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!

2018: It Was A Year

Hello, hello!  First and foremost, I want to once again thank J. R. Dawson for her awesome guest post last week.  If you haven’t read it yet, go and do the thing.  Now, on to this week’s post!  Since December is speeding toward its end, I thought I would take a moment to look back on the year.  Don’t worry.  I don’t plan on getting all insightful and nostalgic.  But I do plan on sharing five memorable things that have occurred this year in no particular order.

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Before the year washes away completely…

1.  The great wheelchair debacle of 2018.  As many of you know, I recently got my new wheelchair after months (about 7 months) of fighting for it.  Technically, Dad did most of the fighting, I was just stubborn about what I wanted.  Instead of telling us up front that they didn’t normally deal with Quickie chairs, the company we were getting the chair through assured us they could get one, then proceeded to try pushing an Invacare chair on me.  They talked me into trying a molded seat despite the fact that I’ve always hated that type of seat.  All along they said it would work with a Quickie, but when they went to send it out, chair and all, they told us it was an Invacare chair.  They tried to convince us that’s what we agreed to, which went over like a lead balloon.  After much arguing and being punished by not getting a seat I didn’t want in the first place, I have my Quickie and it even has the motors I wanted (though we had to pay the extra for them out of pocket, which is fine).  I just don’t have any pictures of it to share yet.

2.  Getting published (and getting paid for it).  I know you’re probably tired of hearing about it, but it was an exciting part of my year.  We even went down to Port Neches for the book launch, which was a nice little vacation for us even though the seafood was severely disappointing.  And, of course, I can’t write about it without dropping a link where you can purchase the book.  So, if you haven’t read it yet, you can find my story “Lying Eyes” in Road Kill: Texas Horror by Texas Writers Vol. 3.  You can find purchase info at the bottom of the linked page.

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It would look good on your bookshelf!

3.  A new Thanksgiving tradition?  I don’t know if it’ll become a tradition or not (we’ll see what happens next year), but we had a lovely meal at Texas de Brazil this year.  After 32+ years, Dad wasn’t up for cooking the usual feast, so we took our neighbor to the Brazilian steakhouse.  They had a few Thanksgiving staples alongside their normal menu.  It was delicious as ever.  The only sad thing was there were no leftovers.

4.  Saw the Moody Blues live.  I admit that 2018 wasn’t the best year for concerts, but with everything going down in Deep Ellum, it didn’t feel like a good idea to go down there too often.  Plus, there weren’t many bands I actually wanted to see.  But back in January, Dad surprised me with a trip to the Toyota Music Factory to see the Moody Blues play.  They are an amazing band with some awesome music.  Seeing them live was a real treat!

5.  Dad’s hernia surgery.  Most of you already know, but Dad had hernia surgery on the 11th.  His primary doctor finally confirmed he had one last month even though Dad had been vocal about pain and swelling for the last 6 months.  The doctor acted like the swelling was something new.  Then again, this is the same doctor who forgot he put Dad on a diet.  So, Dad found a place called NTTC Surgery Center, which provides routine surgical procedures for a flat (affordable) rate.  It’s basically a collaborative effort from local doctors to provide affordable options for people without insurance.  The facility is nice and the staff was wonderful.  Though, it was a bit of a surprise when the surgeon required his portion in cash, which we weren’t warned about.  But other than that, the whole experience was smooth and everyone was very reassuring.  Dad just had his post-op check up and is healing well.  He’s getting a bit antsy to get back to his normal routine, but he has to take it easy for three more weeks.

How was your year?  Feel free to share some memories (good, bad, scary, exciting, or otherwise) here or on my social media pages!

A Look Inside Texas de Brazil

Howdy, howdy!  How was everyone’s week?  As promised, I’m posting a review of my birthday experience at Texas de Brazil.  We went to the one out in Addison this time, instead of the one in Dallas.  Check out their website (linked above) for locations near you!  It’s a Brazilian steakhouse and churrascaria, so there’s a big focus on meat.  As carnivores, Dad and I appreciate that, as did Ed Baker who went with us and is a family friend from back when I was active with MDA.  I will say that this wasn’t my first time there, so this post will probably draw on my other experiences as well.

First, 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.

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A selection of their meats borrowed from their Facebook page.

First up is accessibility.  They don’t have many handicap parking spaces at either of the locations I’ve been to, but they do have valet parking to make life easier if the spaces are taken.  I admit that I like the Addison location a little better than the Dallas one because I can get in through the front door.  The only ramp on the Dallas location is in through the kitchen, which is cool (I mean, at least they made it accessible in the ways they could).  The Texas de Brazil in Addison did a nice job to accommodate wheelchairs.  It can be a tight squeeze around the salad bar, especially at the corners (we had to ask a nice man to move because I couldn’t make one of the turns), but otherwise it was fairly easy to manuever around.  The tables are a nice height, but they do have a small piece underneath that I would’ve banged my knees on if I hadn’t looked first.  It’s easily avoidable, though.  So, it’s accessibility is up to the usual standards around here.

Next is service.  The hostess and waitress were wonderful.  They both talked to me like a regular human being.  The people who carry the meat around and serve it focused mostly on Dad and Ed.  Only one or two of them looked directly to me when asking who wanted what, but since Dad grabbed a piece for me off of everything, it didn’t really bug me.  In other words, the service was great where it mattered.

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Dad, Ed, and I post-meat, but pre-dessert.

Now, the best part: food!  Once you’re seated, there’s a huge salad area you can hit up as often as you want.  There’re vegetables and cheese and fruits and fish and soup.  It’s delicious all on its own.  They do have vegetarian-friendly options in case you know some herbivores, but I’m not sure about vegan options.  My personal favorites were the cheeses and some kind of pineapple dish that was super thinly sliced and sweet.  It’s definitely got enough to fill you up even if you don’t want to eat the meat floating around the room.

As for the meat, I can honestly say it’s like a little slice of heaven.  Waiters carry skewers of everything from beef to chicken to pork to lamb.  There’s literally something for everyone.  Dad loves lamb, I loved the parmesan crusted chicken and pork, Ed kept going back to the sausages.  You can gorge on whatever you want or have a little bit of everything like we did.  They even have a couple of sides (garlic mashed potatoes and fried bananas) they bring to the table despite the huge salad area.  They also have bread.  Be prepared to stuff yourself silly.

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My birthday creme brulee!

Texas de Brazil also has a fairly wide variety of desserts.  I had the creme brulee, of course.  Dad had flan, and Ed had the key lime pie.  Everything we’ve had here has been yummy.  They don’t have specialty coffee cocktails, but the bartender will whip something up if you ask, which is how I like to end such a wonderful meal.

Now, onto the thing no one likes to talk about: the price.  At nearly $50 a person (not including drinks and desserts), it’s not cheap.  But for everything you get, it’s totally worth the splurge once a year or so.  Get dressed up and make a night of it with someone special.

So, here’s my rating:
MMMM

15 Things About Me That You Never Wanted To Know

Howdy, howdy!  As some of you might know, tomorrow (January 12th) is my birthday.  I’ll be 31, or for those of you who have gerascophobia (the fear of aging), it’ll be my third 29th.  Birthdays around here are quiet events that usually consist of a nice dinner with friends.  This year, the destination is Texas de Brazil!  Yummy!  I’ll make sure to do a full report on that next week.  This week, I thought I would share a list of 15 things about myself that you may or may not already know.  I was going to do 31 and make it a whole nod to my age thing, but no one’s that interested in me.

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Pretty much.

1. My current diagnosis is Ulrich Congenital Muscular Dystrophy (UCMD), but it’s not my first.  There was Floppy Baby Syndrome, which I was supposed to grow out of.  When that didn’t happen, it was Congenital Myopathy.  I didn’t grow out of that either, so I was diagnosed with Spinal Muscular Atrophy type 2 (SMA2), which came with a series of death guesstimates that never panned out.  That was all by the time I was five.  I was 23 or so when they decided SMA2 was definitely wrong and tested for UCMD (a relatively new disease at the time).  The doctors swear UCMD is the correct one, though.  We’ll see what happens.

2. I like Nickelback.  Make fun of me all you want, but they aren’t a bad group.  They’re not my favorite or anything, but I never really understood why they’re so hated.

3. I don’t have a favorite TV show.  I have shows I love, but if you asked me to pick one I like best, I couldn’t even narrow it down.

4. I’m a firm believer that “growing up” and “acting your age” are scams developed by people who aren’t young at heart.  Besides, I’ve never been this age.  I don’t know what it’s supposed to be like.

5. My favorite things about the Christmas season (aside from family and joy and all of that) are eggnog and peppermint bark.

6. I’m quietly competitive.  I try not to compete with people for things, but when it happens, I will silently plot your overthrow.

7. One of my favorite memories from my time at SMU was when my physics teacher decided to make class grades “public.”  There was a spreadsheet on the class website with our grades listed under nicknames.  I swapped back and forth with a guy (I overheard the guy tell a classmate his nickname, so I know it wasn’t the other female in class) for top marks as the semester went on, ultimately earning the highest grade.  That was the best motivation ever.

8. I started listening to James Blunt and Lifehouse and sappy music in general for a male.  I keep listening to it because I’m apparently a big old softy who enjoys that kind of stuff.

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Maybe.

9. I can go weeks or more without talking to people.  It doesn’t mean that I don’t like you.  And I don’t avoid people very often unless I’ve had too much social interaction (a rare occurrence).  I’ll answer you if you message me.  I’m just really bad at keeping in touch.

10. My favorite colors are purple and green.  My favorite color combination is purple with black and silver.  Most people don’t seem to know about the green part.  It’s weird.

11. I have to drink booze through a straw.  I don’t really understand why this amazes people, but it does.

12. I want to go to Japan some day.  There are other places I would like to visit, but Japan will always be at the top of my list.

13. A friend once told me that she loved me because I would tell her the blunt truth and she’d still walk away feeling special, even if I was telling her she was doing something idiotic.  She’s not the only one who has said something similar.  I guess it’s a weird talent I have.

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Seriously.  Don’t do the thing.

14. I don’t read nearly as much as I should.  I know writers are expected to read a lot, but I don’t.  It’s just not that high on my list of priorities, so I tend to keep putting it off.

15. I’d love to move to the northeast.  Somewhere on the water.  Closer to my Stonecoast people.  I really miss Maine, especially while residency is going on, like right now.

I’ll stop boring you!  Feel free to share some facts about yourself in the comments or on my social media pages.  See you next week!