Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Devil's Pool Restaurant

During the week of Thanksgiving, my family and I visited Big Cedar Lodge in Ridgedale, Missouri.  The resort is absolutely gorgeous and has plenty of family friendly activities.  Our family had a wonderful time and thoroughly enjoyed our little mini-vacation to Big Cedar.  The resort also has several restaurants and we were lucky enough to have one of them, Devil's Pool Restaurant, adjacent to the lodge where we were staying.  
Bar Area at Devil's Pool
On the first night that we visited Devil's Pool, we were famished after a long drive.  The menu had several appetizers that sounded great, but I ordered the Smokehouse Chili because I didn't want to get overly full prior to my meal.  The chili had fantastic flavor and I particularly liked the fact the meat had a brisket-like texture instead of the usual ground beef that one finds at most restaurants.  Our waitress also brought us a basket of some very good jalapeño cheddar biscuits that we enjoyed prior to our meal. 
Smokehouse Chili 
Jalapeño Cheddar Biscuits
For my entree, I ordered the Cajun Cornmeal Dusted Catfish.  It didn't have the Cajun flavor I expected, but it was still a large catfish filet with good batter.  The coleslaw was good as well, but the hush puppies were amazing.  My wife had Bourbon Barbecue Glazed St. Louis ribs.  She gave me one of her ribs and although they had good flavor, they were a little too tough for my liking.
Cajun Cornmeal Dusted Catfish
Bourbon Barbecue Glazed St. Louis Ribs
I really should have stopped eating because I was filled to the gills, but my wife and girls wanted dessert.  After an intense family discussion, we went with the Devil's Pool Sundae.  This particular sundae was a chocolate chip cookie, topped with an Oreo stuffed brownie, vanilla bean ice cream, chocolate sauce, caramel sauce, and candied pecans.  Amazing doesn't even begin to describe this dessert which we all agreed was the best sundae we have ever had.
Devil's Pool Sundae
Since we enjoyed our dinner here so much, we also at breakfast here one morning.  They have a breakfast menu, but they also have a fantastic breakfast buffet that includes an omelette station, bacon, house made breakfast sausage, waffles, biscuits and sausage gravy, eggs, and several other items.  Of all the items on the breakfast buffet, I enjoyed the house made breakfast sausage and the biscuits and gravy the best.
One of many plates I had at their breakfast buffet
The Devil's Pool is much better than most restaurants that you will find at a resort or in a hotel.  The food was great and the service was top notch on both visits.  If you every have the opportunity to visit the beautiful Big Cedar Lodge, I strongly suggest you take the time to dine at the Devil's Pool Restaurant at least once.

Devil's Pool Restaurant
Livin the Good Life Rating=6

Devil's Pool Restaurant on Urbanspoon

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Cheezies Gourmet Grilled Cheese

I am usually not a big fan of sandwiches, but occasionally I will get a hankering for a grilled cheese.  It is hard for me to find a place that makes a grilled cheese as good as I can make at home, but occasionally I am pleasantly surprised.  When some coworkers told me about Cheezies Gourmet Grilled Cheese, I knew that I would have to try out this Frisco restaurant.

Following work one day, I met my family for dinner at Cheezies.  In addition to serving a "plain ol' " grilled cheese sandwiches, the restaurant also serves nine signature grilled cheese sandwiches that include such ingredients as brisket, pulled pork, ham, turkey, salami, etc.  Soups, salads, and mac n' cheese are also on the menu.
The Smokin Chick-roasted chicken, smoked gouda, and a hint of apricot on sourdough bread
After some deliberation, I chose to get the Smokin Chick sandwich and an order of the Cheezies Mac n' Cheese.  The ingredients for my sandwich were roasted chicken, smoked gouda, and a hint of apricot on sourdough bread.  Although I am not sure what the "hint" of apricot was, the sandwich had a definite apricot flavor and was absolutely delicious.  This sandwich was one of the top five grilled cheese sandwiches I have ever had.  The garlic parmesan chips that came with the sandwich were certainly above average in the flavor dept.  The Mac n' Cheese was not bad, but it paled in comparison to the grilled cheese.
Mac n' Cheese
My wife got the "plain ol' " grilled cheese and my kids got the kids grilled cheese with fruit.  All three of them enjoyed their meals and gave the place a thumbs up.  We also tried the chocolate fried pies, which were much better than I had anticipated.  On my next visit, I definitely want to try some of the fruit fried pies as well.
Chocolate Fried Pie
My coworkers had raved about the grilled cheeses here and I have to say that they lived up to the hype.  Although I wasn't impressed with the mac n' cheese, the grilled cheeses were top notch.  I cannot wait to try some of the other sandwiches, particularly the Big Texas, which has brisket, white cheddar, and onion marmalade on jalapeño cheddar bread.  Cheezies get a thumbs up from me and my family!

Cheezies Gourmet Grilled Cheese
http://www.cheeziesgourmet.com
Livin the Good Life Rating=7
Cheezie's Gourmet Grilled Cheese on Urbanspoon

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Damgoode Pies

My wife and I both had a week off from work around Thanksgiving, so we decided to do a min-vacation with the kids.  After some discussion, we decided to head to Southwest Missouri for a few days.  We stopped in Fayetteville, Arkansas around lunchtime and wanted to explore the campus of the University of Arkansas and downtown Fayetteville.  There were a few dining options on the downtown square and we decided to dine at Damgoode Pies.

Pizza is always a favorite of my family, so we were excited to try this local pizzeria.  I later found out that this restaurant also has locations in Little Rock and Rogers.  Having left DFW around 7:00 a.m., my family was famished and immediately ordered breadsticks for an appetizer.  When they arrived my family quickly devoured the breadsticks, which were very flavorful and served with a terrific red sauce.
Breadsticks
Damgoode Pies has several signature pizzas and options to build your own pie.  My wife and I ordered "The Club", which was one of the signature pies topped with smoked turkey, baked ham, bacon, and cheddar cheese.  Diners have several options in the sauce department, but we went with the traditional red sauce.  The pizza was very thick due to the amount of dough and cheese on the pizza.  I normally love a pizza that is very cheesy, but it was lacking in the toppings department.  With all the cheese, it was hard to find any of the turkey, bacon, or ham.  The pizza was not bad, but it was far from great.
"The Club"-smoked turkey, baked ham, bacon, and cheddar
My kids split a cheese pizza and made short work of their lunch.  Our waitress was great and the pizzeria looked like it would be a great dining/drinking destination for local college students.  Although I wasn't amazed by the pizza, I wouldn't be opposed to stopping here again and trying some of the other signature pies and perhaps a different sauce next time.

Damgoode Pies
http://www.damgoodepies.com/index.html
Livin the Good Life Rating=4
Damgoode Pies on Urbanspoon

Friday, November 28, 2014

The Egg and I

Having some time to kill on a recent Saturday morning, my family and I decided to go eat breakfast.  We were already in Frisco after dropping off my oldest daughter for a day camp, so we decided to eat at The Egg and I.  My wife had dined at this chain before, but it was my first time to darken the door at this particular restaurant.  

Although it was very busy when we arrived, we were still seated after only a few minutes.  The restaurant has a fairly extensive breakfast menu with a lot of my favorites on them.  They also has several traditional breakfast items with their own little twist to them.
Biscuits and Gravy
I went with the basic breakfast of biscuits and gravy, which was served with eggs and ranch potatoes.  The sausage gravy was thick, flavorful, and fully covered the biscuit.  While I was impressed with the biscuits and gravy, the scrambled eggs and ranch potatoes were disappointing.  
Eggs, bacon, ranch potatoes, and English muffin
My wife had the two egg breakfast and she chose the English muffin and bacon to go with the eggs and ranch potatoes.  She said her meal was "okay", but nothing special.  My youngest daughter did seem to thoroughly enjoy her kid's pancakes with bacon.
My little bacon lover couldn't even wait long enough for me to take a picture
 Although I wasn't overly impressed with The Egg and I, it wasn't terrible either.  The service was good and the coffee was above average.  In the quality department, I would compare it to an IHOP.  While I wouldn't go out of my way to eat at this chain again, I wouldn't be opposed to giving it another go if I was in the area.

The Egg and I
http://www.theeggandirestaurants.com/index.html
Livin the Good Life Rating=3
The Egg & I on Urbanspoon