Cravings

Howdy, howdy! How’s everyone doing? I know a lot of restaurants are doing take-out and/or delivery, but we’re so far away from a lot of our favorite places that those options aren’t really feasible. So, while I’m perfectly content to stay at home, I do admit that I occasionally miss going out for food. I was supposed to go to the dentist for a cleaning yesterday, which would normally have meant stopping for food (probably Mexican) afterwards. Due to Covid-19, the dentist canceled my appointment. I didn’t really care, but it meant no flan for me. Sadness. Anyway, it got me thinking about some things I’m looking forward to if the businesses survive this whole pandemic thing and I can eventually leave the house.

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It’s the whole reason I leave the house 95% of the time.

1. Cajun and bread pudding. Specifically from The Free Man in Deep Ellum. It’s been a long time since we’ve been down there because of all the crap that was going on. Hopefully things will stay calm for a while after the pandemic (I doubt it). At least long enough for us to hit up a couple of places before everything goes to shit again.

2. Seafood. Half Shells. Because it’s been too long since we’ve been there. It’s just so far away and we don’t have many excuses to go out that way. Granted, we only go there once every four or five months, but we haven’t been since mid-December, so it’s around that time when oysters, fish, and a nice cocktail sound good.

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Stolen from Google and has nothing to do with Xquinkles, but it’s pretty.

3. Fresas con crema y un malteada (strawberries and cream and a milkshake). The fruteria down the street is called Xquinkles. Dad’s been buying me cookies for my sweet tooth, so I can hold off a while on this, but pick up is an option here. Maybe the next time we want a burger from the place next door to this one we can order from here too. They close early though (8pm), so probably not.

4. Irish food. Trinity Hall Irish Pub. It’s getting a little warm for hearty potato-filled goodness, but I could still go for a black and tan with a Dublin bay casserole and something yummy for dessert. Luckily, Dad made a shepherd’s pie recently, so that will tide me over ’til summer makes an exit. Maybe by then we’ll be able to venture out into the world again. I doubt it, but there’s no harm in positive thinking.

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Pad Thai from Bangkok at Greenville’s Facebook page.

5. Thai food. Maybe Tukta Thai or Bangkok at Greenville. Some tom kha gai and black rice pudding. Yummy. Maybe when everything is over we’ll take a ride to one of these places.

Anyway, that’s some of the food I miss during this whole quarantine thing. What about you? What are some of the places you’re looking forward to eating at if life returns to normal? Any dishes in particular that you could go for right now? As always, feel free to share your thoughts or lists or comments here or on my social media pages!

Updates About Restaurants I’ve Reviewed

Howdy, howdy!  Happy November!  Is everyone getting ready for the holidays?  They’ll be here before you know it.  I’m looking forward to Thanksgiving and the month where everything is peppermint flavored.  Are you looking forward to anything?  Anyway, Dad and I recently went to a restaurant I reviewed a long time ago and it was kind of blah.  So, I thought I would take the day to look back on past reviews and see if there is anything I need to update about them.  Let’s just go in chronological order from the beginning.

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1. The Tuscan Brick Oven Bistro.  I honestly have no idea how this one is holding up since I haven’t been back to Maine recently.  It’s still open according to Google, so if you’re in the area, check it out and let me know how it is.

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2. Half Shells Oyster Bar & Grill.  This place is still one of our favorites.  We don’t get out that way as often as we’d like, but we still recommend it to anyone in the area who loves seafood.

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3. Big Shucks Oyster Bar.  This place is still the best when it comes to scallops.  We haven’t gone recently (we’d rather go to Half Shells most of the time), but we still love it.

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4. St. Pete’s Dancing Marlin.  We haven’t been to any of the Deep Ellum restaurants in a long time because of all of the stuff that’s been going on (violence and the scooters of doom mostly), but we always enjoy St. Pete’s when we do go.

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5. The Free Man Cajun Cafe.  Same as St. Pete’s.

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6. Real Mexican Tacos.  It’s still our go-to taco place.  We usually end up here once or twice a month since it’s so close.  Say hi if you drop in and we’re there!

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7. The Mansion Restaurant.  We haven’t been back and have no plans to go back.  It’s a wonderful experience, but not something that needs to be done every year.  Splurge if you’re celebrating something big.  Otherwise, there are less expensive places where you get more food.

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8. Zenna.  Everything has gone downhill here.  The food is always disappointing and the service, while friendly, is always a little messed up.  It’s not really a place I’d recommend anymore.

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9. On the Lamb.  They shut down a long time ago.  I kind of miss them, but didn’t really expect them to make it.

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10. Texas de Brazil.  Still awesome.  And it’s our new Thanksgiving tradition!  Dad, our neighbor, and I already have our reservation for turkey day.  So much yum.

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11. Seafood Shack Mariscos.  We’ve only been back a couple of times, but we enjoy it.

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12. The Schooner Restaurant.  Haven’t been back and don’t want to.  Even if we were in the area, we wouldn’t go back.

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13. Crispy ‘N’ Puffy Taquito.  They are closed.  It’s no surprise.  But they blamed the city of Mesquite and its strict regulations regarding signs.  It had nothing to do with awful food.

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14. Trinity Hall Irish Pub.  We’ve been back a couple of times and it’s still great.  Go and enjoy!

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15. Yoshi Shabu Shabu.  We haven’t been back, so I don’t know how it holds up.

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16. Fritzl’s Euro Grill.  Still recommend it.  Maybe we’ll make it back some time before Christmas.

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17. Burger Style Cafe.  Still go here every couple of weeks or so.  It’s delicious and nearby, so what’s not to love?

There’s my update.  Most of them are still good, a couple are closed, and one is meh.  Life goes on and things change.  What are some of your favorite places to eat?  As always, feel free to share your thoughts and comments here or on my social media pages!

A Look Inside Half Shells Oyster Bar & Grill

Hi all!  I’ve decided to go ahead and review another restaurant.  Once a month seems like a good number for the moment.  Today, we’re going to look at one of Dallas’s seafood joints, Half Shells Oyster Bar & Grill.  There are a number of locations for Half Shells under a couple of different names (see their website for the one nearest you), but I’m lucky enough to be near the original in Snider Plaza (across Hillcrest Ave from SMU, next to Kuby’s).

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Borrowed from the website above.

Half Shells Oyster Bar & Grill – Snider Plaza
6617 Snider Plaza
Dallas, TX 75205

First off, a reminder of my rating system:

MMMMM = Everything is magnificent!
MMMM = Great, but something is off.
MMM = Pretty good, but a couple of things could be better.
MM = The bad’s starting to outweigh the good.
M = Definitely more cons than pros.
… = I couldn’t find anything nice to say.

 Accessibility-wise, this place is a bit of a tight squeeze, but if you can get in when it’s not too busy and can snag a table by the door, it’s perfect.  The table height is mid-normal, which is great for me.  There’s also outside seating (again, tight but not impossible).  My biggest problem with the outdoor tables are that they have a lip underneath, so I can’t pull up to them properly (my knees are too high).  Personally, I don’t mind putting the plate in my lap, so I can make it work.

Next up, service.  The service at Half Shells is almost always good.  In all the times I’ve been, I think a waiter ignored my existence once and only until he realized I was capable of speech.  There was one rude hostess who caused us to leave, but that was an unusual experience.  Otherwise, they’re usually very good about not bringing things out too fast or rushing.  Some are better than others about keeping up with drinks, but the food makes up for it.

Speaking of food, when Dad, a friend, and I went last Thursday, we had blue point oysters and crab bisque to start.  Delicious!  If you like oysters on the half shell and they have blue points (a special usually), it’s worth it.  The bisque was amazing as well.  Unfortunately, I forgot to take pictures, but there are pictures of the entrées.

Half Shells has twice daily specials (lunch and dinner).  Dad and I usually order off the board, but the things I’ve had from the menu are equally as good.  They have one of the best selections of fish we’ve been able to find in Dallas because of the specials.  This time, I got the trout special, Dad had red snapper, and Sarah (the friend who didn’t warn us she was now vegan) had french fries.

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Dad’s salad, asparagus, and snapper. My green beans, mashed potatoes, and trout.
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The lovely Sarah and her waffle fries.

  As always, the food was superb.  I don’t think we’ve ever run across a bad entrée here.

Dessert is a little less than thrilling.  They have it listed on another specials board, so a few things usually change.  It’s always been good, especially when they have one of their berry cobblers (divine!), but otherwise it’s pretty ordinary.  Dad got a chocolate cherry mousse cake and I got a pecan cobbler (they didn’t have anything vegan for dessert).  Both were good, but definitely not the highlight of the meal.

Price:  It’s seafood in Dallas.  In other words, a little pricy, but for the quality and selection of the fish, totally worth it.

Overall rating:
MMMM