American, Barbecue, Beef, Fort Worth, Uncategorized

Heim Barbecue- Fort Worth, TX

Well it’s that time of the year, Texas Monthly released their Top 50 Barbecue Joints in Texas list and this carnivore certainly didn’t miss the chance to read through it. They had a good list comprised, but in my opinion forgot some places too (particularly Black’s in Lockhart and even The Longoria’s in Everman…Angelo’s is one of my favorites, but it’s been some time since it’s made the list). However, barbecue is growing and expanding and the millennials are taking a crack at it…and succeeding. One young couple is doing just that and was named the top BBQ joint in Fort Worth, Heim BBQ.

The story basically starts with Travis Heim who started smoking meat young, learning from his grandparents, and the BBQ fire was lit. He and his now wife, Emma, started off local and small, grew to a food truck, and then met the right people to start their own place on W Magnolia in the Fort. It’s a great story of growing your business and going after your dream, never giving up. And it has obviously paid off.

The Magnolia area is a perfect fit for Heim, like I said the Heim’s being a younger couple have sort of aimed for the millennial generation as their customers and making BBQ ‘hipster cool’, which is precisely what Magnolia is sort of known for. Don’t get me wrong you see the older couples in there too, just my opinion and overall feeling I got.

They do have daily hours, but when they sell out they sell out. We went on a Friday and it was still hopping around 7:30, but if you check their Facebook they update it and it’s usually around then that they sell out, just a heads up. The space is nice, some outdoor picnic tables, full bar area, and decent amount of seating inside. Long tables take up the center part of the joint which adds a community feel to it, and isn’t that what barbecue is all about? 

Overall the food was good, I can see why it made the top 50 list. However, I wouldn’t say my mind was blown by the food. Let’s get into detail here:

The sauce- tangy, some smoky flavor, but definitely a sweet taste to it. There was a good mix of spices that I could taste, I’d certainly take a bottle of it home.

Coleslaw- I’m not personally a fan of heavy mayo or super creamy coleslaw and Heim’s was far from that. They actually use red cabbage only with shredded carrots, which made it bright and pop off the plate. However there wasn’t much seasoning to it, just a lot of pepper. Could’ve used a little more of a creaminess to balance it more.

The mac and cheese- good flavor, but don’t expect any chile flavor from this ‘green chile’ mac. It was very cheesy though!

Beans- huge tomato flavor that pops, good heat and cooked perfectly. Probably one of my favorite sides. 

Potato Salad- Wow, amazing. The cheese mixed in added a creaminess to the mashed potatoes. There isn’t a lot of seasoning, but I didn’t feel the need to add any. It was very refreshing to have compared to the other sides. My other favorite!

Now for the brisket- I have to start with that it was good, but it wasn’t mind blowing like some people have talked about it being. The meat pulled apart nicely and had a good, promising, smoke ring. There wasn’t really any smoky flavor to it unless you took a bite of meat with the bark. The piece of meat was very fatty, I like some fat, but almost the whole piece was fat. It was tender outside of that though, but again not much flavor which was disappointing.

To make up for the meat was the highly suggested bacon bits. The meat was delicious, I mean bacon, and the rub gave the bits almost a pork flavor. It was very sweet for a rub, but it was amazing.

Overall Heim had a cool feel to it, trying to get the younger generation into barbecue from the location to the hipster kind of vibe it has. The Heim’s have certainly paved their way and worked hard, but their meat was fatty and everything was very sweet rather than smoky. I would go back for that potato salad and other sides though! I recommend it so all y’all can experience and say you’ve been to Heim, but there are plenty of other great barbecue joints that deserve a spot on that list. 

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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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American, Fort Worth, Italian

Olivella’s- Fort Worth, TX

Let me be perfectly clear: I am extremely picky when it comes to Italian food. Having been to Italy before, I take pride in the ingredients and how pasta and pizza should be cooked. Considering I live part time in Boston, with the North End a hop skip and jump away, I am especially picky about eating Italian food where it isn’t well known, particularly a state that is much better at Tex Mex and barbecue. With that being said, I have found at least two Italian restaurants in Fort Worth with decent Italian food, and since the opening of Olivella’s, I have found a third. 

I had heard great things about Olivella’s through the grapevine. Pretty authentic, very thin crust pizza with their own homemade mozzarella. I knew I had to give it a try and a review. Located in a small strip mall on Camp Bowie Blvd, you see a bright neon sign that reads the restaurants name, certainly eye catching and intriguing from the busy street. 

Upon entering you immediately get the essence of a small Italian trattoria. Several small tables that lead to a wine nook that continues into a large and home like atmosphere. A fire going in one corner and strings of lights hanging makes the restaurant feel magical. You can see how they would be very accommodating to larger groups. 

It was a quiet Monday night, with families coming in for a special dinner with the kiddos. Our waitress was very personable, giving us her opinions on dishes when asked, telling us about the restaurant. She made the evening extremely enjoyable, something I’m sure that is apparent in all of the staff. 

Now onto the food: we started with a classic Italian antipasti, bruschetta. Toasted bread drizzled with bright green olive oil, garlic tomatoes, and homemade mozzarella. How could you resist that? Olivella’s representation of the classic antipasti was very delicious, certainly looked and tasted Italian. Their homemade mozzarella, both in this dish and the pizza below, tasted homemade and was delectable. I can’t say it was “Italy standard” mozzarella, but the fact they make it homemade is a testament to the chef. 

Now onto the pizza. I always judge firstly on the crust, and being from the New York Metropolitan area I only eat thin crust (perhaps this is an exaggeration, but most likely not). Olivella’s offers two different crusts, their Neopolitan and Metro. The neopolitan is described as their regular crust, the metro as being extra thin. To judge their normal crust, we ordered the neopolitan crust of the Soppresatta and Sausage pizza. Soppressatta is a dry Italian salami, with pork being the traditional meat used. Think prosciutto meets pepperoni. When the pizza arrived, it was a nice thin crust, although it did have a decent rise to it. However, it looked beautiful with rich red colors bursting off the pan. It was cooked well, the mozzarella was still their homemade cheese, the meats were seasoned well and paired nicely with the red sauce used. In my opinion the soppressatta used was not true soppressatta, more of a pepperoni. I would be curious to try their listed pepperoni pizza to compare, nevertheless this hot soppressatta/pepperoni had a lovely flavor to it and complimented all the elements of the pizza.

Overall, Olivella’s was a spectacular experience, from the food to the atmosphere to the staff. It was all delicious, and even being in Texas, had hints of Italy. I would most certainly return to Olivella’s, whether it be for a take away pizza or a huge group dinner. No matter how or where, Olivella’s will bring joy and warmth to anyone, just as the Italians do.

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American, Burgers, Fort Worth, Uncategorized

Brewed- Fort Worth, TX

Brewed has quickly become one of the best restaurants in Fort Worth, best known for their brunch. I’ve had brunch plenty of times (see previous Brewed post), but they recently introduced a new dinner menu. Intrigued, a friend and I decided to try it out, featuring dishes with a twist and popular classics. 

Knowing how crazy Brewed can be, I called thirty minutes ahead to get my name on the list. Although it was a Tuesday night, at night Brewed is a gastropub featuring Texas on Tap, local Texan beers, so who would have guessed it would end up being a serene evening! We walked in and it was a glorious sight, calm and peaceful. It was refreshing to see the popular restaurant without a line out the door. 


I’ve always loved the atmosphere of Brewed. Hipster and chic, the decor is something of a British flat almost. Fun posters with local information and comfy sofas and chairs make an ambiance of tranquility. 


With their notable Texas on Tap, I ordered the Austin Eastciders Pineapple Cider from Austin, TX. When it came it certainly had a bright color to it and I was expecting a pineapple taste, but it didn’t come! It was a refreshing cider that had a hint of pineapple, but nothing strong. From the photo it looks quite fizzy too, but it wasn’t. It was cool and refreshing and tasted of fall. 


Now on to the food! We started with The Play on Wings, fried cauliflower bites served with housemade buffalo sauce, blue cheese dressing, celery and carrot sticks. The buffalo sauce certainly tasted homemade and it had quite a kick to it! With the dressing it was a great combination with the cauliflower bites. The dressing must have had a ranch base, it didn’t have an overly strong blue cheese taste which was great, it was very delicious. The cauliflower was amazing, I think the best thing I’ve had at Brewed, period. They were fried almost like a Chinese wonton or Korean fried. The cauliflower was cooked perfectly, soft but not chewy. They were a great texture and the fry was spot on. I could have the appetizer as my meal and be completely satisfied. 

As my entree I chose the fan favorite Brewed burger. Everyone always seems to talk about their burgers whenever I ask someone who has been for dinner, so it was time to weigh in. Wow, it’s certainly an amazing burger. With Veldhuizen Farm cheddar, house pickles, and mustard cream on a sweet challah bun, it’s hard not to go wrong. The burger was cooked perfectly, the pickles were extraordinary and tasted homemade, and the mustard cream was delectable. My only complaint would be that the bun was a little too burnt for my taste. I really like the idea of a bit of a charred bun, but it was just a tad too much. A smidgen less time and it would’ve been fantastic, giving extra flavor to each bite. 

Served with the burger is your choice of the duck fat fries or sweet potato fries. I love judging different restaurants sweet potato fries, I find they are always different when it comes to seasonings and the way they are cooked. These sweet potato fries were awesome. They were soft, which I love a good crispy fry, but the softness was suitable and still scrumptious. I don’t know what they did to the salt topped on them, but it didn’t seem to taste like regular salt, it was so much better. Perhaps it’s smoked salt, or seasoned a second way to bring an extra flavoring to them, I honestly couldn’t put my finger on it, but they were delicious and make my list of favorite sweet potato fries. 

Unfortunately I cannot comment on dessert (with Melt down the street it was hard to resist their comeback flavor Cheater, Cheater Pumpkin Eater) , but I know from word of mouth the Ricotta Fritters are a big fan favorite! 

Overall, the dinner experience at Brewed was lovely, which was a pleasant surprise. Not because the service is bad or the food isn’t good, but because it’s usually flooded with people anxious to enjoy the atmosphere and amazing food. The updated menu is fantastic, full of delicious choices for everyone. If you need a pick me up after a long Tuesday, Brewed would make a great place to meet up with friends or catch up on work. The coffee is still delicious and the staff is always friendly. Brewed will always be on my list of go to restaurants in Fort Worth, be sure to add it to your list, too!

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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, Italian, Sweets

Cafe Bella- Fort Worth, TX

I’m going to tell you right now, this blog post has the happiest ending. 

The story begins with my friend and I journeying to a quaint Italian restaurant behind the cultural arts district of Fort Worth. Upon walking in the man asked if we had a reservation, which we didn’t, and told us he could not seat us until after 8. We left, knowing we could get a meal somewhere else without waiting two hours.

We drove past our second choice which proved to be very crowded and was hosting a private party which insinuated getting a table would be difficult. We were left to try our third choice, Cafe Bella.

Back behind TCU, yonder from the baseball field and Bellaire, is Cafe Bella with its charming ambiance and fantastic outdoor patio. Upon walking in you knew it had a family feel, unlike the first place we tried, and you could tell it was a local hang out with several older couples saying hello to each other while passing by.

Our waiter was amazing, he made sure my friend and I were taken care of and checked in with us frequently, but not too much to be annoying. He was extremely polite whenever he had to interject our gabbing. The waitstaff was very good as well, clearing plates in a timely manner and always asking if we were done. 

Now to the food! The first thing to catch our eyes and ears was when our waiter said “your bread is in the oven”. It came out nice and warm and they were pretty big. They had a nice crisp top and were nice and fluffy on the inside. The classic olive oil with pepper flakes and basil indicated that we were most likely going to enjoy a pretty classic Italian meal (for being in Texas). 

 

The menu is pretty extensive, pretty classic. I opted to try the chicken Dardan which was lightly breaded chicken with sundried tomatoes, mushrooms, and green onions. It was a very delicious dish, the chicken was cooked perfectly, loved how they got the meat thin and tender. The spaghetti with it wasn’t al dente and the sauce was definitely worth saving some of my bread to zoup up. The presentation was very appealing, the sprinklings of green around the rim of the plate. In my opinion the tomatoes could have had more of a sundried taste, they just seemed pretty blah, but they complimented the dish and gave it some color. 


Finally how could you have a great Italian meal without some tiramisu. Again, the presentation was very appealing and the layers were so clear and defined. The lady fingers weren’t soaked and the whipped topping was light and powerful with flavor.

Now I said this story had a happy ending and it does. Sometimes life throws curve balls you aren’t expecting, like having to go to your third choice restaurant. Somehow it all works out because I think the first place we tried to go to would have been delicious, but full of stuck up rich old folk. Cafe Bella is perfect, you feel at home, you know it’s going to be delicious because of all the locals. Being in the TCU community proves to be special, because at the end of the night another couple grabbed our ticket and paid for our meal. The older woman turned to us and said “you go to TCU, you need all the help you can get” obviously knowing how expensive to is to go to college, be a student, and still go to dinner with a really great friend. If it wasn’t for the first place telling us we had to wait two hours, we never would have had such an incredible meal surrounded by amazing strangers. Cafe Bella is certainly someplace I’ll be enjoying for years to come.

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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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