Lucia

On a gorgeous July summer night in Dallas a few weeks ago, we stepped out and enjoyed a little celebratory dinner.  P1070676

The birthday girl got to decide on the spot for this occasion (a.k.a. yours truly), so we dined at Lucia, a tiny Italian nook in the middle of Bishop Arts where it takes WEEKS to get a reservation.

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Perhaps it was the promise of Italian food, or maybe it was just the mere fact that this place is so hard to get into, but whatever the reason, I had pretty high expectations of this place before walking in the door.

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We started with a few aperitivi, and before we knew it, a plate full of warm, soft bread was delivered to our table…

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Not a bad start, Lucia.  Well played.

Having properly kicked off our carbo-loading session, we placed an order of the Red Wattle Prosciutto with figs and arugula, which was a perfect combination of sweet, salty and peppery.  The prosciutto was perfectly savory, and when paired with a bite of the sweet fig and slightly bitter arugula, it made for a delectable flavor combo.

P1070659With high spirits and happy taste buds, we continued on, ordering a plate of the Cavatelli, with cannelini beans, more prosciutto (because why not!), and lumache (which, we learned that evening, was the word for snails in Italian).

P1070665It was AWESOME.  The pasta resembled gnocchi and offered a soft pillow-like texture that was quite enjoyable.  We quickly finished the plate and awaited our secondi.

AG had picked out the Texas Waygu coulotte, and I selected the Foie-Gras-stuffed Quail; both of us promising to share, of course. 🙂

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The Waygu coulotte was a perfect pink, and insanely juicy.  The flavor was just awesome, and when stacked on a fork with a generous scoop of cauliflower puree and salty cheese shavings… mmmm it made my day!

The quail, on the other hand…

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It looked beautiful on the plate, served with figs and gorgeously caramelized onions, but to be honest, it just didn’t tickle my fancy.

I don’t know if it was the Foie Gras, or simply that quail is not my thing after all, but I didn’t love it.  AG on the other hand, was happy to take on my plate and enjoyed every bite.  So perhaps it was just a personal taste-thing, but I wasn’t that impressed.

That being said though, the meal up until that point was awesome, and I will absolutely return and try out another dish.  Sometimes we all deserve second chances, no?

P1070675All in all, it was a lovely evening out with my favorite person, and definitely not a bad way to spend a birthday. 🙂

If you decide to check out Lucia, I’d recommend calling a month in advance to make a reservation.  Then after dinner, take a little stroll around the lovely foodie district that is Bishop Arts, because it’s worth a little look-see.  You can always finish the night off with some chocolates from Dude Sweet Chocolate next door, S’mores at Tillman’s Roadhouse, or a big slice of pie from Emporium Pies.

If you can’t tell, I’m feeling a lot of love right now for this food-filled neighborhood of Dallas!

Cheers!  xx

G

 

 

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FT33

Birthdays in this house are kind of a big deal.  I’ve always loved birthdays… anyone’s birthday.  It’s a great excuse to get together with some of your favorite people, and the fact that cake is part of the celebration is just icing on the… uh… cake!

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AG and I happen to share the same birth month, so June is pretty much the best month of the year.  It starts with celebrating AG and ends with my birthday, so it’s almost a straight month of birthday festivities.  And I’m not complaining.

This year we happened to be headed to Miami over AG’s birthday weekend (more to come on that trip!), so we decided to do a bit of our own celebrating a few days before, which of course involved food, because what else?!

I’d been hankering to try out a new Dallas spot that was getting quite a buzz – FT33.  We went on a gorgeous Wednesday and sat close enough to the big windows in the front to enjoy the amazing sunlight that was still pouring in after 7pm.  Ahhh I just love Dallas in the summer!

We perused the cocktail menu, which was nearly a foreign language – featuring beverages you surely wouldn’t fine elsewhere.  Truffled martini, anyone?

(Sorry for the grainy photos… I neglected to grab my camera on the way out the door, and was therefore stuck with my camera phone.  Fail.)wpid-img_20140604_205748.jpg

We weren’t quite that adventurous on this visit and opted for a Strawberry + Bourbon (for me), and a White Whiskey + Coconut (for him).  Both were delicious – the Strawberry was tangy with a gorgeous color, and the Coconut cocktail offered a very smooth, refreshing flavor that I could just suck down if provided an unlimited supply! 🙂

With beverages in-hand, we placed an order of Lamb Agnolotti, which pretty much resembled ravioli.  It was served with caramelized onions that when paired with the agnolotti, sang a sweet, sweet tune in your mouth. MmmmmMmmmm.

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Warm, fresh bread that was delivered to our table was put to good use, sopping up the delicious sauce that lingered when the pasta was gone.  I don’t think there was a drop left on that plate.  The bread didn’t make it very long, either!

We followed our first course up with our mains (and a replacement order of warm bread).  I ordered the Skate, which was served with a gorgeous hunk of pork belly, morels, and a dill sauce that pulled me right in.  I was quickly back to dipping anything I could, to get every bit of that saucy goodness!

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AG chose the Bavette, which was smothered in a Kentucky Bourbon soy sauce that made my knees weak.  I vowed instantly to get my hands on some of that Bourbon soy sauce, and have already placed an order on Amazon (in case you’re also interested). 🙂wpid-img_20140605_083151.jpg

The beef deserved a close-up shot:wpid-img_20140605_084304.jpg

With happy bellies, we debated on getting dessert for a hot second, but as per usual, any self control was tossed aside… for this:
wpid-img_20140605_181152.jpgRocky Road, FT33 style – and boy, was it good!  I looked around for brioche or something to scoop up the last bits, but sadly this was the only area where FT33 lacked. Which, really, is probably better for my waistline anyways…

Just as we were paying the bill to leave, our lovely waitress popped over for one last surprise – a finishing touch on the meal that we would have have never expected:

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From the master chef himself!  🙂  We were humbled that he took the time to thank US, when we were the lucky ones who got to enjoy his amazing food!  This little detail only made me want to come back for more.

All in all, a delightfully memorable dinner to celebrate my favorite man! 🙂

Until next time, FT33…

Bon appétit!

-G

 

Driftwood Date

Life lately has been pretty darn busy around here.  Hectic schedules, travel, visitors, and more travel pretty much sums it up.  I’m not complaining – I love to be busy, and we’ve had some wonderful weekends exploring new cities and entertaining family visitors.  But every once in a while, it’s nice to just take a mo’ and enjoy each other’s company.

So that’s just what we did one beautiful Friday – we got a little dressed up, and went on a lovely dinner date.  Just the two of us. 🙂

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I’d been dying to try out Driftwood, a seafood spot in the Oak Cliff restaurant playground.  The word of mouth was pretty stellar for this joint, and so naturally we had to taste it for ourselves.

The atmosphere at Driftwood is so relaxing; beach-inspired decor almost makes you feel like you’ve left Dallas for a quick trip to the beach.  And the seafood.  Ohhh the seafood.

P1070342 P1070343 P1070346I absolutely loved the feel of this spot, and clearly got a bit shutter-happy until our obliging waiter popped over to take our drink orders.  The cocktail list at this joint is every bit as seasonal and fresh as the menu.

I ordered a “Spring Social,” an acai-based cocktail with citrus and seasonal fruit.  It was both refreshing and delicious – an absolutely perfect start to our meal.  AG kicked it off with Driftwood’s spin on a Manhattan, and we both slurped down our beverages as we put an order in for oysters.

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We ordered four and immediately regretted the decision – we should have ordered MORE!  They went down nicely with our delicious beverages and I knew if the rest of the meal was as good as those oysters, we were in for an awesome dinner.

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As fresh as you can get!  We squeezed fresh lemon on those bad boys and topped them off with the diced shallot sauce, which paired just perfectly with the oysters.

We were happy as clams, and we hadn’t even gotten to our mains yet!

P1070345He makes for a pretty handsome date, doesn’t he? 🙂

When our mains were delivered to the table, they were nothing short of works of art.  The presentation of each dish was just impeccable.  I love me a pretty dish!

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AG ordered the Halibut, which was served on top of green cabbage and lemon-celery root purée.  The flavors were light, and mingled with the hearty purée like they were the best of friends.

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I went for the Scallops and Bacon, which was just… UHHH.  SO GOOD.  I loved the presentation, and the flavors of this dish were perfectly balanced, with the salty crunchy bacon and the buttery scallops.  I found myself sopping up the trumpet mushroom purée with anything I could, just to get as much of that flavor as possible!

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We paired our mains with some truffle fries, which were very good, but surprisingly not the absolute best I’ve had.  Sorry Driftwood, but Hopdoddy has you beat there!

Of course we still ate the whole bowl-full, including the little crunchy fried pieces that fell to the bottom.  I’m not about to leave any truffle fries behind, EVER!

Seeing as everything thus far had been pretty much amazing, we decided to try out the dessert (of course)…

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Chocolate Three Ways:  sorbet, pâté, and ganache, all spun up and drizzled to make a pretty handsome looking dessert.

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Naturally, we hated it.  Just as much as we hated the rest of the meal.

JK!

Driftwood absolutely lived up to it’s awesome word-of-mouth, and we will absolutely be returning!

Bon appétit!

-G