Restaurant Spotlight

Boca

I never turn down a brunch date, whether with J., the girls, or our whole gaggle of friends – it’s always a grand time. Our most recent group foodie adventure was to Boca in the Hyde Park/Channelside area of Tampa. J. and I had been there once before for dinner many moons ago when the farm to table focus was not quite mainstream. Boca is always ahead of the curve it seems and their menu offers twists on classics to appease every palette.

“Local. Simple. Honest.” That’s Boca’s mantra and they definitely live up to it. Boca’s menu is based off local ingredients and sourced from nearby farmers and specialty food purveyors. You can check out all the local ingredients in the latest edition of the Local Dirt on their website. The restaurant inside is inviting, warm, and comfortable, with lots of wood (including a planter wall of lettuce), cozy hightops, and intimate dining rooms with industry style lighting and accents. It’s a great place to gather with friends and family.

J. and I started off with splitting the fried green tomatoes – with pimiento cheese, tomato jam, and bacon. The breading was crisp and light and stuck to the fried green tomato well. Each of the toppings on their own are perfect complements to the fried green tomato, but all three is a creamy, sweet, salty perfection. I also got a glass of their “F’rose & F’rozignon Blanc” a blended frozen wine slush. It was basically like an adult slurpee. While I probably couldn’t have more than one (it was decently sweet) it was the right consistency (not too icy) and I’d consider it a great alternative to a mimosa for brunch.

Unsurprisingly, J. went for the chicken and waffles (although I had my eye on it too) – fried chicken tenders, buttermilk waffles with molasses maple syrup and sriracha plum glaze. I appreciated that the chicken was boneless, it’s much easier to eat. The breading was not too heavy, perfectly crispy (even with the syrup), and well seasoned. I found the waffles to be a little bit dense, but a bite of chicken, waffle, syrup, and glaze hit all the right flavor combos on your tongue. I’d put that sweet and spicy sriracha plum glaze on any meat.

The BBQ pulled pork benedict was calling my name – two poached eggs  and bbq pulled pork on jalapeño & cheddar toast, cilantro lime hollandaise, house hot sauce, and served with potato hash. BBQ for breakfast may sound weird, but Boca makes it work. The bbq pulled pork was fall apart tender and the sauce was sweet, which I really enjoyed. The jalapeño and cheddar toast was light and acted as the “cornbread” to this meal to soak up all the sauce and runny egg. I think the cilantro hollandaise got a little overpowered by the other flavors, but alone had a great unique flavor – and dipping the potato hash in it was absolutely delicious.

No matter what you order at Boca, you are in for a treat. They truly know how to take a comfort classic, and upgrade it – both in flavor profile as well as with their locally sourced ingredients. They do it right, and it’ll keep people coming back again and again. I’m already looking forwarding to my next trip.

One last note…they also offer a variety of fresh muffins with apple butter. Get. A. Muffin. Trust me. 

Until next time!

–BrunchBabe

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Recipes

Brown Butter Blueberry Waffles

With the new year unfolding, J. and I wanted to start it off right with a fun brunch at home. I had planned for some fancy omelettes, bacon, and hash browns (and mimosas of course), but J. stumbled upon this recipe from Layers of Happiness and this was the clear winner. It didn’t hurt that we always have almond milk stocked in the fridge too 😉 .

Brown Butter Blueberry Waffles

  • 4 TBSP unsalted butter (1/2 a stick)
  • 2 cups unsweetened almond milk (I used Silk Original Unsweetened Almond Milk)
  • 2 eggs yolks
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 4 tsp baking powder
  • 1⁄4 tsp salt
  • 2/3 cup blueberries (I used frozen)

First, brown your butter. Melt it in a saucepan over medium-high heat. Stir constantly until the butter begins to foam and turn golden brown (the butter will start to smell nutty) – about 5 minutes. Remove the saucepan from the heat and let the butter turn into a rich brown color (about 15 – 30 more seconds). Carefully pour butter into a small bowl and refrigerate for about 20 minutes to cool completely. (Note: if you burn the butter – start over! Burnt butter will make your waffles taste burnt. Also, make sure you let your butter cool. If you add it into the rest of your wet ingredients while it’s too hot the mixture will curdle. Gross.)

While your butter is chilling, preheat your waffle iron.

In a large bowl, mix together the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. In a small bowl, mix the almond milk, egg yolks, and vanilla. Once butter is cooled, add that in and mix until combined. Then add the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients. Mix well and fold in blueberries.

Generously coat the waffle iron with with non-stick spray and pour on about 1/3 cup of batter. Cook according to the waffle iron’s instructions. Finish off with desired toppings – butter, syrup, powdered sugar, cinnamon, whipped cream, nuts, fresh blueberries – whatever you’d like!

This recipe made 5 full sized waffles, so I ended up freezing the extras for J. to have as breakfast during the week. These waffles have a perfect consistency of light and fluffy on the inside, but still crisp on the outside. The nuttiness from the brown butter and almond milk balance out the sweet tart blueberries perfectly.  These were a huge success in my book and we will be making variations of this recipe for years to come.

And if you are obsessed with that brown butter flavor as much as I am, make sure you check out my brown butter bourbon cookies!

Until next time!

–BrunchBabe

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Recipes Sweet Treats

Spice Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

I love fall spices. Cinnamon, nutmeg, brown sugar – they all just seem to be perfect complements to each other, and are more powerful flavors together rather than apart. J. is not a fan, so it’s rare I eat a lot of spiced flavors unless it happens to be in my coffee or I splurge for a dessert of my own. But since we were hosting 15 people for Thanksgiving, I knew there were enough other mouths to feed to make this cake. So, as promised, here’s my other scrumptious baked good from my baking day before Thanksgiving – Spice Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting.

(And if you missed my first one – make sure to check out my Parker House Rolls recipe!)

Spice Cake

  • 2 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp ground cloves
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 cup canola oil
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 3/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
  • 1 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 cup grated apple (1 – 2 large apples, I used Gala)
  • Butter for greasing pan

Cream Cheese Frosting

  • 8 oz cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 3 cups confectioners’ sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/8 tsp salt

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Peel and grate your apples. Grease a 9×13 inch pan with butter (or oil).

In a large bowl, mix together all your dry ingredients: the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and other spices. In a separate large bowl, mix together the oil, eggs, brown sugar, applesauce, and vanilla extract. Pour your wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and whisk until combined. Then softly mix in the grated apples.

Pour batter into your greased pan. Bake for 45-50 minutes, until cooked through and a toothpick comes out dry. Allow to cool completely before frosting. If possible, make the cake the day before so it can cool overnight.

For the  the frosting: In a stand mixer (or large bowl with hand mixer) beat the room temperature cream cheese and butter together until smooth and creamy. Add the confectioners’ sugar, vanilla, and salt and mix for another minute. Spread the frosting on the cooled cake and let it set in the refrigerator for about 20 – 30 minutes.

And voila – spice cake ready for any occasion! The one downfall of fall spices is that they can sometimes taste very dry. The applesauce and grated apples give this cake a natural sweetness and keep the cake moist and tender, plus apples + cinnamon, you can’t ask for a better combo!

Until next time!

–BrunchBabe

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Recipes

Parker House Rolls

When J. and I decided to host Thanksgiving, many of our guests took care of bringing side dishes so I could focus on handling the the beast that was my 22 lb. turkey. But, being me, I really wanted to go above and beyond, and when I was unexpectedly gifted the day before Thanksgiving off of work, I knew exactly how I wanted to spend it – baking. First up, was a recipe I stole from Bobby Flay for his infamous Parker House Rolls.

Parker House Rolls

  • Additional butter for greasing bowl
  • Additional melted butter for brushing

Pour milk in a small saucepan and bring to a simmer. Remove from the heat, stir in the butter and sugar and let cool. In a small bowl of warm water, dissolve yeast and let it sit until it gets foamy (this should only take a few minutes). In another small bowl, crack and lightly beat 3 eggs.

In a stand mixer (with a dough attachment) mix together 3 cups of flour with the milk mixture, salt, yeast, and eggs. Once combined, add in the remaining 3 cups of flour, a 1/2 cup at a time, until a smooth ball of dough forms.

Flour your work surface and remove the dough from the stand mixer. Knead my hand for about 5 minutes until the dough looses its stickiness, becomes more elastic, and holds its shape.


Notes for kneading: Work the dough with your hands, forming it into a ball, pressing it down, and reshaping it. Sprinkle in more flour as necessary and work it into the dough to become less sticky. You can also press the heels of your hands into the dough, pushing forward slightly. Once it begins to become a little more elastic, knead the dough by folding it  in half and pressing the heels of your hands into the dough to press it flat. Turn the dough slightly, fold it in half again, and press it flat again. Continue this process for the 5 minutes.


Place the kneaded dough in greased bowl, cover, and let rise in a warm place until doubled in bulk, about 60 to 70 minutes. Line your baking sheets with parchment paper. Flour your work surface and place dough. Punch down the dough and shape into desired roll shapes (I shaped mine into small balls – a little larger than the size of a golf ball – this created about 35 rolls) and place on baking sheet. Cover again and let rise until doubled, about 30 to 40 minutes.

When the rolls are almost done rising, preheat the oven 350 degrees F. Bake for about 20 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from the oven and brush with melted butter before serving.

These are best served fresh, but if you are baking ahead of time, let the rolls cool and place in an air-tight container or zip lock. When ready to serve, warm in the oven for about 10 minutes and brush with melted butter.

These do take awhile, but you can’t beat fresh baked bread, especially around the holidays!

Enjoy and stay tuned for my other baked good from that day – spice cake with cream cheese frosting!

Until next time!

–BrunchBabe

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Recipes Sweet Treats

Brown Butter Bourbon Cookies

It’s the perfect time of year for cookies – buying them, making them, eating them, giving them – or all of the above. For a friend’s recent birthday, I wanted a cookie recipe I knew he’d love, but also something that could be a great fall/winter staple for years to come. And to me, nothing quite says “warmth” of the holiday season like some nutty brown butter and, of course, bourbon.

Brown Butter Bourbon Cookies

  • 8 TBSP unsalted butter
  • 2 1/2 cups flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 5 TBSP bourbon (I used Bulleit Bourbon)
  • 1 cup pecans, chopped

First, make your brown butter. Melt in a saucepan over medium-high heat. Stir constantly until the butter begins to foam and turn golden brown (the butter will start to smell nutty) – about 5 minutes. Remove the saucepan from the heat and let the butter turn into a rich brown color (about 15 – 30 more seconds). Carefully pour butter into a small bowl and refrigerate for about 20 minutes to cool completely. (Note: if you burn the butter – start over! Burnt butter will make your cookies taste burnt.)

While the butter cools, in a medium bowl mix together flour, baking soda, and salt. In a separate large bowl, mix together sugar, dark brown sugar, and egg. Add in the cooled butter and vanilla to your wet ingredient. Add in flour mixture and stir to incorporate. Add the bourbon and then stir in the pecans.

Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate. The longer you can let the dough refrigerate (up to 24 hours) the better as it will help all of the flavors meld together. At minimum, try to let it sit for at least an hour before baking.

When you’re ready to bake, preheat the oven to 350 F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

Use a tablespoon to form small balls of dough and drop dough onto prepared cookie sheets. This should make about 35 cookies. Bake for about 15 minutes until golden brown, flipping the cookie sheets halfway through to ensure even baking.

These cookies are a wonderful mix of crumbly outside and soft inside. The bourbon shines through without being overpowering, with the brown butter adding a nice nutty, toasted flavor that is the perfect complement to the pecans and whiskey. For all your bourbon loving friends, these will be quite a hit.

Until next time!

–BrunchBabe

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Recipes

Sweet Potato Casserole

I hope everyone had a very Happy Thanksgiving! Mine went surprisingly smoothly – with the turkey somehow finishing a full hour early! It was a lovely day full of good food and family.

I then turned right around the following weekend and attended one of my best friend’s annual “Friendsgiving” and with the amount of food and people there it was basically like full-on Thanksgiving all over again! I wanted to make something that I didn’t get a chance to make on actual Turkey day, but something that could still feed a lot of people. The choice seemed easy – and nothing quite says “Fall” like Sweet Potato Casserole!

Sweet Potato Casserole

  • Cinnamon, nutmeg, or other fall spices (to taste) – optional 

Streusel Topping

Preheat the oven to 350 F.

Peel and cube your sweet potatoes while a large pot of water comes to a boil. Boil the sweet potatoes for 15 – 20 minutes, until tender. Drain the water and mash with a hand mixer. Season with cinnamon, nutmeg, or other fall spices to taste.

Melt your butter and mix into the sweet potatoes. Add milk, brown sugar, vanilla, and salt. Stir to combine. Transfer into an oven-friendly baking dish (I used a 9 x 11).

For the topping: In a separate bowl, combine the flour, brown sugar, butter and salt. Stir until the mixture begins to combine and clump together. Stir in the pecans and spread over the top of the sweet potatoes.  Bake until warmed through and the streusel has browned, about 30 minutes.

This casserole is a great addition to any holiday meal. The streusel adds a sweet, crunchy component, but still allows the squash savory-ness to shine through and be the star.

Enjoy!

Until next time!

–BrunchBabe

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Recipes

Turkey with Blueberry Thyme Sauce

If you’re looking for a last minute recipe for the holidays – you’ve come to the right place! This blueberry thyme sauce kicks up your normal turkey and gravy to a whole new level. This recipe uses turkey tenderloin (which is the perfect option for a weeknight meal), but a turkey breast or full turkey (or chicken) will work just as well. Blueberries are that perfect balance of sweet and tart that allows them to work with both sweet and savory dishes. Mixed with the thyme makes it fun twist on the normal herb flavors you know and love. Trust me, you’re going to want to put this sauce on everything.

Turkey and Blueberry Thyme Sauce

Turkey Tenderloin:

  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 1 lb turkey tenderloin
  • 1 TBSP extra-virgin olive oil

Blueberry Thyme Sauce:

  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 cup shallots
  • 1 TBSP fresh thyme
  • 2 cups fresh blueberries
  • 3 TBSP balsamic vinegar

Preheat oven to 450 F. Chop your shallots and thyme and rinse the blueberries.

In a small bowl, mix flour, salt, and pepper. On the stove top, heat oil in a large oven-safe skillet over high heat. Dredge your turkey in the flour mixture and add to skillet. Cook for about 5 minutes to brown on one side. Flip the tenderloin and transfer into the oven and bake for 20 minutes.

One the turkey is cooked through, transfer to a plate or cutting board (tent with foil to keep warm) and let it rest while you create your blueberry sauce. In the same skillet you cooked your turkey in, reheat on the stove top to medium heat. Add the shallots and thyme. As the shallots begin to soften, add the blueberries, vinegar, and salt. Scrape up the browned bits of turkey from the bottom of the pan. Let it cook down for about 5 minutes until the blueberries burst and the sauce thickens.

Then slice the turkey and top with the blueberry sauce. I served mine with some mashed sweet potatoes, but any fall vegetable or typical Thanksgiving side will pair beautifully with this dish.

And voila! An elevated turkey dinner that is perfect for the holidays, but also any day of the week.

P.S. Keep any leftover sauce and turkey – smear the sauce on some bread, add some turkey and cheese and you’ve got an AMAZING leftover sandwich

Until next time!

–BrunchBabe

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Recipes Sweet Treats

Cranberry Apple Casserole

It’s shocking to me that Thanksgiving is a week away. I don’t know where the time has gone! But approaching holidays not only means some well deserved time off, but also some fun potlucks at work! J.’s office had there event this week and my office has one early next week. I wanted a dish that was easy to make on a week night, but that still packed a lot of flavor (and was maybe a tiny bit healthy?) With a lot of the classic dishes already signed up for, one of my best friends let me steal her recipe for a sweet and tangy cranberry apple casserole.

Cranberry Apple Casserole

  • 3 cups of peeled, chopped granny smith apples (about 5-6 small apples)
  • 2 cups of fresh cranberries
  • 1 cup + 2 TBSP flour
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3/4 cup of chopped pecans
  • 3 – 1.5 oz packages of cinnamon spice oatmeal
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 stick butter, melted

Preheat your oven to 350 F. Prep your apples and pecans, and melt the butter (I just microwaved mine in a microwave safe container for about 30 seconds). In a large bowl, add your apples and cranberries. Add 2 TBSP of flour and mix until it evenly coats the fruit. Mix in the sugar and add mixture into  casserole dish.

In your original bowl add the rest of the flour (1 cup), brown sugar, pecans, and oatmeal packets. Mix together to slightly incorporate and break up any brown sugar chunks. Add in the melted butter and stir to coat. Top your fruit with this streusel topping. Bake (uncovered) for 45 minutes.

This the perfect ying and yang type of dish with both textures and flavors. The tart fruits are balanced out by the sweet streusel on top, and the fruit bakes down into a cobbler like consistency that pairs well with the crunchy topping. Whether you consider it a side with your meal or save it for dessert, this is a dish you’ll want to have at every holiday gathering.

Until next time!

–BrunchBabe

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Recipes

Fall Vegetable Medley Casserole

J. and I will be hosting our first Thanksgiving together this year. And with the holiday right around the corner, I’ve been testing recipes in preparation for the big day. I want to stay traditional with the menu, but create some modern or different twists where I can. While I’ll still be making the classic mashed potatoes and green bean casserole, I wanted another hearty dish that could incorporate a bunch of my favorite fall vegetables together.

Fall Vegetable Medley Casserole

  • 2 cups wild rice
  • 2 TBSP olive oil (or PAM cooking spray)
  • 1/2 sweet onion
  • 2 sweet potatoes
  • 1 lb. brussels sprouts
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • 1/4 cup unsalted chicken broth
  • 2 lb boneless, skinless chicken breast
  • optional: 1/2 cup dried cranberries (I used Craisins)
  • optional: 1/4 cup sliced almonds
  • Salt
  • Pepper

First, cook your rice according to the package instructions.

Chop your onion, peel and cube the sweet potatoes, and trim and quarter your brussels sprouts. On a separate cutting board, slice your chicken into bite size pieces and season with salt and pepper. (Tip: try to cut your vegetables and chicken into similar sized pieces – this will allow for the “perfect bite” of all the flavors)

Preheat your oven to 350 F. In an oven-safe large skillet, heat oil over medium heat. Add your chicken and cook until almost cooked-through (about 10 minutes). Then add your onion, sweet potato, and brussels sprouts and saute until soft, about 5 minutes. Season with thyme, paprika, salt, and pepper. Add the chicken broth, bring to a simmer, and cover for an another 5 minutes.

Mix in prepared rice and bake for 20 minutes. Let cool and top with cranberries and sliced almonds before serving.

Wild rice offers and nutty flavor and chewy texture that pairs well with the hearty fall vegetables. The sliced almonds offer the crunch, and the dried cranberries offer a hint of sweetness.  Feel free to throw in some of your own favorite vegetables to make this your own!

Until next time!

–BrunchBabe

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Restaurant Spotlight Snacks & Sightseeing

Howdy Dallas

One of my best friends and her husband moved out to the Dallas area (Carrollton to be precise) a few years ago after college. The distance can be hard, especially after being such a tight knit group and living at max a couple hours apart for so many years, but we always make the most of our time together! This past Labor Day weekend, we flew out to Dallas to relive a college game day together at the UF vs. Michigan game (the start of an embarrassing season for us Gator fans) and to have some fun exploring around town.

Here’s some of our favorite places, foods, and drinks we hit while in the great state of Texas:

Hard-Eight BBQ

After a long day of traveling, we got picked up at the airport and whisked off to the magical bbq land of Hard-Eight BBQ. I’ve eaten at my fair share of bbq joints, but nothing compared to what we were in store for here. As you enter into this large rustic barn-style building, you walk up to the large pit full of every meat imaginable, and are served right from the pit master himself. This isn’t the type of place where you just order a “pulled pork sandwich” or a “1/4 quarter white meat chicken” – you’ve got your full selection of brisket, ribs, pork, sausage, chicken, corn on the cob, and baked potatoes (just to name a few) and you can have as little, or as much, as you want.

Between J. and I we tried a little bit of everything in that smoker. Walk inside with your tray and you’re welcomed to another huge array of sides from breads, mac and cheese, baked beans, veggies, and desserts. Once you pay, find a seat at their large family style tables and take in the fun, rustic, Texas atmosphere. I felt extremely full and extremely happy, already dreaming of the day I’d get to return here.

Meso Maya Comida y Copas

Sunday was our downtown Dallas day, exploring the city and all of its history. What better place to grab lunch than in a historic Spanish-style building, at a restaurant bringing back flavors of Mexican and Mayan culture.

A little history: “Our building on McKinney Avenue has a long history—more than 75 years worth. It started in 1938 when the Spanish-style building was built for the Luna Tortilla Factory. The restaurant and its next-door neighbor, El Fenix, were instant favorites for residents and visitors of Dallas’ Little Mexico community, and it offered the first Mexican restaurant patio in the city. In late 2012, the building was renovated to accommodate Meso Maya, bringing to the area a new genre of Mexican food and culture. This well-known location recently received an award and was recognized by Preservation Dallas for preserving the history and culture of the Dallas community.”

Meso Maya makes all of their food from scratch – from from salsas and sauces to tortillas and adobos. Every dish is made with influences from places like Yucatan, Vera Cruze, and Chiapas. We started off with their house made salsa with a unique charred flavor from cooking down the tomatoes on a wood-burning grill. For my entree, I thought of no better dish to get than their Mole Poblano Enchiladas, adobo chicken breast, caramelized onions, cilantro, roasted poblanos, and monterrey jack cheese wrapped inside blue corn tortillas and smothered in homemade mole poblano sauce. The chocolate used in the mole sauce is made from specialty cocoa beans ground in house. It was a deep, rich flavor that started smooth and finished with that slight spicy burn on the back of your tongue. I finished off with a fresh squeezed margarita and it’s like I was transported to Mexico right in the heart of Dallas.

Tip: if you’re going on a weekend – make reservations! Even for lunch this place was jam-packed full of people.

Twisted Root Burger Company

After a long day of sight-seeing, we ended our night back over in Plano at The Shops at Legacy for dinner and bar-hopping and Twisted Root was calling our name. Let me start by saying this is not your typical burger joint. Chefs Jason Boso & Quincy Hart wanted to do things their own way with gourmet burgers and fresh ingredients in a fun, casual atmosphere. Because who said gourmet equated to fancy? Their meat is fresh, their toppings are made in house daily (including condiments and a whole variety of homemade pickles), and their buns are sourced from local bakeries.

J. went the build your own burger route and I got their “lots of shroom” burger  with garlic baby bello mushrooms and aged swiss. The bun was soft on the inside and crisp on the outside and was the right balance of bread to the 1/2 lb. burger patty. The burger was seasoned perfectly and super moist. We also ordered the fried pickles (because who can say no to homemade pickles) that were crisp and delicious.

The atmosphere of the The Shops at Legacy location is urban, casual, and fun with shipping container walls, metal high-tops, and a large concrete bar in the center of the restaurant. When you order your food, instead of asking for your name, they give you a fun themed card (we got the Beatles) and then they’ll sing a song or say a movie quote tied to your card – so listen closely for your order! If you’re looking for a low-key, casual meal without sacrificing quality – this is definitely your place.

P.S. Guy Fieri featured them on Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives back in 2009!

Whiskey Cake Kitchen and Bar

What trip would be complete without a farewell brunch? Our hosts had been talking this place up to us for months leading up to the trip. And especially with a name like Whiskey Cake – how could we say no?

As you walk into this stand-alone brick and mortar, you enter an atmosphere that can I only describe as an industrial farmhouse. High ceilings with exposed beams and brick walls, and small details made out industrial material are matched with piles of firewood, whiskey barrel tops as wall art, chalkboard displays, and refurbished furniture. It gives off the vibe of being really hip, yet still warm and inviting.

They are all about farm-to-kitchen dishes and cocktails. “From scratch” and “homemade” have been prevalent themes through our meals in Dallas, and Whiskey Cake is no different. They’ve got a small herb garden right in front of the restaurant and a full chalkboard display and section of their menu showing exactly where their local ingredients are sourced.

I started off with a mimosa flight, because the only thing better than a mimosa is one with fresh squeezed juice. They all probably could have used a splash more juice in them, but I’m not going to be the girl that complains about too much champagne in her glass. For my meal, I went for their Pork Belly Ramen, ramen noodles, braised pork belly, quail egg, basil, sriracha, and seaweed, all in a pork broth. The broth was rich and complex, definitely something that had been cooking down for hours back in the kitchen. The braised pork belly was fall apart tender and the quail egg was just the right size type egg to get the flavor, without having a bowl full of egg yolk.

J. went more the breakfast route with a B.E.L.T, local sunny side up egg, lettuce, peppered bacon, tomato, fried green tomato, and remoulade sauce all on thick brioche bread. The bread was toasted well and was nice and thick to hold up to all of the toppings and runny egg yolk. I loved the addition of the fried green tomato not only as a different flavor, but for the added crunchy texture as well. Definitely something I’ll have to remember to replicate at home.

Of course we couldn’t leave without dessert, and their whiskey cake is well worth naming their restaurant after. A square slice of super moist toffee cake, topped with bourbon anglaise, spiced pecans, and fresh whipped cream. The cake soaked up that beautiful anglaise and the spiced pecans added just the snap of texture and paired well with the toffee and bourbon flavors. The sauce is quite sweet, but the cake itself and fresh whip cream balance it out beautifully. Next time we go, I’m not sharing.

And just like that we got back on the plane home, thus ending our long weekend in Dallas. And while the Gators may have lost, the weekend with great friends and good food was definitely one for the books.

Until next time!

–BrunchBabe

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