Mexican, Tacos, Uncategorized

Yucatan Taco Stand- Fort Worth, TX

Fort Worth has pockets of trendy spots, from West 7th to Sundance Square, exploring these trendy pockets can be exciting and fulfilling. One hot spot is West Magnolia Street where you can walk the entire street, bar and restaurant hopping into the early hours of the next morning. From hipster coffee shops to retro restaurants and high end bars, there is something for everyone on Magnolia. A particularly hopping restaurant, known for their tequila list, margaritas, and gigantic nachos, is Yucatan Taco Stand.

Towards the east end of Magnolia is Yucatan, a Mexican tequila bar. One of four Mexican restaurants on Magnolia, Yucatan is known for a few major Mexican staples. Tequila, margaritas, and nachos. But let’s start with the vibe! It’s an order first kind of place, with an extensive menu of food and drinks. You get your number and find a place to sit, which on a Saturday can be pretty crazy, but doable! There is indoor and outdoor seating, if the weather isn’t sweltering hot sitting outside would be cool! There’s a bar too, if you just want to go for their happy hour. 

Speaking of happy hour a word of caution: their margaritas are strong. I certainly believe that they don’t water their margs down. However, these margaritas are quite scrumptious, certainly Margaritaville in Texas. Their classic is pretty sweet and their strawberry masks the liquor a little more, like most. Still, Yucatan has my favorite margarita. So far.

Now the food! Their menu features Mexican staples like tequila lime chicken, spicy aged chorizo, and nachos. To eat, we got the chicken nachos and man oh man are these nachos giant. It’s more of a mountain of nachos. A cascading, gooey mountain of melted cheese, queso fresco, guacamole, veggies and chicken atop and embedded in crispy corn tortillas. The photo really doesn’t do it justice. Everything was made and put together beautifully. You just have to dig in and lick your fingers at the end. Also notable, but not pictured, is their chorizo. I’ve had it both times I’ve been and if you like chorizo, Mexican pork sausage, and some spice I recommend it as the meat for any main entree.


Yucatan is just a really cool, chill place to go grab a drink with friends and enjoy the atmosphere and company. It’s fun to be able to walk around Magnolia afterwards and pin point the next place you want to check out. Or just go back for a flight of tequilas! Highly recommend making Yucatan Taco Stand both a drink and food stop the next time you venture to West Magnolia.

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American, boston, Ice Cream, lobster, Seafood, Uncategorized

Rapscallion- Acton, MA

This is the story of how I found my last meal. Last meal referring to ones final meal before departing Earth. People sometimes talk and joke about this after a meal they have, saying they will return to have that meal. I will tell you now that that meal could not compare to the food of Rapscallion.

It’s a restaurant that just pops up when you search “nearby restaurants” on Google. You drive up to the house, built in the 1700s, and it’s quaint and New England-esque. The smell from the smoker is most inviting, especially after a long day of furniture shopping. A lovely outdoor seating area is enticing, being in nature and looking out across the street into a green forest. The inside is rustic, the bar completely full of who appear to be “usuals”. Little rooms in the house divide the dining areas, lending an intimate setting with only a few other tables along with yours. 

The atmosphere is incredible, with amazing background music of Southern rock and a vintage homie feel. The staff is excited to serve you the astounding creations of Chef Ian Michaud (read his bio located towards the bottom of the attached link). They are equally as excited to serve you the beer of the Rapscallion brewery, located in Sturbridge, MA. The model of the brewery and restaurant are liberating: “Rapscallion is a MA-only microbrewery that puts freshness, quality and consistency above all else, honoring the craft, the Rapscallion customer and the communities we call home.” This home is where I intend to not only have, but share my last meal. 

Because all the beers not only sound delicious, but are also brewed by these guys, we wanted to try a couple before picking just one. We got a flight of four, left to right: Honey, Lager, Blonde, and White IPA. My favorites were probably their flagship, the Honey, and the White IPA. From the photo you can tell how different they are. The Honey was crisp, light and refreshing. The IPA is cloudy and almost looks like orange juice, but the hops were equally as refreshing and ended up being my favorite.

The menu has such an array of foods, from BBQ out of the smoker to chickpea fritters. One appetizer that caught our eye was the poutine. Poutine is a French Canadian dish that is French fries in gravy sauce with cheese curds. What caught our eye about this poutine was the use of their Black IPA. Let me just say that I want that gravy on everything. It was tangy and luscious, it took all the class not to drink the remains out of the dish. They use cheddar cheese curds, which isn’t common for poutine, but it was a light cheddar and worked perfectly with the IPA glaze. Other notable appetizers are the mussels, cooked similarly to cataplana style, and the chickpea fritters which were cooked perfectly and sat on a bed of smoked tomato sauce from the smoker.

The entree that practically brought me to tears upon the first bite and is, what I have decided to be, the best meal I have ever had is the Lobster Grilled Cheese. It is exactly what it sounds like: “fresh shucked lobster, herbed cream cheese, fontina, baby spinach on toasted sourdough with a cup of lobster bisque”. Let’s just start with the first bite, heavenly. The cheeses were light and there was just a perfect balance of both that it didn’t overwhelm the lobster meat. The herbs and spinach, which you don’t typically put with lobster, worked harmoniously with the meat . And this was all in the first bite. I tried so very hard to savor each bite and not just gobble it down. I knew that I wanted this to be my final bite of the meal, so I started on the sides. The pickled vegetables were delicious, especially pickled asparagus. They weren’t extremely vinegar tasting, adding a refreshing bite to the meal. The bisque was sublime, so thin and full of lobster flavor. I think the best bisque I’ve ever had. However, I never wanted the taste of the grilled cheese to leave my mouth, I kept saying that I wouldn’t eat again so as not to lose it.


We asked the waiter about the meal and once he informed us that everything was made from scratch and the ingredients were all local, we had to ask about dessert. Those, too, were made from scratch. We had to keep this spectacular meal going and after the waiter relayed the dessert menu, which consisted of an IPA crusted chocolate cheesecake, we went with a Massachusite choice of blueberry crisp. As we ate lunch everything certainly tasted homemade, from scratch, and local, but this crisp was all of that and more. You could tell that they had just made the crisp to order. The blueberries were so plump and full of flavor you wondered whose farm they came from. The fresh apples in the crisp were also mouth watering and whole walnuts added an amazing crunch. The crisp topping was divine and the ice cream tasted like home.

Just writing this post makes my eyes and mouth water, causing me to contemplate getting in the car and going a mere two days later. This is a top notch restaurant, and if it wasn’t for the drum shop we had to stop at down the road, if we hadn’t searched for nearby restaurants, if we hadn’t given the colonial house a chance, we never would have had the best meal of our lives. All this in Acton, just 40 minutes from Boston. If anyone from Rapscallion who may come across this amateur blog, thank you for honestly the best American meal of my life. To those reading this, make the trip. 

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boston, Seafood, Tacos

Pier 6- Charlestown, MA

Over the river across the way from Boston is Charlestown, where the American Revolution began at Bunker Hill, where Paul Revere stopped at his favorite tavern, and where delicious foods can be found. One of the restaurants that is becoming a fan favorite is Pier 6.

Just a few piers down from the USS Constitution is the little waterfront restaurant Pier 6. It’s location is extremely ideal, with a fantastic view of Boston and the harbor. The atmosphere is fun and the staff is inviting. The food is equally as inviting. 

When you come to the Boston area it’s hard not to get seafood. Fish tacos is always a good choice and Pier 6 is no different. They use mahi mahi, a very mild fish, so it’s inviting for even new fish lovers. The corn salsa is very delicious, packing Mexican infused flavor and fresh vegetables. The avocado on top is always a bonus. The dish comes with fries, which isn’t amazing, but certainly a little addition that didn’t go unnoticed.

Pier 6 is becoming a popular lunch and dinner spot, especially since they are open year round. It’s a stop every foodie should try to make…be sure to enjoy the view with the food and grab a well mixed drink, too!

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Barbecue, North Carolina, Uncategorized

Lexington Barbecue- Lexington, NC

Last week was a pretty big week for my family…my sister got married! She lives in Greensboro, NC which is just thirty minutes north of one of the biggest pork barbecue cities, Lexington. 

Now aside from being pork instead of beef, Carolina barbecue is mainly vinegar based. Barbecue is iconic to American history, when you think about it, and especially in North Carolina. There are two distinct types of barbecue, Eastern style and Lexington style. Lexington barbecue uses a red sauce that has ketchup, vinegar, and pepper as well as other spices. They also use the red sauce as the base for the coleslaw, using the sauce instead of mayonnaise. 

Since I’m a Texas and beef girl, I had some help in the taste testing of two different barbecue places from my dad. The first place we went to was Bar-B-Cue Center. Let me say, this place is classic. Classic set up inside, classic barbecue. Everything about the food was great, the slaw was particularly interesting with a peculiar, but delicious addition to it that we couldn’t quite figure it out! The hush puppies were great and the meat was really delicious. 


The second place we went to was simply called Lexington Barbecue. The first thing you notice is the smoke stacks around the back/side of the building. You know it’s going to be good. In my opinion the pork here was much better than at Bar-B-Cue Center, not by much though! The meat was tender and pulled apart, it was tastier, and the slaw was solid. The hushpuppies were crisp on the outside and soft on the inside, but Bar-B-Cue Center had the better hush puppies, in my opinion. 


I would most certainly return to both spots in the future, but my overall vote would have to go to Lexington Barbecue. The meat there was better and the hush puppies still tasted good! However, when in Lexington it’s pretty hard to go wrong when it comes to their own style of North Carolina barbecue! 

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American, boston, Italian

Paolo’s Trattoria-Charlestown, MA

If you’re new to this blog, many of my posts are of places in Boston, MA. It’s where my family lives now and it’s quite easy to eat your way through the city. Boston is commonly recognized for their Italian food, the North End being the “Little Italy” of the small city. It doesn’t stop at the city, oh no, if you keep going a tad bit more north in the North End you’ll have to make the walk across the Charlestown Bridge into the city where Paul Revere started his famous ride, Charlestown. Although noted for the big tall Bunker Hill Monument, the food is also incredible. One place in particular is Paolo’s.

Located down Main Street just past the town center sits the tiny restaurant that is the local family favorite. Classic Italian food with a family atmosphere. More times than not there is a “usual” stopping in for a glass of wine or slice of pizza. And you can’t blame them. 

The staff is always the same smiling faces, you truly feel at home when you walk in. It’s the definition of local trattoria (exact definition is ‘an Italian restaurant serving simple food’). This trattoria does indeed serve the simple Italian dishes, but they have exciting mixes and it’s all extraordinary.

Let’s start with some pastas. Now, how could you come to New England and not have lobster?! One of the best ways to enjoy it is inside ravioli. These lobster ravioli, similar to the Orleans Inn version, is just slightly better. What makes it better is the sauce. This sauce is creamier and richer and that is the slight edge this ravioli has over the other. The second pasta dish I want to note was actually a special the night I went, but this could give you some ideas for home! This dish was gnocchi with sausage and spinach. The gnocchi was cooked perfectly and definitely homemade. The sausage was juicy and the smaller bites made it perfect. The spinach wasn’t over cooked which is always something I look out for. The mascarpone (soft, mild Italian cream cheese) sauce was extremely delectable and compliments all the components harmoniously. This gnocchi dish was perhaps one of the best pasta dishes I’ve ever had (in the United States). 😉


Now onto the pizza! Paolo’s has a great variety of pizza, a lot of cool combinations! I’ve had several different kinds of their pizza, but am highlighting two in this post. The first is their Gina pizza which features sweet Italian sausage, caramelized onions on top of plum tomato sauce and cheese. This is one of my favorite pizza concoctions on their menu, the sweet sausage and onions really compliment each other along with red and green peppers. It’s very colorful and eye catching which certainly adds to the appeal. 

The second pizza is the classic pepperoni cheese pizza. Trust me, this isn’t the ordinary pepperoni pizza. Since you don’t have all the delicious savory toppings it’s easier to really taste the cheese and sauce of the pizza. On this pizza I realized just how amazing the cheese they use is! It has a little sweetness to it that is so delicious I can’t even think of a better adjective to use to describe how delicious it was. I mean, all I can say is look at the photos and then buy yourself a ticket to Boston and get here. (Other pizzas worth noting include Paolo’s and Bolognese pizzas)

Paolo’s is like home, from the atmosphere to the people to the simple Italian cuisine. This little trattoria certainly deserves acclaimed recognition, but for now I’m happy to call it my home trattoria and I hope you can visit us here, too. 

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Cape Cod, Seafood

Orleans Inn Waterfront Dining- Orleans, MA

It’s summertime and that means one thing for this Critiquing Carnivore- Cape Cod. I spend most of my summer up on the Cape, living in Orleans. We have our favorite spots (see my Cape Cod Food Trail post) and I’m surprised at myself that it’s taken me this long to post about The Orleans Inn.

The inn, not only an award winning restaurant but also a beautiful hotel, sits on and overlooks the Orlean Town Cove. It is the quite the view to take in while waiting for your food! The interior of the inn is very classy and the restaurant and grille certainly has the best seating, whether you’re on the deck downstairs or inside upstairs. 

Now onto the food! Again, I’m shocked at myself that it’s taken me this long to write a post on the infamous Lobster Ravioli. This ravioli is the main reason I have my family go to this restaurant. Besides awesome service, a beautiful view, and plenty of other fantastic food the Lobster Ravioli is amazing. Always cooked perfectly filled with lobster meat and sitting on a base of bisque…I always end up licking the plate, no matter if I look classy or not. 

The latest meal I had was the Coquille St. Jacques, which with Google I found to mean or refer to “King scallop”. The dish is described as “a richly savory gratin of scallops and mushrooms broiled to perfection, served with orzo and vegetables”. Now a gratin is a type of culinary technique where an ingredient (scallops) is topped with a browned crust by broiling it using breadcrumbs, grated cheese, egg, and/or butter. This certainly was a true gratin, the scallops topped with cheese and swimming in butter. The dish was quite rich as described and there really was a lot of butter, but the scallops were cooked perfectly and the mushrooms were chopped finely, you hardly noticed them but they are still in there! The orzo served with it was delicious, being served in a tomato type of sauce along with broccoli rabe. 

Orleans Inn is such a beautiful Cape destination, how could you pass up a fantastic dinner with a great view! The food truly is fantastic, no matter what you order you’ll get a delicious meal served with great service and hospitality. You feel at home when you stay here and special when you get a five star meal here, too.

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American, Barbecue

Hard Eight Pit BBQ- Roanoke, TX

Quaint Roanoke, TX is located just north of Keller, about 50 minutes from Fort Worth. Although not the original location, along the main road with many other restaurants is Hard Eight BBQ

Hard Eight compliments the town of Roanoke perfectly. Upon walking in, like most BBQ places, you head straight up and get your order. No waiters or hostesses necessary. But what makes Hard Eight a little different from other BBQ places is the pit is right there to greet you. Most BBQ places display the meat they are going to serve you, but here it’s like walking into a bakery where everything is on display. 

What’s also a tad different is that as you enter into the next room you’re herded (ha) into an assembly line or as the website calls it “Texas style service”. You go down the line and pick up any sides you see fit to accommodate your meal. You start off at the bread station, where if you got this far and ordered the brisket sandwich and didn’t get bread, you request it here! After that it’s pretty much the usual: coleslaw, potato salad, fruit, cups for BBQ sauce, and ending with hot cases filled with Mac and cheese and cobblers. Then you pay, get your drink and enjoy. Now if any BBQ connoisseurs are reading this you may be thinking “wait, what about beans?” Have no fear, for here the beans are free. That’s right, FREE. They station two pots of beans boiling within a mixture of bacon and jalapeños by the drink dispenser. Did I mention they’re free? #blessed

Now to this day, I still swear by Angelo’s and I may be a bit biased, but still. So going into any brisket endeavor I try to be unbiased. When the pit master sliced the brisket you could tell it was tender and pulled apart beautifully. I did not see a significant smoke ring. The meat was tender and delicious, there were particular bites that had a smoky flavor. The sauce was pretty basic, certainly not hot (there are two kinds of sauce: their classic and hot n spicy…I wish I got the hot). 

The sides I got were coleslaw (which Angelo’s also has the best in my opinion) and Mac n cheese. The coleslaw was actually pretty good! Very close to Angelo’s and was not thick with mayonnaise. But the winner of this dinner is the Mac n cheese: one bite and immediately I moaned. So creamy, so cheesy, the shells cooked perfectly. I didn’t even need to add salt or pepper. I would drive 50 minutes for that Mac. 

Hard Eight certainly has a fun atmosphere, it was cool getting to be apart of ‘making’ your meal! The rustic Texan atmosphere makes eating your BBQ that much more enjoyable, I would certainly go back for this unique way of serving BBQ. 

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