Saturday, August 30, 2014

EAST HAMPTON SANDWICH CO

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Fried Chicken + Jack sandwich: southern fried chicken, pepper jack, greens + cured bacon, avocado mash, jalapeño cream sauce. 

Served between white and black sesame brioche buns, sided with housemade potato chips, and speared with a skewer, this sammie is real talk. Though the sandwiches are on the pricey side, I got a solid mouthful of flavor and crispness (yay for lightly breaded yet sufficiently crisp chicken!) in every bite. The interior is reminiscent of a brighter, fresher Chipotle, and the oversized tomato red adirondack chairs outside are sooo cute for patio seating (scalding hot Texas weather permitting). 

I don't eat sandwiches all too often, but when I do...I make sure they're dang good. And East Hampton is definitely doin' it right.

East Hampton Sandwich Co.
Sandwiches, $$
7300 Lone Star Dr.
Plano, TX 75024

SIMPLE BIRTHDAYS

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This might be my new go-to formula for simple and quick gifts in college. I think we all lower our standards once the school year begins, and spontaneous or not, any food-related gift is a godsend. Add a toothpick, patterned paper, tape, and the neatest handwriting you can muster up in 2 seconds (for all y'all last minute preppers), and voila! Food, cute, and happiness. 

Sunday, August 24, 2014

EMPORIUM PIES

(Bishop Arts District continued from previous post) Presenting...PIES!!! #southernpride #youknowhowwedo




I'm still a little surprised Emporium Pies is the only dessert-exclusive shop in Bishop Arts (excluding Dude, Sweet Chocolate...which I don't count since everything is prepackaged), but I mean I'll take it. The fact they they retail hipster coffee beans is also a plus.






If this apple pie were a bus, it would be a triple decker (and the perfect amount for the three of us to split!). Add vanilla ice cream, and it's more epic than the batmobile. Don't ask me why I'm comparing pie to motor vehicles; sometimes divinity cannot be expressed in terms of human logic. Next up, berry pies!

Emporium Pies
Pies, $
314 North Bishop Ave.
Dallas, TX 75208
http://emporiumpies.com/

Friday, August 22, 2014

ENO'S PIZZA TAVERN

Behold, my second excursion to Dallas's Bishop Arts District! Though it's quaint, I do see how it could get a little stale if you go too often within too short of a time window (I was really close to going a third time that same week, but thankfully plans were changed last minute). One thing that I'll never grow tired of is enjoying the attention that all of the food establishments give to their decor and design - this place has got distinctive branding branded all over it (man why am I so punny).





Honestly, I feel pizza places could do with less preset pizza combinations 'cause us average consumers are easily overwhelmed in this world of choices, choices, choices. Eno's list of 10 pizzas borders on a little much for my overeager and indecisive stomach, but all's well - I was very satisfied with our decision (The Pig Smiley). Brandon looks happy too, doesn't he?



I don't have a preference for thin or thick crust (I'll take any and all carbs), so long as what's on top tastes good. From the mild tangyness of the spicy sausage to the subtle sweetness of the honey, none of the ingredients were too heavy - resulting in perfect equilibrium of spicy, sweet, and bouncy!! (Those were the bounciest and cutest pepperoni I have ever seen.)


I looooove champagne vinaigrette. And cheese. And fruit. And assorted greens. Basically, I loved this salad (Arugula Pear Salad).


Eno's Pizza Tavern
Pizza, $$
407 North Bishop Ave.
Dallas, TX 75208
http://enospizza.com/

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

CHICAGO

Though I wasn't sure what to expect, Chicago was just how I would've imagined it. Combine old school charm, a long-standing tradition of performing arts, and iconic architecture and you get the Windy City (thankfully with perfectly light and breezy winds in the summer). On a more social note, Chicago's diverse demographics and hearty signature culinary dishes (of course with coffee companies and fancy places too) to make up quite the quirky city indeed.

All in all, 'twas an excellent choice for a weekend trip. Chicago, hopefully we'll meet again some day.

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Cloud Gate // The Big Bean - Major props to architect Anish Kapoor for designing such a photogenic - er, I mean beautifully sculpted work of art that reflects the city...literally. Plus I love those clean edges. (But really, it's shiny and skyline reflecting - an ideal formula for pictures ammm I right?)


Crown Fountain - Iconic interactive video sculpture. Instant toddler attractor.


Even the interior design of the hotel felt so very Chicago-esque.


Hittin' the streets!


Millennium Park - aka where all the cool landmarks are.



Architecture tour along the Chicago River - The perfect relaxing start to the day. We took a boat ride down the Chicago River (which flows through the city) and listened to the tour guide elaborate on the foundations and evolution of Chicago architecture and design. Suffice to say, I walked out with a newfound respect for the history of Chicago and the endurance of the people's commitment to art. 


Chicago Harbor // Lake Michigan - Walking alongside the pier gives such a sense of serenity.


Navy Pier - The morning was filled with beautiful view upon beautiful view.



Lake Michigan and more Lake Michigan!

Continue after the jump for more food, art, and miscellaneous experiences.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

GOODBYE AMERICA, HELLO CHINA

I'll be MIA on the blog until I get back from China/Hong Kong (leaving tomorrow), so just a heads up that there will be no posts until the second week of August ish.

Goodbye sweet land of omnipresent a/c, hello sweet motherland of unlimited streetside eats and developing city life!

THE BEST CARROT CAKE CUPCAKES WITH CREAM CHEESE FROSTING


{I've decided to start sharing more recipes! And per usual college student instinct, I'm also a believer in simplicity and convenience when it comes to making food (like so), so here goes.}

Though I used to hate carrots when I was younger, carrot cake was always a dealbreaker for me. That was also probably because you can't really taste the carrots beneath all the other oily raisiny creamcheesy goodness it's jumbled together with, but sure, I'll take that measly portion of Vitamin A if it means sweet soul satisfaction in the form of caaaarrot cake. 


Okay I know this picture is very similar to the first one, but I really liked the simplicity of the plain tops too. Don't mind me.

I brought these cupcakes to church and they were conquered pretty fast, so I think it's safe to say these were winners (huzzah!!)...though any carrot cake will always be a winner in my book by virtue of being carrot cake. Sorry, have I said carrot cake enough times yet? Man, I love carrot cake. 

Recipe adapted from: Pinch of Yum

For the cupcakes
1 cup flour
 cup white sugar
 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt
1½ cups grated carrots
⅔ cup oil
2 eggs, beaten
½ cup raisins
½ - 1 cup walnuts, chopped (divide between batter and topping)

For the frosting
4 ounces cream cheese
4 tablespoons butter
 cups powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Combine the flour, sugar, cinnamon, baking soda, baking powder, and salt in a medium size bowl. In a larger bowl, combine the eggs, oil, grated carrots, raisins, and walnuts. Gradually add the dry mixture to the wet, stirring until just mixed.
  2. Grease a muffin tin or use paper liners, and fill each well ⅔ full. Bake for 13 minutes (8-10 min if mini muffins), check 'em, and add time (prob just a couple min) if necessary.
  3. While cupcakes are cooling, make the frosting. Blend the cream cheese, butter, and vanilla until smooth. Slowly beat in the powdered sugar until smooth. Transfer to a plastic bag (with the corner cut out) or similar tool for piping. Sprinkle tops with remaining chopped walnuts.
  4. Eat it. Love it. 

Sunday, July 20, 2014

ARAMI

nabeyaki soba - shiitake, pea tendrils, ebi tempura, kamaboko, egg
clean & simple
agedashi tofu - fried egg tofu, soy-dashi broth, bonito, kizami nori 
yummies
chef's choice sashimi & nigiri
oysters - prepared selections from east and west coasts
nabeyaki soba & arami ramen
unagi donburi - freshwater eel, yuzu ikura, sweet soy, benishoga
This was hands down one of the best meals I've ever been treated to and my most meritable Japanese restaurant experience to date. To sum it up in a few words: authenticity and craftsmanship. Or zen for a lot of yen (as aptly phrased by Zagat haha).

It's usually a good sign if the front entrance is quiet and unassuming (seriously, it's minimalist at best - we passed over it the first time thinking it was an abandoned storefront), and the front door was only the first of many indicators of a restaurant committed to excellence (okay, except in the sphere of streetview aesthetics). Bummer that they ran out of seating in the more ambient back area, but at least we snagged the last table in the front complete with a pleasant and knowledgeable Japanese waitress.

Anyhow, to the food! The oh-so-delicate agedashi tofu, the delightfully fresh sashimi, the tangy oysters, the smooth and chilled soba, the chewy and structure-retaining (a personal requisite for satisfying rice) donburi rice...talk about a feast. Where each entrée served is a work of art to boot.

Arami, it's unlikely we'll meet again, but you shall at least be a dear memory of a sweet summer fling.

Arami
Japanese, $$$
1829 W Chicago Ave
Chicago, IL 60622

Saturday, July 12, 2014

ODDFELLOWS

Ah, there's nothing like (affordable) brunchin' in the Big D. Cue the plaid button downed waiters, homey wooden furnishings, and of course quality black coffee...all culminating in the glorious Oddfellows!



The coffee bar takes up an entire wall of the restaurant. That's dedication, y'all.



Unpolished wood always has a way with making things seem quaint and charming.


These guys take their coffee seriously - it's on the acidic side yet still rich.


Cider braised french toast - simple and satisfying. 



Suffice to say, I'm glad Oddfellows' weekday breakfast menu is essentially the same as their weekend brunch menu - at least I know I'm not missing out on much food-wise, and I'm fortunately missing out on the brunch crowd people-wise. And its location in Bishop Arts District adjacent to the free parking lot? Prime. 

Oddfellows
Coffeehouse/Diner, $$
316 W. 7th St.
Dallas, TX 75208
http://oddfellowsdallas.com/