Sunday, June 5, 2016

Rye. Craft Food and Drink

In recent blog posts, I have described what a great destination Downtown McKinney has become, especially for foodies.  Several new restaurants have opened on the Square and one can easily find delicious restaurants with a variety of cuisines.  Earlier this year, Rye. Craft Food and Drink, opened in between Square Burger and Bien Salsa.  Since it has opened, my family has had the opportunity to eat there a couple of times and we have been impressed on both occasions.  

Below are some items that I have tried and my opinions of them:

Eggs Benedict- For brunch each Sunday, Rye offers an Eggs Benedict of the Day.  On one occasion, they offered pulled chicken atop bread pudding that was covered in chipotle Hollandaise sauce.  On another visit, they Benny of the Day was smoked Prime brisket atop house-made ricotta and fried green tomatoes, then topped with chive Hollandaise sauce.  Both were yummy, but I particularly liked the variety with the brisket and fried green tomatoes.
Chicken and Chipotle Hollandaise Sauce atop Bread Pudding 
Smoked Prim Brisket and House-made Ricotta atop Fried Green Tomatoes with Chive Hollandaise Sauce
Biscuit Slider Trio - Biscuit slider served with three different ingredients: crispy ham with local preserves, friend chicken with local honey, and applewood-smoked bacon, tomato, and goat cheese.  Although a little on the small side, the biscuits were delicious and I particularly liked the ham and the fried chicken.  
Rye Burger- 8 oz. burger served with rye-whiskey mustard, aged white cheddar, and a buttered brioche bun.  Simple burger, but the beef had a nice char and the veggies were fresh.  The mustard can be a little over-powering, so I recommend using it in moderation.  
Pancakes- Ordered these as a side and they were served with maple vanilla syrup.  I thought they were quite good and on a future visit, I will have to order the variety topped with Nutella and bacon.
Both of our visits have been at brunch, but we have liked the items we have tried so far.  My wife and I plan on dining here for dinner at some point and trying some of their dinner entrees like their steaks, pan roasted grouper, or chile-rubbed pork tenderloin.  Although the space is very intimate and has limited seating, the service had been exceptional on both visits and we like the rustic decor of the restaurant.  This place is certainly another welcome addition to the McKinney Square. 

Rye. Craft Food and Drink
Livin the Good Life Rating=4
Rye. Craft Food and Drink Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato 

Sunday, May 22, 2016

The Royale Magnificent Burgers

February of 2016 saw the opening of The Royale Magnificent Burgers in Plano.  The name is somewhat cumbersome, so most people have been referring to it as "The Royale."  John Tesar's most recent brainchild is his contribution to the growing number of burger joints in DFW.  The restaurant makes fancy burgers and shakes, but is also kid friendly.  
Best Chocolate Shake EVER
I was finally able to try the restaurant in May, which was three months after it's opening.  My daughter joined me on my visit and she insisted on ordering the chocolate shake, so I allowed her to order it...if, she promised to share it with me.  It arrived in a huge Mason jar and was topped with whipped cream, chocolate drizzle, chocolate chips, and a toasted marshmallow.  Simply put, this was the most incredible chocolate shake I have ever had.  It was so good in fact, that I ordered a second shake just for myself.  In case you are wondering, I didn't share mine!
The Royale with Sweet Potato Chips
The Wagyu burgers were also quite tasty, and not overly expensive, considering they were made from Wagyu beef.  I had the Royale which was served with Applewood-smoked bacon and truffle aioli and my daughter had the Americano.  Both were extremely juicy, but the Royale was the better burger of the two and I particularly liked the favor of the truffle aioli.  Each burger was served with sweet potato chips that were both crispy and sweet.  In addition to the chips that come with each burger, we also tried their fries.  The thick cut fries were good as  well, although I didn't care for the pomegranate ketchup that was served with them.
In addition to the food, the servers were prompt and knowledgeable of the menu.  Although the burgers were good, the shakes were absolutely fantastic.  On my next visit, I will also be trying the Queso Poutine Fries, which I drooled over when an adjacent table ordered them.  Even if you don't like burgers or you are a vegetarian, I would certainly recommend going to try the shakes.  The Royale gets a big thumbs up from me!

The Royale Magnificent Burgers
Livin the Good Life Rating = 3
The Royale Magnificent Burgers Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato 

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Rotolo's Pizzeria

My brother and I have recently started playing tennis again for the first time in over a decade.  After intense competitions between two players that are considerably past our primes, we generally go out for a bite to eat afterwards.  Following another victory by yours truly, my brother took me to one of his favorite pizza restaurants, Rotolo's.
Garlic Parmesan Bites
This was my first time dining at this pizza joint and we ordered the Garlic Parmesan Bites for an appetizer.  These baked tiny pieces of bread were delicious and reminded me of miniature garlic knots.  The marinara dipping sauce was good, but could have been served a little warmer.
Italian Club Pizza
We also ordered two pizzas, the Italian Club and a Pepperoni-Hamburger pizza.  The crust was actually quite good and they had plenty of cheese and toppings.  I particularly liked the Italian Club, which had pepperoni, salami, Canadian bacon, and bacon.  There was not a single bite that didn't have multiple pieces of meat on it.
Pepperoni and Hamburger
My brother had been talking about this place for a while and I thought it was worthy of his praise.  I wouldn't put it in my DFW Top 5, but it was good nonetheless.  This place also has a patio area and would be a nice place to enjoy a pizza and a beverage if the weather is nice.

Rotolo's Pizzeria
Livin the Good Life Rating=3
Rotolo's Pizzeria Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Starwood Cafe

The much awaited McKinney location of Starwood Cafe finally opened in Adriatica Village.  My wife has dined at the Frisco location on several occasions, but I have never had the opportunity to dine their myself.  On a recent Saturday morning, we loaded up the 2 girls and ate breakfast at the new location.  We arrived a little after 8 a.m. and there was already a crowd and a 30 minute wait.
Bacon, Hash Browns, and Eggs
My family and I tried several items, including cappuccinos, bacon, eggs, cheese grits, chicken fried steak, hash browns, toast and pancakes.  The majority of the items were good and the cappuccino, chicken fried steak, and pancakes were great.  In fact the chicken fried steak might be the best I have had so far in 2016 and the pancakes were pure greatness themselves.
Chicken Fried Steak, Eggs, and Cheese Grits
The service was as good as the food and the price was about what you would expect for breakfast and not expensive.  It is certainly a welcome addition to the McKinney breakfast scene and a place where I will go back again.  I actually went back the following weekend, only to find that the wait was over an hour.  Since it really hasn't been advertised that much, I can only assume that word of mouth is singing the praises of this restaurant, because people are beating down the door to get in.  I will just have to wake up earlier next time I visit!
Blueberry Pancakes
Starwood Cafe
Livin the Good Life Rating= 3
Starwood Cafe Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato