Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Mesa's Mexican Grill

Mexican food option are very slim on the West side of McKinney, Texas.  A popular Mexican restaurant in Prosper, Mesa's Mexican Grill, recently opened up another location in McKinney.  Since the day it opened, it has been busy each time that I drove by the restaurant.  My family and I finally decided to brave the crowds to try this restaurant.  

When our waiter brought out the chips, salsa, and black bean dip, we decided to also order a side of queso.  The queso was very basic and tasted just like the cheese that would top nachos at a middle school basketball concession stand.  I wished I would have went with the queso blanca instead of the traditional queso.  Although the salsa was decent, I actually preferred the black bean dip to the queso and salsa.
Chips, Salsa, and Black Bean Dip
For my entree, I ordered the Platillo Cortez, which came with a chicken enchilada, a brisket taco, guacamole, rice, and beans.  Of the items on the plate, I liked the chicken enchilada the best.  It was packed with finally shredded chicken and topped with a sour cream sauce  The brisket taco had onions and green peppers, but the brisket was very tough and chew.  The guacamole, rice, and beans were pretty basic and not noteworthy at all.
Platillo Cortez
My wife ordered the El Rey, which came with a cheese enchilada, a beef taco, and a pork tamale.  I sampled a bite or two of each of these items as well and was equally unimpressed.  The food wasn't bad, but it was nothing that you wouldn't get at any other run-of-the-mill Mexican restaurant.
El Rey
I didn't necessarily hate the food here, but it certainly failed to impress.  The service was much better than the food, even though the restaurant was busy while we were there.  They also have a kids menu and my kids enjoyed the kids nachos and the kids chicken strips and fries.  If I am in the mood for Mexican food close to my house, I will gladly pass by this place and dine at the Rosa's Cafe that is just a mile down the road.

Mesa's Mexican Grill
Livin the Good Life Rating=2
Mesa's Mexican Grill on Urbanspoon

Saturday, May 23, 2015

S. & D. Oyster Company

Oysters on the Half-Shell
My wife absolutely loves oysters on the half-shell and S. & D. Oyster Company is her favorite place to eat them in Dallas.  I actually prefer oysters fried or chargrilled, but my wife prefers hers raw and she assures me that few are better than those served at S. & D. Oyster Company.  She has been dining there with her family for over three decades and we recently celebrated her birthday at S. &. D.
Hush Puppies and a French Loaf
While my wife ordered a half dozen oysters, the rest of us had seafood gumbo, hush puppies, and a couple of french loafs.  The gumbo was very thick and was just spicy enough for me.  As for the other items, the french loafs were slightly better than the hush puppies.
Cup of Seafood Gumbo
I ordered the Grouper Fish Loaf and fries for my meal.  Grouper is one of my favorite types of fish to eat and the Po'-Boy-like fish loaf was good, but it only came with tartar sauce and ketchup.  I would have preferred that the sandwich be topped with lettuce and tomato or cole slaw.  The fries were average at best and very bland.  Others in our party ordered the fried shrimp and the fried snapper, both of which got a thumbs up from the family members who ordered them.
Grouper Fish Loaf
My wife couldn't leave without getting the Bread Pudding, which she claims is her favorite bread pudding in Dallas.  I tried some and agreed that it was good, but I wouldn't consider it to be the best in Dallas.  I had the Lemon Pie and actually preferred it to the Bread Pudding.
Bread Pudding
The service was outstanding as usual and even the kids enjoyed their meals.  An expansion is occurring right now and it should greatly increase the amount of people that can dine at the restaurant, which is a good thing because it usually gets packed after 6 p.m.  While I don't hold the restaurant in the same regard as my wife does, it is still a solid seafood restaurant and judging by her smile it seemed that my wife thoroughly enjoyed her birthday dinner.

S. & D. Oyster Company
Livin the Good Life Rating=3
S & D Oyster Company on Urbanspoon

Saturday, May 16, 2015


On our last day in Vegas, my wife and I woke up early and wanted to grab breakfast somewhere close.  Since it was 7:30 a.m., most of the Venetian/Palazzo restaurants had not opened for breakfast/brunch yet.  The concierge's desk recommended Bouchon, which is a French restaurant owned by Thomas Keller.  Having heard good things about the restaurant, we decided to give it a try.  For those unfamiliar with Thomas Keller, he has won several James Beard Awards and was voted Best Chef by Time Magazine in 2001.  
Fresh Bread, Butter, and Jam
While looking over the menu, our waitress brought us out some fresh bread, butter, and jam.  The bread was still hot and the butter and jam were both great.  I didn't want to have a heavy breakfast because I planned on working out later that morning, so I ordered the Fruit Salad and a Chocolate Croissant.  The fruit salad had honeydew, cantaloupe, pears, and pomegranate.  All the fruit was fresh and delicious.  The chocolate croissant was also very flaky and the chocolate was very rich.
Fruit Salad and Chocolate Croissant
My wife ordered the Petit Dejeuner Americaine (small American breakfast) with over easy eggs, bacon, toast, and jam filled beignets.  She thought it was very good and I was able to sample the bacon and the raspberry-filled beignets.  Both were good, although I prefer beignets with powdered sugar and without any filling.
Petit Dejeuner Americaine
Our breakfast hit the spot and was  enough for us to start the day on a good note.  The service was absolutely spectacular and the rich and robust coffee may have been my favorite part of the breakfast.  The breakfast was good enough to where I would like to try out their dinner menu on a future visit.  The Venetian/Palazzo complex has some very good restaurants and Bouchon matched the quality that I have come to expect from all of their restaurants.

Livin the Good Life Rating=3

Bouchon Bistro on Urbanspoon

Friday, May 8, 2015

La Duni-Fairview

La Duni is a popular Latin American restaurant with four locations in the DFW area.  I have always been a big fan of the location at NorthPark Mall and I have dined their on several occasions when forced to go shopping with my wife.  The location in Fairview is much closer to me, but I was disappointed with the service when it first opened and haven't been back since.  After a hiatus of several years, my family and I decided it was time to give this location another chance.
Brunch Chile Relleno
On a recent Sunday, we decided to try out the weekend brunch menu at La Duni in Fairview.  A Brunch Chile Relleno sounded intriguing, so I had to order it.  This poblano pepper was absolutely huge and took up half the plate.  The pepper was stuffed with refried black beans, eggs, bacon bits, cheddar, mozzarella, gruyere, queso fresca, and charred salsa roja.  The dish really hit the spot and had an outstanding flavor.  I would have preferred more bacon, but who doesn't prefer more bacon?  The roasted potatoes were also better than average.  
Breakfast Tacos
My wife ordered the Breakfast Tacos with roasted potatoes.  She let me have one of her tacos and we both agreed that they were a little bland until you added some hot sauce and avocado mash to them.  My father-in-law had joined us for brunch and he ordered the Migas.  Although I didn't sample that dish, he said that it was very good.
Nutella Milk Chocolate Cake and Cuatros Leches Cake
La Duni is famous for their desserts and we ordered a trio of desserts; Cuatros Leches Cake, Nutella Milk Chocolate Cake, and a Grape Snow Cone for my daughter.  My daughter certainly enjoyed the snow cone, but my wife and I were big fans of the cake slices.  The Nutella Milk Chocolate Cake was very good and topped with an expresso white chocolate ganache sauce, but it was not near as good as the Cuatros Leches Cake.  We have had the Cuatros Leches several times before and it seems to get better each time.
Grape Snow Cone
Although the service wasn't exactly stellar on this visit either, the food more than made up for anything lacking with the service.  The first time I visited the restaurant, we had to wait for close to an hour for our food.  On this visit, they had our food to us in less than fifteen minutes.  I am glad that I gave this restaurant a second chance and my family will certainly be going back in the near future.  The brunch items were very good, but I might just go back and have a variety of cake slices for my meal.  

La Duni (Fairview Location)
Livin the Good Life Rating=3
La Duni Latin Kitchen on Urbanspoon