Needle in a Haystack!

IMG_5221Haystack Burgers and Brew. I have heard people in the office talking about this restaurant, but I had no idea where it was or what they served. It is a little place nestled in strip mall in Richardson. You could miss it if you didn’t know where to look, (that’s why I have Ashley :)) kind of like a needle in a Haystack. We walked in and right away I liked this place. Very unbecoming, not fancy but had a good vibe.  We walked up to the counter and ordered. I had a hard time deciding because of the different choices. Ashley would tell you I typically fall back to the chicken sandwich at most places, but with a name like Burgers and brew I felt I had to get a burger. So, I did. I ordered the Haystack Burger that came with Haystack Onions, Cheddar Cheese, Apple Wood Smoked Bacon, Bar-B-Q, Lettuce, Tomato, & Pickles.IMG_5212 It was amazing. Ashley ordered their Hay Dawg  which is a Grilled Hot Dawg on a Challah Bun topped with Chili, Cheddar, Relish, & Haystack Onions, and we shared some fries. Although Ashley is always taking about me ordering chicken sandwiches, she is one to get a hot dog if they have it on the menu.  The burger was one of the best burgers I have ever had (and we have gone to a lot of places). Very juicy, fresh with just the right amount of condiments on it.

Side note, for those that don’t know, well this year was Ashley’s 30 birthday. July 20 to be exact. I kept trying to think of what to do for her because gift giving for Ashley can be like finding a needle in a haystack. Not because she is high maintenance, but because she likes thoughtful, thought out personal gifts. Which I know is fun, but also can be time consuming because you have to think. Ashley loves Monopoly so I decided to give her 30 gifts (don’t worry not big gifts) of things she loves using a monopoly game board as the clue for what it was. IMG_5233It has been fun ( I say has been because I am still not finished). On the first clue we went to see the movie Finding Dory, then I blindfolded her and told her we were going to a special place for our Fridayeats, only I was taking her over to the Debenports’ home for a surprise party. I know she knew something was up, but hopefully it was a fun surprise to hang out at her favorite place with some of her favorite people. I have to say I am thankful for our friendship. Even though there is a gap in years, our bond remains strong. She is like a needle in a haystack when it comes to friendship. This kind of friend is hard to find but when you do you know it’s true. Let’s get back to Haystack.

Ashley and I both got a cranberry pineapple cider. That was really good! It was very refreshing and just the right amount of sweet.IMG_5217 Ashley likes unique things and when we were paying our bill, she noticed a pretty cool Growler and had to buy it.IMG_4784 We enjoyed another day of outside eating before the weather got too hot, and we’re entertained by a precious dog with its owner eating outside as well.  I would say if you are in the Richardson area, you want to check out Haystack Burger and brew. They have a good menu,  it’s a fun place, with great food and great brew! Nothing better than celebrating a milestone like turning 30 with great friends and family and with good food and drinks!

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The Old Monk Strikes a Match!

IMG_4073Might be getting tiring for y’all to read but once again we were set on enjoying the outside scenery even though it’s summer here in Texas. Not sure what we were thinking!? But this place came to mind as I have driven by this cool little place called The Old Monk many times and thought “they have a cool patio”… On this day, we decided to give it a shot!

IMG_4076Parking was fun seeing all The Old Monk pictures around; you felt like you were about to walk upon an exciting adventure. So we were excited walking in, but then we immediately felt worried about the kind of adventure we were walking into. We are looking around wondering… Do we sit ourselves? Are there even workers here? Seriously. Where are the waiters/waitresses? We start to walk toward the back to see if we can find someone at the bar that will help us know what to do. Then a waitress walks in and we proceeded to sit outside on the patio. Thankfully, there were workers there as we were starting to wonder how does this place run… Wasn’t the greatest first impression, but we weren’t going to let it deter us from having a good time.

We were led to a table under some serious shade, thank goodness, see note above about summer in Texas. Before even sitting, I was ready to call this visit the best one yet for one reason only. There lying on the table was an Old Monk matchbook that fueled my excitement.

Just recently, my mom came home from a visit with her mom with a couple of boxes. While visiting, I noted that one of the things she brought back was a clear glass bowl of matches. Growing up, we had see this bowl many times and considered it full of treasures. Now this bowl was right before me. Turns out my mom brought this home to give to us (really she said my sister’s name, but I heard my name too, it was assumed). I proceeded to dig through the bowl with my mom. These matches came from many places, and my mom would tell me the stories that came along with some of the matches. One of them being where my parents had their first date. Some of the matches belonged to places that I heard of already. Some of them belonged to places that are no longer open. Steakhouses. Mexican Restaurants. Hotels. These were places that my grandparents had visited throughout their journey of life together. About a year ago, my grandfather (“Pepa”)  passed away, and ever since then, my granny has been giving “treasures” away to family and friends. I was excited to have a collection of matches to show off as treasures passed down from my grandparents

Confession time: I am no monk. The following weekend, my siblings were at my parents’ home and spotted the bowl that had leftover matches after I had taken what I wanted just a couple of days earlier (finders keepers, right?). They proceed to do a draft, taking turns at picking what matches they wanted. I had left plenty of matches for them since I knew they would want some. On this day, I politely declined to partake in this draft… until I saw a couple of matches that I missed the first time around. Of course, they let me have them since I was only taking a few. 😉 Let’s keep this our little secret since I doubt they will be reading this.

Let’s get to actually talking about the visit/food! IMG_1561The atmosphere was great. Adding little touches like my favorite, this little dinosaur on the wall. Not everyone would notice this, let alone appreciate it like I did! It had an European feel to it with touches throughout the restaurant, even with some European “football” on TV. To be honest, I don’t remember what Tracy got… Sorry! Her go to’s are always chicken or turkey club so probably one of those! Hers is the picture on the bottom. I do recall her liking it so that’s all that really matters, right? I got the Pistachio Fried Chicken Sandwich, which was a wonderful choice if I might say so. We both left more than happy, and it wasn’t just because I got a treasure of my own to add to my collection.

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Truckyard celebration

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This was an unusual Fridayeats in that we had a guest join us, Callie. This was a celebration for the last day of school.  We let her choose where to go, so she chose   Truck-yard. It is such a cool place with things that look like they came from a junk yard or an old truck yard. Their tag line alone “A come as you are beer garden and adult playground”, lets you know this is a fun place.  They have different options for lunch there with typically 3 food trucks IMG_1523(their website shows a calendar of which trucks are there) a drink truck and inside the building, a bar and a Philly cheese steak place, with the most amazing sandwich ever.  You can’t beat the bread. All of us got the steak, Callie and I got provolone cheese on there, but Ashley went out on a limb and got the one with cheese whiz. Yelp had said that was a popular one.  It is hard to go wrong with any of their cheese steaks, you have to go try it.  But what you really pay for is the atmosphere. You can’t beat it. It’s a different place during the day than at night.  So I suggest if you have children best to go during the day. For adults, it looks like a pretty awesome place with live bands, and a great outdoor seating area with a community feel. I know pets are welcome too as we have seen some cute dogs there while hanging out.

So because it was the last day of school I was doing a scavenger hunt for Callie (which I have now been doing since Courtney -my oldest daughter started kindergarten). I do a sign IMG_3464 (1)and a celebration, and I have clues for her (I did a separate hunt for each child) to go on a hunt.  At each stop, there is goodies and gifts for the summer ending with a cookie cake and typically a bigger surprise or gift.  This is a family tradition. I have done this for each of the kids every year until they graduated.  Exactly like my mother did for me and all three of her kids. My sister does it for her kids and their grand kids do it also. It is fun tradition to celebrate a great school year and kick off the summer. The gifts are typical things you would use in the summer (flip flops, beach towel, maybe concert tickets). When all the kids were home, we would usually get them a fun gift all together. I am a sucker for traditions, and this is one of those we love.

Back to that day. After we ate our amazing sandwiches at the truck yard, we went over to the front of the restaurant on the outside where there is a little homemade ice cream shop named Motor sisters. All the flavors names are famous women. We sat outside reading and learning about some of these women we knew and some we didn’t know. The ice cream was amazing, the history lesson enlightening. So why not try out Truckyard for your next night out. You never know, you may be starting your own tradition.

 

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Sauced Wings

We went closer to home for this
#FridayEats, trying out
Sauced Wings in Allen, TX. I’ve passed by this place many times thinking it wouldn’t be a place for picky me since I’m not a big fan of wings. I heard from a co-worker, thanks Dan, that they had great salads. On this day, I happened to be wanting a salad and we needed to keep it close for time’s sake. So to Sauced Wings we went!

As you can tell, it has a great environment, and it certainly seems like a great environment to check out a big sports game for those who love “sportsing”. When we walked in, there is a huge display of different kinds of sauces. Being the collector nerd that I am, I loved this! Yes, I confess that I am a collector nerd, which I fear one day will turn into hoarding… But for now, I’ve managed to keep it to a few things. I love looking at the styles and designs of essentially the “same thing” and seeing how different they are. Sometimes, you can even see which ones are older vs. the newer ones by their style. I just love it! This sauce collection reminded me of the little bottle cap collection I have going. This is a fun collection for me as it also supports my love for trying a classic bottle of root beer! If you follow me on Insta, you’ll see me post a new bottle of root beer I’m trying out these days. For now, I’m just collecting the caps, but hopefully one day, probably after browsing Pinterest, I’ll have a creative idea to do something with these caps.

 

Now that I’ve geeked out way too much within one blog post… Sorry!
I try to spread it out so it doesn’t freak people out (insert winking emoji).

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My Happy Face

I don’t remember why, I just remember us being REALLY hungry, thus we had some big eyes reading the menu, which led to us ordering a feast! We started off with the pulled pork nachos as an appetizer because I was hungry and was conflicted with the desire for a salad and the desire to be full… We saw this appetizer as a hit on Yelp so we went for it! So glad we did as it was probably my favorite thing among our feast. We both got salads. Tracy went with the waiters’ suggestion, Grilled Chicken Salad. We typically ask our waiter/waitress what they like or what the favorite is; this one wasn’t really convincing me with his answers, seem like he was making answers up, not really knowing what the most popular item on the menu was… so being the skeptic I am, I went with my heart and ordered the Cobb Salad. I loved my salad, and Tracy liked the salad. By the way, the salad could’ve filled me up on its own but of course, I managed enough room to enjoy both the appetizer and the salad! Of course, we couldn’t go to a Wings place without trying some wings so Tracy order some wings as well (don’t judge us by our feast, we were hungry!). She got a couple of boneless wings, Buffalo (1st degree) and Raspberry Chipotle. I tried them both and though I wasn’t converted into a wings loving gal. I thought they were good solid wings, and the Raspberry Chipotle was definitely one I’d get if I were a wings loving kind of gal. Tracy, being a wings loving kind of gal thought the wings were good.

All this to say, I was super satisfied and full at the end of our experience. It was a fun adventure waiting to happen right in our own neighborhood. Check this place out if you get the chance. It gets the “let’s go back if we ever finish this list of place to try out” stamp of approval.

 

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Marcus Cafe

For this Friday Eats, we headed over to my old hood, Richardson. I grew up in the Canyon Creek area going to school and church there. My family likes to return to the area to visit a newly developed area called II Creeks Plaza. I’ve probably hit every restaurant there except for this one. Btw, I enjoy all of my restaurant experiences there. Great place to visit on a nice day too as you have great patios options, including one of my favorite coffee places, Pearl Cup. Keep in my mind, I don’t like coffee so I can’t tell you how their coffee is, but it’s a great place to hang out. I can confirm that it has yummy hot chocolate that reminds me of s’mores.

Back to this particular restaurant experience… every time I went to the II Creek’s Plaza, I would notice their awesome looking patio but never actually visited the place. That is until now! It was a sunny day so like all other sunny days, we knew we wanted to eat outside. Memory of this patio’s appearance came back to me. To Marcus Cafe we went! When we walked in, we made the request to be seated outside. The host said the only tables available were ones in direct sun. Being folks who will take on a little heat in order to be outside, we went for it. We did pass two tables that were in the shade so that left a little sour taste in the mouth. The tablecloths were a leather like material, which made it too hot to touch since it’s had been sitting in sun. As you can see it’s a great patio so despite the heat, it was a good outside experience (might want to wait it out for a shady spot though). IMG_1389

They had a variety of options on the menu. I mean variety as you could get a burger or seafood or pasta, whatever you’d like. There were some bread and dip to start us off. We couldn’t figure out exactly what the dip was, but one thing is for sure, it’s good. Tracy wanted to go out on the limb, and she ordered the Bleu Avocado Bomb. It wasn’t what she was expecting, but despite the surprise on the plate, she enjoyed her dish. She does recommend, unless you are an avocado lover, getting the starter size. I got some kind of meat calzone thingy (they don’t call it thingy but I can’t remember what it was called). The bread is fresh, and it was delicious and meaty! I like meaty and am far from a vegaterian or vegan. But they seem to have options for those of you who are! 

Gotta say Frankie’s is still my favorite restaurant in the area. I have to mention my favorite store, Beyond The Door! And my favorite ice cream place, Sweet Fireflies! (or maybe its Sweet Firefly??? Regardless, you can’t miss the only ice cream shop in the plaza!), save room for this. Marcus Café does win favorite patio (among some great patio competition).

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Join us on the Porch

IMG_2998The Porch was a treat. It was a beautiful day, and we wanted to go to a place where we could sit outside. So, what better place than the Porch? They have a nice covered porch when the weather permits. I really like the atmosphere of both indoor and outdoor. It’s a lot like a pub. We sat down and enjoyed visiting a bit before we ordered. I ordered a drink because according to the yelp report they were really good. The taste was really good, but it was a very small drink for the price. I ordered a salmon burger  because the website had talked about how good it was and it did NOT disappoint. It came with fresh lettuce, tomato, avocado, and a special sauce that was really good. I planned on taking home half, but that didn’t happen because I couldn’t stop eating it. I got a salad for my side and it was okay compared to the burger. IMG_2989

Ashley got the Macaroni and Cheese which most reviews raved about. That didn’t disappoint either. It came out in a casserole dish, loaded with cheeses, bacon and who knows what else, but it looked and tasted good. Ashley is a macaroni and cheese snob so she is very picky about it and most of the time doesn’t eat it all but her dish was empty.

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I am a lover of porches. My mom has a big porch at her house, and I love to sit on her swing first thing in the morning with a cup of coffee and just veg. I do the same at my house only my porch is much smaller and there is no swing.  A porch to me is a symbol of community. A place to gather around, sit and share. You could tell at The Porch people had that in mind while they were sitting outside.  They are also known for the fresh cocktails. Be prepared to pay a little more, but the taste will be worth it. 

One thing Ashley and I wanted to get because of the amazing reviews was their famous Gooey butter cake. We didn’t have any room left to get it but please, please save space and try this and let us know how you like it. I think you will like The Porch, if you like fresh foods, drinks, along with a classic upscale pub style.  Check them out.

 

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RFTP…Eat in peace

 

This Friday eats was at a small plot of land nestled between car dealerships in old Richardson; it was the Richardson food truck park. I had no idea it was there. We walked in, and the atmosphere was very peaceful and friendly. People brought their pets, and you could tell many of them were regulars at this park. RFTP has a few permanent things such as a interurban bar where their draft beers include ciders, wheat beers and more. They had a really refreshing cranberry cider that we both tried and enjoyed.IMG_2130  One of the great things about this park is they will have different trucks, so if you don’t like it one time you probably will the next.  This night they had CHEZ Flo & KB’s BRATS.  Though the authentic German accent almost swayed is to KB’s, we both ended up ordering from CHEZ Flo. Ashley ordered a ham and cheese sandwich that was loaded with cheese and meat and some fries, seasoned really well and tasted even better. She was really satisfied with her decision.

I ordered a crepe that had black forest ham and a lot of cheese. The dish brought back memories of Ethiopia.IMG_2133 The crepe had the texture and flavor of Injera, an Ethiopian flatbread that I learned to like after visiting there several times. I love it when a scent of something rekindles a memory, especially if it is a sweet memory from Africa. Ethiopia is one of my favorite places. The people we have met there and partnered with will forever have a special place in my heart.There is such a strong sense of community in Ethiopia, no matter where you go you encounter community and friendship. One of my favorite things about their culture is that you live in the “now”.  For instance, if you and I had a meeting together today, but on the way to our meeting, you saw someone you had not seen in awhile. Well, you would stop and spend time with them. Even if that meant being really late or not even showing up to our meeting. It is an understood culture there. Oh and in case you didn’t know Ethiopia will celebrate Happy New Year in September and the year is 2009. All of the world goes by the Gregorian calendar, and they go by the Coptic Calendar. When we first went there in 2007, they had signs up to celebrate the year 2000, the Millennium. Don’t get me started  talking about how they keep time, that is a whole other story. They carry a 12 hour day, and it is 1 o’clock when the sun comes up so 7 is 1. 

Okay, back to Richardson. My food was really good (outside of it being overloaded with cheese), and the outside seating even better. It was a beautiful evening and there was plenty of seating. They had a live band there that was old school country. IMG_2142
I recommend going to Richardson Food Truck Park. The atmosphere is great, the food good, the drinks refreshing. This is a place where I feel fellowship, food, and friendship come together. Which is why Ashley and I started Fridayeats. We love going to new places, hanging out together, and writing about our experiences so that others can enjoy the same. I am looking forward to going back and trying out some other new trucks that stop by to visit.

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