Monday, June 22, 2015

Shake Shack

Many burger chains have legions of loyal fans.  I know my friends from California were ecstatic when In-N-Out Burger expanded to Texas and Texans tend to love their Whataburger.  Shake Shack, which originated in New York, also has fans that swear their burgers, fries, and shakes are the best in the country.  The first Texas location of Shake Shack recently opened in Austin, so I couldn't wait to see what all the fuss was about.
ShackBurger with Bacon
I heard horror stories of long lines and waits up to one hour, so I arrived right at their 11:00 a.m. opening.  There were only a few people in front of me, but I did have plenty of time to look over the wall menu.  I finally decided  to order the ShackBurger with bacon, fries, and a strawberry milkshake.  In addition to the bacon, the ShackBurger came topped with cheese, lettuce, tomato, and ShackSauce.  The burger was extremely tasty with a slightly charred exterior and a bun that was somewhat sweet.  The bacon was excellent as well and the special sauce gave it a somewhat spicy taste.  I felt this was a really good burger, but I was extremely disappointed in the size.  I could have easily eaten this burger in about four bites and I immediately wished I would have ordered the double meat version or just ordered two burgers.
Strawberry Milkshake and Fries
Although the burger was very good, I thought the crinkle cut fries were fairly ordinary.  They were light and crispy, but were far from exceptional and somewhat bland.  The strawberry shake was very thick, but I could only taste a slight hint of strawberries.  Despite being small, the burgers here were certainly above average, but I could have cared less for the fries and shake I ordered.  I probably wouldn't go out of my way to eat here again, but I will  try out the Plano location when it opens because it will be just a few minutes down the road from my casa. 

Shake Shack
Livin the Good Life Rating=3
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Thursday, June 18, 2015

Cedar Door Bar and Grill

I recently attended a conference in Austin, which happens to be one of my favorite foodie cities.  On our first night in town, some colleagues and I decided to grab a bite to eat somewhere close to our hotel.  After reading some reviews of Cedar Door Bar and Grill, we decided to walk a couple of blocks and try it out.
White Wings
For a starter, our waitress recommended the White Wings.  This appetizer consisted of pieces of chicken breast and jalapeño slices that were wrapped in bacon and covered in buffalo sauce.  I must say that these little bites were absolutely delicious and didn't last very long on the plate.  I even considered getting a second order of them, but I held off because I was also eagerly anticipating trying my entree.
Chicken Fried Steak, Yukon Mashed Potatoes, and Bacon Braised Collard Greens
The Chicken Fried Steak with jalapeño gravy was too tempting to pass up, so I decided to order it and forgo a healthier choice.  The chicken fried steak was huge, had a great batter, and the gravy was fantastic.  While the Yukon mashed potatoes were pedestrian at best, the bacon braised collard greens were some of the best I have ever had.  
Blackened Catfish and Mahi Tacos
Other members of my party ordered the Blackened Catfish and the Mahi tacos.  They both liked there dishes and were as impressed as I was by the food.  The service was great on this visit as well and our waitress was well versed on the menu items when making recommendations and answering questions.  If you are in the downtown Austin area and looking for a patio to grab a bite to eat, I recommend you try this place.
Patio Area at Cedar Door Bar and Grill
Cedar Door Bar and Grill
Livin the Good Life Rating=4
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Sunday, June 14, 2015

The One and Only Burgers and Fries

I have lived in McKinney for several years now and I thought I did a pretty good job of keeping abreast of restaurant openings, but one happened to slip by me.  The One and Only Burgers and Fries opened in 2014, but I had never heard about it until I saw a couple of people posting about it on social media.  Everyone that was posting about it gave it really good review, so I knew I had to give it a shot.
Double Bacon Cheeseburger with The One and Only Signature Sauce
My oldest daughter and I went on a daddy-daughter date to give this place a try.  She ordered the cheeseburger and I ordered the double bacon cheeseburger with their signature sauce.  We also split an order of the regular fries for two.  The bacon cheeseburger was fantastic.  The beef was juicy and flavorful, the bacon was commendable, and the signature sauce gave it a mild spiciness that added to the overall flavor of the burger.  The fries were huge and could have easily fed three to four people.  They were cooked well, had just the right amount of salt, and were the perfect compliment to the burger.  My daughter ate her entire adult cheeseburger and claimed it was the best she has ever had.
Fries for Two while some are still in the bag
The One and Only Burgers and Fries keeps things very simple, but does the burger and fries thing to perfection.  This burger joint defiantly goes in my top three in McKinney.  The owner is also extremely friendly and personally checks on each customer.  This place is on the opposite side of town from where I live, but I will gladly drive by several other burger spots to eat here again.

The One and Only Burgers and Fries
Livin the Good Life Rating=4

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Sunday, June 7, 2015

Rainforest Cafe

My brother and I were supposed to go camping with my oldest daughter on a recent weekend, but we were notified by Ray Roberts State Park that the camping area was forced to temporarily shut down due to flooding from the recent rains.  Since our camping trip was a no-go, we decided to take my daughter on a Saturday adventure instead.  Although she was disappointed that we wouldn't be camping, she was excited that plan B included a trip to the Rainforest Cafe and the Sea Life Aquarium in Grapevine Mills Mall.
Somebody was happy to be at the Rainforest Cafe.
We had never been to the Rainforest Cafe, but my daughter was enamored with the place from the moment we stepped into the restaurant.  The jungle theme with gorillas, elephants, tigers, and leopards was something she couldn't stop talking about all day.  After she was able to curtail her excitement for a few moments, we ordered the cheese sticks for an appetizer.  The cheese sticks were very basic, but I really liked the flavor of the marinara sauce.
Cheese Sticks
The restaurant had a larger menu than most restaurants and had plenty of options, but I was in the mood for seafood.  I ordered the Congo Fish Plate, which included two large fried whitefish fillets, fries, and cole slaw.  The fish was not as crispy as I would have preferred and it was much more "fishy" tasting than what I have come to expect from whitefish.  As for the sides, they were also disappointing.
Congo Fish Plate-Fried Whitefish, fries, and slaw
My brother ordered the Beastly Burger, which had two patties.  The burger was very large, but neither of us were impressed with it's taste.  My daughter ordered the two cheeseburger sliders with applesauce.  She seemed to enjoy her meal much more than the adults did.
Beastly Burger-Double Meat Cheeseburger
The cheese sticks ended up being the highlight of the meal.  Everything else we tried was below average in the taste department.    I will say that the service was very good and they go above and beyond to make it a fun experience for the kids.  Even though the food was a disappointment, I would go back again with my kids just to see the sparkle in my daughter's eyes while we dined.
Fun at the Sea Life Aquarium after out lunch at Rainforest Cafe
Rainforest Cafe
Livin the Good Life=2
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