Beef, Fort Worth, Mexican, Seafood, Tacos, Uncategorized

Bartaco- Fort Worth, TX

Y’ALL. I’M SORRY.

I know it’s been over two months since I’ve posted an actual blog, but I’ve been eating lots of delicious foods this summer that have been documented on the ‘Gram (@critiquingcarnivore) Nothing has been really blog worthy…so lame and a poor excuse, but that’s what it is. Anyway, I’m back and back in the state of Texas and how else was I going to spend my first night in the heat than spend money I don’t have and eat some great tacos! One of the newest additions is Bartaco.

Across from HG Sply, along the Trinity in Westbend is Bartaco, the white building catching your eye walking by the river. You walk inside and it has a Mexican beach look, wicker notes and white plank walls. The hostess was inviting and accommodating while we waited for a table, although the front is pretty tiny and not great for several parties to be waiting for a table. However, the bar is located directly to your left as you walk in, inviting you to pull up a chair and have one of their amazing cocktails while waiting.

We were sat down and our waitress was cute and asked if we had been before. Two out of four of us had not, but she didn’t care to explain the system of how things work thoroughly. She explained some how to order, but some things she wasn’t clear about. I understand, half of us did know, but regardless an explanation of the different kind of service offered is always welcome for newcomers. With that said, she did explain that you order almost the way you would sushi. You mark on a personal piece of paper what you’d like to order with a pencil, marking the item and quantity. Upon completion, I later figured out, you place a card to flag your server (you do this almost every time you want their attention). They go through everyone’s order to confirm and you’re done! It’s a different way for ordering tacos, but for the kitchen it may be easier to help fire food.

If you don’t know this about me then here you go: before going somewhere new I always check them out on instagram beforehand. One thing I learned from instagram is that the drinks are incredible, fun combinations and well made. One drink that has had some recognition is called Smoke on the Water. With mezcal, watermelon, lemon, and mint this drink is super refreshing and not sweet! For a hot day it’s perfect and overall the prices were not astronomical. Also, they make for cute pictures…look how pretty!

A couple of things pertaining to the tacos. These guys are small, only four inch tortillas. I recommend at least three, maybe four plus. They also aren’t full of lettuce or tomato, it’s loaded with your main ingredient and topped with herbs and some extra flavor enhancers. Another tip…keep track of who got what. They brought the tacos out at once and some orders were put on the same trays. Make sure everyone got the right amount and right options. Then, divide and conquer.

Guys, look at me eating seafood in Texas! Yes, I just saw the cod and couldn’t say no. It was a nice piece of fish with a good fry to it, but I would’ve loved some more cilantro or something with it. Definitely recommend adding some pepper sauce (there are three different kinds on the table, jalapeƱo and habanero are two options) to add some flavor. I would’ve added some pepper for seasoning as well. Prepared well, just needed some kick.

Next up, pork carnitas! A taco staple, carnitas are slow cooked pork, shredded to delicious perfection. These carnitas were delicious with some more condiments and flavors coming together than the fish. The tangy mojo sauce added some nice elements, this was a favorite of both instagram and myself.

Lastly, the fan favorite of all is the chicken pastor: achiote marinated chicken with grilled pineapple this is definitely the most flavorful of the three tacos. The chicken was grilled and marinated wonderfully, the pineapple adding that acidic tang to balance the taco. By far this was the best taco, I was sad I only got one.

Overall Bartaco is a great new spot for tacos in Fort Worth. With killer cocktails and an array of taco options (duck, redfish, pork belly, oh my!) this will soon be THE stop along the Trinity. All the bikers and runners will flock here to recoup, taking a breather and being sure to stay hydrated! šŸ¹

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American, Chinese, Ethnic

Gung Ho- Dallas, TX

There are several different areas within the city of Dallas.  When it comes to going out and having a drink most people will tell you to go to Deep Ellen or Uptown. However a just as fun area, less crazy and just as popping, is Lower Greenville and that’s exactly where we went and had the pleasure of enjoying Gung Ho.

The new Chinese-American spot only just opened its doors this past February, right next to its sister restaurant HG Sply Co. It’s prime location is central on Greenville Ave, smack dab in the middle of everything. At first my friends and I walked right past it, HG right next door almost covers it up if you’re walking north on Greenville. Once we back tracked we couldn’t believe we walked right past it. People were dining on the small outside area with others flooding out the doors around the bar. The staff is very accommodating, even on a bustling Saturday night, always checking on us while we waited for a table at the bar. 

The interior is super cool, fun lighting and texture ceilings, intimate booths and Asian inspired decor. The biggest eye catch is the green lit “Gung Ho” bar background enticing you to get a closer look…and a drink. The drinks menu is next level featuring liquors from fig infused rum to famous grouse scotch. Egg whites and lapsang tea accompany other ingredients in these decadent cocktails, new ideas pouring over the back bar. The Lapsang Penicillin featuring famous grouse, lapsang tea, honey syrup, ginger and lemon was a fiery delight. 

The food menu is very inviting, classic Chinese flavors and ingredients with some exciting new twists. They recommend getting a couple of different plates and sharing, which is the best way to try a little of everything. With items from classic dim sum and kung pao chicken, the staff recommended some of the fusion dishes being their favorites. We started with the glazed eggplant featuring a fish sauce caramel, garlic, Thai basil and fermented chilis. The eggplant was cooked perfectly and the flavors really popped, the spicy chilis adding a great kick to it. The glaze added a light sweetness to the dish, this was a standout. 

Several staff members recommended the crack chicken, and it did sound amazing boasting fried chicken in a mala seasoning (yes please) along with those fermented chilis and herbs. This dish was really good, spicy flavors really coming through from the seasoning and chilis, but it was pretty basic being just a fried chicken dish. The meat was delicious and juicy and we got our protein for the night, but not as big a standout as the eggplant. 

The star dish of the night goes to the crab and coconut rice. Our waiter set the dish down in front of me and the aromas of coconut immediately hit me. I was actually worried that because there was such a strong coconut smell that it would mean an overpowering taste. I was totally wrong, the perfect amount of coconut flavor paired with crab and delicious rice and egg topped with fresh scallions left me incredibly fat and happy. A subtle sweetness balanced the other spicy dishes out and left me continuously adding more to my plate as my taste buds kept calling for it.

Gung Ho came as a recommendation from my friend Jonathan who enjoyed the restaurant, but certainly Gung Ho has worked out their new restaurant kinks. They changed the menu up a little and improved the service, from exact timing of our wait time to fast food delivery all on a crazy Saturday night. The cool cocktail menu and delicious coconut crab rice will bring me back to Gung Ho along with its cool interior and fusion vibe. 

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Baking Recipes, Cookies, Savory, Sweets, Uncategorized

Harvest Fall Recipes

IT’S FALL Y’ALL. This carnivore is so excited that it’s finally the season of pumpkin and candy corn and cinnamon. With all of that being said, I tried two different fall themed recipes this week! The first is a savory chicken recipe that has so many delicious flavors and then a scrumptious pumpkin take of the classic snickerdoodle! 

I found each of these recipes on different blogs, the first being Well Plated by blogger Erin. When I first saw this recipe the ingredients really drew me in. Chicken with apples, sweet potatoes seasoned with thyme and cinnamon sounded so fall like! AND BACON. BACON. Read the recipe before starting (always), but especially here. She doesn’t just throw everything in together and I have to say I think it really did make a difference. Give the ingredients the chance to soak in flavors before combining everything. She originally called for brussel sprouts, but I’m not a huge fan of them so instead I threw some spinach in! Just as healthy and adds the green color! 

In case my kitchen didn’t smell good already (which it smelled amazing), lets bring some more cinnamon, add some pumpkin spice, flour and sugar and get to baking! These Pumpkin Spice Snickerdooles from Valerie’s Kitchen are so incredible, 9 minutes in the oven is the perfect amount of time. Still soft and gooey after cooling down, the cinnamon sugar coating not over baked on the outside. These flavors obviously work so well together, its like a pumpkin pie in cookie form. 

My apartment smelled amazing all day from these harvest recipes, I highly recommend trying them out this fall season and check out the blogs too! There are lots of fun recipes from both bloggers! I hope you enjoy these fall flavors and smells as much as I did this upcoming season, now go make happiness in your kitchen! 

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American, Baking Recipes, Savory, Uncategorized

Tomato Basil Artichoke Baked Chicken

As my followers have probably gathered by now, I do a lot of baking and dessert recipes. That’s not to say I don’t enjoy cooking savory dishes, though! I made this over the weekend and already a few people have asked me for the recipe. It’s super easy and super yummy! I salted the chicken before baking them those initial 15 minutes and I kind of wish I didn’t. The artichokes added some saltiness and having the Parmesan in the mixture lended to not really needing any salt. I baked the whole dish for 17 minutes and then broiled it for 3 minutes. I think the chicken came out cooked perfectly and it was plenty moist and juicy. Broiling it at the end helped gave the mozzarella that bake on the top as you see in the photos. This is certainly a keeper and such a great dish to make for family and friends! Happy Cooking! 

Tomato Basil Artichoke Baked Chicken

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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, Burgers

Mash’d- Fort Worth, TX

I’ve already talked up the West 7th area of Fort Worth (see Rodeo Goat post), but it really honestly is the coolest area of Fort Worth besides downtown. It’s a food and drink mecca that attracts several twenty-somethings to eat, drink, and be merry. This go around at West 7th, we tried Mash’d.

Mash’d is very new to Fort Worth, only opening just this past summer. It already has attracted quite the crowd in only a matter of months. The location is great, it’s in the heart of West 7th with its door open to common folk just waiting to get some good old moonshine. The vibe is very interesting, it’s almost like retro hip meets country. The decor is all wood and the decorations are both country infused and hipster like. One my favorites was the quote on the main wall, “I feel sorry for people who don’t drink. When they wake up in the morning, that’s as good as they’re going to feel all day.” Thank you, Frank Sinatra. 

The menu has so many options for everyone, including a gluten free menu. Their salads look amazing, but their country, home style cooking menu filled with fried chicken and burgers is their thing. The menu has a lot of interesting components though, I don’t think you think goat cheese when going into a moonshine place. Sadly, I cannot comment on the moonshine quite yet, but according to my fellow colleagues it’s quite strong, but good. 

What’s awesome about this place is they had a screen of YouTube videos playing on the giant tv screen. Such a great way to distract people while waiting for food! I know I wasn’t constantly thinking about how hungry I was thanks to the funny cat videos.

I ordered the chicken sandwich and how could you not get fries with that! On the sandwich was their house slaw, pickle, and lemon aioli on a split top bun. What a site it was upon its placement in front of me. Right away you could tell this bun was going to be delicious. The chicken sat in between, and off the side, in a glorious way. The fries sat in a mini frying basket just calling your name. It was quite the sight, on an old newspaper for extra decoration. 

Let’s start with the fries: they were seasoned perfectly. They had a Parmesan taste to them leading me to believe they are a take on Parmesan truffle fries. The garnish wasn’t overpowering, just the right amount. I enjoyed the shoestring like shape and crispness of the fries, but they were almost difficult to eat because they were cut short! If they were closer to a ‘normal’ fries size I think it would make it easier to stuff them in your face. 

The chicken was cooked very well. It was tender and juicy and the fry wasn’t thick. It was definitely crispy and definitely something I would order a second time at Mash’d. The lemon aioli was a nice acid to balance out the flavor, but the lemon wasn’t crazy strong either, the chef did an excellent job not letting the lemon take over. The house slaw was also very good, they added a nice extra crunch in every bite. 

  
Overall, I think Mash’d is going to become our new favorite place to go to. From the eclectic atmosphere, amazing host (who had to handle a large group of us), and fantastic food, Mash’d should be on everyone’s list of places to go to in Fort Worth. 

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