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lillymao's Profile

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Normandie Alliance [DFW] ***** out of *****

FOOD ***** out of *****
I've been there twice and ordered two different types of crepes. I ordered the mixed berry crepe and the banana chocolate crepe. Chef Gilles's crepes are very thin and delicate. Also, they're made of all natural and organic ingredients. They're much better than the crepes at IHOP. Most of all, in contrast to all the other overpriced French restaurants, Normandie Alliance is reasonably priced. A French crepe costs $3 to $6 there depending on what you order.

Although I did not order the following dishes, Chef Gilles did give me a small sample of each; carrot soup, zucchini goat cheese soup, and quiche. The carrot soup was sweet and creamy. It did not have solid chunks of carrots in it. It is a creamed carrot soup. If you like a sweet soup, you will like his carrot soup. The zucchini goat cheese soup only had a hint of goatiness. If a goaty (musky) flavor is O.K. with you, then you'll like it. The quiche is very strongly flavored with garlic. If you like garlic, then you'll love his quiche.

Although his other dishes are good, I LOVE his crepes. I will order crepes every time I go in the future. I may try his beef stew or ratatouille on a future visit, though. I really like a good French beef stew but I've yet to sample one ever since Chez Gerard closed. Also, I've wanted to try a ratatouille ever since I saw the movie Ratatouille, but I haven't found any other French restaurants in Dallas that served ratatouille.

ATMOSPHERE ***** out of *****
They have an outside wooden deck overlooking a fountain and creek. It is a most pleasant dining experience during nice fall weather like we are having now.

SERVICE **** out of *****
Everybody is really concerned with your dining experience. The chef himself will come out to greet you and ask how you liked your meal if it is your first time in his restaurant. They don't have 3 man waiter teams like they have at the more expensive restaurants, but service is reasonably quick and they are genuinely concerned with your dining experience.

CONCLUSION ***** out of *****
There may be better French restaurants out there. However, you will not find a better crepe and there are no other reasonably priced French restaurants that serve tasty, yet healthy dishes made only from all natural, organic ingredients. Also, they are BYOB, so instead of buying overpriced restaurant wine, you may bring your own tasty budget wine. Normandie Alliance is not haute cuisine. It is good French home cooking. This is not a "jackets required" restaurant. Normandie Alliance is a "good times guaranteed" restaurant. I've gone there twice in the past three days. That's what a good time I had there. That's how affordable they are. I eat out every day and Normandie Alliance has earned a permanent place in my weekly rotation.

If you are craving crepes, then go to Normandie Alliance. You cannot find a better crepe than Chef Gilles's crepes. If you want a romantic meal for a reasonable price on a miniature River Seine right here in Dallas, then look no further than Normandie Alliance. Normandie Alliance is your one hour Parisian vacation, right here in Dallas. Bon apetite!

Oct 18, 2008
lillymao in Dallas - Fort Worth

Dallas - Thin Crust Pizza

Went to Angelo & Vito's today.
Toppings: fresh mushrooms, good
Cheese: nice and stretchy, good
Sauce: sparse, not good
Crust: crispy bottom, but hard crust, not flexible & foldable like real NY pizza.

Service: Great service for a pizzeria. One of the employees there offered me a free drink because he was afraid I was waiting too long for my pizza. This is a family-owned joint. I saw a father and son team working there today.

Atmosphere: Lively, busy local lunch spot.

Conclusion: Not as good as Papa John's and expensive to boot. It's good pizza, just not great. I will not return for carry out because it is a poor value. However, if you want to dine-in, then they may be worth a visit because of the excellent customer service.

For example, Pastazio's Pizza in Addison circle was only $3 a slice. The pizza was a bit pricey because Joe's on Trinity Mills offers $2.25 per slice pizza. However, Pastazio's is worth it because the crust is thin, flexible, yet has a crispy bottom, they used fresh mushrooms, and the pizza was better than Papa John's.

Angelo & Vito's is expensive because they had $7 for just ONE slice pizza. You had to buy a slice with a salad and a drink for $7.

In contrast, next door to them on Trinity Mills and Tollway is a Papa Joe's pizza. They offer $6 for a drink, salad, and TWO slices of pizza. Granted, these slices were smaller than Angelo & Vito's slices, but you're still getting about 50% more pizza at Papa Joe's than Angelo & Vito. So, you're paying more for less pizza.

My quest for the best pizza within approximately 5 miles of 190 and Tollway continues....

Oct 17, 2008
lillymao in Dallas - Fort Worth

Dallas - Thin Crust Pizza

Went to Pastazio's and although it is a bit pricey at $3 per slice of only one topping pizza (most other places offer a slice with 1 to 3 toppings for less than $2.50), it is the closest I've come to real NYC pizza in Dallas within 5 miles of 190/Tollway. This high price is expected as Pastazio's is within a stone throw's distance from a private jet airport, Addison airport. This is not a coal nor wood oven, but gas. However, the crust is painstakingly hand tossed until it is floppy thin. Yet, after it leaves the oven it is slightly crispy at the bottom of the crust. Floppy yet crispy, a great combo on a crust. Normally, I'd object to the thin cheese and sauce, but since the crust is thin, I guess the sauce and cheese has to be kept proportionally thin, too. The topping I ordered is mushrooms. Mushroom is the litmus test of pizza toppings since lesser pizzerias will put canned crap on it instead of fresh mushrooms. Pastazio's uses only the fresh mushrooms. This is the first pizza I've tried in the area that serves a pizza better than Pappa John's. You even feel like you're in Brooklyn as Pastazio's is in a neighborhood of brownstone townhouses in Addison circle. This is 90% as good as the best Brooklyn NYC pizza.

Next, I will go to Campisi's and Angelo & Vito plus that pizza joint in Willow Bend mall Sbarro's (I've been there but I need to revisit as it's been awhile). Then, I'll report back.

My quest for the BEST Pizza with 5 miles of 190/Tollway continues....

Summary of pizzerias that I've tried;
Worse than Papa John's;
Chicago Rick's
Joe's
Domino's
Pizza Hut
Alfredo's (they have good-looking lasagnas, but I didn't try it as I'm only reporting/sampling pizzas on this quest)
Mr. Jim's

Roughly equal to Papa John's:
Papa Joe's
Whole Foods

Better than Papa John's:
Pastazio's

Untried or haven't tried in awhile and need to re-try;
Sbarro's
Campisi's
Angelo & Vito

Places I don't intend on trying (unless lots of other posters tell me otherwise);
Picasso's
Pizza by Marco

Any other places I've missed?
Please post and inform me! Thanks!

I have high hopes for Campisi's as several transplanted New Yorker friends of mine tell me that Campisi's is THE spot for the best NYC style pizza in Dallas. We shall see....

BTW popkulture, thanks for the hint about Pastazio's pizza.... I spent a very enjoyable afternoon bicycling around the quiet red brick streets of Addison Circle and checking out the antique/retired fighter jet collection at the Addison flight museum. There were two other bikes parked in front of Pastazios in addition to my bike. The secret's out....

Oct 13, 2008
lillymao in Dallas - Fort Worth

HELP! NYer in Dallas needs great BBQ!

al's barbecue or al's smokehouse on inwood rd. nobody slow smokes their meat anymore except for al's. that's because corporate america deems slow to be unprofitable to those corp restaurants. al's is an independent bbq joint. lot's of good ol' boys dine there daily. it's a real man's dining place.

Oct 13, 2008
lillymao in Dallas - Fort Worth

Why I trust you guys more than guidelive or D mags & newspapers!

It seems to me that there's a certain snob factor involved with these various food writers. If it doesn't cost an arm and a leg, it's gonna get a bad rating. They gave First Chinese Barbecue on guidelive just 2 stars?! That's the BEST Chinese food in Dallas.

And they gave Nana 4 stars?! Please read my review of Nana if you haven't been there: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/555089 .

What are they smoking?! The ratings should be the other way around. First Chinese BBQ (4 stars), Nana (2 stars).

Anyways, I just want to say, "Thank you," to you guys. Y'all have given me the real scoop on the DFW restaurant scene. That's why I keep writing reviews, to give a little back to our little chow-community.

Thanks again!

Oct 10, 2008
lillymao in Food Media & News

State Fair

OK,
I wanna try the fire and ice, but which booth? where can I find it?
Thanks!

Oct 10, 2008
lillymao in Dallas - Fort Worth

Dallas - Thin Crust Pizza

O.K. I read the Guidelive reviews and I just can't see myself burning all that expensive gasoline to eat... Pizza?! I mean, it's just pizza, man. There's a pizzeria on every corner. There's got to be a great pizzeria within 5 miles (biking distance) of me. So, I run an insiderpages search and found two pizzerias near the 190/tollway area that are highly rated;

1. Campisi's at Coit and Cambell
2. Angelo & Vito's at Frankford and Tollway

Hmmm... Campisi's seems to have a lot of fans and detractors as well. I wanna see what the fuss is all about ! I'm going to try these pizzerias soon and report back. Wish me luck!

Oct 10, 2008
lillymao in Dallas - Fort Worth

Dallas - Thin Crust Pizza

hobbes404 asked where Alfredo's is in the 190/Tollway area. It is on Trinity Mills and Midway behind the 7-Eleven. It is opened by the same owners who own the one in Lewisville. They have $2.50 per slice (including tax) pizza.

Today, I tried Papa Joe's Pizza Cafe on Trinity Mills and Tollway on the NW corner. It is a good pizza, but not great. It is about as good as a Papa John's pizza. Papa Joe's has slightly more high quality toppings, less sauce, same cheese, and same crust. They sell pizza by the slice. Each slice includes 3 toppings. This is good as I hate being nickeled and dimed on the damn toppings. They also have a "take out special" where the price you pay is the time for a large one topping pizza. In other words, if you order the pizza at 5PM, you'll only pay $5 for it. Wow! Also, if you're in a hurry, they guarantee that pizza and other foods on their quickie lunch list will be ready in 3 minutes or it's free. I was running late for work so I grabbed 2 slices of beef, mushroom, and black olive pizza and ate it while driving to work. It is as good as Papa John's but not great. Hobbes404 says, "Goodfellas isn't bad". That's not entirely an endorsement.

I tried Rick's "chicago" pizza on Trinity Mills and Josey on the SE corner facing Josey, in the same parking lot as the 99 cent store. It is very disappointing. The pizza is not nearly as thick as a real Chicago pizza, Uno's. Nope.

I also went to Joe's pizza on parker just west of the tollway on the n side of parker. If you're looking for a greasy ny style pizza, they come close.... but a bit pricy as they are priced to sell to doctors at the hospital across the street. Got the calzone too but it didn't have enough herbs in the sauce. It is good, but not great.

I also tried Carmine's pizza on the N side of Belt Line Rd, just west of Coit. This joint was really disappointing. Toppings were bleak and stingy. Sauce, crust, and sauce were all nothing to write home about. It sounded Italian, but sadly wasn't even as good a Papa John's. The quality level was similar to a Pizza Hut pizza (ack!). I don't mean to exhalt Papa John's because I think that they're really good, but not great. I am looking for something better than them. I am looking for Great Pizza.

I'm looking for a greasy New York style pizza hand tossed, cooked with fresh ingredients (no sysco canned mushroom crap) and baked in a coal oven like at Grimaldi's in Hoboken. I'm looking for a Chicago pizza so thick with generous cheese and toppings that you'll have to eat it with a knife and fork like at Uno's Pizza in Fort Worth. I'm looking for a pizza with a thick sauce soaked in fragrant herbs, topped with large strips of chicken and other toppings smoked in a genuine wood fired stove like at Easy's on NW Hwy (now out of business).

Come on guys, where's the best pizza?

Oct 08, 2008
lillymao in Dallas - Fort Worth

Dallas - Thin Crust Pizza

I could not find any great pizza places. The best pizza that I could find nowadays is Pappa John's. Sigh.

There used to be Easy's. They served excellent pizzas cooked in a genuine wood fired oven. Lots of cheese, lots of sauce, and big strips of chicken for toppings. Wow! But they went out of business. Sniff.

Uno's pizza served pizzas with lots of cheese and toppings galore. I wouldn't call it a pizza, but it's rather more like a pie, it's so thick and full of toppings. Again, they went out of business (the addison location). I am not going to drive to Ft Worth for pizza, I know they have a Ft Worth location still.

I tried Alfredo's the other day. They're O.K. Good crust if you like a cripsy yet medium thickness crust. If you want a greasy floppy crust like on a NY pizza, then forget about it. This is not where you're going to find it. However, the crust is hand tossed and good. The cheese is medium in thickness, but the sauce is a bit thin, needs more sauce.

California pizza has innovative toppings but they need to concentrate a bit more on the basics such as quality cheese and crust.

So, where can I find a quality pizza in N Dallas near 190/Tollway? Thick like Uno's? Floppy like a NY pizza? Double cheese, double sauce, with large, generous fresh toppings (no canned sysco muchrooms please) ???

Thanks.

Oct 08, 2008
lillymao in Dallas - Fort Worth

What's the best French Restaurant in Dallas?

I used to really enjoy Chez Gerard, but now they're closed. What other really great French restaurants are there in Dallas?

I've tried Lavendou. Chez Gerard and Lavendou may have the same owner, but the beef stew (beef fricassee) from the two establishments used different recipes. Chez Gerard used a more flavor balanced recipe and the beef was softer. Lavendou used a too-salty recipe and the beef didn't stew long enough to be soft. It was chewier. Can you say chewbacca? The two restaurants have an identical souffle, though.

I also tried La Mirabelle doesn't serve beef fricassee. It is more of a nouvelle cuisine joint rather than a traditional French room like Chez Gerard. They served Tuna tartare. That's not traditional French cuisine. Their roast chicken was really good at first, but on later visits became a bit dry.... The duck is O.K.

Watel's... just read my review. It's O.K. just not great.

Where, oh where can I find great traditional French dining?

Thanks guys.

Oct 05, 2008
lillymao in Dallas - Fort Worth

DFW upscale dining

As I've pointed out in all of my restaurant reviews, Dallas is a city that is TOUGH for restaurants to make it. We Texans, even millionaire Texans, are very VALUE oriented. We're a bunch of self-made millionaires like Michael Dell and that Mackey fella (Whole Foods). Mackey used to sleep in his first Whole Foods location in Austin because he couldn't afford to rent an apartment and keep his market running. We Texans don't pay for "panache" , marketing, or small dishes that don't fill you up. We're willing to pay for skillfully prepared food, with great service, atmosphere, and VALUE.

In other words, having a happening place where celebrities hang out ain't gonna cut it. This is not LA nor NY. This is the big D. Ya have to give us, the common folks, lots of VALUE. For example, my favorite restaurant is Fearing's. I go there every week. It costs me $145 for a meal for 2 including food ($84), tips ($25) and drinks ($36), but not including tax. $145 is a lot of change for a meal, but it's a bargain due to the VALUE since I am getting unlimited homemade breads, rolls, muffins, cornbread, biscuits, and unleavened breads. All made fresh just before it hits my table. My big fat belly gulps down 2 entire baskets full of this stuff before my salad hits the table. If I don't want to buy an alcoholic drink, they'll give me filtered, chilled water so I don't have to buy bottled water to avoid drinking nasty tap water. They have free valet parking (you still have to tip), too. Some places make you feed meters downtown. This is stressful and expensive. Some places have outrageous valet fees.

Il Mulino thought that it could sell "panache" in Texas, but we Texans know better. Ya cain't eat panache, pardner!

Why does Tokyo One do so well, but little tiny sushi places have been going out of business? Like the one that went kaput on Frankford and Preston.... Why? Because of the difference in VALUE. This ain't Tokyo where tiny Japanese eat tiny sushi for big prices. We Texans know better. Tokyo one serves unlimited sushi for a limited price. I go there once a week and eat over 40 pieces of sushi, noodles, salad, a plate of crab legs, tempura, stir fry, and 2 plates of desserts! All for just $15.99. I would have to pay over $100 for this meal at the ittty bitty Japanese sushi places!

Dallas is a TOUGH town for restaurants. There are lots of restaurants so competition is FIERCE. In towns like LA or NY, you don't compete on price and value. You can sell panache or image. We Texans know better than to pay for crap you can't eat. Panache and image never filled a stomach.

Don't get me wrong, Dallas has good eating, but if you don't have VALUE in Dallas, you'll go out of business real quick. For example, there's a restaurant in/near Harry Hines, Super Buffet. They serve a $5.99 all-you-can-eat excrapvaganza. This is how the owner pays the bills, by offering value to undiscerning diners. However, he also has a "back room" or private VIP dining room so you don't have to eat with the plebians. He has a special menu where he'll serve you the holy trinity of Asian seafood cuisine; 4 winds lobster (4 lobsters cooked 4 different ways; black bean stir fry, white onion stir fry, steamed, deep fried in cheese), sea cucumbers, shark fin soup, and giant sea scallops. This is a $200 meal, not including tax, tips and drinks. The guy used to cook for the Korean presidential palace. Great stuff, but I think that he's been cooking the buffet stuff too long because he put a bit too much msg in my food. Great food, but I got real thirsty after the meal. If you go, be sure to ask him to go easy on the MSG. If all he sold was the $200 meals, he'll probably go out of business. The meal also came with unlimited rice and unlimited hot tea refills. These items are often charged extra for in NY or LA. That's because we Texans won't stand for crap like that. If we are not offered VALUE, the restaurant will go out of business real quick.

Todai does really well in California, but went out of business here in Dallas. Why? lack of value. Tokyo one has better value. Todai has sushi on rice, small fish on big rice. Tokyo one has big sahimi, raw fish only, no rice. Also, big chuncks of beef on shish kabobs, big crab legs. Todai would often refill their good stuff real slow to save money. Tokyo one just keeps it comin'.

VALUE dining folks, whether it is in a high-end restaurant or in a chain store. Without VALUE, you will go out of business in the big D.

Sep 26, 2008
lillymao in Dallas - Fort Worth

where to find rennet & lipase powder in DAL

Sep 23, 2008
lillymao in Dallas - Fort Worth

La Me **** out of ***** [DFW]

ATMOSPHERE * out of *****
Dude, this is fast food with the majority of customers ordering take out. What atmosphere?

SERVICE *** out of *****
Dude, it's fast food and it's fast. What else can I say? I'm not sure, but it looks like some of the other customers can call ahead to have vast quantities ready for them when they come in.

FOOD *** out of *****
I ordered a Viet Sandwich, called a Bahn Mi. It is made of a roll of French bread, about a foot long with your choice of grilled beef, grilled chicken, shredded chicken, or pork. The meat is not thin sliced like Subways or Quiznos. The meat is in good sized chunks. Yummy! You also get Viet sweet crunchy pickles (not sure, but they may be home-made), carrots, cilantro, and a small amount of sweet soy sauce (like teriyaki sauce). It's a good sandwich.

They also serve egg rolls. They're made of shredded pork and veggies. It is generously filled with lots of pork, unlike the common egg roll, which is made mostly of veggies. They're deep fried and crispy.

They also have desserts made of red bean, green jello, and yellow bean. Mixed with ice, it is a cool treat for a hot day. It is good. Some Viet places add water cress in the mix to give it an interesting crunch. They don't do so in their three color bean dessert.

CONCLUSION
Why the heck did I give them 4 stars?! Let's see, * for atmosphere, *** for service, and *** for food. That's an average of *** right? No, because I added a star for VALUE. In today's economy, value is most important. If I were to eat in an expensive restaurant, I'd better be getting lots of food and/or expensive stuff. Or food that's difficult to make. If I'm eating a simple sandwich or spring roll, it better be inexpensive. La Me is very inexpensive. The egg rolls are 4 for $1 !!! The Bahn Mi is $1.17 (buy 2 chicken at $1.75 and get 1 free). You get a foot long sandwich with more meat than a Subway foot long for $1.17 ?! If I didn't live so far from them (and have to burn so much expensive gasoline to get there), I'd eat there EVERY DAY !!! It would probably cost me more money to make that sandwich myself. As for the egg rolls, whoever wants to work with a pot of dangerously super hot deep fry oil at home, cook the filling, cut the filling up with a cleaver and risk chopping off a finger just to save 25 cents on an egg roll has got to be crazy. Let them do the frying, I'll just do the buying. While I was waiting for my sandwich, I saw other patrons walk up, pay, and get party trays filled with about 100 egg rolls, and walk out. Since they did not have to wait for them like me, I assume that they had called ahead to place an order. If I had a party for a dozen people at my place, I'd just place an order for some egg rolls and sandwiches. I'm not gonna do any cooking for a dozen people, that's for dam sure!!! Run, don't walk to La Me now for a filling, cheap, and tasty meal. Woo Hoo! I give La me of Dallas **** out of *****.

La Me , 9780 Walnut St, Ste 140, Richardson, TX 75243

P.S. I googled the address and it says "Richardson". I could've sworn that it was in Garland.... If this is not the address next to the big Asian Market "Hong Kong Market" in the big pot-holed parking lot, then I'm sorry.

Sep 23, 2008
lillymao in Dallas - Fort Worth

Churros (DFW)

Costco has fresh churros. Yummy!

Sep 22, 2008
lillymao in Dallas - Fort Worth

Generous serving or buffet daily dining values?

Thanks again LewisvilleHounder. I've never had a Bahn Mi before. I thought it's a Viet noodle dish, but it's actually a sandwich. However, it is much better than a Subway. The meat is in large grilled chunks on a Bahn Mi while Subway has the slices of meat. The veggie fillings are also Viet; cilantro, carrots, and crunchy/sweet Viet pickles. The bread is a foot long french bread. It also has a sweet/soy sauce on the meat. The best part is the price. It only costs $1.17 (buy 2 at 1.75 and get 1 free). I got the Bahn Mi at La Me , 9780 Walnut St, Ste 140, Richardson, TX 75243. If I didn't live so darn far from there, I'd dine there everyday!

Sep 21, 2008
lillymao in Dallas - Fort Worth

DFW: sushi awaji

Be careful, the Sushi Awaji in Las Colinas/Irving is buffet style while the one in West Plano is restaurant/sushi bar style. They are also of different owners.

Sep 21, 2008
lillymao in Dallas - Fort Worth

Visiting DFW... Need some Recs.

Recs depends on where you're from. If you're not Texan, then I suggest you go to Traildust for some square dancin' and a cowboy steak. Then, I suggest you mosey on down to Big Al's Smokehouse for some good ol' boy barbecue.

If you are a Texan, then skip the touristy stuff and check out my holy trinity of dining. If I were rich, I'd eat at these three establishments for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Use the search function on this website to find my reviews on the Mercury Grill and Fearing's. Also, Nana has become a really BAD restaurant: search for my review. Abacus is still a good restaurant, but the quality has fallen a smidge. If you're here on business for many days, go to Abacus on the first day. Return if they've returned to their prior splendor, but don't if they're not. If they have improved, then please do write a review so we'll know to return. Here is the holy Trinity;

1. Lawry's - I go there for lunch all the time because it is the same juicy, melt in your mouth prime rib as dinner, but at half the price. The prime rib comes with 2 side dishes and unlimited salad bar.

2. Fearing's - I go there for brunch all the time because it is a good deal. The prices are half of the dinner prices, but for the same food.

3. Mercury Grill - I go there for dinner all the time because they have fantastic homemade liver pate that is as smooth as butter. They have a great steak, smoky and juicy, topped with lobster chunks. Sort of like surf with turf.

Sep 17, 2008
lillymao in Dallas - Fort Worth

P F Changs

Dude, are you serious?!

PF Changs is NOT Chinese food. It is NOT Asian fusion. If you want to try Asian fusion in Dallas, try Abacus. They've got some Asian fusion dishes that are delish.

PF Changs is fake Chinese food. Asian fusion is when a skillful chef uses the best elements of Asian food with the best elements of western cooking to make a dish with tasty and innovative juxtaposition. PF Changs is just Mr. Muller TRYING to cook Chinese food. The chef at Abacus Kent Rathbun used to sneak into Chinese restaurant's kitchens to learn. Mr. Muller probably has never spent even a minute in an Authentic Chinese kitchen.

In order to cook Asian fusion, you have to learn how to cook Asian food first. Only then, can you fuse it with another culinary tradition. Otherwise you're just a baby swinging crap around in your make-believe kitchen. No foodie would be caught dead at PF Changs. I certainly am ashamed to admit that I've ever been there... ugh!

Sep 14, 2008
lillymao in Chains

First try at Chinese on Greenville in Richardson

It seems like LewisvilleHounder covered all the bases regarding Chinese restaurants in Dallas. Bravo! to your wife for finally diving in....

Sep 14, 2008
lillymao in Dallas - Fort Worth

Do you "Comp-shop"? (esp at Whole Foods)

I used to work in a supermarket many years ago and it's funny but the exact same situation could've elicited a different response and often does. You're writing down prices, they ask if you were and you confirm, so they threw you out. They had no idea if you were writing down prices. That's why they asked you. They threw you out because they thought you were from the competition.

Here's another situation. They see you writing. They ask what you're doing. You answer, "The question is not how I'm doing, but how YOU'RE doing... Sally (read their name badge)". Then, they treat you like a god because they think you're a mystery shopper.

Prices are a touchy subject with them and I can see why... Whole Foods is EXPENSIVE, that's why. However, I still shop there, because they have good service and they don't use those damned self-checkout machines. I don't shop at central market, though because they are INSANELY EXPENSIVE. Here's an example that is representative of prices in general across the board. The example I'm using is brewer's yeast.

Brewer's Yeast of the exact same brand at;
Herb Mart $6
Whole Foods $6.50
Central Market $8

O.K. I can see how it's fair to pay an extra 50 cents for good service, but an extra $2.50?! Come on, that's just corporate greed!

Sep 13, 2008
lillymao in Chains

Steve Field's *** out of ***** [DFW]

FOOD *** out of *****
I ordered the rock lobster and prime rib. This was not live Maine lobster, so it was good, but not great. The meat was shipped fresh and refrigerated, but was not live. It was not frozen, though. Live lobster has that bouncy feeling in your mouth. Fresh lobster is a little less bouncy and frozen lobster is mushy. It is an O.K. lobster. They are loads better than Red Lobster's lobsters, but not as good as the giant swimmers in the fish tank at Pappadeaux's.

The prime rib was good, but not as good as Lawry's. It was not melt-in-your mouth buttery soft like a Lawry's prime rib, but it was also not tough like a steak. The quality was about the same as a Humperdink's prime rib. It was O.K.

SERVICE **** out of *****
The service was very good. They did not have a waiter team, but the one waitress was very good about keeping up with all my needs.

ATMOSPHERE *** out of *****
The atmosphere is very generic, like a chain restaurant. It is good, with some booths. However, they don't have very many booths. Be sure to reserve a booth and not just a table when making reservations. If you are single but eating in a 4 person booth, then just make sure to tip the waitress extra (because the waitress would've made more money if 4 people were sitting in the booth.

CONCLUSION *** out of *****
This is a good restaurant. It feels very chain-ish and lacks character. The problem with character is that Dallas is not a foodie city so if it's not common fare, people tend to get offended by it. People in Dallas get offended by stuff like organ meat, rabbit meat, nutria, etc. So, this is not a slight on Steve Field's. They are actually a good solid neighborhood restaurant. I eat there often since they are within biking distance from my home. At today's gas prices, I would only burn petroleum to go out to eat if only the restaurant was not just a good, solid meal, but a DINING EXPERIENCE or of such an excellent value that it would be worth it to burn gas to go. What I like most about Steve Field's is VALUE. Their dishes are reasonably priced and they don't force you to buy expensive drinks as they serve chilled, filtered water for free. I hate it when I order water and get nasty tap water. I hate drinking that chlorinated mess. If you're going to serve nasty tap water, at least serve it with some lemon slices to make it bearable. I could taste that their water was filtered, but I asked the waiter to confirm my taste buds. If you live within 5 miles of Steve Field's, I recommend making them part of your restaurant dining rotation. Although it is not a world-class restaurant, it is a solid neighborhood restaurant. I give Steve Field's of Dallas *** out of *****.

Sep 13, 2008
lillymao in Dallas - Fort Worth

Nutria, the hottest new dish! Yummy!

Hey,

Any suggestions for a restaurant that serves Nutria in Dallas?

Thanks.

Sep 06, 2008
lillymao in Dallas - Fort Worth

St Martin's Wine Bistro **** of ***** [DFW]

FOOD **** of *****
The crab cakes were good, with plenty of tasty crab kibbles inside. Lesser places would skimp on the crab. St Martin's doesn't. The escargot has the boldness of garlic with a flavor that is very well balanced, not too salty nor bland. It is just right with a hint of wine. The champagne brie soup is rich and creamy with a hint of champagne. The cheesecake is good, not a creamy as the Cheesecake factory, but good. The steak has, you guessed it, a hint of wine in the sauce. It's filet mignon, but it is the toughest cut of filet mignon I've ever had in a luxury restaurant. It has a superb flavor and it is by no means tough, but I don't think it has been aged. Just order it rare and you'll be fine. It's a great restaurant with great food, but I get the feeling that the chef can only cook superb dishes only if it is in wine sauce. If you like your steaks rare and really enjoy a rich, creamy, garlic strong traditional French wine sauce then St Martin's wine bistro is for you.

ATMOSPHERE ***** of *****
This and Antares are probably the two most romantic restaurants in town. They have many cozy, private booths. It is very quiet in there and you'll dine while listening to a live pianist. Tip the guy a couple of bucks and he'll play any tune you desire (as long as he knows how to play it).

SERVICE **** of *****
They don't have a waiting team with a waiter, busboy, and assistant waiter. However, the one waiter is very good about keeping up with your needs.

CONCLUSION
The food is very good, but the chef lacks culinary range. Almost everything is cooked in wine sauce. This is great if you like wine sauces (I do). The atmosphere is very romantic. If you're going to propose, this is the perfect spot. The service is good. It has better service than any family restaurant or chain. However, they don't have waiter teams. I really like St Martin's. There are many things that I like about them, but what I like most is the value. Their champagne Sunday brunch with 3 courses is only $14.95. Wow! Their $38 set meal dinner with 3 courses includes a bottle of wine only costs $38. I actually wanted to give them 4 and a half stars but it is impossible to type a half star using text characters. Therefore, I give St Martin's Wine Bistro of Dallas **** of ***** stars. Other restaurants offer meals, but St Martin's offers you and your honey a memorable event that will last a lifetime....

Sep 06, 2008
lillymao in Dallas - Fort Worth

Nana ** out of ***** [DFW]

FOOD * out of *****
In the hands of a world-class chef, unusual combinations are creative and pleasantly surprising. In the hands of a good chef, it may turn out either good or bad, depending on your tastes. I ordered vanilla ice cream and the chef put black pepper in it. Yes, that's right, black pepper. That's just plain weird. A creative juxtaposition that is pleasantly surprising might be cacao ice cream with a hint of mexican red pepper. But vanilla ice cream with black pepper? Well, if that sounds good to you, then go try it for yourself. The salad was served in a white porcelain bowl that my date thought looked cool. I thought that it looked like a urinal. I ordered kobe beef and the waiter didn't even bother to ask me how I wanted it cooked. The beef arrived on my table overcooked and oversalted. A waste of a perfectly good cut of Kobe beef. Ugh. If chef Anthony Bombaci is a world-class chef, then he really needs to keep a closer eye on his assistant chefs. Some of these highly paid executive chefs unfortunately focus more on the executive rather than the chef. This is very unfortunate....

ATMOSPHERE ***** out of *****
The only place in town that has a better view is the Antares atop Reunion Tower. Nana also has live music or a DJ Friday and Saturday nights. However, unlike the Antares, many seats in their restaurant has NO VIEW. Antares's seats are arranged so that all seats have an excellent view. Make sure when you're making a reservation that you're reserving a table with a view. Nana has a collection of relatively rare and valuable antique Asian art in the restaurant's waiting area. I am a collector of Asian antiquities. Their waiting area has roughly half a million dollars of art decorating it, so Nana has the dubious distinction of being the Dallas restaurant with the most expensive decor.

SERVICE * out of *****
Out of all the top restaurants in Dallas, Nana has the POOREST service. The waiters kept on forgetting stuff. Because the waiter ignored me, I had to ask the busboy in Spanish to bring me basic items like silverware. The busboy did not know English, so it's a good thing I'm fluent in Spanish. The waiter never apologized and made it right, either. Then, to add insult to injury, he took the liberty of adding a 20% TIP to the bill. Wow! I wanted to cross it out and give him a big fat zero in retaliation, but my date told me to let it slide since she didn't want a scene because it was her birthday. I was going to give him a 15% tip. I normally leave a 25% tip for a quality restaurant that has waiters, assistant waiters, and busboys. I figure it's not fair to give them a 10-15% percentage tip since they have to split the tip three ways. However, I was going to leave them only 15% this time because of the poor service, but my date made me let it slide and allow them to keep the 20% self-imposed tip. Note that my dinner was a party of 2, not a large group.

CONCLUSION ** out of *****
If you wanted to be treated like a second class citizen while eating weird and poorly prepared food in a restaurant that MIGHT give you a table with an excellent view, then go to Nana of Dallas. Keep in mind that ordering off menu or going to a special event dinner at Nana will set you back $150 per person! Keep in mind that you can dine at Dean Fearing's 3 times for that price! Or the Mercury Grill 2-3 times for that price! I give Nana ** out of ***** stars. I have never vowed to never ever return to a luxury restaurant in Dallas until I went to Nana. I don't care if you paid me, I will never, ever return to Nana. If I want to eat at a restaurant with a view, I will go to the Antares, but NOT Nana. I'd rather eat a rotten banana than to go to Nana.

Sep 05, 2008
lillymao in Dallas - Fort Worth

Abacus ** out of *****

Hmmm... I didn't realize that some restaurants didn't have all seats available for restaurant week. And RW is a charity, too. My hat's off to them, too.

Sep 04, 2008
lillymao in Dallas - Fort Worth

Generous serving or buffet daily dining values?

Oh,

I live right next to the 190 George Bush & Tollway junction (N Addison, E Carrolton, W Plano) area.

Thanks again LewisvilleHounder. If you need the 411 on something from me, just let me know.

Sep 04, 2008
lillymao in Dallas - Fort Worth

Generous serving or buffet daily dining values?

It takes me $3.50 in gas to go to the Viet places in Carrolton, $1.75 to go to 1st Chinese BBQ in Plano, 80 cents to go to Outback Steakhouse in Addison, $0 to go to Subway, $4 for Mercury Grill, and $7 to go to Fearing's. Calculated at $3.50 per gallon and 16mpg city/20mpg hwy. You're right, I spend too much gas money to "save" money. When gas hit $4 per gallon, I ate only at Subways (across the street from my home). I am saving money to buy an electric car with a set of solar panels to recharge it:
http://www.partsonsale.com
http://www.meyersmotors.com
Estimated total cost = $36,000.00
I tried riding my bike to carrolton and it took me almost a whole hour. When gas hit $4 per gallon, I was riding my bike everywhere and I didn't go to any 5 star restaurants for 4 painful weeks.

Sep 04, 2008
lillymao in Dallas - Fort Worth

Looking for good Asian market [DFW]

Komart is the least expensive and close to downtown to book. Most other Asian markets are on Greenville St. on Richardson. Komart is the closest to downtown: 2148 Royal Ln, Dallas, TX - (469) 522-5273

Komart is also the least expensive Asian market with great selection, too. It is a Korean market.

Sep 04, 2008
lillymao in Dallas - Fort Worth

Generous serving or buffet daily dining values?

Thank you very much LewisvilleHounder & Luniz. I forgot all about First Chinese Barbecue. I haven't eaten very much Asian food lately, but I used to live on First Chinese Barbecue! Generally, I'll gorge myself on one restaurant meal a day. Then, for the rest of the day, I'll survive off of snacks at home or work. I'll eat at 5 budget restaurants a week and indulge in two upscale places every week.

O.K. here is my rotation for next week;

Monday: Lunch
First Chinese Barbecue
3304 Coit Rd # 200, Plano - (972) 758-2988
Most dishes under $10, authentic Chinese

Tuesday: Lunch
Outback Steakhouse
15180 Addison Rd
Addison, TX 75001
(972) 392-0972
$9.99 sirloin steak with 2 sides and bread meal deal

Wednesday: Lunch
Subways
$5 for a foot long sub

Thursday: Lunch
Bahn Mi Ba Hue
Carrollton on the SE corner of Josey and Belt Line

Friday: Lunch
Pho 2008
Carrolton on NE corner of Josey & Belt Line
Pho, less than $8

Saturday: Dinner
Mercury Grill
W side of Preston just S of 635
Meals over $50

Sunday: Brunch
Fearing's
At Ritz-Carlton hotel, 2121 McKinney in Downtown Dallas
$42 for brunch (app, main, & dessert)

Any other suggestions?
Thanks, Guys :-)

Sep 04, 2008
lillymao in Dallas - Fort Worth

Outback Steakhouse **** out of ***** [DFW]

I said in my review that the sirloin was "a bit tough" and "o.k." I went back again today for lunch and it was much better, to my pleasant surprise. Today, it was good, which is better than o.k. The edge was still "a bit tough," but the center was soft and juicy. Flavorful juices just burst out of the steak. Wow!

My first experience at Outback last time was on Labor Day, so maybe their apprentice chef was working that day. Today's meal and waiter was much better. The waiter today even suggested that I order an off-menu item for my side dish, grilled veggies. The menu only had steamed veggies on it. The grilled veggies tasted marinaded and smelled smoky.

They also fresh bake their bread on premises even though this is a chain restaurant! Wow! I am going back tomorrow....

Sep 03, 2008
lillymao in Chains