Zhabuki

For this #FridayEats, we went out on the limb… not only did we try a new restaurant, we IMG_1356tried out a new cultural experience. Have you either driven by a place and often thought, “I need to try that place out?” or “Man, that place looks happening, must be good.” This is one of those places. Except in this case, Tracy always also thinks, “This would be a great place to be driving by when playing the ABC game on the road.” Zhabuki is one of, not two, but THREE Z named restaurants in a row. No kidding! Everyone could win the ABC game at the same time, and everyone can be a winner on 75, around park-er-ish (because Dallasites gets confused easily because WHO PUT PARK RIGHT NEXT TO PARKER!?!).

Now when it comes to the thought of “Man, that place looks happening, must be good.” You can’t miss it when you are driving home, and it’s late night… Most places are closing down, and this place is just getting started for the night. Their parking lot is full from the 9:00 p.m. to 2:00 a.m. time range, no joke. Just imagine, the anticipation we have to finally try out this hopping place for ourselves. Then we pull into their parking lot around 6:00 p.m. and it looks quite empty… We are now thinking… is this place open??? I quickly pull up Google to confirm, yes, it is open.

IMG_1363As we get out, we are even doubting Google as we look around. There are some workers washing the entryway. Tracy asks them, “Are y’all open?” They confirm that they are. Now seriously comes the dilemma of getting inside. I mean the whole the entryway is filled with soapy water (again at prime dinner time, right?). We managed to tip toe inside to a huge restaurant. It looks massive (with maybe two families eating, I’m being optimistic), but we decided that we definitely had to sit outside on this nice sunny day. They have a great, colorful patio so we made our way outside.

Zhabuki is an Asian Fusion kind of restaurant; don’t ask me what that means. IMG_1368I googled it.
That’s enough to know that I’m out of comfort zone in my level of pickiness. Thankfully, there was lots of pictures! Just looking at the menu and restaurant alone, you could tell this was authentic to the max. Unsure of what to expect and quite frankly a little scared (of
the “spicy”), I ordered the Spicy Heaven Beef Fried Rice with fake confidence; it was one the waiter recommended so I went for it. I don’t regret it! Wasn’t even a bit spicy, and it was a LARGE portion. They IMG_1380weren’t kidding around. Tracy ordered shrimp dumplings for an appetizers. It was interesting for me. Code for I didn’t hate it but didn’t want to keep eating it. It truly wasn’t bad, but I’m weird about the texture of my food. I wasn’t feeling the texture of this spongy like dumpling, though the taste was good IMG_1379once I get past the spongy outside. Tracy absolutely loved them, of course. For her meal, she got the Spicy Basil Minced Chicken. She loved her meal. Check out the pictures of what our meals were on the menu compared to actual presentation. They did pretty good! Don’t let anything “spicy” scare you away. I’m considered a wimp in the spice world. So be brave!

Zhabuki has a full bar, and we discovered while dining that they have a happy hour that starts at 7:00 p.m. This might explain why they are so happening so late! They had some cocktails and wine/beers on the menu for happy hour so it seemed like a good deal. The patio was awesome. Except this happened to be a hot day! I don’t regret sitting and sweating out there as we got to watch the sun set. Keep in mind they we are sitting basically next to a highway so don’t get too dreamy when I say sunset. Imagine some 18 wheelers passing by in front of your sunset imagination. But God’s creation is beautiful even in the city. Quite frankly, it’s beautiful anywhere.

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The Pantry

On this Friday Eats, we made it back to a place we’ve been before. Over time, we hope to go back to some of the places we’ve been to before we started the blog so we can write about these places also. So we are back at The Pantry in McKinney, TX! This is an old hardware store turned into a restaurant off the square in downtown McKinney. It’s a fun area, and a wonderful, warm place to dine.

Something you should know about The Pantry is that they have some odd hours. Make sure you look up whether they are open before you head over to visit them. On the bright side, if a place has different hours, they are probably good! This is certainly the case for The Pantry.

  • As we walked in, we quickly realized that there was a group there to meet as well. It was later that we noticed a sign for the group meeting; it was a group of adoptive and foster care parents. It was so fun to watch them meet together. Community is something I highly value; we can’t do this life alone! I can’t imagine being a parent of any sort without having others’ support. There’s the saying that it takes a village to raise a child. Though I have no children, I believe this to be true! I already plan on inviting many people into this “village” if I do, one day, have the privilege of being a parent, who knows??? maybe I’ll be a foster or adoptive parent!

Back to the pantry, you’ll notice in the pictures that Tracy went with the bun-less burger (way to go Tracy for staying strong on your gluten-free diet) with sweet potato tots. I had the chicken fried chicken with a bowl of fruit and side of mashed potatoes. I love me some chicken fried chicken, but I don’t trust most places to try it often. You can certainly trust The Pantry with their chicken fried chicken! The sides were great too. You noticed I made a small attempt to be healthy by picking fruits… Totes worth it! They tasted so fresh and yummy! If you don’t feel the need to be healthy, it’s worth the cheat to try one of their pies! My favorite? Chocolate chip pecan pie. So. Good.

If you are looking at your pantry and thinking… maybe I should go out? Give this (the) Pantry a try!

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It’s all in the name.. Mama’s Daughters’ Diner

 

IMG_1815We recently went to Mama’s Daughters’ Diner in Plano. I had never heard of this restaurant, but I loved it.  It had an old fashioned diner feel to it, imprinted with Mama sayings everywhere.IMG_1825

Ashley and I sat down and our waitress was there right away. She was very energetic and knew the menu well (so wished I had a photo of her). It was like we had known her for a long time. She was so friendly, and I noticed that she kept touching my arm (not in a weird way) every time she walked away. It was her way of showing friendship. She was doing that with all of her tables. It was like your high school best friend. This drove me into a conversation with Ashley about “love” languages. We guessed that her love language was physical touch. It was obvious. So we began to talk about our own love language and try and guess what the others would be. It was a fun little game. I knew what Ashley’s was right away (I also knew what it wasn’t). Hers are (in order) Acts of service, Quality time,  Words of Affirmation, Receiving gifts, and Physical touch.  My order is Quality time, Words of affirmation, Acts of service, Physical touch, and Receiving gifts.  Outside of Quality time, the rest of the languages are pretty equal.  Those that know me know that I am a touchy person too. When I talk I touch-it’s just one of those things. Back to Mama’s Daughters’,  Ashley ordered the breakfast chicken fried chicken that came with two amazing looking biscuits. IMG_1821  Since I am temporarily gluten-free, I wasn’t able to partake in the joy of that. I had an omelette that came with hash browns. It was so good, reminded me of my mother’s omelettes. I didn’t appreciate them back then as much as I do now. IMG_1824IMG_1823

 

Speaking of moms, Ashley and I are blessed with a godly heritage from our moms. One thing I have seen from Ashley’s family is they are a family that serves. If there is a need, they are there. That is an incredibly legacy to pass on, and Ashley has jumped in on that, which is why her top love language is Acts of service.  My mom does the same, but the biggest thing I remember from my mom is teaching me the legacy of forgiveness. Her life is a storybook of how forgiveness breathes life into you and those around you. We are so thankful for great moms.  So, I asked Ashley what her favorite mom memory was. She talked about her mom always having conversations with strangers. The family always knows it’s coming; she’ll ask a question and proceed to be bestie with this stranger before the stranger even knows it. We would laugh about how the conversation starts, but as we get older, we find ourselves doing the same thing and think I’m turning into mom. She truly could be anyone’s friend, whether she knows them or not. IMG_1179 (1)

My favorite mom memory is watching her love on others. She is a servant at heart. One thing she did after she retired was to make home made birthday cakes and take them up to her office once a month to celebrate with those having birthdays. But the biggest thing I remember was taking in stray animals. We were always running down strays. For those that know me well, I am for sure my mama’s daughter.mom and me

If you are ready for some true home cookin’, Mama’s Daughters’ is your place. They have been cooking breakfast and lunch since 1958. If you are in the Plano, Dallas (Irving Blvd. original location), Irving, Lewisville or Forney area go check out Mama’s Daughters’ diner. You will be brought back in time.  It will stick with you, in a good way.

 

 

 

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Chip off the old block

chips 12It was another beautiful day in Dallas, Texas as Ashley and I were deciding where to go for our next #fridayeatsadventure. She listed off 3 different restaurants as usual, one was called Chips. I was intrigued by this name. You see growing up in Little Rock, Arkansas there was a famous BBQ place called Chips. It was the best. So, I chose Chips. We drove up and just the sign brought me back in time.  We walked in and they had a large menu with many options (even gluten free) which has been somewhat of a challenge when going out to eat. We both ordered burgers, I’ll give you more information on that later, and we both ordered a Londonberry cider . It sounded delicious on a 84 degree spring Texas afternoon. We managed to find a table outside on the patio. The weather was perfect; Ashley and I are a lot alike when it comes to loving the outdoors. I just happen to love it during all seasons, not just summer. What you have to know about me is that if I could live in a tent (my family doesn’t agree with me on this), I would. I love the outdoors more than most. Camping in a tent is my favorite. Every time I am able to go outside and sit, eat, sleep, think, read, sun bathe; well, I’m there.

Back to Chips, both Ashley and I ordered burgers, and they were very good. I got mine cooked medium well with cheese, avocado, tomatoes, and lettuce on a gluten free bun. We shared an order of tater tots that were pretty good. They had a home- made sauce that I liked (jalapeno bacon ketchup), but the sauce took Ashley too much out of her comfort zone to keep eating it. She didn’t not like it though. Ashley ordered hers a little more well done with bacon, fried egg and cheese. The burger was a perfect size and well worth the money spent.

We got our food and I started in a deep conversation with Ashley when she looked at me and said “mom I don’t know”. I really don’t remember anything she said after that because she didn’t even notice she had called me mom until I pointed it out to her (Ashley doesn’t agree with this, in fact Ashley is the one that pointed it out! this is Ashley adding her two cents…). Ten minutes later we were discussing something again and Ashley responded to me calling me Nancee. I knew that when she moved to the Sloan creek campus that things would change, maybe be a little different, but who knew that she would literally forget my name. #newcampusprobs

As we sat there enjoying the warmth and our burgers, I realized our cider wasn’t there yet. I went inside to see what was up, and they brought it about five minutes later. Oh, this cider was so good. It was a draft cider, ice cold and so refreshing. Just the right amount of sweet and dry. This was a great top off for a good lunch.

Chips brought back memories of a time long ago, yes long ago. I’m not going to share how I used to walk to school in the snow. But, I will share that the memories of Chips brought me back to a time when things were simpler. Going out to eat was a rarity and because of that made me savor each flavor I tasted. These were times when you played outside for hours and although your parents had no idea where you were, they felt safe. No-one had cell phones or gaming system, so you played outside. You were forced to use your imagination. My favorite game outside was statue. The person that was “it” would swing you around and when you landed you would freeze into a statue position. When you were unfrozen, you would then act out the character. There are some places that when you think of them, it takes you back to a memory you have sealed in your mind. Chips is one of those places. You could smell the sweet BBQ coming out the windows on a clear day for miles. It reminded me of home.

One thing that I thought of as Ashley and I left Chips, is the memory I had created there. I thought into the future and how one day I might be out to eat at a new place in town and be reminded of my friend Ashley, and how she and I spent many days together on our #Fridayeats enjoying good food and great company.  I dreamt of freezing time through the legacy of friendship. I look forward to many more adventures. This place really is a chip off the old block.  Chips old fashioned hamburgers, really is a chip off the old block.

 

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Bad to the (Slow) Bone

I hope you all had a wonderful Easter. This year at work, we did a little something different. Instead of taking Good Friday off, we took the Monday afterwards off. It makes sense since we have Friday services to prepare for anyways… this week started off with a beautiful day outside and we got to enjoy every bit of it. Tracy spent the day outside by the lake, and I spent the day with my grandmother (also outside pulling weeds). It was great to change up our rhythms and slow things down!

Speaking IMG_1015of slow… (see what I did there!?) We went to The Slow Bone in Dallas, TX for Friday Eats. Don’t even ask us how to get there… Tracy is notorious for her sense of directions… I, on the other hand, am downright stubborn (I know Tracy is nodding yes right now) about not paying for tolls on highways that our money paid for anyways… So we got there somehow (just going the way the phone told us).

Let me warn you right now, parking is stressful for this popular place. There’s double parking right in front of the building. Though most of the double parking lot was empty, I felt immediate conflict within my driving soul. What if I get stuck in the spot? How do I get out? Is this right? (Tracy is shaking her head right now). Anyways, since it was a late lunch, we were able to find a spot in the back. We walked right up to the front, and there was a line out the door (yes, there’s a line even though it’s late). A long line may stress some out, but both Tracy and I know a line means food worth waiting for!

Indeed the food is worth the parking stress and the not-so-long-of-a-wait line out the door! It moved really fast. Being the typical indecisive self I am, I decided to go big with the three meat plate, more food, less decisions! Tracy went smart with the two meat plate; she got the chicken and brisket. I got the fried chicken, brisket, and old time sausage. For my side, I doubled up on mac and cheese (mainly because I’m picky and their veggies didn’t look appealing to me), and Tracy got the green beans and sweet potatoes. Tracy thought the sauce was amazing, a little spicy mixed with tartness. It was a perfect blend of the two, or so she said. This place definitely puts some heat into everything. For a spicy wimp for myself, it wasn’t too much though! Little note to yourself: the mac and cheese had a hint of jalapenos to it so you’ll love it if you love jalapenos. The plates came with cornbread that were eh. Tracy enjoyed her plate, and to be honest, I was a terrible friend because I didn’t give her near enough attention as I should’ve. Truth be told, I was in love with my fried chicken! I know what you’re thinking… what? Fried chicken at a BBQ place? Yes. I recommend it wholeheartedly. Best fried chicken I’ve ever had (and I’m a fan of Babe’s!). Brisket was delish, and I don’t really remember much about the sausage to be honest. Do Note: they run out of meat. When we came up to order, they had already ran out of ribs so apparently that’s a hit that you may want to take a stab at. Definitely check out The Slow Bone!

On another note, this past weekend, we not only celebrated Easter, but weIMG_1017 also celebrated Tracy’s day of birth (I’m not mentioning this just because I feel bad for my uncomfortable amount of attention I was paying to my fried chicken by the way… maybe a little). Just wanted to express my sincere gratitude for my Friday Eats partner, co-worker, and hipster friend. We have been friends for seven years now, and I am definitely a better person for it! Thank you for doing all the things you do (challenging me, listening, offering help, having a cider with me, giving me thoughtful gifts, being there, and many more things) when I need it most. So glad you were born!

 

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Grubs at Hubbard’s Cubbard

March 12, 2016

Another Friday passes and we don’t get to do Friday Eats… memory of her ditching me already in the past month, though I can’t remember it, is still fresh on my mind… yes, it’s clear. I’m having Tracy withdrawals here. We are no longer working in the same building and now she goes off to vacation. What is this!?! Thank God she messaged me to see if I wanted to do breakfast on Saturday instead. I waited thirteen seconds before responding, YES!!!

So we trekked out on a Saturday looking for a good, new breakfast place. First off, breakfast food is the BEST kind of food. Love me some morning grubs. Not only is it yummy, it can be eaten, literally any time of the day!

hubbards 3I must confess. We never planned on going here. The place we wanted to go to was closed on Saturday (I know! It doesn’t make sense to be closed on Saturday!?) so we stumbled upon this place… and it was like stumbling back into time. It was clear when we stepped into this place, we were stepping into a place of rich history and deep roots. Hubbard‘s has been around since 1965.

This place is not only a good place to have breakfast, but it’s a great place to do some people watching! I loved seeing older gentlemen sitting at the bar enjoying their newspaper and morning meal; something they probably do at this very place every week. This place just reminded me of some of the “older” gentlemen in my life that I love. One being Mr. Terry Butler, whom we both thought of because we saw some Harley folks there. Not only is Terry a Harley loving dude, he’s a people loving dude! That man truly knows how to love people well. Grateful to be one of those people he has looked out for and takes care of. The other gentleman would be my daddy! This place was just calling out Mr. Friendly Fred’s name. My love for a good old fashioned place is due to this man. He’s taken me on many dates to places similar to this feel, one being the Highland Park Pharmacy. Love those kind of dates because it usually takes my dad down memory lane. Sometimes, I hear the same stories I heard before, sometimes new stories, but I never get tired of hearing them. I need to take my daddy here to hear what memories come out from this visit. Also, he works in Garland so he could very well be a regular sitting at the bar soon. 🙂

hubbards 7This place is located in old downtown Garland, right off of Ninth and main street. It has a ton of options. We asked our friendly waitress what she recommends. She proceeded to basically name everything on the menu, and not in a memorized script way, but in a she genuinely couldn’t decide so she named everything she liked. After I agonized over the decision for several minutes, I settled on a classic two egg special with bacon and biscuit and gravy. Tracy got the Tamale breakfast that came with two tamales, two corn tortillas, two eggs and hash browns. While I didn’t love the eggs, hubbards 6everything else was just right. The biscuit and gravy were absolutely delightful. Tracy branched out with her choice and had no regrets. The service was wonderful. They came by always hubbards 9looking to fill your coffee and check on you, and you didn’t feel rushed at all. As I mentioned already, the environment was awesome. They have the classic soda fountain bar. As we imagined what it looked like in the old times, didn’t seem like much had changed. Sometimes you have a good thing that doesn’t need changing. Check this place out and let us know how it goes!

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Three Blind mice…Blind Butcher

 

March 4, 2016: Blind Butcher

Today we ended up at the Blind Butcher, just the name alone scared me. Typically our afternoon starts with us saying who is driving; this is where Ash usually steps in and asks for me to drive so she can navigate. (I am not sure why she doesn’t trust me with directions). But I agreed and drove this time, since she is the genius behind most of our picks.

blind butcher 1On our way to each Fridayeats, we look at Yelp and go over reviews of what others have said about the restaurant we chose for the day. Blind Butcher seemed to have two popular things: Duck and Poutine. One, I honestly had never heard of (Poutine) and the other, terrified me (Duck). You see, as a child I was very sensitive about animals, hunting and all of that. Who’s kidding I still am. I’m not against it at all, I just can’t do it myself. My dad was a big duck and dove hunter. One day, my dad went duck hunting and came back with a lot of ducks. He asked me to pop the neck of one of the ducks, and he would hang them in the garage. I couldn’t do this to little daffy (or so that’s what I called them). My dad gave me such a hard time (kidding of course). I also wouldn’t eat any meat, unless it was a cow or chicken. Somehow that didn’t bother me. So he would tell me it was a cow or chicken, only this time I knew better. As I ate the first bite and saw his smile, I knew right away, it was little daffy. My dad loved to have fun and mess with me. I remember the taste very vividly and haven’t tasted it since then… Well until now.blind butcher 11

I decided since everyone was raving about the duck; I would have to create a new memory. It took awhile to take the first bite; I had to close my eyes. So I blindly bit and to my surprise, it was wonderful. I had ordered their special duck sandwich, and it was special.  The pretzel bread is what made it. It came with soft homemade chips on the side, and we each ordered a cherry ale, couldn’t have been better. The atmosphere for outdoor seating is amazing. They have lots of it. Ashley ordered their pork belly poutine, which came out as a plate of French fries covered with cheese and smoky gravy with pork all over. She liked it a lot. I had a few bites, and the pork was very tender. Amazing lunch for sure! Even though we went in blindly, we came out seeing what all the fuss was about. This is a great addition to the choices in Lower Greenville. Very chilled atmosphere. When it comes to the Blind Butcher, you should check them out.

 

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