Posted: August 31st, 2009 | Author: Olivia | Filed under: oFoodie | No Comments »
even though it’s jessi’s birthday this week, she wouldn’t let us take her out to dinner since it’s her foodie day this week. we enjoyed some french dining at rise nº1. michael was our guest for the night.
when: 7:00pm, monday
wait: around 20 minutes, due to seating whole party at once.
customer service: A-
food rating: A
rise is in the inwood village – at the intersection of lovers lane and inwood. kind of a run down area, but i think it’s just an older part of dallas and going under construction right now. has some nice shopping around the area (great place to just walk around on a nice, breezy, sunny day) – noticed a lot of decor stores. outdoor seating is available, and they have those great fan misters. i guess this french establishment understands the heat in texas.
when i first walked into rise – i was greeted with a “bonjour” from the pretty hostess and with a quick look around, confused myself with my surroundings. it was like i was transferred into a fairyland junkyard. there is so much stuff inside this cute little place, and rise has a great story to tell when you sit. they pride themselves on being eco-friendly and a lot of the stuff in their restaurant are recycled, or antiques. their aprons are made from 80 year old french linens… their water cups are made out of recycled wine bottles and all their silverware are antiques and different (i love the spoons!). everything at the front of their store is ‘for sale’ and they have some really great reads… including the very hungry caterpillar and best desserts in dallas!
customer service was adequate. nothing too stellar, but they were attentive and friendly. water was never low. our waiter teased steph a little bit (who was no in the best of moods) which jessi straight up told him and said “i wouldn’t mess with her if i were you”. he threw back his head and guffawed really loudly and jessi just said “i’m serious…”. but he didn’t believe me that it was jessi’s birthday (who cares if it’s on wednesday and not TODAY…) all cause jessi is a party pooper and decided to tell him “they’re going to try to tell you it’s my birthday, but don’t believe them”. you’re such a lamer, jess.
just so you know, rise is famous for their souffles and nothing else. the majority of the menu is souffles so if you don’t like them… would suggest you go somewhere else. honestly – i’ve never had souffles before but they were so good and i have the feeling one of the best i’ll have here in dallas at least! the food is slow cooking, so make sure you’ve got the time to chat and relax. life isn’t all about rushing!
to wait while the souffles rose to perfection, we ordered the artichoke andree as our appetizer. tonight was just a bunch of firsts before – as i’ve never had artichoke (excluding the dip). everyone got a good laugh because i shoved the whole artichoke leaf in my mouth instead of just biting out the meat at the root… oops. in my defense, i had no idea how to eat it. it was pretty tasty… though unique. they also bring out some hot bread with delicious butter. yum.
we decided on family style and ordered the following ‘savory’ souffles: lobster, truffle infused mushroom, jambon & gruyere, and herb & spicy sausage. these souffles were so puffy and didn’t collapse when poked around. very delicious. it’s a bit on the heavy side and i really suggest sharing because one ‘flavor’ is a lot to take all at one sitting.
lobster souffle: oh my gosh, amazing! they make the souffle on top of a lobster – so you get a ton of lobster meat. presentation is pretty stellar as well.
truffle infused mushroom: truffle anything gets overwhelming after a few bites. if you love it though, you will love this. it’s pretty good, just hard for me to handle a lot at once.
jambon & gruyere: little lunch souffle, tasted just like a ham and cheese sandwich. was a lot more mild than the other souffles with a homey taste.
herb & spicy sausage: just like a breakfast taco… but in a souffle. steph insisted it had a strange taste, so who knows. i only had one bite, and it wasn’t bad.
a souffle is a souffle so it’s hard for me to review – especially since i’ve never had one before in my life! but they were very puffy and good quality. great first experience.
and now for the goods. most souffles you think about are the dessert kind. never fear… we enjoyed two dessert souffles – chocolate & raspberry. soooo good. i loved mixing them together. the chocolate was crunchy on the outside, which was very impressive and gave it a delicious texture contrast. if nothing else, come here for the dessert. there were a bunch of other types that we would have loved to try, but were too full to indulge.
summary – will definitely come again. this place is so quaint and adorable – seriously. has a great story and the ambiance just makes you happy. the puffy goodness isn’t that bad either. absolutely a whimsical place to have a girly night out!
more pics here.
Posted: August 30th, 2009 | Author: Olivia | Filed under: oFoodie | 2 Comments »
my week! trying some japanese at tei tei robata.
when: 8:00pm, thursday
wait: around 45 minutes for a table
customer service: A+
food rating: A+
tei tei is on n. henderson (uptown area) – right at the corner of the intersection where the road curves. across from the old monk and next to the porch. good luck finding parking on a thursday night. after circling once, i lost patience and just pulled the valet card. only in dallas would i consider valet… haha! at first glance, tei tei doesn’t look like anything spectacular, just a plain tan colored building. but right in the entrance, it takes the ambiance of a japanese garden – leading you to a very cozy restaurant with max occupancy of 48 customers.
ambiance is pretty much… romantic. dim lighting, modern lights & decor. tei tei is split into two parts – the restaurant (very small) and the bar. i arrived at the front of the restaurant where the host put my name down on the list, and pointed me in the direction of the bar until the rest of my party arrived. the bar has a bit more breathing room – some large cushioned benches surround rectangle tables. a waiter came over right after i got off the phone with steph and quickly got my requested water. steph joined soon after, and jessi around 10 minutes later.
customer service is pretty good here. it’s not out of the ordinary to wait for a table on a thursday night, in a tiny restaurant. the host came over soon after jessi got there to inform us the sushi bar will be opening up soon, but it would be around 15-20 minutes more to wait for a table. after some thought, we decided to sit at a table. there was no complaining, but still, the host brought us two appetizers – edamame and shishito peppers – on the house while we waited. really nice and considerate… and it wasn’t even necessary!
quick note: edamame was normal (how can you screw that up). first time i ever had shishito peppers – and they were good! soft and tender and bland by itself… but they give you some spices and salt to dip it in for taste. i actually enjoyed it a lot more than i thought i would!
our table opened up quicker than the host mentioned. when we sat, our waitress was really helpful and polite. she brought us out this scoop of what looked like.. potatoes/yam but it tasted a little like fish as well. no idea what it was, but it was still good. just a little something to start out the evening.
we ordered the following: cornflake crusted shrimp, “feed me” roll, marinated sea bass, scallop and shitake robata and sizzling seafood in garlic sauce. between the three of us, it was just a little too much food (but we finished it anyways).
cornflake crusted shrimp: i’m not the biggest shrimp fan, but this was good. the cornflakes were fried and pretty tasty. the only issue is when biting in at the wrong angle, the flakes jab into the roof of your mouth – not a pleasant experience. but the taste was great. the crispiness mixed with the shrimp’s softness on the inside was a tasty contrast.
“feed me” roll: the price on the sushi sheet just said ‘market’ – so we assumed it was some sort of fish. when i asked our waitress what was in it, she gave a mona lisa type smile and said “it’s a surprise”. “is it a good surprise??” i asked – and just received a little chuckle in return. she did not dissapoint me! it was yellowtail, tuna, salmon and avocado on the top, with spicy tuna in the middle. delicious!!! 8 pieces for $14 – not that bad at all.the sushi was fresh… just thinking about it is making me crave it again!
marinated sea bass: whenever i go to a restaurant that has sea bass – i’m immediately drawn to it. can you say “delicious fish”?? i love it so much. it’s like… a smooth, buttery fish. yum! the sea bass here was so good. very, very tender on the inside, with a slightly crunchy outside. the glaze on it was pretty much soy sauce, and probably some other stuff – but yum. i could definitely go for some more.
scallop and shitake mushroom: these little skewers were actually my least favorite of the night – although they were still good. the scallops had a very strong fishy taste, and were a little tough from sitting on the grill. however, the shitake mushrooms were sooo good. i’m used to eating shitake mushrooms in lots of sauce so that it’s very juicy and soft. these were so fluffy and light! never had shitake mushrooms like this before, and i really liked it.
lastly… the sizzling seafood in garlic sauce. this came out last so by this time – we were all pretty stuffed. the assorted of seafood included mussels, octopus, squid, shrimp, fish, shishito peppers, and… some other items that i had no idea what they were – but they were all chewy and delicious. the garlic sauce was really good, and served as a great dip. all the seafood was fresh. even though we were stuffed, every last bite was consumed!
unfortunately, no room for dessert – although i would love to try some another time. didn’t really glance at the menu either because there was just no way we would eat it.on our way out, the host had the door open for us and with a smile said “goodnight, olivia!”. i don’t think that’s ever happened before, and it was a great personal touch – even though it’s so simple to remember a name!
summary – definitely would go again. for all those items, i spent around $75. not too shabby for delicious food, amazing customer service and a great time. not to mention there are SO MANY items on their menu, and there are items i eyed that i didn’t get to order this time around (lamp chops in red miso… washu beef… yum). check this place out if you’re just out for a good time, or taking someone on a date.
Posted: August 25th, 2009 | Author: Olivia | Filed under: oWander | 2 Comments »
well, today was just divine. honestly. not. just one of those days. my eyes ached a bit after work. i have a horrible habit of sitting too close to my screens when i’m concentrating. starting to feel the stress of wrapping things up and trying to finish up projects before i go away for vacation. which, you know, i’m totally pumped about.
on my walk back today with the dogs, i often see this elderly asian couple. most of the time we smile and say a quick hi as we pass. today, the lady stopped and asked if i was chinese. i smiled with a nod and “yes” which seemed to satisfy her enough and she and hubbykins kept walking by. it’s cute though. i like seeing elderly couples together.
lately, i’ve been watching the chinese soap drama – meteor garden. i forgot how dramatic and ridiculous it was. completely and utterly ridonk.
random: photo is from march 2008 when we went to san fran. cause i miss g.
Posted: August 24th, 2009 | Author: Olivia | Filed under: oDays, oWander | 1 Comment »
g’s been traveling to htown for the past couple of weeks, so i’m dealing with an empty house (‘cept for the 2 dogs, of course).
realized this past weekend that we only have one more weekend until we set off for asia! hard to believe, but in two week’s time – i’ll be in tokyo. i can’t really express how excited i am… always wanted to go to tokyo, and it’s going to be great to visit hong kong again and meet all the rest of g’s family. looking forward to the food. mmm seafood!! peking duck!! ahhh!
this past weekend, i had another volunteer event at three dog bakery in southlake. cutest dog place ever. the owner has 5 mastiff and they are huge (upwards of 200 lbs). amazing! i really love big dogs. i huggled the 200 pounder and it made me really happy. i also bought oink and nikon a “wag”emelon cake – which basically looked like a watermelon. how cute is that?
Posted: August 20th, 2009 | Author: Olivia | Filed under: oWander | No Comments »
kats here to visit :]
Posted: August 19th, 2009 | Author: Olivia | Filed under: oWander | No Comments »
it really baffles my mind. i find myself guilty of this as well, and always seem to catch myself and ask… wait, why am i doing this?
do you ever find yourself trying to please adequate friends/acquaintances more than your closest friends or family? what justifies it in your mind? that you need to make those first lasting impressions on these people you hardly know? that your closest friends or family will forgive more easily? sometimes it’s just silly stuff that any close person will overlook – but sometimes it’s just too much.
also, i wonder when it actually comes down to it… how many people would pick their family over their (closest) friends, or vice versa. because depending on your relationship… you’ve actually shared more of your life with one or the other. and for those that have done this with their friends… would they still pick their family out of obligation?
k, not really sure what we’re ‘picking’ for, just some musings in my mind.
random: the dogs keep running to the door as if somebody is there, but i see no one. do they know something i don’t know?
Posted: August 17th, 2009 | Author: Olivia | Filed under: oDays | No Comments »
my weekend wrap up!
thursday – my first volunteer event! operation kindness was participating in a formal charity event at marc events (oak lawn – design district) where we brought some stuff for the silent auction and some puppies & dogs for adoption. never really handled dogs dressed formally before, and i gotta remember to bring that dress into the dry cleaners – but it was definitely fun! met some of the other volunteers, got to play with dogs and chat with complete strangers about one of my passions. it was actually a little awkward cause it was an event put on by a travel & social group for 40+ singles. yes. you can imagine how that was. weird guys would come up to me and the other girls and take pictures of the dogs… and us. there was one really memorable situation where the guy got his friend to come take a pic of him and the dog i was taking care of… leaning so close into me i had to lean away. creeps.
friday – went down to ft worth to a new bar/club called ‘true’ with atef, shereen, laura and andrew. it was supposed to be a ‘pink party’ and the only pink articles of clothing both g and i owned were the same shade of pale pink. we try to avoid matching wherever we go, so this was like pulling teeth. when we were walking around downtown, i heard a guy tell his girl “look, they’re matching” i literally cringed. turned out, only our group and one other was dressed in pink. oh well, at least we didn’t have to pay cover. this also reminded me how much i like downtown ft worth compared to dallas. the christmas lights add a nice touch, no? g also got atef and andrew to climb an unattended scaffold. we’re really mature. kids – don’t try this at home.
saturday – pang birthday celebration! met up with part of the pang fam at grapevine mills where audrey and i just walked around the mall, going into random stores for 1.5 hours. then g and i picked up some hats at lids and went home to take a nap. met up the fam for dinner at king bbq in arlington (yum – peking duck!) to celebrate mama pang & auntie clara’s belated birthdays. g had a great idea to pick up chocolate covered strawberries for them, and i think they enjoyed it – hopefully. went back to their house for cake, strawberries, mah jong and good times. it’s always fun and i leave happy every time. the boys also picked up some fake mustaches at grapevine. ha!
sunday – lazed around in the morning, then to dfw to pick up two adventurers back from a 3 month romp around the world. sta’s two world traveler interns, chris and lindsay finally touched base on usa soil and it was great seeing them again. seemed like only yesterday when i saw them for the first time in person – as opposed to a video taped face on youtube, or a voice over the phone. dropped them off at their hotel to freshen up and get quick naps in before we treated them to some good ‘ole tex mex at blue goose in addison. yum. i love guacamole. but really – the wti program is definitely something that keeps me passionate about my job. working with lindsay and chris for these past few months has been fantastic and it’s absolutely rewarding to manage the program.
busy weekend – but great nonetheless. on an off note. i just finished watching marley and me, and even tho the movie itself wasn’t that great (missing vital points from the book) it just made me sob like no other. all i could think about were my two babies, esp my golden boy – oink. what made it worse was that while i was sobbing, oink came upstairs to see what the fuss was about, looked me in the eyes for a good 5 seconds and then gently laid his head in my lap while staring up at me. i love him!
Posted: August 11th, 2009 | Author: Olivia | Filed under: oFoodie | 1 Comment »
italian night at ristorante cibus caffe
when: 6:30pm, tuesday
customer service: A 1/2+
food rating: A
right in a nook within northpark mall and across from la duni. when you first look at cibus it’s brightly decorated with orange colors and beckons you with the tasty looking gelato and desserts in the window. past the initial sitting area for dessert and chatting is the dining area. really nice booths, and they have a huge area for outdoor seating. we sat at the bar where the bartenders were very attentive and friendly. they have a great selection of beers – and their happy hour (4-7pm, and 9pm-close) is great – $3 for anything! they were immediately ready to move us to a table when we were done at the bar. nice!
the ambiance is like upscale casual. they’ve got comfy chairs, the place is very clean – white and orange. they have these chandeliers that are sooo incredibly gaudy. but i liked the colors. they have a private room with glass doors so i can imagine it’d be a really nice place to have a calm, fun sunday brunch (which they also serve)! windows along one side of the wall, so the sun shine definitely adds to the happiness of the place.
customer service was great. our waiter (manuel? i don’t remember!) was great. they were so sweet because of some girl issues we were having, and they sensed that we were all in serious conversation and gave us these pink lemonade martinis on the house. it was a wonderful gesture and very much appreciated. he came by just enough to check on us and was quick to offer suggestions on the menu when asked.
what we got: home made foccacia, tagliolini, eggplant zucchini parmigiana, and wild mushroom risotto.
foccacia was tasty, but then again – it’s foccacia! great serving size for $5. tagliolini was delicious. i love the noodles. it was creamy, but not extremely so. yum! eggplant zucchini was good. if you like the thick, cheesy texture (plus eggplant of course), it’s a great dish for you. it was heavy for me, but i usually like lighter foods when it comes to italian. wild mushroom risotta i enjoyed as well. i wouldn’t have called it ‘wild mushroom’ as it only consisted of champignon mushrooms, but it had a good taste as well. fresh parmesan cheese thinly sliced on top. i’m a big fan of risotto, and i thoroughly enjoyed it.
for dessert: limoncello panna cotta and gelato – mango, tiramisu and dulce de leche.
i had never had an eggless custard before, so the panna cotta was very different. it kind of tasted like… heavy cream turned into jello/pudding. mixed with strawberries it wasn’t bad, but it took some time to get used to the taste. the gelato is pretty creamy – and 3 servings was a good amount. we couldn’t even finish it! can’t compare it much to anything else – i haven’t had gelato too much so i can’t remember. but it would be a refreshing snack on a hot day.
summary – would go again, especially for happy hour. apparently the pizza is really good, so i would recommend you try that at happy hour. enjoy!
Posted: August 10th, 2009 | Author: Olivia | Filed under: oWander | 2 Comments »
one of the things i’ve learned in my short life so far is to be honest and REAL. pretty simple, but i’ve run into a few situations where that just didn’t happen – and i don’t know why. these are kind of silly examples – but two that popped into my mind recently.
1. pretty much all through middle school there was this guy named ryan. ok, honestly – i never liked him. i had no feelings whatsoever for him. there was no reason for me to like him. why? uh, i never even talked to the guy. but for some reason, my two best friends decided that i should like him, and pretty much beat it into my head that he was my crush and that we should ‘go out’. oh, middle school was awesome. it’s really funny now that i think about it. but instead of just sticking up for myself and being strong, i pretty much went along with it. maybe i helped build ryan’s ego a bit – why not have a dorky little asian girl who he’s never talked to like him? but it kinda makes me feel like a sucker. my friends, bless them, even went out of their way to get him to sign a birthday card for me. they got a bunch of my other friends to sign it, then realized – no! this should be from RYAN ONLY! – erased all my other friend’s signatures and left his. i actually still have that card. so hilarious. i want you to know ryan – i never liked you. :]
2. this one is more serious, but i still feel like a sucker about it cause – well – it pretty much hurts ME in the end. one of my friends and i kind of went separate ways during high school. one day, we decided to have a heart to heart on what happened, and it pretty much boiled down to jealousy and insecurity. typical girl stuff. i was thinner, i had more friends, blah blah. all that junk that really – i didn’t have – but insecurities just get the better of us sometimes. i had no idea what to say. i so wanted to make my friend feel better. deep down, even though we went down different paths, i still cared a lot for her. so before i could stop myself, i blurted “well, to tell you the truth, i’ve been struggling with anorexia.” i know this was really stupid, i had no idea what to say to her so maybe something that was troubling for me might make her feel better? and this is the catcher which pretty much proves this was completely useless. instead of asking if i needed help (if i really was anorexic – which don’t worry mom, i wasn’t and never have been :]) my friend replies after a slight pause “i kind of figured.” i really didn’t have anything else to say after that – we ended the conversation. but this has only made me feel like i not only failed her, but failed myself. how would putting yourself down possibly be the solution for making your friend (and better yet, yourself) happy? silly.
just something i was thinking about. i’m thankful to say there have been times when i know what’s been good and right – and have done it. but it doesn’t happen like that all the time. i may be more blunt and come off as rude now, but at least i don’t regret it. i want to tell it ‘how it is’ and not skip around the bush. i still screw it up a lot, but hopefully being conscious of it is half the battle.
it also makes me really appreciate the girl friends i have now. i love and appreciate them more than all my past friendships combined and multiplied. love you girls <3
Posted: August 4th, 2009 | Author: Olivia | Filed under: oFoodie | No Comments »
tonight, the girls and i hit up coal vines – uptown pizza wine bar.
when: 7:15pm, tuesday
wait: 30 minutes
customer service: B
food rating: A-
when steph and i first pulled into the small parking lot (coal vines is a little hard to see as it’s right on a corner in uptown) – we got a spot right in front. however, we were quickly hollered at by the valet who claimed we had parked in a valet spot. tip to coal vines: mark your valet spot with cones/signs/something. steph went back to her car to re-park and the only there was only one way out, and the valet flagged her down once again and insisted she turn around and go back the other way (what other way?!). she ignored him. score 1 for steph.
meanwhile, i went in to let jessi know we were here and was hounded by the manager who kept insisting that valet was free (except for the fact you have to tip them, of course…) and that i should call stephanie or chase her down to let her know. i politely let him know it was fine and that she wouldn’t be parking that far. he decided to follow me to the bar all the while telling me i NEEDED to call my friend up to let her know it was free. it got kind of bothersome, but he left after awhile and i grabbed a cold beer with jess. steph soon joined on the beerage.
the ambiance of coal vines is fairly cozy. the walls are red brick creating the nice coal oven look and feel. all the booths & tables are very close, so if you are claustrophobic, may want to rethink coming here (unless you get a seat outside on the patio – more spacious out there). i was literally sitting 2 feet from the couple in the booth next to us.
customer service was mediocre. our waitress didn’t smile or seem overly friendly, she read off the specials to us and instead of asking if we would like any appetizers or if she could get anything else – she promptly just turned on her heel and left. not that i’m super high maintenance even though it seems like it from the previous sentence (hehe), she just didn’t make any eye contact and left without giving us the chance to ask/say anything. she recited the wrong order back to us and rarely came by to say hi.
we got one of the specials of the day: large baked sea scallops with black truffle, parmesan cheese, grilled asparagus and tomatoes and one of their pizzas: sausage & red peppers with pepperoni and basil.
sea scallops: very good. strong taste, maybe a little bit too salty – but the truffle was mild and parmesan cheese gave a great contrast in taste and texture. the grilled asparagus were really good. very tasty and tender, with the charcoal grilled taste. yum!
pizza: unfortunately i ate the pizza after it had cooled down a little, but even a little cool it was still very good! they give you red pepper flakes, parmesan cheese and oregano to spread over the pizza. crust was good.
all in all, i would go again. if you’re looking for awesome customer service, look elsewhere – but for a little uptown pizza bar with a decent selection of wine and the noise level to a minimum (don’t have to shout to hear each other) – not too shabby!