Tuesday, October 28, 2014


We recently celebrated my mother-in-law's 60th birthday at the restaurant Texas.  My wife an I had never dined at Texas before, so we were looking forward to eating there and celebrating with family and friends.  Texas is owned and operated by Dale Wamstad, who founded Del Frisco's and III Forks.  With his excellent track record in the steakhouse department, we were looking forward to this particular birthday dinner.
The Monte Cristo Private Dining Room
Our party dined in one of the private dining rooms, the Monte Cristo room, and we ordered from the private party menu.  Each guest was given an appetizer trio with Bang Bang Shrimp, Crabcake Croustade, and a Devil's Tongue.  The shrimp were slightly spicy and had a robust flavor.  The Devil's Tongue (beef tenderloin on a toast point) was very tender and and went well with the toast point.  My favorite of the three was the Crabcake Croustade.  This item was a tiny crabcake on a thin pastry.  I don't know what ingredients went into making the crabcake, but it was simply delicious.  We were also given a choice of soup or salad.  I had the house salad with vinaigrette dressing and I thought it was one of the better house salads I have had in quite some time.
Appetizer trio of Bang Bang Shrimp, Devil's Tongue, and Crabcake Croustade
For my entree, I ordered the 16 ounce Delmonico cut ribeye.  This particular steak was a boneless ribeye, had perfect marbling, and was very tender.  I have eaten a lot of ribeyes this year, but this was one of the best I have had this year.  The entrees on the private party menu were all served whipped potatoes, burnt corn, and roasted vegetables.  Of the three sides, I liked the whipped potatoes were the best.  I also cannot say enough about how great the bread was at Texas.  Our table was served several long French Baguettes that were absolutely fantastic and served piping hot from the ovens.  
Delmonico Ribeye
Although we brought our own cake, we were also given a choice of desserts.  I had the bread pudding, which was very tasty and had a hint of bourbon flavor to it.  It was a great pre-dessert before our final dessert of birthday cake.
Bread Pudding
Everyone at the party seemed to really enjoy their meals.  The food was fabulous on this visit and the service was absolutely spectacular.  Both our servers were very attentive and answered all of our questions about the menu items.  Dale Wamstad himself even came to check on our party several times throughout the night.  The value was good as well and I think you will be hard pressed to find a better bang for your buck at local steakhouse.  This restaurant will certainly be added to our list of "go-to" restaurants for date night or dinner with friends.
The Birthday Girl

Livin the Good Life Rating=8
Texas Restaurant on Urbanspoon

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Dee Lincoln Steak & Burger Bar

Dee Lincoln Steak and Burger Bar opened up a Plano location in the Spring of 2014.  I have been wanting to try the restaurant for several months and I finally got to try it out recently.  My brother and I had not seen each other in a couple of weeks, so we decided to meet at Dee Lincoln's since we were both free for lunch.

The lunch menu doesn't include their steaks, but it includes all of their burgers and several other entrees.  Although the steaks were not on the menu, our waiter told us that we could order them upon request.  I considered ordering a steak, but I really wanted to try one of their burgers.
Dining Area
I ordered The Cowboy, which was a very simple burger topped with crispy onion shavings, a molasses glaze, and pepper jack cheese.  Although the burger was simpler than most, it had a terrific flavor and texture.  The patty was very moist and was larger than you receive at most burger joints.  I felt that the molasses glaze was a nice touch and it gave the patty a faintly sweet flavor.  The crispy onion shavings were a perfect compliment to the pepper jack cheese.  My brother had the American Classic Burger and said it was tasty as well.
The Cowboy
For my side, I had the Truffle-Parmesan Fries.  The larger-than-expected order even arrived in a mini frying basket.  The serving portion was large and they were flavorful, but I felt that they could have used a little less truffle oil because the flavor was overpowering at times.
Truffle-Parmesan Fries
For desserts, I was torn between the Coca Cola Fudge Cake and the Blueberry Bread Pudding.  I ultimately decided on the Coca Cola Fudge Cake which arrived topped with a piping hot chocolate topping, powdered sugar, whipped cream, and pecans.  Although I am usually a sucker for a chocolate cake, this particular cake was almost flavorless and was served much too hot to eat.  I had to give it a good five minutes to cool off because the first bite singed the roof of my mouth.
Coca Cola Fudge Cake
Overall, I enjoyed my first visit to Dee Lincoln Steak & Burger Bar.  Although I wasn't impressed with my dessert, the burger was commendable and the service was excellent.  I can't say that this place is a great value because my bill for a burger, fries, and dessert was over $30.  I still want to try one of the steaks at this restaurant, so I would say that there is a good chance that I will be back to dine at Dee Lincoln's.

Dee Lincoln Steak & Burger Bar
Livin the Good Life Rating=6

Dee Lincoln Steak & Burger Bar on Urbanspoon

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Harvest Seasonal Kitchen

Rick Wells, a restaurateur based in McKinney, has been serving seasonal items at his steakhouse, Rick's Chophouse, for a number of years.  These menu items are in addition to his regular menu and usually features items from regional producers.  Mr. Wells recently decided to take this a step farther and opened Harvest Seasonal Kitchen last month.  The menu is filled with local, regional, and organic menu items and Andrea Shackelford was hired as executive chef for the restaurant.  Since Rick's Chophouse is one of my favorite restaurants in Collin County, I was very excited to try Harvest.
Decor and Bread Basket
I was unable to get a reservation for the first week that the restaurant opened in September, but my wife and I were finally able to dine at Harvest last week.  One of the first things that I noticed was that the restaurant was much larger than I had anticipated.  The restaurant is decorated with a rural theme, but not in a corny way that is such a cliche in many restaurants.  My wife absolutely loved the decor and assured me that it was "super cute."
Crispy Ribs
After our server described several of the appetizers and the nightly special, we decided to start with the Crispy Ribs.  The ribs were basted with their house version of Texas barbecue sauce and served with apple and pear slaw.  They arrived just a few minutes after we ordered them and the ribs were crispy on the outside, but very tender and easily pulled off the bone.  Both of us thought the sauce was extremely flavorful and felt that the apple and pear slaw was a perfect compliment to this dish.  We were also served a basket with a variety of tasty bread.
Chicken Fried Buffalo
I ordered the Chicken Fried Buffalo for my entrée. This dish was topped with sage gravy and was served with mashed sweet potatoes and squash gratin. The chicken fried buffalo was phenomenal and rivaled any chicken fried steak I have had in the last few years. The batter was fantastic and the sage gravy could not have been better. One of the restaurant's managers, Brent Tyler, explained to us that the batter on this particular item had hops, barley, and other byproducts from Franconia Brewery mixed in with flour. Both sides were great as well, but I liked the squash gratin the best. It was made from butternut squash and had a very sweet flavor.
Butternut Squash Gratin
My wife ordered the nightly special, which was Pan Roasted Black Drum.  It was served with sautéed sweet potato greens, purple kohlrabi, sweet potato puree, celery, and watermelon radish.  She was very pleased with the fish and I also enjoyed the couple of bites that she gave me. The sweet potato puree was the favorite of the sides that were included.
Pan Roasted Black Drum
Since everything that we had tried so far had been delicious, we decided that we could not leave without trying dessert.  My wife ordered the Apple Brown Betty with salt caramel ice cream and I ordered the Chocolate Whoopie Cake.  Of the two desserts, we both preferred the Chocolate Whoopie Cake, which had a tasty marshmallow center. 
Whoopie Cake
Apple Brown Betty
Harvest Seasonal Kitchen did not disappoint. The food was simply amazing and it was priced right too. For the quality of food, we felt the dishes we ordered were a good value. The service was remarkable during this visit as well and the wait staff is very informed about the menu and preparation of dishes.  If this restaurant can continue to consistently turn out dishes of this quality, it could easily be a top five restaurant in DFW. The dining experience we had at Harvest was one of the best overall dining experiences I have had in the DFW area in the past five years.

Harvest Seasonal Kitchen
Livin the Good Life Rating=10

Harvest on Urbanspoon

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Nom Noms Mexican Grill and Chill

Burritos and homemade ice cream are two items that I don't usually associate with each other.  They seem to be as similar as Ted Cruz and Nancy Pelosi.  Well, the good folks at Nom Noms Mexican Grill and Chill want to change that.  The restaurant specializes in build-your-own burritos or tacos and homemade ice cream.
My Burrito
On my first visit to Nom Noms, I decided to order the burrito.  I had them make mine with cilantro rice, chicken, black beans, Monterey Jack cheese, cheddar cheese, cilantro, lettuce, grilled onion, and spicy tomato salsa.  My burrito was okay, but it had an overpowering taste of cilantro.  A little cilantro can go a long way, but the staff filled my burrito with more cilantro than lettuce.  I also ordered the chips and cheese dip (queso).  For less than $3.00, it was a pretty good value because it included a lot of chips and the white queso was more flavorful than the burrito.
Chips and Cheese Dip (Queso)
I couldn't leave without trying some of the homemade ice cream.  They have a variety of ice cream flavors, Nom bars (ice cream bars), sherbet, and sorbet.  I ordered a coffee cream bar for myself and a quart of the Triple Chocolate Chunk to take home to the family.  The coffee cream bar was fantastic and the Triple Chocolate Chunk was a big hit with the family.
Coffee Cream Bar
While I was not highly impressed with the burrito, I felt the ice cream was a winner.  I didn't feel like there was anything to really separate Nom Nom's from any of the other build-your-own burrito joints, but I do want to try some of the tacos with either pork or beef.  The ice cream is better than many restaurants in the McKinney area, so I will be taking a return trip to Nom Nom's.
Triple Chocolate Chunk
Nom Noms Mexican Grill and Chill
Livin the Good Life Rating=4
Nom Noms Mexican Grill and Chill on Urbanspoon