On how Chipotle saved me after a failed lunch at T Room and Kozy Kitchen

I love the little restaurant T Room behind the boutique Forty Five Ten. It’s fresh, hidden and the menu is just what we women love: little salads with quiche, little sandwiches with salad. Since I can’t afford anything at the fancy store, having lunch brings me a little bit of that luxury without crashing my credit card. Today, after shopping with a friend, it was just the perfect place for a quick lunch. We parked our cars in front of the store, entered the place which had 2 to 3 tables available only to hear from the waiter: ah, we are really busy today. It will be a long wait till you get your food.

Well, I didn’t feel particularly welcomed and decided to try Kozy, just across the street. I’ve been here before for a brunch and loved their white eggs omelette. We ordered fresh lemonade with agave (a little too much agave) but still very refreshing. Grilled chicken with vegetables were my choice for a healthy monday lunch. It arrived fast enough and at my first bite… oh! Burned. Just like my chicken when I forget them on the grill and go for a shower. The vegetables looked sloppy and the broccoli was certainly NOT fresh, with all those yellow spots when it starts to age. I could put up with the veggie, but not the meat. I called the waitress and we had an interesting dialogue I will try to reproduce as literal as possible:

– Hey, do you mind changing the chicken? the taste is not good, it’s burned.
_ Well, it looks good to me.
_ The problem is not how it looks, but the taste.
_ This is how our chicken tastes. Don’t you wanna change for something else?
_ No, I’m fine with the dish. I just want a chicken that isn’t burned, if you can change it.
_ Let me speak to the chef.

She takes my plate and comes back without my plate and a menu on her hands.

_ Choose something else because according to the chef you must not like the flavoring of our chicken.
_I’m sorry. I don’t have more time to order a new dish and wait for it, just bring me the check.

She nicely offered us NOT to pay for our lemonades, which I didn’t mind paying at all. But, at the same time, she didn’t allow me to eat the chicken and vegetables I’ve chosen from the menu. The waiter and chef decided NOT to let me eat chicken since I had a problem with the chicken. Not for one single moment they thought the chicken had any problem. What’s wrong with you, people? Btw, the blackout on the windows on Kozy isn’t working. Gives the place a very somber ambience instead of just keeping the heat away, making it an unpleasant place to dine. Unfortunately, when they make such nice white eggs omelette.

See it for yourself:

Kozy - chicken with vegetables

I thought I would never write a post complimenting Chipotle – just across from Kozy- for existing but here we go: Thanks Chipotle, for actually having the food and the service in the consistent conditions you always do. Maybe something Kozy and T Room can learn from you.

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In the search for Dallas best dive bars 2010 – Cosmos

By Kristin Proctor

From the outside Cosmo’s looked pretty non-descript….an unremarkable strip mall location, with covered windows and strings of red lights lining the strucutre. Located conveniently 1 block south of the Lakewood Landing. It turns out that there was a nice cosmic surprise inside. Enter cosmo’s and you are enveloped in a kalediscope of glowing orbs. The lamp collection is remarkable.

Cosmos beautiful lamps create a nice ambience

The vibe is more loungey than bary which is a nice change of pace. A variety of different seating options and areas including some couches to suit your mood. Heavy on the visual stimulation. We drank fireman’s #4, a tasty beer from Texas hill country. Karate kid was on the TV and attracted a large and boistorous crowd towards the end–very fun. A little bit groovy. A little bit cosmic. A little bit retro. Go to this place to relax and pass back in time. A breath of fresh air.

The jukebox.. so old, so nice. We love it!

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In the search for Dallas best dive bars 2010 – Lakewood Landing

This edition of Dallas best dive bar is presented to you by Kristin Proctor, our special guest of this famous blog. Why write my view when she has said it all? Here we go:

Lakewood Landing Bar

When i walked into the lakewood landing on friday evening round 9pm and the first thing i heard was ‘hey sugar’, I couldn’t help but feel that things were starting off just right from an ambiance standpoint. indeed it was a harbinger of things to come. The lakewood landing bills itself as ‘an upscale dive’ and I can’t say i disagree. here i found for the first time all of those je ne c’est quois that one associates with the dive bar genre minus the seediness. slightly nautical theme–check. cozy booths–check. great jukebox (big star & pixies doolittle)–check. i have to say that i felt right at home here. Straightforward–but in a good way. We ate burgers–cheeseburger with jalapenos (love this TX style) and fries at a table illuminated by a double entendre bud light lamp. Stella on tap–i guess that is where the upscale comes in. Lots of writing in the bathroom. Nice outdoor deck area . Very comfortable. Neighborhoody. like this place. It’s versatile. The kind of place where you want to hang out regularly.

Lakewood certainly has style!

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2. Best new places in Dallas: The Common Table

The restaurants and bars in Uptown Dallas have always something in common: food is less important than the vibe, the bar, the scene. All of them aim to attract the hot and young with special mimosas and  girl’s night out promotions. Because of that, The Common Table and its quite ambience is an oasis. In the three occasions I visited the restaurant in the last weeks I had meatballs (just ok), a great arugula salad (simple, as it should be) and tried an outstanding salmon from a friend’s plate. The bruschetta goes well with the good white wine selection they bring and one day, after a hard run on Katy Trail, the cold beer brewed in NY, was just heaven. Bad choices: chicken rib-eye and kind of boring short-ribs.

I hope The Common Table remains like that: nice and quiet. Don’t spread the word. Not yet.


Address:
2917 Fairmount St
Dallas, TX 75201
(214) 880-7414

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In the search for Dallas best dive bars 2010 – Double Wide

I like it fancy. I like it very fancy. A man who open the doors, a valet on the entrance, a hostess to sit me on a special corner chosen a week before on Open Table. Dive bars DO NOT meet my criteria of fun. Or at least the little I know about dive bars. According to Wikipedia “dive bars generally have a relaxed and informal atmosphere — they are often referred to by local residents as neighborhood bars, where people in the neighborhood gather to drink and socialize. Individual bars may be considered to be disreputable, sinister, or even a detriment to the community.”

WOW.

I like it fancy. But I can’t resist disreputable, sinister and anything that is a detriment to the community. So here we go: the idea was suggested by my friend in crime Ms Proctor, a Seattle girl, who got a initial list from a friend and has been reworking on it as others contribute with their favorite dive bars in Dallas. I can tell you. Everyone has an opinion on the subject. Some of them  rip out half of the list saying they’re too clean. And clean seems to be definitely detrimental for a dive bar.  So on a friday night, we both met a couple of other friends and drove to a “nasty” part of town, as others consider Deep Ellum.

Wide Open is the first of the dive bars we will be visiting. Fun!

DOUBLE WIDE BY MS PROCTOR (who has a 10.000 times more refined english than I do):
Kitschy goodness abounds at this spacious, multi-area trailer themed bar where patrons sip cans of pabst blue ribbon and shiner. Step inside and you’re surrounded by wood paneling, fish & game trophies and an old cigarette machine. Then, venture outdoors into the gravel filled court yard where rows of toilet seats serve as chairs and add a splash of punk rock.

Ms Proctor self-portrait

DOUBLE WIDE BY ALEXAL:
To say the least, Double Wide is a breath of fresh air in the Dallas crowd. Oh God, there are no fake blondies with fake boobs and tons of make ups. One or other model-like-skinny-white-strange-dresses, grunges (they still exist), intellectuals and every type of people in their 30’s. You can choose between the bar, the patio or the band area. For two beers and 1 Saphire gin tonic, USD 12. What’s not to love about this place? We sat in a toilet in the patio before moving to a more comfortable spot. We were lucky enough to have men walking back and forth to the bar anytime we needed a drink, but at this point (1AM) the only thing I needed was my bed with no smokers around. I like it early. And dive bar people were just getting started.

Alexal shoes by Ms Proctor. And that's not the restroom!

Girls exercise their creativity on the bathroom wall. Shouldn't they be looking at the mirror only?

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1. Best new places in Dallas: Meddlesome Moth

Whenever  I hear about a place far from the obvious Mckinney-Knox-Henderson-Greenville, I just can’t wait to try it. Does it have dozens of beers and is one step ahead in the kitchen? Even better. I visited the new arts district bar Meddlesome Moth two times in the last month and I continue to like it!

Meddlesome Moth patio is empty right now, but not for long

The food is not consistent at all, but they have great winners: homemade homus, a hot bread and butter from a local bakery and the classic mussels with butter and wine. I love the fact that 90% of the menu can be shared (like all bars in my hometown country) and that they have beers I’ve never heard about. Just because of that I’m willing to forgive the horrible fish and chips I tried there on wednesday (July 21st). Chef Chad Kelley, go have a bite at the fish & chips served at Hilo Bay Cafe in Hilo, Hawaii. You would be ashamed to serve these mushy version!

The patio with rustic wood common tables still remain empty due to the high temperatures, but I’m pretty sure it will be impossible to get a table there in the next fall. So, head now!

Go there:
1621 Oak Lawn Ave
Dallas, TX 75207

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Dallas best wine bars 2010

It all started with an email to a couple of friends. I wanted to visit Dallas best wine bars in just one weekend. I could rely on Yelp’s top 8 or my friend’s top 8. Guess what? They’re were almost the same. I tried to reproduce the same experience in all of them: sit, read (I was normally by myself), order “your best white by the glass, please” but I have to confess that in two of them I didn’t even order. Why, if I hated already everything? It’s the only advantage of having a blog instead of a serious career in food critique. Did I learn something? Here we go to my pleasurable weekend:

THE WINER: Cork
My favorite before and after this expedition. I love the fact that it’s always almost empty and people rarely go there just to hang out. More of a store than a wine bar. You can order by the glass (opening a tab) or buy a pre-paid card and sip 10 to 15 wines. Had a fantastic chenin blanc from South Africa the other day and I would only wish they had better cheese.
The best: to read and buy bottles.
The crowd: couples buying last minute bottles, middle age reading by themselves, couples and their Ipads.
Address: 3636 McKinney Ave, Dallas

  • Cork on a saturday afternoon.

Bodega Bar – (by James, the owner of the only dog I like in the world)
When you enter their ‘classic’ ambience, you forget that you were steps away of a very urban area of the city. I kind of like that. I felt like the type of place a guy takes a girl on a date: low light, red sofas, romantic. Nice, but not my thing.
The best:
to have an intimate conversation with someone
The crowd: middle-age couples; it was kind of empty on a friday early evening
Address: 4514 Travis St, Dallas

Times 10 Cellars – (by Delphine, the sophisticated french among us all)
Very beautiful house close to the lake. On the day t I visited it was very empty but it didn’t bother me. Except me and my friend, there was just a group of noisy women -almost a pleonasm- on a night out.  I liked the fact that you can order food from nearby restaurants. Their wines were really weak (which Delphine had already adviced) but we had a great time before heading for a dinner at Victor Tango’s.

The best: to go by yourself or with a close group of friends
The crowd:
groups of women and couples
Address
: 6324 Prospect Ave, Dallas

Veritas – (by  Kristin, a crazy hippie who does bikram yoga during 60 days nonstop)
I didn’t expect to like it because it’s in such an ugly strip mall on the Knox-Henderson avenue. But, it was bombing on a saturday afternoon. Mostly because a designer was selling beautiful handmade jewelry; which I tried -and bought- before even looking at the wines. I have my priorities right. I sat, had my usual white (a good one in a big glass) and people watched. I would say -from them all- it was the best spot to be with a group of friends immersed in their big leather sofas. A keeper.
The best: people watching
The crowd:
all types of couples
Address
: 2323 N Henderson Ave

Mercy Wine Bar – (by Luci, the italian hottie that likes to fight with me. Normally, with a reason)
Maybe it was me. Maybe it was my moody friend. We arrived here on a saturday night to meet dozens of couple having a candle light meal with red wine and a live singer while outside was 99F! I felt everything was so fakish european tavern that I left to the nearest Paciugo where I had a decent coconut with dark chocolate. Maybe it was me. Maybe it was my moody friend.  I have to go back with the hottie from above.

The best: to listen to live music while you drink. I guess people like that.
Address: 5100 Belt Line Rd, Dallas

Cru
Came in. Came out. I don’t know how it was in the past but I felt it was as tacky as Taco Diner and Mi Cocina just around the corner. Convenient location post movies, but definitely not for that special night.
The best: close to everything
Address: 3699 McKinney Ave

Other places visited: Jimmy’s Food Store is really great to buy italian wines, cheese and prosciutto. Looking for a wine bar, I pass it; Coal Vines: use it to have pizza with the Uptown crowd.

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