American, Coffee Shop, Fort Worth, Mexican, Sweets, Uncategorized

La Zona on Magnolia- Fort Worth, TX

Yet another adorable spot has opened in Fort Worth and it would only be fitting that it land on West Magnolia. La Zona only opened this past January, but they’ve been all the buzz in town. Tapas and sangria is the name of the game and, although you’ll have to keep reading on my take of it all, the food is delicious and that sangria was like the nectar of the gods. La Zona is definitely a great addition to the city.

New restaurants typically get a ton of buzz and press, but then you hear they are kind of disappointing particularly when it comes to how smooth service is. Every new restaurants struggles with the new system of things, training, everything. That was the case with the newest addition to West Magnolia in Fort Worth. This is actually why I like to wait a little to go to new places, give them the time to work out the kinks with service and the menu. The changes from what I’ve heard to what I experienced prove they have improved greatly. Our waiter was great, a tad nervous perhaps, but the effort and time he put into our table was wonderful and he did a fantastic job.

Some critiques of the overall restaurants are small, but still key I think. The staff doesn’t have uniforms so it was hard to tell them apart from guests. You only knew they worked there if you saw them with food or they came up asking you about your meal. From observation a good portion of the waitstaff that night were men and I couldn’t help thinking that a simple, but universal button down of some kind would do just the trick. A second thing is the overall vibe. I was really excited about a tapas and sangria inspired restaurant, Fort Worth is missing that and this was the perfect opportunity for La Zona. However, it kind of fell flat. The items on the menu were delicious and the sangria was scrumptious, but it lacked the tapas menu I was looking for. The feel of the restaurant is perfect and cute and spot on, but the menu didn’t necessarily coincide.

With that last sentence on your mind, the vibe is great and the look of the restaurant is adorable. It’s on a huge amount of land for the Magnolia area, but the actual restaurant is really small. The majority of their seating is outside, which is perfect most of the time in Texas, but certainly questionable weather nights would deter me from trying to go. The inside is super cute with lots of colors and fun light fixtures. The bar looked comfortable and cool, a great first date spot for sure. They have movie nights where they set up a projector and have local DJ’s come to entertain the guests and fill the air with fun music.

Like I said the menu wasn’t what I was expecting. A lot of the starters sounded great and tapas like, but from a natural Mexican/Hispanic vibe I wouldn’t really think to order pizza. Some of the pizzas have Spanish flair and flavors, but again it wasn’t what I was expecting. However, I ordered the rioja pizza which had chorizo sausage, red peppers, and onions on it and that was a damn good pie. It was a super thin crust, which is what I like, and all the ingredients were fresh and tasted amazing. I wish it was cooked just a little bit longer because the weight of the toppings just barely sat on the pie, the dough a little too soft.

The sangria was absolutely superb. I’m not a huge sangria person mostly because they tend to be overly sweet, but this sangria was perfect. The sweetness wasn’t too much and definitely tasted to have come from the fruit, no added sugar. We all enjoyed eating the fruit too, which in the past I’ve seen some sangrias without fruit…so is that really sangria? No, but La Zona is serving up real and really good sangria.

Afterwards you have to walk next door to Saint Sofia. Don’t be confused, La Zona is two buildings with the main restaurant being named Hotel Madrid and the cute churro shop Saint Sofia (it’s all on the same property). The churros are all over Instagram when you look up La Zona’s location and rightfully so. It’s super small and cute and transports you to a place where you would see little shacks on a dirt road serving up the best food. The churros were fried to a nice crisp with a soft inside and doused in cinnamon and sugar to leave your taste buds happy.

Overall I really like La Zona and would go again. I think they could work on their “identity” a little only because they could fill the hole that they are saying they are that Fort Worth needs. They’ve found their niche, they just need to fulfill it. In the meantime, the food they are firing is delicious and they’ve already improved so much since they first opened. I can’t wait to see what happens here next.

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American, Bakery, Breakfast, Brunch, Coffee Shop, Dallas, Fort Worth

Magnolia Table- Waco, TX

One week ago Fixer Upper fans watched the final episode of Chip and Joanna Gaines’s broadcasted projects. The Magnolia cult is not dead though, from a Fixer Upper spin-off to the Silos in Waco, TX Chip and Jo are pretty set for life. Why stop there though? Fans everywhere rejoiced when Chip changed the Elite Cafe sign to ask “Avocado Toast?” and the Gaines’s made their official announcement to open Magnolia Table.

Y’all I can’t lie, I’m a huge Fixer Upper fan and I’ve tried so hard not to fall in love with Waco (Go Frogs), but I can’t help it. Waco has grown on me and I love Chip and Joanna and everything about them and their Magnolia brand. When Magnolia Table opened I immediately opened my calendar, called my best friend Hannah Haston (she’s an amazing professional photographer who works in the DFW/Waco/Austin area, click the link!!) and we made plans for a Monday, months into the restaurant being opened. I have been waiting forever to eat, see, love, and write about Magnolia Table for so long! Two things before we dive in: this blog will contain somewhere around thirty photos (y’all IT’S SO PRETTY I LOVE YOU JO) and it 100% met my expectations from design to food. 

Going into a place that’s been so hyped up and can, let’s be honest, ride on the name to get business I was unsure if the food and service would be any good. And after seeing so many professional photos and the episode of it being fixed up (haha see what I did there?!) I wasn’t sure if it actually would be as stunning in person. I was proven wrong on all fronts. Yes, it was an hour and fifteen minute wait, but you know that going into this it’s going to be a long wait. And that’s when checking out the Take Away section and outdoor waiting area are two smart ideas on their end. The Take Away is primarily there for people to grab either chicken salad, strawberry butter, chicken salad, pimento cheese, or chicken salad (maybe they’ll expand the options soon) as well as some Magnolia merchandise like shirts, tea towels, mugs, and some food extras like coffee and honey. The outdoor waiting area is really well done with some tables and chairs, bench seating around the perimeter, and a shaded area for those hot Texas days. You can grab a coffee while you anxiously check your place in line on your phone. Sipping on a delightful lavender coffee was just the ticket to pass the time. It had just a hint of lavender that wasn’t too much or too little! (Now I bombard you with more outdoor photos 😁) 

Then you walk inside and it’s almost a whirlwind, if that’s not too dramatic to say. You want to take it all in as you’re being seated, the interior really is stunning. From structurally speaking to all the detailing it’s truly eye catching in person as much as in photos. Hannah and I were seated in the back room that had some private seating as well as their community tables and bar seating. We got lucky and got our own table with patio viewing and all of that natural light Jo loves! 

Our waitress was super cute, feeding into the lightness you’d expect from the employees working here. She loved giving us her opinions when we asked, checked on us frequently, and always had a smile. 

Okay, remember Cara (hi that’s me, I’m at the bottom of the post in those overalls) this is a food blog…SO LET US TALK ABOUT THE FOOD! Oh y’all…it is so scrumptious, delicious, met my brunch food expectations. They aren’t riding on their name, they are firing really amazing food here. 

We started with Jo’s buttermilk biscuits with fresh strawberry butter. They weren’t layers of dough, it was almost more of a British scone than a Southern style biscuit on the outside. The inside was, however, pretty classic and a lovely crumbly mess of fluffy buttery goodness. The strawberry butter was superb, with no apparent added sugar it seemed to be just butter and fresh strawberries mixed in one spreadable piece of joy.

Now those of you who know me personally know that before going to a new restaurant I do ample research on the menu and check Instagram for visual reference…Table was no different and I knew way ahead of time what I was going to order. I mean, how could I (a lover of Chip Gaines) not get Chip’s ham sandwich?! 

A plate of beauty really. Let’s start with them tots, these are not your average tater tots. They were fantastic, packed with potatoes that were so light and fluffy with a crispy exterior fried to perfection. Fresh Parmesan and chives were the perfect topping. 

The ham sandwich, consisting of sliced ham steak, scrambled eggs and cheddar cheese on a buttery croissant (I prepped my body for the carb intake by not eating that weekend) was everything and more. It was precisely what I would expect Chip to want for breakfast. The croissant was flaky and flavorful, the eggs fluffy and light, and ham cooked with obvious love with those stove-top burnt bits. Cheddar cheese melted in these layers and I was ready to take on the afternoon, grab some shiplap and start a demo day. Well done chef and Chip, you’ve won that cooking baton.

I told you I took a bunch of photos! Magnolia Table didn’t disappoint me at all, not that I was expecting it to, but it certainly could have. It fulfilled my foodie tastebuds, pleased my interior designer eye, and had my Fixer Upper heart full…and my stomach. The Gaines’s have made it quite clear: they aren’t abandoning their fans or passions, simply feeding into our lives one of the best ways possible. They’re opening their hearts and doors saying “Meet me at Magnolia Table…where everyone has a seat at the table.”

“Come and Get It

             -Chip”

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American, Breakfast, Brunch, Fort Worth, Mexican, Uncategorized

Mash’d- Fort Worth, TX

Hello readers! Sorry I’ve been missing in action, but I hope this post makes up for it because it’s a very delicious one! Yes, this is my second post on Mash’d, however, we’re entering new culinary territory at this popular restaurant. Brunch, or to quote the website, ‘badass brunch’.

Let’s start with the fact that they have two dollar mimosas. Two dollars. Granted, they are a little small, but if you’re not drinking to get drunk like me go for it! It’s probably cheaper than other places and it’s just as delicious. 

I’ve already done a post on Mash’d, but I still love the atmosphere and the West 7th area. The restaurant certainly wasn’t as roudy as it can get in the evenings, it was actually quite pleasant seeing families and groups of friends getting together. It has become a hotspot for brunch in Fort Worth, from the great outdoor patio space to the clever morning newspaper menu.

Now the food! I ordered the Mash’d Tator Eggsplosion. An eggsplosion it was, an iron skillet with “mash’d tators” (mashed potatoes essentially), with cheddar cheese, scrambled eggs, chopped bacon and a sour cream drizzle. All the components of this dish not only worked harmoniously, individually they each tasted delicious. The eggs were so delicately folded and the melted cheese was simply incredible. The potatoes had a great taste to them, I could definitely just eat a hot cast iron skillet of those potatoes. The seasoning of the potatoes was very yummy, but some more salt and pepper would be my only critique, just a little bit more seasoning!

I think brunch at Mash’d could easily become a regular thing for me. The food was amazing, drinks a great price, all you have to do is add the company and your Saturday or Sunday will be off to a great start! I suggest making a reservation, which they accept via phone or Open Table online! Why not ensure getting that delicious brunch and making it a date! Highly recommend you hit up Mash’d! Happy eating! 

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Bakery, Baking Recipes, Breakfast, Sweets, Uncategorized

Chocolate Chip Banana Bread

I don’t know about you, but I always seem to be going through bananas like crazy. Yes, because I’m eating them all, but also because they turn brown so quickly. So what should you do with ripe bananas? Make banana bread of course! And because you should always have chocolate chips in your house, why wouldn’t you make banana bread with them in it! I originally found this recipe on Pinterest and it is by far my favorite. Tina’s Chic Corner recipe is adapted perfectly, especially with the use of Greek yogurt. Other than that, every ingredient is pretty standard that most people have them in the house so if you’re looking for a nice breakfast idea for the family or just for yourself I highly recommend this! I’ve also wrapped it in aluminum foil and have been able to nibble at it for a couple days after baking it. Makes for a quick and delicious breakfast on the go! Prep is easy and baking time is perfect! Happy Baking! 

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Bakery, Breakfast, Coffee Shop, Italian

Buon Giorno Coffee- Fort Worth, TX

Coffee shops are pretty common, I mean there’s practically a Starbucks on every corner, but the newest craze has been ‘hipster coffee shops’. Micro roasteries, as some call themselves, are the biggest thing since cupcake shops. Everyone wants to get a handcrafted mocha with a cool leaf design and Instagram it with their favorite filter. Coincidentally, I fall under this category and put it to use at Buon Giorno Coffee.

Right in downtown Fort Worth, just off Henderson Street near Lancaster Ave, sits Buon Giorno Coffee. It’s tucked back a bit, you would have to had google coffee shops to be able to find it most likely. It’s a smaller little place, with little parking in front leaving street parking to be the alternative. It’s worth finding a spot though. 

When you walk in, it’s like other coffee shops in Fort Worth (Brewed, Avoca Coffee Roasters). Very hipster and quaint, delicious pastries right out front in the case, classical music quietly playing in the background, but unlike the other ones Buon Giorno, like its name, attempts to take your taste buds to Italy. Although it doesn’t necessarily feel like Italia, you’ll have to read on to see if it tastes like Italia! This being my first time, I got not only a handcrafted beverage, but a delicious looking and recommended brioche. The man at the counter was very nice and told me his favorites and the shops most noteworthy pastries, he knew his stuff so don’t be afraid to ask them what they suggest!

I ordered the Menta Mocha, or mint dark chocolate coffee. It was quite delicious, what I can remember from my trips to Italy is that the flavors are bold yet subtle. This mocha was just that, the peppermint didn’t overpower the bold mocha taste, subtle and delicious. And naturally I got myself a heart shaped design, no leaves this time.  

 
As recommended, I ordered the sausage and cheese brioche. I honestly half expected something like the savory pastries at Starbucks…I was 80% correct. The brioche itself was delicious, the pastry was well baked. The sausage was quite tasty, too. The reason for my review is more the construction and lack of cheese with which the name describes. The little cheese inside was smothered on the side and you really didn’t get much. There was a lot of empty space inside the brioche. Each individual ingredient was delicious though, I would certainly order it again. I mean, it’s hard to resist a well baked brioche!  

 
Overall, I enjoyed everything about Buon Giorno, from the guy who helped me decide to the guy who cleared my dishes. I would grab Harry Potter and make the drive out there to sit and relax any day, definitely venture and try something new, and experience a different Italian-esqe coffee, each and every time. 

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American, Breakfast

Brewed- Fort Worth, TX

The hipster subculture is broadly associated with indie and alternative music, a varied non-mainstream fashion sensibility (including vintage and thrift store-bought clothes), generally progressive political views, organic and artisanal foods, and alternative lifestyles. Being ‘hipster’ is the newest fad in society and Fort Worth has jumped on the bandwagon. 
Brewed is a local coffee/breakfast house by day and beer bar by night. It’s the epitome of swanky hipster. The entire restaurant is filled with antique findings, vintage mirrors and artwork, and amazing food and fresh brewed coffee. 

This place is happening! If you want to eat at 10, get there at 9:30. It’s everyone’s go to place for brunch so be prepared for that and for shortage of parking behind the restaurant. 

Firstly, you have to get a cup of coffee when you come here. If you’re not a coffee drinker then their hot chocolate is fabulous. Their mocha, pictured, is delectable and they do the classic foam artwork which makes it Instagram worthy. The iced Thai-licious is full of flavors of Asia. 

  
 The food is pretty standard. I wouldn’t say “you should totally come here for the scrambled eggs”, but the food is still delicious with a menu featuring items from pork barbecue to goat cheese. 
The first item pictured is The Carnivore. You can ask your server to have the kitchen make the eggs how you like them, in the picture they are scrambled. The eggs were a bit bland, but scrambled nicely. The Nueske’s bacon was nice and crispy and satisfied that bacon craving. The pork barbecue wasn’t like Carolina barbecue, let’s just say it’s a good thing Texas barbecue is beef. They weren’t seasoned all that much, but they were still cooked nicely and filled you up. The sausage patty was actually amazing. The seasoning in the sausage was really complimentary and I had to slow down eating it so I could save it as my last bite. 

   
Pictured below is the Good Egg White Omelette. This is the menu item with the delicious goat cheese. The mushrooms and onions were cooked beautifully and the open faced omelette was delicious. The garlic toast was fabulous and really complimented the whole dish, a good side for this menu item. 


Lastly, we got an order of the Donut Dippers. How can you go wrong?! It came with a delicious fresh fruit compote. The crystal sugar is a bit heavy so I would suggest brushing some of that off unless you’re into it. They were cooked beautifully and our batch was hot and fresh out of the kitchen. They were nice and crisp on the outside but dense and soft on the inside. 

    
Overall Brewed is a really cool Fort Worth spot to just catch up with friends, whether it’s for brunch or in the evening when it converts to a bar. Brewed is a classic Instagram worthy restaurant serving delicious food and providing a great atmosphere.   

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