About eight years ago I met a chef in Dallas who I had read so much about and heard so many stories. I had been wanting to meet him for several years, but our paths had never crossed, and I’m not one to push meetings. Being in the food and restaurant business for decades, I understand all too well the complications of restaurant operations and how short on time chefs, managers, partners and owners can be every day. Time is a commodity that everyone is short on these days, especially celebrity chefs. They have a tough schedule already, and if they’re traveling between multiple restaurant concepts, events, charity functions, meetings, and TV interviews, there truly is NO TIME to spare. With that in mind, I waited until the time was right to meet him.
When I met Chef John Tesar and got to spend some time with him hosting him on my TV show, I realized how passionate he was about the restaurant business and how he personally feels about perfection and what that word truly means. In today’s times some folks mistake passion and the pursuit of perfection for something else entirely. To be honest, being deeply passionate and dedicated toward something is a trait few folks will ever understand, but Chef John Tesar knows all too well because he lives it 24/7/365.
You can never fully understand a person by what you read or hear. You really have to spend some time talking with them to understand what they’re trying to achieve, and the path they’re walking to reach their goals. It would be safe to say that John isn’t walking anywhere – he is running full speed all the time in the relentless pursuit of creating deliciousness for everyone to enjoy.
John had been telling me for three years about his plan to open his new restaurants in Florida and California, and how excited he was to get them operational. Then, in the middle of the construction, covid hit the USA and put everything and everyone on hold. All of John’s restaurants were temporarily closed and he survived by selling his dry-aged beef to folks as they stayed at home. The NEW restaurants were on hold, but John kept on working. After everything opened back up, John hit the ground running full speed to facilitate the opening of his latest concepts:Knife & Spoon in Orlando,and Outer Reef in Dana Point, California.
As we travel around the USA, road trippin’ for deliciousness, we made the trip for the opening of Knife and Spoon at the Ritz-Carlton in Orlando, Florida. The restaurant was stunningly beautiful. The bright, bold colors, beautiful coastal furniture and decorations give the restaurant a cozy, but vibrant atmosphere. Truthfully, it’s perfect in every way: from the bar and lounge area, back to the dining room with the big moss-covered rock on display.
I love open concepts, and the restaurant is wide open so you can see all the happenings and the delicious food coming from the kitchen. You can also see the beautiful outside surroundings, which gives you a feeling of complete serenity as you enjoy your meal. Every dish was incredible – from the fresh seafood, dry-aged steaks, and savory-sweet desserts. It’s impossible to pick a single dish to feature, because they’re all creative, colorful, and loaded with a variety of flavor profiles that you will fall in love with. If you’re in Florida you need to make the trip to Knife & Spoon. I would suggest reservations, because he’s always full.
They’ve also opened a NEW Knife Burger poolside at the Ritz-Carlton, so you can enjoy a delicious award-winning Knife Burger while you’re lounging by the pool, soaking up the Florida sun. It’s KNIFE BURGER time in Florida! I guess we will have to make the trip back for a Tesar burger.
“Onto the next”, as they say! Last week we headed to the beautiful coastal city of Dana Point, California for John’s latest restaurant opening: Outer Reef at the Laguna Cliffs Marriott. It’s hard to keep track of everything John has going on, but when he calls, we make the trip for deliciousness. You can’t pass on a Tesar restaurant opening and risk missing those delicious dishes.
It was breathtaking when we pulled up and saw the beautiful Pacific Ocean surrounding the resort. The Outer Reef patio area fit right in and added to the beauty. The palm trees and colorful landscape were swaying in the wind like they were dancing to soulful music. My mouth started watering before I even walked into the building.
Walking in and seeing the blue colors and the big fish tank set an awesome coastal vibe. The restaurant is wide open, with a very large patio area to enjoy the wonderful outdoor California coastline. Outdoor fire places and colorful landscape make it easy to relax. It’s so beautiful that it’s hard to leave once you’ve finished your coastal dinner of perfection.
The menu has a variety of fresh, chef-driven dishes that include fresh seafood, dry-aged tuna, 44 Farmsdry-aged steaks, lobster, oysters, Passmore Caviarand so much more. John’s special dry-aged tuna is a masterpiece with an unforgettable flavor profile. It’s Ahi tuna, dry-aged for 10 days, then pounded thin and draped over three fat coins of foie gras. The dry-aged steaks are ridiculously delicious. John’s special dry-aging process gives his dry-age steaks what I like to call the TESAR FLAVOR-LOADED STEAK OF PERFECTION. Savory, meaty deliciousness that is so good you just want more with every bite.
Other dishes offered are smart to take advantage of the coastal location such as fresh swordfish, halibut, crab, cod, shrimp, and more. Top it off by ending with creative, one-of-a-kind desserts that are truly works of art.
Chef John has done it again. When OUTER REEF opens next week, it will set a new standard in Orange County, and all of California. It is a restaurant packed with deliciousness, incredible service, and coastal perfection that’s unique and unforgettable.
You can’t forget about John’s AWARD winning steak houses in north Texas because they are slinging some of the BEST steaks in the WORLD. Knife Dallas and Knife Plano have really racked up the awards. Just last week Knife was award the 26th BEST STEAKHOUSE in the WORLD. If you’ve never enjoyed a meal at Knife you need to make that trip and chow down!
“Food is an exploration of the palette!” “Try something new!” “You just might like it!”
Have you ever taken a bite of something so delicious that you thought to yourself, “I have to tell someone about this!” I’m sure you have because we all feel that way sometimes. It doesn’t matter if it’s savory, sweet, or both, we just want to tell someone about how perfect a dish was. After traveling around in 2021, eating and visiting with chefs and restaurant folks, I had an idea. I wanted to spread a little deliciousness among my friends; I wanted to share with everyone the BEST DISHES I ATE in 2021.
2021 was our most successful year at locating creative chefs and delicious dishes. We traveled through 10 different states, logging our most miles ever and visiting a record number of chefs and restaurants. I wanted to highlight some of the most unique and delicious dishes you should try in 2022. These are my top restaurants with dishes, and there’s a big variety so there’s something for everyone!
I enjoyed visiting and eating with some of the best chefs and restaurant folks in the business. Each dish has been carefully chosen and is a chef-driven dish prepared by the best! They only use fresh ingredients, vegetables, and spices to create some bold, modern flavor profiles that everyone will love. Most of the eats are simple dishes that are prepared with passion, love, and creativity. Remember, a simple dish is sometimes the most difficult to facilitate because all parts must be complete perfection. I believe that in most cases simple is better because it gives each ingredient that culinary jingle to create deliciousness.
After the last 2 years I think it’s safe to say that we all need to save a little money in 2022. This is not only a list of deliciousness, but most of the dishes are also affordable so that everyone can enjoy them. I’ve listed a few that are a little pricey, but every now and then we can splurge to treat ourselves and our families. We all deserve to be treated like KINGS and QUEENS occasionally!
I truly hope that you’ll take some time and visit at least a few of these restaurants. As we know, restaurants have been suffering and playing catch up this last year, so any help you can give them would be greatly appreciated. If you have friends and family over for the holidays, now is the time to visit these unique restaurants and chow down on something special! Remember, nothing – NOT a conversation, NOT a handshake, or even a hug establishes friendship so forcefully as eating together with laughs and smiles!
Disclaimer:My Must Try list for 2022 DOES NOT include my BEST BBQ 2021 or BEST BURGERS 2021. You will have to visit my Best Burger List and my Best BBQ List to see those dishes.
Are you ready for your tour of deliciousness? Here we go!
Chef John Tesar has done a masterful job at creating a steakhouse that exceeds all expectations of what a steak dinner experience should be. He offers a Texas-sized variety of meats and cuts where a true steak connoisseur will feel like a kid in a candy store. His “Bacon Sampler” appetizer melts in your mouth with each bite. They have custom-crafted desserts, cocktails, and appetizers that will make your mouth water and your pallet dance. One of the BEST offerings at Knife is a dry-aged steak from John’s mesmerizing dry-age cooler. You can stand at the window, slobbering while you stare at the meats dry-aging second by second. John’s dry-aged beef has a different flavor profile compared to what I’ve tasted in the past. Their process makes for a very intense flavor, creating hints of blue cheese, truffle, and popcorn butter. In my opinion, John’s flavor profile created at Knife is different and pure meaty perfection and it’s very addicting. Knife Dallas, Knife Plano and NOW John’s restaurant Knife & Spoon in Orlando, Florida is a MUST TRY in 2022. Watch Chef John Tesar on Trey’s Chow Down: https://watch.tcncountry.net/home
I met Chef Hollister years ago and I’ve always enjoyed his food. I’ve hosted him on my TV show and podcast several times and have always enjoy his insight into the culinary world. He’s helped create some very successful restaurant concepts and has become a celebrity chef through his hard work and dedication to his culinary passion. He is an extremely creative chef and loves slinging deliciousness. His dishes are always beautiful, colorful, and loaded with flavor. His newest creation, a fresh-prepared “Birria Grilled Cheese”, is truly a culinary masterpiece. While it may sound simple by name, the way it’s prepared is anything but. ONE bite and you will be hooked for life! Its savory, cheesy, meaty deliciousness with a unique and unforgettable flavor profile. Wild Acre is a must visit in 2022! While you are there, add a Skillet Meat Ball if they’re available, and grab one of Wild Acres tasty CRAFT BEERS!
Hawkers Dallas opened in late 2021 in Deep Ellum. We took a ride over and spent some time with the staff and enjoyed a fabulous meal. They are an Asian street food concept specializing in creative, fresh, chef-driven eats as well as colorful, exotic craft cocktails, all wrapped up in a vibrant atmosphere. They have unique dishes that are loaded with deliciousness and quite addicting. We fell in foodie love with two dishes in particular. The “Roti Canai”, which is fresh-prepared Malaysian flatbread, served with Hawkers signature curry sauce. You pick them up, rip them, dip them, and enjoy the unforgettable flavor. It truly has the WOW factor of savory deliciousness immediately when you take the first BITE! They also offer a “Pad Thai” dish that is a Hawkers Staple. If you’ve enjoyed Pad Thai before, I can promise you it’s not like this one. Prepared fresh with shrimp, chicken, red chili pepper sauce, eggs, veggies, and wok-fired to perfection, this dish has a variety of fresh and simple ingredients that when combined offer a true kaleidoscope of flavors that you will love! #StupidDelicious – Hawkers is a must visit in 2022!
B&B Butchers & Restaurant in Fort Worth and Houston offer a cozy but vibrant atmosphere with incredible service. The menu is loaded with delicious, chef-driven eats, but I want to focus on a bacon appetizer that I’m in LOVE with. It can also be eaten as a main dish for lunch or dinner. It’s called “Chef Tommy’s Bacon”, and you need to try it! Tommy’s Bacon is prepared fresh bacon, house Roquefort blue cheese, and truffle infused honey. This dish will send your taste buds to the FLAVOR RODEO and fill your belly with delight. I truly wish I could convey through words how delicious this dish tastes, but the words don’t exist. I guess you’ll have to head that way to experience it for yourself! Saddle up for the flavor rodeo with each bite, because B&B Butchers is a must visit in 2022!
I’ve enjoyed my culinary conversations with Chef Jacob because he’s loaded with culinary passion. Seven Doors opened during the pandemic and have been setting North Texas on fire with their creative fresh cocktails and delicious dishes. They have a colorful interior based on seven different old doors from around the world. They are simply a chef-driven, from-scratch concept that believes in creative eats featuring layered flavors, tasty craft cocktails, and plenty of deliciousness. Chef Jacob and his culinary team believe in only using fresh ingredients to achieve some bold flavor profiles. The first time I tasted his candied bacon, I went nuts and had to put in two orders because I couldn’t stop eating it. It has a candy apple-like texture, with a slightly chewy crunch, but not overly sweet. It’s lick-your-fingers delicious. Seven Doors is a must visit in 2022! Watch Chef Jacob on Trey’s Chow Down LIVE: https://watch.tcncountry.net/home
I like this chicken so much that I featured it on my BEST Chicken Dishes special on ABC Channel 8 AND my BEST Chicken for 2021. They are located in Deep Ellum in the heart of the arts district. I love the name Brick and Bones, kinda catchy! Classified as Mexican Fried Chicken, it’s something you’ve never tasted before. They will tell you it’s a throwback bar in Deep Ellum, focused on craft Mexican fried chicken, great cocktails, and curated spirits. They started in the kitchen, where they cooped up and built a menu centering around Mexican-inspired fried chicken, which is their specialty! Prepared with fresh chicken and over 15 different fresh Mexican spices, it’s crispy ridiculousness! The first time I put this chicken in my mouth I said, ”S!@#$%^& W.T.F.” because it was so damn delicious! I ordered a second helping because one just wasn’t enough. If you love lip-smacking savory chicken – some of the BEST in North Texas, then head over to see them at B&B. Oh and don’t forget the Habanero Mac-N-Cheese with your fried chicken. Brink & Bones is a must visit in 2022!
I was excited to be invited to Nico’s when it opened in North Dallas in late 2021. They brought Mexican street food to Dallas and combined it with pizza. Chef Juan is from Mexico, so the dishes are authentic, creative, and extremely colorful! We tried several delicious dishes, but the one that won our hearts was the “El Relleno Pizza”. When they set the pizza down in front of us and I saw the Chili Rellenos and fresh flowers layered on top, I went into full tilt pizza boogie. You read that correctly: the pizza is layered with edible Marigolds – I couldn’t wait to try a slice! It’s prepared with Nico’s deep dish pizza crust, farm-fresh chili relents, fresh salsa verde, a Mexican cheese blend (Oaxaca, Chihuahua, Asadero, Mozzarella), and poblano sauce, topped with farm-fresh diced tomatoes and fresh picked edible Marigolds. The presentation is unforgettable, and the flavor is savory, cheesy deliciousness with floral notes that you will savor forever. Don’t forget an order of “Short Corn Ribs”! Nico’s is a must visit in 2022!
I’ve known Chef Marcus for years, and every concept he creates is unique and loaded with fresh chef-driven eats. Provender Hall is located in an old mule barn that has been restored with a colorful chic western vibe with a casual atmosphere. Chef Marcus believes in offering fresh, colorful, and creative dishes loaded with unforgettable flavors. They have a variety of tasty dishes and daily specials that everyone will enjoy, but I want to highlight what I consider to be the BEST Wedge Salad in North Texas. I’ve eaten a bunch of wedge salads this year on the hunt for the BEST! Marcus and his culinary team are slinging a wedge salad with a favor profile all its own. It’s prepared with farm-fresh lettuce that’s chilled to perfection, a house-made dressing that’s savory, a bit creamy with notes of dill and loaded with deliciousness. If you love wedge salads, you must try this one. Don’t forget the house Pimento Cheese Dip. Provender Hall is a must visit in 2022!
When I first heard about Parlor Donuts and how they are layered, I couldn’t wrap my head around it as I’ve known how donuts have been made for decades. Parlor uses a unique technique to create their signature donuts. It’s the layers in their doughnuts that make them so special. PARLOR dough is layered in butter, making it flaky and sweet. Beyond their amazing dough, they work hard to offer an incredible selection of over 20 flavors. For this reason, they believe you will leave their shop saying, “This is the best doughnut I have ever had.” I can honestly tell you without hesitation that it’s the BEST DONUT I’VE EVER EATEN! Parlor Donut is a must try in 2022!
Pitmaster Trey Sanchez has been around World Class Bar-B-Q and the Bar-B-Q business since he was a kid. His dad was in the food business and passed on that spark for creating deliciousness to Trey. Located in Grapevine at Hop and Sting Brewery, he has award-winning smoked meat Birria Tacos that have been featured on numerous national TV shows and social media. His Birria Tacos are so dam tasty they’re actually famous, FAMOUSLY DELICIOUS that is! I want you to think about taking a grilled taco and dipping into fresh consommé sauce which I call taco gravy. That’s Birria Tacos! His brisket is flavor-loaded, bold, and he offers house-prepared sides that are always on point and loaded with deliciousness. Don’t forget his NANNER PUDDIN! It’s savory sweet deliciousness to die for! Watch Pitmaster Trey on Trey’s Chow Down LIVE: https://watch.tcncountry.net/home
We discovered this little hidden jewel which is in Dallas in the Bishop Arts District. Tejas is a trendy TEX-MEX spot slinging chef-driven eats and craft cocktails with agave-forward spirits and includes some colorful signature drinks. Chef says, ” It’s the BEST of Mexico and Texas combined.” Tejas was transformed during the pandemic from a counter-service only to a full-service restaurant. It offers a vibrant and upbeat atmosphere with a creative menu loaded with deliciousness. The Chef’s Mini Taco Flight is savory, unique, taco deliciousness that I fell in love with. You can choose from SIX or TWELVE TACOS with your choice of picadillo beef or poblano chicken. Each bite is a flavor explosion in your mouth, so buckle up and get ready for a taco surprise! Tejas is a must visit in 2022.
Located in Fort Worth in the West 7th Street area, Bankhead Brewing is a craft brewpub offering fresh, chef-driven eats and tasty craft beers. They opened during the pandemic and have been a driving force in the vibrant west 7th street area slinging deliciousness and fun. Their craft beers have won awards including 2018 Silver Medal Winners at the Great American Beer Festival for their Southern German-style Hefeweizen (Hoofer’s Hef). When we heard about the fresh Lobster Mac-N-Cheese I couldn’t resist the culinary tug to try this dish. Prepared with various cheeses, fresh lobster, and pasta, each bite is a karate chop of savory cheesy deliciousness. A must try in 2022. Don’t forget an award-winning craft beer!
The story goes: Their first location opened the doors in 2012 after founder Hunter Pond realized his penchant for flavorful, perfectly prepared sandwiches outweighed his commitment to the law degree he was pursuing. When I first visited East Hampton, I was impressed with their fresh-prepared sandwiches. In a world that is saturated with sandwich shops they stand alone in the pursuit of creative deliciousness. The Connecticut Lobster Roll is served warm and offers a unique flavor profile that is savory, buttery deliciousness you can’t forget. Each bite I took was better than the last, truly an unforgettable sandwich. Prepared with a hot butter-grilled N.E. Atlantic lobster knuckle + claw meat and Old Bay seasoning, then stacked inside a fresh toasted bread roll that is light, airy and flavorful. You also get your own little container of fresh, melted, clarified butter to pour over the sandwich. WOW! This sandwich is so good it would make a Pit Bull break it’s chain! A must try in 2022 if you’re looking for true sandwich perfection!
Jose On Lovers is one of those rare restaurants offering perfection with every dish prepared. They have a creative, fresh take on contemporary Mexican cuisine. Chef A.Q. Pittman and her culinary team create some of the most beautiful, colorful, and vibrant dishes in the Texas dining scene. Her team plates every dish to the finest detail, creating deliciousness that is unforgettable. They only source and use authentic, fresh ingredients and vegetables to achieve the best possible flavor profiles, offering a kaleidoscope of flavors with every bite. Jose is truly an unforgettable dining experience for Mexican food lovers, art lovers, and Craft Tequila Lovers alike. I was lucky enough to host Chef AQ on Trey’s Chow Down LIVE and it was a culinary education and the life of a passionate chef in the pursuit of perfection. Jose is a must visit in 2022 and is one of favorite Mexican restaurants in the USA! Watch Chef AQ Pitman on Trey’s Chow Down LIVE: https://watch.tcncountry.net/home
I was in disbelief when I learned about the new BIG FAMILY MEATY Platter they’re offering at PAPPASITO’S location across Texas. When someone in Texas talks about barbeque, beef, or steaks, they tend to exaggerate. This is the reason I didn’t believe the size of the Family Platter until I saw it for myself. I heard the meat and vegetables sizzling as the platter approached, and my mouth started watering. WOW! My mind went into full tilt Foodie Boogie because it smelled like meaty deliciousness and looked like heaven on a platter. I was truly SHOCKED by the number of proteins and vegetables we received. They said it would feed 4 people but truly it’s more like 6 or 7.
The platter includes Fresh Quail, Fresh Beef Fajita meat, Fresh Grilled Chicken meat, Fresh Jalapeño Cheese Sausage, Mexican rice, house beans, fresh cut jalapeños, fresh prepared quac, and we added extra sour cream and shredded cheese. We enjoyed the fresh chicharrones with house queso and chili Con-Queso. Talk about a FULL MEAL DEAL! It’s truly a meal for meat lovers to enjoy! A must try in 2022.
I’m going to tell you right now: if you don’t want to eat massive burgers, DO NOT go to K POP. Every burger they offer is a massive stack of meaty, savory deliciousness. Once your burger arrives at your table you will be slinging sauce ear to ear. I tried the 3.5 Pound “Bang Tan Burger”, which was loaded with eight (1/2 Lbs) fresh Angus beef patties (x5), grilled pineapple (x2), grilled jalapenos, grilled spam patties (x2), American cheese (x6), pepper jack cheese (x4), and fresh house prepared K3 Sauce that will have you licking your lips in a food coma. All the burgers on their menu are loaded with flavor explosions, you can’t go wrong! If you’re a burger lover head over to K Pop. They are a must visit in 2022.
Shell Shack specializes in fresh, chef-driven seafood dishes, sides and desserts. I love the BIG bags of fresh seafood and the amazing Crab Tater Tots. All-day seafood, “THE HEAVYWEIGHT” – prepared with two lbs. of SNOW CRAB, two lbs. of SHRIMP, one lb. Of KING CRAB, two fried FRIED CATFISH FILETS, eight FRIED SHRIMP, eight CORN, twelve POTATOES, twelve SAUSAGE, fresh FRIES, and loads of HUSHPUPPIES. Wow, a seafood experience like no other! Seven pounds of smack you in the face seafood deliciousness. Feeds five to six people and is market priced. Don’t forget the fresh crab tater tots, they are always GBD Golden Brown and Delicious. Shell Shack a must try in 2022.
I’ve been telling food lovers about this chicken dish for a decade. Now before you say, “What? Isnt Ruth’s Chris known for fancy steaks?” Yes, they are, but I can promise you the chicken is the sleeper on their menu. I’ve been eating this chicken dish for years and I can honestly say it’s at the top of any chicken dish I’ve ever eaten anywhere in the world. I say with confidence that you will be blown away. It’s presented hot, crackling, and bubbling with butter and a beautiful golden brown crisp skin. The aroma of this dish as they set it down in front of you is head-turning. I swear, when I order this dish, folks around me will ask, “What in the world is that?” I always say with a grin, “Why, it’s STUFFED CHICKEN BREAST!” It’s prepared with a double-breasted chicken that’s been oven-roasted, stuffed with garlic herb cheese, and topped with lemon butter. Trust me and go try this succulent, cheesy, flavor-layered dish at Ruth’s Chris Steak House. It’s a must try in 2022 and one of the BEST THINGS I’VE EVER EATEN!
They opened about six months ago in Addison and specialize in fresh appetizers, soup, Dimsum, entrees, desserts, and craft cocktails. When I heard about a place called DUM SUM Palace I wasted no time at making my way to chow down on some of their award-winning dumplings. They prepare the dumplings fresh daily using locally sourced ingredients and vegetables to create dumpling love affairs. The Soup Dumplings are my favorite because when you bite into them, they release a river of flavors running through your mouth that are unforgettable. Bushi Bushi is a must visit in 2022 for an unforgettable dumpling love affair.
Drake’s a dark, cozy, old-fashion Hollywood style eater that is loaded with charm and coziness. Old painted Hollywood actors line the walls of the dining room and bar area. Drake’s offers plenty of chef-driven deliciousness like pizzas, steaks, and crazy desserts. I want to discuss the mega cheesy “Snow Crab & Black Truffle Mac ‘N’ Cheese”. You just can’t go wrong with this savory, gooey, cheesy, flavorful, and delicious seafood Mac-N-Cheese. It’s always served HF&D Hot, Fresh and Delicious! A must try in 2022.
I don’t know the story behind Doc B’s, but I do know they’re slinging creative deliciousness all day. They have open spaces for dining rooms and wonderful outdoor patio areas. Eating outdoors in Texas with a pound of meat sitting in front of you is what food dreams are made of. The 1 Ib. Angry Meat Ball is served in a big cast iron skillet, topped with a spicy house tomato sauce, fresh ricotta cheese, and house garlic bread. When you take the first big bite it’s a karate chop of flavor in your mouth… K POW! If you love meat balls, it’s a must try in 2022.
I like to call Malai Kitchen the “Flavor Palace” because every dish I eat here is loaded with tastiness. Every single bite I take of anything here puts a smile on my face and happiness in my heart. All the dishes are colorful, fresh, and creative! The service is always perfect, and the staff is happy to help you. The atmosphere is upbeat, open, and very bright. I just can’t get enough of Malai Kitchen and my favorite dish is the Drunken Noodles. I can smell it before they set it down in front of me. They are the BEST drunken noodles I’VE EVER EATEN. I’ve even had delicious dreams about this dish! You need to head over to Malai Kitchen and for some noodle deliciousness. They are a must try in 2022.
If you love to be entertained, drink, and CHOW DOWN, then Saint Rocco’s is a spot you need to check out. They have a vast array of different fresh prepared dishes and tasty craft cocktails. The atmosphere is colorful, old-school Italian with some fantastic views of downtown Dallas. Trinity Groves is one of my favorite spots and chef Jay Valley and his culinary team are one of the best in the Dallas food scene. The “Lobster Ravioli” is prepared fresh by hand daily using only the freshest ingredients, and Jay’s grandma’s old Italian cooking technique. When the dish arrives, you can see the fresh ravioli floating on a bed of the house prepared lobster truffle cream sauce. When you take your first bite its savory, creamy, a little cheesy and a load of deliciousness. It’s so dam good that I’ll do things to that dish that’s probably illegal in most states. YES! It’s that good! A must try in 2022!
Pho District has been open since 2018 and I’ve been eating there since the first day the doors slung open. It has a hip vibe and open spaces featuring modern takes on Vietnamese street food. They use fresh, locally sourced ingredients to create some street food deliciousness. I’m in food love with the sizzling platters! You can hear and smell them as they approach the table with the platters. The dish is served in a cast iron skillet in the shape of cow and is hot, sizzling and meaty goodness. If you love sizzling meat, you need to try this dish because it’s worth it and you need it in your life! Must try dish in 2022!
One of my favorite little places in Texas, or anywhere for that matter! I stumbled on this place by accident four years ago, and I loved it from the first time I laid my eyes on it. It’s located right off Beckley Ave. in a little neighborhood in Dallas. There is just something to be said for a cozy little laid-back diner that is full of charm and energy. I can’t truly describe the feeling when you walk in, but it just feels friendly and comfortable like you’re supposed to be there. This is the cozy type of place my mom, grandad and grandma would have loved. I sit at the bar and order this dish called “Danger Dogs.” Yeaaaahh, you read that correctly, Danger Dogs! I love creative menu options and I just had to order these. After they sat them down in front of me and I took my first bite I was HOOKED like a fish on a pole. I’ve been back four times to chow down on Danger Dogs and chicken and waffles, and you should too. They have a variety of tasty, creative options for you to enjoy with craft cocktails too. Don’t forget the brunch items… WOW! Make plans to visit Jonathan’s and find out why I love them so much. It’s just cozy, delicious perfection! A must visit in 2022
I first visited CoCo Shrimp two years ago, and that started love affair in Texas. They story goes: The Coco Shrimp dream began while they were attending BYU-Hawaii. Over four, adventure-filled years, they fell in love with the laid-back lifestyle of the North Shore of Oahu. They became enamored with the way food played such an important role in the Polynesian culture. They moved back to Fort Worth, their hometown, and opened CoCo Shrimp specializing in fresh shrimp dishes and tacos. People have fallen in love with CoCo Shrimp and everything they are slinging out of the kitchen. The first time I walked through the doors, I could smell the strong hints of sweet garlic, onions and herbs. My foodie barometer was on full tilt. I ordered the Shrimp Sampler, and the rest is history. It was a bath of Polynesian, shrimp flavored deliciousness! They are a must visit in 2022. Throw that door open and Tell’em you’re diving in for a shrimp platter.
Little Red Wasp Kitchen and Bar is nestled in downtown Fort Worth between two steak houses. This restaurant is a chef-driven, knife and fork sandwich concept by Chef Blaine Staniford and Adam Jones. They are slinging deliciousness with every dish on their menu. I’ve featured them so much, one would think they are paying me, but one would be wrong! I just love the cozy atmosphere, great service, and creative dishes. But I’m in love the Wasp “Fried Chicken and Cheddar Cheese Biscuit.” It’s prepared with a fresh house cheddar cheese biscuit, house prepared black pepper gravy, and an awesome big fat n’ juicy fried chicken breast. You must have a knife and fork to eat this beast of a dish. It’s packed with flavor, and you will be sopping up the gravy with your little fingers and licking them all up, I promise you that! Get to the WASP because It’s a must visit in 2022!
Located in Paris, Texas just north of Dallas, they offer the best Birria Pizza I have eaten in Texas to date. When I walked up to place my order, I was greeted by some extremely friendly people with big smiles. It was difficult to stand there because the delicious smell was pouring out from the trailer. I could see and hear the Birria Tacos sizzling on the grill! I placed a big order, but I’m going to highlight and feature the Birria Pizza because it was truly unbelievable. When I grabbed the pizza box it was very heavy, and I knew that meant only one thing – It was going to be loaded with tons of cheese ?and plenty of deliciousness.
What I discovered was one of the BEST BIRRIA PIZZAS in Texas, and I’ve eaten quite a few this year as I’ve been on a mission to discover the BEST. The Pizza was prepared fresh to order, so it takes about 20 to 25 minutes, but it’s so worth the wait! It had loads of cheese, fresh house-prepared sauces, farm-fresh onions, and cilantro chopped and bagged separately. It also came with fresh grilled onions that were caramelized to perfection on the grill. Every single bite you take from the first to the last will have you saying OMG, OMG, OMG because it’s loaded with deliciousness and each bite is sinful! I promise you will be praying to the flavor gods for more! A must visit and worth the drive to Paris, Texas in 2022. Make a day of it because Paris is a beautiful old East Texas town full of charm.
I met Chef Jose and Chef Jazmin just a few short months ago in Deep Ellum. They were slinging taco deliciousness, and when I say slinging, I mean deliciousness was flying everywhere! Everything I tried from their grill was stupid delicious. The fresh prepared tacos, Birria Tacos and Birria Taco Pizza and desserts… all amazing! I’m going to focus on the Birria Tacos because they were taco perfection. The Birria Tacos were served Golden Brown and HF&D – hot fresh and delicious. Loaded with succulent and flavorful meat, cheese, farm-fresh onions and cilantro.
If you’re looking for some Taco Deliciousness you need some Jazzy’s Tacos and Jazzy’s Sweets in your DIET. They are a must try in 2022!
The NEW concept Hen & Hops is open at the Omni Dallas Hotel and is located on Restaurants on Lamar across from the Omni Hotels & Resorts. Created by the Omni and their award-winning culinary team, it’s a new concept specializing in fresh farm to table chicken dishes, sides, desserts, and craft beers. They really did a fantastic job of creating the concept, menu, fresh dishes, and the vibrant atmosphere.
The only use fresh, locally sourced ingredients and vegetables to create some bold modern American flavor profiles that are flavor loaded and delicious. I love their signature batter because it’s light, flavorful and turns a perfect golden brown. After cooking, the fried chicken is light, savory, and cooked GBD #GoldenBrownandDelicious. They offer plenty of sides and salads that are served fresh. All the dressings and flavorful sauces are also prepared in house by the culinary team. The chicken and sides are a kaleidoscope of flavors with each bite. If you love chicken HOPS & HENS is a must visit restaurant!
An intimate French Chef-driven bakery known for its unbelievable macarons & other French pastries, with a coffee bar & cozy patio seating. If you follow me, you know I LOVE my sweets! I love the creative, colorful, and delicious, sweet treats that come from Bisous Bisous Pâtisserie in Uptown. They are truly some of the BEST I’ve ever eaten in the WORLD. That’s a big and bold statement, but it’s TRUE. Chef Andrea Myer and her culinary team are slinging some colorful and beautiful pastries that are prepared fresh in house. They only use the finest ingredients sourced locally to create some unforgettable sweet and savory flavor profiles you will love.
If you love sweets and pastries like I do, head over to Bisous Bisous Pâtisserie. I promise it’s worth the drive from anywhere in the DFW area. They are a must visit in 2022.
I’m honored to present this year’s BEST burger winners. Any burger on my list is here because they are fresh and delicious. Please support local and try all of these burgers. Below at the end of the blog we created a full color poster of this years winners. You may screen shot from your phone or print it off and plan your BURGER adventures of 2021. By saving our list you will have instance reference for your barbecue cravings.
WOW! What a year 2020 was for the restaurant, food, and culinary world. In my five decades in the restaurant business, I’ve seen disasters of all types and nothing comes close to the devastating effect Covid-19 had on our economy. Restaurants, chefs, pitmasters, and restauranteurs had to make big changes if they wanted to survive the pandemic. Nationwide, we lost over 251,000 restaurants forever and 2.5 million restaurant jobs at the latest estimate. The good thing is that NOW we are on the mend and the Texas economy is in full giddy-up mode! This is why it’s so important to support local restaurants to keep us in giddy-up mode.
Even though things were crazy due to Covid-19 we still worked hard reporting on food and hunting down the best burgers we could locate in North Texas. The pandemic allowed us plenty of extra time to chow down on some tasty burgers; it also allowed burger creators time to come up with some new delicious and creative burgers for all of us to enjoy. If you follow me, you know how much I enjoy a great and tastyburger. This is our seventh year for the BEST BURGERcontest in Texas and I’m excited to tell everyone about my delicious burger discoveries.
Did you know that burgers are one of the most sought-after sandwiches in the world? The burger business is crazy in the U.S.A. I don’t have the newly updated numbers of burgers sold in 2020 during the pandemic (and it would be an oddly skewed amount), so we are using the last updated numbers. A national research company states that we sell 6.48 million burgers a day, and around 75 burgers a second! What? Yes, 75 burgers a second! This roughly breaks down as 4,500 burgers every minute, 270,000 every hour, 6.48 million a day, and 2.36 billion burgers a year. A worldwide research study states we sell 50 billion a year worldwide. 50 Billion a year that to me is shocking, but I know how many folks just love a succulent, savory, and delicious burger.