'm going with it.  I'm not a really big fan of chorizo, so I could have done without that as a part of my biscuit.  We also opted to get a fried egg on top.  I mean, why not?  Mitzi's was a bit overcooked, but mine was perfectly runny.  It doesn't come with the egg, but you can order it at no extra charge. I like that; refreshing considering I was recently charged extra to put cheese on my breakfast taco.  You can order a half serving if you think two biscuits and all that chicken is just too much.  And a half order is plenty, especially if you order queso as an appetizer. 


And who isn't going to order queso?  They call it serious queso, and yes, it is! Here's the menu description - house prepared w/ roasted garlic, abita beer, chorizo & pickled pepper relish, served with seasoned tortilla chips.  If you're feeling adventurous, add fried chicken to you queso.  You read that correctly.  Fried chicken in your queso!  That is happening next time.


Did I mention the mimosas?  Four options for you to try: traditional orange, blood orange, peach, and blackberry.  Served in a mason jar, the blackberry mimosas were a perfect addition to our brunch.


The Southern Egg Fries got a rave review.  Imagine a cast iron skillet filled with crispy fries. Now imagine the fries topped with some chorizo and melted cheddar cheese.  But wait! There's more!  A couple of over-medium eggs, and of course, that "chuck norris" gravy.  As Trey said, "Eggs and fries will happen again."

Amber ordered Benny's Skillet.  Overall she loved it.  But she's like me - we would rather have bacon in our biscuits instead of chorizo.  Benny's Skillet is their version of eggs benedict.  Also served in a cast iron skillet, we're talking creamed spinach, chorizo biscuits, moonshine stock poached egg, layered together and covered in hollandaise sauce.


I didn't get the reviews from Marlon and Stacy as they left early to get to the airport.  But here's a picture of what they ate.  Looks good, right?


This sign was hanging by our table.  Love it!  


If you're in Frisco, Ft. Worth, or San Antonio, be sure to check out Mash'd, you won't regret it.


Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Black Walnut Cafe

When you think of brunch, you think of the weekend, right?  That's when my friends and I typically brunch.  In most cases, that's when restaurants will roll out their brunch menu because that's when most people have a bit more leisure time.  Believe it or not, there are restaurants out there that have a daily brunch menu, and I'm not talking about IHOP either.  In DFW, we are lucky enough to have Black Walnut Cafe, which was the perfect place for Mitzi and me to celebrate after taking our principal certification exam.
Be careful!  These mimosas can pack a punch on an empty stomach.  Must be the splash of Grand Marnier.

I decided to go all out and get the Bacon Cheeseburger Benedict.  It seems like the perfect dish for a girl who loves burgers and brunch.  Here's how the menu describes it: two extra-large poached eggs, two mini burger patties, toasted English muffin, American cheese, diced bacon, cayenne citrus hollandaise.  Let me just start off by saying, WOW!  This was delicious!  The flavors were bold and diverse.  Every bite is guaranteed to have multiple flavors.  The eggs were poached to perfection and clicked with the burger patties, which were cooked medium rare.  The melted cheese and bacon added layers of deliciousness to each bite.  Don't worry about the cayenne in the hollandaise sauce.  It's not even noticeable. When you order an eggs benedict dish, you also have a choice of home fries or grits. Normally, I would go for the potatoes, but something was telling me to get the grits.  I am so glad I listened to the voice in my head.  They were smooth, creamy and buttery. Some of the best grits I've ever had!  As I sit here writing, I am fantasizing about these grits!



Mitzi ordered the Chicken & Waffles, another favorite. Belgian waffle, fried chicken tenders, powdered sugar, and New England maple syrup.  A good solid option, but there wasn't anything that really made it stand out.  I will say, I appreciate the chicken tenders as opposed to chicken on the bone.  I'm not opposed to chicken on the bone, but it's not always as easy to consume, especially when served with waffles.



Sunday, March 5, 2017

Mexican Sugar

"I come here for the mimosas and the queso."
-Mitzi Richardson

Mexican Sugar is a great place for friends to gather.  With a reservation, they can accommodate some large parties which is just what we did to celebrate Jenni's birthday this weekend.

Let's talk mimosas!  Order mimosas and you'll have your choice of watermelon, orange, and guava juices. and fruits. Guava is my absolute favorite.  A tray is delivered to your table with a bottle of prosecco and small glasses of your choice of juices.  You build your mimosa as you see fit and when you need one.  

While brunch was yummy, the queso and the mimosas are truly why we go keep going back to Mexican Sugar in The Shops at Legacy. The queso is three Mexican cheeses, toasted dried chiles, a dollop of guacamole, and a sprinkle of cilantro. The chips are the way I like them - light, crispy, and salty.  It's incredibly easily to go through a cup of queso in minutes.  You'll also get roasted salsa with your queso.  Truly . . . I love this queso!


For brunch, I ordered brisket chilaquiles.  The brisket was delicious, tender with a great flavor.  The egg was cooked perfectly, sunny-side up and served alongside an avocado. The tortilla strips (not chips) were cooked a bit too long for my taste.  They were a bit on the chewy side, so that did take away from my enjoyment of the dish.  I would have also preferred a higher meat to tortilla ratio, but can you blame a Texas girl who likes her brisket?


Brisket Chilaquiles
Chicken Chilaquiles
Mitzi enjoyed a trio of tacos: bacon, potato, and egg, carne asada, and brasas chicken. The bacon was chili spiced and did have a bit have a kick, but other than that, the taco was rather average.  The flavor of the carne asada was just right and cooked perfectly. It was had pickled radish, which was bit overpowering.  At that point, Mitzi was full and didn't eat the brasas chicken, so we can't comment.



The Mexican Chorizo Enchiladas were quite good.  Although the tortillas were a bit thick, the house ground spicy chorizo paired nicely with the manchego cheese for a yummy enchilada.  And what's brunch without a steak & eggs dish?  A mesquite grilled skirt steak topped with two fried eggs, garnished with pickled red onions, avocado, and queso fresco is a great combination.  Unfortunately, the eggs were a bit too runny for Katherine, although I think there is something fantastic about a steak and eggs sunny-side up.  The steak and eggs comes with tortillas and cilantro potato hash, which did get a thumbs up.


Our party was large, 16 people I think, so it does stand to reason that service may be a bit slow at times.  We did have to wait for a beverages on more than one occasion and the tickets were not correct when we got them, but overall service was decent.  We've been to Mexican Sugar before and I'm sure we'll be back.  I think next time I'll get their newest brunch dish, Cajeta French Toast, made with angel food cake!  Although the Vanilla Cinnamon Pancakes seem pretty heavenly as well.


Sunday, January 8, 2017

Henry's Majestic

One of my favorite things to do on Sunday is go to brunch with my friends. Luckily, living in the Dallas/Ft. Worth area, there is never a lack of places to choose from for Sunday brunch.  January's outing found us at Henry's Majestic in Uptown.  Thanks to Eater Dallas for the recommendation.

The first piece of advice we have for you is you should make reservations. We arrived at 10:30 and waited 30 minutes for a table for 4.  When we left shortly after noon, the wait was at least an hour. Now you can sit at the bar and eat, but really, the point of brunch is to spend that time talking with your friends and that's harder to do at the bar.  Plus, it's not as easy to share.  It is definitely a cozy atmosphere and it does get rather loud, so if you don't mind that you're good to go.  I don't know that I would recommend it if you have a big party as conversation might be a challenge.  The service was really good.  Our waiter was attentive and the manager made sure to check on us as well.

We did enjoy a mimosa while we waited.  Henry's has a a Sparkling Bar where you get to create your own mimosa.  Choose from champagne, prosecco, or sparkling rose to start with, and then add your fruit juice or puree and fresh fruit.  I recommend the strawberry puree with prosecco.

Let's start with our appetizers.  The shrimp & grits was delicious!  Served in a cast iron skillet, the grits were super cheesy with a little kick of Henry's hot sauce and topped with bleu cheese & chives. Some restaurants tend to be frugal with their shrimp.  Not Henry's . . . the grits were topped with five large shrimp, cooked perfectly with such flavor.  It would be a great entree.  Now let's talk that Avocado Toast.  Yes, you read that correctly . . . Avocado Toast!  Slices of avocado drizzled with olive oil and sea salt on toast.  And you'll want to spring for the bacon as well.  So stinkin' good!  I wish I could find avocados that good at my grocery store.



We all ordered something different for our entree.  Carol got Henry's Marrow Spiked Burger which was  Akaushi beef on a Brioche bun, complete with egg, bacon, caramelized onion, and sharp cheddar. My mouth was watering just looking at that burger.  No fries, but house made chips rounded out the meal.  The juicy patty was about an inch thick, matching perfectly with the Brioche bun.Carol's advice?  Be hungry if you're ordering this burger.



Mitzi got the biscuits and gravy.  Two large, flaky buttermilk biscuits covered in sausage gravy.  And you know, sometimes you worry about the gravy to biscuit ratio.  You don't want the biscuits drenched in gravy, but you also don't want a sparse serving.  Henry's got it right - perfect proportions. By the way, that's maple blueberry links you see topping the biscuits and gravy.  Recommendation?  Order a side of fried eggs.


Anita ordered the Porchetta Egg Sandwich, based on the waiter's recommendation.  In addition to the porchetta and fried egg, sunny side up, the sandwich had arugula, gruyere, and a sriracha aioli.  If you're not sure what porchetta is, it's a savory, fatty, and moist boneless pork roast.  So the sandwich definitely had the pork component, but Anita felt it was missing something.  Maybe the crunch of bacon? Thankfully it was served on a Brioche roll; a fried egg sandwich needs substantial support.  The downside to this creation is how do you eat it?  It's messy and when you cut it up, and eat it with a fork, you may miss some of the amazing flavors.  And it is a definitely a sandwich where you need all of those wonderful flavors to come together.



What did I order?  One of my faves . . . Chicken & Waffles!  Yep, a buttermilk waffle topped with fried chicken, covered in syrup and poblano gravy.  The chicken was more like chicken fried chicken, not like a drumstick or chicken breast, which of course made it much easier to eat.  While it probably wasn't my favorite chicken & waffles ever, it was delicious.  And the nice thing about the way Henry's does it is that it's not overwhelming, meaning I could actually eat the entire thing.  


Recently Henry's Majestic was listed as one of the best brunch places in Dallas by the Eater Dallas. While we haven't visited all of the fantastic brunch spots in DFW, I would say we've been to quite a few and Henry's has definitely figured out brunch.  The food is good, service is great, and I love the idea of creating my own mimosa.