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So you love tacos, but hate how fat they make you.
What if I told you that you could have everything you love about delicious, tasty tacos but none of that chubbiness that comes after?
Shutup, fatty, I'm not done talking.
That's right, at TaKorea you can have your taco and eat it too. You want it on the corn tortilla? DONE. You wanna cut some more cals and carbs outta the mix? OK, here's the cabbage wrap. See how easy that was?
What's that, you say? Where's the cheese? Well, you're in Austin so if you want some cheese on a taco I'm sure you can somehow find a place that will make one for you, you cheesy taco eatin' motha-
BUT DON'T YOU SEE? That's the beauty of it! Take a look under the hood of one of these babies -- like the spicy beef taco. Nothing but healthy cabbage, Korean style sauteed meet and spicy sauce -- but the flavor explosion that occurs in your mouth would make Kim Jong Il jealous.
This is no government propaganda my friends, no sir.
It's all about the freshness of the ingredients and an ingenious concept that is executed extremely well.
Let me paint you a little picture because I heard your'e a visual learner:
The Mexicans achieved a near-perfect flavor delivery mechanism -- the taco. Piggybacking off of that advanced tortilla technology, the Korean Deliciousness Lab (KDL) scrapped the internal design of the Mexican taco -- almost completely -- and instead used their own hardware.
This means everything you love about Korean culture -- the sauteed meats, the healthy vegetables and spicy sauces -- and nothing you don't -- DPRK, lying about torpedos sinking boats, nuke testing -- is ALL RIGHT THERE IN THE TACO!
EAST. MEETS. MEX.
It says it right there on the truck.
What's that you say? Are there downsides to this ingenious, cross-cultural culinary copulation?
(Didn't I tell you to stop talking?)
OK well, I guess so -- just a couple. It was blazingly hot outside and the guy that runs it (A BONAFIDE KOREAN DUDE) could do with an awning and maybe some chairs with umbrellas around his truck. They also don't take credit cards, which means I had to hobble my twisted ankle ass down the street to the nearest Chase bank (long story about the ankle, let's just say it involved alcohol and is probably on youtube right now), which made me feel like I was back in the 1970's which is impossible because I'm a Christian and Jesus hates time travel.
I see some people have been complaining about things taking long. Can we make a distinction here, please? Just because you are eating tacos -- out of a truck -- does NOT mean you are eating fast food.
Nah dog that shit is GOURMET.
I'm not kidding! The flavors are extremely sophisticated. That Korean Deliciousness Lab is definitely NOT fake and the guy that owns the truck, Paul, is most likely the head scientist at that lab. How else could these flavors be achieved?
I even got my hands on his special of the day, the Thai Hawaiian taco with sausage. It was a little sweet and sour and get this. Shit had craisins in it.
I AINT PLAYIN!
It was so unexpected and it pretty much blew me away. I don't live in Austin and believe me, I don't want to. BUT if I could steal TaKorea and take it with me back to Dallas, which is possible because the whole restaurant is on wheels, I would.
Get you some Takos!
I was a little nervous when I walked up to Circle Grill Restaurant. There were an awful lot of slow-walking, dirty people kind of skulking around the place like it was a homeless shelter.
I had to remind myself that I was simply in a part of town that I rarely visit, and this is probably just a normal day in the area.
"Don't panic," I thought to myself, "Just try and blend in."
So, I slowed my gait and breathed with my mouth. I think I might have farted just to seal the deal on my character. It worked because I made it to the door without being hassled.
When I walked in, I was whisked away to the diner in David Lynch's Twin Peaks. The scene couldn't have been more perfectly furnished by a Hollywood art director; vinyl bar stools with backs, a revolving pie showcase, fake wood siding on the booths and tacky carpet all assaulted my senses at once and almost made me feel like I was supposed to say my line when the hostess greeted us.
Even the staff and patrons looked like someone had picked them out just to be in this little cinematic moment that had been created for me.
Let me tell ya, they don't make em like this anymore.
When I sat down at the table, I saw a little notice taped to the wall of my booth "We will be closed next Sunday for a private filming."
How about that? Somebody else had admired the location for the set piece that it was and would shoot their movie there. I felt very validated in my initial observation. I wondered what kind of movie it would be?
I pictured myself as the main character... perhaps the town sheriff in a period piece about the mid 70's.
I walk in, thumbs in my belt, mustache out past my nose. I sit at my usual booth, Thelma promptly brings me coffee and apple pie (the usual).
I tip my hat and give her a "Thank ya kindly," with a little swat on the rear, not because I'm into her, but because sexual harassment was both expected and welcomed back in those days. My deputy, who also happens to be the town idiot, comes in and fills me in on the body that was just found down at the rock quarry. I throw 50 cents on the table and table and leave - mid-pie. And so starts the murder mystery.
On to the food.
I kept it simple: a turkey and swiss with some okra on the side. My friend got the chicken fried steak.
My sandwich was fine, just fine, I mean... it's a turkey sandwich with cheese, if you can't handle that, maybe you shouldn't be in the food business. But the chicken fried steak... The chicken fried steak was ENORMOUS and had that food porn look to it. You know the kind I'm talking about -- like where they do the slow motion shots of the gravy drizzling over the impossibly perfect looking food? Yeah, it actually LOOKED like that. It didn't have that greasy, thin sort of fried breading that we've all experienced elsewhere. No, this thing looked like a damned golden cumulonimbus cloud on a plate. I was impressed. I saw some of the other plates flying around and they all had that similar high quality look to them. I realized that this place was the REAL DEAL. A real home style diner that was a credit to the genre in both look AND food.
The service was prompt and friendly too, so don't worry about that.
The Circle Grill pretty much rocked my socks. And you know how I found it -- or even knew that it existed for that matter? The Yelp app's "nearby" feature. Otherwise I would have meekly puttered back to uptown in my hybrid for a more trendy lunch of sushi or perhaps of panini of some sort. Effin' lame! Thank God for technology and for the good reviews on Yelp! This is how you get customers in the 21st century!
If I lived closer, I think I would come back for lunch and dinner regularly. Looking forward to going again when I'm in that area.
4 and a half stars because I-30 scares me.
I'm surprised this place is so poorly reviewed. My office and I are all regulars here and no matter what other sandwich shops I try (Mr. Goodcents, Great American Hero or Potbellys), I always find myself paying a little bit more and going to PD Johnson's. The bread is always very moist and the overall texture of the sandwich is unique. PD does pile on the shredded lettuce, but not necessarily at the expense of other ingredients in my opinion.
I came to Yelp to find the phone number for my order today and saw all these negative reviews. I felt I needed to give a contrasting review to showcase their strengths: tasty, unique sandwiches, no religious affiliation (goodcents), and variety (potbelly). The only downside is that they are more expensive. Also there are lots of dick jokes on their wall, but that doesn't bother me.
Well, I finally made it to one.
I had a great time and it was very nice to meet everybody. Nickie G, thanks for showing me the ropes and giving me the "who's who" of Yelp. I'm a bit of a "starfucker" if you will, so I made it clear that I wanted to meet A-listers only. She pointed them out and I finally got to put faces with Aimee, Joe B, Lance, Megan, Monica, Kathryn, Tricia, Nadeem and several others. Thank you all for accepting me into your peer group because I can promise you I would have made your lives a living hell if you didn't (maniacal laugh)!!!
Some random observations:
The margaritas tasted like somebody took a gatorade and shook it up with some tequila. The good news for Kismet is that I know better than to judge a middle eastern restaurant on the quality of their margaritas. Thanks to Kathryn who helped me search IMDB for our DJ's name. It was, in fact, Vigo, the evil, supernatural villain from Ghostbusters 2.
Here's a link:
The food was excellent, the staff was SUPER nice (I'm sure there was a "make sure you kiss everyone's ass" memo that circulated beforehand), and the general flow of things was well-paced.
My compliments to Nikki B. on a very well-coordinated event -- you have a talent for parties!
And the event will generate business for Izmir and Kismet because now my wife wants to go there after I told her about how great it all was. Everybody wins!
Sorry if I mentioned a "Ghost Bar Afterparty" and confused anybody. I misunderstood Paul K and somehow misconstrued "afterparty" with "Paul K's private plans separate from the Yelp event."
"I thought you said there was an afterparty at Ghost Bar! That's what I've been telling everybody."
"Nooo dude, like, for US. An afterparty for YOU and ME and the people that came with us."
"Ohhh well I look like an idiot now."
I'll try to be more well-informed in the future. Can't wait for the next one!! CHEERS!
I've heard a lot of former Austinites complain about a lack of good taco stands in Dallas. I've certainly never been to one before, so I guess that confirms their claim -- but I've also never really fancied myself a taco hunter.
I'll let you make your own dirty joke here.
I don't know if I got worn down by all you taco lovers out there who keep Yelping left and right about your favorite taco stands, or if just suddenly saw the delicious taco light, but I decided that today was going to be the first day I was going to seek out and try a taco from a restaurant that only made tacos.
So I pulled out my awesome Yelp app on my iphone (which I freakin' love... maybe too much) and hit that lovely "nearby" button. The Taco Joint was right at the sweet spot of highly rated and close by, so I ventured there with my trusty co-worker side kick, The Zaffles (Yelp's Jason Z.). He has the palette of a 5 year old which makes him both surprisingly easy and at times frustratingly impossible to please. In a way, to have your food sampled and either accepted or rejected by him both reveals everything and yet... proves nothing about the tastiness of your restaurant.
In fact, forget I mentioned him.
Where was I? Oh yes, so we kicked in the door to The Taco Joint and were immediately relieved to find that the interior was much nicer than the outside -- I mean, based on the intersection (Peak and Gaston), I figured it was a 50/50 shot that I was gonna find meth heads and tranny hookers playing pool when I opened the doors. Fortunately, they were just eating tacos.
Just kidding, there was only like one meth head.
I got the brisket tacos because you guys won't shutup about them, and you were right -- they rock. They were juicy and flavorful and complimented well by the avocado slices that came with them. I also got some jalapeños and ranch because of another recommendation from Yelp. They came with rice and beans and all for under 8 bucks!
The Zaffles got the enchiladas (dammit, dude, we came to a taco stand, not an enchilada stand). He made his usual complaint about "beans always coming with Mexican food," but I didn't totally karate chop his ass into a coma right then and there because he is from a small town in Pennsylvania and doesn't know any better.
"OK, so other than the beans, are the enchiladas good?"
SCOOOOREEEEE for The Taco Joint. We agreed that we could come back and buy tacos for our company for breakfast one of these mornings. I look forward to updating my review with the breakfast report. If they can satisfy me and my trusty side kick "por la mañana" as they say, then we will have a 5 star review.
Yeah this place sucks balls.
I got thrown out for asking the bartender if he was going to "serve me or ignore me all night" after he served every single chick that walked in after me. I had been sitting right there in front of him at the bar for about 10 minutes, waiting patiently. At one point he actually said to a girl, "you, behind him," pointing at me. Once I finally got his attention and asked what the deal was he told me to "get the fuck out of here." When I asked to speak to a manager the bouncer escorted me out like I was causing a problem.
Never go here. The customer is always wrong. Unless you're a hot chick.
My wife and I accepted an invitation from Paul K, fellow Yelper and real-life friend, to try out some "authentic" Korean BBQ. He promised us that whatever our expectations, we would be blown away.
To view Yun Tan Gil from the outside is quite unsensational. It's located in a strip mall inside of another strip mall off of Royal Ln. with minimal signage to make you aware of its existence. But once you step in, you're transported to another land. It's hard to explain the decor. "Different" is understatement. "Unexpected" leaves too much to the imagination. I think that "out there" is a good place to start. The first thing I noticed was the K-pop jamming. To me it sounds like uber-mainstream-pop from the late 90's / early 2000's without the influence of black hip hop culture and with the kitschiness of a Saturday morning cartoon theme song. The restaurant has stalls with tables in them for private dining. The tables sit atop charcoal grills with a device that looks like the creature from "My Stepmom Is An Alien" hanging down from the ceiling to suck up all the smoke (and possibly your soul / will to live). The strangest and most notable design choice was the pebble floor in every stall; a bed of loose little rocks in which sat cheap foldable chairs for our seating.
Overall just... weird. But EXCITING!!! Let's eat!
The Korean appetizers that came out were very nice, if extremely pungent. I've had kim chi before that was overwhelming and this was not. There were some other pickled little munchies that were all quite tasty. Next came the burning coals and trays of meat which were placed in the grill and on a on a little side table respectively. Then the fun began. Grill time! I can't emphasize enough the excitement I felt with this level of interaction in my dinner. The fun of shuffling the meat around, the sound of the sizzle, the fresh aromas, all with the anticipation that you would soon be eating all of it. Fresh garlic and jalapenos were included with our order, as well as sesame oil, lettuce leaves (for rolling) and rice. All was delicious and we felt full but not stuffed at the end of the meal.
The service was... dicey, but like everyone says, very polite. Beers were a little slow to come and I was (understandably) misunderstood a couple times on my drink order.
Wait. Did I just come up with a band name?
Anyway, that didn't really detract from the experience, though it will prevent me from giving it that extra star. Our bill for the three of us was somewhere in the neighborhood of $50, which was great. I was expecting it to be $20 higher for some reason.
I highly recommend YTG to the adventurous. It helps to have an experienced Korean like Paul K. with you, but anyone would be able to navigate the experience, I think. Well, actually I'm not sure. I was a little drunk when I got there, you see.
It had been almost 8 months since my last horrible trip to Buzzbrews when I received clueless service that bordered on a real life Bonnie and Clyde routine. Of course, this was nothing new, I had always been a fan of Buzzbrew's food but not their service. This last visit, though, showed a huge improvement since the awful one 8 months before. I'm a little bit nervous to admit this because it might have just been a fluke, but I think my wife and I had one of the most awesome experiences we've ever had there yesterday.
We came around 3 in the afternoon and we were seated immediately. The first thing that impressed me (though if you think about it, it's not a big deal at all) was when the waitress understood my custom drink order: 1/2 orange juice and 1/2 soda water. I know, I know, it sounds like you need an advanced chemistry degree to handle it, and believe me I've had my share of waitstaff who left their graphing calculators at home that day and had a really hard time understanding my complex technobabble:
"Could I have 1/2 orange juice and 1/2 soda water mixed together please?"
But we miraculously had a woman who clearly understood me and furthermore reassured me that it would be no problem at all.
As for my wife, well, she was feeling a little under the weather so she ordered the chicken soup. When it came out the soup was as they always make it -- loaded up with lots of chicken and veggies, but one might say that they were a little heavy handed on the amount of solids swimming in the broth. So, after whittling down the soup to about half of its original stature, we politely asked if they could just give us some more broth. Once again -- with a smile, I might add -- she sympathized with our plight and rushed off to handle it.
Meanwhile I just took in the scenery. They now serve beer and wine and have trivia every Wednesday. It also looks like they could do karaoke if they wanted to but I didn't see any advertisement for that. My wife and I agreed -- it would be SO cool to have a place to hang out that offered a fun bar alternative. I hope they follow through with the direction they're going in because I think that it has a lot of potential.
When our food came, bla bla bla bla... it was awesome. We all know this part -- THAT was never an issue.
We were quickly brought our check and I left with the sense that it was about time to give Buzzbrews another shot. Anybody who hasn't been there in a while should do the same!
Great job Buzzbrews! Keep it up and I'll give you all 5!
My first review of Sevy's featured their quick seating of our party, a bit of a strange service experience and good food that was not quite up to snuff with Houston's across the street. Once again my update will fall into those categories.
My wife and I recently went back to Sevy's under the exact same circumstances as before; Houston's was too crowded. We dejectedly crossed the street with at least one other couple who was making the same sad decision. My wife and I noted that positioning a restaurant to catch the wait list run-off from Houston's is probably a pretty good business model -- just keep your expenses a little lower (but your prices the same or higher) and project the same image of being a high end American restaurant.
Unfortunately on this visit we realized that's all that Sevy's is -- a 2nd tier dining experience posing as something more. We were seated right away since the dining room was nearly empty (compared to the 40 minute wait at Houston's). This was the best part of the evening.
Once we were seated a waiter came up to take our drink order. When he walked off, another waiter approached our table to take our drink order again. I casually mentioned that another server already helped us and I pointed him out. Our waiter kinda did an "Are you fucking kidding me?" sarcastic chuckle and started drumming his fingers on the table as he jutted out his lower jaw out and turned to face the other waiter. A muttering exchange of some sort occurred that amounted to the equivalent of "You son of a bitch. How you gon' play me like dat?"
"I'm sorry, man, I'm sorry, OK?" said the first waiter who brushed past our current server on his way back to the kitchen.
Then our guy turned back to our table as if to garner support for his turf war and said, "Yeah you bet you're sorry," like we were going to high five him and shout, "Yeah, table-snatching little bitch, I best not see your punk ass round here, homes!"
I liked the movie "Waiting" because although Ryan Reynolds is probably the 2nd hugest douche next to Dane Cook, he's actually pretty funny. What's NOT funny is when you have to experience that movie in real life. It's just awkward and pretty much ruins the dinner experience.
On to the food.
I had yet another experience (the other time was at the new Park Restaurant) where I had trouble ordering anything that seemed like an obvious solid choice from the menu. Everything seemed a little to left of center when I just wanted a nice piece of meat with a potato. Every high end restaurant should be able to make that happen, I think.
I decided to keep it simple and order the chicken. My wife ordered the stuffed pork loin at the waiter's recommendation. When the food came, we were both very surprised to see that the stuffed pork loin was, in fact, deep fried, though there was no indication of this on the menu.
In fact, I just copied this off of their website:
STUFFED PORK RIB CHOP
tender chop with shaved proscuitto, fontina cheese, sautéed to a golden crust, porcini mushroom sauce and a grilled roma tomato
I think that if you are gonna deep fry a dish, then say so -- CLEARLY. If something is fried, then that is a huge deal breaker for us. Rather than make issue, I just let my wife have my chicken, which came with some grits that were more like a bland custard and broccoli that was very pungent in a weird way.
The pork loin was greasy and sat in a bed of brown, chunky gravy that lent it a visually unappealing quality the moment it was placed on the table.
I realized that the quality of the food was just... not really that great. I felt that way before when I wrote that it didn't measure up to Houston's; the quality of the ingredients seems to just be lower. But I also imagine that this restaurant falls short of the owners' and chefs' visions as well because I can't imagine they would have enjoyed the meal we had last night.
I'm afraid we won't be returning -- even if Houston's is crowded.
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"Givin' you the real."
Dallas, TX, Vereinigte StaatenYelper seit
Mai 2008Dinge, die ich mag
My Wife, Composing Music, My Job, The Finer Things In Life, Eating Out, Music, My Health, My Condo, Sushi, Japan, Video Games, Mojitos, Netflix, Texas, Tex Mex, The Beatles, My Hybrid, GPS, Daft Punk, RadioheadHier bin ich häufig anzutreffen
DallasMein Blog oder meine Website Wenn ich nicht gerade yelpe, dann ...
I'm out with my wife trying to find things to Yelp about :)Warum du meine Beiträge unbedingt lesen solltest
Only some of them are from second hand experiences!Erzähl's nicht weiter, aber...
I just farted.