Monday, March 23, 2009

the food rut

I've gotten in a food rut.

After my "inspiring" last blog post to cook more at home, I've instead eaten out almost every meal. Here are the most note-worthy:

Kincaids (burgers)

I don't think Kincaid's is as overrated as some may say.

No, it's not the best burger I've ever eaten... but, the place is consistent and the burgers always hit the spot. I went with my boyfriend on a slow afternoon last week and we both ordered cheeseburgers and shared an order of fries.

My burger was complete with cheese, mayo, lettuce and tomato and it was pretty good. Despite its' slight greasiness, the veggies were fresh and the cheese was melty (I know, melty is not a word but I like it anyway) and the bun was nicely toasted. My only other complaint was a lack of seasoning on the meat patty. After a shake of salt and pepper, I was good to go. I really like their crinkle-cut fries too. Salty fries have always been a guilty pleasure of mine...especially dipped in ranch. These had the salt content and a pretty solid ranch dressing.

Nonna Tata (handmade Italian)

A new girlfriend (and fellow foodie) and I ventured out to Nonna Tata after an unsucessful attempt to try Aventino's new menu. Definitely not disappointed toward our alternate decision, we settled on a couple bottles of vino at Central Market and began our long, yet pleasant wait for an outdoor table for two.

Once seated, we split the antipasto plate, bruschetta and a side salad to begin. The antipasto was a wooden carving board covered in bresaola, salami, lemon soaked arugula, ricotta salata and crostini with a savory spread (I'm guessing ham). The bresaola was our favorite- the salty, dried beef was really nice with the peppery arugula and the tangy lemon. The bruschetta was nice too. It was tart and refreshing with plum tomatoes, basil and a balsamic vinaigrette.

For our entree, we split the special of the night- a housemade pasta stuffed with a potato puree and bacon with a sage butter sauce. The pasta form was interesting; it was twisted into a candy-wrapper like cylinder with the potatoes and bacon inside.

I know everyone is going to hate on me for not loving everything from Nonna Tata, but I just wasn't crazy about this dish. The pasta was chewy where twisted and the flavors were just too rich for me. I needed a little freshness or acid- but, it was still a lovely dinner.

Railhead (Smokehouse)

Being from Austin, I've had some outstanding BBQ that Fort Worth has yet to touch. Fortunately, Railhead, a worthy Fort Worth contender, has perpetually consistent BBQ perfect for my smoky cravings.

On a recent visit, I ordered the sliced beef sandwich plate with potato salad and baked beans. Although the sides were tasty, I could have skipped them and gone for two sandwiches instead. The brisket really hit the spot and the sandwich wasn't overly sauced. I'm not a huge mustard/pickle person so I prefer the plain meat with a bit of sauce- simple, smoky, tangy and savory all wrapped into the ole' faithful Mrs. Baird's hamburger bun.

Old Neighborhood Grill (diner-style)

I discovered "ONG" back in my TCU days and have enjoyed going ever since. The environment is homey, the selection of sides are endless, the desserts are homemade and the chicken fried steak is fantastic. Although I've tried many things there (fried shrimp, black bean burger, cheeseburger, grilled chicken salad), I think the blackened tuna sandwich is my favorite. On this particular trip, I virtually ignored my own plate (fried shrimp) and helped myself to my fellow diner's chicken fried steak...good stuff.

Tu Hai (Vietnamese)

It's been a while since I've been to this modest, yet quaint Vietnamese restaurant off East Belknap but I was eager to return. I started with the egg rolls but soon looked around and realized that the spring rolls were the popular vote. Regardless, the pork and cabbage filled egg rolls were crispy and nice with a mild, ponzu-type sauce with julienned carrots.

For my lunch entree, I ordered the lemongrass chicken with sauteed onions, steamed rice and sliced cucumbers and my significant other ordered the #20- chicken with vegetables. Mine was nice but they really weren't playing around with that lemongrass. The citrusy lemongrass flavor was pungent but fortunately for me, I loved it. The chicken with vegetables had a really subtle and delicious sauce that I couldn't stop eating. I would highly recommend this place- don't forget to bring cash.

Spiral Diner (Vegan, mostly organic)

Spiral pancakes- where have you been all my life???

I'm a pretty quirky breakfast eater- I don't like to mess around with sweets and I would pick breakfast tacos or eggs benedict over pancakes and waffles any day. For this breakfast, I got to have my (pan)cake and eat them too. After I ordered the big taquito with a tofu scramble and veggies, I coerced my close-minded-about-Vegan-food-boyfriend to order the pancakes for me to try as well. Complete with agave nectar, the banana walnut pancakes were piping hot, fluffy and delish. After gulping down a glass of freshly-squeezed, organic orange juice, I was in heaven.


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